Friday, October 31, 2008

The Coming Obama Repression

From Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:
IT HAS BEEN a favorite trope of the Bush-bashers: The 43d president’s power-lust is so insatiable, his disdain for constitutional checks and balances so complete, that he has fashioned himself into a dictator. Crackpots can always be counted on to say such things, of course, but even non-loonies have played fast and loose with the D-word.

Bush as a ruthless autocrat? It would be easier to take the idea seriously if it weren’t for the omnipresent clamor of voices denouncing the man. Tyrants have a way of squelching public dissent and intimidating their critics. Whatever else may be said about the Bush administration, it has never cowed its opponents into silence. If anything, the past eight years have set new records in vilifying a sitting president: “Bush = Hitler” signs at protest rallies; Crude “Buck Fush” bumper stickers; a 2006 movie depicting Bush’s assassination; The New Republic’s cover story on “The Case for Bush Hatred.” The denunciation has been unending and often unhinged, yet Bush has never tried to censor it.

Will we be able to say the same of his successor?

If opinion polls are right, Barack Obama is cruising to victory. As president, would he show the same forbearance as Bush in allowing his opponents to have their say, unmolested? Or would he attempt to suppress the free speech of those whose views he detested? It is disturbing to contemplate some of the Obama campaign’s recent efforts to stifle criticism.

When the National Rifle Association produced a radio ad last month about Obama’s shifting position on gun control, the campaign’s lawyers sent letters to radio stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, urging them not to run it - and warning of trouble with the Federal Communications Commission if they did. “This advertisement knowingly misleads your viewing audience,” Obama’s general counsel Bob Bauer wrote. “For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should refuse to continue to air this advertisement.”

Similar lawyer letters went out in August when the American Issues Project produced a TV spot exploring Obama’s strong ties to former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Station managers were warned that running the anti-Obama ad would be a violation of their legal obligation to serve the “public interest.” And in case that wasn’t menacing enough, the Obama campaign also urged the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation.

In Missouri, an Obama “truth squad” of prosecutors and other law-enforcement officials vowed to take action against anyone making “character attacks” on the Democratic candidate - a threat, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt later remarked, that had about it the “stench of police state tactics.”

Perhaps these efforts to smother political speech are simply the overly aggressive tactics of a campaign in its adrenaline-fueled sprint to the finish. But what if they are the first warning signs of how an Obama administration would deal with its adversaries?
Of course, the NRA ad has produced online discussion of whether it really is accurate or not. The liberal-leaning FactCheck.org considers it substantially misleading (while admitting Obama’s anti-gun rhetoric) while The Volokh Conspiracy largely agrees with the ad.

But factual accuracy is really a red herring. As Ed Brayton points out:
Here’s why this is dangerous: the absolute last thing we should ever want is the government deciding which campaign ads are deceptive and which are not. That power would inevitably be abused by the party in power, which would of course hold the other party to a different standard than they hold their own.

We cannot give the government, controlled by political partisans, the power to punish political speech. We especially cannot give them the power to punish a TV station or newspaper for allowing an ad. This would have a serious chilling effect on political speech and would make abuse of that authority inevitable. The Obama campaign should withdraw these threats. If the ad is false, prove it false. But leave the government out of it.
Michael Barone has pointed out the nasty tendency of the Obama campaign, and of liberals generally, to try to shut up speech they don’t like. It was predictable that this sort of thing would happen. The politically correct intolerance of the collage campus has seeped out into the broader society (especially among liberals, who have internalized that intolerance).

With an Obama presidency, all of American society will likely have to confront this kind of intolerance.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rep. Gwen Moore, Marquette’s Pet Pro-Abortion Extremist

Barack Obama is on record with a very extreme pro-abortion position, supporting the Freedom of Choice Act. This isn’t just a pro-abortion piece of legislation. It’s an “everything we abortion advocates have ever wanted imposed everywhere in the country by the U.S. Congress” Act.

According to Pro-Life Wisconsin:
FOCA would eliminate laws on informed consent, parental consent, abortion clinic regulations, conscience protection laws, government programs that fund and promote childbirth without funding abortion, laws prohibiting certain abortion procedures (e.g., partial birth abortion), laws requiring that abortions only be performed by licensed physicians, etc.
But of course we expect the most liberal person in the U.S. Senate to be rabidly pro-abortion.

