Sunday, November 24, 2002

Going Their Way

Garry Wills in The New York Times, November 24, 2002, reviews Goodbye Father: The Celibate Male Priesthood and the Future of the Catholic Church by Richard A. Schoenherr, edited by David Yamane.
''Goodbye Father'' is dated in places -- as when Schoenherr treats Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee as a prophet with important future influence; Weakland later discredited himself by secretly paying off with church funds an adult homosexual lover.

Friday, November 1, 2002

November 2002

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

Topics: Archdiocese recycles. R.I.P. John Lingner. Federalists, filibuster, and Feinstein. Government's End, by Jonathan Rauch. Vatican II plus XL. Guatemala, 1974. Michael Hart on Eldred v Ashcroft. Rail transit report card. Presumption of legitimacy. Financial turbulence at United. The specie of Origins. Bishops on health. Guatemala, 1976. "Your money's not here." said Bailey. Bishops lose audit but find letter. He has died for those oppressed. Buddy, can you paradigm? Monster mush. Guatemala, 1985. Fanfare for the comma, man. Ditto-head Nation. Poll goes the weasel. No blood for oil, but maybe for ethanol. Ryan's hope. Standing up for (the Archdiocese of) Milwaukee. Prayr intntion. Roberts Restaurant in Tippecanoe. Guatemala, 1988.


Saturday, November 30, 2002


SEX AND THE CITY OF GOD


Pee Wee hermeneutics


This morning's newspaper reports,


After outcry from concerned Catholics, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has rethought plans to assign a priest who has a history of being arrested for homosexual conduct with adults to a Hartford church.


Had his transfer to St. Kilian parish gone through, it would have marked the third time Father Thomas Walker was sent into a situation where Catholics who described themselves and their parish as traditional or orthodox had challenged the closing of their parish.


How can this happen?

Former Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland had approved the first two assignments. ...

His protege,

Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba decided this summer that Walker was suitable for reassignment, said archdiocesan spokesman Jerry Topczewski. The nine-member College of Consultors, priests who advise the archbishop, made that recommendation, he added.


At the time, [Timothy] Dolan had not yet been installed as the new archbishop. Sklba was serving as administrator of the archdiocese ...


Now comes the important but unanswered question.

It was not clear Friday if Dolan was aware of plans to reassign Walker to St. Kilian, but merger opponents said information about Walker's background was handed to Dolan during one of his public appearances in October.





RHETORICAL QUESTION BOX


Today's question was found in the same article.



"My question is, 'Why is he still a priest?,' " said Maureen Fitzsimmons-Vanden Heuvel, a leader of merger opponents from St. Patrick. "What do you have to do to be removed from the priesthood? The average person can't understand the thinking of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

An answer may be found in the local paper a few years back.

Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland has granted Father Wayne Bittner of Plymouth a six-month leave of absence, but also has withdrawn permission for him to publicly say Mass, preach or otherwise minister to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee without special permission.


Weakland's actions come in response to Bittner's unusual public opposition to what otherwise would have been a routine transfer from St. John the Baptist Parish in Plymouth. Bittner, 61, built up the parish over 15 years and wanted to remain there as pastor until he reached the normal retirement age of 68.


["Priest granted leave, warned not to interfere," by Tom Heinen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 7, 1999]






INBOX


A son of a deposed leader of Zaire sends four emails offering 20% of $15,000,000 with little work and no risk.
Not Nigerian, but still sounds too good to be true.
And while the cut is specified, the amount involved is less than half that in the deal offered by another son last month.


2002-11-30





Friday, November 29, 2002


Guatemala, 1960


On my last morning in Antigua ... I stopped for a moment by the imposing ruins of San Francisco, begun in 1534 and crumpled with the rest of the city when a disastrous earthquake struck in 1773. From the roofless cathedral-like nave I wandered toward a chapel which, alone of the splendors of this ornate church and convent, survived the catastrophe intact.


Inside, candles glowed warmly, and carpets of pine needles clothed the stone floor. In a corner a group of worshipers knelt before the tomb of Pedro de Betancourt, who during his lifetime befriended the Indians of this highland area.


Now to thank Brother Pedro for favors granted, descendants of those same Indians tied queer little effigies of wax ot the grill protecting his last resting place, while others rapped imperiously on his coffin with coins to make sure he would hear their prayers.


