Friday, March 23, 2007

Email Subscription Service

Here's a new service for my faithful readers to make sure that no post of mine, regardless of how stupid, will fail to hit your inbox. Mosey on over to the right sidebar, put your email in the box and click the "Subscribe me" button. You'll get a nice email every morning with a list of posts since the last one. If you don't get an email, it's because I was too lazy busy to post anything.

Yes, this electronic paperboy will make sure nothing marked "Contra Pauli" will land in your gutter or your garden.

Pat Buchanan is Right

Speaking of paleocons, here's a must-read from Pitchfork Pat, who is 100% right about the silly, wrong-headed press frenzy about the U.S. Attorney firings. Excerpt:

This is not about the incompetence of the Justice Department of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales or about any White House role in the firing of the eight -- whom President Bush had every right to fire.

This is about preserving and protecting the integrity of the institution of the presidency. It is about the right of America's head of state and head of government to receive the candid counsel of his most trusted advisers.

If White House assistants as close to a president as Karl Rove is to George W. Bush can be ordered before congressional partisans, to be interrogated by congressional committees on what he may have told the president on controversial matters, the presidency itself will be damaged and weakened.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cat on a Wheel

The sign around the cat's neck made me smile the most.

The feline possesses a certain dignity when treading the wheel which is absent in small rodents. (Did that last sentence sound like documentarian-speak?)

That Other 6-letter "N"-word

Crankycon notes Jonah's latest observation regarding the continuing disintegration of the word neocon. Michael Medved pointed this out a few weeks back when a rightly confused caller asked sincerely, "What is a Neocon?" He responded in the same way as Jonah does, saying something like, "It's just a word people use for someone they don't like."

I especially like Paul Z's list. I wouldn't never have known that Jerry Lewis and Cher were neoconservatives. I'll definitely stay away from them now.

I've heard Mel Gibson called a neocon as well as both recent Popes, all disparagingly. Neoconservative, like fascist, used to mean something, but has even more rapidly descended to the level of words like jerk, dweeb, dork -- words with indefinite origins from a dark realm where etymology and spelunking meet.

An Inconvenient Size

You have to wonder how many greenhouse gases this dude emits. Picture stolen from Laura Ingraham.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An' da winna is....

"Americans love a winner...." Didn't some "big guy general" state this once? Well, I'm an American, even though I had some Hun bastards for ancestors, and every time I read a blog comment box, I look for a winning comment. It could be one that is particularly funny or insightful, but in any event it seems to scatter the other comments like pigeons in the park. So I declare who, me? the "winna" of the combox for this post. Here's his/her post:

Please forgive me for not being able to read the whole disagreeable comment thread.

Speaking as someone who considered professional involvement in this field of environmental psychology, and in whose bay-windowed parlor a tattered volume of "The Timeless Way of Building" holds pride of place:


This stuff strikes a nostalgic blind spot in so many educated, relatively-well-off, feeling-types whose longing for "something" translates as high-toned Disney country, that some of you want to baptize it, and thus require it (at least morally) of your fellow man.

Bad idea. It's a narrow line to walk, but putting aesthetics over simplicity and practicality is like Gaia worship with a little more historical intelligence.

IMO "the mingling of children and adults throughout the city, including in places of work" reflects one of the covert dissolvers of civility, the loss of boundary between public and private, between the adult world and an infantilized playground for children (who, I might add, with their parents in European cafes are not the conversational center, as they are in the US). Yet another solution to make the problem worse. Yeah, I'll settle down next to Rob's desk with my loud brood...

Beauty has always served holiness. But keep the priorities straight. One's confessor is a good starting point.

I agree heartily with this post, except I think the person meant "horse puckey" rather than puckery.

My First Rudy Post

I'm not saying I'm for or against Rudy for President in 2008. But I know there are some people who read this humble blog who are fer 'im and some who are agin 'im. So I figgered this post would generate some good discussion. Peter Mulhern writes this thought-provoking piece on America's Mayor as a man who should be at least "heard out". He tackles the abortion angle from the perspective of the so-called "right" to abort:

The "pro-choice" argument has always been incoherent because it depends on the absurd idea that there can be a constitutional right to do wrong. Rational and decent people can believe that abortion should be legal, but only a monster or a moron can maintain that a civilized nation should celebrate abortion as a constitutional right.

Social conservatives don't need a president who will mount a crusade to re-criminalize abortion nationwide. They need a president who can persuade the American people that proclaiming a constitutional right to abort is barbaric. In all the decades since Roe v. Wade no politician has ever made this point clearly and forcefully.

Giuliani could be the first. He could argue that there can't be a right to do wrong more persuasively and with much less political risk than any pro-life true believer. Just as it took a career anti-Communist to normalize relations with China, it may take a politician with no pro-life credentials to terminate Harry Blackmun's reign of error. By fighting for the proposition that Roe v. Wade has distorted our constitutional law long enough, Giuliani could do more to defeat the culture of death than any of his Republican predecessors.

Hat tip to A. Sullivan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Racking up the Miracles

Dr. Jeff Mirus reports on the cause for Pope John Paul II.

The anniversary of his death is approaching. I remember it easily because April 2 is my first son's birthday and the 11th anniversary of my becoming a Roman Catholic. He was a hard worker on earth, let's give him some more tasks.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hannity Solo

I put off commenting about the whole Hannity/priest/contraception thing for awhile and by now it's totally old news. But I finally realized why it reminded me of the first Star Wars, and by the first I mean the first one that guy made and now says is the fourth one, not the fourth one he made and now claims is the first. I saw it when it first came out, so there. Please don't interrupt my mid-life crisis, OK?

