"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not All Commodities Have the Same Value to All Consumers at All Times

Psychology of Economics Examination Question: "What inferences can you make respecting the relative ages of the buy and seller? Which has a more optimistic view of the economy?"

From our Hanover correspondent.


More TSA Public Relations Gimmicks

Sort of a Full Monty, but with radiation. We like the redhead. More HERE.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Non-Prophet Group Erects Billboard

In North Bergen, New Jersey, the cultural Mecca of the Garden State.


President of Jesusland?

Professor Reynolds notes the irony of the "nothing to see here" reaction to revelations respecting the President's religious life.  Of course, such comments from President Bush would have sparked eye-rolling from the usual suspects.


And Don't Call Me Shirley

Rest in Peace Leslie Nielsen.

Before he was Lieutenant Frank Drebin . . . .

. . . Leslie Nielsen was a serious guy. The heroic starship captain in Forbidden Planet:

. . . and a jaunty Francis Marion in Walt Disney's Swamp Fox:

Nielsen died yesterday at age 84.


Secret Diplomatic Messages: C'mon Baby, Nobody Else Will See The Pictures

The latest disclosures by WikiLeaks of American diplomatic communications, all confidential, some secret, is a "reply-all" moment. Surely you've done that yourself. Your mom sends an email to all of your siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins and you, intending to make a snarky comment to your favorite sister, hit "reply all" and spend the next year apologizing.

Aside from the banality of most or all of these revelations, the interesting aspect of this incident is that the United States diplomatic corps is peopled by idiots, who don't seem to understand that when they hit "send" they really have no idea how many copies of their message exist, or where those copies are. Nor do they seem to understand that their theft and publication doesn't involve a fellow with a black bag and a Minox camera getting past security in the middle of the night, but instead requires only a geek with rad skillz, or a punk with a memory stick.

Perhaps the Ivy Leaguers in expensive suits will now learn what a generation of college girls already knows: if it's digital, it's public, baby.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Last Minute Thanksgiving Travel Tip


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some Questions Is Answering Itself

California Literacy, Inc. opines:
The literacy rate in the US has many educators in search of answers about this problem that has plagued our country for decades. Instead of decreasing, the numbers of literacy has steadily increased over the years. This raises a lot of questions about our education system, how it is ran, and why there is such a problem with illiterate people in our country.


News From the Barricades

They have it, you know: politically correct hummus.

Hummus of Lucifer:

Hummus of Righteousness:


Pope Says Use of Padded Pipes by Muggers Justified in Some Circumstances

At last:
Here’s an example of this distinction that parallels what the Pope said. Muggers are using steel pipes to attack people and the injuries are severe. Some muggers use padded pipes to reduce the injuries, while still disabling the victim enough for the mugging. The Pope says that the intention of reducing injury (in the act of mugging) could be a first step toward greater moral responsibility. This would not justify the following headlines: "Pope Approves Padded Pipes for Mugging," "Pope Says Use of Padded Pipes Justified in Some Circumstances", "Pope Permits Use of Padded Pipes in Some Cases."


Tofurkey? You Mean It's NOT Bean Curd?

CMR explains:
The misunderstanding for vegetarians originated because of the similarities between the names Tofurkey and Tofu. One Tofurkey farmer said he never lied about where Tofurkey came from but he's glad to profit from the misunderstanding. "I think those wacky vegetarians just wanted to believe they were eating Tofu and I wasn't about to tell 'em no different."

He said that back when his "product" began doing brisk business he wondered why. "I know those little cute tofurkeys don't really taste so good so I wondered why so many people was eating 'em. But hey, who am I to complain?"


Biggest Holder of Treasury Debt? The Gnomes of Constitution Avenue

The biggest holder of debt issued by the Treasury of the United States is no longer China, Goldman Sachs, or your 401(k) plan; it's the Federal Reserve.

Nothing to see here. Move along. Mumble monetary mantras: uncommitted bank reserves; banks aren't "reserve constrained"; quantitative easing.

Please keep in mind that the Fed also holds a bit over $1 Trillion in mortgage-backed securities nobody else wanted.