["Easter Week in Indian Guatemala," by John Scofield, National Geographic, March, 1960, pp. 412, 417]



2002-11-29





Thursday, November 28, 2002


Thankgiving Dinner, 2002


2002-11-27





Tuesday, November 26, 2002


R.I.P.


The current president of the Chicago Federalists today forwarded the obituary of John Lingner, a former president of that chapter, along with this more complete version from a local edition.


Union League member raised millions for kids.
By Amy E. Nevala, Tribune staff reporter,
November 21, 2002


John Lingner III, 51, of River Forest, a member of the
Union League Club of Chicago who helped raise more
than $6 million to upgrade three youth facilities in
Chicago and a summer camp in Wisconsin, died from a
blood infection Tuesday, Nov. 19, in
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center. Last
year, Mr. Lingner completed a three-year term as a
board director at the Union League, a private club for
business people. During his tenure, he rallied
hundreds of members behind a multimillion-dollar
fundraising campaign to improve three Boys and Girls
Clubs facilities in Chicago and a Wisconsin summer
camp for inner-city kids and teenagers, said Betsy
Buckley, a Union League communications coordinator.
More than 5,500 children benefit from the modernized
facilities, she said. After joining the league in
1988, Mr. Lingner chaired the public affairs committee
for a year and the athletic committee for two years.
He served as club secretary from 1995 to 1997. Mr.
Lingner became a partner with the law firm Kakacek and
Lingner in 1995. He was born in Cleveland and
graduated from the University of Chicago's law school.
He received a master's degree in political philosophy
from the University of Montana and a bachelor's in
political science from Colorado College. He also
studied at the Free University of Berlin and the
London School of Economics. Survivors include his
wife, Margaret McLaughlin; four sons, Timothy, John
Edward, Christopher and Patrick; his mother, Fern
Lingner; and a sister, Margaret Schweinfurth.


Copyright © 2002, Chicago Tribune



2002-11-26





Monday, November 25, 2002


INBOX


Federalists, filibuster, and Feinstein


A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent continues to rub in my missing the Federalist Society's 20th Anniversary Convention. Two recent messages linked to The New York Times, first a report by
Eric Lichtblau, next an opinion piece by
Adam Cohen. I note the opposite reports of the mood at the event. I also note that Cohen truncates the quote from Justice Scalia's remarks that Lichtblau had used.


Now that President Bush's judicial nominees will get out of committee, Cohen claims


Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans need to be vigilant about investigating nominees' backgrounds, and using the filibuster, to prevent a far-right takeover of the courts.

Meanwhile, on the other coast, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) strategizes.

We [Democrats] should be the ones who say if he doesn't appoint strong and full advocates for the commissions that oversee the marketplace, then we should filibuster and kill any appointments until he does.

The plan, then, appears to be to run in 2004 as the party of filibuster.


Sen. Feinstein goes on to explain that she thought she was voting to authorize the President to use diplomacy against Iraq.


"The reason the president got 77 votes (in the Senate) on his Iraq resolution -- and that includes mine -- is that he agreed to a diplomatic initiative with the United Nations, which was essentially what we Democrats had been saying all along," Feinstein said.


"None of us, I don't think, is all that supportive of doing in Saddam Hussein -- that is, assassinating Saddam -- nor are we supporting a unilateral action by America alone.


But you can decide after taking another look at the resolution yourself.





Here at my site, I've added a promotional excerpt from
Government's End by Jonathan Rauch to my etext library. I happened across a link to a site about the book, found the link was dead, and I contacted Mr. Rauch. He said the site was temporary, just for the book launch. I offered to adapt the material to my site and he agreed.


2002-11-25





Sunday, November 24, 2002


HARK! THE HERALD


Forty years wandering


This year marked the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The first words of its first document expressed its four goals.


This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church.

Unless 40 years is too soon to tell, the Council was, judged by these aims, a failure. But that doesn't mean that a lot of people haven't found it a thoroughly satisfying failure.





INBOX


The widow of a late president of Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) writes (or more accurately WRITES) to ask me to help her reclaim US$18,000,000 with little work and no risk. Not Nigeria, and my cut wasn't specified, but still sounds too good to be true.





