Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I'll Take Stoning For $200 Alex. Bolton Twists In The Wind. Why Vampires Avoid Daylight.

Inquisition Anyone?

From the "You'll Get Nothing And Like It!" department, the Catholic Church has a new leader. The Conclave of Cardinals has elected extremist Cardinal Joesph Ratzinger as the new pope. Taking the name Pope Benedict XVI, the new pontiff's selection should make knuckledraggers all over the world, and especially here in the U.S. happy with his hardline views on such topics as abortion, homosexuality and ordaning women as priests. The following AOL News story excerpt gives some idea of what we can expect from the new Holy Father:

Some have questioned whether the new pope betrayed any pro-Nazi sentiment during his teenage years in Germany during World War II. In his memoirs, Ratzinger wrote that he was enrolled in the Nazi youth movement against his will when he was 14 in 1941, when membership was compulsory. He said he was soon let out because of his studies for the priesthood. Two years later he was drafted into a Nazi anti-aircraft unit as a helper, a common taks for teenage boys too young to be soldiers. A year later he was released, only to be sent to the Austrian-Hungarian border to construct tank barriers.

Full story: http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050416121309990001&ncid=NWS00010000000001
Unsurprisingly, President Bush called the new pope a ''man of great wisdom and knowledge.'' Curious words from a man with an appreciable lack of both qualitites.

Not that I care a great deal about this development, having left the Catholic Church not long after having been "confirmed". I find the faith a regressive machine that aggresively tries to curtail any level of imagination and intellectual curiosity. In a world that is as dynamic as ours is, I find such a position inexcusable and indefensible.

But don't take my word for it. Here is E.J. Dionne's take about the new pope's address to the conclave before the voting process began:

The modern world, Ratzinger insisted, has jumped "from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, up to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and on and on."

Those are fighting words. They guaranteed that Ratzinger, who was Pope John Paul II's enforcer of orthodoxy, will either set the church's course -- or offer his fellow cardinals the ideas they choose to react against. Decades from now many conservative Catholics will see the war against the "dictatorship of relativism" as their central mission. It's not a line you forget.

Gee, the new pontiff sounds like he'd be right at home in the Bush administration, doesn't he? Full Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64469-2005Apr18.html

Bolton's Confirmation Delayed

But the news isn't all bad...

WASHINGTON (April 19) - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee delayed a vote on the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador after a Republican senator said he was not prepared to vote for him on Tuesday and cast the nomination in doubt.
''I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton,'' Ohio Sen. George Voinovich said, stunning fellow Republicans who were set to push the contentious nomination through the committee on a party-line vote. Without Voinovich's support, Bolton's nomination faced being bottled up in the committee on a 9-9 tie vote that would not advance it to the full Senate.

Full AOL News story: http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050419073009990004
What a shame. Now another Republican is going against the grain. First it was Chuck Hagel expressing severe doubts about Bolton, and now Voinovich doesn't feel "comfortable" about the man. And let's not forget Rhode Island's Lincoln Chaffee is still undecided about this matter. Is this a sign that the Bush administration's chickens are coming home to roost?

The Man Behind The Curtain Speaks!

In a shocking display of candor, and an unconvincing attempt to play the victim, Karl Rove, Bush administation fixer extraordinaire, lashed out at the very media that, through it's unwillingness to hold President Bush and his policies to the "standards" it demanded during the Clinton years, has been complicit in aiding this President to put those same policies into practice. Excerpt time:

CHESTERTOWN, Md. (April 19) - The media have started applying the horse race style of campaign coverage to daily reporting on government, leading to adversarial reporting that can obscure the truth just to create conflict, President Bush's chief political strategist said Monday.

Speaking at a forum at Washington College, Karl Rove said the influx of media outlets and the shrinking shelf life of news in a 24-hour news cycle are to blame. ''We are substituting the shrill and rapid call of the track announcer for calm judgment, fact and substance,'' Rove told the crowd of roughly 600 students and local residents.

"Shrill and rapid call of the track announcer for calm judgment, fact and substance.'' How's that for being a hypocritical shithead? Talk about trying to have both sides of the argument. That's a perfect description of Fox News. Thank you Mr. Rove for finally getting something right! Full AOL News story: http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050328090109990008

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