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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday 2006: Conservatives Gone Wild!!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 4:50 PM. |


Poor Fay. Joe won. (Hat tip: SCOTUSblog)

Quoth Ryder: Good opinion...it may be used for a long time in statutory construction cases. And it's nice to have that pesky Hobbs Act question finally resolved. Makes this little Fumare exchange with NOW's prez all the sweeter. To quote Mizz Gandy:

"The substantive issues raised by the petitioners, namely the interpretation of the Hobbs Act and whether private injunctions are available under RICO, are simply not ripe for Supreme Court review at this point."

Errrrr...thanks for playing, Kim. Better luck next time, baby! Nice to see the 7th Cir. get reversed once in a while, eh? Don't forget, folks, we wouldn't be here today were it not for Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh, who as a member of NOW authored the now-overturned opinion keeping NOW's hopes alive in this case. I'm sure Judge Wood is a nice person with some good qualities, but she is woefully inept at avoiding conflicts of interest. See the previous Fumare post linked above for more info on Judge Wood.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:28 AM. |

Monday, February 27, 2006


It hit the UK.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:42 PM. |

Friday, February 24, 2006

Gonzales v. Carhart: A Sign Of Things To Come

Those who are curious about how recently-confirmed Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts will rule on the contentious issue of abortion will not have to wait long. Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government's petition for a writ of certioari in Gonzales v. Carhart, a case that will put squarely before the Court the issue of the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Since its enactment, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act has been declared unconstitutional by three different federal district courts, and, subsequently, all of those decisions were affirmed on appeal. Gonzales v. Carhart arises from a case decided by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Incidentally, or perhaps intentionally, the Second and Ninth Circuits issued their opinions on the same day that Justice Alito was confirmed.

The primary issue in Gonzales v. Carhart is whether the Partial-Birth Abortion Act is unconstitutional because it does not contain an exception for the health of the mother. In Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court invalidated a Nebraska statute banning partial-birth abortion because, while it contained an exception for cases in which partial-birth abortion was necessary to preserve the life of the mother, it lacked a corresponding exception for the health of the mother. The Court declared that such a statute must include an exception for the health of the mother "where substantial medical authority supports the proposition that banning a particular abortion procedure could endanger women's health[.]" The Court also concluded the statute was unconstitutional because it prohibited not only procedures commonly referred to as partial-birth abortions, but also a more frequently used procedure known as standard dilation and evacuation. Stenberg was decided by a 5 to 4 vote, with Justice O'Connor providing the critical swing vote, while Justices Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist, and Kennedy dissented.

In 2003, Congress passed, and President Bush signed, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. In response to the requirements of Stenberg, Congress included within the language of the Act a number of factual findings concerning the medical necessity of partial-birth abortion, including its ultimate finding that "partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to preserve the health of the mother"; in fact, Congress found that partial birth abortion "poses serious risks to the health of a woman undergoing the procedure." Despite these findings, all the federal courts who have considered the issue have determined that the Act's lack of a health exception is unconstitutional under Stenberg.

Although Gonzales v. Carhart implicates grave issues of life and death, the outcome of the case, as usual, will boil down to mundane legal issues. The real dispute in Gonzales v. Carhart will likely turn on whether the Eighth Circuit applied the wrong standard of review in reaching its decision. The government has argued that Supreme Court precedent requires that the factual findings of Congress be given deference if those findings are supported by substantial evidence. The Eighth Circuit determined that this standard was irrelevant because, under Stenberg, the dispositive question is whether substantial evidence exists to support the medical necessity of partial-birth abortions, without regard to the factual conclusions of the district court, or even those of Congress. To the extent that Gonzales v. Carhart will turn on the level of deference owed to Congressional fact-finding, it is somewhat similar to another recent Supreme Court decision implicating life issues, Gonzales v. Oregon, which turned on the level of deference owed to the Attorney General's interpretation of his own regulations to prohibit physician-assisted suicide in Oregon.

How will the Court rule? Justice Kennedy dissented in Stenberg, but the viability of Stenberg has not been made an issue by the parties. Nonetheless, there is at least a decent possibility that he will vote to uphold the ban. Assuming that Kennedy is joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas, that leaves Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito as the possible fourth and fifth votes. Interestingly, while on the Third Circuit, Alito held that the New Jersey Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was unconstitutional; in fact, Alito concurred separately to express his view, not adhered to by the majority, that the Act was unconstitutional under Stenberg precisely because "the New Jersey statute, like its Nebraska counterpart, lacks an exception for the preservation of the health of the mother." That is precisely the issue in Gonzales v. Carhart. Of course, Alito reached that conclusion in the absence of a Congressional finding that partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary for the health of the mother.

