Monday, September 26, 2005

Low-Brow? Yes, but It's Better than the Depths of High-Brow "Art"

Courtesy of the My View blog, by way of Cacciaguida, we find . . . . . .


SecretAgentMan's nomination for a very large and imposing bronze statue to stand outside the WTC 911 Memorial's Museum of Why We Deserve To Be Blown Apart By Terrorists.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Changes to the Blog

Due to the sad retirement of St. Blog's Parish Hall's message board, I've re-enabled the haloscan comment feature on this blog. Also, some links to inactive blogs have been removed.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's Been Weeks . . .

But the Democratic Party has finally managed to eke out a sane response to Katrina.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Southern Appeal

Provides this timely and interesting examination of Judge Roberts' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Apparently, when Judge Roberts says that Roe v. Wade is "settled law," he meant that it's as settled as anything can ever be in the land of the Major Generals. Anyhow, I appreciated the excerpt, which has forestalled yet another "Let's Destroy the Republican Party" rant on this blog. The commentary's very interesting too.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

This Guy's Incredible

I mean Kanye West, whose silver-spoon style of outrage at whitey's indifference to Katrina victims has already been the subject of comment here. After performing at a half-time show at which Mr. West decided that whitey's oppression of Katrina victims wasn't so glaring an issue as to deserve mention (he was roundly booed by the fans anyhow), he's back with more:

Back in the days when it was time to clean the kitchen I would try to sweep the dust under the kitchen sink instead of really taking care of it, and if you spilled something on that floor all that dust came right up in front of your face. That's basically what the flood did.
"They have been trying to sweep us (African-Americans) under the kitchen sink and it was so in people's faces and so on TV... that they couldn't even hide it any more.
Ah yes, back in the days before Mr. West had domestic servants . . . .

There are few celebrities who parody themselves with an equal amount of unintended wit and sincerity. What could be next? Will Mr. West liken whitey's stranglehold to an over-snug cravat? Will he sing, "We Shall Overcome . . . And Get an 8:00 at Chez Nous"? Perhaps he'll drive a Hummer through the French Quarter and toss coins out the window, or give us an on-stage impression of Thurston Howell III delivering the "I Have a Dream" speech?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Great Glass Buffalo

I've already had occasion to criticize the ravings of Ted Nugent on this blog. And now, courtesy of Dyspeptic Mutterings, I find it must be done again. Herewith Mr. Nugent's latest, this time on the nature of my religion:
Anybody who makes a donation or congtribution to the catholic church is completely out of their minds. This dishonest, deceitful institution holds more wealth, well into the trillions of dollars in gold, silver, diamonds, art, real estate, mansions, castles, blingbling infested cathedrals & other unlimited wealth, yet they hav the audacity to pass the basket on sunday to pressure a farmer, a cop, a welder, a mechanic, a teacher to make a donation to their vulgar corrupt holdings. Logic & decency would dictate that it should be the other way around, that instead of the BILLIONS (documented) the church spends of attornys fees & settlements for their souless, demonic beast priests who hav preyed upon young children in the most evil & criminal manner, it should be the church sending aid to the needy. but the priests need thier chefs, butlers, maids, gardners, servants, mansions, caddilacs and obscene bank accounts more. Check it out. No one can deny one word here. Its insane. I suspect most churches are guilty of the same. so very sad.
I think it's worth noting that Mr. Nugent is, shall we say, sitting in a glass hunting stand. Full details can be found in the following story published in the February 24, 2004 edition of E! Online. The story's in black. Mr. Nugent's sauce for the gander is in blue.


That dang sweet poontang has gotten Ted Nugent in trouble. . . . Nugent has reportedly confessed to fathering a child out of wedlock with a Dover, New Hampshire, woman who is suing the '70s rocker for child support and custody. . . . According to the local Foster's Daily Democrat newspaper, the plaintiff, 43-year-old Karen Gutowski, filed suit against the 55-year-old Nugent last August, claiming he has provided little in the way of financial aid for their unidentified 8-year-old child despite making millions from album sales, touring and other revenue streams.

