Saturday, January 31, 2004

These links should work through Wednesday:

Three long days on the primary trail
With the Democratic candidates in New Hampshire

I ran to help
A doctor and his son went to Iran after the quake
The whole curse of the last century has been what is called the Swing of the Pendulum; that is, the idea that Man must go alternately from one extreme to the other. It is a shameful and even shocking fancy; it is the denial of the whole dignity of the mankind. When Man is alive he stands still. It is only when he is dead that he swings.

- G.K. Chesterton, 'The New House', 'Alarms and Discursions', quoted on Cross and Crown

Again, Mr C, writing decades ago, has an answer to something that bothered me for years but I couldn't articulate exactly why. The pendulum analogy is often given to traditionalists as some kind of consolation prize - 'don't worry, it'll swing back - oh, look, it's doing it now!' - but is really relativistic crap.
LRC picks
How libertarians are like traditional Catholics

The power of gold

Pop music in Iraq
Lew Rockwell himself tells us that 'the best-selling popular music in Iraq heralds the resistance and condemns the occupation'. Pump up the volume.
On yesterday’s commemoration by some Anglicans
King Charles I: pro and con
Patriarch of Constantinople and Fidel Castro open Greek Orthodox church in Havana
Looking at the pics of the events (beautiful church building and services), it struck me that the patriarch and el presidente have a lot of common - grey beards, interesting accents... and they're in the same position historically: also-rans whose positions were created and maintained by empires that no longer exist.
Samer al-Batal's LRC blog pick from yesterday
Photos: tsarist Russia in colour (home page)
It's like watching well-preserved video from 40 years ago - it feels like you are there. Amazing!

Friday, January 30, 2004

From ZENIT, 25th January
Practising Muslims outpace Anglicans in Britain
Reminds me of being in Birmingham once 15 years ago and seeing part of the construction of an impressive new mosque.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Bush and Blair: the movie
Empire-building means never having to say you're sorry
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
In what little contact I've had with them I've found Swedes cold and unfriendly (went to one of their institutions for a Christmas party - an Abba tribute concert and shopping at Ikea would have been less böring) but had no idea things were this bad:

Bestiality becoming commoner in Sweden

Scarier still, the article says the prob exists in Britain! Like another symptom, homosexuality at boarding schools, and the 'hanging on in quiet desperation' mentioned in the comments box about irony and humour, perhaps this is another sign things have been 'off' there since the 'Reformation'.

What can one say? When you open Pandora's box and make excuses for one kind of unnatural act (I'm referring not to the law but bending moral theology like taffy and saying these acts are objectively good) then who can criticize any others? As dcs wrote in the comments box yesterday about Prof John Harris, at least he's consistent - if you're proabortion, why not have handicapped babies killed like the ancient Romans did?

I think there's a typo in the last sentence - I can't imagine any European country legalized homosexuality in 1944. It's probably really 1994.

Samer points out it may also be technically wrong to call animals 'individuals' (middle-class talk for 'people') as in traditional theology they haven't got immortal souls, which is why they don't need the sacraments.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Samer's pick today from LRC's blog and

So long and thanks for all the fish: a warhawk flies the coop

Thursday, January 29, 2004

From Ecclesia Anglicana by Taylor Marshall
Glossary of Evangelical-speak
by Carl Olson
Samer al-Batal’s LRC pick
Send in the clowns
Samer al-Batal: Unravelling cheap campaign rhetoric: Exhibit A. [End.]

Yes, I know Mr Kerry is an Establishment clone, but practically he may be as relatively serviceable as Bill Clinton.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Samer al-Batal: Quite a nice article from The Spectator. Let's extract a statement from it and call this one:

A beacon of light in Britain’s sea of gloom...... -- and why they should rule the country.

Samer al-Batal: Theodore Dalrymple on the ingenuity of members of this blue-collar profession which has seen better days (it has, right?....back when blue-collar jobs were more providing and more plentiful, I take it).
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Kay cites evidence of Iraq disarming
Action taken in ’90s, ex-inspector says

Samer al-Batal: A pressing and recurring issue concerning faulty intelligence is visited again further down the article.

The White House or the C.I.A.? The question of whom to assign blame to grows, as the presidential campaign draws near and more talk on the failure to locate weapons comes out in the open. If the administration is at fault, will the C.I.A. serve as a scapegoat for the administration's blunders or unethical behaviour?

As for Mr. David Kay shooting this war pigeon down, it would not be surprising if some form of attempted smear or discrediting character assassination should head his way in the future. [End.]
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
More about the BBC shakeup:

BBC in crisis, Blair in clear
Samer al-Batal: Big and unwelcome news from the U.K. After already being leaked out to The Sun, the British tabloid supportive of New Labour, the Hutton report has finally been released, with its judgement in Prime Minister Blair's favour, granting him the vindication he was looking for by not finding him or the British Government guilty of deliberate deception in the case for Iraq. More importantly, it also concluded he was not accountable in any measure for the leaking of Iraq weapons expert David Kelly's name and that Mr. Kelly was partly responsible for the unhappy situation at which he arrived. Now Blair looks for an apology from his accusers in Parliament.

His few statements however indicate that there is a slow recognition of the fact that the case for war was weak and flimsy and that the intelligence gathered (or concocted) was embarrasingly poor at best. But what pride these politicians display. According to the above report, and in an apparent departure from his tone prior to the war, Mr Blair momentarily demonstrates a clearer reception of reality (evidently not too often, according to this Guardian article) as he openly concedes the legitimacy of questioning the accuracy of the dossier in question and of arguing that the war was a mistake. But if there is one thing that is not to be questioned, the doubting of which would constitute bad form of the most egregious sort, it is Mr. Blair's seraphic and pristine sincerity, the solid integrity and unquestionable trustworthiness of the ringleader of Britian's least credible class of human beings. Methinks any politician who believes this much in himself must owe the perception of his own blamelessness to either a large ego or massive schizophrenic delusions.

The result is a massive blow for the B.B.C. Lord Hutton has weighed in heavily against it. Chairman Gavyn Davies tendered his resignation, expressing his reservations concerning the verdict.

One of these reservations, relating to Lord Hutton's consideration of the evidence at last summer's hearings, is fleshed out in a portion of this New York Times article. Read page 2 for the details. [End.]
From friend of the blog Keble
RIP Fr Frederic Meisel
Sometime rector of the Church of the Ascension and St Agnes, Washington, DC. Apparently he was part of the authentic Catholic (and this was practised historically by Anglo-Catholics) tradition of social and racial justice, proving it is not the invention nor the property of liberals.

I visited there a couple of Sundays four years after he retired - a Fr Smith was rector then.

Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine.
Bliar likely to escape as Hutton inquiry slams BBC
Government 2, BBC nil - I hear on the radio Mr Dyke has quit as well
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
British medical-ethics professor says infanticide of deformed can be OK
Lee Penn: Britain has its own Peter Singer, it seems. Let justice be done.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

From bubdaddy
This is war
Video clip - in negative black and white but very disturbing.