Here at my web site, my recommended reading
Criticism links now include items from First Things through 1996.


2002-11-24





Saturday, November 23, 2002


Guatemala, 1974



Tourists who come with their minds set on Maya ruins and primitive Indian villages are more than surprised to find a distinctly modern [Guatemala City]. They will find, for example, superb steak houses ... For five quetzals (five dollars, U.S.) I savored a grilled filet mignon, a salad made from three firm, nut-flavored avocados, and for desert a "drunken cake"--soaked in rum.


When I finished, the waiter brought me a steaming demitasse. "No thank you," I said ...


"But Senor, don't you know that Guatemala produces the best coffee in the world?" ...


["Guatemala, Maya and Modern" by Louis de la Haba, National Geographic, November 1974, p. 673]



2002-11-23





Friday, November 22, 2002


A Byte About Eldred v Ashcroft


Michael Hart of Project Gutenberg writes,


If the New York Times' estimates of 7 years for information doubling
may be considered at all correct, then this is what will happen in a
United States under the new copyright law, even if we considered 100
percent of current information now be entered into the Public Domain
as an incentive to let this law stand:

0 years 1/1 of today's information in the Public Domain 100% !!!

7 years 1/2 of today's information in the Public Domain 50%

14 years 1/4 of today's information in the Public Domain 25%

21 years 1/8 of today's information in the Public Domain 12.5%

28 years 1/16 of today's information in the Public Domain 6.25%

35 years 1/32 of today's information in the Public Domain 3.125%

42 years 1/64 of today's information in the Public Domain 1.5625%

49 years 1/128 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.78125%

56 years 1/256 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.390625%

63 years 1/512 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.1953125%

70 years 1/1024 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.09765625%

77 years 1/2048 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.048828125%

84 years 1/4096 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.0244140625%

91 years 1/8192 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.01220703125%

98 years 1/16384 of today's information in the Public Domain 0.006103515625%

Plus a small fraction if any of this year's copyrights are allowed to expire.

Obviously the goal is to have virtually no public domain left at all. ...


Of course, there are people who will try to make this very not obvious!



2002-11-22





Thursday, November 21, 2002


INBOX


An Executive Accountant with the Department of Finance of Mineral Resources and Energy in South Africa writes to offer me 25% of US$21,500,000 with little work and no risk. Not Nigeria, but still sounds too good to be true.


2002-11-21





Wednesday, November 20, 2002


Trolley swan song


Wendell Cox describes the failure of new rail transit systems in
this article.


Locally, some tracks of The North Shore Line, which abandoned the last electric rail service in Milwaukee over 40 years ago, are finally gone with the replacing of the old Sixth Street Viaduct.





That married dear old Dad


During a divorce, the husband learns that another man is the "DNA dad" of a child he thought was his. Does the legal presumption that a child born during the marriage is his child require him to pay child support, despite the DNA evidence?
Yes.
Can the husband get custody or visitation rights while the "DNA dad" does not?
Again, yes.


2002-11-20





Tuesday, November 19, 2002


Chicken Soup for the Insolvent


This morning's newspaper picked up this article on the possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by United Airlines from the business section of the Boston Globe, but the following didn't make it to the Globe's on-line edition.


"It sounds like they're putting a plan together that's saying everything is going to be good in two years," [Thomas L.] Boland [the former chairman of the US Airways Shuttle and a longtime executive with Citigroup] said. "What happens if everything isn't good in two years, and everything comes home to roost, and they'll be in the soup again."


[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, p. 7D]



2002-11-19





Monday, October 18, 2002


Today's mail brings a solicitation to subscribe to Origins,


This is a particularly important time to be receiving a service like Origins -- when the church is responding to major challenges and charting directions for the future.


Origins is published by Catholic News Service, with headquarters in Washington at the U.S. bishops' conference. ...


One recent pastoral letter in Origins offered guidelines for parishes and institutions that want to evaluate their efforts on behalf of the new evangelization.


Subcriptions are $104 per year, $139 with access to the on-line edition. Pastoral letters don't come cheap, it seems.


2002-11-18





Sunday, November 17, 2002


HARK! THE HERALD


The November 14, 2002 issue discusses health care costs in this article.


