Formerly Ad Orientem

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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

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Irish Elk
Friday, April 30, 2004  
The victims of Fallujah asked for it, too, according to the UMass lefty who wrote the Tillman column

Here's Rene Gonzalez in a previous article rationalizing the lynch mob:

Fallujah is a message to all who continue to naively believe that the American occupiers can impose a government of their choosing on Iraq. The invasion will be resisted with the most brutal and savage kind of violence; the same kind of brutal and savage violence that was evidenced by thousands of rockets, missiles, bullets, tank shells, depleted uraniun, and other measures that have characterized the American invasion until now. Violence will breed more violence.

In the eyes of this author, it is hard to argue with the logic of the arguments presented by the Iraqi people that, in many ways, the "Americans deserved this". It is also a testament to the impossibility of imposing American visions in Iraq. It is a recognized international human right for the colonized to respond to colonial imposition through any measures of their choosing, including "armed struggle". Thus, the Fallujah lynchings are justified by the countless murders and abuses of the colonial occupiers. It does not have to make rational sense to us, in the West, who are horrified by the "savagery" of the Fallujah residents. It only matters that the Fallujah people are so angry about the American presence in Iraq that they will lynch Americans wherever they see them. That is really the issue at hand, for if it is true that the Iraqi people are so angry at Americans, than the war for "minds and hearts" is over, and the occupation an utter failure.

Here's Gonzalez in another article on why he does not support US troops:

The U.S. public today is comparable to the cowardly Germans of 1945, the only difference is that we will probably never have a General Eisenhower force us into our concentration camps (Guantanamo?) to witness and accept the horror that we unleashed on the world and on ourselves.

Here's Gonzalez channeling Chomsky and Zinn on US foreign policy and the "verifiable pseudo-fascist, pseudo-Christian quack" John Ashcroft, who is one of the evangelical Christians Gonzalez detests.

And look where his article hailing the post-Madrid Spanish vote was published -- in the Guardian, weekly newspaper of the Australian Communist Party.

(More of his writings may be found here.)

Moonbattery this is, but it's not isolated moonbattery. Noam Chomsky says the same sort of thing, and is revered on campuses across America. How long before the IndyMedia crowd or Michael Moore spring to the defense of Gonzalez' courage?

Rene Gonzalez M.A. identifies himself as a doctoral candidate in comparative politics at UMass. Think any of the poli sci faculty before now have challenged him on the premises of his Marxist talking points? Have his loathsome views proven a handicap in his academic career thus far? Is it possible to make it through the doctoral program at the flagship public university in Massachusetts by simply regurgitating the Socialist Worker chapter and verse?

* * *

Those of you who have been awaiting Dale Price's expected fisking cannonade on this front need wait no further.

Dale isn't far off on the dorkdom factor: Turn down your speakers and check out the Ghouls 'n' Ghosts video game website maintained by one Rene L Gonzalez Berrios.

When Gonzalez hasn't been dismissing the bravery and sacrifice of American servicemen and pounding out anti-US screeds for Communist weeklies, he's been playing video games in which he pretends to be a knight chasing ghouls.

Wonder if after he penned his rationalization of the sadistic lynching in Fallujah he returned to his reveries on Tornado Weasels and Giant Slugs?

When Pat Tillman was chasing the Taliban across Afghanistan, this kid was chasing pixies across his computer monitor.

* * *

In response to the barrage of criticism, Gonzalez reportedly has been sending out a less-than-apologetic form e-mail:

I did learn one lesson, though: there is freedom of speech in this country, but
not much toleration for its expression. Freedom of speech exists only for those
that parrot the "party line". For those that even peep a dissent, only scorn is
awaiting them.

I hope this letter clears up the misconceptions that have arisen. My criticism
was not for Patrick Tillman (who may have been the most honorable man alive) or
his family, or even soldiers serving the United States today. It is to the
society back home, which seems to be unable to distinguish between honorable
American interventions and honorable American soldiers, and soldiers who served
in dishonorable interventions and, therefore, dishonored themselves. And, for
the reasons outlined above, I cannot support troops that have dishonored
themselves by serving in a dishonorable war, and much less consider them heroes.

Back to your Sorcerers and Insect Goblins, Comrade.



I don't throw about the epithet CINO – for Catholic in Name Only – because I know it could all too readily be applied to me, cafeteria snob-heretic that I am.

But with all the coverage of John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi et al, I wish there were at least one Liberal in politics today who took after Hilaire Belloc:

In 1906 the Liberal Party nominated him for Parliament in Salford South, near Manchester. No Liberal had ever been elected there, which may explain why one of the country’s two great parties would nominate an eccentric French-born Roman Catholic journalist who had been naturalized for only three years. The voters were mostly Methodist, and Belloc’s campaign manager warned him to avoid religion.

Belloc rose to his feet in a packed hall at his first meeting of the campaign. "Gentlemen," he began, "I am a Catholic. As far as possible, I go to Mass every day. This [reaching into his pocket] is a rosary. As far as possible, I kneel down and tell these beads, every day. If you reject me on account of my religion, I shall thank God that He has spared me the indignity of being your representative!" There was an absolute silence. One imagines the campaign manager contemplating the razor and his wrists. Then the crowd exploded with applause. His constituents may not have shared his religion, but they admired his guts, openness and ebullient temperament. (Perhaps, too, his capacity for drinking most of them under the table.) He was elected.



Armavirumque, lamenting the closing of a venerable Dartmouth bookstore, asks: More Wodehouse, please.

Jeeves & Wooster were my post-9/11 reading: a diverting antidote to anxious times. They should be more widely prescribed.

* * *

Via the Random Wodehouse Quote Generator:

Although nobody who had met him was likely to get George Cyril Wellbeloved confused with the poet Keats, it was extraordinary on what similar lines the two men's minds worked. ``Oh, for a beaker of the warm South, full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene!'' sang Keats, licking his lips, and ``Oh, for a mug of beer, with, if possible, a spot of gin in it!'' sighed George Cyril Wellbeloved, licking his; and in quest of the elixir he had visited in turn the Emsworth Arms, the Wheatsheaf, the Waggoner's Rest, the Beetle and Wedge, the Stitch in Time, the Jolly Cricketers and all the other hostelries at which Market Blandings pointed with so much pride.

But everywhere the story was the same. Barmaids had been given their instructions, pot boys warned to be on the alert. They had placed at his disposal gingerbeer, ginger ale, sarsaparilla, lime juice and on one occasion milk, but his request for the cup that clears today of past regrets and future fears was met with a firm nolle prosequi . Staunch and incorruptible, the barmaids and the pot boys refused to serve him with anything that would have interested Omar Khayyam, and he had come away parched and saddened.

* * *

I turned to Aunt Agatha, whose demeanour was now rather like that of one who, picking daisies on the railway, has just caught the down express on the small of the back.