Fumed by Sine Metu at 5:38 PM. |

Copulabuntur adversus animam iusti et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt (Part Two)

If a woman who is raped becomes pregnant, the rapist would have the same rights to the child as the mother, said Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.
"The idea the rapist could be in the child's life ... makes the woman very, very fearful. Sometimes they need to have choice," Heeren-Graber said.

These anti-family violence types are priceless! Ok, Let's logically extend this:

1.) Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy has a child with girl.

2.) Two years later: Boy becomes a drunk. Boy hits girl. Girl is afraid of boy. Girl wants nothing to do with boy. (Boy still has rights to child as a father.)

Solution: Girl has choice and kills child.

Outcome: Girl is no longer fearful and boy no longer in child's life, because there is no child.

Makes perfect sense.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 3:26 PM. |

Couldn't Resist

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 2:14 PM. |

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Copulabuntur adversus animam iusti et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt

The latest from the caring government of Holland.

The target groups for her [the Health Minister's] program are Antillean teenage mothers; drug addicts and people with mental handicaps, she said, according to a report in Expatica.

According to the report, Van den Anker said children from these groups run an "unacceptable risk" of growing up without love and with "violence, neglect, mistreatment and sexual abuse."

Sounds eerily familiar to the legal arguments of Karl Binding--Doctor of Jurisprudence and Philosophy--in 1920:

"One painfully realizes how wastefully we treat life that is precious and full of vigor and power and how much wasted manpower, patience and capital investment is invested at the same time to keep life not worth living alive until finally, often awfully late, nature triumphs."

(The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value, trans. Robert L. Sassone, 1975)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 9:48 PM. |

Can't Post This Enough!!


VATICAN CITY, FEB 22, 2006 (VIS) - At the end of the general audience, the Pope addressed a greeting in Latin to students at the faculty of Christian and Classical Literature of the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome.

"My predecessors rightly encouraged the study of [this] great language," said the Pope in Latin, "in order to achieve a better understanding of the sound doctrine contained in the ecclesiastical and humanistic disciplines. In the same way, we encourage the continuation of this activity, so that as many people as possible may perceive the importance of this treasure and attain it."

[Hmmmm....Lots o' folks like to point to the number of times a particular Pontiff makes statements on a particular issue to beef up their arguments of whether said Pontiff's opinion is to be obligatory to the faithful. Benedict XVI has made his opinion known in this area quite clearly: In November 2005, July 2005, April 2005, and as Cardinal Ratzinger in April 2005 (originally in Latin). Quite a few times in word or practice for such a young Pontificate.

Things that make you go hmmm (apologies to C+C Music Factory).]

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:55 PM. |

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More proof that democracy is not compatible with Islam

Promoting democracy throughout the world is THE cornerstone of this administration's foreign policy, and its best solution to combating terrorism and preventing the rise of rogue dictators and nations. While this model is still somewhat workable in many parts of the world, it is not a solution in Islamic nations. The election of Hamas might have been seen as an aberration by some, but today's bombing of the Shiite Askariya shrine in Iraq and the subsequent 90 (yes, ninety) reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques have conclusively shown that the democracy experiment is doomed in the Islamic Middle East. Additionally, the attacks illustrate the dire predictions that many had of trying to keep a united Iraq together. Iraq is really just an artificially created nation of three distinct peoples who really don't get along with each other, and would be better off living separately.

Fumed by YoBro Administrator at 5:52 PM. |

The Universal Destination Of Earthly Goods

Here in California, there will always be a little tension between the uber-wealthy property owners who reside alongside the state's beautiful coastal beaches and the dirty common people who desire to have access to them. It's the perennial tension between private property rights and the universal destination of earthly goods.

In Michigan, that tension has recently been resolved in favor of the latter. In a case that hearkens back to Professor Bromberg's Property class at Ave Maria School of Law, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that residents of Michigan have a right to walk on, and otherwise use, all of Michigan's Great Lakes shoreline up to the "ordinary high-water mark." Now the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to grant certioari. One attorney for the property owners noted: "For most property owners, this ruling won't mean any dramatic changes. But some will abuse this ability to stroll the lakefront. They'll build campfires and lug beer and ice with them and you'll have a lot of people traipsing through."

Get ready Michiganders. Here come the dirty common people.

Fumed by Sine Metu at 3:38 PM. |

Friday, February 17, 2006

And now for something lighter...

Men!! Are you having trouble scoring with the ladies? The old "club and drag" method not quite working like it used to? Put off or intimidated by modern female sophistication?

