Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sadly, This Is Supposed To Be Serious

That pre-pubescent non-savant idiot is Johnathan Krohn. I had never heard of him before, so I checked this out and realized that Democrats have absolutely nothing to fear if a fourteen year old home-schooled child is their major star.

Do conservatives have any idea how silly they look?

Saturday Rock Show

I loved Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, and the song "Blind Faith", more than any other, stood out for me. I saw Dream Theater at the Vic in March, 2002, and was bummed they didn't perform it. So, when I saw them in 2007 at Rosemont, I was quite pleased they dragged it out of the archives for the tour. Jordan Rudess' keyboard solo, and of course Petrucci's guitar work are phenomenal, but James LaBrie's lyrics are a challenge thrown down to anyone who just spouts off words of belief.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Not Necessarily A Bad Thing

Charles Krauthammer's column in today's Washington Post has the spoken assumption (toward the end) that reorganizing our society along the lines of western European social democracy is a bad thing. Yet, I have to wonder.


Matt Yglesias approached this same emerging theme among many commentators, viz., that Obama is pushing the United States toward Europeanization, specifically the kinds of social democratic structures that conservatives insist are fundamentally erroneous. As Krauthammer himself says:
Conservatives take a dim view of the regulation-bound, economically sclerotic, socially stagnant, nanny state that is the European Union.

In this single sentence, Krauthammer makes several assertions as fact that are, surprisingly enough, easy to check. Are western European states "economically sclerotic"? According to Yglesias, not so much.
For the record, however, the most-taxed countries on Earth (i.e., the countries where revenue is the highest percent of GDP) are in order:
1. Denmark
2. Sweden
3. Belgium
4. France
5. Norway

In terms of per capita GDP these are, respectively, the 4th, 9th, 14th, 15th, and 3rd richest countries on earth while the United States is 17th.

Socially stagnant? I'm not even sure what he means by this, except perhaps that in many European states, the vestiges of feudal hierarchy - which some commentators have seen as the root social contract behind the success of social democracy - still exist, marking out the limits of social advancement from birth. I'm not sure how true this is, if this is what Krauthammer means.

Regulation-bound? In what sense? Would Bertlesmann Music Group - the single largest music-producer in the world (it outproduces SONY) consider itself too bound to make money? Would Volkswagen? How about BMW, which owns a majority share of Chrysler? Precisely because the markets are rigidly policed, there is far less a likelihood of the kinds of rampant fraud, irrational overinvestment (particularly leveraged investments) one sees in the US. Indeed, these same companies use different rules of the road in different countries, which is one reason the entire world economy is teetering right now; because of the lack of serious regulatory oversight, these companies made business decisions based upon American law that would have been unthinkable in their home countries.

Overall, having the kind of social democracy many European countries enjoy would be far more pleasant than other alternatives. Of course, their social democracy grows out of a fairly different social contract and history than exists in the United States. Yet, as I read Krauthammer's column, and reflected on Yglesias' column, I wonder what, exactly, is wrong with Europe?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

For Feod . . .Er, Anonymous

Monty Python's Philosopher's Song

Pay attention to the first line.

This Guy's A Priest?

There's a story on Ash Wednesday in my hometown newspaper. It's one of those aggravating stories that makes me want to bang my head against something hard.
WAVERLY — With a cross of palm ashes on their foreheads, Catholics nationwide welcomed in the beginning of the Lenten Season.

And that's just the opening sentence. Obviously, all we Protestants who also received ashes yesterday, and are entering Lent don't count. The funny thing is, there is an Orthodox Church on the east side of Sayre, or at least there used to be, because there was a substantial Ukranian population from the days of the railroad. Apparently they just don't count at all.
For many, the next 40 days and 40 nights will mean no meat on Fridays, giving up personal vices and donating to charity, but Father John Yaw Afoakwah of the Blessed Trinity Parish at St. James took time before Wednesday’s evening mass to convey the deeper meaning behind the season.

He explained that Ash Wednesday is the beginning of man’s repentance for his sins, and to draw him nearer to God.

See what I mean?

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent, a time in which Christians traditionally practice certain spiritual disciplines in order to prepare themselves for the coming of Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter. Ash Wednesday is not about repentance, it isn't a Christian Day of Atonement, and Lent isn't about "drawing nearer to God".

