Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Resigned But Not Happy About It

Someone's pissed.

The Pope’s Resignation By Maggie Gallagher

Peggy Noonan writes about the shock of learning the Pope will resign. I’ve been mulling it over the past few days. With deep gratitude to Pope Benedict and with recognition of his humility and that he probably knows better than I do about what’s best for the Church (he is the Pope after all) — still, I don’t like it. I’ve been trying to figure out why. And I think it is this: The Pope is not just a leader of a religious organization, he’s our father. I don’t want our father to resign from that position. It feels like abandonment.

Not saying I’m right, mind you. Just naming what I suspect a lot of us feel about why this feels shocking. God bless him.

She didn't actually say "Bless his heart" but it was close.

I love the fake humility. What happened to God's will, or even the Pope's infallibility? No, Ms. Gallagher knows better. He should have stayed. Instead the pope abandoned her, just like all the other men in her life. And here she is, once again, alone.

Bless her heart.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Resigns To Run For US Vice President

In a surprise announcement Pope Benedict XVI resigned today to fulfill his life-long dream of running for vice president of the United States. Vatican spokesman Cardinal Antonio Bernolotti said Rep. Paul Ryan offered the office of the vice presidency to the soon-to-be-former pope and Pope Benedict XVI accepted.

"Yes, the Pope resigned," Cardinal Bernolotti responded to reporters' questions. "Rep. Ryan told the Pope to fill out a questionnaire and even thought the Pope was a little too liberal to suit him, he offered the pope the job. He ought to clean up on the Catholic vote next time!"

Cardinal Bernolotti refused to answer questions about the former pontiff's shopping trip to Prada and Gucci, paid for by donations from Republicans, or the rumors that Pope Benedict XVI travels with a large entourage of family retainers.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I have made an error regarding Megan McArdle's views on austerity so as a mea culpa I will write a post that correctly and comprehensively covers Ms. McArdle's views, predictions and assessments on the recession, austerity and stimulus. It is the least I can do.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Megan McArdle said that Iceland is an example of the need for austerity because of its high unemployment rate. Which is 5.7% at 1/2013.

Megan McArdle said that Latvia was an example of the success of austerity. Its unemployment rate is 13.5% at 1/2013.

That is all.

Less Tall Megan: Greatest Hits Version

She's still cranking out the same old stupid but it's not worth examining in detail. In its own way her recent output has been like a replay of her greatest hits.

The Coming Retirement Burden: Greedy baby boomers will make you poor.

I Want News From an Unbiased Source. One that Always Agrees with Me.  Both sides do it!

Don't Worry, Dads: Those Kids are Probably Yours Don't trust statistics.

American Household Gadget Exceptionalism Consume.

Rubio To Give State Of The Union Response Both sides do it!

Spending and the Great Recession The recession is not as bad as you think.

Spending and the Great Recession I do not mourn the loss of bookstores I love if it helps corporations become more profitable.

Department of Awful Statistics: Income Inequality Edition The recession is not as bad as you think.

A History of Budget Projections Greedy baby boomers will make you poor.

Federal Regulations Kill Innovation Too Regulation is bad. Nobody knows anything ever.

 Rails Across America? Regulation is bad. Nobody wants high speed rail.

The Technocratic Dilemma Nobody knows anything ever.

I think you get the picture.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

About The Pulpit's Bully

Charles Pierce has a very good post up about Obama's memo that presents the case for extrajudicial killings. Unfortunately it is too late to regret Obama's actions. The time to do something about this was before the election. Everyone already knew Obama's stance and actions and voted for him anyway. Now we must accept responsibility for our vote and publicly accept the bad with the good. We already accepted it privately. If it is embarrassing or painful that is just the price we must pay for our choice.

In time we will barely be able to remember that we used to demand due legal process for everyone. It wasn't for very long and it often didn't cover everyone anyway.

And the Republicans are much worse.

