Friday, April 29, 2016

Draft Day One


  • Da Bearz drafted a speed rusher. Is he strong enough to hold the point?
  • The Lions drafted a tackle who will play for ten years.
  • The Vikings drafted a receiver who is either Dez Bryant or a step too slow and can't stretch the field.
  • The Packers drafted another UCLA guy who should be better than the last UCLA guy they drafted. Or so they hope.

Substitution mass confusion, clouds inside your head

Electric angel rock and roller, I hear what you're playing:
John Boehner excoriated his former Capitol Hill colleague and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz during a talk at Stanford University, labeling Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh.”

Boehner, who retired as speaker of the House last fall, laid out his opinion on the presidential race in a talk at the university. Cruz did not fare well.

“I have Democrat friends and Republican friends,” Boehner said, according to the Stanford Daily. “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
As I recall, Boehner and his Republican friend Mitch McConnell are the faces of the Republican establishment. And the establishment hates Ted Cruz. But surely Boehner must really hate the true fighter of the establishment, The Donald, right?
Rival Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and John Kasich won good reviews from Boehner. Boehner said he and Trump used to play golf together, and that he “loves” Kasich, the governor of his home state of Ohio. If Trump is the Republican nominee, Boehner said, he would vote for him. However, if Cruz won the nod, he would not support him, Boehner said.
So if I understand the logic of this election, it rolls like this:

The Republican establishment (a/k/a the GOPe) deserves to die in a fire, as Ace Commenter Gino has gently suggested.
A key member of the establishment is a pal of Donald Trump and hates Ted Cruz
Therefore, the best way to ensure the GOPe dies in a fire is to support the GOPe golfing buddy, Donald Trump

It's a foolproof formulation.

You think you're so illustrious
Or maybe it's they are pals of pallor:

You call yourself intense

It's just a broken lullaby.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

It probably won't matter, but

When the Republican field of candidates began to emerge last year, my preference was for Scott Walker. I also liked Rand Paul. I did come to like Carly Fiorina as well. Ted Cruz was someone I admired more than I liked.

As the campaign has progressed, Cruz has grown on me. I don't think, in the end, he's going to make it, but his pick of Fiorina for a running mate is a smart choice. She does know how to goad Trump and with a higher profile, her jabs will get some attention. If Trump were smart, he'd ignore the shots that are coming his way, but he won't. He always has to respond to any slight. How he responds could matter quite a lot in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Too clever by half

Bill Kristol republished a fascinating strategy memo in the Weekly Standard. The memo is the work of Rich Danker, a Republican operative working for a PAC supporting Ted Cruz. The whole thing is well worth your time, but a few insights strike me as spot-on.
 Political professionals have gotten so much power in presidential campaigns that they have diluted the candidates of a message and put up barriers to getting votes. They convince the candidates to run from most media interviews for fear of a gaffe (making them ultimately more gaffe-prone since they get rusty), stick to a boring, limited stump speech to give their talking points more resonance (even though saying something in a new way is more potent), and slice and dice the voters so that virtually everything the candidate says is geared toward an interest group rather than the electorate per se.

Why? Being stage-managed gives more power to the consultants. It makes the candidates more dependent on staff and vendors to navigate them through the torture chamber those people make the election into. The consultants become the smart people and the candidate is a commodity. This attitude is shared by the political media, whose access to the candidates is dependent on sharing a worldview about campaigns with those consultants.

It's giving Trump too much credit to say that he meant to expose the stupidity of professionalized politics, but that's what he ended up doing. And he got lucky in the sense that his final primary opponent – although in just about every other way the type voters were looking for in 2016 – was somebody who leaned on that professionalism.
In other words, Cruz followed the playbook like the good student he is. But he didn't break through to enough people because he was fighting the last war.

Cruz is a young man and will have another chance to run, likely as soon as 2020. If he learns from his experience, he'll be back. But I do think it's just about over now.

