Wall St. Journal caught napping . . .

. . . in a few places espied by eagle-eyed reader: 

  • “. . . dignity that comes from being recognized for who they are”? No, from being approved of, as it happens, nothing less.
  • “. . . don’t want to be listened to” but “to be heard”? Other way around! You can be heard if loud enough, listened to only if others pay attention.

— Both from “China’s Challenge to Democracy” by David Runciman, Cambridge don arguing strength of Chinese “pragmatic authoritarianism” vs. U.S. democracy, in which, unfortunately, precision limps. We expect more from such an elite venue.


  • “. . . these sorts of programs . . .” Wait. You’re talking of one sort. What others do you have in mind? And how many? Standard illogic blooper.
  • “. . . two different programs . . . “? Not two identical ones? Oh.

— Both from “Starbucks’s Troubles Can Be a Test for Anti-Bias Training: Does It Work?” by two psychologists, Christopher Chabris and Matthew Brown, discussing the race-sensitivity program to be implemented by Starbucks on a scheduled work holiday.

In which essay, the uber-common infelicities given above distract from well-aimed analysis and recommendations.

May we ask also, whatever the training program, will another side of the story be offered? Any defense at all or mitigating circumstances of allegedly unfair treatment based on race? That maybe it was not unfair at all? Such would be crucial to presenting the case to presumably teachable though untutored trainees?

You have to get them on your side to sell (convince) them. And it is a sales pitch here, like any training program calling for persuasion, not a close-ended indoctrination session.

The Pope: Do not remain prisoners of ideas, open yourselves to new things

Consider your bicycle.

In Santa Marta [his Vatican City house], Francis warns against the risk of “rigidity”, “There are those who ‘distill’ the law and transform it into ideology”. “The Church is like a bike in equilibrium, if it stops it falls down”

It’s his pitch for an ever-changing church. All is flux to Francis? Like Heraclitus, who was active around 500 B.C. and is . . . 

. . . best known for his doctrines that things are constantly changing (universal flux), that opposites coincide (unity of opposites), and that fire is the basic material of the world.

The exact interpretation of these doctrines is controversial, as is the inference often drawn from this theory that in the world as Heraclitus conceives it contradictory propositions must be true.

We sincerely hope not, though Francis has an oracular way about him and as quick a draw of a metaphor as we have seen for a long time, in or out of papal office. But what of this?

. . . the Pontiff warns against the risk of “rigidity”, which leads to placing oneself at the center and thus remain untouched before the works of the Holy Spirit and insensitive to new things.

Well, it’s a generic enough statement. And who wants to be rigid? But can it be that he’s gone oracular again, using a phrase familar to him:

The doctors of the law [not found in John 8: 51-59, his text for the day], [he said]. . .  were incapable of “discerning the signs of the times”.


They were slaves of words and ideas, Bergoglio [in an Italian publication, where familiarity breeds if not contempt, then a shorthand usage which we Americans eschew] observes in his homily reported by Vatican News.

“Slaves of words and ideas.” Red lights flashing. Slaves. What’s worse?

“They keep going back to the same questions [we’re dying to know some of these, but he’s holding back about it], they are incapable of leaving that closed world, they are prisoners of ideas.

We get it. And we will figure out what those ideas are, don’t worry.

They received a law that was life but they “distilled” it, they transformed it into ideology and thus they toss and turn it and are unable to move beyond. Anything new for them is a threat.”

These are people in a bad way. Let us not be deceived by them. But tell us, Francis, who they are. Please.

Now as a matter of fact, someone has ventured in that very direction. He is the noted “Fr. Z,” Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, regarding a March, 2015 homily. in which he offered a comment, “a snip from an off-the-cuff, non-Magisterial remark,” in which Francis spoke “disparaging words about ‘doctors of the law.’”

Someting was missing, he thought. The very thing I am wondering:

. . . it seems to me that he has set up a straw man: who the heck are these “doctors of the law” whom he has been disparaging with some frequency?

I think he means those who argue that people who are divorced and civilly remarried should not be admitted to Holy Communion because they are objectively living in a state that is inconsistent with our understanding of the Eucharist.

But he won’t come out and say so. It’s not what you want in a homily anyhow, hearing about someone the homilist resents. But Francis does it a lot. He did it in 2015, he did it just the other day.