Witchhunter Weigel

George Weigel, who eternally seems disappointed that he is not living in an A. J. Cronin novel, wanks away in an interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez, girl reporter. Weigel:

The only Catholicism with a future is a robustly evangelical Catholicism in which deeply converted disciples are formed for mission and empowered to meet the challenge of that hostile culture. As for its being hard, well, it’s always been hard. But the experience of dynamic, evangelically Catholic parishes, dioceses, campus ministries, seminaries, renewal movements, and religious orders is that, if you preach it and live it, they will come — because it’s true, because it’s compelling, because it’s exhilarating, and because we learn to live the truth of our humanity there by living it in conformity to Christ.
The Catholic Church has managed to survive a couple of thousands of years without Weigel's advice and without becoming celibate Evangelical Protestants. Of course, Weigel does not mean that Catholics should go door-to-door seeking new members. He means Catholics should accelerate their politicization of their duties and he splits Catholics into two groups--real conservative Catholics and fake liberal Catholics.

LOPEZ:You call people “baptized pagans” in this book. Who are they, and isn’t that a wee bit harsh?

WEIGEL: Well, to get down to specific cases, I can think of several members of Congress and senior administration officials who fit the bill. These people self-identify as Catholics, and they may even go to Mass with some regularity. But they are leading lives of such theological and moral incoherence (by, for example, supporting Roe v. Wade or agitating for “gay marriage” or defending the HHS mandate while ignoring its threat to religious freedom) that their communion with the Church is seriously damaged.

The politicos aren’t the only problem here, of course. There are aging, tenured members of theology departments at prestigious Catholic universities whose teaching and writing make clear that they are in a defective state of communion with the Church, because they deny what the Catholic Church teaches to be true. The entire fracas with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is, in fact, about precisely this: Is the LCWR living in communion with the Church, or is it living (and propounding) what amounts to another faith — indeed, another religion? We know that there are schismatics in the 21st-century Church: people who are, in a formal, canonical sense, living outside the legal boundaries of the Church because they have broken communion with the Church by breaking its canon law (think of the Lefebvrists). What I’m suggesting with the, admittedly provocative, term “baptized pagans” is that the Church has a much bigger problem than the tiny and marginal Lefebvrist sect, because there are a lot of people who are still inside the canonical boundaries of the Church but who aren’t in communion with the Church in any other meaningful sense. And it’s the job of all Catholics — but especially the Church’s pastors — to call those “baptized pagans” back to living in the fullness and integrity of Catholic faith.

LOPEZ: “When Catholic public witness fails to persuade on . . . fundamental questions, evangelical Catholics must understand that those failures are not compensated for by modest victories on other fronts.” What do you have in mind here?

WEIGEL: What I have in mind is when a Catholic conference director, having gotten his clock cleaned on a “gay marriage” vote in his legislature or a vote to regulate the abortion industry in his state, announces that, while that’s too bad, he looks forward to working on some social-service project with the people who just cleaned his clock. That kind of, oh-well, what-the-heck, we’ll-try-again-tomorrow attitude is badly mistaken. It assumes that all issues are equal, and they’re not. The right to life, the nature of marriage, and religious freedom are first-principles issues. When we lose on those issues, we risk losing the constitutional order (which is, after all, rooted in the way things are, as that pint-sized political realist James Madison understood), and we should make our unhappiness with those legislators who vote the wrong way very, very clear.

"The way things are." Yes, maintaining things just the way they are sounds like Jesus, doesn't it? It['s not like he was trying to throw over the entire order of the world at that time; rejecting any and every authority, from parent to priest to king, to follow his one true authority.* For most of us,  Roe v. Wade is the way things are and always have been. Why won't he leave that alone?

I have been a longtime supporter of tuition tax credits, vouchers, or some other device to make Catholic schools more available to at-risk kids.

Again, not the way things are. Not constitutional.

 Catholic bishops and lobbyists should be able to work across the aisle on issues like this, where there may even be support among people who are otherwise wrong-headed on core Catholic issues. But we can’t do the wink-and-nod routine on the core issues, for doing so suggests that we’re not really serious about them. Moreover, if we really believe that a legislator is putting his or her soul in peril by supporting the culture of death rather than the culture of life, we ought to make that clear to him or her. Finally, tuition tax credits or other devices to make it possible for more at-risk kids to attend Catholic schools aren’t going to be worth much, over the long haul, if the Leviathan state decides that, for state accreditation purposes, Catholic schools have to teach, let’s say, that “gay marriage” is just the same as any other form of marriage.

