Saturday, January 29, 2005


Saturday with Stanard

Wake up in the morning, pull myself out of bed
Think about the night before and everything I said
I made lots of promises I know that I can't keep
So I'll do it tomorrow,
That seems like a pretty good idea to me

Well, tomorrow is here, and it started this morning, as in, I had to fulfill those promises starting this morning. Pulled myself out of bed just in time to clean the house: toilets, bathroom, kitchen, carpets, etc. Then it was off to do some of the gardening: mowed the front lawn and swept driveway. Dang, I was getting tired and hungry... guess I'll put off the rest to some other tomorrow.

Instead of another lost weekend
Lost weekend
Another lost weekend
Lost weekend

Well, I was bound and determined not to lose this weekend to work (and I don't live close enough to lose it in Vegas), so I packed up the kids and their bags and drove off to Northridge - 26 miles away to the only indoor playground open on Saturday for open play. The wife was off at the spa (well deserved) for the last of Christmas presents, so what to do with the urchins? Creative Leap in Northridge was the answer.

Me and my dad
We've got a good thing going

Probably not what Stan was thinking about when he sung it, but that line keeps popping in my head while watching the kids run around. Only one other dad in the place, and he was dragged there by his wife... probably gave up a tee time at Porter Valley for this.

So next time you're in a jungle fight, and you feel a presence near
Or hear a voice that in your mind will lodge
Just be thankful that you're not alone... you've got some company
From a big Marine the boys call Camouflage

Drivin' home from the "Leap" while listening to the Wiggles but hearing "Camouflage." Hope (and PRAY) that not to many whackos blow themselves up in Iraq tomorrow, and, if (well, when) they do, hope that they don't take any of ours with them. We had to stay in Germany for a few years after the Nazis surrenedered. Why should this job be any less difficult, Senator Kennedy?

Don't box me in

Yeah, got that rambling feeling again. When I was single, I could just pack-up and head for some desert local for a night and watch the world come to stop while the tumbleweeds rode on by. Now, I take my copy of "crisis" (had only one good article in it this month) and head for the car wash. My mind will never be boxed in, so neither will my spirit. Or is it the other way around?

I dial it in and tune the station
They talk about the U.S. inflation
I understand just a little
No comprende, it's a riddle

Darn! I hit the scan button by mistake, and now some guy is YELLING at me in Spanish. I respond by yelling back, incoherently, while jamming the "Call of the West" CD into the slot. Cue up the song of the same name:

He got the high sign so he jumped a bus
Along the roads that wind on through
The hot Mojave and the Jericho
He'd start his whole life anew
And what he left behind he hadn't valued
Half as much as some things
He never knew

Back to the single me for a moment, but I come to as I drive past How's and see that sign that says they are closing. They just couldn't make it with Whole Foods down the street. My guess is that now that Glendale is disgustingly Democrat laden, the old fashioned good grocer is unlikely to survive here.

Oh, how I hate Whole Foods. It is not so much because of what they sell, it is because of the people who shop there. I remember being in there last Spring during the Demo-primaries surrounded by Deaniacs and people who think that a swift-boat is somthing you take to the river while contemplating a Kerry presidency. I remember one of the former yelling at one of the latter, almost pleading with her, to vote for the Deanky. I half expected the Kerry-lady to whip out some BLUE Massachussetts shaped ear plugs... or some red ones shaped like a Heinz bottle.

But above all, above all, to have a fair shake
To get a piece of the rock and a slice of the pie
And spit out of the window of your car and not have the wind blow it back in your face

I suppose that is all any of us wants, but we have to be more tuned in to the reality of the West if we choose to respond to its call. Yeah, that west that I grew up in, but kept searching for somewhere else, is really changing.

Maybe I will go and see some more of it on Sunday and drag the family with me.

Goodbye... or should I write, "adios?"

I used to be somebody!
I used to be somebody, do you hear me?
Do you hear me? I've been there!
I used to be somebody, *** da*n you!
I've been there before!
Don't walk away!
Well, you... you wanted unleaded?
Unleaded... that's next pump over, so keep on movin', okay?
No, it's out of order.

I gotta get some gas.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


John Paul II's Bishops Battle in the United States

The February 2005 issue of First Things has hit the newsstands and the mailboxes of its subscribers. Richard John Neuhaus' short article on "The Bishops and Reform Delayed" does, at least, show that there may be light at the end of the tunnel for those in America who see "John Paul II as an exemplar to emulate rather than an aberration to be endured. They see this pontificate as the source of authentic renewal and reform rather than as an authoritarian imposition to be resisted."

Alas, I do not live in a dicoese that views Rome this way. Rather, the powers that be in Los Angeles seem to be a part of the old Bernardin machine that was able to throw a monkey wrench into the plans of those who uphold tradition and the supremacy of Rome during the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by getting Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, PA elected as the head of the liturgy committee. Said committee can be seen as promoting terrible translations of the Latin Vulgate and the Novus Ordo that I had to suffer through for the first time this past Sunday when the readings from the pulpit were drastically different (and dumbed-down) than the ones in the Missalette provided in the pews (I was not at my parish church for Mass this past Sunday, so don't leap to any conclusions). Trautman is one of those gender-inclusive language proponents who, ironically, does not find it funny when others refer to him as Bishop Trautperson. Trautman's selection (through a very little used rule of the Conference that came as a sucker punch to conservatives) has been seen as "a direct slap in the face of Arinze" (according to one arch-bishop) namely, Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship, "who has upset what is commonly described as the network of liturgical terrorists that is responsible for the banalization of Catholic worship over the last several decades."

