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Thursday, October 31, 2002


Innumeracy (1988) by John Allen Poulos

For example,

Next Month in Crisis:

There's a new technology available that has slashed abortion rates 240 percent among women using it. ...

[Crisis, November 2002, p. 55]


Wednesday, October 30, 2002

One more for the Gipper

Received an unsolicited copy of Volume One, Issue Four of The Wisconsin Conservative Digest. It's published by the Wisconsin Conservative Leadership Coalition, which is chaired by Bob Dohnal, and edited by Christopher Carson. The Coalition is

a not-for-profit organization dedicated to spreading the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan.
How often is it published? It says it will depend on how many paid subscriptions and other donations it receives.


Monday, October 28, 2002


James Lileks on Paul Wellstone.

Alex Karras used to make fun of Garo Yapremian, claiming Yapremian would say "I keek a touchdown." Green Bay's Chester Marcol once actually did.

This morning's newspaper also reports on Bishop Sklba's saying Mass and then meeting with abuse victims in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, last Sunday.

He did not return phone calls Sunday night seeking comment.
Given the perception that bishops had been less than forthright in handling complaints of abuse, I'm a little surprised he wouldn't make a point of being available for comment. This is more striking because of another abuse victim's complaint of never receiving a promised phone call from Bishop Sklba.

Hamilton Consulting looks at the state budget.


A correspondent from Ghana, son of a deposed leader of Zaire, offers a share of $30,500,000 with little work and no risk. Not Nigerian, but still sounds too good to be true.


Sunday, October 27, 2002


The October 24, 2002 issue says Local reaction mixed to Vatican response. One one hand, a statement from Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Sklba,

No priest in this archdiocese with a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse involving a minor will be allowed to publicly function as a priest.
On the other hand,
Fr. Andrew Nelson, assisting priest at St. Paul Parish in Milwaukee and former rector of Saint Francis Seminary, said he hopes the Vatican's intervention will lead to a just response to sexual abuse. ...

Nelson expressed concern that the norms lump serial perpetrators into the same mix with priests "who engaged in this only once a long time ago. They are different. They are not in the same boat."

In cases where one instance of abuse happened 20 years ago, and the priest made reparation with the victim and has gone through a period of therapy, Nelson said, "I certainly don't agree that that person should be turned away from priestly ministry forever."

Can't be done. Who can say this would invove absolutely no risk? No one. And if that person publicly functions as a priest and ever again abuses a minor, who would believe that it was a reasonable risk to take? Not his or her parents. Not the public. Not the courts.

Sunday's always good for a stroll down memory lane and past the memory hole. Why there's the U.S. Bishops' Statement on Iraq, January 20, 1998. Odd title, since it's not from the "U.S. Bishops" but rather from "Bishop Members of Pax Christi-USA and other bishops." They then wanted sanctions lifted. You might respond that sanctions still permitted oil sales for essentials. These bishops point out

In fact, only 53% of money received for the sale of oil is available to Iraq.
Where does the rest go?
Thirty percent of the money realized from the oil revenues is paid to Kuwait ...
The Kuwaitis might want to consider organizing a Survivors Network of those Abjured by PaxChristi.

Erika C. Birg raises the question, Is the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Constitutional?

From time to time I find an interesting web site that I can't figure out how to fit into the organization of my site, so it gets noted here, like this site of Rick McGinnis.

Another is I Used to Believe. A tale I could submit was when one of my kids, then very young, asked me at Mass why we prayed to "Yah, hey." Lord knows.

Powell's Books' web site has an extensive collection of author interviews, most recently with Salman Rushdie.


A correspondent compliments my Electronic Text Collection

I am writing to you from Melbourne, Australia and would like to thank you for having gone to so much trouble to make available so many interesting etexts.

You website has so many out of the way and interesting things in it. I enjoy returning to it again and again.

I first came across it last year, when doing some research for a paper on James Fitzfames Stephen, a thinker I have always found interesting and challenging, since coming upon him in a book by H L A Hart, during my student days at Oxford University, way back in the 80s.

One of these days, I've got to finish that Stephen etext. Half done it's the item about which I receive the most mail.

What's that smell coming from Madison?

Here at my web site, this week's update of my recommended reading adds criticism links to Atlantic Monthly Classic Reviews.


Saturday, October 26, 2002


Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli ask,

God may be colorless, goodness white, sin black, hell red, heaven blue, wonder purple, hope green, comfort tan, and happiness yellow, but equality would be gray, all colors blended equally together. Why don't Americans find this dull?

