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Monday, August 31, 2020

Tips of the Blogging Cap.

For those of you looking for more interesting sites to visit, I am happy to offer two.

First is Tito Edwards' Big Pulpit, a Catholic blog/article aggregator that is "Just the links, ma'am."

It is nice to have an aggregator site that doesn't try to editorialize, which makes Tito's work invaluable. Yes, he links to my stuff often, explaining surging tides of viewers. And for that I am grateful--but I recommend it regardless.

The second is the return of Saint Corbinian's Bear, and our ursine lawyer guide is as steady as ever. Right now, he's explaining why modernists win, and it's worth your time.

Happy Birthday to my father, who turns 74 today.

Dad will spend a day of semi-relaxation at the lake in celebration today. And as a sign he prominently displays on the garage says:

If you're lucky enough to live on a lake, you're lucky enough.

And we get to see him and Mom this coming month.

Dad happened to be the inspiration for a blog post that was turned into a guest essay at the National Catholic Register all the way back in 2004. 

Back when I thought American expeditions in the Middle East and Vatican II were great ideas. 

The river has changed course a bit since then...

Aaaanyway: you can read it here.

Love you, Dad. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

In addition to being a bad argument technique...

 ...playing the Nazi card is a typically a sign that historical illiteracy is at work.

Not necessarily on the part of the speaker, though that's not a bad bet. 

The exclamation "READ ANOTHER BOOK, ELOI!" rockets through my cerebellum on a too-regular basis. 

No, it can also be a recognition by the speaker that he's talking to crowds whose familiarity with the first half of the 20th Century is limited to Inglourious Basterds or The English Patient.

They don't make many movies about communist atrocities, even though plenty of Catholic clergy and religious have sucked up to the hammer and sickle. 

So keep that in mind when reading that Fr. Daniel Horan lazily slandered the nun who spoke at the RNC by comparing her to a German nun giving the Nazi salute

Now, I don't know what to make of the President's sincerity on abortion, and his personal life has been a trainwreck of adultery. But his actual record on the issue has been a lot better than those whose sincerity has been less open to question. It can be safely said that he recognizes it is important to people who vote for him, so he attempts to deliver.

I wouldn't have done the fulsome endorsement Sister did--nope. But Fr. Horan's Godwin/Whataboutism hybrid was grotesque, and cleverly-evaded engaging with the substance of the nun's speech. As did his "sorry you misinterpreted it" non-apology.

The Catholic Left has its own "All Lives Matter" tic when it comes to abortion, and it is open to the same legitimate criticism.

Namely, you do not have to advocate on all possible permutations of a life issue. You are allowed to focus, and reflexively barking out a laundry list of seamless garment issues is not a response. It's an obstruction. 

An actively-hostile one. And don't think it's not noticed.

Now, if you want to rhetorically-belt Austin Ruse in the chops, go right ahead

[8/31/2020 Update: here's a screenshot of the tweet that caused Ruse to lock his Twitter account. Not a good look:]


 

Post 168.

This is my 168th post of 2020. 

It's significant because that makes this annus horribilis personally noteworthy for one reason.

Namely, it's the most blog posts I have put up since 2009.

It's no coincidence that I opened my Facebook account in late 2008, and soon found I couldn't split time. 

Now, the value of this current stream of posts is definitely de gustibus, but here they are.

And since I can't leave it on a purely self-indulgent note, I will offer something more valuable.

Namely, a picture of the depiction of Christ from the great Ravenna mosaic cycle:


My youngest daughter did a presentation about Byzantine art last night, and she used a print-out of this mosaic of Christ from the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo as an example of the Empire's artistic glories. 

At least one of them is interested in Dad's peculiar historical fancy. 

Nika!

The Mitre Club Card: It's good everywhere.

Christopher Altieri tells us that the Vatican has given us the final word in the Bishop Michael Bransfield saga--and it's as sleazy as you could expect.

Half the necessary restitution, triple the normal pension and a non-apology letter from a guy who was credibly accused of rubbing his turgid member against a 20 year old man who had been drafted into working with Bransfield.  

Which was just one item in an enduring pattern of sexual assault and harassment from a man who lived the high life as the wolf in charge of the fold.

Have I mentioned that Bransfield was one of Ted McCarrick's boys?

No need to provoke a guy who could spill a lot of beans, right?

All bling bishops have a future, it seems. Be you a tax-fattened ward of the Bundesrepublik or just the well-connected looter of a diocese of the rural poor, Mercy is at hand. 

And speaking of Ted: where's that report on him again?

 


 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

One of St. Blog's most reasonable--and durable--scribes is now a published author.

Brendan Hodge is officially a novelist, with If You Can Get It debuting in the Ignatius Press catalog.

And he was interviewed yesterday in a podcast from Ignatius, so go check it out here

And then order the book--like I will be doing, after my next payday. 

Good law enforcement news!

After 12 years, Yaser Abdel Said, wanted for the "honor" murders of his two daughters, has been captured by the FBI in Texas.

Where he faces two capital murder charges.

Let justice be done upon him.

Burning cities, charred credibility.

I recently created a tag called "Institutional Rot." 

It's applicable to a variety of once-reliable organizations across the nation and the world.

And it most definitely applies to the only private enterprise protected by the First Amendment, our malodorous corporate media subsidiaries.

Get a load of this title: Kenosha protests peaceful after night of chaos and shootings. 

Then note the first sentence:

Protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, were mostly peaceful following the arrest of a 17-year-old police admirer accused of killing two people and wounding a third during a chaotic night of demonstrations and unrest.