Fear not, brave souls. Richard III provides the answer to your prayers (hey, who says old poetry is useless?).

Now get at, good fellows; and quit ye like men.

Fumed by Irish Stout at 8:01 PM. |

Follow the money.

Columcille has the goods on the real reason why the sibylline NASA climatologist was gagged by political appointees: the Next Notre Dame! First alumni, now scientists. What's next?

Fumed by Thursday at 6:52 PM. |

Making the e-mail rounds.

Fumed by Thursday at 11:22 AM. |

More left-press lies.

This is a few days old, but it needs to be disseminated:
A 7,000-word profile of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback in the current issue of Rolling Stone Magazine is full of factual errors a review of the article by Culture & Cosmos shows. The article also contains numerous observations that are stated as fact but are simply the opinion of the article's author Jeff Sharlet.

Rolling Stone Magazine Attacks Senator Brownback, Writer Admits Error, CULTURE OF LIFE FOUNDATION (FEb. 8, 2006).

The errors are egregious; Rolling Stone did an intentional hatchet job. You can read the entire article here.

Fumed by Thursday at 9:59 AM. |

Thwarting the will of the people

Culture of Life Foundation reports on an attempt to trick Missouri voters into approving human cloning.

Fumed by Thursday at 9:39 AM. |

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga

Good morning boys and girls,

For today's lesson please take out a sheet of paper and a pen. Write the word "papabile." Under it write "Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga -- Honduras." Now, strike a line through it.

The following are excerpts from a recent talk given by Cardinal Maradiaga in St. Louis:


"Poverty is our big challenge," he said. "That is not taken into consideration by the present administration here. President (George W.) Bush is not concerned about Latin America any more."

Ed. Apparently, Cardinal Maradiaga's version of the Principle of Subsidiarity creates a moral obligation for the United States to take care of the rest of the world, particularly Latin America.]


In an interview, Rodriguez Maradiaga said an issue recently in the news in the U.S. - bishops in favor of denying Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights - is not relevant in Honduras "because those people never come to church."

But, he said, "personally, I could never deny Holy Communion to a person. It would be a public scandal. Those who know they shouldn't be accepting the Eucharist have their own consciences. In my capacity as a pastor, I would never decide that for someone else."

[Ed. Canon 915: "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion."

I'm still searching for an exception for Cardinal Maradiaga's diocese. I'll be sure to post it here when I find it.]

Fumed by Boethius at 9:04 AM. |

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Prisoner Held Without Trial 38 Years Is Let Go

My eyes usually glaze over when I read legal arguments made by prisoners who claim that their Due Process rights have been violated. But the following story makes me grateful that there is a right to Due Process in this country to which prisoners can resort. The L.A. Times reports:

"A 70-year-old man who spent nearly four decades in an Indian prison, without charge and seemingly forgotten, was ordered set free on bail by the country's highest court.

Jagjivan Ram Yadav, arrested in 1968 on suspicion of killing his sister-in-law, never faced trial because authorities lost the records regarding his case."

Perhaps the worst part of this story is that, after rotting in prison for nearly four decades without a conviction, Mr. Yadav was only set free on bail.

Fumed by Sine Metu at 4:08 PM. |

Second Look Project

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring a new advertising campaign to dispel myths regarding Roe v. Wade and re-educate the public on the topic of abortion. The campaign, known as the Second Look Project, looks to be promising (Yes, I know I'm actually complimenting the USCCB, and no, I'm not being sarcastic). This Project is much needed.

Part of the Project includes the Roe Reality Check Booklet. Roe Reality Check #1 states:

Myth: "High Court Rules Abortions Legal the First 3 Months."
Fact: Abortion is legal through all 9 months of pregnancy.

Roe Reality Check # 3 states:

Myth: Most Americans favor U.S. abortion law.
Fact: Most Americans actually oppose it.

The USCCB Press Release explains that these and similar ads "are now running in buses and trains throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system. In addition, 60-second radio spots are being aired in a focused campaign in the Washington, D.C. listening area. Print ads have also been appearing around the anniversary of Roe in major media outlets including the Washington Post and the New York Times."

Hat Tip: (Southern Appeal)

Fumed by Boethius at 11:47 AM. |

Scalia: The Living Constitution is for Idiots

Foxnews.com has an article on a recent speech by Justice Antonin Scalia. For those who are familiar with Scalia's beliefs, the story does not really further illuminate them, but Scalia's blunt language remains amusing.


PONCE, Puerto Rico -- People who believe the Constitution would break if it didn't change with society are "idiots," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says.

