Sunday, September 1, 2002

September 2002

This is a placeholder post linking to the page with this month's entries in the pre-Blogger format.

Topics: Bishops posturing. Books for heifers. Archdiocese appeal lacking. Joseph Bast on education reform. Piece Democrats. Paul Drobot on landscape. At The Spitfire Grill. Keith Bradsher on S.U.V.'s. Catholic Bishops on Iraq. Orestes Brownson back in print. Recall to Action. Archbishop Dolan's installation. Bird-banding at YMCA Camp Minikani.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Web usability expert Jacob Nielson sends an "Alertbox" on email newsletters.

Users have highly emotional reactions to newsletters which feel much more
personal than websites. In usability testing, success rates were high for
subscribe and unsubscribe tasks, but users were frustrated by newsletters
that demanded too much of their time.


Sunday, September 29, 2002


In the September 26, 2002, issue of the Catholic Herald,
the managing editor describes some differences in the mass from one parish to another.

At Our Lady of Guadalupe, ... we stand throughout the eucharistic prayers. ... at Blessed Sacrament ... kneeling is the order of the day.

["Catholic Masses can be the same, yet different." from the editor column, by Maryangela Layman Roman,
Parenting, October 2002, p. 2 (not on-line)]

This morning's newspaper has an interview with Archbishop Dolan.

He's not going to impose it on his own, but Catholics nationwide can expect the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to clearly require that they kneel in Mass during the Eucharistic prayer - from the Sanctus through the consecration until just before the Lord's Prayer. That once-standard practice varies from parish to parish, and some churches have no kneelers.

"I would anticipate, if I read my bishops right, that the American bishops are going to say the common discipline for the Catholic Church in the United Sates would be kneeling," said Dolan, who would follow such a directive.

Archbishop Weakland indicated the same in his January 7, 2000 letter to the priests of the Archdiocese.
It happens that in the second reading for today's mass, St. Paul says,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth [Philippians 2:10]

So you might wonder why some of our congregations don't kneel. I wondered and so submitted this question to my parish council on February 6, 2000.

The headline article in the 6/24/99 Catholic Herald
included that "there are requirements for kneeling at certain times." As a former catechist, I know we taught this in the parish Christian Formation program, as well. So shouldn't we somewhere explain why and by what authority we dispense with kneeling at our Sunday Mass?

My pastor decided to field my question. So far, the closest he has come to an explanation is saying that the design of the church building, which does not include kneeelers, was approved by the Archdiocese. As the interview with Archbishop Dolan indicates, that is a separate matter, and does not constitute a dispensation from kneeling. We'll see where things stand in a year.

If my question is anwered one way or the other by then, that will only be three and one-half years. That would be relatively good; he's had my question on how the Creed can be optional at Sunday Mass under consideration for about eleven years.

Back in the Herald, we find this on a related topic.

Using these ["just war"] criteria, Catholic officials in Rome, the U.S. bishops, and other religious leaders have concluded that preemptive military action is not morally justifiable.

["Make me an instrument of your peace: Christian vocation poses serious challenges to talk of war. Behind the News column, by Fr. Bryan N. Massingale, Catholic Herald, September 26, 2002, p. 7 (not on-line)]

Leaving aside whether that is an accurate reading of the bishops' letter, why do I call this a related topic? Because our priests and bishops cannot expect to have credibility making judgments on matters, like foreign policy, not particularly within their competence, when there are blatant contradictions in practice in liturgy, an area particularly within their competence.

Virginia Postrel tells a reader,

I do have permalinks. But, remember, this is a roll-your-own-HTML site (at least until I get it redesigned). So you have to look at the source code to find the anchor tags.

This page likewise is what I'll call "hand-crafted" HTML, which has some formatting advantages but lacks software to generate links to particular items. I had been listing a link to each day under its date. Today, along with a few other format changes, I'm including a link to each day's entries at the foot of that day, starting with the date link below. If you want a link to today's entry, it should take you to back to the start of the entry with this day's entry showing in your browser's address display. From there, you can copy and paste it as needed. The link is not quite permanent, however, because it will change when I shift a week's entries to the archive.


Saturday, September 28, 2002

Worthy cows

One of my nieces writes

Read to Feed
My school is having a program called Read to Feed. For every book I read in
October, you can pledge a certain amount of money that will go to help poor
people. Heifer International provides food-producing animals and training so families can produce their own food and income.

Here is a picture of me reading!

p.s. My mom thinks I may read 50-60 books!


Regarding my post on Democrats on Iraq
a correspondent from Madison, Wisconsin, or possibly Delphi, writes,

Thanks for the quotes from Gore and Daschle. They're making progress.
Let's hope they keep doing it til they get it right.

and also supplies other film philosophers:

Professor Emile Flaustre (Michael Auclair) in Funny Face (the Astaire/Hepburn flick).
The protagonists in Rossellini's Socrates, St. Augustine, and Blaise Pascal (which also features Descartes).
Jarman's Wittgenstein (which features Russell in addition to the protagonist).

Then there are philosophers in plays:
Teddy in The Homecoming by Pinter.
The two philosophers in The Forced Marriage by Moliere.
Socrates in Barefoot in Athens by Anderson.
Also, I gather that Tom Stoppard's new The Coast of Utopia trilogy, which hasn't yet made it to our shores, has a few Russian philosophers in it.


