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A reader follows up on sewer Infiltration and Inflow.

Actually, I do not wonder if MMSD’s "groundwater I&I" is the same as "rainwater I&I.

It makes no difference; the end result is overflows, because any I&I causes gate-openings. The system is designed to handle X flow/day. If the Leaky Tunnel produces 1/4X, (a better guess is welcome), and normal operation produces 1/2X, then rainwater/storm sewer of > 1/4X will trigger gate-openings, or the MMSD Toilet Flush.

Unless the Tunnel’s own, personal percentage of X is extremely small, it is most likely that the Tunnel’s leak is the problem.

In other words, the Deep Tunnel's capacity is reduced by whatever the amount of ongoing groundwater I&I, and if it's substantial, that could leave insufficient capacity to handle stormwater.

A reader copies me in on a letter to the editor.
Fr. McNamara’s response to the question of pre-recorded music did not take into consideration the document issued by the Congregation of Rites on September 3, 1958. In that document, # 4(A)60(c), the Office states "Finally, only those musical instruments which are played by the personal action of the artist may be admitted to the sacred liturgy, and not those which are operated automatically or mechanically."

This statement is clearly echoed in another instruction (which I cannot immediately find), explicitly forbidding the use of "wire recorders" or "mechanical tape recorders."

There is a reason for this, of course. All of the documents on Liturgy emphatically repeat phrases centered on "participation," which is simply not a property of a mechanical reproduction device. Nor, for that matter, is mechanical reproduction conducive to "participation" in worship by the congregation, for such reproduction is by its very nature that of a "concert." More important, the purposes of sacred music are to 1) glorify God and 2) raise the minds and hearts of the Faithful to God. Using a tape recording or CD is simply not "glorification of God" in any real sense. Rather, it is "phoning it in." God is not worshipped by or through CD players. I would argue further that utilization of mechanical music in a church at any time falls under the same guidelines.

The provision cited above has not been contradicted by any document on music or worship issued since the Second Vatican Council, and unless a Bishop or Conference of Bishops explicitly authorizes recorded music, the prohibition remains in force.

I respectfully urge Fr. McNamara to review the document cited above (and for that matter, Pius XII’s excellent Musicae Sacrae Disciplina) and consider a re-formulation of his response.

In a follow-up to me, my reader elaborates,
The SRC document of 9/3/1958 was quoted directly from Papal Legislation on Sacred Music, R. Hayburn, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, (1979) p. 356 ffd. People should buy the book.
Which reminds me, we suspected the Vienna Boys Choir was using recorded music at Mass. Maybe when you have to pay to get in, you get what you pay for.




A reader responds to Rawls, and Smith, on taxes. On my quote from Smith,

This clearly is a statement of general principle, not a policy recommendation. A policy recommendation would not sound sometimes like a recommendation for an income ("revenue") tax and sometimes like a recommendation for a wealth ("interests in the estate") tax. Judging by Smith's language, the general principle may be only that the rich should pay more in taxes than the poor, which is accepted by everyone from Dennis Kucinich to Steve Forbes. The devil, like God, is in the details.
One can make a policy case without appeal to justice, such as the difficulty of a transition from income to consumption taxes. But saying one has to wait for policy proposals seems to indicate you cannot show progressive taxation more just in principle, as Rawls does for consumption taxes by the "common store" analogy.

My reader had also contended that the relative price of influenza vaccine and erectile impotence medications was an example contrary to Rawls' assumption that contributions correspond to income. My reader now cites this article,

Flu Crisis Sparks Fresh Look at Vaccine Production by Michael S. Rosenwald Washington Post November 27, 2004
I don't actually see that Rawls assertion means we should expect that the profit margin on every product would reflect the relative material contribution to society of that product. In the specific example, government is very involved in the production and distribution of flu vaccine, which I expect reduces the manufacturer's profit, while erectile dysfunction drugs are, I understand, still under patent, which I expect would raise the profit margin. Still, my reader had originally said "the market rewards erectile dysfunction drugs far more than it does flu shots," but the article indicates flu vaccine retails for about $20 a dose, substantially more than what I hear is the retail price per dose of erectile dysfunction drugs.

Another reader writes,
You might be interested in this recent development.

The Review of Biblical Literature, arguably the foremost academic review, just reviewed Putting God on Trial- The Biblical Book of Job and gave it very strong praise.