Ash Wednesday is the reminder that we are mortal. We begin a season of spiritual preparation by remembering the very unspiritual reality that we will die. I forget who said it, but the old quote about hanging on the morrow focusing a person's attention applies here.

Lent isn't about repentance, either. Lent is about getting ready for the tumultuous events from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday, so we can focus on their meaning for us.
Lent is held in recognition of the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent in the desert where he fasted and faced temptation from Satan in preparation for his ministry. Through these trials Jesus’ spirit was strengthened, said Father Yaw.

It also draws from the ancient custom surrounding those who offended God. Father Yaw explained that these people would wear sacks, fast and pray to show their repentance.

Only if we forget the story of the temptation in the desert is celebrated during Epiphany. And only if we forget that, in the early, pre-Constantinian Church, the only day of the year proselytes were baptized was Easter, with Lent being the final time of their preparation.

Father Afoakwah manages a little love for our Jewish cousins, too. It's a thing of beauty.
“It’s to remind us we are indeed dust, and to dust we shall return,” said Father Yaw.

“The Jews used palms as a symbol of victory, to hail Jesus as king,” he continued. “Then a few days later, these same people crucified him. It reminds us that we are human. It shows how weak us human beings are, and so we need a beginning of repentance.”

See that neat trick? It was "the Jews" who used the palms, and "these same people" crucified Jesus.

Lord, help us all.
Through the 40 days of prayer and giving, man is showing his willingness for penitence and readiness to let go of sin so that he can be reconciled by God and live a holy life, said Father Yaw.

I'm so glad I don't attend St. James parish, because I would have no idea why I was doing what I was doing.

Intellectual Incoherence

Someone called this guy and idiot:
[B]oth [liberal and conservative] sides, I thought, agreed that the government should provide public goods — goods that are nonrival (they benefit everyone) and nonexcludable (there’s no way to restrict the benefits to people who pay.) The classic examples are things like lighthouses and national defense, but there are many others. For example, knowing when a volcano is likely to erupt can save many lives; but there’s no private incentive to spend money on monitoring, since even people who didn’t contribute to maintaining the monitoring system can still benefit from the warning. So that’s the sort of activity that should be undertaken by government.

Part of the problem with Krugman's incredulity on this point is rooted in a thoughtless bleating of Ronald Reagan's infamous "government is the problem" line from his first inaugural address. Reagan didn't actually believe that, nor did he practice that. Yet, far too many conservatives and Republicans believe it so fervently that counter-evidence is dismissed with a casual wave of the fingers.

My guess is Jindal raised this one because, to someone living in Louisiana, monitoring volcanoes sounds kind of weird. As Krugman himself says, "Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny." Of course, to someone living in Illinois, monitoring hurricanes sounds kind of weird, but at least I understand why the US does it, and doesn't leave it to market forces to pick up the slack.

It shouldn't take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to explain to the drooling class why the government funds things like rural electrification/broadband access, the TVA, public broadcasting, and on and on. Precisely because these are the same people who refuse to accept scientific evidence that the world might be a tad older than 6000 years and that there might be a reason that dissimilar species like dogs and bears, dinosaurs and birds, humans and chimps, share certain characteristics (it's called evolution for those not "in the know"), however, he should have a little sympathy.

They're dorks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dust To Dust

Today is Ash Wednesday. As we begin the Lenten journey to the cross, our first act is to remember that we are mortal. From the moment of our birth, the only thing that is certain is that we will die. As we prepare to decide whether or not we really will follow Jesus the whole way - including picking up our cross - we have to face this reality.

What kind of death will it be? Will it be a meaningless, empty death, spent after a life running away from this reality? Or, do we stand as God created us, knowing that death is not the enemy, the grave not the final answer to our lives?

Before we make that decision, though, we have to look the abyss squarely in the eye. The choice is not, and has never been, between heaven and hell. The choice is between life and the void. Before we can make that choice, though, we have to look at that void with honesty, without fear, and call it by its name.

We have to own it. Mortality is ours, as much as anything else. Only after owning death can we decide how to spend the only thing that is truly ours.

Before we are marked with the cross, we are marked with the ashes that tell us we are nothing but dust.

No Love (UPDATE)

It seems that Bobby Jindal, the alleged rising star of the Republican Party, crashed last night.

That was FOXNews. FOXNews!

Other than David Brooks nonsensical - and false - idea that the American people don't like the stimulus bill, that's pretty rough.

