Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Last post before Christmas, kids. Let's see whom I can piss off.

* I just bought a Dell. Quite frankly, that hurts. I tried putting together my own machine, and found out that not only is it cheaper to have Dell put together the thing for me, it is much cheaper to have Dell put it together for me.

Some back story: Aw, heck, forget it. No back story. I declared war on Dell back in 1997 or 1998, I forget which. When I bought laptops, I went Compaq. When I went desktops, I went self-built. But my friend Jimmy loaned me his laptop, and while it's good, I feel lousy for using it. And the CD player broke. Sorry, Jimmy. I'll buy you a new CD ROM soon.

So basically, the enemy just took the gates of my capital city.

* I am soooooo looking forward to the 2004 campaign.

* I am coming to the slow, inevitable conclusion that the 19th Amendment was a mistake. Indeed, in my most misogynistic (let's be honest, misanthropic) moments, I think we should restrict the vote to landed men over the age of 25. (If you think this is racist, you haven't spent much time outside of cities.)

I'm fighting this conclusion, but the evidence is compelling:

Since the passage of the 19th, here are a few examples of the damage done to our nation:

(1) The Democrats, adopting in milder form many of the platforms of the Socialist parties of Europe, became a viable party again.

(2) FDR elected, making (1) worse.

(3) JFK elected, making (2) worse.

(4) LBJ elected, making (3) worse.

(5) (Anyone else see a problem with Presidents with three easy initials, by which they are commonly known?)

(6) Following from (2)-(4), Roe v. Wade. Current death toll: ~31 million children dead.

(7) Following from that, boy births are more common than girl births for the first time ever. So not only have women voters helped slaughter kids, but they've inadvertantly declared war on their own sex.

(8) Accepted expansion of the State well beyond its Constitutional limitations, so single women and widows can feel safer. The rest of us can choke.

Just something to think about. Doubtless, my wife will beat me for this.

I should add (but not hasten to add!) that I recognize the inherent unfairness in knocking somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of the population of the voting rolls, especially in a country founded on the link between governance and representation. I will be the first to admit that this is not the nicest thing I've ever said, is decidedly not Christian, and I'll probably repent of it later. But it's been working at me for a while.

* Can we all agree that Howard Brush Dean III is kinda funny looking? Long arms, big belly, stumpy neck.

* See that big space at the top of my blog? You're looking at why I'll be switching over to Movable Type some time in the next year.

* I think my profession is destroying our society.

* I think the French will launch a genocide within fifteen years. I just wonder if they'll win.

* Hillary Clinton is a miserable failure.

* Jimmy Carter lick ass.

* I've had doubts about Arnold Kling's mental rigor; that said, this is a respectable, if wrong, opinion. It assumes that the broad middle of American society is irrationally apathetic; that demagoguery was somehow less a danger when the Constitutional limitations on government were stronger (thus overlooking, at a glance, the years 1815-1823, 1850-1861, 1876-1918, the entire career of Huey Long, and the history of the Democrat party); and that the will of a few determined individuals is somehow more effective on the polity than it was before the Internet. I'll be the first to admit that the transactional costs of organization have decreased; but I'm yet to be convinced that the decrease is so substantial that the additional energy will translate into quantitative electoral differences.

Now, I think demagoguery might very well be a great danger, but for the following reasons:

* More women vote.
* More voters have passed through college, and are therefore stupider than at any equivalent time in the past.
* More men without a physical stake in society, i.e., without real property, vote.
* The media is polarizing, and providing more deliberately ideologically discreet information than ever before.
* The "blogosphere" is such a tiny sliver of the electorate that the moderation that comes from being exposed, directly and openly, to one's ideological opponents, is not well-shared enough to have any effect countering the trends toward polarization.
* Will and Grace is still on the air.
* Alec Baldwin lick ass. Sorry, couldn't resist.
* We are at a stage of true ideological clash between left and right; it has been about seventy, no, ninety years since anyone could say that.

Time will tell.

* I'm late on this, but I've been swamped: Happy Chanukah to any Jewish readers I have.

* I watched my side of the spectrum go loony during the Clinton years; but I never saw anything like what's happening to the Left now. Y'all are nuts, kids. Seek help.

* Following from my second point, the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Twenty-Second Amendments were mistakes.

* At some point, inferring the opinion of the entire Magisterium from the loud-mouth remarks of a single Cardinal is a signal that you're either (a) lazy (b) stupid (c) intellectually sloppy and/or (d) anti-Catholic.

* I wonder: If everyone who hates Evangelicals actually met one, would I still have to put up with utterly nauseating, vacuous references to the "religious right"?

* Paul Cella is wasted in his day job.

* Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I was wondering why the loons who give out the Nobel were swooning over a woman who spends her time saying bad things about the Iranian government.

Turns out it's because she hates the U.S.

Silly me.
So it appears that we are, indeed, bickering over the price.

Political speech is the right to call your opponent a dirty son of a bitch. We just lost that right, temporarily.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Maggie Gallagher, a thousand times the advocate I'll ever be.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Could it be? A Catholic Bishop with a spine?

Miracles happen, kids.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Can't see anything wrong with this. I know, I'm supposed to think Coulter's a lousy polemecist, but this bit:

Is there nothing five justices on the Supreme Court could proclaim that would finally lead a president to say: I refuse to pretend this is a legitimate ruling. Either the answer is no, and we are already living under a judicial dictatorship, or the answer is yes, and – as Churchill said – we're just bickering over the price.
Is pretty much dead-to-rights.

New link coming, because of this post. Boys, I know when I'm outclassed, and this fellow leaves me outclassed. I've eviscerated Lithwick in my time, but this is simply gorgeous.

And this simply confirms many of my pre-existing theories about PBS. If you're stuck with the Palestinian Broadcasting Service for a while -- as I was -- you learn that with the exception of some children's programming, Ken Burns, a few documentaries, some Nova programming, and British comedies, you have drek.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Andrew Sullivan says something unequivocally bad about abortion! It can be done!
Technophobes of the world, UNITE!

Just for the information of all the vaguely anti-religious folks out there, most of us like science, and its results. What we don't like is the sacrifice of human life for anything other than highly specific self-defense.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Gone for a week, kids. I'm posting over at Ben's place (I think he thinks I'm doing him a favor, when the reverse is quite clearly true). Wander over, and happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

In other news, Democrats unwilling to commit political suicide.

It's gonna get wild, y'all. Keep your mind on your riches, baby. Keep your mind on your riches.

UPDATE: Or maybe they are. Attacking the AARP is either brilliant or utterly insane for these guys. Who else is with me in voting the latter?

Let's get this out in the open: Joe Lieberman is not a serious candidate for the Democrat nod. He's way too likely to think before opening his mouth.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Dear Orrin and Ben:

I really hate to say this, but: Told ya so.

Donkeys in Louisiana have a time-honored tradition: Around noon on election day, they figure out how many votes they need; then, before the polls close, they produce them. Somehow. Certainly not illegally.

Sorry, guys. I was pulling for him, too.

Best regards,

T.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

And Tacitus actually reads this trash.

I don't know whether to pity him or admire him.
It's official: Butch Davis is a moron.

Kids, this isn't hard. He's one of the best possession receivers in the NFL, if not the best. He's the leading receiver on the team. So of course they drop him.

Then again, they keep benching and mentally screwing with Couch, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

What happens when faith is just another argument.

Guys, look, here's the deal. First, the Church does not "represent you to God." You represent you to God. I take it from your actions that either, one, you do not actually care about the Faith, but rather you care about making asses out of yourselves, in a way that would embarass my 1.5 year old; two, you do care, but your Catechesis is so lousy as to defy explanation; and/or three, you forget: You have free will. You can go to another Church. The guy from whom I got this link did so.

I assume for the sake of argument that you're born "that way." I know that makes it harder for you to follow the Church's teachings. My uncle has severe Down's syndrome. This makes virtually everything harder for him. In other words: Deal. Or go.

I always thought Mark Shea's references to gay fascism were overblown. Mark, if you're reading this: Mea culpa.
No sooner than I get all gushy over the Old Oligarch than he posts something with which I must mildly take issue:

Natural Woman -- so typical of many people we've known who have adopted NFP, through twists and turns and sometimes despite their pastors and DRE.
Now, I say the rest of this with the following qualifiers:

(1) Believe it or not, I really try to be a faithful Catholic. Oh, Lord knows I mess up sometimes. I've never said otherwise (except to irritate my wife, but that's different).

