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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Are Accepted AMU Students Getting Copies of Monaghan's Biography?

In the comments, there is an anonymous report that students who have been accepted to Ave Maria University are being mailed copies of Tom Monaghan's biography, Pizza Tiger. If this rumor is correct (and from my research, it appears reliable - can others confirm?), then chalk this up as another example of hubris on the part of Monaghan, right next to naming the sports team after himself and inducting himself into his own Hall of Fame. The funny thing is that a year and a half ago, when I posted about Monaghan naming AMU the "Gyrenes" because Monaghan is himself a Gyrene, I wrote the following:
Monaghan named the team name after himself. That is outrageous. I think that naming the school team after yourself is right up there with declaring your birthday a school holiday or requiring all first year students to read Pizza Tiger. Fine, you're the founder and chancellor. Make a commemorative plaque for yourself, or name the library after yourself, but don't name the team name after yourself.
So..... a year and half ago, I came up with a hypothetical example of outrageous Monaghan hubris off the top of my head, and it has now become reality. (Okay, so maybe first-year students are not currently required to read Pizza Tiger but we're almost there.) Instances like these make AMU look like a school trapped in a cult of personality. How can anyone look at AMU and consider it an institution that takes academics seriously? Is there no reasonable AMU administrator who has the courage to dissuade Monaghan from such foolishness?

And when is the Ave Maria School of Law going to start sending out copies of Pizza Tiger to its incoming students?

Fumed by Thales at 4:25 PM. |

The News is so Positively Good, you have to Hide it!

Taking a cue from their copy of the Gospel which told them to put their light under a bushel basket, the guys over at INCENSE (aka positivelyavemaria.blogspot.com) have shut all visitors out of their panacea of positiveness.

I was looking for some good news and a pick me up about the Ave Maria and Ave Maria School of Law stuff (after all, all the news seems depressing so why not try and find something good) but when I visited today, here's what I saw:

Shocked, dismayed, and still depressed about AMSoL's tumble from what it aspired to be I've asked around to find out what's up with that.

Some have said this was a necessary step to prove their allegiance to the Monetized Utopic Empire™ where all good news is carefully dolled out by trained mouths and their mouths had been found unworthy of such a task.

Others have said they never listened to the words of Bowie Kuhn (great proponent of the Ave Maria idea), who said (see post here):
"You've got to develop a sense of humor," Kuhn once said in an interview. "You have to be able to stand back and laugh. That's invaluable, or you're apt to go slightly balmy."

Balmy they are (and hiding in the caves, by that theory).

Others have said (but I doubt it seriously) that they heard the late INCENSE blog was hacked by a pr0n (pornography) group operating out of Turkmenistan that now uses the site to generate revenue getting filthy images into certain areas of internet users that would otherwise be unable to get them because of internet provider level web filtering and logging. I find that hard to believe and just think they have become stingy and want all the good news for themselves.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 11:39 AM. |

Friday, January 30, 2009

Promising Star Heavily Recruited

Ousted Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich just hit the market today and we have it on good word that he is being heavily recruited by several institutions for his leadership, ability to stick to a communications theme, and his bold faced capacity to be convincing in the face of adverse situations. Some of the entities looking to have him on board also admire his operational skills and ability to "get things done." One recruiter said his performance at depositions is far more convincing than the "I can't remember my own address" routine used by certain Chairmen, which has drawn the interest of that organization to get him onboard immediately.

So, here's your chance FUMARE readers to tell the recruiters where he'd fit best!

Some heavy speculation centers around the idea that Monaghan will appoint him as Ethics Chairman somewhere but others are saying that he has a pretty good package offered to him from an unnamed DC-based conservative website as a deposition coach. What have you heard?*

*- CAVEAT COMMENTER. Already anticipating the "he already writes for FUMARE" and other maladjusted remarks we'd get, I thought I'd tell everyone that I offered a spot on FUMARE to Rod and he said he could do no better than us, but even if he could, he would rather apply his talents shaping up these places with access to some money.


A saavy FUMARE reader pointed out to me that this job listing (reported on FUMARE here) was still outstanding:

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 6:43 PM. |

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Reading the O'Bierne deposition from Thales' post and seeing the Vineyards campus instead of the promised campus at Ave Maria reminded me of something I saw a long time ago. Back when Dean Milhizer asked alumni to support the Transition Team, I recall one alum cc'ing several of us with the following email... Note the date -- this is TWO YEARS AGO:
[note: I altered the font sizes and cut things in order to get to the point that this email already predicted that the law school location had become a fluid variable of the school].
From: [an alum]
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 2:57 PM
To: Dean Mil.
Subject: RE: Transition Team

Dear Dean M[...],

Thank you for the opportunity to provide my input to this major task. I decided to think about this over the weekend, and consult many others because, I admit that at first I was at quite a loss for any constructive way I could help the law school in this matter.