It’s unseemly. His objectors have registered “dubia,” roughly doubts, about Francis’ read on the state of things as regards marriage the sacrament. He feels put upon but does not answer these “doubts,” these requests for clarification. Why the heck not?

Who knows?

via The Pope: not to remain prisoners of ideas, let’s open ourselves to new things – La Stampa

Michelle Wolf White House Correspondents’ Dinner act surprisingly racy

This POTUS nails it again:

“I could be up there tonight, smiling, like I love where they’re hitting you, shot after shot. These people, they hate your guts … and you’ve got to smile. If you don’t smile, they say, ‘He was terrible, he couldn’t take it.’ And if you do smile, they’ll say, “What was he smiling about?’”

His doughty press secretary had to be there.

Wolf’s act had some in the audience laughing and left others in stony silence. A blistering critique of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was seated just feet away, mocked everything from her truthfulness to her appearance and Southern roots.

Face to face with newsies, she does fine, by the way.

Give credit where it’s due, however. Among some good ones, the comic:

-“It is kinda crazy that the Trump campaign was in contact with Russia when the Hillary campaign wasn’t even in contact with Michigan.”

So it goes.

via Washington Times

My friend Jake reads the newspapers, tales of the ’90s . . .

A look at the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest:

* The headline story begins, “Despite low voter turnout” the school referendum was passed, etc.  But low turnout is supposed to help pass referendums.  Did WJ mean to undercut this conventional wisdom?  Or did the copy editor go to bed early that night?

* The gang task force story looked familiar, down to the wholly acceptable quote, “Our whole goal is not to have gangs get a foothold in this community.”  “An update” on task force activity is coming in late April.  Nothing yet, however. Well, better no news than bad, says my friend Jake (no relation).

A look at the Sun-Times:

Even Homer nods . . . . . . said Horace — the Roman lyric poet speaking of the Greek epic poet — adding, “but I do not approve.”  So when the esteemed Sun-Times, that journalistic survivor of survivors, does something odd, we take notice.

It happened last January, 1/31/96 to be exact, in a small story, “West Side Man Gets 90 Yrs. in Oak Park Rape” — one of the naked city’s million stories.  The rapist had left his work hat at the crime scene, and that did him in.  It’s an awful story, brutal and repulsive.

But some flowers bloom unseen in the desert air, so the careful reader noticed that the man’s work identified him as an employee of the city’s “Department of Road and Control.”

That’s how it sounded on the telephone, I’m sure, when the reporter called it in from the courthouse. “Hello Baby, give me rewrite,” is an old line from “Front Page.”  Baby gave him rewrite, who was in a hurry and distracted, or never heard of rodent control, and out came “road and control.”  Truly one of the near-great moments of Chicago journalism.

Campaign trail in the newspapers . . . On the Monday after The Week That Was for those lousy Republicans, Sun-Times has a picture of the Clintons and his birthday cake, Hillary beaming while Bill and the kid blow candles. 8 by 5-inch pic, in color, a campaign photo.  The foto-op was given, graciously, by the White House, and there it is, page one, with your coffee.

Next page, there’s Ross Perot and wife, in black and white, 6 by 5, top right, you can’t miss it.  He’d just been nominated, so give him that much, whatthehell archie whatthehell.

One more page and there’s a Republican, black and white, upper right, 4 by 2, his hands raised over his head as if signaling touchdown.  It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s . . . Jack Kemp.  What, no Dole?

And the headline?  “Clinton returns to politics,” subhead “Dole, Kemp fire up backers in Buffalo.” Clinton is campaigning?  I thought he was blowing out birthday candles.

(From the yellowing pages of Blithe Spirit, weekly newsletter of the ’90s and later.)

Soros-Funded Attacks on Orthodox Catholic Universities

Whatever these institutions do, they should not apologize, the writer advises. It will only encourage the attackers.

Writer David Horowitz gets this. He was a red-diaper baby and knows the hard left. He says, the issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.

Today it may seem like the issue is racism, or global warming, or confederate statues. But the issue is never the issue. It is always the revolution, that is, tearing down the institutions of the West and of the patriarchy.

