Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

"Very fun." -- J. Bottum, Editor, FIRST THINGS

"Too modest" -- Elinor Dashwood

"Perhaps the wisest man on the Web" -- Henry Dieterich

"Hat tip: me (but really Cacciaguida)" -- Diana Feygin, Editor, THE YALE FREE PRESS

"You are my sire. You give me confidence to speak. You raise my heart so high that I am no more I." -- Dante

"Fabulous!"-- Warlock D.J. Prod of Didsbury

Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008
"It would be generous to say we were stunned," says a Republican House Judiciary Member, describing his response when Congressman and Obama Superdelegate William Delahunt (MA-10) yesterday asked the vice president's chief of staff David Addington about water boarding of terrorists. Addington declined to comment, citing President Bush's refusal to discuss techniques used to attain vital intelligence, and added that another reason not to respond was that Al Qaeda is probably watching.

Congressman Delahunt's response: "I'm glad they finally have a chance to see you." (Emphasis added.)

But the House Republican and Judiciary member was not so stunned to notice that no Republican rose to defend Addington, or to call out Delahunt for essentially inviting al Qaeda to impart physical harm to a senior member of the Bush Administration. "It was shameful that we didn't do anything. I can't explain it," says the GOP member.


"You have to understand, guys like Delahunt, really all of the Democrats here, don't care about winning the war against the terrorists, or keeping us safe. They might have cared after 9/11, but now they are ruled by the radical left. All they care about now is putting the Americans who put in place the policies that have kept us safe for seven years on trial. The terrorists just don't matter to this crowd," says a former Department of Justice lawyer.

The "on trial" stuff is correct -- politically, and even, in certain fever-swamps, such as the unaccredited left-activist "Massachusetts School of Law," legally, with the hanging of Bush and top administration officials gleefully contemplated by neo-Leninist ideologues who in other contexts probably consider Amerika's use of the death penalty one of its premier human rights violations.

But getting back to Congress -- the Delahunts of the world show in such unguarded moments that they don't just want to ignore al Qaeda and try Bush administration figures: they want an even playing field between al Qaeda and the United States. At least.

We've been here before. How many of you remember the House Democratic left's "Dear Comandante" letter to the Sandinista leadership in the mid-1980s? They didn't just oppose U.S. aid to the Contras on general pacifist grounds, or because they thought the Contras were bad guys. They opposed it because they thought the Contras might in fact unseat the Sandinistas.

Question their patriotism? Joe Sobran, with whom I agreed back in those days a lot more than I do now, penned a classic column on this. I don't have it, but permit me to paraphrase from memory:

"Question your patriotism, Congressman? Of course not. It never occurred to me that you had any. It never occurred to me that you wanted to be thought of as having any."

Seems Gov. Bobby Jindal, himself a rising conservative, has "sent" another one into his former Louisiana 1st District seat: Rep. Steve Scalise.

Friday, June 27, 2008
Latest SSPX reconciliation non-negotiations (or: "The Dwarves Refuse to be Taken In") (cross posted from Fr. Zuhlzdorf's blog, with my typos corrected):

Fr. Z. wrote:
Mistakes have been made on both sides over the years. The consecrations and continuing defiance was just plain wrong. The attitude of many in the Roman Curia and the hostility to tradition was just plain wrong.
Perhaps -- no, definitely -- Pope Paul showed poor judgment in coming down harder on traditionalist excesses than he did on liberal ones. Apart from that, however, the hostility to tradition was all at much lower curial levels. JPII and (obviously) Pope Benedict have been kind and outreaching, even while the SSPX keeps kicking them in the teeth for their pains.

I sense a bit of "moral equivalence" in the way you've formulated this, Father. "A's been wrong, B's been wrong, so let's just have a vino and go home singing the Missa de Angelis." Yeah, except in this case B just happens to be -- The Church. Moral equivalence isn't possible here.

Reconciliation would be lovely, but the SSPX is holding out for unconditional surrender. Frankly, that's what I would hold out for from the SSPX if I were Pope. Maybe that's just one of the countless reasons why I'm not Pope. If the Holy Father wants to be more generous than I would be, fine. But sooner or later the SSPX may have to reap permanently the fruits of schism.

Sunday, June 22, 2008
Keeping up with French slang: We watched Donnie Darko the other night (two thumbs up -- don't think I'll join the cult, but I definitely liked the movie); just now I came across the following remark by a French Donnie fan:
C le meilleur film au monde...A voir ABSOLUEMENT!!!
(meilleur en anglais; la traduction francaise souille vraiement)
Souiller, eh?

Je souille
Tu souilles
Il/elle souille

Nous souillons
Vous souillez (never hurts to be polite)
Ils/elles souillent

(I assume "c" is French net-speak for "c'est". And I think the e's in absolument and vraiment are just mistakes; people make typos when they write fast, right?)

Ice on Mars an important breakthrough. Easier to mix drinks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008
I was quick to sound the alarm about this; I have been lamentably slow to spread the news about the implosion of the cases against these Marines. World News Daily reports:

Haditha Marine prepares to sue Murtha over smear:
Congressman had accused soldiers of killing 'in cold blood'

With most of the eight Marines charged in the Haditha, Iraq, incident now exonerated, the highest-ranking officer among the accused is considering a lawsuit against Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who fueled the case by declaring the men cold-blooded killers.

In an interview with nationally syndicated radio talk host Michael Savage, the lead attorney for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani said he and his client will look into suing Murtha and the Time magazine reporter, Tim McGuirk, who first published the accusations by Iraqi insurgents.

