Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Donald Duck's Tomb Revealed?

(Anglican Innovations, Feb. 27, 2007): Fresh on the heels of his spectacular special on the tomb of Christ, Oscar-winning film director James Cameron announced today that his new special, The Lost Tomb of Duck, will air April 1 on the Discovery Toons network. Cameron’s documentary film recounts what may be the “archeological find of the century,” beginning with the unearthing of a tomb in Hollywood, California containing 5 small stone boxes.
The Stone Bone Box Attribute to Donald

Cameron and renowned animation scholar Simcha “Bugs” Jacobovici provide startling evidence that one of the boxes from the tomb contains the long-sought skeletal remains of Donald Duck. The other bone boxes, or ossuaries, are believed to contain the remains of Donald’s three nephews and his paramour, Daisy.

Asked how anyone could be sure of the identities of the individuals buried in the tomb, Jacobovici replied, “It’s all a matter of statistics; we all trust statistics don’t we?” He then pointed to letters carved into the side of the largest bone box. “See there? That inscription is written in Old High Duckan. You can clearly make out the letters Daleth – Nun – Lamedh – Daleth, followed by Daleth – Kaph. Since Old High Duckan Script has no vowels, you have to interpret the pronunciation, but clearly DNLD DK can only refer to Donald Duck. And, indeed, the bones recovered from the box are those of a male duck. The other boxes are inscribed, in similar text, HWY, DWY, LWY, and DSY. These are clear references to Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Daisy. The statistical likelihood of all these names appearing in the same tomb is infinitesimal, unless this is truly the tomb of Donald.”

Skeleton From the "Donald Ossuary"

Archeological analysis of the “Donald Ossuary” dates it to the 1940’s. Cameron said, “This is truly a startling discovery with implications for a lot of people’s basic beliefs.”

Anglican Innovations interviewed John Dominic Crossbun of the Donald Seminar to get a scholar’s perspective on the find. “This is an amazing find,” he replied. “Those of us who seek to understand the Historical Donald will be contextualizing these remains for years. Unfortunately, over the decades, the real Donald Duck has disappeared beneath many layers of myth, legend, and outright fabrication by his followers. The dating of the tomb to the 1940’s is critical. Donald clearly died the first time a safe was dropped on him back during the war years. All the later movies and cartoons from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s can now clearly be seen to be products of the early Disneyite community rather than literal appearances of the Duck himself. The early followers of the Duck clearly produced these animations in order to interpret their inner experience of the real Donald and his impact on their lives.”

Director Cameron added, “What I find fascinating is the presence in the tomb of Daisy. For years, fundamentalist Disneyites have not only claimed that Donald was alive, but also that he was a permanent bachelor. Here we have clear physical evidence from the tomb that Daisy and Donald were more than friends. The Daisy bone box clearly bears not only Daisy’s name, but DSY ANTT DNLD – Daisy, wife of Donald. The so-called apocryphal cartoons produced outside the Disney Studios turn out to have been right all along; the apparent platonic relationship between Donald and Daisy is clearly a legend of the early Duck movement, reflecting their negative view of expressions of sexuality. These discoveries should put an end once and for all to fundamentalist Disneyanity. I am sure the Disneyites will deny the evidence, but all rational people will now see the foolishness of their claims.”

Other scholars, however, were not so sanguine. Jacob Ben Mallard, a professor in the Archeology Department at the Toon University of Hollywood, told Anglican Innovations, “This whole thing is preposterous. In the first place, this tomb was discovered back in 1994 when the were digging up O.J. Simpson’s yard – it is not a new discovery. Secondly, the identification is all wrong. These guys seem to have forgotten that Old High Duckan reads from right to left and there are no spaces. DNLD DK becomes KDDLND, which is best rendered “Kiddieland,” and old amusement park from the Depression era where they featured a trained duck act. YSD, YWL, YWH, and YSD are all serial numbers from bird leg bands that they used to identify their ducks.”

Asked for a response, Cameron and Jacobovici stated, “We stand by our documentary, and we will let the viewers, very few of whom have any training in Old High Duckian or Californian archeology, make their own decisions.”

Monday, February 26, 2007

St. Vincent and the TEC

I have been reading The Fathers of the Church by Mike Aquilina, and found the following quote from the Commonitory of St. Vincent of Lerins to be quite enlightening about what's gone wrong in all the doctrinal conflicts that are tearing apart the Episcopal Church and other mainline Protestant denominations these days. Most of us are probably familiar with the first sentence, but I had never read the whole context before.

Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly “Catholic,” as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality, antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, bishops and doctors alike.

What then will the Catholic Christian do, if a small part of the Church has cut itself off from the communion of the universal Faith? The answer is sure. He will prefer the healthiness of the whole body to the morbid and corrupt limb. But what if some novel contagion try to infect the whole Church, and not merely a tiny part of it? Then he will take care to cleave to antiquity, which cannot now be led astray by any deceit of novelty. What if in antiquity itself two or three men, or it may be a city, or even a whole province be detected in error? Then he will take the greatest care to prefer the decrees of the ancient General Councils, if there are such, to the irresponsible ignorance of a few men. But what if some error arises regarding which nothing of this sort is to be found? Then he must do his best to compare the opinions of the Fathers and inquire their meaning, provided always that, though they belonged to diverse times and places, they yet continued in the faith and communion of the one Catholic Church; and let them be teachers approved and outstanding. And whatever he shall find to have been held, approved and taught, not by one or two only but by all equally and with one consent, openly, frequently, and persistently, let him take this as to be held by him without the slightest hesitation.

(Translation from the Internet History Sourcebooks Project at Fordham University.)

As an exercise for the student, compare and contrast St. Vincent’s words with these from the Episcopal Bishop of San Diego, James R. Mathes:

As I have already suggested, Episcopalians have divergent ways of interpreting Scripture. Some talk about the clear reading of Scripture. Others have said that there is nothing clear in Scripture. This divide leads to great consternation. Some call others literalists or fundamentalists, decidedly unhelpful and untrue labels. In response, the accusation is thrown in the other direction that the Bible has been totally dismissed as a source for theological discourse, also neither true nor helpful.