Le mot juste

I almost always avoid political discussions on Facebook, but I give my brother credit for something he wrote describing the state of the campaign, in terms of the current state of bathroom wars:
This is a false controversy that someone drummed up to keep us from focusing on important things like an asshole, a criminal, a socialist and two other goofballs trying to lead the free world. Wake up and argue over stuff that matters.
Even without explaining further, I'm guessing you don't need to figure out who is who in my brother's rather pungent description. And so, based on what we have seen the last two weeks, it's increasingly likely the general election choice on offer will be between an asshole and a criminal, although I'm willing to bet by the end of the process both candidates will reveal themselves to be criminal assholes. If you've been paying attention, it's not surprising.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Confirmation Day

Fearless Maria gets confirmed at the Cathedral of St. Paul:

Right in front of the bishop
If you've never been to the Cathedral of St. Paul, you really should visit it if you get a chance. It is a magnificent Beaux Arts structure that was completed just over a hundred years ago, mostly the product of the persistence of Archbishop John Ireland and the wallet of James J. Hill, the railroad magnate whose mansion home is down the street.

I've lived in the Twin Cities for over 23 years and I've only been to the Cathedral three times -- once for the ordination of a family friend, another as part of teaching a Boy Scout merit badge, and yesterday. As a symbol of the majesty of the Church, the Cathedral is unsurpassed, at least in the Midwest. It's a subjective judgment, but to my eye the Cathedral of St. Paul is a significantly more impressive structure than Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. It certainly has a better location -- Holy Name Cathedral sits on Wabash Avenue and is part of the grid pattern of streets in the area, while the Cathedral in St. Paul has a commanding perch on top of Cathedral Hill.

Confirmation is a hugely important sacrament in the Catholic Church, as those who are confirmed are full members of the Church. The issue for many Catholics is that they don't take that membership as seriously as they ought to. Following Jesus means putting aside your own desires and listening to something other than the sirens of the larger world. It's never easy to do. In his homily, Bishop Cozzens spoke of his own challenges as a young person and how he struggled to hear God's voice. It's possible that someone in the group pictured above could have a religious vocation some day. It's a path not often chosen, but as we've seen throughout the past year, lay people within the Church play a large role in faith formation as well. The challenge in the bishop's message is to listen more closely and find the role God plays in our lives.

I was confirmed a long time ago, back in 1979. In those days, the practice in our diocese was that Bishop would come to your parish, instead of traveling to the cathedral. I'm glad that we go to the Cathedral now; it serves as a reminder of the glories of the past, along with the challenges ahead. We don't have to rehearse the many scandals that priests and other religious have caused and the tremendous pain involved; it is an ongoing challenge and represents a stain that is impossible to remove. We build cathedrals to celebrate glories of God. We emerge from the cathedrals to find a world where God is always present, but also a world where it is often difficult to see the hand of God or the workings of the Holy Spirit. Those who were confirmed yesterday face that challenge today. Those who love and support those who were confirmed have the same challenge.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Events remain in the saddle around here. Better days are ahead.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain. 

There will be children with robins and flowers
Sunshine caresses each new waking hour
Seems to me that the people keep seeing
More and more each day gotta say lead the way

Friday, April 22, 2016

RIP, Prince

There aren't too many Prince videos out there to post, so we have to go another route, with some of the songs he wrote that were big hits for other artists. And what a variety of artists and styles it was:

Light posting for the next few days

Events are in the saddle in our world right now. We may circle back to the reasons eventually.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

On fairness

The Donald won the New York primary on Tuesday and got almost 100 delegates for his efforts. An interesting little tidbit (h/t Allahpundit):
In fact, Cruz won more votes in the Wisconsin primary — 531,129 — than Trump appears to have won in New York. With 98 percent of precincts counted, Trump has 518,601 votes in his home state. On the other hand, Trump will win at least 90 of New York's 95 delegates to Cruz's zero; in Wisconsin, Cruz's big victory earned him 36 delegates, to Trump's six. 
Is that fair? Doesn't matter. The RNC allocated 99 delegates to New York and only 42 to Wisconsin. Those are the rules. You live by them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Never is a long time. I'm not a fan of categorical statements, either. Still, I'm 100% certain of this much -- I will never vote for, or support, or otherwise aid, Donald Trump. He's a menace. He's run a low, mendacious, generally substance-free campaign. He's too lazy to learn the issues and his instincts consistently lead him in the wrong direction. He would be a disastrous candidate and, if somehow he won the general election, an even more disastrous president.

I have spent months trying to understand where Trump's support is coming from. I do believe many Trump supporters mean well -- the frustration many feel about the world is real and entirely legitimate. Still, the people around Trump and his campaign are cynics at best, nihilists at worst. At a time when we need the most principled conservative we can find to run against the utterly unprincipled Hillary Clinton, there's a good chance this process is going to deliver someone as unprincipled as she is. I can't be part of it.

