Tuesday, January 31, 2006

God is love

Pope Benedict has published his first encyclical, Deus caritas est, or God is love. The Ratzinger Fan Club has good commentary and links to Catholic reactions to the various aspects of the encyclical from around the blogosphere. I haven't had a chance to read the encyclical yet, but by all accounts it is wonderful reflection on an idea that the West, in particular, needs to recapture today.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Shaking things up at ND

Exceeding many of my (and many other people's) expectations, Fr. Jenkins started off his "Academic Freedom and Catholic Character" initiative with a strong, challenging speech to the faculty last week. From the beginning, it is clear he has a good understanding of what leadership really entails:

As I begin my presidency, I am aware that, as I make particular decisions and undertake initiatives, I am establishing patterns and expectations for how I will lead in this position. Consequently, it is important not only what decisions I make, but how I make them. On matters of significance, I will always strive to make decisions, consonant with my authority, according to my most informed and considered judgment about what is best for this university and its mission. I will not lead by consensus, nor by majority vote, nor in response to the pressures that individuals or groups inside or outside the university may bring to bear. However, prior to making a decision on an important matter, I will, as appropriate and practicable, strive to solicit and listen to the views of relevant individuals and groups. Central to the obligations of my office are the twin responsibilities of listening to the views of members of this community prior to a decision, and then making that decision.

That's refreshing. It's also good to hear a fairly direct statement about the problems inherent in an authentically Catholic university sponsoring things such as annual productions of the Vagina Monologues, or a "Queer Film Festival." Both of these productions are going to be altered for this year (pending review on whether to cancel them completely), in the case of the Monologues by not selling tickets and moving it to a classroom presentation, and in the case of the Festival by renaming it and changing its structure and focus. Looking at the bigger picture, Fr. Jenkins has drawn a distinction between censoring discussion and sponsoring discussion. Academics may be free to pursue their own ideas in their research, but the university cannot appropriately sponsor events that suggest endorsement of ideas hostile or flatly contrary to Catholic teaching. Fr. Jenkins followed this speech to the faculty with one to the students, an address to the board, and an email sent through the Alumni Association -- soliciting comments from everyone.

There's been predictable outcry from many faculty members and students, which the South Bend Tribune has done a better job of covering than the Observer (which, even years later, I still find very frustrating to try to read). Many more, though, I believe, appreciate what Fr. Jenkins is trying to do. One professor and a student gave some insightful firsthand reports of the student address in particular on the thread at Amy Welborn's site last week (at 3:02 and 3:46), saying that Fr. Jenkins "held his own against their [students'] questioning." I appreciate Fr. Jenkins's invitation for the whole ND community to submit feedback on his current initiative; and I plan to leave feedback to encourage his evident plan to strengthen Notre Dame's Catholic character by asserting it in the classroom and the broader university, while continuing to pursue the academic excellence that the school is also known for. I look forward to continuing positive developments at ND.

Justice Alito

Well, doesn't that sound nice? After the quixotic filibuster-ish sort-of stand, led by the two senators from Massachusetts, including one from Switzerland, cloture on the Alito nomination has been invoked. (The "filibuster" did have some positive effects, though.) And tomorrow morning should, happily, see the confirmation of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court. Hopefully he will be sworn in tomorrow as well, and will be able to sit with the other justices at the State of the Union tomorrow night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Our Lady in South Bend . . .