So, where is the light at the end of the tunnel? If normal procedure is followed, the liberal Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, WA, will be replaced in three years by the Rome-friendly Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, IL. As one bishop told Fr. Neuhas, "Time and age of the newer bishops are not on their (the Bernardin liberals') side. Give us a few more years. The springtime of reform that the Holy Father talks about may not come until after his death, but it will come."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Together in Mission Annual Tax

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is foisting its annual tax on the parishes of Los Angeles starting this weekend. The Together in Mission (available in English and Spanish only) annual giving to support economically distressed schools and parishes is tied to each parish giving 10% of its annual offertory take of the previous year in total. As it was explained from the pulpit last year, each parish is held responsible for that amount even if the parishoners choose not to meet the 10% tax. Thus, parishoners who might have misgivings about the program, or think that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is not using its funds to adequately address the problems that the program is intended to fix will see their own parishes penalized. This is tantamount to blackmail.

The general intent of the program is noble: it helps educate furture generations of Catholics and ministers to the souls in these poor parishes. However, this blogger is not aware of any serious discussion of alternatives to this tax let alone making the contribution voluntary. Should some parishes and/or schools be closed and consolidated? Should some of the parish land of the closed parishes and schools be sold to support the newly consolidated parishes and schools? Is the Archdiocese creating and encouraging the problem by flaunting U.S. immigration law? Is the Archdiocese, through Together in Mission in addition to its general promotion of leftist multi-culturalism, promoting Gramscian-Marxist multiculturalism at the expense of the future overall health of the United States and the Roman Catholic Church? Are these schools and parishes acting in the tradition of the schools and parishes in immigrant communities of 100 years ago who worked to save souls and worked to build American citizens?

Perhaps all of these questions can be answered to this blogger's satisfaction. However, most people who are in lock-step with the corporate offices on Wilshire Boulevard, usually fall back on intelectually dishonest cries of, "It's all being done in the spirit of Vatican II," and, "you're a racist!"

As to the former statement, the Pope's appointment of Cardinals and Bishops to lead dicoeses and archdioceses in the last ten years (most recently the appointment of Bishop Gomez to the position of Archbishop of San Antonio indicates a direct attempt by the Holy Father to move away from appointments of those who are in the same school of thought as those of the American Left in the Church. As to the latter charge, my wife and I support missionaries both here and abroad (including Franciscans in Central America). Being opposed to illegal immigration is not the same as being racist.

That being said, the questions I have posted above have not been answered as far as I know with one exception: closing parishes and schools would be disruptive and emotionally damaging. Please... Catholics are not emotional cripples.

So, are my wife and I going to donate to Together in Mission in 2005? Yes, we will, just as we did last year; but, it will not be as much as the Archdiocese suggests since we will continue to support the people who reside south of the border by sending our money directly to the missionaries who work there. Unless satisfactory answers are given to my questions posted above, it will be the last year of giving.

edited at 12:01 p.m.

Monday, January 24, 2005


W's Mistake

Four score and eight years ago, Teddy Roosevelt said," We must have but one flag. We must also have but one language. That must be the language of the Declaration of Independence, of Washington's Farewell address, of Lincoln's Gettysburg speech and second inaugural." Last week George W. Bush took the oath of office for the second time, swearing an oath upon the Bible that he would defend the United States of America and the Constitution. His workers' amnesty program runs contrary to that oath.

Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard wrote the following in his recent book Who Are We?: "(i)f each year a million Mexican soldiers attempted to invade the United States and more than 150,000 of them succeeded, established themselves on American territory, and the Mexican government then demanded that the United States recognize the legality of this invasion, Americans would be outraged and would mobilize whatever resources were necessary to expel the invaders and to establish the integrity of their borders. Yet an illegal demographic invasion of comparable dimensions occurs each year, and the president of Mexico (Vicente Fox) argues that it should be legalized...

Immediately after his election, Vicente Fox announced his long-term goal of an open border with the free movement of people between Mexico and the United States. As president, he supported legal staus for the several million Mexicans who have entered the United States illegaly... (He) described himself as president of 123 million Mexicans, 100 million in Mexico and 23 million in the United States, a figure that includes Mexican-Americans not born in Mexico. (emphasis added)

(After September 11 the) Mexican government responded (to the United States' lack of normalizing illegals within its borders) by promoting its own form of legalization: the issuance by its consulates of registration cards, the matricula consular, certifying that the bearer was a resident of the United States. Some 1.1 million of these were issued in 2002. Simultaneously Mexican agencies launched a major campaign to get general acceptance of these cards. By August of 2003, they had succeeded with 'more than 100 cities, 900 police departments, 100 financial institutions, and with thirteen states.'"

Professor Huntington continues: "Legal Mexican immigrants have no need for a matricula consular. Possiesion of such a card, consequently, is presumptive evidence that the bearer is in the United States illegally... A foreign government, in effect, determines who is an American. The success of the Mexican matricula consular promtped Guatemala to start issuing them in 2002, and other homeland governments have been rushing to follow."

The danger of a porous border was seen again this past Sunday in a front page story by the Los Angeles Times entitled "Borders, Priorites Blur Along the 'Wild Frontier'" by David Kelly. Mr. Kelly writes, "(f)rustrated by security crackdowns in Arizona, thousands of illegal immigrants and drug traffickers are flooding once-quiet New Mexico... Mexican crime syndicates using two-way radios and sophisticated cellphones have American law enforcement under surveillance" so that they may be more effective in transporting illegal drugs and immigrants across the border. "Armed confrontrations are increasing." "Border agents say they have run into heavily armed Mexican soldiers inside the U.S.... some officials here think elements of the Mexican military are involved in drug smuggling... Locals can earn $1,500 to $3,000 transporting 100 pounds of marijuana to Phoenix, or $1,500 to smuggle an immigrant..."