Lots of very bright fellows in expensive suits -- well-credentialed fellows anointed with the holy chrism of Wharton, Sloan, Kellogg, Tuck -- will tell you that this is just a liquidity adjustment, the exercise of another tool of monetary policy.  But there is a fundamental difference between selling debt to you and me and China, and selling debt to the Federal Reserve.  You and China have in common the fact that to purchase the debt, you must pay the Treasury in dollars, which you have to get from somewhere.  The Federal Reserve Bank, on the other hand,  intones "fiat denarii," and the "money" is created from nothing.  It comes into being because the Fed says so.

Fed holdings data is HERE, recent purchases (11/4 - yesterday) are HERE.  We confess that coffee came out of our nose when we saw that yesterday's Fed purchase was $1.6 Billion in TIPS, Treasury Bonds indexed so as to protect the holder against inflation.  A wise move.

In 2009 the entire world produced something like $70 Trillion worth of stuff.  Between yesterday morning and yesterday afternoon, $1.6 Billion new dollars were created to chase that stuff around.

If monetary policy gives you a headache, then you might prefer to ponder the fiscal situation.  Using Congressional Budget Office data and forecasts, here's a representation of the composition of the Federal budget over the next 60 years or so:

Have a great day!


Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA Decides on New Public Relations Approach


Dramatic Internet Memes

The original "dramatic chipmunk" has given rise to such a flood of unworthy imitators that we've lost track. Dramatic Kick-ball Girl, however, has forwarded to us the following, noting that "dramatic eagle" lunches on all dramatic rodents.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chris Christie for President

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the anti-Obama. His battles with the New Jersey teachers' union are becoming legendary. His greatest asset is being able to explain things so that ordinary people can understand what's going on, rather than explaining that he's a lot smarter than you are, so you don't have to worry your pretty little head about it.

Most of us have sat around, beer in hand, and announced confidently that we could clean up the mess if we were governor (or president). Christie has -- so far -- conducted himself as if he is that guy.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Laser Cat

Wall mural in . . . San Francisco. Where else? When the gray peppery cat and the orange stripey cat join forces, evil beware.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Study Shows Women Crazier Than Men

Why are we not surprised?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Here in Fauquier County, Noon was at 11:53 a.m. Today

Local noon, that is, when the sun reached its highest (apparent) position in the sky.

On November 18, 1883, American railroads adopted a uniform system of time designation, dividing the United States and Canada into five time zones. "Noon" was measured at 75, 90, 105 and 120 degrees west of Greenwich for the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, respectively.

Before the advent of relatively high-speed, long-distance railroad travel, it hadn't mattered a whole lot to people in Philadelphia what time folks in Pittsburgh thought it was. There was, after all, no way to get there fast enough so that it could possibly make any difference.

If, on the other hand, you're trying to run a railroad, it becomes rather important to know "when" it's time to throw that switch. Wired has an excellent piece today on this.



We missed this little snippet regarding airport pat-downs from Janet Napolitano. Ms. Napolitano is asked specifically about the treatment of Muslim women wearing traditional Muslim clothing. The only proper answer to such a question is "all persons subject to airport security procedures will be treated the same. We're not searching people because they are of this or that ethnic group, or because they're wearing particular clothing. The only relevant fact is that they wish to board an airplane and, to do so, they must submit to security screening."

But that's not what Secretary Napolitano says:

The implication is that the Transportation Security Administration is considering specific procedures to be followed with respect to screening traditionally-clad Muslim women. As a matter of pure logic, this could mean that such persons will be subject to special scrutiny, but we all know that's not what she's talking about.

Perhaps related, perhaps coincidentally, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations recently advised Muslim women:
If you are selected for secondary screening after you go through the metal detector and it does not go off, and "sss" is not written on your boarding pass, ask the TSA officer if the reason you are being selected is because of your head scarf.
They are then advised:
Before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They SHOULD NOT subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down.
The intent is obviously to provoke a "gotcha," and create an incident. That is, if the TSA screener responds "yes" or "yes, because I can't visually inspect your head and neck," any further pat-down that's not limited to the head and neck will be decried as religious profiling; targeting of innocent Muslims. Thus, CAIR does not encourage cooperation, but counsels provocation.

That a particular individual may have heightened scruples regarding being touched by a stranger can have no logical place in determining how airport security checks are performed. We crossed that line when we decided that what would in a different context be an assault is to be tolerated for security reasons. Put another way, if the TSA is allowed to grope the upper thighs of middle-aged white men, then TSA is allowed to grope the upper thighs of young Muslim women irrespective of their dress or religious scruples.

