Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri's Passion Ends

I have split by day and reorganized my previous running post to improve the blog's overall readability. For continuing updates go to blogsforterri.com and terrisfight.org.

Easter Thursday

Supreme Court rejects latest appeal.

Terri Schiavo has died.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon her.
May her soul, and those of all the faithful departed, through the grace of God's mercy, rest in peace.

Father, please forgive us.

No more blogging today.

Casting for Miracle Stories

One of the things that has been really bugging me for the last two weeks (actually goes back to mid-February as a nagging feeling when Sarah Scantlin's story came out) and that is the question "How often do miracles like Ms. Scantlin's occur?" Does anybody know of a site that is tracking these things? Until I find such a site, I guess I'll volunteer to collect these stories. So please send me live links to genuine miracle stories, and I will organize them into a list. If the list ever gets too big, which I hope, I will figure something else out; perhaps spin off a site. You can send your links by posting a comment here, or by sending an e-mail. Thanks for your help.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/30

Easter Wednesday

11th Circuit agrees to hear new petition. I hadn't even heard there was a motion submitted. Nevertheless, my confidence in the judiciary remains very low.

- 11th Circuit denies appeal again.

Commentary: I did say my confidence is very low. Judge Birch's opinion only cements my prejudice further. Perhaps he ought to reread Article III--nah, that probably wouldn't help.

What Dog Are You?

Dog Name
Black Russian Terrier

Russia. In the 1940s the army-controlled kennel "Red Star" began to breed a dog for its own needs. They used a program developed by Soviet breeder-specialists and created a new breed especially suited for their special duties. The goal was a massive, robust, high-spirited all-round dog, always willing to work and able to withstand the enormous, climactic differences in the country. The Black Russian Terrier is to the Red Army what the Malinois is to the French Army.

Black Russian Terriers are brave and very observant. Suspicious of strangers, they have a strong protective instinct. They avoid fighting other dogs, although males cannot live with other big dominant dogs, but can easily live with non-dominant or small dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, etc. This breed only barks when they feel it is necessary. Quick to act, they are always ready to protect their owner and house.

You can take the test here.

Never Again: Again and Again

A Coalition for Darfur Post

In her 2001 article "Bystanders to Genocide," Pulitzer Prize winning author Samantha Power recounts how President Clinton was shocked and outraged by an article written by Philip Gourevitch recounting the horrors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, prompting him to send the article to his national security advisor Sandy Berger with a note scrawled in the margin reading "Is what he's saying true? How did this happen?"

After taking office, President Bush reportedly read Power's article on the Clinton administration's failure to intervene during the genocide. He too scrawled a message in the margin - "NOT ON MY WATCH."

Yet we are now faced with another African genocide, this time in Darfur, and the United States and the rest of the world are responding exactly as they did during Rwanda - with paralyzed inaction.

Though there are many key differences between what is taking place in Darfur and what occurred in Rwanda a decade ago, there are also many similarities.

In 1993, the world watched "Schindler's List" and wondered how such horrors could unfold and why they were not stopped. In 2004, it watched "Hotel Rwanda" and asked the same questions. In each case, those questions went unanswered.

Just as in Rwanda, the international military force on the ground in Darfur is far too small, poorly equipped and operating under an extremely limited mandate that does not allow them to protect civilians at risk.

Just as in Rwanda, the genocide is taking place against a backdrop of "civil war," leading the international community to focus more on establishing a cease-fire than protecting those being killed.

Just as in Rwanda, the death toll is nearly impossible to determine.

Just as in Rwanda, the United Nations is more or less paralyzed as individual nations seek to protect their own national interests rather than helpless men, women and children.

Just as in Rwanda, media coverage is almost nonexistent, Congress is all but silent, and the human rights community is having difficulty get the nation to pay attention to a genocide in progress.

Just as in Rwanda, a genocide is unfolding - but this time it is happening on our watch.

We ask you to join the Coalition for Darfur as we attempt to raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur and raise money for the live saving work Save the Children is doing there.

A Stirring Over at Catholic and Enjoying It.

Mark Shea pops in for Easter with a long post, "At the Core of Reality is Joy." Spot on I say.

New Resource for Catholic Fathers

Mark Kern of The K Report has launched CatholicDadsOnline. Lots of good stuff there. I know other sites have ways to get much the same info, but this is organized to be a ready reference for the faith tailored specifically for fathers. Mark has tapped a similar sentiment that was nagging me more than a year ago. I eventually responded by creating my own devotion to St. Joseph. I like his approach, as well. Godspeed. Please check it out.

Bob Casey, RIP

The totals on the board are correct!

It is something of a rite of passage that the sights and sounds of your formative years will disappear around you. I was no exception to a phenomenon that was no doubt replicated across the Upper Midwest as I stepped into the batter's box in somebody's yard announcing myself as Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Roy Smalley, Bombo Rivera, etc. in a syncopated style that belongs to Bob Casey, the only PA announcer the Twins have had since they moved from Washington. Mr. Casey gained notoriety for the way he announced Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, reminded everyone that there is no smoking in the Metrodome, and butchered players' names, but his infectious love of baseball is what caused his distinctive voice and style to seep into the bones of Twins fans. Don't think it seeped in? Walk into a sports bar and ask "Who's up?" when Julio Franco is at the plate for the Braves this year. The answer, more likely than not, will be "OOOlio (pregnant pause) frangko." Sure a snickering fan in the know might say "ozzievirgil" if asked when Omar Vizquel is hitting, but it is decidedly TORii, and not a mimicking of kirBEEEEEEE, when Mr. Hunter takes the field because that's the way Bob said it.

Bob Casey died early Easter Sunday in Minneapolis at the age of 79 as a result of complications of liver cancer and pneumonia, surrounded by his family. A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for later today at St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis. His wife of 55 years, Rosemary, wants him to be remembered for his love of family and love of the game. I doubt neither. And I know the ballpark won't be the same. May he rest in peace.

Blogger Ate My Homework

Late last week, after exactly three months of operation, The Troglodyte passed the 1,000th visitor mark. This is actually about the timing for this milestone I had hoped for at the beginning, so thank you, dear readers. Within minutes of reaching this milestone, I apparently have been granted the Blogger seal of approval by being plagued with the problems I read about at more popular sites, e.g., lost edits, deleted posts, not being able to post, etc. It's nice to be recognized.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/29

Easter Tuesday

No updates, yet--much discussion on the autopsy and funeral--I will not be getting into what happens to Terri here, if and when she dies, but rather focusing on her being alive.

- I agree with Jesse Jackson (NYT free reg. req'd)--never thought I'd say those words, either. The obvious question is "Where's he been?" To be fair, he did enter the fray a few days ago on the cable news channels. And better late than never to the side of justice.
- Jesse Jackson has reportedly convinced two of the three necessary Florida state senators to change their votes on a law allowing the feeding tube to be reinserted, but there are contradictory claims.

