Friday, October 31, 2003

Pro-life progressive

Thanks to Allen of The Right Christians, I recently discovered a blog by a politically-progressive Catholic: Matt Zemek's Wellstone Cornerstone. We've been having some interesting discussions in his comments, here and here. The latter discusses abortion: Matt is pro-life, but does not believe that changing laws (e.g. reversing Roe v. Wade) is the way to go: he'd rather see RvW become irrelevant because of a lack of need on the part of women to seek abortions. I strongly disagree, but it's been an interesting discussion, and some of you might be interested.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

two new permalinks

One by a brother-in-law: Carried Away.

Another by Fr. Rob Johansen (who has flown down to Florida to give pastoral care to Terri Schiavo's family): Thrown Back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

new permalink

This one to John Gibson's Expagan blog.

Thanks for the link, John!

There's a good discussion going on in the comments box of this post at Disputations on the question of progressive/liberal and conservative, in politics and religion.

Check it out.
Make sure

you're reading Bill Cork on a regular basis.

Too good to pass on for very long...

Last week I came across a couple of columns slamming JPII for -- of course -- being too rigid, conservative, etc. etc.

I share them now for anyone who has too-low blood pressure...

First is this column by Jesuit priest Fr. Daniel Maguire of Marquette University in Milwaukee. [Correction: Maguire is laicized and on his second wife, and was diocesan, not Jesuit, and Marquette alumnus Kevin Miller informs me in the comments; thanks, Kevin.] The title of the article is A Papacy's 25 Years of Unfulfilled Potential," and the subtitle is, "We shouldn't celebrate John Paul II's demeaning view of women and obsession with 'pelvic orthodoxy.'" Oy-veh.

Second, this column by San Francisco Gate columnist Mark Morford. The title of his piece? "Slap A Condom On The Vatican," with the subtitle, "They say condoms kill. Meanwhile, millions die of AIDS. Can the Catholic Church be stopped?"

For some nice stuff, though, read Maggie Gallagher on JPII, or this Dallas Morning News editorial, or Phillip Jenkin's take, or George Weigel's view.

All of these should return your blood pressure to optimal levels.
been busy...

and hence I haven't had time to blog much in the past week.

I'm not gone, though...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Friday Fax

Here's the latest Friday Fax from the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute:
    Dear Colleague,

    Today we report on the anniversary greetings the BBC sent to the Pope in the form of a vicious "documentary." It appears the Catholic Church must be persecuted, because it has little faith in condoms.

    Spread the word.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Douglas Sylva
    Vice President

    Action Item: To get the complete transcript of the documentary, go here.

    To complain to the BBC, write to,, or


    October 17, 2003
    Volume 6, Number 43

    BBC Accuses Church of Worldwide Condom Misinformation Campaign

    To mark the 25th anniversary of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired a television documentary Sunday night roundly criticizing Catholic moral teaching on sexuality, even accusing the Catholic Church of engaging in a worldwide conspiracy to misinform people about condoms' effectiveness in preventing HIV infections.

    Stephen Bradshaw, the reporter of the documentary, entitled "Sex and the Holy City," said that "The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by AIDS not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which the HIV virus can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk. The Church is making the claims across four continents despite widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to the HIV virus."

    Ideological opponents of the Vatican's promotion of traditional sexual morality have seized upon these reported statements doubting condom effectiveness. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the world's largest distributor of condoms, said in a press release that it "deplored" the actions of the Church. A UNAIDS scientific advisor said that the Church is "totally incorrect. Latex condoms are impermeable. They do prevent HIV
    transmission." A World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson claimed that the "Catholic Church's incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous," since "consistent and correct" condom use is 90% effective in stopping infection.

    Many observers charge the BBC and its allies with attemeting to smear the Catholic Church. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, England, said that the BBC was exhibiting "hostility" towards the Church and that "the Catholic Community is fed up." C-FAM president Austin Ruse, who was interviewed for the documentary, said, "my interview with the BBC was among the most biased, aggressive and deceptive I have ever participated in. it was shockingly clear that their conclusions were drawn against the Church long ago."

    Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, who was quoted in the documentary, later said that he "was surprised with some of the reactions" to his questions about condoms and "safe sex." "I simply wished to remind the public, seconding the opinion of a good number of experts, that when the condom is employed as a contraceptive, it is not totally dependable, and that the cases of pregnancy is not rare. In the case of the AIDS virus, which is around 450 times smaller than the sperm cell, the condom's latex material
    obviously gives much less security. Some studies reveal permeability of condoms in 15% or even up to 20% of cases. Thus, to talk of condoms as 'safe sex' is a form of Russian Roulette," he said.

    The Cardinal also cited US government research that has found that condoms do not protect their users from a number of sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, syphilis, chanchroid and trichomonas.

    Critics of the international response to the AIDS epidemic have long doubted the efficacy of condoms, as well as the morality of telling people in the developing world that they are "safe" from infection when condoms admittedly fail 10% of the time, even when used "consistently and correctly."

    Copyright - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

    Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
    866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
    New York, New York 10017
    Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
    E-mail: Website:
Pastores Gregis

That's the title of the new Apostolic Exhortation published today by JPII, On the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World. It flows from the work of the tenth Synod of Bishops which was held in 2001 in Rome.
Ad multos annos!

The heading for this post is the latin birthday wish (the sentiment in translation is, "and many more [years]!"), but I'm using it today to congratulate Pope John Paul II on the 25th anniversary of his election as pope, and to wish him many more years of service.

Congratulations, John Paul the Great!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Yeah, we respect human dignity

I haven't posted much on the infuriating-and-sad case of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, who -- although not in a persistent vegetative state (PVS), let alone a coma, and in spite of the fact that multiple medical experts have testified as to her awareness -- is now being starved to death by court order.

If you haven't heard about this, go read Earl at Times Against Humanity, who has been covering this extensively for some time, and Mark Shea, who has some spot-on posts from today and some links to similar comments at other blogs.

As Mark notes, even Fox News is keeping the story at an arm's distance. Like Mark, this reminds me of how "devoted" many political conservatives are to the pro-life cause -- not very, it seems to me. Liberals, of course, who claim to be the ones who are there for the down & out and the defenseless, are even more mute.

But keep praying: starving to death takes days, which is usually a curse, but in this case, it may mean that Terri can still be saved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

So smart, for being so dumb

People who seem to have an ax to grind viz. the President are writing a lot on Bush's ability to say one thing while really meaning something else. They refer to the "elaborate webs of disinformation" which come from Bush and his administration.

As I've said before, Bush's ability to misdirect is amazing, given that he's so stupid.
True, unfortunately

Mark Brumley comments on the latest letter from the US Bishops Conference, Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility:
    What If They Issued a Document and Nobody Read It?

    The U.S. bishops are getting a jump on the 2004 elections by issuing their election year treatise Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility. With all due respect to the bishops, they have produced one more long document that will have virtually no impact on the vast majority of Catholics in the United States. Even if every Catholic in America read it--and let's face it: only a tiny minority will ever even hear of it--most of them are so poorly catechicized that they would not benefit very much from it. And even if they understood what the document says and why it says it, they wouldn't necessarily be disposed to accept its teachings.

    With respect to prudential judgments contained in documents issued by the U.S. bishops, it is fine enough that the laity exercise some independence of judgment. When it comes to genuine principles of Catholic social teaching, Catholics should embrace these principles according to the manner in which the Church presents them. At the very least, these principles represent authentic Catholic teaching and are therefore owed at least the "religious submission of will and intellect." Assuming, of course, we're talking about the genuine teaching of the Church and not simply some ecclesiastical officeholder's political opinions.

    But whether Faithful Citizenship presents Catholic teaching that all Catholics should embrace or a list of debatable prudential judgments Catholics may question or both, very few Catholics will ever set eyes on the document. Few priests will ever read it, much less the laity. Most Catholics will go happily or unhappily on their way without giving the least bit of attention to this document, regardless of its merits or demerits.

    Being at ease in Zion gives you a certain sense of continuity, doesn't it?
Sadly, this is true: the vast majority of Catholics in the US will never read this document -- they just don't care.

There's a lot of work to be done out there.
Miracles and science

Amy Welborn links an LA Times story on cures which modern medical science is unable to explain.
You know what's hard to stomach?

Arrogant politicians who think they have the right to go anywhere and speak anywhere, even when their requests to do so are specifically denied.