I think you know that I care for the law school very deeply, as I am sure everyone does, and I thank you for acknowledging in formal form the sacrifices we underwent to help, each in our own way, this very uniquely missioned-law school. It was in considering what I did give up that I reached an epiphany as to how I can help the law school not just for the immediate need, but for long term.

[...talks about experience in contingency planning...]

In considering my past with the law school, it was only eight years ago that I [...] I also spent long hours talking to Dean Kenney. Perhaps it was intuition, but I asked a lot of questions as to why Ann Arbor was selected. I even asked in a joking manner during orientation why we weren't sitting on Miami Beach. But, despite the assessments of that time, we find that Florida provides all of those things now. Things change. I understand that and know how to make organizations ready for change. In short, we are where we are now, only seven years later.

Considering the current situation of the law school and the immediate needs to transition or suffer loss of operation, which is a severe outcome,
I think there needs to be some planning and thought put into law school preparedness for future transitions. Just as the assessment of Ann Arbor changed in seven years, I believe none of us can be sure that Florida will not present similar problems in the future that may cause us to need a list of alternative locations. Things change, after all. Inevitable change of variables requires good planning to prevent an emergency. I also say it is likely that Florida may present problems because there are a lot of variables out of the law school control. There is the environmental attention to the area developed.

At least one function of this standing transition preparedness team is constantly surveying money locations. I find it unfortunate that, although the Board sought a noble end and to distinguish the law school in its decision, the decision itself has changed the character of the law school forever.
The law school is now fluid and able to move where-ever the money is. Cooley Law School does that -- it seeks and builds campuses where the money is. Other law schools approach the problem by making the money come to them. The merits of both approaches are irrelevant to the reality that the law school is now a fluid organization that is willing to relocate to the money. Today, it is Mr. Monaghan that offers the money, who knows where tomorrow's major funds will be. As part of preparedness, we need to be studying where the money locations are on an ongoing basis now and rank them relative to each other, as well as have plans in place for each in case we receive similar ultimatums again.

Thus, I'd like to spearhead the standing transition preparedness team, if I may. I would be more than willing to provide my highly refined and sophisticated training to such a project especially so we will not encounter an emergency situation again with our pants down, so to speak.

Finally, and another unfortunate consequence of our situation as it is now, I find it necessary to point out that I am serious in my offer, especially for the reasons I state above. The law school now has made a choice to include location among variables that may be changed in order to improve the bottom line. Accordingly, we need to be assessing all location options in the future as better opportunities than the one presented to us today may recur in the future. In that event, we need to be ready to follow the money. Several other places, such as Credo magazine or others were not ready. Look where they are now. I don't want the law school to be caught unable to transition the next time there is an immediate need.
As for me, and seeing how the law school has indeed changed campus locations, I think this alumni's email should have been signed Q.E.D.


Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:40 PM. |

O'Beirne Deposed: A Lack of Due Diligence?

AveWatch has gotten its hand on Kate O'Beirne's October 29, 2008 deposition in the Ave Maria Law wrongful termination suit. In AveWatch's first post, AveWatch notes that based on O'Beirne's testimony:
-O'Beirne did not view, nor seek to have made, any legal or written document confirming Monaghan's financial commitment to AMSL.
-O'Beirne did not ensure that there was any kind of plan to fulfill the institution's operational or financial obligations if Monaghan changed his mind about funding the institution or if he became incapacitated or died (i.e. "had something terrible happen"). Further, O'Beirne agreed that there was "not nearly enough [money] to support even just a few months of operation of the law school" outside of Monaghan's day-to-day decision to fund it.
-O'Beirne relied only on verbal reports concerning the funding stream that would support the move of AMSL to Florida.
-O'Beirne did not see any written commitment from the Ave Maria Foundation for building the Law School in Ave Maria Town. Yet, she voted for the move.
-O'Beirne did not see, nor expect to see, any financial projections from Ave Maria Town developers prior to her voting in favor of the Florida move... a move where the Law School's operations would be dependent upon that unknown income stream.
-O'Beirne took no steps to ensure that AMSL could survive in Michigan if the ABA decided to not grant acquiescence to a Florida move.
AveWatch provides lots of quotes from the depositions. It is stunning to see the lack of due diligence on the part of Kate O'Beirne.

There is so much interesting stuff in the depositions, but I wanted to highlight one little exchange:
Q: Well, does he have the money to build the [law school building in Ave Maria Town] or does he just - did he literally not have the money?
O'Beirne: I believe he has - I believe he has a number of obligations, and we have an alternative way for him to fulfill his commitment to the law school by moving to Vineyards campus, which I think winds up being wholly satisfactory.
Q: So your view is that the move to Naples is just as good as the move to Ave Town?
O'Beirne: Yes. I think we talked about this before. Okay.
Whoa, there. Some of the most important reasons given in favor of a move to Florida was the "synergy" from being a part of the Ave Maria University campus and the community from being a part of Ave Maria Town. The Naples location does not satisfy these reasons and has always been described by the administration as a temporary location. If O'Beirne's perspective is the same as the other Board of Governors, then a massive lie is being perpetrated on the Ave Maria Law community.