President Bush, you are dangerously wrong on this issue.

Friday, January 21, 2005



Okay, I realize that this topic is off of my own beaten track, but I am going to write it anyway!

For Christmas, my wife purchased at my request, a shaving kit from Caswell-Massey. It included a stand, a razor (equipped with Gillette Mach 3 blades), a shaving bowl with soap, and a genuine badger brush. Other than the blades, I was going to give the old school style of shaving a try.

Although it takes a tad longer than normal, it certainly has been a success! Fewer nicks and a smoother shave has been the results.

Given the recent dry weather (after so much rain) the need for a shaving balm has risen. I have several, some of which are scented. For an unscented one, the 1752 label by CM works well at only $12.00. For a scented one from CM, I (as well as my wife) like the Newport label. The cost is $20.00

My wife also purchased some balm from Mary Kay (yes, that company does make stuff for men), which smells nice, but may last too long for some (it doesn't bother me). If you do get in contact with a MK person and purchase this product, use it sparingly as it has strong scent (plus, it is a bit runnier than others so a little goes a long way. The balm is called Domain, and costs $18.00

My favorite, which is also the most expensive, is Green Irish Tweed by Creed of Paris. It was Cary Grant's favorite. It costs $50.00.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Dishonest Republicans and Democrats

As the fight begins over the governor's proposed budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the misleading diatribes from both sides of the aisle have erupted into the public domain. The California Teachers' Association and the California Republican Party (with the help of Dan Weintraub at the Sacramento Bee) have begun trading shots, but neither party seems to want to face all of the problems of public education: lack of parental involvement, lack of effective discipline procedures, lack of appropriate materials, bulging classrooms due to immigration issues, and a lack of any desire on either side to get serious about the problems. Rather, the debate usually comes down to money in a generic sense without anyone speaking about the specifics although I would agree that money is very important.

The CRP, and Mr. Weintraub, are correct to argue that the proposed amount of money spent per pupil in the governor's new budget shows an increase from $7,012 to $7,374. They add that the CTA bemoans "fake" cuts in education that are based on expected revenue. At this point, they rest their case.

They should rest their case in a figurative casket as the cuts are not "fake" even though they are based on expected revenue - expected from Proposition 98 funds. Now it would be fair to argue (and I do) that propositions like Prop. 98 should be eliminated as they hamstring the legislators and prevents them from doing the job that they have been elected to do. But that is another arguement for another time. The point to be made here is that the CTA is correct in arguing that public education will get less than promised.

The question that needs to be asked is, "Is the amount of $7,374 per student sufficient to make our schools significantly better?"

On its website, the CTA cites the Rand Corporation's study that shows that California schools are nowhere near the top, nor is the proposed amount to be spent sufficient to catapult the state to the top: "The decline of California's K-12 system has paralleled the shrinking of per pupil financial support for education during the past three decades, according to the RAND report."

Now the entire report is not all gloom-and-doom. However, it is very curious that the Republican Party would shy away from an organization, Rand, that it normally embraces. In fact, the CRP has chosen to ignore the CTA's citing of the Rand study rather than attempting to rebut it. This approach is intelectually dishonest as well as lazy.

The crisis of insufficent supplies and financial support in the classroom is readily apparent if anyone in the CRP wants to check out the situation. More money, efficiently allocated and spent, would help to reduce class size and provide more matierials which would help make instruction more effective. Maybe some of those teachers that the governor likes to slam for "just showing up" are individuals who are tired of fighting and losing to the system that he does not seem to understand.

Of course, money is not the sole problem. Indifferent parents and a discipline system that makes it almost impossible to remove students from the mainstream system are also to blame for many of the educational problems.

Here is a politically incorrect question: "Would the total amount of money spent (if spent efficiently) be more than enough to catapult the state of California to the top of the educational pyramid if we did not have to educate illegal immigrants?" If that problem was addressed, there would probably be sufficient funds, sufficient supplies, sufficient administrative support, and class size numbers that benefit all concerned.

The CTA is so far left that they are gutless when it comes to facing the reality of the illegal immigrant problem; and, the Republican Party machine seems comfortable with towing the asinine Bush-line on the status of illegal immigrants. Neither side is willing to stand up and address this major issue/problem. Until they do, they will fire shots at one another that are comfortable for them to fire while the real problems are ignored.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Mexico's Problem

Mexico's problem is America's problem, especially for those of us who live in border states and who feel overwhelmed by the not so silent invasion of the masses. Professor Samuel Huntington has come under attack for pointing this out in his latest book Who Are We?. In chapter 9 of his latest tome, he points out that part of the Mexican culuture, according to Mexican philosopher Armando Cintora, includes ideas of "Who cares? That is good enough; "Tomorrow it will be ready;" and, "Nothing is really worthwhile." Huntington has come under attack and has been branded as a racist for putting forth this concept. He sees it as a grave problem for the future success and cohesiveness of the United States of America.

As it is a problem for Mexicans, Cardinal Sandoval, the archbishop of Guadlajara, Mexico, agrees where he blames the current problems of Mexico on conformism (combined with fatalism), a lack of historical memory, and a poorly formed concept of individualism.

Will the same people who attack Huntington attack one of their own?


Catholic France

Many people might argue that what little solid Catholicism that was left in France was effectively destroyed in the French Revolution. The history of the Church in France has been checkered since that time. Mostly, the Church seems to have wander into a leftist sphere that seems to embrace more secular ideas than ones that are in line with the teachings of Rome.

