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Saturday, October 31, 2015

To my knowledge, no one in the house has seen "Zardoz."

Least of all Tommy. But right now, our...inventive four year old is pulling up his red pajama shorts really high, sticking his arms through the leg holes, turning it into a loincloth with sleeves. 

Pretty much this, yes.



Anyway, here's the Internet Movie Database entry for the 1974 John Boorman film, which somehow did not get an Oscar for Best Costume Design.

[Update: Commenter Xena Catolica alerts us to the fact that the B-Movie Catechism site did a review of Zardoz. Well worth a read.]

Warning: Trained Professional Theologian at Work.

Rod Dreher has discovered the unique (Deo volente...) theological writings of one of the anti-Douthat signatories, Professor Katie Grimes of Villanova University.

Remember that the touchstones of the would-be-blacklisting were his lack of qualifications to speak about theology and the political partisanship he allegedly interjected into his analysis.

Does the argument that the Catholic Church (ostensibly in America, but it is logically fuzzy on that) is irredeemably corrupted by white supremacy suggest political partisanship? We're talking from the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist on up. Might it at least suggest something of a political agenda? Especially when submitted as an example of "political theology"?

In any case, Professor Grimes is absolutely certain of this. No doubts, no arguments. Thus, she has plans for you, Mr. and Mrs. KKKatholic KKKracker. 

Big, big plans: 
We should not expect white Christians either to choose new racial habits or to change the racial character of the white supremacist places they inhabit. Rather than leaving Christians to their habits as [Stanley] Hauerwas proposes, white Christians need to be made to submit to spatial re-habituation. 
Rather than distinguishing themselves from the world in order to serve and save it, white Christians need to be compelled to inhabit a world not of their making. 

In particular, white Christians will be re-habituated only when they no longer possess the power to perpetuate white supremacist racial segregation in their neighborhoods and parishes.


Rather than espousing a type of Pelagianism, I expose the narrow limits of white agency. White people cannot save themselves. The vice of white supremacy must be unmade by the transformative grace of Black Power, which places black life and freedom first.

Theologians need to learn to care less about how to persuade whites to do the right thing and more on what they need to be made to do. Rather than intensifying projects of moral suasion, the church ought to begin devising strategies of white corporate coercion. At stake is not just the justice of the church but its very identity as the body of Christ.
Welp. Spatial re-habituation. Collective punishment--which I thought was bad, but remember: the Vatican is probably the VatiKKKan. Indeed, amongst the myriad weaknesses in her article is the parochial focus on America, and the apparent belief that American slavery arose sua sponte from our cancerous birth. I guess all the other slave-owning white Christians dodged a bullet by staying away from our patch of the planet? It seems unlikely to me, but what do I know?

Her proposal sounds...ambitious, in a vaguely Milosevic-meets-regionalism kinda way. Though I'm not sure how the fatally-compromised church is supposed to self-remove this tumor to which it is so attached--the political equivalent of faith-healing or juicing, perhaps?

Perhaps it will come from example? Dr. Grimes appears to be a bit melanin-impaired herself, so maybe she'll lead the way. Start with casting off that antiquated and convenient construct of white privilege known as "tenure"? Surely, the corporate coercion she prescribes would rightfully award her position to a more deserving scholar of color. And maybe she could bid adieu to the cozy, insular, gated-community bastion of racism and unearned plunder known as suburban Philadelphia and decamp to less-privileged zones? 

We'll see. The prophet's life is a hard one. 

Lead the way, doc.

Nevertheless, the powerful certainties expressed above definitely cast an interesting light on her rationale for criticizing Douthat:

Katie Grimes, an assistant professor of theological ethics at Villanova University and another signer of the letter, explained in a blog post her annoyance with Douthat’s repeated claims to theological certainty.
“More than many other figures who misrepresent or oversimplify Catholic theology in the mainstream media, Mr. Douthat has tended to portray himself as one who recites Catholic teaching rather than one who interprets it, especially over the course of the past few weeks,” she wrote. “This alone I take issue with.”
“So perhaps rather than calling Mr. Douthat ‘un-credentialed,’ the letter should have asked the New York Times the following question: with what criteria did they determine Mr. Douthat competent to act as an arbiter of theological truth?” she added.
From what I can tell, the Professor herself does not lack for certainties in her own expansive theological vision for humanity. Maybe there's something else? She concludes with this:

Let’s also not forget that Mr. Douthat’s position owes in no small part to the credentials of race and gender that he has accumulated but not earned. We take white men much more seriously than we take others, even when they say very silly things.
Ah. Reason enough for a good ol' fashioned Defenestration right there. Repent, pale penis person--because it's only bad when you express certainty, you as-yet-uncoerced bigot! Of course, her position in the academy owes nothing to, I dunno, gender considerations, right? Or should I say, left?

