|Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.|
|Needless Commentary from Small-Town America|
The Weblog at The View from the Core - Saturday, May 28, 2005
Because The Blog from the Core simply can't cover everything.
Noteworthy entries @ Power Line, Silflay Hraka, Vox Baby, The Remedy, JunkYardBlog, The Corner, ProfessorBainbridge.com, Rightwingsparkle, Michelle Malkin, Armavirumque, Envoy Encore, Hoystory.com, Discriminations, Captain's Quarters, No Left Turns, ut unum sint, Mystery Achievement, Anchor Rising, The Mudville Gazette, cut on the bias, Varifrank, Belmont Club, Power Line (again), Off the Record, and A Straight Shot of Politics.
Rutgers professor Alex Hinton has published an irate letter in the Weekly Standard which responds to a piece I wrote there. My piece used Hinton's absurd comparison between the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror and our current prosecution of the war on terror as a springboard for showing how many on the left seem incapable of arguing against U.S. policy, and thus resort to half-baked metaphors and analogies.
The most noteworthy thing about Hinton's letter is that, under cover of whining about my alleged "distortions and inaccuracies," he backs away from his original rhetoric and, to some extent it seems, from his analogy. In his first piece Hinton wrote of the Khmer Rouge, "in their path to evil we catch reflections of ourselves." In his letter, he says, more vaguely, that "we catch reflections of ourselves in the past." This is part of a process wherein Hinton portrays his original piece as nothing more than a "why can't we all just get along" plea, and then accuses me of taking the position that "critiquing desensitization and the dehumanizing use of stereotypes and euphemisms is a bad thing." I took no such position. In fact, in my Standard piece, I acknowledged that the war on terror itself "has given rise to many arguably valid objections." My complaint was that instead of making the objections through argumentation, people like Hinton hide behind metaphor. Hinton's letter reinforces this criticism, failing to offer any evidence that the war on terror has resulted in greater desensitization or more dehumanizing use of stereotypes and euphemisms. For all Hinton shows, the real story of the war on terror is how tolerant and solicitous we have remained toward the religion and culture that is associated with the terrorism we have been forced to combat....
Now that we've settled the judicial filibuster issue once and for all (hah...) it's time to ask the questions: Where did the phrase "nuclear option" come from? How did it come to get used in the Senate debates over judicial nominees? There has been some controversy over this, because it sounds patently ridiculous, completely over the top, and somewhat unhinged. It's a debate over a senate procedural rule, fergoshsakes.
So, where'd it come from? The conventional wisdom, oft-repeated in the media, is that it came from Republican senators discussing methods of dealing with the nomination of U.S. District Court Judge Pickering for an appellate seat.
To find out, I hit up the Nexis database. I ran a search for ("senate" and "republican" and "judicial" and "nuclear option") in the "allnews" database. The results that came back, were interesting....
I should have my head examined for getting into this discussion, but I suppose New York Times columnists are supposed to be provocative. In his column yesterday, Paul Krugman discusses why "registered Republicans and self-proclaimed conservatives make up only a small minority of professors at elite universities." ....
Some thoughts on the filibuster deal, since such things seem to be mandatory for all bloggers this morning. These are initial reactions I’d be interested to hear what others think.
In general, of course, this deal is a bad thing. But, let’s face it, most of us knew, deep down, that it was coming. In spite of the 2004 election returns, there are still plenty of weasels (see DeWine, Graham) and egomaniacs (see McCain) in the Senate....
Linda Foley, head of the Newspaper Guild and CWA union who recently accused American troops of targeting and killing journalists in Iraq, has as of this writing not answered either of the emails I've sent her. Other than her "clarification" to Editor & Publisher last week, she has made no public statements. She has also refused requests for interviews with MSM outlets.
She is, in short, hiding. But she can't hide forever.
Thomas Lipscomb of the Chicago Sun-Times is trying to flush her out....
From a reader:
Your 7 of 14 reference was brilliant, on levels you may not even realize. You could start referring to all politicians based on the relative power they hold in their reference group. For instance, John McCain would be "7 of 14". Here’s an example of how the system could work, in a political analysis piece: ....
Lots of email about my filibuster deal posts (lots of trackbacks too). Here's one of the nice ones: ....
.... Some things need to be repeated. This one is from Nov. 15th, 2004....
My new column on a just-published children's book called "Rainbow Party" is up. USA Today's coverage of the book aimed at 14-year-olds is here.
So, what's a rainbow party? Here's the column intro: ....
"Insert Mainstream Media Credibility Here": that's what the cover of the June 6, 2005 National Review advises, with a helpful black arrow pointing down into an open toilet. I know what they mean. Dan Rather. Jayson Blair. Just about everything the BBC broadcasts. Newsweek.
