“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, April 13, 2009

No one wants Caroline Kennedy

Dejected and rejected.

The fallen Princess of Camelot just can't quite function in prime time. We first learned that the petulant little princess, in her quest to pick up the empty Senate seat from Hillary, had somehow never had much time to vote. That in itself did not kill her newly discovered political ambitions, but it highlighted her utter lack of qualification. That was too much even for New York.

Miss Kennedy found, that to represent New York in the Senate, New York expected that she, at a minimum, should have voted in New York, or voted period. The Vatican has the quaint notion that an American Catholic, who wishes to represent American interests to the Vatican, should not be notoriously hostile to Catholic doctrine, values and principals. That is their right.

Pointedly, US Catholic conservatives do not like Caroline Kennedy. They didn't want her and she is not going. Oprah still loves her.


Vatican blocks Caroline Kennedy appointment as US ambassador
The Vatican has blocked the appointment of Caroline Kennedy as US ambassador, according to reports.

By Alex Spillius in Washington Telegraph
Last Updated: 8:37AM BST 11 Apr 2009

Vatican sources told Il Giornale that their support for abortion disqualified Ms Kennedy and other Roman Catholics President Barack Obama had been seeking to appoint.

Mr Obama was reportedly seeking to reward John F Kennedy's daughter, who publicly gave her support to his election bid. She had been poised to replace Hillary Clinton as New York senator, but dropped out amid criticism that she lacked enough experience for the job.

The Italian paper said that the Vatican strongly disapproved of Mr Obama's support for abortion and stem cell research. The impasse over the ambassadorial appointment threatens to cloud his meeting with the Pope during a G8 summit in Itay in July.
Ms Kennedy, 53, has said that she supports abortion. Raymond Flynn, a former US ambassador to the Vatican, said earlier this week that Ms Kennedy would be a poor choice.

"It's imperative, it's essential that the person who represents us to the Holy See be a person who has pro-life values. I hope the President doesn't make that mistake," he told the Boston Herald. "She said she was pro-choice. I don't assume she's going to change that, which is problematic."

The White House refused to comment.


  1. Vatican denies it vetoed US choice for ambassador

    VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is denying that it has rejected several candidates for U.S. ambassador to the Holy See because of their support for abortion rights.

    Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Friday that he checked the reports in the American and Italian media and there is no truth to them.

    He also told the U.S. Catholic News Service that no names of proposed ambassadors had reached the Vatican from Washington.

    The reports underline possible tensions between the Vatican and the government of President Barack Obama because of its support for abortion rights and stem cell research, a reversal the policies of the George W. Bush administration.

  2. Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » The Free Speech Attack Machine

    I appeared on Mike Pintek’s show on America’s first radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, the other night talking about speech regulations the FCC has proposed for radio and television. These regulations would erase more than twenty years of speech governed by the free marketplace rather than by government edict. It’s a sad story when we are talking about regulating speech in America. But, we are in 2009.

    On January 24, 2008, the FCC filed a “Report on Broadcast Localism And Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.” In that 98 page report, there are EIGHT references requiring radio stations to set up “community advisory boards” to advise on station programming. The Vice President of the San Antonio branch of the NAACP, Joe Linson, said such boards would ”allow individuals from all sectors of the community to provide input and to help shape the message for their areas,” in a statement before the FCC. The FCC concurs with this and similar statements:

    We tentatively conclude that each licensee [station] should convene a permanent advisory board made up of officials and other leaders from the service area of its broadcast station.” The FCC brief also states, “How should members of the advisory boards be selected or elected? How can the advisory boards be composed so as to ensure that all segments of the community, including minority or underserved members of the community, would also have an opportunity to voice their concerns about local issues facing the area? How frequently should licensess be required to meet with these advisory boards?

    The FCC also wants to involve these groups in the license renewal process for radio stations.

    In a direct reference to conservative talk radio, the FCC report states:

    While the Commission has observed that each broadcast station is not necessarily required to provide service to all such groups, it has nonetheless recognized the concerns of some that programming - particularly network programming - often is not sufficiently culturally diverse.