In 1993, the U.S. bishops issued a resolution on health care reform. They called for affordable, quality health care which preserves the sanctity and dignity of life of all people.


Nine years later, reforms proposed by the bishops generally have been unmet.


I'm not surprised; it's more than nine years since the Sermon on the Mount, too.

Holding down health care costs is complicated because it involves many factors. Health care industry experts and critics do not always agree on solutions to the problem.


In an effort to remedy the health care crisis, task forces and committees have been formed to study the issue.


And, don't forget, a resolution was issued by the bishops.


Our Archdiocese has been, dare I say, more pro-active.


Last fall ... the Priests' Council and former Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland set a minimum level (presently at 50 percent for both single and family coverage) of parish contributions to health insurance. In four years, the minimum level will increase to 85 percent for single coverage and 70 percent for family.

Which sounds like part of the solution but is actually part of the problem.

Until consumers and health care providers take a more responsible role in monitoring costs, affordable health care will remain out of hand, said James Mueller, president of Frank F. Haack & Associates.


"We have a system right now that lacks responsibility at the consumer level and the provider level as it relates to cost," he said. "This is the reason we're in the spot we're in. Anytime you create a system where there's a lack of responsibility by the person in demand (of service) and the person supplying the supply, it's an economic disaster. That's the system we have in health care."


In the current health care system, Mueller said consumers are "literally clueless. Not only to the quality, but the cost (of health care) ...






INBOX


The manager of bills of exchange at the foreign remittance department of another Lagos bank writes to offer me 30% of US$15,500,000 with little work and no risk. Sounds too good to be true.





Here at my web site, my recommended reading
Criticism links now include items from First Things through 1995.


2002-11-17





Saturday, November 16, 2002


INBOX


A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent rubs it it that I missed
the party.


2002-11-16





Friday, November 15, 2002


Guatemala, 1976


In a Maya scripture, the Popul Vuh, a villanous deity called Cabracan warned: "I am he who moves the earth [and] will demolish all the world. ...


But because none of the wise men could precisely measure the weariness of the gods or the gnashing tensions of tectonic plates, no one predicted the greatest natural disaster ever recorded in Central America.


It struck at 3:02 a.m. on February 4, when the earth began to rupture some 17 miles south of Lake Izabel: the epicenter of an earthquake ninety times stronger than the one that leveled Managua, Nicaragua, in 1972.


["Earthquake in Guatemala" by Bart McDowell, National Geographic, June 1976, pp. 812-813]



2002-11-15





Thursday, November 14, 2002


This morning's newspaper reports on the
County Board veto override session.


The county tax levy is $219.49 million, up 0.3%, or $759,470. Total spending is $1.11 billion, up 4.3%. Walker had proposed no tax levy increase and a 3.4% spending increase. ...


The pressure on supervisors - especially those who have seen seven colleagues recalled in a taxpayer revolt after the pension fiasco - was evident in comments immediately after the budget session from a spokesman for Citizens for Responsible Government. The group has aided the supervisory recalls.


"The message by the voters during the recalls was poignant and clear: Don't raise taxes," Chris Kliesmet said. "This was an opportunity for supervisors to make an act of fiscal contrition for their mistakes, and they chose not to." ...


As the veto session began, veteran Supervisor Thomas Bailey, in what sounded like a farewell speech, implored his colleagues to reject "any artificial lines in the sand" drawn by the county executive. He said supervisors should examine their motivations for serving and do their duty to be socially - as well as fiscally - responsible budget-makers.


Supervisors' attitudes, Bailey said, should be, "Hatemongers be damned and talk show entertainers, go to hell."






Our bishops, meeting in Washington, did not take up the issue of
a nationwide audit.


The lack of a hearing on a proposed audit at the bishops' semiannual meeting angered lay leaders who have called for increased financial accountability, and it especially stung Erica John, an heiress to the Miller brewing fortune, whose donations were used secretly to pay $450,000 to a man who accused the Milwaukee archbishop of sexual assault.


"We are the church, and the leaders to whom we entrust our religious patrimony are failing us," Ms. John said today in an interview. "We as funders think it's important that the bishops open their books and come clean, because some of us are beginning to feel disappointed and even alienated from the church."


What happened to the audit proposal? Did the bishops' dogs eat it? Did the bishops' grandmothers die? No, they forgot to write down the assignment.