You might be interested in posting it on your blog as a follow-up to your December 2003 noting of the website. The website has expanded a fair bit since your last visit.




MMSD accused of putting buildings at risk

In news scooped by a reader, today's paper tells of a newly filed lawsuit alleging damage to downtown building foundations because of lowered ground water levels due to leaking into the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District's [MMSD's] deep tunnels.

The suit demands that the district ... fully line the massive tunnel with concrete -
You know what's coming.
something MMSD successfully resisted doing during construction in the 1980s and now would likely cost at least tens of millions of dollars.
Did MMSD anticipate problems? Of course not.
The complaint says that the sewerage district created an inventory of buildings in 1984 that could be damaged by the water leaking into the tunnel, but those property owners were never notified. ...

"We did not systematically notify anyone that there might be problems because there was no indication that there would be any problems," said Michael McCabe, MMSD's chief lawyer.

That was then, what about now?
The district has paid settlements totaling more than $7 million to owners of 17 downtown buildings for foundation problems, including the Bradley Center, the Milwaukee Theatre, The Shops at Grand Avenue, the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the We Energies building.
Even if the district didn't anticipate damage, once it started paying claims, why didn't it systematically notify other potentially affected property owners?




My Grandpa Berres's favorite newspaper comic was Our Boarding House with Major Hoople. Maybe out of nostalgia, I've been bidding on clipped comics on eBay, and a batch I won arrived today. In one storyline, Buster, one of the Hooples' boarders, is visited by his cousin Hank from out West. In the August 12, 1936 panel, Hank says to Buster and his fellow boarders,

How about you young steer turning out to pasture on my ranch during your vacation? Graze on bales of green eggs an' home-sprouted ham, and inflate your bellows with mountain-mellowed vapor. Is it a sale?
Now I get it, Dr. Seuss.




The November 25, 2004 issue is now online, temporarily at the above URL.

Bishop Sklba to head bishops’ ecumenical committee
[temporary URL]

A year from now, he will become chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. I assume the term Chairman required him to resolve a conflict between career and position on one hand and his expressed commitment to inclusive language on the other. Either that, or they asked him to call back if he didn't want the job.

"My familiarity with New Testament questions will enable me to speak with conviction and assurance about what holds (Christians) together," he said. "Inevitably, what we have in common is far greater than the things that divide us. Those issues that seem to be church dividing will be illuminated by returning to the Scriptures and the early Christian experience in order to see what light they can cast upon our differences today," he said.
Bishop Sklba's views on the proposed document on bible reading at the recent USCCB meeting might be relevant to his views on ecumenism.
Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba, who favored the proposal, worried that Catholics were getting too "individualistic" in their Bible studies.

"I worry a bit about an increasingly evangelical slant" among Catholics, he said.




USCCB President, Vice President, Vote Results

Ten bishops were on the November 17, 2004 ballot for USCCB president. The nine losers then are on the vice-presidential ballot. On the first ballot for vice-president, Archbishop Dolan came in fourth.

(via Amy Welborn)




Who flew the plane on The Flight Into Egypt? Ed Garvey knows.

Of course Mark Belling has a right to make outrageous comments; of course Savage Nation is out of bounds; of course the owners of the radio and TV are, like Pontius Pilot, simply doing their job.




More from St. Dilbert's.


A reader writes on MMSD vs. Reality

As you know, MMSD avers that its problems are a result of "I&I"—Infiltration and Inflow—the primary component of which (according to MMSD) is residents illegally connecting their downspouts and sump-pumps to sewer lines.

However, a well-informed Milwaukeean tells me that MMSD has paid well over $10 million to area businesses (including, e.g., Boston Store) for damages to their buildings. These damages occurred because the pilings which supported the buildings rotted. They rotted because the water table dropped. The water table dropped because MMSD’s tunnel was SO LEAKY—that is, that the tunnel had a large I&I problem of its own.

Now one wonders: why does MMSD try to keep its settlements with Downtown building owners secret? How much "I&I" is a result of MMSD’s leaky tunnel(s)? And, were the tunnel-leaks fixed, would MMSD still have significant overflow problems?

Sounds like the ongoing deep tunnel I&I is ground water. You're wondering if this indicates the deep tunnel also has I&I of storm water, contributing to sewerage overflows from combined sewers. I suspect not, but it still probably sticks in suburban craws if MMSD blames problems not caused by its own leaky sewers on others' leaky sewers.