Who else supports the Freedom of Choice Act? Marquette’s own alumna and the Congresswoman who represents the district in which the university resides: Gwen Moore.

This is part of a consistent pattern of pro-abortion voting by Moore.

What is more striking is that Moore has been rather the pet of Marquette University, having won the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumna Award, and getting a lavish reception at Marquette’s Les Aspin Center when she was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Marquette’s fondness for Moore is hard to interpret in a favorable light. The most obvious conclusion is that Marquette simply doesn’t care about Catholic Social Teaching about abortion. This may well be the case, given the liberal bias of the administration all the way up to and including Father Wild.

The other is that Marquette is pandering to Moore because she is in Congress and has a bit of political power. So are Marquette administrators utter hypocrites claiming to have any sort of loyalty to Catholic teaching, or are they whores pandering to political power?

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fool Me Once . . .

The Real Reason for the Milwaukee Public Schools Financial Troubles

From School Choice Wisconsin, an analysis of how fringe benefits are eating up the budget of the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Let’s be honest about this: not only are public school teachers overpaid (private schools hire teachers for much less and get equal or better results), their fringe benefits are absurdly generous.

So whenever one hears whining and complaining about “underfunded” public schools, remember that the teachers’ union is at fault for creating a monster that gobbles up cash and fails children.

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Pro-Homosexual Indoctrination Starting Very Young in Public Schools

From WorldNetDaily:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Some parents are shocked to find their children are learning to be homosexual allies and will participate in “Coming Out Day” at a public elementary school tomorrow – and they claim the school failed to notify parents.

One mother of a kindergartner who attends Faith Ringgold School of Art and Science, a K-8 charter school in Hayward, Calif., said she asked her 5-year-old daughter what she was learning at school.

The little girl replied, “We’re learning to be allies.”

The mother also said a Gay Straight Alliance club regularly meets in the kindergarten classroom during lunch.

According to a Pacific Justice Institute report, Faith Ringgold opted not to inform the parents of its pro-homosexual activities beforehand. The school is celebrating “Gay and Lesbian History Month” and is in the process of observing “Ally Week,” a pro-“gay” occasion usually geared toward high school students.

The school is scheduled to host discussions about families and has posted fliers on school grounds portraying only homosexuals. According to the report, a “TransAction Gender-Bender Read-Aloud” will take place Nov. 20. Students will listen to traditional stories with “gay” or transgender twists, to include “Jane and the Beanstalk.”

Some parents only recently noticed posters promoting the school’s “Coming Out Day” tomorrow – celebrated 12 days after the national “Coming Out Day” usually observed on Oct. 11. When WND contacted the school to confirm the event, a female representative replied, “Yes, it is scheduled on our calendar.”

When asked if the school made any efforts to inform parents, she refused to answer and said Hayward Unified School District would have to respond to additional questions. However, the district did not answer its phones or e-mails, and a voicemail recording would not take messages. “Coming Out Day” is not listed on the district’s online school calendar.
Another source provides further information on the same issue.
LifeSiteNews.com attempted to contact the school board regarding the issue. There was no answer, however, and the board’s phone mailbox was full. A representative at Faith Ringgold at first claimed she knew nothing about the “Coming Out Day,” but then said that only the principal, Diana Levy, could answer questions about the event.

Principal Levy is also the acting principal at an adjacent school, Markham Elementary. A representative at that school did confirm that “Coming Out Day” was indeed being celebrated at Faith Ringgold, but the principal was unavailable for comment due to the fact that she was in a meeting regarding the controversial event.

Faith Ringgold seems to have set the promotion of the homosexual agenda as a priority on its 2008 calendar, as several other pro-homosexual events are slated in the coming weeks.

For instance, several parents have noticed numerous posters around the school promoting talks on the family scheduled for later this week; all of the posters, however, depict only homosexual “families.” As well, On November 20, the school will host TransAction Gender-Bender Read-Aloud, where students will hear adapted tales such as “Jane and the Beanstalk.”
The “education profession” is becoming increasing corrupt. Schools of education (include Marquette’s) train teachers to teach “social justice,” with elitist liberals having the sole franchise to determine what “social justice” is.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

It’s Called Media Illiteracy

More on Bill Ayers: He Dedicated a Book to Sirhan Sirhan

From a correspondent of ours, more information on Bill Ayers, from Zombie Time.