Wait isn't Newsweek old news now?...
My next piece was supposed to be on how Catholics can state that they are indeed "saved", "born again", and confident of heaven (in the biblical sense of these words), but for the past few weeks I've been busy living this Catholic/Protestant struggle rather than writing about it. Before we talk about the words we can say to Protestants, there are some dynamics of this situation that we have to be frank about.
In a perfect world, Mary says the right things that communicate to Ashley the truth of the Catholic faith and plants seeds that eventually lead Ashley to give the matter further study with the hope that she will return to the Catholic faith. That is what we all pray for. But it doesn't always work that way. In fact, the matter is much more difficult in situations where a family was originally protestant and then someone converts to the Catholic faith. In that situation, everyone's background and perspective is Protestant. The language barrier becomes total....
Unbowed, or more likely ignorant, of their previous fisking, The New York Times editorial writers continue to demostrate that I am overqualified for an editorial writing job at the nation's "paper of record." ....
Presumably by this time tomorrow [Tue. May 24] we'll be suffering from the effects of nuclear fallout, or its absence.
I've written a number of times that, in my opinion, this whole debate has been overheated, that the republic will not survive or fall because a minority of Senators are, or are not, allowed to talk things to death....
Today [Tue. May 24], our family will celebrate my son's 21st birthday, and I thought I'd take an opportunity to tell you a little about my only child....
.... Everyone in the Senate is, of course, spinning, but the ability of the Democrats to filibuster judicial nominees hasn’t been definitively broken. They regard themselves as the winners: "We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical right of the Republican party an undeniable message ... the abuse of power will not be tolerated."
If I were doing the spinning on the Republican side, here’s some of what I’d say....
.... Throughout the first half of the 19th-century parish missions remained truly "parochial." Not only did they remain Catholic events (though a few Protestants might attend), but they were restricted to Catholic ethnic minorities such as the Germans, the French, or the Irish. It was not until 1851 that the first parish mission was preached in English, and not until 1857 would a priest think of directly targeting non-Catholics. And that attempt to expand the evangelistic horizon would produce as much pain and discord as St. Paul’s mission to the Gentiles had eighteen hundred years before.
The central figure in this controversy was one of the more creative, daring, colorful individuals in 19th-century American Catholicism. Isaac Thomas Hecker (1819-1888), founder of the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle, was a thorough-going American in a church of European immigrants, a convert via transcendentalism in a church of authority and tradition, an ecumenist in an era of Ultramontanism, one who trusted in the universal indwelling Spirit at a time when Papal infallibility was being defined. His story has been told in many places, so only those things pertaining to missions will be touched on here....
.... The occasion for Cella's post is a review of Bat Ye'or's Eurabia by David Warren. Cella quotes some suggestive excerpts from the interview, followed by a hair-raising account from The Weekly Standard of a group of French students being attacked by "bands of black and Arab youths" during the course of a peaceful demonstration.
If you were to have read Cella's post up to that point, you might think he had cited the WS article as corroborating evidence of the point that Ye'or and Warren were trying to make: that one of the consequences of the political construct known as "Eurabia" is the eventual take over and domination of Europe by her Muslim guests and that by violence, if necessary. But you would be wrong. Instead, breaking with the train of his own thought, Cella inexplicably (from the point of view of the text itself) veers off into what I can only describe as a mini-jeremiad against America. And the reason? We're not doing our duty, which is to save Europe from itself: ....
I sent this off to Sen. Chafee's office this morning....
Today's LA Times bemoans the lack of photos of corpses of American soldiers in Iraq: ....
Greyhawk has an excellent post about the journalists and newspapers trying (and at times succeeding) in photographing the deaths of US military in Iraq. It's worth your time and thoughtful consideration.
The question of how to react in the face of injury or death was one I struggled with in my four years as a journalist. It was one of the reasons I decided to leave the field. I don't think it's wrong in all situations, but I do think that journalists should be humans first, historians second and business people a distant third. Let me tell you of my own experiences....
Hello, my name is Fabrizio Quattrocchi. I was captured by Muslim holy warriors and tortured before cameras, just for their sport. In the end, they set aside of any respect for international law common, human decency or even the restraint of their own religious doctrine and beheaded me. I shouldn’t have expected any special treatment as this is a common act that they perform even among their own people. However, you won’t see the video of my beheading because I died like a man rather than the sniveling coward they wanted me to be....
