Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nuns on the Bus

A group of Catholic sisters are travelling across the Mississippi to the Potomac, across the rustbelt to the citadel of government. The bus approaches a church on West 14th in Cleveland, Ohio. The journey started at Des Moines, Iowa on June 18th, and they will continue to the nation's capital. On the second day, there was a stop at Janesville, Wisconsin. Janesville is the home of the Republican budget guru, Rep. Paul Ryan. Ryan has abandoned all Catholic social ethics for the selfish, atheistic, materialism of Ayn Rand. Ryan may become Romney's ballot mate, and may one day run for the presidency himself. The sisters are stopping at some of the meanest, craziest, and powerful of Republican [Steve King (Io.), Ryan, Joe Walsh (Ill.), John Boehner (O.), Eric Cantor (Va.)] congressmen's offices. They are also stopping at many places of charity, such as St. Augustine's Hunger Center.
parked bus
Sister Corita Ambro of Saint Augustine gives a quick tour of the parish church to the visiting sisters. Saint Augustine is locally famous for its outreach to the poor, the hungry, the deaf, the blind, the ill, and the homeless. No matter how much they do, there is more to do. It is a rather poor, urban parish.
People converge in front of the main steps to hear the gathered event. It is a press conference.
Sister Simone Campbell, of the social justice 'lobby' NETWORK, argues for a 'Faithful Budget'. It is meant to be a counter to the current Republican proposal. Ryan lies about deficit reduction. His plan, which is the Republican party's plan, will increase the deficit. It is meant to starve the poor, and fatten the rich. It is meant to further concentrate money towards the extremely wealthy. Under gwbjr's cut the taxes for the rich, a severe economic recession has occurred. Ryan, and his party, want more of the same.

Much what religious institutions help the poor with comes from government funds. The federal government does much directly. Certain economic royalists, and other political extremists, begrudge any help for the poor. Some perform some disingenuous rhetorical gymnastics to separate governmental (taxpayer) help from private help (including communal religious), as if red raspberries in the belly of the hungry, are fundamentally different from black raspberries. The first sentence of the US Constitution reads:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
This is not satisfactory to the disciples of Ayn Rand. Many 'conservative Catholics' also reject Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Some American bishops are upset with nuns devoting their time on such things.


Got Mittens?

As David Letterman tells us:
if 'Newt' is short for 'Newton', then 'Mitt' is short for ________.

"Corporations are people ..." —Mitt Romney to a heckler at the Iowa State Fair (August 2011)

  • "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." –Mitt Romney (January 2012)
  • "I'm not concerned about the very poor." —Mitt Romney (January 2012)
  • "I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much." —Mitt Romney, $374,000 in one year
  • "I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed." —Mitt Romney, speaking in 2011 to unemployed people in Florida.

  • "Mitt Romney just released a new campaign ad about the economy featuring out-of-work Americans. It gets weird at the end when he says, 'I'm Mitt Romney, and I fired all these people.'" –Jimmy Fallon
  • "Mitt Romney pledged this week (that) if elected president, he will drive down unemployment to 6% or lower before the end of his first term. Well, it's easy enough to do; all he has to do is re-hire the people he already fired." –Jay Leno

  • "Do you know the difference between a Mitt Romney bus and Mitt Romney car? The bus has a greyhound on the side." –Bill Maher
  • "Why did Mitt Romney strap his dog to the roof of his car? Could it be because his station wagon was full of wives?" –Bill Maher
  • "There is something indicative about his character because it seems like Mitt Romney was kind of a bully. This was not the only bullying thing he did. He also took poor kids' lunch money – oh, I'm sorry, that's his present-day economic policy." –Bill Maher
  • "Today Mitt Romney visited a firehouse here in New York City. Of course, he was disappointed when he learned that the firehouse is not where you get to fire people." –Jimmy Fallon
  • “My opponent isn’t pro-choice or anti-choice, he’s multiple choice.” —Senator Edward Kennedy 1994 Senate Campaign
  • “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.”– Eric Fehrnstrom, current Romney campaign adviser

