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, August 30, 2008
St. Added

In the 1962 Missal, today is not only the Feast of St. Rose of Lima, but also that of two martyrs of the era of Diocletian: St. Felix and St. Adauctus. Here is the headnote:
St. Felix, a Roman priest, was martyred under the emperors Diocletian and Maximian. An unknown Christian joined him at the last moment. The Church called him Adauctus (Added). They were beheaded A.D. 303.
How cool is that? Of course it's great to have a calendar that includes saints canonized since 1962, including martyrs of the French Revolution, the persecutions in Mexico, and the Spanish Civil War. But we oughtn't to lose sight of those ancient Roman martyrs commemorated in the old calendar.

The Gospel chosen for the Feast of St. Felix and St. Adauctus is Luke 10:16-20, which concludes: "rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven" -- even if your name is "Added"!

Friday, August 29, 2008



"NASCAR meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer"


* Pro-life;
* Mother of five,
* of whom is an Army enlisted man about to go over to Iraq;
* called "Barracuda" by her college soccer team-mates;
* an anti-earmark Republican with a reform record;
* hunts moose.
* According to this local piece culled from coverage of the 2006 multi-candidate Alaska governor's race, she:
=> supported Alaska's 1998 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as 1 man & 1 woman;
=> is a member of Feminists for Life;
=> once smoked wacky-terbacky; perhaps twice, even (it was legal in Alaska at the time); and thinks people who split a gusset about that should get a life because methamphetamine is a much greater threat and much more deserving of law-enforcement resources.

In short, the closest to an ideal candidate that this vale of tears is going to produce.

Early conservative press reaction:

National Review editorial: "has wowed the public and enthused the Right."

The Weekly Standard: Fred Barnes reviews her Alaska record; Noemie Emery lists, seriatim, what the Palin choice accomplishes (my favorite: "As a pro-life super-achiever, puts feminists in a tizzy.")

Human Events (my old colleague Marty Sieff writing): "The Sarah Sensation: Sen. John McCain has gone crazy as a fox in picking Sarah Palin, bold as a lioness...."

That leaves, of course, The American Conservative, where Daniel McCarthy ("A Smart Choice on Paper") concedes that she "reassures conservatives" but is of opinion that "Her speech just now was underwhelming to say the least, however. The longer she spoke, the less interesting she seemed, and her voice is not particularly mellifluous." I disagree utterly, but who really thought TAC writers would like any candidate once he or she was actually running? TAC is anti-political: to run is to be a bad candidate.

Then Michael Dougherty -- in a riff that makes even a troglodyte like me reach for the word "sexist" -- writes that "she looked like a local Republican Committee chair who should be introducing McCain during a primary." Sometimes those people run for governor, Mike -- and even win. Guess they just don't know their place, eh? Probably should have handed off the rifle to her husband when it came time to bag the moose, huh.

Dougherty follows this with: "Like Bobby Jindal or Mark Sanford, I considered Sarah Palin a promisingly conservative, likable, and reform-minded governor. I wished desperately to spare her (and them) from association with the bellicose and ideological foreign policy of Bush-McCain." TAC's ideology appears to be that a significant world power can get by without a foreign policy. This proposition can be discussed, but Dougherty's apparent belief that all reform-minded conservative governors accept it until the wand of national prominence is aimed at them is simplistic, and reflects -- again -- scant respect for Gov. Palin's decision-making and conviction-forming powers.

In short: NR, the Standard, and Human Events like her, TAC doesn't -- so it's unanimous!


Kristen Soltis, writing at Ladyblog, which is a feature of Culture11, lists nine reasons to have a "girl-crush" on Sarah Palin -- and eight of them are different from mine! (And my crush ain't girl, dude!) Here they are:
1) She had a baby. In APRIL. (It was her fifth. So like a pro, she was back at work three days later.)
2) She eBayed the state private jet because it was government waste.
3) She cut her own salary.
4) She was in the Miss Alaska pageant.
5) She has a son going to Iraq this month to serve.
6) She is 44.
7) Her husband is an Eskimo…they eloped shortly after college and got folks from the nursing home down the street to be witnesses.
8) She has children named “Track”, “Bristol”, and “Willow”. It’s like NASCAR meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Which, in fact, is pretty appropriate for Sarah Palin.
9) She eats moose burgers. (Not that I have anything against moose.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Pelosi Stands by Abortion Comments

DENVER (AP) - Under fire from U.S. Catholic bishops, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not backing off contentious comments about abortion she made during a weekend television talk show appearance.

