Benedict at Westminster

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

The text of Benedict’s keynote speech on his trip to the UK is here; video of the speech can be found here.

Obviously, you read or watch the speech in its entirety, but I will present a few highlights for readers:

And yet the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved? These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.

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Suspected Al Qaeda Plot to Kill Pope Benedict XVI Foiled In London By Scotland Yard

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

A sophisticated attack to kill Pope Benedict XVI was appearently foiled in London by Scotland Yard. The Middle Eastern Intelligence website Debka, normally on top of such matters reports that the attack was foiled at the last possible moment.  Several men are in custody. Obviously this is still a breaking news story. However, while many people will say the Holy Father and the police were lucky, the faithful look to providence as the answer. How ironic that this is the feast day of the famous German Saint Hildegard. Something to ponder on this momentous day. May God keep our Holy Father healthy!  Below you will find my article that appeared last week which discussed Al Qaeda’s little reported on war against the Catholic Church.  UPDATE: Police in London have released those arrested.

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43 Responses to Suspected Al Qaeda Plot to Kill Pope Benedict XVI Foiled In London By Scotland Yard

  • First heard about it this am on NPR though there was no mention of Al Qaeda or Muslims. I thought it was those dreaded Amish terrorists again.

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  • I have not heard any confirmation that it was Al Qaeda. There is one report that they are Algerians, but nothing is confirmed. We should wait and see before blaming Al Qaeda.

  • Michael, Debka is reporting the Al Qaeda link. I linked to their story in the article. They are the premier intelligence site in the world, which is good enough for me.

  • Didn’t know there were Algerian Amish.

  • Does anybody know when Obama is scheduled to give his next: “Islam is a religion of peace” speech?

  • P.V., don’t confuse Islam with Al Qaeda. That is just plain ignorant.

  • I think Al Qaeda members consider themselves Muslim. Not all Muslims are extremists but some are and there is justification in the Koran for their extremism.

  • Your Debka link isn’t working…at least not when I tried it.

  • take it back…I tried it again and now it works!

  • Debka is not what Dave claims it is; indeed, if you look around, there is indications of it being a propaganda organization, nothing else but that.

  • Scott,.Don’t be so naive/politically correct.

  • Henry, I want to thank you for this post. It shows how little you know. Whether you like it or nor, Debka is made of former intelligence officials. Not only does the US and western intelligence officials read it religously, but so do many countries who are not so friendly to the West, like Iran, Syria etc.

    Debka won Forbes Best of the Web Award. In addition, it spoke of 9-11 style attack on NYC in 2000, one year before the event. In addition, it predicted the 2006 Hezbollah War against Israel months before it occured.

    Perhaps you can rationalize the world in your own Big Government-Kumbaya style parallel universe, but this is not how the world really works.

  • Whether or not people read them is different from whether or not their assessments are true, and whether or not they have been caught misrepresenting facts for the sake of propaganda. They have been caught doing this. They are not “the most credible.” People read all kinds of non-credible sources, because even those sources get something, even if their bias, interpretation, and presentation ends up being false.

    Many also question if they are “former intelligence officials.”

    Your response, therefore, does not deal with the problems behind Debka, and why they are not as absolute a source as you (and many others who do not have an ability to judge credibility of sources) are making them out to be. Just because you read people on the net, like WorldNetDaily, approving of their work does not mean their work is free from an agenda (and many sources which approve of them also have an agenda).

    I love how you end up talking about “big government.” I thought you were orthodox and followed the Vatican. Guess you follow a cafeteria style Catholicism when it comes to government. The Church is not opposed to “big government” and much of its teachings require “big government” intervention.

    BTW will you stop using every post of yours as an advertisement for your book? Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

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  • Henry,

    Dabbling in politics again? Tsk tsk.

    The Church most certainly does not “require big government intervention” – that is a delusion, a fantasy, cooked up by power-hungry authoritarians who lust for control over other people’s lives, who have no respect for the free will and dignity of persons.

    The Church requires that each of us consistently choose to do what is good in every sphere of life – social, political, and economic. And she absolutely requires that the state play a LIMITED role in overseeing this process, for, as Leo XIII said of state intervention: “things move and live by the spirit inspiring them, and may be killed by the rough grasp of a hand from without.”

    I know the idea of people spontaneously doing good without being told by a man in a uniform that they have to is an alien, strange, foreign concept to a bona fide statist control-freak, but it can happen and it will happen when people like you give it a chance and let go of your ultra-Calvinist pessimism about the general and inherent propensity of man to always be evil.

    Oh, and Dave – thanks for the plug again! Great work as always.

  • Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

    Awww, don’t be mad that his book will be read by more than three bored theology professors.

  • Awww, don’t be mad that his book will be read by more than three bored theology professors, who pretended to read the book.

  • The police aren’t saying anything about it and they’re still arresting people. Regardless of what one website says, I think we should wait for confirmation.

    BTW will you stop using every post of yours as an advertisement for your book? Really, you would do yourself better if your posts didn’t read like a marketing scheme.

    I never noticed this until the Catholic Fascist made fun of it. While I agree it does seem to be overkill at times, quite frankly if I spent the time to write a book that got published, I’d be talking about it every post I got too. My feeling is that those mysterious figures behind the Catholic Fascist secretly wish they could find someone to publish their own books.

  • I’ve long suspected the green-eyed monster of having taken possession of various personages at certain websites.

  • Uh, Henry, is it really necessary to so often invite conflict through the construction of straw men?

  • Joe thanks for the kind words about my article. I also appreciate the support of everyone else who came to my defense. You know I was able to watch the Holy Father for a bit and interestingly enough, he warned the assembled audience about the very thing Joe mentioned in his post. I then came back and was treated to Henry’s screed. I know the fortunes of the political and religious left have plummeted as of late. However after reading Henry’s childish rant all I can say is; goodness how the mighty have fallen.

  • The official news release makes no mention of Al Qaeda and if they do, remember, Al Qaeda was an
    invention/creation of the CIA during the Soviet-
    Afghanistan war in 1979. Al Qaeda translated into
    english means ‘data base’. Keep falling for the
    Nazi propaganda as a pretext to keep these illegal
    wars continuing using Muslims as fictitious enemies.

  • Mike S – I’ve always been curious. When making tin foil hats, what is your preferred brand of manufacture? These Reynolds ones just don’t seem to hold muster.

  • Its not the brand. You need thickness. You need heavy duty tin foil.

  • “Its not the brand. You need thickness. You need heavy duty tin foil.”

    De-magnetized of course.

  • The problem is you can’t get real tin foil these days. The government conspired with the ALCOA machine to supplant tin foil with aluminum. Everyone knows that tin offers far superior wave blocking ability and has the best weight to blocking ratio, which is why lead foil never really took off.

  • The world media is hiding the identity and nationality of these terrorists in a very sugestive way. Only the britanic Guardian mentioned they are believed to be muslim and algerians.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/17/five-arrests-pope-terror-threat

  • Its not the brand you need. Its the thickness….

    And of course, thickness of the skull is also a tremendous help. 🙂

  • I do hope you will now write as lengthy a piece on how all the men have been released without charge…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11360568

  • “The six – who work as street cleaners in Westminster – were arrested after they were allegedly overheard in the works canteen discussing an attack.

    Police refused to confirm reports that the men were joking, saying they had a duty to investigate.”

    And perhaps the authorities will release just what the six men were saying when they allegedly “joked” about murdering the Pope. It would also be nice to have their names so that information can be obtained as to their backgrounds and any terrorist affiliations they might have.

  • James you have a rather interesting post. First of all, I did not write a lengthy piece describing the arrest. I believe it was one paragraph. At the end of that paragraph, I noted that I would repost much of a previous article I wrote about Al Qaeda’s War on the Catholic Church. Is that to what you are objecting? It is a factual article using Al Qaeda’s own statements. As Don has already pointed out, the arrests were not without good reason.

  • I have no doubt that Al Qaeda would love to kill or get their hands on the pope in some way. Bojinka was in many ways the predecessor or inspiration for 9/11.

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  • Algerian street-cleaners? Better to get some Christians or Hindus from the Phillipines and India instead. They at least would be grateful for the opportunity to make a living and will not keep the security forces busy.

  • Dave – thanks for your reply.

    Read your first paragraph again in the light of the fact that all the men have been released without charge, along with your headline. ‘Al-Qaeda plot’, ‘sophisticated attack’, ‘foiled at the last possible moment’. All these statements are completely untrue and that is what I am objecting to. It was a rush to judgement based on some very precautionary arrests. Do you not believe in innocent until proven guilty?

    Also, since you claim Debka are ‘normally on top of such matters’, it is interesting to note they haven’t yet reported all the men were released without charge. You may have to work out for yourself why you think that might be.

  • James, thank you for your reply. I really enjoy these types of exchanges and I find them very fruitful and revealing. Yes of course I believe in innocent until proven guilty. I didn’t draw this terrorism link out of thin air. As I noted before, Debka is the most widely read and believed intelligence site out there, they have a Forbes Best of the Web Award to prove it. Now with respect to the Debka article, you may have read Donald’s post about the street cleaners joking about harming the Pope. In light of this news and the continuing Al Qaeda threat and presense in the UK, Debka reported some news that many believed was inevitable, another Al Qaeda attack in Britain.

    Now I have a question for you. With all of the many things one can post about on a Catholic site, why would you post so quickly in making sure that Al Qaeda was not blamed for a possible attack? Do you believe Al Qaeda has an agenda against Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, why or why not?

  • Dave – My original point was simply about the recent arrests in London, not about the wider article.

    Debka wrote: ‘the five Algerians reached their London rendezvous overnight to prepare for their operation’. This is clear fiction. I’m sorry you believe this is ‘premier intelligence’. (I have to agree with Henry on this point.)

    I live in the UK so was aware of how our media was (generally) extremely cautious about these arrests. So where did Debka get this completely untrue info about a rendezvous from? And my point remains – why have they not told their readers that all these people have been released without charge. If they are so reliable, why do you think they have they not been honest enough to bring their readers up to date?

    I’m pleased to hear you say you believe in innocent until proven guilty. However, if you read your headline and opening paragraph you do appear to have jumped to conclusions. For example, on what basis did you call this a ‘sophisticated plot’?

    As for Donald’s comment – these guys were innocent. The cops would not have let them go after one day if they thought there was anything serious here (in UK, they can be held for 4 weeks without charge). In that case, neither Donald nor anyone else has the right to know their names.

    I’m sorry but I don’t have the time to go through everything else in your article. However, I note, for example, your mention of an Al-Qaeda plot to blow up St Petronio’s. Your link goes to a Guardian article which says it was a ‘suspected’ plot. Can you link to newspaper reports of the successful prosecution of the people involved in this ‘plot’?

  • James, I know that through the years there have been many arrests in Italy concerning jihad. Off hand, I have no idea who or how many were arrested, nor what their sentences might have been. However, living in he UK, you should know better than I that the Guardian is hardly the type of publication that is often sympathetic to the views and goals of the Catholic Church.

  • Dave – sorry you didn’t feel able to answer the other questions I asked. However, on the point you did reply to, you said in the article that there ‘WAS an Al-Qaeda plot’ to blow up the church in question. In your reply you said you don’t know ‘what their sentences might have been’. That assumes there was a successful conviction. But you don’t produce any evidence that anyone was prosecuted for such a plot. One vague article pointing to an arrest proves nothing (as the Pope arrests shows).

    And I note that Debka STILL hasn’t written about the six men being released without charge, three days on.

  • James, this is really become intriguing to me. Of all the issues one can write about on a Catholic site, you seem quite annoyed about an intelligence site. Now I have no idea how Debka handles these sorts of matters, they are not a news site, they are an intelligence site, and the most respected site at that. After all, they did win the Forbes Award. However, you seem upset that the arrest of a few men joking about the death of the pope is a great form of human injustice, even though they were set free. Surely, you will admit that in places like Egypt they may very well be in prison for years, for this sort of offense. Then you refer back to the very liberal Guardian article, a publication that is hardly a friend of the Catholic Church. They print an article about a plot in Italy and you want to see Italian arrest and court records.

    In the above article which I wrote, I linked to another article in which Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri threatens “the infidel,” and the “lukewarm Muslim” as he so often does. He also goes on to demand that Pope Benedict convert to Islam. Seeing as that there was a highly sophisticated attack in London some five years ago, as well as others in the UK that were foiled at the last minute, do you believe Al Qaeda poses a threat to the UK and the Western world in general?

