Saturday, June 1, 2013

What the hell is a "shondell" anyway?

I listen to this over and over....


My Little Review of the Little Way of Ruthie Leming is up at the Little website

Here it is. I just know that after reading this wonderful little three-star ("It's OK") review of tLWoRL many people will be led like little lemmings to fall over each other to get their little hands on this little book. Luckily big, mean, old Walmart isn't stocking it, so stampedes–big or little–probably won't happen.

Here are the first two paragraphs.

This is a complicated book, and not so much about death and bereavement as one would expect. There's a reason that William Young blurbed this book as a memoir. A memoir is understood to be autobiographical, and this book is mostly so. However there are several interesting passages, and even some laugh-out-loud funny parts made at the author's expense. If someone wishes to understand the continuing development of the author's patchwork political ideology this is a great book. Otherwise time is better spent elsewhere. Also there is a lot of religious discussion in the book which is only obliquely related to the death of the author's sister.

The first part of the book introduces Ruthie as the wildly popular, outgoing, tomboy sister of the author who, being the opposite was withdrawn, bookish and hung out with his spinster aunts and their cats. He was unpopular in school, and kids were mean to him. Reading between the lines, one can discern that he earned at least some of this mistreatment in the vein of "Harriet the Spy". Ruthie eventually became the homecoming queen and had a steady boyfriend pretty early on, getting married soon after school. The author couldn't wait to shake the dust of the town off his heels and move somewhere where people appreciated him more than his family and the benighted townsfolk.

I hope to write a more extended review on the blog here within the next few weeks. It will be longer, of course. But it will still be little, because littleness is my whole thing right now, and because it will be little compared to the big sigh of relief when I finally finished reading the book. I'm reading Sloth right now, which has me cracking up on every page, and not just a little.

Thanks for reading my blog. For current commentary and what-not, visit the Est Quod Est homepage

Friday, May 31, 2013

Everything you need to know about the Kaitlyn Hunt case

If you want to support honesty in the Kaitlyn Hunt case, it's really easy, Just go to The author has done yeoman's work on the subject, exposing the massive lies and distortions promulgated by the LGBT mafia and the #FreeKate campaign. Excerpt:

My intent is to present here the facts of the case clearly as a reference, as well as provide some of my own thoughts and concerns on the Free Kate movement.

As the weight of evidence makes clear, the Hunt family is manipulating the facts in order to paint their effort as an LBGT rights crusade, taking advantage of those of us who believe in promoting equality while at the same time collecting tens of thousands of dollars for a "legal defense fund" from supporters who remain largely confused about the basic facts of the case.

In my opinion, this is tantamount to fraud... and THAT is the bigger story here. That Kaitlyn Hunt engaged in illegal sexual activity with a 14 year old girl is a big story in the media and focus of the movement, but it's not even the most unfortunate one. The bigger story is dishonesty and fraud. The bigger story is the demonization that's taking place of the victim's parents, of law enforcement, and the prosecutor... everyone but Kaitlyn Hunt... by those caught up in an emotional frenzy and operating entirely on a version of reality carefully tailored by the Hunt family.

That the Hunt family told self-contradictory and plainly false versions of the facts of the case is apparent and well-documented here. It's up to you to decide what their dishonesty means, but to me it's clear the Free Kate movement relied completely on the confusion and misdirection fostered by the Hunt family to manipulate supporters into an emotional response instead of relying on a fair, reasoned assessment. This movement would not have the support it has had the Hunt family conducted their effort with honesty and integrity, because the facts and the law are not on their side. Contrary to their claims, this is not a legal case based on hate, but...

"Stop the Hate. Free Kate."

... doesn't have the same ring to it, and leaves bare the truth that this is a case of a legal adult simply trying to avoid having to take responsibility for her own choices.

It goes on to show a timeline and expose the lies. One of the main lies is that the perp wasn't 18 when this all started. She turned 18 on August 14, 2012. The whole page is long. Make sure you read the part about how Kaitlyn's dad, Steven Hunt, Jr, is also guilty of a felony:

It's worthwhile to note that the Hunt family come into this series of events with credibility problems of their own. Steven R Hunt, Jr., Kaitlyn's father (who as we've seen has a tenuous connection to the truth) appears to still be serving out a period of probation following an arrest last year for felony fraud charges. According to public records available online from the Indian River Country Circuit Court, the felony charge "832.041 - STOP PAY W INTENT TO DEFRAUD 150 DOLS OR MORE" resulted in an order on 7/23/12 of one year of probation and a fine. It appears that as a result of a "no contest" plea, the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor and adjudication was deferred pending the completion of his probation. (court record search, criminal judgement record (PDF))

I don't hate this woman nor her weird family. I'm disgusted with them for lying and trying to trash the victim's parents and smear the vic's parents as being prejudiced (which is a complete joke once you see them), but I don't hate them. If this predator doesn't end up doing her 15 years for this it will be a serious breach of justice. And that would be something to hate.

Here's the author's conclusion:

The law here is clear, and Kaitlyn Hunt's legal case is open and shut. But like I said, I believe there's something even more important than the legal case at play here...