Emphasis added.

"Mostly peaceful." "Police admirer." [Shock! Horror!]

With respect to the first, you will note that "mostly peaceful" is like a "little pregnant" only in reverse. "A little violent" would ruin the narrative, and the AP is definitely building a narrative. So what about the parts that weren't peaceful? The Associated Press doesn't say.

But you will hear a lot about the [alleged] shooter's stated views, statements from friends of the shooting victims and condemnations of "white militias." It's a nifty bit of well-poisoning, but doesn't help much in determining what actually went down.

You have to look elsewhere for information like...the man who survived the shooting was brandishing a handgun [confirmation pictures here], or that one of the dead men attacked the [alleged] shooter with his skateboard. The other dead man was found guilty of a heinous crime, but that matters no more than the shooter's FB page when it comes to gleaning the actual facts of the incident. Oh, and a couple of the victims were also known for left-wing politics. But again, as with the [alleged] shooter, that's neither here nor there, when it comes to what actually went down. However, you will never find out about their views from places like the AP.

The [alleged] shooter shouldn't have been there--we don't need 17 year olds crossing State lines to play Wyatt Earp. Two men are dead because he [allegedly] shot them, and he will have to live with the consequences of that, regardless of how the legal process plays out. 

The reality is, if the locals want to watch their city burn, then you will have to let them. You can't help, and they get what they vote for.

But to get a reasonably balanced picture of the August 25th Kenosha shootings, you cannot rely on once-respectable media institutions. They are as rotten as the rest of the American political edifice, and are the most fiercely-partisan. 

Which should be more infuriating than it is. But the only thing you can do is recognize the bias, look for the deliberate holes in the story and try to sift from other sources.

Good times.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Just remember: she's always right.

Person who rules 10 million people by unfettered decree complains about "bullying."

All of her edicts have been upheld by a beyond-supine judiciary--and she's being bullied?


And never forget: she is also the only person in the United States who thinks sending infected patients to nursing homes is still a good idea. 
 
Stop disagreeing with her, you bully.


Any good news you want to share?

I would like to hear it.

In the past 36 hours, a family friend threw his son out of the house because of political conflicts, and another friend lost his 23 year old son to a seizure. 

Life is too damn short, and we are not promised tomorrow. 

And the news daily confirms that the massive, lowering thunderheads on the horizon are crawling ever closer.

Yes, we have a roof over our heads, income, food, vehicles that...work well enough. And my middle son's team is in the 12-U Little League championship game tomorrow. My eldest is getting regular hours at her job, and my eldest son is tackling chemistry. We have our problems, but we're alive. 

I guess I'm just in one of those Matthew 24:37-39 moods.



Monday, August 24, 2020

Sufficient unto the day.

Thanks to Binks for the find

One of the finest souls I have met via the internet, not so by the way.

Posting it here again because Blogger has picture format issues...frequently.

Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world,  but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

One of the great features of living in the Information Age is that what have so much at our fingertips. 

One of the great features of being an American is the belief that you can strive to meaningfully improve your lot and that of your family.

These threads merge in the notion that information--be it a job opening, a sale, education or news of some opportunity or right-able injustice--is a tool to fix things.

While these things are all true to some extent or another--varying by time, place, and clashing or incompatible forces--each can also lead to the loss of a sense of proportion.

The reality is, we have far too much information. Our human minds aren't built to process all of that data flowing into it--much less to act upon it. 

One of the many things the pandemic has shown us is how little control we actually have. But that loss of control has not dampened our demand for information. To the contrary, it has intensified it, even as our ability to do anything with the reams of data has shrunk by the same margin.

So we have overflowing heads and locked-down--to one degree or another--bodies. There's so much we want to do something about, yet our ability to act is corralled.

If that isn't a toxic cocktail, I don't know what is. To be honest, I think most of us are a bit out of sorts, and depression/anxiety are soaring. And despite (more likely because of) the endless roar of online voices, we feel alone. 

No wonder we see rents in the social fabric. 

And that's before you throw in the deliberate trolling and disinformation efforts. 

The answer is Tolkien's. 

We can't right every outrage, seize every opportunity, work up every solution or run every evil to ground. And that's without being plugged into a global network of truth and falsity which churns out new data of indeterminate quality by the gigabyte.

But we can till our own patch. We can shore up the shelters we have built for ourselves and others. We can look out for each other without being busybodies and scolds. We can keep an eye on the horizon without trying to puzzle out by-the-minute forecasts. And if--when--trouble comes looking for us, we can deal with it when it comes. And we'll probably have a clearer head when it does.

Or you can let your emotional buttons be endlessly mashed by things you cannot do a thing about, distracting you from those you can.

And yes, "Physician, heal thyself!" is definitely in play here.

Just a reminder: Putin is evil.

America has no shortage of fans for foreign strongmen of every possible stripe.

So the fact the KGB gangster in Moscow has a fan base is hardly surprising. 

But it's still infuriating to hear his alleged Christianity touted when regime critics are the subject of assassination attempts, successful or otherwise

May the Lord grant the brave Mr. Navalny a complete recovery.

Tests conducted on Russian dissident Alexei Navalny at a German hospital indicate that he was poisoned, but doctors said Monday they do not believe his life at immediate risk.

The Charité hospital said in a statement that the team of doctors who have been examining Navalny since he was flown from Siberia and admitted Saturday have found the presence of “cholinesterase inhibitors” in his system.