The arrogance.
Two days...

until the 25th anniversary of Karol Wojtyla's election as pope. Kevin Miller links a number of articles on JPII.
He's thrown in the towel

Andrew Sullivan no longer calls himself Catholic, at least in public. He explains: "this past year has been a watershed for me. The combination of the cover-up of sexual abuse and the extremity of the language used against gay people by the Vatican has made it impossible for me to go back inside a church. I do believe that something is rotten in the heart of the hierarchy."

Sadly, if he had dropped the final three words of the last sentence, he would have hit the nail on the head: both the saint and the sinner are both with original sin and the tendency to commit sins (concupiscence); the difference between the two is that the former acknowledges his failings as such and seeks forgiveness from God, while the latter denies that his actions are sinful to begin with.

Keep Andrew Sullivan in your prayers. And read Gerard Serafin's thoughts on this.

Monday, October 13, 2003

T update

A week or two ago I had a brief exchange of blogs, emails, and comments with Tristero. Every few days I'll wander back to his blog to see what's on his mind.

Generally, Tristero (like Atrios) assumes the worst about President Bush and his administration, e.g. the "hidden motives" behind Bush's public policy, the administration's lies [sic], the president's intelligence, and so on. Why that is, I have no idea, since my contact with Tristero has been so limited. Because I don't know him that well, I think it would be rash to speculate on his own motives, so I'll refrain from doing so.

His biases results in posts which are certainly interesting to read. For instance, in a post from today, he speculates as to what he would do if he were the leader of another country today; not any specific country, but just not the US. Here's what his general plan would be:
    I would work as hard as possible to ensure that never again would the US be in a position to act militarily in the face of nearly universal opposition. I would work to limit American power in as many ways as possible.
Two points:

1. "Nearly universal opposition"... this is a red herring; Tristero well knows that dozens of countries gave at least a modicum of support to the US. The fact that France and Germany and some other countries opposed Bush does not equate with "nearly universal opposition."

2. Tristero would prefer, evidently, that things return to the way they were before we invaded Iraq, when we had evidence going back to the Clinton administration that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and when Saddam ran a terror state. (NB: I've said before that the latter does not justify the war; but it is indisputably a positive side effect.) He would prefer that the US be unable to act "independently" (to assume Tristero's red herring for a moment) when the President and majority of people and their representatives believe that there is just cause for us going to war.

Needless to say, I disagree.
The "imminent threat" lie [sic]

A great post on the interchange between Fox's Tony Snow and Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Rockefeller accuses the President of calling the Iraqi threat "imminent," and Snow calls on it. Over. And over. And over.

Some people claim that Fox News is biased in favor of conservatism. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Either way, Snow's fisking of Rockefeller and the "imminent threat" myth is real.
When in doubt, google

It'll increase your chances of finding what your looking for.

Why do I say this? Because someone out there in cyberspace went to Ask Jeeves and inquired as to "young marines in the nude". The seventh result was yours truly. Why? Well, "nude" came from a quote I posted about the Dixie Chicks posing nude on a magazine cover, and there are plenty of references to marines during the Iraqi War.

In any event, I'm happy to say that the inquirer did not find exactly what s/he was looking for.
Emily on the job

Emily of After Abortion has a couple more extraordinary posts.

The first, from Sunday, details how some students and faculty from a Catholic college in Madison, WI recently held a ceremony for four trees -- yes, trees -- yet no students or staff have shown up at the Madison abortino clinic to pray the Rosary with the local Bishop.


The second post, from today, discusses a series of letters in Glamour magazine, which has long been an advocate of abortion rights. After discussing each letter, Emily writes,
    All in all, this selection of letters is telling and important. They didn't print one single letter from a woman saying that all she experienced was relief. (I wonder if they didn't get any such letters?)

    Considering that "what women experience after abortion is relief" is the primary theme of pro-abortion groups with respect to post-abortion emotions, and considering that Glamour is a long-time staunch advocate of choice and a very widely-read fashion magazine, this is a significant development. I'm very happy about it.
Me too, Emily.

Tim Graham posts a couple excerpts from Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign website:
    Congressman Kucinich is one of the few vegans in Congress, a dietary decision he credits not only with improving his health, but in deepening his belief in the sacredness of all species.