Go and check out the rest of the deposition.

AveWatch, any chance that you'll be posting the entire deposition as a PDF?

Fumed by Thales at 8:10 AM. |

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Earlier, this post by AM reported that some other blog has reported that internal conversations at AMU are predicting cash straps so bad that 18 months is projected.

I've not said anything yet, but that post gives me the opportunity to say that I've been hearing that the situation requires changes sooner than 18 months. Some say by summer the Ave Maria entities will be different. House sales stink, prices are down, and Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the country. Makes one think that all of the hype Monaghan was spreading about the perfect paradise and funding the school was really blowing sunshine in places where it ought not go.

Michigan, meanwhile, may have bad unemployment, but is doing better on property than Florida, coming in at 6th place for foreclosure rates. In fact, foreclosure rates in Michigan are dropping. (For those who are challenged in logic, 6th place in foreclosure rates is doing far better than Florida). If foreclosure rates were law school rankings, Florida would be in AMSOL's tier, and Michigan would be in Ohio State or Louisville's place.

It's all rumor, but it's been what people have said from the beginning. Oh wait... those people who said such things don't have voices. They get fired, term limited, or ignored.

There is no blaming conditions. Monaghan was warned in 2002 and 2003 and 2004 that it was foolishness to gamble the future of the college, law school, and everything else on a risky real estate gamble. It should make you sick that he had the land in Ann Arbor but failed to complete the zoning plans to obtain approval. Even after he blamed the township and threw his hands in the air, he still had suitable land offered for free in neighboring Plymouth. No, no, no -- there was BIG CASH IN FLORIDA!!!! But the sycophants wailed and praised the great rich man. Maybe none of it will come to pass, but the murmurings are around that something is happening within 6 months (not the 18 said on that other blog).

who knows? Maybe that's why the law school was put on Vineyards. More than a few alumni keep saying it was at Vineyards (instead of at the promised location in the promised land) in order to offset property upkeep on an unsellable commercial property. But I'm sure those rumors aren't true because the schools are independent and would never be used as cash vehicles in a larger investment/accounting picture. No, Bernie assured us the law school was independent. (as they did the ABA). So, the decision to locate the law school at the Vineyards would have nothing to do with washing losses on a dog property.

One thing you won't see without compulsion:

The predictable response was found on Monaghan's little red car:

Monaghan's vision is far superior to all of ours, if you recall. Funding a University on house sales...biggest endowment... all of that.

we'll see, but it sounds like we'll see soon

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 8:30 PM. |

Is Ave Maria University provided for in the Obama Stimulus Package?

If not, they need to be. According to the Communio blog:

The faculty of Ave Maria University (Naples, FL) found out that the financial situation is rather dire and the school could close within 18 months. The once interesting idea is about to go belly up. AND "I am sorry isn't going to cut it."

Chip Diller, spokesman for AMU's Department of External Affairs, said: "Remain calm. All is well!"

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 6:12 PM. |

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Benedict Resets Battle Lines with Warning Shot to SS Leotards

(Picture: Pope Fires Second Salvo at the USS Leotards Group. credit: M.Molnar)

Take a peek over at the article on NCR (some call it the distorter)

For years, many of us younger (sub-45) Catholics have had to bear the oppression of hippy music, hippy logic, and frankly useless socially-unrested gender-confused liturgists and others who press themselves into the sanctuary instead of taking God into the world). Any resistance was met with the look of oppression or worse. Insults, dismissive disrepect, and usually a crassly arrogant sneer of superiority.

The only thing the progressives had going for them was the house of cards made up of their claims of Vatican II. For them it meant no latin, no doctrine, no guilt, no sacraments, and more importantly, it allowed them to desacralize the Mass and play hippy crap music during the Church's public prayer.

In two very clear and well aimed shots, the pope has utterly destroyed any positions they had in the battlefield of reason. Much like Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the Motu Proprio regarding the Tridentine Mass and this act of lifting the excommunication of the SSPX bishops. BOOM!

What I hoped was true, actually is. Not only did Pope Benedict lift the excommunication of the four SSPX bishops in a document called "Benevolent and Courageous" (notice how even the title co-ops the vocabulary of Sr. TouchyHealing Dancereress), but he did release it on the even of the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II.

The NCR reaction is exactly the point: Progressives can no longer flatly dismiss the latin traditions as gone after Vatican II.