Just a note, about which I'll post more when I have more information: According to the Spectator, Fr. Jenkins is scheduled to give a talk at Notre Dame this week on "Academic Freedom and the Catholic University." This is in advance of the Monologues (performed for the last few years at Valentine's Day) and events like the Queer Film Festival (which has happened the last two years). Few Catholic college presidents have had the guts to stand up in favor of their schools' Catholic identities over the past few years to say that the Monologues are antithetical to the faith and the schools' missions, and don't need to be sponsored by the schools for real academic freedom to be maintained. This lack of spine has certainly been evident at ND in certain regards, especially last year when even Bishop D'Arcy spoke out against the Monologues being performed at ND and SMC . . . and the University sent out a spokesman to make a timid response. I criticized ND in this regard in one of my first blog posts two years ago. Well, now we have a new president . . . what will he do? I was pleased with his writing in ND Magazine in the fall -- he seems to have a clear vision of what the University needs to grow overall and to strengthen its Catholic identity -- but I have still been apprehensive since hearing about this talk scheduled for this week. Over the weekend I heard from a fairly well-connected student, though, that Fr. Jenkins has scheduled separate meetings with the faculty, students, alumni groups, and the Board of Trustees. This makes me more cautiously optimistic -- it's hard to think Fr. Jenkins would go to the trouble to schedule all of these events if he intended to take the school farther away from its Catholic mission and abdicate responsibility to an ever-more-secular faculty. So maybe he's going to be willing to take heat from the faculty, and defend a stronger Catholic vision to them and the rest of us who care about where the University is heading. I will definitely look for news on this story as it develops.

In the news

In the past, the March for Life has received little coverage in the news (or it's been discussed giving equal time to counterprotestors, who usually number far, far less) so I was keeping an eye on the press coverage yesterday as best I could. My impression was that although the story was minimized throughout the day on the mainstream media sites and stations (CNN.com kept up a day-old AP article throughout the entire day; Fox didn't have anything on its main page and neither did the NYT), the local newscasts did have segments in the evening, as did Fox, PBS, and NBC that I saw. Most related the story to the nomination of Judge Alito, as does help make the story more topical -- although hopefully 100,000+ people of all walks coming together in January every year should be news in itself!

The Post's coverage definitely deserves credit, for giving the story attention -- today's article from Michelle Boorstein and commentary from Dana Millbank, while they still find it difficult to bring themselves to say "pro-life" and almost always resort to "antiabortion," they still do a pretty good job overall. I agree that the mood of this march was optimistic and energetic, reflecting a growing sense among our movement that we really will be able to overturn Roe and its progeny. I probably ought to have more cynicism than that, but even as the tragedy of abortion (and the terrible pushes toward euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research) still touches millions every year and coarsens our culture, I still have hope.

I also have to appreciate the Post story for the fact that Michelle Boorstein came to the Blogs for Life event and spoke to Charmaine Yoest and Fr. Jacobse of Orthodoxy Today, giving them a chance to represent themselves well. And hey, it's the closest I've ever come to getting a mention there: "The bloggers, a mix of middle-aged men in suits and young women who are college or graduate school students, said they are part of an increased sophistication in the movement that speaks to young people today." Overall, I think A3 coverage for the March is a step up and I'm glad people are getting to hear the message of so many young people in particular: we value human beings at all stages of life, and we think they're worth protecting. The first step must be an end to the "medical procedure" that takes the lives of over 1 million innocents a year.

Come together

Yesterday's Blogs for Life gathering was fun and went off very well -- thanks to Tim of Pro-Life Blogs and Charmaine Yoest of FRC in particular. I won't call it a "con" because that sounds too geeky, and conjures images of comics and science fiction, and although I will admit to having attended one Star Trek convention in high school in Columbus, I have never been so geeky as to dress up. And I don't read comics (that really is a guy thing). But I do blog. So, back to the story.

I didn't get to meet everyone, but was very happy to meet La Shawn Barber, megamom Barbara of Mommy Life, Mary from Priests for Life who writes at The Revolution, Joe from Life at the Frontier (who's just as disappointed in the Four P's name change as I am), Paul from FreeLand (representing libertarian pro-lifers), and a several others. One man who wasn't a blogger stopped in, and shared he'd come into town from the diocese of Lexington, with four buses and their bishop. He was also the one who passed on the morning news that the rally (and Mass?) at the MCI Center had had to be closed after 17,500 people crowded in -- I later saw it was 22,000. My brother and sister's group was one of the ones turned away.