Commentary: This is a graphic depiction of the killing produced by warfare. The people who are shown being shot appear to be unaware that an Apache attack helicopter armed with a high-speed 30mm cannon is firing explosive rounds at them. When they are hit, they disappear.........presumably blown to bits. The clip first aired on ABC news in a show which questioned the "morality" of shooting the wounded man trying to crawl to the "safety" of the road side.

It takes about a minute (with cable modem) to download the clip.


...I don't celebrate killing anyone, but think that it's important to see. If those being shot had the Apache helicopter, I'm certain that we would be seeing Americans being turned into chunks. I AM disturbed that they shot the wounded man, but it it is conceivable that he was crawling toward an anti-aircraft missile or RPG.

Mission to Mars
Spot on. I'd thought of sending him there myself but that'd only mask/treat a symptom, not face the problem (after all, he's only a sock puppet). Still, very funny.

Photos and captions of or about Mr Bush
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Do the Americans get irony?
JB: I have to say that I'm one of those Americans who does get and greatly appreciates irony. One of my great pleasures when I'm in the UK is watching the telly. Commercials there are brilliant: full of satire, parody, irony, and plain ole humor. There's certainly no need for the 'mute' button over there since there's really a minimal amount of broadcasting which is not entertaining.

Personally, one of the few things that will automatically erect an invisible wall between myself and another person is when I hear "I just don't get British humor." [End.]
Kerry wins in New Hampshire
From blog correspondent John Boyden
America: an empire to rival Rome?
A punto.
Many thanks for the link
To the blogger at 'The Inn at the End of the World'.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Polite reminder
Many thanks to all visitors to this blog. To those who pass its message on by including its links and comments in their own blogs and mass e-mail lists (Lee Penn's contributions here usually are via his list), we ask that an acknowledgement of the source and reciprocal link be included with the quotations.

- 'De Management'
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Both Clinton and Cheney uphold globalism
The counterfeit of Catholicity?

Lee Penn: The corporate elite, and the leaders of both parties, accept globalism. Farewell to the Republic that we once had, and welcome to Babylon.

But the power of God is stronger than the designs of men. Watch and pray! [End.]
Colin Powell: WMDs now ‘open question’
Hmm... almost an admission there aren't any!
Corpus Christi procession 2003 at Oxford
I remember St Aloysius Church before it became the Oxford Oratory
From Irish Elk
Blasts from the past - just over a year ago:

The not-so-good old days
Rank evil in a small town in Pennsylvania's former coal-mining heartland. It might be a symptom of how tough - and apparently miserable - life could be in those parts. Ashland is only a couple of miles south of Centralia.

The entry below it is worth reading too.

On PC hypocrisy at university
Another double feature - below it is an entry chock full of H.L. Mencken links
The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms. Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle.

- Evelyn Waugh, Men at Arms, from tradcath
US flunkeys head abroad to give changing Orwellian spin on Iraq war
A directory of Eastern Orthodox monasteries
Ethnic trivia, FWIW
John Kerry isn’t Irish
His paternal grandparents were former Jews.

And his lovely wife is a real African-American... like Charlize Theron.

In April 1971, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he asked the question of his fellow citizens, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

- from Mr Kerry's official biography page
Today’s LRC pick
Intervention in Iraq not humanitarian, says Human Rights Watch
So much for 'we're bombing you because we love you'
A double feature
Part one: Cardinal Walter 'Don't count on people in Rome to defend the apostolic ministry' Kasper (Anglo-Catholics, call your office) is on a 'Mission to Moscow'; part two: Vladimir Zelinskij ('Walt Green', LOL) gives an RC readership a look at Eastern and particularly Russian Orthodoxy through Western spectacles. Fascinating.

The last clash between Rome and Moscow occurred over the Ukraine. The Orthodox patriarch of Moscow was infuriated at the idea of the Ukrainian Greek rite Catholic Church setting up a “rival” patriarch in Kiev.

That was uncharacteristically tactless of the Pope's men to do.

The current relationship between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, particularly between Moscow and Rome, is one of the most complicated chapters in the history of ecumenicalism. [...] Why isn’t the Catholic Church able to have real dialog with the Orthodox Church, despite feeling very close to the Orthodoxy in terms of its dogmatic and moral character?

Hysterical raisins as some hackers used to say. Russian xenophobia (St Alexander Nevsky vs. the Teutonic Knights, Boris Godunov vs. the Poles and all that). The Vatican II débàcle is just an extra spanner in the works. Though when one sees and hears Russian baroque music and church architecture, the whole city of St Petersburg and the art of the ballet pinched from the French and perfected, it seems that xenophobia is conveniently selective.

The overarching, sad, ironic thing in all this is the most admirable, religiously observant element in this church group often is most viciously anti-anybody else whilst the seemingly friendliest of the lot may really just want to join forces with the enemies of Catholic tradition in the West. Rather like in parts of the Middle East (right, Samer?) a desire to buy 'Christian literature' refers not to the Bible and G.K. Chesterton but Hustler!

To me, some of Mr Zelinskij's criticisms of the Orthodox sound suspiciously too much like Western critics of the Catholic tradition in general, East or West - 'drop that artsy old-fashioned stuff and get with the programme'.

There is also a third type of fundamentalism, that is, that of converts to Orthodoxy from other denominations. This group, probably the smallest, particularly involves Orthodox faithful from the West who deeply live and painfully feel the break with the past. For Catholics, it is almost a revival of the radicalism of the first Protestants who split from Rome. Ecumenicalism for these fundamentalists is none other than a dangerous mingling with “papism”. They believe that Orthodox from eastern countries participating in the ecumenical movement are naïve and unscrupulous.

Somebody's been reading up on the 15-years-on convert boomlet in the States, including the Indiana List (eek) and the bilious wannabe websites! But this is largely an ex-Evangelical Protestant phenom - people who've managed to take on board a form of the Catholic faith (creditably saying no thanks to mainstream RCism in the States) whilst continuing to vehemently deny anything in common with historic RCism. ('Your people call it corn, we call it maize'; you say 'Mother of God', we say 'Thay-oh-TOH-koss!'; tomayto, tomahto.) The petty narcissism of small differences. Almost comical.

It [the 'ecumenist' faction] attracts people searching for a cure-all for Orthodoxy’s “diseases”, found in unity with the Catholic Church. These “diseases” are namely fundamentalism, conservatism and closed-mindedness to contemporary society.

But that conservatism and rejection of parts of modernity are, no kidding, some of Orthodoxy's good points!

They [again, the 'ecumenist' faction] seek help in overcoming the autocracy of bishops who, in Russia and beyond, still identify only with pre-Tridentine practices.

But the Church of Russia's practices, as handed down, are complete 'as is' - 'entirely Catholic' as Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) writes, plus their being both very old and in part outside the usual arguments in the West (false oppositions like 'scripture vs. tradition' or 'faith vs. works') are advantages, not things to be badmouthed or thrown away!

Yet the most numerous and influential constituent, though rather silent, of any Orthodox Church is what may be called “traditionalist”...