To my mind, the Republican Party should do whatever it takes to stop Trump. If that means getting behind Ted Cruz or John Kasich, fine. It it requires a smoke-filled room, so be it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Post 5000

This is the 5000th post on Mr. Dilettante's Neighborhood. We've been at this for over ten years. It's a lot of blogging.

My original tagline for the feature was "a befuddled suburban dad tries to make sense of the world." Ten years on, the world makes even less sense. I've made my peace with befuddlement.

It's easy, too easy, to fret, to live the words of a certain musician I fancy, recorded way back in 1971:

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural fact is
I can't pay my taxes
Oh, make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Yea, it makes me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Crime is increasing
Trigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God knows where we're heading

God does know. And while this feature has been, from time to time, an exercise in hollering, and while the issues that Marvin Gaye sang about some 45 years ago persist, we can't throw up our hands.

Ten years ago, I was in the process of losing my job. I had two young children and we weren't quite sure what would come next. Now I know. A commenter wrote something back then:
Better things are in store for you. Stay encouraged.
And indeed, better things were in store. And yes, better things will come. Stay encouraged.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Home at last

We got home from Ohio last night. We'll get back to the usual fare in a day or so, but I wanted to say something about the interstate highway system. It's easy and generally appropriate to bash the federal government for its overreach and malfeasance, but one thing is clear -- the interstate highway system is a marvelous creation. Our route to Ohio included:


While in Ohio we used 675 as we were bopping around Dayton

Our return trip included:


We also used US Highway 35, US Highway 6, US Highway 30 and a few other state roads. It's really an amazing thing that we take for granted. We shared these roads with untold thousands of people and, except for the annoying toll roads in Illinois, our only expense was the gasoline and wear/tear on our vehicle. Yes, we all pay taxes for the roads, but it's a great value.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Great Season

The final results from WGI:

A great season
Hundreds of high schools compete in drumline. Sixty were good enough to come to WGI this year. We'll take that result for sure. Our kids worked exceptionally hard for months; winning a state championship and finishing 7th at the national competition is a great result. We're proud of all of them. And in about three weeks, marching band season starts.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Irondale Drumline -- 3rd Place after prelims

The top five schools:

Victor J. Andrew High School (IL)               92.900
Oak Grove High School (MS)                       91.125
Irondale High School (MN)                          90.925
Zionsville Community High School (IN)     90.888
Norton High School (OH)                             90.650

Long and the short of it -- we are doing great! We will perform again tomorrow afternoon and if we make the finals, we'll perform late on Friday night as well. Our outstanding season continues.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

World Tour

Well, at least to Ohio. We're off to the WGI Percussion World Championship today. Our beloved Irondale Winter Drumline will compete in the preliminaries tomorrow at Wright State University in Dayton, with additional competition on Friday. As a result, posting will be a little light over the next few days.
Give the drummers some!

We are state champions, but we'd like to bring home some bigger hardware.

One big trophy hardly seems enough
Meanwhile, a whole lotta windshield time. More soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


It's possible I don't get around enough to know such things, but I'd never heard the term "CP Time" before New York Mayor Bill de Blasio got in trouble for using it (emphasis mine):
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing some criticism for joking about "CP time" while performing in a comedic sketch alongside Hillary Clinton at a charity event over the weekend.

During Inner Circle's annual event in New York City that includes musical and comedy performances by local politicians and reporters, Clinton made a surprise cameo during a scripted scene with de Blasio and Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway show “Hamilton.” 
Clinton joked with de Blasio about how long it took him to endorse her for president, to which the New York City mayor (and Clinton's former Senate campaign manager) quipped back, “Sorry, Hillary. I was running on CP time." The remark is an apparent reference to colored people time -- a phrase sometimes used as a stereotypical reference to black people supposedly being late to everything.

In a video of the skit, released by the mayor's office on Sunday night, the audience appears to laugh awkwardly at the remark. One man in the crowd can be heard shouting, “No!"

"That’s not -- I don’t, I don’t like jokes like that, Bill,” Odom, who is African-American, said.

Clinton then interjected. “Cautious politician time," she explained. “I’ve been there.”
I appreciate the explanation, but seriously, I'd never heard that term before. And in my experience, it makes no sense, because the only identifiable group of people I know who are always late are my siblings, and they're as Caucasian as they come. As always, it must be my lack of nuance.