[Handbook of Christian Apologetics (1994) by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, p. 358]

Aurelian Craiutu answers,
But as Adam Michnik once reminded us, gray, too, can be beautiful.

["New Politics for a New Epoch," by Aurelian Craiutu, a review of Tocqueville Between Two Worlds, by Sheldon S. Wolin, in The Review of Politics, Summer 2002, p. 540]


Friday, October 25, 2002

Arts & Letters Daily is back.


Regarding my post of concern for Karen Marie Knapp, a Milwaukee correspondent asks,

What's "the comfy chair and cushy pillows"?
I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.


Thursday, October 24, 2002


This morning's newspaper contains an obituary of W. James Grebe.

He was the person responsible for growing the small bakery into Grebe's Bakeries Inc., putting the company's products into supermarkets and service station convenience stores. He expanded sales into Minnesota - creating SuperMom's bakery and commissary there - and into Illinois. ...

The family business actually started in an unexpected way.

"My grandfather, Walter, had a radio program in the 1930s on WTMJ radio," Jim Grebe Jr. said. "He was in the band, Heinie and the Grenadiers. Then he suffered a stroke and paralysis on one side and he couldn't play or sing anymore."

Irene Grebe, Walter Grebe's wife, found herself with two young children, an ill husband and no income. When someone asked her to pick up rolls for the parent-teacher association, she offered to bake her butterhorns.

"It just started growing from there," he said. "She started a small bakery in the basement of her home. And then a little bakery near the airport."

It happens that I lived a few blocks from that original Grebe's Bakery on Bolivar Avenue when I was a little kid. Not only that, but Gardetto's Bakery, which grew into a national snack food business, was only a few blocks away on Howell Avenue. So if you're thinking about getting into the bakery business, you might look for a location there in the Tippecanoe neighborhood of Milwaukee.


Wednesday, October 23, 2002


Poor Richard's Almanac

This morning's newspaper reports on yesterday's meetings of Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Sklba with abuse victims. Bishop Sklba took quite a bit of criticism.

"Victims of sexual abuse and their families truly know the meaning of a broken heart," said Karen Cerniglia, whose son, Joe, said he was sexually abused in his early teens by Father William Effinger in a rectory in Lake Geneva. Effinger died in prison after being convicted of abusing a boy and accused of other abuse.

"I want you to know that I trusted and believed in Archbishop (Rembert G. Weakland) and in you," she said to Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba. "However, my faith was completely shattered."

Cerniglia said she was heartened when she met Sklba at a parish gathering and he promised to call her by-then adult son to talk to him. She gave Sklba his number, but no call was ever received.

"Is that a compassionate and caring way to treat my son?" she asked.

Sklba, described by others as a compassionate and good man, acknowledged the conversation. He said he tried several times to reach her son, but the calls were unanswered.

"Ever since then, I have been burdened with a sense of failure," Sklba said. "I do know I tried to do that."

The mother's retort: He could have called her.

Or to put it another way, fulfilling a promise to call means completing a call, not just dialing. Would he have given up making the call if it was about his being appointed to a diocese of his own? If it was about some substantial monetary contribution to the archdiocese? If he was making a reservation at Sanford?
Michael Sneesby, 45, said he was sexually abused from about the age of 13 until age 16 by Father Frederick Bistricky at St. Augustine Parish on Milwaukee's south side, including once behind the tabernacle. He and other family members were shocked to learn earlier this year that, although they had been told that Bistricky had retired on a disability and would have no contact with children, he was helping out at weekend Masses at nearby Immaculate Conception Parish.

"Why?" asked Sneesby in a rising voice.

Sklba said he did not know that the priest was saying Mass at a parish until the family complained. As soon as he heard, he put a stop to it, he said.

"Don't you, as a bishop, know what a priest is doing in your diocese?" Sneesby asked.

"Not all of them," Sklba said.

Some, but not others? Perhaps he will later clarify or elaborate on this.
During the meeting, Sklba took much of the wrath expressed by victims, particularly from those abused by the late Father George Nuedling in Twin Lakes.

One of Nuedling's victims asked why Sklba had sent a priest to another parish after learning of abuse in 1996.

"Why not report it to the police? Why did you not try to find other victims?" the man asked.

"He was not in rehabilitation. It's terrible, Bishop Sklba. Victims can't have peace until they have justice."