Spot on. Reminds me of what Fr Lev (Gillet) wrote, and what C.S. Lewis (soul-profiting Catholic reading) wrote in Letters to an American Lady about the followers in the centre of each religious tradition being closest to each other than the fringe elements of any of them.

Traditional orthodoxy is faith incarnate.

И хор поет: Аминь, аминь, аминь.
Starting with a link got via mass e-mail from blog reader Mike Russell
Taking apart a stopped clock
AFAIK the only Democratic US presidential candidate who's been consistent opposing the war in Iraq, to his credit, is Dennis Kucinich (he also opposed the so-called PATRIOT Act*) but he's a stopped clock - no reassuring fiscal-conservative noises unlike Mr Clinton (which seems to have got Mr K a share of the well-meaning but muddled 'liberal Christian' vote*), so IMO he's out as a pragmatic choice, and, FWIW in Realpolitik, a complete scoundrel on abortion.

*And makes sense on the Prohibition-like 'War on Drugs' and America's hypocritical marijuana laws (tobacco has no redeeming medicinal qualities and IIRC it's subsidized; alcohol, a morally neutral drug, kills more people).

**Chances are that, unlike their saintly foundress, these folks suck liturgically as well. Mainline Protestantism by non-Anglo-Saxons.
Why Clark may not be a credible peace candidate
A reporter tries asking him about Mr Clinton's/NATO's war on Yugoslavia - a backwater proving ground for imperial wars on national sovereignty.

Monday, January 26, 2004

In principio erat Verbum
The blog of an online acquaintance and brother young fogey, Edward Yong of Singapore and sometimes London. Many thanks for the links and quotation.
When I see a photo like this one of the late Metropolitan Philaret, sometime first hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, I can see the love and beauty radiating from this particular form of the faith (inseparable from its often admirable traditionalism). The same is true of reading about St Seraphim of Sarov, or the anonymous 19th-century Pilgrim, or the holy fools.

Compared to the online Eastern Orthodox scene it's like night and day.
Some sound theology from Karl Thienes
The power of prayer
By so doing sometimes you get the answer simply through freeing and opening up your mind

One way men are better off than angels
And I don't mean Cary Grant (as Dudley) not being able to romance Loretta Young

On grace and free will

Waterfalls of grace and rocks (and sand, sludge, etc.) of sin
Wonderful! One may add something to this metaphor from Western Catholic moral theology and say the sand and other débris are venial sins, while a mortal sin is like losing and shattering the glass.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
German trial hears how Iranian agent warned US of impending al-Qaida attack
JB: Interesting we don't see stories like this in many US papers. [End.]

As I was saying, perhaps this was the neocons' Reichstag fire... also reminds me of FDR and Pearl Harbor.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Contractor faulted after workers tape together warhead explosives
JB: Sounds like someone's going to go back to flipping burgers after this investigation.
This woman deserves to be a star
Meet the last emperor of Austria
by Fr Barry Swain
Scroll down (though the part about Christmas in the first paragraph is worth reading too).

I agree with Taki that a Central Powers victory in WWI would have been a better outcome.
LRC picks today
How to defeat the US Army
by David Wiggins
This is not a pacifist site - here is a story illustrating why (scroll to 'Peace on earth', the third story down; warning: Doc Weasel has porn banners on his page!) - but Dr Wiggins' story is still good. I understand and appreciate the proper place of the military (which the neocons are trying to get people to forget) but his protest would fit Gulf War II perfectly. This blog's 2003 Man of the Year might agree.

Flower power to Mars
by Steven LaTulippe

I can say without reservation that this Mars trip is an idiotic idea.

...there is an annoyance that I have with President Bush’s generation. The baby-boomer 50-somethings have a bizarre attachment to JFK that continually pops-up in nearly everything that they do. Obviously, this Mars trip is Bush’s attempt to mimic JFK’s "moon landing" speech of so many years ago.

What is going on here?

Having been born a couple of years after JFK's assassination, I have never been able to completely fathom this "Camelot fetish." From my perspective, JFK was a mediocre to below-average president. His Bay of Pigs escapade was a disaster (that almost got everyone incinerated when the Soviets responded by putting missiles in Cuba, launching the missile crisis). His handling of South Vietnam (particularly the assassination of President Diem) was a catastrophe. His morals were nonexistent. His marriage was a sham.

The only thing that I can figure is that this obsession represents the first example of media-driven "symbolism over substance" of which we have become all too familiar. During JFK's presidency, TV was a relatively new medium. The burgeoning establishment liked his politics and wanted him to succeed - so they created the whole phenomenon. He was good looking. He had a beautiful wife. And the country was new to TV and got its first dose of its immense power.

The result was a mythology that was totally divorced from reality. And all of these "JFK wannabes" are the children of that first giant dose of propaganda TV - a habit which they have never been able to shake. (This also explains why my generation has much less attachment to JFK - we judge him solely on his actual presidency because we were not exposed to the hoopla that accompanied his life and death.)

True. To be fair, I understand the Bay of Pigs wasn't all Kennedy's fault - Eisenhower's administration had planned it.
Those of you familiar with Berkeley know that this is a neighborhood that never sleeps. At all hours of the day and night, young people wander the streets -- tattooed, pierced, and desecrated bodies -- searching for their true selves but fleeing from their consciences.

- Jeff Culbreath, 'Contrasts', El camino real

A line that could have come from The Seven-Storey Mountain.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Breakin’ fo’ da man
I don't dislike this - had no idea anybody still did that and associate it with a simpler, more fun time (the early ’80s). As the dancers weren't breakin' during a service, no problem.

I think the time-warp aspect may be because the breakers are from Poland - maybe they're 20 years behind the times in pop culture.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Who I’m listening to
Peter Ostroushko
And his tourmate, pianist Dan Chouinard

It's a great 'Odd Couple' kind of act - very different men, both very talented musicians. Mr C's a bit like Sean Hayes on 'Will and Grace' with cool recent-vintage Elvis Costello specs; he and Mr O onstage remind me of the old Warner Bros. cartoon with the big bulldog (Mr O is a fully grown ethnic Ukrainian) and the little dog jumping all around him. As for other stage banter, Mr O's sense of humour - dry, Minnesotan - seems like Garrison Keillor's (take that as you will). He's a master violinist (playing moving classical-like original tunes and covering his favourite Irish fiddler) and mandolin player. I think you can hear the Ukrainian sound more in his mandolin instrumentals than, interestingly enough, in the one song he sang in Ukrainian (I caught a few words of it), which (he admitted) sounds like an American square dance!

The venue: slum church
The audience: granola (you can suss the average age from that)
Ticket price: not bad when you consider this is world-class music

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Now we are the Iraq extremists
by John Pilger
Saints and eccentrics
by Jeff Culbreath
Recommended: the first and last paragraphs in this entry.
Of your charity pray
Around 1.30 this morning only about 100 yards outside the windows (double-wrapped in plastic to keep out the cold) I was sleeping next to, two people, one adult and one aged 15, were shot.

Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
More on the Reuters stories from yesterday, from The Independent:

Saddam’s WMD never existed, says chief American arms inspector
Samer al-Batal: Whatever remaining leg this faulty pretext for war is still standing on, it is getting sawed off quickly. Funnier still is that there is no ascertaining whether a variant of the same argument will not be employed for future conflicts, despite its awfully shoddy use in the case for Iraq.

US megachurches bring shopping mall theology to thirtysomethings
S al-B: I almost expect Ned Flanders' Leftorium to appear at any moment during a visit to one of these places.
LRC quotations today
From David Franke:

...that "awful" thing he [Howard Dean] did in his concession speech in Iowa. Am I the only person in America who can't comprehend what was wrong with it?


It was a pep rally with his followers, for goodness sake, and he was letting them know they weren't going to accept this as a defeat and how much he appreciated what they had gone through together. It wasn't a tirade of a mad man, it was a real man caught up in the moment, and bonding with his mostly young and very enthusiastic and idealistic fans.


Is this what it comes down to – that we accept a president who lies us into war for his hidden agendas, and who harms the American people in countless other ways, because he piously mouths all these platitudes about God and country, and turn against a man who refuses to give a concession speech (which is what the press wanted) and turns it into a pep rally?

Seems that way at least based on the well-meant idiocy I've read on two religious message boards, one RC, the other actual and would-be Eastern Orthodox, both largely ex-Evangelical - subsets of the Protestant religious right. Makes me remember why so many secular people think religious people are stupid.

...have we become so conditioned by bland suburban "values," not to mention political correctness, which really comes down to – in the end – "don't do anything that will make people think you are different"?


From Jerome Tuccille:

The Dean candidacy made some sense on the grounds that, first, he was opposed to the war in Iraq; second, he wanted to balance the budget; third, he was a good civil libertarian supporting gay civil unions [disclaimer: we are not left-libertarians], First Amendment rights, and other issues; and, fourth, he supported gun rights, which made him a refreshing oddity among Democrats. On the negative side of the ledger, he promised to repeal all of George W’s tax cuts and was beginning to sound a bit like Dick Gephardt on free trade, but at least he warranted a closer look from libertarians who believed that extracting Bush from the White House was the number-one priority.

It strikes me that the Republicans as "the lesser evil" theory no longer carries any weight, notwithstanding their classical liberal rhetoric. A case can be made that Bill Clinton was a better "Republican" than the current ruler of the White House. Clinton supported free trade (Bush gave us steel tariffs), he overhauled welfare (Bush expanded Medicare), and he was a miser on spending compared with Bush (who is generating record deficits). So the old argument that Republicans are better on economics than Democrats is no longer valid.

Friday, January 23, 2004

From Reuters
US arms hunter says no Iraq WMD

Blair dealt blow by WMD hunter
From blog correspondent John Boyden
I knew this was going to happen someday, somewhere in the States. Glad it finally did!

High-school students promote white student for ‘African-American’ award
And I'm sure Trevor Richards is a fine young chap.

This is what the well-meant but patronizing term African-American (meaning black, the latter a perfectly good usage of about 300 years' standing to describe somebody's ethnicity) deserved - to be sent up by some clever high-schoolers!

IIRC during the most recent Olympics when some athlete or team from a sub-Saharan African country won an event, the announcer was trying to say it was the first time a black athlete had won it but, hamstrung by political correctness, habit or both, blurted out it was the first time an 'African-American' had won it - and the person wasn't American!

JB: This is the problem with politically correct terms. If they mean black they should indicate 'black' since Africa is a continent made up of several degrees of skin color. It would be interesting if someone started up an award for 'white students'. [End.]

‘Jewish lobby’ is an anti-Semitic term, says US diplomat
'...what he found unacceptable about the use of the term was its inference that "somehow the Jews control the US".'

JB: Did I miss something here? Like HOW that is the case.
Quotation: a punto
...a gentleman who is originally from England pointed out that before the 'stripping of the altars' under far-from-good Queen Bess, there was no such thing as 'public works' in England and although people were poor no-one was destitute. The Church took care of the poor. That is as it should be. Charity is the Church's job, not the government's job.

- David Smith

Thursday, January 22, 2004

From LRC yesterday
Wielding the budget axe: abolish NASA
Long story short: 'NASA is essentially nothing more than a lobbying arm for the public funding of expensive science projects and subsidies to the aerospace industry.'
Belgian cardinal doesn’t mince words on homosexuality
Perhaps lacking tact but the basic idea is sound. Actually this agrees with something I read years ago from somebody more liberal (I think it was John Sanford) - only a very tiny minority are born that way and the rest who think they are can change if they want to. What's really disturbing is the statement from the Belgian bishops distancing themselves from Cardinal Joos and his remarks.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
In vitro programme declares fathers redundant
Lee Penn: Money quote:

Suzi Leather, chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said the law should be changed to remove the clause requiring doctors who assess infertile women to take account of the 'need of the child for a father' before offering treatment.

It would give the green light to single women and lesbians to seek treatment on equal terms with heterosexual couples. But the downgrading of the father's role in child rearing is likely to be portrayed as an attack on the traditional family. In an interview with
The Independent, Ms Leather described the clause that mentions fathers as 'anachronistic' and 'a bit of a nonsense'. It was out of step with other changes in society and with government policy, she said.
31 years on
Murder has been legal in the US

The psychology behind and futility of marching
A kind of romantic lost cause

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Quotation of the truly great post-mortem remarks from GC [General Convention] 2003 was Canon David Anderson’s comment that the AAC [the 'Protestant but still Christian' Episcopalians] was looking for as amicable a separation as Gene Robinson had gotten from his wife.

- Virtuosity
For the curious and those who follow Russian church doings
The Independent’s obituary for Metropolitan Alympy (Alimpy)
The leader of what apparently is the main Old Believer Church in Russia
No surprises really
Mr Bush's handlers are stoking war fever to try to stay in power and pushing to retain the fascist Patriot Act (still, it was lovely when some congressmen clapped when he said parts of it were about to expire) ... and as predicted here, using gay marriage to scare the Protestant religious right into voting for them again.

It's not beyond possibility that 9/11 was these folks' Reichstag fire.

Quotation to note:

He promised us a humble foreign policy. Instead, he's alienated our allies, lost the respect of the world community, and cost 500 brave young men and women their lives [in Iraq].

- retired Gen. Wesley Clark
Poll: most Americans are prolife

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

From The Onion
Mr Bush’s State of the Union address tonight
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Blockbuster book about RC clergy’s gay sex scandal will ‘hit Legionaries of Christ like a daisy cutter’
News from Rod Dreher, with whom I've corresponded. See the Regain Network for more about the LCs.

Lee Penn: A daisy cutter is a huge conventional bomb in the US arsenal, and has been used to devastating effect in the recent wars. This comment by Dreher is about 3/4 of the way down the long discussion thread.

I trust Dreher's judgment, and have read Berry's prior book, Lead Us Not Into Temptation .... so the new Berry book is going ontoi my "buy soon/read soon" list. [End.]

