Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Black Smoke, White Smoke

On the other hand, perhaps it was a good idea not getting the Vienna Boys' Choir to perform for the conclave...

The Vienna Boys' Choir was rather thrilled at the exclusion


With the retirement of Pope Benedict, following the example of the Emperor Diocletian and going off to tend a vegetable garden, the Catholic Church is at a crossroads again–namely, how to look like they’re dealing with the problem of priestly and episcopal pederasty while selecting in the conclave of the College of Cardinals a colleague who tacitly condoned the problem by doing nothing about it. One thing for certain–he will be from the conservative wing of the Church in order to complete the return of Catholicism to the 19th century after Vatican II dragged it, protesting and screaming, into the 20th century. Ahhh, decisions, decisions. God forbid we have another Pope like John XXIII who’d actually done things like save Jews in the Holocaust, visit a prison on the 2nd day of his Papacy, and had a predilection for sneaking out of the Vatican to talk to people and find out what they thought.

Father Roncalli (John’s real name) was no saint–and won’t be if the Church has anything to say about it. But he was probably the closest pope to one in the last few centuries. His stance to pederasty was pretty clear–and at the same time muddled. On the one hand, he expressly taught that those seminarians who showed a tendency to homosexuality and pederasty were to be barred from ordination. That was back in 1961 and the world’s attitude about homosexuality has been thoroughly revised. Given the misunderstanding of the time, the connection between the two is understandable since the greater bulk of priestly crimes of this type have been with boys rather than girls.

On the other hand, there is a document from 1962 issued under Pope John’s seal that instructs that the investigation of cases involving “‘worst crime’, described as an obscene act perpetrated by a cleric with ‘youths of either sex or with brute animals (bestiality)’” to be dealt with in absolute secrecy. While the penalties for priests involve suspension from celebration of the sacraments through defrocking, (which are not mentioned in the news article but can be found in the linked pdf) nonetheless, there you have the paradox in a nutshell. The horrible nature of the crime is admitted, yet the door is opened to the cover-ups that have exploded in the last 20 years.

My bet is that if John XXIII knew how his instructions would be used to justify the cover-ups, he would have made sure that the cover-up of crimes was dealt with with equal severity. At least, one hopes.

PS: I hate Daylight Saving Time.

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The No-Compromise Compromise, or, 3-D Chess finally works out

Spock/Obama wins a 3-D chess match

Chief Science Officer Obama's 3-D chess playing pays off -- Fascinating.

How often have we heard the following statement about President Obama: “Oh, you don’t understand–he’s playing a 3-D chess game. You couldn’t possibly follow his strategy!” If you were a progressive (or, in hushed whispered tones, a “l-i-b-e-r-a-l”), probably a lot. Why was single payer health insurance taken off the table before the negotiations even began? 3-D chess move! Why no public option? 3-D chess move! Why no investigation into the Bush era torture policies? 3-D chess move! Bank investigations? 3-D chess move! Fascinating!

An astute observer might have noticed that all these 3-D chess moves appeared to variations on the Nimzovich strategies–instead of fighting for the center of the chess board, you concede it and allow your opponent to get overconfident so you can rush in and take advantage of his over-extended supply lines! Of course, it’s hard to overextend your supply lines on an 8×8 chess board so these openings seem to have fallen into obscurity. Nonetheless, our chessplayer-in-chief appears to be devoted to showing that they can work.

The only problem was, while Spock was playing 3-D chess, the Klingons were playing poker. Ah-HAH! I take your knight! Big deal, Full House beats one of a kind! Whoopsies!

However, we’ve finally had a situation where Obama’s chess playing has finally paid off. The brouhaha about Obamacare forcing poor religious zealots from denying women the choice of contraception. Why that’s against the freedom of religions to force their moral standards on people who need not even be members of said religions. Specifically, Catholics, the largest single church in the US–who usually vote Democratic. How quickly the Republicans rushed to their defense! I wonder how quickly they’d rush to the defense of Muslims objecting to universal health care based on Shariah law?

So Obama compromised. The church run hospitals would not have to provide contraception coverage. The health care companies would do it instead. GREET! Oops, many Catholic hospitals are self-insured! Too bad!

Mitch McConnell is furious and threatens a vote … on something. Problem is–the Catholic BISHOPS are against the idea, but Catholic women seem to applaud it. Oh, well. It gets interesting, don’t it?