Friday, September 27, 2002

The latest Bold Type reports on the O. Henry Awards for the best short stories.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is sponsoring a Wisconsin Book Festival October 9 to 13 in Madison.

Pete Vere posts Archbishop Dolan's September 24, 2002 email to priests and staff of the Archdiocese. (He says he does so with permission. While I don't specialize in intellectual property law, I understand that the person who can give permission to publish a letter is its author.)

The ranks of web loggers have been joined by Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press.


A correspondent from Lagos, Nigeria, offers 30% of $10,000,000 if I serve as next of kin of the late Mr. Ahmed Y. Mustapha. Sounds too good to be true.


Thursday, September 26, 2002

This morning's newspaper reports that the archdiocesan annual fund appeal is coming up short.

Jerry Topczewski, archdiocesan communications director, said, "We received calls from people angry not so much about the sexual abuse cases involving priests and minors as the publicity about the out-of-court settlement dealing with Archbishop Weakland. That's what people were most angry about, and we sense now - as Archbishop Dolan has said - a chance for a fresh start, a time of renewal."

In the September 23, 2002 letter I received from the Archbishop soliciting donations, he said

I also know that some people are cautious about giving money to the archdiocese, fearing their donation might go ro the settlement of sexual abuse cases.

The accompanying "Response to Sexual Abuse: Accountability to the Faithful of Southeastern Wisconsin" notes that the archdiocesan Finance Council will review settlements of all kinds, and

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee's annual operating budget will be posted on the Archdiocesan web site.

My own lapse in giving to the appeal was related not to the abuse scandal, but to a more general loss of confidence in the Archdiocese. This is a kind of fresh start in ways other than just the handling of abuse cases, so I'll make a fresh start in giving and we'll all see what develops.

With a bullet

This morning's newspaper also has an article about the hip-hop music group Public Enemy.

"Our thing is we've always fought government oppression and (music) industry problems, for the people and for artists, not against," said Public Enemy front man Chuck D, while on a break from the group's tour in support of their latest album, "Revolverlution."

"This album is basically about holding a revolver to the (music) industry with the use of technology today," he said, continuing his industry-defying advocacy of music-sharing technology programs like Napster.

Attended a luncheon which featured a presentation about the Pabst Mansion by one of its volunteers. Most moving was the deathbed letter Captain Pabst wrote to his children urging them to continue to be virtuous in their daily lives, philanthropic and civic-minded, and kind to their mother.

This evening I attended a dinner featuring a speech by Joseph Bast of The Heartland Institute of Chicago, Illinois, on "The Need for Education Reform." Heartland is a libertarian think tank and Mr. Bast advocated various forms of school choice as most likely to produce some improvement in schools. As one would expect of a libertarian, he favored the separation of school and state in principle. Even if such things as vouchers or charter schools were eventually in effect nationwide, however, experience in other countries lead him to conclude that almost half of students would still be in public schools. As to the form of the then-larger number of private schools, he would expect individual private schools to continue to generally be smaller in size than public schools, and he would not be surprised if private schools continued to be run almost entirely on a not-for-profit basis.


Wednesday, September 25, 2002

In a post last Sunday, a Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent was quoted in David Broder's column wondering why Democratic Party leaders weren't expressing their opinions on pre-emptive war against Iraq. The answer turns out to be that they already had, as noted by E. L. Core. For example,

Al Gore said last night [February 12, 2002] that the time had come for a "final reckoning" with Iraq, describing the country as a "virulent threat in a class by itself" and suggesting that the United States should consider ways to oust President Saddam Hussein. ...

Mr. Gore, speaking four miles from the ruins of the World Trade Center, applauded Mr. Bush for singling out Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address. ...

But if Mr. Gore found himself on the same side as the White House about what to do now about Mr. Hussein, he was sharply critical of the way Mr. Bush's father had handled the matter during the 1991 war against Iraq. Mr. Gore noted that, back then, Mr. Hussein "was allowed to survive his defeat as the result of a calculation we all had reason to deeply regret for the ensuing decade - and still do."

[Gore, Championing Bush, Calls for a 'Final Reckoning' With Iraq, by Adam Nagourney. New York Times, February 13, 2002, reprinted by Common Dreams (!)]

In my own quick search, I found this from Sen. Tom Daschle in 1998,

"Look, we have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so?" That's what [the Clinton administration's] saying. This is the key question. And the answer is we don't have another option. We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily.

Ich bin ein Frankliner

We attended a community education class on Selection of Trees and Shrubs for the Landscape presented at Franklin High School by Paul Drobot.


Tuesday, September 24, 2002


This morning's newspaper picked up this article from the
Washington Post, in which

Mohammed Saeed Tayyeb, a liberal Saudi lawyer who hosts gatherings of Saudi intellectuals and who appears regularly on television talk shows, said in a telephone interview from Jiddah that there was a lot of frustration over the looming conflict.

"There is no way around riding the American train. We don't really know who the driver is, nor where he is taking us or at which station he is planning to stop or whether he plans to return. Yet if we stand by on the pavement, we are told we will sit alone and another train may crash right into us. There is a feeling among Saudis of having no choice," Tayyeb said.

And it's never a girl from the school paper

On the op-ed page, Maureen Dowd shows us how much we've gained by discouraging sports metaphors in writing on foreign policy.

As my girlfriend Dana said: "Bush is like the guy who reserves a hotel room and then asks you to the prom."