If you are so inclined you can support this site and, hopefully, peace and pre-order the book:

Vows of Silence
by Jason Berry and Gerald Renner
Theophany in Russia
As I was saying yesterday - that's brisk, baby.
My pick today
Are you going to get mad?
by Charley Reese

It is now about as clear as it's going to get that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.

In fact, the Iraqis had been saying that for years, and the Bush administration replied, "You're lying." Now we have this situation. The facts on the ground prove that the Iraqis, whom President Bush called liars, were telling the truth. What does that make Bush? It makes Bush either very badly mistaken or a liar.

Now we have nearly 500 dead Americans who died to protect the United States from weapons that don't exist. And more will die, and for what reason?

It's no wonder Bush avoids military funerals and has barred the press from the airport where our dead come home. It's no wonder he has clamped a lid of secrecy on the search for weapons of mass destruction. What he ought to do is write a letter of apology to the families of every dead and wounded soldier. That'll be the day.

I don't know about you, but I'm damned angry that the president took this country to war on false pretenses.

This is far more serious than anything Bill Clinton did. He lied about dillydallying with a young girl. This president apparently lied about the reasons he wanted to take this country to war. He is, behind his façade of good old boy, apparently a man so arrogant that he does not think the American people deserve to be told the truth.

Maybe he's right. If the American people are not offended enough to throw him out of office, then apparently - in this country, anyway - the truth no longer matters.

Stop the war, Mr Kerry or whoever wins in November.
OK, vote Libertarian and let John Kerry win?
He may prove relatively harmless like Clinton but after reading his campaign promises, ugh.

Monday, January 19, 2004

From The Rockall Times (due to return Candlemas Day), April 2003
Jedi mind trick breach of Geneva Convention
Still another quotation
Perhaps some prefer to honor the dreamer while ignoring or fighting the dream... For those of us who hold elective office, the public policy we advocate and adopt — from foreign affairs to domestic budgeting — tells the real story of our celebration of Dr. King's legacy.... Can't we protect our borders and promote peace around the world?

- Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin at Martin Luther King Day ceremonies today
Oh, no, not again
The two women who run this site may have a thing against monks, but... if this is true, so much for 'we have found the true faith'. Perhaps more like 'we have dodged an inquiry'... well, it almost worked. But as you can see from this page, it isn't the only Byzantine Rite monastery, Catholic or Orthodox, to engage in such shenanigans, including jurisdiction-jumping (with outrageous denunciads - thanks for the word, Keble - against one's former home) as an evasive manœvre. Alas.
From Chuck of ChuckSez
Well put
Don’t get your hopes up
From blogforlovers
Church Unity Octave
Started by Fr Paul James Francis Wattson, an Anglo-Catholic, and his Franciscan order, the Society of the Atonement. Far from being indifferentists, they defended the (all-male, episcopal) apostolic ministry, becoming Roman Catholics in 1909 after the Episcopal Church voted in 1908 to allow non-episcopal ministers to preach from its pulpits. (Fr Paul's stance now seems something ironically the now-RC SA order are ashamed of - but that isn't surprising anymore.)
More quotations
The concept of preventive war does not appear in the Catechism.

- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s top doctrinal official, 21st September, 2002

There is a consistent and detailed corpus juridico in international law. Had it been applied in recent years, the shedding of much blood would have been spared, and many crises would have been avoided.

- Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, former Vatican foreign minister, 15th January, 2004
On the box
Musical note
Stereolab's cool marimba instrumental 'Fiery Yellow' (off Mars Audiac Quintet) is now being used to sell cars in the States.
To the visitor from Brazil who ran up my counter 95 times yesterday. Perhaps he heard I like bossa nova music as well as Cyro Baptista's experimental band, Beat the Donkey.
From today
An objection to Martin Luther King Day

LRC archive of articles telling the truth about Dr King

Oh, and about that doctorate...

The King cult observed
Memorable quotation
From blogforlovers, though that blogger vehemently disagrees with it:

Like I said earlier: I now expect nothing from the institutional Church, from Rome down to the parish level. Not holiness, not fidelity to Catholic teaching, not common sense, not even Catholicism. If we get any of that, we're coming out ahead, but I don't expect it. I only want it to give me the sacraments and otherwise to leave me and my family the hell alone.

- Rod Dreher

The late Fr Malachi Martin (also a noted debunker of gay Tartuffery in the clergy long before the RC sex scandals in the States two years ago) said essentially the same thing - just stay close to Our Lord and His Mother.

Set your moral compass to the old books, join friends to pray the old prayers and go forth into the world (whilst not becoming of it), proceeding with caution but not without hope.
Съ праздникомъ
Happy feast of the Theophany to members of the Orthodox Churches of Russia and Serbia and the Ukrainian Catholic Church in western Ukraine. Today the Russians remember the baptism of Our Lord in the River Jordan by going out in the really wicked cold Russian winter and cutting a hole in the nearest river or lake ice to bless holy water for the year.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Joe Sobran's latest:

All we like sheep
The counterfeiting we take for granted
Samer al-Batal: ...and the guaranteed effectiveness of government schemes implemented gradually.

Money, banking and the Federal Reserve
by the Mises Institute
80MB video

From our antipodean brethren at The Sydney Morning Herald:

US airline admits giving passenger data to Government
Brought to Americans by the Republican Party, the party that tricks conservatives into voting for them by promising limited government (like it uses abortion, gay marriage and barking dispensationalist theology about Israel to snag the Protestant religious right)

Saturday, January 17, 2004

From blog correspondent John Boyden
Israel seeks return of temple artefacts

When Israel's chief rabbis meet Pope John Paul II today, they will seek permission to search Vatican storerooms for artifacts such as the huge golden menorah that stood in the Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

JB: No, don't have the menorah, would you perhaps like to see the rooms where THOUSANDS of your people were hidden to escape being killed by the Nazis? I didn't think so.

"My heart tells me this is not the truth, but that it is some kind of camouflage," Amar said.

JB: Still playing the victim role, I see.

According to other press reports, the pontiff could proclaim an annual day dedicated to Judaism, in a fresh effort to further reconcile Jews and Christians.

JB: Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that is NOT rumor?

Friday, January 16, 2004

My LRC pick today
Slave nation
Jack Duggan on the UNSA (Universal National Service Act) plot

Some highlights:

Conscientious objectors will have no out, this time around.

You read that right.

Now we know why not one military funeral of a U.S. soldier from Iraq has been shown in the TV media, except that of a female. It forces us to think of women in combat roles. It also portends the government's plan for many more dead daughters to come. So as you change the diapers on your adorable baby girl, think of what a great killing machine your government will make of her, one day. Or a statistic on a Pentagon casualty report.

Think of why the government publik skool system is so heavy on teaching obedience to state authority and micromanaging students' personal lives. Same government.

And this quotation:

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear, kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of 'grave national emergency.' Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it.

- General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

...remember the names of Representatives [Charles] Rangel [D-NY], Abercrombie, Conyers, Lewis (of Georgia), McDermott, Stark and Senator Hollings and each and every statist who is sponsoring the UNSA. Never vote for them again. If you can impeach them, so much the better.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Where Anglicans fear to tread
ISTM the 'Protestant but still Christian' group are the majority overall, with looney liberalism the favoured view among the clergy. What the survival of the Anglican Communion may all hang on is whether it recognizes this group as a province or even cuts ECUSA loose.

