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Mahony Falls

An official spokesman's cardinal sins. Plus: Weighing Hillary Lite. Fiber news flows. Plus much more.

6.9.03

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IT'S OFFICIAL
Re: Tod M. Tamberg's letter in Reader Mail's Spewing for Mahony:

Tod M. Tamberg's response to George Neumayr's column concerning Cardinal Mahony must be taken seriously, since it clearly constitutes the archdiocese's official response from the Cardinal's press spokesman. Mr. Tamberg's flight of fancy therefore should cause all the more concern among the faithful regarding Cardinal Mahony, his diocese, and his press office.

Mr. Tamberg spews forth unfounded accusations of hatred against Mr. Neumayr: he alleges hatred of gays, of Vatican II, of contemporary Catholic education, of the liturgy in languages that people can understand, of the new cathedral, and of Cardinal Mahony. Mr. Tamberg's refuses to substantiate even one of these vile charges, and appears to believe that their mere mention should silence Mr. Neumayr and his "medieval" bedfellows. Is this "Catholic journalism" at its best? James Carville wouldn't even stoop to this simplistic bombast.

Moving right along, Mr. Tamberg further asserts that Mr. Neumayr's "column itself is so full of inaccuracies and falsehoods that it sets new, lower standards for journalistic irresponsibility."

Pardon me, but Mr. Tamberg does not identify a single one of those alleged "falsehoods." Nor does he address -- much less refute -- any of the serious and troubling events ably reported by Mr. Neumayr: that Cardinal Mahony opened "a chapel dedicated to honoring "victims of sexual abuse by priests," and invited the media to watch him pray at its opening, but none of the numerous victims abused under the Cardinal's watch; that the Cardinal harbored and protected Father Carl Sutphin, a known abuser and his former associate pastor at the cathedral, at his residence long after he knew of the man's transgressions; that the court set bail on Father Carl Sutphin at $200,000 because the Cardinal was known to protect abusers from the law, and thus Father Sutphin was a flight risk; that Cardinal Mahony is stonewalling prosecutors on dozens of abuse cases, arguing (according to the L.A. Times) "that he can't turn the files directly over to prosecutors because of privacy issues"; that Cardinal Mahony should be removed, a la Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, and that Cardinal Mahony has engaged an expensive PR firm to mount a campaign against just such an action.

Mr. Tamberg addresses none of these serious points. Instead, as an official Catholic spokesman, he objectively breaks the Eighth Commandment -- "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness" -- in his letter, slandering Mr. Neumayr no fewer than seven times -- at least the number is biblical. He does this as an official of the Archdiocese. This is objectively scandalous and reprehensible, and clearly Mr. Tamberg should be removed for cause then Cardinal Mahony is.

Mr. Tamberg's letter hardly constitutes a response, since he makes up a hateful and lying pseudo-Neumayr to attack. In fact, he appears to be indulging in the same adolescent games that Mr. Neumayr describes as the Cardinal's repertoire. Hence, the Spectator should save appropriate space, should an archdiocesan official ever actually rise from Mr. Tamberg's gutter to address Mr. Neumayr's serious, well-stated, and well-grounded concerns.
-- Christopher Manion
Front Royal, VA

Readers would really appreciate Tamberg's presenting us with Neumayr's inaccuracies and falsehoods." In the light of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' track record, we have little reason at all to trust Tamberg's assertions. No, it is going to take a lot more than Tamberg's mud-slinging to convince anyone with a brain cell left operating in his head that things are really different in Los Angeles. Castigating Neumayr may make Tamberg feel better and divert attention away from the swelling scandal in LA, but one can only wish such outrage had focused on the many predators that have lurked, under protection, in the Archdiocese. Yes, anger at the evil of ecclesiastical corruption and gross incompetence would be much more understandable than such a temper tantrum, as is Tamberg's, aimed at a journalist who has the guts to write what most of us are thinking, what is so obviously the truth....
-- Ray Williams

I was "delighted" to read Mr. Tamberg's reply to George Neumayr because that means his eminence reads the Prowler and George's efforts are not in vain.