Government Doing What Governments Sometimes Do

Virginia Governor Mark Warner signed into law yesterday House Bill 2579. I mention this because it occurs to me that The Troglodyte ought to have an official bat. I am soliciting nominations. Here is the text of Gov. Warner's announcement:

This bill designates the Virginia Big-Eared Bat as the official bat of the Commonwealth. The Legislature previously has designated a state bird (northern cardinal), a state flower and tree (dogwood), a state dog (American fox hound), a state boat (Chesapeake Bay deadrise), a state dance (square dance), a state insect (tiger swallowtail butterfly), a state fish (brook trout), a state shell (oyster), a state fossil (Chesapecten jeffersonius), and a state beverage (Got Milk?). Therefore, I see no harm in designating a state bat, no matter how odd-looking the Virginia Big-Eared bat might be. However, I am compelled to add this:

I took some grief for my nudist park pun.
But resist I cannot on this one.
I will sign this bill,
more or less of free will.
But I can't do it without having some fun.

We have a state dog and a fish and a bird.
And of the fossil I’m sure you have heard.
So why not a bat?
What's wrong with that?
The state beverage is no more absurd.

Upon my signature now it appears,
The designation will now last for years.
I'll spare you the Latin
If you're seeking the bat in
A guidebook, it's the one with big ears.

I think our bat's up to the test.
If you doubt it, just ask Adam West.
He was TV's Bruce Wayne --
the caped crusader's real name --
and could 'Zap!' and 'Kapow!' with the best.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/28

Easter Monday

- I agree with Ralph Nader--never thought I'd say those words. (cap tip: Mansfield Fox) If you've still got it in you, feel free to rage against the machine.
- Gov. Bush apparently did attempt the nuclear option, ultimately choosing to avoid a firefight (cap tip again: Mansfield Fox).
- Supporters for keeping Terri alive have taken their protests back to Washington.

Another Big Earthquake in Asia

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra Island in the Andaman Sea just after 11 PM local time (a little more than an hour ago, if I did the conversion correctly). Thailand has issued a tsunami warning. May God be with them.

Nearly 300 dead, but, thankfully, no tsunami this time.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/27


Terri receives Holy Communion and Annointing of the Sick.

Mane Nobiscum, Domine!


He may not have been able to speak well today, but he continues to lead:

Urbi et Orbi Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II

1. Stay with us, Lord! (cf. Lk 24:29) With these words, the disciples on the road to Emmaus invited the mysterious Wayfarer to stay with them, as the sun was setting on that first day of the week when the incredible had occurred. According to his promise, Christ had risen; but they did not yet know this. Nevertheless, the words spoken by the Wayfarer along the road made their hearts burn within them. So they said to him: "Stay with us". Seated around the supper table, they recognized him in the "breaking of bread"- and suddenly he vanished. There remained in front of them the broken bread, there echoed in their hearts the gentle sound of his words.

2. Dear brothers and sisters, the Word and the Bread of the Eucharist, the mystery and the gift of Easter, remain down the centuries as a constant memorial of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ! On this Easter Day, together with all Christians throughout the world,we too repeat those words: Jesus, crucified and risen, stay with us! Stay with us, faithful friend and sure support for humanity on its journey through history! Living Word of the Father, give hope and trust to all who are searching for the true meaning of their lives. Bread of eternal life, nourish those who hunger for truth, freedom, justice and peace.

3. Stay with us, Living Word of the Father, and teach us words and deeds of peace: peace for our world consecrated by your blood and drenched in the blood of so many innocent victims: peace for the countries of the Middle East and Africa, where so much blood continues to be shed; peace for all of humanity, still threatened by fratricidal wars. Stay with us, Bread of eternal life, broken and distributed to those at table: give also to us the strength to show generous solidarity towards the multitudes who are even today suffering and dying from poverty and hunger, decimated by fatal epidemics or devastated by immense natural disasters. By the power of your Resurrection, may they too become sharers in new life.

4. We, the men and women of the third millennium, we too need you, Risen Lord! Stay with us now, and until the end of time. Grant that the material progress of peoples may never obscure the spiritual values which are the soul of their civilization. Sustain us, we pray, on our journey. In you do we believe, in you do we hope, for you alone have the words of eternal life (cf. Jn 6:68). Mane nobiscum, Domine! Alleluia!

My Doggerel on the Web

Triumphant Hope (Draft)
Suffering Hope (Draft)
Adoring Hope (Draft)
Profit Source
Performance Goal

Triumphant Hope

Beyond good news,
Perhaps too good to be true,
With a wind and a rush running still,
The message is not a dream,
Nor what it could be, would be,
Loudly proclaiming a reunion,
His the supreme act of Will.

All that is condemned today
Can be known simply, the rife
Message that we will rise on the last day
With the resurrection and the life.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/26

Holy Saturday

- The judicial wagons remain circled. Judge Greer again refuses to reinsert tube. Appeal to the Florida Supreme Court also fails.
- Schindlers do not plan any more federal appeals.
- Gov. Bush still has two appeals pending, but confidence is low.
- Terri will be denied Communion on Easter, leading to cries of infringement on her religious rights.
- Terri is being administered morphine to ease her pain.

Commentary: Why does she need morphine if this is such a peaceful way to die? More lies (at least about the certainty of the "medical professionals" about what Terri's feeling).

Friday, March 25, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/25

Good Friday

Still waiting on decision from US District Court. Terri is "in her final hours."

- Gov. Bush says that he will not operate outside his powers; orders his legal team to look for a way to allow the reinsertion of the feeding tube.
- Judge Whittemore denies emergency request. Schindlers appeal again to the 11th Circuit.
- 11th Circuit panel again refuses to order the re-insertion of the feeding tube. A separate, late afternoon filing was made requesting Pinellas Circuit Judge Greer to order the reinsertion of the tube, claiming Terri Schiavo tried to say "I want to live" when her tube was removed. Judge Greer earlier refused a request to have him recused from the case.

Commentary: The string is running out; not much else to say on the legal options unless the governor wants to use the nuclear (police powers) option.

Suffering Hope

Good Friday

Seeking to answer the mystery, the worst
A sum of all evil taken upon The thrashed
Body is wholly wanting. Vulnerable, open to the malice
He wipes clean with the obedience and not without
Acceptance of His lowly office, the lowly lot,
Absolving with the hidden beauty of a hideous mystery.

Something to Consider

I'm usually not one for such actions by those sworn to uphold the law, but the Judgment of the Nations is ringing in my ears:
... Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink... (Matthew 25:41b-42)
Law without justice has no meaning.