To have peace, work for justice. That might be an expression some bishops expected only to dish out and never have to take.

Our Archbishop was publicly supportive of his auxiliary.

At a news conference after the four-hour session, Dolan noted that some victims had described Sklba as caring and compassionate. He said he hoped Sklba would continue his work and said, "He has my confidence, and I need him."
Maybe he does, or maybe he considers it inappropriate to publicly say otherwise. Still, Bishop Sklba's gotten mixed reviews even in the archdiocesan newspaper.
After Dolan left, [Peter] Isely [one of the panelists and a member of the national board of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests] said there continue to be questions about Sklba's behavior and response to reports of sexually abusive priests.

"This man is part of the senior management of the archdiocese and like all CEOs, he needs to be held accountable," Isely said.

If he's staying as an auxiliary until mandatory retirement, he ought to do something besides say how sorry he is. We already have Archbishop Weakland moping around.


Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Quid? Me vexari?

Peter Carlson of The Washington Post notes the 50th anniversary of Mad in this article.

And last September, Mad published a parody of the Conference of Catholic Bishops' edict on pedophile priests that was as bitter and biting as anything by Jonathan Swift or Mark Twain:

"Many parishioners have asked how religious leaders could have turned a blind eye to such widespread abuse, how we could have shuttled known perverts from parish to parish to molest again and again and why our official statements tended to 'blame the victim.' The answer is simplicity itself: 'The Lord moves in mysterious ways.' That's been our stock answer to every inconvenient question of the past 2,000 years and we ain't about to stop now!"


Monday, October 21, 2002

After a very short absence, Christopher Hitchens is back at The Nation.

... the day the left lets itself appear to be defending Muslim fundamentalists as challengers of American hegemony--albeit by slitting the throats of schoolgirls, murdering writers, arresting partygoers, stoning rape victims and crashing passenger planes into office towers full of ordinary working people--is the day American hegemony starts to look like a good idea.
Oops, sorry, that's Katha Pollitt.


Sunday, October 20, 2002


In this week's editorial, Sam Lucero wonders where it will all end.

... before the Vatican enacts its directives on homosexuals in the priesthood, several questions should be considered. ...

Will men who have no homosexual tendencies, but who may exhibit effeminate mannerisms, be excluded from ministry?

["Church tread dangerously regarding gays in priesthood: Profiling risk could spill into seminary admission process." Catholic Herald (Milwaukee), October 17, 2002, p. 8 (not on-line)]

Salvatoran Fr. Joe Jagondensky writes in a similar vein.
If the Vatican passes the ban on gays as future priests (Catholic Herald, Oct. 10) then it can work on the next group: narcissists. The church needs to cleanse itself of these men who think that their word is the only true one ...

We know the types: reared by strong mothers who convinced them that their every word was worth noting and how special they would be in life once they were ordained. ...

Then we can begin to work on the third group once we discover what it is.

["After banning gays, how about narcissists?" Letters to the editor, Catholic Herald (Milwaukee), October 17, 2002, p. 9 (not on-line)]

Fr. Jagondensky may have given us a head start.

Account ability

Did you know that our nation grants no divorces and has no freeways? You do if you're a bishop who signed Bread Not Stones which says ours is

a nation which chooses to spend only 6 cents on education and 4 cents on healthcare for every 50 cents which it spends on the military.
This first confuses the federal budget with the nation. The "6 cents" figure ignores all spending by state and local governments, including school boards, and all the money spent on private schools, including Catholic schools. It next appears to use some pretty twisted accounting to conclude that the military's share of the federal budget is 50%. Perhaps there was an insanity defense planned if Archbishop Hunthausen faced tax charges, and this was to be part of the evidence.

Is Karen Marie Knapp about to undergo the comfy chair and cushy pillows?

I see that The Association of Hebrew Catholics web site is hosted by Second Exodus.

In this morning's newspaper, columnist Dennis McCain travels Historic Route 66, and spends time in Springfield, Illinois, birthplace of John Norquist, corn dogs, and my wife.

Here are actual quotes,

You'd have to shoot me to get me back to Springfield.
-- Abraham Lincoln

I'd have to be crazy to go back to Springfield.
-- Mary Todd Lincoln

from souvenir t-shirts.

Here at my web site, I've begun to again update my collection of articles, essays, and reviews.


Saturday, October 19, 2002

Speaking of lists, Here They Are, Science's 10 Most Beautiful Experiments.