Monday, June 25, 2012

Merrily Mocking Mitt

David Letterman understands politics. It is a jester's job to deflate falsity. When Romney was running for President in 2008, David for several nights gave this sort of patter:
"He looks like the photo that comes with the frame … He looks like a tennis pro at a restricted country club.... He looks like the guy who tells you how to buy real estate with no money down ... He looks like the owner of the steakhouse who keeps interrupting dinner to find out how things are going … He looks like an American President in a Canadian movie ... He looks like the guy on the 'Just For Men' bottle ... Mitt looks like a guy who goes to the restroom when the check comes ... He looks like a guy who would run a seminar on condo flipping … He looks like he is the closer at a Cadillac dealership.... He looks like that guy on the golf course in the Levitra commercial."
And the audience knew it was all true. Now, Letterman realises the dog on the roof character flaw. David will repeat.

Another thing Letterman does is ask his audience how many would vote for Romney, not much applause. At one time he asked about Obama, it was significantly louder. He has stopped. Letterman learned this survey the audience from Carson. It correlates well. On some level, we all know Romney is just not likable. His Republican opponents in '08, and this year, also did not like him. I see cars with McCain stickers on them, surprisingly there are idiots driving about with w stickers; you would think Republicans would be able to afford new vehicles in eight years. I have not seen one with a Romney sticker yet. No surprise, Romney's campaign stops have brought out underwhelming crowds.
Mittens should easily lose. He can only snatch 'victory' through voter suppression, and vote count tampering; both of which are Republican hole cards. He will have a money advantage (when including the Chamber of Congress, Kochs, Armey, Rove and other sources); but unless it is not multiple times more, it should not matter.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two dogs

I was at St. Stanislaus Cleveland. It was the farewell Mass for the Franciscans. Assumption BVM Province of Franklin Wisconsin was leaving. Their Provincial Vicar, Fr. James Gannon presided over Liturgy. There was no mention of Lennon's name. They were the second province of Franciscans that served that community. The first came more than an hundred years ago. Supposedly, in the mouths of some, there is a dearth of clergy in Catholic Cleveland. In the last handful of years, more and more non-diocesan clergy have left [or made to leave] Cleveland, and there has been no concurrent welcoming of others.
I have photographed this stained glass window before. It is not a sparse scene. There are many figures, and details. There are two dogs in the lower right of the cartouche. The grey talbot is in the hunt. The brown hound is in consideration. He seems either a witness, or a judge. A dog is the symbol for fidelity. A most ancient, traditional name for him is 'Fido'.

When you are talking about art, you are talking about God indirectly; all experience of art is an indirect experience of God. — Sister Wendy Beckett

I remember [and i may change/add text] watching Sister Wendy commenting on a master painting. Some unpleasant activity was depicted. She made a comment, that, the dog was uncomfortable to be a part of the group. In other paintings there is often a dog as a companion to a troubled figure.

Appraising presidential candidates

In the United States there are different standards of gauging Democrats and Republicans, and it is not the humbug of Fox. Romney is a Mormon. First of all, Mormonism is a fraud; it is the Scientology of the XIXth century. It is secretive and deceptive. It claims to be a "Christian" religion; it is not. Its founder, Joseph Smith, was a professional conman. A necessary precedent of the Mormon belief system is Freemasonry. The magic underwear, that the Mormons call the temple garment, has a square over one nipple,  a compass over the other, and a level over the navel (that is not an unique borrowing from the Craft).
Now, one cannot blame one for being born into a religion. Romney was both a foreign missionary (in France, which helped him avoid Viet Nam; John Kerry was ridiculed for speaking French, and mocked for being a decorated Viet Nam veteran), and a Mormon bishop (which is not the same as the Christian office), and a stake president (a higher office). Romney is very reticent in speaking on any Mormon issue in public. Catholic Kerry was critiqued for not publicly speaking of his religion. His religion is not secret and deceptive. Catholic theology is open, and fully academic, and viewable (of course practice and administration is another matter). His opponent, gwbjr, was often referred to as a "Christian", in part to suggest that Kerry was not.

Mormons are taught not to answer direct questions on their beliefs, rather to "answer the question that should have been asked". Now, both gwbjr and Romney are liars. The former had no respect for the truth, but on occasion his heavy handed clumsiness showed through in the mendacity. Romney lies* (and prodigiously flip flops, something Kerry was accused of) with nonchalance.

