Saturday, December 30, 2006

El Scorcho!

My little brother got Weezer's Pinkerton for Christmas. Great album. "Getchoo" is the only song I'll skip (too annoying).

Listening to the album, I realized that I still had no idea what's going on in "El Scorcho." A little digging showed that "Cio-Cio San" is the title character of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly." Goes back to the first line, as it were. What is Rivers Cuomo's obsession with Japan anyway? There aren't any hints of it in the Blue Album. To understand the rest of the references, you can go here.

If any of our readers is a companionable, funny, pretty girl in her mid-twenties, who also happens to be independently wealthy, I have this to say:

I'm a lot like you so please
Hello, I'm here, I'm waiting
I think I'd be good for you
And you'd be good for me

Friday, December 29, 2006

God bless Joe Lieberman

As I noted here, I'm a fan of sincere, intellectually honest politicians. Regardless of their positions, they invite everyone to engages ideas on their merits, as opposed to engaging in childish demogoguery.

I mention this because I have tremendous admiration for Joe Lieberman. He has been possibly the most important U.S. senator since I began following politics (circa 2000). He has stuck his neck out with his support of the global war on Islamic terrorists (or whatever your preferred nomenclature is), and he nearly got his head chopped off for it. He has become a man without a party.

He truly believes the war in Iraq is vitally important to the future of the United States, and he proclaims his beliefs in strong, unambiguous language. Today, in the Washington Post:

I've just spent 10 days traveling in the Middle East and speaking to leaders there, all of which has made one thing clearer to me than ever: While we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging. On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States. Iraq is the most deadly battlefield on which that conflict is being fought. How we end the struggle there will affect not only the region but the worldwide war against the extremists who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001.

God bless Joe Lieberman. Both Republicans and Democrats could use more men and women like him. But one party needs him more: the party that elects these guys.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Book Reports: A Game of Thrones

Just got back from visiting family. A belated Merry Christmas!

This is the first installment of "Book Reports," where I will give a quick recap of the book I most recently read. Today's book is A Game of Thrones, the first novel in George R.R. Martin's "Fire & Ice" series.

What it's about: It's a story of political machinations and war among the ruling nobles of the Seven Kingdoms. It is the first of seven planned novels (four have been completed) in the series.

Why I read it: It was recommended by Big Jim.

What I thought: Like most fantasy series, the developments are slow in coming. The first few chapters didn't really engage my interest; indeed, I almost gave up reading it a few times. However, Martin constantly did just enough to keep me reading until about halfway through the book, at which point I was fully hooked.

Two things I really enjoyed about A Game of Thrones were the complex characters and the sense that anything could happen. The personalities are realistic, rich, and complicated. No major character is a monolithic bore. On the second point, nothing is off limits in this book. I honestly didn't know what was going to happen each time I turned the page, and I can't say that about many books I've read.

It was also a fairly quick read, once I got into it. I suppose the best recommendation I can give is that I will certainly read the next book in the series.

What I'm reading next: Twilight in the Desert, by Matthew Simmons. It's a book questioning the present state and future viability of Saudi Arabian oil.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rocky in a Rocking Chair

When I first heard the news that Stallone was making a new Rocky movie, I think I had the same reaction everyone else did. Namely, I threw up in my mouth a little bit. It's actually getting decent-to-good reviews somehow; the review in today's Wisconsin State Journal called it the best since the original. It was saluted for not being over-the-top, as III, IV, and V increasingly were.

With all due respect, these reviewers are morons.

If you're going to make a movie about a 60-year-old man defeating the heavyweight champion of the world, it damn well better be over-the-top! If you're going to start with such a ridiculous premise, then you might as well have some fun with it. Bring back Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, and Dolph Lundgren!

III and IV are two of my favorite movies, simply because they are just so rewatchable. I don't want to watch a senior citizen grieve over his deceased wife for two hours. I want to watch him brawl with Clubber Lang ("My Prediction? Pain.") and Ivan Drago ("If he dies, he dies."). I want to watch him conquer evil in all its forms. Rocky is a larger-than-life superhero, and he should act like it.