'The Inimitable Jeeves'

* * *

The Bishop ... was talking to the local Master of Hounds about the difficulty he had in keeping his vicars off the incence.

'Mr Mulliner Speaking'

* * *
More Wodehousiana:

A gallery of classic Wodehouse covers * Jeeves & Wooster at the Hat Sharpening Shop * The Russian Wodehouse Society * Drones.com * Get a Drones Club tie

And for the virtual gramophone: A comprehensive collection of vintage Jack Hylton music files, including:

Chili-Bom-Bom * 47 Ginger-Headed Sailors * Digga Digga Doo


Various & Sundry

Infamous UMass columnist Rene Gonzalez has become this site's new Italian Christmas Donkey: a jackass sending the hit meter spinning.

* * *

The New York Review of Books' online David Levine gallery is searchable by year (back to 1963) and by category, whether "Tycoons, Plutocrats, Midases," "Vice Presidents of the United States," or "Animal, Fish, Insect References."

* * *

The Fighting 69th is headed to Iraq.

* * *

Armavirumque wonders: What has happened to The Spectator?

* * *

Arthur Schlesinger stakes liberal claim to Alexander Hamilton.

* * *

Wonder why they chose a rainbow motif? Wouldn't a white flag of surrender have been more appropriate?


Thursday, April 29, 2004  

Laddie Boy shakes with Mrs. Harding

Two days late, the Tuesday Three:

1) If you could be any breed of dog, I mean any breed of dog...what would you be?

An Airedale, I think.

2) What would your name be?

Whiskey & Soda, which has a Lafayette Escadrille air about it, or Odo of Cluny.

3) And finally, what would be your normal day schedule?

A good bit of time would be spent in emulation of Crispin's Crispian, the Dog Who Belonged to Himself in the landmark conservative work Mister Dog by Margaret Wise Brown; then, after a bit of vicarious escapism with Asta on the Late Show, to bed, and dreams of battling Jacobin squirrels a la Cosmo.

More canine fare:

President Harding's Airedale, Laddie Boy, shown here in the special chair he used at Cabinet meetings, retrieved golf balls for the president on the White House lawn, sat on the front steps to greet official delegations, and as First Pet in the Teapot Dome era, was more widely popular than his master:

The press made more of Laddie Boy and his antics than of the President himself. On July 17, 1921, the Washington Star printed an "interview" with Laddie Boy where he gave his opinion on everything from Woodrow Wilson's sheep and prohibition to the Harding Cabinet, and he advocated eight-hour day for guard dogs.

It's unclear what Laddie Boy was getting up to in this presidential press conference.

After Harding fell deathly ill on a trip to Alaska, it's said, Laddie Boy howled for three days before the president succumbed.

Newsboys later collected more than 19,000 pennies for a statue of Laddie Boy that was placed in the Smithsonian.

* * *

What happens you pit Irish setter versus remote-control alligator? Amy at Ever So Humble has pictures.

* * *

Dogs in the Great War * Vintage images of the regimental wolfhounds of the Irish Guards * Unusual mascots of the Civil War, including a bear that marched with the 12th Wisconsin Volunteers all the way to Missouri, and the 43rd Mississippi Infantry's pet camel, Douglas, killed by a minie ball at Vicksburg

* * *

On the Cyber-Turntable: "The Wild Dog" and "In De Ruff" by Joe Venuti * "Yellow Dog Blues" by the Washingtonians * "Mean Dog Blues" by Red Nichols


Wednesday, April 28, 2004  

Amerks-Sens, 4.12.04

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, as Emerson said, especially when it comes to Old Time Hockey. Otherwise, how would Todd Flowerday reconcile his deeply held pacifism with his rooting interest in the Rochester Amerks, captured here in a vintage Slapshot-worthy donnybrook? Mahatma Gandhi, say hello to Eddie Shore.

Elsewhere: A striking image of Tiny Thompson from the days when goalie protection consisted of gloves, leg pads and a baseball hat. Clint Benedict of the old Maroons looks like a goalie to whom the fan at home could have related, though here he looks ready for a helping of fava beans and a nice Chianti.


Dispatch from the Amherst fringe

Your Massachusetts tax dollars at work: Supporting the graduate education of one Rene Gonzalez, who writes in today's UMass Daily Collegian: "Pat Tillman is not a hero; he got what he deserved."

[I]n my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.

Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.

Writer Gonzalez, an activist in the minority student caucus at UMass, has previously decried the US government as fascist:

Gonzalez compared the type of government in the United States to fascism. He also said that the little opposition of U.S. citizens to the policies of President Bush is not dissimilar to the rise of Adolf Hitler in the years prior to World War II.

"In Germany, the [support of Hitler] happened first with little things. Then they had a politician with the unquestioning support of his people," he said. "That's what fear in a conformist nation does. That's what's happening [in the United States] today."

You know, a true Brownshirt would say it's a scurvy fascist conformist nation that allows a pampered graduate student the freedom to spout treason from soapboxes and in the campus print and doesn't even lock him up, but instead continues to underwrite his college loans and allows him to play Affirmative Action Latino/a Victim of the Month.

Vile jackbooted capitalist Yanqui pigdogs smothering the People into conformity with education benefits and Rambo movies! Rene Gonzalez in his dorm room is not fooled!

UPDATE: A Small Victory fires away with a full-bore fisking. Ditto Right Thoughts * Cold Fury * DC Thornton * Bettnet

Best of the Web comments: Cheers to UMass president Jack Wilson, who, the Boston Globe reports, issued a statement calling Gonzalez's remarks "a disgusting, arrogant and intellectually immature attack on a human being who died in service to his country."


Thurston Howell III backs Kerry

He may be a Democrat and, gad, a Yale Man, but what other Man of the People in the race owns with his multimillionaire heiress wife a 1995 Chevy Suburban, a 1993 Land Rover Defender, a 1989 Jeep Cherokee, a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a 2001 Audi Allroad, a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser, a 1985 Dodge 600 Convertible, a 2002 Chrysler 300M, a 2002 Harley Davidson, his AND hers powerboats, a power inflatable 2001 Novurania, and a Gulfstream II private jet, as well as five homes and vacation getaways valued at $33 million? What other Gentleman of Leisure had as of March missed every one of the 22 roll call votes in the Senate this year and 64 percent of the roll call votes last year, while still collecting a Senate salary of $158,000 a year? What other Foe of Special Interests has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years? Who else in the race has his own family island, flies in a hairdresser by private jet for a $1,000 haircut, and asks for Swiss cheese on his Philly cheese-steak? By Jove, he's a man after my own heart! Do join Lovey and me in throwing steamer-trunks full of cash in his direction!

Also lending Kerry their support: spam stalwart Confident T. Plushier, and, wonder of wonders, Ho Chi Minh's Ghost.