[…] We must accept the primacy of Scripture in our common life and theological discourse or we fail to be true to our Anglican heritage. However, this does not answer the question of how we interpret Scripture. There are in fact many modalities of interpretation that are at work. In the life of the community, there has been an historic and broad acceptance of many ways to interpret Scripture. In reality, those who may seem the most literalistic in their means of interpreting Scripture at times, can be decidedly contextual or metaphorical in their interpretations of certain passages, as they equivocate over divorce and remarriage or explain away the delay of the Parousia. Others who take a more critical reading of scripture can be very literal, particularly on the more social justice passages. What each of us does is to choose from our own theological center a canon within the canon. I am particularly using the word canon as the measure or rule of scripture.

And by canon within the canon, I mean that each of us has a particular part of Scripture that we hold at a higher level than other parts. For myself, the Epistle to the Philippians, the story of the Prodigal Son, the passion as recorded in Luke?s Gospel, and Jesus’ vision of judgment found in the 25th chapter of Matthew have particular power for me. They have been critical in my own spiritual development. That is not to say that other passages of Scripture are not highly important. But these are the ones that continually form who I am as a person of faith. Another person’s formative passage may be similar to my own, while others will be distinctly different.

For the Biblical Christian, this canon within the canon leads us to certain assumptions about Jesus Christ and salvation. How we view Jesus and his saving acts is informed by which passages we find the most important to use. This, of course, is particularly true when we are dealing with theological issues upon which the Bible offers more than one way of considering the question or ones in which there is great divergence of opinion.

The problem with Protestantism in general (as opposed to any particular doctrine), which reveals itself most clearly in the travails destroying the Episcopal Church, is the basic notion that a man and his bible (and his personal spiritual experiences) are in and of themselves sufficient authority for the interpretation of scripture and the determination of what is and what isn't Christianity. In the first place, every denomination that I am aware of has a Tradition of some sort, whether they admit to it or not. Every church, from Baptist to Byzantine, has a set of filters by which it interprets theFaith - just try telling your Evangelical friends that you think "once saved, always saved" is a crock!

However, if there isn't a firm, universal foundation on which to build that Tradition, then it is impossible for it to stand against the inroads of innovation and heresy once that innovation or heresy becomes popular. The end result is theology by democratic vote - a condition that we would not accept for any other field of endeavor.

Can you imagine allowing for a personal interpretation of Physics? A dam built on those portions of physics which I find "the most important to use" is unlikely to bear much pressure. A theology based on what I personally find important is unlikely to bear much pressure, either. Truth is what it is, whether or not anyone likes it - or believes it. "Jesus is Lord" is either true or false, and what I choose to think about it will not change the reality of the statement.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Chimps are Coming!

In a report from the BBC:
Chimpanzees in Senegal have been observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other primates, according to a study in the journal Current Biology.

Researchers documented 22 cases of chimps fashioning tools to jab at smaller primates sheltering in cavities of hollow branches or tree trunks.

The report's authors, Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani, said the finding could have implications for human evolution.

Chimps had not been previously observed hunting other animals with tools.

Pruetz and Bertolani made the discovery at their research site in Fongoli, Senegal, between March 2005 and July 2006.

[…] Chimpanzees were observed jabbing the spears into hollow trunks or branches, over and over again. After the chimp removed the tool, it would frequently smell or lick it.

[…] In one case, Pruetz and Bertolani witnessed a chimpanzee extract a bushbaby with a spear.

This cannot be a good thing. I guess we are okay as long as they do not discover gunpowder.

World's Record Squid Caught!

For all you giant squid fans out there (original article here):

A New Zealand fishing boat has landed what is believed to be a world record squid weighing an estimated 450 kilograms (990 pounds).

The gigantic sea creature is about 10 metres (33 feet) long and about 150 kilograms heavier than the next biggest specimen ever found.

The fishing vessel San Aspiring was long lining in the Ross Sea near Antarctica, and the squid was dining on a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep.

"He just appeared as a great, big, dark shape coming out of the depths. He was wrapped around a 30-kilogram toothfish and he was just munching away on it," the ship's captain, John Bennett, told AFP Thursday.

"We stopped hauling the line and got it alongside the ship, and we decided it was really in too poor a condition to release, so we decided we would get a cargo net around it and lift it aboard."

Bennett said the squid probably latched onto the toothfish at a depth of 1,800 metres.

He said it was "about the size of a small car", but although it had been estimated at 450kg Bennett believed that would be at the high end.

New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton, who announced the catch, said the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) had been frozen and would be preserved for scientific study.

"It is likely that it is the first intact adult male colossal squid to ever be successfully landed.

"The scientific community will be very interested in this amazing creature," Anderton said, describing the colossal squid as "as one of the most mysterious creatures in the deep ocean."

Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters and are not related to the giant squid (Architeuthis species). Giant squid also grow up to 12 me
tres, but are not as heavy.

There is something intrinsically cool about really big invertebrates, and this is just about the biggest with a brain (there are larger jellyfish). Colossal squid are thought to be both larger and far more aggressive than the legendary giant squid. Interestingly, this specimen has been caught just in time for Lent! Calamari, anyone?

An Interesting Calculation

The following from One News Now is passed along without (much) comment:

Illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war, says a new report from Family Security Matters that estimates some 2,158 murders are committed every year by illegal aliens in the U.S. The group says that number is more than 15 percent of all the murders reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. and about three times the representation of illegal aliens in the general population.

Mike Cutler, a former senior special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (the former INS), is a fellow at the
Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to Family Security Matters (FSM). He says the high number of Americans being killed by illegal aliens is just part of the collateral damage that comes with tolerating illegal immigration.