The November 18, 2004 issue is now online, temporarily here.

New victim assistance coordinator brings ‘objective take’

Amy Peterson took over our Archdiocese's Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services Office on September 1st when it was upgraded to a full-time position.

Her association and friendship with some victims’ advocates, whose relationship with the archdiocese has been strained because of the priest sexual abuse scandal, did not dissuade the archdiocese from hiring her, said Peterson.

"When they interviewed me, I mentioned the names of people who are my really good friends, people I worked with in the field and they hired me anyway," she said. "That speaks volumes. I also took the job because I felt there was great integrity within the archdiocese, and a great desire or will to do the work that needed to be done. And I believe that the archbishop wants things to be better. I think this a difficult situation, but I believe I have good support here."

From a victim's perspective, it might appear that Ms. Peterson could wind up being co-opted, despite everyone's good intentions.
Peterson believes she brings credibility to her position because she does not have prior affiliation with the archdiocese. "I do come in with a fresh outlook in that I am not involved in the church," she said. "I have a more objective take."
Since September 1st, her outlook began losing its freshness and she has been involved in the church as a full-time employee. We can hope she has some other objective bases for her objectivity.




Book to stay on reading list

You might recall the controversy about a book on the junior and senior modern literature reading list at Arrowhead High School.

The Kruegers' complaint gained support from other parents and community members, some of whom packed a School Board meeting last week to share their concerns about the book. But the majority of the student-dominated audience for Tuesday's hearing was clearly behind school faculty.

Many of the students wore signs that said "Keep Perks" and "Reading Promotes Thought," and said they had their parents' permission to be let out of class to attend the event. Arrowhead student Tammy Robinson said the issues dealt with by the book - which include date rape, homosexuality, sexual abuse, drug use and suicide - are appropriate for the high school.

"As I student, I would love to talk about this kind of stuff in class," she said.

Sex, drugs and suicide? Tarnation, back in my day it was sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. But I don't remember that we wanted to talk about them, as such, in English class. Where do these kids get such ideas?
English teacher Frank Balistreri, who said he first included the book in his modern literature class at a student's recommendation, said some of the book's disputed sections have been taken out of context.

The difference between the use of sex in "Perks" and the use of sex in pornography is that, unlike in "Perks," pornography doesn't portray the negative ramifications of sexual activity, Balistreri said.

"If there's consequences, as in 'Perks,' then it's not pornography," he said. "It's discussion of a social issue."

If there are consequences for the protagonist in what otherwise would be an "adult video," then it's appropriate for a high school film class?

Where does Mr. Balstreri get such ideas?

Arrowhead staff also shared letters with the committee that they had received from the author of the book, Stephen Chbosky, as well as from the National Council of Teachers of English and the American Civil Liberties Union. All the letters supported keeping the book in the curriculum.

In his letter, Chbosky wrote that he understood why people with strong moral and religious beliefs would find parts of his book offensive.

"But at the same time, I would ask these folks to try and look at the overall context of the book - whether or not they ever approve of it morally," he wrote. "I would ask them to try and see the positive messages the book is trying to convey about things like drugs and teenage sexuality that do exist in today's society."

Arrowhead looks to be doing a good job discouraging the development of strong moral beliefs. And yet some people are upset.




Grantsburg unearths questions of science

The Grantsburg School Board ordered that "When theories of origin are taught, students will study various scientific models/ theories of origins and identify the scientific data supporting each," and thereby, reporter Susanne Quick says,

... raising the questions: What is science? And who gets to decide what is taught in the science classroom?
If "What is science?" is a question for the public, that's quite an indictment of a couple generations of scientists and science teachers. "And who gets to decide what is taught in the science classroom?" As the article indicates, despite this lack of results, scientists apparently continue to fight to continue present methods.
They say that evolution is the only scientifically valid theory of origin, and that "given that such alternative 'theories of origin' have no standing within the scientific community ... students will suffer greatly if this misguided action is not overturned."
A colleague's son attended the University of Wisconsin--Madison. He had previously attended Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod schools where he had been taught about evolution and alterantive explanations. At his UW class in, if I recall, Biology, the professor said he would entertain no questions and that there would be no discussion on evolution versus such alternatives.
Grantsburg parents and residents opposed to the School Board's ruling ... believe the motion was religiously motivated.
The school board president is the pastor of a local Baptist Church. Maybe he thinks science is like religion; it's not enough that students can give the right answers; what matters is whether or not each concludes the answers are right. Occasionally I see scientists and other commentators decry that various religious beliefs are held by higher percentages of Americans than some scientific points. Perhaps it's because religion is less likely to have been taught dogmatically.