However, I am quite willing to concede her expertise with regard to saying very silly things. No one could possibly gainsay that.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Blame Canada.

O Friendly Neighbor to the South:

Poutine actually sounds reasonably good, and I think I'd like to give it a try one of these days.

However, we need to have a talk about the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Burger.


I'm starting to worry about you guys.  Everything OK?

The thing about studying history is that you can always learn something new.

As veteran readers know, I'm something of a Civil War student (yeah, we know...groan...) and, further, I've studied the Gettysburg campaign rather closely. 

However, I was completely unaware of this, which is a gut-punch:

Race and Retaliation: The Capture of African Americans During the Gettysburg Campaign.

As it turns out, during the Army of Northern Virginia's last march north of the Mason-Dixon Line, there was a policy of reversing the Emancipation Proclamation, with blacks being captured and sent south for enslavement. It is beyond dispute that General James Longstreet was aware of it.

It is not pleasant reading. But it must be read. Hat-tip to the Dead Confederates blog for this find. 



Michigan Catholics, BOLO.

Whatever else you do, do not associate yourself with the Latin Mass Society [sic], which is in a moral death spiral. It has nothing to do with the Mass and everything to do with the odd fixations of its operator--which have now branched off into porn and Nazism.

Weird, creepy, but most of all, tragic.

Pray for the young women, who are especially vulnerable in this meat-grinder of an industry, and for the badly-confused young man running this operation. 


The Adversary prowls.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A horrific policy becomes a little less horrific.

China no longer has a one child policy. 

It now has a two-child policy.

The ever-wise and knowledgeable central planners in Beijing have finally noticed the demographic iceberg, and are screaming "hard a'starboard!"

As with Captain Smith's helmsman, the turn is too late:
Opponents say the policy has created a demographic “timebomb”, with China’s 1.3 billion-strong population ageing rapidly, and the country’s labour pool shrinking. The UN estimates that by 2050 China will have about 440 million people over 60. The working-age population – those between 15 and 59 – fell by 3.71 million last year, a trend that is expected to continue.  
There were no immediate details on how or when China’s new “two-child policy” would be implemented. But [Stuart] Gietel-Basten [a University of Oxford demographer] said the policy change was good news for both China’s people and its leaders, who stood to gain from ending a highly unpopular rule.
“From a political, pragmatic perspective, loosening the policy is good for the party but also it is a good thing for individual couples who want to have that second child. It is a kind of win-win for everybody,” he said.
“Millions of ordinary Chinese couples will be allowed to have a second child if they want to – this is clearly a very positive thing.”
 Experts said the relaxation of family planning rules is unlikely to have a lasting demographic impact, particularly in urban areas where couples were now reluctant to have two children because of the high cost.
“Just because the government says you can have another child, it doesn’t mean the people will immediately follow,” said Liang Zhongtang, a demographer at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science.
Gietel-Basten said: “In the short term, probably there will be a little baby boom particularly in some of the poorer provinces where the rules have been very strict, like in Sichuan or in parts of the south. But in the long term I don’t think it’s going to make an enormous amount of difference.”
But entirely aside from efficacy--at least some of the horrors of the old policy will be lessened. And that is worth celebrating.

Just maybe we won't have Jeb Bush to kick around anymore.

Didn't watch the debate--I heard the head moderator for CNBC was a clown. And he apparently didn't disappoint, wearing his best shoes and bringing his horn and seltzer bottle with him.

Plus, the Weather Channel was on.

But Jeb Bush got his fanny handed to him after he attacked his former protege.