An entire movement of supporters is built around false pretenses, the consequences of which include the demonization of law enforcement officers, who by all objective measures did their job professionally... of prosecutors in the DA's office, who likewise are simply doing their job... and most importantly, demonization of the parents of a 14 year old girl, who had every right to leverage the law to protect their daughter the best they could.

Whether the parents of the victim believe they are protecting their daughter from homosexual influences or simply protecting their 14 year old from an 18 year old is beside the point. Maybe they're loving parents acting to protect their daughter. Maybe they hold the entirely reasonable and widespread belief that a 14 year old should not be sexually active. Maybe they foolishly feared Kaitlyn's influence would seed homosexuality in their daughter. Maybe they're bigots. Maybe reality is a combination of these things. Their motives for reporting the crime against their daughter is beside the point. No matter what they feel they're protecting their daughter from, they have both the legal right and moral responsibility to protect their daughter, and that's exactly what they did. That they've become the biggest target of contempt because of the Hunt family's efforts is horrific. It's not just. It's unforgivable. That the basic truths of the case were wildly misrepresented by the Hunt family to do it make it that much more outrageous.

That manipulation was used to take advantage of a community full of generous people with good hearts who are ready to fight for equality is just as offensive. The dishonesty of the architects of the Free Kate campaign does damage to the credibility of the effort of legitimately persecuted people fighting against real abuse...

Not to mention the lives of the parents who fought to protect their daughter, and a 14 year old girl whose life will never be the same after becoming an unwitting participant in an international media firestorm that didn't need to happen. All of this... so an 18 year old doesn't have to accept the consequences of her own actions.

"Unpleasant and Boring"

Hey, we have two new reviews of The Little Way of Rod Dreher's Deceased Sister on Amazon. Make sure you go over there and throw them an up-vote.

M. Owens writes:

The voice of the narrator is pompous, condescending and pretentious. He uses his sister ...her life, her death, her family and friends, to show you what a good guy he is. I don't like him. I didn't like the book. It is reasonably well written and organized... It supposedly makes a case for community and hometown living which the author left in his teenage years and returns to as a family man with young children...but I doubt he'll last in Louisiana and I'm afraid I pity his neighbors.

M. Owens titles this review "unpleasant". Then Nature Lover has this to say:

This book shares the details, denial, desperation and death of a young mother. Her author brother uses it to justify why he left (bored, didn't fit in) a small town and why, curiosity satisfied and career secure, he returned. It is the story of many families, the details interesting only to those who are close. Fortunately, most families do not have an author with such a need to explain himself.

The title of Nature Lover's review is "Boring". I'm guessing that Nature Lover is female from other reviews of cook books and cutting boards. So these sentiments match those in the last review we posted by Audrey.

I hope to finish my Amazon review today. I have to do it while it's still fresh in my mind.

"Seems they're trying to teach us a basic tonal vocabulary."

Pope Francis Will Finish Faith Encyclical

Catholic Culture has the scoop:

Pope Benedict XVI had planned to issue an encyclical on faith sometime in the early part of this year. The encyclical of faith would have been the 3rd in a series he planned on the theological virtues, following Deus Caritas Est on charity, issued in 2005, and Spe Salvi on hope, issued in 2007. The aging Pontiff apparently found himself unable to complete the text, however, as he lost his strength and his capacity for sustained work.

Pope Francis will now write his own encyclical, working from the notes or draft that his predecessor left to him. The Vatican has not indicated when this text will be released.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Damned: Psychomania

Some observations about blogs

I was reading through the old Contra Crunchy blog last night, especially focusing on the light bulb post, and I was struck by a whole bunch of thoughts at once. Firstly, just the spontaneous awesomeness of the whole venture, secondly the pure irritation of the crunchies who, lacking arguments, hurled invectives, calling us rodents and nematodes, and lastly but not leastly, all the great friends I made over there many of whom comment on my own blog to this day.

I always seem to see something new over there whenever I check it out from time to time. I found a link to this blog entry which I don't think I'd read back in '06. Basically Daily Duck came to the same conclusions as we did. He included a damning passage from Caleb Stegall:

It was not until later, when I moved into the wider world of business, high-stakes law, and Evangelicalism, that I discovered that all conservatives were not like this. That instead, there existed a kind of upwardly mobile coldblooded rationalizing self-serving conservative mind that struck me, still strikes me, as sterile and not quite human.

In response, Duck concludes:

I find it hard to admire the moral compass of a man who can let his aesthetic values lead him to question the humanity of his fellows. This is what I meant by the dangers of moralizing aesthetics. Can he point to anything immoral that these one-time business acquaintances have engaged in, other than career ambitions? It is an extreme judgment of personal qualities that society as a whole finds admirable. If this is the face of crunchy conservatism, then it will be seen as no more than a scolding kind of snobbery and holier-than-thou elitism. . . .

Again, our thoughts exactly. I bring this all up because another observation I had was that all these links to small, local, particular blogs like ours are still good, whereas most of the links to big, global, abstract blogs like NRO Crunchy Con blog and the Beliefnet Crunchy Blog are pretty much dead. So we actually value The Permanent Things more, if by that term you mean "things that stay in one place", which is the obvious meaning.