Jeremiah Wright was Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He retired in early 2008. Barack Obama was a member of his congregation. Obama was married in his church, and his children baptised in that church. The United Church of Christ is a Calvinist Protestant church. It was the church of colonial Massachusetts. ABC news reviewed Wright's sermons in March 2008. There soon was a firestorm from the mouthfoamers on radio and television. Obama was criticised for belonging to Wright's church. Now, some of those same mouthfoamers, and their devoted idiot listeners, say Obama is a Moslem. Yes, Republicans rely heavily on public amnesia, and the double standard.

*"I'm Wolf Blitzer and yes, that's my real name." —CNN's Wolf Blitzer
"I'm Mitt Romney—and yes Wolf, that's also my first name." —
Willard Mitt Romney

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Short political history of the United States of America

In the United States, we have two chief political parties. The elder party, ultimately, is the descendent of Thomas Jefferson, and those who wrested independence from Britain. It, the Democratic Party, has waxed and waned, naturally, but it is continuous. At divers times it has had different challengers. During the initial war, the Patriots of Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, et alia were engaged against the Tories (Conservatives) whom wished for the British status quo.

The War for the Union demarcated the national history in twain. There was the antebellum period, and the post. A new party triumphed. Its initial leader, Abraham Lincoln, was always in a precarious position of acceptance and hatred. The war ended, and he was assassinated. The new party, the Republicans, had power. In Congress they had a 3 to 1 advantage, and in commerce they had [war] profits. They have never believed the two should be separated.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Republican power ended with the onset of the Great Depression, which was created in part by Republican economic policies [which have returned]. Franklin Roosevelt won a landslide in 1932. Immediately, Wall Street businessmen conspired for a coup, that was brought to light by General Smedley Butler. Butler was the most heavily decorated Marine in history, and in that action he did more than all those previous medals had signified. Roosevelt saved America, and led the Allies in defeating international Fascism. The most implacable foes of Franklin Roosevelt, and his legacy, are Republicans. The party exists to undo everything Roosevelt did, except for military expansion.

Monday, June 18, 2012

City Club Forum

The City Club of Cleveland is slightly older than a century. It hosts a venue of national speeches, as did, [and it still does] the earlier Cooper Union in New York City. National and international speakers, many with the highest public exposure, and some of great thought have spoken at City Club. Robert Kennedy spoke there, the day after Martin King was assassinated. Kennedy would meet the same fate, soon thereafter.

Both Presidents Roosevelt spoke there, as well as men who should have been (Wm. J. Bryan). Men of saintly character, Cesar Chavez and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, came and spoke. Absolute scoundrels have come such as: Michael Milken, and Richard Cheney. Three years, to the day, after gwbjr began bombing Iraq in an unnecessary war, instigated by his running mate (mentioned in the last sentence), he came and spoke. His father did the same, several times.

On June 15, 2012 Peter Borré, Co-Chairman, Council of Parishes came.
His topic: A Tale of Two Dioceses. Why is this of interest? Well, the speech and questions were broadcast on three local radio stations, and a television station. The programme is syndicated nationwide (in some 40 states).

The topic he spoke on was the Catholic Church, and its local administrator. Now, that administrator is the divisive, and overbearing, Richard Lennon.
Borré spoke of the situation in Rome, and Philadelphia. Primarily, he spoke of his home town, Boston, and Cleveland. These last two sees share the "residue" of Lennon's destructions.

Several people could have spoke on this topic as native Clevelanders. No local would be considered having an impressive resum
é. The journalist and author, Jason Berry, spoke in part in a less publicised City Club Forum on this. Berry's talk was on the rôle of money in the national church, and the Vatican. Berry had interviewed Borré for that book. Borré has become a minor national celebrity in his vigorous defense of the Catholic Church, and its people, against foolish bishops destroying parish life.

It is beyond question, that, Lennon is part of the local establishment and power. At any time, he can have his versions given full airing. There are many people that will repeat verbatim (including his inconsistencies). They equate him with the Church, and will defend him to the nth degree.