Some conservatives have gone too far in the opposite direction and ended in a state of schism or excommunication although they will argue, erroneously, otherwise. Others seem to be meeting with unjustified resistance by liberals even when the former are backed by the Holy See.

The Pope now has a chance to put an archbishop in charge of Paris who shares the Holy Father's views on the Church and Society. Should he do that, it would send a clear signal to the universal Church that the secularists and liberals need to toe the line. It can be argued that many of the Pope's decisions and actions have already done this; but, such a visible appointment in the heart of Old Europe (as the east is now New Europe) could not be ignored. Chances are it will be lambasted by the "progressives" who would see us more become more like the Episcopal Church of the United States: visibly divided and lacking direction.

Friday, January 14, 2005



Today's blog will be a bit of this and a dash of that...

XTRA Radio Changes

XTRA, one of the Clear Channel stations in the L.A. market, has decided to move its sports talk radio lineup to 570 KLAC which is also home to the Lakers. The Lakers will now be on an all sports station. The music format of KLAC will move to 690, and 1150 will probably become a talk radio station (but the Clippers will remain on 1150). UCLA will move to 570 as well.

Now for all the good things that Mike Garrett has doen at USC, the one thing he cannot seem to handle is getting USC on a decent radio station. My first vote would be to put them back on KNX 1070 so that the broadcasts could actually be heard at night! My fear is that USC will be relegated to 1540 only and forevever. Blech!

Randy Moss is an Ass
... and $10,000 is not enough. Deion Sanders comment in the fourth paragraph of this story In the Star Tribue is quite amusing.

The USC Juniors
Unless you have been told by the NFL that you are a top-5 pick, all of you need to stay.

Bellows Free Academy Defeats Milton in BASKETBALL, 5-2
Why did they even play? Here is the story.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005




When I used to live in Pasadena, I subscribed to the local paper. Often they published the articles of Gerald Plessner. Mr. Plessner has been consistently described as a local businessman and commentator. I always thought he should be described as "uninformed and emotive thinker of the left."

After I moved to Glendale, I switched papers taken at the homestead from the anti-Semitic and liberal Los Angeles Times to the Los Angeles Daily News. Unfortunately, the Daily News is no longer the center-right answer to the Times. Once I discovered this, I simply read the sports and comic pages, leaving the internet, radio, magazines and journals as my sources for news (I rarely watch any news on television).

I do not know why, but I actually flipped to the opinion pages of the Daily News on Sunday and saw my old irritant, Gerald Plessner. Here was his latest diatribe advocating the glories of the left, demonizing the right while failing to provide any substance to support either position. (please note that the above link may send you to a differnt column depending on the date on which you click it. If you cannot find the article referenced specifically below, try here.) My responses to his points are in italics.

Latest Commentary

As published in the
Pasadena Star-News - January 6, 2005
San Gabriel Valley Tribune - January 6, 2005
Whittier Daily News - January 6, 2005

What is so wonderful about conservative political ideals?
Gerald Plessner

What is so wonderful about conservative political ideals? I have spent the last two years, on and off, thinking about that question.

After reading the entire commentary, it is obviouis that most of the last two years your brain has been "off."

What was so wonderful about the first third of the Twentieth Century that we should revisit the pain of the Great Depression, the racial hatred and discrimination of Jim Crow or the lack of the medical advancements that save lives today? Should we return to the limited opportunities for women or the neglect of the aged, poor or disabled that was so much more prevalent then?

This paragraph shows the working of a myopic and selective mind. Modern conservatism looks at the totality of the American experience and advocates conserving that which makes America great... like the freedom of the press (established by law in the 18th century) that allows Mr. Plessner to ramble like he does.

What did conservative principles do to rid us of such problems? Did conservatives initiate Social Security, the G.I. Bill of Rights or the Voting Rights Acts? Did they bring us the Internet or enact laws that help deserving young people of all backgrounds go to pre-school or college?

Huh? Mr. Plessner fails to show any knowledge that conservatives, in the modern sense, look back with great pride on what their party, the Republicans, have done.

Let's look at his questions one-by-one:

Conservatives have consistently attacked the socialist Social Security system since its inception (which, by the way, was a scam from its liberal inception by FDR since the average age of those who might qualify at the time of its inception was older than the average age of death) as another tax which has driven up the cost of hiring people. In fact, the original idea of Social Security has been expanded so many times that it is now guaranteed to collapse under its own economic weight unless the United States enacts more taxes which will most likely stifle job growth. For a clear explanation of FDR's errors on Social Security and many other economic issues, one should read Jim Powell's FDR's Folly.

The G.I. Bill of Rights: Conservatives like this one! In fact, they have recently supported its extension to include all four years of college according to the Navy recruiter who presented in my classroom about two months ago.

The Voting Rights Act: Plessner's selective amnesia is readily apparent on this topic. It was the REPUBLICAN party that led the charge against slavery and for the adoption of the 13th and 14th Amendments. Conservative DEMOCRATS attempted to block the civil rights laws of DEMOCRAT President Johnson in the 1960s. Republicans took up the mantle and led the charge in face of DEMOCRATIC opposition in the Senate.

The Internet: Who are you? Al Gore's lackey? You cannot be serious!

Democrats help people go to pre-school and college: Yes, and conservatives sacrifice "black, brown, red and yellow" babies on the altar of capitalism while decorating the grounds of the racist temple with crosses filled with minorities on fire. Please, if you do not want to cite specifics, don't slam the opposition.

I asked a number of friends who know history to tell me what advancements of science or human understanding, exclusive of tools of war, were produced under conservative regimes. I got only one answer: "Columbus' voyage to prove the earth was round was financed by a pretty oppressive regime." And that was 500 years ago!