Stallone also wants to make a final Rambo movie. Incidentally, Stallone and George W. Bush share the same birthdate; they both turned 60 a few months ago. I think we should make Rambo IV, except it should be W going into the Middle East and single-handedly conquering al-Qaeda. Now there's a movie I'd watch.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And the Reviews Are in for Rocky Five . . . Thousand

Of course, the joke was on Mel since Stallone eventually made Rocky V and now Rocky VI.

Interesting article over on First Things about the new movie. I can't really say more than that since, unlike the esteemed Rico, I am untutored in the ways of the Rocky universe.

One little bit did catch my eye though (other than Spider being far cooler a first name than Johnny):
Sound familiar? Rocky Balboa is part trip-down-memory-lane, part remake. As much as I wanted the old magic, as much as I admire Stallone for sustaining the spirit of this character all these years, it’s tired. The set speeches about continuing to move forward no matter how hard you’re hit, and how “it doesn’t matter how this looks to other people”—tired. This is Stallone talking to himself and talking to his critics. Yes, all the Rocky films have mirrored to some extent a particular phase of Stallone’s life and career, but it’s only the deep-down sweetness of the character that mitigates what by now comes across as self-pitying and self-justifying cant. Not that there’s anything wrong with a message about the value of perseverance—but who in his right mind wouldn’t counsel a 59-year-old with arthritis in his neck not to get in the ring with the heavyweight champion of the world? At some point common sense must trump sheer will. But, again, this is more about Stallone than it is about Rocky.

Rocky's going to be 59! I know Stallone's getting up there, but couldn't they done something to make him look a mere 45? I mean, c'mon, this is just getting ridiculous.

One aging movie star making a sequel led me to think of another aging star. I've read that Lucas and Spieberg are still kicking around the idea of Indiana Jones IV. They'd better hurry. Harrison Ford is no spring chicken himself. By the time production roles around, Ford's going to have to play Indiana Jones in his 60s, which, if I have my time frame right, means the movie will take place during the '70s, which means it will now be possible to connect this guy:

With something like this . . .

The horror. The horror.

Desmond Howard Is Stupid

Did you know that he went to Michigan?


Random song from grade school that just entered my head:

Ebeneezer Sneezer,
Topsy-turvy man,
Walks upon his elbows
Every time he can,
Dresses up in paper
Every time it pours,
Whistles Yankee Doodle
Every time he snores.
Oh Ebeneezer what a man!

The tune is simply progressing up a scale, so line one would be sung all in C, line two in D, etc. The Last line then runs down that same scale. For some reason we all loved it in first grade. I think it must have been the word "Ebeneezer."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Alla glottan Hellados gignoskeis?

I thought the blogging mind-meld was quite funny: posts separated by one minute.

Did you see Tracy's comment on my Single Tear post?

Charlie Weis, Sine Qua Non

What, you think you're the only one who gets to carelessly throw around Latin?

For what it's worth, February needs to take its time in coming. Once February comes and goes, the only Notre Dame-related excitement I'll have to look forward to is the Blue-Gold game (although I suspect it will be excitment aplenty). I'd like to savor te next month and a half of bowl games and recruiting news. How am I going to fill my time between National Signing Day and September 1, 2007?

I suppose moving into a new apartment, potentially starting law school, preparing for the birth of our first child, and raising said child will have to suffice.

Regina Quondam. Regina Futura.

From behind the firewall of ESPN Insider comes a scoop off of Ivan Maisel's blog:
Weis Fixed On The Prize

He may be loud and he may be big, but even Charlie Weis can be inconspicuous. On the night that Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn did not win the Heisman Trophy, the Fighting Irish coach stood behind a pillar at the far end of the lobby outside the Nokia Theater. If you came down the stairs into the lobby and craned your neck to the left, you might have seen Weis, which is how he liked it.