Two particular highlights of the blogger event for me were Tim's brief talk on how to improve how we get our message out -- a few of his points included never compromising on principles, sharing firsthand experiences, and collaborating whenever possible. I also really appreciated the brief presentation from Jonathan and Deborah Flora, who showed a clip from their recent film A Distant Thunder, a courtroom/supernatural drama about a partial birth abortion case. Their story about how they came to believe in the importance of this project from personal experience, makes a definite impact. It's great that the way they are choosing to do the project, too -- with completely independent financing, high production values (he is a producer at Buena Vista, she is an actress), and engaging but not preachy storylines -- deals with Hollywood on its own terms and should help to get the message out. All in all, quite an enjoyable event. More to follow.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A vigil for life

Last night a group of seven of us (including the five college kids I hosted for the weekend) headed over to Catholic University for the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the National Shrine. We'd heard that we needed to get there early because the basilica fills up early -- last year there were about 8,000 people crowding in -- but even arriving two hours early, as we did, turned out to be a little late. There were 600 concelebrants of the Mass alone, with at least a dozen bishops and a couple of cardinals that I could see, and I heard other estimates of closer to 9,000 people total at the Mass -- which for its part took two-and-a-half hours. And the crowd was full of life. There were babies, toddlers, kids, teenagers (lots of teenagers), adults, and elderly people crammed into the naves and every apse.

During the homily Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore spoke about the successes and challenges we have seen over the past few years in the pro-life movement. He pointed to the fact that the number of abortions is coming down, and that "87 percent of U.S. counties are abortion-free zones," referring to the fact that the vast majority of counties have no abortion providers at all. The cardinal's statement that opposition to abortion is growing the strongest among young people drew enthusiastic applause. The cardinal also referenced liberal embryonic stem cell research laws being passed in several states (though successfully opposed in a few others), and the Oregon euthanasia law. Finally, he enumerated many prayers to offer up, saying, "We pray for those whose hearts are hardened by the sin of abortion and the sin of its propogation"; "We pray that the conversion of Ninevah will be repeated in our time"; and finally, "We pray that the dark cloud that descended over our country with Roe v. Wade will be blown away by the purifying wind of God's truth." Lord, hear our prayer.

At the Mass I was struck by the contrast between the spirit present at this event and that at the 2004 March for Women's Lives (which I blogged about here, here, and here), or that at the counterprotests in San Francisco the other day. Our culture is one that's built up around "rights," but when really thinking about such rights we eventually have to question where they come from and why they are or should be valid. A "right" to abortion is about the "right" to rid oneself of one's own child by causing its death. But how can there be any such right to cause the death of human beings, even (especially) those who are unborn? The "right" may have been created ex nihilo by a majority of the Supreme Court and pronounced to exist in the Constitution, but it's not really there; and the strangeness of this is that there are really no other contexts in which we believe there is any right to take the life of innocents. But considering the right to life in its broader context, it's clear that derives from a higher power. Human life is valuable in itself, and the right of the innocent not to have it forcibly taken away is integral to the very concept of justice. To celebrate life is to celebrate justice -- those rights and ideals are natural, and come from God. "Rights" to abortion are really about death, and death is ugly however it comes, hurting the men, women, and children it touches. But standing on the side of life, and forgiveness? -- that energy will survive. It will be everywhere present at today's March, I'm sure.

I'm going to stop by the Blogs for Life event this morning at Family Research Council before I go to work, so I will blog about that later this evening.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Site notes and house notes

The college football season is now sadly over, although I'll keep rooting for the Steelers in the playoffs -- I like Peyton Manning, but if the Steelers hadn't beaten the Colts last week it would have been theft, pure and simple. I also always enjoy Jerome Bettis. In any event, it seemed a good time to make some (belated) site notes. Jeremy Blachman and Law v. Life have both migrated to new servers, and now their blogs have new-and-improved looks, while continuing to be very well done. Southern Appeal has also moved house. And Dawn Eden has, happily, finished her book (with a great Dawn Eden pun title: "The Thrill of the Chaste," sub: "Having Fun While Keeping Your Clothes On") and is returning to blogging, which is great news for her readers.