Cholinesterase inhibitors are a broad range of substances that are found in several drugs, but also pesticides and nerve agents. However, doctors at Charite said at the moment the specific substance to which Navalny was exposed is not yet known.


Sacramental Cascade Effects.

The big news in the local church in Detroit was the CDF's ruling that the baptismal formula used by a now-retired deacon at a suburban parish in Troy was invalid.

From 1986 to 1999, the deacon used "We baptize you" instead of "I baptize you."

In this rather good summary report on the invalid sacrament, the CDF is quoted:

"To say 'We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' does not convey the sacrament of baptism. Rather, ministers must allow Jesus to speak through them and say, 'I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'

There are three points worth noting in this story. 

The first involves a priest who was not a priest for three years, Fr. Matthew Hood.

Three years of non-Masses, non-confirmations, non-absolutions and non-anointings. 

It is horrifying to contemplate, though we can trust in God to judge fairly the good will of those who sought and administered the non-sacraments in an ignorance that was far from culpable.

Though, ironically, the baptisms he performed were perfectly-valid. 

The second and third points are not mentioned in this story but have to be mentioned.

Secondly, it appears that during that span of 13 years, the deacon did not always use the wrong formula. So, he performed valid as well as invalid baptisms, meaning that, barring videotaped evidence (as in the case of Fr. Hood), people might not remember what formula was used.

Thirdly: out of concern for validity, in 1999, the Archdiocese instructed the deacon in question to use the proper formula, and he immediately complied. 

Buuuuut....nobody in the then-leadership bothered to fire the question upward or do anything to cure what they clearly recognized was a potential spiritual catastrophe.

"His 'baptisms' may be null and void, but we told him to stop, so it's all good."

If you want to growl at the formation process, go ahead. The church in Detroit has had more than its share of liturgical and doctrinal issues, and that most emphatically included the seminary at the time. If you want to be hacked at the deacon, fine--within limits. Freelancing with sacramental formulas should never be done. Sacramental intent is a low bar, but it can be lacking. Even when you use the right words (note the author). But the deacon obeyed immediately--and he's retired, too.

No, the real failure here was at the Archdiocesan level in 1999. That's who you should direct your criticism towards. The records should have been poured over with the assistance of the deacon and other parish witnesses, conditional baptisms given and the other potentially-null sacraments re-administered. Instead, it was left to fester, and here we are.

Archbishop Vignernon had all of the parish priests reach out during their Sunday homilies about the problem--and it turns out that the parish where we were attending Mass yesterday has a young man who needs to leap back through the sacramental hoops. 

And I will not fault the Archbishop's actions here--he's doing what can be done.

But here's a disquieting thought: what about those who moved out of the Archdiocese after their non-baptisms?


Thursday, August 20, 2020

If you still have Netflix--congrats.

Your subscription funds the sexualization of pre-teen girls.

Go here to read the grim, maddening story.

I dumped it last year after the same sacks of crap decided it would be hilarious to lampoon Jesus and the Blessed Mother.

Another season of "Stranger Things" isn't worth swimming in the moral outhouse that is this vile operation.

In local news...psychotics in fast cars have friends in high places.

This year, there has seen a new and unwelcome phenomenon in our small working class suburb: the a--hole in his (or sometimes her) fast car, flying down residential streets at better than 50 mph.

I've talked with the eldest in decreasing levels of frustrated humor about cobbling together our own spike strip for these jerks and their shiny coupes.

There are a lot of children around here, and we don't need this. The neighbors we have spoken to universally share our sentiment that these speeders need to go. 

Well, apparently the phenomenon is shared throughout greater Detroit, and a city neighborhood tried to do something about it, raising funds to put in speed humps to deter the maniacs.

The City noted the presence of the humps...and swiftly removed them.

Of course.

"I couldn't believe it," said [resident Jim] Fracassa. "Earlier in the day, a neighbor said a city truck stopped and was taking pictures of our speed hump. I thought we'd better get ready to protect them tomorrow. But boom — they were there an hour later and started pulling them up."

Fracassa said parents have tried many times to request speed humps for the area.

"They had a thing you could fill out online and they talk about it all the time," he said. "Everybody wants it. We filled out the form saying we need this multiple times and multiple people. We spoke about it at some meetings, talked to our district rep about it — and nothing was getting done."

Naturally, the City issued a verbose statement failing to explain why the humps had to go, and said that while the City had a sad for them, the neighbors were out 2 grand. 

City spokeswoman Nicole Simmons that while the situation is unfortunate, the residents will not be reimbursed.

"That does not mean that residents on Litchfield will not qualify in the future for appropriate speed cushions that are installed in accordance with required city specifications," Simmons said in an emailed statement.

She said the city is prioritizing speed humps in areas with high pedestrian traffic around schools and parks. In addition, she said that in order to receive a speed hump, the area must be a residential street with a 25 mph speed limit, daily traffic volumes between 200 to 1000 vehicles, police records of speeding and crashes, streets used as a "cut through" for main roads and support from residents.

So you have to have crashes before you qualify....there are no words.

Process and procedure over people--and we wonder why our cities are becoming unlivable.

We shouldn't.

Historical Preservation in Detroit.

The long-awaited move of the former residence of Ulysses S. Grant to Eastern Market has begun.

When it arrives Thursday, the first story of the house will be put on footings and the foundation will then built up around it. Officials said the second level is expected to be placed on top in about a week. 

The house is expected to be used as a public education center. The specifics are still being being debated. Officials expect to engage residents, businesses and cultural institutions as well as Civil War enthusiasts.