Monday, September 23, 2002

The latest TPM Online discusses Film Philosophers.


Sunday, September 22, 2002

Hark! The Herald

Those who cannot remember the past

In the September 19, 2002 issue, Bishop Sklba reminisces about his high school 50 year reunion, and a simpler time of soda fountains, white picket fences, and fact-checkers at the archdiocesan newspaper.

The world has changed radically since the spring day in 1952 when our graduation from high school was proclaimed ... We entered the world of young adulthood as riders of the crest of our national victory in World War II. ...

We joined a nation that vowed never to go to war again.

Since then our country has watched as the best of our young people marched off to a war in Korea, then in Vietnam. We couldn't imagine that it would happen, but it did ... and now possibly to Iraq as well ...


A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent is quoted in this David Broder column.

During the Vietnam War, antiwar forces were vocally represented by Sens. Morse, Gruening, Fulbright, McCarthy, McGovern, Robert Kennedy, etc. But we do not hear antiwar voices in the Senate today. . . . The Democrats are even less likely to voice critical views than the Republicans. . . . Whatever the merits, the restriction of the legitimate boundaries of debate does not seem to be in the interests of our democracy. What's going on?

Theater log:

Last night we attended The Spitfire Grill, a new musical adapted from the movie.
Here's the review from this morning's newspaper, and a background story from last week.


Saturday, September 21, 2002

Sailing log:

It might be nine months before the next day as good for sailing as today, so I went to the lake, scooped the fallen oak leaves from the cockpit, and spent the afternoon on the water.

There were sailboats on buoys or docks at three of the lakeside homes, but I failed to inspire any of the locals to join me.

~ ~ ~ (\_ ~ (\_ ~ (\_~ ~ ~


From the left side of the radio dial

A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent addresses my question of last Wednesday,
"How long has it been since the Sunday Mass percentage turnout was higher than the general election turnout?"

Jim Hightower's latest book was entitled, If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They
Would Have Given Us Candidates
. Something analogous might be true of
religious services (the story is much the same with non-Catholics).


Friday, September 20, 2002

Auto da fe

Since we're shopping for an SUV, it was very timely of the Media Research Center to note this regarding SUV buyers in New York Times correspondent Keith Bradsher's new book, High and Mighty.

They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are
frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about
parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills.
Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed,
with little interest in their neighbors or communities.

The Economist reports

Executives turn to playwrights and philosophers for pointers on ethical leadership.


Thursday, September 19, 2002

Geopolitics yes, Geohagen no

John DaFiesole provides a link to the (some? a?) bishops' Letter to President Bush on Iraq.

We welcome your efforts to focus the world's attention on the need to address Iraq's repression and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in defiance of the United Nations.

As they see it, the world is paying insufficient attention, unlike President Bush. Iraq's government acts against the interests and rights of its own citizens. It is seeking weapons which could enable it to more easily treat its neighbors likewise. All this is in clear violation of obligations Iraq agreed to after the Gulf War. The UN apparently isn't dealing with these (hence the need to get the world's attention). Makes me wonder what the bishops will present on the other hand.

The Committee met before your speech at the United Nations, but I thought it was important that I express our serious questions about the moral legitimacy of any preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq.

Questions? Why not just reread your previous sentence?

The United States and the international community have two grave moral obligations: to protect the common good against any Iraqi threats to peace and to do so in a way that conforms with fundamental moral norms.

And the bishops, if they are to be moral teachers, must avoid the fallacy of continuous objections in their public statements.

Sometimes an opponent of a measure will take account of this incapacity of some persons to decide for a plan of action when they have misgivings, and will exploit it by raising continuous objections until the defeat of the plan is assured.

[Fallacy: The counterfeit of argument (1959) by W. Ward Fearnside and William B. Holther, pp. 129-131]

Let's see if the bishops can avoid their tendency in this direction. They continue in a promisingly forthright way.

We have no illusions about the behavior or intentions of the Iraqi government.

"Let's roll. Sincerely yours ..." No, wait, there's more.

The Iraqi leadership must cease its internal repression, end its threats to its neighbors, stop any support for terrorism, abandon its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, and comply with UN resolutions.

"Therefore, let's roll. Sincerely yours ..." No, still more.

Mobilizing the nations of the world to recognize and address Iraq's threat to peace and stability through new UN action and common commitment to ensure that Iraq abides by its commitments is a legitimate and necessary alternative to the unilateral use of military force.

This solution has no connection with the threat posed by Iraq as this very letter has described it in its few preceding paragraphs. We've entered the bishops' foreign affairs fantasy world adjacent to "We'll solve the problem by getting father some counseling and then send him to a parish in the next county." The bishops then announce their intent to employ the fallacy of continuous objections.

Your decision to seek UN action is welcome, but other questions of ends and means must also be answered.

There are no easy answers.

But they'll grade on a curve.

People of good will may apply ethical principles and come to different prudential judgments, depending upon their assessment of the facts at hand and other issues.

On the other hand, they expect to flunk him.

We conclude, based on the facts that are known to us, that a preemptive, unilateral use of force is difficult to justify at this time.

This is not a particularly good time for the bishops to ask us to rely on their judgment or credibility, considering their plan of action from their recent Dallas meeting was predicated on their possessing neither. But they are the bishops and this letter is on USCCB letterhead, so let's look at some of their questions, at least.