A reader writes again regarding Rawls on Taxes.

>the economy uses markets to establish an objective correlation of income and material contributions.

Not so. The market is a functional mechanism to equalize demand and supply. Even Adam Smith wouldn't claim that the market justly correlates income and contribution in any but a purely functional sense. Examples are legion; here's one: the market rewards erectile dysfunction drugs far more than it does flu shots. (Which is why we're facing a flu vaccine shortage but are drowning in Viagra.) While I grant that the world is better off with Viagra than without, are you prepared to argue that ED drugs make more of a contribution to the world than flu shots do?

>calling a consumption tax regressive assumes your conclustion [sic] of the justice of a progressive income tax.

Not so. I understand Rawls to say that other things being equal, a tax on consumption is preferable to a tax on income. But other things aren't equal. When you can offer a scheme for a progressive consumption tax, then let's talk about which progressive scheme is preferable. Until then, it's apples and oranges.

On the first point, if markets do not correlate income and contributions, that does not show that income progressively exceeds contributions. You appear to assume this. As to your example, when vaccine is available, I get a flu shot at no charge to me from a public health service that visits my place of employment. The current shortage, as I understand it, arises in the context of U. S. Government dealings directly with a pharmaceutical manufacturer. If anything, this indicates the kind of problems that exist outside the usual workings of markets.

On the second point, Rawls says common sense principles of justice indicate a tax on consumption is more just than a tax on income. You avoid responding to that point, and instead repeat your assertion that progressivity is essential to justice. You, or Smith, or Rawls for that matter, would have to prove that assertion if the issue is what is more just. If income is, as Rawls calls it, a contribution to the common store, then a progressive income tax increases the injustice compared to a tax on consumption.


My correspondent mentions Adam Smith, though not specifically on progressive taxation, where Smith said,

The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state. The expence of government to the individuals of a great nation is like the expence of management to the joint tenants of a great estate, who are all obliged to contribute in proportion to their respective interests in the estate.
--Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Book V, Chapter II, Part II Of Taxes


In case you were wondering, here's how our pastor's Mass (The Aikenite Rite) varies from the Roman Rite as outlined in our hymnal, Breaking Bread (Oregon Catholic Press 2003).

Our Sign of the Cross does not begin "In the name of the Father... ." Today the preliminaries were briefer than usual, "It is in the name of the Father... ."

As usual, we used Penitential Rite C, so there was no Kyrie. Also usual, there was also no Gloria. Last year I emailed our pastor to ask why the Penitential Rite was omitted at a Mass. He replied

Our opening Rites at Mass since Easter have included the Glory to God. I see implicit in that song of praise and thanksgiving that we know of our sinfulness as we give glory to that GOD.
Perhaps he figures this process also works in reverse, and the Penitential Rite includes the Gloria

Today was one of the Sundays with separate readings for kids five through fifth grade. Today's choir was made up of young children, but they had to stay. Odd planning, I thought.

The kids don't return until after the Profession of Faith. Sometimes in their absence, our pastor will substitute the Apostles Creed, even though the hymnal suggests that's an appropriate substitution at Masses with children. Today the children's choir was still present, but we said the Nicene Creed. Our pastor does bow at "By the power of the Holy Spirit ..." but no one else does, not even the altar servers. (It strikes me that bowing and talking aren't the best combination, but anything to avoid making genuflecting the norm, I guess.) During the Nicene Creed, our pastor always says, into his open mike, "for us and for our salvation" for the Creed's "for us men and for our salvation." He also says "and became one of us" instead of "and became man." (I shudder at what a visitor from the Orthodox Church would make of this.) As far as I know, he has never explained this or advocated that we do likewise, and the congregation generally recites the Nicene Creed as printed in the hymnal.

After the "Holy" (or Sanctus) the hymnal says kneel. We never have and still don't. The church has no kneelers and is in the auditorium style with a floor slanting forward. This is the reason given for not kneeling, as best I can understand it.