I'd like to like him, and certainly would if he were a neighbor--or maybe even a Senator. But the refusal to understand that we don't want three Presidents Bush in 25 years is not endearing.

On the other hand, the guy who served up Jeb's hindquarters seems to have Lindsey Graham's hawkishness, which horrifies me. A strong foreign policy is one thing--barging into every hotspot on the planet is another. Nope.


But...is it true?

At one level, the pearl-clutching response to Ross Douthat's use of the word "heresy" is pretty funny. Do those who are staggering to the fainting couch even believe in the concept of heresy? This is, after all, the enlightened era of the Council to End All Councils. If not, it should be shrugged off like an accusation of lycanthropy. Especially coming from Twitter, for pete's sake. More on that later.

Even funnier is the notion that left-leaning academics--tenured or otherwise--are in any danger of losing their Catholic university posts because of what a conservative writer tweets (!) about them. Far from it--a swat from a righty is a resume'-builder in an educational system that daily burns incense before the smoke-tarnished idol of the Land O' Lakes Statement.

And, really--anyone who's paid attention knows that in this, the New Paradigm of Dialogue and Mercy, the only people losing their jobs and experiencing the disciplinary hand of Rome are those of a more traditional bent. To whit: a Catholic father stricken with cancer and the Friars of the Immaculate.  

On other hand, if you think Fidel Castro is an instrument of the Holy Ghost, it's all good.

So, the fears of a New Inquisition against lefties are something out of the Bearded Spock Universe.


Quite illogical, indeed.
Sorry about the transporter mishap?

Less funny--insulting, in fact--is the argument that no one was trying to silence Douthat.

An open letter to a writer's publisher from a murderer's row of academics stating that the writer is unqualified to opine on the subject for which he is most published--and is hurting people in the process--is not a recommendation to shut him up?


Pull the other one.

All of that, though, is truly beside the point. I mean, I could point out that flinging accusations and questioning another's Christian bona fides might actually be a heartening point of commonality between Douthat and the Pope...brothers in unity after all. 

Nah--too easy.

The real problem is that the howls of outrage obscure the bottom line question: is Douthat right? Was Professor Faggioli's assertion heretical?

The handwaving response of Douthat's critics to the accusation suggests they do not accept the concept of heresy.

Do they? If not, then, no, of course not--no one is a werewolf. Why so serious?

If so, show your work and refute the accusation instead of gesturing to your letters, your collar or your tactical interest in civility.

"Tactical"? Of course. I don't recall an open letter to Andrew Sullivan suggesting that his speculations regarding the previous pontiff were out of line, do you? You know--the ones he made over a course of years?

Interesting. 

And it strongly suggests that the outrage over Douthat is not only manufactured, but, again, an exercise in BS.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mother of the Year.

That would be Danielle Lee Priebe, 31, of Brighton, Michigan:
Police said Priebe left her children home alone June 8 and that a neighbor saw the children outside crying and screaming at the intersection of their road for their mother for 40 minutes before she took them into her home and fed them. Police said Priebe indicated that she had returned merchandise to Meijer.

Police alleged Priebe again left her children home alone on July 1.
Almost as awful are those who watched the poor kids wailing for 40 minutes.

Hey, guys--according to a commenter on the story...she's single! 

But apparently a bit self-absorbed.

Just another night in our humble abode.

Lizzie, Louis and Tommy are playing with toy dinosaurs on the living room floor. Lizzie has a triceratops who is remarkably aggressive.

Lizzie: "ROAR! ROAR!"

Louis the Dinosaur Purist who will tell you patiently that triceratopi are herbivorous: "Lizzie, that's a triceratops."

Lizzie: "But it's on steroids, and it's RAAAGING!"


Baseball just might have another scandal on its hands.

Former Met and Philly stalwart Lenny Dykstra claims he dug up dirt on umpires to shrink his strike zone. Dykstra's had a few brushes with the law, he says delicately. If it's just his word alone, I dunno. Presumably he has something to back it up?

Note to the already-suffering Paul Zummo: he allegedly started blackmailing umpires whilst in Philadelphia.

This will bear watching.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

And now for something completely different...

Orff's O Fortuna...with slightly misheard lyrics.



Still, pretty close. Here are the actual lyrics, translated from the Latin:



They don't mean a word of it.