My, would that be in any way similar to this case? "A French bishop has ordered a priest to admit to fathering three children after his affair became public." Well, no it isn't, if Gutowski is to be believed: The priest was already paying regular support.

Gutowski's attorney, Jeffrey Runge, told the newspaper that the musician, radio and TV host and noted outdoor enthusiast has acknowledged paternity of the young boy, but has never met the tyke and refused to provide proper financial support.

Well, if true, that would raise some issues about Mr. Nugent's moral superiority to this priest, who did not support his illegitimate child. But as Mr. Nugent pretends the moral authority to damn the 2,000 year old Church, it must be false.

"Given the fact he's worth millions and millions of dollars, he's paying the amount someone making about $20,000 per year would pay," Runge told the Daily Democrat in September. "I don't know what his assets are so I don't know the amount. She only wants what she's legally entitled to on behalf of the child."

In that case, it would seem that, er, how should I say it? "Logic & decency would dictate that it should be the other way around, that instead of the MILLIONS (documented) Mr. Nugent spends on attornys fees, hummers, guns, ranches, hunting parties, vacations, clothes, etc., it should be Mr. Nugent sending aid to his own child." Yes, I think that would about sum it up. In fact, later reportsshow that Ms. Gutowski's lawsuit obliged Mr. Nugent to cough up hefty child support -- to the tune of $3,500.00 per month. I wonder if that proves there's a lot of "obscene lucre" in Mr. Nugent's accounts?

But Nugent, who has two sons and two daughters with wife Shermane Nugent, isn't going to open his wallet without a fight.

This just goes to prove that Mr. Nugent's not like bishops who stonewalled true accusations of sexual misconduct -- his lawyers are just trying to make sure that his legal rights are protected. And we'll not see any of the tactics used by the Catholic Church, either . . . .

Nugent filed his own petition on Jan. 6 asking a family court "to make appropriate orders concerning the legal custody of the minor child and appropriate custodial and visitation rights" on his behalf.

No doubt this was the furthest thing from Mr. Nugent's mind, but I've worked a lot of paternity cases where angry fathers threaten to "get custody" if the woman fights for child support. I've always told the ladies, "If he was at all interested in getting custody, he would have at least visited by now, right?" . . . .

Runge has called Nugent's motivations "suspicious," especially since the Motor City Madman never met the child, who was born in April 1995 following his brief fling with Gutowski.

Shame on you, Mr. Runge, for even suggesting such a thing. When Mr. Nugent's lawyers requested that the court determine "appropriate custody" of the boy, they were obviously saying there was no need for the court to make a custody determination. As to the rest, only a cad would father an out-of-wedlock child and not spend any time with him, such as Fr. Arturo Uribe "who had never seen the child he fathered in 1993 while working with the Redemptorists as a pastoral assistant at a Portland, Ore., parish."

In a Jan. 13 petition, Runge said that Nugent is "refusing to comply" with attempts by his client to examine his personal fortune and has since "embarked upon a campaign to contact [Gutowski] in writing and via the telephone in a blatant attempt to intimidate her into withdrawing her interrogatories."

This must be a mistake. Only the Church uses intimidation against mothers of children fathered by priests: "It is awful dealing with them," she says. "They intimidate you to the nth degree, make you feel like you're the bad person."

Runge also said Nugent's attorneys are trying to hide the rocker's real net worth. . . . "Indeed Nugent is a famous musician and self-promoter that appears to have income and [assets] from a considerable number of sources," the lawyer wrote. . . . In court papers, Runge names 25 sources of income for Nugent. Aside from album sales and touring, Nugent has released a videogame, sells his own brand of beef jerky and has written books with titles like God, Guns & Rock 'n' Roll.