Earlier in the conference, Bishop Joseph A. Galante, the coadjutor of Dallas who is chairman of the conference's communications committee, said he could not explain why the proposed financial survey went undiscussed.


"I don't know, I guess it didn't get put on the agenda," Bishop Galante said.






INBOX


First, a Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent points out that the bishops did rewrite their letter on Iraq. (It's more or less the same letter they sent to President Bush. It didn't persuade him, or Congress, or the electorate, or the United Nations Security Council, so the bishops decided to address it to all U.S. Catholics.)


Next, a Nigerian prince sends two emails offering me 20% of US$100,000,000 with little work and no risk. Sounds too good to be true.


2002-11-14





Wednesday, November 13, 2002


INBOX


A Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent has tracked down a quote on a subject of mutual interest, Great Books of the Western World.


I find it hard to decide which aspect of the whole extravagant and enormous unreality is the more astonishing; the idea that liberal education is, or should be, or ever has been, this; or the fanatical illusion that one may hopefully set out to prove that this, or anything like it, could be made, by dint of example and leadership and exhortation, the people's way of using leisure (or life) - or a common way - in America or any country.


["The Great Books and a Liberal Education," in Leavis (ed. G. Singh), The Critic as Anti-Philosopher, London: Chatto & Windus, 1982]


Dwight Macdonald also expressed a few doubts about the project.





What about the other end of the axis of evil?





Ernie Kovacs on Music from Ben Model.


2002-11-13





Tuesday, November 12, 2002


Tonight the Wisconsin forum presented Todd Berry of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance
moderating a panel discussion on "Wisconsin -- High Taxes Forever?" at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. The panel featured Rep. Frank Lasee (R-2nd) and Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (D-25th) of the State Assembly.
Since the Governor-elect and legislators campaigned promising not to close the state government budget deficit with tax increases, does that mean there will be no tax increases? Maybe.





The November 6, 2002 edition of The New York Times as interpreted by The Weekly Standard.


2002-11-12





Monday, November 11, 2002


INBOX


The manager of bills of exchange at the foreign remittance department of a Lagos bank sends five priority emails offering me 30% of US$28,500,000 with little work and no risk. Sounds too good to be true.





Our Archdiocese has recently been running radio ads for its
cemeteries saluting our veterans who "fought for freedom" in our nation's wars. The ad includes veterans (or actors playing veterans) of recent wars talking about their service.


One was a veteran of the Vietnam War. It strikes me as odd for our bishops question a possible war with Iraq while the Archdiocese is marketing its cemeteries this way. If in hindsight it's now so clear that the Vietnam War was a fight for freedom, what chance is there that a war with Iraq won't also be called one when it comes time to try to sell plots and crypts to its veterans?




2002-11-11





Sunday, November 10, 2002


HARK! THE HERALD


The November 7, 2002 issue reports on the recent Call to Action conference in Milwaukee.


"Roman Catholics haven't lost faith in the church, but have lost confidence in leaders," [author and lecturer Eugene] Kennedy said. "You can't divide people internally or force them into structures with higher or lower places with the claim that God wants it that way.

That would be like analogizing to sheep and shepherds.

The hierarchy is not found in the Gospels

Otherwise you'd find the Lord saying things about a power to bind and loose, or small groups of people being referred to as, say, apostles.

or in Christian tradition,

Recall, for example, Saint Augustine, consultant of Hippo.

but the sexual abuse crisis flows from the hierarchy -- (it has been) worsened because it has been dealt with in a hierarchical fashion. People are so far up that they can't see down."

An argument that the moon landings were fake, perhaps; from that high up, you wouldn't be able to see the Earth.


Susan Ross, theology professor from Loyola University in Chicago, denounced Vatican II.


The "church as the bride of Christ" metaphor describes power, said Ross. Even the documents of reform from the Second Vatican Council helped to maintain hierarchical structure, she added. "In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from Vatican II, we get metaphors of the church," said Ross. "The bridal metaphor emerged as the dominant one -- not by accident." Ross said the metaphor paints the bridegroom, or the hierarchy, as the active one and the bride, or the laity, as the one being acted upon. "To be female means one is not an active presence in the church," Ross said.