When public figures like Weis are in a public setting -- that is, one they don't control, complete with civilians -- they lurk on the edge of it. To dive in would be to surrender their time and their shield. Speaking of which, I can remember being in South Bend some years ago for a banquet at which then-coach Lou Holtz would speak. He stood in the second-floor lobby of the athletic building, self-pinned against a trophy case, sipping a diet Coke and girding himself to go on stage.

So Weis is off to one side, and I walk up and re-introduce myself and congratulate him on going 10-2. And here, from memory, is what he said:

"Listen, it's a polite thing to say, and politically correct, but if I'm happy with a 10-2 record, I'm going to get fired," Weis said. "The two losses were not close. We're not where we want to be. But I'm telling you, with the players we have coming in, including a couple of recruits that nobody knows are going to commit to us, we're going to be a lot better. A couple of years from now, you are going to remember that we had this conversation tonight."

"All right," I said. "I'll remind you. No, you remind me."

"I won't have to," Weis said. "We'll just look at each other, and you'll know."

You can't hear tone of voice online. On the screen, Weis might sound arrogant in that exchange. He didn't in person. He is fixed on a prize, and he intends to claim it.

One other thing: that's why journalists love unscripted moments. That's the real Charlie Weis

I believe something about the obliteration of the unbelievers and perhaps a chariot of fire and a thousand trumpets are in order. Or we could just go for head-butting the nearest dog. Whatever suits you best.

On a more practical level, just whom did he mean? The Heisman banquet was December 11, so Maisel's been sitting on this information for a while, the bastard. Since the banquet, Ian Williams (Dec. 12), Golden Tate (Dec. 12), and Taylor Dever (Dec. 16) have all publicly committed. Of the three, only Williams came as a surprise. Everyone and his grandmother knew that Tate and Dever would commit as soon as they were offered. Since Charlie said "a couple," I have to assume he meant more than just Williams, if he was even referring Williams at all. Chris Little is another possibility, going from enigma to nearly-certain Irish commit in very short order; however, since Weis was talking about rectifying the blowouts by Michigan and USC, the optimist in me would like to think that Charlie alluding to some silent commits on the defensive side of the ball, i.e. Martin, Donald, Wright, or Griffen.

February can't come soon enough.


As one of the last 17 people who occasionally watch Saturday Night Live, I can tell you that the show is not particularly funny. However, when a funny skit comes along, it is one of the few shows that can make me spontaneously laugh out loud. (Scrubs, The Office, and Family Guy are a few others.)

For example, I actually caught Lazy Sunday live and thought it was absolutely hilarious. I was actually a little disappointed when its popularity became so widespread. I was also a little disappointed when Chris Parnell wasn't brought back this season.

The reason I mention this is because I saw another laugh out loud moment last week. It wasn't as funny as Lazy Sunday, but it still cracked me up. Go here, and click on 'A Special Christmas Box.' The facial hair alone is worth the price of admission.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Single Tear

Silly, but oh so powerful:

After I finished watching I wondered two things: 1) Why open a video on Notre Dame with the song "Once in Royal David's City"? 2)Is it me, or does the narrators accent come and go?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Day

Well, ok, it's not actually Christmas Day, but I thought I'd share with you, our loyal audience, my favorite Christmas song.