As I've said before, "dialogue" is a shibboleth of Catholic [sic] progressives, a bit of virtue-signalling, a verbal secret handshake with no deeper significance.

"I am a proponent of dialogue" means "I am a good person whose views are impeccably correct, fellow card-carrying leftist. I'm definitely not one of those bitter/clingy/fundamentalist yahoos. Keep the invites a' comin." 

The actual practice of Dialogue™ is a form of bullshit, in the Frankfurtian sense of the term, meant to obscure truth and not actually explore it.

Exhibit A is this shoddy bit of mau-mauing from a claque of self-described Catholic academics.

Ross Douthat dared to disagree with their ideological preferences, so they bestirred themselves from within their well-appointed, tenure-bestowed offices and got huffy.

This part was particularly rich:
Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject...
The subject, of course, is Catholicism. No doubt this degreed array of door stops are happy to praise the competence of modern American laity (BEST EDUCATED EVAR!!!) when it suits their purposes...but Gaia help you when you disagree with them.

It's the pissy reaction of guild members to those who infringe on their imagined prerogatives, marking their territory in the same way an outraged feline does his.

So, does this oily band of twee gnostics think only they can speak to Catholic issues, and those without certifications can't? That's the kind of intellectual corruption that leads to reformations. But, it does get you on some media contact lists, so it's all good.

For future reference: if the omnipresent Rev. Jim Martin praises you for something you say about the Faith and you don't have a collar or letters after your name, it's worthless. The bottom line is that he regards you in exactly the same way he does an orangutan who knows some sign language: you're adorable, but he's never handing you the car keys.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Autumn in Michigan.

Nothing quite like a leaf fight.



Elizabeth, Louis and Thomas (picture by Madeleine).

Quote of the Day.

“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
 

Ben Carson is 100% correct here.




A bit of forgotten history: the 1943 Detroit Race Riot. Here, 
whites are pulling black passengers off buses to beat them.
 
I can't see him as President, but he's a smart man with a history of fearlessly jumping on one of America's third rails:
White people think of racial violence in a modern context — such as the black riots that erupted in the wake of the Rodney King verdict,” he wrote. “They have no grasp on the history of racial violence in this country — as illustrated by their total unawareness of what Newsweek (Dec. 8, 1997) admitted were ‘two [facts] that every American should know. Between 1885 and 1900, at least 2,500 blacks were lynched or murdered as the KKK consolidated its hold on the post-Reconstruction South. In 1741, 14 slaves were burned at the stake and 18 others were hanged because of fears of a slave revolt— in New York City.’”
Carson cited an example of his own personal history with racial injustice, an arrest of his mother for frivolous charges.
“Too many other incidents of injustice are not merely ancient history, but personal history, even current events, for the majority of black people. I remember in Boston when I was a child, my older cousins, sons of the aunt and uncle who took our family in, were arrested and thrown into jail for some minor infraction of the law. When one of my cousins protested that abuse, he was beaten so severely by the police that he almost died. I vividly remember seeing the results of that beating. A few years ago, when my own mother questioned a policeman who stopped her for a routine traffic violation in a Detroit suburb, the officer angrily told her she met the description of a woman wanted for abducting an elderly couple. He promptly arrested her, had her car impounded, and threw her into jail. I had to call a lawyer friend of mine, a fellow Yale alumnus, who used his contacts as a senior partner in a major Detroit law firm to get her released and to see that the bogus charges were dismissed.
If his campaign accomplished nothing else, getting more conservative whites to think about racial disparities would be an excellent thing.

Coming soon...

I'll be resuming book reviews for the Changeverse series. Going to be skipping around a bit and starting with this one.





One of the many advantages of taking the bus is that I get quality reading time.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Slam-dunk prediction.


Just "initiating a process."


"Discernment" and "accompaniment" will be the new ecclesial buzzwords, joining such revered warhorses as "dialogue" and "pastoral."

As with the older saws, both will be synonyms for "negligence," "enabling" and/or "tacit approval."

Meanwhile, Ches helps you understand why the "famous victory" is no such thing, and why changing the language always results in changing the meaning.