(2) My wife and I practice natural family planning, because, first, I understand the theology associated with it, it makes sense, and even if it didn't, my name does not start with "Pope"; and, second, my wife and I are not cavalier about the side effects of the pill, especially in light of her family's history of breast cancer.

(3) I'm not really going after anyone here, at least in my usual bared-teeth way.

That said:

I'm calling bullshit.

My wife and I have used NFP since we got married. We were -- no pun -- religious about it. We understood the whole thing -- temperature, mucus, cervical position, even (a fourth dimension on the graph!) certain bodily sensations associated with ovulation. My wife is an engineer. I am the son of an engineer and a microbiologist. We both love to chart things. My wife is an obsessive compulsive. I'm a paranoid freak. We never miss a day of charting.

We wanted to wait, after we got married, for one year before having a family. We wanted to make sure we were settled in where we were gonna stay for a while, and we wanted to make sure we had enough money to properly care for the little one. (I've never bought, not cared much for, the "We had to get to know each other" crap as a reason to wait: If you didn't know each other before you got married, why did you say, "I do"?) Accordingly, my wife charted everything for months before we got married. We continued once the chain was fastened vows were spoken. Remember: One year.

We were married in June. We apparently conceived in late July. You know, less than two months later.

Don't get me wrong; I count as God's greatest blessing to me, my son. I love him much more than my own life. I would not have his existence any other way.

But let's be honest about this: If you buy the Church's, um, teaching, that NFP is 99% or so effective, you'll buy anything.

Yeah, but it's just one time, you say. Freak incident. The exception that proves the rule.

Au contraire, copains. My wife is now in sixteen weeks along with our second child. Same religious attention to detail. Had the doctor help this time to make sure. We had been planning to wait until about, oh, now, to do this; the starting gun went off early, apparently.

Again: Don't misunderstand. My life in trade for my children without hesitation. The tortures of Hell for their safety, in a heartbeat. I am fully aware of what those tortures are -- to some extent, I've lived them for periods of time -- and I say that even so.

But.

If you have a very regular, set-your-watch-by-it cycle, NFP will work for you. Guaranteed. But for those women who do not -- who, like my wife, drop multiple eggs just at random, or who have variable cycles, or whatever -- you're playing with loaded dice. As my wife's extremely Catholic OB told her (the lady won't discuss any sort of "contraception" except NFP), when we told her that we think the wife is just scatter-shooting eggs, "Looks like you were made to be a Mommy."

Which brings me back to my point: People who use NFP -- or at least, a larger percentage than the folks at pre-Cana let on -- really are called "parents."

Just sayin'.

Friday, November 07, 2003

How do I admire the Old Oligarch? Let me count the ways:

Here's a starter.

There is nothing, nothing stupider than putting less than our best and brightest out in the way of combat just so we can all feel warmer and fuzzier. Eliminate the massive physical and psychological differences between men and women, and we can talk. Otherwise, spare me the cockamamie crap about making girls feel good and accepting the needless loss of men and women as an acceptable consequence.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Just for the record: Statements like

“It’s the seat of the American revolution,” DNC spokeswoman Deborah DeShong said of Boston, “and we hope it’s going to be the seat of another revolution, and that’s taking over the White House.”
are cute, and everything, but may be -- just may be -- why our politics has become so poisoned.

Every time someone mutters about the need for regime change, a coup, a revolution, whatever, when what they're actually talking about is a normal, legal election, they drag us a little closer to the brink. Words have meaning, guys.

I actually have a theory about this: Politics becomes warfare about once or twice a century. In the heady few decades after the revolution, Hamilton wasn't the only politician who took one in the chest from a rival. Congressmen went to battle -- I mean that precisely -- with each other on the legislative floor on the eve of the Civil War. The elections of 1876-1888 marked a high-point in the late nineteenth century's mudslinging. (The conventional wisdom, from which I see no need to depart, is that 1876 was so very bad, so very dangerous for the political health of the nation, that things toned down, fast, and that is the peace from which we are now awakening.)

Obviously, some of the century or so that we came through made this peace unusually tenable: Two World Wars, in a sense Three, a Great Depression That Shouldn't Have Been As Bad As It Was But There It Is, and massive economic growth from 1950 or so on, etc.

But it appears we're back.

I don't even know what to say about this any more. I do know this: Things will be, politically speaking, ugly for a little while.

Monday, October 27, 2003

I'm addicted to the format. Sue me.

Right. As opposed to the humorless, whiney conservatism of the libertine right.

That said, this well-traveled piece is worth a read and a chuckle.

For those of you not reading Little Tiny Lies, go there now.

On the woman whose husband is trying to kill her: For the record: The reason he is her guardian is not because, as her husband, he is ipso facto her guardian, it is because he asked a court to be so, and he was so made. Hence, his decisions concerning her welfare are subject to judicial scrutiny. And the judiciary in Florida is no greater than any other branch of that State's government. A judicial order may be put aside by legislative action. it is, precisely, that simple.

(Mr. Sullivan: Yes, it's because life trumps marriage, and we're treating his marital "rights" -- although the word is not applicable here -- cavalierly because he is so doing, and is therefore waiving them. Put differently: Some people have a little more perspective than you.)

Paul Cella produces one of the most impressive essays I've read in a while.

Mr. Kennedy: It is a profoundly bad idea to get sloshed just before a significant vote, especially when you're trying to make sure that an additional thousands of children go to the abbatoir every year.

Just for kicks: Mary Jo Kepechne.

Why I'm not a libertoid, Volume XII: Liberty for me, and not for thee. I'll probably get to this later, but the short of it is this: We say Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in that order, because each successive one is predicated on the latter. One cannot have liberty without life. Therefore, any "libertarian" who whines about government restrictions on killing children in utero is merely a selfish nitwit -- his liberty trumps another's life (and therefore her liberty). Following that, even assuming secondhand smoke isn't deadly, it still stinks, and it's, you know, smoke, so forcing me to inhale it is hurting me so you can benefit. (I'll spare you talk of negative externalities for a little while.)

Friday, October 24, 2003

ACLU sides with murderous husband.

In other news, Asmodeus sides with Satan.

In case you're wondering:

(1) Yes, I'm being awfully Manichaean about this. So? A man is attempting to kill his lawfully married wife -- whom he won't divorce because he's "Catholic," even though he's engaged to another woman, and has conceived two kids by her already -- because she, allegedly, once, said that she didn't want to be kept alive by tubes. Of course, he only remembered this five years into battles to kill her, and is taking this little soiree down Murder Lane after promising a jury he'd take care of her the rest of her life. ("Fraud on the courts," anyone?) And the ACLU -- founded, let us not forget, by some folks who thought the American Communist Party was a bunch of wussies -- one of the foremost bastions of the theory that Civil rights matter, but alleged civil rights that kill matter more joins in, and I should be surprised, or soft about it? Bupkis.

I never really appreciated before what the words "the culture of death" mean. Now I know.

(2) I'm also being terribly fair.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

A little girl died recently. She had been a client. She lived a hard life, made harder the last seven years because virtually everyone charged with taking care of her failed, miserably, at some point along the line. I can't say any more because of the nature of the settlement and my, and her family's, desire for privacy, but she's with God now; say a prayer for her if you have the time.

Requiem aeternas, regina parva.
A quick rundown:

If you own a cat, and you normally do not clean the litter box; if you are married, and you discover that God has blessed you with a child; if your wife will not allow you to get rid of the cat: Cry.

The word for the day, kids, is slander.

Some times, a measure of faith in humanity is rewarded. This is what euthanasia always devolves to, guys. (Assuming without conceding that's not what it is in the first place.) Thank God we're not as far gone as the Europeans.

Let this post, too, be a public apology to Christ for doubting that miracles happen any more.

(And dang it, Ben, why do you always do it one better? In all seriousness, as he says, let us rejoice.)

Myopia. Um, y'know, those critiques of the "fundamentalists" (Catholics too, Dickie!) would be great, except they hold, depending on which poll we believe, either a massive plurality or a small majority of the votes at least in sympathy, y'know? Put differently: Any state with a dying culture and economy, no matter how large, is not the template for the nation Morris imagines it to be. Put more simply: California isn't Ohio, Dick.

Maybe. But I'm not holding my breath.

Six nuclear warheads handle this problem nicely. They work almost as well in the form of a threat. Any takers?

Remember: It's not really human unless it makes it through a razor-edged gauntlet in the birth canal. That, at least, is what the usual suspects are saying about this. Put religion to the side, and think about this: Barbara "Dim-Bulb" Boxer and the gang are saying that a child, post viability, may only live if her mother wants her to:

But Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, called it a "very sad day for the women of America, a very sad day for the families of America."