I have read Mr. Neumayr's columns for months now and do not get the same reaction as Mr. Tamberg.

I do not think George hates gays. He disapproves of their sexual activity as all good Catholics should. As a consequence of that disapproval we are bound as Catholics not to encourage such behavior by allowing "getting to know you socials" at colleges, homosexual dormitories (you get the picture) also most of us 96% of the current population are heterosexual and would prefer our kindergartners not be exposed to the more troublesome aspects of society via "Heather Has Two Mommies" etc. (usually called the homosexual agenda).

Vatican II many of us know has been seized upon by those who want to change fundamental dogma to suit their own purposes. Nowhere in Vatican II does it say to espouse the homosexual lifestyle or to say Mass as the "do it yourselfers" are indulging in at this time.

Catholic education in the United States has strayed far from its original intent and inspired Rome to issue ex ecclesiae corde, unless Mr. Tamberg thinks they were "bumping their gums" for nothing. Witness the number (a lot of them Jesuit institutions, I might add) that gave a forum to "The Vagina Monologues" and pro-abortion commencement speakers. (I had correspondence with Mr. Tamberg on this latter subject as the Sanchez sisters spoke at Mt. Saint Mary's in Los Angeles, an unaffiliated Catholic college. Mr. Tamberg did a Pontius Pilate routine and said the cardinal had no jurisdiction over this school. One of the Sanchez sisters promptly returned to Washington to introduce a bill to allow abortions at military installations.)...

Cardinal Mahony is simply indefensible. Any ordinary citizen with his record would be in jail if only for the perjury he committed in Fresno, but of course the list goes on and on. It's only a matter of time, Mr. Tamberg, only a matter of time.
-- Annette Cwik

I sent the following e-mail to Tod Tamberg, media director for the Archdiocese of L.A.:

Your response to George Neumayr's article about Cardinal Mahony's latest photo-op are quite unbecoming of a media director of the nation's second largest, (or is it the largest?) Catholic archdiocese. It is whiny and petulant. Hardly a reasoned, adult assessment of Mr. Neumayr's remarks.

In any event, I am sure that Mr. Neumayr does not hate air conditioning and indoor plumbing. Of that we can be almost certain. That he "hates" Vatican II and the new liturgy may be a fairly accurate observation. I do as well.

The "sexual abuse situation" is, unfortunately, so serious a matter, that even in the absence of commentary from a "garden variety bandwagoner," it can scarcely be mitigated or asked to go away. That sexual abusive and pervert priests have fallen momentarily off the front pages in no way indicates that scandal has been resolved. Diocesan media officers like you do their best to paper over the egregiousness and shame, created not by the likes of George Neumayr, et al., but by many of the very prelates and religious whom you serve.

As for "pummel(ling) the church back into the 14th century," I think, yes, I would prefer that (were it indeed occurring) to the perpetuation of those gross ecumenical enormities arising out of the post-Vatican II 20th century.

I have to disagree with [you], Mr. Tamberg, the "church" will not "continue to reach out to help victims heal." The "New Church" will continue to lie and obfuscate, having set that ignoble precedent since the scandals first began to break. The latest liar to surface close to home is the Bishop of Phoenix who admitted (probably under much duress) that he had covered over the sexual misdeeds of certain parish priests "for decades."
-- Tim Moore
Watsonville, CA

Tod Tamberg says that George Neumayr believes the Church ought to be put back into the 14th century. Tamberg evidently does not realize that that's precisely where the Church still is: there is an offshoot of the Church that Tod Tamberg seems comfortable believing is the actual Church, and which he belongs to. Odd, how these spin meisters get wrapped up in such strange opinions. Maybe it's the pressure of their jobs, that makes them believe they're living in reality.
-- John L. Sillasen

Does this mean that Cardinal Mahony is going to turnover the 31 personnel files? And the Cathedral is ugly.
-- Dave Smith

BUYING HILLARY'S BOOK
Re: Francis X. Rocca Living Herstory:

It's a political contribution, no different from the buyers of Jim Wright's quasi-book. It'll be so interesting reading the reviews in the liberal press.
-- Kit Winterer
Beaufort, SC
(recently moved from CT partly to escape that extreme liberalism of that state. I can't understand how those ultra-rich can be members of the rich-hating party!)