Meet Libertarian presidential candidate Aaron Russo

Samer's pick from today:

Scared, trigger-happy young males
by Doug Casey
A highlight:

It's strange how you never know what you're going to get with a president. Few people remember that Franklin Roosevelt ran on what was almost a radical free-market platform in 1932, decrying the tax, spend and regulate policies of Hoover. One might have thought you'd have gotten a fiscal conservative with Reagan – "If not us, who? If not now, when?" – but his policies sent the deficit through the roof. It was reasonable to anticipate a socialist disaster with Clinton, but government spending grew slower than the overall economy. Baby Bush, few now recall, made noises about personal freedom, and no more "nation building" in foreign hellholes.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Mr Cheney’s grim vision: decades of war
JB: These people are scaremongers, pure and simple.

Their goal is to play on the emotions of Americans to keep themselves in office.

Get them out at the next election.
From Forum 18
Serbian archbishop arrested in Macedonia
Horrible news, of course, but it's good that apparently at least some in the rump-sect church in Macedonia may be trying to reconnect with the Church of Serbia and by so doing with the Orthodox communion, ending its isolation from the apostolic family. I understand the Macedonian Church was essentially a creation of Marshal Tito and, rumour has it, once approached the Pope about joining his communion but (says the rumour) was turned down.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

From Reuters
WMD hunter won’t return to Iraq

Three young teens still detained at Guantánamo
On the box
Déjà vu!
Just saw a repeat of 'Friends' - has anybody else noticed that what the record company did to Phoebe and 'Smelly Cat' is essentially what really happened to Jewel's career about nine years later?
Mr Bush booed in visit to Martin Luther King’s grave
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Two from The Guardian:

US military ‘brutalised’ journalists

The Middle East’s deadly thirst
From Joe Zollars
Posturing about space... the final frontier
LOL, brilliant. After all, he's already played a Navy carrier pilot.
Many thanks for the link
To the blogger at North Door.
Brendan Ross on how Howard Dean may be more of a risk than Bill Clinton
And may be less electable.
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Even the Protestant religious right are getting cold feet about Bush
But these people don't seem to oppose him for the same reasons I do.
Fun with spam
Sick of S(P_A*M yet Jbeeler? gfrlzx...
What did the black militants say 35 years ago: if you're not a part of the solution, you're part of the problem? Like other things in life, here we have crooks, the problem, pretending to be a solution! I fear there are naïve people, new to the ’Net believe it or not, who buy this. Like those who think some benevolent rich stranger in Africa is going to give them a commission for parking his money in their bank account.

I understand there are people making and selling popup-zapping software that actually plants spyware on your computer.

At least this is a break from the 'Str8 guys seduced' streak lately - this bus doesn't stop there, mates.

But I think the best/worst recent one is the spam selling both a porn site and some Viagra knockoff - uh, if one could, ah, use the former (big flashing '***CLICK HERE!!!!***'), one wouldn't need the latter, would he?
Many thanks for the link
To blog reader and comments-writer Elena of My Domestic Church.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
The techno sapiens are coming
Lee Penn: A sobering article about the implications of new biotechnology. Visit the site, read, and pray.

Coffee, tea or handcuffs?
Or 'homeland security' can get a bit rough.

Lee Penn: The Feds allowed members of the bin Laden clan to leave the country right after 9/11, with no problem. But when it comes to real menaces, like Australian journalists for women's magazines ... bring on the handcuffs.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Doctor: US soldiers’ suicide rate in Iraq ‘unusually high’
Photo page: Christmas offices and Mass with the Society of St John
Wonderful! Objective, Godward and beautiful... and very simple. The English surplices are a nice touch.
Carbon-monoxide poisoning
Requiescant in pace - of your charity pray. A real danger in cold climates - glad I'm using an electric heater.
Two from The Atlantic, from friend of the blog Keble
Young fogeys
by Fr Andrew Greeley
Either he reads The Spectator or this blog! I've read two of his books, one serious (How to Save the Catholic Church) and one of his novels (The Cardinal Sins - half screed against the RC Church, half silly spy novel). Basically one of the ageing liberals now dying off - a secular trendoid from 30 years ago with a condescending, sentimental view of traditionalist trappings. Still, he's one of those stopped clocks, right some of the time. It's good to see that the young-fogey phenom has even made inroads in that most hostile environment to such, among American RCs. So much so that Fr G has to mention it! A nascent restoration movement is under way there.

Critique of Dr Laura Schlessinger
by Caitlyn Flanagan
Official confirms Paul O’Neill’s claims about Iraq war
Apparently the winner of the 'Bush in 30 Seconds' contest is the video called 'Child's Play'.
From today and The New York Press
Memorial madness
by Matt Taibbi
Narcissism, bathos and bad taste.

But it should have been clear early on that nothing good was going to come out of the search for a [Sept. 11] memorial design. There were too many cooks involved. Firefighters wanted their own memorial, various politicians wanted their say and the victims’ families made it obvious they weren’t going to be satisfied with anything. All the petty ugliness that dwells within us was put on parade.

Reminds me of what Thomas Day wrote about the tatty National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, the worst of all worlds: new liturgics in a building tarted up with the schlock art of a million ethnic groups and devotional societies. In contrast to this in the same city are the two stately Russian Orthodox cathedrals, and though it feels more like a museum (used for civic functions) than a church ’cos it's run by Protestants, Day too notes the unified artistic vision, good taste and Catholic principles (by the way, the American architect was RC as were the Italian stonemasons who built it) behind the absolutely beautiful National Cathedral.

Очень прекрасная шлапка
It's wicked cold, part II: I have a hat like this (grey, actual Warsaw Pact army surplus) and it works wonderfully
Children upset by pheasant shooting
And some common-sense commentary about the whole thing. There's nothing wrong with hunting as long as you eat and/or otherwise use what you kill. The hypocrisy of modernity also strikes me - time was in America when many 12-year-old boys had small hunting rifles and wouldn't think of hurting another person with them. Now they and their parents play violent video games simulating multiple cold-blooded murders (scary sight I've seen: a 9-year-old playing a computer game realistic and graphic enough to train soldiers and cops), and chances are the same people react as described to children seeing the reality behind eating meat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

A priest and his wife in the Ukraine
To be specific, far southwestern Ukraine (Galicia and Transcarpathia/Ruthenia), separated from Russia and ruled by Poland and Austria for most of its history (since the late 1300s) and the historic homeland of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, to which this priest belongs, the Ukrainian language and a separate Ukrainian (vs. Russian) identity. Interesting article about what sounds like some lovely people - the Ukrainians I've known have been very nice. From the article and its photos you can see how the church life, like the language, is a kind of Russian-Polish hybrid - Polishisms (no beard and wearing a Roman Catholic clerical uniform, not a Byzantine Rite riassa or подрясник) to show they're not Russians but also retaining Russianisms such as the Cyrillic alphabet and some parts of the Byzantine Rite - such as the tradition of ordaining married men, emphasized in this article - to show they're not Polish.