Of particular concern are the traditional just war criteria of just cause, right authority, probability of success, proportionality and noncombatant immunity.

The phrase "Of particular concern" is another indication that what is being attempted here is questioning to death. Perhaps they are reserving the right to later become pacifists and object even if they conclude action meets the just war criteria.

In the discussion on just cause, they write,

Is it wise to dramatically expand traditional moral and legal limits on just cause to include preventive or preemptive uses of military force to overthrow threatening regimes or to deal with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction?

A threatening regime is seeking WMD. Is it wise to expect anything other than force or the certainty of the use of force to be effective in dealing with it?

Legitimate authority should raise clear issues, but doesn't for the bishops.

In our judgment, decisions of such gravity require compliance with U.S. constitutional imperatives, broad consensus within our nation, and some form of international sanction, preferably by the UN Security Council. ... With the Holy See, we would be deeply skeptical about unilateral uses of military force ...

Translated from nuancese, this might mean a congressional resolution and that some other nations are involved in the military effort. I assume that on the noncommital objection scale, deep skepticism is worse than serious doubts but not as bad as grave reservations.

Regarding the probability of success and proportionality, the bishops cite the Catechism.

The use of force must have "serious prospects for success" and "must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated" (Catechism, #2309).

These conditions are then restated in such a way as to be impossible to fulfil

War against Iraq could have unpredictable consequences not only for Iraq but for peace and stability elsewhere in the Middle East.

Is a just war, then, one which can be shown in advance to have no possible unanticipated consequences? That's not the the Catechism says. The bishops are here rather close to producing results equivalent to pacifism while trying to evade defending the consequences of a pacifist position. Their subsequent multitude of questions even includes,

Would war against Iraq detract from our responsibility to help build a just and stable order in Afghanistan ... ?

And if it might, would that make it an unjust war?

On norms governing the conduct of war, the bishops

recognize improved capability and serious efforts to avoid directly targeting civilians in war


the use of massive military force to remove the current government of Iraq could have incalculable consequences for a civilian population that has suffered so much from war, repression, and a debilitating embargo.

That war "could have incalculable consequences" is no different that saying it "could have unpredictable consequences," which the bishops raised regarding probability of success. In restating the norms to make them impossible to meet, the bishops run out of antiwar cliches and conflate the just war norms.

Their conclusion?

Our assessment of these questions leads us to urge you to pursue actively alternatives to war. We hope you will persist in the very frustrating and difficult challenges of building broad international support for a new, more constructive and effective approach to press the Iraqi government to live up to its international obligations.

If the bishops "have no illusions about the behavior or intentions of the Iraqi government," but "press the Iraqi government" doesn't mean war, or even tightening a "debilitating embargo," what does it mean?


Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Wring out the new

Just received Volume 1, Issue 1 of To Live Is Christ, published by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In the cover article, Archbishop Dolan says

"With God, all is possible; without Him…" well, forget it! I also draw great strength from our sure belief that God never calls us to a task without supplying sufficient grace. So, why worry? Why wring my hands? Better to fold them and pray.

No more hand-wringing? We'll just have to adjust.

Wring in the old

No one is listed as editor, and this lack turns up in the article by Rev. Robert J. Lotz, who apparently forgot to turn off his Dictaphone when he called in to Tom Clark or Kathleen Dunn.

Whether or not we agree with the results of our nation's last election, it is fair to say our electoral process is in need of serious repair. How long has it been since we have felt, as voters, able to choose the better or best among candidates whom we can trust and respect as leaders? We needed time after the election to think about how we can improve the electoral process to assure the best leadership in our country for the future.

How long? For me, it's been since the election earlier this month. How long has it been since the Sunday Mass percentage turnout was higher than the general election turnout?


Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Constitution Day

In this week's stack of catalogs I find
Pacific Aircraft

Aviation Models for the Discriminating Collector!

Those aren't hobby shop plastic kit prices, but besides discriminating collectors, these models might also interest anyone who flew or worked around any of these aircraft.

The catalog from ISI Books announces that it will soon publish a new edition of
The American Republic by Orestes Brownson. I'm very happy to see it back in print. It was the first book I converted to an
electronic edition.


Monday, September 16, 2002

A suggestion from Project Gutenberg:

September is "Literacy Awareness Month:" hand out a few eBook floppies!


Sunday, September 15, 2002

Hark! The Herald

Another week, and so far Archbishop Dolan has not, as far as I can tell, used the word "ecclesiology."

In the September 12, 2002 issue of the
Catholic Herald
, Jack Murtaugh writes a Guest Opinion in response to criticism of the Call to Action Conference set for Milwaukee November 1-3. ["Early Call to Action delegates grappled with justice values: Some 'radical, controversial' recommendations were not really new," p. 7]

I was fortunate to be asked by Archbishop William E. Cousins to lead an archdiocesan delegation to the first Call to Action. The delegates included
Fr. Carl Last, Office of Divine Worship;
Sr. Roy McDonald, Sisters Council;
Sam Sims, Black Catholics;
Fr. Gene Pocernich, Campaign for Human Development;
Betty Jean Jezo and Margaret Flanagan, Milwaukee Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women;
Filiberto Murguia, Spanish Speaking Apostolate; and
Dr. Joseph Gram, Justice and Peace Center.

It was held in Detroit in October 1976.