During the Lord's Prayer we hold hands. (The only exception I've experienced was when the guy next to me was also an alumnus of the Jesuit's local boys high school.) This week we conclude in Protestant form; like the choice of creeds, our pastor seems to make this selection randomly. (As I've noted before, my wife, who isn't Catholic, once asked me about this particular variation. I told her I did not have and that, based on experience, was sure I could not obtain an explanation. This surprised her since I had attended Catholic schools for sixteen year and was, at the time, president of the Parish Council. While I regret that she stopped attending Mass regularly with me after that, it is a topper of a liturgy anecdote.)

Rather than when receiving Communion, prescribed parish practice is to bow when saying "Lord, I am not worthy ..." Our pastor does bow then, but the congregation doesn't bow at either point. Ours is one of the largest parishes, and we have a slew of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist at every Mass. The choir goes to Communion ahead of my section. (I'm always struck by the contrast with military practice, which I recall was that officers were fed after the enlisteds.) Instead of chalices, we use glass stemware.

At the Breaking of the Bread, the congregation sings the Lamb of God "who takes away the sin of the world" rather than "the sins of the world." (I suppose if we sang the Gloria, which uses the singular, someone might be more likely to ask for an explanation of the distinction.)

To the Blessing, our pastor this week added the phrase "and leads us forth this week." The congregation, having thus missed its cue, has only some of us mumbling the response "Thanks be to God."

In the parking lot, a young lady comes up to ask why I was taking notes during Mass. I told her it was for this post.




A reader responds to Rawls on taxes

Two problems. The lesser one is the questionable assumption that one's income is directly associated with "how much [one] contributed" in any objective sense. The greater one is that it's impossible (as far as I know) to have a progressive consumption tax, and the injustice of regressive taxation dwarfs any possible injustice that might arise from taxing income.
One, the economy uses markets to establish an objective correlation of income and material contributions. When we use non-market prices it is generally for some other policy reason.

Two, calling a consumption tax regressive assumes your conclusion of the justice of a progressive income tax. You haven't addressed his argument on the relative justice of the two systems, that it is more just to tax "according to how much a person takes out of the common store of goods and not according to how much he contributed ..."




The November 11, 2004 issue is on-line, temporarily at the above URL.

In spite of flaws, journalist chooses to stay in church
[temporary URL]

Don't people stay in the Church because of, not despite, their flaws? Turns out Chicago journalist and author Robert McClory is referring to the Church's flaws, in a talk at the recent Call to Action convention.

Call to Action members advocate reforms in the church including a married priesthood, ordination of women and rethinking its opposition to artificial birth control.
In other words, to change into the Episcopal Church.




Parents seek to ban book from class

Not surprisingly, another public school puts a book on a reading list without first thinking about its appropriateness.

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower," a book written by Stephen Chbosky and published in 1999, is one of 16 books that Arrowhead juniors and seniors enrolled in the semester-long Modern Literature course can choose to read. A description of the book on the school's Web site calls it a coming-of-age story "that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up."
In other words, its a book for people old enough to have forgotten enough about high school to be nostalgic.


Rising MMSD fees alarm local officials

The municipalities that contract with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, rather than belong to it, get hit.

On average, the MMSD boost for the 10 communities would run nearly 47%.


It's a different story for Milwaukee and the 17 Milwaukee County suburbs that constitute the sewerage district, where projected increases average 4.3%.

Note this is not related to sewer usage.
And putting overall MMSD funding into a broader perspective, the more expensive your home or business, the more you pay for sewers because of the district's unusual property-value method of apportioning sewer costs.

A 2003 Journal Sentinel review found a wide disparity in average sewer costs around the area, with River Hills homeowners paying the most at $1,582 a year and Milwaukee residents paying a relatively modest $352, one of the lowest rates in the area.

It should be called the Milwaukee's Metropolitan Subsidy District.


MAPA Board meeting, October 11, 2004

The local Priests Alliance recently posted the minutes of this meeting.

Review of the Minutes from the September 17th [Board] Meeting
   [Fr.] Brian Mason [Secretary] was out of the country and no minutes were taken for this meeting.
That follows? At meetings of lay organizations, someone else fills in.

What about issues from the September 30th meeting of the membership?

2.Dissatisfaction with the message/philosophy/theology of Relevant Radio.

   The Convening Board did not feel there was much the Alliance could do about this.