More reviews here.

UPDATE: Michael Gerson gets little love, either, for planting a big, wet, sloppy kiss on Jindal.

Eruption Monitoring

As I was going through the stimulus bill a couple weeks ago, there were a few items I ran across that made me think, "Some idiot who doesn't know anything is going to pick these up and run with them." Bobby Jindal didn't disappoint last night.
JINDAL: While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government. $8 billion for high speed rail projects such as magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas to Disney Land. And $140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’

Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC.

If you click here, there is an interactive map of all active and dormant but potentially active volcanoes in the lower 48 states. There is a tab at the bottom to see individual states, including Hawaii and Alaska. Now, I am old enough to remember when Mt. St. Helens exploded in 1980. Fortunately, it was far enough from a major urban area that the loss of human life was minimal; yet, we still felt the effects throughout the country. We had odd-colored sunsets for a few days all the way in my little hometown in upstate New York. Imagine for a few moments if Mt. Hood or Mt. Shasta went like Mt. St. Helens, and we have all sorts of horrible scenarios.

Of course, none of this includes monitoring the very active volcanoes in Hawaii. It seems to me the people there might be interested in making sure an eruption doesn't escape early detection.

Now, Jindal may think that replacing sensors that monitor whether or not a volcano will erupt is a waste of public funds. He is certainly entitled to that opinion. Yet, the USGS is legislatively tasked with monitoring such activity as a way of preparing for potential disaster. Providing for the best equipment available should be considered part of that legislative mandate. Since there's no profit involved in doing this sort of thing, where does Jindal think the money is going to come from to do this kind of work? Should a major metropolitan area suffer because some idiotic Republican refused to fund monitoring equipment, who would bear responsibility for the loss of life and the cost of destruction? Even a moment's thought should cease forever the kind of dumbassery on display here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Punting On The Recession

Ben Bernanke has been profoundly bad as Fed Chairman (although the bar was set pretty low by Alan Greenspan . . .), and his predictions and commentary have been about as wrong as one could get from someone in a position of serious responsibility. After all, he is, for all intents and purposes, as head of the Open Market Committee, the person responsible for setting the value of the dollar (by controlling the interest rates, the OMC sets the price of money, as it were). I realize that investors and others are looking for something resembling anything like a silver lining right now, but why they would latch on to anything he says, considering his track record, is beyond me.
In his semiannual report to the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke predicts the economy is likely to keep contracting in the first six months of 2009. But he also says "there is a reasonable prospect" the recession will end this year. He warns that a recovery will require getting credit and financial markets to operate normally.

A "reasonable prospect". There is a "reasonable prospect" I will be a Power Ball millionaire, except, of course, I don't play the Lottery. There is a "reasonable prospect" for all sorts of things. This is one of those phrases that, should one sit for a moment and consider it, is really meaningless. All sorts of prospects are "reasonable". It is not Bernanke's job to blue-sky "reasonable prospects". He should step up and say that, as of right now, banks are still failing, the foreclosure rate continues to skyrocket even as home values continue to tank. He needs to be honest enough to say that he has no friggin' clue what's going to happen, and the recession could end in six months or could last three years.

In other words, the markets, looking for any ray of hope, latched on to Bernanke's words, not realizing that he was actually punting from his own end-zone, hoping it would just keep rolling and be touched by his own teammates inside the ten at the other end of the field. It has happened, and it is a reasonable prospect. That doesn't mean you set your players accordingly.

Hometown News

This story from my hometown newspaper is good news.
WAVERLY — Those visiting the Village of Waverly’s cemeteries now have a more pleasant environment to visit their loved ones thanks to the tireless efforts of the Friends of Waverly Cemetery Preservation Inc. and its associated volunteers.

Since my childhood, one of my favorite places to go has been the Glenwood Cemetery, in the northwest corner of the Village, hard up against the Waverly Glen Village Park. With a stately, slightly scary mausoleum in front, it runs up the slope of one of the hills behind the town. There's an old marker that has a serious error on the date (I've always remembered this), having a man born in the 1830's dying in 1962. With large, old trees, it's cool in the summer. An old brass cannon sits in the middle, the end at least no longer filled with trash.

I realize it might sound odd to hear that a favorite spot to go would be a cemetery, yet Glenwood is a beautiful place, quiet, peaceful, full of the chatter of birds and squirrels in the summer. That it, along with the other Village cemeteries are now tended by a tax-exempt volunteer organization is good news. The loved-ones of those interred can now know that they will be even more peaceful, beautiful places to visit and remember.