The 1,200 delegates were all possessed of free will. Despite that,

As the delegates grappled with the application of the justice values rooted in the Scriptures and the tradition of the church, there was no way to avoid its application to the internal life of the church.

With this linkage and the delegates' belief in their exceptional understanding of justice established, Mr. Murtaugh can then turn his Soul-O-Scope on CTA's critics.

The recommendations regarding the internal life of the church provided the cover needed for those groups and individuals who opposed the application of social justice teachings to the current realities of poverty, racism and military spending.

So criticise any aspect of Call to Action's agenda for the internal life of the Church and its member apparently feel justified in calling you exploitive, racist, and militarist. Is there any criticism they might accept?

The critique of Call to Action must be based on a desire to further the development of a clear theological and social analysis as well as the development of effective strategy to achieve a just and inclusive environment for everyone.

So criticism is welcome from any credentialed CTA fellow-travelers with workable plans for a perfect world.

Mr. Murtaugh is described as the former executive director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, and his organization has first-hand knowledge of one concept of "cover." John Shiely, president and C.E.O. of Briggs & Stratton Corp. in Milwaukee, noted in this article about his lawsuit against the National Catholic Reporter,

The archdiocesan official had explained to the writer from the National Catholic Reporter--so we learned in discovery--that Archbishop Weakland often chose to pursue certain matters through intermediaries. For example, the official said, the archbishop had not wanted to get personally involved in the handgun debate, so he pursued it through the Interfaith Conference. Apparently the same tactic of activism-by-proxy was at work in our case.

Finally, the subtitle given to Mr. Murtaugh's piece reflects his implied argument that if something CTA recommends is not new, it cannot be regarded as radical or even controversial. That hardly follows, since it would apply even to a renewed advocacy for Arianism.

CTA's website mentions another organization, FutureChurch, which always makes me imagine Elroy Jetson in the seminary.

My pastor's homily reminded us that our building is not the Church, rather we the people are the Church, so it's important to increase our pledges toward the annual operating budget even though we might be in the process of paying a pledge toward the $5 million in additions to the building. In some parishes, it wasn't enough to point out that "church" means not just the building but also the congregation. Once that point is established, they then go on to change the name so that it not longer refers to the congregation as "church" but instead by some term like "faith community." If this phenomenon is not confined to the Catholic Church, maybe we'll someday see Franklin's Faith Community Church become the Faith Community Faith Community.


Saturday, September 14, 2002

Cheap wine log:

As you might remember, a colleague knowledgable about wines suggested that in selecting a sparkling wine one should purchase the least expensive which was fermented in the bottle. Following his advice, I've just tried a Henri Marchant Brut American Champagne. Tasted fine to me, and it had no "frog's eyes," the big bubbles produced by bulk fermentation or carbonation. $2.99 a bottle or two for $5 at Discount Liquor, which also carries a fine selection of Guatmalan beers.

Things never to say to a cop

A Waukesha, Wisconsin, correspondent sends this, which appears to have been circulating on-line within the law enforcement community.

  1. I can't reach my license unless you hold my beer. (Formerly OK in Texas)
  2. Sorry, Officer, I didn't realize my radar detector wasn't plugged in.
  3. Aren't you the guy from the Village People?
  4. Hey, you must've been doin' about 125 to keep up with me. Good job!
  5. Are you Andy or Barney?
  6. I thought you had to be in relatively good physical condition to be a police
  7. You're not gonna check the trunk, are you?
  8. I pay your salary.
  9. Gee, Officer! That's terrific. The last officer only gave me a warning,
  10. Do you know why you pulled me over? Okay, just so one of us does.
  11. I was trying to keep up with traffic. Yes, I know there are no other cars
    around. That's how far ahead of me they are.
  12. And finally, when the Officer says "Gee Son...your eyes look red, have you been
    drinking?" You probably shouldn't respond with, "Gee, Officer your eyes look
    glazed, have you been eating doughnuts?"

I'll add this one for speed traps.

"Son, I've been waiting all morning for you to come by."

"Officer, I got here just as fast as I could."

Vast waistland

There isn't even a Phil Donahue Show anymore where the fat content in hot dogs and burgers can be openly discussed.

[A Deadly Diet: As obesity skyrockets, McDonald's continues its quest to conquer the tastebuds of U.S. children, by Ralph Nader; republished from his weekly newspaper column in Rethinking Schools, Summer 2002, p. 16]

Friday, September 13, 2002

Mary McCarthy felt it [John Hersey's Hiroshima] rendered the enormity of the circumstances banal. To have done the event justice, she contended, Hersey "would have had to interview the dead."

Technology has evolved a great deal since 1946, when Hersey's story appeared. Through taped air-to-ground phone conversations that preserved their final words and thought, this arresting achievement -- seeing into the hearts of those who did not survive -- is precisely what Longman has been able to accomplish.

[The Fourth Target, by M. G. Lord, New York Times Book Review, September 8, 2002, p. 12; a review of Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back, by Jere Longman]

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Without the discipline of markets (or a very strong ethos of service), all enterprises degenerate into empire-building.

[Core Knowledge and the National Curriculum: A Conservative Plan for "Inclusion," by Tom Burkard and Dennis O'Keefe, The Salisbury Review, Summer 2002, p. 28]

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

In both the Old and New Testaments, man lives in the visible world in the midst of temporal things. Yet he is deeply aware of God's presence which shapes his whole life.