The move had been anticipated last year, but the arduous process was delayed. Three permits were required to facilitate the move, the city's acquisition of land at the fairgrounds site and the COVID-19 pandemic also played a role, Voigt said.

The new location is part of the Eastern Market garden project, which will include gardens and a small orchard.


 

Enjoy the summer and early autumn.

 

 

Get out, travel as best you can during the corona, spend time with family and friends.

Make good memories.

Because after that first Tuesday following the first Monday in November, such opportunities will be much scarcer.

Both sides are now firmly convinced that the other will win only by fraud. 

And a permanent crisis of legitimacy leads to nowhere good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Miniature Painting Update.

Memos to self:

1. Never make a Techmarine your intro to 40k miniature painting.

2. Never use blue as a basecoat when 5% of the finished mini will be blue. And you'll end up repainting the blue anyway.

3. Painting is far more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

4. But never make a Techmarine your intro to 40k miniature painting.

This is about 85% done.




Tuesday, August 18, 2020

About the sidebar links.

Yes, I am aware that many of them are outdated, linking to blogs that no longer exist, have been made private or long ago went dormant.

I used to purge dead blog links.

But now, I do not. 

It's probably sentimentalism, but honestly I can't bear to delete them. They are a reminder of what was and the chronicler in me thinks there should be some memorial to the vanished writers. 

The old blog world--Catholic and otherwise--had its share of problems. But it also had its good points. And compared to the social media platforms which have mostly supplanted it, it was civil and relatively decent.

Which is something I could not have imagined myself saying during the blog flame wars of the first decade of this benighted century. But it is, sadly, quite true.

To absent friends.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Thinking outside of the Guaranteed Catholic Box.

Kale Zelden offers a challenge to get out of the comfortable Catholic cul de sac we have constructed ourselves, and to go out and stretch the ol' cognitive framework.

As he points out, whatever it is we are doing now sure isn't working:

What does it mean to be convinced of the truths of the faith but completely flummoxed by the institution’s insanity, its debauchery, its insularity, its corruption, its mendacity, its fecklessness, its uselessness? How does one believe in the Church, but see no visible signs of institutional sanctity?

Those mechanisms and para-institutions that once shined a light seem equally broken. They have left mother Church ineffectual and compromised, and anyone inside is either unable or unwilling to chart a path out. How did we get here? Our Church’s inability to make sense is a natural byproduct of what she has had to do to guard the gift of her foundation. You must create “walls” of right-belief. The history of Church is the history of sorting out the details—think of Paul’s fight with Peter about the law, or Nicea, or the crisis of Arianism. This clarification process can inadvertently lead to a kind of stalled out insularity. This insularity hinders her ability to speak to people outside the walls, and now, sadly, inside too.

And here I am again, humiliated by the implosion of my once-beloved faith.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I’ve been proud of my Church, proud of my faith, proud of my fathers. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to say I’m proud to be Catholic.

Why? Because my Church is a wreck. My Church makes no sense.

We are at an existential crisis in both formal and lay Catholicism. We can go into the threads that weave a genealogy of decline and decay, plenty of time to sort out and apportion blame, but in essence, the Church as we experience it is totally broken. It doesn’t make sense, nor does it help us make sense of the world.

What we need is a software upgrade:

Ours is old, buggy, inept. It is a scandal.

Mind you, I’m not a Modernist, nor am I retro-traditionalist. Those that would prescribe poring over the Summa (again) are not serious about the crisis we find ourselves in. What worked in the 17th century, say, is not likely up to the task in the 21st. Being steeped in the tradition is certainly important, and our heritage is certainly rich, but it will not suffice for our purposes.

In a recent 1P5 piece Brendan Buckley argues that we needed to seek out tradition in our current crisis. I am sympathetic, but only to a point. Merely seeking out tradition is not a method. Though I agree that we must cleave to our tradition, in order for us to develop a successful strategy to weather the coming storms and raise our families and not lose them, we will need to be more creative.

We must look to what some brave truth tellers in the culture are proclaiming and chewing on and theorizing, EVEN those that are not in our tribe. We cannot afford to ignore whole swaths of intellectual theorizing because most of the participants are not members of our tribe, or they are atheists, or they like Jung or Nietzsche too much, or some such tripe.

Zelden then goes on to offer a list of prominent public figures--not a one of them Catholic--who are having free-wheeling discussions on every topic imaginable. I have mixed feelings on a couple of the names, but getting out of our comfort zones is the whole idea. And he correctly points out the example of the Angelic Doctor, who sifted through pagan, Jewish and Muslim writers without going "ew." 

And I would just add another case I have been marveling at in my recent studies: reading the great neo-platonist philosopher Plotinus led Augustine back towards Christianity. And Augustine speaks kindly of Plotinus and his works no matter that they were pagan. I have even read that Plotinus was born Christian, but apostacized--but that might have been his student and editor, Porphyry. I'll have to find the citation.

In any event, as a wise man once said: Test everything, hold fast to what is good. 

Great subject matter for questioning. Too bad it won't happen.

The Democratic candidate for Vice-President was curiously inert when it came to prosecuting clerical rape in San Francisco and California when she was DA and Attorney General, respectively.

After [Vincent] Hallinan lost to Harris [in the DA race], the “fate of the investigation into Catholic priest abuse would dramatically change — and not for the better,” according to Schweizer. Harris quickly buried Hallinan’s abuse investigations: “Harris, who had been a sexual crimes prosecutor early in her career, moved in the opposite direction of Hallinan and worked to cover up the records.”