Lies People Tell Children

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

Ann Althouse has fun with a recent back-to-school speech delivered by President Obama:

President Obama’s back to school speech contained blatant lies…and if there were any students not bright enough to notice that they were hearing lies, the lies, in their particular cases, were, ironically, bigger lies. Check it out:

  • “Nobody gets to write your destiny but you. Your future is in your hands. Your life is what you make of it. And nothing — absolutely nothing — is beyond your reach, so long as you’re willing to dream big, so long as you’re willing to work hard. So long as you’re willing to stay focused on your education, there is not a single thing that any of you cannot accomplish, not a single thing. I believe that.”

If you believe that, you are so dumb that your chances of controlling your own destiny are especially small. But it’s absurd to tell kids that if only they dream big, work hard, and get an education, they can have anything they want. Do you know what kind of dream job kids today have?  A recent Marist poll showed that 32% would like to be an actor/actress. 29% want to be a professional athlete.  13% want to be President of the United States.  That’s not going to happen.

Even young people with more modest dreams — like getting a decent law job after getting good grades at an excellent law school — are not getting what they want. To say “nothing — absolutely nothing — is beyond your reach” is a blatant lie, and Barack Obama knows that very well…

…Does [Obama] look at a poor person and say, his life is what he made it? Of course not.

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13 Responses to Lies People Tell Children

  • The ideology of egalitarianism (we all have the same moral worth, but differ quite a lot in aptitude and interest) has massive opportunity and emotional costs – and not infrequently, just so some elite can feel good and morally superior.

    In education, for example, what if very easily observable differences in educational attainment (existing across time and environment, regardless of massive influxes of cash – go ahead and look into the Kansas City and New Jersey examples as particularly bad on that score) are due in no small measure to heredity? UH OH – thought crime. But then our whole educational system is a giant false pretence, with constant “innovation” to little avail. Better to have tracking and a revival of vocational training (combined with a massive lowering of immigration to keep wages from crashing).

    If, that is, our PC-addled stomachs can take it, which I seriously doubt.

    Once again, leftists and right-liberals: you care about the poor? Stop destroying their wages through the systematic decline of industry and the influx of labor. Cesar Chavez, a great hero of mine, understood this, but many of you seem much more interested in status posturing – after all, your job is not in jeopardy……

    /rant

  • Interesting. The idea of ‘vocation’ is thrown quite out the window, isn’t it? When life only has a meaning that you choose, can it really have a meaning?

    Having said that, I believe intelligence is a very flexible trait. Not to mention wisdom.

  • I find myself conflicted about this kind of thing, in that, on the one hand, it’s demonstrably false that you can do anything if you try hard enough, believe, in yourself, etc.

    On the other hand, with sufficient effort one can often do a number of things which a given teacher, relative, mentor, etc. would not actually realize that you would be capable of doing. So while what you can do in life is certainly contrained by ability, there is a great deal one can do with sufficient effort.

    It seems to me that sometimes our development is spurred on by a bit of delusion. I look back at stuff I wrote in high school, which I honest thought was very good writing at the time, and I know it was just bad. Yet, if I’d been fully aware at the time how bad my writing was, I probalby would have simply quit. In similar form, a certain amount of “you can do anything with sufficient effort” kind of thinking may actually be helpful, even if it isn’t true. But if you have no idea of what your actual limits in ability are, and you really do spend fifteen years of your life trying to become an astronaut or an NFL star, when you pretty clearly just can’t, you’ll end up a pretty disappointed person.

    American culture seems fairly heavily based on the illusion that with sufficient hard work anyone can do anything — perhaps as much so as some traditional cultures were built on the idea that everyone was categorized by birth. I’m not sure what happens to American culture if we actualy admitted on a widespread level that many people don’t actually have the ability to “rise to the top” even if they work hard.

  • It’s a balancing act. I’ve been discouraged from doing things I’ve been told I wouldn’t excel at but looking back my only obstacle was the discouragement. I’ve also been encouraged to do things I’ve failed at miserably. It’s good to pursue big dreams but it’s equally important to assess our chances of success realistically and take measures to hedge our risk of failure.

  • ….How many folks stick with what they wanted to do in high school? (Well, TECHNICALLY I’m being paid to write, but I don’t think that Amazon’s Mechanical Turk would even be recognizable to me. ^.^ I’ll still never be able to write the stories I dream of, any more than I’ll paint the images I dream, or be a great singer.)

    I can’t stand the “you can be anything you put your mind to”– although I like its cousin, “work hard and you can succeed.” It may not be the success you were thinking of, and the work may be in more places than you ever imagined, but hey.

    An odd association popped up: how many dang times in the Bible does God pull his little joke of giving folks things in ways they never thought of?

  • I can’t remember who said it (W.C.Fields or Will Rogers?) but I always loved this advice:

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. After that, move on – there’s no sense in being a dang fool about it.

  • “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again… Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” ~Mark Twain

  • I think Christopher Lasch offered that early 19th century writings on the subject of coming into adult life did not typically incorporate notions of upward mobility, but of each man having a ‘competence’. The difficulty with that at this time is that contemporary division of labor leaves a large fraction of the labor force with service jobs for which the level of skill and capacity for acquiring it is severely limited. One salutary social adjustment is having such employment nearly universal for people at a given point in their life cycle and another is having such employment as a pragmatic supplement to family income. Still, you have a large fraction of the labor force who do this sort of work all their lives and have to look outside their work for aught but minor satisfactions.

  • I can’t speak for other eras, but all my 50+ years I have observed that most people work for money. They very seldom have jobs that they would confuse with their avocations, and those that do are mightily blessed. Fathers work in jobs they do not particularly enjoy as an expression of love for their families. I doubt this is new. There is risk in the ubiquitous admonishment “Find your passion!” We have tens of thousands of 20- and 30-somethings in this country who live at home waiting for an occupation to surface that suits their passion or interest. This is not to say that no passion seeker ever succeeds — just that it is a very risky strategy. My observation is that those who embark on this strategy successfully usually do so from a posture of family comfort. A trustafarian can more rationally try to align his work-life with his interests than most of us.

  • The part of the message that is true, and ought to be repeated is this:

    Nobody knows what you can do until you work at it for a while.

    But “you can do anything if you put your mind to it” is simply false. It also sends an extremely bad message (as does the french fry poster), that certain kinds of work is to be sneered at, that workers who toil at those kinds of work are “people who didn’t put their mind to it,” and that the purpose of work is self-satisfaction and pride.

    Which it’s not.

  • Which it’s not.

    It is not, but there is a sense of craftsmanship to be had in tasks well-executed. (Of course, people’s capacity to experience that is variable, as is their opportunity).

  • Craftsmanship =/= pride.

    Satisfaction in a job well done =/= self-satisfaction.

  • As in most things there needs to be a balance between “You can do absolutely ANYTHING if you try hard enough” vs. “You are nothing but a helpless victim of circumstance and it doesn’t matter what you do.” Perhaps the first attitude is an overreaction to the latter, or vice versa.

    Although perfection cannot be achieved in this world, there is a value in setting the bar pretty high. Another favorite quote of mine from Mere Christianity: “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII Weighs in on the Delaware Race

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

The indispensable Iowahawk brings us again the thoughts of T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, Rino of the Rinos, and his musings on the Christine O’Donnell victory in the Delaware GOP Senate primary:

Thus I assumed when the Delaware Republican party approached me last week requesting high-level strategic advice it was in regards to the November general election. Mr. Biden’s elevation to the executive branch created an open Senate seat and, mercifully, a rare moment of kismet for moderate and intellectual conservatives; here, at last, the right kind of seat, for the right kind of state, and the right kind of candidate in Mr. Mike Castle. With his nomination a forgone conclusion and a voting record scarcely distinguishable from Mr. Biden’s, Mr. Castle would be undoubtedly competitive in November and could be supported by a better stripe of conservative without fear of Washington social embarrassment. Better yet, his nomination would represent a return to the rational conservatism which has been all but eclipsed by the dark moon of Tea Party lunacy. All that remained to formulate a strategy to position Mr. Castle further to the center for the general election, and to make arrangements for cocktails; two task for which I am eminently qualified and brimming with ideas. Instead, I was mortified to learn from party officials that they were in fact seeking help in parrying a primary challenge to Mr. Castle from a dark horse Republican who was in the midst of a last minute charge in the polls.

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5 Responses to T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII Weighs in on the Delaware Race

  • Not a bad article, but a real T. Coddington etc. wouldn’t be a “VII.” Roman numerals are only appropriate for monarchs, who are also the only people who get to count everyone whose ever had the name. For the rest of us, Jr., Sr. and ordinal numbers are only used to distinguish between living people with the same name, as in “George W. Bush 3rd,” if George’s father and grandfather are still alive and have the same name. It’s barely possible to be a “5th” in families that marry young and live a long time, but mostly it’s only “Sr, Jr, and 3rd.” /pedantic etiquette rant.

    This message has been delivered to you by Captain Karen Cox of the 5th Light Pedantry.

  • I salute you Captain! I hesitate to dispute a superior officer, but I would note that it is the custom, at least here in the untamed Midwest, to use Roman numerals. No numerals are used in my family, because although my sainted father, and my alive and kicking son, share the same first name with me, we all have different middle names.

  • Karen, what happens if you were a 3rd, and then the Sr. dies, and a fourth is born? Does the 3rd revert to Jr. and the putative 4th becomes a 3rd? Does everyone move up a notch as the more senior passes away?

  • Unfortunately, the “etiquette” doesn’t take into account idiotic credit bureaus destroying one’s credit rating when “James Thomas Anderson Jr.” can’t buy a house because, unbeknownst to him, he already has 2 other mortgages.

    Speaking as a “Jr.” to a “Jr.” to yet another “Jr.”, I make no apologies to the etiquette snobs (like my own mother) that my son’s name is and shall remain – unless and until such time as he sees fit to change it himself – “James Thomas Anderson V”.

    /rant off

    😉

  • As I said to my mother: “Have you read the names in the birth announcements section of the newspaper lately? Do you really think it’s going to raise anyone’s eyebrows that your grandson has a “V” appended to the end of his name?”

    😉

Burleigh Defends the Pope

Friday, September 17, AD 2010

My second favorite living historian, Michael Burleigh, who has written stunningly original works on subjects as diverse as Nazi Germany, religion and politics in the last two centuries,  terrorism, and morality and World War II,  has taken up the cudgels against the despicable attitude of many Brits of the chattering classes regarding the visit of the Pope to the Island next to Ireland.

Under normal circumstances, one might say “welcome” rather than “receive”. But the multiple sexual scandals that have afflicted parts of the Catholic Church have created a window of opportunity for sundry chasers of limelight – including human rights militants, crusading gays, Islamist fanatics, and celebrity God-botherers – to band together to “arrest” the Pope under laws so obscure that few knew they existed. Because child abuse is involved, rather than the more widespread phenomenon of homosexual predation on young men, these manifestations will receive much media attention, especially from the BBC, to the guaranteed perplexity of a less involved general public in a nominally Protestant country. It will require some effort of mind to tune out this noise to hear what the Pope will be saying.

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3 Responses to Burleigh Defends the Pope

The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

Thursday, September 16, AD 2010

Many in the mainstream media have failed to see the obvious concerning Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United Kingdom, the truth of the Catholic Church has won out. The Pope of Christian Unity (as he is often called by the blogging Father Z) is reaching out to serious minded Christians. The Holy Father is asking them to unite as they once were under the leadership of the Successor of Saint Peter. Now I realize Pope John Paul II went to the UK, but the Anglican Church is in a far more dilapidated condition than it was then.  In addition, I am aware that many in the United Kingdom, and Western Europe for that matter, have little to do with religious matters, but the same could be said in the early days of the Roman Empire. Against all odds, three centuries later Catholicism would be the dominant faith.  It can happen again.

The Holy Father is about to beatify John Cardinal Henry Newman. He was a towering figure in the 19th century state run Anglican Church. He came to the Catholic Church and gave us this memorable quote; To go deep into history is to cease to be Protestant. I am not bringing this up in the spirit of triumphalism but in the spirit of truth. Christ promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, and though it has been through many rough patches (we are currently in one) the truth is winning out. (Matthew 16:15-20.)

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13 Responses to The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK

  • Just a small point Dave.

    The pope is going to beatify John Henry Newman – not canonise him. 🙂

  • God bless the Holy Father and good Queen Elizabeth.

  • Thanks Don, I didn’t realize that I got ahead of myself and had Pope Benedict making him a saint!

  • Poor Europe being led by hateful,intolerant,godless fools who know nothing about religion.They have turned away from God and have built and worship their golden calf of secularism.They revolve their lives around perishable things of the world while their enemies grow within their borders.They promote a culture of death through abortion and gay rights which produces no life while the Muslims continue to multiply…the liberal left that espouse diversity,tolerance and promote sin will be the first to taste the fruits of persecution that they have sown and nurtured by setting themselves up against God.Open your eyes Europe..turn back to God and stop living sel centered lives where everything is based on passing pleasures.