In this case, the issue is not Title IX. [As male accused guilty until proven innocent] The issue is tearing down Catholic colleges and universities that are just a bit too faithful and therefore rub up against the zeitgeist and the policy prescriptions of the political left.

Tricky people.

via The Soros-Funded Attacks on Orthodox Catholic Universities – Crisis Magazine

Council of Cardinals preparing draft of new apostolic constitution

What’s this all about?

Vatican City, Apr 25, 2018 / 08:17 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals met this week to continue their discussion of curial reform and to work on the draft of a new apostolic constitution outlining the structure and duties of the Roman Curia.

There is no predicted release date for the apostolic constitution, but the drafting and editing “will take some time,” according to an April 25 Vatican communique. When finished, it will be presented to Pope Francis for further consultation and final approval.

​If they come up​ with​ something that Francis doesn’t like, however, won’t they be worried about being called names? Gnostics or Pelagians, for instance?

It’s not easy being a cardinal, even if you’re an insider.

Francis’ using the terms G and P, as in his Joy of the Gospel exhortation, seems to have approved them in a later document in a way that’s “at odds with” his “preferred pejorative,” points out a veteran Life Site News reporter. (Argument is fairly dense here, but holds up.)

As for the proposed apostolic constitution about curial reform, Catholic News Agency reports an odd omission from announced plans:

​During the meetings, the pope and cardinals received an update on the progress of the reform of the Vatican communications system by Msgr. Lucio Ruiz, secretary and acting prefect of the Secretariat for Communications. Notably, there was no update on the state of the Vatican’s financial reforms, a typical topic of the council’s reunions.​

Notably indeed, especially since curial financial reform has NOT been a jewel in the crown of this papacy. The Dictator Pope author has so concluded after describing and citing case after case where reform has not happened but has been thwarted..

To sum up: four vitally important reformist bodies were put in place in the last few years, the Financial Information Authority, the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy, and the Office of the Auditor General.

Since their inception, these entities have been the target of attacks by anti-reform members of the Curia, left in place and empowered by Pope Francis himself—attacks that have made these reformist bodies effectively powerless.

Was the pope aware of these attacks? Insiders confirm to us that the answer is yes, and that he signed one illogical executive order after another to accelerate the demise of these bodies.

If this is the case, Pope Francis might be storing up more trouble than he imagines, because if the Vatican fails to reform itself, secular authorities might well step in.

How so?

How long, for example, will the Italian judiciary wait before demanding the names of the Italian citizens who have broken Italian law, in acts from money laundering to tax evasion, by using APSA-ciphered accounts?

Will European and international banking authorities decide to shut down APSA’s access to global banking until APSA is reformed by bodies outside the Vatican?

And finally, and most historic of all, will Francis’s failures prompt the Italian government to denounce the Lateran Treaty of 1929, ending Vatican City’s status as an independent state, in order to clean up the lawless, corrupt playground the Vatican has become?

So good luck to the cardinalatial council. But have they nothing planned to address this “typical topic of the council’s reunions”?

As the famous Alice observed about her wonderland experience, this thing gets curiouser and curiouser.

Trump’s big foreign policy week to start with embarrassing Pompeo rebuke

But a rebuke is not a defeat . . .

It could be a week focused on global challenges, and it’s starting out with what looks to be an embarrassing rebuke of President Trump’sforeign policy.Barring a last-minute change of votes, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected Monday to reject secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo, Tracy Wilkinson reports.

It would be the first time in years that a nomination for such a high-level Cabinet position did not receive backing at the committee level. Despite the snub, the full Senate is expected to approve CIA Director Pompeo’s nomination later this week thanks to a handful of Democratic votes.[Italics added]

. . . Much less a snub.

An odd way to report a story.

Later: From the quite a bit more reliable in its no-nonsense news reporting, Murdoch-owned Wall St. Journal:

WASHINGTON—Two more Senate Democrats said Monday they would support Mike Pompeo for secretary of state, giving him some breathing room in the full Senate despite his likely rejection by the Senate panel considering his nomination.

Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia—both representing red-leaning states that President Donald Trump won in the 2016 election—said Monday they would back Mr. Pompeo’s nomination. On Friday, another senator, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, said she would support Mr. Pompeo.

Straight reporting, with eye to main point, not to stick a finger in POTUS’s eye, per LA Times.