After much trolling through the internet (while I should have been doing schoolwork), I was finally able to figure out how to embed sound into Blogger. Voila:

The songs in the medley are "Good Christian Men Rejoice"; "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"; "The First Noel"; and "Come Ye Lofty, Come Ye Lowly." I really can't get over when "Come Ye Lofty, Come Ye Lowly" kicks in. Awesome. It's the fifth track from Carol by the American Boychoir. The whole CD is fabulous. "Christmas Day," "This Christmastide," "Carol of the Bells," and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" are the highlights.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Like "Blunderworld"


Saw Underworld: Evolution last night. It actually wasn't as god-awful bad as I thought it would be. The first third was fairly exciting, and I liked the medieval bits, though I don't know why Russian knights were dressed up like soldiers of Gondor. The backstory of an eternal, secret war was attractive (as was Kate Beckinsale). Of course, the movie broke down soon enough. Marcus and William were never really explained, and the "evolution" part of the movie was just an inelegant way of needlessly increasing the powers of all involved. Oh, I thought the part where Selene and Michael fight Marcus on the truck was very well done. So, not god-awful bad, just mindless action movie bad. Remember that.

I guess this is a good a time as any to offer my theory on vampires in art. The best comparison I can make is to the King Arthur mythos. Neither has really been done justice yet. Every book or movie I've read about the two has shown some flashes of brilliance but can't quite come through. For some reason the idea remains better than the execution. Discuss amongst yourselves why.

No wonder the vampires in the prologue are so ineffective. They were originally the clowns Peter Jackson had defending Gondor.

That's Unpossible!

Technigal prowess aside, a wife who likes video games? A rare gem, my friend, a rare gem.

I'd also like to add that I've noticed my blogging is directly proportional to the amount of work I have to do. Apparently nervous energy is necessary.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Top that!

I just spent my Friday night disassembling my Playstation 2 in order to clean the laser so that it would read games again.

And here's the kicker: I actually did it for my wife. Such is married life.

A brief global geopolitical thought

In terms of international affairs, the next two years are going to be really important. They truly represent the end of an era, as Bush, Blair, and Chirac all stumble to the end of their presidencies and prime ministries. This could really be a time for shifting alliances, but it reamins open to question which way they will shift.

The Atlantic alliance could grow stronger and continue to heal, a process that already started when Angela Merkel replaced Schroder in Germany. Gordon Brown, the presumtive successor to Blair is a committed Atlanticist. In France, the prospects are less bright, but they certainly look better than they did a year ago when de Villepin looked to be the frontrunner.

The other key change will be in Russia, where Putin is forbidden from running for another term. While there is little doubt that his successor will be handpicked and probably an autocrat in the Putin mold, having a new leader is almost certainly less worrisome than Putin changing the law to keep himself in power.

From November 22, 2005 to January 20, 2009, the executives most likely will have changed in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan, and Russia. That is an incredible change over the course of 38 months. It will afford the new leaders real opportunities to develop new relationships and chart new foreign policies.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Some Unrelated History

I thought I'd pass on a link to The Polish Military Historical Site that my sister sent me about a large scale reenactment of the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska conducted yearly on the anniversary of the engagement February 25. The website even says that they use live powder and horses. That's dedication. Since Polish history is not the hot discipline it once was, I thought I'd post a summary of the battle from Wikipedia:
The first months after the outbreak of the November Uprising saw no hostilities between Poland and Russia. Both the Polish commander Józef Chłopicki and Russian tsar Nicholas I were hoping for a peaceful solution to the conflict. However, none of the sides could propose a satisfactory compromise and in on January 25, 1831, Nicholas was deposed of the Polish throne.

This was seen as a de facto declaration of war and the Russian Army under Hans Karl von Diebitsch was ordered to enter Poland and crush the rebellion. The Russian army entered Poland on February 4 and started a fast advance towards Warsaw. Despite several minor battles and skirmishes, in which the Russian army suffered significant losses, the advance could not be stopped by the Polish forces, both numerically and technically inferior.

On February 24 the Russian Army reached the outskirts of Warsaw in two columns. Initially Diebitsch was planning an all-out assault on Warsaw on February 26. However, the successful Polish counter-attack in the Battle of Białołęka, in which the 13 500 men strong Corps of General Ivan Shakhovskoy was defeated and forced to retreat, made Diebitsch change his plans and attack earlier than planned.