"... and the wisdom to know the difference."
3. Continuation of Lay Preaching at Mass
   a. It seems that a directive will be issued to stop this practice
   b. Some priests have met with the Archbishop and have given him a rationale for continuing this practice
   c. The Archbishop says he understands all of the reasons for continuing the practice, but wants to remain faithful to Rome’s directives.
   d. Therefore, some feel there is not much we can do to change his position.
   e. Would there be enough passion among members of the Alliance to form a focus group on this issue?
That's a pretty low threshold for passion if it leads to forming a focus group. I haven't heard that priests regard their own directives as non-binding within their parishes they way they seem to regard directives from the Archbishop or the Vatican.
5. Archdiocesan Capital Campaign
   a. The Archbishop promised Joan Feiereisen that he would bring this up at the Fall Clergy Day, but did not
   b. Joan promised to keep on him about communicating this to the priests
They haven't spelled out their concern. Perhaps they wonder if such a campaign will hurt their parishes' collections.
7. Use of Retired Priests in administration of parishes
   a. No written report was submitted following the September 30th meeting
   b. Bill Burkert will call Ed Wieland to get an idea of whether or not there is any interest in forming a focus group on this issue
This is the first I've seen this issue, so I could only speculate on what their concern is. Maybe they worry that they won't be able to really retire.
Priests’ Rights
   The work on the brochure to help give direction to priests who find themselves accused of sexual abuse is their top priority at this time.
It's like the bishops; in the face of a crisis, issue a document. I'd like to see that brochure.

The MAPA board's next meeting was set for November 5th and the one after that for December 9th.


For the 29th anniversary, here is an annotated version of The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

"Gitchee Gumee," of course, recalls Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha.

Sea water's dissolved salts actually make it more dense than fresh water. The extreme example is the Dead Sea. Whether this is a big factor in relative wave sizes, I cannot say. I have heard that ocean waves tend to be long swells, while Great Lakes waves are choppier. Because of this, sea vessels are built with more strength the length of the hull, and lake vessels more across the hull.

Mr. Edmund Fitzgerald was not exactly a banker. He was Chairman of the Board of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

NML owned the boat, but I presume this means the boat was collateral for NML's financing it for the shipping company. It's not unusual for airliners or railroad rolling stock to be owned by financial entities for this purpose.

Another explanation of the condition of the wreck is that the boat submarined, the bow imbedded in the lake bottom, and the torque of the engine and propellor quickly twisted the hull until it broke in two, with the back landing upside-down on the bottom.

(via Elena Victoire, via Thomas Smith)

There is a musical titled Ten November about the wreck. We saw it presented by the repertory company in Madison some years back. The playwright apparently would have liked to include Gordon Lightfoot's song, but couldn't get permission. Some numbers in the play are sung by the the Three Sisters, a "girl group" representing a sequence of three successively larger waves that, it is said, take ships down on Superior.




Meet the Press, Karl Rove

Election analysis from the reality-based source.

MR. RUSSERT: We asked the people leaving the voting booth why they voted for a certain candidate, what was the most important issue, and here is what we found. Moral values--22 percent said that was the most important issue. They sided with the president, 80 to 18. Those who said the economy and jobs--20 percent sided with John Kerry; same number, 80-18. Terrorism--19 percent of the voters, they sided with George W. Bush, 86-14. Iraq--15 percent opted for John Kerry; those who thought Iraq was the most important issue. And health care also overwhelmingly for John Kerry. When you read or see or hear moral values, what does that mean?

MR. ROVE: Well, I think it's people who are concerned about the coarseness of our culture, about what they see on the television sets, what they see in the movies, what they read in the newspapers, how they see the values of the country, what they see as the future for our country.

I do have a little bit of a different view of those numbers. First of all, if you take Iraq and terrorism and aggregate them, which I think are sort of different sides of the same coin, 34 percent of the electorate we're concerned with, if you will, the security issue. If you take taxes and the economy and aggregate them, they're 25 percent of the electorate and then moral values is third. That's not to denigrate the importance of moral values which have traditionally been about 16 percent of the electorate have been concerned with that as their number one issue in past races. What essentially happened in this race was people became concerned about three issues--first, the war, then the economy, jobs and taxes, and, third, moral values. And then everything else dropped off of the plate. And security grew the most in comparison to past races but values grew second, the second most amount.