Plants Challenge Genetic Inheritance Laws

One of the things that has always troubled me about Darwinism (as a scientific model) is its epidemiological difficulties. The Darwinist model of evolution rests on the notion of undirected, random mutation and natural selection. It also requires that there be enough of the mutation (number or dominance) within the population of a given generation so that the selective advantage provided by the mutation is passed on to the next. Eventually, the number of members of the species having the mutation surpasses the "tipping point" to allow the mutation to be sustained in the local population. The results of this study suggest that in plants, even if two parents share a mutation, their offspring may revert to the traits of a previous generation. If true for higher order organsisms, and this is by no means certain, this would make Darwin's mechanism of evolution even less plausible.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/24

Holy Thursday

Still waiting on a decision for hearing by the Supreme Court and for a ruling from Judge Greer as to whether the state of Florida can take custody of Terri.

Will be back at work today, so less frequent updates/comments.

- Supreme Court rejects Shindlers' appeal.
- Florida judge refuses to hear new medical evidence and rejects Gov. Bush's request for custody.
- Schindlers request TRO to allow new evidence to be heard in federal court. Hearing held at 6 PM EST without a decision

Commentary re 1st & 2nd updates: No surprises here given the narrow view taken by the federal courts and Judge Greer's track record. The only realistic option available, although another long shot, is for Gov. Bush to remand Terri into custody as part of a criminal investigation of abuse by Michael, including the original incident that put her in her current state. Some legal beagle's claim there is substantial evidence to support this. I would have questions about that, as well as whether there are any statutes of limitations. This move would be a monumental political risk for Gov. Bush--we'll see how much moral fortitude he has.

Adoring Hope

Holy Thursday

In the face of skepticism and denial,
In the face of going along casual chic,
In bliss ignorance of life, there It Is tonight.

Before us, heavy in sorrow and brimming with meaning,
The Last Supper, the meal of hope, carries the promise
Of eternal life. We are asked to enter the mystery
Of that single moment,
Understanding as little as the Apostles; that moment
Wrapping a tantalizing feast to the last ringing
Tone of Easter's triumph by and with the Sacrifice.

That we may come to table with bowed head.
That we may come to recline with bended knee.
That we may come. That we may come, indeed.

Bias, Ever Bias

In case the near-giddiness in the MSM, and I have to include the cable news (Shep Smith) here too, was not a giveaway, here is a sample from a recent AP report:

... Bush's challenge to the disagnosis on Terri Schiavo's brain damage is based on the opinion of a neurologist working for the state who observed Schiavo at her bedside but did not conduct an examination of her.

The neurologist, William Cheshire of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, is a bioethicist who is also an active member in Christian organizations, including two whose leaders
have spoken out against the tube's removal.

Ronald Cranford of the University of Minnesota, a neurologist who was among those who made a previous diagnosis of Schiavo, said "there isn't a reputable, credible neurologist in the world who won't find her in a vegetative state."

Well, here is a little more info about the good Dr. Cranford from WorldNetDaily (cap tip: BlogsforTerri):

Cranford is a member of the board of directors of the Choice in Dying Society, which promotes doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

He was also a featured speaker at the 1992 national conference of the Hemlock Society. The group recently changed its name to End of Life Choices.

In 1997, Cranford wrote an opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune titled: "When a feeding tube borders on barbaric."

I have not heard that anywhere. And lest anyone think there has not been conflicts of interest in the adjudication of this case, consider this, also from BlogsforTerri:
... to [deny food and hydration] on the basis of heresay evidence, disallowing and devaluing the testimony to the contrary of Terri's parents and friends, can only be described as judicial action with an agenda - by a judge that has sat on the same board of directors of the same hospice with the euthanasia advocate George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney... (emphasis added)
Anybody hear that in the MSM? How about cable news? It ought to be something easily discredited by now, if not true. Ugh! This whole thing stinks to high heavens.

Finally, a Real Telecom Revolution

The marketplace can be messy at times, but there still isn't a better alternative. The telecom revolution that wasn't is just an example. James K. Glassman sees hope in the near future:
Exactly which technologies will dominate in the next few years, I have no idea. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), wireless broadband, super-fast DSL, satellite, cable telephony? If all goes well, the choice, finally, will be in the hands of consumers, rather than regulators, judges and legislators who left the job half-done. Americans will benefit from fierce competition among serious, well-funded companies and choose for themselves the best products at the lowest cost.

(cap tip: Acton)

Puzzled by a Love Profound

I have only been dropping in bits of commentary and opinions as a I track the march to (barring a miracle) Terri Schiavo's impending death. This has been intentional, mostly because I don't know how to be pithy about what I am thinking. Peggy Noonan has captured a part of my sense of it, however. Her last paragraph, as hyperbolic as it sounds, is a grave concern:
Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/23

Wednesday of Holy Week

The three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit denies the Schindlers' appeal 2-1. Next stop the Supreme Court.

Commentary: My question is this, how can the Schindlers demonstrate "a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims" if they cannot present the new evidence that would come with the de novo review that Congress ordered in the legislation? This is something other than a conservative circuit behaving conservatively and not wanting to overturn out of hand a lower court's ruling. This is something other than federal judges taking a remarkably narrow view of the case's context to allow them to treat this like the political hot potato that it is. I sense there is Darkness afoot.

Home sick again today, but I have not watched nearly as much cable news in bed as yesterday; spending more time praying.

- Bill to have feeding tube re-inserted fails in Florida Senate.
- Florida Dept. of Children & Families is barred by Judge Greer from taking custody of Terri while he considers a petition for the state to assume custody based on a finding by a DCF Adult Protection Team that questions PVS diagnosis.
- Full 11th Circuit washes its hands, i.e., declines request for emergency hearing 10-2.

Humanitarian Workers at Risk

A Coalition for Darfur Post

Last week, the United Nations was forced to withdraw its staff from parts of western Sudan after the Janjaweed militia declared that it would begin targeting foreigners and U.N. humanitarian convoys.

Yesterday, a 26 year-old USAID worker was shot in the face when the clearly-marked humanitarian convoy she was traveling in was ambushed in broad daylight.

It is still unknown just who carried out this ambush, but Sudan expert Eric Reeves reported yesterday that he had "received from multiple, highly authoritative sources intelligence indicating that Khartoum has ambitious plans for accelerating the obstruction of humanitarian access by means of orchestrated violence and insecurity, including the use of targeted violence against humanitarian aid workers."

If such a plan is truly in the works, it will have dire consequences for the people of Darfur. Last year, Jan Egeland, the UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, warned that as many as 100,000 people could die in Darfur every month if those providing humanitarian assistance were forced to withdraw due to insecurity.

Save the Children has already lost 4 of its aid workers in the last year, yet they continue to provide medical care, food, water, shelter, and protection to more than 200,000 children and families in Darfur each month.

The members of the Coalition for Darfur are working together to raise money for Save the Children and if each coalition partner can raise a mere $10 dollars a week, together we can generate $2,000 a month to support Save the Children's life saving work.

We hope that you might consider making a small donation.