The Polish counter-attack in the area of Białołęka on February 24 surprised the Russians. In the early morning of February 25, after both units taking part in the Battle of Białołęka were on the verge of breaking after a night-long city fight, the Poles threw in the reserve 1st Infantry Division under General Jan Krukowiecki. The Russians started a retreat and the Poles started a pursuit, but the Polish advance was halted after an hour.

The sound of the nearby battle made Field Marshal Dybich change his plans and order an assault on Polish positions 24 hours earlier than planned. At noon the I Corps and the Corps of General Grigoriy Vladimirovich Rosen were ordered to assault the Polish 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions (Generals Skrzynecki and Żymirski, respectively) in the woods east of Grochów. At the same time the Corps of General Pahlen was ordered to outflank the Poles from the south and strike through the lines of the Polish 4th Infantry Division of General Szembek.

Although the Russians had numerical superiority and better equipment on their side, the Polish lines were well-hidden in the woods and the Russian artillery had difficulties helping the advancing infantry. Despite numerous assaults, both the woods and the Grochów-Gocławek road was still in Polish hands by dusk. After suffering heavy casualties, the Russians withdrew from the battlefield. However, the Poles also lost large part of their forces and were unable to organise a successful pursuit.

Here's a picture of the man playing the Russian general Diebitsch. An interesting side note on the differences among the Slavic languages, the Polish reenactment site spells his name "Dybicz."

I See . . .

Boy do I feel sheepish.


I purposefully linked to the main page to keep our anonymity. And you blew it.

So Much for Anonymity

We've been IDed! Every man for himself!

Yes, I guess it's time to come clean about our identies since my partner in crime has chosen to reveal himself due to his excessive pride in being able to make national news. As a deceased mythical boxer I feel quite honored to be blogging with Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee; however, I'd be even more impressed if he could manage to link to the right page.

My famous co-blogger.

Economic Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious State of Wisconsin

I was recently quoted extensively in a front page article in the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel. This article got picked up by the Associated Press and has been published in news outlets in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. I've done two rounds of radio interviews for recent studies we've published. And I may be doing an extended interview with Wisconsin Public Television tomorrow.

I'm becoming more overexposed than Borat.


The Wall Street Journal. Not the biggest fan of Kofi:
But the larger problem of Mr. Annan's approach is that, by insisting that only through the U.N. could the world act to protect vulnerable populations, he has made vulnerable people hostage to predatory regimes with seats at the U.N. and made it all the more difficult for the world to act. Compare the fate of the Kosovars--rescued from the Serbs by U.S. military action undertaken without U.N. consent--with that of the Darfuris, who are still at the mercy of militias supported by the Sudanese government in Khartoum, which has effectively blocked serious international intervention.

Likewise, Mr. Annan's only serious post-Oil for Food reform was in replacing a human-rights machinery that has consistently avoided condemning the world's worst human-rights abusers. Mr. Annan asked for, and got, a new Human Rights Council to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission. Six months into its existence, the new council has succeeded in faulting only one nation: Israel.

Mr. Annan came to power at a moment when it was at least plausible to believe that a properly reformed U.N. could serve the purposes it was originally meant to serve: to be a guarantor of collective security and a moral compass in global affairs. Mr. Annan's legacy is that nobody can entertain those hopes today.

The Blue-Gray Sky

Jay's post is amazing. I don't really have anthing to add to it except agreeing that running through a wall sounds pretty good right about now.

After looking at Blue-Gray Sky, I realized why I thought our layout looked so good: I was so used to looking at theirs. Oh well. Imitation and flattery and all that.

Well Obviously It's Not Meant To Be Taken Literally . . .

It Refers to Any Manufacturers of Dairy Products

Rico, I'll attempt to answer you based on my rather sporadic knowledge of Catholicism and no research.

I think the important fact to keep before you is that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. I don't think anyone pretends to know the complete ramifications of this claim, but we can at least begin to answer your question.