Go here to claim official Kerry Campaign web space for yourself, for Addams Family gentleman's gentleman Ted Cassidy, for Pope Pius XXIII – whomever!

(Via LGF)


On the Cyber-Victrola: "Yale Blues" by Arthur Briggs' Savoy Syncopators * "Yale Blues" by Jimmy Joy's Orchestra * "Yale Blues" by Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians


"A crass, angry framework"

NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez writes on the prevailing sentiment at last weekend's Washington demonstrations: "We’re F*****’ Feminists!" If her description is an indication, Boston is going to be a colorful place come convention time this summer.

A photo gallery at Free Republic conveys a flavor of the protests. (Via Patrick Sweeney and Bettnet)

So does the gallery posted by Bunnie Diehl. See also InDC Journal.

The Kerry photo blog suggests a fresh-faced but dignified affair.

But abortion opponents who kept silent vigils report being heaped with abuse.

Here's the account of a "Silent No More" counter-protester who held a sign reading "I Regret My Abortion." (Via Bettnet)

A seminarian who prayed the Rosary describes his experience. (Via Fr. Sibley)

At the official Kerry blog I posted a comment (halfway down the box):

A question, in all seriousness, for John Kerry:
As a Catholic, he perceives divinity in a piece of bread. Is it such a leap to discern humanity in an unborn child?
I'm quite interested to hear Kerry supporters' thoughts on this. Thanks, MCNS

Most of the replies (that could be gleaned from between hyperventilations on the Bush Bros.' involvement in WTC security lapses) were civil enough. But here's one that captures the strident Bella Abzug-Meets-the-V-Monologues tone widely on display in Washington over the weekend.

Mark C N Sullivan:

I'll tell you why autonomy over my body extends to the lives of children in the womb:

Because it's MY f**king womb, Mark. It is a part of ME. What it is not, is:

1) A loading dock for YOUR beliefss;
2) A jointly owned subsidiary of me, you and the government;
3) A faceless, rightless growth chamber for the production of future human beings.

Women get pregnant. They do not do this single-handedly, and yet we live in a culture where men are free to stay or go upon learning of an impending glorious arrival. And while society attempts to hold them to a sense of moral and ethical responsibility, this country is chock full of women who raise children in poverty and various other horrors alone.

And while the self-righteous right is busy making sure that MY body is governed by them, I see very few of the righteous right stepping up to adopt the multitudes of children currently born to people who did not want them, can't support them and abuse or neglect them.

If you want to do something useful, Mark, get busy and work for 100% adoption of the many unwanted children born each year.

If, in fact, women are to be forced to bring to term ALL pregnancies, then I think this would be the next logical step in the quest for societal perfection:

Randomly assign Self-Righteous men like yourself to raise, support and protect them.
Write your Congressman today, Mark.

Posted by KerryOn62 at April 24, 2004 03:29 PM

Crass, check, and angry, check.

What, by the way, would the Left do without a Straw Falwellian Right to rally against?

Leaving aside the notions that the womb has a face and rights superceding the future human being within, and that it is better to terminate children who might be born into poverty, a question:

Doesn't the sight of all those Chinese children being reared today by suburban white yuppie families suggest there aren't that many American children up for adoption, that the demand for adoptable children is high, and that's why so many childless couples today are jetting to orphanages in Beijing and Romania? Isn't it just possible that loving homes could and would be found for children born to the poor and unwed?


If the Kerry Wafer Watch has made you nostalgic:

Soweto, 1998


Monday, April 26, 2004  

The Paulist Center that John Kerry has made his spiritual refuge is noted for outreach ministries to draw the lapsed and the fallen-away back to church.

The music there would have any SMMMHDH member running straightaway out the door for the Common.

Do the lapsed and fallen-away actually prefer this stuff? Check out this coming Sunday's music menu.

It's heavy on the Misa del Mundo by Jesse Manibusan, whose celebratory We Are Church anthems appear to be OCP favorites for their creative and diversity-conscious use of bird calls and rain sticks.

Also on the play list:

The "Mass of the Caribbean Dreamer," a calypso-and-reggae flavored piece its composer intended For the Children;

Sister Suzanne Toolan's "I Am the Bread of Life (Yo Soy el Pan de Vida)," a particularly gooey clip of which may be heard here, and which makes this CanticaNova list of Bad Hymns;

David Haas' "We Will Rise Again," which also makes the CanticaNova Bad Hymn list, and "We Are God's People," a "gathering/sprinkling song" included in the Haas CD We Give You Thanks, from which the title audio clip may be heard here.

Scroll forward over coming weeks and you see the aural price Sen. Kerry will pay for no-questions-asked Communion comes under the familiar names of Haugen, Haas and Schutte.

Frankly, for Self-Celebratory Aren't-We-Multicultural ™ Boomer Feel-Good music, I'll stick with "It's a Small World" from the '64 World's Fair Pepsi Pavilion, an exhibit that presciently showed what Baghdad could be if happy UN platitudes were brought to bear.


More sound effects here.


Listen: "When Erastus Plays his Old Kazoo," by Alex Jackson's Plantation Orchestra


Noms de Spam: Abstruse D. Ornithologist and Gentrifies R. Javelins, both trying to sell me pharmaceuticals.


The latest Adoremus Bulletin is online, and devoted to church architecture, with articles by Thomas Gordon Smith and Duncan Stroik, and a piece by Michael Rose on the planned Ave Maria church. And from the archive: Two methods of teaching the Eucharist to children, one contemporary, the other very traditional, indeed.



During a spina bifida corrective procedure at twenty-one weeks in utero, Samuel thrusts his tiny hand out of the surgical opening of his mother's uterus. As the doctor lifts his hand, Samuel reacts to the touch and squeezes the doctor's finger. As if testing for strength, the doctor shakes the tiny fist. Samuel held firm. At that moment, I took this "Fetal Hand Grasp" photo. As a photojournalist, my job is to tell stories through pictures. The experience of taking this photograph has had a profound effect on me…Michael Clancy

The above lends context to the march this weekend in Washington.


Confident T. Plushier: One of the more luxuriant recent noms de plume in my spam in-box. (Noms de spam?) Other evocative junk-mail monikers: Resolutes K. Curtsey, Floodlit U. Eyrie, Stitches L. Gamin and Fidel Schultz.


I am not a crook!



Sure, it's only April: But a sweep at the Stadium to make it six out of seven this season against the Yanks? We'll take it.


Friday, April 23, 2004  

A question, in all seriousness, for John Kerry:

As a Catholic, you perceive divinity in a piece of bread. Is it such a leap to discern humanity in an unborn child?



