Sunday, May 31, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
If President Obama's address to Notre Dame was a model of civility, Dr. Patricia McQuire, President of Trinity University in Washington was not. Judge for your self whether her speech to the graduating class displayed "self-righteous condemnation." I wonder if she counts Notre Dame alumna Lacy Dodd among those who "defend the rights of the unborn but have no charity toward the living." Would she count her among "the grand inquisitors" and "uber-guardians." Apparently the good doctor will brook no dissent from the imperial Presidency of a Catholic University.
In contrast, Ms. Dodd, who spoke at the Grotto Sunday, asks Fr. Jenkins a question that gets heart of the issue civilly and powerfully. Although I first learned of her remarks from Dr. Pia de Solenni, her full talk is back home at First Things:
"For many members of the Notre Dame Class of 2009, the uproar surrounding the university’s decision to honor Barack Obama with this year’s commencement address, and to bestow on him a doctorate of laws, has provoked strong feelings [read on]"
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Next week on June 4th, we will mark the twentieth anniversary of the day the tanks rolled over the students in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. I remember the day well.
That was Commencement at St. John's University in New York where I was teaching. The ceremonies were in the field house where the Redmen played basketball. It was right across from Bent Hall (named after Bruce Bent, inventor of the money market mutual fund) where my office was.
St. John's robes are scarlet, so the whole field house was a sea of red as three governors (and alumni) spoke to the graduates. That image of the color of blood is etched into my psyche for the news of the horror was just seeping out as we gathered. The blood bath had begun over night as the army moved in with tanks and armored personnel carriers, shooting indiscriminately and rolling over the students. The official estimates according to Wikipedia are 241 dead and the unofficial estimates run as high as 7,000.
The students had occupied the Square since mid-April in a huge pro-Democracy demonstration. There was a division of opinion in the Chinese elite about what to do. The hard liners ultimately won. The loser was Zhao Ziyang, the General Secratary of the Communist Party of China, who overnight went from the most powerful man in the largest country in the world to a prisoner under house arrest.
In its editorial, "Zhao Ziyang's Revenge," the Wall Street Journal explains, "Zhao was a champion of economic liberalization and famous among China's farmers for his agricultural reforms. In the spring of 1989, he agreed with student demands for transparency, less corruption and a freer press." The occasion for its editorial is the publication of Zhao's secret memoirs. As the Journal editorializes in its Asian edition, "As the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre approaches, that history remains as dangerous as ever to China's leadership." Sky Canaves reviews the book in the Asian edition and read and hear (in Chinese) excerpts in "Memoir of Former China Communist Chief." Zhao taped his memoirs over a number of years and these transcribed memoirs are coming out in book form: Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang, Adi Ignatius, ed.". Simon and Schuster are the publishers.
In a related piece, Bao Pu, who with Renee Chiang translated and edited the English version, explains "What Happened in Tiananmen Square."
Mr. Caves reports "A Chinese government spokesman brushed off questions from the foreign media about" Zhao's memoirs.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Many people look to that march, the culmination of the civil rights movement's protests and its courage in the face of violence and retaliation in Selma, as a turning point in American history. For many Americans at that time, the denial of Blacks' civil rights was the defining moral issue of the age. This courageous minority eventually captured the imagination of the nation and brought about fundamental reform. To this day, there are individual Americans of my generation who look back at the March from Selma as life changing. It certainly was nation changing.
Notre Dame University honored President Barak Obama with a Doctor of Laws and its choice of him as its commencement speaker. Many Catholics saw this honoring of a man whose actions contribute to further deaths of the unborn as a dishonoring of the charism of the premier Catholic University in America.
Two thousand five hundred protesters gathered at the Grotto for prayer and in the quadrangle for mass and a peaceful protest. Many more protested outside the campus and scores were arrested on Notre Dame's campus. Among the arrests were eighty year old Father Father Norman U. Weslin founder of Lambs for Christ, Alan Keyes, and Norma McCorvey. Norma McCovey is the "Jane Roe" the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that abolished America's abortion laws.
Many people, indeed most people, in America do not view abortion as the defining moral issue of our age. That is true of most people who identify themselves as Catholics. History often has a very different perspective from that of the majority in any given time and place. It would be ironic if America's first Black President occasioned the protests that history looked back on as the Selma, Alabama of the Pro-Life movement: the turning point in the nation's treatment of its most vunerable citizens' civil rights.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
By Mary Ann GlendonSunday, April 26, 2009, 9:30 AM
April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame
Dear Father Jenkins,
When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.
Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.
Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.
In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.
Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon
Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Calvin Borel is the most enthusiastic of all winners.
He went off at 50-1.
I did not even look at him.
Still, he was the 2008 Canadian Two Year Old champion. And his breeding is marvelous. I suspect they dd not look carefully at his distaff side.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Bollinger with her foal, Frisian Fire
I Want Revenge
I Want Revenge is the current favorite, although the weather in Louisville may change that. Joe Talmo rode a fabulous race in the Wood Memorial. The horse had a horrendous start and conceded two or three lengths to the next to last horse. Talmo steadied his horse and rated him. He made a number of moves, threading him through the second pack about half way around and fighting his way near the final turn to get out four wide around. He took charge in the stretch and held off a very credible challenge by West Side Bernie by a length and a half. He ran the mile and an eighth in 1:49:49. His grand sire is A.P. Indy. His mother was Argentine, sired by Roy—a top notch sire with blood lines including both speed and stamina.
Dunkirk is an intriguing entry. He ran second, a length and a half behind Quality Road in the Florida Derby at a mile and an eighth. I estimate he ran it in just over 1:48, at least five lengths better than anyone one else in the field ran that distance.
Had he not had cracked hooves, Quality Road would have been the favorite.
You can see this dappled gray in Bob Coglianese picture. His grand-sires have both won the Belmont (Unbrideled and A.P. Indy.) His mom, Secret Status, won the Kentucky Oaks. Garrett Gomez has chosen to ride Prince of the Nile rather than Dunkirk which some see as a negative signal. Dunkirk gains Edgar Prado. Dunkirk may be better off.
The Aussie Connection
The Land Down Under has a horse to back. Andrew Eddy writes in the Age, "THERE will be plenty of Australian horse owners and breeders tuning into this weekend's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs as victory in the classic by one of the race favourites, Friesan Fire, would create quite an impact in the breeding barn down under."
Friesan Fire is Bollinger's second foal. The second picture shows him as a youngster. Gai Waterhouse trained Bollinger. Among others, the the mare won the Group One Coolmore Classic in Australia six years ago. Vinery Stud, which used to own Vinery Study in New South Wales, brought Bollinger, to America. Colitis cut her racing career short. Ray Thomas tells us in the Daily Telegraph, "Friesan Fire didn't sell as a yearling but Vinery Stud aren't complaining now."
Friesan Fire's father is A.P. Indy who was scratched from the Derby, but won the Belmont and the Breeders' Cup Classic. His grand father is the Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew. Friesan Fire has had a long layover (seven weeks.) His last race was impressive winning the Lexington over a mile and a sixteenth in the slop. You could see the water on the track, it was so wet. I would prefer to see my horse run a mile and an eighth, but with the forecasted rain over the next twenty four hours, I think I am going with the Aussie connection.