  • Be sober in spirit and the truth will be made clear. Pope John II once referred to Queen Elizabeth II as the queen of Israel. There is an ancient truth here that supercedes “the truth of the Catholic Church” (as you refer to it). Jesus was fully aware of this truth Matthew 10:6. The real house of rebellion is not the “Protestant” house, it is the house of Israel herself. The Catholic Church would do well to be honest about what she already knows, and submit to the Lords will concerning the lost sheep, being careful not to impose her own agenda over them.

  • Excellent article…@John your comments ring so true. But we all aren’t without recourse. This article is one of hope: the promise that is sure to come and triumph: victory by preservering love and sacrifice. We also have recourse in prayer before the Eucharist in adoration and benediction, recourse in prayer through Mass
    in Communion, and recourse in prayer through the Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours. This staves off the tide if error, quiets the crashing sea foam of sin through its reparation and its remission, and facilitate the conversion of those souls obstinate in sin. I suggest you knights and prayer warriors put your man-on and gear-up to battle by the above means. Of course by all means go to confession (on a regular basis) like all good soliders before entering the battle. For it is good to be here while the mouthpiece of our Lord, the Pope, implement his prophetic strategies and embattlements among priests, with universal authority, among the faithful.
    Roll on, Good Pope, God’s Representative, Roll on!

  • @Chris I would have to disagree. The Queen of Israel is the Spouse of Christ, the Mother Church he founded. The queen in judaic culture has always been the mother of the king…not the wife of the king! Queen Mother of the Catholic Church is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus. As for truth: the Church, the mystical body of Christ, and her Groom are one in the same as for Truth. However, we, as members of this same Mystical Body, have much to suffer and gain in our response and to living this Truth.

  • Winkyb.. Thank you for your response and your desire to follow Him. I was relaying what was reportedly said by Pope John Paul II when he visited England several decades ago… We agree on this. The spouse of Christ are His people the Church. What we do not agree on is the exclusivity of the Roman Catholic Church in that role. For one thing, without past decent by His people, God’s word would be quite different than it is today. Witness the politically correct changes in the New Catholic bible, hymns…etc. Done seeming incredulous to the warnings of Revelation 22:18-19. To be blunt, I’ve seen American Catholicism turn more young people away from Christ than I can number. When 70,000 nuns give congress the out they needed to turn their back on the Hyde Amendment and the innocent lives it protected, you can begin to see why the young have turned away (not to mention the more obvious issues). As a non-catholic, I went to mass for 30 years. I have known priests who confided to me their doubts about faith as they faced death, and priests who left the church altogether. All of it a shame, because Christ came to give us abundant life free from fear and doubt. Please be sober in Spirit, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Why not strengthen your Anglican brothers and sisters rather than cannibalize their membership and destroy them in their weakness.
    Yours in Christ ~Chris

  • @Chris your rhetoric keeps redefining the truths and traditions of the Faith of Christ, the Apostolic, True Vine, which evangelized the Anglo-Saxons and founded the Catholic Church in England. Your country still celebrates to this day as St. Ninian. The Archbishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the reality of this True, Apostolic Vine and also its respective title of the Peter and Chair, the Pope, Benedict XVI as The Servant of Servants. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also acknowledges the Apostolic See of Pope and Saint: St Gregory the Great and his influences on the Catholic Church of England. The ArchBishop of Canterbury also incensed, knelt, and prayed before England’s titled Defender of the Faith and king, St. Edward the Confessor whose feast day is stlill celebrated on the litugical calendars of the Catholic Church and Anglican. Chris you keep taking things out of context and redefining them e.g. “The spouse of Christ [are His people-error] (is-truth) the Church. I recommend that you speak the truth. The Archbishop of Canterbury today at Vespers in the present of the Pope, Anglican hierarchy, and media does not even refer to the State Church of England as Catholic but rather as Christain. There is no such thing as American Catholicism: there is only One, True, Holy, and Apostolic catholic church. In America the Latin Rite is practice but there are rites such as Maronite Rite, Byzantine Rite, etc all of one faith and still in union with the Apostolic Chair of Peter. No one is disputing the state church of England abdication from the Church in Rome with its self appointed Head as British Monarch no one disputing that the Queen Elizabeth and Archbishop of Canterbury both references itself as Christian entity despite its historical catholic roots and heritage. No one is disputing that this abdication was vilolently solicited by the king’s demand for adultery and divorce as evident by writ and auguments displayed in the Lambeth
    museum. No one is disputing the martydom of England’s innocent catholic citizens and chanchellor in defense of this state church. And as evident by the invitation of the Queen and acceptance of the Pope that there is a great love and a great moment in between these two kingdoms and among christain brethren 1500 years ago which I will enjoy very much with every replay on the telly for what I see is a joyous occassion despite history. I will say it would be even more joyful if the entire Anglican church reconcile to its true roots and true faith under it Roman Latin Rite for England’s kinship is clear to even those with a blind eye. Lastly, we, Christ’s True Church are not cannibalistic but we do love a bit too much: enemies and friends alike. But how can you do otherwised with Jesus’ arms so much suffered nailed to the Cross to remain opened to all. Cheer up ‘ole boy… today is a great day!
    do hug fr

  • Pingback: “The Pope Of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI Is In The UK” and related posts » Top Stories
  • God Bless our good Pope

  • It is heartwarming to see Pope Benedict reach out to those that want NOTHING to do with the Catholic Church. May God bless his witness.

  • @Nancy, correction: The pope didn’t crash the party he was invited by the prime minister and received by the queen. Your view contradicts the 65,000-100,000 in attendance to Mass, the 125,000 lining the streets to view the pope in his pope mobile…and the attendance/host of the archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican bishops and priests and British hierarchy vying to greet and
    shake his hand. Not to mention worldwide media coverage…look like everyone wanted something to do with the pope…you even bother yourself…about the pope…with an unrealistic comment.

Politicians and Church Platforms

Thursday, September 16, AD 2010

MM is leading a campaign to protest a book-signing of Newt Gingrich’s latest book to be held at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in D.C. The book is “To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Regime” and Amazon provides a description.

For once, I agree with MM: the book-signing is a bad idea. I’m a very big believer of separation of church from state, and I don’t like the appearance that the Church is being co-opted here. The book isn’t religious; it’s political. Even if I would agree with what he says in the book, I’d rather it not be promoted by being offered at a Catholic bookstore, much less be publicized through a book-signing.

Unfortunately, this is not the grounds that is offered to oppose it. Instead, we find references to Newt’s “hyper-partisan” nastiness, his racism, and his serial adultery. I don’t wish to get into an argument about the virtues and vices of Newt’s career or his potential presidential candidacy (in part b/c being of the generation I am, I have little knowledge of what Newt did). However, I do find it useful for thinking about how the Church interacts with politics, in part b/c it’s not the only example in the last week. Tony Blair wrote a column published on the front page of the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in anticipation of the Pope’s visit to the UK. There are a number of problems with Blair’s political career from the Church’s view, including his support for legalized abortion, gay marriage  and  the invasion of Iraq. While it doesn’t appear that Blair has political aspirations any longer, it brings up the question of how much past political failings ought to deter Church officials from granting a stage to politicians, particularly repentant ones?

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25 Responses to Politicians and Church Platforms

  • When you write of Newt’s racism what exactly are you refering to?

  • I’ll emphasize that I have no idea whether he is racist or not, but the comments he is being criticized for at VN are comments he made about the Kenyan origins of some of Obama’s socialist beliefs. MM writes:

    No, this has everything to do with Gingrich’s hyper-partisan nastiness, and his deliberate strategy of appealing to the worst in people with ugly and offensive statements – the latest being an attack on Obama for having a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Even worse is Gingrich’s tendency to make insulting and inflammatory statements about Muslims, including by likening them to nazis.

  • Even worse is Gingrich’s tendency to make insulting and inflammatory statements about Muslims, including by likening them to nazis.

    Yes, we are all familiar with Vox Nova’s notorious aversion to likening others to Nazis; it obviously troubles M.Z. very deeply.

    Newt’s remarks about Muslims are pernicious, no doubt about it, but I can’t imagine MM would be this up in arms if Ted Kennedy had done a book signing a couple years ago. And this isn’t nearly as much of an endorsement as the ND/Obama commencement speaker episode, about which I don’t remember MM being particularly upset. On balance, sure, maybe Gingrich shouldn’t have a book signing there; but of all the things to call or write about it, it seems pretty far down on the list to me – at any rate, the primary motivation seems to be partisan in this particular case.

  • Given the way that MM and michael so cheaply throw around the term “racist” (usually for the purposes of status-posturing), it’s not particularly helpful to focus in on that point (although an open and charitable discussion about the meaning of the term would be welcome).

    In any event, the issue is a good one. Gingrich and Blair are poor examples of living the Catholic faith for a public figure, but they are also converts little experienced in the faith, and that point is true of every public figure (some, granted, are worse than others, and few worse than the current Speaker).

    I don’t see a big problem, and would be fine if Pelosi had an event there. Providing a platform does not suggest endorsement as much as it does dialogue, although providing an honor is a very different story.

    It might be best to keep all politicans out unless they are taking Communion or giving confession, just like anyone else.

  • Of all the goofy books one can find at many Church run book stores, this one has to be protested? Whether Newt has truly repented for his many moral failures is known to God and his confessor. However, to protest against him when we have all matter of nutty left wing Catholics signing books and selling them in Church owned stores is beyond me. Michael, you say the book isn’t religious. Maybe to Newt and those who will read the book, it has a religious componenet to it. As liberal government and liberal Catholicism goes down in a ball of flames, the best way to help them is to bring them into the light, not stand there and protest with them.

  • Meant to write that almost all public figures fail to live out the Catholic faith very well.

    Anyway, why not offer speaking platforms on occasion and honor no elected official? This especially makes sense for Catholic universities, as a credential does leave a stamp of approval upon its recipient.

  • Providing a platform does not suggest endorsement as much as it does dialogue, although providing an honor is a very different story.

    I think that brings up an interesting question. I wouldn’t have a problem if a Catholic university invited Obama to give a speech about his belief on abortion rights-as long as there was some other worthy figure them to provide a counter-balance.

    My question is then this: how do Catholic platforms manage to be more than simply a platform and more a place of dialogue? Does simply providing a situation where dialogue can occur be enough or should Church leaders strive to build into the events/platform some kind of dialogue?

  • Has anyone bothered to even check if “To Save America” is the book/dvd that Gingrich is signing? Because he also has a recent documentary on John Paul II’s involvement with the Solidarity movement called “9 Days that Changed the World.” He’s been promoting that fairly heavily to Catholic organizations, and held some screenings and sales of the DVD out in my neck of the woods a few months ago.

  • No, this has everything to do with…hyper-partisan nastiness, and his deliberate strategy of appealing to the worst in people with ugly and offensive statements

    Pleased to see Minion repudiate Paul Krugman and Bradford deLong.

  • I imagine that’s the DVD, but there’s no book attached to it to my knowledge. I couldn’t find out what’s being offered.

    It does change things if it’s just the DVD; however the DVD with the book doesn’t change anything to my mind.

  • I’ve spelled out my own opion on this over at Vox-Nova, but I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has seen the DVD “9 Days That Changed the World” whether and to what extent it *is* primarily religious/spiritual/heck even cultural and not a political propaganda piece. That this video is produced by the same group, Citizens United Productions, which produced America At Risk, and whose website speaks for itself(http://www.citizensunited.org/ makes me suspicious about “9 Days”–not having seen it.

  • I’m uneasy about the signing, though it is hard to form a confident opinion without more facts. But as a matter of principle it is important for the Church to not behave or appear partisan. This concern for church/state “separation” is not grounded in the First Amendment (which does not speak of any such separation), but in the values and integrity of the Church.

  • Michael – to be (somewhat) fair to the Basilica, the medium Gingrich is promoting is his religious-themed one, not his Obama-is-Hitler one. Still, the issue is not the content of the book, but the grave public scandal. Let’s say Nancy Pelosi decided to publish a book of her favorite prayers, and all agreed that the prayers were beautiful – should a Catholic church host a book signing? I think that would be most imprudent (and the same goes for Ted Kennedy, since somebody mentioned it).

    It’s funny how people around here were so quick to express their frustration with “Bush Derangement Syndome” and “Godwin’s Law” during the Bush years. Now, it is apparently no big deal that one of the most senior Republicans can claim that his opponents are more dangerous than Nazis, or play with racist fire by calling the president a “Kenyan anti-colonialist”.