To An Athlete Dying Young

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners who renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

-- A. E. Housman

Requiem Aeternam * Dies Irae * Lacrimosa * From Mozart's Requiem


Tuesday, April 20, 2004  

The American Experience last night focused on the Patriots Day re-enactors, Minutemen and Redcoats, who bring the Battle of Lexington Green to life every April 19th. Our favorite scenes came when the British troops in wigs and bearskin hats marched off the battlefield to board chartered yellow school buses that would ferry them to the next round of hostilities, against colonial militia hiding behind bushes and stone walls and relaying strategy via walkie-talkie. It was a good show: the re-enactors are very articulate, and dedicated to the accurate and respectful conveyance of proud tradition.

We attended the Patriots Day parade yesterday morning in Concord, where history is always very much alive and the 19th of April is a high point of the year. As a succession of fife-and-drum corps marched up Stow Street past the baseball players on the old Emerson school fields, it occurred to me it would be hard to picture a more All-American scene. It was great fun to fall in behind the Singing Doughboys at parade's end and walk through the Milldam, past the crowds lining the sidewalks and flags fluttering at Main and Walden, to Monument Square.

The oration given by George William Curtis on the occasion of the Concord Fight Centennial in 1875 might as easily have been delivered yesterday:

WE are fortunate that we behold this day. The heavens bend benignly over, the earth blossoms with renewed life, and our hearts beat joyfully together with one emotion of filial gratitude and patriotic exultation. Citizens of a great, free, and prosperous country, we come hither to honor the men, our fathers, who, on this spot and upon this day, a hundred years ago, struck the first blow in the contest which made that country independent. Here beneath the hills they trod, by the peaceful river on whose shores they dwelt, amid the fields that they sowed and reaped, proudly recalling their virtue and their valor, we come to tell their story, to try ourselves by their lofty standard to know if we are their worthy children; and, standing reverently where they stood and fought and died, to swear before God and each other, in the words of him upon whom in our day the spirit of the revolutionary fathers visibly descended, that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth…

* * *

Now comes Michael Moore, who declares the Islamist lynch mobs and suicide bombers of Fallujah the good-guy equivalents of the Minutemen of Lexington and Concord.

More on Moore: Moorewatch.com * MooreExposed.com

* * *

An inscription on a stone at the Old North Bridge poignantly recalls the sacrifice of the British soldiers who died there:

They came three thousand miles, and died
to keep the past upon its throne:
unheard beyond the ocean tide
their English mother made her moan.

Would that the Democrats today had someone like Tony Blair.

* * *

The Discriminating General offers a medley of fife-and-drum sound clips.


New England: the Upside

Concord in Images: a virtual booklet from Concord Magazine.

Photos of the Newburyport area (via Instapundit).

Photos by Ulrike Welsch of Marblehead, which has the charm and history of Concord – on the ocean: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4

And the Sox take three of four from the Yanks over Patriots Day weekend.


The Downside:

April is the cruelest month. I do think she has sung to them.


Friday, April 16, 2004  

A list of Patriots Day events is offered by this Concord e-zine, where the archived parade coverage features images of the Concord Independent Battery. I've always thought they have a fun job.

A maker of scale replica historical field-artillery writes:

The First shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired on Lexington green, Massachusetts, in April of 1775. These were followed several hours later by the battle of the old north bridge in Concord, as described in Longfellow’s famous poem. Even though Paul Revere never made it any further than Lexington, the word did get through.

Growing up in the adjacent town of Lincoln, one of the high points of my youth was the annual commemoration of these events with a parade through Concord and a service at the (rebuilt) bridge. A group called the “Concord Independent Battery” took part in the celebrations. Consisting of two original twelve pounder bronze guns, model 1857 Napoleon field pieces, mounted on reproduction carriages. They were each hooked to a limber and pulled by teams of four horses; these were the hit of every parade. Once at the bridge, the two gun crews would deploy their pieces and fire a twenty one gun salute. Standing next to them was an awesome experience, and I never quite got the smell of black powder out of my system.

He also passes along an old saying: “Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl.”

* * *

Listen: "Yankee Doodle Blues," by Isham Jones * "Yankee Doodle Blues," by Jazzbo's Carolina Serenaders * "Yankee Doodle Never Went to Town," by Teddy Wilson

* * *

Check out Tarzan Brown in this online gallery of vintage Boston Marathon pics. My guess is he would have ditched the war-bonnet well before Wellesley College.



Dom and Joe, 1940

Speaking of Yankees: They're in this weekend, to be greeted by a new Ted Williams statue and the baseball version of Peter Puck.

In an op-ed in the NYT, Hart Seely suggests a secret DiMaggio Code underlying the Sox curse. But you'd think brother Dominic would have passed on the key to the Boston branch of Opus Doubleday. (Via Bettnet)



What's going through John Forbes K's mind in this shot? I'm thinking "Peanut" by Little Joe Cook and the Thrillers.

Cocktail Party Guffaw!


Loveless L. Puddings: The sender's name on a piece of junk e-mail received today. I get several a day from the likes of Winsome Q. Floorcovering. W. C. Fields would have had a field day with spam pseudonyms.


BloggerCon: Jeff Sharlet at The Revealer is wrapping up preparations for a panel he is convening on religion blogs at BloggerCon in Cambridge on Saturday and invites input.

My comment: The democratic phenomenon at work in St. Blog's Parish particularly interests me. Having a blog is like having a little printing press of your own, and as the InstaPundits and Andrew Sullivans and Little Green Footballs provide samizdat alternatives to the establishment media, St. Blog's allows thoughtful and articulate people in the pews who might otherwise go unheard a forum to respond to the clericalists who would have them pay, pray and obey: the stonewalling Church hierarchy that has made such a criminal mess of the clerical abuse scandal, and the entrenched liturgical "progressives" whose capricious innovation has undermined devotion while speaking little to the sensum fidei of the average lay people in whose interest they purport to act.


Marine's bagpipes wail in Fallujah: 'Something to hear besides rockets and gunfire.' The Innkeeper at the End of the World posts an outstanding item out of Iraq.


Thursday, April 15, 2004  

Given the Bruins' tortured history against the Canadiens, and then the Montreal fans' booing of the American national anthem, the Habs' Bucknerian overtime loss to the B's the other night was particularly satisfying, and a coup de grace to the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge tonight would be even more so.

A friend e-mails:

As for tonight's showdown with Le Club Habitante, I like the suggestion I heard on the radio this morning of having everyone throw frogs on the ice during the Canuckian national anthem. But do it silently, please. I still want to hear the anthem; it's much better than ours.

Ragtime Perfessor Bill Edwards offers a playlist of American patriotic numbers on piano that include "We'll Stand by the Flag" and the "America Forever! March." Les Quebecois may boo through their tears.

Here's a hockey Walter Mitty story about a guy who was paged out of the stands at Boston Garden one night in 1958 to take the place of an injured Jacques Plante in the Montreal net. In his thirty-three-minute, forty-five-second NHL career, John Aiken made twelve saves and permitted six goals.