"This Senate is about to pass a piece of legislation that for the first time in history bans a medical procedure without making any exception for the health of a woman," she said in remarks before the vote.

"I want a civilized society. That means you care about the women of this country. That means you care about their pregnancies. That means you want to help them through the most difficult times. That means you don't play doctor here."
If the doctors won't play doctor, someone's got to, sweet cheeks.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Now, that said, let me just pretend I'm Pope for the day:

These bastards are going to hell.

Enjoy the desolation, guys.

Something is deeply wrong with a society where people who would applaud at this aren't dragged into the streets and hanged.
As my infrequent updates on this page are turning into a constant critique of Andrew Sullivan, I figure I should clarify a few things for the record, then move on.

Mr. Sullivan has more or less left the Catholic Church. For the record: When I said, numerous times, that he should just stay or go, dammit, I was serious: It is within one's God-given power to elect or decline membership in a faith. But this Hamlet-on-crack routine gets old after a while.

Despite my numerous disagreements with Mr. Sullivan, I am not happy he left. Necessarily, I think the Catholic Church is as close to right at any given time as is humanly possible (note: not perfect, just closer). The loss of a single light dims the whole; and, conversely, I mourn that a good man has willingly left the light.

All of this stems from what is surely a lousy catechesis: He believes -- he has internalized -- the idea that the Church does not promulgate the Truth; rather, they make rules, and worship more or less in God's name. Everything is a completely human decision; ergo, those with power construe it relative to those without. In this sense, the Body of Christ is merely a collection of people through time with a more or less similar view of God. How cheap. How poor.

Nonetheless, this cheap, poor view of the Pilgrim People of God is what led Sullivan to this point: The anger, the rage, that the Church, relying on the Bible as a whole, and on its Tradition, and the revelation of its Saints, could not, would not bend to his will. I am not casting stones; I've been in that position myself. (Ask me about the Immaculate Conception sometime; it ain't about Christ, kids.) But being Catholic means that you sometimes have to swallow your will and believe that, no matter how strongly you believe it, no matter how long and carefully you've thought about it, no matter how right it feels, you can be wrong, and when you conflict with the Church, you probably are. (If this were not so, we could solve every problem by just sitting there and thinking about it; unfortunately, this is why, in Mark Steyn's memorable phrase, the Democrats are on Planet Bananas right now.)

So, for the record: Come back, Andrew. It's not too late.

Better thoughts here, here, of course here, and, on a less directly related, but highly relevant note, here.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Repeat after me: The Pope is not Stalin.

I feel bad for the guy. He clearly misapprehends the nature of Catholicism ("The question is whether matters at the heart of controversy and dissent within the Church [contraception, women priests, celibacy and homosexuality] can even be discussed and debated"). No, Andrew, they cannot. I'm sorry. You either accept the 2,000 year-old, Scripture-and-Tradition based teachings of the Church in this regard, or you do not. It fundamentally misstates the very idea of Catholicism, let alone orthodox Christianity, to imagine that if we really, really want to, we can just change everything at the drop of a hat.

Do (ex-Church, in Andrew's case) liberals even understand what they're saying? Do they really think they're demanding and asking and pushing for something new?

Problem is, so many of them are Marxists, so they view all of this in terms of power structures. The pope and bishops have power, and use it to oppress the laity; the laity should have the power, because, well, they're the laity.

Do any of them ever read any of the documents from Vatican II? I'd expect smears like this from loonies like Matt Yglesias (no link, see Marshall, Joshua), but from self-professed Catholics who claim JP2 is corrupting Vatican II, might it not be the tiniest bit of a good idea to actually read the work that came out of that infallible Ecumenical Council?

Homework assignment for anyone reading this who thinks Andrew Sullivan is dead to rights on this: Actually read the whole library of documents that came from that Council. Then, if you think he's right, explain why. You can email me at the address right below this link. I'll post. Swear to Heaven.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I was gonna say something pithy about Andrew Sullivan's 3,876,905th broadside against conservatives who don't agree with him on every single issue (which is a surprising majority, nearing 100%) ("That Arnold should represent this and the Republican Party is threatening to all sorts of people: to the joyless, paranoid scolds who run the Dixie-fied GOP..."). I was gonna, but Jonah Goldberg hits it outta the park:

Um, maybe that's true. I don't know. But can't someone be less than enthusiastic about Arnold without a Freudian motivation? After all, I'm not terribly jubilant about the man, but after scouring my subconscious I can't find prudishness as an explanation. Maybe Andrew could convince me otherwise if he could actually explain what makes Schwarzenegger a conservative. He's pro-choice, pro-gun control, opposed to prop 54 and his wife is a liberal Kennedy (liberal wives are problems for even the most conservative politicians).

Rather than get into a lot of theorizing about the libidinal fears of social conservatives, maybe Andrew should have looked for a simpler explanation: the guy's not that conservative and he will probably make a lousy governor, a point even Andrew concedes. Sure, this whole thing is fun and it would be a great joy to see Davis lose. But politics is supposed to be about more than fun and rooting for the "coolest" candidate.
Me, I'd toss in the pro-baby-murder "Catholic" thing as reason number one I'm not doing cartwheels over this whole thing. (Yes, I know, California has the right to slaughter infants in utero protected by their constitution; doesn't mean we should reward those who agree. Insert Nazi comparison here.)

For the record: I'd probably vote for Arnold if the race was gonna be tight (and I was, you know, a citizen of California). I don't know if I'd vote for McClintock in a close race, because he's bloodless, and I don't think he'd actually come close to winning. Does this make me a bad person? Arguably. Does this mean that I'm a sexually repressed homophobe who's scared of Republicans who enjoy living? Bleep no. If Schwarzy hadn't gone off the reservation (as so many "Catholics," like Sullivan, do) about abortion, I'd be out campaigning for him now, or at least actively gabbing about how wonderful he is. Does this mean that Andrew Sullivan is an idiot polemecist who paints in broad brush strokes because of an inherent tendency to self-aggrandize and marginalize anyone who lacks his un-nuanced (or overnuanced, depending on what we're talking about) view of the world? No, but we're getting there.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Two quickies. Three, actually. Long, long day. The real action, to my mind, is over at Ben's place (here is a good start).

Three things:

* Good heavens, Tennessee's insurance law is woefully underdeveloped. C'mon, you filthy ambulance chasers. Sue recklessly and help an insurance company create precedent, one way or another. I know you have it in you. Y'know, I hear State Farm has virtually no financial resources to withstand a lawsuit, and they're settling everything. Would I lie to you?

* This is one hell of a long blog post, and is also funny as hell:

I have to admit, I love that lower lip thing Bill does. Men are immune, but women eat it up.

Hillary: WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON! WHAT IN THE NAME OF HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?

Bill: [spreading hot molasses on nude intern handcuffed spreadeagled on Oval Office desk] Baby, I thought you were out of town at the Conference of Dateless Vegan Women Against Leg Shaving!

Intern: Bill, the cuffs...

Hillary: [tongues of fire gushing from her eye sockets as six-inch talons emerge from her fingertips] I HAVE HAD IT WITH YOU! BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY SATAN, I CONSIGN YOU TO THE FLAMES OF HELL! [prepares to zap him with a magic ray from her right index claw]

Intern: The CUFFS, Bill.

Bill: Aw, Hillsy...baby...it's not what you think. I came in here lookin' for a box of Mallomars and I found this sweet thing cuffed to the desk, surrounded by slobberin' Republicans. I chased 'em off with my nine iron, and now I'm scrapin' the molasses off her body with this soft pastry brush.

Hillary: How STUPID do you think I AM? [serrated horns spiraling out of her forehead]

Intern: Excellent question, Mrs. C!

Bill: Aw, baby, you know you cain't stay mad at ol' Bill. [bites lower lip]

Hillary: I....I....what are you doing to me....I can actually feel my ovaries throbbing...

Intern: WHOA! I'M OVULATING!

Bill: [biting a little more] I feel your pain, baby.

Hillary: Bill...sweetheart...what's going on? How did I get here? What's that poor girl doing on your desk?

Intern: [mesmerized by Bill's lip] Yeah, what am I doing on your desk?

Bill: I'll tell you all about it in a second, Hillsy, but for now...you are...a CHICKEN!

Hillary: CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK P-CACKKK!

Intern: CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK!

Bill: Not you, stupid.
The man is wasting himself as a lawyer.

* What's really sad is that this is so very right it's disgusting. When I'm Pope...

