Monday, December 31, 2007

UPDATE: What a Crock

While it's beneath the U.S. media to acknowledge our military, I note, via Powerline, that others are not so blind. General Petraues is the U.K.'s Sunday Telegraph's 'Person of the Year.

General Petraeus: man with a message of hope

The critics said it couldn't be done, but the vision and determination of General David Petraeus have brought greater security and cause for optimism to the people of Iraq. He is The Sunday Telegraph's Person of the Year

For a man whose critics say he is far too fond of the television cameras, General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, has been rather out of the limelight this Christmas.

The sprightly, media-friendly 55-year-old is not perturbed, however, that his face is no longer number one item on the US networks. As he said last week, where Iraq is concerned, "No news is good news."

Today, we put him in the spotlight again by naming Gen Petraeus as The Sunday Telegraph's Person of the Year, a new annual accolade to recognise outstanding individual achievement.

He has been the man behind the US troop surge over the past 10 months, the last-ditch effort to end Iraq's escalating civil war by putting an extra 28,000 American troops on the ground.

So far, it has achieved what many feared was impossible. Sectarian killings are down. Al-Qaeda is on the run. And the two million Iraqis who fled the country are slowly returning. Progress in Iraq is relative - 538 civilians died last month. But compared with the 3,000 peak of December last year, it offers at least a glimmer of hope. … [T]he reason for picking Petraeus is simple. Iraq, whatever the current crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan, remains the West's biggest foreign policy challenge of this decade, and if he can halt its slide into all-out anarchy, Gen Petraeus may save more than Iraqi lives.

A failed Iraq would not just be a second Vietnam, nor would it just be America's problem.

It would be a symbolic victory for al-Qaeda, a safe haven for jihadists to plot future September 11s and July 7s, and a battleground for a Shia-Sunni struggle that could draw in the entire Middle East. Our future peace and prosperity depend, in part, on fixing this mess. And, a year ago, few had much hope.

To appreciate the scale of the task Gen Petraeus took on, it is necessary to go back to February 22, 2006. Or, as Iraqis now refer to it, their own September 11. That was when Sunni-led terrorists from al-Qaeda blew up the Shia shrine in the city of Samarra, an act of provocation that finally achieved their goal of igniting sectarian civil war.

A year on, an estimated 34,000 people had been killed on either side - some of them members of the warring Sunni and Shia militias, but most innocents tortured and killed at random. US casualties continued to rise, too, but increasingly American troops became the bystanders in a religious conflict that many believed they could no longer tame.

Except, that is, for Gen Petraeus. Despite his well-documented obsession with fitness - he starts his 18-hour days with a five-mile run - he is the opposite of the brawn-over-brain image that has dogged the US military mission in Iraq.

Top of the class of 1974 at West Point Military Academy and the holder of a PhD in international relations, he is the co author of the US military's manual on counter-insurgency, a "warrior monk" for whom the messy intrigues of asymmetric warfare hold more interest than the straightforward challenges of 2003's invasion.

Simply being the best and brightest soldier of his generation, however, would not be enough for Iraq in 2007, where a major part of the "surge" involves reconciling Iraq's warring political tribes.

When the White House called, confirming him for the job, President Bush was looking not just for an outstanding leader but also a diplomat, a politician and a negotiator. It seems he got them all.

"Petraeus has a rare combination of great geopolitical skills as well as tactical and military ones," says retired General Jack Keane, a fellow architect of the surge strategy. "He is good at working with ambassadors, with the Iraqi government, and he also knows how to cope with uncertainty and failure, which is what you get in an environment like Iraq."

Lest Gen Keane seem a little biased, it should be pointed out that British commanders hold Gen Petraeus in similarly high regard.

Several Northern Ireland veterans who worked with him in Baghdad this year came away with the opinion that it is now America, not Britain, that is the world leader in counter-insurgency.

As Petraeus toured some of Baghdad's abandoned, bullet-scarred Sunni neighbourhoods last February, his own comrades were not the only ones predicting he might fail spectacularly.

Among the US public, the clamour grew for the troops to be brought home altogether, and Iraq to be declared a lost cause unworthy of further American sacrifice.