    I support Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and will select Supreme Court justices who affirm this Constitutional right.
Ah, but I've forgotten: consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, right?
Anglican divorce

Christopher Johnson posts on the future of his Episcopalian/Anglican community. One comment he makes: "Relations with Rome and an international presence are nice. But leftist street cred and New York money are nicer." And his conclusion? "So, barring a miracle, my "official" Anglicanism will finally be over in a couple of days."

Pray for Anglicans as they hold their "crisis summit" in the next few days.
Safe sex?

Amy Welborn discusses Cardinal Trujillo's recent comments on condoms and AIDS, and offers her own thoughts as well. She proposes the follow thought experiment:
    Perhaps its helpful, if we're trying to understand, to think of it this way: What if your daughter came to you and said, "I'm going to have sex with a man who's HIV positive, but he's going to use a condom. Okay?"

    Aside from all the other attendant issues, would you be happy with her actions? Would you feel that she was doing a "safe" thing?

    And would cheerily paying for the condom yourself, handing it to her, and saying, "Have a good time and good luck" be a loving act? Do you think, in retrospect, she would see it so?
Mark on Pat

Mark Byron posts on Pat Robertson's comments about nuking the State Department (as Mark says, "How does Rev. Robertson walk around all day on one leg? He always seems to have a foot in his mouth.) and then addresses Robertson's point.
Another new link

I'm also linking The Might Barrister, whose author, The Barrister, has linked me for some time (sorry 'bout the delinquent return-of-favor!).

One of his recent posts discusses an ex-Catholic atheist who rails against The Barrister (TB) for his blind dogmatism [sic] and then blocks TB from commenting!
New link

Mark Brumley -- a "rare" pre-Hahn evangelical convert to Catholicism -- is an editor at Ignatius Press and an author as well. His website has been around for a while, and he has a blog as well.

At that blog, he has a great post on hypocrisy, born out of the Limbaugh controversy.
Justice vs. Vengence

Mark Shea has a great post in which he uses the reaction of too many liberals to Limbaugh's addiction to make a terrific point about the purpose of justice and punishment.

Go thou and readeth.

Fr. Bryce Sibley notes that today is the anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima: thousands of people (including atheists and other skeptics) saw the sun begin to spin and "plunge" towards the earth.

Of course, it was all a hallucination peformed at the hands of three illiterate pre-teens.

Tom at Disputations posts a response to another blogger's question about God's nature as omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent.

One good line: "Some evangelical atheists sneer at "imaginary sky gods," but such errors are easy to make when confronted by Christians whose faith is, essentially, in a Really Big Invisible Human."

Check it out.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Hate speech

It's typically people on the right side of the political spectrum that are accused of engaging in hate speech, and some times the accusations are probably correct.

But it's not only some members of the right who are guilty of the "politics of personal destruction" and similar forms of hate speech. A few weeks ago I linked this blog as an example of unobjectivity. That blogger today posted on Rush Limbaugh's confession of an addiction to pain killers, and the comments... well, they aren't exactly kind, tolerant, and loving.

Besides the hatred of Limbaugh evidenced by those comments, I confess myself not to understanding so many of their charges. Rush is called a hatemonger and a racist innumerable times in these comments alone, when he is nothing of the sort. Why can't these people understand that it is possible for good, honest people to reach different conclusions on the issues? Why is it that someone who disagrees with the liberal take must be a lying, intolerant, racist pig? Again, I know that some conservatives repeat the favor, but that only indicates the widespread nature of the problem... it doesn't excuse it.

What this tells me -- again -- is that there is very little real exchange of ideas between hard-core conservatives and liberals in too many cases. Just listening to Rush or one of his liberal counterparts doesn't cut it, because there is no sustained dialogue. We need to talk with one another and get to the heart of the matter of our disagreements. Yes, people will probably continue to disagree, and that's fine. But it would eliminate the demagoguery that passes as political discourse.

To return to those comments, for a moment, I think Fr. Rob Johansen hit the nail on the head in this comment at this post of Mark Shea's: "I find it ironic that the leftists inhabiting the Atrios site are so free to accuse conservatives of preaching "hate", and to call Limbaugh, et al., hatemongers. I have never seen hate concentrated and condensed to the point of acidity, as I have on that site."