Your friends are either horrifically biased and/or as ignorant as you are.

Although I could list more, I will list one of the best:

The conservative Ronald Reagan won the Cold War based on his Christian driven ideology, thus helping to FREE the lives and souls of hundreds of millions of people. Try reading Paul Kengor's God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life.

Conservatives like to view progress through a rear-view mirror. Every advancement that makes them uncomfortable prompts a yearning for the good old days, for a return to the traditional values of another time.

Conservatives like to know where they are now by understanding from where they came. This does not mean that conservatives necessarily like all that preceeded them. If one latches on to a dictionary defintion of conservatism, which, it appears, Mr. Plessner has done, it is easy although irresponsible, to lambast Conservatives. The "conservative" armament systems (like the ones proposed by F. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson) helped create a system that Reagan evenutally used to win the cold war. Additionally much of the pending on the military also led to many innovations in modern life that we all enjoy (like faster plane travel, better computers, advances in medicine, etc).

But the good old days are what you get on Main Street at Disneyland. The rear-view mentality is of little value in our daily lives. People need progress to prosper, not withdrawal from the real world. Progress calls for investment, research and experimentation. It requires an open mind, even when results don't fit our established beliefs and ideas. It commands and produces ingenuity which benefits everyone.

Mr. Plessner's conclusion: Conservatives withdraw from the real world. Let's apply that... The following nations have withdrawn from the real world on the issue of terrorism (but not from the oil-for-food scam): France, Russia, China, Germany...

Mr. Plessner cannot discern the difference between having an open mind and having holes in one's head.

Progress is the rising tide that Ronald Reagan spoke of so eloquently --- the one that raises all ships.

Contrary to what too many conservatives seem to think, progress is a good thing. And government actions which support progress and not curtail it are a good thing as well.

Mr. Plessner's citing of Ronald Reagan on economics is akin to Stalin citing Cornelius Vanderbilt on secondary eduation. Of course, Plessner cites Reagan out of historical context in order to "prove" his point.

That is why it is worrisome to contemplate the near future when the following might happen:


Well, at least his scare tactics are consistent with the MODERN Democratic Party during elections

A group of lawyers --- states' rights conservatives --- are seeking to bring cases to the Supreme Court that would repeal the social legislation of the New Deal. They would attack Federal laws that make all states treat certain issues uniformly. They would change laws that give citizens protection from things like discrimination, unsafe working conditions and unfair business practices.

The president's opposition to stem cell research further limits research that might benefit millions of living human beings and the precedent is extended to other issues.

The continued attacks on a woman's right to control her own body and be advised by her doctor without interference from the government, overturns Roe v. Wade.

Religious conservatives continue to attack public education for telling young people the truth about the risks and responsibilities of sexual expression. And after three-quarters of a century of debate, they continue to attack the teaching of evolution, advocating their beliefs over science.

Increased militarism in response to the atrocities of September 11, 2001 result in an ever-growing defense budget that rewards industry at the expense of vital programs that help ordinary citizens.

Civilians in government again manipulate our elected officials and the public, taking the United States into another war to advance their neo-imperialist dreams.

The president's nominees to the Federal bench, and especially the Supreme Court, meet the litmus test of willingness to roll back individual rights such as a woman's right to choose, protections under workplace rules and issues of habeas corpus raised by our response to international terrorism.

Where do conservative principle guide us on such issues? Will they show us what is so wonderful about conservative political ideals?

About the author: Gerald Plessner is a Southern California businessman who writes regularly on issues of politics and culture. He would be pleased to hear from you and may be reached at
Use the below link to link directly to the latest Commentary:


Since his premise is ludicrous, it is only reasonable that his conclusion would match.

I can only pray (a conservative concept) that you reach a conclusion other than Mr. Plessner's.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Medjugorje in Arcadia

I am sorry that I have not been able to rebut the silliness of Gerald Plessner (sp.?) and his commentary that appeared in many papers in the Los Angeles area this past Sunday. I hope to get to it tomorrow. However, the rain, although it did not ruin my house like many, did cause severe damage to the garage and guest room. I have been preoccupied.

However, I have been informed that Holy Angels Church in Arcadia is hosting one of the confused people of Medjugorje on Wednesday night. Below is an edited version of my letter to one of those in charge in Arcadia:


...I received an email tonight from a fellow Grand Knight of another council that your parish was hosting one of the people from Medjugorje. Unless you have information to rebut what I currently know, the last two bishops (including the current one, Bishop Peric) whose authority and diocese include Medjurgorje have ruled, after very careful consideration, that (in 1997):

(t)he judgement of the Church is the same and it is still valid. There is no fact, argument, affirmation or miracle which proves that there is a case of "apparitions or supernatural revelations." link

As recently as 2001, Bishop Peric reiterated his position while blasting the Franciscans involved.

From what I know (and I am happy to admit the following point if I am wrong), the Holy See has continually upheld the authority and the decision of the Bishop in the area in question. Thus, for your parish to support and host this individual may very well be deemed as scandalous as well as an attack on the authority of Bishop Peric. It seems ironic that in the archdiocese of one of the most ardent supporters of collegiality among bishops that this would be allowed to happen.

I am not writing this email from the position of an individual who does not believe in such apparitions per se. For example, I think and believe that the miracles of Lourdes, Guadalupe and Fatima certainly did happen. Although it may not be the best word, these three (as well as others) have been certified by Rome.

Now, I am not one to sit idly by and let Bishops get a pass for improper behavior or actions simply because they are bishops; however, the case of Medjugorje does not rise to that level. The Bishops in charge of the area are backed by the Holy See, and any public support of those who reject the office of the Bishop in charge on this point are unjustly attacking the authority of those bishops.