Pelosi said Sunday on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' that ``doctors of the church'' have not been able to define when life begins. That prompted swift rebukes from Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said Pelosi was incorrect and that Catholic teaching has consistently condemned abortion.

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York voiced similar sentiment Tuesday. Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Doctrine, also issued a statement correcting Pelosi.

Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement Tuesday that she ``fully appreciates the sanctity of family'' and based her views on conception on the ``views of Saint Augustine, who said: '... the law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation ...''

First, Pelosi probably thinks "doctors of the Church" means the Catholic Medical Association.

Second, I doubt she has any of her staff doing original research into Augustine. Most likely these lines are fed to her office by "Catholics for a Free Choice" or by aging tenured deadwood on theology faculties. But since she chooses to stand behind Augustine, does she agree with him on, e.g., the inseperability of sex and procreation?

Or would she, on the contrary, agree with U. of Chicago Law Dean Geoffrey Stone, who told the Federalist Society's annual student conference in 2006 -- true story -- that laws that restrict pornography are based on an Augustinian understanding of sexuality, and Augustine was a Catholic theologian and saint, and therefore such laws violate the Establishment Clause? (Challenged on his interpretation of Augustine by a conference participant who announced himself as a theologian, lawyer Stone responded: "Read Augustine.")

Giving himself Ayers: Here and here is what the Obama campaign is doing to stop TV stations from airing an ad by Harold Simmons's American Issues Project that calls attention to his ties to former Weatherman Bill Ayers.

And here is the ad. If I'd been producing it, I'd have named the "left-wing Chicago board" that they both served on. Other than that, it's a perfectly good ad of its type. Any conservative with past ties to figures as radically and violently right as Ayers is radically and violently left would not even have a political career, much less be a major party presidential candidate with a good chance of winning.

Monday, August 25, 2008
From Fox:
The McCain camp also produced another ad featuring a Clinton supporter who now backs McCain over Obama.

“She had the experience and judgment to be president,” says Debra Bartoshevich, identified by the McCain campaign as a former Clinton delegate. Of McCain, she says: “I respect his maverick and independent streak, and now he’s the one with the experience and judgment. A lot of Democrats will vote McCain. It’s OK, really!”

Clinton, speaking publicly for the first time at the Democratic National Convention, said, “I am Hillary Clinton and I do not approve of this message.”

So what McCain should do now, see, is play that Hillary comment at the end of his next commercial, and then add himself saying: "Well I'm John McCain, and I did approve this message!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008
International Olympic Committee launches probe into He Kexin's age

You're sixteen
You're beautiful
And you're nine

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Why so Severus?"
So I kan be emprer lol!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why So Severus?

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Actors' Equuity? Warner Bros. is postponing release of the Half-Blood Prince movie from November '08 to July '09. Why? Because summer is just the ideal time for a blockbuster release, as WB's Dark Knight shows? But they hardly needed Dark Knight to know that.

Or is it that Daniel will be in the middle of the Broadway run of Equus in November?

But wait -- wasn't he still in, or just recently out of, the West End run of Equus when Order of the Phoenix was released? So, prurient questions from the British media don't matter, but from the American media they do? Eh?

I've blogged before that Daniel's desire to establish that he's a serious stage actor is laudable, and that his choice of Equus as a vehicle for this was somewhat less so. But, whatever -- it's now a fact on the ground (as it were); get over it -- and give us the new movie in the fall, which is the natural Potter season.

P.S. Happy birthday, Evanna Lynch!

Friday, August 15, 2008
"John will be home in time for tea!"

-- the Unfounded Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Happy Feast Day!

Thursday, August 14, 2008
The Night That the Tanks Rolled Out in Georgia

If you've been reading The Wall Street Journal this week, you basically know what I think about this. Georgia was doing what it could for us in Iraq, and when she needed our help, there was nothing we could do except deliver food and medicine after a ceasefire, and for a while there was doubt even about that.