Still whining

The Donald and his acolytes are still whining about the horrible, no-good, evil things that Ted Cruz did to win the delegates in Colorado. What he did was figure out the rules and play by them, while Trump's organization, which wasn't much of an organization at all in Colorado, did not and got skunked. Drudge in particular seems to be in stratospheric dudgeon.

Should we have sympathy for the Trump campaign? Hell no. The rules were out there in August of last year. If you are going to win an election, you need to be organized and have your people in position everywhere you campaign. We're now in the middle of April and the only candidate in the Republican field who has a nationwide organization is Cruz. Trump should have been building an organization all along, but it's increasingly clear that he didn't bother. What does that tell you about his ability to run a national campaign?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Panic in Trumpville

I'm amused:

High Drudgeon
The Donald is complaining about the results of the Republican convention in Colorado, where the delegates to the national convention are chosen. Ted Cruz won pretty much all of them, because Team Trump wasn't paying attention to the rules. The "shock" headline from Drudge, that's at the top of the page? It refers to an article from the Denver Post concerning the decision of the Republican Party in Colorado to forgo a presidential vote at the caucus level. Note the date it was first published:

Breaking news from last summer
In other words, Team Trump should have known about the rules in Colorado a long time ago. They also should have made arrangements to have their people attend the caucuses in February. Ted Cruz was paying attention and did what he needed to do to win the delegate elections. Trump didn't. That is the story here. And it tells you a lot about the relative strengths of the two campaigns in question. You have to get your people in place to win. And you have to understand what it takes to win. Ted Cruz appears to understand. He may not win, but he's doing everything he can to put himself in position to win. If Trump can't handle that part of the job, he's not going to be president.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

It's a ritual for the government in Wisconsin in the era of Scott Walker. Pass a law, have a Dane County judge declare it unconstitutional:
MADISON -- A Dane County judge struck down Wisconsin's right-to-work law Friday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.

The controversial law, championed by Governor Scott Walker, was enacted just over a year ago , in March of 2015.

Attorney General Brad Schimel has already said he will file an appeal on the judge's ruling.
We've seen this before. Act 10, which defanged public employee unions in Wisconsin and caused the spasms of protest that engulfed the state in 2011, got a similar treatment from a judge in Dane County. On appeal, the ruling was overturned. It will happen again in this case.

The point of these suits isn't to win the case. It's to win the headlines. A representative screenshot from ABC News:

A "Court" did this? Wow, this really must mean something!

And the Gray Lady agrees:

All The News That's Fit To Print, even when it's not really news
It gets old, but it's a useful reminder of the importance of eternal vigilance. The Left never stops coming. Nothing is ever settled.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Don't Mess With Bill

Getcha popcorn:
In a prolonged exchange Thursday afternoon, former President Bill Clinton forcefully defended his 1994 crime bill to Black Lives Matter protesters in the crowd at a Hillary Clinton campaign event.

He said the bill lowered the country's crime rate, which benefited African-Americans, achieved bipartisan support, and diversified the police force. He then addressed a protester's sign, saying:

"I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children," Clinton said, addressing a protester who appeared to interrupt him repeatedly. "Maybe you thought they were good citizens .... You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth. You are defending the people who cause young people to go out and take guns."
He seemed to be channeling Prince, who got there in '87, as I recall:

At home there are seventeen-year-old boys and their idea of fun
Is being in a gang called 'The Disciples'
High on crack and totin' a machine gun

It's not exactly time for a Sister Souljah moment, because the matter is more delicate for Hillary. As election results in Wisconsin and other states in recent weeks have indicated, Bernie Sanders is making a lot of headway among certain segments of the traditional Democratic coalition, so the Clintons need a big share of the African-American vote to compensate for erosion among the gimme free college crowd. So does it make sense to make peace with Black Lives Matter? Or must the Big Dog's record be defended first?

Yep. Getcha popcorn.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Including me

The title of the article: "What No One Seems to Know About Ted Cruz's Past." I sure didn't know:

At the [Federal Trade Commission], Cruz’s agenda could have been written by Milton Friedman. 
Cruz promoted economic liberty and fought government efforts to rig the marketplace in favor of special interests. Most notably, Cruz launched an initiative to study the government’s role in conspiring with established businesses to suppress e-commerce. This initiative ultimately led the U.S. Supreme Court to open up an entire industry to small e-tailers. Based on his early support of disruptive online companies, Cruz has some grounds to call himself the “Uber of American politics.”