Now, of the many Catholic laity who have disagreement with lennonism, they are lucky to have fifteen seconds of airtime, or one sentence in print; and those snippets are chosen by the press, and the pressures monitoring the press. This is why
Borré's free speech was so noteworthy. It was the first time, someone spoke at length, uninterrupted, uncensored, unedited to the broad public about this grave debacle that is lennonism. And this was done in a nationally respected forum, and easily, the most respected in town.

Borré challenged the local clergy to publicly call for the removal of Lennon. Fifty-eight priests did so for the earlier Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, Bernard Law. Law was the premiere conservative US churchman. He created Lennon. If not for Law, Lennon would have remained unknown, save for a few parishes (or less) about Boston. Law left for Rome, resigned, and did not return. Lennon acted in his absence, and then was demoted to Cleveland. Lennon, currently, stands in non-compliance to eleven Vatican mandates.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ivan Meštrović. Moses.

Ivan Meštrović. Head of Moses. Temple-Tifereth Israel. Beachwood, Ohio.
Ivan Meštrović *1883, 1962† was a Croat (Hrvat) sculptor. In America, where he was a professor at Notre Dame (and previously, Syracuse), he is known as a sculptor of religious subjects. Meštrović has many prominent public works in the Jugoslav cities of Split, Beograd, Zagreb, Novi Sad and Chicago. In Grant Park Chicago, he has two equestrian statues of Indians. They are art deco pieces cast in Zagreb. The Chicago Indians are warriors, the Bowman and the Spearman, with invisible weapons.

As a boy his ability to carve was noticed. He was schooled in Split, and then the imperial capital (Vienna). After exhibitions in Zagreb and Vienna (with the Secessionists), he went to the capital of world culture — Paris and was a student of Rodin 1907-9. Before the Great War ended his work was presented in those capitals, Rome, and London.

He worked and created much. A lot of Jugoslav cultural past — historical, religious, folkloric subject œuvre, including a project for Kosovo that will never be finished. There is solidity in his creation, but diversity in style. He made formal, royal, propaganda statues. He did female nudes akin to Arisitide Maillol. There is some rough Rodin. There are mediæval peasant Slavonic forms, and Croat bishops.

In several of his religious works he chose the great writers — John the Evangelist, Jerome. Meštrović was a political prisoner under the Ustaše. He sculpted the suffering prophet Job, when released to Rome. Moses, he also came to again for a subject.
The original model is of thumb pats of clay, Rodinesque bronzed. The brow, forehead and hair are thick knots. Two tufts of hair are smallish horns of Michelangelo. To the left is a processional torah scroll. The left hand is almost a fist. In many of his statues, the hands are large, and raised. Is Moses in struggle? consternation? turmoil? He is profoundly serious and troubled. Meštrović is always sincere, and dignified.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

knuckle ball catcher

...but a knuckle ball catcher only gets one job to do — Gillian Welch

We have had a century and an half of professional base ball. Base ball is hitting, pitching, fielding and base running. Only in stealing a base can an offensive player initiate play, and often even that is a by product. Usually the pitcher begins play, by throwing. A lot of boys dream of pitching in the majors. They start with a fast ball. No one is known to have thrown a knuckle ball before 1906.

Boys don't wake up and say, "I am going to be a knuckle ball pitcher". Quite often, there is no such ball pitcher in the majors. Right now, there is just one. R.A. Dickey pitches for New York of the National League. He has been a mediocre pitcher at the professional level. He has written an autobiography; he was an English major. Dickey, like many knuckle ballers, developed the pitch to extend his career. It is thrown with less force, and taxes the arm less. Dickey is now 8 and 1 in wins and losses, it is his best season. His career winning percentage is approaching .500. He is thirty-seven years old. There are few ball players playing after 35.

Last year, Tim Wakefield finished his long career with Boston. He had been a first baseman in the minors, and was on his way out. The knuckle ball was his gateway to the bigs. When he retired in February, he was the eldest active ball player at 44.