"The military actually called for the BORTAC team, ... the elite unit of the Border Patrol, to be detailed to Iraq to help to secure the Iraqi border," Cutler notes. "Now, if our military can understand that Iraq's security depends in measure on the ability to protect its border against insurgents and terrorists, then why isn't our country similarly protecting our own borders?" he asks.

[…] The report from FSM estimates that the 267,000 illegal aliens currently incarcerated in the nation are responsible for nearly 1,300,000 crimes, ranging from drug arrests to rape and murder. Such statistics, Cutler contends, debunk the claim that illegal immigration is a victimless crime…

I am confident that Nancy Pelosi will now demand that we pull out of the USA in order to avoid further losses.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Significance of the Primates' Communique

Everyone is pontificating on the significance of the Communique from the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion which met this past week in Dar es Salaam. If I am to retain my membership in the Bloggers Union, I guess I should weigh in as well.

What is the significance of the Dar es Salaam meeting? I do not have a clue. Perhaps it will be the beginning of a revitalization (I’m way too Catholic to say “revival”) in The Episcopal Church; perhaps it will signal the final cleavage between TEC and the Anglican Communion; perhaps, by this time next year, nothing will have happened and everything will be about like it is today. If I were forced to make a bet, I’d go with option 3, but only under duress.

The fact of the matter is that I just can’t force myself to look with hope on anything that involves The Episcopal Church anymore. If an Episcopal bishop, Windsor-compliant or otherwise, were to walk up to me and tell me the sky is blue, I would feel obligated to go outside and check. I wouldn’t trust TEC to tell me my fly was open. I just plain don’t believe anything that anyone says in the church’s name, and whenever I hear them, I wonder what it is that they are trying to put over on me this time. Frankly, I have my found spiritual refuge, and can’t help wishing that TEC would just find the grace to be quiet and go away.

I am not advocating that state of mind. It is sad at best, and probably sinful. It clearly offends against charity, and it makes a hash of patience. Vocalizing it doesn’t do much for peace, meekness, or temperance, either. It is, however, my state of mind nonetheless. I hope God in His infinite power can use my Lenten penances to make something decent out of it – or, at least, something harmless. In the meantime, I will shut up about it and search for other topics.

Home Schooling = Psychiatric Disorder?

I’m not trying to turn this into a home-schooling blog, since Beloved-but-Expensive Daughter is 23 and I have no personal dog in this hunt, but the following article from LifeSite News was rather striking.

[…] Melissa Busekros was home schooled by her parents after she began having trouble with two of her subjects in school. Her four younger siblings are in the German school system. Authorities barged into the Busekros house Feb. 1, with 15 members of the police force at hand and seized the girl. She was then placed in a psychiatric ward for assessment after it was decided she had a “phobia” against public school.

Home schooling was outlawed in Germany under Adolf Hitler - the original edict banning at-home instruction has been resurrected over the past decade, with accelerating persecution of families attempting to keep their children out of the mainstream curriculum.

In January 2005, county education director Heinz Kohler told a group of Christian parents desiring to home school, “you and your children are not living in isolation on some island but rather in an environment posing intra- and extracurricular situations where you'll have to accept that your world view will be curtailed.”

Home schooling could not be allowed, Kohler stated, because, “children should not be encapsulated or kept apart from the outside world. In these cases, the parents' rights to personally educate their children would prevent the children from growing up to be responsible individuals within society…”

[…] “Melissa called her parents today to tell them she was moved to another mental ward. She was then moved to a ‘clearing house’ and finally to a foster family; but she was unable to tell them where she is now,” the statement said.

[…] “This is a precedent that’s going to affect not just Germany,” Joel Thornton, president of the IHRG, told WorldNetDaily. “This is an extreme case, even for Germany, but it won’t be extreme any more if they get away with it.”

Melissa’s parents began tutoring her in math and Latin at home when she began having trouble keeping up with the subjects in school, according to the WND report. When school officials discovered her parents’ involvement, the girl was expelled. The family then began home schooling her, and the school took the family to court.

The court ordered that the girl be brought into custody, by force if necessary, stating, “The relevant Youth Welfare Office is hereby instructed and authorized to bring the child, if necessary by force, to a hearing and may obtain police support for this purpose.”

Der Fuhrer would be sooooo proud. What people once laid down their lives to prevent, they now embrace with smiling, shiny, happy, and vacant faces. What a difference 70 years makes. Morgen, das Welt!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Little Geek Humor From The Anchoress

I don’t know how long The Anchoress will keep this post on her site, so if you are an engineer, scientist, prof, teacher, or anyone whose Inner Geek can use some amusement, check it out now!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Communion Reunion? Or Just Illusion?

From Catholic World News (subscription required for full text):
A joint Catholic-Anglican commission will soon propose concrete practical steps to unite their faithful, the London Times reports.

The International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) will release a report later this year, arguing that despite clear differences on major theological issues, Anglicans and Catholics have enough common ground to encourage steps toward common worship, the Times says.

But the Catholic and Anglican prelates who co-chair the commission have issued a statement rejecting the Times analysis, saying that the newspaper report on the IARCCUM document "misrepresents its intentions and sensationalises its conclusions." The two prelates point out that the draft document retraces recent theological discussions, is "very clear in identifying ongoing areas of disagreement," and does not suggest an immediate move toward reunion.

[…] While the joint commission’s report does not mark any major step forward in Catholic-Anglican relations, the premature leak of its contents comes at an extremely significant time for the Church of England. The world’s leading Anglican prelates met this week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in talks that have again highlighted the profound differences among the bishops of the Anglican Communion. The prospect of corporate reunion with Rome may be particularly welcome to conservative Anglicans who have been broken with their more liberal colleagues over issues such as homosexuality and the ordination of women.

[…] The IARCCUM report recognizes the serious obstacles to reunion, the Times story acknowledges. But the Times reported that the commission - which was set up in 2000 and is now co-chaired by Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, Australia; and Anglican Bishop David Beetge of South Africa - avoids tangling with the difficult issues of doctrine and moral teaching. Instead the report suggests a series of practical steps that Catholic and Anglican parishes and dioceses might take to move closer together, reporter Ruth Gledhill said. Archbishop Bathersby and Bishop Beetge challenge that report; their February 19 statement insists that IARCCUM recognizes the doctrinal differences and treats them at length before making suggestions for practical steps toward a common witness.