Harris cited protection of victims as her reason for not disclosing the records Hallinan had collected, but victims’ group dismissed that reason out of hand.

“Victims’ groups wanted the documents released and Harris was stopping it. They were outraged by her actions. Far from protecting victims, they argued, the cover-up was actually protecting the abusers by keeping their alleged crimes secret,” Schweizer writes. “ ‘They’re full of s–t,’ said Joey Piscitelli, the northwest regional director of Survivor Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the largest and most active victims’ group. ‘You can quote me on that. They’re not protecting the victims.’”

There's plenty more at the link, including the startling fact she never brought a single case involving a priest during her tenure in either office.

But don't expect our courtier media to ask such questions. 

They are, after all, trying to tell you that the person with the Senate's fourth-most-left-wing voting record is a "pragmatic moderate."

I've also heard enthusiasm about her mad debate skills--Tulsi Gabbard's campaign-wrecking blasts having gone to the memory hole.

Anyway, that's the American media for you in 2020: Memento meets Shattered Glass, 24/7.

Hat-tip to Don for the find.

We have had a couple of 1000+ case days here in Michigan over the past week.

And Macomb County has been an area of growth.

Our micro-managing governor is going to issue another decree, I can feel it.

But you can count on her to not issue an edict that will keep virus patients out of nursing homes, because she's right and everyone else is wrong.

Not so by the way, with my mother-in-law in a home that saw an early outbreak, my dislike for Whitmer is difficult to quantify. Her refusal to keep virus patients out of nursing homes--which is now unique in the United States--is, bluntly, manslaughter.  

Maybe now that she is no longer auditioning to be Mr. 25th Amendment's sidekick, she will relent. But I won't count on it. 

Nursing homes, which have been the focal point of the epidemic in this country since March, are responsible for at least 40 percent of all deaths attributed to the coronavirus. Governors in vast majority of states decided some time ago that no one infected with the virus should be sent to a nursing home and that every other imaginable precaution should be taken to ensure that the disease is not introduced to places in which it is guaranteed to spread like wildfire. Among them, after a long delay, was the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who has otherwise distinguished himself during the present crisis mostly for a series of obnoxious CNN appearances with his brother, Chris.

This has not been the case in my home state of Michigan. Two weeks ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Cuomo's fellow Democrat, vetoed a piece of legislation that would have prevented patients with active COVID-19 infections from being placed in nursing homes. Instead, the legislation would have required these individuals to be treated in entirely separate, otherwise empty facilities reserved exclusively for those who have already contracted the disease.

It is impossible to mount a scientific justification for Whitmer's veto. It was an act of pure spite, a move that signaled nothing save her unlimited contempt for the Republican-controlled state legislature. Her feeble defense — that not placing virus patients in nursing homes where their chances of infecting their fellow occupants are all but guaranteed would have violated their medical rights and privacy rights — is risible on its face. Where were the supposed rights of the same individuals when they were moved from hospitals to nursing homes, ostensibly in accordance with guidelines from the CDC? Where were the rights of those who would be exposed to this lethal disease? Only three days after the first case of the virus was confirmed in Michigan, the head of the Healthcare Association of Michigan proposed treating coronavirus patients in vacant facilities in a widely shared letter. This idea, which would almost certainly have saved hundreds and perhaps even thousands of lives, was imperiously dismissed out of hand by Whitmer.

Yes, she remains above water in Michigan polls thanks to a fawning press corps, she's energetic, and the fact that she projects decisiveness with her flowing ink pen. 

I will finish with a quote from German general Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, who categorized officers as follows:

I distinguish four types. There are clever, hardworking, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined.

Some are clever and hardworking; their place is the General Staff.

The next ones are stupid and lazy; they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties.

Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the mental clarity and strength of nerve necessary for difficult decisions.

One must beware of anyone who is both stupid and hardworking; he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always only cause damage.

Telegrams from the Sinking of the Bismarck.

The Bismarck is one of the most famous battleships in history, and there are good reasons it should be so. The sortie of the battlewagon and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen remains one of the most dramatic moments in naval history. It was even the subject of a Johnny Horton song, albeit one that is inferior to "The Battle of New Orleans."

And now several telegrams from one of the British ships that participated in the battle are up for auction.

As something of a dreadnought enthusiast, I always feel compelled to pour a little cold water on the enthusiasm for the German warship.

The Bismarck wasn't the top-tier ship of the era. Yes, she was superbly-armored--enough to shrug off most hits from the 14-inch main weapons that were the standbys of many British battlewagons. Indeed, it was a decidedly good thing that the HMS Rodney, a Nelson-class brawler with 16-inch guns, was present for the final showdown with the damaged German ship. The reconstruction of the battle shows that it was the Rodney's hits which did the most damage.

Also, she was agile, getting to a little over 30mph at top speed (the Rodney could make 23 on a good day, which made the rudder damage to the Bismarck fatal). Finally, the 15 inch main armament was quite effective.

But I flatly argue Bismarck wasn't the best battleship of its time. That would have been the USS North Carolina (the Yamato wouldn't be commissioned until December 1941), which was still going through some teething troubles. But had she been ready, she would have pummeled the pride of the Kriegsmarine. 

Which makes for some interesting speculation. You see, by April 1941, President Roosevelt had stretched our neutrality in some rather inventive ways, with the Navy taking on an increasingly-pro-Britain role in escorting convoys and reporting the presence of German boats.