Sacrificing Truth for the Sake of Legal Positivism

Here's another good piece from Catholic Analysis, although I don't pin the issue necessarily on a flaw in Florida's guardianship laws. One of the fundamental problems with the Schiavo scandal (yes, it's a scandal) is the emphasis on process, rather than the truth. This is the danger of legal positivism. The courts have determined as fact that Terri would have wanted to have her feeding tube pulled, when however, at best, she expressed contradictory views on separate occassions. The courts have also determined as fact that Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state" despite sworn testimony from her nurses that she could say words like "Mommy" and "pain," public video showing her responding to stimulus, false claims on what can be concluded from a CAT scan (the liquified brain bit), contradictory conclusions by experts (including the latest from the Mayo Clinic), and so on. Oswald Sobrino sums it up well:
It is a stunning moment. The United States is on the verge of completing the legally-sanctioned murder by starvation of an innocent person... It is inane, irrational, barbaric, and primitive. If this unnecessary sacrifice on the altar of legal technicalities goes forward, we should all shudder for our country.

Red Lake Shooting

I haven't commented about this tragedy primarily because I don't really know what to say. I don't think we can keep calling these separate incidents. They are symptoms of something more; systemic, persistent, and now apparently not isolated. And they ought not be happening.

Pope Makes Appearance

Just when people start counting him out...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/22

Tuesday of Holy Week

Judge Whittemore denies parents' request for relief. Schindlers file appeal to 11th Circuit Court.

Commentary: I'm not a lawyer, but I wouldn't necessarily mind playing one on TV. The judge apparanetly reviewed two separate arguments that Terri's civil rights were violated, 1.) that she has not been given due process, and 2.) that she was denied the right to practice her religion. There are three things that strike me about this that suggest this ruling is in error.

I think due process was probably followed here in form, but not necessarily in substance. First, Terri has never had a PET scan, or MRI, done, yet the judge accepted "expert testimony" that did not include the use of these widely used and widely known tools. Issuing a stay to complete due diligence here as part of a de novo record would seem justified. Second, I do not know how prevalent this is in practice, or how well I understand this, but the judge (apparently?) appointed himself as advocate, later appointing someone on his behalf, in the finding of fact, thereby creating what commonsensically would be considered a conflict of interest. Lest anyone think that this ought to have worked in Terri's favor, consider whether a person in such a situation would not bend over backwards the other way so as to not give the appearance of bias to the person on whose behalf he's acting allegedly. The third item is related to Terri's Roman Catholicism. Michael and the hospice systematically denied Terri regular access to the sacraments. That is without question. The judge claims that it was not the state that did this but Michael and the hospice. However, through repeated affirmations by the state court rulings regarding custody and care, the state has in effect assumed culpability here. Were this not the case, then during the civil rights era, many victims of discrimination could not have received the relief that they did from the federal courts. This third point is the one being hammered by David Boies of Bush v. Gore fame.

I called in sick for work today, so I ended up watching a lot of cable news. Here's are just some of the things I heard while watching and praying:

- "Justice Department and a congressman file 'friend of the court' briefs"
- "Terri's death is imminent."
- "People who disagree with the state court and the doctors are anti-science."
- "Terri received the Catholic Church's Last Rites and a few drops of blessed wine (sic) in her feeding tube before it was removed on Friday."
- "Rick Santorum is spitting mad that the judge didn't order the tube re-inserted."
- "Congress overstepped its bounds according to the American people."

A Redemptive Suffering Redux

With Pope John Paul II's latest difficulties, it is fitting again to look at his example of following the Way of the Cross. George Weigel, as usual, gives us a solid account of the pope's discipleship. In the face of the cries for him to step down, as well as the consistent poll numbers (NYT free reg. req'd) indicating a majority of Americans support starving Terri Schiavo, Weigel points his finger at a gaping whole in today's society:
Contemporary Western culture doesn't have much truck with suffering. We avoid it if possible. We sequester it when it becomes unavoidable: How many of us will die at home? Embracing suffering is a concept alien to us. And yet suffering embraced in obedience to God's will is at the center of Christianity. The Christ whose passion more than a billion and a half Christians commemorate this week is not portrayed in the Gospels as someone to whom suffering just happened -- a prophet with the typical prophet's run of bad luck. The Christ of the Gospels reaches out and embraces suffering as his destiny, his vocation -- and is vindicated in that self-sacrifice on Easter.

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

We continue to pray for His Holiness.

Road Salt May Harm the Environment

One for the duh file. But it does contain this ray of hope:
Scientists who study road salt's effect on the ecology do not advocate leaving icy roads untreated. They hope to learn more about how to prevent salt's negative impacts without sacrificing public safety.

I'm glad to know I don't need to rush out to get my horse outfitted for chains. Well I guess I'd need a horse first. Also, shouldn't global warming be taking care of ice on the roads anyway?

Finally Found an Answer

to a question I asked here and here (cap tip: Fructus Ventris).
How a handful of progressive foundations and quasi-government agencies set out to provide equitable distribution of health care,and in the process, created a duty to die and a culture of death. And how they hope to secure their legacy...
It is well worth the read to understand exactly how we got here. With the opposition's model in hand, somebody ought to be able craft an effective, long-term counter-strategy.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/21

Monday of Holy Week

US District Judge James Whittemore has held a 3 PM EST hearing on the matter of re-inserting the feeding tube, but has not ruled.

Lileks on Schiavo

He hits the mark as usual. Read the entire post, but here's the wrap-up:

In short: err on the side of life is not a bad motto to keep in mind. This seems simple enough. I respect those who nod, count to three, and offer a soft “however” so that we may refine the particulars. But I don’t have much time for those who hear “err on the side of life” and automatically bristle, because they hear the voice of someone who, damn their black and God-addled brain, once sent $10 to a politician who opposed parental notification law that did not have a judicial review.

You may not always agree with that sort of person. You may have no need for them. But you never think you have need of any chocks until you're in the truck, and you realize it's rolling down the hill. Backwards.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Terri's Passion 3/20

Palm Sunday

The House of Representatives has just passed bill S.686 (203-58), which the Senate passed by voice vote earlier in the day, that provides relief to the Schindlers to allow federal review of Terri Schiavo's civil rights during the Florida state proceedings of her case. The hope is that the federal judge issues a restraining order to re-insert her feeding tube while the case is considered. After President Bush signs the bill, we can expect Michael Schiavo to challenge immediately its constitutionality. Judicial action is expected by early-to-mid morning. We watch and pray.

Baseball & Steroids

Palm Sunday

I just watched the replay of Thursdays hearings on C-SPAN before the House Government Reform Committee. They have begun to have the desired effect with the players and the owners agreeing to drop the punitive option of a token fine, so that all players found to be using steroids will be suspended. This was an action promised during the course of testimony, so this is not really a significant development. What remains to be seen is whether the current progressive scheme for punishment will be made more strict, which was the real concern of the committee.

