Pope Benedict XVI deftly chose Naples, with its long history of mafia killings and crimes, to speak out against using religion to justify violence but it's pretty clear he was directing his comments at others in the interdenominational audience of clerics:
"In a world wounded by conflicts, where violence is justified in God's name, it's important to repeat that religion can never become a vehicle of hatred, it can never be used in God's name to justify violence," he said. "On the contrary, religions can and must offer precious resources to build a peaceful humanity, because they speak about peace in the heart of man." (Breitbart/AP)The Pope reportedly spoke to many Muslims during the confab, but only one was invited to his lunch table, Ezzeddine Ibrahim, one of the 138 Muslim scholars who recently signed a letter to Christian leaders urging Christians and Muslims to build on their common belief in one God to work for peace.
That's a conversation that should keep going.
Doolittle Didalot, Gottago
The SacBee reports that the ongoing ... three years ongoing ... investigation of GOP congressman John Doolittle in the Jack Abramoff scandal has led his supporters to demand a finding:
"After three years of investigation, if they haven't uncovered something that is chargeable, they should abandon this investigation and remove the cloud they've created over a very fine human being," [Lew] Uhler declared.Sounds like a good idea, but I'm not so sure about Uhler's use of adverbs and adjectives. Political consultant Jeff Flint, who I've worked with a time or two, put it pretty well:
"I don't think we owe John Doolittle the right to run and lose. That's not acceptable to me. It's the most conservative district in the state. The only Republican who can lose it is John Doolittle, and he needs to step aside.John?
Green From Green Offsets
The Contra Costa Times reports that "Joseph Farms is on the front end of a boom." It's actually the booms from rear ends that has dairy farmer Carl Morris sitting on an extra $250,000. Morris captures and sells the methane from his cows' manure and sells it as carbon credits to companies and individuals striving to cut their carbon footprints.
Just keep your footprints out of the now valuable cow pies!
More seriously, the paper, which reports from the fiercely beating heart of the Greenie and Warmie movements, now pegs the carbon offset business at $5 billion a year -- totally unregulated.
Is it an offset to merely save a tree, or do you have to plant a tree? No one knows. Is it an offset to sell carbon offsets for methane you are required by air quality regulations to capture? Again, no one knows.
C-SM rarely calls for more regulation of the marketplace, but c'mon. If there was a $5 billion market dreamed up by hardcore capitalists, you know Congress would have regulated it by now. Why not a market dreamed up by hardcore Warmies?
One of the most interesting reads of the week (with a hat-tip to Bookworm) is Michael Knox Beran's NRO piece on the death of Count Gottfried von Bismark, the great-great- grandson of Count Otto von Bismark, uniter of Germany.
Gottfried didn't quite live up to Otto's greatness, but he did have his superlatives. He had more cocaine in h is blood than the pathologist who autopsied him had ever seen. He also was an over-achiever when it came to infections, having Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and an HIV infection.
Still, Beran posits, Otto and Gottfried really weren't that far apart.
In their coverage of Count Gottfried’s death, the newspapers contrasted the splendor of the ancestor’s achievements with the shameful notoriety of the descendant’s. Yet Otto von Bismarck was in his own way a character quite as demoniacal as Gottfried, only he enacted his Walpurgisnacht yearnings on a much grander scale. The Iron Chancellor fantasized that he was a bomb; confessed himself capable of lying awake through a whole night “hating”; and spoke of the “brutal sensuality” and “depraved fantasy” that led him “so close to the greatest sins.” His dreams were violent, his imagination washed in the darker oils: at the heart of Bismarckian self-culture was the question, What have you really hated till now?It all makes half of my skin crawl, the German half.
Speaking of Germany and crawling skin, historian Eric D. Weitz thinks the Weimar has taken far too much blame for the descent of Germany into Nazism. From History News Network:
Crazy or sane, left or right, these analogies all picture Weimar as nothing more than a conflict-ridden, sex-crazed epoch moving inexorably toward totalitarian dictatorship. Somehow, in some undefined way, a quantum of crisis became a stress-load that the political system could no longer bear. Too much sex or too much unemployment or too many Jews, and bamm! -- system collapse.Bamm as opposed to bam notwithstanding, Weitz is not ready to let sex, unemployment or Jews take the rap. He's got a much more nefarious villain to poke his finger at:
Weimar did not collapse. It was deliberately murdered by a coalition of establishment conservatives and the extreme right. High government officials, bankers and factory owners, pastors and priests, army officers, old-line aristocratic landowners, some well-placed intellectuals -- those were the establishment conservatives. They were well-situated in powerful institutions like the state bureaucracy, the church hierarchies, big business, and universities, and they disposed of great resources. Yet they whined incessantly because the democracy had limited (though certainly not destroyed) their powers in the revolution that followed World War I and established the Republic. They were anti-democratic, anti-socialist, and anti-Semitic, if less rabidly so than Adolf Hitler and his cronies.Weitz concludes, "when establishment conservatives play with the extreme right, draw them into the political system, make their ideas acceptable, then democracy is truly in danger."
The name of his column? Weimar America, natch. Weitz may have raised the intellectual level up a notch or two, but he's nothing more than another academician calling Bush a Nazi.
Hillary Dumped Socks
Is the new, softer Hillary real? Do I really have to ask? The Times of London answers, back arched and hissing loudly:
AS THE “first pet” of the Clinton era, Socks, the White House cat, allowed “chilly” Hillary Clinton to show a caring, maternal side as well as bringing joy to her daughter Chelsea. So where is Socks today?
Once the presidency was over, there was no room for Socks any more. After years of loyal service at the White House, the black and white cat was dumped on Betty Currie, Bill Clinton’s personal secretary, who also had an embarrassing clean-up role in the saga of his relationship with the intern Monica Lewinsky.
Some believe the abandoned pet could now come between Hillary Clinton and her ambition to return to the White House as America’s first woman president.
Well, that sounds like a bit of an over-statement, but still:
“In the annals of human evil, off-loading a pet is nowhere near the top of the list,” writes Caitlin Flanagan in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. “But neither is it dead last, and it is especially galling when said pet has been deployed for years as an all-purpose character reference.”
Where are the media, though? The entertainment media were somehow falling all over themselves this week, gushing out reports on Ellen DeGeneres unadopting her adopted dog.
Where is the passion for Socks? Where is the outrage?