The living God is in reality the ultimate bulwark for man in the midst of all the trials and sufferings of earthly existence. He yearns to possess this God in a complete way when he experiences his presence. He strives to see his face. In the words of the psalmist,
"As the hind longs for the running waters, so my soul longs for you, O God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?"
(Psalm 42:2-3)

While man strives to know God -- to behold his face and experience his presence -- God turns to man in order to reveal his very life to him. The Second Vatican Council speaks at length on the importance of God's intervention in the world. It explains that
"through divine revelation, God wanted to manifest and to communicate himself and the eternal decrees of his will concerning the salvation of men."
(Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, 6)

At the same time, this merciful and loving God who communicates himself through revelation continues to be for man an inscrutable mystery. And man -- the pilgrim ever seeking the absolute -- continues all through his life to seek the face of God. But at the end of the pilgrimage of faith, man reaches "the Father's house." And in this heavenly house, he hopes to behold God "face to face."
(1 Corinthians 13:12)

[Lift Up Your Hearts: Daily meditations (1985) by Pope John Paul II, translated by Carlos Alonso Vargas (1995). September 11: We Long to See God's Face]

One of the casualties in the terrorist attacks of a year ago was Barbara Olson, and the Federalist Society has, in her honor, established a
lecture series to be presented at its annual convention. The first was presented last year by her husband,
Theodore Olson, Solicitor General of the United States.

Sailing log:

Between some professional meetings, I accompanied some colleagues from out-of-town sailing around Milwaukee Bay on The Sea Dog, a Catalina 34. Milwaukee Bay has been said to quite beautiful, compared by some of the city's early visitors to the Bay of Naples.

~ ~ ~ (\_ ~ (\_ ~ (\_~ ~ ~

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

In Between Knapp's

Yesterday Karen Marie Knapp was distinguishing the sin of scandal from scandal in the general sense.

True scandal is saying or doing things that lead other people to sin or to become separated from God. Some, names removed, examples from current events: ... authoritative person publicly stating that if someone's p.o.'ed at their bishop over something they should stop assisting at Eucharist;

There was no need for her to be ... coy, since she had earlier posted,

Robert Waldrop of the Oklahoma City Catholic Worker and the Access to Catholic Social Justice Teaching website has a blog now, Bob's Blog ---- and he's got wise words in his first post from yesterday:

"Speaking of Governor Frank Keating, any doubts I had about whether the bishops were corrupt or not went right out the window when they picked him, a politician who has never passed up a chance to grind the face of the poor into the dust, as the head of their new lay review panel. So I wasn't surprised when he popped up, promoting himself to apostolic nuncio, and announcing New Doctrine: Catholics who are mad at their bishops should not go to mass, they should go to another diocese and they should also stop giving money to the church."

Is this wisdom, or is it using "social justice" to whack anyone to the right of your high horse? Ms. Knapp has decried "bishop-bashing," so one might have thought she'd find Mr. Waldrop's calling all the bishops corrupt problematic, but perhaps she regards this as a small price to pay to get in a shot at Gov. Keating. Her post on Scandal versus scandal goes on,

Now for the rest of the stuff, the "scandals" ... your bishop's an extortion victim;

Very well, let's review the Dear Paul letter.

I know you are pushing me for Church money, for some sort of Church support for the Midwest Institute of Christodrama. I feel you are putting me in an impossible situation here. I consider all that Church money as a sacred trust; it represents the offerings of faithful and I must be accountable to them for how it is all spent. There are hundreds of requests on my desk for funds for worthy causes, for inner city projects, to the elderly, to the handicapped, etc. Hardly a day goes past I don't have to turn down such projects. I simply do not see how I can authorize money for your project.

So didn't it betray this sacred trust to subsequently pay $450,000 in archdiocesan funds to Marcoux? That's a Scandal, not that someone, like Gov. Keating, should then say that we should be wary of contributing to a diocese until we can again have confidence in how the money will be used.

Monday, September 9, 2002

Speaking of animal migration, as I was in last Saturday's post, sea turtle migration is tracked by satellite.


A Nigerian correspondent writes with an opportunity to make 25% of US$26,400,000.00 with little effort and no risk. Sounds too good to be true.

Sunday, September 8, 2002

Hark! The Herald

In the August 22, 2002 issue of the
Catholic Herald
, the editorial includes this in its assessment of the challenges ahead for Archbishop Dolan.

As an outspoken advocate for the unborn, some worry he will be too preoccupied with the pro-life cause to see the blatant social justice needs of the poor.

[Expectations OK, but demands out of line: Dolan will need support of flock as he begins new role, p.6 (not on-line)]

That would be an improvement over using a proclaimed concern for the social justice needs of the poor as a seamless blanket with which to smother the pro-life cause. For example, see the account of former Archbishop Weakland at "the annual liturgical celebration held by the archdiocese's anti-abortion group" at which during his homily "The word 'abortion' never passed his lips." [The Education of an Archbishop (1992) by Paul Wilkes, pp. 45-49]

The August 30, 2002 issue's article on media coverage, includes this from Fr. Steve Avella, a Marquette University history professor, from his television commentary during Archbishop Dolan's installation.

Avella noted that Dolan's only previous experience as a bishop was as an auxiliary in his native St. Louis. He had never headed a smaller diocese.