In a surprise development, she is not quoted as going on to explain how the Spirit of Vatican II means the opposite of what the Documents of Vatican II say.


Thomas C. Fox is publisher of the National Catholic Reporter.


Fox placed the sexual abuse crisis in the context of an "authority meltdown" crisis that began with Pope Paul VI's publication of Humanae Vitae. A study commission put together by the pope recommended that the birth control ban be overturned, but the stronger argument -- that doing so would detract from papal authority -- prevailed.

Priests lacked the courage or conviction to preach and counsel what the Church teaches, and when they became Bishops, handled sexual abuse the same way? How's that a critique of Church teaching or a critique, in principle, of hierarchical authority?


Fox continued,


"I bring you tidings of great joy: The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is not united. Asian bishops and theologians are leading the revolution."


According to Fox, the Asian churches work under a "triple dialogue" of solidarity with the poor and outreach to other religions and cultures. They work under a consensus model, never voting on issues ...


That this would lead to quick and decisive action in the face of a crisis like the sexual abuse crisis is less than obvious.

He called for a "new paradigm: interreligious, fully Christian, laity and clergy. Our spirituality has grown beyond this structure of this church of ours."

If they say so themselves.

Plenary session speaker James Carroll, an author, columnist, and former Paulist priest, said that in the time of the first Christians, "all believers endowed with the Holy Spirit were seen to reside in the church, not through the ordained hierarchy, but through all. The apostolic writings are nothing if not manifestations of pluralism. ... God is the first pluralist."


Carroll said the spirit of those early traditions has been lost, and now in the church diversity means heresy and pluralism the denial of the oneness and holiness of the church.


Which appears to say not that hierarchy can be problematic, but that it is apostasy.





Imagine that! In your dreams!


This morning's newspaper has this book review,


In fact, historian Michael Beschloss says, though Germany today may not be an ideal state, "it resembles the Germany that Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman once imagined far more than either man could probably have ever dreamt."





As an example of a common theme in criticism of Bush Administration policy toward Iraq, here, from a few weeks ago, is Anthony Lewis.


If President Bush's purpose was really just to see to it that Saddam Hussein has no chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, he greatly complicated his problem by his aggressive rhetoric. If from the beginning he had adopted the tone of his General Assembly speech, if he had concentrated on getting a genuinely enforceable inspection system, if he had reached out to the hesitant permanent members of the Security Council—China, Russia, France—I believe they would more readily have supported his effort and the necessary council resolution. They knew that Saddam Hussein was a monster in whose hands weapons of mass destruction would be extremely dangerous. But they needed to be convinced that George W. Bush would make a good-faith effort to avoid war.

If those other nations and Lewis concurred that "Saddam Hussein was a monster," then it makes little sense to complain that President Bush's uses aggresive rhetoric about this monster or thinks weapons of mass destruction can be kept out of this monster's hands only by force.





Here at my web site, my recommended reading
Criticism links now include items from First Things through 1994.


2002-11-10





Saturday, November 9, 2002


Guatemala, 1985


... photographer David Hiser and I had been rafting down the Usumacinta River, which for part of its length forms an isolated stretch of border between Mexico and Guatemala ...


While the others remained in the raft, David and I clambered up the steep bank--and only a few steps into the jungle found ourselves staring into the muzzles of M16 rifles.


Clearly, we had chanced upon a force of Guatemalan guerillas crossing the Usumacinta between the two countries, as they commonly do in this wilderness. ...


They told us proudly that they were members of the Rebel Armed Forces--Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes (FAR)--the most active Marxist guerilla organization in the region. Their political officer, an intense man with a pistol, delivered by rote a long harangue condemning their country's government, accusing army troops of atrocities, and pronouncing ultimate victory for the insurgents. "We will not stop no matter how many lives it will cost," he said. "It is the same as with the Sandinistas."


["The Usumacinta River: Troubles on a Wild Frontier" by Jeffrey K. Wilkerson, National Geographic, October 1985, pp. 522, 525]



2002-11-09





Friday, November 8, 2002


Let's see what the family's been up to.
Alfred is making wine.
That might go well with some pasta.
Pasta and wine would hit the spot after a hard day of installing windows and doors.
Don't have time for a nice meal? Better consult with
Anita,
or maybe with Janet, although she seems to be kind of a witch.
(Maybe I can ask Charlotte what she makes of this.
In the meantime, I'll ask St. Berres to intercede.)
Then it's time to curl up with Michael's book
and a cup of coffee.
If Michael's book is a little dry, pick up one on baseball.
Yes, baseball.
Wait, this isn't about baseball, it's photos by Bernhard!
(Looks like it's back to St. Berres.
Let Janet and Bernhard both be at loggerheads with him.)