A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent comments on the Forbes fictional fifteen.

Hard to take seriously a list that doesn't include General Bullmoose. And hard to believe Malcolm Jr. didn't insist on including someone who obviously is one of his role models.
Who's General Bullmoose?


Friday, October 18, 2002

Berth control

A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent had taken me to task for commenting on the title, rather than the contents, of a Katha Pollitt column in The Nation. Her topic was EC:

emergency contraception--the use of normal birth control pills to block pregnancy within seventy-two hours of unprotected sex
Most of the column is a chain letter on this topic. To make the case, she cites this statistic.
There are 3 million unintended pregnancies each year in the United States; around 1.4 million of them end in abortion.
This appears to mean that out of one year's births, 1.6 million were from unintended pregancies. That would be 1.6 million out of about 4 million, leaving 2.4 million.

Ms. Pollitt is one of the speakers for this year's fund-raising cruise for The Nation. Perhaps she'll be elaborating on this topic over dinner after departing Martha's Vineyard.


Thursday, October 17, 2002

R.I.P. Stephen Ambrose

Former CBS and CNN news correspondent Reid Collins points out a less well-known aspect of Stephen Ambrose in this article.


Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Forbes ranks the fifteen richest Americans in this article. Fifteen richest fictional Americans that is. As we should have realized when a candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination felt compelled to deny being him, Santa Claus turns out to be an American.


Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Another brick in a seamless wall

This morning's newspaper reports on the state's education leaders at the Wisconsin Economic Summit.

"We are becoming a more collaborative industry," said Katharine Lyall, president of the University of Wisconsin System.

This morning's newspaper also has an article "Turning despair into hope: How cancer changed two women's lives" by Carol Berres. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 15, 2002, HealthBeat section, p. 6 (not on-line)]


Monday, October 14, 2002

It's my father's birthday and he thought it was about time he told me that it's tough getting old.

Curious George goes to UW-M.


Sunday, October 13, 2002


From "Here comes everybody." to "Where is everybody?"

The headline story is on the recent fatal mob beating in central Milwaukee.

This week's editorial (not on-line) is on the same topic,

...talk in the Catholic Herald office focused on the paper's role in covering the tragedy.

"There's no Catholic Church in the area; there probably aren't many Catholics in that neighborhood," began the discussion.

So...it's not a Catholic problem? Catholics needn't be concerned?

Maybe it's an opportunity to review why there's no Catholic Church in the area, and why there probably aren't many Catholics in that neighborhood.


The Catholic Herald masthead lists several editors and "directors" but Bill Kurtz is one of only two reporters. Now back in my day, we had only a couple of editors and Bill Kurtz was one of many reporters.

Another testimonial for Archbishop Dolan.

Today is the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time and in this year of the three year Sunday liturgical cycle, the Gospel selection is Matthew 22:1-14. By my calculation, today would have been the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost under the preconciliar calendar, and the Gospel selection is the same.

This morning's newspaper's society column reports on a number of local benefit events, including the Brain Injury Gala.


Saturday, October 12, 2002

I've changed the format so that the current page has its permanent file name and all are linked from the title page. The title page replaces the former archive page. This means the links for each day should not change when the page is archived.


A correspondent from South Africa offers 25% of $26,000,000 with little work and no risk. Not Nigerian, but still sounds too good to be true.

Some time ago we attended a benefit at Mount Mary College that included Wisconsin native Christina Schwartz reading a chapter of a work in progress. The work is All Is Vanity, reviewed here and here.


Dave Berkman asks,

And why is this question absent from our news media's radar: If war with Iraq is justified by its failure to observe U.N. resolutions, why then aren't we also planning to invade Israel-the worst offender on this score?
The Economist answers,
The UN distinguishes between two sorts of Security Council resolution. Those passed under Chapter Six deal with the peaceful resolution of disputes and entitle the council to make non-binding recommendations. Those under Chapter Seven give the council broad powers to take action, including warlike action, to deal with “threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression”. Such resolutions, binding on all UN members, were rare during the cold war. But they were used against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait. None of the resolutions relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict comes under Chapter Seven. By imposing sanctions-including military ones-against Iraq but not against Israel, the UN is merely acting in accordance with its own rules.

For Columbus Day, I refer you to his entry in my recommended reading


Friday, October 11, 2002

From today through December 8th, Marquette University's Haggerty Museum of Art will be presenting an exhibition of the works of Virginia Lee Burton.