I sort of wonder if this is not to some degree by design on the part of the big, global, abstract bloggers. Yes, Rod Dreher's famous Orthodoxy and Me post is still available via the Wayback Machine and Fisheaters post, but the original document which was widely read and reacted to has been crumpled up and tossed into the garbage, in a virtual sense. So when you read old posts commenting on it, the link to it doesn't point to the original Roman Catholic to Eastern Orthodox conversion story as penned by Rod Dreher. But like I say, this is a desirable feature if the piece as originally written has points that the the writer would rather bury than have people reading and continuing to comment on in the present. Another good example would be the aforementioned Caleb Stegall, who I think is on Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's legal staff currently. He also might not want his comments questioning the humanity of rich, successful Republicans to be brought up again, even if he didn't mention the nose size of those whose humanity was in question. So it's good news to him that NRO deep-sixed the Crunchy Con Blog.

The excuse of the publishers for ditching links is probably that the format needs to be updated from time to time. Remember the old Haloscan commenting host which so many bloggers were in love with? I wished I'd have archived more of those threads, both from the Beliefnet Crunchy Conservative blog and from Mark Shea's old blogspot blog; they were some of the most amazing examples of silliness I'd ever read. But the publishers' main concern is always hits and page-views—i.e., ratings for advertisers—and once the initial burst of popularity wears off, they care less about residual pennies. Hence the scrapping of Haloscan by Beliefnet, bringing all the copy into one page and providing many more page updates which keeps content "fresh". In fact, my hypothesis is that the big, gobal, abstract publishers like Patheos and Beliefnet would much rather have these old posts "disappear", especially from writers who generate popularity from controversy rather than insight or writing skill. Even those friendly with Rod used to wonder aloud why Rod would post on things like "Hanna Montana's slutty new pictures" or items of a gross or scatological nature. The answer is obviously hits and ratings. Things advertisers care about.

Of course if this were true, it is about as ironic as it could possibly get. The hue and cry of Crunchy Conservatism and all the other boutique ideologies labeled "conservative" by the amconmaggers and their ilk has been "Don't trade your birthright for porridge! Don't compromise important social principles for filthy lucre promised by the so-called free market! Don't sacrifice culture and the Permanent Things for material wealth!" And on and on, usually concluding that the damage is already done, the mainstream has caved, Rush Limbaugh is on commercial radio stations therefore we've all sold out and become libertarians posing as conservatives. The fact that Amconmag regularly advertises for Purina and Kitchenaid isn't seen as noteworthy, I'm sure ("We've all got to eat, you know!!"), but because Rush moves more product and is more successful, he is seen as the epitome of commercial crassness. If you doubt me on this, please link to a positive remark about Limbaugh or Hannity or Fred Barnes any successful "mainstream conservative" person over there. Then I'll partially apologize, even as I regale you with 5 or 10 negative comments from their site about the same persons.

A smaller irony is that people doing this for free are more respectful of the free-market economy, big internet advertising models included. And our words stay around until the apocalypse or until Google goes under, which feels sort of like an approximation of the apocalypse at this point. True, we are hobbyists and not wordsmith intellectual careerists, but that seems to be the healthier choice both culturally and for the interests of economic stability.

As usually, the operative principle for the content provision of the know-it-all class isn't any eternal principle at all, but merely a content provision industry with an advertising model. And the operative principle for their attitude toward those with a more successful venture is the ol' green-eyed monster.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Flannery O'Connor on "Place"

Something to meditate on from the Queen of Southern Gothic.

“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place... Nothing outside you can give you any place... In yourself right now is all the place you've got.”

In yourself right now is all the place you've got.


God's Badass Creatures

Start the day off with a nature video.

Of course if that was your bird, you might overreact.

The funny thing to me is that in the book, Rod relates a story about flipping out when one of his relatives drowned a bunch of cats owned by one of his crazy cat-lady aunts. He shows up at the mean relative's house furious with righteous anger. This cat is probably a descendant of his aunt's brood, possibly inbred. But still possessing that learned Dreherian taste for the French delicacy of raw chicken head.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Michael Barone: Obama and the 1917 Espionage Act

As always, Michael Barone delivers the most interesting and insightful explanation on what is going on with the Obama Admin/Media Spy-vs-Spy flap. Excerpt:

There is one problem with the entirely justified if self-interested media squawking about the Justice Department snooping into the phone records of multiple Associated Press reporters and Fox News' James Rosen.

The problem is that what the AP reporters and Rosen did arguably violates the letter of the law.

The search warrant in the Rosen case cites Section 793(d) of Title 18 of the U.S. Code.

Section 793(d) says that a person lawfully in possession of information that the government has classified as secret who turns it over to someone not lawfully entitled to possess it has committed a crime. That might cover Rosen's source.

Section 793(g) is a conspiracy count that says that anyone who conspires to help the source do that has committed the same crime. That would be the reporter.

It sounds like this law criminalizes a lot of journalism. You might wonder how such a law ever got passed and why, for the last 90 years, it has very seldom produced prosecutions and investigations of journalists.