And sample hockey history via pasteboard at the Bee Hive Hockey Photo Museum, and via tin and aluminum at TableHockeyCentral.com.


Sign me up!

You, too, are invited to join The Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas.

(Via Mixolydian Mode)



Mixolydian Mode recalls The Reluctant Dragon, which we have enjoyed in the Disney version, in which the great Bohemian beast evokes Noel Coward.

A British pub in Tampa called Mad Dogs and Englishmen offers a clip of its namesake Noel Coward song.

Not much you can add to Mister Toad's commentary in this paragraph on Kenneth Grahame:

The Wind in the Willows reflected the author's unhappiness in the real world - his riverbank woods and fields were ''clean of the clash of sex,'' as he said to Theodore Roosevelt. The main tale tells about Toad's obsession with motorcars. "'Glorious, stirring sight!' murmured Toad, never offering to move. 'The poetry of motion! The REAL way to travel! The ONLY way to travel! Here to-day--in next week to-morrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped--always somebody else's horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!'"


Wednesday, April 14, 2004  

Photo: William Stein

This came in over the e-transom this morning:

2004 DNC Convention Official Program
> 6:00pm - Opening flag burning ceremony.
> 6:30pm - Anti-war rally no. 1.
> 6:40pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
> 7:00pm - Tribute theme to France.
> 7:10pm - Collect offerings for al-Zawahri defense fund.
> 7:25pm - Tribute theme to Spain.
> 7:45pm - Anti-war rally no. 2. (Moderated by Michael Moore)
> 8:25pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
> 8:30pm - Terrorist appeasement workshop.
> 9:00pm - Gay marriage ceremony.
> 9:30pm - * Intermission *
> 10:00pm - Flag burning ceremony no. 2.
> 10:15pm - Re-enactment of Kerry's fake medal toss.
> 10:30pm - Cameo by Dean 'Yeeearrrrrrrg!'
> 10:40pm - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
> 10:50pm - Pledge of allegiance to the UN.
> 11:00pm - Double gay marriage cermony.
> 11:15PM - Maximizing Welfare workshop.
> 11:30pm - 'Free Saddam' pep rally.
> 11:59PM - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast.
> 12:00pm - Nomination of democratic candidate.

You laugh. For something very much like this, they're going to shut down North Station and Interstate 93 into the city during the convention, cause mom-and-pop businesses to shutter their shops for the duration, and drive away all of the summer's non-Democratic-related convention business, at a projected economic loss for Boston.

But on the positive side, the pahty's nevah been so you-nited, says Mayuh Menino, because Jawn Kerry is a you-nitah, not a divi-dah.


Rather than lobbying to have the arrow pulled from Mass. Turnpike pilgrim hat, some Amherst second-grade class should introduce a bill to have this tune named the state song.

It's kind of catchy, and grows on you: "Massachusetts" (Real Audio) by Maxine Sullivan (more by her here) * Here's a clip of a recent cover of "Massachusetts" (lo-fi mp3) by Sally Stark


More on a Once Great Party

A thoughtful post by Peter Nixon on Kerry and the Democrats prompts Todd Flowerday to comment:

The Democrats have gone so ape-wild on Not-Bush, I would shed no tears if they pitched another election opportunity, difficult as it might be for me to swallow another four years of a W-Cabal. Some would say the D-Party needs a soul, but I think a chandelier with mostly working bulbs would help.

As I've written here before, I would like to be a Democrat. I was born one, and if today I disagree with the Dems on just about every major issue, the GOP still isn't home. Problem is, the party I'd prefer to belong to was captured by the Left 32 years ago. Liberal I'm all right with; a Leftist I am most decidedly not.

It's worth noting the Bush foreign-policy neoconservatives Democrats so roundly revile are themselves former Scoop Jackson Democrats. Indeed, their late mentor, Sen. Jackson, domestic liberal, Cold War hawk, was one of the revered statesmen of the Democratic Party. I remember as a teenager being for him in the '76 primaries. I believe the Democrats today would be hard to beat if they were strong on defense, championed America and freedom on the world stage, looked out for the little guy, and maintained at least a residual respect for the moral and religious values of Main Street America – in short, if it returned to being the Democratic Party of FDR, Harry Truman, JFK and Scoop Jackson.

Remember, in '68, that formative year for the Vietnam War Boomer Generation, the liberals were the Democrats like LBJ and Humphrey who were being called baby-killers and fascists for pressing the war against the Communists in Indochina. The protesters doing the yelling were Leftists. (There's a difference.) The Left prevailed in the Democratic Party, which today bows to Woodrow Wilson while being animated by the spirit of Emma Goldman.

Today's Bush-whackers don't recognize in W's hawkishness the legacy of the old Democracy's muscular liberal internationalism. In the spirit of lost causes, here are a number of links to articles on Scoop Jackson and his legacy:

Jackson protégés shaping Bush foreign policy * Tacitus on Scoop Jackson * Jackson Foundation bio * '72 campaign brochure: "Jackson is not a man who slithers." (PDF) * Presidential Medal of Freedom citation * A biography released last year * Democrat hawk whose ghost guides Bush * Former Gore campaign chief: What Would Scoop Do?



Privileged altar, St. Ann's, NYC

A passionate defense of tradition and St. Ann's in NYC is posted at Free Republic, as is a link to a new site that is quite emphatic in its opposition to the closure of historic churches, declaring, "To render a House of God desolate is an abomination."


Is my tutu a near occasion of sin?

As Thomas Fitzpatrick observes, the mushy liberal "Butterfly Curriculum" offered in many parochial schools today is less than inspiring.

That said, the "hip" approach taken by some "orthodox" Catholics to engage teenagers in the Faith goes off the ghastly meter.

I give you Life Teen, which according to diocesan press accounts conveys that "it's cool to be Catholic" and that "God is fun."

A hot topic on the Life Teen "Teen Talk" message board is Catholic teaching on the, er, Lewinsky Question: Is it, for example, ever OK during marriage?

Were I a teen, I doubt I would dig biker Father J or his pronouncements on the relative coolness of sex acts.

Nor would I leap at the opportunity for a multimedia webcast on lust by Life Teen founder Msgr. Dale Fushek, particularly after the Phoenix Diocese paid $45,000 to settle a male Life Teen staffer's sexual harassment claim against him.

If I were a Pentecostalist, though, I'd probably holler in praise at the Life Teen bands' playing at the Bible on the Beach festival.

And Life Teens don't flog the Easter Bunny: Indeed, some have even incorporated Santa Claus into Christmas Mass.

As they say: Ah-lay-boo-yah!


Tuesday, April 13, 2004  

Tyranny is our foe
whatever trappings or disguise it wears,
whatever language it speaks,
be it external or internal,
we must forever be on our guard,
ever mobilised,
ever vigilant,
always ready to spring at its throat.