The only other conclusions I draw from the hearings is that 1.) players who excelled from the late 1980s through the early 2000s will porbably only be considered to be the best of their era (the "steroids" era) and not the best of all time, and 2.) it is nearly certain that Mark McGwire will not be elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Other Nuclear Option

Solemnity of St. Joseph

Oswald Sobrino highlights some of the dark effects of the Terri Schiavo case on the nation. Perhaps there is a way for the republic to respond to curb recent judicial trends, though not necessarily here, i.e., by dusting off an unused part of the Constitution's Article III, Section 2:
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make. (emphasis added)
lest we suffer more bad decisions.

Living Wills

I saw yesterday pieces on both Fox News and CNN about the "real lesson of the Terri Schiavo case," i.e., everyone should have a living will. One of the experts said you just need to get it down in writing; even e-mails are OK. Very well, then.

My feeding tube shall not be removed. Period.

Friday, March 18, 2005

For Though I Should Walk in the Midst of the Shadow of Death...

Memorial of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Terri Schiavo is dying. All hail the doctrine of the disposal person! There is, as expected, much commentary through the blogosphere. Among others, CRM has a mushroom harvest, as does Hugh Hewitt.

If we look at just the definitions of the words food and medicine, we can contrast the operative phrases of "sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy" and "a substance or preparation used in treating disease," respectively. How did the line between these two things get blurred? Lack of food means vital processes will not be sustained. Lack of medicine means a disease or condition will be allowed to progress on its natural course. Again, how did the line between these two things get blurred? Many have and will tell me that this is complicated. I beg to differ. Denying food is murder. It is exactly that simple. And no, it doesn't matter whether it was her wish. Such a wish is suicidal. Nobody thinks twice that we should try to talk somebody down off the top of a building, or we should call 911 when a friend swallows a bottle of pills. Instead we now have "the suffering," a class of inconvenient people. People so inconvenient, in fact, that many think they should not be allowed to live.

Yet there is no overwhelming outcry from the nation. Rev. Johansen's dismaying article from NRO is out there re the specific medical wrongs of this case. And there is no overwhelming outcry from the nation. We have wandered off the paths of justice.

Many are working to turn this to the good. I go back to my father's quote:
You have to give God a chance. You have to work with Him. Miracles do happen.
May God grant some here. In the mean time, praying, fasting, writing. Praying, fasting, writing. Praying, fasting, writing.

One of Life's Simple Pleasures

I got back into town today and was greeted by a winter storm warning. This gave me the opportunity to fire up the snowblower for the first time, even though this is the third significant snowfall that the south side of Twin Cities has had. The first time was lost to the Male Fun Limitation Factor (see below), and the second was when I was down with the flu, forcing the Troglodytrix to take care of the driveway. Anyway, snow is still falling so the driveway isn't totally clean, but if I may say so myself, I did a fine job of space management. Ahhhh.

Undocumented words in the Garage Logic Lexicon:
Male Fun Limitation Factor: When another male, often a complete stranger, in an alleged gesture of "being neighborly," snowblows your driveway before you do, thereby robbing you of your right to the fun.

Space Managment: The practice of not losing any space on the driveway to a snow bank. This generally includes snowblowing to the edges of the driveway and following up by sculpting with a shovel, as well as flaring the snow bank where the driveway meets the street to give you an easier turn out of the driveway. Good space management requires both spatial planning and execution.

A Devotion to St. Joseph

Joseph has a unique share in the mystery of the Incarnation as the spouse of Mary and the reputed father of Jesus Christ. It is through the roles in the Mysteries that any who share his offices - particularly parents, particularly fathers - have a mode of piety for salvation.

The idea of devotion to Joseph has been advocated by popes and saints for more than a century, and its propriety is without doubt. With Joseph, through Mary, to Christ. As its popularity has grown, so has the number of forms of devotion, be they novenae, chaplets, or prayers. A little more than a year ago, while in prayer, I enjoyed an impression of a devotion to St. Joseph that reflects his participation in God's "system of salvation." How too must we follow the Holy Family, with Joseph at its head, as a component of the Church, for everlasting life because, as Pope John Paul II has noted, "As the family goes, so goes the nation." Indeed, so goes the world. Through study and discerning prayer, I offer the following, a consecration to the Devoted Heart of St. Joseph.

The devotion is actually a layer of devotions said year-round. Its core is the exhortation, which may be said throughout the day and is suitable for meditation:

Shadow of the Father, by your intercession, guide my office for the sake of yours.
The consecration may be said upon arising, or as part of the chaplet of the Devoted Heart of Joseph:

O blessed St. Joseph, I consecrate myself with body and soul, through my thoughts, words, and actions, that your example of devotion may lead me for the greater glory of God the Father, in union with your charges, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.
The chaplet of the Devoted Heart of Joseph is suitable for daily use and includes:

Sign of the Cross
Hail Mary
Consecration Prayer
10 Exhortations

The chaplet concludes with the petition:

Son of David, may the piety of your Devoted Heart guide us on the way to salvation,
and the Sign of the Cross.

The chaplet of consecration to the Devoted Heart of Joseph is particularly suited for the feasts of the Mysteries of the Rosary and other Marian feasts.

Using a Rosary, begin with the Sign of the Cross, the Apostle's Creed, Our Father, and three Hail Mary's. On the large beads beads, pray the consecration. On the small beads, pray the exhortation. After each decade, pray the petition and the Fatima Ejaculation. Conclude with a Memorare to St. Joseph:
Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession was left unassisted. Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection. Despise not, O Guardian of the Redeemer, my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.
During each decade, meditate on a Mystery of Devotion:

Annunciation of Joseph
Circumcision and Naming of Jesus
Flight into Egypt with Mary and Jesus
Support and education of Jesus in Nazareth
Reunion with the resurrected Jesus
Other Mysteries include (ref. Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos):

The Census
The Nativity of Jesus
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
Jesus' Stay in the Temple

The novena of the consecration to the Devoted Heart of Joseph is a 45-day novena consisting of five separate novenae, each dedicated to a Mystery of Devotion. The novena is ideally said from the eve of the Solemnity of St. Joseph (today) through the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1).

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Beannachtam na Femle Padraig

Memorial of St. Patrick

I arise today
with God's strength to pilot my course,
with God's power to uphold me,
with God's wisdom to guide me,
with God's eye to give me seeing,
with God's ear to give me hearing,
with God's word for me to speak,
with God's hand to guard me,
with God's path to become my road,
with God's shield to protect me,
with God's army to ensure my salvation:
against every demon's trap,
against the lure of sin,
against lustful instincts,
against those who wish me ill, far and near.


St. Patrick was a gentleman
Who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland.
Here’s toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good St. Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

May the leprechauns be near you,
To spread luck along your way.
And may all the Irish angels,
Smile upon you St. Patrick’s Day.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

An Irishman's Philosophy:

There are only two things to worry about:
Either you are well or you are sick.
If you are well, then there is nothing to worry about.