We set aside for another day the problem presented by the fact that a person presenting themselves at the security checkpoint as a young, female person wearing clothing indicating special religious beliefs (and therefore invoking special consideration) may or may not actually have any particular religious beliefs, and may or may not actually be a woman.  Not everyone wearing a habit is a nun.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Making The Suits Look Silly

Muslim TSA Guard Frisks Nun at Detroit Airport

Never make The Suits look ridiculous; it enrages them.  And there is nothing that makes a petty bureaucrat look more ridiculous than politely responding "I don't think so" when he seeks to impose some silly, meaningless but humiliating indignity.  Trust me on this, as one who speaks from personal experience.

John Tyner went to the San Diego airport last week for a flight to South Dakota, where he intended to do a bit of pheasant hunting.  Selected for special screening, John opted out of the high-tech full body scan and, when the pseudo-cop from TSA prepared to pat him down told the fellow, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested."  The short version of what then ensued is that TSA supervisors told him that if he refused to be groped, he'd not be permitted to board his flight.  That was OK with John, who chose instead to leave the airport.  He was polite throughout.  He asked if he was now permitted to leave. And we know he was polite -- if firm -- throughout because he recorded much of the incident.  You can see the recordings for yourself, and review the long version of the story, on his blog.

Having been escorted out of the security area by police, John was then advised (threatened, actually) that he could be subject to various fines and penalties for refusing to be groped. And today we learn that this is not a matter that The Suits at TSA are going to let fade away. When ordinary people do something that embarrasses them and makes them look ridiculous they keep quiet and hope that memories will fade, and everyone will forget how silly they behaved. Not so The Suits, who become enraged and vindictive when you cross them. Now we learn:
The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.

Tyner recorded the half-hour long encounter on his cell phone and later posted it to his personal blog, along with an extensive account of the incident. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments.

Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.


TSA chief John Pistole was grilled about Tyner’s case Monday on CNN.

“The bottom line is, if somebody doesn’t go through proper security screening, they’re not going to go on the flight,” Pistole said.


According to Aguilar, Tyner is under investigation for leaving the security area without permission. That’s prohibited, among other reasons, to prevent potential terrorists from entering security, gaining information, and leaving.
We have no idea why terrorists, "seeking to gain information" about security procedures would draw attention to themselves by opting out of those security procedures. Nor do we quite grasp how imposing an $11,000 civil fine on such a terrorist scout heightens security. And, by the way, good luck tracking down the scout when it comes time to serve him with the civil complaint.

The only thing accomplished by that threat is to impose a high cost on regular people who would prefer not to be groped today, thank you very much. This is the way The Suits work: submit to their arbitrary power, or risk hugely disproportionate consequences. There is, of course, a certain kind of person who is drawn to such jobs: low self-esteem, mild paranoia, low intelligence, and obsession with rules rather than substance. And we see it daily in the surly DMV clerk, the aggressive state trooper, and the boss who checks your office every morning at 9:00 a.m. sharp.

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The Demons Also Believe, and Shudder

This past Friday and Saturday a group of American bishops gathered in Baltimore at a conference devoted to the subject of exorcism, and the growing need in the American church for more trained exorcists.  In an article published before the conference, Hell's Bible The New York Times explained:
The purpose is not necessarily to revive the practice, the organizers say, but to help Catholic clergy members learn how to distinguish who really needs an exorcism from who really needs a psychiatrist, or perhaps some pastoral care.

“Not everyone who thinks they need an exorcism actually does need one,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who organized the conference. “It’s only used in those cases where the Devil is involved in an extraordinary sort of way in terms of actually being in possession of the person.

“But it’s rare, it’s extraordinary, so the use of exorcism is also rare and extraordinary,” he said. “But we have to be prepared.”
Professor R. Scott Appleby of Notre Dame is quoted as saying:
It’s a strategy for saying: "We are not the Federal Reserve, and we are not the World Council of Churches. We deal with angels and demons."
Just so. Belief in evil spirits is precisely and exactly as irrational and silly as belief in God.
The Rev. Richard Vega, president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, an organization for American priests, said that when he first heard about the conference on exorcism, “My immediate reaction was to say, why?”

“People are talking about, are we taking two steps back?” Father Vega said. “My first reaction when I heard about the exorcism conference was, this is another of those trappings we’ve pulled out of the past.”