Moreover, and perhaps surprising to some, Cruz sought and secured a broad, bipartisan consensus for his agenda. Almost all of Cruz’s initiatives received unanimous support among both Republicans and Democrats.

Ted Cruz a consensus-builder? He was, at the FTC.
And consider this anecdote:
As an independent agency, the FTC has five commissioners, and during Cruz’s tenure, two of them had served in President Clinton’s administration. All five commissioners voted to support almost all of Cruz’s proposals.

Cruz achieved this consensus by listening to policy experts and political opponents. He listened to the FTC’s economic experts and marshaled empirical economic analysis to support his policy objectives. He solicited input from prominent Democrats, including the late Senator Howard Metzenbaum, who spoke at the e-commerce conference. In addition, Cruz worked to develop personal relationships across the aisle. He regularly met with Democratic commissioners and incorporated their ideas into his policy proposals.
Getting along with Howard Metzenbaum was a good trick, by the way.

RIP, Merle Haggard

I'm not a big country music guy, but Merle Haggard transcended genre labels:

He died yesterday, on his 79th birthday. He wasn't Nashville, he was Bakersfield, and that made a big difference. He was also prolific and his music is widely available. He's always worth your time.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Meanwhile, from the port side

A tidy synopsis of the problems Hillary faces, from the reliably left Salon:
Imagine if you had 22 Top Secret emails on your computer?

Would you be able to claim negligence?

Also, the issue of negligence is a canard. Clinton and her top aides were smart enough to understand protocol. For every legal scholar saying that indictment isn’t likely (because it’s difficult to prove Clinton “knowingly” sent or received classified intelligence), there’s a former attorney general and former intelligence officials saying that indictment is justified.

Ultimately, every question asked of Hillary Clinton by James Comey will benefit the Sanders campaign. In a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, one candidate is being investigated by the FBI and has negative favorability ratings in ten national polls. The other candidate, Bernie Sanders, just raised more money in February than Clinton, without the help of Wall Street or oil and gas lobbyists. If Clinton gets indicted, the Democratic establishment and superdelegates will have no choice but to rally around Bernie Sanders.
The author of the piece, H. A. Goodman, posits ten questions that Hillary will have a difficult time answering. The first question is the best one:
1. What was the political utility in owning a private server and never using a email address?
Goodman has the right answer, too:
As stated in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “the only believable reason for the private server in her basement was to keep her emails out of the public eye by willfully avoiding freedom of information laws.”

We can’t even see Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches, do you think Clinton wanted the public to know information about her foundation?
I suspect we know the motive. We may yet find out the particulars. Read the whole thing, as we say in the bidness.

Ted and Bernie Win Badgerland

It wasn't particularly close, either:

Cruz control
On the port side?

Bern notice
Thoughts? Yeah, I have a few:

  • Ted Cruz does his homework and he knows how to block and tackle. He could have split the vote with John Kasich and Trump would have been able to get another plurality victory, but Cruz was organized and got the key endorsements he needed in Wisconsin. Cruz may not be the perfect candidate, but he understands what it takes to win. Some of the snickering libertarians on my social media feed insist that Cruz can't win north of the Mason-Dixon line, but he seems to be doing that with regularity now.
  • Trump could have won Wisconsin, but he ran a lazy and frankly stupid campaign. First off, insulting Scott Walker was a completely boneheaded move, especially when the claims Trump made were easily debunked. People in Wisconsin are probably more immersed in politics than just about anyplace else in the country, given the drama that's taken place there over the last five years. Trump and his people should have known that and tailored their approach to fit the electorate. Instead, they went in with the usual bombast and got their asses handed to them. Didn't exactly break my heart to see that happen.
  • If anything, Bernie Sanders was more impressive than Cruz. I am continually told that Hillary is the candidate to beat and that she has broad support. Are we really sure about that? No matter how much institutional support she has, she's not a good candidate. The DNC might be able to drag her across the finish line against Sanders, but she's not making the sale.
  • I am told that Trump and Hillary will win New York and that the narrative will shift back to what it has been. We'll see. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The Process at St. Rose -- The Archbishop Visits