... it is worth noting that a proportional expenditure tax may be part of the best tax scheme. For one thing, it is preferable to an income tax (of any kind) at the level of common sense precepts of justice, since it imposes a levy according to how much a person takes out of the common store of goods and not according to how much he contributed ...
More Karl Rove? No.
--John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (1971), p. 278


Former principal charged with possession of child pornography

One feature that never made it to "print" here was The Sardonic Verses, such as this from Matthew 5:

30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.
30.5 Dispose of properly.
I speculate Mt. 5:30-30.5 might apply to Salvatoran Brother John Rice's legal problems.
The charges [10 counts of possession of child pornography] stem from pornographic images found on Br. Rice’s computer, which he discarded at the city’s self-help dump earlier this year. A local resident recovered the computer at the dump and reported the case to archdiocesan authorities after discovering the pornography and identification of the owner.
This story has a very local angle. Today's bulletin at our parish has a letter from Archbishop Dolan because
Brother Rice served in a leadership role at St. Alphonsus School from 1995-1996.


A reader writes

Brother Rice also served at St. Anthony’s School (9th/Mitchell) around the year 2000—just before the pastor there (Fr. Lawrence Dulek) was removed. So we got the same letter.
Ah, yes, Fr. Dulek.




'Trovatore' has singing to break your heart

My wife vetoed my wearing my tux, presumably so she didn't feel any pressure to dress up more than she already did.

When we arrived downtown, I found a great free parking space on the street without having to go around any blocks. So the evening was already a qualified success.

The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts now allows water bottles with caps within the concert hall. Maybe that helps keep down coughing.

Great voices, but the sets relied on suggestion rather than detail. For example, the prison scenes had a gigantic chain hung overhead. The links dwarfed the performers. At least there were anvils for the "Anvil Chorus."

Since it was Opening Night, there were hors d'oeurves and sparkling wine set out at the first intermission. Maybe because it was Verdi, one item was cubes of pizza bread.


You've probably heard me say that since I was on the Parish Council, I have found Dilbert funnier than ever.




The November 4, 2004 issue is on-line, temporarily at the above URL.

Catholic outreach to inmates has spread nationally
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Are we too quick to presume we're on a first-name basis with the Lord? In this article on the Dismas Ministry to prison inmates, its founder and director seems to me to suggest so.

In the Gospel account, one of the criminals [who we refer to as St. Dismas] chastises the other for insulting Jesus: "'We are only paying the price for what we have done, but this man has done nothing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you enter upon your reign.' And Jesus replied, 'I assure you: this day you will be with me in paradise.'"

St. Dismas, the patron saint of prisoners "is the only person in the Bible ... who ever addressed Jesus by his name," said [Ron] Zeilinger, who holds a master of divinity degree from Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners. "For everyone else it’s rabbi, Lord, master, but he alone in all of the Gospels calls Jesus by his name."

He went on to say that Department of Corrections statisitics indicate lower recidivism rates among inmates who participated in faith-based rehabilitation. Those might not be a random sample of inmates, but it's good if it's there when they're looking for it.

Update: that "only person" theory lasted until the following Wednesday's Gospel reading.


A reader writes regading Wisconsin Catholics for Kerry.

The signatories from Milwaukee are not exactly a group of surprises.
This reader goes on to specifically mention signers Joan Bleidorn and Fr. Ed Eschweiler. I'm guessing Joan Bleidorn is the widow of (formerly Fr.) Francis "Frank" Bleidorn and a frequent writer of letters to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Fr. Eschweiler appears to only write in now and then.
But here’s a question: does signing that endorsement of Kerry constitute a violation of Canon 915, thus subjecting the parties to latae sententiae excommunication?
Apparently I can't get anyone to take this issue up with Tom Kreitzberg at Disputations instead of with me.

Leaving aside the question of their state of mind, their letter appears to me well short of endorsing him particularly because of his opposition to any legal regulation of abortion and his support for subsidies of abortion, so I conclude not.



As a University of Wisconsin law alum, I almost felt a bit of schadenfreude thanks to professor Ann Althouse, guest blogging at InstaPundit before returning to her own blog. "For there is no joy in Madville ..."

You might recall an earlier reference to a Daily Kos post and a discussion with a reader who said

... The key point of Kos (nickname of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga)'s post was to explain why Rove's strategy vis-a-vis the Catholics was failing - because the Democrats are closer to Catholicism on more issues, not to mention in overall cultural ethos, than the GOP is.
Today at The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez quotes Leonard Leo,
1. Catholics voted for President Bush over Senator Kerry by 51 to 48. That is a 4 percent gain over 2000.