The surge's "boots on the ground" strategy would simply force the militias into temporary hiding, critics said, wasting thousands more Americans lives in the process.

The strategy's chances of success were commonly put at only one in three - and those were the odds quoted by its supporters. Indeed, when The Sunday Telegraph visited Baghdad in the spring, US troops were candid about their expectations.

"Sure, the bad guys will go into hiding," said one commander in Jamia, an al-Qaeda-infested neighbourhood with 30 murders a month. "All we can hope is that things will have improved by the time they come back, so they're no longer welcome."

Nine months on, things do seem to have improved, thanks largely to Petraeus's extraordinary coup of turning Sunni insurgents against their extremist allies in al-Qaeda.

With the chief accelerant in the civil war gone, Shia militias such as the Mehdi Army have also been deprived of their main raison d'être, and with extra US troops on the streets, Iraqis who had previously felt vulnerable to the gunmen now feel safe enough to return home.

Things are far from perfect but, after four years in which events did nothing but get worse, the sight of a souk re-opening, or a Shia family being welcomed back home by their Sunni neighbours, has remarkable morale-boosting power.

Where once Iraqis saw the glass as virtually empty, now they can see a day when it might at least be half full.

True, post-Saddam Iraq has had a habit of confounding even the most cautious of optimists.

Iraq's Shia-dominated government is not alone in worrying that the most controversial of Gen Petraeus's policies - the co-opting of former Sunni insurgents into "concerned local citizens" schemes to fend off Shia militias - may create new, better-organised forces for a renewed civil war once the US finally departs.

Many coalition officials fear such a scenario. Were it to occur, it would confirm the charges of Petraeus's critics that at best he has secured only a hiatus in the collapse of Iraq.

Ultimately, that may prove to be the case.

But it should not overshadow his achievement this year: he has given another last chance to a country that had long since ceased to expect one. And for that, Gen Petraeus is Person of the Year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Er, I O U

Here's a good one from the WSJ's 'Best of the Web':
Katie Couric's "CBS Evening News" brings us this hard-hitting sob story:

For accountant Alex Guzzetta, not a day goes by when he doesn't think about these numbers: $90,000 in student loan debt, $20,000 owed to the federal government and $70,000 to a private lender.

"A third of every hour I work is basically just going towards just maintaining the interest on my student loans. I'm not getting anywhere, they're not getting any lower. I'm just buying time," he tells CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace.

Guzzetta maxed out in borrowing a fixed low interest federal loan and had to take out a private loan. He says he didn't realize he'd wind up paying 10 percent in interest and a minimum of $535 a month for 30 years.

"They said 'In six months, this is what your payment's going to be,' and when I saw that I nearly had a heart attack," he said.

You can see why he went into accounting. He obviously has an aptitude for it.

Darwin Award
Meet the Candidates

One of the conditions of winning the Darwin Award is that you have to be dead. Here, however, are some candidates for the honor at a date still to be determined.

Forest Kelly Bissonnette
Bank robber listed demands on own cheque

Englewood, Colorado - A man robbing a bank demanded the money by writing a note on one of his own cheques, authorities say.

Not surprisingly, he was caught soon afterwards.

Forest Kelly Bissonnette, 27, apparently tried to cover his name on the cheque, then handed the note to a teller on September 5 at the Bank of the West in Englewood, according to authorities.

"We could still make it out even though he blacked it out," FBI agent Rene VonderHaar said. Nearly $5 000 in cash was taken.

A surveillance video showed a suspect similar to Bissonnette's description, and a tipster said a man named Forest Kelly claimed he got $5,000 in a bank robbery, according to a federal complaint.

Bissonnette remained in federal custody on Tuesday after turning himself in Friday. A public defender was to be appointed for Bissonnette. - Sapa-AP

QuickwirePublished on the Web by IOL on 2007-09-12 03:01:48

Randy-Jay Adolphos Jones

He holds woman's cell phone for ransom — but cops thwart plan
Lancaster New Era

Published: Oct 15, 2007 11:32 AM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - How much ransom money would you pay to get your cell phone back from a robber?

Perhaps $50 or $100 — maybe more if the phone were equipped with all the latest features.

But not a whopping $185,000.