But he said that there could eventually be a rising demand for exorcism because of the influx of Hispanic and African Catholics to the United States. People from those cultures, he said, are more attuned to the experience of the supernatural.
One might have hoped that Father Vega, as a priest, was himself "attuned to the experience of the supernatural," but perhaps he is not. That would be a shame. And we can't help but detect a whiff of racism in his observation.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Humiliated by Internet Dating Sites?

Not to worry.  Now you can harness the power of the internet to determine whether you can do better than your current main squeeze.  Just stop by CanDoBetter, post a picture of yourself and your significant other, and let whoever wanders by vote on which (or both) of you can do better.


Free Tattoos: "The average level of reported drunkenness was surprisingly low"

"Other notable groups were the 4 individuals that did not know what they wanted, but knew that they wanted some free tattoo, and the 5 individuals that did not know where they wanted it."


"The Sun may have to brace for charges that it 'rose' this morning."

They really do think you're stupid. No; really. They do.

An editorial in the New York Times last week began:
A government-sponsored study has found that annual CT scans could reduce the mortality rate from lung cancer in very heavy smokers and former smokers by 20 percent. Its leaders suggest that many thousands of lives could be saved annually.
This seems like good news. The Times wisely notes that such screening would be expensive:
This will not be cheap. Initial scans might cost a couple of hundred dollars apiece and are not currently covered by Medicare or private insurance. Follow-up screening and procedures will be more expensive. All told, the costs could reach billions of dollars a year.
But the conclusion reached by the editorial seems to us more than a little bit odd (emphasis added):
Government and private insurers that try to limit their coverage of CT scans based on the experts’ judgments — as they should — will need to brace for charges that they are attempting to “ration” health care.
That is, access to such screening should be rationed, and those responsible for the rationing should prepare themselves for "charges" that they're rationing health care.

No "death panels," of course, just the Government or private insurers deciding whether they'll provide you with access to a procedure that might save your life.

Please move along; nothing to see here.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Protestants & the Most Blessed Sacrament

Sometimes it's interesting to react instantly, while other times wisdom dictates providing time for reflection. This is one of those latter times.

Last week The Crescat put up the following post:
I will never understand...

... why protestants get so damn offended when they find out they can not receive the Blessed Sacrament when visiting a Catholic parish.

Guests I have invited to mass get indignant and feel slighted even after I warn them before hand explaining that we believe the Eucharist is truly Christ and not a symbol. They tell me it makes them feel unwelcome and they doubt they will return. When I ask them would they visit a mosque or temple and expect to participate with every ritual they respond they would never dare, opting instead to just quietly and respectfully observe. Yet, according to them, it's ok to risk offending your Catholic host who invited you to join them for mass.

Catholics are not deserving of the same respect according this logic.

However, pointing out the hypocrisy of their thinking does little for my ecumenical skills. How can I continue to invite friends to mass sharing my faith with non-Catholics and have them not be offended?

I'm curious to know how others handle this situation, especially since I will be having many non-practicing Catholics and protestant family members come to my son's first Communion. To be honest, I am tempted not to invite them all. If the sacrament holds no special importance then I see no reason for them to be there. Of course I risk offense by not inviting them... damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Let me first clear away what I consider to be rhetorical weeds. If one's non-Catholic friend is not a Christian, then I find the question completely uninteresting. That person attends entirely as an observer. Moreover, if one's guest is a serious atheist, Jew or Muslim, then he affirmatively disbelieves. Neither person can expect to participate, or be insulted by being excluded, any more than I am insulted that I'm not allowed to climb down from the stands and play first base for the Nationals.

When your guest is a fellow Christian, however, the situation is quite different. Our Church does not teach that your Protestant friend is a complete outsider, but instead is a Brother or Sister in Christ in imperfect communion with the One True Church. The Church teaches that his Protestant baptism was entirely valid, and takes care -- should he convert -- not to "rebaptise" him. Indeed, Catholic Canon Law treats his marriage to another (non-Catholic) Christian as something quite different from a "marriage" between two non-Christians.

Benedict XVI has rightly been called "The Pope Of Christian Unity." Close to the Holy Father's heart is the pain and scandal of Christian division. If we are to assist him in healing these wounds to the Body of Christ, then we would benefit from looking at ourselves through the eyes of our estranged Protestant brothers and sisters. To this end, I laid this matter before a close Protestant friend whose faith is strong, his beliefs completely orthodox, his learning very great, and his good will toward the Roman Catholic Church unquestionable.