But if you are sick, there are two things to worry about:
Either you will get well or you will die.
If you get well, then there is nothing to worry about.

But if you die, there are two things to worry about:
Either you will go to heaven or you will go to hell.
If you go to heaven, then you have nothing to worry about.

But if you go to hell, you'll be so damn busy shaking hands
with all your friends, then you won't have time to worry!

(cap tip: Tom's Toasts)

Yes, They Knew the Way to San Jose

Arrived safe and sound at Norman Mineta airport (Yeah, I didn't know they named the San Jose airport after him either). We were about half-hour late on Northwest, but other than that there was no incident. Certainly nothing like Karl Keating's horror story, thank goodness.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Unknown Death Toll

A Coalition for Darfur Post

Many seemed surprised when UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland recently updated the estimated death toll in Darfur upwards from 70,000 to 180,000. Egeland estimates that 10,000 people have died, and continue to die, per month since the start of the genocide 18 months ago. He also admitted that the new death toll might be even higher (more than 200,000) and stressed that this new figure does not include those who have died violently at the hands of the Sudanese government or their proxy militia, the Janjaweed.

The original figure of 70,000 was an estimate, or rather an underestimate, as it covered only the mortality in camps accessible to the World Health Organization between April and early September 2004. As such, it did not include mortality rates prior to April 2004, nor did it include mortality rates among the more than 200,000 refugees in Chad, nor the mortality rates in regions inaccessible to humanitarian organizations.

It is in these inaccessible regions where most of the violence is taking place. According to Sudan expert Eric Reeves, whose ongoing analysis of the situation in Darfur has been vital to understanding the widening scope of the crisis, an estimated 240,000 others have died as a direct result of government and/or Janjaweed violence.

If these numbers are correct, and we really have no cause to doubt them, it is safe to assume that some 400,000 Sudanese civilians have died in the last year and a half from direct violence, disease, or starvation.

That is more than 22,200 per month.

That is more than 740 per day.

That is more than 30 per hour.

That is one death every 2 minutes ... for 18 months.

Despite the seemingly hopeless nature of the crisis, we at the Coalition for Darfur believe that together we can raise awareness of the situation and, at the same time, raise money for the vital work that Save the Children is doing by providing food, water, shelter, and protection to over 200,000 children and families in Darfur each month.

Together, and with your support, we hope to make a small but meaningful contribution to alleviating the massive suffering that continues to plague the region.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Joy of Quizzes

I haven't really been surprised by one of these things, yet.

Category IV - The

You have a small, highly edited social group, and
you like it that way.

What Type of Social Entity are You?
brought to you by

Not surprised, that is, until now! Yikes!

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

(cap tip: De Fidei Oboedientia)

Administrative Stuff

Mostly this is to test the feature of posting via e-mail, which I may need because for the first time in ages I will be traveling on business later this week. I'm in the process of slowly cleaning up links and such on the side bar. Other suggestions re presentation are always welcome.

Major League Baseball Hands Over Documents

Just continuing to watch this whole thing unfold...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

So You Think You're a Dr. of Bracketology

The Troglodyte has set up a free 2005 bracket contest on CBS Sportsline. The only prize is bragging rights, but if you're interested in displaying your superior understanding of college hoops, drop a line to receive an e-mail invitation and instructions for filling out a bracket. Each player is allowed two brackets. Good luck!

Update after national championship:
Troglodyte - 1st
Troglodytrix - 6th
Troglotyke #1 - 4th
Troglomatrix - 2nd

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Interesting Shroud Update

New analysis confirms second face on Shroud of Turin (cap tip: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam):

Last year, two researchers, Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo of the University of Padua in Italy, reported finding a faint second face on the backside of the cloth. They published their findings in the peer reviewed scientific Journal of Optics (April 14, 2004). Though the facial image was confirmed scientifically, it was not easy to see. However, by filtering... with software... the second face becomes visible.

The second face was an important find because it virtually eliminates artistic methods while giving credence to a hypothesis that a natural amino/carbonyl chemical reaction formed the images.

I enjoy following these investigations, particularly because of the dedication to using solid scientific methods and peer review rather than degenerating to the shrillness of other "debates."

An Emerging Athletic Powerhouse?

In a few minutes, Holy Angels will be going for its 3rd state title in three weeks as the girls basketball team takes on Minneapolis North in the Class 3A Championship. Go Stars!

AHA was trounced 71-45 in the tournament finals. Still, including the Competitive Cheer and Dance Teams, the Stars have had 5 state tournament team entries just this winter, which, if I remember correctly, is more than the 4 teams that went to state my entire four years there in the early-to-mid 80's (girls cross-country, girls tennis, and baseball twice). Extra talent and money sure go a long way.

Tracking the SocSecurity Debate

The Note has issued its bi-monthly Benny Awards, given in various categories for "excellence" related to America's national debate over retirement security. Here are some of my favorite winners for the first part of March:

Best bad slogan sure to have no effect whatsoever on the debate: The Democrats' cheesy "Fix It, Don't Nix It."

Best hope of the pro-reform strategists: To somehow make this fight about the Democratic Party as do-nothing tax raisers.

Best state for Republicans to find a Democratic Senator most likely to embrace a compromise on Social Security and who is open to personal accounts that won't increase the deficit or reduce benefits: Nebraska.

Best examples of outlying rhetorical points (or "Best Freudian slips") (tie): The President's calling his plan for accounts "add-ons" one week ago today, and Vice President Cheney's acknowledgement that personal accounts will cost "trillions of dollars."

Best Democratic consultants in the eyes of Republican strategists: Jim Carville and Stan Greenberg.

Best approximation of Grover Norquist's worst nightmare: High level of public support for lifting payroll tax caps.

Best (and cuddliest) media enabler: Wolf Blitzer (interviewing Sen. Hagel).

Best evasion of leadership on Social Security: House Republicans, kicking it over to the Senate.

Best attempt to pin the lame duck pin on Bush prematurely: Congressional Democrats and the MSM.

Best mocking rhetoric (tie): Conservatives regarding those Republicans open to the huge tax increase embodied by raising the cap, and Democrats regarding those (other) Democrats who think it's time to offer a plan of their own for saving Social Security.

Hitting People Where They Live

Apparently Sen. Lawson thinks Floridians are not full of it already.

Building on Shifting Sand

From the editors in National Review's Feb. 28 print issue:

The Seven Deadly Sins are Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Lust, Avarice, and Gluttony, traditionally remembered with the aid of the acronym PEWSLAG. Well, goodbye PEWSLAG, hello CABDHGS. A polling organization in Britain asked a thousand citizens to modernize the list. The new deadlies are, in descending order of sinfulness: Cruelty, Adultery, Bigotry, Dishonesty, Hypocrisy, Greed, and Selfishness. Note the interesting shift of emphasis visible here. Formerly the essence of sin lay in offending God by failing to curb one’s lower nature. Nowadays sin means causing pain or mental distress to other people. To put it another way, virtue used to consist in moral cultivation of the self; now it consists in being nice. Something has been lost here, surely.