John, who has the highest Christology of the Evangelists, has Jesus weep outside the tomb of Lazarus (11: 35), and Matthew, Mark, and Luke portray a very real struggle in the Garden of Gathsemane. Now, these examples are obviously after Jesus reached maturity, but the adult Jesus of Gospels seems to have very real human limitations along with his awesome power. I think that attributing all knowledge to Jesus in utero takes away from the awful mystery of the Incarnation. An overemphasis of the divine element in Christ risks minimizing both the Incarnation and the Crucifixion. Regarding your mention of the 12 year old Jesus, I'll just point out that, while he obviously knows he's special, his actions are very childlike.

As I said in the beginning of this post, a definite answer is unknowable; however, dwelling on the problem cane certainly be spiritually fruitful.

I may be biased, but...

This is one of the best things I've read in quite a long time. I'm ready to run through a wall.

Well, That's Done

No, Catullus, te pedicavi, te pedicavi.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And now for something completely different...

I'm a faithful Catholic, but my knowledge of church doctrine is lacking compared to Big Jim. So I'm going to pose this completely random question to him (and to anyone else who may happen to stumble across this).

Is there an official position on when Jesus became "self-aware" (for lack of a better word)? Did he know when he was in the womb that he was the divine Son of God? Or did he learn/realize this at a later time? And if so, when and how? Presumably, it would be before he was teaching "in (His) father's house" at the age of 12.

I don't even know if there is an official position, or if there some obvious one that I just don't know.

To Game or Not to Game?

That is the question. I'm pretty sure what the answer is, but while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Of course both grow weak when they see something like this trailer:

It's hard to pass up a chance to sucessfully defend the Byzantine Empire, lead the Reconquista four hundred years early, or see how the British longbow fares on the steppes of Russia. Awfully hard. I think my current PC is too old to run the game without a few upgrades. I'll refrain from challenging that fact for as long as possible.

Now We're at 14

Ummm, I don't quite know how you can top Candy Robots (unless with Seizure Robots) but whatever. And yeah, Brownback, like Feingold, is independent. Isn't he exactly that rare beast that Democrats allegedly mourn for?

The most important news of yesterday was, of course, the commitments of Golden Tate and Ian Williams to Notre Dame. While Tate looks to be that receiver with elite speed which Weis needs for his offense, I’m most excited by the commitment of Ian Williams, the first true DT to commit to Notre dame in well over half a century. Williams’ verbal will finally gives Minter the freedom to unleash the defense Weis has been recruiting for: the famed, yet elusive, 1-3-7:

Speed is never a bad thing, right?

I've never been good at titles

If you're goint to compare us to two Simpsons characters teaming up in seemingly unstoppable fashion, only to be summarily stopped, I would have preferred this one. If I'm going down, it might as well be God who does the dirty work.

I've actually been a fan of Brownback for a while. He is a genuine statesman who acts out of deeply held personal beliefs with little regard for political calculations. He takes turns offending liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. Even if I don't agree with all his positions (and I don't), there's no question we need more people like him in the Senate.

Still, his newfound popishness is a cause for concern. Secret ceremonies, clandestine sponsors, the next thing you know, he'll be teaming up with giant albinos.

All that aside, statesmanship and principle are the reasons I'll stomach a dozen Russ Feingolds over one John Kerry every day of the week. While I disagree with Feingold on most issues, I appreciate the fact that he acts on his beliefs, not his ambitions. Plus, I can't imagine you'll ever see Feingold doing this.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Liberals and Religion

Together we're unstoppable, eh?

Does this mean we're going to be shut down in favor of a candy robot blog?

That said, I guess I'll kick this thing off with a rather weighty topic. I recently read Noam Scheiber's article in The New Republic on Sam Brownback, Kansas senator, and his possible chances of winning the Republican nomination for president. The article's pretty long, so I'm only going to list a couple of quotes.