For years, it has been easy for them to describe such traditions as relic removed by Vatican II. hehehehe... the Extraordinary form of the Mass together with this action today make mince meat and take any such argument off the table as there legitimacy is now soundly imposed. Now it will be the progressives who have to say the Pope was wrong.

A clear shot across the bow of the S.S.LEOTARDS progressive barque of America -- The battlefield they thought they had narrowed down to the necessity of ordaining women has just been outflanked, outmaneuvered, and broadened back into the full scope of all issues Catholic.

I still have concerns over how some of my SSPX friends from childhood will react, but I don't think that they even totally get what happened yet. They are a piece in a much larger military grouping -- or perhaps, they are one of a large group of T-cells in the Body of Christ.

I know that the Trent catechism will become a prescient issue again, but that's the whole point... hehehehe

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 10:32 AM. |

Friday, January 23, 2009

What Now, Doug?

Sadly, but not entirely unexpectedly, the Mexico City policy goes away, yet again. I'd be interested in how many instances like this it takes to sway Doug Kmiec that Obama means what he says about abortion (or doesn't mean what Kmiec thinks Obama says). Here's praying this is the last attack on human life we see from this President. Here's praying A WHOLE LOT.

Fumed by TheLawDog at 7:40 PM. |

And now for something completely different...

Eat your heart out, Res Ipsa!: http://vimeo.com/2809991

Fumed by AMSOL Pioneer at 11:28 AM. |

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Two Thoughts re: Deal Hudson

Thought the First:

Just because Deal Hudson agrees with you doesn't mean you're wrong.

Some Fumaristas have supported the war in Iraq; others have opposed it. When I, and others, argued in favor of our near eastern adventure, "neo-con" rapist Monaghan tool Deal Hudson's support for the war was thrown in our faces. Now, Hudson seems to have changed his tune. He certainly has left (not, pace Pinker, "has certainly left") the neo-con reservation vis a vis Israel's recent operations in Gaza. Agreeing with Hudson on this point doesn't make you leftist dhimmis wrong now, any more than agreeing with him then made us crusaders wrong before. Interesting, though, that Hudson's views seem to have shifted just as have the winds of power, no? (Correct answer: No.)

Thought B:

Rapist Monaghan tool Hudson (neo-con or no) is the only professor I can name who was removed from his tenured position (at Fordham). Well, he was. Now we can all name another one. Hudson was removed for sexual misconduct with a student. Allegations of sexual misconduct seems one of the few ways to get rid of a tenured prof. Even plagiarism doesn't seem to do the trick these days. I wonder if l'affaire Hudson gave T$M another one of his brilliant ideas.

Fumed by Boko Fittleworth at 10:56 PM. |

Rumor Resurfaces

For the past 20 years, rumors of imminent regularization of SSPX have occasionally bubbled. There is one quite active circulating that pp.BenedictXVI has already signed the deal and awaits the moment to announce. It's also worthy to note that the 25th of this month marks the 50th anniversary of the invocation of Vatican II.

I'm happy if it's true, but I know my SSPX bretheren well enough to know that they won't be happy yet and won't know what to do with this. So, they'll still bellyache with the expectation that Russia has yet to be consecrated and lean on the pope to release the alleged remaining secret of Fatima. (they don't know much about Russia other than what Gruner says... Russia's totally different these days, but tell them because they need something to keep them ahead of everyone else).

I'm expecting the SSPV and independents to immediately rail on the SSPX for selling out.

Despite the likely ongoing mess, I'll be very happy if it's real this time. Just the fact that I'm talking about it after nearly ignoring these rumors for the last fifteen years if not longer is enough to indicate that I think there's some actual heft this time. There's also some heft because the EU secular press is describing the alleged move as "admitting an anti-Semitic bishop and holocaust denier back to the Church." I don't think they'd already be slinging the lies if they didn't see some heft, too.

I do hope that if a media release is made, it is also mentioned in terms of the Vat II anniversary, and with a commendation that they turn their attention to getting the independents back to sanity.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 6:59 PM. |

The New Civil Rights Crisis

Some greater reflection on the state of affairs is in order on this, the 36th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion in America. I would like to continue my theme from my previous post, and draw some further parallels to the civil rights movement involving segregation and blacks. With that debate becoming increasingly moot with the election of a black President, a civilized society must look for the next great civil rights debate, at least the focus will so shift.