Surely, indeed.

Books Cited in a Post

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
- Frances Bacon

Books Cited in a Post

I and Thou
Martin Buber
post: Solidarity's Scale

Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
Michael J. Behe
post: Dangers of Dismissing Design

Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing
William Dembski, ed.
post: Dangers of Dismissing Design

The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction and Decision Theory)
William A. Dembski, Brian Skyrms, Ernest W. Adams, Ken Binmore, Jeremy Butterfield, Persi Diaconis, and William L. Harper, eds.
post: Dangers of Dismissing Design

The Nine Nations of North America
Joel Garreau
post: Charitable Giving IS a Red State Thing

Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II
George Weigel
post: President Bush's Second Inaugural Address

Books, Books, Books

Some Books That Have Influenced Me
Books I'm Reading
Recommended Books
Books Cited in a Post

Some Books That Have Influenced Me

Under Construction...
In no particular order and not including the Bible:

Recommended Books

A blessed companion is a book—a book that fitly chosen is a life-long friend.
- Douglas William Jerrold

Recommended Books (re/read since 12/25/04)

Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II
George Weigel

Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code: A Historian Reveals What We Really Know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Constantine
Bart D. Ehrman

Books I'm Reading

I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage, with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post which any human power can give.
- Thomas Jefferson

Books I'm Reading

Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II
George Weigel
Actually this is a reread.

The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century
Thomas P.M. Barnett

The Everlasting Man
G.K. Chesterton

A Time of Crisis... A Time for Christ
Fr. Ralph W. Beiting

The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Thomas L. Friedman

The Best American Short Stories 2004
Lorrie Moore, ed.

Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time
Paul Rogat Loeb

The Wisdom of St. Patrick
Greg Tobin

Remembering Herbie: Celebrating the Life and Times of Hockey Legend Herb Brooks
Ross Bernstein

Friday, March 11, 2005

Originalism v. the Breathing Document

There's a good exchange (start here) going on at Southern Appeal coming out of Scalia's dissent in Roper (the juvenile death penalty case).

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Brett Favre to Return to Packers in 2005

I would normally say this isn't good news, but he's able to return because his wife's cancer treatment appears to be going well, and that is a positive development.

One Step Back

From the AP report:
A judge ruled Thursday that Florida's social services agency cannot intervene to delay the removal of the feeding tube keeping brain-damaged Terri Schiavo alive... The Department of Children & Families had asked for a 60-day delay in the removal of the tube, now set for March 18.

We continue praying.

One Step Forward

National Geographic has a post on ultrasound technology that shores up what many of us know, the unborn are undeniably babies (cap tip: Blogs for Life).

"We can see better, but it's also important that the patient can see better," he explained. "When I give a patient a 2-D image, it's not uncommon for them to ask two or three times, 'What is this? Could you point this out?' If you give them a 3-D image, they are immediately able to recognize it, because it looks like a baby."

Campbell notes that in his clinic the effects of the moving, 4-D images are even greater.

"You just see the whoops of joy when the fetus does something like blink," he said. "That's a very powerful impact."

The Troglodytrix and I recently got to see similar images of Troglodyte #7 and found it absolutely mesmerizing. And 2-year old Troglotyke #5, who was in the room with us, immediately identified the baby. We could have watched for a long time; powerful impact indeed. Rather than legalism, it will be cultural change, aided by scientific knowledge and tools (like this), that ultimately tips the behavioral scale away from abortion.

A "four dimensional" sonogram gives expecting parents 3-D images of their fetus in motion. The motion is said to add a dimension—hence, "four dimensional."

Image courtesy National Geographic Channel

Let's Do Something About Darfur

A Coalition for Darfur Post

In May 2004, Roger Winter, the Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, told a House committee that it was inevitable that "more than 100,000 people will die no matter what" in Darfur, Sudan by the end of the year. Winter went on to warn that, in a worst-case scenario, the number could reach as high as 350,000.

One year later, the estimated death toll stands at more than 300,000. The actual number of deaths is nearly impossible to determine given that the government of Sudan, fearing the
truth, refuses to grant access to the World Health Organization so that it can conduct a mortality survey. Nonetheless, knowledgeable observers agree that thousands have died at the hands of the Sudanese government and their proxy militia, the Janjaweed (a term meaning "Devils on Horseback") and tens of thousands more have died of disease and starvation after having their villages destroyed in government-led attacks. More than 2 million Darfurians have been internally displaced, the agricultural economy has been decimated and an estimated 3-4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Nearly two years ago, the Muslim government in Khartoum was in the process of finalizing a peace accord that would end a twenty year civil war between the government in the North and the Sudan People's Liberation Army in the South that had taken some 2 million lives. Fearful that the Western region of Darfur was going to continue to be ignored in the new coalition government that was being formed, African rebels launched a series of raids against government facilities. Rather than negotiate with the rebel forces in the West, the government of Sudan enlisted Arab militias in a campaign to wipe out the rebels and anyone suspected of supporting them. In the process, hundreds of villages have been destroyed, tens of thousands have been raped and killed, and millions have been displaced.

The international community has responded in a haphazard fashion. The African Union secured the deployment of some 4,000 troops to the region, though its mandate was limited to monitoring a cease-fire that neither side honored. Less than 2,000 AU soldiers have arrived and they have limited logistical capabilities for covering this area roughly the size of Texas, nor do they have a mandate that allows them to protect civilians. The United Nations has been plagued by inaction, with China and Russia using their veto power to water down Security Council resolutions seeking sanctions or demanding accountability. A recent UN investigation detailed massive war crimes and crimes against humanity but stopped short of calling the campaign a genocide, a declaration the United States made last September. For now, much of the debate is focused on where any cases arising from this situation will be tried: the International Criminal Court or some Africa-based tribunal.

Angered by the lackluster response to what is widely acknowledged as the "world's worst humanitarian crisis," a group of bloggers have formed a Coalition for Darfur to do what little they can. We seek to raise awareness of the crisis in Darfur, but also to raise money for the vital work that Save the Children is doing by providing food, water, shelter, and protection to over 200,000 children and families in Darfur each month.

Together, and with your support, we hope to make a small but meaningful contribution to alleviating the massive suffering that continues to plague the region. Please consider making a donation via our Coalition for Darfur blog.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Welcome Sign, But They Better not Mess with the Fries

Memorial of St. Frances of Rome

Whatever doubts I had while reading this were assuaged by the following quote in the AP report:
"I think it's just window dressing designed to promote a more cuddly feeling towards the company than to really change their core business practices," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Public Interest, RIP

Memorial of St. John of God

David Brooks marks the passing (NYT free reg. req'd) of this once influential magazine. His obituary includes the following re the engine of history:

It occurred to several of the [magazine's] editors that they had accepted a simplistic view of human nature. They had thought of humans as economically motivated rational actors, who would respond in relatively straightforward ways to incentives. In fact, what really matters, they decided, is culture, ethos, character and morality.

