Monday, October 27, 2003

I HATE THIS COLUMN
Jonah Goldberg makes the case for hate.

I hate Stalin. I hate Hitler. I hate Kim Jong Il, Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Mumia Abu Jamal, and people who feel the need to be cruel to dogs.

I disagree. As much as we might hate what these men have done, when we give in to the temptation to hate them personally we invite disaster.

Take Saddam. The most charitable version of the events leading up to the Iraq war is that Bush and other members of the administration truly believed that Saddam had WMD's. I also believe several of them would say they hate Saddam.

Do you think one might have to do with the other? Saddam is guilty of many hateful things, but it appears that developing a large WMD program in the past few years is not among them. It seems pretty clear to me that "hatred" of Saddam would lead to looking at the WMD evidence less skeptically.

The cost? Well, the Administration has lost a lot of credibility.

Hatred is a bad idea, even when it's justifiable. We need to fight against it, rather than wear it like a badge of honor.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

ON BELOW
Look, I know that people who carp about bishops are well-intentioned people who want to have good bishops, and it's better than doing nothing.

But I think we've gotten to the points where "calling the chancery" is a golden hammer we've got in our tool belt that makes the world look like a nail, and keeps us from doing what we need to do.
YOU COMPLAINED FOR ME
Reading some of the comments in the Catholic blogs about the Schiavo case, I think some people have a reading of Matthew 25 that goes something like this:

For I was hungry and you complained to the chancery that the diocese had an insufficient food pantry, I was thirsty and you wrote letters to the dicoese asking them to install a water fountain, a stranger and you complained that the bishop was not outside to welcome me, naked and you complained about how well-dressed the bishop and chancery staff are, ill and you withheld contributions from Catholic hospitals that you feel have an insufficient Catholic identity, in prison and you wondered why the bishop doesn't visit me.

Would it be better if Bishop Lynch was more in the forefron in confronting this tragedy? Absolutely!

Is that neccesary for us to do something? No! Witnessing the Good News to the secular world is our job as the laity. Maybe we should look to what kind of job we're doing there before telling the bishops how to do theirs.

There's a word for this phenomenon -- clericalism. I though we all decided about 18 months ago that it's not a good thing.

Let's do our job, that was given to us in our Baptism and Confirmation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

CULTURE OF DEATH
Push for someone's lives to be saved, either by preventing abortions, preventing an execution, or stopping someone from removing a feeding tube, and you're likely to have your motives questioned. You just want to keep women down, you don't care about victims, etc.

But push for death, and you receive the benefit of the doubt. In fact, others who question your motives are told that they darte not do so. If you want an abortion, it must be out of love for the baby. Want to starve and dehydrate your wife? Must have a good reason.

We've got a lot of work to do.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

ON THE MCNABB/LIMBAUGH THING
Since everyone else, even those who confess they know next to nothing about football has wieghed in on this have done so, I figured I may as well. Especially since I'm one of the few people who actually watched Limbaugh utter the controversial words.

Yes, it's true. We went to late Mass last week, and I had ESPN on as I was reading the Sunday paper. Limbaugh made his point quickly, trying to squeeze his words in. It did not seem like a big deal.

I think a lot of the people who a re "shocked" have never watched one of these Sunday morning programs. Suffice it to say that they are not a bastion of well-considered opinion. It's sort of Crossfire meets sports talk radio, with a few updates thrown in for gamblers.

Limbaugh has a point, but he made it crudely. This is par for the course on these shows. An enterprising person could probably make everyone on these shows look foolish by viedeotaping predictions they make that don't come true, analyses that prove incorrect, and statements that they later contradict.

Anyway, in yesterday's paper, Leonard Pitts has a column saying how demaning it is to be reduced to a color. He compares McNabb's experience to Keith Van Horn:

When he entered the NBA a few years ago, he was compared by some to Larry Bird, one of the last U.S.-born white guys to be considered a basketball immortal. Van Horn was called, quite openly, the "great white hope" of a league that had become overwhelmingly black.

Sorry, I don't remember this hype. I remember he had a great career at Utah, leading that program to new levels of prominence, and his game was compared to that of Larry Bird. But I don't think anybody thought he was the vanguard of a new era of white dominance in the NBA.

It's also interesting that Pitts brings up Bird without referring to Isiah Thomas's equally outrageous comment that if Bird was black he'd be just another ballplayer. Bit I digress.

Pitts goes on...

To put it another way: For all the similarities, there's a difference between Van Horn's experience and McNabb's. Whatever else he's had to deal with, Van Horn does not have to bear the weight of legacy. He struggles against no long history of people saying white guys are not good enough to play the game.

Excuse me? Wasn't there a movie called "White Men Can't Jump?" I don't remember the "Black Guys Can't Read The Cover 2" movie.

What would be more accurate would be to say that Van Horn didn't have to deal with a legeacy of exclusion.

Anyway, I still dispute the notion that there is much "similar" about Van Horn's experience. If anything, I would say McNabb deals with greater expectations than Van Horn ever had to deal with. He is the QB of a team with the defensive talent to win the Super Bowl in a large football-mad town. Van Horn has been the third best player on whatever team he's on for several years now.

Finally , there's this:

I do, however, know something about the kind of thinking - I use the word advisedly - that says this or that black man only got where he did because of race. In the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal, we all do.

You remember what was said: Poor little colored boy elevated beyond his modest abilities by well-meaning white liberals at The New York Times. It is a caricature beloved by some on the political right. So beloved that they are blind to the patronizing assumptions and rank hypocrisy at its core.


What Pitts doesn't say is who is doing the patronizing, and whether those assumptions are true. He doesn't dare say that affirmative action and set-asides might have something to do with this notion.

Here's a question: How much quicker might Michigan State have fired Bobby Williams if they weren't aware they's be reducing the number of black head Division I-A coaches by a third?

What Pitts is saying (by his omission of affirmative action) is that it's OK to consider race at the beginning, but not OK when to examine those policies when the results are substandard.

And that's what's draining and demeaning. It builds a culture of entitlement rather than accountability, so Jason Blair can go sell his story and not feel the least bit bad about it.

If affirmative action is such a great policy, it should be able to stand up to scrutiny and criticism. The results should speak for themselves. There should be no need to cry "foul" whenever someone questions whether it might be leading to some undesirable conclusions.

But it's not.

Donovan McNabb has an opportunity to prove Rush Limbaugh wrong every Sunday when he takes the field.

If his defenders would only let him instead of turning him into a martyr.

Friday, October 03, 2003

GEE
I don't know why I thought the chancery siege plan would be lacking in charity. Could it be posts like this?

Doesn't look much like uncompromising charity to me. But then I'm just whatever "cute "derogatory name they want to come up with for people like me. In just a short post, I think Popcak managed to break three out of the four suggestions. (ah, but it wasn't a "communication", I guess)

I'm far from being won over. "Making chancery rats scatter" is not my idea of a charitable endeavor.