We had another meeting at our home parish, St. Rose of Lima, last evening, this time to discuss the potential return of our pastor, Fr. Robert Fitzpatrick, following his being cleared of the abuse charges against him. Our new Archbishop, Rev. Bernard Hebda, was there, along with our auxiliary bishop, Andrew Cozzens, and Tim O'Malley, who is in charge of the archdiocese's child safety standards, came to ask my fellow parishioners whether we want Fr. Fitz back, and to answer our questions. We also received more news about the investigation itself. A few brief notes:
  • If anyone doubted that Fr. Fitz is a beloved figure at St. Rose, those doubts were utterly dispelled last night. By my count, about 25-30 people spoke at the meeting and not one raised an objection. I would imagine Fr. Fitz will be back soon.
  • We learned a little bit more about the accusation. Apparently the accuser was at a parish where Fr. Fitzpatrick served in 1983, so it was possible that the accusation was true. Mr. O'Malley relayed an example of an accusation that wasn't deemed credible, in which a woman accused a dozen different priests of sexually assaulting her, all during a homily. The hangup for a lot of people, I think, was the term the archdiocese used in describing the accusation against Fr. Fitz, which was to call the accusation "credible." Credible has a specific legal meaning, but the connotation for most people is that credible suggests an element of truth to the accusation. When the archdiocese first learned of the accusation, they immediately contacted the St. Paul police to have the matter investigated, and the police didn't find any evidence of wrongdoing. The archdiocese then investigated the matter further and came to the same conclusion. In the end, "credible" isn't the right word to use. Plausible might be better.
  • One of the reasons the matter was made public was that it would give other accusers a chance to come forward, since it's generally been the case that abusive priests have had multiple victims. No one else has leveled an accusation. That's an important consideration, I think.
  • I asked Archbishop Hebda and the others about a potential succession plan for Fr. Fitz. While I concur with my fellow parishioners that Fr. Fitz ought to come back, he is now in his late sixties and is approaching retirement age. The pastor assignment he's had involves both St. Rose and our neighboring parish to the west, Corpus Christi. A lot of priests have to double up these days and while Fr. Fitz is still a pretty lively fellow, it's a lot of work running two parishes. I suggested that the archdiocese ought to look at appointing a parochial vicar to help Fr. Fitz now and potentially succeed him down the line. Bishop Cozzens said that the archdiocese "wasn't there yet," but that they will be looking at what happens with both parishes as part of the normal deliberations involved in moving priests from assignment to assignment within the archdiocese. You can't just pluck a priest off the tree, of course, but it will be another factor in the overall disposition of the case. My guess -- Fr. Fitz will be back, but he will be getting some help going forward beyond the rotation of retired priests who have assisted in the past.
The takeaway, at least for me, is that the Archdiocese is engaged in the issue in ways it wasn't under Hebda's predecessor, John Nienstedt. Administering to the needs of the individual parishes is an incredibly difficult balancing act, but I suspect we're in better hands now. That gives me hope for the future, not only at St. Rose but elsewhere.

Monday, April 04, 2016

il miglior fabbro

I've expended too many pixels trying to understand the Trump thing, and I'm too much of a Menshevik to get with it. So how do you make sense of it? Well, you could start here:
A meticulous study of Donald Trump’s biography, statements, and policy “positions” will reveal no hint of political direction.  It’s not that Trump is contradictory or incoherent.  He’s ideologically formless.  His claim to business competence is nullified by inherited wealth and several bankruptcies.  His supposed nationalism consists of complaining about countries in which he has invested his own money (“I love China, but…”).  He’s going to make America great again – yet that’s a wish, not a program.  A run at the US presidency has been concocted out of a disorganized bundle of will and desire.

A candidate deprived of direction can only drift on the stream of public opinion.  Or to flip that around:  the dizzying rise of Trump can best be understood as the political assertion of a newly energized public.  Trump has been chosen by this public, for reasons I’ll have cause to examine, and he is the visible effect, not the cause, of this public’s surly and mutinous mood.  To make him into an American Hitler or a world-historical figure of any sort, let me suggest, would be to distort reality as on a funhouse mirror.

The right level of analysis on Trump isn’t Trump, but the public that endows him with a radical direction and temper, and the decadent institutions that have been too weak to stand in his way.
That's Martin Gurri. The essay at the link is long. It's also really good. I recommend it. One more taste:
In American politics, Trump is a peacock among dull buzzards.  That should be apparent to anyone with eyes to see.  The one discernible theme of his life has been the will to stand out:  to attract all eyes in the room by being the loudest, most colorful, most aggressively intrusive person there.  He has clearly succeeded.  The data above speaks to a world-class talent for self-promotion.  The media noticed, and just kept the cameras aimed at the extravagant performance – allowing Trump to represent himself to the public, a rare commodity for a politician.  And the public, in its mood of negation, its hostility to the established order, also noticed.  Trump lacked a political past.  He was glamorous and a winner – he looked different and acted different.