Sister M. Francella Wisoky of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.


Thursday, October 10, 2002


Our suburban weekly notes this from the police blotter:

A woman reported she found a pair of women's underwear on the Oak Leaf Bike Trail about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5.

[Police Report: Information taken from reports filed by the Franklin Police Departmentz. Franklin Hub, October 10, 2002, p. 21]

I noted this from the proceedings of the American College of Legal Medicine Annual Meeting.


Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Via Amy Welborn:
When "conceptual equivalent" translations go bad.


Although with some second thoughts, Robert Gotcher has suspended his weblog.


Tuesday, October 8, 2002


A correspondent from Zimbabwe offers 20% of $20,000,000 with little work and no risk. Not Nigerian, but still sounds too good to be true.

All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance. --Will Rogers

The murk of Kane

This morning's newspaper has this Eugene Kane column.

Maybe it's too much to ask that one man's death save an entire community.

That's probably way too much burden to place on the memory of Charlie Young Jr., a local handyman killed by a mob of young people during a neighborhood beating that went horribly wrong.

Left imitates Art

This morning's newspaper also picks up the news article on the left and the feature on the right.
"There are some good friends who've said, `Don't do this,' " Mr. [Paul] Wellstone [D-MN], a former political science professor whose first Senate vote was against the Persian Gulf war in 1991, acknowledged in an interview aboard his campaign plane on Friday. "For me, based upon my intellectually rigorous analysis and what I honestly believe, this has to be the decision."
"What I lack in memory I more than make up for in deductive reasoning," the president [Josiah Bartlet (D-NBC), played by Martin Sheen] tells [Debbie] Fiderer [played by Lily Tomlin] during a rocky job interview.

[Tomlin's dream to take flight on "West Wing": Comedian to play president's eccentric, gutsy new secretary. By Lynn Elber, Associated Press, in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 8, 2002, p. 6B]

"'Does that come with tights and a cape?' [Fiderer] replies."


Monday, October 7, 2002

Arts and Letters Daily, one of my favorite web sites, has ceased publication.


Sunday, October 6, 2002


The October 3, 2002 issue of the Catholic Herald says in the headline article,

The prospect of a pre-emptive U.S. attack on Iraq to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein has generated a flurry of activity among Wisconsin Catholics.

Perhaps the most visible is an open letter to members of the archdiocese, signed by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba, published as a full-page advertisement in this issue of the Catholic Herald and distributed this week, via electronic mail to parishes, schools, religious communities and institutions in southeastern Wisconsin.

"Our government is seriously pursuing military action against Iraq to prevent the threat of further terrorism and yet, the teachings of our church uphold the values of peace and the dignity of the human person," they wrote. "War can only be justified as a last resort."

In the letter, Dolan and Sklba noted that Pope John Paul II and Vatican officials "have expressed reservations about military action by the United States against Iraq at this time," and that U.S. bishops have raised questions about "whether 'just cause' (for a pre-emptive attack) has been established, whether the United States has the authority to engage in unilateral action; whether a war in Iraq would produce evils and disorders greater than the evil to be eliminated."

Note that this is put in terms of doubt about whether the criteria for just war have been met, rather than that the Pope, Vatican officials, or the U.S. bishops are convinced they have not been met. Archbishop Dolan's and Bishop Sklba's letter is phrased this same way. After the text of the letter, the web version includes,
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Community Services Department has prepared the following resources for the community to utilize when preparing bulletin announcements, prayers of the faithful, pulpit announcements, lesson plans, prayer services and other informed dialogue
followed by
Suggestions for action

These suggestions include a link to Pax Christi and then to Iraq Peace Pledge/Iraq Pledge of Resistance and this address by Bishop Gumbleton.
But you go back to 1963. Pope John XXIII made one of the most extraordinary statements, I think, about non-violence and the rejection of war, that we find anywhere in Catholic teaching. He wrote that encyclical Pacem in Terris. It will be the 40th anniversary of this most important encyclical next year. And in that encyclical, which is really a pattern of how to build peace in the world, a real pax Christi, he makes the statement:

"In our atomic era it is irrational any longer to think of war as an apt means to vindicate violated rights."

In this era of total war, which includes nuclear weapons, it’s irrational, immoral, goes against our humanness, goes against God, even to think of war as an apt means to vindicate violated rights. The just war theology disappears with that one sentence.