The book is only 562 pages? Too bad. If it was 762 pages, I would have bought it for a doorstop.
-- Mike Webster
Dallas, Texas

HILLARY'S BIG GULP
Re: Enemy of the Week's Intimations of Intimacy:

Lord, love us (can I say that and still be P.C.?), little missy Hillary is at it again. Gulping, screaming, so angry she wanted to strangle him. Hey, wait a minute! Is that not how it usually is with them, aside from the photo-op's of them standing holding hands? They are really quite strange people. They are like ants at a picnic, you know they will turn up, rustling about trying to get their (and others) share of the goodies; they do not seem able to see themselves in their behavior as being teenage troublemakers, you know the ones I mean, the wildly popular in the "in group" who have to be the center of attention all the time.

I am not buying the book and I am not watching Barbara do her happy little "are we not just great gals" act as I might, just might have to hear Hillary actually say the words, " I gulped, I couldn't breathe" and if so I will ruin my television set by throwing something at it. It has become a joke, as it should be, but hey it is only funny the first five hundred times. Heck, I woke up last night and couldn't breathe, I had to gulp for air, it was awful! Then I realized It was from a nightmare. There stood Hillary as the president, with a smirking Bill behind her and people were cheering! So I soothed myself, I curled up in the fetal position and kept repeating this mantra. "it can not happen, It can not happen, It can not ever happen." I finally fell asleep.

Well, cheer up, we have the movie to look forward to in 2004, and Sharon Stone is supposed to be the actress to play her. It should be a delight!
-- Carole

FASTEN YOUR FARM BELT
Re: Jeremy Lott's Crash Test Dummies:

As a fellow Washingtonian (the good Washington, i.e. the state) I enjoyed Jeremy Lott's tour-de-force on our execrable seat belt law. The point that people balance risk against time saved, is just ordinary human nature. When people feel they are less vulnerable, they automatically, without thinking, increase the risk back to its previously conceived optimum level, by taking more chances in other areas, to save time, show off, etc.

But, the point is: where is the science? The life-saving benefit is obviously offset by many clear costs in terms of the belts themselves, the time taken to deal with them, people hurt or killed because they were trapped by their belts, and so forth. How much is spent for each net life saved? Could that amount be better spent otherwise to save more lives? No one ever says.

I was raised on an Iowa farm. We, at great effort, treated our animals very well, often better than ourselves. We made them eat the best food available, we looked after their every comfort and protected them from the elements, insisted on the best veterinary care with all their shots, exercise, and every other amenity we could conceive. We protected them from danger. However, we did not do this because we were kind people, but because we owned them. They were our investment and our livelihood, to do otherwise would have been economically foolish. The Safety Nazis likewise regard us as property to be forced to live the lives that they decide is good for us (i.e., them). What do you suppose they think about race car drivers or mountain climbers that take great risks and are often killed and/or injured, just for sport?

Are we just the state's farm animals, duty bound to be made to take care of ourselves for the economic benefit of the state, or, are we rightly thought of as being a quite different category of animal?
-- Don Vandervelde
Gig Harbor, WA

PROP-THIRTEENED
Re: Michael J. New's The Tax Revolt Turns 25:

I lived then in Thousand Oaks and actually voted for Proposition 13. Its purpose was to limit the amount of cash that the state legislature had to squander. It met this purpose at least until the Sacramento weasels found other pockets to pick. But, in a much more important and unanticipated regard, Proposition 13 was a major failure. Within days of passage, I had business at the local motor vehicle office. It was unusually inefficient and when I grumped at the clerk, I was told, "The decrease in service levels was caused by Prop. 13."