I argue that the next great civil rights cause is not to be found in the realm of a small quasi-protected class. No, we have a much more significant class of Americans who are more defenseless than any race or group in history. They are more preyed upon (and for even flimsier reasons) than the Jews in Nazi Germany or black races used in the slave trade. They have no right of association, and cannot lobby on their own behalf. They are differentiated only by their stage of development, and come from all races - though we know minorities in this group end up being killed far more often than non-minorities. They have no voice of their own at the critical time, they cannot vote, and they rely completely on society and those who are charged to care for them for their fate. The unborn babies killed since 1973 total close to 50 million now. If one were to take the number of those killed in this unprotected class, merely in the United States, and make it the population of a country, it would be the 24th largest in the world. The total taken worldwide, then, must be a staggering number, something nearly impossible to comprehend, when a million+ people attending an historic event is called "a sea of humanity."

But let's talk about some of the truly strange arguments in favor of abortions that bring back the echos of past discrimination against classes of humanity. Two such arguments go something like this:

1. The babies in their mothers' wombs are not human beings, and, so, for convenience sake, we can make the decision about how they are to be treated, and which rights they should get; inability to choose on this front would mean greater poverty, greater drains on society and a declining America;

2. Abortion is actually a humane result for most of these children who would grow up in poverty or difficulty, or else be adopted into families who they feel no connection to, and who can not possibly love them as much as their birth parents. Those who are anti-abortion are fanatics, wackos and ideologues who want to unjustly force a way of life on others, and it is time to move past our differences on this issue, long resolved by the force of time.

Let us put aside the logical arguments against these positions for this post. These two pro-abortion arguments are efforts, in either case, to justify the positions one takes to end the life of another, and appease conscience.

I'd like to focus on the words of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Calhoun was an instrumental force in driving the country to Civil War, and, among other things, he actually regarded slavery as a positive good. Do either of the arguments above share logic with Calhoun's words below?:

Experience has proved that the existing relation, in which the one is subjected to the other, in the slaveholding States, is consistent with the peace and safety of both, with great improvement to the inferior; while the same experience proves that . . . the abolition of slavery would (if it did not destroy the inferior by conflicts, to which it would lead) reduce it to the extremes of vice and wretchedness. In this view of the subject, it may be asserted, that what is called slavery is in reality a political institution, essential to the peace, safety, and prosperity of those States of the Union in which it exists.


I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good - a positive good. . . . I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other. Broad and general as is this assertion, it is fully borne out by history. . . .

I might well challenge a comparison between them and the more direct, simple, and patriarchal mode by which the labor of the African race is, among us, commanded by the European. I may say with truth, that in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age. Compare his condition with the tenants of the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europe - look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse.

But I will not dwell on this aspect of the question; I turn to the political; and here I fearlessly assert that the existing relation between the two races in the South, against which these blind fanatics are waging war, forms the most solid and durable foundation on which to rear free and stable political institutions. It is useless to disguise the fact. There is and always has been in an advanced stage of wealth and civilization, a conflict between labor and capital. The condition of society in the South exempts us from the disorders and dangers resulting from this conflict; and which explains why it is that the political condition of the slaveholding States has been so much more stable and quiet than that of the North. . . . All we want is concert, to lay aside all party differences and unite with zeal and energy in repelling approaching
dangers. Let there be concert of action, and we shall find ample means of security without resorting to secession or disunion.

Fumed by TheLawDog at 4:29 PM. |

March for Life 2009

Casimir's post made me realize that today is the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The March for Life is going on right now in Washington, DC. Pray for the protection of the unborn today, especially during the future Obama presidency.

Fumed by Thales at 11:20 AM. |


Several earlier posts this week, as well as a comment from Columcille, indicate that AMSOL was at one time pressed to create a pro-life clinic. It never did.

I make this comment on the March For Life day, which is an event the school is heavily engaged in.

For all of the things AMSOL was created to be, as well as the fact that everyone would recognize that Monaghan would back such a thing, it is very strange that, as Columcille noted in the comments, such a clinic was never made.

Now, St. Thomas has one. Think about that for a minute. Why didn't AMSOL? Who pooped in that pool?

Monaghan wouldn't stop such a thing, and the idea was there all the way from the first class, so was it Bernie? Why wouldn't he do it?

Apart from the reasons, it's certainly a fail and a big black eye for the so-called Ave empire of all things Catholic and Pro-Life that a mere diocesan law school beat them to the punch.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 8:56 AM. |

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Check it out . . . spread the word! 

Fumed by Columcille at 3:08 PM. |

Franciscan University Presents

Though the times seem dark, the Campus Ministry Department of Franciscan University of Stuebenville has given us one of their vocal ensembles as a guiding light.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 2:41 PM. |

Monday, January 19, 2009

Words I Hope Our New President Truly Understands

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the United States' new President. Just as it will be when the first female President is elected, it is truly significant that a black man has been elected President, even if we don't agree with his policies or worldview. If we are honest, we know that tomorrow's event would not have been possible at all points in our country's our history, and we should be happy that recognition of human dignity, at least in this one way, has advanced as it has.