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Can we just nuke them now, for the love of Pete?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Victory for Ben My Brother The Fans of Washington, D.C. People Irritated by Greg Easterbrook Everywhere!
Ok, so she was maybe undercover.

(I'd say I find it hard to believe that she was undercover, given that you could find her name connected with the government in all sorts of places on the web before this broke, but let's be honest: The CIA couldn't off a cigar-smoking tyrant for decades of trying. This isn't surprising.)

Same stand as before: Find the ones who broke the law and punish them. But let's not pretend that this was an idea masterminded at the top -- neither Bush nor Rove nor any of the top guns are so stupid as to do something like this, if for no better reason than it was pointless.

UPDATE: Or maybe she wasn't. Novak comes out swinging:

The leak now under Justice Department investigation is described by former Ambassador Wilson and critics of President Bush's Iraq policy as a reprehensible effort to silence them. To protect my own integrity and credibility, I would like to stress three points. First, I did not receive a planned leak. Second, the CIA never warned me that the disclosure of Wilson's wife working at the agency would endanger her or anybody else. Third, it was not much of a secret.

[...]

During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: "Oh, you know about it." The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue.
He adds that he was assured that she was no longer covert.

Thank God I don't watch TV. Or read Josh Marshall.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one of the front-runners for the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States.

Who believes in time travel. And thinks we can achieve it.

Ahead, Mr. Sulu. Warp Six.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Can someone explain the big deal about the Plame, or Plume, or whatever, affair? I don't watch TV except for Enterprise (this week's episode looks... interesting) and British comedies, so I'm kinda outta the loop here, but from what I can figure, it goes like this:

*Idiot former (UPDATED) ambassador says bad things about his own country while country is at war.

*Someone at White House outs his wife -- who, like her husband, is an American citizen -- as CIA to beat reporter/columnist.

*CIA stands for "Central Intelligence Agency" of the United States of America.

*Wife is not in deep cover in some dangerous place when this "outing" happens. Wife is, in fact, at a cocktail party.

*This "outing" is allegedly done as payback, or for vengeance, or as a warning, or something.

*Now, wife will have to work a cushy desk job.

*Wife is not dead.

*Ambassador is not dead.

*Neither was fired.

*Neither was threatened with violence or (job) termination.

Thus, when the loony left responsible left of center says that

This episode exposes the viciousness and amorality at the very heart of the Bush administration, and I hope it opens some conservative eyes about the nature of the administration they support. These guys are not who you think they are and they aren't pursuing their policies for the principled reasons you think they are. After all, if they went to war with Iraq because of a genuine commitment to humanitarian relief and Middle East democracy, don't you think they would have paid a little more attention to postwar planning? What does it tell you that they didn't?
...I'm left to conclude that there is a great deal of fury out there for no good reason.

(What does it tell me? That they made a bad call about postwar planning. They got the war right, and the aftermath wrong, so far. In other words, they're "human."

Hey, wait -- if the dread neocons were running this, and doing it to enlarge the American empire, and to forcibly spread American democracy abroad, shouldn't there have been more postwar planning on their part? I mean, we can, I think, generally agree that the stereotype neocon is a [Jewish] intellectual ivory tower sort; doesn't the absence of all-seeing postwar planning suggest that it wasn't a neocon cabal? Just asking.)

I'm actually serious -- and this invitation is open to any outside of the fever swamps of left or right: Tell me why l'affaire Plame is such a big deal. Please. I'm willing to listen. Otherwise, like Glenn Reynolds is suggesting, I don't see the big deal, other than a bunch of folks who normally hate the CIA suddenly developing a swollen heart for one of its agents.

Email address to the left.

UPDATE: Little Tiny Lies has something on this -- and the comments are worth reading. Tacitus is never very taciturn.

And I should add: I understand the danger to real contacts Ms. Plame may have had. But as payback, these seems reeeaaally stupid, awkward, and ineffective -- and let's be honest, the White House political operation is none of these.

And, like one of Steve's commenters noted, if this were Karl Rove doing the leaking, do you really think he'd need to hit six reporters before he got one to print for him? Puh-lease.

UPDATED AGAIN: Clifford May says this wasn't a secret in the first place and asks a good question: How messed are the folks at Langley?

ONE MORE TIME: Drudge is now carrying a quote from Novak to the effect that no one told him to run the name, no one narrowed it down for his attention, and by crackey, the woman was an analyst, not an operative. Seals the deal, to my mind. Link when it becomes available.
I shouldn't carp when a New York Times writer -- let alone an editor -- says something nice about evangelical Christians (a group that now apparently includes Catholics).

But carp I must: What exactly is a "Pentecostalist"? I know what a Pentecostal is -- I grew up in the South, for the love of Heaven. Is this Kristof dealing clumsily with something he doesn't get, or is this a function of me being cut off from way too many things for way too long?

Friday, September 26, 2003

When enough people excite themselves sexually, it goes from disgusting to depraved.

Thus, media self-abuse sessions are depraved.

I mean, seriously, go read this. So many like minded people agreeing that they do a great job, all together? What other profession could do this and not laugh itself silly about itself? Don't even say "lawyers" -- we tell more lawyer jokes than the rest of you combined. This would be like Congress having hearings on itself, and issuing a grade of "A++!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Josh Marshall: Still a hack.
Someone, someday, must explain to me why I get LoFi publishing some days, and HiFi others.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Hilarious parody -- and I think I might have a new addition to the leftward links.

Via Welcome to Rantville.
Mike Martz is still an idiot, Volume III.

Bulger is "still growing?" Y'all've got a fully grown QB on the sidelines, moron.

Friday, September 19, 2003

I wanted to write something pithy, something uplifting, something that would make the heart sing its way into the weekend and distract us from the fact that one of our two major political parties has not merely gone slightly mad, but has done so in a way that simply screams out for large doses of psychoactive medicine (Our best chance for electoral victory is if millions of Americans go hungry and thousands more die at the hands of terrorists -- that'll show the bastards for even once speaking favorably of BUSH in an opinion poll).

Couldn't. Sorry.

What I decided to do instead was to point out that this, while mean, is also hilarious. And right.

When Hurricane Gilbert -- Category 5 and winds that could knock a young Dolly Parton on her side -- was on a dead-on collision course with Houston, where I lived at the time, there were three categories of humans:

The survivors, i.e., those smart enough to pack everything up and get ready to haul ass inland as fast as possible;

The 'tweeners, i.e., those for whom either fate or finances made it impossible to leave thusly (or who were smart enough to want to live, but not smart enough to leave), and who thus battened down the hatches and made sure to have enough bottled water and dry goods to last a week; and

The morons, i.e., The Guys Who Proved Darwin Right, which is to say, the ones who thought that a Category 5 with gusts over 200 miles an hour would lead to some sweet waves, and, Dude, I've got my board, Dude, I've got my boat, let's rock!

I regret that Gilbert did not hit Houston, because, first, it scoured the Yucatan, and quite frankly, Texans were in a better position to take that damage than the largely poor inhabitants of that peninsula, and, second, because some filtering of the gene pool is desirable.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Charles In Charge: The Porn Years

NOT OFFICE SAFE. I found out the hard way.

That said, this post led to this post, which led to the comments, which led me to Google the names "Nicole Eggert" and "Erika Eleniak" in an unfiltered image search.

Do so, and (1) be impressed, (2) be ashamed, and (3) be amazed at how quickly celebrity dies for attractive young women.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Via Ben -- aw, heck, he says it best:

Oh, and one last thing: Al Franken is so going to hell.
So, it appears, is at least one writer for The Onion.
Why I never link to Matthew Yglesias. Never. Fortunately, Tacitus plumbs the depths for us.

Oh, for reference: No bishop needed to excommunicate the Nazis. Back then, catechesis was a little better, so every Catholic knew that initiating or taking part in mass murder leads to excommunication by nature of the act itself. In the same way that a doctor who is "Catholic" who performs abortions is consigned to Hell without the bell and the book, so were any "Catholic" Nazis -- especially those who directly aided the mass murder.

And the Pope didn't excommunicate Hitler because the man wasn't Catholic, and wasn't Christian. It would be like formally telling me I'm no Wiccan -- I coulda told you that. Hitler renounced Christianity in his early teens. I know, many liberals suspect that all devout Catholics are closet Nazis, but y'all are gonna have to work a little harder to prove it.

One last: Apropos of this slander:

And we haven't even started talking about Croatia yet -- there's a story to set your blood boiling.
News flash: That particular Franciscan was excommunicated officially. Those others who were not, were excommunicate de facto. Did some "priests" take part in atrocities? I'd be shocked if they didn't -- they are human, and prone to err as any other. Are they in Hell now? One can but hope. Does this mean that the Church is Evil? Please.