Anatomy of a Crisis

Coalition for Darfur: Daily Darfur has a good starting point for those who need a primer on how we got here.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

AHA Stars are State Champs!

Happy Birthday to Troglotyke #6

From the AP report:

Jay Barriball had two goals and an assist to lead Holy Angels to its second Class 2A state boys' hockey title with a 6-4 victory over Moorhead on Saturday night.

The Stars (26-2-2) stunned Moorhead's shaky goaltenders with two quick goals in the first period and four on their first 10 shots, then held on as the Spuds rallied late.

Down 5-3, Moorhead appeared to close the gap with 3:42 to go when Cory Johnson knocked in a rebound, but officials ruled that Johnson played it with a high stick and waved off the goal. Moorhead coach Dave Morinville was visibly upset, and the Spuds managed one more goal down the stretch, but still fell to 0-6 in championship games.

Notes: Duluth East defeated Tartan 5-3 in the third-place game. ... White Bear Lake defeated Bloomington Jefferson 5-4 in overtime for the consolation championship. ... Attendance for the four-day tournament was a record 123,853.

I didn't go to tonight's games for domestic peacekeeping reasons (it's not really fair to leave the Troglodytrix home alone with 6 Troglotykes for three nights in a row--I did take 4 of them to Mariucci for the Jefferson vs. White Bear game). It isn't quite the same atmosphere-wise, and on TV you get to listen to Lou Nanne make the same points a dozen times per period, some of which are even insightful. But nevermind... Oh, yeah, Victory!

Finally, we can use the best retort to the "Public Schools" chant by simply pointing to the scoreboard.

Stars to Face Spuds in Finals

The Holy Angels boys hockey team downed Tartan 4-2 to advance to tonight's championship game. This marks their first return to the title game since they won their only state championship over Hill-Murray in an all fish stick-eater final of 2002. The Stars scored in the first minute and then added three goals in the third period to secure the victory. The concern is that during the intervening 40 minutes the Titans carried the game as the Stars had difficulty clearing their own zone and generating any sustained offensive attack. The upside is that the Stars have not played their best game yet, which they will need against Moorhead, the class of this year's tournament.

Chant Update
Last night's volleys from the public school students had more of an edge [understatement!] last night than during the quarterfinals. Most of the chants were led by a nose-bleed section of Duluth East students whose team had lost in the earlier semi-final game (generally Tartan fans were not included in the cruder chants). There was one about which they were very pleased with themselves until...

The best retort chant
AHA: Ho-ly An-gels! Ho-ly An-gels!
Public Schoolers: Ho-ly [expletive]! Ho-ly [expletive]! (Yes, my tax dollars at work.)
AHA: Where is your team?! Where is your team?!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Stars Down Jaguars in State Hockey Quarterfinals

Memorial of St. Casimir

Holy Angels defeated rival Bloomington Jefferson 3-2 to advance to the semi-finals of the state tournament, where they will meet Tartan, a 4-3 winner over Elk River.

Our tickets (I took the Troglomatrix), courtesy of the Troglodytrix's sister, were near the Holy Angels section, which added to the fun. Tomorrow I begin using the other half of my godfather's season ticket pair that I split with my brother, so I won't be so close to the student section (generally a good thing). Besides the game, here are a few things I observed from near the AHA student body last night.

AHA sign that makes me chuckle: We Gave Up Losing 4 Lent

AHA sign that makes me worry about the future: 3rd Place, 3rd President... Coincidence?
Keep in mind this was a quarterfinal game.

Chants (to the rhythm of "Let's go Yankees")
Second-best retort chant
AHA: Ho-ly An-gels! Ho-ly An-gels!
Jefferson: Un-cre-a-tive! Un-cre-a-tive!

Best retort chant
Jefferson: Pub-lic Scho-ols! Pub-lic Scho-ols!
AHA: We've got Jesus! We've got Jesus!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Coalition for Darfur

Memorial of St. Katherine Drexel

The Troglodyte has just joined the Coalition for Darfur (cap tip: Southern Appeal), a non-partisan alliance of blogs created to bring attention to the massacre occuring in the Darfur region of the Sudan. Please visit and consider a donation.

Sporadic Blog Advisory

I will be attending the Minnesota State High School Boys Class AA Hockey Tournament during the next few days, where my high school (Class of '85) has an entry again this year, Academy of Holy Angels--maybe they can follow the girls' lead. Go Stars!

Clarion Call, or Alarmist Alarm

It would just be my luck to join the blogosphere and have this happen. However, I don't see it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

SCOTUS Hears Decalogue Debate

Consider some of the majority's reasoning from Roper v. Simmons, as captured by the Washington Post:
In concluding that the death penalty for minors is cruel and unusual punishment, the court cited a "national consensus" against the practice... [emphasis added]

For the record, I generally oppose the death penalty. Nevertheless, I abhor the reasoning and the means here (subjective judicial interpretation vs. legislative process) for successfully chipping away at it.

Now consider this from the AP report on the Ten Commandments cases:
Ten Commandments displays are supported by a majority of Americans, according to an AP-Ipsos poll. The poll taken in late February found that 76 percent support it and 23 percent oppose it.

Not that I would like to see it, for the same reasons as above, but I'll bet dollars to doughnuts the usual suspects don't bring up national consensus.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Ten Commandments Cases

There's a quality rant at Southern Appeal over the Texas and Kentucky cases. Here's a snippet:

While digging through news accounts, I couldn't help but choke upon reading the following from Linda Greenhouse of the NYT:

Now, as with all great controversies in American life, this one has finally reached the Supreme Court. In two cases to be argued on Wednesday, the basic question for the justices will be: what does it mean for the government to display a copy of the Ten Commandments?

Today, the elites find nothing strange about "all great controversies in American life" being decided by nine unelected judges. It never occurs to Greenhouse and her ilk that most if not all great controversies should be decided by the people and/or their direct representatives.

I'll go one further. This one ought not even be decided by direct representatives. Subsidiarity, my friends. Subsidiarity. Their task should be to implement the people's solution. Unfortunately, we are not likely to find what that is any time soon.

The Oscars

It occurs to me that, given the buzz in the blogosphere, I should probably should say something about the Academy Awards and Chris Rock's performance. The things is I didn't really watch it, catching maybe the last 15-20 minutes. Troglotyke #1 and I watched Hoosiers on ESPN Classic instead to get pumped for our 6th grade boys basketball playoff game tonight.

Chris Rock is alleged to be one of the more intelligent entertainers today, but I have found that satirical minds are often confused with genius, particularly in Hollywood. As for the Oscars, my interest has been waning since Dead Poets Society was nominated for best picture. Each year it becomes easier to find something else to do, as I fire my pop gun in the culture war.


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