All translation is a mediation, not only between two languages but between the two cultures that produce those languages. And both linguistic and cultural mediation open up the eventuality that the source text will not be faithfully translated. That is because fidelity to the source battles against adequacy for the target at every turn. Some "archaic or simply incomprehensible" language (to quote Pope Francis) just cannot be translated - like 'Trinity' or 'Transubstantiation'. But what would I know, being nothing other than a phylacteried lackey?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Conscience of Blase Cupich.

The Ordinary of Chicago and Pope Francis appointee Blase Cupich made some waves this week when he suggested that anyone who felt they had a good conscience could receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

That prompted many questions and discussions, and was certainly intriguing considering his track record as a spiritual guide and shepherd of souls.

To whit:

He locked 220 parishioners out of their church during Holy Week and suggested it was their fault.

He forbade priests to participate in 40 Days for Life, leaving his layfolk on the front lines bereft of clerical support.

He filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Spokane's bankruptcy law firm "to throw mud and see if anything sticks." The lack of merit of the lawsuit can be seen in the fact it was settled with a filed stipulation from the Diocese stating that the law firm had done nothing wrong.

And he said that live organ harvesting from babies was morally equivalent to unemployment.

Well, then.

I will agree with the archbishop to this extent: he's certainly not in a position to judge anyone else's conscience.




Just a little chip.



The Pope is a fan of starting processes--religious and political:
God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes, and space crystallizes them. God is in history, in the processes. 
We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting.
Read paragraphs 84-86 of the final synod document with that hermeneutic in mind.

Also, remember what the progs did with the built-in ambiguity of the Vatican II documents




Celebrate the glorious triumph accordingly.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Not trying to hide it much.


In 2008, Michigan voters passed a referendum legalizing the medical use of marijuana.

In 2012, Detroit voters decriminalized the personal possession of less than an ounce of marijuana on their own property.

Thus, the number of "medical" marijuana dispensaries in Motown has ballooned recently.

Why the scare quotes?

Consider the names of some of the emporia your host passes on a regular basis.

Some are unobjectionable in that they attempt to convey some genuine medical connection: "The THC Healing Center," "The Healing Tree," "Herbal Remedies." OK--you can still be dubious about the law, and even the dispensary in question, but at least there's an effort to connect it to the 2008 law.

But the most recent ones seem to be tilting toward Law No. 2: "The Reef," "Puff Detroit," "King of Budz," "420 Dank" and, most recently "Dank Godz." 

I'm missing the "medical" angle, gents. Unless your treating physician is Tommy Chong and you're suffering from the dread Lackaganja virus.

Fortunately, the City of Detroit seems to be a wee bit skeptical, too, and is doing something to rein in these joints
About 150 medical marijuana shops are operating in Detroit. Until now, city officials had no way to track the shops or control who operated them, stoking concerns among many residents about the potential for violence and other nefarious activity near the shops.

“We’re dealing with squatting, people buying other drugs standing on the corner,” said Norma Foster, who lives near East 8 Mile Road and Kelly Road. "This medical marijuana is just putting more strain on us.”

Under the rules City Council approved by a vote of 6-1, the shops will have to get a city license or be shut down. Operators of the shops would be subject to a police background check, and drive-through service would be prohibited. The ordinance also sets an inspection process and prohibits shops from staying open 24 hours a day.

Councilman James Tate said it's the city's responsibility to address residents' concerns about the marijuana dispensaries. He said the licensing rules allow people to receive their medicine.
“Right now, there’s no ordinance to allow for these places to exist,” Tate said. "That compassion is there ... because it allows these facilities to exist.”


 

Long odds.

There is a scene in Alan Moore's uneven-but-sometimes-brilliant Watchmen that has always stuck with me.

Long story short: Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist. The most powerful of them is Doctor Manhattan, a godlike superbeing accidentally created during a nuclear experiment gone wrong. His powers give the United States an advantage in the Cold War, and we take it, keeping the Soviet Union cowed. His powers have also left him detached from humanity, almost amoral.

The American advantage ends. Manhattan flees the Earth after being told that his powers have given those around him cancer. It turns out that this is part of a sweeping conspiracy involving the murder of superheroes which also has some unexplained connection to the resurgent Cold War. Manhattan also decides humanity is beneath his concern and he cares nothing for the fact that the world is tottering towards nuclear war.