I think because this group historically (since escaping Soviet invasion during and after World War II) dominated the immigrant and exile communities in the US and Canada (Canada has more Ukrainians), many North Americans think they represent the majority of the country (Kiev and all the rest) but AFAIK that's not true. Most of the rest of the country speak Russian, and while most are secular (Sovietized), those who do go to church tend to be Russian Orthodox.

I recently asked somebody from these parts (the far southwest) - himself a WWII refugee - about the 'wicked cold' weather here last week if it's like that over there, and he said yes but without the wind cutting through you, and out in the country 'when you step in the snow you can hear it for miles' (at least it was like that 60 years ago and perhaps still is).

An army of one

‘Bush in 30 Seconds’ video finalists
I couldn’t make up anything this good
Pat Robertson: vote for Mr Bush ’cos Jesus said so. Uh, no. The challenge now is how does one begin to parody the Protestant religious right when they come up with gems like this straight-faced?
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Photos of Dave’s visit to New Skete, Cambridge, New York: sanctuary and screen and altar
This is a monastery church (minster, katholikon), not a parish church. (In the first picture you can see part of the facing choir stalls.) Not the Russian high-church look I like in Byzantine Rite churches but I like this too. It's a kind of liturgical archæology I usually don't approve of, reverting to an earlier form of the icon screen (like Western Catholic rood screens and the screen in the Byzantine-inspired San Marco in Venice). Entirely Catholic and based on good liturgical-movement principles, not Modernist at all. And Bishop Kallistos (Ware) writes in The Orthodox Church that the Russian Orthodox St John of Kronstadt did this to the iconostasis in his parish church in Tsarist Russia. It's a legit option. The chapel at St Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York - where I've been to the whole weekend round of services - has a similar open screen but not as extreme. I woudn't want to see all such churches look like this but it's an example of what real liturgical renewal might look like.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Constitution Party statement on US war powers
From Joe Zollars
Seems I'm not the Great Satan anymore, at least for today. (Thanks for the assist, Archangel, though it didn't bother me much.)

Anchorage to vote on becoming draft-free zone

Conservatives stew as Bush spending grows

Mr Bush grabs new power for FBI

Pentagon auditors altered files

Some conservatives lose cool, sacrifice political principles to chase issues
Proving SmooveJ right

...while others make the mistake of adopting Marxist-based racial politics

US Army college attacks Bush terror policy
From SmooveJ at turnthatshitup
Ex-Treasury secretary paints Mr Bush as ‘blind man’

GIs in Iraq scoff at re-enlistment bonus
From The Chicago Tribune (they make you register to read)
Study: sex, love (or lack thereof) and loneliness in Chicago
The link has been fixed.

A few money quotes:

While people of other generations tended to marry shortly after entering the work force and remain married to the same spouse, today's marriages occur later in life and often are briefer. That trend has led to new ways of coping, such as elaborate networks in which singles search for companionship and sex.

"Chicagoans are destined to spend half their lives as single people, and half their single years will be spent alone," said sociologist Edward O. Laumann, leader of the research team. "Yet, we already know that sexual well-being is very much associated with happiness and the quality of life. The implications for the future are troubling."

Could it be that, before the 'revolution' at the end of the 1960s, people were happier and healthier sexually?

Ideally, as I understand traditional societies work at their best, people marry young and become full-fledged adults when their bodies tell them to, though they are still young and inexperienced adults - they need the support of the larger community (extended family, the village). The young wife has help caring for children and the young husband can be an apprentice learning a trade.

With modernity, you get the worst vices of adults at younger and younger ages while at the same time childhood (adolescence) is unnaturally prolonged - causing the unhappiness the study describes.

The survey found that, on average, Chicagoans stay married for 18 years, cohabit for 3.7 years and either are unattached or dating the rest of the time.

Note how short-lived cohabitation is compared to marriage - something my own observation of acquaintances my age over 15 years has shown me as well.


The survey uncovered the importance of an emotion neglected by previous researchers: jealousy.

"The rise in cohabitation has increased domestic violence because people who cohabit are much more likely to experience jealousy," Laumann said.

"Because of the lack of commitment in a 'cohab,' people enter it being a lot more mistrustful."

The researchers found that adultery breaks up Chicago area marriages at a rate of about 4 percent a year. However, when the adultery occurs among people who are living together but unmarried, the defection rate jumps to 15 to 20 percent.

"That means fighting increases, and with it the likelihood of physical violence," Laumann said. "These are fragile relationships, and domestic violence because of sexual jealousy is a problem in all the communities we studied."
From the BBC
Reconsidering lust
Believe it or not, Blackburn has a point.

Once heard Fr Leo (Schlosser), the hegumen of the Ruthenians' Benedictine monastery, Holy Trinity in Butler, Pa., say something very similar.

It just needs some refinement.

What Blackburn is saying applies to desire. Lust, however, can be defined as the wrong use of that desire.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Handmade versions of Soviet history
The creative ways people dealt with privation in the USSR

From Touchstone:

Her mother’s glory
Fr Robert Hart on the hardest abortion case

From The Spectator:

Putin: Kolchak redux?
The Russian president is a nationalist, not a Communist, says Paul Robinson. Has he got a lot in common with the Whites who fought the Bolsheviks until 1922? What say all of you?

Saturday, January 10, 2004

From AP
US and British military deaths in Iraq so far
From Reuters
Mr Bush(’s handlers) planned Iraq conquest before Sept. 11
We know - the Project for a New American Century, September 2000

(Note: I tried to link to this but it seems to have been deleted from the Reuters site!)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill charges in a new book that President Bush entered office in January 2001 intent on invading Iraq and was in search of a way to go about it.

O'Neill, who was fired in December 2002 as part of a shake-up of Bush's economic team, has become the first major Bush administration insider to launch an attack on the president.

He likened Bush at Cabinet meetings to "a blind man in a room full of deaf people," according to excerpts from a CBS interview to promote a book by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind, "The Price of Loyalty."

To go to war, Bush used the argument that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and had to be stopped in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, world. The weapons have never been found.

"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill said in the "60 Minutes" interview scheduled to air on Sunday. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap."

CBS released excerpts from the interview on Friday and Saturday.

The former treasury secretary and other White House insiders gave Suskind documents that in the first three months of 2001 revealed the Bush administration was examining military options for removing Saddam Hussein, CBS said.

"There are memos," Suskind told CBS. "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq."'

Another Pentagon document entitled "Foreign suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts" talks about contractors from 40 countries and which ones have interest in Iraq, Suskind said.


O'Neill was also quoted in the book as saying the president was determined to find a reason to go to war and he was surprised that nobody on the National Security Council questioned why Iraq should be invaded.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it," said O'Neill. "The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this."'

White House spokesman Scott McClellan rejected O'Neill's remarks.

"We appreciate his service. While we're not in the business of doing book reviews, it appears that the world according to Mr. O'Neill is more about trying to justify his own opinions than looking at the reality of the results we are achieving on behalf of the American people," McClellan said Saturday.