The approach suggested by the Times - an effort to build a common practice that can overcome differences on key issues of faith - might appeal to the practical sense of leaders in the Church of England, who are struggling today to preserve the façade of unity in spite of overwhelming doctrinal differences. But the approach is not likely to pass muster in Rome, where Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly emphasized that ecumenical efforts must not be used to camouflage key dogmatic disagreements. The IARCCUM statement reports that “some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of a ministry of universal primacy,” according to the Times. Reporter Ruth Gledhill, quoting portions of the document which she obtained, says that these Anglicans see the importance of “a sign and focus of unity within a re-united Church.” The IARCCUM report, in its current draft form, suggests a series of practical steps to encourage closer ties between Anglican and Catholic worshippers. Gledhill cites passages of the document that:

  • suggest a joint renewal of Baptismal promises and a shared certificate of Baptism,

  • praise the Anglican tradition of praying for the Pope and suggest that Catholics in turn pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury,

  • call for joint programs for family enrichment, and combined pilgrimages and prayer services, and

  • recommend that Catholics and Anglicans attend worship services at each other’s churches-- but without receiving Communion.

[…] The leaked London Times report on the IARCCUM documents comes after months of sober realism in talks between the Vatican and the Church of England. Several times in the past year, Catholic leaders have warned their Anglican counterparts that the road to reunion has been blocked, perhaps permanently, by the Anglican decisions to break with teachings and practices of the apostolic Church. The statement described in the Times story does nothing to resolve those problems, and thus it is unrealistic to see the report as a concrete proposal for unity.

However, the IARCCUM report does serve as a reminder that some Anglicans wish to preserve the apostolic tradition. For those embattled Anglicans, now estranged from the leaders of their own denomination, the timing of the Times headline story may be a reminder that it could be easier to achieve reunion with Rome than to repair the divisions within the Anglican communion.

“Some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of a ministry of universal primacy.” No kidding. Some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of the Holy Inquisition.

Frankly, although I dearly love the idea of reunion, I do not expect to see it happen. With very few exceptions, the conservative elements of the Episcopal Church are thoroughly committed to women’s ordination, which is a show-stopper as far as the Catholic and Orthodox churches are concerned. Many of the thriving and populous parishes which have left TEC are highly Evangelical. The Continuum churches are largely Anglo-Catholic in worship and theology, and would seem at first glance to be likely candidates to gather together and form an Anglican Rite in the Catholic Church. However, those portions of the Continuum with which I am familiar contain significant Reformed and Evangelical elements among the laity. They are devout and committed Christians, but they would never go along with a return to Papal authority.

The only thing likely to truly bring reunion to Christendom is the arrival of the Antichrist. Whatever one thinks of the Primates of the Anglican churches, they aren’t him. I can think of several who might have the inclination, but none of them have the talent.

The best we are likely to see is the formation of a common cause among the various orthodox Christians of the world, as they come to realize that they have far more in common with each other than they do with the “liberal” members of their own denominations. My former-Episcopal friends include Catholics, Orthodox, members of the Continuum, a few Lutherans, and several Evangelicals. Love endures, but I fear communion will have to wait for the next world. The first one that gets to the New Jerusalem, please save us all a table at the corner bar. I am sure there will be one named Brigid’s Place.

I would like a great lake of beer
for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heaven's family
drinking it through all eternity.
(From The Heavenly Banquet, St. Brigid of Kildare)

Draft Anglican Covenant

The text of the proposed draft for an Anglican Covenant can be found here. Perhaps I have reached the point where my cynicism has become sinful, but the text reads like it could be interpreted to mean pretty much whatever anyone wants it to mean. For example, one of the commitments for each member church is:

“To spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and discernment to listen and to study with one another in order to comprehend the will of God. Such study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as it seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation. Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith: all therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.”

“Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us?” Any church so inclined could easily interpret that statement to open the door for all kinds of theological innovations, .

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong; you won’t wound my inner child. I suppose I shouldn’t even care anymore; I have found my sanctuaries in which to weather the coming storms, and I’m more than happy to share them. I guess I still had hopes for Anglicanism as an institution; that some new Athanasius would appear to counter our last-days Arians. One suspects that those days are behind us, and that we live in sadly diminished times.

"The holy Fathers were making predictions about the last generation. They said, 'What have we ourselves done?' One of them, the great Abba Ischyrion replied, 'We ourselves have fulfilled the commandments of God'. The others replied, 'And those who come after us, what will they do?' He said, 'They will struggle to achieve half our works'. They said, 'And to those who come after them, what will happen?' He said, 'The men of that generation will not accomplish any works at all and temptation will come upon them; and those who will be approved in that day will be greater than either us or our fathers.'"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Coming After the Home-Schoolers

From WorldNet Daily:
Arsenic and Christian music are two of more outlandish allegations that have been made against families whose children are homeschooled recently, according to an organization that monitors child protective services actions.

The reports show that while both threats against the families were resolved to their benefit, the cases typify just how such problems can develop.

According to the reports, from Thomas Dutkiewicz, of www.ConnecticutDCFWatch.com, the first case involved the Marrero family.

They were shocked when a social worker from the local Division of Children and Family Services visited recently, informing the family only that he was investigating them for alleged abuse and neglect of their children.

He later elaborated that he knew that the family's 12-year-old daughter had tested positive for abnormally high levels of arsenic. The family knew that, having just come from the office of a new doctor where the results were obtained. But since they knew arsenic wasn't present in their home, they had insisted on a new test already.

As members of the Home School Legal Defense Association, which advocates for and advises homeschoolers worldwide, they contacted the organization and staff attorney Thomas Schmidt contacted the social worker with confirmation that the test results were anomalous because of a simple math error.