Believe it or not, that was the initial amount an alleged purse snatcher told his victim he wanted in return for her cell phone, Lancaster police said.

After a few minutes of negotiating with the victim, the robber lowered his ransom figure dramatically — down to $200.

But the victim, a 29-year-old Philadelphia woman, got her phone back — and her stolen purse — without paying a single cent.

That's because Lancaster police listened to the negotiations and met the alleged robber at a rendezvous point with drawn guns.

The suspect, Randy-Jay Adolphos Jones, 29, of 2565 Ironville Pike, Columbia, was arrested on charges of robbery and indecent assault with his bail set at $100,000, police said.

Officer Jeff Gerhart, who filed the charges, gave this account:

Shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday, police got word of a purse-snatch robbery in the 400 block of West Lemon Street.

When Gerhart and other officers arrived, they had the woman call her cell phone number.

Jones answered and told the woman "he wanted money, $185,000, to give her her phone back," Gerhart said.

The woman kept Jones on the line, stalling for time, as police tried to trace the suspect's location. "Who are you? Where are you? What do you want me to do?" she kept asking the man while trying to get him to lower the ransom amount.

The suspect agreed to a price of $200, and told the woman to meet him at the Harrisburg Avenue pedestrian walkway that connects Franklin and Marshall College and Doc Holliday's restaurant.

Gerhart and about four other officers from Platoon A accompanied the woman to the meeting point. When they saw Jones standing by a pillar on the campus side of the walkway, they moved in shortly after 2 a.m. and arrested the suspect at gunpoint.
Brian Poulin

Police: Man Arrested After Calling 911 For More Beer

POSTED: 1:25 pm EST November 6, 2007
A Hebron man was arrested Sunday after police said he called 911 several times, asking police to bring him beer.

Brian Poulin, 35, of 450 Church St., was charged with disorderly conduct.

Police said he called 911 numerous times and told police he was out of beer and asked them to pick up more for him.

Poulin was transported to Windham Community Memorial Hospital where Hebron Ambulance took him for treatment.

Police did not say what he was treated for.

He is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Rockville on Nov. 20.

Copyright 2007 by

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from the Gipper

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What a Crock

So many of these annual awards are just an excuse for liberals to pat themselves on the back, an opportunity to promote their agendas or prop up their favorite dictators. Time's Man/Person of the Year is one of the prime examples. (Yes, I know, technically it's not an award -- but it's generally considered to be one). Another great example of what a farce these awards have become is giving gas-bag AlGore the Nobel Peace Prize. How does stumping for tree-huggers equate into world peace? The organization that has done more to promote world peace is the US Military -- not that those clowns on the Nobel committee would ever dream of considering them.

Here is a good piece on Putin's award from the WSJ:

Man of the Year?

December 22, 2007; Page A11

Ever since President Vladimir Putin took office eight long years ago, the political and media leadership of the West have had a full-time job trying to look on the bright side of Russia's rapid turn from democracy.

The free press has been demolished, elections are canceled and rigged, and then we hear how popular Mr. Putin is. Opposition marches are crushed, and we're told -- over and over -- how much better off we are today than in the days of the Soviet Union. This week Time magazine named Mr. Putin its 2007 "Person of the Year."

[Vladimir Putin]
Vladimir Putin

Unfortunately, there is no silver lining to Russia's descent into dictatorship. If anything there is a look of iron to it.

Condoleezza Rice, hardly a Putin critic, said recently that Russia "is not an environment in which you can talk about free and fair elections." A good start, but this comment was not made where one would imagine -- perhaps at a press conference insisting that Putin's Russia be removed from the G-7 for making a mockery of democratic practices. No, her remark came as a side note to her very early endorsement of Mr. Putin's handpicked heir to the throne, Dmitry Medvedev.

The most revealing moment in Ms. Rice's comments came when the topic of Mr. Medvedev as the next president was first broached. The official transcript reads: "SECRETARY RICE: Well, I guess, they're still going to have an election in March. "

Perhaps my sense of humor was dulled during the five days I spent in a Moscow jail last month for protesting against these sham elections. Or maybe it was reading about the constant persecution of my fellow activists across the country that did it. Madam Secretary went on to speak approvingly of Mr. Medvedev, making the undemocratic nature of his selection sound like a minor annoyance. The last remaining element of democracy in Russia, the transition of power, will be destroyed. Will Mr. Putin and his successor still be welcomed with open arms in the club of leading democracies?