  3. Caroline At The Funeral

    John Jr. Salutes His Father

    "To my knowledge, this was the first and only thing of its kind in peacetime that has ever given me the sense of being a member of this whole national community, engaged as a unit in the observance of a deeply significant rite. For it has not been fashionable during the past twenty or thirty years to raise the American flag. That has been supposed to put you dangerously on the John Birch side of the aisle. But here at last was an occasion when--I should think--it would have been difficult for anyone not to have felt his own life and character magnified through participation in the life and destiny of the nation. The system of sentiments essential to our survival as an organic unit was effectively reactivated and evoked, emotionally and tellingly represented for and to us, during the weekend of unanimous meditation.

    I saw before me, it seemed, the seven ghostly steeds of the gray Lord Death, here come to conduct the fallen hero youth on his last celestial journey, passing symbolically upward through the seven celestial spheres to the seat of eternity, whence he had once descended. The mythology of the seven celestial spheres and of the soul's journey from its heavenly home downward to its life on earth and, when that life was done, then upward again through all seven, is as old in this world as our civilization itself. The steed with riderless saddle, stirrups reversed, prancing by the dead young warrior's side, would in the ancient days have been sacrificed, cremated along with the body of its master in a mighty pyre symbolic of the blazing, golden sun door through which the passing hero-soul would have gone to its seat in the everlasting hero-hall of warrior dead. For, again symbolically, such a steed represents the body and its life, the rider, its guiding consciousness; they are one, as are body and mind. And as I watched that noble riderless beast of the funeral cortege with it blackened hoofs, I thought of the legend of the young Aryan Prince Gautama Shakyamuni's noble steed, Kantake. When its master, having renounced the world, rode away and into the forest to become there the Buddha, the mount returned to the palace riderless and in sorrow expired."

    Jopseph Campbell 'The Importance of Rites'

    Which have gone sorrowfully missing, these latter days.

    I remember that funeral to this day, mightily moved, and never did much like the Kennedys.

  4. "The system of sentiments essential to our survival as an organic unit was effectively reactivated and evoked, emotionally and tellingly represented for and to us."
    Only a cynic could have predicted how far back to "normal" the country has swerved.
    ...or that those at the helm in DC would respond as they have:
    Doubling down on their corruption, condescension, and disdain for such a "system of sentiments" and all the citizens willing and eager to take up the cause for the duration.

  5. My son is going to be "taking up the cause" upon our return home this winter.

    As he's still too young for SF, he plans on enlisting for Ranger.

    He is dead set on Afghanistan.

    His father will *not* be happy. But then, this *is* his father's "fault."

  6. And I, apparently, am supposed to go without sleep for the duration of his Excellent Adventure.

  7. Sounds like it's in the family genes, Trish. The service, not the lack of sleep.

  8. We always knew he would go into the military. He's had that aim since preschool and has lived, breathed, eaten, slept, drunk, and dreamed military history since then.

    But the rule has been that he *would* complete at least two years of undergrad before running off. Two years. Is that so much to ask?

    But he has found the very thought of it intolerably oppressive of late. He wants something "real." And he wants it tout suite. All the fun might dry up were he to postpone this.

    And now his dad will be in the...interesting...position of directly facilitating his young son's noble but as yet naive desire to see Asscrackistan the hard way.

  9. Oh yeah, that's a tough test for mom...a tough test.

  10. Where in Hell did he get THAT idea, Trish?

  11. Surely they can sedate me, whit.

    I have tried telling him that Ranger School is his father's basic unit of measurement for any and all unpleasantness. "If it's not as bad as Ranger school, it's just not that bad." (His father did it at the ripe old age of 32. Because he's a sick, sick man.)

    But you see, this has the perverse effect of egging him on. And it's not about the tab in any event. It's about 'doing manly things in a manly way with other men,' as the tankers used to put it, on the other side of the world. Even if it means the daily torment of your mother.

    I'll put off telling his father until he's in a really, really good mood. The day he gets back, maybe.

  12. No one could talk me out of it when I was seventeen, My father used the power of the pen and would not sign when I tried the marines or for what I thought was a real cool idea, sign up for army paratroopers and when I turned eighteen, become a helicopter pilot.