Glenn Reynolds notes that the New York Times coverage of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan may not really be about prisoner abuse or even Afghanistan, but about maintaining the prestige of Newsweek. He calls it "circling the wagons", the idea being to teach press critics an object lesson in how expensive it is to humiliate the mass media by catching them at sloppy reporting by flooding the zone with stories similar to the one which was discredited . That may or may not be the case, but it is nearly undeniable that the effect of the media's coverage of American misdeeds has been to make the slightest infraction against enemy combatants ruinously expensive. Not only the treatment of the enemy combatants themselves, but their articles of religious worship have become the subject of such scrutiny that Korans must handled with actual gloves in a ceremonial fashion, a fact that must be triumph for the jihadi cause in and of itself. While nothing is wrong with ensuring the proper treatment of enemy prisoners, the implicit moral superiority that has been accorded America's enemy and his effects recalls Rudyard Kipling's The Grave of the Hundred Dead....
Journalism professor Chris Hanson begins his piece in the Washington Post by taking Newsweek to task for its handling of the Koran-gate story. However, he quickly shifts his criticism to conservative blogs, and then implies that Drudge (which he calls a blog of sorts) is the real cause of Newsweek's error....
.... Boy and girls, let's do a little progressive paleontology, so as to track the spectacular development of Catholic intellectual life from its tender beginnings to its zenith, the better to see the lethal consequences of the Ratzinger Effect at the dawn of the doctrinal Ice Age (warning: have at least two hankies at the ready): ....
I have at least four separate essays in various states of completion on the political topics of the day. However something in my e-mail from a fellow Buddhist has made it imperative that I drop all of them.
There is a malignant story involving Buddhism and Hinduism spreading all over the Net. Moreover, it is a false libel of Pope Benedict XVI. It is intellectually dishonest and base rumor mongering, in the form of a supposed presentation of the Pope's views about Buddhism and Hinduism, expressed when he was Cardinal Ratzinger....
A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.
News, editorials, columns, essays, et al.
Part of the pleasure in reading John Henry Newman is the huge range of topics he covered and the variety of styles he brought to them. As well as the great philosophical and theological treatises, he left us sermons, essays, poems, letters — a vast treasury that makes anything like systematic exposition difficult.
Still, among the topics that regularly caught Newman’s attention through the years, conscience ranks high. Nearly every theologian would agree with Newman that conscience is “a connecting principle between the creature and his Creator.” But while some see conscience as God’s invitation to embrace His law as free subjects, others see it as a radical call to personal freedom. Indeed, for many people today, the word “conscience” suggests not law at all, but the freedom to judge by our own personal resources and the right to act as we each think best — a rejection, in other words, of the need for morality and creed; a claim that I should be allowed to live as I choose.
Of course, this view is often dressed up with the claim that conscience is a special faculty that speaks to us, rather like an oracle, and it may even be elevated to the status of a doctrine: the “primacy of conscience.” But however it is presented, it stands in contrast to the view that conscience is instead simply the mind thinking practically and morally. We think well when we understand moral principles and apply them in clear and reasonable ways; we think badly when we ignore or reinvent moral principles, or apply them in ambiguous and unreasonable ways. “Good conscience,” in this way of understanding, means a good grasp and a good application of moral truth — for it is the truth that remains primary, the truth that is grasped and applied by the practical mind....
.... Last week, the Archdiocese of New York finally withdrew the Catholic designation from Marymount Manhattan College, which refused to rescind its invitation to New York Senator Hillary Clinton to deliver its Commencement address and receive an honorary degree. It was Senator Clinton’s support for abortion that brought down the archdiocese’s ire, though of course her entire ideology renders her completely unfit to address a Catholic institution.
The Catholic left is consistently apologetic in its interaction with the secular world, and eager to show that they share that world’s impatience and disgust with some of the Church’s teachings. Far from attracting non-Catholics to the Church, these genuflections to the world only make them wonder what the point is in belonging to a Church whose entire tradition is evidently so worthy of contempt. As one writer puts it, “I would rather belong to a Church that is 500 years behind the times and sublimely indifferent to change, than I would to a Church that is five minutes behind the times, huffing and puffing to catch up.”
What, after all, is there to be so ashamed of in being a Catholic? Why the timid deference to a secular world whose culture delights in vulgarity for its own sake, that considers itself bold and cheeky for reality television that ridicules the marital bond, and that has given us, in place of the Gothic cathedral and the Pietà, a bunch of insufferable nobodies passing off piles of junk as “art”?...
.... The press isn’t running for office. To say that the media culture is unpatriotic isn’t a political ploy, it’s an obvious observation. Oh, if my words actually mattered to them, they’d howl and scream about my illegitimate attack. But in private, they are perfectly happy to mock patriotism in all its forms. They’re only patriotic when somebody says they aren’t.