Winston Churchill
Harvard University
September 6th 1943

This and many more quotes may be found among the Churchilliana at the website of the Churchill Society.

The above photo of Churchill with Tommy gun is priceless. Who knew a cottage industry had arisen around the theme?


Lucky Jim: The priest from Ballykissangel captured Kingsley Amis in the funny Masterpiece Theater adaptation of Lucky Jim.


Googlewhack: Kudos to the surfer who found this site by Googling mastodons hutus and thus earned credit for a Googlewhack, that elusive query (two words - no quote marks) with a single, solitary result. Good show!


Listen: "Texas Playboy Rag" by Bob Wills at Vitaminic * "Honky-Tonk Merry-Go-Round" and "Gotta Lotta Rhythm in My Soul" by Patsy Cline at Vitaminic



MLB.com has multimedia clips of the new Philadelphia ballpark, where the city's famed boo-birds have already taken roost.



As a longtime admirer of the Sinclair Dinosaur, I appreciated this dino guide compiled as part of an online shrine to roadside art.

Here's yet another roadside dino guide.


Monday, April 12, 2004  

Churchill in India, 1896

For I hope that if evil days should come upon our own country, and the last army which a collapsing Empire could interpose between London and the invader were dissolving in rout and ruin, that there would be some—even in these modern days—who would not care to accustom themselves to a new order of things and tamely survive the disaster. Winston Churchill, writing in 1899.

Steven Hayward wrote post-9/11 of Churchill:

Moments such as the present help remind us of some of the permanent features of political life and statesmanship, which otherwise tend to be obscured by all the sophisticated intellectualisms of our time. All great statesmen have a central idea or insight. Churchill’s central idea or insight was that the distinction between liberty and tyranny, between civilization and barbarism, is real and substantial. This may seem simple or even simple-minded, yet it is worth recalling that when Churchill referred to Hitler in the 1930s as "that bad man, " sophisticated people in Britain criticized him for making what we today would call a "value judgment." Churchill’s view of the distinction between civilization and barbarism, and between liberty and tyranny, is rejected explicitly by the doctrine of so-called "multiculturalism." The reaction against Churchill’s moral clarity about Hitler in the 1930s tracks closely with what self-loathing Americans on the Left are saying today about September 11—that it is somehow our fault, that we just need to "understand." the anger of Islamic fanatics, and, one supposes, resolve them through a 12-step program or some other therapeutic process of "conflict resolution."

There is a long pedigree for this kind of nonsense. Thomas Hobbes wrote that tyranny is merely kingship misliked. The modern value-free social science approach to politics liked to speak of "regimes," and of Soviet "leaders" rather than the more accurate "Soviet dictators." The value-free understanding of politics effaces the meaningful distinctions among regimes.

Hayward sees parallels today with the 1898 campaign against the Mahdi in the Sudan, described the following year in the book The River War by Churchill, who at Omdurman against the Dervishes had taken part in the British cavalry's last charge.

Here's Churchill, in The River War, on Islam:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

(Via Hayward and Jonah Goldberg at The Corner)

* * *

Listen: "Soldiers of the Queen," performed for an early Gramophone record by the Kilties, the Regimental Band of the Gordon Highlanders.

* * *

Churchill and the Great Republic is an exhibition currently on display at the Library of Congress that emphasizes his lifelong links with the United States.

The Time 100 profile of Churchill recalls how he stood alone against fascism.

Also recalling Churchill: Tony Blair:

We are locked in a historic struggle in Iraq. On its outcome hangs more than the fate of the Iraqi people. Were we to fail, which we will not, it is more than 'the power of America' that would be defeated. The hope of freedom and religious tolerance in Iraq would be snuffed out. Dictators would rejoice; fanatics and terrorists would be triumphant. Every nascent strand of moderate Arab opinion, knowing full well that the future should not belong to fundamentalist religion, would be set back in bitter disappointment.

As each attack brings about American attempts to restore order, so they then characterise it as American brutality. As each piece of chaos menaces the very path toward peace and democracy along which most Iraqis want to travel, they use it to try to make the coalition lose heart, and bring about the retreat that is the fanatics' victory.
They know it is a historic struggle. They know their victory would do far more than defeat America or Britain. It would defeat civilisation and democracy everywhere. They know it, but do we? The truth is, faced with this struggle, on which our own fate hangs, a significant part of Western opinion is sitting back, if not half-hoping we fail, certainly replete with schadenfreude at the difficulty we find.

There you have it. On the one side, outside terrorists, an extremist who has created his own militia, and remnants of a brutal dictatorship which murdered hundreds of thousands of its own people and enslaved the rest. On the other side, people of immense courage and humanity who dare to believe that basic human rights and liberty are not alien to Arab and Middle Eastern culture, but are their salvation.


For, if there had been no America, we, all of us, might well have carried granite at Mauthausen.

Read a powerful letter home written in 1945 by Fred Friendly (later president of CBS News) after his Army unit had liberated a concentration camp in Poland.

For example, when I go to the Boston Symphony, when I hear waves of applause, no matter what the music is, I shall be traveling back to a town near Lintz where I heard applause unequalled in history, and where I was allowed to see the ordeal which our fellow brothers and sisters of the human race have endured. To me Poland is no longer the place where Chopin composed, or where a radio station held out for three weeks - to me Poland is a place from which the prisoners of Mauthausen came. When I think of the Czechs, I will think of those who were butchered here, and that goes for the Jews, the Russians, Austrians, the people of 15 different lands, - yes, even the Germans who passsed through this Willow Run of death. This was Mauthausen. I want you to remember the word... I want you to know, I want you to never forget or let our disbelieving friends forget, that your flesh and blood saw this. This was no movie. No printed page. Your son saw this with his own eyes and in doing this aged 10 years.