No matter, said the social worker, the case will go on because of "other" allegations, which turned out to be claims of Munchausen by Proxy syndrome.

"Schmidt immediately wrote to the case worker and pointed out that the entire investigation was based on a lab error, and the HSLDA would have various doctors testify that all medical testing and evaluation of the children gave no evidence of Munchausen by Proxy," the organization said.

Weeks later, and after contacting the social worker's supervisor, the case was closed, officials said.

A second case arose a short time later, when a family, whose name was withheld, in the Port Huron, Mich., area was confronted by a social worker at their front door demanding entry.

The social worker crumpled a document the mother handed her explaining why she wouldn't allow her entry into the home, then yelled that she would "come in now" and do a strip search of one of the children.

The tirade had been triggered by an anonymous tipster, accusing the family of "only allowing their two boys to listen to Christian music." The tipster also said the children "ate their Cheerios dry" and got nearly all their "socialization through their church."

The tipster also claimed the children were not in school, and two children, ages 10 and 14 "were seen outside playing without adult supervision." Also, the tipster claimed, the mother "pinched and hit her kids in church to keep them quiet."

[…] Once again, the HSLDA got involved. Chris Klicka wrote to the social worker addressing the rudeness and unprofessionalism of her visit. He also noted she obviously didn’t receive her social worker training in the Fourth Amendment yet.

HSLDA, 18 months earlier, had drafted and helped persuade legislators to pass a law requiring all social workers in Michigan to receive training in their "duty to protect both statutory and constitutional rights of those being investigated."

A statement from a local doctor indicated the children weren't abused, and other recommendations were documented about the parents' parenting abilities.

Then the tipster struck again, and the social worker jumped into action, renewing her demands for a strip search of the children.

When the social worker threatened she would seek a court order, Klicka noted that anonymous tips to not rise to the level of probable cause legally, so no court order was available.

The family later was notified the investigation was being dropped.

Most of the kids in my church are or have been home-schooled. I have never before known a more self-confident, knowledgeable, poised, and prepared-for-life bunch of kids. One would imagine that society would want more of them, not try and shut them down. Not so, however.

Incidents like the above are the tip of the iceberg. In Germany, home schoolers are under threat of prosecution and a $15,000 fine, under a recently-reenacted Nazi education law. California schools mandate pro-homosexual assemblies without parental notification or right to withdraw. Christian schools are subject to viewpoint discrimination in terms of universities accepting their classes for credit. Things are likely to get worse.

What the secularists cannot accomplish through the ballot box, they seek to accomplish through other means. One such means is through exerting a monopoly over the education of the young. Home-schooled children are outside the control of the State and, therefore, both they and their parents constitute a threat to the agenda. It is a small step from being a perceived threat to being an Enemy of the State. Per William Ross Wallace, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” One of the great conflicts of our times will be to determine who gets to rock the cradle.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Defining Down Hate Speech - You're Next!

From LifeSite News:
On Thursday morning, in a special session being held at the Stanford University Law School campus a critical First Amendment case is being argued before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case deals squarely with the issue of whether Christians have a right to use neutral language in the workplace to talk about same-sex marriage and other issues at the forefront of national debate.

Attorneys Scott Lively and Richard D. Ackerman will be arguing the case before the Ninth Circuit on behalf of an African- American Christian woman who was threatened with termination at her job with the City of Oakland. The City of Oakland claims that references to the "natural family, marriage and family values" constitute hate speech which is scary to city workers. The Ninth Circuit panel of judges includes two women and one man.

[…] Back in February of 2005, United States District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled the city of Oakland had a right to bar two employees from posting a Good News Employee Association flier promoting traditional family values on an office bulletin board. According to the lawsuit, gay and lesbian city workers had already been using the city's e-mail, bulletin board, and written communications systems for promoting their views to other workers, including the plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs, Regina Rederford and Robin Christy posted the flier in response to an e-mail to city employees announcing formation of a gay and lesbian employee association. The two responded with a promotion of their own -- the start of an informal group that respects "the natural family, marriage and family values."

But supervisors Robert Bobb, then city manager, and Joyce Hicks, then deputy director of the Community and Economic Development Agency, ordered removal of the flier, stating it contained "statements of a homophobic nature" and promoted "sexual- orientation-based harassment," even though it made no absolutely no mention of homosexuality.

To paraphrase Neuhaus’s Law (I’ll call it “Mike’s Corollary”), whenever moral values can be selected from a smorgasbord, traditional values will sooner or later become forbidden. The reason is that the mere existence of the good stands as an intolerable affront to the wicked – a constant, unspoken reminder that moral equivalence is an illusion. In order to confirm the legitimacy of one’s choice of the deviant, the normal has to be obliterated.

Do not move your hands; stay where you are; security is on the way!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Institutions of Higher Ignorance

From OneNewsNow.com; the original report was produced by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and may be found in its entirety here.

A recent study of college students shows that those attending elite schools such as Yale and Cornell tend to lose more of their knowledge of U.S. history and government while at the school than do their counterparts at smaller, less prestigious colleges.

Some of America's Ivy League universities are going backward when it comes to teaching civic affairs. Students at prestigious schools such as Yale, Duke, Cornell, Brown and Georgetown lost knowledge of American history and government between their freshman and senior years.

Conversely, smaller, less prominent campuses showed moderate success in teaching U.S. history, government and civics. More than 14,000 students at 50 schools participated in the three-year study. The startling facts are revealed in "The Coming Crisis in Citizenship," a new study from Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

According to ISI, a non-profit educational organization, Johns Hopkins led the losers with student knowledge loss of 7.3%. Also in the bottom ten were Cornell (-3.3%), Duke (-2.3%) and Yale (-1.5%).

Among the colleges where students actually learned something about American history and government, the top four were Rhodes College (+11.6%), Colorado State (+10%), Calvin College (+9.5%) and Grove City College (+9.4%).
(Waffler note: the table of colleges and how much one learns/unlearns is appended below.)