Manhattan brings Laurie Juspeczyk (his former girlfriend) to Mars (it's not like he needs to breathe) to try to persuade him to help address the plot and save the Earth. He declines. Then he learns that Laurie's biological father was an important superhero murdered early in the film and...one who had unsuccessfully tried to assault her mother a few years before she was born. Laurie is horrified, but the Doctor takes a different view:


If you are unfamiliar with the book, the smiley face at the end is an ironic logo worn by Laurie's superhero father.

All of this brings me in a very, very roundabout and desperately geeky way to announce that today is our sixteenth wedding anniversary.

It is, quite truly, a miracle. As are our children. Any number of decisions--or indecisions--would have deflected us away from each other. And yet here we are. The same holds for you, dear reader, whether you are in a relationship or not. Your very existence is so unlikely that you should marvel at it from time to time.

I love you, Sweetheart. Here's to us, and our miracle.

I'd have a dram or two.


Hat tip to Ace.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My new fave.

I am rather fond of unexpected covers of songs. Some manage to elevate the source material (Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt comes to mind). Trent Reznor admitted that after he heard Cash's cover, it felt like seeing his girlfriend walk off with another guy: it was now a Johnny Cash song.


  

But some artists work in an entirely different way, sending it up and exposing just how awful the original was. Alanis Morisette's cover of "My Humps" is a brilliant example of this:


And then there's Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. This band is the brainchild of Mark Jonathan Davis, and dares to ask the question: what would current rock and R&B songs sound like after being filtered through the stylings of a highly-mannered 70s lounge singer and his ensemble? Here is their cover of "Baby Got Back."


Good luck getting that one out of your skull. You'll never hear the original the same way again.

Offer Void in Wisconsin.

So...I'm reliably informed that everything is just okey-fine with the Synod. The clock's ticking down, and we got this.

Yeah, well...let's just say I've seen that recently.

As America's Confucius famously said: "It ain't over till it's over." And the guy who just collegially dumped a 45 day annulment procedure drafted in secret on his brother bishops is the one in charge of the clock. 

And the refs. 

And the playbook. 

And the rulebook. 

And the players.

Amy Welborn helps to spell it out for you here.

Let me digress to notice one of the big stinkbombs of the Synod--the decentralization thing.

Damian Thompson sorta gets it, but gets lost in the weeds a bit--as in, playing defense counsel for the Curia. They don't need a defense counsel--they are, after all, part of the problem, too.

However, the decentralization thing is fascinating in exactly the same way that above-ground nuclear weapons testing, Yoko Ono concerts, durian tasting and Showgirls mesmerize:

Each is so staggeringly bad that you wonder what people were thinking.

The Kasper proposal, too, is a staggeringly bad idea, but it has one merit (of sorts) from the Catholic perspective: it would have universal--catholic--applicability. One standard.

Whereas entrusting national episcopal conferences with "genuine doctrinal authority" is...






I certainly hope you get the idea.

Bluntly, letting national episcopal conference set doctrinal decisions re: the family (or anything else) activates the Schismotron and cranks it up to



I respect Tom McDonald's opinion and judgment, but I have to disagree with him here. If the Catholic Church were to follow through on the Edict of Decentralisation, Catholicism would be more than changed--it (pronoun chosen deliberately) would be laughable.

If something is sinful based upon whether you are east or west of the Oder-Neisse Line, the Church is done. It is no longer catholic--universal. But it would be really, really funny. Then again, I have a decidedly bleak sense of humor, so your mileage may vary. For example:



And, really why stop at the border? We all know there is no magic in a national gaggle/club of bishops. What does Cardinal Dolan know about the unique conditions of Catholicism in Michigan, and why should a majority vote of a bunch of non-Michiganders govern us? Or, really--what does our Archbishop truly understand about life on the ground in southern Macomb County? He's a Mount Clemens guy, and everyone knows things get weird north of the Clinton River. 

And so on, and so forth. 

At the end of the day, the Creed will be bit different near the end:

"I believe in One...well, no, not as such...

Holy...yeah, kinda-ish so long as you aren't pious and overly-devotional or unpastoral. Kinda...