On personal notes: I will be running an artists alley table at Katsucon at the Gaylord at National Harbor Friday through Sunday this coming weekend. And being as it’s a Monday holiday, there will be no cartoon until the next week. My dental problem is in the middle of recovery (I needed an extraction and implant) and it’s good not to feel the pain that has been with me for many months now. And finally, there is a very sweet kitty cat who is very ill and needs your best wishes. Thanks :)

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This week in appalling…

Students protest the football coaches being suspended--before the end of the season.

After the bowl games, heck, cut 'em loose...

Hey, did you hear about Penn State? They’re leaving the NCAA conference to join NAMBLA (ba-dum-tishhhhhh!) 2000 students rioted because of the firings, suspensions and resignations over the child rape scandal. Hey, we didn’t know this was a Catholic school! (ba-dum!)

In other news, Michelle Bachman thinks that poor people ought to give up two Happy Meals so that rich people don’t have to pay 3% more taxes. Unfortunately, that will wreck the Republican jobs program. Social safety net? We should look to the example of Communist China! They don’t do anything so socialistic!

Happy Veteran’s Day! Mitt Romney thinks you haven’t done enough to serve your country. Let’s privatize the Veteran’s Administration so that you can have the glory of paying American health insurance companies and help them make … even bigger profits. It’s only patriotic.

Waterboarding? Seven out of nine Republican presidential hopefuls agree it isn’t torture. Let’s rehabilitate those Japanese who were hung for it after WWII–oops, they did that against Americans–damn, they should have been drawn and quartered as well!

Berlusconi steps down in Italy–he wants to spend his time helping to defend Herman Cain. I was right last week, more harassment accusations popped up out of Herman’s woodwork. “My wife will tell you–she never heard of any of these things.” Right, Herman.

Last we heard from Rick Perry, he was trying to remember his name. Pick Peary? Rick Rarey? Wait a minute, I almost have it.

Frank Miller thinks the Occupy movement is nothing but hookers and rapists and thieves. Oh, my! Methinks Frank has gotten the United States confused with Sin City… and forgotten about the corruption that pervaded his creation. Things aren’t always black-and-white with splashes of color and good guys aren’t only sweaty, semi-naked men with painted-on muscles, Frank. Oops, that was 300. Maybe Frank is ignoring all those people who have extra time on their hands to protest–because they have no jobs! Perhaps he thinks they can get jobs at McDonald’s? They won’t be hiring–the word is that sales of Happy Meals is expected to go south.

Let’s really get some attention: OCCUPY THE SUPER BOWL!

President Obama killed the tradition of wearing “Aloha” shirts at the APEC summit in Honolulu. “Hey, I’m from Hawaii and even I think those things are awful!”

And finally, Penn State lost its first post-scandal game. Students said, “We knew they should have waited until after the season.”

Next weekend I will be attending AnimeUSA at the Crystal City Hyatt Regency. I’ll be participating in two panels on Saturday, one I will be giving on traditional and digitial inking at some ungodly hour in the morning, and the other I’ll be supporting my friend Alicia at her traditional post-midnight Yuri drawing panel. I’ll be in costume some of the time (courtesy of Alicia), but the rest of the time, I’ll be in my traditional purple “I NEED INTRAVENOUS CAFFEINE” shirt. So say hi, if you see me.

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Who’d'a Thunk The Belgians Would Be So Creative?

Young Frankenstein homage, exhuming the Belgian archbishop with ties to the child abuse scandal..

The Belgians thought it would be better to hire local labor to exhume the Cardinal...

Well, it has been an eventful week. General MacArthur shot his mouth off again to the press and Harry Truman was forced to sack him. Oooops, I mean General McChrystal shot his mouth off to a reporter from Rolling Stone and Obama, after months of McChrystal’s badmouthing and leaking, was finally forced into firing him. McChrystal’s boss and predecessor, General Petraeus, will take over operations in Afghanistan that, suprise! surprise! we’ve been told will probably take even longer. After all, those 50 al-Qaeda in the mountains need to be kept from rejoining the rest of their crew … in PAKISTAN. Yeah, yeah, I know, we’re trying to keep out the Taliban too so we can keep our friend Karzai in power–who, it has been speculated, has already joined the Taliban. Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows, but the United States will continue to waste money and troops there because we won’t accept defeat in a war that lost its meaning 5 years ago.