In a speech Monday sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, Scalia defended his long-held belief in sticking to the plain text of the Constitution "as it was originally written and intended."

"Scalia does have a philosophy, it's called originalism," he said. "That's what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do," he told more than 100 politicians and lawyers from this U.S. island territory.

According to his judicial philosophy, he said, there can be no room for personal, political or religious beliefs.

Scalia criticized those who believe in what he called the "living Constitution."

"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break."

"But you would have to be an idiot to believe that," Scalia said. "The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things."


Fumed by Boethius at 11:38 AM. |

Monday, February 13, 2006

Say it ain't so, Bill: Buckley and the Decline of the Right

Casey Khan's reference to NR's coverage of the attack on the USS Liberty reminds one that there was a time, long ago, when the mainstream right wasn't simply another dutiful shill for Israeli interests.

Moreover, it is not simply the priority that foreign interests receive at places like NR and the Weekly Standard; on the contrary, the mainstream right has made its peace with Big Government (especially with its warm embrace of Bush), ceased to resist the cultural dissolution entailed by massive Third World immigration, and now offers only feeble resistance in what is often termed the "values" debate.

Part of the retreat must be ascribed to the right's long romance with often bootless military adventuring, a singular drama composed of equal parts tragedy and farce, whose staging was made necessary by the peculiar demands of the Cold War. But part of the retreat is due to something simpler: the loss of nerve.

It may have been that the forces of history were against us, and that resistance to the Great Society, to say nothing of the New Deal, was ultimately futile. Yes, but much is to be said for a principled stand, futile or not. And in any case, there is something repugnant about earnestly seeking to make oneself palatable to the opposition, which Buckley seems to have done on more than one occasion. We should think the lesson fairly obvious, but it just goes to show that there is a price to be paid for traveling the Manhattan dinner circuit, and that even good men sometimes wear down with time.

One of Joe Sobran's recollections, which should be of particular interest to American Catholics eager to demonstrate their support for "our only reliable ally" in the Middle East, is here. The story about the church on the West Bank is positively shameful.

But Scott McConnell also has an interesting piece here. We remember reading NR at the time O'Sullivan was replaced, and being disappointed and confused at his demotion. Now we know why.

Fumed by Irish Stout at 12:17 PM. |

And You Still Believe in Leprechauns? Or, Gee, Why Were Paid Agents of the Israeli Government in Charge of Intelligence in Iraq?

As the nation bungles its way through Iraq, I would think that the presence on the playing field of a man like Douglas Feith might cool the passions of even the most spirited of Team Bush Cheerleaders. For those of you who don't know what I am referring to, this piece by Tom Fleming at Chronicles magazine will prove very interesting (you might also see Paul Craig Robert's column here.)

Now gentlemen, let's think like lawyers for a minute. Certain men with inside knowledge of the Bush Administration, such as Paul O'Neill, or, even more remarkably, Richard Clarke, have authored books, widely decried by the Courtier Right, in which the accusation was made that the Bushies were focused on Saddam Hussein all along; that the dictator's pursuit had little or nothing to do with the "War on Terror"; and that the justifiable outrage over 9/11 was harnessed (one might say prostituted) by the Administration merely as a way to accomplish a pre-ordained goal.

All of which, of course, is directly contrary to the repeated assertions of the President.

Allow me to appeal to an evidentiary standard familiar to us all: Is Feith's (and Perle's, and Wurmser's) commitment to the Likud Party's "Clean Break" policy a fact tending to make the accusations of Clarke et al. more probable or less probable?

And if more probable, at what point does one ask oneself, like the unfortunate fool referenced in the vulgar joke above, whether one is being horribly used?

My advice to all the stalwart Republicans: stay out of the woods.

Fumed by Irish Stout at 9:37 AM. |

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Shroud of...Torino?

I could have sworn that the Shroud was in Turin when I was blessed with the chance to see it during a rare public showing back in 1998.

I don't see Katie Couric talking about going to see the David in Firenze, or Mrs. Bush meeting the Holy Father in Roma.

Why can't NBC pick a language when it comes to Olympic coverage?

Seems a little odd. Or is it just me?

Fumed by Ryder at 5:20 PM. |

Friday, February 10, 2006

An Interesting Find

This is neat.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 4:22 PM. |


Here we go again.