But the attorney, Brian Rooney, said nothing will happen immediately because he wants Chessani, described as a devout Christian and the father of six homeschooled children, completely "out of the woods" legally before any action is taken. The government, through Lt. Col. S.M. Sullivan, today filed a notice that it would appeal the case to the next judicial level.

As WND reported, a military judge at Camp Pendleton in California yesterday dismissed charges that Chessani failed to properly investigate the Nov. 19, 2005 incident in which 24 Iraqi men, women and children were killed.

Rooney, an attorney for the Thomas More Law Center who served a tour of duty in Iraq himself, is urging citizens to tell their representatives in Congress and military officials that they want the case to come to an end.
That would be:
Thomas More Law Center
24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive
P.O. Box 393
Ann Arbor, MI 48106

Anyone running against Murtha in his usually safe seat? Funny you should ask. Yes, that would be:
Lt.Col. William T. Russell, USAR
c/o William Russell for Congress
P.O. Box 96632
Washington DC 20090-6632

Of course what you do with any of this information is completely up to you.

Monday, June 16, 2008
Lord David Owen (Labour Foreign Secretary, 1977-79):
It is very hard for the political elite in Europe to accept that their dream of ever-greater integration does not carry conviction with their own electorates....By any conceivable test of democratic procedure, the House of Lords should vote to put Treaty ratification on ice, at least until there is an agreed EU policy as to how to handle the Irish "No" vote.

Cardinal Castrillon in high-vis papal embassy in England: “Not many parishes – all parishes."

Friday, June 13, 2008
The answer's no -- Ireland rejects EU's Lisbon Treaty -- THE European Union has been plunged into chaos after the rejection of its latest treaty by Irish voters....
It's nice actually to stand athwart history shouting stop once in a while, instead of just, you know, talking about it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008
Just found the following here; you may have to be a Facebook member to open it, but f. that, I'll just copy it here [I've added composers' names and full opera titles]:


"Don't date guys with baggage" (Bartok, BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE)

a realistic set for BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE

"Listen to the rumors, especially if they're laid out in a convenient aria format." (Mozart, DON GIOVANNI). Alternatively, "Spanish chicks are easy. Come on, 1003?!"

Oren Gradus sings Leporello's "Catalogue Aria" in DON GIOVANNI at Houston Grand Opera. (No clue who his Donna Elvira is. Reader challenge?)

"He'll regret rejecting you someday. Seriously." (Tchaikovsky, EUGENE ONEGIN)

"All an uptight guy needs is to get trashed" (Britten, ALBERT HERRING)

"Stay away from religious authorities." (Floyd, SUSANNAH) [to which I'd add: "Religious authorities: don't make house calls."]

"Sometimes you should just thaw out and let him kiss you before some innocent bystander gets killed." (Puccini, TURANDOT)

"Hookers, don't give discounts: you never know who's secretly Jack the Ripper." (Berg, LULU)

"Don't have sex with anyone. EVER." (Wagner, PARSIFAL)

Grail temple, from premiere production of PARSIFAL, Bayreuth, 1882. Pay to play?

"Stay innocent and out of your fiance's family's business, and everything will turn out okay." (Puccini, GIANNI SCHICCHI)

"Go for the old woman. Sometimes she's hot." (Mozart, THE MAGIC FLUTE)

"Love your woman even though she's fickle and unfaithful like all women." (Mozart, COSÍ FAN TUTTE)

"Be SURE you know his or her gender, if that sort of thing is important to you." (Beethoven, FIDELIO)

"Stay the f___ away from tenors. I mean, seriously. (Verdi, RIGOLETTO)

Anna Netrebko as Gilda, and Piotr Beczla (a known tenor!) as the Duke, in RIGOLETTO

"The hot ones are always crazy." (Donizetti, LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR; Bellini, I PURITANI; Bizet, CARMEN)

"If he's dead he can't say no." (Strauss, SALOME)

Cheryl Barker as Salome, English National Opera, 2005

"Consumption is sexy." (Verdi, LA TRAVIATA; Puccini, LA BOHEME)

"Don't piss off the dramatic soprano. You will live to regret it, though probably only briefly." (DIE WALKURE, and most of the rest of Wagner)

Strauss, DER ROSENKAVALIER: "A fifteen year age difference is really too much."

Regine Crespin as the Marschallin, Elisabeth Soderstrom as Octavian

Handel, ALCINA: "Gender is meaningless."

BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE (alternative): "Just don't ask."

Monteverdi (or Gluck), ORFEO: omg don't look behind you...!"

BOHEME: "It is possible to be extremely shallow and have lots of people still like you."

Puccini, MADAMA BUTTERFLY: "Men suck. particularly American men."

"Seriously, dude, she's your sister" -- Wagner, DIE WALKURE

Volsung twins Siegmund (l) and Sieglinde (r); in between, Hunding, not amused. Drawing by Arthur Rackham.

Verdi, DON CARLO -- "If your girlfriend marries your dad, it was never meant to be."

Monday, June 02, 2008
New conservative magazine in U.K. -- Standpoint. Published by the Social Affairs Unit, which is described by The Times as "famous for driving its coach and horses through the liberal consensus scattering intellectual picket lines as it goes."

I note with particular pleasure that tenor Ian Bostridge is on its advisory board.

Here is a note about Standpoint from CentreRight, a blog at the U.K. website ConservativeHome.

How mad are some of the Clinton people at Obama? You may not believe it....