XXXXXX, even if you cannot cancel the event, I pray that you will not participate in it...

All the best!

Vivat Jesus!

Matthew J. McKinley

Folks, it is time to put to bed the idea of "cult" in the modern sense and return to the definition of "cult" that the Church uses. We need to pray for the poor souls who are being misled by the falsehoods of Medjugorje, and we must work to inform the ignorant about the official Church position on the matter. Please note that Bishop Zanic, who was eventually succeeded by Bishop Peric, ruled much earlier than 1997 on the issue. I was simply trying to use more up to date sources in my e-mail. Also I have deleted some parts of the email for personal reasons.

ADDED ON January 12:

The passage below is taken from the Bishop of Mostar's current website. The entire transcript can be found under the Medjugorje link:

Conclusion. Not only are these statements ascribed to the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger "complete invention", but the numerous messages of Medjugorje, ascribed to the Madonna are also complete invention. If our faith is considered obsequium rationabile - rational service to God, true and healthy spiritual worship, as it rightfully is (Rm 12:1), then it cannot be any person's private fantasy or illusion (O. P., p. 84). The Church is competent to say this. In her name, 30 chosen priests and physicians, working together in three Commissions for 10 years, in more than 30 meetings, dutifully and expertly investigated the events of Medjugorje and brought forth their results of study. And not one, but twenty bishops responsibly declared that there exists no proof that the events in Medjugorje concern supernatural apparitions or revelations. The believer who respects both principles: ratio et fides, adheres to this criterion, convinced that the Church does not deceive.

Regarding Medjugorje, there's a real danger that the Madonna and the Church could be privatized. People could start contriving a Madonna and a Church according to their own taste, perception and deception: by not submitting their reason as believers to the official Magisterium of the Church, but rather forcing the Church to follow and recognize their fantasy.

Nadˇve (sic) believers could easily then leave the living fountains of grace in their own parishes to mosey on down to Medjugorje or follow the "seers" around the world, who by the way, thanks to the "apparitions" have good homes and a comfortable existence - at least that's what the mass-media say.

There are at least 6 or 7 religious or quasi-religious communities, just initiating or already established, some of diocesan right, some not, which have arbitrarily been installed in Medjugorje without the permission of the local Diocesan authorities. These communities are more a sign of disobedience than a real charisma of obedience in this Church!

There exists a problem in this diocese of Mostar-Duvno which in recent years has practically precipitated into a schism. At least eight Franciscan priests, who have rebelled against the decision of the Holy See to transfer a certain number of parishes administered by the Franciscans to the diocesan priests, have been expelled from the Franciscan Order and suspended 'a divinis'. In spite of this, they have occupied at least five parishes through force, and continue to exercise sacred functions. They invalidly assist at marriages, hear confessions without canonical faculties and invalidly confer the sacrament of confirmation. Three years ago they even invited a deacon of the Old-Catholic Church who falsely presented himself as a bishop, to preside at a confirmation and he "confirmed" about 800 young people in three parishes.

Two of these expelled priests sought after episcopal consecration from Swiss bishop of the Old-Catholic Church, Hans Gerny, yet without any result.

So many invalid sacraments, so much disobedience, violence, sacrilege, disorder, irregularities, and not a single "message" from tens of thousands of "apparitions" has been directed towards eliminating these scandals. A very strange thing indeed!

The Church, from the local to supreme level, from the beginning to this very day, has clearly and constantly repeated: Non constat de supernaturalitate! No to pilgrimages that would ascribe a supernatural nature to the apparitions, no shrine of the Madonna, no authentic messages nor revelations, no true visions!

This is the state of things today. How will things be tomorrow? We'll leave them in God's hands and under Our Lady's protection!

Sunday, January 09, 2005




What I am about to write does not even come anywhere close to the suffering of those in southeast Asia.

However, I have marginally high blood pressure, so not venting is not good for my health. If you haven't donated yet, click here for the Catholic Relief Service website or here for the Red Cross website.


Darn... after doing the above html bit, my day doesn't seem so bad (even though I almost died due to the incompetence of New Tech Autobody).

Well... I guess I will wait until tomorrow to rip the libs again!

My targets:

1) Father "Martin Marx" of the Redemptorist Order;

2) Gerald Pressner of the L.A. Daily News syndicate (and the LADN for running him).

Of course this is all contingent on me getting my car back!

Friday, January 07, 2005


Don't Blame Me, I voted for McClintock

Okay, that headline might be a bit harsh (as well as silly) since ol' Tom seems pleased with the Governor's pension plan proposals and his proposed reforms for education.

But it is obvious to me that the neither the Governor nor the Senator have a grasp on the reality of what it is like to teach in the classroom of a public school. I do. I am a teacher. I am a Republican... a very conservative Roman Catholic Republican who agrees with Edmund Burke that the capitalist system needs to provide a quality public education system in order to guarantee its survival. The Governor's vague and screed like State of the State speech launches an ill-conceived attack on the very system we need under the guise of reform.

Here are the pertinent parts of the official summation of the Governor's speech as found on his official state website:

Bringing State Pensions into the 21st Century

In 2000, our pension obligation was $160 million. Today, it has ballooned to $2.6 billion of the people’s money. Taxpayers cannot afford to continue paying for the archaic and enormously expensive state pension plan. Both the private sector and the federal government moved away from this out-dated pension system years ago. It is unfair to taxpayers to expect them to pay for pension plans better than the ones most of them have.

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed offering new state employees a Defined Contribution plan instead of the current out-dated Defined Benefit plan still in use for state workers.