UPDATE: NR's Victor Davis Hanson nails it.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 10:45 AM. |

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Catholic League Responds to Cartoon Crisis

The Catholic League has issued the following press release: (Hat Tip: Pro Ecclesia)



Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented today on the controversy over the Danish cartoons that lampoon Muhammad:

The decision of most mainstream media outlets not to reprint or show the controversial cartoons is the right one: the Catholic League sides with the U.S., Britain and the Vatican in denouncing the inflammatory cartoons. Regrettably, the decision by the media not to offend Muslims is motivated by fear, not ethics. Worse than this by far is the violent reaction, and calls for violence, that have sprung up all over the Muslim world. This is pure barbarism.

Whenever the Catholic League criticizes a work of art, cartoon, movie or TV show, we are told that (a) we're the intolerant ones (b) what is offensive is in the eye of the beholder (c) art is supposed to make people uncomfortable (d) no one can criticize anything until they have seen it (e) protests have a 'chilling effect' on free speech (f) it's not real anyway, and (g) get over it. So why have Muslims been spared this lecture? Because the extremists in their ranks -- and they are not a tiny minority -- have shown they may respond with beheadings.

Why, according to the Washington Post, did European newspapers reprint the cartoons? It was 'not their love of freedom but their insensitivity -- or hostility -- to the growing diversity of their own societies.' The Los Angeles Times says it won't reprint 'these insensitive images.' The Miami Herald boasts that it 'must take great care not to offend.' The New York Times says it is wrong to publish 'gratuitous assaults on religious symbols.' The San Francisco Chronicle says 'insulting or hurting certain groups' is wrong. Both CBS and NBC say it isn't necessary to show the cartoons in order to report on them. CNN even went so far as to say that it 'has chosen not to show the cartoons out of respect for Islam.' Now if Catholicism were treated with such sensitivity and respect, we would have to shut down the Catholic League.

Ethics, not fear, should guide the media. As for Muslims offended by the cartoons, they should learn what a civilized response entails.

Fumed by Boethius at 4:05 PM. |

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Read This

[Disclaimer: I don't pretend to be able to tell a good story, so read at your own risk and "magna cum patientia."]

It was a balmy spring morning in Chicago (about 1998). There was a flurry of activity at St. "Jack" Cantius Church--as was the custom on Sunday mornings at this shrine of Catholic culture in the Windy City:

The Tridentine crowds were just getting out of their 0730 Low Mass and making their way down to the Cafe San Giovanni (i.e., the church basement) for coffee, donuts and the obligatory conversations about politics, the fact that Father's thumb and forefinger left each other for a moment during the Roman canon, and the inadequacies of Nostra Aetate.

At the same time, the fideles attending the 0930 English Novus Ordo Mass were arriving. These folks seemed to dress a bit more hip and contemporary from their Tridentine counterparts. In any event, a well attended Mass by those who respect the Church's traditional language, but prefer their native tongue in the rendering latria to Our Lord.

Simultaneous to these two groups, the Latin and Greek classes were underway. Groups of adults were either memorizing their declensions, conjugating laudare, or struggling with great joy through the Exsultet with its "mater apis." There was a children's class underway as well. Truly there is nothing that Our Lord must love more than the sweet voices of children singing O Sanctissima. Folks in these groups were also eagerly anticipating a lecture by a fine Latinist after the 1100 Missa Normativa.

It was during this timeframe (about 0830-0915), that parishioners encountered a very strange occurence. Something that hasn't happened before or since at St. Jack Cantius (at least to AM's recollection). A curious figure--an obvious stranger--began to mull around the church. He looked oddly out of place and he had all the airs of a wandering nomad. He was bald, wore a powder blue jumpsuit, he was loud and--this is the most significant--he was drinking a can of Old Milwaukee on the steps of the church! Of course, reactions ranged from quizzical looks, to polite avoidance ("C'mon honey, Let's walk over here.") to outright condemnation ("He must be a Bugnini-loving Freemason.") (Personally, I thought it was hilarious!) Well, this character in the powder-blue jumpsuit was none other than the Pope's Official Latinist, Fr. Reginald Foster, O.C.D. He was the scholar who was to give the lecture after Mass on the glories of the "lingua antiqua." It was enjoyed by all!

Moral: Funny bald men in powder-blue jumpsuits drinking beer are probably great Latinists.


Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 3:57 PM. |

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Time To Drink, Swear and Engage the Civilizational War

The question not being ventilated with sufficient thoroughness is: What are Muslim leaders doing to dissociate their faith from the ends to which it is being taken by the terrorists?

So asks Wm. F. Buckley in his piece on the ensuing Muslim outrage over the Danish cartoons. Likewise, regarding the U.S. involvement in the war, Fr. James Schall, SJ observes:

The men who conceived and carried out this mission against us [ i.e., 9-11], as far as I can tell, did not come from under-privileged or backward classes. They may be dangerous and they may be wrong, but they are doing what their religion indicates to them. And if some within that religion do not "agree" that this mission is the proper "interpretation" of that religion, this does not deter those who in fact attack us from seeking to establish a state, a caliphate, that can successfully do so. Even the term "Islamic terrorists," which the President does use, does not get to the bottom of the problem.