Purge the body of its impurity! Burn the heretic!

Weigel does give us a good look at why so many people are so anit-gay in theory when they are not in practice: it is an affront to the hierarchy. Straight men are ranked above gay men. That's just the way it is. Straight is natural and right. Gay is unnatural and wrong. Our authority created a straight world and gays are just men who refuse to obey God for their own selfish, immoral reasons.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who is quite probably the most intellectually accomplished bishop in the history of Catholicism in the United States, put this brilliantly in a January column in his archdiocesan newspaper: “Sexual relations between a man and a woman are naturally and necessarily different from sexual relations between same-sex partners. This truth is part of the common sense of the human race. It was true before the existence of either Church or State, and it will continue to be true when there is no State of Illinois and no United States of America. A proposal to change this truth about marriage in civil law is less a threat to religion than it is an affront to human reason and the common good of society. It means we are all to pretend to accept something we know is physically impossible. The Legislature might just as well repeal the law of gravity.” Now, in a culture where the idea that some things just are has become severely attenuated, this is, as the disciples once remarked of something Jesus said, a “hard saying.” But it happens to be true. And if the state successfully asserts its capacity to redefine reality in the matter of men, women, and marriage, where does its capacity to redefine reality stop? Why not redefine the parent-child relationship, or the doctor-patient relationship, or the priest-penitent relationship, or the counselor-counselee relationship? Why not redefine citizenship as adherence to the state’s redefinition of reality?

On behalf of every person who has gay relatives she loves and hopes will have every happiness, let me say that Weigel can take his hair tonic and hair shirt and stuff them where the sun don't shine. I would no more tell a gay person to stay celibate that I would tell a woman to wear a burqa.

Also, Weigel's advice might not be as successful as he seems to think it will be. You do not tell Catholic priests that they should be more like Evangelical Protestants. They as much as anyone define themselves by whom they are not, and number one on that long list is their old ideological enemy, the Protestants. Anyone who has sat in a parish pew for several decades knows that.

God, what a wanker. If you think that is harsh, read the following:

LOPEZ: What does the state of our culture today have to do with the Cold War? 
WEIGEL: Well, we’re not being sent to prison camps — yet. But the structure of the situation is not dissimilar. Catholicism played a crucial role in the collapse of European Communism because a vibrant Catholic micro-culture maintained its integrity and its tensile strength, and eventually proved more supple and enduring than the ambient public anti-culture of Communism. That’s why a lot of the younger and more evangelically assertive bishops of the United States have looked to the example of the Polish bishops under Communism for their inspiration in challenging the soft totalitarianism of the HHS mandate.

Weigel couldn't brush his teeth without a priest to tell him that it's permitted.

LOPEZ: Why does the modern world need “divine mercy” so much?

WEIGEL: Because of its guilt, often unconscious, but there nonetheless. The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history, by orders of magnitude. Add the new slaughter of the innocents in abortion to the slaughters of the World Wars, the death camps, the Gulag, and all the rest of the politically induced horrors, and you have a world awash in guilt over the cruelty and inhumanity it has visited upon itself. To whom can the sin that produced that guilt be confessed? By whom can it be expiated? By what authority can it be forgiven? The answers to those three questions cannot be Dr. Freud, Amnesty International, or the United Nations. The answer, I believe and the Church proclaims, is the God of the Bible, who comes into the world and into history — first in the people of Israel, and then in his Son — to offer humanity the embrace of the divine love, which alone can heal the brokenness of our lives, our societies, and our cultures. [my bold]

We're quite the sensitive little angels, aren't we, with our collective guilt over stuff that happened before we were born, or happened to people we don't know or care about. Although I seem to remember the God of the Bible, the God of the people of Israel, smoting and killing and ordering his favorites to kill all their enemies, man, woman, child and fetus, in his name. Most of all, it's strange that this collective guilt demands that we persecute gays and subjugate women to clear our souls of sin
Evelyn Waugh once said that the Church looks ever so much bigger from inside than from outside.
And every companion ever said the same thing about the Tardis. However in their case it was true. Inside the box of a church is more and smaller boxes, until the faithful are trapped, unable to move, and frozen in time like a bug in amber.