Here is what a faithful serious Protestant thinks and feels about being excluded from receiving Communion at a Roman Catholic Mass:

Crescat wonders why Protestant Christians should “get so damned offended” when they are dis-invited to receive Communion at Catholic Mass. I personally don’t get offended, since I think I understand the RC position and am used to it; but Crescat’s attitude--completely dismissive of Protestant friends’ objections and evidently much “offended” by them--seems to me to need substantial correction. I would point out five things that inform the situation:

1. As G&S has noted, exclusion from Communion is a blunt instrument that the RCC uses for non-Catholic Christians as well as total unbelievers. To treat them all the same is, well, counter-intuitive.

2. Crescat says that Protestants are excluded because, unlike Protestants, Roman Catholics “believe the Eucharist is truly Christ and not a symbol”. However, the RCC simply does not carry through on this reasoning:

For example, the RCC sloppily distributes the Eucharist to people who are indeed RC but who do NOT in fact have a RC belief about the Eucharist. This includes not only (i) the great MAJORITY of Catholics (and a sizeable number of RC priests) who, if asked, innocently confess a downright Zwlingli-ite view of the Eucharist, but also (ii) any RC who fully understands RC doctrine on the point but has come to consciously believe that it is wrong. To these RC disbelievers, the Church says, “No problem; get in line and receive; maybe receiving will help to fix your errors.”

On the other hand, the RCC denies Communion even to those non-RCs whose views are pretty close to the RC view. Like many Anglicans and Lutherans, I do believe and affirm that Jesus is really present in the Sacrament. I cannot go so far as to affirm transubstantiation, which I consider to be one theory about the Real Presence. I don't insist that the RC doctrine is wrong, I just think it goes beyond what has been divinely revealed. I understand that this is deficient from a RC point of view, so I'm not quarreling. But I simply know from very substantial anecdotal experience that my view of things is MUCH closer to RC doctrine than the view of many of the RC “faithful”. Their gross doctrinal defects don't bar them from receiving; but my relatively minor defect is said to bar me.

And by the way, even if I were to come to believe in full-blown transubstantiation, the RCC would still deny it to me--because I am not a member of the RCC.

Thus, the RCC's exclusion of non-RCs has only a very, very loose connection to vindicating RC sacramental doctrine. The exclusion appears to be, rather, simply based not on one’s belief but on whether one has a membership in the RCC, whatever he may or may not believe. At Crescat’s son’s first Communion, the genuine Protestant believer who stays in the pew may watch communion be administered to RC acquaintances whom he has reason to know don’t believe a thing. To me this is merely ironical and I'm used to it. But it really bugs some RC-friendly Christians (my wife, for example). And it evidently bugs Crescat’s friends.

3. It’s likely that Crescat’s friends heard about this exclusionary rule only from Crescat, and not from any official of the RCC. The rule is printed in the missalette, but the great majority of the people have no idea of the rule or of its being printed there, and attention is certainly not called to this instruction in the great majority of RC Masses. On the contrary, the instruction is frequently contradicted implicitly and sometimes explicitly. As a result, the Protestant friend does NOT see a coherent RC position reflected in RC practice but rather sees only a situation of rumor and lore. (“Is this really the rule? Or is this just some picky notion of my friend the old-school Catholic?”)

4. By denying Communion to Crescat’s friends, the RCC affirms to them very vividly that it, unlike their Protestant church, is the one True Church; that the RCC’s sacraments, unlike theirs, are the true ones; that Crescat’s friends are NOT members of the True Church; and that they are therefore not entitled to receive the True Sacrament. I have always confidently assumed that the exclusion has a deliberate intended purpose of making the Protestant visitor know that he is excluded, so that he will realize that there's a thing (communion with the True Church) that he lacks, and that he cannot get without submitting to the Church's program. This corresponds to (or maybe is an instance of) the general evangelistic necessity of making the non-Christian understand that he is outside and needs to come inside. But if that is one's intention--to make someone understand that there is an outside and he is there--then one cannot resent it when the hearer says, “Hey, wait a minute. So what you're saying is, I’m outside! Well, if this is not really for me, then I'm not coming back.” I think Crescat has not thought very carefully about why it is so annoying that the non-Catholic friends say "they doubt they will return"? Why is Crescat not instead pleased that the friends have gotten the message, at least in part?