In the early days of our opposition activities last year, when members of Other Russia were harassed and arrested, the "bright siders" in the West said it could be worse. Later, when our marchers were badly beaten in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Mr. Putin's fans in the West said at least the police weren't killing us in the streets.

Last week, 22-year-old opposition activist Yury Chervochkin died in hospital after several weeks in a coma. He had been beaten nearly to death an hour after making an anxious cellphone call to our offices saying he was being followed by members of the organized-crime task force known as UBOP, which has become the vanguard of the Kremlin's war on political opposition. A witness saw him clubbed repeatedly by men with baseball bats.

Yury's sin was not chanting Nazi slogans or praising the deeds of Josef Stalin, activities that regularly go unremarked in Russia these days. No, he had been caught throwing leaflets that read "The elections are a farce!" That was enough to make him a marked man. Now, for agitating for real democracy in Russia, he is dead.

The stakes have been raised to the highest level, and what bright side will be found now? Where is the line that cannot be crossed without a serious response from the West? So far Mr. Putin hasn't found it -- and he has good reason to suspect such a line simply does not exist. It is for the leaders in Washington, D.C., Paris and Berlin to decide what it means to denounce the Russian elections as fraudulent, only to then embrace the winners as democratic partners.

Lesser tragedies than that of Yury Chervochkin are occurring on a regular basis in Russia today. Last week journalist Natalya Morar was denied entry into the country on secret orders of the FSB security force, after writing investigative articles on financial deals with Kremlin connections. Lyudmila Kharlamova, a political organizer for Other Russia, was arrested after heroin was planted among her possessions in Orenburg. Activist Andrei Grekhov suffered a similar fate in Rostov, though the police chose to plant bullets instead of drugs in his pockets.

This is a good opportunity to remember Anna Politkovskaya, the investigative journalist who was murdered on Oct. 7, 2006, Putin's birthday. The police investigation into this infamous assassination has stalled and talk of it has died down. The Kremlin is counting on the same thing happening with "minor" cases like that of Yury Chervochkin.

In a recent speech, Mr. Putin said "the enemies of the state must be wiped out!" It has been made quite clear that by "enemies" he means anyone who opposes his total authority. It is no surprise that his words are taken at face value across the country, and acted on by security forces eager to prove their loyalty and enthusiasm.

The presidents and prime ministers of the West seem just as eager to bow down to the Kremlin and the great god of business as usual. Nicolas Sarkozy raced to congratulate Mr. Putin on his party's election victory, despite the overwhelming evidence of massive fraud at the polls. A few days later France's Renault picked up a 25% share in Russian automaker AvtoVaz, a purchase made from Sergei Chemezov and his arms-dealing company Rosoboronexport. Why should Mr. Putin and his oligarchs worry about democracy as long as the money keeps rolling in?

Time magazine, of course, took obvious pains to explain that its award to Mr. Putin is "not an endorsement" and that it goes to the person who made the most news "for better or for worse." Nonetheless the article praises Mr. Putin for restoring his country to prominence in the international arena, dispelling "anarchy" and recovering national pride. The magazine does express concern about his "troubling" record on human rights.

The same things could have been said about Adolf Hitler in 1938, when he took his turn as Time's Man of the Year. "Fascism," Time wrote then, "has discovered that freedom -- of press, speech, assembly -- is a potential danger to its own security." Again these words apply equally well to this year's winner.

Most of the criticism leveled against Mr. Putin regards "alleged" abuses or comes directly from known critics. This abdicates the journalist's role to report the facts as facts.

Consider the timing of this announcement, right after the counterfeit parliamentary elections that added to Mr. Putin's record of eradicating democracy across Russia. The Time article will be trumpeted by Kremlin propaganda as an endorsement of Mr. Putin's policies. The man on the street will be told that even America, constantly blasted by the Kremlin as an enemy, has been forced to recognize the president's greatness.

