Recently a friend sent me a piece of mail that he received. It was your standard solicitation letter from AMSL signed by "Bernard Dobranski, President and Professor of Law." Of course, upon seeing it, my stomach turned. But I decided to read it anyway. It began with the standard boilerplate, "culture of death vs. culture of life" text that Catholics are used to reading in such solicitation letters. Where the letter became interesting, however, was in the recitation of achievements of AMSL. There were the paragraphs devoted to alumni attaining clerkships (45 in the federal courts; 13 in state courts) and what an impressive feat that is for a small and relatively new law school such as AMSL. Curiously Dobranski omitted the achievement of one of the faculty members attaining a federal clerkship as well. But I digress.
Then came this paragraph. I will reproduce it in full:
But that's not all. Three of our first four graduating classes also ranked number one of all Michigan law schools on the Bar Exam. One year, they achieved a 100%pass rate -- which has not happened in Michigan in over thirty years. [bold portion indicates what was underlined in original letter]
Hmmm...Is anyone else troubled by the wording here? Don't get me wrong, I am appreciative of Dobranski living off the capital of the first several classes who went to AMSL before it was hijacked by the Long John Silver of Catholic education. But look at the language..."ranked number one of all Michigan law schools on the Bar Exam?" What bar exam? All bar exams taken that year? Further, "one year they achieved a 100% pass rate..." On all bar exams taken by Michigan law school graduates? Don't get me wrong, stats on the state bar exam are something to be proud of, but for potential donors, this seems a bit misleading, at least it seems very Clintonian. (I am willing to admit that I am wrong if I am incorrect!)
The letter then extolls the Blackstone Fellowship awardees. And let's not forget our professors! Again the letter:
Of course, much credit is due our remarkable professors. Many are lauded as our nation's premier teachers and practitioners of law. Best of all -- they share a common love for Ave Maria. And they're bound together in a unique mission of training our dynamic leaders of tomorrow.
Sounds great! Let's examine a bit closer though. What professors are we talking about? Seems that the faculty composition bears very little resemblance to the original years (save Myers and Murphy and Sonne, who's simply on leave to pursue a great opportunity clerking for a federal judge--he'll be back!). Who on the faculty are "lauded" as "our nation's premier teachers and practitioners of law?" Names? Better, who is doing the lauding? "Sharing a common love for Ave Maria"--not to be nitpicky, but what faculty are we talking about--the faculty of the first several years or those that have since come on board? More fundamentally, what is Ave Maria? Finally, "unique mission" and "training our dynamic leaders of tomorrow," well, that's just Obamese. As the eminent William M. Gaines once remarked, "Blecch!"
I understand the nature of solicitation letters, but...Blecch!
Your snarkiness here. Some of mine to get us started:
Shockingly few grads donated. Anyone wanna do the percentages?
Sonne was pretty cheap, but then he's always asked "What can Ave do for me?" And the devil on his shoulder whispers, "Supreme Court clerkship."
Kessler gave something back. Good karma, like waitpersons tipping well.
Some alumni need to talk to their parents.
Milhizer's opening remarks are disingenuous at best. Actually, hilarious at best. My favorite bits: "in-depth multi-year study" (false, false, and false; a three-fer), "Board of Governors decided" (yeah, right), "relocate ... to southwest Florida" (anywhere in particular in southwest Florida?), "wonderful success story" (yeah, a real fairy tale), "plans are proceeding so well" (well, the plans we decided to follow after scrapping all the original plans), "our mission remains the same" (true- the aggrandizement of T$M continues apace). Ave propaganda are like grandkids: you can't pick just one favorite.
Seriously, can we get a percentage of grad donors? Just an embarrassing turnout.
This morning, while setting up a Google Group site for a local Catholic group, I discovered something very disturbing. When creating a Google Group you can assign your group under categories like subject matter, location, language, etc. Being a Catholic group, naturally I sought to categorize the group under "Catholic." But to my surprise, "Catholic" as a category doesn't exist.
Notice that "Religion" is not a top level category, but "Society" is. "Society" strikes me as an odd top level category because it is so general and abstract. Wouldn't most of these top level categories qualify under the heading of "Society?"
But "Society" is the second largest category of interest, so it MUST be an important top level category to organize groups under. Right?
Of course, "Christianity" is the largest category, but there isn't any further sub-categories for Catholicism, or Eastern Orthodox, or Evangelicalism, or Baptists, etc. to distinguish between the many and varied forms of Christianity.
However, "New Age," "Esoteric and Occult," "Paganism," "Reincarnation," "Shaminism," "Gnosticism," "Pantheism," and "Satanism" each have their own categories despite the low number of groups in each.
If you search for "Catholic" under google groups you get over 1,000 groups that would be categorized under this subject ("Baptist" has over 800).
This highlights a growing trend some websites where the very subject of Religion is relegated to the level of private hobby and not a subject on the level of Politics or Science. It simply is abscent.
Religion doesn't exist, yet if you search for "Autos & Vehicles" - a top category - you get 24,800 videos. If you search for "Religion" on YouTube, you get 179,000 videos; and for "Catholic" you get 60,600 videos. Yet "Religion" is not a top level category, infact, it is not a category at all on YouTube.
I've noticed this on other websites, particularly news sites.
The new-atheist narrative is that Religion is at best a quirky hobby and so should be categorized as such, nice for those who dig it but not a serious matter of public interest.
This trend of removing Religion as a high level category of public interest seems to reflect this line of thinking.
During Mr. Guter's tenure, the law school has seen gains in a number of indicators including its bar-passage rate, which rose to 97 percent from 68 percent. But there have also been tensions between the law school and university President Charles Dougherty, including the president's initial refusal to grant tenure to professor John Rago despite a favorable faculty vote and backing of the dean.
The president's refusal sparked a student protest before Dr. Dougherty reversed couse and granted Mr. Rago tenure.
Reached today, Mr. Guter said he was given without explanation the option to resign in 24 hours or be removed.
"My reaction to this is shock. The school -- really by a lot of people's accounts, not just mine -- has never been in better shape," he said.
Bruce Ledewitz, a law school faculty member since 1980, called the move by the university unimaginable.
"This is an appalling decision. It shows that performance means nothing at Duquesne," Mr. Ledewitz said. "All that matters is if President Dougherty personally likes you."
Sounds eerily similar to the controversy at Ave Maria School of Law.
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception there is a special devotion called the Hour of Grace.
"On December 8th, at noon, I shall appear here again in the parish church and it will be the hour of grace." Pierina Gilli asked, "Please, explain to me! What does it mean, the hour of grace?" Our Lady replied, "The hour of grace-----great and numerous conversions will occur." Here she paused again for some moments and continued, "Souls, totally hardened, cold as this marble, will be touched by Divine grace and become faithful and God-loving again."
I wish people to celebrate each year on December 8th at noon the hour of grace for the whole world. With this exercise, one will receive numerous spiritual and bodily graces. Our Lord, my Divine Son Jesus, will be abundantly merciful so long as good men go on praying for their fellow men. As soon as possible, let the Supreme Shepherd of the Church, Pope Pius XII, know it is my wish that this hour of grace be publicized and spreadthroughout the whole world. If someone cannot go to church at this time, he is to pray at noon at home, and he will receive graces from me. He who prays on these bricks and sheds tears of repentance will find a secure ladder to Heaven and get protection and graces from my Motherly Heart."