*Still atheist.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blogroll Amnesty Day In Honor of Jon Swift

Please leave a link in the comments if you would like me to link to your blog. I'm afraid it might not help much but I would be happy to try.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Too Little Too Late

NRO's Ed Whelan takes pen in hand to announce that scouting is committing suicide by allowing troops to decide if they want to let gay scouts and leaders into their manly club.

Sadly, in the face of intense pressure from ideologues, the Boy Scouts of America are reportedly on the verge of abandoning their long-held policy against gay scout leaders. Among the many corporations facing petition campaigns from gay activists, Merck and UPS recently announced that their charitable foundations would no longer contribute to the Boy Scouts.
Under the policy change that the Scouts’ national board will consider next week, the churches, schools and civic groups that sponsor troops would each be free to adopt their own policies on gay leaders and scouts. 

 Whelen is very concerned about the effect this will have on scouting. Anti-gay church-based troops might be forced to actually see and hear gay scouts and leaders during get-togethers, and this-must-not-stand!
Yet this proposed revision is incoherent and unworkable. The national Boy Scouts leadership obviously recognizes that it’s legitimate to disapprove of homosexual conduct, as the revised policy would let troops continue to exclude gays. [Obviously!] But the change would deprive those troops of the protection that only a uniform national policy provides.

Different troops routinely interact at summer camps and other gatherings, and the staffers at those camps come from various troops. If the Scouts abandon their national policy, a troop that is chartered by a church that opposes homosexual conduct on moral grounds loses much of its ability to protect its scouts from being subjected to actions and statements that contradict the church’s teachings.

Consider, for example, something as simple as how a camp staffer might explain the meaning of the scout oath to be “morally straight.” Or how leaders and scouts from a pro-gay troop might provocatively highlight their new position with scouts from other troops.
I can see it now. At the next Boy Scout Jamboree Troop 666, stuffed to the brim with gays, might taunt Troop 101, a godly group of innocent young teens whose cheeks have never been stained with sex sin, flaunting their lack of hatred and fear. Can't you just hear the jeering laughter as the gay teens display their gayness for everyone to see? Or "provocatively highlight their new position" in your face, as the kids say?

Never mind that many kids have gay teachers (don't worry, the right is working on that as well) or interact with people who are gay all the time. Or that many middle schoolers who taunt others are kids who persecute their classmates by screaming Gay! at them for any perceived weakness, whether they are gay or not. No, the innocent little angels must be protected at all times from any hint of human sexuality. That's the way to deal with teenagers going through puberty!

In 2000, the Boy Scouts won a big Supreme Court victory against state laws that bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That victory rested heavily on the fact that the Boy Scouts taught that homosexual conduct was contrary to their values.

But if the national group abandons that teaching against homosexual conduct, it paves the way for activists to sue troops that adhere to the traditional policy and to threaten troop leaders with personal liability.  
Few troops could afford the expense and hassle of defending against these suits.

 Mr. Whelan is a Harvard educated lawyer and therefore no fool. However it is not a lawyer's job to tell all the truth; his job is to present his case in the defense of his client to the best of his ability. So Whelan pulls a McArdle here, lying by omission. Boy Scout troops that exclude gays have already been sued and forced to make huge payments for the sexual abuse of scouts, mostly by leaders.
In May 1991, the Washington Times published a major five-part investigation entitled “Scouts Honor” on sex abuse in the BSA. Staff from the newspaper had worked for two years preparing the series, reviewing internal and personnel records from the Boy Scouts; court records from more than 20 states; and more than 1,000 newspaper articles; as well as interviewing more than 200 people, including molesters, families of victims, Scout leaders, sex abuse experts and lawyers. The newspaper restricted itself to reported cases of male Scout leaders abusing boy scouts prior to the introduction of its Youth Protection program. In summation, they wrote “The Boy Scouts are a magnet for men who want to have sexual relations with children...Pedophiles join the Scouts for a simple reason: it’s where the boys are.”[4]
The series drew on three sources:
  • Historical “confidential files” (formerly known as the “Ineligible Volunteer Files”) within Scout records, with details on 231 Scout leaders banned from Scouting for sexual misconduct from 1975 through 1984.
  • 50 lawsuits against the Scouts by families of molested boys from around the US.
  • A list from the BSA of more than 350 men banned for sexual misconduct from 1971 to 1986.
The newspaper discovered that 1,151 Scouts reported being abused by their leaders over a 19-year period mostly prior to the implementation of the Youth Protection Plan: they published a detailed list of 416 cases from 1971–1990 where a US Scout leader was arrested or banned from Scouting for sexual abuse of Scouts, adding that experts said the real number of abusers and victims was probably several times higher. The newspaper articles later formed the basis for a book by the main journalist involved, Patrick Boyle: Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution.