Internationally, the focus will be on the myth that Mr. Putin has built a "strong Russia." In fact he and his cronies have hollowed out the state from within. Most of the power now resides in the super-corporations like Gazprom and Rosneft, and among the small group of loyalists who run them.

The Putin regime has taken Russia from a frail democracy to an efficient mafia state. It was an impressive balancing act -- behaving like a tyrant while at the same time staying in the good graces of the West.

After each crackdown, with no significant international reaction forthcoming, Mr. Putin knew it was safe to take another step. As ever, appeasement in the name of realpolitik only encourages would-be dictators. And such moral weakness inevitably leads to very real costs in human life.

Mr. Kasparov is a former world chess champion and a leader of The Other Russia, a pro-democracy coalition. He is the author of "How Life Imitates Chess," recently published by Bloomsbury USA.

That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles
nyuk, nyuk

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm Sooo Happy
well, not really

Interesting piece from yesterday's WSJ. Very timely for this time of year. Despite what our culture tells us -- that lots of nice expensive presents will make us happy.

The Happiness Myth

December 20, 2007; Page A17

One morning when I was 13, I elbowed my father as he got ready for work. "Dad," I said, "are you happy?" For a long moment he stared at me. Then he replied, "Son, a man doesn't have time to think about that. A man just does what needs doing." He gave me one of his you'll-understand-someday smiles, and left.

I've been thinking about that exchange a lot, now that another kind of exchange -- the gift-giving kind -- is upon us. If recent traditions hold, a fair percentage of those gifts will be "inspirational" materials that extol the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. Certain to end up under the trees of at least some Americans who don't already own it is that unparalleled tribute to wishful thinking, "The Secret," by Rhonda Byrne. The year's blockbuster best-seller-cum-cultural phenomenon sold six million books and DVDs on the strength of the belief that you can imagine your way to total fulfillment.

Some of the season's hottest inspiration books, though not "how-to" in format, sell a similar message. Notable is Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love," the story of one woman's (literal) journey to happiness, in which she decided to forsake the comfort of her known life for regions uncharted. "Eat, Pray, Love" reached the top of the best-seller lists after being blessed by Oprah. Self-help guru Tony Robbins, too, has lately been spamming his online community with holiday offers. Various Robbins products, and even tickets to his entry-level seminars on personal reinvention, will likely end up as stocking-stuffers.

If the quest for joy doesn't take center stage at Christmas, it will surely pop up the following week. Typically, New Year's resolutions that don't involve weight loss have something to do with embracing change, choosing happiness, following your dreams, etc. We are consumed by the pursuit of happiness.

That's too bad. Because it's that very pursuit -- as currently framed -- that may prevent you from finding happiness, or at least a passable facsimile.

Now, I'm not contending that Dad's stoic machismo is what life ought to be about -- for either gender. But a lot of us seemed a lot happier, or at least less restless, before the Happiness Movement began bullying us. Myrna Blyth, a longtime editor in chief of Ladies' Home Journal, made this point explicitly in her 2004 book, "Spin Sisters." Ms. Blyth undertook an informal study of the themes in women's magazines as they evolved over recent decades, and concluded that what women have mostly gotten from their magazines is the message that they're never quite happy enough -- never good enough, never fulfilled enough, never far enough along on the path to "having it all."

Of course, it's not just women's magazines that do this. With highly visible gurus of personal development fanning the flames, an entire generation has come of age believing that perpetual happiness is a birthright. Over the past four decades, the concepts of Empowerment and Entitlement, first-cousins in the family of American psychobabble, have conspired to produce what New York Observer writer Alexandra Wolfe labels "the most coddled generation in American history." We once laughed at the excesses of the "Me Generation," the malignant narcissism epitomized in the TV show "Seinfeld." If we don't laugh quite as much these days, that's because it's not caricature anymore. It's life as we live it.

Contrary to what you hear from Oprah, not "everything you want in life" is attainable (unless, maybe, you are Oprah). Consider the staple line from school administrators during self-esteem-boosting student-assemblies: "In this great country, you can even be president, if you want!" While technically it's true that anybody can be president, it is not true that everybody can be president. Yet that's the implication. In my own case, growing up in Brooklyn, I wanted desperately to patrol center field for the Dodgers. Alas, I had millions of young competitors, some of whom had actual major league skills. If that is your dream -- the only dream that will make you happy -- what do you do when the Dodgers fail to call?