One of the most hair raising things about Ayers: his book Prairie Fire was dedicated to, among others, the man who murdered Robert Kennedy.

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Jack Winters: Marquette Professor Supports Terrorist Bill Ayers

From the blog Support Bill Ayers, the news that Jack Winters, Marquette University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is supporting terrorist and University of Illinois-Chicago education school professor Bill Ayers.

Ayers, remember, is the former SDS Weatherman member who participated in terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and other sites. On September 11, 2001, the New York Times published an article quoting him as saying “I don’t regret setting bombs” and “I feel we didn’t do enough.”

His group’s terrorist activities resulted in the deaths of three fellow terrorists when a bomb they were building exploded. The bomb was a nail bomb intended to kill soldiers at a dance at Fort Dix. Ayers had supplied the building instructions for the bomb, knowing the purpose for which it was being built.

Happily, it killed three terrorists rather than American soldiers.

But why does Ayers need support? Apparently because people are saying bad things about him. He is in no danger of being fired from his tenured position. He is in no danger of being locked up (although he should have been locked up years ago for his terrorist activities).

Rather, people are criticizing him.

That, some leftist professors think, is an attack on academic freedom.

This from a class of people who feel free to launch any attack they want on anybody and everybody they dislike.

Winters, reached via e-mail, declined to discuss his support for Ayers. His personal web page, however, shows he is a supporter of numerous leftist organizations.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nanny state sign, Evanston IL

From our Chicago area correspondent, a message dated October 17:
As you know it we had beautiful weather last weekend; it was outrageously warm for mid-October, so I decided that it would be a nice time to get down to the lakefront. I visited Evanston, which (of course) is a college town. With the great weather, plenty of people were on the beach, a few brave souls were in the water and a number of boats were out too. And obviously, the beaches closed long ago in Chicago. Nobody in their right minds could really expect lifeguards, etc. in October. Yet this sign was posted near every entrance to an Evanston beach:

“Lake Michigan is a dangerous body of water. Swimming in Lake Michigan is dangerous and may cause severe injury or death.”

You have to wonder if the lawyers from the McDonald’s coffee case thought that sign was necessary. And I really couldn’t tell if that sign was permanent or just up for the winter season; it might well be up year-round.
It’s probably prudent to keep it up year-round.

There are probably some people out there who don’t know that you can drown in water.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

County Supervisors Pushing for Sales Tax

We just got a flyer in the mail from the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, pushing for the passage of a one cent Milwaukee sales tax.

This has been a huge issue in Milwaukee, and we’ve let other bloggers (and conservative talk radio) cover it, but the blatant electioneering of the flyer was something we couldn’t overlook.

The flyer skirts rules against electioneering by stopping just short of a “call to action” in favor of the tax. But the language is intentionally misleading.

It promises readers a 27% reduction in property taxes.

Just who believes that? Let’s see the hands? Oh . . . there is a liberal blogger over in the corner with his hand raised? Hey . . . guy, I want to talk to you about some beachfront property in Arizona that I can sell you.

County Supervisor Joe Rice has been the driving force behind opposition to the tax increase, leading a group that includes Mark Borkowski, Paul Cesarz, and Joe Sanfelippo. The rest of the Supervisors are either supporting it, or wanting a signal that their constituents will let them get away with voting for it.

We reached Supervisor Rice, and he pointed out that any actual decrease in property taxes is unlikely, as the experience with the last sales tax increase in 1991 shows.

The wording of the referendum is quite simply dishonest. It asks whether Milwaukee County will have the “authority to provide tax relief of at least sixty-seven million dollars.” Nothing requires the Supervisors to do that. And of course, we all know how these games are played. If you currently pay $1,200 in County property tax, and all the spending the bureaucrats and politicians want would bring your bill to $1,400, and the budget is “slashed” such that you end up paying $1,300, voilà, you have gotten $100 in tax relief!

Rice has sent us a Powerpoint presentation that we have turned into a PDF file, which you can see here.