2002-11-08





Thursday, November 7, 2002


From Powell's:


Officials early this morning confirmed that commas shall retain office for yet another term — extending for at least six more years their reign as the predominant space holders between intrasentence shifts. Voters simply continue to find satisfaction in the job commas are doing.





Some links are too ephemeral to use in my recommended reading, like this continuation of Jeff Mason on Sartre from
TPM Online.





Barry Rubin on the why they hate us beat.


2002-11-07





Wednesday, October 6, 2002


Fr. Richard Neuhaus once called The Nation


... the storm-tossed flagscow of the left.

The crew of The Nation is back from their fund-raising cruise off the coast of New England and the Maritimes, but now the election leaves them all at sea. David Corn writes

It's true that that the Republicans achieved their macro win in the Senate by squeaking by in a few close contests (while adding to their majority in the House). But what happened to [Democratic National Committee chairman Terry] McAuliffe's old line that the Ninny-in-Chief and his fellow Republicans were going to be routed by a combination of Democrats outraged over Florida (including still pissed-off African-Americans) and voters upset over their most recent 401(k) statements? The United States may remain a 50-50 nation--though it feels more like 52-48 at the moment--but within that split culture, Bush has proven he is a political power, and the Democrats have demonstrated they have no juice. This is not the "same place" as post-2000. Bush has been affirmed--as has his agenda.





This morning's newspaper reports on the defeat of Wisconsin's Governor Scott McCallum. Scroll down to his picture and see if you don't agree that what he needed was a running mate who looked like Burt Ward.


2002-11-06





Tuesday, November 5, 2002


A recent Dilbert Newsletter gave these reader poll results:


Weaseliest Organization (U.S.):
1. Democratic Party;
2. Major League Baseball;
3. White House;
4. Congress;
5. Republican Party;
6. FBI.


Weaseliest Profession:
1. News reporters;
2. Lawyers;
3. Politicians;
4. Tobacco executives;
5. Oil executives;
6. Accountants;
7. Advertising executives.


Weaseliest Religion:
1. Islam;
2. Catholicism;
3. Atheism;
4. Protestantism;
5. Judaism;
6. Buddhism;
7. Hinduism.


Weaseliest Country:
1. France;
2. Saudi Arabia;
3. Pakistan;
4. Iraq;
5. North Korea;
6. Iran.


2002-11-05





Monday, November 4, 2002


INBOX


An Ogoni Princess offers a share of $23,560,000 with little work and no risk. Sounds too good to be true.





This morning's newspaper reports on the Halloween Party Riot in Madison.


Witnesses reported seeing bricks thrown through the glass of Badger Liquor Shop, 402 State St., before people grabbed booze bottles that were then thrown at police. Bricks from Peace Park on State St. were pulled up by vandals and thrown through windows.

Fortunately, there are no farm implement dealers in downtown Madison, so no one was injured with plowshares.





ICH BIN EIN FRANKLINER


(c)


From the Franklin Public Schools,


If you believe, as I do, that "the children are our future," ...


["Helping Children Become Responsible Adults ... Not Always an Easy Road," by Gerald Freitag, District Administrator, Opening Doors, October 2002, p. 2]



A pinch of Basil


A Franklin alderman and runs into problems with his business.


2002-11-04





Sunday, November 3, 2002


HARK! THE HERALD


The October 31 issue article on the campaign for governor includes a quote from local talk-radio host
Mark Belling. That's something we didn't see under Archbishop Weakland, of recent memory.


Perhaps the Catholic Herald will start running Belling's column. And a Rembert Weakland Bobble Head Doll might ease his eventual return to public life.


This week's issue also has another in the People of Faith series, a profile of
Terry Piontkowski, my parish's Director of Music.


Archbishop Dolan's column is (1) on the communion of saints, and (2) about half as long as his predecessor's columns. Not that I'd mind having Archbishop Weakland writing for the paper again, especially if introduced with a Bobble Head Doll promotion, supra.