We know what some of us do, perhaps, when our plans don't work out. The years between 1960 and 1999, the period of the most intense "coddling," saw a tripling in suicides among people aged 15 to 24. (For every "successful" suicide, 100 to 200 young people attempt it.) Increasingly, those who don't kill themselves find alternative ways of escaping reality. Today, almost one-fifth of people under age 20 confess to binge drinking. Millions of others descend on doctors, seeking prescriptions for Prozac, Xanax and the like. Although it's reckless to draw straight-line links of causation, is it not possible that these grim facts represent, in part, what happens when people raised on pie-in-the-sky brainwashing run up against the hard truths of an unforgiving world and can't cope?

Here's something else Dad told me: "Life isn't built around 'fun.' It's built around peace of mind." Maybe Dad sensed the paradox of happiness: Those most desperate for it run a high risk of being the last to find it. That's because they make foolish decisions. They live disorderly lives, always chasing the high of the moment.

Perhaps happiness is best viewed as an ongoing marathon rather than a succession of disconnected sprints. It's a long-term commitment that sometimes calls for sacrifice and self-denial, compromise and conciliation. Above all, happiness may mean knowing when to quit -- to settle for "just OK." That is a very unpopular message in these empowered times.

My father didn't have it all, but I believe he was at peace with himself and the life he led. Shouldn't that be enough for any of us?

Mr. Salerno is author of "SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless," (Crown, 2005). He is now writing a book on vanity's role in American life.

In fact, there's really only one thing, one person (well, Three Persons :-), who can bring true happiness.

As St. Thomas says in his Prayer of Thanksgiving After Mass:

And I pray that You will lead me, a sinner,
to the banquet where you,

with Your Son and holy Spirit,
are true and perfect light,
total fulfillment,
everlasting joy,
gladness without end,
and perfect happiness to your saints.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just Wondering

If we depend on the government to protect us, it should follow that the more government control there is, the safer things should be.

So why are prisons so dangerous?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Think You've Got a Tough Job?

A crocodile at a zoo in the southern Taiwan city of Kaohsiung holds the forearm of a zoo veterinarian in between its teeth, April 11, 2007. The crocodile bit off the arm of the zoo veterinarian treating it, an official reported.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Get Ready for Anti-Gun Hysteria

I can't predict the future, but this is a no brainer. In case you haven't heard, the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the D.C. gun ban case. (D.C. had a law on the books outlawing private ownership of handguns -- thereby ensuring that only criminals had guns. The law was finally challenged and the law struck down.)

This is the first time since the 1930s that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a gun rights case. Liberals have tried over the years to concoct the theory that the 2nd Amendment only guarantees a "collective" right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately for libs, honest recent scholarship has begun to embrace the view (no surprise) that, like the other amendments, the 2nd Amendment was always intended as an individual right.

With the facts and history against them, look for desperate liberals to whip up anti-gun hysteria by playing on people's emotions. It's their standard posture and as predictable as night following day. You'll see "analysis" pieces in the media about the "legacy" of gun violence, human interest pieces on lives destroyed by some shooting; and, heaven forbid there's an incident along the lines of Columbine or Virginia Tech, but liberals won't even wait for the smoke to clear before they're in front of the microphones exploiting the tragedy.

I'm cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution and affirm the Court of Appeals in the D.C. case, but, no matter. If they don't may answer will be: MOLON LAVE!

Update: a quick scan of the NYTimes shows they haven't wasted any time developing the liberal talking points. Here's an excerpt for some chuckles:
November 21, 2007

The Court and the Second Amendment

By agreeing yesterday to rule on whether provisions of the District of Columbia’s stringent gun control law violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court has inserted itself into a roiling public controversy [I wonder how much the NYTimes objected to the Supreme Court "injecting" itself into a "roiling public controversy" on abortion in 1972?] with large ramifications for public safety. The court’s move sowed hope and fear among supporters of reasonable gun control, and it ratcheted up the suspense [is this a Hollywood movie or a court case?] surrounding the court’s current term.