Had it been the North Carolina instead of the Texas undergoing gunnery trials not too far from the Greenland Straits...go to it, alt-history scribes.



Friday, August 14, 2020

Lethal Pun Trigger Warning.

Brace yourselves.

I recommend sitting down.

And maybe a glass of port to ease the pain.


"Police accountability activists" have considerably broadened their platform and methods.

The historical phrase is direct action.

Demanding people give up their homes in the middle of the night and supporting looting as "reparations" are both in the wheelhouse of direct action.

If you are of a mind to shrug off the latter as just big guys getting a minor insurance headache, you (1) are part of the problem, and (2) incredibly wrong

And in five years when the locals are wondering why they are living in broadened food deserts and have to travel 30 miles into the (inexplicably extra-defensive, gimlet-eyed) suburbs, there won't be any wondering why.

In an interesting turn of events, African-American residents of the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago weren't having any part of a demonstration against their police precinct.

“Y’all don’t come out when the kids get shot. Y’all come out when it has something to do with the f—ing police,” Smith said. “We out here every day watching our kids get their brains blown out, with no budget, no resources. Y’all motherf—ers getting all the resources, and you want to come over here and disrupt our neighborhood.”

At least this demonstration wasn't showing signs of revolutionary mission creep, and stuck to police-related issues. Nevertheless, the demonstration dispersed shortly afterwards.



Thursday, August 13, 2020

This cat has boundary issues.

Bad even by feline standards.

My daughter would like to meme him.



Been a while.

 At least the 40k Memes are cheap.

 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Communism and hunger go together like communism and gulags.

Don't look now, but Xi's regime is crusading against food waste.

Food shortages are in the offing for the Chinese workers' paradise. 

Hard to believe, I know.

According to the pattern, the next steps will be shooting wreckers and then dekulakization.

Somebody check to see if China's newly-rich are buying more American residential properties--with currency controls, bolthole-purchases would be a very telling barometer.

Hopefully, it was an accidental weapons discharge.

Because otherwise, this is a grim escalation.

Recall the delighted willingness of "antifa" [sic] protesters in Portland to injure federal officers.

And also recall that the Beltway terrorist assassins plied their trade in the same region.

And remember this is 2020, not exactly the Year of Hope or Happy Outcomes.

A US Air Force helicopter was shot at near Manassas, Virginia, on Monday, injuring one of two pilots on board, according to an Air Force official.

The UH-1N was flying 10 miles northwest of Manassas on a routine training mission at an altitude of 1,000 feet when the incident occurred. It landed safely at Manassas Regional Airport west of Washington, DC, and the pilot was taken to hospital where they were treated and released, the official said.
 
The incident is now under FBI and Air Force investigation to determine if the helicopter was deliberately shot at or if someone was randomly shooting into the air. The aircraft will be closely inspected for other damage, the official added.

Hitting the pilot of a moving helicopter at 1000 feet is technically-impressive. But as John Allen Muhammad demonstrates, such skills are not absent from the American populace. 

Neither is the pure malice.

Fred Thompson said it best in The Hunt for Red October.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The "Instant Legolas": a repeating compound bow.

 A need? 

Of course not.

But....WANT.

Another for the short list of good things to come out of 2020.

Friendly advice: You need to learn self-defense.

Because the future of law enforcement is here: more progressive DAs, fewer prosecutions and fewer police.

If you're on the wrong side of "the depth of emotion," you are on. Your. Own, pal.

Sure, Schmidt and those like him will probably prosecute your wrongthink fanny to the max when you dare to protect yourself, but at least your loved ones will be periodically able to see you through a plexiglass portal.

While far from ideal, it's better to be seen than viewed.

Schmidt said his office will presumptively decline to prosecute those whose most serious accusation doesn’t involve deliberate property damage, theft or the use or threat of force against someone else.

Charges that fall under that category include interfering with a peace officer, second-degree disorderly conduct and rioting, among others.

Those whose most serious accusation involves a city ordinance violation will also not be prosecuted.

“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates these demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting,” Schmidt, who recently took office, said in a statement. “We will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we do not take action to bring about immediate change.”

Prosecutors will scrutinize the cases of protesters accused of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer and consider “the chaos of a protesting environment, especially after tear gas or other less-lethal munitions have been deployed against community members en masse,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release.

Protesters accused of crimes that caused only financial harm will be offered conditional dismissal after paying restitution or making other amends.

It's not all bad news, though. Schmidt showed that he has the mad skills of a true stand-up comic:

“The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is neither condoning nor endorsing the conduct that led to the arrest or citation of a person,” the office said. “A prosecution decline decision does not change Oregon law.”

 

Born in a coronavirus ICU.

There are still miracles in this world of ours.

Even in 2020.

Let the Olaseinde family and the staff of Saint Barnabas Medical Center tell you the story of one.

With the best will in the world...

I firmly believe Bishop Barron is a man who operates in good faith. An energetic and irenic shepherd, he shows the treasury of the Faith to the world. Yes, I am aware of his stumbles on the Last Things and in other areas, but I will bracket those for now.

However, like all contemporary bishops, he firmly shackles himself to the crumbling Vatican II paradigm, insisting that, contrary to what our sensory and statistical input are constantly telling us, things have been good since 1965, all things considered.

 

Exhibit A: this brand-spanking-new FAQ on the most recent ecumenical council.  

Hoo, boy. 

There's a lot to respond to there, but I will confine myself to two areas.