    As for the Blair situation, I have not been following it, but I certainly do not hold Tony Blair in high esteem. He seems to have converted without any understanding of the consistent ethic of life.

  • The Nancy Pelosi example actually does not trouble me that much. It would be more scandalous to bestow upon her an honor ala the honorary degree awarded by ND to Obama. Simply giving her a forum to share her favorite prayers does not strike me as crossing the line, though I appreciate others might differ.

  • Still, the issue is not the content of the book, but the grave public scandal.

    How can the two be separated? I would have less concern with Pelosi hawking her “Favorite Prayers” book in a Catholic forum than her “Augustine: The Doctor of Abortion” book.

  • or play with racist fire by calling the president a “Kenyan anti-colonialist”.

    Your complaint on this point is contrived.

  • “Your complaint on this point is contrived.”

    And mundane given how the racism card is played against every critique of Obama.

  • Michael – to be (somewhat) fair to the Basilica, the medium Gingrich is promoting is his religious-themed one, not his Obama-is-Hitler one. Still, the issue is not the content of the book, but the grave public scandal.

    Is there a book attached to the DVD though? I mean, it says book & DVD signing but I only see a DVD about the JPII/Solidarity, not a book. Perhaps I need to keep up more with Newt’s offerings lol.

    Now, it is apparently no big deal that one of the most senior Republicans can claim that his opponents are more dangerous than Nazis, or play with racist fire by calling the president a “Kenyan anti-colonialist”.

    Well, he’s out of office and has been so for a long time. If he actually runs for president instead of profiting off of people who want him to, then of course higher standards will apply (i.e. any stupid comment he makes, he gets roasted). That said, I think his comments about Nazis are over the top and his comments about Kenya appear to have very weak justifications.

    On another note, is there a distinction between Newt & Obama? I remember you thought the outrage over Notre Dame was unjustified (if I’m wrong about this, correct me) and I’m curious if there’s another line you think has been crossed here that wasn’t with Obama.

  • Yes, we are all familiar with Vox Nova’s notorious aversion to likening others to Nazis; it obviously troubles M.Z. very deeply.

    You’ll have to help me on that one.

    As to Newt, I tend to avoid commentary on him. Yes, I am scandalized that he was married in a Catholic church. As long as he isn’t speaking from a pulpit, I don’t really care what what public venues he avails himself. Too much effort is spent attempting to discern an implied intent so people can be scandalized. Sometimes folks just want to be scandalized. I’m not claiming this is a particular case, just saying.

  • That doubtless is a reference to the Catholic Anarchist’s charming habit of calling everyone but himself and God a fascist, and I don’t think he is quite sure about God. However I do not think he is currently writing at Vox Nova, but is on detached duty with his parody blog entitled, what else?, The American Fascist.

  • The statement on “embracing the churches teaching on Social Justice” makes me crazy.

    The catholic left likes to wear this on their sleeve and wave it about anytime the ‘orthodox” Catholics speak to the issues of life (abortion, gay marriage, contraceptive). I believe that social justice can be summarized to mean allowing each person the right to have enough of the basic necessities to feed and shelter oneself and ones family, and making sure each person is treated fairly under the law. To hear some people talk the only way you can get to heaven is if you support big government welfare programs. This is one of those issues that allows for differing opinions. I believe that the best way to bring about social justice is to allow for a climate that promotes job growth and allows people to earn their own way. You know teaching a man to fish versus giving them a fish.

    Sorry, the social justice tag line is a pet peeve of mine.

  • Why make this so complicated? Not everyone who professes Lord, Lord is a friend of the church and Jesus warns of wolves wearing sheep clothing. You have noted that these men have converted to Catholicism, why judge your brethen so harshly and let the fruits of their labor post conversion be their judge…and what of you that have plank in your eye? and who without sin can cast the stone? There is no merit in the auguments of separation of the church and state…it is rhetoric usually uttered by enemies of
    truth and faith. Lastly it is a gift store, who says because it is run by the church it should limit it inventory to religious items…so if the bhudda belly found its way there…would you say, oh it should be catholic, religious items? Your points are worth consideration but Newt and Blair aren’t the moral compasses…the Bible, Magisterium, and Catholic tradition as basis for all matters.

  • Winkyb:

    Other than “don’t judge,” I honestly have no idea what you’re trying to say.

  • @Denton I thought I was clear…regarding your judgement. What is it you don’t understand?

2 Responses to A New Logo? Yeah, That'll Turn Things Around!

  • Wow. You know, I was bothered by the Democrats’ stances on abortion and their unwise fiscal policies, but a D in a circle? In such a pretty blue? I like blue; I’m sold. Time to work for change that matters.

    On a side note, if the new slogan is “change that matters” what happened to the hope of “hope and change?” Or the Dems now admitting that they’re fairly hopeless?

  • A big “D”. Isn’t that grade inflation?

Hide That Fat!

Thursday, September 16, AD 2010

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  I don’t know.  I think perhaps a better approach is to go the Mark Shea way and be a JOLLY.  One of the advantages of the fat acceptance movement is that you can partake of the Frank Cannon diet guilt free:

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One Response to Hide That Fat!

TAC Pro Football Top 10

Wednesday, September 15, AD 2010

We promised pro rankings, and here they are. I promise not to abuse my discretion as poster to unnecessarily promote the official team of all orthodox Catholics, the New Orleans Saints…

…after I post that picture. Ok, now I’m done. Maybe.

Same deal as the college ranks, though we decided that debating whether the Browns or Rams were the worst team was boring, so we limited it to the top 10. Voters are myself, Tito, and Paul Zummo. Cue the ranks!

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10 Responses to TAC Pro Football Top 10

Electoral Revolt

Wednesday, September 15, AD 2010

In a year of political stunners, last night’s result in the GOP primary in Delaware still stood out.  Christine O’Donnell, Palin-endorsed tea party activist, upset Mike Castle, former two-term Governor of Delaware and long term GOP congressman, who, until last week, was expected to be an easy victor, both in the primary and in the general election.  Castle is the archetypal Republican Rino and O’Donnell a life long conservative activist, and the GOP Delaware voters decided that counted for more than electability.  I view O’Donnell as a highly flawed candidate due to instances of bizarre behavior in her life, but nevertheless if I lived in Delaware I would have voted for her.  James Antle of of the American Spectator explains why:

For how is it a victory to elect a liberal with an “R” next to her name rather than a “D?” What does it profit a movement to win an election but lose its soul? Conservatives are saying to the Republican Party: for years you have taken us for granted. Now you can either win with us or lose without us. And if a conservative candidate loses anyway, so be it.

Rank-and-file conservatives no longer trust the Republican establishment. They don’t trust big-spending incumbents. They don’t even trust conservative magazines, websites, and commentators who in their view run down conservative candidates.

Are there drawbacks to this approach? As one Mama Grizzly might say, “You betcha.” Ideology and values are vital, but qualifications matter too. So do local conditions and regional differences, where one size doesn’t fit all.

Finally, few RINOs are as brazen as Castle or Scozzafava. They now have learned to talk like conservatives and check the right boxes on conservative litmus tests even as they expand government once in power. The George Romneys have become Mitt Romneys, the George Bushes George Ws. Will conservatives be as demanding of them?

But for now, this much is clear: Grassroots conservatives picked Christine O’Donnell over Mike Castle, electoral consequences be damned. If it can happen in Delaware, it can happen anywhere.

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52 Responses to Electoral Revolt

  • I have had a feeling something else was going on this race that was not exactly send Washington D.C a message. I thought this person hit it right that it might not have been what people have been thinking. That is the social dynamic

    http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/246617/long-overdue-overhaul-delaware-republicans

    That being said I can’t see this as anything but a disaster. I am praying it is not. The stuff Karl Roves was talking about as well as other conservatives concerning well Character and ethical issues cannot be swept aside by charges of RINO and estabishment.

    As I have mentioned elsewhere perhaps someone can explain to me if we are going to have a conservative WHY HER. Is this the best they got?

    This very well could backfire. If she becomes in the media’s eye or public eyes the symbol of the Tea party and these eithical problems and other issues are true then we have a major problem on our hands.

    So as soon as someone can get me the talking points on how to address these “quirks” so I can look at them it would be appreciated.

    The interesting thing about that race if the above article is correct is perhaps Castle lost that race on the GUN issue. He did seem very stubborn on the Pro-Gun Control stance though it was clear the countires mood had shifted. IF he has moderated on that he might have picked up enough votes in those Southern Counties to win it last night.

  • Well, the lawsuit allegations are pretty run of the mill for a discrimination suit. Some of the statements (implying currently taking classes at Princeton vs. planning to) may have been some miscommunication between her and her attorney.

    I also don’t get how she could have sold her house to her boyfriend if the bank had already foreclosed, unless she got the money from him and paid of the mortgage before the sheriff sale, which is perfectly legal in most states. I don’t know about Delaware, but in Texas, foreclosure can be a nonjudicial proceeding, so you are not “sued”. You are usually given notice of default, notice of acceleration of the debt, then notice of foreclosure, and notice of foreclosure sale (first Tuesday of the month). Usually, the sale isn’t done by the sheriff, but by a disinterest 3rd party (usually lawyer or representative of the bank/mortgage co.).

  • That Weekly Standard story you linked was either a vicious hit piece with loads of dubious info- or quite disturbing as to the qualifications of O’Donnell for leading anything- There is a similar disconnect with Florida’s Rick Scott and his leadership of a corporate entity that ripped off government monies- This isn’t about ancient history- I have noted in running for office myself that you have to be really cautious to vett candidates because a lot of people are drawn to political leadership and political activism with serious personal issues that they are seemingly working through in very public ways- like high-wire risk-takers they are drawn to media glare like bugs who just want to get zapped- I would recommend that whoever is responsible for directing Tea party monies slow down a beat and consider the consequences of having some serious melt-down characters- reminds me of Ross Perot when he was positioned to win the presidency and he went off half-cocked with some crazy story of Bush harassing his daughters or some such thing, and he dropped out and came back and still ate up votes because people are that hungry for something non-establishment to turn up that is viable- the usual case is for shady or crazy multi-millionaires to come crashing into the party trying to buy their way into political leadership.

    For me, the Tea Party would get serious consideration only if it put the Pro-Life issue at the top of the heap- I recently dropped my own association with a major party because I could not make any headway in Florida as a pro-life Democrat and if I am going to go around and say that ‘a life is a life no matter how small’ then one would have to conclude that we have a genocide of the unwanted, unborn children in our country and any party or psuedo-party that makes the claim that they are pro-life and understand the seriousness of systemic killing of unborn kids- will have to be putting that kind of thing on the front-burner- even more so than tax and spend issues – If that isn’t happening then the public witness will go down as something like this: “Well yes I believe we have a genocide of killing unborn children going on- and I am pro-life, but what really ticks me off is Obama’s stimulus spending and repeal of my tax cuts- and don’t get me started on his socialist health care”. That approach is what I consider a lukewarm kind of ‘realism’ ‘pragmatism’ that smacks of Jesus’ warning to be hot or cold, the lukewarm He will spit out. I tried going the route of covert subversive as a pro-lifer inside the Democratic party fold- i’ve given over that role so I can now be as open as I want to be- but I have little sympathy for those who are ostensibly belonging to a party that makes pro-life claims but does precious little to prioritize Pro-Life issues when economics, taxes, and immigration seem to be so much more pressing and passionate causes for most Repubs and Tea Partiers I have known or read about.

  • I wouldn’t have voted for either one.

    O’Donnell seems to be a burrito short of a combo plate (“Castle operatives are ransacking my house!”), not to mention a permanent campaigner with no resume’. The “Did you hear the rumor Mike Castle is gay?” ad was despicable, too.

    That said, I wouldn’t have eaten the crap sandwich labelled “Mike Castle,” either.

    You could have picked two people at random out of a Wilmington phone book and done better.

  • This is not good – Coons, a dedicated leftist, will win, and the Senate will be more left-wing (Delaware is a Democratic state and he’s going to hold the seat, absent a scandal). Castle would have won, and he would have disappointed conservatives some of the time. Therefore, conservatives have lost, because he would have been an electable rightish figure in that state.

    Sometimes, the GOP establishment is right. Palin and DeMint and the Tea Party folks were wrong in this case – which will become evident probably before November, given her history of instability and emotionalism.

  • Therefore, conservatives have lost, because he would have been an electable rightish figure in that state.