2. Among regular Mass-attending Catholics, President Bush by 55-44 percent. This number was not reported in 2000, but the result is clearly impressive and debunks any suggestion that the Catholic vote is a myth.

3. The gain in Catholic support (4 points) surpassed the gain in the Protestant vote (2 points).

Those sound like pretty good results for an approach that was bound to fail.




Call To Action National Conference

CTA is back in Milwaukee November 5th through 7th. Aspiring newsblogger Karen Marie Knapp has been given a pass to the conference. Perhaps she can report from a few of the seminar sessions on the schedule, like

Toward a Radical Democratic Church: The Ekklesia of Wo/men

Awakening the Wild Man

Erotic Relationships: Cosmic and Personal Dimensions

Elsewhere on the program is a presentation by Teresa Berger.
The Vatican has barred her from Catholic faculties in her native Germany and throughout Europe.
CTA lists this among her credentials.




Playing Politics with God

Leonard Leo was in town and campaign literature of "Wisconsin Catholics for Kerry" was brought to his attention. It is in the form of an open letter to Wisconsin Catholics. "During Vietnam, he [Kerry] carried his rosary beads as he went into battle and returned safely with his St. Christopher medal in hand," it says, calling to my mind the old "Kill a Commie for Christ Crusade" parody. The letter doesn't say where these sacramentals were during his later denunciations of the war in testimony before Congress.

Signers are mostly nuns from the Diocese of LaCrosse, but include,

Father Richard J. Schlenker, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Father John C. Lukaszewicz, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Dr. Daniel C. Maguire, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Father Ed Eschweiler, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Joan Bleidorn, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Sister Kathleen Duffey, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
As Mr. Leo notes, each signer has a diocesan affiliation listed, without the usual disclaimer to indicate this does not mean they are signing in an official capacity. Dr. Maguire, I note, signs as of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, rather than Marquette University. Perhaps he thought that would give the impression that Marquette was endorsing Kerry, and Marquette would be upset with him in that case.

(via Amy Welborn)


Hot and Upcoming: The Rise of Russian Art, curated by Sonya Bekkerman

NGOs: Fighting Poverty, Hurting the Poor by Sebastian Mallaby

Putin's Putsch, Charles King's postscript to his Crisis in the Caucasus: A New Look at Russia's Chechen Impasse, review of The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union? (2003) by Matthew Evangelista

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000"

Why Nothing Ever Changes in Public Education, review by Barbara Nauer of Class Warfare: Besieged Schools, Bewildered Parents, Betrayed Kids and the Attack on Excellence, by J. Martin Rochester

The Cosmic Geometer: How to measure the shape of the universe, by Siobhan Roberts

Planet with a Purpose: If Earth is an organism getting ever more complex, doesn't that mean humans might have been made for a reason? by Robert Wright

The Phillip Johnson Phenomenon: Are Evangelicals Inheriting The Wind? by Denis O. Lamoureux

G. E. M. Anscombe by George W. Rutler

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1862) by Anne Catherine Emmerich

The new with the old: How Muslim fundamentalism has a thoroughly modern streak, review of Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, by Olivier Roy, and The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West, by Gilles Kepel


The secular theocracy does not launch unambiguous blitzkriegs or establish indisputable gulags, but it is zealous in its determination to eradicate vice--and this insistence extends all the way to employment of Faustrecht, just as Janet Reno demonstrated in the case of the Branch Davidians. Above all else, the regime of sensitivity cannot tolerate the existence of rivals, a fact underscored by the common derivation of both the Koresh-cult and the implacable politics-of-caring that quashed it from a Calvinist idea of opposition between the elect, who know who they are, and the preterit, who are barely human and whose knowledge is an illusion consisting of wicked falsehoods. This notion of an elite stems from a Gnostic concept of election (chosen-ness, ontological superiority), where it serves to justify all the deeds of the priesthood: in such a zealous dispensation, whether ancient or modern, no two elites can occupy the same cultural space at the same time.
--Thomas F. Bertonneau, "Behold the Reign of Man! Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt, review of Toward a Secular Theocracy, by Paul Gottfried, The University Bookman, Summer/Winter 2003


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