Dickey's catcher is the franchise's regular starting catcher, Josh Thole. The pitcher and catcher were called 'the battery', and before microphones were announced on megaphones. Some teams have platooned catchers. Usually, out fielders are platooned, lefties and righties in hitting. Sometimes there are players who throw right, and bat left. In the last hundred years there has been seven major league games played with left handed catchers. Some pitchers have a particular catcher. They are the only players that regularly communicate with each other.

Mark Harris wrote a novel in 1956, Bang the Drum Slowly. That year it was on television with Paul Newman as the pitcher (and writer, and insurance salesman). In 1973 Robert De Niro played the catcher. In that story the pitcher was having a contract fight. He ended the holdout only on the stipulation that his ailing catcher would catch him. In 1988 the film Bull Durham concerned finding an experienced catcher to refine an extremely hard throwing and wild pitcher.

Let us revisit Aristotle and the syllogism. (Premise) There are few knuckle ball pitchers. (2nd Premise) Some pitchers have a 'designated' catcher. (Conclusion) Knuckle ball catchers are quite rare.

For a few years, Doug Mirabelli was Wakefield's catcher. The Red Sox traded him away, and had to get him back just to catch Wakefield. A knuckle ball is neither particularly easy to hit, nor catch. Not many catchers can adequately field the pitch.
So, when a knuckle ball pitcher is on a team's staff, there must be someone to catch him. Knuckle ball catchers are very rare, and have a particular ability that is necessary only with the presence of a knuckle ball pitcher.

Gillian Welch's song is auto-biographical, with the addition of a brilliant allusion. She and David Rawlings are a communicative, and intimate battery. They are exquisite instrumentalists (Rawlings plays a 1935 Epiphone Olympic; Welch, a 1956 Gibson J50 ), at times their voices are one as he sings a soft harmony. They have been a couple for twenty years.
postscriptum 3 October 2012:  Dickey finished 20-6 on a 4th place team, in a five team division. He led the league in innings pitched (233 2/3), strikeouts (230), complete games (5). He was second in wins, and in ERA (2.73). He should win the Cy Young award for best pitcher in the National League.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beauty pageant brilliance

Sunday there was a beauty contest on television. Miss Ohio, Audrey Bolte, demonstrated why some people have low opinions of these chicks' faculties. She graduated college in business administration. In twenty or twenty-five years from now, she may be an individual of some success.

The question she was given: “Do you think women are depicted in movies and on television in an accurate and positive way? And please give us an example.”

Her answer: “I think it depends on the movie. I think there are some movies that depict women in a very positive role, and then some movies that put them in a little bit more of negative role. But by the end of the movie, they show that woman power that I know we all have. Such as movie Pretty Woman. We had a wonderful, beautiful woman, Julia Roberts, and she was having a rough time, but, you know what, she came out on top and she didn’t let anybody stand in her path.”

Does that sound anything like the perspective of the third place finisher for 1984 Miss Alaska? Sarah Heath? Sarah became governor for an half term, and an idol of millions. That film answered the cinematic question, “What if Cinderella was an Hollywood street whore?

Now, Gretchen Carlson went to Stanford, and Oxford. She won the talent part, and the title of 1989 Miss America. She read the news in Cleveland with on air partner Denise Dufala from 1996-8, the first two women broadcast in Cleveland. It was not successful. Gretchen in '95 read the weekend news at the same station. On one episode, a park ranger fellow for Bugfest (or something similar) joined the set. He demonstrated that insects, worms and such are edible. Gretchen ate a bug, it was the highlight of her career. Now she sits with two lying idiots at cable Faux, playing the part to form a trio. She can aggressively lie, perhaps that is what is taught at Stanford.
postscriptum: 12.20 a.m. 6 June 2012 Jimmy Kimmel just interviewed Miss Ohio. She sticks to the validity of her answer. Kimmel asks her, if specifically limited to Julia Roberts movies, wouldn't Erin Brocovich have been a better choice? She doesn't budge. "Are there other movie prostitutes you admire?", he asks. She blames the media. Oh, yes, we have a Republican to be.

Gillian Welch sings the song, Look At Miss Ohio, that she wrote with David Rawlings.

Oh me oh my oh, look at Miss Ohio
She’s a-running around with her rag-top down
She says I wanna do right but not right now...