    That argument doesn’t carry weight anymore. Conservatives sucked it up to try to push McCain and got the lousiest campaign possible and an Obama presidency. Who knows whether Castle would have won? I have no idea whether she was a good candidate, but she sold herself as truer to conservative principles and, just as the Dems did in 08 when they picked Obama over Clinton, the party base decided to take the risk in order to get the candidate closer to their views. It just doesn’t make sense anymore to vote based on who might have a better chance in the general election.

  • It just doesn’t make sense anymore to vote based on who might have a better chance in the general election.

    I am not sure I disagree with your conclusion, but I would caution against using McCain/Obama in 2008 as a basis for conclusions on statewide elections in 2010. It’s hard to disentangle the causality, of course, but I think any Republican would have lost the Presidential election in 2008; once the financial crisis hit, the Democratic candidate (whether Obama or Clinton) was going to win. In closely contested state-wide elections, sometimes moderates may legitimately have a better chance; that said, I will not be shedding any tears over Castle.

  • It seems some conservatives are fond of Buckley’s quip about being governed by the first 100 people out of the Boston phonebook (or something to that effect) instead of the graduating class of Harvard (or whatever it was) until it really happens.

    O’Donnell may be a little odd. But I am far past the point of expecting or demanding that politicians be perfect human beings, or anywhere near. I don’t doubt that people will be working overtime to make sure that the poor woman does have a meltdown, but if she can hold it together, good for her.

  • “It just doesn’t make sense anymore to vote based on who might have a better chance in the general election.”

    It does if conservatives believe that elections matter (I do) and value a conservative movement (which will contain, unfortunately, a lot of right-liberalism) capable of defeating candidates of the left (I do).

    I understand the reservations about Castle, but O’Donnell is a terrible candidate with a terrible history. Populist insurgents should find better candidates if they want to take on an establishment (Joe Miller, for example).

    Selling principles is not relevant in an electoral campaign if the candidate is unstable and unsuited for the electorate. Castle would have (poorly) advanced the conservative cause from his position (one of 100 is a big deal when the state is Democratic) and Coons will actively oppose it.

  • I haven’t sorted through the allegations to see which are true. I’ll say this, in general: there’s always a risk going with inexperience. This is why sports have farm teams, and political parties are active at the local level (because let’s be honest, most issues that the city comptroller has to deal with aren’t found in the D or R platform).

    The Republicans haven’t been building up a good farm team. A lot of them turned out to be sleeping with staffers. There’s the occasional Christie or Jindal, sure, but on another thread where potential 2012 presidential candidates were being discussed, I was really struck by the weakness of the Republican bench (mixed sports metaphors, I know).

  • I’m torn between the thought of taking the Senate with Castle vs. sticking with a conservative and potentially not taking the Senate. In the end I have a very hard time with someone like Castle who is essentially a liberal Democrat with an (R) after his name and am glad he went down.

    Given that there are plenty of politicians out there who can’t pass the decency test (look, Rangal just won his primary challange) I think the GOP should move forward and support her.

  • Yeah, what Michael Denton said.

    How any pro-life Catholic could justify a vote for Mike Castle is completely beyond me, unless, of course, the goal is merely to elect Republicans.

    Mike Castle is a Catholic who, despite claiming membership in the Catholic Church as well as the party that touts itself as pro-life, has a 100% NARAL rating, a 0 rating from National Right to Life, and is (at least until January, heh!) probably the biggest supporter and sponsor of embryonic stem cell research legislation in Congress.

    From a conservative (but not necessarily social conservative) perspective, he supports cap & tax, gun control, restrictions on political speech (see Disclose Act), etc., etc. As Don notes, Castle is the archetype of the RINO.

    To support Castle would be to say that there is no Republican who is too anti-life and/or too far to the left as to be undeserving of our vote. Our call is to vote our values, not vote for the most electable person with an “R” next to his name.

  • I agree with jonathanjones.

    DE will now elect a Dem Senator (RCP just switched DE from red to blue and they are right), and given CO’s baggage it is probably for the best.

    I just don’t understand the logic of some commentators. Yes, I’d rather have a true conservative than a moderate. But I’d also rather have a moderate than a liberal. It stands to reason that it makes sense to support the conservative over the moderate in the primary only if you think he or she has a legitimate shot to beat the liberal Dem. This is especially true in the US Senate where key votes usually are decided on party lines.

    The Tea Party has produced some good candidates, and they will show well; CO was not a good candidate and she will lose badly. Oh well.

  • I’m not sure that Castle was even a moderate. Sounds like he was about as liberal as they come.

  • Phillip,
    Even if that is true studies confirm that party matters greatly on key Senate votes. A liberal GOP Senator will vote more conservative than a liberal Dem Senator. Politics is a practical game. Purists lose. The constitutions framers knew that and anticipated compromises born of checks and balances. And no one understood it better than RWR.

  • Its a practical game I agree. Which is why I disagree with a lot of Catholic bloggers who insist on purity. But who is to know if Castle wouldn’t pull a Specter, or a Jeffords and change parties. Even more simply, who is to know if he would pull a Snowe or Collins. Studies say what a population will do, not what an individual will do.

    But Castle’s votes on abortion, stem cell research etc lead one to consider one’s vote beyond a practical level.

  • Fair enough, but a couple points:

    First, as odious as Specter and Jeffords are their desirablity in the Senate can only be judged in comparison to the alternatives, which is true also of Castle.

    Second, as much as I view abortion as by far the most important policy issue of our time, I do not think it is sensible (let alone morally required) to vote for a pro-lifer destined to lose over a pro-abort who could win if that pro-abort is likely to be less damaging than his ultimate opponent. A GOP pro-choice Senator is less likely to obstruct pro-life judicial nominees than a Dem pro-choice Senator.

    In the end, these are prudential decisions of course. And I certainly share one’s frustration with RINOs, especially pro-choice RINOs. But we can’t let those frustrations allow us to play our hand poorly. I suspect that many good people did just that in this case. I wish the Tea Party had been able to launch a better candidate.

  • I don’t know what the alternatives were to Spector and Jeffords as I’m still not sure what there were to Castle (or O’Donnell for that matter.) Perhaps there are some reading who know Delaware politics.

    But if there are no good alternatives then, as you say, we are stuck with prudential judgment. I also agree one is not obliged to vote for a pro-lfe candidate that has no chance of winning and take in the calculus of supporting a Republican majority that will be more pro-lfe than a Dem. majority. As I’ve said I’ve disagreed with Catholic bloggers who hold such can’t be done. I accept your point of view in this regard. I just don’t agree with it in this case.

    As far as not voting to block a pro-life judicial nominee, that’s moot at this point. There won’t be any. At least not until 2013. And perhaps by then we could have secured a Republican majority that is truly conservative.

  • Yes, I’d rather have a true conservative than a moderate. But I’d also rather have a moderate than a liberal.

    That, I think, is what’s up for debate. Conservatives have been told for years that moderates are better when quite frankly most of them are only marginally distinguishable from Democratic counterparts and worse on most issues than Blue dog Democrats. Yes, a moderate might be better than a liberal but if a moderate is only slightly better than the liberal it makes far less sense to abandon the opportunity to vote for a person who truly represents you view (i.e. the possible gain is slim in moderate whereas the potential in the conservative is great).

    It’s not puritanical or a lack of prudence; it’s a different assessment of the gains moderates have given us. From my perspective and many others, that’s not been much, especially as one who cares primarily about abortion and I’d rather have my views represented.

    And if Castle is such a great candidate, why the heck couldn’t he beat O’Donnell?

  • Conservatives have been told for years that moderates are better when quite frankly most of them are only marginally distinguishable from Democratic counterparts and worse on most issues than Blue dog Democrats.

    See Ehrlich, Robert L., Jr.

  • ” I wish the Tea Party had been able to launch a better candidate.”

    Exactly. And if she has ethical problems are we suppose to go oh well she is pro life?

    Problematic to say the least

  • “Castle would have (poorly) advanced the conservative cause from his position (one of 100 is a big deal when the state is Democratic) and Coons will actively oppose it.”

    Plus coons could have that seat forever. Castle was 71. Chances are he would not have ran again in 6 years

  • “It’s not puritanical or a lack of prudence; it’s a different assessment of the gains moderates have given us. From my perspective and many others, that’s not been much, especially as one who cares primarily about abortion and I’d rather have my views represented. ”

    You will never get gains in the first place if you don’t have majority controls of the committees.That is just the fact.

  • Agreed on all counts, Jh. Overall I have been pleased by the Tea Party alternative (i.e., anti-establishment) candidates. But I’m afraid this is not electable, which is probably for the best given her embarrassment potential.

  • Committees mean squat if they don’t have the votes on the floor.

  • Michael,
    But the fact is that party matters when it comes to votes on the floor. When a representative changes parties his voting record changes promptly and considerably, even if his views obviously have not.

  • I think that is characteristic of the last 15 years, when party caucuses have been more uniform than they were previously (and refers to the pressures on legislators, not executives).

  • Agreed on both counts, though party discipline has always been a material factor on important votes. And I agree without reservation that this phenomenon is largey irrelevant to executive branch offices.

  • The arguments put forward here in favor of Castle would also apply if he were running in the General Election against a moderate pro-life, pro-2nd amendment Democrat.

    I mean, if the majority is all that matters, why not support support the pro-abort, radically pro-ESCR, anti-gun, pro-cap-and-tax “Catholic” RINO over the pro-life moderate Democrat?

    Again, it all seems to come down to voting for the “R”. Well, I don’t buy it anymore. I’ve been sold that bill of goods for far too long and with far too few REAL results to play the part of the pro-GOP-at-any-cost lemming.

    I won’t be going over the cliff for Mike Frickin’ Castle, believe you me.

  • But who is to know if Castle wouldn’t pull a Specter, or a Jeffords and change parties.

    Spector was a former Democrat with a long history of buffoonish and histrionic behavior. Jeffords changed parties due to a dispute over dairy subsidies or some such. You could investigate Castle’s history to see if these sort of antecedents were present.

  • Not true, Jay. The argument being put forward is that a liberal Republican is better than a liberal Democrat, and that therefore it is sensible to vote for a liberal Republican who can defeat a liberal Democrat in the general election over a conservative Republican who cannot defeat the liberal Dem in the general election. No one is suggesting that it is better to vote for a liberal pro-choice Republican over a moderate pro-life Democrat should such a circumstance actually present itself. I regret if any of my comments suggested otherwise, but I think a fair reading of them in the context of the exchange is pretty clear.

  • I don’t think that is what you are saying, Mike.

    But many (most?) of the arguments in favor of Castle have focused on the GOP effort to regain majority status. If regaining majority status is the goal of electing Castle, then, yes, it does seem to be an argument in favor of electing him over any Democrat.

    But given Castle’s horrific record on virtually every issue that matters most to me, I don’t think I’d vote for him under any circumstances, even if it meant the seat went to a leftist (for whom I wouldn’t vote either).

  • And Jay, to be clear. The point I was making (and I think Art and jh were largely supporting) is that the argument in favor of supporting a conservative Republican over a liberal Republican in a primary election when one believes that the conservative has little or no chance of defeating the liberal Dem in the general election while the liberal has a good chance of defeating the liberal Dem is weak insomuch as it rests on the assumption that the liberal Dem and liberal Repub are functionally equivalent, which is empirically very unlikely to be the case. My apologies for the run-on sentence.

  • Let me amend my previous comment: I KNOW I’d never vote for Mike Castle under any circumstances. Period.

  • Jay, I have re-read my posts and am surprised that you think I’m saying anything different than what I posted in the comment to which you responded. Puzzling really.

  • AD,

    If Jeffords could go over dairy subsidies I don’t see why Castle couldn’t go over being defied about abortion, stem-cell research or any other thing.

    I do not think the psychological profiles of a Spector or Jeffords are necessary precursors for Castle causing problems.

  • The more interesting question for me is whether I’d support a pro-life Dem over a a pro-choice Republican. The likely answer is yes, but this too is a prudential decision since the empirical evidence suggests that legislators usually discard their personal beliefs in favor of party unity when their vote is critical. One can of course simply say that this is just partisanship masquerading as prudence, and it could be in some cases. But not for me.

  • Mike,

    I just told you that I didn’t think that was what you were saying, so I’m not sure what you find puzzling. In other words, I was agreeing with you that you were NOT arguing the GOP majority card, but that others were.

    As for whether the liberal Dem and the liberal Repub are functionally equivalent, I am of the opinion that the liberal Repub is actually worse because he gives bipartisan cover to such mischief as ESCR, cap & tax, and the Disclose Act.

    I mean, seriously, people should look up Castle’s role in sponsoring ESCR legislation and being one of the most vocal critics of Bush’s executive order and subsequent vetoes of ESCR legislation. If ESCR (not to mention abortion) is really what we and the Church claim that it is, I just could never in good conscience vote for such a person. Especially one claiming to be a Catholic.