In short, Hannity was wrong on contraception, the church is right. Television being probably the wrong place to have an argument about it is beside the point. It's too bad because Hannity is a popular figure in the media and in the culture and as a Catholic, he should at least be quiet and more respectful if he dissents from this important teaching. So I want to make sure I'm clear on this point; this is Lesson 1, if you will, to take away from the interchange. I don't want to be accused of defending Hannity, he's not my fave radio talker (although not my least favorite either); I think that whole "you're a great American" thing chafes me at the taste level.

Remember the robots... OK, droids.... the droids are playing some kind of chess-variant game where the pieces are monsters which beat the crap out of each other when the players move them. Ostensibly, R2D2 and Chewbacca -- probably the two most famous non-verbal film characters since Harpo Marx -- are engaged in playing the game and Chewbacca is whining because he's not winning. Han Solo, the only person who understands the wookiee, and C3PO, the only robot who understands R2D2...

...I meant droid. According to the experts, C3PO is a droid. You have to admit though, C3PO looks like a gold-plated robot. R2D2, OTOH, looked like a tank vacuum cleaner to me the first time I saw him. (Uh.... ShopVac is a brand name, doofus. That's why I wrote tank vacuum cleaner, FYI.) Now kids think tank vacuums look like R2D2. Life is funny.

Some of you are no doubt thinking "man, this post is getting long. Where is this going? I don't even like Star Wars and jaws was never my scene either, come to think of it." You ought to hang in there because this might be as close as I get to bashing the Catholic clergy on this blog.

Anyway, Solo and C3PO have a conversation which everyone remembers:

3P0: He made a fair move. Screaming about it won't help you.
Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, Artoo. Let the Wookiee win.

Hannity is the droid in this case; nothing really is going to happen to a priest or bishop who goes after him. He may be a bit egotistical and annoying, but I don't think he poses any threat. I'd be willing to bet that a good portion of Hannity's Catholic fans even agree with the priest, even if they think his tone and manner might have been more pastoral.

But has that priest gone after Nancy Pelosi or other major public officials who support abortion in the same way? Good for him if he has. Father said that he was concerned about Hannity being a public heretic. I think this statement from NP might tip the needle on the heresy meter into the red zone: "I believe that my position on choice [i.e., abortion] is one that is consistent with my Catholic upbringing, which said that every person has a free will and has the responsibility to live their own lives in a way that they would have to account for in the end." (source Matt Abbott)

I know that the "concern about sanctions against Catholic public officials" House Speaker Pelosi mentions doesn't necessarily lead to "pulling people's arms out of their sockets". Further to the point, I don't even think the pro-abortion politicians would even show up for this kind of candid discussion. So is it possible that the clergy in the Catholic Church do go after these high value political targets all the time and I just miss it because I don't watch much TV?

No! Are you kidding? Sean Hannity argues for 6 minutes with a priest and it's news for a week! Can you imagine what would happen if a priest did stand up to a major abortion supporter on the left and go head-to-head with him/her on national television? John McG rightly points out that this kind of thing is the dream of many Catholics. I get stuff all the time (not in comments here, but in email lists I'm on) asking me to help pressure the Vatican to call for dismissal of Bishops (which by the way has been proven to be counterproductive) who won't challenge pro-abort Catholic politicians. What I do agree with those well-meaning folks on is that this is a matter which needs more clarity and attention regardless of general statements issued in the past.

Therefore I conclude with Lesson 2: The calling out of Hannity in regards to a heterodox position establishes a fortiori the case for calling out elected political leaders, of all political parties, who do not follow the Catholic Church's teaching on Abortion.

Maybe it will console members of the Catholic clergy that Chewbacca turned out to be an all around good fellow, despite the hairiness and poor sportsmanship. In fact, in the second movie... yes, episode 5, whatever... he reassembles C3PO after some other nasties rip him apart. He doesn't do a perfect job, granted; probably about as good a performance as Pelosi or Kucinich might deliver if asked to recite the Ten Commandments or maybe this prayer.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oh, Bubba, Where Art Thy Comments?

OK, so we all want to see a new Alien movie... time for a New Pauli Poll!

Aren't push- Pauli Polls great? Tapping the enormous corporate intellect of my wonderful readers is definitely the best way to determine why something is happening on the ol' barf-o-sphere blog-o-sphere. Like getting comments deleted, which is what I've heard is happening to some of my most loyal "iFriends" over here.

As for me, I don't delete comments on my blog. This is not because I've never seen stupid remarks made here, but for exactly the opposite reason. I like to let people have plenty of rope to hang themselves. It's very generous of me, if I may say so myself. The gallows is happily provided by Google and Al Gore.

Of course if I'm dead-as-a-doornail wrong about something, I'd hope a commenter would correct me or at least set the record straight for the sake of other readers. That's what democracy is all about, right? I was serious when I told everyone at the outset to criticize my opinions as much as they saw fit. And I can't help it if Andy Nowicki took his superior intellect elsewhere.

I'll leave it to readers to fill in the details of what was deleted here in the combox(es) in question. I already talked about it last May when it first happened, so it just feels like "déjà vu all over again" to me, as Yogi B. might say.

My last point is that saving comment threads before they are edited can yield dangerously enlightening and hilarious results.