Well, it was only days since passage and couldn't have had any influence on existing budgets or expenditures. I intentionally checked with other state employees (my job required contact with several state agencies) and got the same story. So, what Prop. 13 really did, was to give state employees and the powerful unions that represent them and that own the politicians the ability to do less, whine more, and force increased pay and benefits. They excused every failure and inefficiency with Prop. 13. The politicians found money elsewhere; the public sector unions continue to stick it to the taxpayers. Prop. 13 was the greatest victory these predatory public sector unions have ever struck!
-- unsigned

SCAPEGOATED
Re: Reid Collins's Martha, Martha:

What is Martha guilty of? Sure she got a "tip"! But is it a crime for a stockholder to want to avoid loss and use any and all information, wherever it comes from? I haven't read that she was an officer of the company.

It is also noted that the Feds have charged her with trying to change the price of the stock of her own company by asserting her innocence in a speech, but have elected not to claim insider trading.

How more like the Keystone Kops can this get? If I were on the jury, this one, utterly absurd, charge would make the entire government case suspect.

I also have a problem with the Justice Department charging poor Martha with perjury after ignoring the serial perjury and obstruction on the part of Bill and Hill and every other member of the Clinton team, especially that of Webb Hubbell, who was bribed in full public view.

Martha is the "Butterfield" of today. Remember him? When asked about his lobbying, he lied about doing something perfectly legal and the Feds gleefully jailed him for it.

Now Martha, the well-hated billionaire, must be the scapegoat. While Wall Street only gets fined (to be paid eventually by investors), Terry McAuliffe spits in our eye and walks away with an $18 mil. profit, and the true Robber Barons steal their stockholders blind. Perhaps I shouldn't be perturbed by the misfortunes of such a loyal Democrat and her odious politics, but hey! I'm an equal opportunity critic of government manipulation.
--G.B. Hall
Montgomery, AL

NEWS FIBER FLOW
Re: Francis X. Rocca's Keeping Up With Poindexter:

I'm sure you've gotten several emails regarding your "continuous Google" -- if not, tell me and I'll build one. I even own a perfect domain name (www.informat.com) that isn't really being used much right now. The name "informat" is derived from the old "automat" restaurants in NYC, the idea of providing small bits of information automatically.

As for your news feed desire, a standard protocol for a kind of voluntary version of this exists, and is gradually gaining in popularity. The standard(s) are called "RSS/RDF" -- RDF stands for Resource Description Framework. About 3,000 news and other sites presently provide "news feeds" using this, and there are applications that support it. For instance, my own website has the ability (presently turned off) to display the top 5 news headlines from several different other websites, such as Slashdot. These headline feeds are updated every 15 minutes.

Users of Linux workstations have a few desktop applications that support this, so you can have those same headlines scrolling by in your panel at the bottom of your screen. I suppose something like this exists for Windows users, but I wouldn't know.

For reasons I can't fathom, most of the major news sites either don't support this or do it "under a bushel" without publicity. As a result, several "news aggregator" companies have arisen that "scrape" the news off these websites and provide news feeds, for a price that varies from free up. Moreover.com costs; Newsisfree.com is free (I think).

It's still up to you to develop a profile of what you like, and nobody to my knowledge has added a good example-based filter for the feeds (if I were to build one, it would use "Bayesian Filters", increasingly used by spam filters such as SpamAssassin and Vipul's Razor). Bayesians would be perfect -- as articles come in, just drag the ones you like over one of two filter icons, one for "yes" and one for "no."

Finally, nobody has done anything like RSS for blogs. Right now blogs are looked down upon by many due to the inordinate influence they've had on Google, which is probably going to separate blog data from the rest of their index. Google may already provide some RSS news feeds; this would be a natural if it's filtered or moderated to reduce the volume.

I hope this info is useful to you!
-- Gary Bickford
Consultant
FXT Web Systems
Portland, OR

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