    It’s just simply not enough to me that he will be a vote for Mitch McConnell (cough, cough) as majority leader. And, again, Mike, I don’t believe that is what you are arguing either.

  • Oh, I understand now, Jay, thanks. I took “I don’t think that is what you are saying” as disagreeing with my immediately prior comment in which I took issue with your interpretation of prior comments as making arguments that would apply in the context of a choice between a pro-life Dem and and a pro-choice Repub. I see now that I simply misunderstood you.

    I have no specific quarrel with you at all re Castle. Your observation about “bipartisan cover for mischief” is certainly a fair prudential consideration, even though I think I would ordinarily give it less weight than you.

    In the end it does seem to me that the case for opposing Castle may be stronger than the case for supporting CO.

  • Jay,

    You are completely right about Castle. The difficulty, however, is that:

    1). He (very likely) would have won.
    2). His “moderate” stance has fit Delaware for some time now.
    3). This is a lot better than the activist leftist soon to win this seat.

    Tea Party people:
    Advocate for better candidates. O’Donnell is a terrible one, and she’s going to lose by double digits.

  • Jonathan,

    I agree that the tea party folks need to field some better candidates. I’m not an O’Donnell defender in the least.

    But I also believe that Ed Morrissey (as quoted above by Don) raises a valid point that, in the context of the present national mood, the GOP establishment in Delaware couldn’t come up with anything better than a 70+ year old retread who’s been in public office for 45 years. In a year when conservatives are expected to make big gains, the Delaware GOP didn’t even TRY to advance the ball by choosing someone more center-right:

    <em"They stuck with a liberal, establishment candidate in a cycle where liberals and establishment figures are uniquely unpopular. Had the Republican leadership been in touch with Delaware Republican voters, they might have found a more suitable candidate for the popular mood, and would not have had to deal with Christine O’Donnell and her outsider bid. They have no one to blame but themselves."

  • the GOP establishment in Delaware couldn’t come up with anything better than a 70+ year old retread who’s been in public office for 45 years…. the Delaware GOP didn’t even TRY to advance the ball…

    Welcome to New York.

  • Yeah, if Castle really was the only thing standing between the GOP and the majority, then they deserve to sit in the minority for another 2 years. If it’s that important, but out the effort to find a candidate who isn’t going to get smoked by someone as “nutty” as Rove put it as O’donnell.

  • People forget that Castle, for all his pro-abort tendencies, at the very least supports the PBA ban, parental notification, and judges that would overturn ROE. That makes him better than Biden by a notch, and certainly better than Coons.

    O’Donnell’s website right now is simply a donation page; she is doing everything she can to prove all of her critics right. I really don’t trust her. Sorry.

  • She has raised over half a million since last night. Harry Reid’s “pet” is in for the fight of his life.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/09/15/harry-reid-chris-coons-is-my-pet/

  • Pace Richard Brautigan, “Palin Drives on Deep into Egypt.” Her influence is a phenomenon. Palin attracts flawed candidates who dislike making a deal with the Devil. She plays chess while the establishment plays checkers.

    I grow weary of comments that a given candidate does not measure up to the moral and intellectual excellence expected of politicians. If everything said about O’Donnell and about Palin are correct, they would rank somewhere in the top quartile of American political figures. It’s a pretty sorry bunch, American politicians.

  • The complaint about Miss O’Donnell is that she shows evidence of being an incompetent human being. Gov. Palin has been for 22 years married to a man she’s been appended to since high school, has five children, and a dozen years under her belt as a public executive. Generically incompetent she is not. As for the Governor’s critics, they may have a reasonable point her or there, but the disjunction between their assessment of her and their assessment of the President suggests they equate intellectuality with intelligence and confound articulateness with intelligence.

  • Agree with AD. People who comment on blogs often fancy themselves as intellectuals and favor candidates who appear intellectual. But intellectualism is not the same as intelligence. Palin is hardly the ideal presidential candidate, but the argument that she is less fit than the person who now occupies that post just doesn’t wash.

  • You will never get gains in the first place if you don’t have majority controls of the committees.That is just the fact.

    And you won’t get more coservative candidates if you keep voting for more moderate ones. That is also a fact. So what to do?

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Father Thomas Ewing Sherman

Wednesday, September 15, AD 2010

Abraham Lincoln said that “A House divided against itself cannot stand”.  Thomas Ewing Sherman was born into a House divided by religion on  October 12, 1856.  He was the son of William Tecumseh Sherman, at the time an obscure former officer, and Ellen Ewing Sherman.  Ellen Sherman was a devout Catholic, and, I think, a saint.  She constantly did good works and was a champion of the Church her entire life.  Among her many activities was the foundation of the Catholic Indian Missionary Association, and a prominent role in the Golden Jubilee celebrations in the US of the reign of Pio Nono in 1877 for which she received the personal thanks of the Pope.

William Tecumseh Sherman attended mass with his family when he was at home prior to the Civil War, but ceased doing so during the War.  He and Ellen had been raised together, Ellen’s father, Thomas Ewing, a Senator from Ohio, taking the orphan “Cump” Sherman into his home after the death of Sherman’s father, an Ohio Supreme Court justice, in 1829.  The Ewings were devout Catholics, although Thomas would not be baptized into the Faith until just before his death after decades of attending mass, and “Cump” was baptized a Catholic while living with them.  Sherman’s religious views are often described as agnostic but that is an oversimplification.  I think he basically believed in God, but he was skeptical of organized religion and especially the Catholic Church.  However, he had no objection to Ellen raising all of their children as Catholics, but over the years the religious tension between Sherman and his wife grew. 

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16 Responses to Father Thomas Ewing Sherman

  • Ah a interesting Man. For those that want to visit his grave if you happen to be on I-49 or near Lafayette Grand Couteau ( a beautiful historic liite Town with a ton of Great Catholic history) is just off the Intersate. You can get to his grave in minutes

  • I wonder if his nervous breakdown was partially genetic, given his father’s problems.

    Another great piece, Donald.

  • Thank you Dale. The same thought occurred to me, with both father and son touched with brilliance and madness.

  • “Ellen Sherman was a devout Catholic, and, I think, a saint.”

    Too bad her husband was a war criminal.

    “William Tecumseh Sherman attended mass with his family when he was at home prior to the Civil War, but ceased doing so during the war.”

    Too bad. Maybe if he had kept it up he wouldn’t have been a war criminal.

    That’s not just Southern sour grapes. I am a great admirer of men like Joshua Chamberlain and George Thomas (my favorite Union general). I’ll even give Grant his due, mostly for his magnanimity at Appomattox. Sherman and Sheridan? Not so much.

  • No he wasn’t a war criminal Jay. As for Grant’s magnamity at Appomattox, Sherman was so magnanimous when Joe Johnston surrendered his army in North Carolina that Johnston became his life long friend and would not tolerate a word being said against Sherman in his presense.

    At Sherman’s funeral in 1891 Johnston stood bareheaded as one of Sherman’s pallbearers in the raw New York February weather. When it was suggested to him that he put on his hat due to the inclement weather, Johnston declined. “If I were in his place and he standing here in mine, he would not put on his hat.” Johnston caught pneumonia and died a few weeks later. Johnston’s grand gesture cost him his life, something I am sure would not have caused Johnston to alter what he did one iota, if he could have foretold the outcome of the final honor he paid to his adversary and friend.

  • Glad his son could infinitely repair the moral evil perpetrated by his, yes, war criminal father… an excellent example that there is no such thing as “fate” or genetic determinism, and every soul is free to choose the good and the right.

    The needless reduction by bombing of Atlanta (a grim foreshadowing of the deliberate destruction of civilian targets in WWII, e.g., Dresden, London, Hiroshima, Nagasaki); the crimes condoned by his command during the March to the Sea; the abduction and deportation of 400 women for the “crime” of weaving tents at a Georgia cotton mill, etc. etc.

    Sorry, but Sherman was certainly the father of the modern and immoral concept of total war which denied the distinction between combatant and non-combatant which had carefully developed over the centuries as part of the Christian just war doctrine.

  • Rubbish Tom, from start to finish. I will merely restate what I have written on my other blog Almost Chosen People:

    “People who make that accusation TC usually have a shocking lack of knowledge of military history. Nothing that Sherman and his army did on the March to the Sea was unusual for a military campaign before his time, except that mass killing of civilians was not involved.

    Here is Sherman’s Special Field Order 120:

    “Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Kingston, Georgia, November 9, 1864

    I. For the purpose of military operations, this army is divided into two wings viz.: The right wing, Major-General O. O. Howard commanding, composed of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps; the left wing, Major-General H. W. Slocum commanding, composed of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps.

    II. The habitual order of march will be, wherever practicable, by four roads, as nearly parallel as possible, and converging at points hereafter to be indicated in orders. The cavalry, Brigadier – General Kilpatrick commanding, will receive special orders from the commander-in-chief.

    III. There will be no general train of supplies, but each corps will have its ammunition-train and provision-train, distributed habitually as follows: Behind each regiment should follow one wagon and one ambulance; behind each brigade should follow a due proportion of ammunition – wagons, provision-wagons, and ambulances. In case of danger, each corps commander should change this order of march, by having his advance and rear brigades unencumbered by wheels. The separate columns will start habitually at 7 a.m., and make about fifteen miles per day, unless otherwise fixed in orders.

    IV. The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party, under the command of one or more discreet officers, who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command, aiming at all times to keep in the wagons at least ten day’s provisions for the command and three days’ forage. Soldiers must not enter the dwellings of the inhabitants, or commit any trespass, but during a halt or a camp they may be permitted to gather turnips, potatoes, and other vegetables, and to drive in stock of their camp. To regular foraging parties must be instructed the gathering of provisions and forage at any distance from the road traveled.

    V. To army corps commanders alone is intrusted the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins, &c., and for them this general principle is laid down: In districts and neighborhoods where the army is unmolested no destruction of such property should be permitted; but should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility.

    VI. As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit, discriminating, however, between the rich, who are usually hostile, and the poor or industrious, usually neutral or friendly. Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or bridges. In all foraging, of whatever kind, the parties engaged will refrain from abusive or threatening language, and may, where the officer in command thinks proper, give written certificates of the facts, but no receipts, and they will endeavor to leave with each family a reasonable portion for their maintenance.

    VII. Negroes who are able-bodied and can be of service to the several columns may be taken along, but each army commander will bear in mind that the question of supplies is a very important one and that his first duty is to see to them who bear arms.

    – William T. Sherman, Military Division of the Mississippi Special Field Order 120, November 9, 1864?

    Southerners, understandably from their point of view, have viewed Sherman as the Devil Incarnate for generations. However, there was nothing unusual in regard to his orders in general military history, or in American military history. Considering this as a precursor of the Total War of the 20th century is attributable to the fact that in our time people tend to substitute hyperbole and passion for knowledge of what is under discussion.”

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/marching-through-georgia/

    A good article on the myth of Sherman as some pre-cursor of Total War is linked below:

    http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/grimsley1/myth/myth.htm

  • As with all discussions of Sherman and Sheridan, I recommend a review of the Lieber Code.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/lieber.asp

    Francis Lieber’s work was a codification of the laws of war as they existed at the time, and involved few, if any, innovations. The destruction of an armed enemy’s civilian property was clearly contemplated an an accepted part of warfare at that time. It would be limited and finally banned over the next few decades, just as slavery was written out of legitimacy.

    I don’t endorse or trumpet the morality of certain actions of some of the Union forces during the war, but “rubbish” is a lot nicer term than I’d use for analogizing the March to the Sea to Hiroshima or Dresden. Equating the incineration of property to the incineration of human beings trivializes the latter.

  • Well, under the Catholic just war doctrine, most recently embodied in the Catholic Catechism, what Sherman did was a violation of just war principles, or precisely, jus in bello.

    “Actions which are forbidden, and which constitute morally unlawful orders that may not be followed, include:

    – attacks against, and mistreatment of, non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners…

    – indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.”

    The destruction of Atlanta alone violated these principles, and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, such as cotton mills, and the forcible seizure and deportation of their civilian employees, certainly violates these principles.

    That this practice may appear mild vs. subsequent war crimes in the 20th century, or that these offenses were supposedly common practice, is irrelevant.

  • Thank you Dale. Tomorrow on Almost Chosen People I am doing a post on Washington’s Instructions to Sullivan prior to the campaign against the Iroquois in 1779. Some historians doubt that Washington acquired his Iroquois nickname of Town Burner as a result of that campaign, but certainly it was an appropriate nickname from the Irquois point of view following that campaign.