Let's not start comparing body counts among competing ideologies here, o secular humanist Matthew.
Clarification on that last item:

(1) The new model is in pre-production. The engineering team expects it to roll off the factory floor around, sigh, April 15th.

(2) Technically, this will be the second model of that generation of [Crowns] -- which still leaves us below replacement rate. As we cannot have .2 children, we shall have to simply put in the long hours to produce a new model in the not-too-distant future.

(3) If there's any doubt, given the usually dry nature of my writing, about how I feel about this:

I'm:

(a) ecstatic;

(b) elated;

(c) overjoyed;

(d) enraptured;

(e) jumping up and down (well, I was a little while ago);

(f) happier than a pig in shit; and -- for those who know me well, let us not forget:

(g) scared out of my mind that something is going to go wrong. (The last time, the doctors threatened to prescribe me sedatives. I do not foresee being calmer this time.)
Some time ago, I promised to explain why posting has been light the last couple of months. Well, in no particular order:

(1) I'm not all that bright. I don't really have that much to say.

(2) I've been getting settled into the new job.

(3) We moved. That took longer than you'd think.

(4) No internet access at home. Long story.

And now, for the big announcement:

(5) The [Crown] family: Keeping the population above replacement rate since 2001. (Actually, the extended [Crown] family has been doing that for centuries.)

Monday, September 15, 2003

A few points for an otherwise busy morning:

* Overrated. That deadly defense means nothing if (1) your offense is poop, and (2) your kicker gets blocked three times, including on an extra point. Ain't the kicker's fault if it happens that often, kids.

I'd personally like to see Gruden taken down a few pegs. This is a nice start.

* Also overrated. The Bengals, kids. You beat the Bengals by three. I don't care how psyched everyone is about the new coach, they're still the Bengals until proven otherwise. Super Bowl contenders my @*$.

* I've neglected to mention this to date, but one of my best friends in da whole wide woild, Jimmy, is headed off to Kandahar, to do contracting for Halliburton. (Gasp!) I wish him luck; it might seem crazy to a lot of folks, but I see why he's doing what he's doing. Stop in -- he'll be back to blogging on his site soon, and we can get a first hand report on the state of Afghanistan.

* Turn signals are our friends, kids.

* As a rule of thumb, only an idiot gives away the starting quarterback's job because the starter got injured. Mike Martz is an idiot. Warner is one of the highest-rated passers of all time, can read a blitz like no one's business, is deadly accurate, and knows the offense backward and forward. But Marc Bulger benefits from Mike Martz actually using Marshall Faulk in, you know, the game, so Bulger starts.

Moron.

* Woo hoo!

* (First item:) HAHAHAHAHA. Suuuure. Have we, as a nation, turned into a bunch of women? Actually, that's not fair to my wife; she'd kick someone's ass before admitting she's "afraid." "John Ashcroft scares me," "Antonin Scalia scares me," "W. scares me," and so on. Grow a pair and go to battle, if you don't like them.

* Those right-wing scare mongers have taken over the Guardian! Stories like that one, and this one, are just propoganda designed to force women into back-alley abortions!

I joke, but someone somewhere is probably thinking exactly that right now.

* It's called withdrawal, Bill, and it's a sign of illness. Seek help.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

"Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
Where were the upright ever destroyed?

As I have observed, those who plow evil
and those who sow trouble reap it.

At the breath of God they are destroyed;
at the blast of his anger they perish.

The lions may roar and growl,
yet the teeth of the great lions are broken.

The lion perishes for lack of prey,
and the cubs of the lioness are scattered."

-Job 4:7-11


Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?

In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD.

The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, "There is no God."

His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.

He says to himself, "I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity."

His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;
Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.

He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
In the hiding places he kills the innocent;
His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.

He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair;
He lurks to catch the afflicted;
He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.

He crouches, he bows down,
And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones.

He says to himself, "God has forgotten;
He has hidden His face; He will never see it."

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand.
Do not forget the afflicted.

Why has the wicked spurned God?
He has said to himself, "You will not require it."

You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand.
The unfortunate commits himself to You;
You have been the helper of the orphan.

Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer,
Seek out his wickedness until You find none.

The LORD is King forever and ever;
Nations have perished from His land.

O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear

To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.

-Psalm 10


Today kinda snuck up on me: intellectually, I knew what today would be; but it only hit me when I got into work this morning what today was. I have nothing terribly insightful to say, except these:

I do not now, and will not for the foreseeable future, trust any modern Democrat to try to the limits of Executive power to stop another September 11th from happening again. Roosevelt? Truman? Kennedy (John)? Scoop Jackson? The last of those men died or became Republican years ago. I vote Republican, generally, because of abortion and taxes. But even if the two parties reconciled unfavorably on those issues, I'd still vote Republican, because alone among our political parties -- Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, Whatever -- I can trust Republicans to do what must be done to stop vicious men from slaughtering my family in their sleep.

Necessarily, when bad men are trying to kill you, you must sometimes kill them to stop them from killing you. Sometimes, they will admit no other argument.

I could care less about sixteen words. A vicious man who would certainly have destroyed us given a chance holds power no more. That is enough.

The Left is proof that good intentions can lead inexorably to evil.

As an otherwise fairly dense fellow once said, we're still coming for you, you bastards.

UPDATE: Wanted to note Senator Cornyn's clarion words of today:

"The passengers on Flight 93 were everyday Americans, men and women with jobs, with families, with dreams. Like all of us, they made promises to their loved ones before they boarded that plane: promises of vacations and baseball games, of presents and anniversaries, small promises and big ones. Some promises don't come cheap; some cost us nothing; others require that we risk all, even our very lives.

The crash site of Flight 93, nestled in the quiet hills of Pennsylvania, is filled with memories of the promises those heroes made and will never keep."
As the Senator notes, we now have a duty to keep the promise they made that day.

Victory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Reading comprehension is a condition precedent to textual critique, Mr. Sullivan.

Compare:

Sullivan: "Anything to distract from the real scandal, I guess. Dulles' proposals for reform of the Church amount entirely to greater obedience to Rome, subservience to ecclesiastical authority, maintenance of the existing structures, and penance from the laity. I.e. more power for him. Funny how that happens, doesn't it?"

Dulles: "Some of the alienation between different groups may result from mechanisms introduced in the wake of Vatican II. The Council exalted the episcopacy to an unprecedented peak of power and responsibility. No normal individual is capable of being at once the chief teacher, the leading mystagogue, and the principal administrator for millions of Catholics, responsible for a huge array of parishes, schools, universities, hospitals, and charitable organizations. Bishops are also expected to be in constant consultation with pastoral councils and senates of priests. Within the diocese the bishop holds the fullness of legislative, judicial, and executive power.

In addition to their tasks within their respective dioceses, bishops are regularly engaged in the deliberations and decisions of the national episcopal conference to which they belong and in some cases have assignments from one or more of its multiple committees. A number of them are also involved in the government of the universal Church. They occasionally serve on congregations of the Holy See, and take part in synods of bishops. No wonder that there are failures in the handling of certain assignments of priests and other personnel.

According to the job description in the official documents, the bishop ought to be a man of high culture, firm in faith, solid in orthodoxy, a paragon of holiness, graciously winning in personality, able to assess the talents and weaknesses of others, skilled at managing large corporations and conducting fiscal policy, eloquent in the pulpit, fearless under criticism, indefatigable, and always self-possessed. Do we have in the United States a sufficient supply of priests with all these qualities?
Many of the candidates being elevated to the episcopate, it would seem, are men of ordinary abilities, kind and hardworking, but incapable of measuring up to the almost superhuman responsibilities of the office. They run the risk of being morally, psychologically, and spiritually crushed under the burdens. As a prime structural problem, therefore, I would single out for special attention the episcopal office. What can be done to restore the priestly and pastoral ministry of bishops to its position of primacy?

In this context the relationship between clergy and laity may need some reconsideration. The distinction of roles, clearly spelled out by the Second Vatican Council, can be overstepped from both sides. Bishops, in their zeal to give explicit pastoral direction on every question and to control everything that goes on in their diocese, sometimes infringe on the proper competence of the laity, whose responsibility it is to apply the gospel to the circumstances of the marketplace, the professions, and political life. But the laity should understand that doctrinal teaching, pastoral governance, and liturgical leadership are tasks ordinarily reserved to persons in holy orders, especially the pope and bishops." (Emphasis added.)