This is not terribly surprising. Beloved but Expensive Daughter did extremely well at Trinity University (not surveyed), which is a pretty highly-regarded school. She learned a lot about her chosen field of study, and did very well on her GREs. In terms of her general level of knowledge about who we are, how we got to be that way, and why – the basic structural framework around which one structures one’s life as an educated citizen and that one expects to receive from a liberal arts education – I don’t think she knows a heck of a lot more than she did when she graduated from Hyde Park Baptist High School. I am very glad she is well positioned to continue into a successful professional career, but I expected a lot better for $27 K a year. Having worked and taught for many years at the University of Texas, the state’s flagship university, I guess I should have known better.

I think a big part of the problem is the total abandonment of any really meaningful “core curriculum.” Like many (if not almost all) universities and colleges, Trinity abandoned a “core” in favor of some set of “area requirements.” Different colleges have different names – I forget what Trinity calls them. The upshot is that you have to have a certain number of classes from different areas, such as social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, language, etc., but there are very few constraints on what you take within those areas. The net result is that a student can fulfill his requirements with Congolese History, Introduction to Zoroaster, IndoChinese Buddhist Philosophy, Food Chemistry, Medical Spanish, and Comparative Psychology. Now please note! I have nothing against any of these classes! Even though I just made up the titles, I’d love to have the chance to take several of them! HOWEVER, it is one thing to add these classes onto an existing intellectual framework of American and European history, Western philosophy, Latin, Greek, ancient and medieval theology, the development of psychological thought, and a couple of degrees in the real sciences. It is quite another thing to substitute them for the framework itself!

If you don’t share the common historical framework on which to organize your Weltanschauung[1], you are left with two possibilities. They aren’t just theoretical - I run into people all the time who have gone with one or the other. One response is to go without an intellectual framework and wing it. For such people, the world is a jumble of disconnected facts that can only be filtered through their own personal experience. The other approach is to create your own framework. This, in essence, is the intentional equivalent of schizophrenia without the voices. Your world may make sense to you, but not necessarily to anyone else, and its reflection of reality is largely a matter of chance. Once again, in the absence of shared understanding, one’s perception of the world is colored primarily by personal experience. The first response leads to mental chaos; the second to paranoia and conspiracy theories. Both lead to a society that can no longer come up with a reason to justify its own existence. Sic transit gloria mundi.

[1] I’ve only gotten to work that word into a sentence a couple of times since college 35 years ago! Yeehah! (It implies a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology and refers to a wide world perception. Additionally, it refers to the framework through which an individual interprets the world and interacts in it, according to Wikipedia.) I don't mean to be an intellectual snob - we used to have an informal game where you scored points by working obscure words into sentences. Weltanschauung was one of my favorites and a sure winner if you could get it in. As you might guess, I hardly ever could. Doesn't rhyme well, either.


RankCollegeLearning Added or Subtracted
1Rhodes College11.60%
2Colorado State University10.9
3Calvin College9.5
4Grove City College9.4
5University of Colorado, Boulder8.9
6Spring Arbor University8.3
7University of New Mexico8.2
8University of Mobile7.5
9Florida Memorial University6.8
10Central Connecticut State University5
11George Mason University5
12Youngstown State University4.9
13North Carolina Central University4.8
14Utah State University4.5
15Lynchburg College4
16Catholic University of America3.2
17University of Massachusetts,Boston3
18Princeton University2.8
19Eastern Kentucky University2.7
20Baylor University2.6
21West Texas A&M University2.5
22University of South Alabama2
23University of Texas, Austin2
24Wheaton College1.9
25Harvard University1.9
26University of Washington1.8
27AppalachianState University1.7
28University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill1.6
29Capital University1.3
30American University1
31Stanford University0.9
32University of West Florida0.7
33Washington & Lee University0.2
34Dartmouth College0.1
35University of Michigan-0.1
36Ithaca College-0.2
37University of Chicago-0.3
38Massachusetts Institute of Technology-0.4
39Williams College-0.7
40University of Florida-0.8
41Wofford College-0.9
42University of Virginia-1.1
43Georgetown University-1.2
44Yale University-1.5
45State University of West Georgia-2
46Duke University-2.3
47Brown University-2.7
48Cornell University-3.3
49University of California, Berkeley-5.6
50Johns Hopkins University-7.3

Friday, February 09, 2007

Another Bishop in Need of Spine Transplant

From LifeSite News (you can find the same story elsewhere) comes this report on clerical spinelessness in action.

In an interview with KCBS radio in San Francisco aired Sunday, was asked sensitive questions about communion for pro-abortion politicians, ordination of homosexuals and homosexual adoption.

While the Catholic Church’s official teachings on the issues are very clear and direct, the Archbishop was described as having taken “great pains to avoid direct answers.” The California Daily Catholic, which transcribed portions of the interview, also said that the Archbishop of San Francisco “resisted every opportunity to make a clear statement about what the Church teaches.”

In what is likely to be viewed as the most bizarre statement in the interview Niederauer says he does not understand House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stand on abortion. Rated by the National Abortion Right’s Action League as 100% in support of abortion, Pelosi has for years been a leading abortion proponent while continuing to call herself Catholic.

One of the show hosts described Pelosi as “not only pro-choice, but she would be someone who would be working to try to keep abortion legal.” The Archbishop was asked, “In your view is she less of a Catholic because of that?” He replied saying about Pelosi, “We haven’t had an opportunity to talk about the life issues. I would very much welcome that opportunity, but I don’t believe that I am in a position to say what I understand her stand to be, if I haven’t had a chance to talk to her about it.”

Niederauer did say that he had spoken to Pelosi last year, but not about abortion, but about “immigration”, explaining “because that was very much the hot-button topic of the time.”

The radio hosts pressed the Archbishop whether he would deny communion to pro-abortion politicians. After avoiding the question twice, the Archbishop said: “I think that when I stand at Communion time, in front of the altar, to distribute Communion, I, like all priests and bishops, I believe, am counting on the individual communicant who’s coming forward to receive Communion, to decide whether he or she is worthy of Communion and is ready to receive it, this Sacrament. I am not there principally as a gatekeeper. I am there as a priest and a celebrant to give forth the Eucharist.”

