Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Another reason I am growing more and more detached from the church.

Police are investigating an informal exorcism at the Cathedral of St. Paul, which was directed at gay Roman Catholics and will cost thousands of dollars to clean up, police and church officials said.

They said the ritualistic sprinkling of blessed oil and salt around the church and in donation boxes earlier this month amounted to costly vandalism and possibly a hate crime. The groups are at odds over gays participating in communion, one of the holiest rites in the church. Earlier this year, about 40 men, members of the group Ushers of the Eucharist, knelt in the aisles at the Cathedral to block Rainbow members from taking communion.

The Rev. Michael Skluzacek, rector of the cathedral, said he immediately understood the symbolism when he was told that someone had sprinkled the oil and salt around the church. "It's a sign of exorcism," he told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. "It's a sign of casting out the power of evil."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The NY Times still fails to grasp reality.

At a time when the White House has portrayed Mr. Bush's 3.5-million-vote victory as a mandate, the poll found that Americans are at best ambivalent about Mr. Bush's plans to reshape Social Security, rewrite the tax code, cut taxes and appoint conservative judges to the bench. There is continuing disapproval of Mr. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, with a plurality now saying it was a mistake to invade in the first place.

A great article grading the B-list '08 Dems. Top three:

  • TN Gov. Phil Bredesen (A-)
  • VA Gov. Mark Warner (B+)
  • PA Gov. Ed Rendell (B)

Monday, November 22, 2004

Historian James Reston writes in the LAT (on this forty-first anniversary of the JFK assassination) that the steel back brace Kennedy was wearing when he was shot may have actually prevented him from getting out of the way of the eventually-fatal second bullet:

But because of the corset, Kennedy's body did not act as a normal body would when the bullet passed through his throat. Held by his back brace, Kennedy remained upright, according to the Warren Commission, for five more seconds. This provided Oswald the opportunity to reload and shoot again at an almost stationary target.

Without the corset, the force of the first bullet, traveling at a speed of 2,000 feet a second, would surely have driven the president's body forward, making him writhe in pain like Connally, and probably down in the seat of his limousine, beyond the view of Oswald's cross hairs for a second or third shot.

USA Today, on Bush's speech at APEC:

Bush said he will keep the dollar strong, fulfill his pledge to halve the deficit in four years and reform Social Security and Medicare to ensure their long-term stability.
Seriously, who he is kidding? "Halve the deficit"? Does he not know he's been president for the past four years?

An amusingly ironic earmark from the multiagency spending bill passed on Saturday night: $1 million for the "Missouri Pork Producers Federation" to develop technology that would improve the environment by converting animal waste into energy. Really. Must have been a big hit in the cloakroom.

(It's worth noting that the bill also included "$25,000 for the study of mariachi music in the Clark County, Nev., school district.")

What do you suppose it is that President Bush has done in the past three weeks to raise his approval rating?

The cameraman who filmed the marine-shoots-wounded-Iraqi video weighs in: "It's time you to have the facts from me, in my own words, about what I saw."

The five most dangerous cities in the country, in order:

  • Camden, NJ
  • Detroit, MI
  • Atlanta, GA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Gary, IN
Remember that Sesame Street game, "Which of these things is not like the other?"

Finally, an answer to the question we've all been asking: how many New Yorkers want to have Thanksgiving dinner with Michael Bloomberg? (42%)

An op-ed by the director of Fog of War about the varying interpretations of the video of the marine shooting the wounded Iraqi:

For many people, the interpretation of this videotape will devolve into general questions about Iraq. People will interpret this videotape according to their ideological dispositions. Are we looking at the face of freedom on the march, or at the footprint of an out-of-control behemoth leaving a trail of bodies in its wake? For the true believers in the war in Iraq, these images will make little impression. For them, the ends for which this war is being fought justify the means. War is bloody, brutal; the enemy is vicious. But the objective of extending freedom redeems what has to be done to achieve it. In this view the war is unfortunate but necessary.

For people, like myself, who are deeply skeptical about this war, it is not clear what the 'ends' of this war might be. It doesn't seem as if Iraq is freer or will be freer in the near future. Call me a naysayer or a skeptic, but what I see in the newspapers all seems evidence of mayhem. And with no end of the war in sight, the terrible means - the manner in which this war is being fought - seem, at best, misguided and at worst, deeply wrong.

Great quote from Howard Kurtz on Thursday:

The normally tough-on-crime Republicans don't even deny they're trying to protect DeLay and other leaders from what Texas Rep. Henry Bonilla called a "crackpot district attorney" somewhere. (They're customarily called law-enforcement officials.) I don't recall hearing much from the Republicans about runaway prosecutors unfairly maligning corrupt accountants, bank robbers or welfare cheats.