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

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Cooley Law School Baseball Stadium

Cooley Law School has bought the naming rights to a minor league baseball stadium in Lansing, Michigan. They're paying $1,485,000 over 11 years, to name the Lansing Lugnuts' park, "Cooley Law School Stadium."From the press release:
"We are thrilled to make this long-term investment that will benefit, not only our students and employees, but the entire community and region for years to come," said Cooley President LeDuc. "While Cooley has grown to serve students across the state at four campuses, Lansing will always be our home."
Above The Law has more commentary, and it points to the fact that in only this past October, Cooley announced it was increasing tuition:
Of course, we wish that we did not have to increase tuition, but the reality is that the cost of operation escalates and enrollment varies. The May 2009 class came in below the usual size, and transfers remain too high. Our operating revenue is tuition-based, so tuition must be set based on projected enrollment numbers. This year, the cost of financing our facilities at Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Auburn Hills increased due to the dislocation in the financial markets (the Ann Arbor facility is leased, so it does not contribute to the increased financing cost). It is in everyone's interest to recruit new first-year students and to retain them in the second and third year.
So increase tuition rates so that you can spend $1.5 million to name a baseball stadium? How does that serve the students again?

Fumed by Thales at 1:43 PM. |

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Deal Hudson and AMU Building Dedications

AveWatch has a post today about an article that Deal Hudson wrote defending the Tom Golisano donation to Ave Maria University and the decision to name a building after him.

Hudson also recently wrote an article about another AMU donation and building dedication in the honor of the deceased Paul Henkels. In my opinion, there is a clear difference between the two scenarios.

Fumed by Thales at 10:34 AM. |

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Watch Out, Notre Dame!

Tom Monaghan sets out on his quest to conquer the evil Notre Dame Fightin' Irish football team. But is he still too young and inexperienced?

Here's another editorial about the football team. Interestingly, the author makes the same point I've made about how silly the name "Gyrenes" is:
First off, the school's president Tom Monaghan is about as egotistical as it gets. He nicknamed the school's mascot the "Gyrenes" which we all know is a nickname for soldiers in the United States Marine Corps. However, the only relationship Ave Maria has with the Marine Corp is that Mr. Monaghan once served in the Marines. The university does not even offer an ROTC program. There is absolutely zero relationship between the university and the Corp.

Schools tend to have names that are symbolic to the history or location of the school. Other schools use names that are tough-sounding. But Gyrenes doesn't fit that bill at all. This is a Catholic school and should somehow reflect on the school's identity or location. There is no rhyme or reason to Monaghan's thinking process.

Fumed by Thales at 12:06 PM. |

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ave Maria To Celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March 6, Christmas Possibly on July 17

A Naples News story confirms that Ave Maria will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day on March 6, the Feast of SS. Perpetua and Felicity according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and the 1st Saturday of the Month which is traditionally dedicated to Our Lady.

Sources inside Ave Maria have cited a possible July 17 date for Christmas. Though, this is yet unconfirmed because Advent may conflict with a planned Campus Ministry mission trip in June.


Fumed by Petronius at 8:57 PM. |

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Down Syndrome and Perfect Children

Mirror of Justice has a link to an interesting article in the Globe and Mail entitled "There's no such thing as the perfect child." The article is written by a mother of a child with Down Syndrome. It starts:
A word to the wise to those of you dying to ask a parent of a child with Down syndrome, spina bifida or an open neural tube condition if they had prenatal testing: Don't do it. Bite your tongue. Shut up. Swallow it.

Because what you are really asking us is, "Why didn't you abort your child?" And, similarly, "Why is this child even alive right now?"

Believe me, justifying the very existence of our beloved children hurts. It will not gain you any brownie points on the playground or when I'm writing up my Christmas card list.
I've written before about the phenomenon of 90% of unborn children with Down Syndrome being aborted. To quote myself:
With only 10% of Down's kids surviving childbirth, the numbers speak for themselves: our society is gradually turning into one that is "pure," free of individuals with mental disabilities. That means, for us who are "normal," we are losing the opportunity to interact and care for disabled people, which is an overwhelmingly enriching experience, a real oppportunity for charity, and a good reminder of what really matters in life. It also means, for those few remaining people with disabilities (always dwindling in number), as they become more and more outnumbered, they will become more and more subject to prejudice and increasingly considered unworthy members of society.