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean accused Bush of using questionable pretenses to justify war with Iraq.

"The country deserves to know -- and the president needs to answer -- why the American people were presented with misleading or manufactured intelligence as to why going to war with Iraq was necessary. Secretary O'Neill's comments only underscore the continuing importance that these outstanding questions be answered," Dean said in a statement.

O'Neill also said the president did not ask him a single question during their first one-on-one meeting, which lasted an hour. The president's lack of engagement left his advisers with "little more than hunches about what the president might think," O'Neil told "60 Minutes."

Suskind's book, whose full title is "The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill," uses interviews with O'Neill, dozens of White House insiders and 19,000 documents provided by O'Neill.

O'Neill, who was fired due to disagreements over tax cuts, spent a difficult two years in Washington, joining the Bush administration with a background as a no-nonsense corporate executive.
In case anybody's interested in the weather in the northeastern US...

It’s wicked cold!
Troops fire on Iraq protesters; six killed
What New York Times online readers think of the Episcopal Church’s consecration of a ‘gay’ bishop
This may surprise you!
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
A child’s faith
From The New York Times Magazine (you have to register to read it)
How I’ll probably vote this year
Forget the spring primaries, unless I can cast a token/conscience/honour vote for Pat Buchanan or Alan Keyes again. In November I'll do the equivalent of staying home, a kind of literal 'vote of no confidence', casting (flushing) my token ballot for a worthy like Harry Browne or whoever the Libertarian Party are running as in good conscience I can't vote for either of the two establishment candidates and basically... let Howard Dean win.

Basically it'd be Clinton redux - a proabortion snake (that a medical doctor, who by definition knows better, supports baby murder without apology is unconscionable) with wacko socialist economic ideas and probably really no more for peace than the openly lefty hawks were under Bubba (IIRC Mr Clinton bombed Iraq all eight years of his presidency), but yes, I'm cynical and trying to be pragmatic. I was better off financially under Clinton's watch despite his wrong ideas and problems and it seems Mr Dean would stop the war.

When even his fans in the Protestant religious right start asking questions about imaginary WMDs and their sons coming home in bags, Mr Bush's handlers will scare ’em (and his neocon RC fans) with 'Gay marriage! Ooga booga!' ’cos both the liberals and these folks automatically assume that's the government's business, so he'll keep at least some, perhaps most, of their votes.
From A conservative blog 4 God (why does that name sound so familiar?)
Killington, Vermont considers seceding from state over taxes
And joining neighbouring New Hampshire. I like the sound of it.
Wall calendars and worldviews
My favourite local takeaway (best spaghetti bolognese outside of Bologna and probably there too) recently had a big assortment of promotional giveaway wall calendars that actually were good artistically. One is RC, another intended for Protestants. What struck me about the two is the contrast between the visual (Old Masters' paintings and antique popular art of God, angels and of Mary and other saints), with some biblical and other supporting texts, in the former and the nature scenes and heavy use of scriptural quotations in the latter - great as far as it goes but not enough. And I don't think the difference has to do with social class or literacy ('pretty pictures are for them what can't read') - all the calendars seem intended for people of the same class and/or education. The first calendar is Incarnational, Catholic, showing us a God who can be seen and known; the second seems to worship an unknown God, something like Judaism in the Old Testament and today and like Islam. The former is about knowledge, just like being in a relationship with another person; the latter is information. The difference? To paraphrase P.J. O'Rourke (substituting one of my fave sex symbols), the difference between information and knowledge is the difference between Gillian Anderson's phone number and Gillian Anderson.
From Reuters
Palestinians insist on right to declare state

Friday, January 09, 2004

Two about Britain
Sure, this group are nutters but the neocons might really want this!
Airstrip One thinking. But I think the Empire, Mk. II, the one based in the States (the British one was Mk. I), still doesn't work this way. Rather like the USSR with Bulgaria, which wanted to be incorporated into the union, it prefers nominally independent states it can control.

And on a happier note:

Saving our shires
The Association of British Counties
On the box
‘The Apprentice’
This new 'reality TV' programme in the States (read: gimmick game show) is educational in that it might show, in caricatured form, what corporate types are really like. (Rather like the now-gone 'Boot Camp' gave civilians some idea of the brainwashing - admittedly necessary to train real soldiers - that takes place in the Marines, though that show undermined the military unit-building with the fact that the contestants were competing against each other for money.) Based on seeing it in passing...

• The corporate world really does suck - what 'team'-think (a corruption of the concept of the church?) and by-the-bootstraps conservatism (originally, free will and individual responsibility?) turn into without the gospel.
• Even without my handicaps, I wouldn't want to be in the same room with these yuppies.
From blogforlovers
Today in Christian history
St Philip, metropolitan of Moscow (head of the Church of Russia) and one of this blog's patron saints/heroes, was murdered in his jail cell for standing up to Ivan the Terrible.
From today
Draft creep
The sneak-up to conscription
by David Wiggins

Osama, where art thou?
Joseph Sobran's Christmas column
CFFC seeks to eliminate ‘Pope’s [prolife] Armada’ from Europe
'Armada' - very revealing that. This quisling group are appealing to deeply rooted, historic no-popery prejudice among English-speakers... all for their 'noble cause' of baby murder. A case where both the end and the means suck.
From Forum 18
More woes for Serbian Christians in Kosovo

Thursday, January 08, 2004

From Crisis
The dark backward: demons in the real world
A tie-in to the debate in the comments section under 'Can't we all just get along?', 6th January:

The 50 best Catholic movies of all time
by William Park
Google within the blog (the box is at the bottom of this page) to see blog correspondent John Boyden's explanation of what this really means (The Godfather movies, which sometimes use the trappings of church, aren't Catholic stories!) along with my pick among recent films, The Family Man.
From World Relief
Grim details from Bam, Iran, World Relief president reports
Clive Calver arrived on site yesterday, World Relief planning long-term rehabilitation

BALTIMORE, January 7, 2004 - "There is the awful stench of death in the air; the rubble and debris are consistent from street to street; a few shops and the banks are still standing, but everything else is gone," said World Relief president Clive Calver, who is in Bam, Iran.

Calver arrived in Bam yesterday to assess the area's needs for on-going relief and rehabilitation projects. World Relief is currently supporting a team of local Iranian Christians in Bam, providing emergency essentials such as food, water and blankets to quake survivors.

"Relief efforts are dissonant and very dispersed," said Calver. "People are doing all they can to work together and to cope with people's immediate needs."

The 6.6-magnitude earthquake shook Bam on December 26, 2003 at 5:27 a.m. local time. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) reports that 100,000 to 120,000 people lived in Bam.

According to the USAID/Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), the Government of Iran (GOI) estimates that the earthquake killed 33,000 to 34,000 people, and injured 30,000 others. [Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.]

USAID/DART states that 80 to 90 percent of houses were destroyed in Bam. An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 residents are now homeless.

"There is desperate fear and distress in people's eyes here in Bam," said Calver. "Folks struggle to talk about what the future holds for them."