At my non-Catholic church, Communion is open to any baptized Christian who is trusting in Jesus, has confessed his sins, and is in charity with God and his neighbors. To those who can’t or won’t receive, we offer a blessing, so that they can go through the motions along with everybody else and not be conspicuous in their non-reception. Given its Eucharistic discipline, perhaps the RCC should institutionalize such a procedure, but I get the feeling that this is looked down on. Perhaps the RCC’s failure to adopt any such convention proceeds from a determination NOT to blunt the scandal. So be it. But then, there's the scandal.

So the non-Catholic sits awkwardly in the pew while the real Christians go forward--standing to let them pass, and then standing again to let them back in place, and wondering how conspicuous he is to everyone else. Do they think I’m weird? Are they assuming I’m not a Christian? Are they assuming I can’t receive because I’m in a state of mortal sin? This is uncomfortable. Why am I here?

5. The RCC owns its real estate and personalty and is therefore legally entitled to exclude whomever it wants; but for what it's worth, some of us believe that, even if the RCC is absolutely and necessarily right about the Sacramental theology, the RCC is wrongly discriminating by denying the Sacrament to Christians who disagree with that theology. If a Dominican priest offered communion but said that only Dominicans were eligible to receive, and not, say, Jesuits, other Roman Catholics would understand that this is most improper; you can’t use the Eucharist to make nonessential distinctions among the faithful. I assume Crescat would be offended by this distinction even if she is neither a Dominican nor a Jesuit; she would be offended because she is a Christian, and this is against the Christian rules. Similarly, at my Church, we feel we do not have any warrant to exclude a baptized Christian on the grounds of his non-membership in our church or communion. Likewise, when I go to a Baptist Church, I expect to be offered Communion and I expect to receive. It's not "Baptist Communion"; it’s Christian Communion offered in a Baptist Church. I believe that the Baptists’ "symbolic" view of the Eucharist is deficient; but their view of the Eucharist doesn't change what it is, any more than a heretic Catholic priest’s bad sacramental theology would invalidate his Eucharist. In my way of thinking, the heretic Catholic priest and the Baptist minister are both giving out more than they think they are, and those who can receive should do so happily.

But my point is: It is the Lord's Supper (not ours) offered from the Lord's table (not ours). It is His Body and Blood, offered to the Church that is His Body. Anyone who is in that Body is entitled to receive that Body. And anyone who refuses him Communion is doing wrong. So, Crescat, the reason that we non-Catholics are bothered by this disciplinary practice of your Church is that we think the RCC is a Christian Church administering Jesus’ sacrament but that it is doing so wrongly, in this particular. We think this is against the Christian rules. Of course you disagree, but you need not wonder any more why we are bothered.


I think Crescat should not presume that her Protestant Christian friends should just accept this discrimination placidly, and should not view their attitude as "hypocritical". Crescat should instead be sympathetic to their awkwardness and unhappiness.

I can’t help wondering how frequently Crescat attends non-RC services and goes through the awkwardness of NOT receiving. In her instance, she would refrain from receiving Communion even though it was offered to her--i.e., by her own choice, which is awkward enough. Even more so when one is barred.

Last Sunday I was away from home and attended a Catholic Mass. All the rest of you said, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You”, but then you went and received Him.

I said, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You”, and then, true to my word, I did not receive Him. I say, from frequent experience, that it is something of a humiliation; and it takes (and/or teaches) a certain humility that one should not impatiently demand of others.


Government Medicine: We've Already Seen the Future

"God Help You, You're on Dialysis," in this month's The Atlantic magazine:
In October 1972, after a month of deliberation, Congress launched the nation’s most ambitious experiment in universal health care: a change to the Social Security Act that granted comprehensive coverage under Medicare to virtually anyone diagnosed with kidney failure, regardless of age or income.

It was a supremely hopeful moment. Although the technology to keep kidney patients alive through dialysis had arrived, it was still unattainable for all but a lucky few. At one hospital, a death panel—or “God committee” in the parlance of the time—was deciding who got it and who didn’t. The new program would help about 11,000 Americans for starters, and for a modest initial price tag of $135 million, would cover not only their dialysis and transplants, but all of their medical needs. Some consider it the closest that the United States has come to socialized medicine.

Now, almost four decades later, a program once envisioned as a model for a national health-care system has evolved into a hulking monster.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Here comes the science.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

These Are the Droids You're Looking At

It's impossible to explain. You'll have to look for yourself.  Via our correspondent in Hanover, Vox clamantis in deserto.