We can't be reading the same document.
Ha! Take that!

And that!

Monday, September 08, 2003

On a happier note, Ramesh Ponnuru works over Nick Gillespie (you have no idea how much fun it is to write that) here:

Gillespie's comment about Section 215 of Patriot makes sense only as part of his weaselly attempt to shift ground. Yes, it's true that this section of the law "allows the government to delve into personal records, including Web use, of people who may or may not be charged with a crime." So does every other surveillance law, both before and after Patriot. Neither the Fourth Amendment, the criminal surveillance laws, nor the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has ever exempted personal records from surveillance just because the person in question was not going to be charged with a crime. In the Fourth Amendment and criminal-surveillance contexts, the question is always where the evidence might be. If evidence relevant to a criminal investigation is in your house, your house can be searched — even if you're not suspected of anything.
Beautiful.

More Ponnurus -- which is to say, more non-lawyers who know the law better than most lawyers -- show up, and I'm out of a damned job.

I personally think he left out the standing point as a sign of magnaminity.
Institutions of men never ever do wrong, and when they do, the whole thing is rotten to the core, or, Why I Don't Read Anything Andrew Sullivan Says About the Catholic Church. He has some usual screed about how some truly evil men did horrible things to their fellow humans in the name of Christ. (No link; he's wandering into Josh Marshall territory.)

No, seriously? That happens? Can a Church really claim to be doing right when some of its members do ill?

Grow up, friend. The Church is the Bride of Christ, the Pilgrim People of God, and, yes, an institution of human beings. We're all touched by Original Sin. We are all tainted. The sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are given to doing terrible things to each other at times; when they have power, they are more tempted to do so. Otherwise, how do you think they Kennedys get such warm receptions out of the priests, bishops, and Cardinals with whom they consort? (Fascists then socialists and now baby murderers -- not the best Christians ever, y'know?) The miracle of the Church is that frequently, through Christ's intervention, men do really good things more often than not.

I'm sorry that Christianity stigmatizes sodomy. I'm sorry that God spoke so. I'm sorry that life is horribly unfair.

Rules of the game, friend. No one's forcing you to stick around.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Ramesh Ponnuru has a good read on Bobby Jindal, a subject near and dear to many conservative minds, including my own.
I'm a nutty right-winger. I admit it.

Lileks isn't, and says quite well something I was getting at yesterday:

This reminds me of a gentle tut-tutting I got from some guy on a webpage I stumbled across post 9/11 - he was just so . . . bemused at how I’d lost my grasp on reality. I had been describing my reaction to the men who’d kill my daughter for the glory of Allah: give me the gun, show me the cave. The author of the piece suggested I would be perfect for the role of the WW2 black-out warden who scolds people for half-closed windowshades.

Why, it’s almost as if I thought we were at war, or something.

Obviously the guy had no kids. I’m not saying childless people can’t have a visceral reaction to terrorists, or that parenthood has imbued me with a special glowing Field of Righteousness - but until you have children you can’t quite realize what you’d do to defend them, because the emotion comes from a place you didn’t know too much about. The weeks after 9/11 we all thought that we were in for more of this - more planes, more bombs, and come the winter, Smallpox. I would jerk awake from nightmares where Gnat had the pox. You do everything you can to keep them safe - then this.
You really have no idea what you'd do until you fully understand you're a Daddy. Then, no amount of violence seems entirely unthinkable.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

I haven't weighed in on much of anything lately -- an announcement in that regard will be forthcoming in future months -- but reading Clayton Cramer's bit on Paul Hill (here) got me thinking:

It's hard for me to feel any sympathy for Hill. If Paul Hill had destroyed abortion clinics, I could at least respect his fervent desire to stop what he considers to be murder. Property is always of lesser significance than lives. Killing an abortion doctor, except while that doctor is actually headed into the operating room to perform an abortion, doesn't qualify as justifiable homicide by any stretch of the imagination. It's not lawful to gun down a serial killer as he walks down the street, unless they resist arrest, or are engaged in an immediate act that threatens the life of another. Neither of these cases really fits what Paul Hill did.

Paul Hill clearly sees himself as the 21st century equivalent of John Brown, and I think that's a fair comparison--and that should tell you something of how I feel about John Brown--a man who was too willing to kill, and sometimes to kill innocents, in the single-minded pursuit of justice. All the time and money that Hill and friends have spent on this trial could have been spent in ways that wouldn't have taken a life or inflamed pro-choice sorts: civil disobedience, blocking abortion clinic entrances; leafletting and picketing. Even criminal actions such as property-only sabotage can be remedied with enough money. To quote Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven: "It's a hellava' thing when you kill a man. You take away everything he's got ..... And everything he's ever gonna have."

Any liberal who regards Paul Hill as a monster, but John Brown as a hero, is only upset that Hill objects to abortion. Anyone who lionizes John Brown clearly has no problem with Paul Hill's methods.
Cramer's right, more or less.

But I have two addenda to add:

Addendum One

I am torn over non-state-sponsored justice. The rational, lawyer part recognizes full well that letting vigilantes out to do justice runs all sorts of nasty risks, not least of which are breakdown in social order, and the enormous human, emotional, economic, and social costs attached to letting justice be done by angry mobs or individuals (who are unpredictable, given to waaay too much emotion, and are ultimately not accountable the way a government is). In my head, so to speak, I am fully cognizant of the need to monopolize government to the state, and the State alone. And I agree with that need. In my head.

But, if you believe, as I do, that deliberate abortion is simply institutionalized murder, then it is very hard to have sympathy for the men and women who raise their right hands, swear not to induce abortion, then go ahead and do it anyway for fun and profit -- even when they're killed in cold blood.

The problem is this. I am willing to kill to save my child. I'd slaughter every last one of you (and all one of you!) reading this to do so. If God blesses us with another child, I'd sever your silver cords faster than you can blink for that little one's life, without hesitation, whether he (or she or they) is (are) in utero or drawing air ex utero. Most fathers, I think, would admit to the same emotions if they're honest.

My child(ren) is/are not valuable because they are mine, however, but rather because they are children. I don't care if we're hardwired to throw ourselves in the way of harm to little ones, or if it's social conditioning. It is fact. Children are outside of rational calculus. They are, for a whole host of reasons, more important, more valuable than adults. This may or may not be logically provable -- I apologize for leaving it at that -- but it is true on any visceral level you choose to measure.

And so I must also point out that if you were advancing on a terrified child with a bloody knife and murder in your eyes, I would bludgeon you to death before I let you kill that child. I would feel no remorse for so doing. It matters not whether the kid and I share a significant level of DNA. It matters that you are looking to kill a child. Period. End of discussion. End of your life.

I doubt you'd find a jury outside of the PRM who'd convict me for that.

So, the question is this: If abortion is indeed child murder, why should I condemn Hill? For the doctor doing this thing is, of his own volition, murdering a child. And the doctor Hill killed murdered children for profit.

(Actually, I should condemn Hill for killing the bodyguard. Under no circumstances was that licit.)

There are all sorts of very good arguments about this. Good cannot come from an evil act, my Church instructs, and states that killing in cold blood is evil. Fair enough. But I wrestle with this: This begs the question of when that killing is not in cold blood. (More on that below.)

Too, there are collateral damage issues. The dead doctor's family was not morally complicit in his crimes, yet they hurt. The pro-life movement is damaged by a media that happily lumps murderers with good faith protesters (who abhor the murderers). Public sympathy for the ghouls who slaughter children aids the baby murder argument.

What I find disturbing about all of this is that -- under our law -- there is no way for these men to stand and say, Stop this evil thing to any effect. None. It cannot happen. Seven men with cold hearts committed us to this, and respect for the rule of law perversely mandates that we simply accept, on a limited basis, their murderous injunction. Those in favor of baby murder -- who never once cease to twist and avoid reality to justify their positions -- are safely in control of the situation. Those who want to change it are left with no legal options.

Put differently: There is a not small percentage of people in this country who believe that we willingly allow a Holocaust every four years. Yet they have no power to stop what they see as mass murder. Most will not act out violently; we cannot, however, be shocked when they choose to do so.

Addendum Two

Cramer implicitly refers to Augustine's great tracts on Just War. By way of illustration (to overcome Christian pacifism, in part), Augustine proposed (loosely) this hypothetical:

Suppose you have a young woman who is being stalked by a large man. He clearly intends to do her harm, but at the instant you reach the situation, he is in no position to harm her. It is clearly not morally licit to slit his throat on the off chance that he'll go through with it; you deny him the chance to repent and back away. It can't hurt, though, to yell, "Stop," or try to get between him and the woman.