Why is what the bishops say prominently rather different from what archdiocesan staff suggest to parishes and organizations? Are our bishops really counseling us to judge a war with Iraq by the Church teaching on what constitutes a just war, or are they advocating pacifism while trying to avoid appearing to?

Don't trust anyone under 90

Fr. Richard McBrien writes on retired Archbishop Peter Gerety.

Contrary to the wrong-headed conventional wisdom that the older one gets, the more set in one's ways and the more resistant to change, Gerety at 90 displays a resilience of mind and spirit and a firm and abiding commitment to the ongoing renewal and reform of the church.

[At 90, 'youthful' bishop is committed to church renewal: With spirit at work, reversal of Vatican II is impossible, says Gerety. Essays in Dialogue column, by Fr. Richard McBrien, Catholic Herald, October 3, 2002, p. 8 (not on-line)]

Of course, there is here no "contrary" at all.

The Archbishop sums up by saying,

"... I believe that what is happening around the altar is a paradigm of what is evolving in the life of the church in many areas."
Sure enough, the percentage of the parishioners who show up to be present around the altar is a fraction of what it was a few decades ago. There may be no one around the altar because masses have been reduced. The church around the altar may be among those sold when parishes were closed. These surely indicate the general condition of the Church.

Fr. McBrien continues,

Those least enthusiastic about Vatican II may agree with his analysis, but surely not with his conclusions. For them, the liturgical changes are symptomatic of what was wrong with Vatican II and with the reform movement generally, past and present.
A few days ago I mentioned the newsletter from the Catholic Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In talking about a mission trip, a student describes Guatemala as
a dominantly Protestant country
She seems unaware that anyone might find this at all surprising. So, yes, one might conclude that reform is not working out so very well.

God is not dead, but He did discontinue His LiveJournal


Saturday, October 5, 2002

From the many professional newsletters that cross my desk, the title of this article in the ATLA Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway, and Premises Liablility Section Newsletter, Summer 2002, stood out.

How Can I Motivate A Jury To Want To Give My Client Money?
By Timothy A Rowe, Indianapolis, Indiana

On the topic of city kids who know nothing of rural life, this article in the Wisconsin alumni magazine talks about recent graduates who chose farming as a career. All had parents or other close relatives who are farmers and had worked on farms growing up.

The American National Election Study survey data for the 2000 election is discussed in this article.

The increased religious polarization of the electorate has given rise to a new type of voter: the anti-fundamentalist. ...

The results indicate that over the past decade persons who intensely dislike fundamentalist Christians have found a partisan home in the Democratic party. Clinton captured 80 percent of these voters in his victories over President Bush in 1992 and over Senator Robert Dole four years later; Gore picked up 70 percent of the anti-fundamentalist vote in the 2000 election. One has to reach back to pre-New Deal America, when political divisions between Catholics and Protestants encapsulated local ethno-cultural cleavages over prohibition, immigration, public education, and blue laws, to find a period when voting behavior was influenced by this degree of antipathy toward a religious group.

The mail brings a newsletter, The Good News from St. Paul's, published by the Catholic Center serving the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. We sometimes attended mass there when I was a law student and a quarter century later they've finally used that mailing list. The Center sends a mission group to the parish of Colomba in Guatemala, and the mission group and newsletter appear to contain all city kids.

Imagine riding in the back of a pickup truck ...
The newsletter's take on Guatemala's political history had a familiar slant.

There's a bit different perspective in this book review.

The reforms of Col. Jacobo Arbenz are lauded uncritically. The fact that Arbenz backed the Guatemalan Communist Party's efforts to take control of the peasant and labor movement at a time when it was openly supportive of Stalin's Soviet Union contributed heavily to the Eisenhower administration's hostility to his government.

The mail brings an unsolicited sample issue of The American Conservative (Volume 1, Number 1, October 7, 2002), a bi-weekly edited by Patrick J. Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopulos. It might be described as a cross between The Nation and Latin Mass. The cover story is "Iraq Folly: How victory could spell American defeat" by Eric S. Marqolis. A review by J. P. Zmirak of Why I Am a Catholic and Papal Sin by Garry Wills begins

Dear Wormwood,
Subscribers might not see Christopher Hitchens as a contributor anytime soon.


Friday, October 4, 2002

Slighting Bob

Dave Berkman's column, referred to yesterday, starts off with some premature dancing on Ronald Reagan's grave. Meanwhile in New Jersey, Democratic Party bosses dance on the grave of Progressivism by forcing the winner of their primary off the ballot. R.I.P.