Fish Do What in It?

While it's unclear exactly what their role will be, goldfish will somehow be used to monitor the water at the upcoming G20 summit in South Korea:
In addition to thousands of heavily-armed police and troops, six goldfish will put their lives on the line to safeguard world leaders at this week's G20 summit in the South Korean capital.

The Convention and Exhibition Centre in southern Seoul which is hosting the event will use the fish to check the purity of the water supply to restrooms, an official said Tuesday.

"The fish also symbolise an eco-friendly water policy, which recycles used water for the restrooms," Oh Su-Young, PR manager at the centre, told AFP, adding that they were just part of the inspection process.
Because there's nothing that says "drink me" like a nice tall tumbler of clear, cold water with a goldfish swimming around in it. We're put in mind of the explanation given by W. C. Fields as to why he avoided drinking the stuff.


The New Nobility

In the mid-1960s eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes decamped from his Los Angeles haunts and took up residence on the top floor of the Desert Inn hotel in Las Vegas.  A few weeks later the mob-connected manager of the hotel, Moe Dalitz, insisted that Hughes move out.  Hughes bought the hotel.  In the days before streaming video, cable television or even the VCR, it irritated Hughes that the local television station, KLAS, channel 8, not only didn't broadcast the kind of movies he liked, but was off the air at night, when Howard was often up and about.  So he bought the television station, kept it on-air all night long, and dictated what movies it would broadcast.  The bizarre story that he dictated the repeated broadcast of his favorite movie, Ice Station Zebra, is true.

Of course that sort of behavior is self-indulgent and narcissistic to the point of diagnosable insanity.  But, at the end of the day, it was Howard's hotel and Howard's money and Howard's television station, so he could do with them pretty much as he pleased.

These days, when a billion dollars isn't what it used to be, it's better to have power than money.  Power is inflation-proof.  If money is necessary, well, then, there's lots of other people's money lying around for power to command.

Bernie Sanders is a United States Senator from the State of Vermont.  Vermont, as you may know, only became a state because New Hampshire and New York couldn't work out their border dispute, but decided that the whole thing wasn't worth fighting over.  The original 13 united States had been colonies, with governments and suchlike trappings.  Vermont, in contrast, was a make-believe state, founded on the twin principles of expediency and disinterest.

And so in the Great Council of Nobles that is the United States Senate, Bernie may not be Barbara, Grand Duchess of California, or Harry, Margrave of Nevada, but he's certainly on a par with, say, a Baronet of Pomerania and Livonia.  And it seems that Baronet Bernie doesn't like what might be broadcast on his favorite station.  Unlike the eccentric Howard Hughes, Bernie doesn't want Ice Station Zebra available whenever he wants it, and, also unlike Howard, Bernie doesn't propose to use his own money:
"If there is a silver lining in the action of MSNBC against Keith Olbermann, it is that people will now pay more attention to the political role of corporate media in America.  While commentators on Fox and right-wing radio have the backing of Rupert Murdoch, a major Republican contributor, and other conservative corporations, progressives understand that their position is extremely vulnerable.  Keith Olbermann was suspended by General Electric’s MSNBC for a bogus reason.  What will prevent the same thing from happening to Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and other progressives?

“General Electric, NBC’s parent, is one of the largest corporations in the world with an anti-labor history of outsourcing jobs and with financial links to military and nuclear power industries. Surely we understand that GE is not going to provide the same backing for MSNBC commentators that Rupert Murdoch provides for his mouthpieces at Fox News.

“What has not gotten a lot of attention in the midst of this controversy is that GE’s NBC Universal, one of the largest media conglomerates in the country, is in the process of merging with Comcast, the largest cable television provider in America. The new head of that company would be Stephen B. Burke, Comcast’s chief operating officer and a “Bush Ranger” who raised at least $200,000 for the 2004 reelection campaign of President George W. Bush.

“As Vermont’s senator, I intend to do all that I can do to stop this merger.  There already is far too much media concentration in this country. We need more diversity. We need more local ownership. We need more viewpoints.  We do not need another media giant run by a Republican supporter of George W. Bush.  That is the lesson we should learn from the Keith Olbermann suspension.”
So welcome to 21st Century America, fellow commoners, and don't forget to tug that forelock if you encounter Lord Bernie, Viscount of Vermont and Margrave of Montpelier.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

In Defense of the All Male Priesthood

Justification # 476:  There's no one around to shriek, "Stop that right now!  You'll poke your eye out!"