One of Rice’s most interesting points: the sales tax is regressive, falling most heavily on the poor. The liberals are supposed to opposed that sort of thing. But give them a choice between taxing the poor, and not taxing at all, they will tax the poor.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Actually, We Can Accomodate You

The (Continuing) Decline of Print Media

Our journalism colleague Steve Byers has a blog titled Marquette Student Media which, in spite of the name, deals mostly with the print media off campus. Byers is an old-style newspaper reporter, with old style newspaper reporter values, and sometimes his critique of the direction of contemporary papers can be devastating.
For four decades, American newspapers have been lulled into complacency by being virtual monopolies. They have grown fat and ossified. During my time with just The Milwaukee Journal and Journal Sentinel, I watched as it went from a lean, tight newspaper with only a few editors to one with layers upon layers of assistant managing editors, senior editors, deputy senior editors, assistant senior editors, etc. (When I started at The Milwaukee Journal its news operations had one editor, one managing editor, one assistant managing editor; today, its masthead lists an editor, a managing editor, a deputy managing editor, six assistant managing editors, and at least six senior editors.)
This, in fact, sounds like academia. At Marquette, as everywhere else in higher education, there has been a huge proliferation of people whose job is not to teach students, nor to do research, nor to provide needed services to students, but rather to “implement” various “initiatives” involving such (at best) irrelevant and (at worst) harmful things as “assessment” and “diversity.”

But universities are different from newspapers, in that the former are essentially a cartel, all the members of which do all the same things, with no choice of (for example) a university where a student will be free of politically correct indoctrination, or a university where religion is taken seriously, and a majority of the faculty are practicing Christians, or Jews or Muslims.

(Religious institutions -- genuinely religious ones, not places like Marquette -- provide a real alternative, but in academia prestige is so highly correlated with the age of an institution that newer alternatives are largely locked out of the market.)

Newspapers are not so lucky, since they face real, vigorous competition from other media, ranging from the Internet to talk radio.

We sometimes chortle a bit at the decline of the “dead tree media,” since it has come to be dominated by a standard liberal “mainstream media” worldview.

But, of course, Byers nostalgia appears to be for a world where large cities had competing papers, with different editorial policies. It was a world where editors did not see themselves as arbiters of what the citizens were allowed to see and read, since failing to report a story that would interest readers was to invite being “scooped” by a rival paper.

Byers has, multiple times, invited us to his classes to talk about blogging, since he apparently sees the enterprise as partaking of some of the vitality that newspaper journalism formerly had: aggressiveness in reporting, sharp diversity of opinions and the lack of a bureaucratic structure watching over (and stifling) the people doing the reporting.

We tend to disagree with Byers view that, if newspapers added content and did more and better reporting, the traditional newspaper model could be revived. He, for example, cites an Australian named David Kirk and explains:
He builds his argument around three pillars: strong content, addressing audiences and supporting his newspapers’ brands. He isn’t talking about cutting staff that his audience wants to read, like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and, frankly, most American metropolitan newspapers continue to do. Nor is he talking about dropping sections, ignoring portions of the audience, and allowing his readers to gradually drift away. He is talking about aggressively going after them.
Our view is that dead tree media is going the way of the horse and buggy -- the victim of technological change.

But if the form of journalism has to change, the substance has to remain pretty much the same. Good reporting, good writing, incisive commentary, quality photojournalism, provocative editorial cartooning -- all of these can prosper on the web just as they once prospered in the daily newspaper.

So we have an irony here: good electronic journalism has to reflect the ethos of the anachronistic heyday of newspaper journalism. In reality, it now reflects that ethos better than the modern bureaucratic, over-managed, cost-cutting world of contemporary print journalism.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

It Starts With Congress

Obama Administration: Rule By the Thugs

From the Washington Times, a column by Michael Barone:
“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors,” Barack Obama told a crowd in Elko, Nev. “I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.” Actually, Obama supporters are doing a lot more than getting into people’s faces. They seem determined to shut people up.

That’s what Obama supporters, alerted by campaign e-mails, did when conservative Stanley Kurtz appeared on Milt Rosenberg’s WGN radio program in Chicago. Mr. Kurtz had been researching Mr. Obama’s relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers in Chicago Annenberg Challenge papers in the Richard J. Daley Library in Chicago - papers that were closed off to him for some days, apparently at the behest of Obama supporters.

Obama fans jammed WGN’s phone lines and sent in hundreds of protest e-mails. The message was clear to anyone who would follow Mr. Rosenberg’s example. We will make trouble for you if you let anyone make the case against The One.

Other Obama supporters have threatened critics with criminal prosecution. In September, St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce warned citizens that they would bring criminal libel prosecutions against anyone who made statements against Mr. Obama that were “false.” I had been under the impression that the Alien and Sedition Acts had gone out of existence in 1801-02. Not so, apparently, in metropolitan St. Louis. Similarly, the Obama campaign called for a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project when it ran ads highlighting Mr. Obama’s ties to Mr. Ayers.