Mauthausen was built with a half-million rocks which 150,000 prisoners - 18,000 was the capacity - carried up on their backs from a quarry 800 feet below. They carried it up steps so steep that a Captain and I walked it once and were winded, without a load. They carried granite and made 8 trips a day... and if they stumbled, the S.S. men pushed them into the quarry. There are 285 steps, covered with blood. They called it the steps of death. I saw the shower room (twice or three times the size of our bathroom), a chamber lined with tile and topped with sprinklers where 150 prisoners at a time were disrobed and ordered in for a shower which never gushed forth from the sprinklers because the chemical was gas. When they ran out of gas, they merely sucked all of the air out of the room. I talked to the Jews who worked in the crematory, one room adjacent, where six and seven bodies at a time were burned. They gave these jobs to the Jews because they all died anyhow, and they didn’t want the rest of the prisoners to know their own fate. The Jews knew theirs, you see…

And how does the applause fit in? Mother, I walked through countless cell blocks filled with sick, dying people - 300 in a room twice the size of our living room as as we walked in - there was a ripple of applause and then an inspiring burst of applause and cheers, and men who could not stand up sat and whispered - though they tried to shout it -
Vive L’Americansky... Vive L’Americansky... the applause, the cheers, those faces of men with legs the size and shape of rope, with ulcerated bodies, weeping with a kind of joy you and I will never, I hope, know. Vive L’Americansky... I got a cousin in Milwaukee... We thought you guys would come... Vive L’Americansky... Applause... gaunt, hopeless faces at last filled with hope. One younger man asked something in Polish which I could not understand but I did detect the word “Yit”... I asked an interpreter what he said - The interpreter blushed and finally said, “He wants to know if you are a Jew.” When I smiled and stuck out my mitt and said “yes”... he was unable to speak or show the feeling that was in his heart…


"I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire." Winston Churchill


Monday Quiz

Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says:
"church in Holland. Catholics in America, too, had national aspira-" From Boston Catholics, by Thomas H. O'Connor

Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?
Pile of notebooks and papers atop desk

What is the last thing you watched on TV?
The film The Chosen, with Robbie Benson as Hasidic Jew in 1940s Brooklyn; a few scenes of Cecil B. DeMille's silent King of Kings, with pre-Mr Gower H.B. Warner as Christ, and this morning, the segue from Caillou to Boobah on PBS.

What is on the walls of the room you are in? Photos of the children; drawings by the children; one poster from an art gallery exhibition of J. W. Turner, another from a summer workshop at Abbey Theatre; pictures of a Moropus skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History; a photo of Boston Braves pitchers Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain circa 1948.

What is the last movie you saw? At the movie theater? I honestly can't remember.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first? A bigger house.

Tell me something about you that I don't know: I attended the last game played by the Washington Senators at Fenway Park.

(Via T. S. O'Rama)


This Way to the Egress

A Web tribute to Cecil B DeMille's Biblical and Historic Spectacles includes an interesting page on the bath as shrine in DeMille epics. My Suffering Christians movie for Lent was Sign of the Cross, aired recently on TCM, which must have set the pre-Code standard for lurid Roman debauchery, with a Dance of the Naked Moon that might have inspired Ed Wood, Amazons fighting and spearing Oompa-Loompa-like Pygmies, and Christian beauties clad only in flower garlands being sacrificed to crocodiles and to an ape.

* * *

A Web shrine to Edna Purviance provides a wealth of information on Chaplin's leading lady in 34 films between 1915 and 1923. (She was asked to do a TV interview in the 1950's, but didn't, remarking she belonged to the silent era.)

* * *

Her hometown of Cherryvale, Kansas, remembers the iconic 1920s actress Louise Brooks with a biography and links. Says the director of the Louise Brooks Society: "I have looked at hundreds of images of Louise Brooks. And no matter how she was photographed, no matter what her hair style or dress, no matter what the expression on her face--Louise photographed amazingly well. More than just photogenic, the actress was blessed with a loveliness almost beyond compare. Hers was a sublime, universal beauty."


Worth a Visit: Scrutineer, which carries the motto, "Better misinformed than you think," and a URL that will appeal to those of jurisprudential bent.


Around the Horn

The Long Season, bookish Reds pitcher Jim Brosnan's inside account of life in the majors, released in 1960, has been rediscovered, which will please Cincinnati's No. 1 bookish fan.

Dave Murray's Diamond Duds column has harsh words for the new Blue Jays togs, devised as a result of market research. As commenter DJ Ran writes at the Wienerboard: *&$# market research.

My own view is Toronto should have crafted a Blue Jay version of the O's old Chirping Bird.


Friday, April 09, 2004  

Holy Week in Seville: See a slideshow.

Listen: Pange Lingua Gloriosi via Vitaminic. (This has been in my head since last night, and I post it here as a personal aid to humming.)

A Happy Easter, in advance, to all.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004  

Cocktail Laugh with Mich. Gov. Granholm, 2.6.04

A great picture. John Forbes K has the Thurston Howellian Cocktail Party Laugh – chin jut out, head tossed back, hail-fellow HAW-haw-haw-haw-haw – down pat. Those years at St. Paul's and Yale were not wasted. Here he is employing it to effect again before taking communion at the black Protestant church last weekend.

While waiting for Sen. Kerry's Easter Parade, enjoy some photos of the Pius XXIII-inspired ecumenist sampling liturgical dance last month in St. Louis.

Listen: "Easter Parade," performed by Fats Domino.


Revealer editor Jeff Sharlet is preparing to moderate a panel discussion on religious blogs at the BloggerCon at Harvard Law on April 17 and asks input:

Where did belief blogs come from and where are they going? How do belief blogs relate to the real world -- as lay ministry, as rebellion, as outsider critique? Do the different Godblogospheres, such as St. Blog's and jBlog, have anything in common -- and anything to learn from each other? Why does online belief tend toward greater political conservatism than the religious print press (or am I wrong in thinking that it does)? Do blogs do a better job of noticing religion in the news than the mainstream press? Are they a force for change within religious institutions? Journalistic institutions?

That's just for starters. Answers welcome. Better questions even more welcome.

Head over to his site and comment. I'll be putting together some thoughts presently.

I may drop by the BloggerCon. Does anyone else in the Boston area plan to attend?


The Boston Dirt Dogs aptly note: Hirsute Hose OF Johnny Damon looks as if he were picked up on waivers from the House of David.


The Rwandan genocide that commenced 10 years ago this week took 800,000 lives in 10 weeks.

That's a rate of 80,000 a week. Much of the job was done by machete.

The United States, to its shame, did nothing. (One of loudest voices against intervention: Richard Clarke.)

NY Post columnist Jonathan Foreman writes today:

TEN years ago today the Rwanda massacres began in earnest. It was the worst genocide since the Holocaust. And it will forever be a stain on the record of the Clinton administration, the United Nations and the whole so-called "international community."

Nothing the Clintonites ever did or were accused of doing comes close to the grotesque immorality of their failure to act to stop the Rwanda slaughter.

And no matter how intimately U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan turns out to have been involved with the U.N./Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal, with its billion-dollar scams and disgusting collaboration with the Saddam regime, the real measure of his failure as international diplomat is Rwanda.

Nothing the outside world has learned in the intervening decade dilutes the guilt of those who stood by and allowed the killing to go on, when (as Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire pointed out) 2,000 Western troops could probably have stopped it in its tracks.

Writes Jim Lobe at Common Dreams:

According to newly declassified documents released by the independent National Security Archive (NSA), President Bill Clinton's somewhat indirect 1998 apology to Rwandans over Washington's failure to act to stop the mass killings until it was too late was at best disingenuous, and more likely a deliberate distortion of what he knew and when he knew it.