. . . Stephen Tinkler, the Albuquerque lawyer who represented many of the victims, recalls that Church officials "cried ‘poor boy'" to convince him and his colleagues to lower their settlement demands. To prove its point, the Santa Fe archdiocese disclosed its books — only to expose assets of more than $100 million in real estate. "When we called them on this," Tinkler remembers, "their response was, ‘We don't own all that real estate; the parishes do,'" even though the property titles were filed under the archdiocese's name. . . .

The Michigan native has also hosted his own radio and television shows, most recently headlining VH1's new reality series Surviving Nugent: The Ten Commandments, in which contestants vie for a $100,000 jackpot in a series of outdoor challenges (like getting shot at with paintballs, building an outhouse and skinning a boar) on Nugent's ranch near Waco, Texas.

And speaking of the Commandments: "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:28). The ninth commandment warns against lust or carnal concupiscence. The struggle against carnal lust involves purifying the heart and practicing temperance. Purity of heart will enable us to see God: it enables us even now to see things according to God. Purification of the heart demands prayer, the practice of chastity, purity of intention and of vision. Purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person." -- Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2528-33

It can be a hard commandment to keep, whether you're a rock star or a priest: "[S]ome voters would find [Nugent's] serial out-of-wedlock parenthood (published accounts list two from before his first marriage; last year, he admitted paternity of a 9-year-old boy born during his second [marriage]) off-putting.

I don't know why they would. It's not as though Mr. Nugent is a teenaged crack addict: "We're supposed to feel sorry for these people? I'd like to (expletive) spray 'em with bullets, goat-urine soaked bullets." It's not as though he's a bad guy: I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead." It's not as though he's a crack baby who might benefit from national health care: The government must stay out of my life. If there are weenies who are in the liability column of our nation, tough (expletive)." Mr. Nugent isn't one of them, you know . . . those people . . . the ones who have moral problems.

Meanwhile, as Nugent's paternity case winds its way through the course, he does have one thing in his favor: According to his Website, Nugent was recently named Father of the Year at his children's school.

Well, that's all right. What really gets me, however, are those priests who pretended to be good fathers while having children on the side, children they never saw and seldom supported, er . . . um . . . . WANGO TANGO BABY!!!!"


Mr. Nugent's somewhat cockeyed moral outrage aside, his ignorance of Catholic Church finances and aid to the needy aside, and just about every nitwitted word he wrote aside, he still manages to raise a point worth remembering. God is hard to live with. As Mr. Nugent fails in charity, decency, and chastity, so do I. So do many of us. Some of us are rock stars. Some of us are anonymous nobodys. And some of us are priests and bishops in the Roman Catholic Church. We all find God hard to live with. He doesn't like what we like. He doesn't want us doing what we do. We'd so much like to love Him, if only He'd stop making all these unreasonable demands and doing all these unreasonable things, like giving everyone the right to go to Hell in his own way even if it means that children get hurt. Sometimes it's a lot more comprehensible to rule the whole concept of Catholicism, as Mr. Nugent has done, as Call to Action does, as some self-styled Traditionalists do, out of bounds.

The fact is that we're all, in our own ways, what Mr. Nugent says Catholicism is. We're dishonest, deceitful people who spend far more time haranguing others than upbraiding ourselves. We hold more wealth, more undeserved favor, than we're conceivably entitled to and yet have the gall to bitch and gripe about how lousy God has let our lives become. Logic and decency would dictate that, instead of spending our time and money on the fleeting pleasures of this life, we spend our lives for others recklessly in the outpouring witness of God's love. But we don't. We hoard our small pleasures, our secrets, against God's judgments in the hope that He won't notice. That creates a lot of pressure, and sometimes it comes out in screaming -- as Adam screamed about Eve, as the Pharisee screamed about the Tax Collector, as I scream -- against the evil other people do, as though purity were established by comparison.

It's not.

And the Great Glass Buffalo ought to know that.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A(nother) Hypothetical Situation . . . .

. . . is here proposed with respect to the present discussion concerning the conformity (or lack thereof) between the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and just-war rules by way of the principle of double effect:
Blefuscu is at war with Lilliput. The Lilliputians are an island people who require imported shipments of Fertilizer X to grow food and feed themselves. They have arranged to acquire their entire year's supply of Fertilizer X by means of one shipment but, perhaps foolishly, also load the ship with dissassembled fighter planes. No other shipments of Fertilizer X can be arranged in this year.