    After some very unpleasant arguments, he signed my application for the air force, and I ended up at 401 North Broad Street in a week and Lackland AFB for fun in the sun in July and August.

  13. I did it at 28, trish, nothin' but a thing.

    Is the 24th Inf. still at Fort Stewert? If he washes out, that's an interesting place to be.

  14. Yeah, well, we're going to have to have a tailored contract. In the event that he washes out, he is not simply their warm body.

    I wouldn't want to see that.

  15. Can't you plant an academy idea into his head?

  16. "...nothin' but a thing."

    MmmmHmmmm. My husband was in the class just before the one in which they lost the lost the guys to hypothermia. And that was, to him, the absolute worst phase.

    Hallucinating out in the desert, in contrast, was a walk in the park.

    The thing that irritated him the most, and sticks with him to this day, was the ever present obsession with food.

  17. Can't you plant an academy idea into his head?

    Mon Apr 13, 07:41:00 AM EDT

    Have tried every vehicle imaginable.

    He is THAT sick of school for now.

  18. The lack there of, trish, the lack there of.

    There were the two lost that way in '77, then 3 lost again in '95.

    Assume dad went through in '95, not '77, or he'd be older than the hills.

  19. In the stupid crook of the month category up this way, I nominate of couple of Coeue d Alene morons, when we lived up there, who robbed a Quik Stop one snowy snowing night, and took off with the cash on their snowmobile, to their hovel haven a few blocks away, to which hideout the coppers followed them by the snowmobile tracks in the newly fallen snow.

    That was a hilarious video, Doug. Right in the old coconut. Both of them:)

  20. Now, back in '80, that's when it was REALLY tough.

  21. Was it 95? I thought it was a couple of years earlier. It was just before we moved to Georgia. You may be right.

    I lose track of the years the more I have of them behind me.

  22. I wouldn't have recalled the year, but for the NYTimes.

  23. I checked that list that wi"o" provided, of the other captives of the pirate league, did not see any US citizens on it.

    No more worries, for US, then.

    Until "next" time.

  24. I didn't know you were a Ranger, Rat.

  25. The rangers? Is that where Rat got his burkha?

  26. And just to be clear, my son is already eighteen and will be graduating in a couple of months.

    He doesn't require our permission to do this.

    He does require our support.

  27. try getting him an XBOX with Call of Duty World at War...

    ...naw, too easy to try agin' once you've been killed.

  28. He already has the Cray computer for RTS gaming. Which he and his dad have gutted and rebuilt to the point that it bears no resemblance to the original.

  29. I rather think it's a done deal, ash.

    The boy wants this so badly, there's no way he's not going to do it.

  30. My son was quite surprised at how easily one was killed in the game. He was under the impression that it wasn't so easy to get killed in a 'real' war. I've tried to explain to him that, yep, one bullet, one explosion, can do the job, for real - and you don't get to try again.

  31. You seem to have nine lives, Ash.

  32. Ash, the perennial potato.

    Earn a living day, but couldn't resist.:)

  33. yeah bobal, this ole tater is just tryin' to stay alive another day so a new post can be made. Did you see the new hit single Sham Wow! ?

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Just got me the tab, trish, I was never a "real" Ranger.

    Knew a few "real" Rangers, those boys were a tad off center, even at Fort Hood, far from the Bn.

  36. As to the dimwits that made those burka comments, duece.

    I always said if we did not change course, develop a strategy that produced positive results, in the short term, we'd lose on the Homefront.

    Seems I was right.
    More right than any one of the dimwits could have ever imagined, and it ain't finished yet.

    We're still goin' back to Pakistan, like it or not.

    And Mr Bush and his legacy of spreading democracy, a laughingstock, now. Perhaps in a few decades, after the damage caused by his short term failures is set in stone, he'll be seen in a "better" light.

    But all I think he'll be remembered for is empowering Obama.

  37. It's why the Tillman execution has always bothered me, trish.

    Clincher bein' that the Afghan scout/translator died, too.