Maybe part of the reason was the Iraq war itself. But if that war had never occurred, would we have been any more likely to help the Georgians? How many of us even wish we could -- even after one throws in the obvious fact that the real quarry here is not Georgia but the pipeline that runs from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, providing the only oil line connecting Central Asia to the West and bypassing both Russian and Iran? Once Russia controls that, there is once again a single "global hegemon," and it's not the U.S.

"[G]lobalization may soon lose its American parent," argues VDH:
[G]lobalization, in all its manifestations, will run out of steam the moment we tire of fueling it, as the world returns instead to the mindset of the 1930s — with protectionist tariffs; weak, disarmed democracies; an isolationist America; predatory dictatorships; and a demoralized gloom-and-doom Western elite.
A friend even older than me (Alcuin: you know him -- big intellectual at Charlemagne's court? organized schools for him?) was visiting us this week. I asked him if this was the new Poland, '39. He said no, but it might be the new Sudetenland, '38. And that was before Russia started holding on, post-ceasefire, to parts of Georgia that aren't even inside either of the two "breakaway" provinces.

Though Secretary Gates's current line is that there is no need for U.S. forces in Georgia, I might note that my son Lance Corporal "Jonathan Lee Morris," USMCR, is still in Iraq, that the U.S. Marines are "first to fight," and that the first in, if needed, would presumably be those closest to the scene.

Iowahawk nails the lighter side, such as it is: Red-Faced Russian Party-Crashers Retreat
...."Russia said South Ossetia invited them, to try out some of their pipeline stash," explained a source with the French Foreign Ministry. "I know Russia used to have something going on with Georgia, but nobody thought it was going to turn into a big ugly scene."


"Everyone was just sort of staring at Russia, who's in the middle of beating the hell out of Georgia, and Russia's like, 'what? Come on man, you have to admit it's funny,'" said a source with UNSCOM. "So Russia's going around, looking for high fives and is like, 'don't leave me hangin', bro,' but the G8 gives him the total gas face, so he's like, 'whatever, dude, this party sucked anyway.'"


"It's a shame, because Russia is a such a great guy when he's not drinking and invading neighbors," said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "I think it might help if some of us got together and organized an intervention."

For his part Lavrov rejected the idea that his nation had a drinking and invading problem.

"Hey man, we can quit any time we want," he said.

Hat-tip: TKB. But you knew that.

Safety is getting dangerous.

Thursday, August 07, 2008
At Westminster: Civil servants 'preparing for Conservative Government' with secret meetings -- and a general election hasn't even been called yet, and may not be for almost another two years!

O2BN England!

In the Jewel of Medina incident, any account that leaves out the pivotal role of U. of Texas historian and gender studies professor Denise Spellberg, as some accounts I've read are doing, is radically incomplete. It was to Spellberg that first-time author Sherry Jones trustingly sent her book in galleys for a blurb, having partly relied on Spellberg's scholarship in her own research.

Jones was prepared, no doubt, to be denied a blurb, but one imagines she was surprised when Spellberg alerted friends in the Muslim community that they needed to get offended about this book, fast, and spread the word -- leading to Random House's decision to "postpone" the book "indefinitely."

Prof. Spellberg is currently the object of much unwelcome (to her) blogospheric attention, but I think you have to budget for that when you undertake to carry the Prophet's speech-stifling water for him.

The Jewel of Medina may not be a book I'd particularly want to read myself, but I find myself hoping the media buzz will bring a long line of major publishers to Ms. Jones's door, eager to make the money that could have been Random House's.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008
Yes, Virginia, there are vice-presidential possibilities: while Obama considers Gov. Kaine, McCain checks out Rep. Eric Cantor, Congress's highest-ranking Jewish Republican (tipping factor in FL as well as VA?). Cantor is a high-energy guy, and very conservative. Though associated mainly with economic and business issues, the National Right to Life Committee gives him a 100% rating.

ETA: Cantor's staffer for child/family issues is a conservative RC. I tell you, this Cantor can really sing!