Fumed by Thales at 1:22 PM. |

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 7:43 PM. |

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Folly that Continues to Be Ave Maria Town

Professor Rice has an excellent analysis in the February 18, 2010 edition of The Wanderer on the controversy of abortion and Ave Maria Town. (h/t AveWatch)

The money quote:

The underlying problem here is that the architects of the Ave Maria scheme undertook to create a town and exempt it from the constitutional restrictions that apply to state and local governments and to private persons assuming public functions by the operation of such a town. The incoherence of that course legally means that it will apparently be up to the abortionists to decide whether some abortions will be performed in Ave Maria Town. Any claim to the contrary is, in my opinion, a misrepresentation.
UPDATE FROM THE FUMARE ADMINISTRATORS: While the comment threads on Fumare are unmonitored and unregulated as a general rule, unfortunately the comments on this post went beyond the bounds. We have therefore deleted all comments to this post, regardless of their acceptability, and will not permit further comments. In the future, please do not falsely impersonate other actual people, avoid profanity, and try to act with civility.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Somebody Give That Man a Cigar!

Please join me in congratulating Matt Bowman '03 and his amazing wife Jolene on giving birth not only to one beautiful baby girl, but also to the best blizzard-related news story I have ever seen! Great name, too!

h/t CVA

Fumed by Ryder at 7:38 PM. |

George Weigel - Curmudgeon?

I was made aware of this interesting article authored by our friend, George Weigel. I have met George Weigel. He even complimented me on my tie one time, so I know he is usually a man of sound judgment. The linked article above is full of important insights, and folks would do well to read most of them carefully.

There is hardly a thing in most of the column to disagree about. You can tell, quite easily, parish communities that are more interested in communion with their neighbor than with Christ. Churches that place the importance of reverence and silence high on the priority list appeal to people, even though they may not be able to articulate why. It is true that the constant stimuli, "all noise, all the time," mentality has penetrated our holy spaces.

All of this written, however, I take issue with some of Weigel's descriptors of and solutions for noisy children in Mass. Let me preface with a note that I believe noisy children should be brought to the back of the Church or to the cry room when misbehaving, crying or making noise (we all know that the further from the age of reason the child is, the more difficult it is to instill the importance of silence during Mass). On these points, I agree with Weigel to a degree. However, I think he shows himself a curmudgeon more concerned with his personal peace from noise than the reality of what is going on by these turns of phrase:

Is Weigel serious? Reading this, you might be surprised that he has three (or any!) children of his own. First, does he mean to say all parents with small children should use the cry room, regardless of what those children are doing? Second, I am convinced that the "squawking" done by children who have not reached the age of reason is a sweeter sound to the ears of our Lord than the most fervent prayer George Weigel or I could utter. Does he forget the words of Jesus in Mark 10:13-15?:

And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.

Perhaps all the children brought to Jesus in this passage came with no noise and with hands folded nicely across their chests? I think not. It is true that some kids are brought up to be brats. Some parents don't pay due attention to their children's behavior at Mass, and do nothing to direct it or spare others. But the honest utterances of babies, the joy and energy and wonder of children, even when expressed during Mass is hardly squawking to God. The language Weigel uses here is a shame. It reveals a mindset that is contrary to the reality of just what children are to Christ. We are called to be more like them if we have any hope of entering heaven.

Even if one might be willing to overlook this choice of language, the suggestion that parents attend different Masses rather than work hard to teach their children how to love the Mass, including the reverence due to God during it, is at best amusing, and at worst insulting. For large families, the suggestion is simply impossible. To do this is to break the communion of the family, as well as hurt the spiritual development of the child. We all know plenty of Catholics who, on the weakest of excuses, find reasons why they should not have to attend Mass. I know one such person who refuses to go to Mass because bringing his two children is simply too hard on Sundays. Is this really the lesson Weigel wants us to teach the next generation of Catholics? No, a family that prays and assists at Mass together, no matter how energetic or irritable the children are on a given day, is in a better position to weather the storms of life and faith than those who, for their own convenience and ease of life, choose to attend separate Masses, or have some of their children not attend at all.

Finally, we all know the "blue-hair" phenomenon in many parishes. The parishes that have only the old are not thriving. The pews should be full of children as a witness to the sanctity and value of life. The Mass should be accompanied by the sweet music of babies who are the best evidence that a parish has a future.

In short, George Weigel is mostly right in this column. But where he is wrong, he is seriously wrong. The Mass is a visible reminder of the invisible reality of union with Christ. The Body of Christ relies on the ones Christ loves the most, the children. The children are the future of the Church, and we must do all we can to put them in the heart of the Most Blessed Sacrament as often as we can if we are to have any hope. A wise priest told me that the graces received by a mother and father who have not heard an entire homily since before their young children were born are great indeed. There are plenty of opportunities to pray in solitude at adoration, or special times during the day at home. If the Faith is to be central to the family, however, the family must be together at Mass as much as possible, and those who view the presence of children - and the occasional noise that accompanies them - as an unbearable burden would be well-served to attend the 6am Mass where the sound of walkers and oxygen tanks fill the air instead.