Catholic...er, well, we don't believe the same stuff as those stuffy Africans, so, maybe universal in some spiritual-but-not-religious sense...

Apostolic...eh, maybe, I guess, if you squint and avoid solemn nonsense...

Church. Es. Yep, definitely plural. Except when we gather at the bi-annual conventio--I mean Synod thingy."


And there you go. Interesting times, eh?




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

This, too, is Detroit.

The last diner in a crumbling neighborhood, John's Grill keeps the orders coming and the loyal customers happy.

Out of nowhere, five police cars with black-tinted windows swarmed a passing driver. The cops boxed him in, drew their guns, yanked him from his car and started searching every crevice of the vehicle. A few onlookers gathered on nearby sidewalks and stared at the commotion.

The lunchtime diners inside John’s Grill on West Chicago near Wyoming watched the drama through the windows. The owner, however, didn’t bother to look. He’d seen this kind of thing enough times before. He kept on cooking.

“There’s always some kind of action going on out there,” said Jovica Trpcevski, the diner’s 58-year-old owner and sole cook, as he flipped burgers on the grill.
After all, this Detroit ZIP  code — 48204 — made news a few years ago when it was named by something called NeighborhoodScout.com as the single most dangerous neighborhood in the entire country. The group collects crime and census data about every city in the country, and its 2013 report, based on FBI statistics, said one in seven people in this neighborhood will be either murdered, raped, robbed or assaulted.
Trpcevski didn’t need stats to tell him things had gotten bad around here.
“Man, I’m telling you if I could put a life-size face on the wall out there of everybody that had been coming in here who I seen get killed over the years that I’ve been here, there wouldn’t be enough room on my wall,” said Trpcevski, known as John around here. “And a lot of these kids were good kids. A lot of them got killed over nothing.”
Since he opened, this west-side neighborhood has undergone a four-decade collapse into crime and abandonment. But he never reacted to the changes.
There’s no bulletproof glass in his restaurant. Customers can reach out and touch him as he cooks. They eat in an open dining room in booths or at the long counter.
In an area like this, where the only places left to eat at are coney islands that are built like fortresses designed to barricade their workers from those they serve, and where several small-business owners have been shot and killed in their shops over the years, this is unheard of.

Really, Canada? REALLY?

You honestly elevated this feckless airhead to Prime Minister?

If his last name was MacDonald you wouldn't have given him the time of day.

He's John Edwards without the gravitas.

Go stand in the corner.



 

Monday, October 19, 2015

When Revisionists Defend!

One for our continuing series on George McClellan: In Defense of McClellan at Antietam: A Contrarian View.

Like I said, Talmudic disputations...

While not entirely persuasive, it appears to conclusively exonerate the Young Napoleon of the charge of responding too slowly to the Lost Orders find:

As McClellan’s army advanced on Sept. 13, Union soldiers stumbled upon a four-day-old copy of Lee’s orders in an abandoned rebel camp. Known as Special Order No. 191, this paper revealed that Lee had dangerously split his army into five parts. Three columns had converged on Harpers Ferry to capture the Federal garrison there, a fourth column was in Hagerstown, and a fifth column was acting as a rear guard near Boonesboro, Md. Historians have debated fiercely over when the Lost Order was delivered to McClellan.
In his landmark 1983 book, “Landscape Turned Red,” Stephen Sears asserts that McClellan verified before noon that the papers were legitimate, then exhibited his usual excessive caution and failed to move his army for 18 hours. To back up this theory, Sears cites a telegram that McClellan sent to Abraham Lincoln at “12 M” — which Sears says stands for meridian or noon — in which McClellan confidently informs the president that he has the plans of the enemy and that “no time shall be lost” in attacking Lee.

After the book’s publication, though, the original telegram receipt was discovered by researcher Maurice D’Aoust in the Lincoln papers at the Library of Congress. It shows that the telegram was sent at midnight (the word was written out) — a full 12 hours later than Sears thought. D’Aoust points this out in the October 2012 issue of Civil War Times in an article entitled “ ‘Little Mac’ Did Not Dawdle.”
Where this essay falls flat is in its assertion that Lee had almost as many men at Antietam as did McClellan. Nowhere have I seen that argument advanced. Still, useful grist for the historical mills.