It's time to wake up and smell the "Jihad Java." If the Muslim world has mobilized in such a way as to cripple a nation so not even their table tennis team is safe, think about the possibility of their conquest. It is already happening.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 1:10 PM. |

"I Was In Prison, And You Came To Me"

The sixth corporal work of mercy is to visit the imprisoned. Our Lord warns us in the Gospel of Matthew that our eternal salvation depends upon what we choose to do, or not to do, to these, the least of our brethren.

Want to take action? Consider becoming a pen pal to a Catholic prisoner. Joseph Strada of First Century Christian Ministries is constantly searching for pen pals who are willing to write to Catholic inmates around the country. Your correspondence will be anonymous, and only First Century Christian Ministries will know your full name and address. If you are interested, please write to:

Joseph Strada
First Century Christian Ministries
5120 Pheasant Ridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Fumed by Sine Metu at 12:15 AM. |

Monday, February 06, 2006

Yet Another Caption Contest!!! (A Can of Simoniz to the Winner!)

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:53 AM. |

Boys Should Not Wrestle Girls

ESPN online is carrying a story about a girl who has bested a number of boys to win the Alaska high school state wrestling championship in her weight class. While it is tempting to join in the kudos for her achievement, it is not so wonderful an accomplishment as it may seem. The prospect of an adolescent boy wrestling with an adolescent girl raises grave questions of propriety. Even the most callous of male wrestlers must have an inkling that some regions of a female opponent's body are inherently off limits, even in a sporting match, even when the girl has consented to the match.

Setting physical improprieties aside, the "girls wrestling boys" phenomenon creates a no-win situation for the boy. If he takes the high road and refuses the match, not only does he forfeit, potentially hurting his team in the process, but he is subject to the criticism, "What, afraid to wrestle a girl?" If he accepts the match, he could win or lose. Upon winning, he hears, "You won, but you beat a girl." Upon losing, worse: "A girl beat you?"

If girls so desire the competition, let them work to organize teams and leagues (if there is sufficient interest, which there probably isn't). Boys wrestling teams should establish simple policies: "We don't wrestle girls." If they forefeit a match here and there, it is a small price to pay for being decent.

Fumed by Devil's Advocate at 12:05 AM. |

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Culture XL

It should come as no surprise when examining the underbelly of the Superbowl from the perspective of ground zero, that we see those three great pillars of American culture holding it up: sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. Just take a peek here and here at a few of the illustrious institutions that sponsor Superbowl parties in the days leading up to the big event: Playboy, Penthouse, Maxim, FHM, Vivid/Jenna Jameson, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Snoop Dogg . . . there's even a party called "Leather and Laces."

Ahh, yes! Sports, abusive drinking, and the unbridled objectification of women. Is this a great country or what?

Fumed by Devil's Advocate at 12:25 AM. |

Friday, February 03, 2006

Senator Brownback and the Death Penalty

Professor Douglas Berman has a post on this topic over at his Sentencing Law and Policy blog:

As detailed here, a subcommittee of Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon held a hearing to facilitate "An Examination of the Death Penalty in the United States." And this interesting article about the hearing details that Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, is seriously questioning the appropriateness of the death penalty in light of his commitment to a "culture of life."

Fumed by Boethius at 1:22 PM. |

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why Carl Levin Voted No on Alito

Michigan Senator Carl Levin (D) offers an explanation for his "no" vote on Judge Samuel Alito:

Like Judge Roberts before him, Judge Alito has an impressive background and command of the law. He easily meets the educational and professional requirements of the position. Judge Alito has worked for the Justice Department, as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and for nearly 16 years as a Judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He is respected by his peers as a very decent person and is a person of high calibre and integrity.

Wait a minute, Senator Levin. I thought you were going to tell us why you voted "no" on Judge Alito. So far, it sounds like he's incredibly qualified for the job.

That Judge Alito has a keen intellect and understands the nuances of the law is indisputable.

I sense a "but" coming here . . .

But that is not enough to warrant confirmation if his discernable views on key issues are in variance with fundamental principles of our constitutional system. Because I am not convinced that he will adequately protect the constitutional checks and balances that are the bedrock of our liberty, I cannot support his confirmation.

Please tell us more, Senator Levin, and continue to speak from the heart. Your appeal to "constitutional checks and balances" nearly has me in tears.