[Update: I took out the block quotes from Weigel I had in originally concerning the need for silence and reverence at Mass. Read his column, it's worth it on those points, and I agree with him on most everything except as noted above. My post was just too long with the quotes included.]

Fumed by TheLawDog at 11:54 AM. |

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Detroit News on Ave Maria College Lawsuit

The Detroit News has an article about Kate Ernsting, the former Ave Maria College employee embroiled in a 6-year whistleblower suit with Tom Monaghan. Apparently she is facing the possibility of bankruptcy due to the ongoing legal fees.

It looks like the current legal issue preventing this case from being resolved is that Monaghan's lawyers are arguing that Ave Maria College is defunct and that Ave Maria University is not liable as a successor. There are so many reasons why this is an absurd argument, and AveWatch lists three:
(a) AMU acquired the assets of AMC, (b) the university has always used the college's "avemaria.edu" domain name, and (c) AMU's current website even admits "As the successor institution to Ave Maria College (AMC), Ave Maria University assumes the responsibility of issuing AMC transcripts. AMC transcripts appear on Ave Maria University transcript paper."
This case is an interesting study in the ethical duties of a Catholic attorney. Yes, it is important to be a zealous advocate for one's client, including raising all relevant arguments and objections -- but there must be a point at which frivolous arguments and tactics that delay litigation and increase the expense for the opposing side (and waste the time and resources of the court) violate the standards of ethical lawyering from the perspective of Catholic social teaching. Have Monaghan's attorneys gone that far?

Fumed by Thales at 11:00 AM. |

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Vote for the Tebow Ad on Hulu

The mavens of the Culture of Death are trying to vote the Ad into negative numbers.

Take a moment and vote for the Ad here:


Fumed by Columcille at 8:21 PM. |

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Fumare Book Review: Crown of the World, Book 1

Last month, a commenter argued that I don't highlight any good things coming out of Ave Maria University, and he brought to my attention the book Crown of the World -- Book 1: Knight of the Temple, written by Nathan Sadasivan, a current AMU student. I hadn't heard about the book and I was intrigued by it, so I tracked down a copy and have just finished reading it.

As the book's back cover tells us, Nathan is a current undergraduate student at Ave Maria University studying Classical Languages and Literature. He began writing Crown of the World when he was only 15 years old. Published last year, Knight of the Temple is the first and only published book of Crown of the World, which appears to be a planned trilogy. I'll keep my eyes open for the other books when they come out.

Knight of the Temple is set in the Holy Land during the time of the Crusades, and centers on the life of Godfrey, a young Knight Templar who has given up a normal life and the opportunity of marriage in order to take up a vow of celibacy and the vocation of a warrior saint. A variety of kings, knights, and other characters enter in and out of the book, with the author recounting plenty of battles, fights, and jousts.

I have to start by giving the author high, high praise for successfully writing and publishing a 283-page book by the age of 19. It's an incredibly impressive accomplishment which deserves congratulations. The author also shows skill in narrating an entertaining and action-filled plot, while juggling many colorful characters against the fascinating backdrop of the Crusades. The author has much better knowledge of this time period than I, and he does a good job of conveying a sense of historical realism. However, my final impressions of the book are mixed due to what I thought were some flaws in the book.

First, the book could benefit from a final thorough editorial review: I noticed several typographical errors and I got distracted by a few minor plot inaccuracies which could have been easily corrected (e.g., there are five horses in the stable, and yet six riders gallop out; a person leaves a conversation, and then returns and knows what was said while he was gone.)

The larger difficulty with the book is that the author seems to take on more than he can handle. Each chapter is written from the perspective of a main character, and the book shifts from one main character to another every couple of pages -- by my count, there are a total of 8 different main characters. The author tries to give all of these main characters, and some of the secondary characters, depth by having them undergo significant character development. Unfortunately, I found that these character changes often occurred too quickly, at odd times, and with an insufficient foundation. In short, at times the characters didn't behave naturally. For example, two characters unrealistically have a deep meaningful conversation and reminisce about their childhoods in the middle of a major battle, or a character goes from contentment to rage and back again within a short time without adequate explanation for why the change occurred. Many times, I felt like I was missing or not understanding the motivations of the characters, what made them "tick." I wonder whether the author's youth and lack of experience is a contributing factor to this weakness in the book, and whether in a few more years, the author will be better able to describe human emotion with more realism and greater nuance.

Moreover, I found that the author leaves many significant plot points unanswered (why did Jacques become a Templar? who tried to assassinate Andronicus and Godfrey?). The author devotes time and energy on some main characters, just to have them disappear for the rest of the book. (The most egregious instance of this is a Saracen warrior who figures prominently in the first 47 pages and then never reappears for the rest of 283-page book, with no explanation for his absence.) Even if the author plans on filling in some of these plot holes in the rest of the trilogy, at the end of this book I found myself unsatisfied and a little bewildered.