1.    First, the question of deliberate ambiguity in the conciliar documents.  

This answer does not cover itself in glory, he says politely. First, it engages in the genetic fallacy by dismissing the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's quote of the progressive Dutch Dominican Edward Schillebeeckx because Lefebvre reports it. Sorry, doesn't work that way, even if you don't like the man. 

Secondly, while no, Schillebeeckx did not vote on the final form of the documents, his influence on the conciliar documents and debates is well-documented. He would certainly have been privy to the various drafts and discussions. For him to say such a thing--especially in light of his overall theological record--is far from implausible.

Thirdly, no less than Walter Cardinal Kasper acknowledged in L'Osservatore Romano that the documents offered compromise language which can be interpreted in different ways--in other words, inherent--and certainly foreseeable--ambiguity. If you want to quibble about "deliberate," go ahead and lawyer. 

How about "wilful and wanton disregard for the consequences"?

[Pope John XXIII] saw a new era unfolding, which he met with optimism, in the unshakeable trust in God. He spoke of a pastoral objective of the council, meaning an update, a "becoming today" of the Church. It was not meant a banal adaptation to the spirit of the times, but the appeal to make the faith transmitted today speak.

The large majority of the Council Fathers grasped the idea. He wanted to meet the requests of the biblical, liturgical, patristic, pastoral and ecumenical renewal movements, which arose between the two world wars; to begin a new page of history with Judaism, full of burdens, and enter into dialogue with modern culture. It was the project of a modernization that he did not want [to--]and could not even be[--]modernism.

An influential minority stubbornly resisted this attempt by the majority. John XXIII's successor, Pope Paul VI, was fundamentally on the side of the majority, but he tried to involve the minority and, in line with the ancient conciliar tradition, to reach an approval, as far as possible unanimously, of the conciliar documents, which in total were sixteen. 

He succeeded; but he paid a price. In many places, compromise formulas had to be found, in which, often, the positions of the majority are immediately alongside those of the minority, designed to delimit them.

Thus, the conciliar texts have within themselves an enormous potential for conflict; they open the door to selective reception in one or the other direction.

It is understandable that the Word on Fire staff did not stumble across a L'Osservatore Romano article from April 12, 2013 which was only in Italian. But trust me--it's well known to those who have long-noticed such ambiguous formulations.

2.    Blame for the obvious decay in sacramental practice and belief.

I will agree that blame for clerical corruption can hardly be laid at the feet of the 21st council. This grim and pervasive infection existed long before 1962, and its effects will be with our descendants.

Those who still practice the Faith, that is.

Because that's the essential problem with this section: it asks us to look at raw growth numbers outside of Europe. But it does not directly acknowledge that sacramental participation continues to crater even in places where the nominal numbers continue to rise. 

To wit, look at these daunting figures for Catholic observance in the United States between 1970 and 2019. Yes, the number of nominal Catholics inches upwards, but actual sacramental practice is fading away.

And two quotes from Archbishop Fulton Sheen from the 1970s do not a convincing rebuttal make. I love Sheen and look forward to his canonization. But he left this vale of tears in 1979, and things have not exactly turned the corner. 

Forty more years have passed, and it has become worse than turbulence, with no end in sight. One does not have to reject a council recognize its failure in its expressed aims. And one does not have to blame the council for everything to recognize that it played a negative role, even if just via contested interpretations of ambiguity. 

Indeed, refusing to accept either failure or a share of the blame suggests that the council has ceased being an historical event conditioned by time and place. Instead, it has become an idol which is not to be blasphemed.

That mindset does not bode well for the future.

Prediction: Bransfield will die in comfortable obscurity.

The Rev. Michael Bransfield was the Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston. He lived quite the lavish lifestyle in one of America's less economically-dynamic states, and was known for sexually-harassing seminarians.

The pontiff, in a disciplinary move that attracted attention, accepted Bransfield's resignation, ordered him to leave West Virginia, to apologize for his actions and to make restitution.

So far, Bransfield has accomplished the first. Which given his history of frequent and lavish travel, appears to be his preference anyway.

His frustrated successor has had no further contact with Bransfield, who issues the occasional response through a lawyer.

The reality is, a man who wrote five figure checks to influential bishops and brazenly-looted a hospital has the cash to live well for the rest of his life. Just like good ol' Ted McCarrick.

And now Bransfield appears to be guilty of disobedience to a pontifical directive. Or maybe not--the wording is a bit unclear. But so what? As the examples of Gustavo Zanchetta and the long-promised-never-delivered McCarrick report from the Vatican demonstrate, the combination of what and who you know is the best protection a corrupt cleric could ask for. And if you add in a formidable reservoir of cash, you will prosper regardless of who is pontiff--just ask Maciel's Racketeers of Christ.

The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate didn't have any of the above, so once they were accused of "crypto-lefebvrism" by some disgruntled members, they were dead.

So, since Bransfield still has cash and connections, he will live out the remainder of his mortal span in comfort. The last thing any of the episcopal brotherhood he knew well wants is to make a sleeping dog bark.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Awaiting the additional inevitable college football cancellations.

There were news reports that the Big 10 had voted 12-2 to postpone at least the fall football season. That was walked back, but there is definitely some kind of formal vote happening today involving conference bigwigs.

My prognostication bona fides remain intact, as I incorrectly said that baseball was done a little over a week ago. While it's still dicey, with the Cards the latest to have coronavirus problems, it's still going. I still strongly doubt that MLB will finish even this super-abbreviated season, but "Play Ball!" is still ringing out in empty stadiums.