The Governor’s proposal will move state pensions into the 21st century and bring about a system that is fair to all, efficient and affordable.

Strengthening Education

Our education system is plagued by problems that are unacceptable.

*Thirty percent of students who enter 9th grade do not graduate. [Department of Finance]

*Barely 40 percent of our students are proficient in Math. [Department of Education: “2004 Accountability Report”, 10.7.04]

*Nearly half of all freshmen admitted to CSU need remediation in English. [CSU Analytical Studies Department, 1.28.04]

*Thirty-five percent of California schools failed to meet the federal Adequate Yearly Progress criteria. [California Department of Education, “Progress Report 2004”]

Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing ground-breaking reforms that will strengthen our children’s education by (sic)

1) Rewarding good teachers,
2) Showing parents and taxpayers how their education dollars are spent,
3) Furthering charter schools and
4) Increasing vocational education.


Isn't all that neat?!

I cannot speak as to the conditions of employment outside of a school site situation. Maybe pensions elsewhere are out of line. But after only one year (a few years ago) of teaching in the public school system, I came to realize that the amount of garbage with which teacher's have to deal is so enormous that if the state actually wants to attract the "best and the brightest" they need to make the financial rewards much more attractive than they currently are in professions where such individuals could make more money and have a better retirement package.

About half of all new teachers leave the profession within five years because of the problems they face from the system as a whole. I would be among those numbers if I were not married with two young children. The joys of teaching are often killed by the sorrows of the system. The Governor and his supporters on this issue simply ignore the systemic problems over which teachers have no control.

The Governor's proposals for education, as summarized above, sound wonderful. As general concepts, I can readily support them. However, when one looks at the full text of his State of the State Address, one begins to see the problems. Here is the pertinent part of his address:

Let me say this to every California teacher who is opening the minds of our children and nurturing their lives: I want to reward you for your hard work. I want to reward you for the sacrifices you make. I want to reward you for the learning that you instill.

But I cannot do so under the current system. Help me change it.

We must financially reward good teachers and expel those who are not. The more we reward excellent teachers, the more our teachers will be excellent. The more we tolerate ineffective teachers, the more our teachers will be ineffective.

So, in the special session, I propose that teacher pay be tied to merit, not tenure. And I propose that teacher employment be tied to performance, not to just showing up.

The last sentence is so insulting since it implies that many teachers are simply just "showing up." I completely agree that this is an issue that needs to be handled, but I do not accept the implication that it is a chronic problem. The Governor does not offer any overwhelming proof that "just showing up" teachers are the problem or amount to a significant number in the public school system. He also implies that tenure is the reason that some (many?) teachers decide to "just show up." I think the better question is, "why do some teachers choose to 'just show up?'" Could it be that the administration of the system is part of the problem in some cases? It is intelectually dishonest to imply that teachers fall into one of two categories: "meritorious" (which, if tied to test scores, implies constant score improvement which is statistically impossible) or "just show up;" and, I can only thank the Heavens that he is not a product of the public school system in California.

The Governor also does not bother to define "merit" and "performance." Rumors are that he will tie these to the state standardized tests. That would be a terrible idea, but until I get confirmation on it, I will refrain from commenting further.

I will also refrain from listing the real problems of public education in California (and not just selected results as the Governor did) until I am able to review the Governor's specific proposals. Perhaps his proposed reforms have merit. Perhaps he just gave a terrible speech... and, perhaps he will embrace the teachings of the Church on abortion as it applies to his position as Governor.

I am not holding my breath on any counts.

(Note: and I still haven't figured out how to run spell check for this site on my OSX! Sorry!)

(Edited one line at 10:00 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2005)


Christmas Lights

The vast majority of my neighbors took down all of their lights and ditched their trees on January 2.


The concept of being in the liturgical calendar of Christmas or even trying to keep the Christmas spirit alive into the new year (which, after all, we should all be doing) seems to be as dead as the Valentine Day promotions are alive. I am a bit peeved that the Passionist Fathers sent me a Valentine Day fundraising packet that arrived just after the first of the year. That meant it had to be mailed BEFORE the first. Blech!

I like Christmas lights; and, I like the idea of keeping them up for several days after the first of the year. My goal is to get most of the decorations down this weekend even if the rain keeps coming down. However, I will keep my tree up for a few more days. My little girls LOVE the "pretty lights," and since each gets to "push a button" to turn one or the other on (inside and outside lights) it has become a big and enjoyable deal.

So if you drive past my house and wonder what whacko lives in their, I hope the answer is "the spirit of Christmas."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Damon's Disaster?

The new owners of Damon's Steakhouse in Glendale have made a major decision to fire its best employee.

Now I do not have a problem with new owners making changes. The rumor mill has the new owners adding more floral pieces, fish tanks, and some windows or two to the front of the building (please tint them!).

Only one server (waitress) lost her job which was a bit of a shock to me since I assumed that they were going to go for a younger crowd. Of course, the new owners don't want to pay for benefits, so maybe they hope those who were kept during the transition will eventually leave.. or maybe they hope that the kept employees will be so desperate for work that they will stay.

Given all of that, the Campbells made a major mistake by firing "Ron." It can be argued by those in the know that Ron made a mistake during the transition. However, anyone who buys a venerable institution like Damon's realizes the asset that Ron is to the business. Ron was a great lead bartender who could handle the demand from the floor staff while taking care of his half of the bar at the same time. His skill was even more in evidence on busy Friday and Saturday nights.

As a 33 year patron of Damon's, the new owners better watch-out! I plan on being very negative at the club this weekend.