"He kind of skipped a step," Avella said. "He's got a learning curve, but he is one bright man."

Discussing how Dolan came to Milwaukee, Avella added that "Archbishop Dolan no doubt had friends in Rome who could speak favorably of him," recalling his several years as rector of the North American College.

This is somewhat like Archbishop Weakland, who came to Milwaukee from Rome with no experience as a diocesan bishop.

Avella said he expects Dolan to boost vocations in the archdiocese.

Archbishop Dolan does have a book on the subject, and has since his installation been in
radio ads aired locally.

Back in the account of the installation,

[WTMJ-TV's Mike] Gousha noted that with a much-discussed perceived vacuum in community leadership, "hopes are very high for this man." Avella responded that "if he says he's going to listen, let's give him a year to listen."

Let's hope there's listening rather than Listening Sessions.

As Cardinal Adam J. Maida of Detroit entered the cathedral, Gousha recalled that Maida had previously served as bishop of Green Bay. "I'm sure there are some who wonder how long Timothy Dolan will be in Milwaukee," Gousha remarked. "It seems the Vatican has been grooming him for big things."

If Archbishop Dolan does well here, I don't expect he'll retire as Archbishop of Milwaukee. And there might be some openings in bigger archdioceses sooner than we would have expected a year ago.

In his homily,

Dolan apologized for not being able to present a more specific plan of action for his tenure here, but took comfort in the example set by St. Francis of Assisi. He told the story of how Francis went to Pope Innocent III to get permission to form his religious order, and when the pope asked what plans Francis had for his friars, he simply pointed to the Gospels and said, 'This is my plan.'

What, no Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Directional Statements, Action Plans? Just the Gospel?

Consistent with that, Archbishop Dolan appears to intend to change only what he is convinced must be changed, as in his initial column.

They told me I could change the title of this weekly message from your archbishop, but I will not, because I find it to be so moving and timely. As I reflect on my new mandate as shepherd of the church in southeastern Wisconsin, many images come to mind: teacher, pastor, father, reconciler, pray-er -- but, I must admit, I'm stuck on "Herald of Hope."

Other good news in this issue includes this in the announcement of the recipients of the 2002 Vatican II Awards for Distinguished Service.

Dr. Thomas and Jacqueline Kowalski for service to missions. The Kowalskis have used their medical backgrounds to assist in developing an orphanage in Guatemala.

[Sklba announces Vatican II award recipients: 16 individuals honored for service to local church, p. 6 (not on-line)]

The Sleep of the Just

The September 5, 2002 issue has Archbishop Dolan's first pan from a fan of his predecessor. Louise M. Jushewitz writes to the editor,

The new archbishop is quoted as saying that he is not an "American Catholic." He stated that he is a "Roman Catholic." His comment doesn't bode well. ...

I have a well-formed and well-informed conscience that I am obliged to follow, since it seems to direct my actions even in my sleep, which makes me a thinking Catholic as well. ...

While Weakland and I had a number of differences, he was a reasonable man and I certainly would not have had a problem being faithful to him. The new archbishop is another story.

[Writer leery of Dolan's comments, p. 9 (not on-line)]

Recording log:

Classical Sailing


The Lighter Side of ...

A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent writes in defense of The Nation.

"Without reading her column,..."

What, me worry?

Saturday, September 7, 2002

Chickadee banded at Camp Minikani
This morning it was back to Camp Minikani for a class on bird-banding presented by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Continuing Education. Birds are caught, banded, and released to track bird migration, although this also produces other information about birds, such as life spans. In the brief time available, our instructor was only able to net and band a couple of the local chickadees.

Friday, September 6, 2002

There has been a spate of comment on Catholic blogs lately about The New Church being built by St. Mary's Catholic Community (apparently meaning "church" or "parish"), Rockledge, Florida. Why does it look that way? First, if you scroll down, you'll see that it was designed by an "Arcthitect." Second, if you follow the link to the Community's Mission Statement, you'll see



7. Facilities Master Plan

To develop a Master Plan with short and long term goals in order to provide adequate facilities for our present and future needs.

Did they build first and defer planning to later? Do they never look back at the Mission Statement? Based on my Parish Council experience, I suspect both.

Telford Work has resumed his web log.

Thursday, September 5, 2002

This morning's newspaper reports on the ongoing controversy over our area's sewers. In response to criticism from some Wisconsin legislators, at a recent hearing,

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District officials aggressively defended the deep tunnel system and the district's dumping record, saying most of the 13.6 billion gallons of raw sewage discharged into local waterways since 1994 came from combined sewers that carry storm water along with sanitary waste.

So it would appear that if the combined sewers were replaced with separate sanitary sewers and storm sewers, that would solve the problem.

Several speakers urged a reconsideration of separating Milwaukee's combined sewers to help reduce rainwater flowing into the sewer system. That idea was considered and rejected more than 20 years ago in favor of the deep tunnel system. The tunnels and related sewer improvements were completed in late 1993 at a full cost of some $2.8 billion and remain the state's most expensive public works project.

I'm relying on only my memory here, but it seems to me the choice of the building the deep tunnels instead of separating the combined sewers had more to do with finance than anything else. The cost of sewer work would normally be assessed against the properties along the street, while the deep tunnel project was paid for by all MMSD customers and received substantial federal and state money.