I have concerns about Judge Alito’'s views in a number of areas, but the one in which I have the greatest doubts relates to his undue deference to executive power. In recent years, constitutional issues on the authority of the executive branch have multiplied. These include executive actions in areas of government eavesdropping, other government intrusions on personal privacy including library records, medical records, and Internet search records, and the detention and treatment of American citizens whom the President designates as "“enemy combatants."” Our system of checks and balances requires the Supreme Court to enforce limits on executive power, and the nominee'’s views on executive authority under the Constitution are extremely important.

So Senator Levin, in other words, you are not concerned that Justice Alito will not interpret the Constitution in good faith using the extraordinary judicial skills he has developed over the last fifteen years on the bench. Instead, you are worried that Justice Alito will interpret the Constitution and reach a result you don't agree with. Did I get that right?

Judge Alito's record, however, is one of undue deference to executive power, and raises significant doubts as to whether he would adequately apply the checks and balances that the Founders enshrined in the Constitution to protect, in part, against an over-reaching executive.

Yes. I think I did get that right. You're concern is that Justice Alito will come to different conclusions regarding certain provisions of the Constitution than you would.

Hmm. . . That's interesting. If you won't vote in favor of Justice Alito because you have concerns as to the outcomes of his rulings, then I guess it was wrong of all those Republicans to vote to confirm President Clinton's nominees Justices Breyer and Ginsburg.

Let's skip ahead and read some more of your explanation as to why you voted "no" on Alito.

Though he has been hesitant to check presidential power, Judge Alito has been more than willing to check congressional power. In United States v. Rybar, the Third Circuit upheld a conviction under the federal law prohibiting the possession of machine guns. In his dissent, Judge Alito said there was insufficient evidence in the record to determine that Congress had the power under the Commerce Clause to enact the legislation.

But was Judge Alito's view wrong?

Not only did the majority strongly criticize his view of congressional power, and not only did the Supreme Court decline to review the majority'’s ruling, thereby suggesting that the majority'’s view was the correct one, but the Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits have also all found the congressional machine gun ban to be constitutional.

Again I ask, but was Judge Alito's view wrong? And is it any surprise that the Supreme Court declined to review the Third Circuit's ruling? The Supreme Court only has three reliable conservative/originalist votes. That's why President Bush campaigned to nominate Judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. If voters didn't want Justices like Scalia and Thomas, they could have voted for the French-looking candidate and received Justices in the mold of Ginsburg and Breyer.

I'll leave you with Senator Levin's conclusion, where he once again makes it clear that his vote against Judge Alito is purely because he suspects that Judge Alito will reach different outcomes than Senator Levin would.

Judge Alito is a personable, decent man, a man of great integrity and extraordinary intellect. His associates vouch for his collegiality and his congeniality. But I am not confident that Judge Alito will help provide the essential check on executive excess that has proven throughout our history to be the bedrock of our liberty. During his hearings, he stated time and time again that the President is “not above the law,” but in the end I am not persuaded that there'’s real conviction behind that mantra.

I wish I could ignore my fears and vote my hopes. But the doubts are too nagging and the stakes are too high for me to consent to Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Fumed by Boethius at 9:46 PM. |

Caption Contest

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 11:27 AM. |

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Reagan, Realistically. And a Right Willing and Able to Tell the Time

Rest easy, Gentleman, the wonderful Old Man of the Right (and there is no sarcasm or cynicism here, a point it is necessary to make given this bland medium) is not going to be subjected to the same rueful criticism the current occupant of the White House so justly deserves.

But thinking through the manifest decline of the mainstream Right, as well as the depredations wrought both by neoconservatism and its politico stooges, one cannot help but wonder about the reality of the Reagan legacy. After all, if the coming of Reagan truly meant what we tell ourselves it meant, how is it that conservatism collapsed so quickly, with the culture, in the meanwhile, getting even further away from us? (This point may be lost on those blithe souls who are unaware that there was a collapse, but among the principle virtues of a Christian are both charity and hope). To borrow a headline from an NR book review that appeared in the 90s, shouldn't decent men be today thinking, "We lost; now what?" And if they are brought to such conclusions, wherefore the great Reagan victory?

With such thoughts in mind, I pass on the following assessment of the Reagan legacy. My own reaction was reluctant persuasion. Among the sobering points made in the piece is this bit of strong medicine:

"What the American right of that era wanted from Ronald Reagan more than anything else was a counter-revolution against the cultural domination of liberalism. In that respect Reagan was a miserable failure."