Now suppose that he keeps coming. He still can't hurt her yet, but he's not dissuaded by your activities. It's probably not licit to wound or hurt him, because you're still denying him the chance to repent, and the young woman still faces no immediate harm.

The question, then, is when you can -- indeed, Augustine implies, must -- strike. For you see, at some point, he has ignored all of your blandishments, walked around you, and is going to rape or kill that young woman. If you stand by and let her die, you are complicit in her death. But what is that point? When he's drawn his sword? When he's within striking distance? When he raises the sword? When the sword is on the downswing? When?

This is a question I have wrestled with for fully seven years now, and I can't work it out: Abortion protests do not stop the murders. At what point -- knowing what that doctor is doing -- are you complicit in the murder, so long as you simply sit outside and chant? Or file briefs? Or whatever?

Let me be completely clear on this: I'm not advocating murder. Of anyone. But one question that no one who's willing to debate me honestly about this can or has answered to my satisfaction is this: Why is Augustine's hypothetical wrong in this instance? Why is killing the man who is about to kill babies illicit, but killing the man who is about to kill the young woman not? Don't hand me any hackneyed nonsense about a child in utero not really being a child; go read a biology textbook, then talk to me. And the "nonperson" argument is as risible as it was one hundred and forty years ago.

So? Any takers?

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

In honor of both Ben Domenech, who seems to have inaugurated this system; the increasing acceptance of this form, as Paul Cella will attest; and my limited schedule, a brief listing:

Walter Cronkite, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Planet Earth is paging you.

Paul links to Larry Auster, and yet I still maintain respect for him.

Ben has an MLK tribute that deserves a read, along with one of the greatest political speeches of all time.

New blog, worth reading if for no better reason than this: Links to stories about lawyers being sent back to law school. Good idea.

Josh Marshall is still a hack.

If you come up behind me, and the twenty five miles over the speed limit I am currently effecting is not fast enough for you, the appropriate manner to inform me that you would like to pass me is (step by step) as follows: Flash brights, twice. Allow time for me to switch lanes. Wave in thanks as you pass. Racing up on my tail is only guaranteed to get me to hit the brakes. Hey, I've got insurance; my car can take the impact. I'm just crazy enough to do this. Wanna play chicken?

If you want to pass me, and both the left and right lanes are completely open, it is asinine beyond reason to race up behind me and expect me to get out of the way.

The Christian Science Monitor discovers DeRidder, Louisiana. The Seventh Seal is breaking...

Blogger Bowl 2K4 held its draft; here's my team (In Pari Delicto):

QB: Kurt Warner
RB: Shaun Alexander
RB: Fred Taylor
WR: Rod Smith
WR: Marty Booker
TE: Tony Gonzalez
K: Ryan Longwell
D/ST: Dolphins

The reserves may actually be as strong as the starters (not that that's saying much: I drafted Alexander as a result of a Flash glitch):

Warrick Dunn
Trent Green
Jimmy Smith
Moe Williams
Az-Zahir Hakim,
Mark Brunell, Jac
Kevin Johnson
49ers D/ST
Freddie Jones
Antwaan Randle El

I'd like to say Randle El gives me the edge in the "Names That Make Neat Battle Cries" department, but the Burghers got Alge Crumpler. He's no Ya Ya Ja, but dammit, that's hard to beat.

For the record: Rachel Weisz is the hottest thing on the screen since a young Halle Berry. Apparently stupid, like Ms. Berry, but: Damn. But then again, those who know me know I go for big eyes.

What the hell is up with you people? I don't post for a month, and the lowest-traffic day I get is 30; if the reports I got from SiteMeter are to be believed, I had a day near 200. Now I start posting again, and I get 8. What the crap?

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Brilliant. Dead-on. For once, I'm not exaggerating.

Except, one thing:

There was one other man who could run through a busted play, who could break dozens of tackles, who simply could not be stopped (and I'm not talking about the #44 J. Riggins my brother created).

His name: RB G BROWNS.

No one knew from whence he came, although many speculated "Cleveland." That's silly, of course. But if you managed to get RB G BROWNS on your team in Tecmo Super Bowl III, no man could easily stand against you.

Of course, it didn't hurt to have a fellow named Marino, another named Clark (the wide, not the end), a man mysteriously named M. Duper, and a tight end at the height of his career, a man known only as K. Jackson. And T. Kirby was nothing to sneeze at, once RB G BROWNS came along.

I think I'll go home and play TSBIII tonight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I say these next two words, not as a curse -- for it is not, no matter how many people use it that way -- but as a recording of the prayer I uttered when I saw the picture here.

Jesus God.

Blood and fire and sulphur and pain. Isolation and darkness and eternal emptiness. Judgment most terrible.

To the bastards who arranged, and performed this: I'll see you in Hell yet.

To the sorts who would see this and excuse it: And you, too.

To those who look at this and say, Yeah, but anti-abortion religious fanatics are worse, or The Jews [this Jewish child] deserve it: The flagstones beneath the paving on the road to Hell are mere words of equivalence. In other words: You, too.

I've said before that one of the few consolations I can take from damnation is that I'll get to see [fill in the irritating celebrity here] suffering there. I was being a smart-ass. I apologize. The single upside is that I'll get to see these wastes of skin suffering there with me.

Ben is a better man than I. No surprise there.

Christ is a loving and merciful God, but let us not forget that he is a terrible God, as well -- one who brooks not harm to the little ones.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

One of the foremost insights of conservatism is that an old not-so-good is almost always preferable to a brand-new unknown. It is not that conservatism fears change, for some changes can be and are good; it is that change, especially untested, massive change, invariably invokes the Law of Unintended Consequences. We respect the wisdom of our forbears -- not any one, or any one group, but the totality reaching back in time -- because they tried, and experimented with, and suffered from, all of the essential conditions of humanity, and found ways to cope. Put more bluntly: We don't need to re-eat arsenic every day to find out that it kills us, because many stupid people in the past did this, and in their deaths, taught us not to eat the dully shiny metal.

And that is why I oppose gay marriage, and why every conservative should do so.

Never before has a civilization tried this little feat: Ordering marriage as anything other than a male-female combination. Oh, we've tried all sorts of variants on male-female, most of which are classic polygamy; but those failed, time and again.

We're looking to break new ground here, kids. And that's rarely a good thing where the human condition is concerned. Just because the arsenic is baked in attractive loaves of soft dough, doesn't mean it won't finish you off just the same.

So let's take a look at some of the fallout of this new wave of "progressive" thinking.

Honorable men like Ben Domenech and William Sulik are rightly upset that their Church is running face-first off a cliff. And I think we can safely say that John Derbyshire is not in his happy place:

This is a dreadful event, a triumph for the forces of death over the forces of life. Robinson cheerfully acknowledges that he is an active homosexual. The Bible is perfectly clear that homosexual acts are sinful. Our Lord gave sinners strict and clear instructions: stop sinning, and repent your past sins. Robinson is in brazen violation of fundamental Christian doctrine. Nobody has to be a Christian; but if you are going to call yourself one, you should follow the rules. Further, Robinson abandoned two little girls in order to indulge his sexual urges. [...]

That he could become a bishop in my church sickens and disgusts me. We can show tolerance and Christian obligation towards deviant minorities without handing them the keys to the house, can't we? Apparently not, not today, not in America. For shame! For shame!
And why should he be? "Progressives" in his Church have tossed 2,000 years of Christianity out the window, calling it bigotry.

Beware anyone who says that the received wisdom of 2,000 years is evil.

The Biblical injunctions on this are clear; what's at least as clear is that never in the history of orthodox Christianity (or Judaism, or Islam) has boys-playing-with-boys been licit. Never. Never has marriage been defined as anything other than a male-female relationship. And yet a nominally Christian Church has tossed all of that out the window.

Next up: "Blessings" for same-sex unions. (Update since I started writing this: Apparently, this is half a fait accompli.)

Wanna talk the law of unintended consequences? It is a common Christian prayer that the various Churches should some day reunite, for it is wrong that the Bride of Christ be as injured as she is. Admittedly, when most folks (and I am no exception) say this prayer, it is with the assumption that of course their Church is the template upon which reunion will happen. Reunion is only desirable if everything vital is not lost in the process. The Episcopal Church just cut itself off from, not only the rest of the Anglican Communion, but also the catholic (small and large C) Church. In other words, if you thought Papal infallibility was the big hangup to eventual reunion, think again.