He also sounded different from other politicians.  The most significant factor separating Trump from the pack, I believe, is rhetorical.  Trump is a master of the nihilist style of the web.  His competitors speak in political jargon and soaring generalities.  He speaks in rant.  He attacks, insults, condemns, doubles down on misstatements, never takes a step back, never apologizes.  Everyone he dislikes is a liar, “a bimbo,” “bought and paid for.”  Without batting an eyelash, he will compare an opponent to a child molester.  Such rhetorical aggression is shocking in mainstream American politics but an everyday occurrence on the political web, where death threats and rape threats against a writer are a measure of the potency of the message.

The “angry voter” Trump supposedly has connected with is really an avatar of the mutinous public:  and this is its language.  It too speaks in rant, inchoate expression of a desire to remake the world by smashing at it, common parlance of the political war-bands that populate Tumblr, Gawker, reddit, and so many other online platforms.  By embracing Trump in significant numbers, the public has signaled that it is willing to impose the untrammeled relations of social media on the US electoral process.

I’m amazed by the rapidity with which this moment has arrived:  that we have come to it, however, will surprise no one who has been paying attention.
Hit the link.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Your State Champions

Ready for the WGI Percussion Championship in Dayton, OH
Our kids have had a wonderful season.

Friday, April 01, 2016


A minor change, but one that I think is needed. I have eliminated anonymous commenting. Nearly everyone who comments here has either a Google account or uses the OpenID feature already, so I don't see any compelling reason to have anonymous commenting. While I welcome visitors and encourage comments on the blog, the anonymous commenters here don't add much to the discussion -- in fact, it seems to be more of a poop and run sort of scenario most times. If you use OpenID, you can comment without any trouble, but we can actually address what you're saying without having to chase ghosts.

Odd, that

Would you like fries with that?
A kiss may be grand but it won't pay the rental
On your humble flat or help you at the automat

Jerry Brown is ready for his pucker:
Shortly before California Governor Jerry Brown announced a plan to boost the state’s pay floor to $15 per hour, President Obama’s economic advisers released an ominous report warning that low-paying American jobs were particularly vulnerable to automation. 
The numbers aren't good, either:
The results are striking: Low-paying jobs (those paying less than $20 an hour, or under $40,000 a year for full-time workers) have an 83 percent chance of being automated. Medium-paying jobs ($20 to $40 an hour, or $40,000 to $80,000 a year) have a 31 percent chance, and high-paying ones (more than $40 an hour, or more than $80,000 a year) have only a 4 percent chance.
Clearly, if high-paying jobs only have a 4 percent chance of being eliminated, the answer is to raise the minimum wage to $40/hour. I'm not sure how many available positions there are to make picket signs for a $40/hour minimum wage, either, but it seems like a lucrative enough business, especially if you head the SEIU. And, as the invaluable Walter Russell Mead reminds us, it's a scam:
Brown’s minimum wage scheme will, of course, artificially raise the cost of hiring the most at-risk workers. Though the robots are not ready to take over quite yet, an onerous wage floor only incentivizes further research into automation. This whole situation is a bizarre illustration of the layered contradictions contained in the blue coalition: anti-inequality crusaders want a radical minimum wage hike, which will likely have the effect of raising unemployment (and welfare eligibility) among economically deprived blue constituencies. Meanwhile, those most likely to benefit down the line from these kinds of moves are the socially liberal Silicon Valley executives and venture capitalists, who bankroll the Democratic Party despite some of their dearly held libertarian beliefs.
Feel the love
Mead doesn't mean libertarian beliefs in an Austrian economics sense. He's talking Burning Man. It's easier to be a libertarian if you can afford it.
And this is but one example of how the blue model functions as an engine through which savvy wealthy people use the illusions of the Left to extract profit from the poor and working class. Other examples include: Guild protections for elite professionals that raise prices and reduce opportunity for less-credentialed workers; finance regulations that give hedge funds a leg up on less-sophisticated investors; and a constellation of higher ed regulations that enrich top administrators while impoverishing adjuncts and sending students deep into debt.
Yep. It's a great world if you're part of it. But it will come to an end eventually. And it's not going to end well.