More HERE.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

Caturday, Renoir Edition

"Sleeping Girl," Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1880


Be On The Lookout

Thousands Of Girls Match Description Of Missing Sorority Sister


The Indispensable Peggy Noonan

"Not knowing how to feel humility or therefore show humility he decided to announce humility."


Xenu Loves The Giants

Taking time out from dumpster-diving for #10 aluminum cans, the Church of Scientology celebrates the Giants' World Series victory.

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I Hate the Suits

Question:  what's worse than the standard Suit who wakes up every morning with a smile on his face contemplating another day telling other people what to do and generally screwing with you?

Answer:  suits with guns.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Pass The Popcorn


Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Random Act of Culture

Via Father Z.


Remember Crazy Bob Etheridge?

When paddling through a sea of shit one may rightly be criticised for leaning over and picking out one particular turd and exclaiming, "THIS is a piece of shit!" Of course it is: as far as the eye can see there's nothing but shit. Nevertheless, a piece of shit is a piece of shit.

In the sea of pompous, self-important twits that is the Congress of the United States, Bob Etheridge, a Democrat member of Congress (NC 2), is just one more turd. Here's Bob back in June:

The votes are apparently still being counted in the NC Second, but "Who Are You!" Bob is trailing. Pompous Bob's challenger is Renee Ellmers, a nurse by profession, making her first run for public office. She's young, conservative, works for a living, pays her bills.

Recounts are expensive. Just sayin'.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Money, Money, Money

The Wall Street Journal reported late today today:
The Federal Reserve Wednesday unveiled a controversial new plan to buy U.S. Treasurys, hoping to spur growth in a disappointingly slow U.S. economy.

After two days of discussions, Fed officials decided to go ahead with a much anticipated program, saying they will buy $600 billion of U.S. government debt over the next eight months.

The Fed's policy-setting body said it stands ready to purchase more bonds if the economy's persistent weakness leads inflation to remain too low and unemployment too high.

The Fed's first $1.75 trillion bond-buying program, which ran from Dec. 2008 to March 2010, is credited with helping the economy when the U.S. was hit by a financial crisis and a deep recession. The latest move is more controversial because the economy is now growing -- albeit slowly -- and financial markets are no longer under severe stress.

By buying government bonds, the Fed aims to keep long-term interest rates low, hoping it will lead consumers to spend and companies to invest more, thus helping to propel the economy forward. Short-term interest rates were slashed close to zero in Dec. 2008, so the Fed no longer has its traditional weapon to boost the economy.

The Fed said it expects to buy between $850 billion to $900 billion Treasurys through the end of the second quarter of 2011. That's because in addition to the $600 billion, the Fed expects to buy about $35 billion a month to replace mortgage bonds in its portfolio that are being retired, a decision that was taken back in August.
Glib & Superficial has exclusively obtained a copy of a video presentation made by staffers intended to illustrate for the Fed's Board of Governors how the new program was expected to work.


Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

We All Do Our Duty


We're Doomed: Is Obama a Keynesian?


At One With Nature: The Great Circle of Life


Election Day, 2010

by Rudyard Kipling

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet.
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And, guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word -
The Mercy on Thy People, Lord!


Monday, November 01, 2010

Emergency Supplies

Whether it comes via flood, hurricane, monetary collapse, or zombie apocalypse, we know that all G&S readers are prepared. They have gold for when the waters finally recede, they have silver for routine non-barter transactions, they have a water well with a hand pump, weapons, ammunition, canned provisions, salt, sugar, coffee, 50-pound sacks of rice, beans and flour. They have radios and flashlights, extra batteries, and a hand-cranked battery charger. They have their daily Missal just in case Father can't get around as often as he'd like. We know all that. You're ready.

But have you considered . . . bacon? Sure, theoretically you could have a couple of fully-smoked pork bellies, but good luck finding them down at the local pre-disaster Safeway.

Fear not! We have three words for you: Yoder's Canned Bacon. Yup. A half case (6 cans) will provide you with over three pounds of canned, fully cooked bacon. And, if you think ahead and exercise some discipline, after the first six months of anarchy we're predicting an exchange rate that will permit you to trade six cans for a third wife.