Many thanks from a former Village resident to Ron Keene and his organization. Expect a check soon.

The Revolution Will Be Twitted, Er, Twittered (UPDATED)

Any time I read a story in which Newt Gingrich's name appears prominently, I smile inside. This is the same guy who, according to Joan Didion, collected quotes from famous people on index cars and kept them in shoe boxes as a substitute for either education or thought. He has been out and about quite often on the cable chat shows, apparently trying to revive his career after having been tossed aside by the House Republicans for the twin goofs of pursuing Bill Clinton against the wishes of the American people, and carrying on an extra-marital affair while castigating Clinton for doing the same (why does no one ask him about this?). It seems he is trying to shimmy his way in to Republican obstructionism of the Obama Administration's plans for economic recovery, and setting up some kind of "Tea Party" thing via Twitter.

Now, it might sound good. To someone who allegedly has a Ph.D. in history, however, one would think that Gingrich would understand some fundamental differences between the Boston Tea Party and the current Republican efforts to sabotage Obama's policy initiatives. For one thing, at the heart of the Bostonian revolt in the 1770's was the frustration not with taxes in and of themselves, but taxation without any Parliamentary representation. The stimulus plan is pretty popular among the American people, and Republican tactics are wildly unpopular. One would think that an unpopular group trying to stop a popular President from doing something the American people want, under the aegis of a bad reading of American history would be bound to fail.

In all likelihood, one would be right.

UPDATE: Roger Ailes sums it up much better than I ever could.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Norah O'Donnell Hands A Republican "Strategist" His Ass On National TV

Go watch. It's a thing of beauty. I especially love it when the guy says, "I don't have time to do that right now," when O'Donnell asks him to name one (1) piece of "pork" in the stimulus bill.

Off The Rails

Of all the things I really, really, really . . . really do not like about blogging, probably my hugest, biggest pet-peeve is when commenters pick up some point that is not at issue and start to discuss it. Not just here. Anywhere. Even if the point addressed by the commenters is important, it just drives me nuts that people focus on non-essentials, trivialities, side-issues, what have you - and start discussing something that is not the point.

Yesterday, for example, I thought I'd run with something that would provoke a response. It did, but the discussion was on a side issue. Indeed, a side issue that was denied any serious reality by the author quoted at length in the piece, Jessica Valenti.

Simply put - I agreed with Ms. Valenti that conservative ballyhooing of non-existent "hookup culture" and its concomitants, including inappropriate clothing for younger girls, was nothing more or less than more of the same, viz., blaming all those horrible female types for our moral lapses. All women are Eve redevivus, and we even get them started by tarting them up as pre-teens! Except, of course, we don't.

I made the even more outrageous claim that the antics of young adults attempting to attract one another for an evening of carnal togetherness was really nothing to get all worried about. I made the even even more outrageous claim that, as a Christian, I really don't worry about it all that much. Christianity isn't about being a moral scold; being a Christian isn't about telling people how to live their lives; being a Christian isn't about sex, really, at all. We have bigger fish to fry than fretting over young people behaving as young people usually do.

None of that attracted attention. Even the fact that, as a parent of two girls, including an alleged target of all this hooker-like clothing, I've yet to actually encounter it, either in the clothes she wears, her friends and classmates wear, or in the young people in general who attend our church, our local schools, or whatnot. Call me crazy, but this is something I have actual experience with!

More to the point, the issue isn't clothing for teens and even pre-teens that would make Pamela Anderson blush. The point is that carrying on about this is part of a broader campaign aimed at stripping women of their full humanity, including their sexuality. There is no such thing as hookup culture; there is no nefarious design plot to tart up our young ladies. The entire thing is a crock. Focusing on one aspect - also a crock - detracts from the main issue.

Focus, people!

Music For Your Monday

They called her Sassy because of her off-stage attitude. Musicians loved her because of her pitch, her tone, her timing. While Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday defined an earlier generation of jazz singer, Sarah Vaughan took it all in, added all she had, and raised the bar so high no one has reached it since.

"Fly Me To The Moon" in a setting that makes me wish I was sitting in a dark club somewhere, late at night, sipping a vodka martini, and all conversation has stopped because the music is so overpowering.