  • “That this practice may appear mild vs. subsequent war crimes in the 20th century, or that these offenses were supposedly common practice, is irrelevant.”

    Rubbish Tom. You as a prosecutor should know better. What Sherman did was accepted military practice of his time. That is the only standard applicable when throwing out a term like “war criminal”.

  • Oh, and the destruction of Atlanta is what presages Dresden, not the subsequent march to the sea. “I peremptorily required that all the citizens and families resident in Atlanta should go away, giving to each the option to go south or north, as their interests or feelings dictated. I was resolved to make Atlanta a pure military garrison or depot, with no civil population to influence military measures.”
    Then on Nov. 15, 1864 Sherman simply burned the town to the ground, destroying home, factories, churches, and shops.

    Why? He didn’t want a hostile civilian population in his rear as he began his notorious March to the Sea.

    Sorry, but deliberate destruction of private homes and businesses, and forcible depopulation and deportation of entire civilian populations is just flat out immoral and criminal, and can in no way be justified by reference to any Christian principles of just warfare.

  • My point of reference is not what was acceptable practice at the time (while not conceding that the Federal practice of deliberate destruction of civilian property and deportations was accepted practice), but whether what was done is justifiable by any recognized Christian principle of just war.

  • Wrong Tom. Sherman gave his reasons for evacuating the civilian population of Atanta: “My real reasons for this step were, we want all the houses of Atlanta for military storage and occupation. We want to contract the lines of defenses so as to diminish the garrison to the limit necessary to defend its narrow and vital parts instead of embracing, as the lines now do, the vast suburbs. This contraction of the lines, with the necessary citadels and redoubts, will make it necessary to destroy the very houses used by families as residences. Atlanta is a fortified town, was stubbornly defended and fairly captured. As captors we have a right to it. The residence here of a poor population would compel us sooner or later to feed them or see them starve under our eyes. The residence here of the families of our enemies would be a temptation and a means to keep up a correspondence dangerous and hurtful to our cause, and a civil population calls for provost guards, and absorbs the attention of officers in listening to everlasting complaints and special grievances that are not military.” Sherman provided food and transportation to civilians who went to Tennessee, Kentucky and points North under Union control. Civilians who wanted to go South he provided transportation up to Hood’s army.

    The acrimonious correspondence between Sherman and Hood over this may be read here.

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/sherman-hood-correspondence/

    Sherman evacuated the civilian population of Atlanta prior to deciding upon the March. When he decided upon the March in November, there were almost no civilians in Atlanta except civilian looters. Sherman burned Atlanta so that Hood’s Army could not use it as a fortified base. Sherman ordered that no Churches, hospitals or private houses were to be burned, although some private homes were burned by civilian looters. About 37% of the town was burned. After Hood launched his ill-fated invasion of Tennessee, civilians began returning to Atlanta, and by the end of the War the civilian population was up to pre-Atlanta campaign levels.

    Sherman’s decisions were completely legitimate actions of war, as any familiarity with military history would indicate.

  • Ok, I have not studied this indepth but I am interested in this because I am a Southerner and I was a cadet at West Point, and I am a Catholic convert. I think Sherman was pretty miserable about what he believed his duty required of him as a soldier and commander in the Civil War, and I think that might have been what stood between him and a more public expression of faith in God. I think he was a good man at heart, a principled man, but a man to whom a tragic duty fell and when it did he saw very clearly the brutal path necessary for a successful end and outcome to the war. I also believe he was pretty disgusted by the whole thing, by the war, by his own actions- but would see it to the finish because it was his duty- and he was a man of tenacity. Who knows but maybe that up close misery made anything idealistic about God’s goodness, mercy, and love hard to swallow.You know there is never a civil war that does not devastate all participants so it’s not like anyone who lived through that could walk away feeling good about any of it. I think Sherman found his own peace in life, but the chasm in his understanding gouged out by his experience might have made his family’s faith life foreign to him- and who knows how much his ‘saintly’ wife was able or willing to help him with that? And then later when his son cracks- is it possible that his sorrow was the same kind- maybe he could not find a path of reconciliation between something in himself and the idealism inherent in our understanding of our faith or in its expression- until the time when God’s grace reached him in a critical place/plane. I am guessing, but it’s possible. In any case these men were heroic in so many ways, both of them.

Fides et Ratio

Tuesday, September 14, AD 2010

Today is the anniversary of what might be John Paul II’s most important encyclical, Fides et ratio. Although I have not the time to give it a full treatment, if you have not read it I strongly urge you to do so as soon as possible. Catholicism’s eager embrace of reason & philosophy not only sets it apart from most other religions but also positions it to best respond to the philosophical failures that are hurting the modern world. If the modern world is to find some redemption, it will be because these words are heeded:

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves

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5 Responses to Fides et Ratio

  • I’d welcome — personally and professionally — any thoughts on how we might facilitate the “incarnation” of papal documents amongst the masses; I’ve got a few ideas, but I’d love to hear any thoughts my fellow contributors and commentators might have.

  • I think on Catholic social teaching as a whole, the best thing is to start referencing them in homilies. If the priests act as if Catholic teaching is important, the faithful will follow suit. Furthermore, I think reading clubs or such that go over the encyclical would be great to getting adults caught up; children should get a LOT more exposure to them in religion class/ccd.

    However, I don’t know if there’s anything the Vatican can do to get them respected by the masses-and that shouldn’t be the focus yet. Let’s get the Catholics to care before we start worrying about the non-Catholics.

  • I meant the Catholic masses, Michael… most of them — as you know — are just as clueless as the non-Catholics, much to our chagrin.

    Reading groups are a good idea, but the problem there is that most Catholics are afraid of even *trying*… I think the term “encyclical” must somehow be intimidating. 🙂

    My current thought: start a reading group that emphasizes incarnation, i.e. not just understanding the text intellectually, but embodying it in our lives. And the next crucial step: the participants who value the group need to step up and *invite* others to come! We Catholics aren’t very good at that.

  • I wasn’t sure which masses you were referring to! lol

    Well, most Catholics are afraid of trying-by themselves. They’re intimidated by the philosophy, whatever. I think they can have some success if led by the priest though after the priest builds up some trust in the parish. Even if people are just showing up to hear the priest talk and explain, that’ll do some good.

    That said, I think Catholics could probably use more philosophy in their training so they’re not so afraid of encyclicals.

    And you’re definitely right; the groups need to emphasize that this isn’t just book learning; this is helpful information for how to better live out our lives as we strive for holiness.

  • Agreed, with this caveat: I think those of us who are capable must take the lead; we need to get the approval/permission/endorsement of our pastor, but chances are, he’d be *thrilled* to have us offer something like this… the guys are stretched pretty thin these days, and as much as I’d love to have them doing the actual teaching, I’ll settle for them letting competent laity doing it if he can’t.

And Your Little Dog, Too!

Tuesday, September 14, AD 2010

Hands down the most entertaining political ad I’ve seen this year.  John Dennis has the well-nigh hopeless task of defeating the Lying Worthless Political Hack, a\k\a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House.  In Pelosi’s San Francisco District Che Guevara would probably be deemed to be a political moderate, but Dennis is running a feisty campaign nonetheless.  Here is his website.  He might be worth tossing a few dollars to if only as a salute for the entertainment value he is providing.

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9 Responses to And Your Little Dog, Too!

  • Genius – I had to rewatch that ad a few times because I kept laughing! The IRS flying monkeys is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time! I wish I lived in Frisco just so I could vote for him!

  • Rumor has it that she may retire in 2012 after this election.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/75233

    Speaking of “retirement”, a Politico reporter with high connections within the Democratic Party and the White House has it on good authority that Obama is not going to run in 2012 for re-election. Heard it on the news and I can’t find it online yet.

  • Tito:

    I doubt that about Obama. He lives for the campaign; he’s been campaigning for 2012 since before the 2008 election was decided. The only way I could see it is if Obama pulled an Edwin Edwards-drop out of the election, hand your opponent a hallow victory (i.e. no mandate for change), and then return in four years after the opponent fails to reclaim power. If Obama calculates that he wasn’t win 2012 but that he could smoke Palin in 2016, then he might-but it seems a stretch (though I would love anything that prevents him from being in the office 858 days, 22 hours, 12 minutes, and 9 seconds from now-yes, I have a countdown clock on my desktop. Sue me.)

  • I don’t see it either, but the political ground is trending toward that possibility.

    LBJ quit when he read the political tee-leaves knowing full well he didn’t have a chance in hell to win.

  • Found it:

    A prominent insider of the Democratic Party is saying:

    “…the biggest fear of some of those close to him (Obama) is that he (Obama) might not really want to go on in 2012, that he (Obama) might not really care.”

    Here is the article:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42100.html

  • Roger Simon and Politico are good, but not infallible. The only way I foresee Obama not running in 2012 is if the GOP gets control of both houses of Congress AND manages not to mess anything up too badly in the following 2 years. A lot can happen in 2 years and one must never underestimate the ability of EITHER party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • The violence in this video is astonishing and stems from a Calvinistic outlook and a preference for the rich. Everyone knows that Nancy is a great Catholic because she knows(unlike some bloggers) that Catholics pray to saints.

  • I don’t think Obama cares about getting re-elected, I believe he is George Soro’s little flying monkey and all they care about is the destruction of the American Way. He seems to be concerned about getting the most damage done in the shortest amount of time.
    This video is great, very well done and very funny!

The Imam and the Truther

Tuesday, September 14, AD 2010

Hattip to Andy McCarthy at National Review Online. A very close associate of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the guiding force behind the Ground Zero Mosque and who I have designated the Flim Flam Imam, is a 911 Truther according to Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism:

Faiz Khan, a physician who claims to have been a first responder after the September 11 attacks, is a founding member of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth and is on the advisory board of the Muslims for 9/11 Truth. In an essay on the Alliance’s website, he argued that “the prime factor for the success of the criminal mission known as 9/11 did not come from the quarter known as ‘militant Islam’ although the phenomenon known as ‘militant Islamic networks’ may have played a partial role, or even a less than partial role – perhaps the role of patsy and scapegoat.”…

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5 Responses to The Imam and the Truther

  • A great deal of mental energy (but not a lot of sense) is devoted by these characters to shifting responsibility from perpetrators to the United States Government. Because they feel an affinity for the perpetrators.

  • Well, he’s not completely off-base about the sleazeballs that occupy the Saudi and American positions of power.

    That the US government is behind 9/11 is nuts. That certain elements within our govenrment took advantage of the situation to push their agenda, well, that’s politics.

  • Once you believe in the lie that is Islam, it’s a very short journey to believe in Trutherism. Is there any doubt that Dr. Khan doubts the Holocaust? The picture of Khan at the podium implies there are people willing to give this man a forum. This is the true tragedy.

  • Dr. Khan is a nutcase and should be ignored.

  • Dr. Khan is a nutcase and should be exposed. So should his connections, esp. to this Flim Flam Imam who claims to be oh-so-sensible.

Are you ready for Pope Benedict's next gig?

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

Preparing for Pope Benedict’s journey to England and Scotland later this week, Catholic bishops have likened the Pope to the headline act at a series of gigs in a ‘cringe-worthy’ guide, exposing the Church to new heights of ridicule.

The Daily Mail reports (September 12, 2010):

In a list of ‘useful terms’ in the official booklet, the three open-air Papal masses – the most solemn occasions of the historic trip – are referred to as ‘shows’ or ‘gigs’, terms normally associated with rock concerts.The document also compares the clergy who organise services – known as liturgists – to ‘performers’ or ‘artists’ …

The unusual glossary raises fresh questions over the handling of Pope Benedict XVI’s four-day visit, which starts on Thursday and has already been mired in controversy.

The Church is distributing thousands of copies of the glossy, eight-page booklet produced by the Papal Visit Team, overseen by Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols. Its cover carries the official slogan of the visit – the first to Britain since 1982 – Heart Speaks Unto Heart.

Insiders said the pamphlet is aimed at workers from companies arranging events, police officers, broadcasters and journalists who may not be Catholics and are unsure about the Church’s rituals and beliefs.

Thomas Peters (The American Papist) puts the Bishop’s phrasing in the most charitable light:

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8 Responses to Are you ready for Pope Benedict's next gig?

  • I see it as condescending to the press

    And? The press has thought that the pope wore green to show his support for environmental causes. People attacking the papal visit team forget the endless bounds of stupidity and ignorance shown by the press. While “gig” & “headline act” might be a stretch, it’s not unthinkable and the rest of the terms I believe I’ve seen used before in previous coverage of catholic events.