And while Michigan athletics has done a bang-up job of keeping the virus at bay, the reality is that football is the most likely to see an outbreak, and has the most fragile schedule if it does. The Mid-American Conference, featuring three of Michigan's four directional schools, saw the writing the wall and cancelled on Saturday.

There's just no way you can create bubble conditions for college athletes. And while the revenue hit will be catastrophic, there is just no way around it. Spring ball would be weird, but maybe we will have a real vaccine by then.

Russia. Quality control. Pick one.

Pootie-poot (not to be confused by my younger reader(s) with PewDiePie) announced that Russia has registered a coronavirus vaccine.

Surprise--the development process appears to involve corner-cutting:

Russian officials have said large-scale production of the vaccine will start in September, and mass vaccination may begin as early as October.

However, the international scientific community is sounding the alarm that the rush to start using the vaccine before Phase 3 trials – which normally last for months and involve thousands of people – could backfire.

“Not sure what Russia is up to but I certainly would not take a vaccine that hasn’t been tested in Phase III,” Florian Krammer, Professor of Vaccinology at the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said on Twitter Tuesday. “Nobody knows if it’s safe or if it works.”

Versions of the vaccine made available to regime critics may come with special additives like Surprise Polonium! and side effects may include Sudden Falls From Upper Story Windows.

Badges of servitude.

There's no particular merit to this guest op-ed by an emeritus professor from a Minnesota Catholic college. It's a comfortably-retired white leftist doing a rote "confession" of his own racism in order to lambaste a white conservative for being an even bigger racist. 

By the way, the racism confessed by the professor was voting for Bill Clinton, who implemented "welfare reform" (scare quotes in original).

 

It also has the lumpy prose style and hectoring condescension one expects from a member of the American liberal arts professoriate.

But it is helpful as a type that one frequently sees these days: a white person of means confesses privilege in order to broad-brush every melanin-deficient American as also racist. And said racists need to start making sacrifices--starting with the ones he despises over there. 

How brave. He risked a lot of affirmation from his friends and neighbors for that one. Oh, sure--I'm certain he got a lot of nasty grams, but he already loathed that kind of cracker anyway.

The worst part of it is how much this professed Christian hand-waves away 15.7 million people [before coronavirus, so the number is rocketing up] living in poverty--including 4.2 million children--because of their skin color.

These preening posers do this Every. Single. Damn. Time.

Well, yes, the white poor may be experiencing declining life expectancy from suicide, opiods, alcoholism and other "deaths of despair," but they, too, have "White Privilege." 

"Sure, you might be living in Tyvek-and-plywood-reinforced huts in rural America, you can't afford college, your unskilled job opportunities have been outsourced to the developing world, coronavirus is plunging the economy into Great Depression 2.0 and you had to bury a couple of family members because of fentanyl, but chin up--at least you're still a racist."

Presto! They disappear into the undifferentiated mass of "whiteness," so you can safely ignore--and even despise--them.

Neat trick.

Yes, WP describes a real, negative social phenomenon which black Americans are forced to confront.

But the phrase is--with necessary crudeness--the shittiest formulation for it. And when it is deployed by economically and socially-privileged whites like Nelson-Pallmeyer--and always with an insouciant "sure, there are poor whites, BUUUUUT..."-- one is entitled to think that the speaker's concern about people of color is secondary to a more pressing concern for separating himself from other kinds of whites. Who are conveniently lumped together regardless of status for the purposes of levying a harsh judgment.

There's this word used to describe people who judge groups by skin color...it's on the tip of my tongue....

So why don't we reformulate the problem into a phrase that doesn't make millions of suffering poor people "privileged" bigots promoted to villain status because of said skin color?

The framers of the post-War civil rights amendments were aware that black Americans--slave and free--had borne and continued to bear what they called "the badges of servitude." These "badges" are racist conditions, worn as a consequence of skin color, that have to be confronted by our African-descended brothers and sisters. The badges interfere with earning a living, commerce, housing and the like.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was directed at such badges and conditions. And while it took an obscene amount of time, the Supreme Court recognized all were still with us, thanks to the malign victory of Jim Crow and de facto segregation outside of the South, and were still targeted by the Act. 

And yes, fellow Union men, functional segregation was a thing in the land of the Bluebellies. The companion case to Shelley v. Kraemer, which struck down racially-restrictive covenants to sell property in 1947, was McGhee v. Sipes. And McGhee arose in...Detroit.

[Aside alert: dogged white abolitionists frequently stripped out these kinds of restrictive covenants from the property they owned. One such man was Sebuel Conant, a 19th Century Detroit abolitionist who owned a prime stretch of land in Motown. He ensured that the property he owned had no such covenants. Not surprisingly, what became known as Conant Gardens became an attractive, prosperous neighborhood for black Detroiters in the 20th Century.]

Long story short: I am fully aware that racism is still a thing in our society. Much diminished, thankfully--but still real. But couching it in terms of "white privilege" or "whiteness" or the Kafka Trap that is "white fragility" is not just wrong, it's corrosive. Such terms are just no-cost status markers for higher-status whites to smile for the camera as they verbally slap lower-status ones.

Acknowledging that the badges of servitude are still borne by some of the American family makes more sense, and is in line with our history. 

And I recognize that genuine historical knowledge in America is rare enough to be a super power. But the sources of our national regeneration and healing can be found in an honest appraisal of our past, both good and bad. There is wisdom there as well as folly--if we want to reach for it.