The hope, which we share, is that the court will rise above the hard-right ideology of some justices [unlike the reasonable and measured jurisprudence of Souter and Ginsburg] to render a decision respectful of the Constitution’s text and the violent consequences of denying government broad room to regulate guns [can you say "fear mongering?]. The fear is that it will not.

At issue is a 2-to-1 ruling last March by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that found unconstitutional a law barring handguns in homes and requiring that shotguns and rifles be stored with trigger locks or

disassembled. The ruling upheld a radical decision [ooh] by a federal trial judge, who struck down the 31-year-old gun control law on spurious grounds [ooh, ouch] that conform with the agenda of the anti-gun control lobby but cry out for rejection by the Supreme Court.


Beyond grappling with fairly esoteric arguments about the Second Amendment, the justices need to responsibly confront modern-day reality. A decision that upends needed gun controls currently in place around the country would imperil the lives of Americans. [what about the lives of Americans imperiled because of gun control?? How many students at Virginia Tech could have been saved if they'd been allowed to have weapons for self-defense?]

I'm cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution and affirm the Court of Appeals in the D.C. case, but, no matter. If they don't my answer to the gun grabbers will be: MOLON LAVE!

The Tridentine Mass

God certainly does have his ways. A couple of months ago, I read a letter to the editor in Homiletic and Pastoral Review about some of the problems in the Novus Ordo Mass. It made me start thinking about the Tridentine Mass. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that our church was getting a new pastor. He is with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius -- whose charism is the "restoration of the sacred", especially through the liturgy, and particularly through the Tridentine Mass.

I don't know much about the Tridentine Mass, but (also no coincidence) the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, recently issued a Motu Proprio providing for greater access to the Tridentine Mass.

Here is an interesting article from Catholic Online on the Motu Proprio and the efforts on the Society of St. John Cantius to facilitate other churchs to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.

New Online Multimedia Tutorial of the 1962 Latin Tridentine Mass

8/14/2007 - 23:12 PST

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 14, 2007 - In thanksgiving for Our Holy Father's recent Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius ( are pleased to have the opportunity to train priests to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. In developing resources to train priests, we have developed a new website entitled

In addition to providing an online multimedia tutorial, provides the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum in English, as translated by Rev. Dennis M. Duvelius, the text of Fortescue‘s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, a ceremonial for altar servers, artilces on the spirituality of the Tridentine Latin Mass, a large resource of liturigical articles, and a ceremonial for liturgical music of the liturgical books of 1962. Please check regularly for new updates, as the documents we have prepared are put online.

Rev. C. Frank Phillips, C.R., the Founder and Superior of the The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius (Chicago), hopes that will assist priests in praying the Mass of the Ages with deeper reverence and love, so that the faithful attracted to this venerable rite might more profoundly enter into the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

To further assist priests in the celebration of the ancient Roman Rite, the webstore of The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius ( or 1-800-345-6665) will be adding new liturgical items (Liber Usualis, Missale Romanum, Rituale Romanum, altar cards, etc.) to its catalogue in the coming week.

As we begin our 10th year of service in the Archdiocese of Chicago dedicated to the Restoration of the Sacred, we will continually be working to enhance and expand At present the website is only available in English. We are now gathering resources for the traditional Latin Mass now in Chinese, Lithuanian, Spanish and Polish. Those persons who might be able to assist us in gathering resources in these and other languages are invited to contact the Rev. Scott A. Haynes (

At present provides a multimedia presentation of Low Mass for Trinity Sunday. We would like to produce other multimedia presentations of a Requiem Mass, a Missa Cantata, a Missa Solemnis and a Missa Pontificalis, but in order to do this contributions are necessary. Only with by the generosity of the Catholic faithful are we able to continue forming, training and educating priests to celebrate the Traditional Mass according to the 1962 Missal. But exceeding in importance this monetary support is the support of prayer and sacrifice. Tax-deductible donations [Law 501(c)(3)] may be sent to:

Rev. C. Frank Phillips, C.R.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius
825 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622 USA

Contact: Canons Regular of St. John Cantius IL, US
Rev. Scott Haynes, SJC - Webmaster, 312 - 243-7373


Blog Archive