(Yes, I know, the Anglicans exist because of a schism. Fine. But that's neither a good reason to cheer a large chunk of them heading off into an even graver error, nor an excuse for lack of mercy and pity as we pray for a wounded part of the Christian Church.)

And that's just one of the immediate, please-God-not-iterative effects. It makes my point, though: The reason conservatism is a superior outlook is that we don't proceed in a ready, FIRE!, aim sequence. Move slowly, and you're not too likely to trip over your own feet.

I don't care about the Supreme Court's sweet-mystery-of-life garbage. I don't care that an elite class, of which I'm a member, has informed the plebes that, really, they should simply submit to the superior wisdom of their unelected masters. (On a related note: While I recognize the value of having a counter-democratic institution in our Government, I have to object to much of its work: They are apparently using a copy of the Constitution etched with blackbody ink on radioactive elastic.) I do care that two tiny segments of the population (lawyers and gays) are pushing us to experiment in a way that we've never dared before. One insignificantly small portion, the Federal judiciary, whose whole job is to stop radical change, is leading the way. Any "conservative" who cheers this (or, despicably, compares any of this to slavery or Jim Crow) is not worthy of the name -- not for the effect (which might be laudatory and might be disastrous) -- but for the means of achieving it.

(This is, incidentally, for all of his invocations of "true conservatives," and Michael Oakeshott, why Andrew Sullivan is not now and never has been a conservative. If you are willing to cast aside thousands of years of wisdom and thought, for your own gratification, you are many things, including limitedly rational; you are not a conservative.

This, incidentally, is why he's not Catholic: Cheering a pro-choicebaby murder candidate, specifically for being in favor of slaughtering infants, is no more Catholic than Holocaust denial.

Then again, I suspect that all of his affection for the pageantry and emotionalism of Catholicism (as opposed to, you know, the faith and the tradition) won't hold him there any longer.)

Look, here's the deal. Where gay marriage is concerned, it's entirely possible that we'll all join hands and skip happily into a bright, shining Eschaton. It's possible that there will be no social consequences of any sort.

It's just that I'm not betting on it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Hey -- does anyone know anything about Word-of-Mouth.Org? Someone is apparently doing a search for information on me, and two someones apparently know something about me (and they'll let me investigate this invasion of privacy for only $20!). I think WOM might be engaging in actionable behavior, but I'd like to know more about them before I look more closely at that.

Oh, and: Anyone who wants to know about me can just email me. I'm a pretty charming fellow.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

At some point, you become a self parody.

Richardson should be ashamed of himself. Didn't he take an oath to honor the law?

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I've been privy to some damned good speeches lately, but I think this might be one of the best I've seen in a while. I love the opening: "Good afternoon, or, as John Kerry might say: 'Bonjour!'"

My favorite bit? (Hard call.)

When criticized for these kinds of comments, the Democrats said we were questioning their patriotism.

Not so!

The Democrats' problem is not a lack of patriotism. It's a lack of seriousness.

They don't hate their country, they just refuse to lead it.

I will never call the Democrat Party unpatriotic, but I will call their current leadership unfit to face the serious challenges of the 21st century. [...]

Bob Graham – a respected former governor and chairman of the intelligence committee – is calling for the president's impeachment.

John Edwards – a so-called moderate – compares the president to a dangerous socialist.

And Dennis Kucinich – a long-time member of Congress – now calls for legislation – I love this – to ban “mind control” weapons in outer space.

These ideas aren't unpatriotic… they're just weird.

It makes you wonder if at their next presidential debate, the Democrats are all going to show up wearing aluminum-foil helmets to protect their brain waves from the mother ship!

People who believe such things cannot be trusted with national leadership, period.
The ending is nothing short of incredible.

Friday, July 25, 2003

To everyone who has shown up recently: Thank you, and stop running through your bookmarks.

I've been down and out for a little while, and I will be for a little while longer. I did want to share a few observations:

(1) The probability, on any given 80s Radio station, at any given time, that White Wedding will play, approaches 1 as time approaches the Twelve O'Clock Rock Block or Noon Lunch Hour or its equivalent.

(2) I begin to see, from the other side, why so many people have so much aversion to plaintiffs' lawyers. Apparently, not everyone is as ethically rigorous as I or my old firm.

(3) The lack of directions on a can of shaving cream for "What to Do When This Gets in Your Eye," is either an indication that the stuff is safe if inserted thus, or no one at Gilette thinks that anyone could be stupid and clumsy enough to get it in their eyes.

(4) They're wrong.

(5) 867-5309.

(6) Stress is a constant. Reduce it in one area, and, obeying Le Chatelier's Principle, it will appear somewhere else.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Just add to the bad news. Please.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Hello to my readers:

You'll note a dearth of posts lately. I can't even explain what's up with Blogger, but I can neither check (nor frequently edit) my page, nor, for example, Paul Cella's. Inserting html tags into this statement will cause my input page to crash. Sorry.

Come back after the weekend; I should be able to do something then.

Best:

T.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

In what can only be called an interesting turn of events, my template is now all ASCII text.

Sh**.

Friday, July 04, 2003

I know I said I wouldn't post today, and this is the only one, but:

(1) He's right, but I already grilled up a steak for that;

(2) He's right, too, that I shouldn't rejoice in others' toasty time in Asmodeus's House of Barbed Sodomy and Dismemberment, and I'd like to say I don't, and that I was only explicitly talking about death, not about the consequence thereof, but I don't want to compund my sin with lying on top of it;

(2a) I should note that the linked information in that post is correct insofar as a Lexis-Nexis search shows. Ms. Child, for example, only does live cooking at Smith College and Planned Murder events. However, I could be mistaken; if I am, I invite corrections.

and

(3) 62.13018% - Extreme Geek. I know what THAC0 is. And I can calculate it -- in my head, with an AC of -14, a fighter of 15th level wearing a girdle of Storm Giant Strength, and a long sword +1, +6 against the creature with the AC -14. Nuff said.

Happy Fourth, all.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Proof #489,254,121 that I'm going to Hell:

Aw.
I will not be posting tomorrow; therefore, Happy Fourth of July, folks.

God Bless America.
Dammit: Dammit, dammit, dammit, DAMMIT: That SOB Rick Reilly wrote something worth reading.

Why in creation did Joe Delaney jump into that pit full of water that day?

Why in the world would the AFC's best young running back try to save three drowning boys when he himself couldn't swim?

Nobody -- not his wife, not his mother -- had ever seen him so much as dog-paddle. A year and a half earlier, when he went to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii as the AFC's starting halfback and Rookie of the Year, he never set even a pinkie toe in the ocean or the pool. "Never had," says his wife, Carolyn, who'd known Joe since they were both seven. "In all my years, I never had seen him swim."

So why? Why did the 24-year-old Kansas City Chief try to save three boys he didn't know with a skill he didn't have?

He'd been sitting in the cool shade of a tree on a tar-bubbling afternoon at Chennault Park, a public recreation area in Monroe, La., when he heard voices calling, "Help! Help!" He popped up like a Bobo doll and sprinted toward the pit.
Every day from this day forward, I pray to God that I can be such a man. Most of us like to think we'd be like Delaney, or the men who raced into those burning towers without a second thought; if we're honest, few of us are.

RIP, Mr. Delaney.

Via Orrin Judd.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

And, on a related note, Ramesh Ponnuru rocks:

If you share Scalia's view of such decisions as Casey, Romer, Dickerson, Stenberg, Lawrence, et al, then it is altogether rational to deploy a rhetoric that exposes the essential fraudulence of the Court's claim to be interpreting the Constitution. (One assumes that the justices themselves are part of the audience to which he means to expose it.) What Justice Scalia is trying to do, in other words, is to demystify the Court; to suggest that it is engaged in exercises of raw judicial power. (Part of that power consists of our ignorance of the fact.)

Justice Scalia is not alone in seeing things this way. From time to time, the liberal justices accuse conservative majorities of raw politics as well, with heated rhetoric. (Pick a federalism case and read the dissents.) And Scalia's aspersions against the legitimacy of the Court's "constitutional law" reflect a half-century of conservative rhetoric on the judiciary. That rhetoric still underlies the Republican party's position. Every Republican senator who says he wants a judge who will "apply" rather than "make" the law is implicitly accusing some judges of exceeding their legitimate powers.

To reject the Broder-Sullivan critique of Justice Scalia, in short, is to begin to see something important about modern judicial politics — something to which the good justice is trying to awaken us.
Someday, if I eat all my veggies and pray very hard, I might be that good a writer. Probably not, but I can dream, can't I?