Even war has a downside

This week's issue of our suburban weekly includes a column by Matt Pommer, Capitol correspondent of the Madison Capital Times, on the state's budget deficit and economic prospects.

There is more bad news. Unemployment jumped above 5 percent in August. Deer hunting, which usually provides a big economic boost to rural Wisconsin, is facing a down year because of the concern for chronic wasting disease in the herd. A war with Iraq won't help the Wisconsin economy much; the state has limited defense industry suppliers.

[Capitol Newsletter: Don't play dodge ball with deficit. By Matt Pommer, Franklin Hub, October 3, 2002, p. 12]

Congressman Livingston, I presume

This morning's newspaper's Op-Ed page runs yesterday's Richard Cohen column.

Once upon a time, Democratic politicians modeled themselves after John F. Kennedy. ...

Now the model appears to be Bill Clinton. Unlike Kennedy, it is not Clinton's style that is emulated, nor his eloquence and wit. It is his tenacity, his refusal to quit no matter what. This, above all, is what Robert Torricelli tried to duplicate when he sought reelection to the Senate from New Jersey. ...

This quality of Clinton's -- the sheer ability to get out of bed in the morning when you or I would have pulled the covers over our heads -- is indeed one of Clinton's great attributes. Sometimes -- in New Hampshire after Gennifer Flowers or in the White House after Monica Lewinsky -- I could only marvel at his ability to keep going. A lesser man would have quit.

No accounting for cliches

This morning's newspaper's business section had this Martha Stewart (D-$$) update

Martha Stewart, under ever-increasing scrutiny over the trading of her ImClone Systems shares, resigned yesterday from the board of the New York Stock Exchange immediately prompting questions from analysts about whether she will also step down as chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. ...

T. K. MacKay, an analyst who covers the stock for Morningstar, a research firm in Chicago, said his company's recommendation was clear. "The stock should be avoided," he said.

"We have seen evidence that her disintegrating reputation is taking a toll on the company's business," Mr. MacKay said.

Whether she will resign as chief executive is "everybody's $69,000 question," he said.


Thursday, October 3, 2002

Local media critic Dave Berkman resists disillusionment,

(What also surprised a lot of folks was learning that Martha's [Martha Stewart's] a heavy Democratic Party contributor. As someone widely known for her mistreatment of underlings, she had "Republican" written all over her.)
while embracing ignorance,
Have you caught that radio spot where a gleeful Gordon Hinkley invites us to join him and some other guy and their wives in partying at a funeral home? Weird!
The "other guy" is Joe Dorsey, who was one of Milwaukee's best-known radio personalities during his decades on station WEMP.

You can hear more of Mr. Berkman's illusions and ignorance on Wisconsin Public Radio.


Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Norman Rockwell sells out

This morning's newspaper reports

Joyce Devore's Museum of Norman Rockwell Art, a Reedsburg attraction for more than 20 years, was sold at auction last week, not to one buyer as Devore had hope but largely to two.

Each principle buyer, however, pledged to keep his share of the Rockwell collection in Wisconsin and on public display ...


Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Along with about 20 other alumni, attended a breakfast with the deal of Marquette University's College of Arts and Sciences. Back in my day, it was the College of Liberal Arts; Marquette doesn't just change team names. The alums said they appreciated the liberal arts education, finding it provided a broader perspective which had been helpful in their lives, including their careers.

This morning's newspaper's Inside TV and Radio column reports,

Green Bay-based StarBoard Broadcasting is buying Port Washington's WGLB-FM (100.1) and replacing its '70s music format with Roman Catholic programming.

Unlike the previous failed attempt at a Catholic radio station in Milwaukee - the old WZER-AM, now Christian talk WRRD-AM (540) - this is a non-profit operation. ...

StarBoard's operations manager, Martin Jury, says the renamed WGLB will start off playing the syndicated EWTN feed, with Dec. 1 as a target date. He says that date isn't set in stone. EWTN - the Eternal Word Television Network - is best known for its cable television outlet.

Local programming is possible down the road. ...

As for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, he says, "We would like to work with them as much as they would like to work with us." Jury says he's still in the process of setting up meetings with local church officials.

WZER was part of the failed Catholic Family Radio network. Archbishop Weakland had objected to it on several grounds, including the views of some of the network's organizers and that no one takes responsibility for what listeners who call in might say. See June 25, 2002


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