These attempts to shut down political speech have become routine for liberals. Congressional Democrats sought to reimpose the “fairness doctrine” on broadcasters, which until it was repealed in the 1980s required equal time for different points of view. The motive was plain: to shut down the one conservative-leaning communications medium, talk radio. Liberal talk-show hosts have mostly failed to draw audiences, and many liberals can’t abide having citizens hear contrary views.

To their credit, some liberal old-timers - like House Appropriations Chairman David Obey - voted against the “fairness doctrine,” in line with their longstanding support of free speech. But you can expect the “fairness doctrine” to get another vote if Barack Obama wins and Democrats increase their congressional majorities.

Then there’s the Democrats’ “card check” legislation that would abolish secret ballot elections in determining whether employees are represented by unions. The unions’ strategy is obvious: Send a few thugs over to employees’ homes - we know where you live - and get them to sign cards that will trigger a union victory without giving employers a chance to be heard.

Once upon a time, liberals prided themselves, with considerable reason, as the staunchest defenders of free speech. Union organizers in the 1930s and 1940s made the case that they should have access to employees to speak freely to them, and union leaders like George Meany and Walter Reuther were ardent defenders of the First Amendment.

Today’s liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that once prided themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Mr. Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech they don’t like and seem utterly oblivious to claims this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.
It has always been a bit of a consolation to people in the academic community that the nasty repression of the university environment is limited to the campuses, with the broader American society being open-minded and tolerant.

Unfortunately, the intolerance of academia must eventually seep into the broader society. When Obama is elected (and it looks overwhelmingly likely he will be) the broader society will face the campus culture . . . with a vengeance.

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Ethopian Bishop to Speak on “Global Food Crisis”

Next Monday, October 20th, Ethopian Bishop Abraham Desta will speak on the “Global Food Crisis” at 7:00 p.m. in the Monaghan Ballroom at the Union.

We frankly have no idea whether his comments on the “global food crisis” will make any sense. There really is no “global food crisis,” but rather a lot of poverty in the world.

But he is apparently a rather admirable fellow, and the talk should be worth seeing.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mainstream Media Reporters Talk Frankly to Each Other

From Sykes Writes, an e-mail sent to Sykes from a journalist who covered today’s McCain-Plain event:
Hi Charlie,

As you might have heard, I am covering the McCain/Palin appearance today. At the media breakfast at the Pfister Hotel about an hour ago, you would simply not believe the vicious, nasty conversation I just overheard between several “elite” media types from the McClatchey news service, AP, and a couple of other sources I didn’t quite catch.

Over the course of just a few minutes, I heard that “Sean Hannity gives Dick Cheney the best head of his life,” and that he and Lou Dobbs are “mean-spirited sycophants,” and that McCain himself is “angry” and “crusty.” One even recalled a recent campaign event at which Sarah Palin autographed a supporter’s Bible, prompting this “objective” journalist to remark “these people terrify me.”

And this was just in the span of a 10 minute conversation! I simply cannot believe that these are the people entrusted to cover the McCain/Palin campaign fairly and accurately. I have never before wanted to do a show like yours quite as badly as I do right now--so that I can expose these people for who they really are: unabashed, unashamed partisans whose callous, bitter attitude towards conservatives very clearly permeates their work.
Journalists like to primp and preen and congratulate themselves about their “professionalism” in doing objective journalism.

But the simple fact is that professionalism can only get you so far. Beyond a certain point (long ago reached in American journalism) it can’t restrain the nasty cultural bias of the Mainstream Media, or the liberal subculture generally.

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“I Escaped the Plantation”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bluegrass (Featuring a Marquette Political Philosopher)

[Note: Earlier Post Moved to the Top]

An e-mail from our colleague Ryan Hanley, who plays mandolin for the Cream City Bluegrass Band.
Hi Bluegrass Fans and Friends!

Hope your fall is off to a great start! The next few weeks bring four great opportunities to hear your own Cream City Bluegrass Band!