Today is a holiday marking the influence a civil rights champion who, in many ways, helped pave the way to the election of a black President. In the extraordinary times in which we live, this significant moment gives us a chance to think about the promise of America and the opportunity that the new President will have to take the lessons he drew upon to get here to embrace the new and current civil rights crisis - that of abortion.

President Obama will have many legislative proposals come his way. He will also consider executive orders of varying kinds. There will be a number of opportunities to use the bully pulpit for the common good. He will have many moments to make his Presidency truly historic, not just a milestone of race advancement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words regarding segregation could just as easily have been written today about the unjust "laws" of abortion, be they judicially-enacted or passed by an elected legislature. Here's hoping (and praying!) President Obama has read Dr. King's words, and finds the wisdom to apply them to the plight of the weakest class among us, those who, like the blacks in our country's history, only more so, see their lives trampled and extinguished for the convenience of others. We pray he will take the lessons learned regarding the evils of slavery and segregation and apply them to the intentional killing of the unborn. Certainly, we, as Catholics, will take a page from Dr. King's playbook should unjust laws regarding abortion be pushed to legally "obligate" us to act contrary to our consciences:

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

Fumed by TheLawDog at 6:07 PM. |

Saturday, January 17, 2009

American Papist Responds to Kmiec's Complaining About Calumnies

I wonder if Professor Doug Kmiec read the Fr. Orsi article, "Calumny in the blogosphere." Kmiec, a self-proclaimed pro-life Catholic, was the biggest advocate this past election of the proposition that "a vote for Obama is a pro-life vote in line with Catholic teaching." Of course, Kmiec was challenged on this position by dozens of conservative and pro-life bloggers, who pointed out the fact that Obama had a 100% abortion rating by NARAL, promised to sign FOCA as his first act as President, opposed the Illinois infanticide bill, and, in sum, was the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in America's history.

Apparently, these criticisms really hurt Kmiec's feelings, because Kmiec has written a long article complaining about the "right-wing Catholic blogosphere" and all the "personal attacks," the "venom," the "ad hominem invective," the "odium," the "propanganda," the "vituperation", and the "hate-filled" and "hateful" "calumnies" he suffered. (Did Kmiec miss any other adjectives?)

In response, American Papist has posted a well-written open letter which devastates Kmiec's position. Here is an excerpt:
Because Kmiec also lumps-in conservative Catholic bloggers in his accusations, and I am myself a conservative Catholic blogger with a sizable readership, I am issuing a public correction in response to his article. I have mentioned Kmiec by name in almost one-hundred blog posts during the election cycle so am well-informed about the situation, which is in dire need of a reality check after Kmiec's misleading narration.

At the outset, Kmiec makes no distinction between the reasonable criticisms his arguments have received from the shrill hip-shots that also make their way into the blogosphere. Hyperbolic fluff has always been part of the background noise of the blogosphere, but to equate that with the excellent Catholic journalism represented in many blogs is the worst sort of overgeneralizing. It is like complaining that "the press" is persecuting you, and then proceeding to quote exclusively from the National Enquirer gossip pages.

So who exactly are these "right-wing Catholic bloggers"? Is Kmiec referring to popular bloggers such as Amy Welborn, Jeff Miller, Steven Gredanus, Mark Shea, Carl Olson, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, myself (all of whom have blogged about Kmiec)? Together these figures represent a heavy proportion of the Catholic blogosphere’s readership, and yet, having read practically every post they have written on Kmiec, I'm hard pressed to think of a single example of rank uncharity in them. Indeed, I doubt a single one of Kmiec's infamous quotations will be found on their published pages.

What does that leave? Comment boxes and smaller blogs. Now make no mistake, I’m not denigrating smaller blogs – there are real gems out there and I read many of them. Neither am I defending the uncharitable comments that have doubtlessly been made. But what Kmiec has in essence done is to complain about any instance of uncharity in the blogosphere. Considering how easy it is to publish a blog, it is almost like criticizing free speech. Kmiec is asking that we shut down (or criticize heavily) an open room of vocal Catholics because of a few hecklers.

Kmiec's choice to only call out the hecklers has allowed him to avoid other legitimate, constructive criticisms of his position. Here he has perfected the art of misdirection by turning the debate away from the issues onto the personal hurt he feels he has received.
American Papist's point is readily applied to the Ave Maria/Monaghan debate that happens regularly here on Fumare. Fumare is an anonymous blog with anonymous commenters, and anonymity often leads to hecklers and to comments that cross the line of propriety. (In the past, I've been critical of these improper posts and comments.) But too often, Monaghan supporters do what Kmiec is doing: calling out the hecklers and dismissing all blogs as "calumnious" in order to avoid the legitimate and reasonable criticisms of Monaghan and his Ave Maria ventures.