Hard words, to be sure, but when you are in a hole, there is no use in fooling yourself about the accommodations available. You simply need to start digging. Or, to borrow the Francis' analogy, when the hours are closing in, you need to be willing and able to read the clock.

By the way, in considering political and cultural realities, with special emphasis on the Conservative Wars, there was no better guide than the late Sam Francis, whose style alone should have justified a column syndicated in every major newspaper. His untimely death early last year has unquestionably impoverished our current discourse. There are few modern writers whose work deserves wider currency, and if you are not already familiar with Francis, I invite you to search through his older columns at either "Vdare.com" or "Chronicles" magazine. You will find it to be time well spent.

Tributes from Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran are here and here, while one of Francis' many reflections on the dissolution of the Right can be found here.

Fumed by Irish Stout at 6:18 PM. |

The Kind of Men Who Make Religious (and Racial, and Ethnic) Sensitivity a Priority

Is the call for tolerance always a code word for Western surrender? It would appear so.

Bored with Harlem, our ex-president has of late been stumping around the world for "tolerance", even at the expense of free speech in a thoroughly secularized culture like Scandinavia. Funny, I thought the Left always favored freedom over religious sensitivity, but then the God they insult is usually that of the West. Apparently, the prospect of honoring something alien was too good to pass up. Just goes to show what our elites really consider to be sacred. (One might predict that the mainstream Right would soon be following the Left's lead, but then Bush long ago made a habit of toadying up to the Muslims.)

You can read about Clinton's efforts here. The offending cartoons, which have now stirred up Muslim anger around the world, can be found here after you scroll down.

Fumed by Irish Stout at 3:09 PM. |


Latin on the march!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris, Man of the Year at 12:55 PM. |

True Marriage

Here's a Press Release from Professor Safranek's organization True Marriage.


CLEVELAND, Ohio. -- An Ohio mother of four has launched a constitutional
appeal against an Ohio civil divorce and custody decision, arguing her
religious beliefs and free speech were used against her in the proceedings.
Her potentially precedent-setting appeal was submitted by Ave Maria School
of Law professor Stephen Safranek Jan.19 in the Eighth District Circuit
Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County. Safranek is handling the case through
TrueMarriage, a public interest law firm he founded to challenge no-fault
divorce and to defend the institution of marriage. The law firm's web site
is www.truemarriage.net.

The case involves the marriage of Marie "Bai" MacFarlane and her husband,
Bud MacFarlane, Jr. Mr. MacFarlane abandoned his wife and their four
children in 2003 and began no-fault divorce proceedings. Mrs. MacFarlane is
a stay-at-home mother and devout Roman Catholic who homeschooled her
children until 2004. The divorce was granted against her objections, and Mr.
MacFarlane was given permanent custody of the children. The court cited
Mrs. MacFarlane's opinions about the Catholic Church's teachings on the
sanctity of marriage in its decision to grant custody to her husband, and to
forbid her to continue homeschooling the children.

"The civil courts do not have sole authority to end her marriage or to
control the upbringing of her children," said Safranek. "These religious and
moral beliefs may be considered alien or quaint in our culture. Yet, the
holding fast to such beliefs should not result in discrimination against a

Mrs. MacFarlane said, "My husband and I agreed to marry for life. Even if
disputes arose, I expected that we would resolve them as Catholics, from the
Church"s moral position."

The civil divorce court refused to allow a third party arbitrator, the
ecclesiastic authority of the Roman Catholic Church, to determine separation
procedures, financial settlements and custody of the children. This is
despite legal precedents set in cases of Jewish or Islamic marriages.
Further, the appeal argues the Guardian for the children in the case was
hostile to Mrs. MacFarlane"s religious views and did not act properly in
defending the interests of the MacFarlane children. The Guardian removed
them from their mother"s care although the court psychologist report states
the children, "do want more time with their mom" and the older boys "were
adamant supporters of homeschooling."

"The court"s ruling gave the father, who works full time, permanent custody
and their stay-at-home mom visitation time," Safranek said. "This occurred
despite the fact that the father did not have a single family member or
friend or even an employee who could testify on his abilities to serve as a
custodial parent. However, a veritable blizzard of family and friends
testified on behalf of Mrs. MacFarlane."

Mrs. MacFarlane stated: "I was forced to stop homeschooling my three older
children. My youngest child is in daycare although I am willing to stay home
and care for my children. I have no right to make any decision regarding
their upbringing. Finally, although we as a family poured our lives and
savings into a non-profit foundation, my husband runs it and I have been
ordered to get another job."

Mrs. MacFarlane has taken her case on a parallel track before the Church

Fumed by Boethius at 10:05 AM. |