Even with my criticisms, I have to reiterate that the book is a very commendable achievement. On the whole, it is an entertaining story with exciting action scenes that provide pleasant moments of escapism. The author displays a real talent for narration, and I am certain that with time and practice, the other areas of his writing will develop.

Fumed by Thales at 8:40 PM. |

Friday, February 05, 2010

I did get a kick out of this

Today I received a copy of Ave Maria School of Law Advocate, which, by the way, is a welcome change from its previous name The Advocate. (I'm told that the latter named publication caused great confusion among those with a penchant for buggery google-ing for their favorite publication.) I promptly put such mailings in the circular file, but this time I paged through it and found this tasty morsel on the inside back cover:

"The founding Dean of Ave Maria and her first employee, Dean Dobranski guided the institution from being a conceptual idea to a fully accredited Law School and beyond." [emphasis mine]

Hmmmm....wasn't there some question as to the contractual nature of Dobranski's employ? Was it with the law school or was it with Mr. Monaghan? AveWatch has done the yeoman's work in this regard and has raised some interesting questions over the last several years.

It's so damn complicated I still don't know what the truth is. The Monaghan deposition says one thing, the Roney another, O'Beirne says "Uhh....uh....," the 990s say AMSL, and one of Monaghan's most famous sticky notes says: "Show BD contract to committee of BOG. Not to CR."

Casimir, clear this up for me.

Fumed by Advocatus Militaris at 6:25 PM. |

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Misses by 45,000 votes . . .

Adam Andrzejewski ran an amazing campaign given the obstacles he was against and came within 45,000 votes of winning the primary election.

As a real outsider (every other candidate was a "combine hack"), who was ignored by the media (including the national story of Lech Walesa's coming and his statements about America), and who built a grass-roots organization from scratch his accompishment is significant in Illinois.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is how important it is to get help outside of Illinois to break the corruption in Illinois. That was the difference in Scott Brown's race. It was a national issue. Adam had to got to blog about his candidacy himself at the national level.

Adam got so little to no attention in the media and he was up against big money with lots of TV and radio ads.

At a time when the spirit of reform and revolution is in the air, Illinois elected hacks.

Perhaps Adam's campaign team should have done more to get profile at the national level and attract national media attention.

Politico is "now regretting not having covered the Illinois primaries more closely . . . "

As a side note, this also points out the need for electoral reform to introduce preferential voting, especially in primarary elections. The Pro-Life vote and reform Vote was split.

The majority of Republicans voting want prolife, conservative candidates, but that vote gets split every time.

Here is a worthwhile commentary on the reform movement in Illinois:


Fumed by Columcille at 12:38 PM. |

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Something Stinks at AMSOL

From their own mailings. It finally hit me what was wrong with this picture.
Funny that this post card was sent out last year, but clearly shows Milhizer front and center already.

Love the "old law books" picture as if the library is anything like the award-winning one in Michigan.

Finally, that image of the dictionary entry bothered me for some time, but it never really clicked until today.  "Lavvy" appears as the more prominent word.  Lavvy?  Really?  But from the looks of things, that may really be the better word for the rest of the scene.  Certainly describes more aptly why the place stinks so badly anymore.

But turning the card over proved the point with the first line on the back: 
"YEARS OF RESEARCH AND PREPARATION have finally come to fruition - Ave Maria School of Law is now established at our new home in Naples, Florida. We thank you for all of your support over the years as we have pursued our mission of educating lawyers in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Ave Maria School of Law is proud to call this beautiful tropical paradise home and to assimilate into its welcoming community."
Years?  Research?  Of what?  Monaghan's yellow post-it notes attached to the redlined daily reports?

Fumed by Casimir Pulaski at 9:39 PM. |

"The Scott Brown of Illinois" except a real Conservative

Today on this feast of the Presentation, say a prayer for Adam Andrzejewski who is running in the Republican primary for state Governor.

If he wins today, it will be a major political upset in the machine politics of Illinois whenceforth Obama came.

He has largely been ignored by the local press, who completely missed the significance of Noble Prize Laureate Lech Walesa's trip to Chicago to endorse him. The political significance is telling.

Walesa fought totalitarian Socialism in Poland through the Solidarity Movement animated by the cross and rosary, and brought it down without a single bullet being fired.

His trip to Chicago is a not too subtle statement about the nature of the beast that we now face in the White House.

Adam is a solid Catholic, and a personal friend.

Please support him. . . Gatway Pundit does.


Fumed by Columcille at 10:37 AM. |