Monthly Archives: August 2007

Organic farts kill

Organic food requires more land and more manure.  More cultivated land means more Co2, and so does more manure — it’s the cow-fart effect, you know.  Thus Robert Wager, a technician at Malaspina University College in Nanaimo BC Canada, on TCS Daily.  He concludes:

The public is calling for “greener” options in every industry. But when it comes to agricultural CO2 emissions, the “greener” option may not be what people think.


Getting with it at Sun-Times: they gone

Where have all the certain kind of columnists gone from Sun-Times, where you go if you want to get with something?  Tom Roeser is keeping track.  He says Betsy Hart is gone, but she’s listed among the columnists on the site.  But again, click on her and find — nothing, a blank white space where her columns would be listed.  Hmm.

Mark Steyn is gone, but it was his idea, says new ed. page editor and former books editor Cheryl Reed if you ask her.  Such a major contributor on Sundays, mightily featured, national in scope, a veritable heavyweight.  He gone, as the Sox announcer says when another team strikes out, going with the black patois.

Mary Laney is gone, “apparently,” not having appeared since July 9 — with a much needed perspective, “Blame Islamofascists’ theology, not Western policies” — and also sporting lots of white space where previous columns should be.

Meanwhile, consider Carol Marin today in “Big Labor struts its stuff at debate,” in which she notes that presidential debates have become show places for sponsors’ clout.  Quite a good column.

When you’re 24, you do such things . . .

. . . but NY Times would rather not discuss it.  Times Watch blogger notes how NYT blogger Kate Phillips profiled Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga.  (So did Chi Trib.)  But the Times Watch man adds something that demonstrates a feverish response to the war that Markos later regretted:

Too bad Phillips didn’t file a more complete profile of Moulitsas – she didn’t mention his notorious April 2004 posting (which he later deleted) calling four private military contractors killed and mutilated in Fallujah, Iraq “mercenaries” for whom he felt no sympathy: “Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries [sic]. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.”


Rudy can handle those bozos

A blogger caught the 7 a.m. (!) Iowa Repub debate and gave high marks to Rudy G., noting his being the only candidate to demonstrate opposition, even contempt for lib positions.  PowerLine’s John comments:

I think the point about viewing the Democrats’ positions as distasteful is an astute one. Giuliani on the stump can be devastating: I’ll never forget the impression he made on me at the Republican convention in 2004. He is capable of eviscerating liberals and their positions in a way that the others, with the possible exception of McCain, don’t really aspire to. When people fret about whether Rudy can fire up the Republican faithful, I think they are overlooking his ability to articulate the scorn for liberalism that most conservatives feel.

It’s yet another reason he’s my man for the first Italo-American president.  But is he Italian enough?


Trials of a mass-goer

So enamoured am I of [i.e., in love with] my last week’s work that I here offer my entire Wed. Journal column about the mass, for your pleasure and edification:

Critical Mass: 37 years after outlawing Latin
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

REVOLUTION: The traditional Catholic Mass has been reinstated by the pope, leading some to wonder at what point did the Mass become the Father Tom, Dick or Harry Show? Such a shift from holy sacrifice to Johnny Carson or Leno or Letterman is not easy to trace. But the moment of moments most likely occurred with the virtual outlawing of the traditional Latin Mass in 1970. That’s when it became too late for Paddy to bar the door on blessed innovation.

At that point a new breed of liturgical reformers had their opening. Reform, hell, it was time for revolution. We went from “Dominus vobiscum” to “Good morning” in almost no time, with breeziness the norm, and explain, explain, explain, jabber-jabber-jabber, throughout the Mass from Father Tom, etc. – who has his eye on you, by the way, so watch out.

But if jabber-jabber was to be the norm, bishops should have required that every seminarian learn from the Protestants how to talk. Everyone knows Protestants are the nation’s preachers. Seminaries should have required preaching certification by a Protestant seminary, preferably evangelical. As it is, Catholics hear mostly pedestrian stuff – anecdotes from Father’s childhood or something he saw on television or the day’s headlines.

Father strides to the front of the sanctuary or into the aisle, upstaging the table that now doubles more or less as an altar. He’s miked (and we aren’t). If the mike is wired, he has to twirl the cord to get around, but that adds to the brio, the devil-may-carelessness of it all. He has a joke, he has a story of driving to work the other day, he has the headlines. He’s casual, he’s friendly, he’s with it.

Or he’s pedantic, and not only about things religious, which have been redefined in any case to cover just about anything, but especially politics, which swallows up religion when adopted as a passion – as Samuel Taylor Coleridge said a long time ago. So a church resounds with applause when the preacher spouts a Democrat-liberal line during a hot national election.

LOOKING STRAIGHT AHEAD: The 1970s Mass is a bigger issue. It places Father Tom front and center. He’s watching you and you’re watching him. He may notice latecomers or the seasoned citizen who looks to her prayers, paying no attention to him, and may take either to task in a sermon. Above all, he talks everything out. We can hear him clearly. Sitting or kneeling there, we have time to meditate on how he accents every darn preposition or changes the prescribed wording to fit his view of the world and God, changing “almighty Father,” for instance, to “almighty God.”

He can do this. He’s in charge and, in the new dispensation, feels free to tweak things. Before the 1970s, the people were far less at the mercy of a priest’s talent for embroidering the procedure. The focus was on what was happening, the Big Event. The focus now is on the man up front.

It’s not all his fault. He has gone with the flow, learning what he apparently was taught by implication, that it’s he the presider who counts. He has to perform. His performance is the difference between a good and a bad Mass. He has to be the great communicator, telling people what’s going on. Don’t let mystery be implied by ritual, but tell people there’s mystery here.

The Mass of mystery is long gone, by edict. Instead, we have an everyday something, easily grasped, a sort of communion breakfast with hugging in the middle of it. “Go, the mass never ends,” a deacon improvised some time back, capturing the idea perfectly – that we have here an event that does not so much stand out in our weekly experience as blend in with it seamlessly.

So what is Father Tom to do up there, keep eyes cast down while concentrating on the mystery? That’s not the idea at all. A performer performs. He gets in your face. It’s his duty, and has been for 37 years.

Punchy vs. Sleepy

Two ledes for house passage of lobby reform story, about which we report at this blog, you decide which tells more and gets to the heart of the matter pronto.


The House scrambled yesterday to pass a watered-down bill that purported to end lobbying and earmark abuses, but in the end will not do nearly enough to change the culture of Capitol Hill back-scratching that helps fuel the growth of government and encourages corruption. One sign of the bill’s weakness was that it passed on an overwhelming vote of 411 to 8. As one wag put it, “Anything that passes by that margin is either in favor of the equivalent of motherhood or toothless.”


WASHINGTON – Fighting Republican charges they have done little this year, Democrats in Congress began a rush Tuesday to pass major bills before the fast-approaching August recess, starting with House approval of a lobbying reform bill on a 411-8 vote.

If you’re guessing, yes, this second one is on page one of Chi Trib.  (The first is in the subscription-only — $4/mo. — Opinion Journal’s Political Diary.)

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