Here she is with Dizzie Gillespie's orchestra, singing "Mean to Me/What More Can A Woman Do"

Here she is doing a sexually charged version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love". Listen to the arrangement, and you know what she's talking about . . .

Next week, Steely Dan. . .

How Dare I Say Such Things!

Marshall Art used to insist that my claims that writers for American Thinker, an on-line periodical, were racist. "Where's the evidence?" he'd demand.

Right here:
So it has been with whites for a long time now. It is not correct to say that history textbooks, documentaries and entertainment inundate us with stories about slavery and civil rights abuses; no, they inundate us with stories about whites' practice of slavery and abuse of civil rights. There are Hollywood movies such as "Roots" and "Mississippi Burning" but none of note about the Aztecs' or Shaka Zulu's domination of neighboring peoples, or the current African slave trade or Zimbabwean "president" Robert Mugabe's persecution of whites and political opponents. Then, relating the American history guidelines of a prominent textbook publisher, the author of The Language Police, Diane Ravitch, writes:

"European Americans, the guidelines suggest, were uniquely responsible for bigotry and exploitation in all human history."

This philosophy imbues school textbooks. While featured prominently are the sins of whites, others' sins are whitewashed. For instance, due to special-interest-group pressure -- such as that applied by Moslem activists -- examples of slavery perpetrated by non-whites are in short supply or are sanitized. This, despite the fact that Moslem North Africans did at one time capture young boys of both the white and black races, castrate them, and sell them into slavery. And this bias is a continuation of decades of anti-white propaganda of the kind embodied in Susan Sontag's famous 1967 line, "The white race is the cancer of human history." It's an idea that has taken hold.

Only because such attacks exist do I mount a defense of the white race. But I want to preface it with a few remarks. First, don't ask why I undertake such an endeavor. When the president has a preacher talking about the black, brown, yellow, red and white, it's silly to ask why I speak of race. I'm not initiating such a discussion, I'm responding. I'm not throwing punches, I'm blocking.


Now we come to prejudice, another supposedly characteristic white fault. Yet the truth is quite the opposite. In reality, racial prejudice is probably found least among whites, due to political correctness.

Most white children are raised today with the idea that it's profoundly immoral to be prejudiced (I discussed this here). This isn't to say there aren't some Archie Bunker types extant, but they certainly aren't in fashion. Remember, it was mainly white people who originated, promoted and funded sensitivity-training classes, tolerance programs and multiculturalism (come to think of it, I may start hating white people myself). Now, while I consider these abominations to be worse than what they ostensibly remedy, this brings us to a relevant question: Can you think of another group that has gone to the point of self-flagellation to purge prejudice from its ranks? Heck, with how we beat each other up over this, no one really has to worry at all about whites. We're all black and blue.

Then we have the matter of white achievement. The vast majority of what makes the lives of all races better today -- modern science and medicine; our luxuries; Western art, literature, legal institutions; etc. -- is the handiwork of whites.

There's more of this, but I feel quite dirty, and should have just copied and pasted this in the first place:
Whites are being heinously persecuted by teh coloreds who do nothing but sing spirituals and whine and moan about slavery but who should just shut the fuck up. If it weren’t for American slavery, their black asses would be stuck back in some dark jungle in Africa or, worse, they’d be slaves to the godless “Moslems.” As it is, Negroes are now here in the United States where they can enjoy the benefits of civilization, all of which were brought about by white people, thank you very much.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nonexistent Moral Terpitude

I have done quite a few posts on sexual ethics, and I found this topic irresistible. The photo is from Google Images, and should be taken as ironic rather than prurient, unless of course one's eyes explode at the glimpse of young people engaging in Bacchanalian excesses.

Jessica Valenti gets it right.
I have to admit that when I found out I would be speaking on "hook up culture" today, I was somewhat at a loss.

Because the truth is, I actually don't believe that hook culture exists.

Do I think young people in college have sex and hook up? Of course.

But I don't think that this means that there's some nefarious culture of wanton sexuality rampant across college campuses - at least, not any more than there ever was - and I don't think that the fact that young people have sex or are otherwise physically intimate with each other is necessarily a cause for concern.

What I do think is cause for worry is the way that conservative and anti-women organizations, writers, and media makers are using this myth of a hook up culture to promote regressive values surrounding gender and to roll back women's rights.