First, we have the good old "Poisoning the Well":
For the most part, though, it's not the continuity between the young Brownback and today's Brownback that is striking: It's the change. Because the longer Brownback goes on, the more you sense a distinct lack of passion for standard Iowa fare like agriculture policy or the budget. Compared with the previous speaker, local Congressman Steve King, he's not even worked up about Iraq. What Sam Brownback clearly wants to talk about--what he thinks people need to know about--are the issues you might store in a mental file called "Judgment Day." The Judgment Day file begins with standard culture-war causes like gay marriage and abortion. But it is a sprawling file, and, before long, it sprawls to such far-flung locales as Sudan and the Congo, where Brownback wants to stop genocide and human trafficking. "We're a great nation," Brownback says. His voice is still composed, but now there's a firmness that wasn't there before. "And I believe, in my heart, that for our greatness to continue, our goodness must continue.

I should make clear that this phrase "Judgment Day file" comes neither from Brownback nor his supporters. It is solely the creation of Scheiber. As we later learn, Brownback is a convert to Catholicism, so the whole End Times spiel doesn't really apply to him anymore. Why does Scheiber feel the need to paint him with the extreme Evangelical brush? So it would appear that Brownback is being condemned for taking his religion seriously and then applying that religion not only to the bugaboos of liberal America (abortion and gay marriage) but even to issues which I would assume deserve support from either side of the aisle: putting an end to genocide and human trafficking.

Another dandy:

Brownback's conversion the following year made him both a Catholic and a member of the rarefied flock of John McCloskey, priest to Washington's conservative establishment. McCloskey had previously converted conservative journalists Bob Novak and Larry Kudlow, and Brownback's "sponsor" was his fellow senator, Santorum. As with most secret societies, the accounts of Brownback's admission to this circle are remarkably thin. No one describes it as much more than a "quiet ceremony" officiated by McCloskey in a K Street chapel.

I like the quotes around sponsor. Is Scheiber not aware that it's a religious term? And if he is, couldn't he explain it to those who don't know it? By leaving it alone, he makes it seem shady and cultish, which, of course, is the whole point of this portion. I like the final two sentences too. I would assume that it was Mass which McCloskey presided over, in which Brownback received the Eucharist for the first time. Scary stuff, I tell you.

Finally, Scheiber once again manages to turn a rather liberal position on Brownback's part into a condemnation:
Then there is the immigration issue, which is either a colossal political miscalculation or the policy equivalent of Catholic self-flagellation. In 2005, Brownback signed on as a co-sponsor to the relatively moderate Kennedy-McCain bill. The reaction from rank-and-file Republicans has not been kind. Steve Scheffler, the head of a conservative evangelical group in Iowa, told me, "The biggest thing [Brownback would] have to address is why did he vote for that horrendous bill?" Kensinger says Brownback's answer is simple: "The Bible says you will be judged by how you treat the widow, the orphan, the foreign among you. That's the end of it." He believes the key is how Brownback manages his position--not the position itself. But Chuck Hurley, a Brownback law school classmate who runs the influential Iowa Family Policy Center, has hinted a shift could be in the works. "I understand he's been doing some consulting about that issue," Hurley told me conspiratorially, citing an upcoming meeting with a local anti-immigration politician.

So what he have here is yet another liberal who just doesn't get religion. Need I say that this isn't tremendously helpful for the Democratic Party? Does Scheiber not know any religious people who could look over his article for him. Reading between the lines, I've found a new respect for Brownback, whom I didn't really know a lot about before. He seems like an independent minded, committed conservative who takes his faith seriously, with nary a skeleton in his closet (since I'm sure Scheiber would have mentioned any of those).


I'm loving the new digs.

With Big Jim Dwyer and Johnny Rico together, no force on earth can possibly stop us.

In the Beginning

Johnny Rico:
In other news, I think you should start some sort of group blog to which I could contribute. I think our e-mail exchanges should be put online for posterity's sake. However, I don't have the will to put it together.

For what it's worth, has not been taken.