"It wasn't a question of not knowing", said NSA fellow William Ferroggiaro, who obtained the latest documents through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. "It was a question of wanting to know", he told IPS.

The new documents, he said, show, "that the system worked: diplomats, intelligence agencies, defense and military officials -- even aid workers -- provided timely information up the chain to President Clinton and his top advisors", Ferroggiaro said. "That the Clinton administration decided against intervention at any level was not for lack of knowledge of what was happening in Rwanda".

Of the lessons that can be taken from the sickening chapter in world history that is being recalled this week, one might be that military force can be a useful and even necessary adjunct to diplomacy to protect the weak and to further peace and justice. Another might be that brutality is not the sole franchise of the United States of America.

The anniversary of the most concentrated mass-killing of the generation is being widely noted this week.

But at the Peace Abbey, home of the War Is Terrorism banner, no commemoration is advertised.

The only mention of Rwanda on the website is in a 1999 speech by visiting Spanish peace activist Juan Carrero, who in remarks on receiving the Courage of Conscience Award ultimately indicted the US:

In the same way that the so called genocide of 1994 cannot be used as the alibi to eliminate in a selective and massive way the Hutus ethnicity, nor can the grave responsibilities of some European governments in the past in this region excuse the responsibility of the US now. For this reason I denounce here today the Government of the US for giving military training to these armies guilty of genocide.

(The Carrero speech is posted at another site that disputes the labeling of the 1994 killings as genocide. Carrero has campaigned against the massacres of Hutus in Rwanda and Burundi, but if his Peace Abbey speech is an indication, has turned something of a blind eye when they are the ones committing the massacres. His view of the US as "ally to monsters" could not have been a hindrance to his being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize or his friendship with Cynthia McKinney.)

It might be noted the Carrero speech of five years ago also carries the sole reference to "Pol Pot" at the Peace Abbey's website. A search for "Hitler" at the Peace Abbey site comes up empty, as does a search for "Stalin," as does a search for "Mao."

At present, the Peace Abbey's photo page does give good play to Ganesh the Hindu Elephant God and the recently unveiled statue of the late Emily the vegetarian cow.

Why don't the Peace Abbots take up flower garlands and finger cymbals and use the Rwanda anniversary to make their argument: that military intervention to stop the savage slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents would have been the moral equivalent of the slaughter that military force aimed to prevent?


Monday, April 05, 2004  

King Kelly

The NYT visits the original Mudville, just down the road from us. (Via Irish Eagle, who also notes the benefit baseball has brought village children in Afghanistan; the birthday of Rusty Staub, and a magnificent bit of vintage opprobrium concerning John Jay.

The History News Network blog picks up on the Mudville story and other interesting topics, such as who stole the toe of Robert the Bruce.

King Kelly, the exuberant 19th-century baseball star believed by some to have inspired "Casey at the Bat," also inspired a hit song with some rather marvelous doggerel lyrics:

Slide, Kelly, Slide!
Your running's a disgrace!
Slide, Kelly, Slide!
Stay there, hold your base!
If some one doesn't steal you,
And your batting doesn't fail you,
They'll take you to Australia!
Slide, Kelly, Slide!

We don't hear nearly enough references to Botany Bay in ballpark heckling these days.

Listen: "Slide, Kelly, Slide," performed by Wilbur Sweatman's Jazz Orchestra.

* * *

Peter Schilling of Mudville Magazine has launched a blog, The Bug, The logo is a 1922 New York Herald Tribune cartoon cockroach from the comic strip Archy and Mehitabel by old-time newspaperman Don Marquis, creator of the fictional character the Old Soak.

* * *

If Brooklyn has yet to forgive Walter O'Malley, this website memorializes the late Dodgers owner who moved the Bums to LA, and includes a fine selection of Willard Mullin yearbook covers.

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Beyond the Shadow of the Senators looks at Negro League baseball in Washington, DC.

The Nats News, newsletter of the Washington Baseball Historical Society, has run a series of caricatures of old Senators players. Artist Ronnie Joyner has also done a number of the old Philadelphia Athletics.

Get your White Elephant replica pennants here.

* * *

Listen: "Theodore," a humorous tribute to TR recorded in 1904 by Edward M. Favor, via Meloware



Two-hundred years after Thomas Jefferson asked Lewis & Clark to scour the great western interior for signs of mastodons, the Rev. Bryce Sibley has returned from South Dakota with evidence (above) of a crypto-zoological creature much greater in size than its New England variant.



The Red-Winged Blackbirds that have been in the yard all weekend usually are found in marshes, which tells you about the state of our backyard after this past week's rains. A field up the road was drawing mallards.

Other types of bird seen in our yard this weekend: Robins, blue jays, chickadees, juncos, grackles, a cardinal, and a particularly randy mourning dove.

Birds seen in Camden Yards Sunday night: Inhospitable Orioles.

* * *

Karen Hall is back, and not too keen on Hollywood at the moment.

* * *

Champagne-spraying is not allowed in Bahrain * The Union of Ghosts of Christmas Yet To Come got together for a parade in Iraq.

* * *

Thomas Fitzpatrick has the Easter menu planned, down to the Macanudo Baron de Rothschild before dinner and the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur No. 1 with the port, though he has somehow left from the bill of fare the Velveeta cheese potatoes.


Friday, April 02, 2004  
An Arab News editorial decries the savagery in Fallujah and expresses sympathy for the victims, which is more than some on the American Left can muster.

When the World Wide Rant posted an address for a memorial fund established for the families of the contractors killed, here's how a commenter, Joanna, responded:

They were highly-paid mercenaries working for Blackwood Security, yes?

I seriously doubt that their kids/wives/significant others will ever be carving up a log of commodity cheese.

Be nice if someone started up a relief fund for all the minimum-wage and below enlisted men and women who've been murdered for this Halliburton horseshit, though. I think the latest statistic for enlisted personnel's income level puts 65-70% at or below the poverty level, with 80% of that total on food stamps or other government support. Ironic? Or just stupid? On behalf of the government and the personnel, I guess --- they could've been war-profiteering mercenaries and made a KILLING. So to speak.

The Daily Kos blog sounded a similar chord, prompting a protest to Democratic candidates advertising on his site. At least one candidate has pulled his ad from the blog. The Daily Kos has issued a followup.

* * *

A publicity appearance by Jas Montgomery Flagg during the Great War, and the famous poster.

* * *

This DNC donkey is a bit unsettling, no?

* * *

How about that Planned Parenthood April Fools' spoof of the White House homepage? "Abortion rights=comedy gold," observes Wonkette.

* * *

While you're at Wonkette's, scroll down the April 2nd entries, by the Bored Kid Behind the President, and check out the animated Kerry ad. The Bush-in-the-Box looks as if he's already been put into the cornfield. John Kerry as Billy Mumy?

* * *

Kerry Rocks.


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