Unfortunately, I have to agree.
Judge upholds infanticide?

A couple big bloggers (Kathryn Jean Lopez in this post at The Corner and Mark Shea on his blog here) have linked this article which begins this way:
    Is a crying baby alive? No, not necessarily, decided Cook County Circuit Court Judge Karen Thompson last November when she acquitted a mother previously convicted twice of murdering her newborn daughter.
The piece got my blood pressure up sufficiently to try to find out more about the case, and what I found doesn't really agree with what the article claims, at least by my reading. Here's the comment I made at Mark's blog:
    I'm not sure about this one, Mark. I followed K-Lo's link to the same article, and was sufficiently outraged by the it that I did some googling to find out more about this, and in the process, I found the opinion, here.

    Maybe the legalese confused me, but reading the opinion tells me that the circuit court judges believed that there was enough doubt about whether or not the infant was alive when born to say that the mother may not hve killed her. In other words, it may be that the baby died prior to or during birth, and that the prosecution failed in ruling that possibility out beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Maybe I'm wrong in my reading of the opinion, but if not, it seems that the charges against the judge are not deserved.
More signs of success in Iraq

Andrew Sullivan summarizes Paul Bremer's press conference on what we have achieved in Iraq:
    Here's a more prosaic account of the extraordinary work that the U.S. armed services have been doing in Iraq. It's from the CPA's new official website. Yesterday, Paul Bremer gave a brief overview. (And, believe it or not, even the anti-war New York Times covered it.) My highlights:

    Six months ago there were no police on duty in Iraq.

    · Today there are over 40,000 police on duty, nearly 7,000 here in Baghdad alone.
    · Last night Coalition Forces and Iraqi police conducted 1,731 joint patrols.
    · Today nearly all of Iraq’s 400 courts are functioning.
    · Today, for the first time in over a generation, the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
    · On Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts—exceeding the pre-war average.
    · Today all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
    · Many of you know that we announced our plan to rehabilitate one thousand schools by the time school started—well, by October 1 we had actually rehabbed over 1,500.

    Six months ago teachers were paid as little as $5.33 per month.

    · Today teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.
    · Today we have increased public health spending to over 26 times what it was under Saddam.
    · Today all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
    · Today doctors’ salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.
    · Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
    · Since liberation we have administered over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq’s many children.

    This is what some in this country want to stop. This is what would never have happened if we'd let Saddam Hussein stay in power. It's simply beyond me how anyone can describe this war as about "oil" or about "imperialism" or about "greed" or "militarism." It remains one of the most humanitarian acts in modern history. And, if successful, it could turn an entire region around - a region that has been the main source of real danger to itself and to the West in my lifetime. I'm banging on about this not simply because it's by far the most important issue in our politics right now, but because a wilful and petty disinformation campaign is being waged to distort this achievement, undermine it, and reverse it. We mustn't let that happen. We cannot let these people - and ourselves - down again.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

new link

Although we disagree profoundly on political matters (and probably other things as well), Allen of The Right Christians is a liberal blogger who is patient, charitable, and more than willing to engage in an open and honest dialogue about contentious issues and/or personalities. He is, in short, the kind of liberal blogger whom I've been looking for, and because of that, I'm happy to permalink him.

You may disagree with him (I certainly do at times), but his style of discussion promotes rather than hinders the exchange of ideas, and that's something which regular readers of this blog know I value immensely.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

An anti-racism classic is... racist?

Sean Gallagher posts today on an Indiana high school that decided to cancel its theater production of To Kill a Mockingbird because the local NAACP chapter said that it might foster use of the "n" word by students.

Unbelieveable. I just read (well, listened to) the classic novel on tape last winter, and it's one of the greatest "arguments" against racism I've ever seen.

I guess the local NAACP chapter can't see the forest for the trees, or however that goes.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Spongy thinking

Another result of googling for news on JPII: this piece from Australia, discussing some recent comments by Retired US Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong. Noting the offense Spong took at remarks made by John Paul II about difficulties in the path to Christian unity caused by the Episcopalian election of an openly-gay bishop, the piece quotes Spong: "Truth has to trump unity at all times."