October 31st was Reformation Day, on which Protestants commemorate Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg. I note that the Fifth Lateran Ecumenical Council concluded in March of that year, which might be reason to wonder if all the bishops in the world in one big room can tell the signs of the times from a hole in the ground.





My parish recently sent a note about donations in weekly envelopes falling short. The note's heading was


URGNT: FINANCIAL CONDITION

Please join me in praying that this is a typo and not an attempt to lay the groundwork for an analogy.





INBOX


A correspondent writes regarding the business proposal from Ghana.


My wife got this e-mail, too. So did you. But I did not. I feel so -- separated -- from humanity. Maybe the sender knew I would mis-spend my share of the loot. I pledged many years ago that not one dime of any windfall would ever soil the coffers of any charity. I'll need every nickel to reach my goal of Eternal Life. Not the fancy talk offered by religionist of every stripe and ilk, but real live Eternal Life brought about by Science and Technology! After all, how does anything get done around here?


That's why I'm never offered free and easy dough, isn't it?






Here at my web site, my recommended reading
criticism links now include items from First Things through 1993, and
etext links include works among those on religion listed by David Wiley.


2002-11-03





Saturday, November 2, 2002


This week's Milwaukee Post has an ad for Roberts Restaurant, another landmark of Tippecanoe, my old neighborhood in Milwaukee. Robert writes

Roberts was built in 1903 by Roman O. Huelsbeck, who preferred to call it Huelsbeck's Sample Room, a far more elegant American term for bar room or saloon. His son Charles joined him ...


In 1936, after Prohibition, Charles Huelsbeck elevated the character of the building ... He stripped down to its shell and rebuilt it into the elegant spot you enter today.


The ad is accompanied by a small line drawing of the Tudor-style building.

After Huelsbeck [in 1965] came owner-proprietor Roland Krueger, and the place was called Kruegers. ...


Finally, in 1978, I became the third owner in the building's lifetime. Additions and renovations ... include a restaurant kitchen, side-dining banquet room and parking lot. ...


... we have created the atmosphere that has given us the reputation for our unique soups and sandwiches.


--Robert


P.S. Roberts was never a funeral home.


Contrary to local legend.





You learn something every day. At least, I finally learned HTML superscript, as in E=MC2, subscript, as in H2O, and strikeover.





Reading notebook: Guatemala, 1988


Some 55 percent of Guatemalans are pure Indian, only 0.5 percent are pure European, and almost 45 percent mestizo, a mixture of Indian and European stock. But racial distinctions matter less than cultural ones. The word ladino was coined to describe anyone who has become "Latinized," adopting Western clothing, mores, and ideas, regardless of whether he is racially Indian or mestizo. Thus the word Indian can be a tricky one in Guatemala, meaning, according to its context, someone who thinks and acts like an Indian or merely someone who is of Indian stock. Complicating the etiquette further, some Guatemalans of European ancestry will take offense if called ladinos, reasoning that because they were born to their Western ways, there is nothing for them to have been Latinized from. ...


"There was but one side to politics in Guatemala," wrote J. L. Stephens, a sharp-eyed observer whose classic work, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, appeared in 1841. "Both parties have a beautiful way of producing unanimity of opinion, by driving out of the country all who do not agree with them." ...


How does a country with such separate cultures function as a nation? I posed that question to Jorge Skinner-Klee, former foreign minister and and important figure in politics for more than 30 years, a man whose ancestors were prominent merchants when J. L. Stephens came through a century and a half ago. His answer was succinct: "It doesn't, does it?"


["Guatemala: A Fragile Democracy," by Griffin Smith, Jr., National Geographic, June 1988, pp. 789, 798, 802]








Friday, November 1, 2002


Hallow e'en costumes


The morning Mass at my parish had the parish school in attendance. For the opening procession, there was a reading of a litany of the saints, with younger students, costumed as those saints, walking up the aisles as their saints' names were read. Many parents attended to photograph or videotape the procession. It was cute, but not overwhelmingly so (as children's choirs, for example, can be). The kids took their part seriously, some even declining to smile for the camera.





It's Ivy Mike's 50th Anniversary.


2002-11-01