Separating sewers now could cost as much as $3 billion, [MMSD Executive Director Kevin] Shafer said. State auditors, however, have said MMSD estimates for the job were exaggerated.

Even if not exaggerated, adjusted for inflation, it's still less than the cost of the deep tunnel project. The article notes that MMSD has another $1 billion in projects planned for the next eight years.

Richard Wanta, executive director of a trade group for underground contractors, suggested a staged project of separating the old combined sewers except in the downtown area, to avoid the disruption it might cause there. The city has combined sewers in an area bounded by Oklahoma Ave. on the south, Hampton Ave. on the north, Lake Michigan on the east and 60th St. on the west. Part of Shorewood also has combined sewers.

The rest of Milwaukee and all other communities in the state except Superior have separate storm and sanitary sewers.

Mr. Wanta's group, of course, has an interest in the outcome. Separating sewers would probably be done by local contractors. Deep tunnel was a more sophisticated project, and hundreds of millions of dollars were paid to a national engineering firm that oversaw it.
But it sounds like separate sewers are "industry standard" for new construction and separating the combined sewers would merely bring them up to that standard. Despite that, and the actual cost figures,

[chairman of the MMSD Commission, state Rep. Antonio]
Riley blasted separation as an outdated and overly expensive approach.

Deep tunnel was really a means of avoiding either assessing the cost of separating sewers against properties in the older parts of Milwaukee, which arguably could not afford it, or shifting part of the cost directly to the customers at large, some of whom would object that they paid for separate sewers for their own property but then were being asked to help pay for someone else's. Deep tunnel avoided this problem to some extent, although there was protracted litigation to have the cost to all customers charged by usage, rather than by property value. It was apparently easier to get federal and state money for deep tunnel than it would have been for sewer separation.

On the question of effectiveness, it remains hard to see how separating sewers could not be better than storing the combined sewer overflow in the deep tunnels. The deep tunnels are not large enough, and apparently cannot be made large enough, to cope with the volume from a heavy rain. As a result, occasionally untreated or partially treated sewage has to be dumped into Lake Michigan because the volume exceeds the tunnels' capacity.

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

A recent Powell's BookNews reported on the State of Short Words.

Fifty-nine percent of English words less than six letters long say their
quality of life has improved "substantially" since their parents'
generation. But that includes more than a few four-letter words entirely
unwelcome in civilized society just a few decades ago.

Project Gutenberg recently announced that,

... for the first time Project Gutenberg has produced 2,000 new eBooks in a 12 month period.

All its eBooks are available free, although often in a plain text format.

Where would you store all those eBooks? A subsequent newletter points out,

Terabytes For You Can Now Be Had!!!

Current rebate sale prices for 120G drives at Circuit City...$99. 8 of these for $792 equal just about the average computer's price! Can hold about every word in the Library of Congress uncompressed. Of course you'll need a box and power supply, and some cables....

And a fast internet connection for the downloads.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002

The Usual Gang of Idiots

Arts & Letters Daily recently linked to critiques of
The Nation by
John Powers and by
Jack Shafer, both rather critical of its humorlessness. I decided to take a quick look for myself. In the September 16, 2002 issue, the blurb for
Katha Pollitt's column says,

The main barrier to EC use is that most women don't know what it is.

Without reading her column, I would say that EC [originally Educational Comics] publishes Mad Magazine and am not surprised that many women don't know what it is, for reasons related to why many women do not find The Three Stooges funny.

Monday, September 2, 2002

I saved this article from yesterday's newspaper for Labor Day.

On Saturday, Midwest Express flights came and went as usual at Mitchell International Airport with flight attendants still performing their regular duties.

But the union continues to say it will disrupt flights, including Labor Day travel. It just won't say when or where strike actions will take place. ...

The union could do a mass walkout on Labor Day, which has the potential to strand holiday travelers across the country. Or it could strike a few key Midwest Express flights and disrupt the airline's schedule that way. ...

The union has coined its strike strategy CHAOS, which stands for "create havoc around our system." It calls for unannounced, intermittent walkouts against individual flights, turning the airline's flight schedule upside down. ...

... in anticipation of CHAOS, the company has temporarily canceled all flight attendants' vacations and has tightened rules regarding sick days.

"We are not taking vacation time away, but we are putting it on hold so that we have sufficient flight attendants" in the event of CHAOS, [Carol] Skornicka [a Midwest Express senior vice president and general counsel] said.

The flight attendants are furious about having their vacation plans interrupted, said Toni Phillips, the local union president.

"We have people scheduled to be married, and they can't take their honeymoons," she said. "We have other union members who have booked cruises with non-refundable tickets." ...

Click and Clack are right again, this time by definition.

Ray: Of course, your wife needs to drive any perspective car on the highway to see for herself ...

[Car Talk, by Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 31, 2002, p. T1]

All the earlier entries to this log are now linked end to end and the archive is now a separate page. The internal link addresses and internal links still need to be updated.

Sunday, September 1, 2002

I will go in to the alter of God

Here's an item from the latest minutes of a meeting of the Parish Council.


A. Committee Reports


     2. Liturgy Committee. Update from Liturgical Subcommittee -- discussing the alter area, chapel area and maintenance.

Thanks to Robert Gotcher's weblog for some new reference links for this week's update of my recommended reading.


A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent suggests this review of Jay P. Dolan's In Search of American Catholicism: A history of religion and culture in tension.