  • Michael,

    The press has displayed abominable ignorance at times. There’s no denying it. But this should be seen as an opportunity to lift up and educate. Instead of providing a brief-but-substantial dictionary of Catholic terminology, the Bishops’ take the opposite approach by ‘dumbing down’ the language.

    Treating the readership as if they were in elementary school only encourages this ignorance. An elementary paper like USA Today could have done a better job.

  • Yeah, this is tough. Probably better off having said nothing. The real scandal in my mind is that too many Catholics seem to think of the sacred items in the list like the “similar terms”.

  • I hope he is “taken care of”….so to speak.

  • And by taken care of, I mean given great accomodations!!!

  • “it’s hard to see how this type of glossary can be received as anything other than an insult to the reader”.

    I don’t find it hard at all: this is an insult to the Eucharist and to the Mass. This is not an “explaining” of anything to anyone, this is a willed banalisation of the sacred for the sake of appearing “hip” and “connected”.

    I also suspect that those who have thought this genial initiative have no clear idea of what a Mass or what the Eucharist is. If they had had it, they would have never dared to make such comparisons.

    M

  • Apparently, we’re wrong. It’s not to the press, it’s the people producing the Papal Event-people for whom “gig” and “headline act” are common usages. This appears to be a hatchet job.

    See Thomas Peters who has a statement from the Papal Visit team and the document in full: http://catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=10241

  • I still can’t see your argument, Denton.

    The last page of the document is delirious even following the pages of the documents.

    No one in his right mind would ever dare to make any comparison whatever between a Mass and a “Gig”, and say that for a non-catholic the one may have the merest resemblance to the other.

    No one has ever tought or said that the last page is everything there is in the document, it is not about that.

    As for the affirmation that there is no intention of being patronising, this is more than risible. The explanations made in the previous pages make the last page even more offensive for a journalist, not less.

    The last page could have been cut out entirely, and no one would have missed it. But no, the “see, my Mass is a kind of gig” part had to be inserted.

    M

TAC College Football Rankings: Week 2

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

Last week we debuted our fearless college rankings here at TAC. This week saw chaos in the middle and back as our #11, 12, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, and 24 teams all lost. Some of the chaos is surely due to this man:

The first lesson we need to learn is that if we keep ignoring the Federalist Papers, Madison will strike down our football teams. The other lesson is that it’s great to not be an ACC fan.

This week the rankings take on two new additions: our own Dave Hartline and Evangelical Catholicism’s M.J. Andrew. If you’re a Catholic blogger, and you’re interested in writing rankings, shoot me an email at michaelrdenton”at” gmail. com. Let’s see those rankings now, shall we?

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32 Responses to TAC College Football Rankings: Week 2

  • Tito, sir, you are a gentlemen. Gig ’em!

  • #25 I thought Air Force was one of the more interesting wins that seemed to go under the radar this weekend. COming off their Last season they could very well be legit

    #24 Fresno – I agree why not

    #22 WV I agree skeptical but it was one those game. 40th Annv of Marshal Plane Crash,Marshal feeling the heat to win because of the politics of keeping game going.

    #19 Miami(Fl) Your being generous

    #14 Arkansas- ULM did not play a game before this one so there was no game film. Also ULM has New Coach, so unknowns for Arky. Further believe it or not ULM has played them close before. So we shall see this week

    #13 Wisconsin Yall are on Crack. At the very least I would Wis change places with S.C

    #11 LSU I WISH!! The QB situation is just too unstable now

    #7 Oklahoma- Agree. Jimbo was running the show at Florida State last year. Why would this year be different. SO we don’t learn much

    #6 Nebraska I am a believer too

    #1 Alabama Yack Yack Yack!! but at this point true

  • JH:

    LSU is so high b/cit’s hard to figure out who’s ahead. 1-7 looks pretty good, 8-10 have some history of getting good later, but after that it’s a crapshoot between 11-20 and after 20 you might as well stop the ballot.

    I really don’t know what to do with Wisconsin, myself. They could be great; could suck. As for SCAR, a win over Georgia isn’t what it once was, and SCAR has had a problem with being a flash in the pan. We’ll see if they can keep it up, and if so they’ll rise.

  • I guess I just see SC wins more quality than Wisconsin. Of course with South Carolina one has a feeling that Garcia could implode at any moment

  • JH,

    If Air Force wins this week, I assure you that I’ll bump ’em all the way up into the top 15 in my voting. Maybe even top 10.

    For what it’s worth, I think they have a real shot at beating the Sooners.

  • Big Tex,

    If I’m not mistaken, one of the voters in this poll is an A&M alum, and he didn’t even give the Ags any love. I think the Aggies may be another one of Tito’s Idaho Vandal type picks.

    😉

  • A&M is grossly underrated.

    This is the year they get over the hump and finally beat Kansas State, Colorado, and TU-Austin.

    As for Idaho and Jay’s ‘comment’, Idaho played Nebraska pretty damn hard up until kickoff. That and their schedule get’s pretty easy so hopefully they’ll run the table and knock off WAC powers Boise State and Fresno State and prove me right!

  • I overlooked Houston (in my own backyard no less) and if they man-handle UCLA like they should, they’re getting my vote (assuming anyone in my top-25 loses).

    West Virginia won against Marshall because of a coaching decision of putting in a freshman RB when they had a seasoned back ready to go. The freshman fumbled inside the red-zone. If they would have scored there is no way WV would have had time enough to score 18-22 points.

    Fresno State takes on all-comers. They still have Mississippi and Illinois in their schedule.

    Not to mention WAC powers Boise State, Nevada, and Hawaii.

    If they can just win those close games watch them reek havoc in the polls!

  • Idaho played Nebraska pretty damn hard up until kickoff

    Lol.

    I’d agree with Houston getting a vote if they beat UCLA; I probably could have shoed them in to my rankins.

    West Virginia seems suspect to me. I just couldn’t figure out who to put ahead of them. However, if they try to play like that in Death Valley…well, let’s just say we came up with “Tiger Bait” (pronounced Tiii-GAH BAIT!) for a reason

  • I agree with WV. It doesn’t help that they’re in an overrated conference (thank goodness the Big Least is around, it makes the ACC look like the Black&Blue Division of the NFC North).

    LSU will walk all over them like a cheap rug.

  • I just noticed Jay putting in UVA at #25.

    They almost took out the University of Spoiled Children though.

    Tough cross-country road trip for the Cavaliers.

  • Yeah, that was a stretch, but I had to give some love to my alma mater for a late-night trip to the Colliseum that almost ended in an upset of USC.

    What does that say about the ACC that arguably the most impressive performance of the weekend came in a loss?

  • Sorry to dissappoint you Tito, but the A&M Gaggies will not beat The University.

  • …of Arizona?

    I agree, because Arizona isn’t on the schedule.

    😉

  • Sorry to dissappoint you Tito, but the A&M Gaggies will not beat The University

    I won’t tolerate anybody speaking badly about a future SEC team-which reminds me, when does the rest of the country decide to gang up to pummel UT for their nonsense this summer?

  • A&M would be a great addition to the SEC.

    I could see a great rivalry forming between A&M and LSU.

    Along the lines of the Red River Classic, games could rotate between Houston (Reliant Stadium) and New Orleans (Super Dome) every year!

  • Tito:

    We used to have that rivalry, but it got lost sometime in the conference shuffle. I have a great respect for the Aggies’ tradition and wished they could join us in the SEC (even though I don’t like the idea of super-conferences and like the SEC’s number). I hope LSU will notice the attraction of its fan base towards the Aggies and schedules a series in the near future-I think your idea of Reliant & New Orleans is a good one, though I think both schools have such great environments tha it would be a shame to be played other than Death Valley & the Home of the 12th man.

  • Jay, at A&M, we don’t have alumni. We have former students.

    cmatt & others… I didn’t realize A&M had the Volunteers on their schedule? UT is in Tennessee. If that was a typo, and you meant t.u., then yes, I think the Aggies have a better than good shot and sawing varsity’s horns off. Remember back a couple years ago, McGhee ran all over that horn defense… in Austin. Anything can happen, especially with the skill players the Aggies have on offense. Watch out for Johnson, Michael, Gray, Fuller, and Nwachukwu.

  • Michael,

    Everything’s on the table!

    A player for either school could play one game in College Station, one game in Baton Rouge, one game in the Super Dome, and one game in Reliant.

    During the course of the players four year career he would get the opportunity to play in all those great venues!

  • What a load of dung. Once again, southerners who seem to need to justify just how important they are to the world of sports spout on obnoxiously about how superior they are to the Big Ten. A careful study of Penn State history vs. the SEC will demonstrate they do pretty well thank you very much. In fact, since joining the league in ’93, PSU is 5 and 2 vs. the SEC in bowl games. In fact, only a closely contested match against Auburn and a game against Florida where PS was without Curtis Enis and Joe Jurivicius resulted in PS losses. In the SEC land, only the Bear owned Penn State and he owned everyone else too! I will take our record against the vaunted and mighty SEC any day of the week.

  • Oh and by the way, do you know the differnce between the SEC and the NFL? The SEC does not have a salary cap!

  • I follow the Big Ten and prefer it to the SEC. But the SEC is a stronger football conference. Obnoxiousness has nothing to do with it. The Big Ten has disappointed me for too long and I refuse to be in denial. That said, I still prefer the Big Ten. Overall I think they run somewhat cleaner programs more consonate with the stated ideals and objectives of college athletics. To be clear, I do not think the SEC was necessarily the stronger (let alone strongest) conference in the 90s; but it is today and has been for a while I think.

  • I’m a Southerner who now lives in Big 10 country, and who has been an Ohio State and Big 10 fan for most of my life. I also like Penn State and LOVE Joe Pa.

    Believe me, there is a lot of respect for the Big 10 reflected in this poll (Michael’s whiny comments about having to play on anything other than pristine field conditions in anything other than sunny 75-degree weather or inside a dome notwithstanding).

  • Speaking of respect for the Big 10, I just noticed that Michigan is missing from this poll, despite the fact that the Wolverines appear to have received votes from all the voters.

    What gives?

  • Speaking of respect for the Big 10, I just noticed that Michigan is missing from this poll, despite the fact that the Wolverines appear to have received votes from all the voters.

    What gives?

    Um…I screwed up. 🙁 I’ll fix it.

  • “Speaking of respect for the Big 10, I just noticed that Michigan is missing from this poll,”

    I think all Illinis would say Michael that whenever you wish to forget Michigan, that is fine with us. 😉

  • That would make Michigan come in at #20.

    Bumping the three-way tie at #25 into ‘honorable mention’ territory.

  • Believe me, there is a lot of respect for the Big 10 reflected in this poll (Michael’s whiny comments about having to play on anything other than pristine field conditions in anything other than sunny 75-degree weather or inside a dome notwithstanding).

    I actually gave a lot of respect to the Big 10 in my ballot; I think they’re either the second or third best conference right now in the country. But I do reserve the right to jab Penn St. for barely beating the worst offense in LSU history on “turf” that gave advantages beyond what proper conditions should give to a Big 10 team. (See addendum in post above)

  • @Michael Denton, @Jay, et al,

    It’s hilarious that Michael is complaining on what definition of the word “field” should be, since most Louisianan’s call the northern seabed of the Gulf of Mexico “New Orleans”.

    So I take his comments with a ginormous grain of salt.

    “You call it dinner, I call it roadkill.”
    –Tito driving through the Louisiana portion of I-10 circa 2002.

  • It’s hilarious that Michael is complaining on what definition of the word “field” should be, since most Louisianan’s call the northern seabed of the Gulf of Mexico “New Orleans”.

    Yes, but we’ve never called it a field. You’ll find that we New Orleanians have the technology to produce flat fields as opposed to Marshes, a technology we apparently have to share with the good people of Orlando.

    We will provide ginormous grains of salt from Avery Island, if you would like.

    And we don’t call it dinner; we call it “gumbo” or “boudin” and it’s delicious. 😉

  • Mike-

    Granted, I am a bit sheepish about the Cap One Bowl victory last January but not because of the field. I am a bit embarrased about the horrible unsportsmanlike conduct penaltly at the end of the game that should have been called against PSU instead of LSU. I don’t apologize for our ability to play in crappy weather. In fact, that’s my beef against the SEC outside of Bama whom we have a history with. I think Bama is the only school SEC we have ever seen in Happy Valley and I am looking forward to the battle in 2011. I sort of bristle when we are lumped in with the rep the rest of the Big Ten has. Penn State has always held its own vs. the SEC.

    I do not doubt that year in and year out the SEC is the deepest conference in football but let us just agree that the SEC with the exception of Vandy operates froma different set of rules than the SEC when it comes to “student” athletes, OK?

  • Note: should read “from the Big Ten”.

    It’s late.