The answer can be seen to contradict the Vatican’s directives which indicate that once instructed and warned and still persistent in the sin and presenting themselves for communion, pro-abortion politicians “must” be denied communion.

The Archbishop was also asked about a compromise he approved on homosexual adoption when the state required that adoption agencies, including the Catholic agency be required to treat homosexual partners as equally valid adoptive parents. The compromise which Archbishop Niederauer said he was “really very happy with” saw the church involved with a secular agency that would carry out homosexual adoptions, but the Church involvement was simply to put up information on the Internet information on children in need of adoption. Prospective adoptive parents, homosexual couples included, seeing the information provided on the Internet, would then apply to the secular agency to adopt the children.

However, the official Church teaching on the matter considers adoption of children by homosexual couples to be “violence” toward the child. In a document issued before he was elected Pope, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons," then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in (homosexual) unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development." See the full document

This is just sad, even if predictable. My evil, cynical twin Skippy wonders just how much cash the Pelosis contribute to the diocesan coffers, or how much the control the chi-chi cocktail party invite list, to keep themselves on the good Bishop’s plenary indulgence roster. I, of course, would never entertain such a thought myself.

In 1973, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in Akita, Japan, in a series of apparitions approved as “worthy of belief” by then-Cardinal Ratzinger. One of her locutions stated, “The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

I make no judgments or claims about the truth or falsity of Marian apparitions – that is way above my pay grade and way outside my Anglo-Catholic competence. However, Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him (RSV). Seems to me that, contrary to the biblical warning, the apparition nailed this one. Besides, demons don’t usually tell you to pray for the clergy.

Feb. 9th: Feast of Saint Maron

Today is the feast of St. Maron, the father of the Maronite Church, who lived in the fourth and early fifth centuries. The following account is from opuslibani.org - I would have included an icon, but Blogger is acting funky.

All that is known about Maron, the spiritual father and protector of the Maronites comes from Theodoret, the bishop of Cyr. In approximately 444, Theodoret undertook the project of writing a religious history about his religion. Theodoret never knew Maron personally, but only through the disciples of this holy man. He described Maron as "the one who has planted for God the garden which flourishes now in the region of Cyr." Little is known of the birth or youth of Maron because Theodoret was unconcerned about that aspect of his life. He felt that Maron was a man born not for this world, but for heaven. In his description of the beginning of Maron's life, Theodoret assests that Maron had "already increased the number of saints in heaven."

According to history, Maron was never satisfied with the ordinary practices of asceticism, but was "always seeking for new ways to accumulate all the treasures of wisdom." Maron was the spiritual leader not only of the hermits who lived near him, but of all the Christian faithful in the area. He used to counsel them, heal their bodily and spiritual ills. All of these apostolic endeavors manifested wisdom and holiness of the hermit Maron.

Some hold the opinion that Maron and John Chrysostom studied together at Antioch before 398 and that the famous letter sent by John Chrysostom was indeed sent to this hermit Maron and not to some other anchorite with the same name. If the monk referred to in this letter is from the region of Cyr, it is indeed our spiritual father, Maron.

The date of Maron's death is placed somewhere between 407 and 423. Because of his great popularity among the people, riots broke out at the time of his death because everyone wanted to save his remains in their village.

The following is excerpted from the homily by Fr. Sharbel Maroun from the Feast of St. Maron, 2005:

This week the Maronites worldwide celebrate the feast of our founder and patron saint Maron.

In Lebanon, where there are seventeen different sects of Christians and Moslems, February the 9th is a national holiday where the whole government is shut down.

Maron’s influence on the Syriac group of Christians in the fourth century was so great that they took their name after him; Bet Moroon, “Maronites.”

Through this holy man god has performed many miracles and wonders. Even among his followers, one can find some twenty saints, four of whom are women. In recent history, the Maronite church has given the church more saints, among them St. Sharbel, St. Rafka, and St. Nimatullah.

The Maronites have endured continuous persecution for the last 1600 years, offering their blood in martyrdom for the sake of their faith and freedom. Our Maronite brothers & sisters in Lebanon are in a danger of disappearing with the spread of Islam & fundamentalism. It is our duty to pray for them and help preserve Christianity in the land where it was born 2004 years ago.

The first Maronites came from the Syriac branch of Christianity, the direct descendants of the people who received the faith from the apostles. The Maronites are people of faith who are always willing to sacrifice themselves and what they have for Christ’s sake as a gratitude for sacrificing himself on the cross on their behalf.

Because of the harsh persecution in Syria during the Moslem expansion, the Maronites fled to Lebanon in the seventh century where they established themselves as a church, gathering around their spiritual father, the patriarch, and establishing their liturgy, spirituality and identity.

[…] Our (i.e. the Maronites) ancestors are none but the direct descendants of the apostles and Jesus himself. Our liturgical language is the same language that the Son of God spoke, and our mother land is the land where Christ and his mother Mary and the apostles walked upon; our forefathers are the Phoenicians who have discovered the first alphabet, and the first people who sailed the oceans.

In order for this Maronite church to continue to flourish and grow, the spirit of Maron must be followed with love and unity.

Let us imitate Maron as he imitated Christ his lord, and like him follow Christ with simplicity, faith and humility.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Zealand to Immigrants: Send Me Your Gays, But Not Your Catholics

From LifeSite News for February 7, 2007:

New Zealand immigration officials are being accused of giving preferential treatment to homosexual refugees, after a Catholic Iranian man was denied asylum while another Iranian man who had previously been denied was accepted once he said he was gay.

Both men face a potential death penalty if they are forced to return to Iran.

The New Zealand Herald reported earlier today on accusations of hypocrisy from supporters of Thomas Yadegary, a Muslim who converted to Catholicism after moving to New Zealand in 1004.