Excluding gays didn't protect scouts from predators or scout troops from large fines.

A study of 50 lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America showed that from 1986 to 1991 BSA and local councils agreed to pay more than $15 million in damages. According to federal tax returns, BSA payments to one law firm in Miami working on abuse cases were more than one-half million dollars; the BSA insurance reserve, from which the damages are paid, stood at $61.9 million.[4]

The actual payment total, said the Washington Times in 1991, is probably far higher because the Scouts sometimes agree to pay damages only if the payments are kept secret. Keeping damage awards confidential is commonly required by insurers.

Boy Scouts Of America implemented a strict set of rules protecting kids from predators after these heavy fines.

BSA adopted the following policies to provide additional barriers to child abuse within Scouting. These policies are primarily for the protection of its youth members; however, they also serve to protect its adult leaders from false accusations of abuse.
  • Two-deep leadership. Two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. The "two-deep" policy requires that a minimum of two adults be present during all activities to minimize the potential for clandestine abuse.[12] The chartered organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all activities.
  • No one-on-one contact. One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster's conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths.
  • Respect of privacy. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.
  • Separate accommodations. When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his own parent or guardian. Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for females. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use should be scheduled and posted for showers.
  • Proper preparation for high-adventure activities. Activities with elements of risk should never be undertaken without proper preparation, equipment, clothing, supervision, and safety measures.
  • No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.
  • Appropriate attire. Proper clothing for activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping is not appropriate as part of Scouting.
  • Constructive discipline. Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting's values. Corporal punishment is never permitted.
  • Hazing prohibited. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity.
  • Junior leader training and supervision. Adult leaders must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by junior leaders and ensure that BSA policies are followed.
The plan has been criticized for not making criminal background checks a requirement for all volunteers until 2008, and that failure to require those allowed additional child molesters into the organization. [13][14]
But Whelan is still very very concerned that gay scout leaders will be sexually attracted to the boys, ruining scouting for everyone with their gayness.
Imagine that a group of girls is going on a long camping trip, supervised by adult volunteers who are young men you barely know. Would you let your 15-year-old daughter go?

Nearly every parent, I think, would recognize the folly, even though the men might well be models of good behavior. Why should our common-sense response be any different if the 15-year-old is a boy and the possible, even if not-likely-to-be-acted-on, sexual attraction of the adult supervisors is homosexual rather than heterosexual?
As the father of a soon-to-be Eagle Scout, I’ve taken part in summer camps, a canoeing trip in remote northern Ontario and several other overnight outings. I can attest that privacy is often at a minimum. Injecting the aura of possible sexual attraction would degrade the experience.
On the amorphous fear that the presence of gays will "degrade the experience" of scouting, Whelan wants to exclude anyone who offends his religious beliefs.
...[M]any parents choose the Boy Scouts to provide the environment for these activities precisely because, in an age awash in the wreckage of moral relativism, the Scouts have stood strong. Those parents who wish a different environment for their sons should join other groups or build their own.
The Boy Scouts are — or at least have been — a great organization that has done so much to help transform young boys into fine men and to serve America’s communities. Unfortunately, in the warped progressive understanding of diversity, all organizations must be the same. The Boy Scouts are a target of the Left precisely because they have, until now, upheld traditional moral standards.
Among the virtues set forth in the Scout Law, a scout is trustworthy and brave. The leaders of the Boy Scouts will betray those virtues if they cave to pressure and abandon their national policy. The Boy Scouts deserve better.
So to protect the innocent of America's youth, it is absolutely necessary to continue to exclude gays from scouting. Only then will the boys be safe from predators or large fines or lascivious looks Ed Whelan.