They are loyal to a community – but it’s not America.
It’s Smartland. The nation of the newsmedia people. That’s where they live. Not in America. These newspeople generally don’t even know anybody, apart from “sources,” who serves America in the military. Smartland consists of a very different crowd.
I know that crowd. I’ve heard them jeer at all the values that most Americans still care about, laughing at religious people, at the middle class, at suburbanites, at the poor ignorant saps who don’t think correct thoughts all the time. You know – the citizens of Heartland. Those poor sentimental fools who stood in line to see The Passion and who like Adam Sandler movies and who get tears in their eyes when they see the American flag and whose hearts break a little when it burns.
And yet the irony is that the reason the radical Islamists hate the West so much is primarily because of the unchecked and uncheckable excesses of the Smartish. From Hollywood to newspeople to the soft-subject professors in our universities, the culture that makes people like Osama bin Laden want to blow us up or crush us into dust is the culture of the R-rated movie, the anti-religion intellectual, the glorified abortionist, the babies-without-marriage crowd, and the what-me-worry media elite....
"I am not a Catholic," said Oscar Wilde. "I am simply a violent Papist." This statement, like so many of Wilde's outrageous paradoxes, conceals a sober truth beneath its blithe wit. Another example would be his jest that, of all religions, Catholicism is the only one worth dying in. Looking back over his life more than a hundred years later, we can be forgiven for seeing the irony in such statements, for Wilde's fascination with Catholicism, its mysteries and rituals, did set the stage for his death-bed conversion. And we can certainly perceive justice in the fact that the man who cracked such jokes also believed that life imitated art: ultimately, then, the joke was on him....
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are on a collision course. Many readers are accustomed to thinking of the New-York-based newspapers as being quite different sorts of publications tea and coffee for the reading classes.
But clearly the executives who run them are competing for the same space dominance of the lofty region where short-term causal explanations of events are forged. They may operate rival explanatory standards at the moment. But it is in the nature of standards that one inevitably gains the upper hand....
Happy Anniversary to Pope Benedict XVI
Consecrated a bishop this day, May 28, 1977.
"Complexity as an Excuse for Inaction"
Coalition for Darfur XI
Complexity as an Excuse for Inaction. (Brackets and quoted ellipsis in original.)
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A few weeks ago, PBS aired a made-for-HBO film about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda called "Sometimes in April." Following the presentation, journalist Jeff Greenfield held a panel discussion about world's lack of response to Rwanda and the similarities to the current genocide in Darfur.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz was among the panelists and during the discussion made the following points
Wolfowitz: One of the things that bears thinking about from the Rwanda experience, and everyone of these cases is different, and I think one ought to recognize that. But it seems to me that the thing that stuck me as unique about the Rwanda experience, on the one hand the sheer horror of it, with the exception of the Holocaust and even then at a sort of per day rate, this was probably the worst genocide ever. But secondly, and we'll never know this for sure because you never know the course that wasn't taken, but it was seem as though a relatively modest military action aimed at eliminating that regime could have ended the genocide and ended it rather quickly.Wolfowitz openly argued that the world should have intervened in Rwanda, but them makes the strikingly disingenuous argument that Rwanda was somehow "simpler" than the current situation in Darfur.
Rwanda is only "simpler" because it is now over and hindsight allows us to see just how, where and why the world failed. But in 1994, with bodies filling the streets, Rwanda did not appear to be simple at all
U.S. Opposes Plan for U.N. Force in RwandaTen years later, it now appears as if a few relatively simple measures backed by the necessary political will could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. But in 1994, the genocide appeared massively complex and that complexity was routinely cited as a justification for not intervening.
And Wolfowitz is making exactly the same justification for not intervening in Darfur today.
Were there feasible solutions to Rwanda? In hindsight, the answer is obviously "yes." Are there feasible solutions to Darfur? It is hard to say because right now it seems so complex, but there certainly are if the world powers can muster the will to address them.
But unfortunately, it is far more likely that ten years from now, when perhaps another one million Africans have needlessly died, we'll wonder why we did not act when "it looks in hindsight to have been so simple to prevent something that was so horrible."
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TheBlogfrom theCore does not necessarily endorse every detail of the weekly Coalition for Darfur message.
"Wind Last Night Blew Down"
Random Poetry List XLII
Wind last night blew down
Anonymous (Korean, 16th century AD)
Originally e-mailed on Thursday, May 28, 1998 @ 5:13 PM.
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|Needless Commentary from Small-Town America|
|The View from the Core, and all original material, © 2002-2004 E. L. Core. All rights reserved.|
|Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman Heart speaks to heart|