    Couldn't be tusted to stick to the story.

  38. heh--I know I shouldn't be laughing, it's not good form--but--

    Somalis Fire Mortars At US Congressman

    I won't comment about their aim, just repeat I'm glad the American captain made it home, and the SEALS safe.

    Hillary dodged incoming herself, you recall, so she claimed.

  39. I doubt too many of the Burkha boys had a DD-214 to wave at you.

  40. Quid Pro Quo?

    Certainly seems that was what was in mind. Obumble having thrown them under the bus, they look out for themselves.

  41. "But all I think he'll be remembered for is empowering Obama."
    Let me count the ways.
    Nah, too ugly to recall.

    What's the Tab comment 'Rat?
    You bought one @ the Base?

  42. He was a Ranger but he was never in a Ranger Bde.

  43. My husband did it, quite literally, because he had long promised himself he would.

    SERE wasn't "but a thing" in comparison, it turns out.

  44. "The Desert Phase, conducted first at Fort Bliss, Texas and later at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah was eliminated in 1995.
    The last Ranger School class to go through the Desert Phase was class 7-95."

  45. After you go through the complete course, doug, you get the authority to wear the tab, over your Unit patch.

    It looked spiffy on the Class A Greens. The pups look at you like you're a mad man, which may well have been the case.

    But "real" Rangers, they're assigned to the Ranger Bns.

    Me, I graduated and headed back home to Panama. To the 193rd Inf Bde, 518th Eng Co, Cbt at wonderful Fort Kobbe.

  46. Is Panama still the plan for the future, 'Rat?

  47. "I predict NOTHING will happen to the SEALs dog-shooter. For the same reason: police and prosecutors FEAR the thugs because the forces aligned with the thugs, the PC, the various criminal lobbies, will in fact punish them and protect the thugs.

    Quite likely the fallout is the arrest and prosecution of the SEAL for chasing the shooters of his dog, and the shooters will be released with no or only minor charges. With many sob-stories about how they were “oppressed” and how “evil” the “crazed vet” was.

    You'd think Whiskey would occasionally look at his batting average and make some adjustments to his swing.
    You'd be wrong.

  48. I think so, just have to recover some funding for that adventure.

    Jr decided he did not want to be an International Businessman, after all. More work was involved than he had envisioned or thought was fair.

    So that let some of the pressure off. The sewage dumps right into the bay, in front of Panama City.

    Not water I'd swim in.

    Still up or down the coast from the Canal it's really pretty pristine, on either side.

  49. He's not even entertaining, doug. The fellow is a true boar.

    Someone must have pussy whipped him into a frenzy, then dumped him for a guy with a bigger truck.

  50. For years, we had a Ranger plate on the front of an old Volvo sedan. (It now sits on a bookshelf in the study next to the photo of Massoud.)

    That only now strikes me as hilariously incongruous.

    They did a study some years ago and discovered that, controlling for other factors, Ranger school actually subtracts from your lifespan.

  51. The congressman's son, Newark Councilman Donald Payne Jr., said he was glad no one on his father's plan was injured by the mortar fire.

    "They all missed. Good thing they can't shoot," he said.

    He said he believed the attack was launched in retaliation for the killing of three Somali pirates Sunday by U.S. Navy snipers, which ended a five-day standoff over the hijacked ship and rescued Capt. Richard Phillips.
    Attack in Mogadishu

  52. Someone must have pussy whipped him into a frenzy, then dumped him for a guy with a bigger truck.heh, that's how I got it figured.

  53. Iraq: Obama owes his election in part to his opposition to the war in Iraq. Now, he plans to withdraw U.S. combat troops.


    Afghanistan: Obama has made this war his own, vowing to win, promising to keep terrorists from again taking refuge on Afghan soil. Even after more than seven years of fighting, the challenge is daunting and some Americans are already musing about whether it will be 'Obama's Vietnam'.

    Pakistan: The Obama administration sees Pakistan as both a base for insurgents in Afghanistan and a battleground in its own right. Militants threaten the stability of the country and also potentially the security of its nuclear weapons.
    Muslim Issues