Absolutely, Bp. Spong! For once, the man is right! Too bad he's right for the wrong reasons... he goes on to say, "I'm not interested in being a member of a homophobic church, and if the price of unity with the Bishop of Rome is that we have to begin to treat women as second class citizens and reject our homosexual brothers and sisters, I'm simply not interested in that unity."

Translation: if others do not bow to my infallible intepretation of the amorphous will of the genderless, apersonal deity, forget about them.

Thanks again for the reminder, Bp. Spong.
It's got everything!

While googling for news on Pope John Paul II, I came across this opinion piece from the St. Petersburg (Russia) Times, written by Chris Floyd (doesn't sound very Russian to me, but hey!).

Floyd's opening line? "The defining issue of modernity is control of women's fertility." Uh, okay. Later, we get some samples of "today's fundamentalists": bin Laden, Bush, the Pope, Afghan warlords (U.S. backed), and Iranian mullahs. Nice, morally equivalent bunch Mr. Floyd has there. And what is it that these crazies cannot accept "at any cost"? Why, "the freedom of a woman's body," of course!

Floyd goes on from there, discussing abortion (but never the heart of the issue: the moral and ontological status of the human embryo) and some other things.

Pretty interesting piece, in a way.
Science and Religion

In Sunday's Argus Leader there was a Reader's Forum column on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act by Thelma Underberg, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota in Sioux Falls. The column--no longer online--concluded with the following paragraph: "The UVVA would adopt one religious belief about the beginning of life – that the fetus at all stages of development is a person – and make it the law for all, regardless of individual beliefs."

Here's the letter I submitted to the editor in response:
    In her recent Reader’s Forum commentary Thelma Underberg wrote that the Unborn Victims of Violence Act “would adopt one religious belief about the beginning of life – that the fetus at all stages of development is a person – and make it the law for all, regardless of individual beliefs.” Ms. Underberg asserts that the view that the fetus at all stages of development is a human being is a religious belief—this is manifestly false. The science of embryology has long informed us that the being which comes to exist at the point of conception is a human being, i.e. a member of the species homo sapiens. This accords with common sense: the fetus surely isn’t a horse, a cat, a cow, or a member of any other species but our own. In other words, the view that the fetus is a human being is a scientific truth, not a religious view. (One might also point to pro-life atheists like Libertarians for Life founder Doris Gordon as evidence against Ms. Underberg’s assertion.) And in our justice system the law is (supposed to) protect every human being from harm done by others. The UVVA simply continues that principle.

Friday, October 03, 2003


I know I haven't posted much of late... we're moving into a new home, and -- as you can imagine -- it's a little time-intensive.

Once we're settled and mostly unpacked.... "Ah'll be back."

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Limbaugh: racist?


There's some controversy today about comments made by Rush Limbaugh last Sunday on ESPN (he has a Sunday gig there on their football show) about Donovan McNabb -- quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles -- being portrayed by the sports media as better than he really is. Why would the sports media do so? Limbaugh thinks the answer is McNabb's skin color: he's black. The (sports) media, Limbaugh is arguing, wants McNabb to be a great quarterback -- even if he isn't great -- simply because he's black, and they want to champion great, black quarterbacks.

Now, Limbaugh might be all washed up on this, but it's hardly a racist statement, as many have been saying (see this AP story), with Democrat presidential contenders Wes Clark and Howard Dean -- along with the NAACP and others -- calling for Rush's termination from ESPN.

With Chris Berman -- host of the ESPN show -- I didn't see Limbaugh's comments as racist, and apparently, neither did Michael Irvin and Tom Jackson, two black panelists also on the show.

Here's part of Rush's take on the whole thing (I'm posting it in case the links change tomorrow):
    Quotes from Rush on McNabb

    October 1, 2003

    "This thing is alive and kicking today because the Philadelphia sports media and the newspapers decided to kick it up. There was no immediate reaction among fans or viewers that I heard of. We had no phone calls here about it."

    "My point was that it would be a shame if these black assistant coaches ended up being used as pawns simply to keep the league out of court. I was very sympathetic to the black head coach premise and black assistant coaches in the league. Nobody commented about that. Nobody reacted to it at all - and nobody puts it in context with this McNabb business."