Fumed by Thales at 1:07 PM. |

Friday, January 16, 2009

St. Thomas Law School Shows Up AMSL Yet Again

If you remember, the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minnesota, a new Catholic law school, debuted in the Third Tier of the US News rankings (where it now rests) in striking contrast to 4th Tier Ave Maria School of Law. It now looks like St. Thomas is firmly staking its claim as the best Catholic law school in the country. From Mirror of Justice:
The University of St. Thomas Law School is announcing the establishment of its Prolife Advocacy Center on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Professor Teresa Collett will serve as Director of the Center and Professor Michael Paulsen will serve as Chair of the Board of Advisors to the Center. The center grows out of our commitment to reverse Roe v. Wade, insure legal protection for the lives of all innocent human beings, and stop the international spread of the jurisprudence of death.
Don't get me wrong: asylum and immigration rights is worthy legal work, but St. Thomas wins this round.

As for treatment of prominent Catholic legal academics whose names start with "R" and end with "ice," well, let's just say there is no competition between St. Thomas and AMSL:
Later that same day, one of the first events of the Center will be a cosponsored lecture by Professor Charles Rice of Notre Dame on how Roe v. Wade has contributed to the death of the founders' vision of the American republic, a view he outlined in his most recent book, "The Winning Side, Why the Culture of Death is Dying." Dr. Rice's expertise is described on his webpage (here). The lecture will be from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Moot Court Room of the Law School, with a reception following. If you're in the Twin Cities next week, please join us.

Fumed by Thales at 7:51 AM. |

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I found these post it notes, which ones did you find?

FUMARE is aware that many of the post-it notes of TM's most inner thoughts would be damaging if anyone else saw them recorded, but we all know that the contents of those notes are things he has said, whether it be through a henchman, or in some other deniable way.

Nevertheless, I found this note in one of my notebooks after having picked it up off the floor of the law school.

If you found any, please post them in this thread. Maybe together, we can rebuild what is the subject of the court case.

If you still hadn't heard, check today's earlier post, here.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 8:14 PM. |

RIP Ricardo Montalban

Shown here when he received Vatican honors for his philanthropy to the Catholic Church, we lost a great man today in Ricardo Montalban, who passed away.

Truly a FUMARE kind of guy worth admiration, he was known for always being sincere and his yes meant yes. His achievements go on and on, but he has even made regular appearances in earlier FUMARE posts. He did many things to promote Fatima and knowledge of Fatima. He had Shihtzu dogs, smoked, and could even dip a gal while smoking. He was even in Star Trek and despite being a passing character was memorable. Not bad.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 7:34 PM. |

Monaghan's Personal Notes Sealed by Court of Appeals

The Free Press reports on the recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision sealing Monaghan's personal notes in the Ave Maria Law faculty lawsuit. (Judges Richard Bandstra, Joel Hoekstra, and Jane Beckering made up the 3-judge panel.) The only reason given by the Court is that it was for "good cause." Monaghan's attorney, Karl Fink, argued in favor of sealing because the notes "detailed not only Monaghan's impressions and thoughts for various public events he attends, but also his relationships with others, who are not parties to this litigation, and the events that they attend, and, potentially, their political and religious associations."

The Free Press thinks the ruling is outrageous:
But Herschel Fink, a prominent First Amendment lawyer who represents the Free Press in the text messaging case, called the order outrageous. And I'm as curious as he is to know why the court was willing to ignore its own rules (and the public interest in court proceedings) to shield a Republican VIP from embarrassment.
HT: AveWatch

Fumed by Thales at 10:28 AM. |

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FUMARE's Best Henchman Award Call for Nominees

We all know that being a henchman in the Monaghan empire has little reward beyond continued expectation of saying the right thing and stroking the ego of the Founder.

Many of these people have exchanged their credibility, or even their conscience, in exchange for a mediocre salary.

Others have really separated themselves from the pack and stood out from the rest of the nameless henchpersons in the past year. And yet, despite all their efforts, all glory goes to the Founder!

We here at FUMARE want them to get the recognition they won't get from their leader!

There are many examples of such heroism and sacrifices made in the good name of the Founder, and here is the place to too the horn for these people. Some of the people aren't even on PAYROLL! (that's awesome for the founder because he didn't even have to pay them anything!)

Maybe you saw an alumni make a comment in the press. Maybe you saw a trite response from an employee of the Great Empire that didn't even pass the straight face test but was said with such gusto, that you know the catered event that henchmen was allowed to attend wasn't enough praise for the price they paid in the struggle for the greater glory of Monaghani.

Tell us your favorite henchman story!!!!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: I am the final arbiter and authority on this award. I will accept suggestions for the name of the award and the actual award itself, which are yet to be determined. By participating, you are not endorsing the Kingdom Monaghan or its endeavors. FUMARE is not responsible for plaintiff cries of itching anatomy caused by this award process. Cash value is 1/200 of one cent. VOID where prohibited by law.