Anyway, on to the real story…no, not the one about Fox and Friends wondering what that BP robot was thinking when it accidentally knocked the cap off the Gulf gusher–Jon Stewart already handled that. Hey, guys, The Terminator was just a MOVIE. No, I’m talking about the latest development in the ongoing story of Churchly pederasty. Holy Hercule Poirot! The Belgian fuzz raided church offices to seize evidence about priestly child abuse and its coverup. You gotta hand it to those Belgians. They ain’t sitting on their hands with this one. But the icing on the cake was the opening of two Cardinal’s tombs–what, did they think they were going to catch them in a smoking erection? Evidently, somebody thought that evidence might have been buried with the prelates, instead of being burned like anyone with half a mind would have done. On the other hand, the Church is full of bureaucrats, better photocopy those papers before you burn them, just in case we need them again!

While giving the Belgian police high marks for energy, initiative and creativity, I have to ask what they were smoking. Did someone read/watch The Da Vinci Code one too many times? How about Young Frankenstein? In any case, Our Holy Father is in a state of Righteous Dudgeon–something he forgot about doing while HE was in charge of investigating priestly child abuse–How DARE they act like the Church was full of bankers? I mean, criminals! “Huff! Huff!” he huffed, “Thou Shalt Not Hear the end of this!” And the former Hitlerjugend member from Bavaria (in what was to become WEST Germany) called the Belgian cops worse than Communists!

The Belgian church is now thinking of suing the Belgian police if the Jesuits can torture out a legal basis for the suit.

Finally, as we heard this morning. Robert Byrd, longest serving Senator in US history, passed away last night. Byrd was a living example that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, having turned from a member of the KKK to one of the most reliably liberal members of the Senate. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family, the Senate and the people of West Virginia.

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What did the Pope’s Nose and when did he nose it?

Pope Benedict has nothing to say about the abuse that occurred under his brother's watch.

Sergeant Schultzinger...

Whenever a coverup starts getting uncovered, the big question that always arises is about the boy at the top. OK Girl at the top too, corruption is an equal opportunity employer. The question is, “What did they know and when did they know it?” In other words, were they involved in the coverup, or were they just clueless schmucks. Warren G. Harding was a clueless schmuck. He let his people organize Teapot Dome AND let them talk him into appointing just the right people to look the other way without any idea that these guys were not just great guys to have a poker game with. Richard Nixon, on the other hand, knew a lot about the Watergate break-in from the moment the “plumbers” were arrested and they were arrested doing a job that he’d authorized in principle.

So we come to the Church and its seemingly endless abuse scandal. Seemingly endless because although the cases of abuse are all relatively recent, there’s no way of knowing just how far back this abuse had been part of the Church under-culture. Certainly Catholic schools always had the reputation of “beating kids into shape,” but before the 20th C, it was generally accepted as a given that some kids needed “molding” in that manner and that all kids stood to need a whuppin’ now and then just to remind them of their place. But we’ve pretty much abandoned that in Western society for some time now. And the abuse we’re talking about is not just physical punishment, but sexual abuse as well.

Anyway, for the last few years it seems that every time you turn around, another country has uncovered physical and sexual abuse carried out by priests, nuns, brothers, teachers, etc.. And finally it has hit Germany, where the Pope Benedict was a bishop and later cardinal and where his brother Georg Raztinger directed a choir for a good 20 years, and guess what? Allegations of abuse has rizz! Not about Georg, who seems to have done nothing untoward except slap the boys around a bit, but who, of course, had no idea that any sexual abuse was going on by his subordinates.

And naturally, brother Joseph, now Pope B, had no idea of it either, nor of abuse going on in his diocese, even though he’d issued a directive to treat these cases with “confidentiality.” I guess confidentiality includes not telling your boss something smells under the woodwork. Right now, Irish bookmakers have sliced the odds against his early retirement.

Now, the rather conservative Cardinal Schönborn has suggested that in light of these scandals, perhaps it’s time to examine the celibacy rule. The Vatican says no, nothing to do with it. While I normally hate to agree with the Vatican, it’s undoubtedly true that priests aren’t abusing children because they can’t get any in a normal fashion. A molester is a predator who tries to get into a position of trust and power IN ORDER to abuse it. There are probably as many abusers outside the Church as in–it’s the hypocrisy of the ones inside of it that makes this such a scandal.

However, the Cardinal is right in a more roundabout way. Right now, no one with normal sexual urges wants to become a priest. That cuts out a big swath of your non-insane employment pool. The eastern churches have married priests, the Roman church only adopted celibacy as a requirement in their holier-than-thou Middle Ages. And they knocked that requirement off for eastern and Anglican churches that re-established communion with Rome.

But if it does happen, it ain’t gonna happen soon. And I don’t think that Joe Ratzinger will resign either–if he weathered the Hitler Youth problem, the scandal has gotta get closer to home than a bunch of maybes.

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