    "If the sports media are going to get upset with me for saying that their desire for black quarterbacks to do well might influence their opinion and coverage of McNabb, I'll take it back and say, 'Okay, you're not interested in black quarterbacks doing well.'"

    "My comment was actually a comment aimed at the media, not even at McNabb. It's not by any stretch of the imagination a putdown. It doesn't say McNabb is bad."

    "It's clear that many of the people writing about this story have no real experience listening to this radio program and probably haven't even heard some of the other things that I have said on this ESPN show. My essay in the first week of this ESPN show came to the defense of black coaches in the NFL."

    "I'm not the one that's even introduced race in this, if you want to know the truth. You can go back. You can read Philadelphia sports media last year, the year before, and you can see that guys have been writing about the great things that Donovan McNabb's success means in a racial context."

    "What is it when the sportswriters automatically and in unison, in lockstep, agree with Martha Burk when she makes her claim about Augusta National? Is that not political when these liberal sportswriters demand that Augusta change its private membership policy and admit women?"

    "Liberal sportswriters have pushed the notion that it's unfair that there haven't been more black quarterbacks, and I agree with that. I have simply said that their desire for McNabb to do well has caused them to rate him a little higher than perhaps he actually is."

    "This was a discussion on what's wrong with the Eagles and what's wrong with McNabb. And from that, why, you would think that I had gone back and wished for the South to have been successful and everything that goes along with that. I mean, it's literally incredible."

    "I was comparing McNabb's reputation on the field to his reputation in the media. The media has portrayed Donovan McNabb as a great quarterback, and they have credited him almost exclusively with the Eagles' success, and I've always thought that there were more components to the Eagles' success than just the quarterback."

    "At one point we didn't have enough black quarterbacks. Well, now there are quite a number of black quarterbacks and it's my opinion that the sports media, being liberals just like liberal media is elsewhere, have a desire that black quarterbacks excel and do very well so that their claims that blacks are being denied opportunity can be validated."

    "I guess if you listen to the elitist liberal sports media, I nor anybody else who hasn't been somehow close to the game or played it or whatever, shouldn't be on a program where these items are discussed."

    "Fans are often wrong. Everybody disagrees with everybody when it comes to opinions expressed about practically everything, including sports."

    "If anybody is entering politics into this, it's the sportswriters, not me. I have studiously avoided it because I know people are laying in wait for it."

    "You know, the critics here have a little bit to explain themselves. I think they have some questions to answer. Who is entitled to speak about these things on the media or privately or publicly? Who decides that? What is the criteria for determining somebody's value or worth in this regard?"

    "These are the people who claim to be the most tolerant among us. This is the compassionate left who claim to have the biggest hearts and the biggest degree of understanding, but they're the ones who are the least tolerant."

    "You think I'm all wet on this. So what? I'm all wet. In your mind, I'm all wet. I'm wrong. Whoopee-doo! You know, why not leave it at that? People who think I'm wrong, think I'm wrong. But it's gone way beyond that."

    "They can make all the references to the race of athletes and what it means to the community and what it means to the black population of the country and how many kids look up to them. They can do it all day long, but nobody else can."

    "My point Sunday on ESPN was that the defense of the Eagles, I think, deserves a lot of the credit for this team's success. It's a sports opinion, for crying out loud - and I think it's an accurate one."

    "For those of you, by the way, who are saying, 'Rush, what were you thinking?' I thought about this the night before. I weighed it, I balanced it, but you know what I decided? Look, they brought me in to be who I am. This is what I think. It's a sports issue. It's a sports opinion."

    "This is not by any stretch of the imagination the end of the world. None of this stuff is. To start balancing and weighing what I say versus the political correctness requirements that are out there? Why, I don't do that here so why should I do it anywhere else? Let the chips fall."

    "You know, this is such a mountain made out of a molehill. So much needs to be said here. I guess at the top of the list would be that we supposedly have freedom of speech in this country, but if you don't say what people who consider themselves the Arbiters of What Can Be Said agree with, then they want to come after you with everything they've got and try to humiliate you and take a stab at your reputation and otherwise get your mind right."
You can go to Limbaugh's homepage for more on his side of things.

Maybe you aren't a Limbaugh fan -- I tend to agree with his policy stances, but rarely listen to him these days -- but you have to admit that there is no racist intention in what he's saying.