Losing the fighter planes would be a significant reversal, but not a war-ending event, for the Lilliputians, who have other aircraft. The destruction of the Fertilizer X, however, would result in millions of civilian deaths by starvation. The fighters' presence arguably makes the ship a military target whose destruction would also have consequences for the civilian population of Lilliput. On the other hand, it's clear that the war-winning effect of an attack would come from the starvation of Lilliputians, who would have no choice but to surrender or die.

The Blefuscutian admiralty knows all this. May it order Blefuscu's submarine fleet to track the Lilliputian ship and sink it without violating Catholic moral principles?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina Mutterings

The blame-it-on-whitey drivel I've been hearing all week from various celebrities has found its representative echo in the ravings of a minor singer named Kanye West. Mr. West, asked to serve as one of the guest flunkies on one of those we-celebrate-our-selves telethons, took the opportunity to excoriate George Bush's racism:

"so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there, and those are my people down there . . . George Bush doesn't care about black people!"
Sure. And imagine if George Bush went on television and said he was going to call his business manager to see how much hurricane relief he could afford without unbalancing his portfolio. Would that have helped Mr. West? Or would he remain mired in an oozing mass of double standards?

A more humorous note is struck by Sean Penn's three-hour tour. Trying to bring aid and succour to those abandoned by the Amerikan Diktatorship, Penn set sail for New Orleans in his own boat, which began leaking almost immediately, forcing him to abandon the attempt. The boat, of course, was "loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer." I wonder if Mr. Penn would re-evaluate his opinion of the President if George had left his personal photographer behind when he went to survey the damage in Louisiana. Would that have helped, Mr. Penn? Or would he too remain mired in an oozing mass of double standards?

Enter Condoleeza Rice, who recently said "I don't believe for a minute anybody allowed people to suffer because they are African-Americans." It's the kind of true-but-beside-the-point comment that fits a public world peopled by Kaye Wests, Sean Penns, and George Bushes. People in New Orleans weren't allowed to suffer because of their race. They were allowed to suffer because government is generally stupid, usually lazy, and almost always run by incompetents.

For proof I'd only point out that stupidity, laziness, and incompetence are absolutely required before one can take on, as Director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, a former commissioner of judges and stewards of the International Arabian Horse Association. And not only that, but an asked-to-resign commissioner of judges and stewards of the International Arabian Horse Association. Only government can put that kind of cherry on top, and so we eagerly await the arrival of FEMA's first shipments of hay, distemper medicine, and Hidalgo DVDs to the victims of Katrina.

Hence Kanye West, Sean Penn, and their lunatic ravings. Hence Condoleeza Rice's true-and-irrelevant response. It's more comforting to believe that racism is the cause of this disaster. Racism is familiar, and people with small minds think it can be cured by purging the bad guys. Ascribing the catastrophe to its true cause -- the normal character of government -- is simply too frightening to contemplate, especially when one's entire strategy for social progress is to rely on the government, or if one's entire electoral stragety is to rely on true-and-irrelevant answers to lunatic ravings.

"When the buffalo fight, the grass is trampled." I'm told it's a Vietnamese proverb. If it is, perhaps the Vietnamese citizens of New Orleans and the Gulf -- who are pretty well familiar with the effects produced by American music stars, movie stars, and Washington politicians -- can explain all this to their neighbors. Mr. West's drivel is not fitting. The Bush Administration's attempts to blame the government of Louisiana and New Orleans are not fitting. The attempts by New Orleans civic officials to blame the Bush Administration are not fitting. Although I hate parental analogies for government, I'm forced to draw one here -- all those nabobs are acting like a divorced couple who'd rather argue about custody rights in the ER room than sign the damn form authorizing the child's operation. To them, it seems, The Game is all that matters now, then, and forever.