So just to get some context - let's talk a little bit about what "hook up" culture actually is as its imagined by the media and conservative organizations.

In 2007 alone, nearly 1,000 news and magazine articles referred to the "girls gone wild" or "raunch culture" phenomenon.

The topics of these articles ranged from general finger wagging about girls' supposed promiscuity and spring break, to op-eds about college women's slutty Halloween costumes.

I found headlines like "Spring Break, Broken Girls," "Dying to Date" and "Girls Gone Bad."

One article for Newsweek even wondered whether America was raising a generation of "prostitots." (That would be slutty toddlers.)

Another piece from The Washington Post - and this one is actually my favorite - said that young women hooking up was tantamount to "a mental health crisis on American campuses."

There should be two things that are immediately evident to you - even from just these small sampling of articles. 1) The concerns about young people hooking up and having sex aren't about young people at all - they're about young women.

And 2) The attitude is definitely that young women having sex is a bad, bad thing. There's a whole lot of shaming and scare tactics going on.

Read the whole thing.

Now, as for why I am writing this. I refuse to say whether this is "bad". For one reason and one reason alone - since it doesn't really exist, how can any moral judgment have any meaning whatever? The medium-sized conservative commentary industry dedicated to hyping this nonexistent problem is a wonder to behold; yet it exists solely to push the idea that young women having sex is the root of our national cultural malaise. Since I see no signs of such a malaise, and since I detect no increase in young people engaging in sexual activity, I refuse to make any judgments about something that doesn't exist.

It would be nice if the prudential amongst us would spend far more time worrying over the collapse of the American economy and the resulting stresses on family life; the increase in the foreclosure rate and the increase in homelessness, the stresses on foodbanks and other local charities that result; the refusal of the current national minority party to offer rational, workable alternatives that would reverse our current plunge into the economic abyss than inventing a problem so as to wag their fingers even as they gaze in a mixture of distaste and desire at pictures of young people enjoying one another's company.

I realize it makes some feel superior to click their tongues at young people - well, really, as Valenti points out, it's young women who are the target of so much approbation - and bemoan our coarsening culture. Yet, if memory serves, the reports I read today are not much different from many things I witnessed as a college student a quarter century ago. If you look around at college-educated men and women in the early- to mid-40's, please remember they most likely were privy to much the same excesses we are currently seeing decried. We all turned out alright; shoot, we even have a President now.

I know there are many who will wish that, as a self-professed Christian, I would say that such things are "bad", "evil", whatever. I refuse to do so, because they are just people being people, as God created them. If that shocks or disappoints, there really isn't anything I can do about that. So, go ahead and call me names, but like Jessica Valenti, I really can't worked up about something that isn't real.

Can I Have It?

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal is refusing to take nearly $100 million of federal stimulus money. What I want to know is, if I promise to give it to people in real need, can I have it? I suppose my Congressman, Don Manzullo, being a Republican, would vote against such an amendment, but I suppose I could try.

I might even send some down to New Orleans, to try and help rebuild.

My Mistake

I wanted to see if George Will was man enough to admit that his much-discussed column on global warming - in which he made stuff up, and attributed to scientific data information that simply wasn't true - was one big heap of crap. And the first sentence of today's column seemed on the verge of showing that he is a bigger man than I thought.
A simple apology would have sufficed.

Alas, however, it is not to be. Rather than own up to the reality that he is a peddler of falsehoods, myths, nonsense, treacle, and bovine excrement (I wonder if Princeton would yank his Ph.D. if they could?), he merely demonstrates his continued support of the fertilizer industry with a column on Russ Feingold's proposed addition to the 17th Amendment.

With the whole Blagojevich/Burris mess here in Illinois, Feingold is proposing an addition to the Constitutional amendment providing for direct election of US Senators. Will seems to think that any "tampering" with the Constitutional order should not be allowed because it upsets some mythical balance that he believes existed in some pure state before we started deciding to fiddle with it. He even mentions John Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay - three long-time members of the Senate from the 19th century - as if their example (avoiding the central issue of savery for so long we ended up with a Civil War) was something to emulate.

Will is a liar, unethical, a purveyor of untruths, and deserves nothing less than to have his by-line and column removed from the op-ed pages and that space seeded with salt to prevent such a one to sprout again. Alas, I doubt this will happen.

I have the decency to admit I was wrong. Unlike George F. Will.

Virtual Tin Cup

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