1) Friday, October 3rd we’ll be at Paddy’s Pub in Milwaukee from 9-midnight. Great Irish pub on the east side -- friendly, fun, music-loving crowd! (http://www.paddyspub.net/)

2) Saturday, October 11th we’ll be at Swan’s Pumpkin Farm in Franksville from noon-3:00 PM. Hayrides, pumpkin patch, bluegrass -- bring the kids! (http://www.thepumpkinfarm.com/)

3) Friday, October 24th we’ll be playing a concert at First Congregational Church in Mukwonago from 7-00-8:30 -- thanks to a generous invite from someone who heard us in Racine. (http://www.fccmukwonago.org/site/)

4) Saturday, November 8 we’ll be at Maxie’s Southern Comfort in Wauwatosa from 9:00-midnight -- enjoy southern cooking that’s getting great reviews! (http://www.maxies.com/milwaukee/index.html)

More info on the above at http://creamcitybluegrass.net/schedule.php (click on venue name).

Hope we can see you down at one or more of the above!

Best,
Ryan
In a previous post, we asked “How good is the Cream City Bluegrass Band?” Our answer, “Pretty good. Good enough to be enjoyable and satisfying even for seasoned and discriminating bluegrass fans.” Translation: If you are any sort of Bluegrass fan, listening to the group is an excellent way of spending an evening.

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Prof. Christopher Wolfe Honored By “Red Mass”

Our former colleague Christopher Wolfe left quite a legacy at Marquette, and indeed around the nation, both in terms of the books he wrote (one of which made Judge Robert Bork’s list of the “Top books on the Constitution”) and in terms of the students he has trained.

He is now being honored by a “Red Mass” and given the “2008 Faithful Servant Award” by the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society.

A “Red Mass,” by the way, is not a mass for Communists. It’s worse than that. It’s a mass for lawyers.

Here is the basic information.

October 30, 2008

Procession of Judges—5:55 pm
Mass—6 pm
Reception & Dinner, The University
Club—immediately following Mass

Cathedral of
St. John the Evangelist
812 North Jackson Street
Milwaukee

The University Club
924 East Wells Street
Milwaukee
(complimentary parking available)

Wolfe’s students, colleagues, friends and people who merely know about him and his service will want to attend.

Here is the reservation form. You need to respond by October 23.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tolerant Liberals: A Pro-McCain March In Manhattan

Friday, October 03, 2008

Should Government Make Health Care “Affordable?”

From Cafe Hayek:
The one good thing that came out of this whole credit debacle, I now have the perfect pithy response to all the lefties who tell me that the government should take over health care and make it affordable to everyone. You mean the way they made home ownership affordable to all through Fannie and Freddie? How did that work out for you?

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

It Will Still Look Like a Pig

Super Sleuths: British Intelligence Accidently Sells Spy Camera on E-Bay

Having a libertarian bent, we naturally tend to distrust government.

But unlike the wild-eyed “libertarian” crowd that embraces (for example) 9/11 conspiracy theories, we don’t view government as so much evil as it is incompetent. Today’s example.
A bidder, who bought the camera for £17 on the auction website, discovered photos of terror suspects, their names and fingerprints and even images of rocket launchers and missiles.

The 28-year-old from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, only found the secret images when he downloaded his own holiday snaps from the Nikon Cool Pix device.

He told local police about the find and was shocked when Special Branch officers arrived at his home days later to seize his new purchase.

Officers have made five visits to his home in the last week to quiz him and his family, The Sun newspaper reported.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed that the police were investigating but said she could not confirm or deny the intelligence service’s involvement in the probe.

She refused to comment on reports that the camera was sold by an MI6 agent.

Among the images which are reported to have been found on the camera is a document, marked “top secret”, which gives details of the encrypted computer system used by MI6’s agents in the field.

The material found on the camera is reported to be related to 46-year-old Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a high-ranking al-Qaeda officer, who was captured by the CIA in 2007.

Neil Doyle, author of Terror Base UK, said: “These are MI6 documents relating to an operation against al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq.

“It’s jaw-dropping that they got into the public domain.

“Not only do they divulge secrets about operations, operating systems and previously unheard-of MI6 departments, but they could put lives at risk.”
If government were really as competent as the 9/11 conspiracy crowd thinks, we should all be socialists. If government could bring off such a complex and so brilliantly coordinated plan, and cover it up such that no evidence accepted by any sort of mainstream thinkers exists, imagine what a splendid job they could do planning the economy.

But alas, whether it’s intelligence or social welfare, they more often look like the Keystone Cops.

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