My Top 25

1. USC
2. Utah
3. Auburn
4. Louisville
5. Texas
6. Oklahoma
7. Virginia Tech
8. Georgia
9. Iowa
10. Miami (FL)
11. Michigan
12. Tennessee
13. Boise State
14. Texas Tech
15. California
16. LSU
17. Florida State
18. Arizona State
19. Ohio State
20. Wisconsin
21. Boston College
22. Navy
23. Fresno State
24. Pittsburgh
25. Oregon State

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


National Champions!

Wow! I am quite pleased that I over estimated OU's ability!

Fight on!

Monday, January 03, 2005


Three Point Win

Sorry, Auburn, but your crappy schedule and your three point win against VA Tech (who should have at least TIED you) is not enough to claim a share of anything.

Utah has a complaint.

Auburn does not.


The problem with UCLA Football

UCLA did not hire Al Borges when they fired Toledo (heck, if Toledo had let Al run the show, Bob would probably still be the Head Coach).

UCLA has a great mid-level DI coaching staff.

Enjoy mediocrity!


Arming for Peace


How is it that we are able to immediately respond physically through ships, helicopters, rebuilding crews etc. to the disaster area that is Southeast Asia?


Our military is easily converted into a disaster relief and rebuild effort.

I am waitng for the man who led the "cut the defense budget effort" and ex-presidential candidate in 2004 to admit that he was wrong.





Okay... it isn't coming. Nor is it coming from the rest of the anti-military gang (Hello, Senator Clinton!).

Thanks should be given to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Of course the man who sported the following two bumper stickers on his pick-up truck (seen today) probably hasn't figured it out yet:

"Ignorant and arrogant is no basis for a Foreign Policy;" and

"Kerry-Edwards: a Safer America."

Kerry lost because he was/is arrogant and ignorant of how the world really works. We are definitely not worse off because Kerry lost. Our prestige can only grow as we help the people on the ground in SE Asia. The only ones who disagree with that conclusion are the Democrats in Congress, the Euro-liberals, and the Muslim nations who cater to extremists.


Saturday, January 01, 2005


Ouch! Cars, Cal and Damon's New Owners

Thankfully, no one was hurt when the cab cover of a small Nissan pickup truck flew off and spiraled into the windshield of my blue Pontiac Montana, shattering the passenger side window and leaving a dent and some scratches on the roof just a couple of miles north of the offramp to Jack Murpy Stadium (the Q to all you anti-traditionalists) on December 29.

My minivan took a lesser beating that than the Cal Bears did (although the recovery time might be the same). At least the Texas Tech Red Raiders were curteous enough to shake hands after whomping on the Bears. The guy responsible for the damage to my car just kept on going.

But we did get the license plate of the truck who hit us (true - but joke intended).

And then there was the bee who tried to cause the same type of damage to my rental car on Friday on my way to CostCo in Burbank as Bono was singing, "and I still haven't found what I'm looking..." SPLAT!

Hey! Pitt just scored! (I am watching the game while typing this... so much for the MWAC shut - out... THOSE PRETENDERS! Just joking.)

Speaking of pretenders, how about them Longhorns. They have to come from behind to beat a 9-2 Michigan team on the last, wobbly field-goal attept, play. It was an entertaining game, and both teams had flashes of brilliance; but, neither team looks as dominant as the (currently) four undefeated teams in the nation. However, Michigan's offense looked very good in the second half, while Texas' QB looked like a very good athlete in the same half.

With no parking on the course, I got there early (in my rental) and parked in the "secret" spot familiar to Brett. Eventually, the officials opened most of the side streets, but it never got completely full near the reading room where I parked and taligated with Ridge and Mike (and his wife) - strangers but nice folks who happened to know where to go to beat the crowds.

As for my "colors" comment in an earlier post... the colors that were missing were Red and White... many tournament seats were VACANT. I am a traditionalist... but my tradition also means supporting the game even if the traditional conferences are not both there. I have been to every game except one (when I was moving to Georgia in 1991) since 1976. About an hour before the game, low-row endzone tickets were going for $20.00 a PAIR. The Tournament either needs to purge the unsupportive whiners, or listen to the whiners (including supportive ones like me) and purge the BCS. Does anyone really think we would have had this problem had the old system been in place and 12-0 USC was playing?

As for "ouch!" several long-time Damon's employees will have been given their pink-slips today. The new owners didn't want to let anything be known until today since they were afraid that some employees, had they been fired, would not show up to work on New Year's eve. The new owners want to keep the total employee level below 50 (it is currently slightly more than that) so that they don't have to provide insurance to the employees. They are trying to bust the union.

Now, I do not normally attack anyone for doing what they want with their business. I also realize that revenues are down at Damon's, and that it is no longer open on Mondays. Competition with Crapicana on Brand (when the rape of Downtown Glendale is complete) is forcing a change in thinking.

But it is DAMON'S. It is a Glendale institution. The staff and clientele are family-like. The Campbells may be wrecking their investment instead of saving it. As a 33-year and third-generation customer (who is only 38 years old), I hope that they do not do to Damon's what the Harvard MBA's did to Schlitz... the same goes for SC's gameplan for Tuesday night!

Oh, and I finally did my part to donate to the hurtin' folks in Asia by throwing cash into the collection boxes at CostCo on Friday and at the Rose Bowl today. I felt better since those Red Cross solicitations were specifically for the folks who fell victim to the tsunamis, whereas contributions directly to the Red Cross website (which I promoted) were less than specificly targeted.

But there are several oganizations who are providing specific help.

But whatever you do, don't give money to the United Nations. Check out the "Pearls before Swine" posting at the Belmont Club. For those of you who ever saw Sam Kinnison (sp.?) on Carson, the U.N.'s camps will remind you of his routine mocking relief agencies filming starving children.


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