Yadegary was arrested in November 2004 and has been held in custody without charge ever since. Yadegary’s application for refugee status was rejected by the immigration board, despite his plea that as a Muslim convert to Christianity he would face a potential death penalty if he returned to Iran. He has refused to sign the travel documents which would see him deported.

Immigration authorities accepted the refugee application of Iranian Ahmad Tahooni, however, despite his admission that he lied on an earlier application. Mr. Tahooni, 39, came to New Zealand in 2000 and requested asylum on the grounds that he had participated in student political demonstrations while in Iran, which could result in his persecution if he returned.

His application was denied by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, and a following appeal was also denied once it became known that he had lied about participating in student demonstrations.

However, when he said he was gay and afraid of persecution for his homosexuality if he should return to Iran, his request for asylum was granted--homosexual activity could lead to a death penalty in Iran.

This is sad, though I can’t claim it’s surprising. I make a habit of praying for the conversion of Islam. Perhaps we should first begin by praying for the conversion of New Zealand.

Moslems, after all, are really Christian heretics - you can make a case that Islam is the ultimate consequence of Arianism (so says St. John of Damascus). And, since most Moslems don't actually knowingly embrace what they know to be false, they probably aren't guilty of the sin of heresy themselves.

On the other hand, I simply don't believe that the New Zealand Immigration Authorities don't know exactly what they are doing. One can't help but compare their decision to one by the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, along about A.D. 30 or so. It is one thing to do evil out of ignorance or weakness; it is another to do evil out of malice.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The good Father Dwight Longnecker has posted the following:

To paraphrase G.K.Chesterton, "Tolerance is a nice word for indifference and indifference is an elegant word for ignorance." The reason for having an open mind (like the reason to have an open mouth) is eventually to close it--because it has been filled with something good.

Tolerance, on its own, is a weak virtue that eventually turns on itself with a suicidal bent. This is because the one thing tolerance cannot tolerate is intolerance, and the more tolerant a person becomes the more every little bit of intolerance becomes intolerable. So the person who puts tolerance as the highest and only virtue, finally is incapable of tolerating anyone or anything or any law that limits or defines anything because to limit or define any behavior or any sort of person is perceived as a form of intolerance.

Relativism becomes the only rule. The only dogma is that there can be no dogma. The only discipline is that there must be no discipline. The only ultimate authority is that there must be no authority. The one thing that has meaning is that no thing has meaning. As a result the only virtue left if tolerance.

As a result the 'tolerant' person will endorse the most draconian restrictions on those he perceives as being intolerant, and because the intolerant will be with us always, those laws against intolerance have to become increasingly restrictive, and the tolerant society turns into the most intolerant of societies…

I don’t know how often I have had conversations shut down in the name of tolerance, usually with the claim that any description of what I believe and the rationale behind why I believe it is equivalent to “forcing my opinions” on someone. In a tolerant society, about the only thing left to talk about is the weather. Everyone may be able to hold his own opinion, but only if he holds it within himself and refrains from making it public. The end result is a herd of smiling, shiny, shallow people whose primary focus is inward.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Quote of the Day

An excerpt from an interview of Superbowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, courtesy of WorldNet Daily:

Jim Nantz of CBS Sports: This is one of those moments, Tony, where there is also social significance in this victory, and to have your hands on the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Tell me what this means to you right now.

Tony Dungy: I'll tell you what. I'm proud to be representing African-American coaches, to be the first African-American to win this. It means an awful lot to our country. But again, more than anything, I've said it before, Lovie Smith and I, are not only the first two African-Americans, but Christian coaches showing that you can win doing it the Lord's way. And we're more proud of that.

Now that is a class act! Compare it to the tacky glitz surrounding the game that I mentioned below.

Prophetic Words on the Superbowl

From a column by Father Thomas Euteneuer at Catholic Exchange:
The Super Bowl is such an American phenomenon, mesmerizing a world taken in by the new religion of sports, that 230 countries and territories of the world will watch it on Sunday. I have no problem with people watching American football; it's just the embarrassing cultural junk that goes with it that has me worried.

Think of it. The entire world gets a three-hour window into American culture one Sunday a year, and what they see will determine in large part what they think of us.

We wonder why other nations despise America. I'm sure at the root of it there's more than a bit of jealousy for the bright and seductive material culture that we sport on a day like Super Sunday, but there also has to be some disdain if not contempt for what we display as our "way of life." The Super Bowl has its share of real funny advertisements (I'll grant you that), but these are punctuated by some of the most salacious commercials that corporate America can dredge up to sell lite beer, Doritos, hair color, Chevys, Pepsi, Pepsi and more Pepsi. When I was in seminary I went to a variety show at another national college where the guys joked that Americans are fed on a diet of coke and potato chips! Well, that's exactly what we tell them about ourselves on TV!

… The greatest Super Bowl embarrassments, however, are turning out to be the half time shows. Quite frankly, I'm thinking of volunteering for the Super Bowl committee in charge of selecting next year's entertainment because I just can't take the national humiliation any more. Granted, they probably wouldn't be satisfied with the Gregorian chant that I would suggest, but anything - literally anything - is better than this year's androgynous little icon to American cultural decadence known as "Prince." As if Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" a few years ago wasn't bad enough — how will we live this one down?

Interestingly, Fr. Euteneuer wrote his column on Feb. 2, two days prior to Superbowl XLI. The event itself included the following commercials: a bunch of guys having sex with a Chevy, two car mechanics inadvertently smooching, one guy knocking out another with a rock to get a Bud Light, a cashier at the supermarket providing a quickie behind the cash register for a guy with sexy Doritos, and a Sprint cure for “connectile dysfunction.” The halftime special featured the artist formerly known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” who is now apparently back to being Prince again. Thankfully, as far as I could tell, his pants actually covered his butt.

If I lived somewhere else, and this was my impression of the USA, I’d despise us too. It must be tough for our soldiers, sailors, and airmen to dispel the image produced by their more self-indulged and less courageous countrymen.