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 8:29 PM. |

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Fr. Neuhaus of First Things has passed away due to complications related to his recent diagnosis of cancer. Please pray for the repose of his soul.

UPDATE: Check out this very moving essay on the topic of dying written by Fr. Neuhaus in February 2000, entitled "Born Toward Dying." In the essay, Fr. Neuhaus dramatically recounts his brush with death at the time and a spiritual encounter that he experienced.

Also, very fittingly, I received my February edition of First Things magazine in the mail today. The part that I enjoy most in every month's magazine is the section at the end written by Fr. Neuhaus called "The Public Square." In this section, Fr. Neuhaus has enlightening and entertaining commentary on whatever item of religion, culture, and public life that catches his fancy. When I heard about his death today, I thought to myself how sad it is that I and the rest of the world would no longer be able to enjoy Fr. Neuhaus's monthly sharing of his wit and wisdom.

So I was surprised and delighted to see that the mailman had given me one last chance to encounter Fr. Neuhaus in "The Public Square." Normally I save "The Public Square" for the last thing I read after the rest of the articles, as a sort of treat, but not today. I tore off the mailing wrapper of the magazine and quickly flipped through to the last section. Sure enough, there was Fr. Neuhaus, alive and well, dispensing his thoughts on the recent death of Cardinal Dulles, on a Newsweek article about gay marriage, on the American Catholic bishops, on Charles Darwin, Peter Singer, Anne Rice, and Solzhenitsyn.... it was if Fr. Neuhaus had never left us.

And then I came to the last item of "The Public Square." It is a kind of final farewell from Fr. Neuhaus to his readers, though Fr. Neuhaus didn't intend them in that way at the time he was writing them. Still, when considering that these are the last words that will ever be written by Fr. Neuhaus in First Things, the words seem to be a sort of personal eulogy. I reproduce this last item here in its entirety:
As of this writing, I am contending with a cancer, presently of unknown origin. I am, I am given to believe, under the expert medical care of the Sloan-Kettering clinic here in New York. I am grateful beyond measure for your prayers storming the gates of heaven. Be assured that I neither fear to die nor refuse to live. If it is to die, all that has been is but a slight intimation of what is to be. If it is to live, there is much that I hope to do in the interim. After the last round with cancer fifteen years ago, I wrote a little book, As I Lay Dying (titled after William Faulkner after John Donne), in which I said much of what I had to say about the package deal that is mortality. I did not know that I had so much more to learn. And yes, the question has occurred to me that, if I have but a little time to live, should I be spending it writing this column. I have heard it attributed to figures as various as Brother Lawrence and Martin Luther -- when asked what they would do if they knew they were going to die tomorrow, they answered that they would plant a tree and say their prayers. (Luther is supposed to have added that he would quaff his favored beer.) Maybe I have, at least metaphorically, planted a few trees, and certainly I am saying my prayers. Who knew that at this point in life I would be understanding, as if for the first time, the words of Paul, "When I am weak, then I am strong"? This is not a farewell. Please God, we will be pondering together the follies and splendors of the Church and the world for years to come. But maybe not. In any event, when there is an unidentified agent in your body aggressively attacking the good things your body is intended to do, it does concentrate the mind. The entirety of our prayer is "Your will be done" -- not as a note of resignation but of desire beyond expression. To that end, I commend myself to your intercession, and that of all the saints and angels who accompany us each step through time toward home.
Fr. Neuhaus, requiescat in pace.

Fumed by Thales at 12:43 PM. |

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy Epiphany!

This video was sent to me by Casimir. Our friends and frequent commenters Milos, Ivan, V. Tomc, and Piotr Kledrovanov and their friends decided to get together at Danuta Kroliekiewicz's cabin, somewhere in the Carpathians. [It was the most central location these veterans of Catholic Action (working furtively under communism, of course) could find.] Apparently, they are up there for a week celebrating the Epiphany. This incident happened on Saturday.

Not one of Milos' finer moments.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 11:50 AM. |

Monday, January 05, 2009

Video Tutorial: Private Initiative and Small Business

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 1:21 PM. |

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Art of Manliness Blog

A little while ago, I came across a blog which fits nicely with a topic of frequent discussion here at Fumare: true manliness. Entitled "The Art of Manliness," the blog (which I've added to our blogroll) has dozens of great posts. Some of the best include:

-How To Shave Like Your Grandpa
-How to Win A Street Fight
-The Mechanics Of The Man Hug
-How To Ask For (And Get) A Raise Like A Man
-How Do You Know When She's The One?
-Growing A Manly Beard
-Stop Hanging Out With Women And Start Dating Them

Check out their post rounding up the Best of the Art of Manliness for 2008.

Fumed by Thales at 2:08 PM. |