Looking at my own stats over the last month, it seems I got quite a few (by this blog's standards, anyway) new readers because of the Fiesta Bowl. To them I say welcome, and thanks for stopping by! Except for football lately, I haven't been posting as regularly of late, but as I come up on two years of blogging I do intend to keep it going. For a sample of some of my more substantive posts over this time, please feel free to check out my "On the Issues" section on the sidebar. For an explanation of why I blog pseudonymously, see here. It's not for a lack of sufficient Irish pride, I promise :)

Lately, the other issue I've probably written most about is abortion; the 33rd annual March for Life is upcoming on Monday. For that occasion, I have one of my brothers and one of my sisters coming into town on the ND/SMC buses from South Bend. They each gave me a call yesterday to let me know they're bringing friends to crash at my place. Thus, the current count is up to five college students that I'll be hosting. I think I better keep Pizza Hut on speed dial.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Whither the pub?

I don't drink much at all, but I can still appreciate a good pub, and the Four P's in Cleveland Park is a good pub. So what's up with the sudden name change? Going by the other day I saw the sign above it now reads "Four Green Fields," with the neatly lettered sign below saying helpfully, "An Irish Pub." Well, of course it's an Irish pub -- one of the best in the city. So why mess with a good thing? It turns out it may be attributed to bad lawyering (that's what I'll blame it on, anyway):

It's kind of simple, yet odd. Owner Christy Hughes sold the Falls Church branch late last year, and when he did, the new owners wound up with the rights to the name "Ireland's Four Provinces" along with it. His brother Frank, who's a partner in the Cleveland Park pub, said that it's ironic that the original pub, which has had the name since 1977, is the one that had to change, but that's the law for you. The only thing that's changed is that the pub now has a shorter name.

How'd they let that clause get by in the sale contract? I'd like to think I would have noticed. But hopefully nothing substantive will change about the place. A follow-up answer in the Post reported last week: "I've been in since the name change and nothing seems that different: great pint of Guinness, great 46-guestion pub quiz, pleasant bartenders." That's a relief.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Long way round again

My very thoughtful boyfriend got me an after-Christmas present last week of Long Way Round, the Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman reality trip series that I really enjoyed a few years ago when I caught some of the episodes on Bravo. It hadn't been released in a U.S. DVD version though, so I didn't know it had finally come out. Now we are getting to watch the first several episodes (which I hadn't seen) and I can continue to feed my minor crush on Ewan, particularly in the way he says "motorbike" and "Road of Bones." That, and the random geeky Star Wars quotes -- made a little less geeky by the fact he actually is Obi-Wan. Très cool :)

Two capitals

Before Roe and since Roe, New York has been the abortion capital of America: today, ten percent of all abortions in this country (so, more than 110,000 per year) are done in New York, and 70 percent of those in New York City. In some places, this article says, the ratio of abortions to births is one to one. At the main Planned Parenthood in NYC, over 11,000 abortions are performed each year. Here's a good quote from one abortionist:

“We would like to keep abortion part of regular medical care,” she says. “Our view is, abortion is nothing special. Abortion is right up there with having a baby or getting the care for whatever other medical needs you have.”

Well, actually, regular medical care doesn't usually involve causing the intentional death of a human being; abortion is actually the complete opposite of having a baby, since it takes away a life instead of helping it into the world. Having a baby is something special because it represents new life. On the other hand, abortion is also not 'nothing special,' since it (almost always) leads to the death of an unborn child and often causes lasting psychological, spiritual, emotional, and even physical damage to the women who have made the choice to have it. Regular medical care is about wellness; abortion is about death.

I was incorrect on the date last week, but next Monday the 23rd, marking the 33rd anniversary of Roe's imposition of a blanket, virtually limitless right to abortion across America, tens of thousands of people will come to Washington for the annual March for Life. (Here's a story about last year's event.) The event is to support and pray for an end to the "constitutional" right of abortion-on-demand. I've never gotten to participate in the March before but I'm going to try to make it, if not to the actual March, to the Mass at the Basilica Shrine at CUA on Sunday night, or to the Blogs for Life meeting on Monday morning over at the Family Research Council.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Biden as the audience

E.J. Dionne's column today contains this commentary:

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), much mocked for his prolix prattling in the early going, actually made a pithy observation yesterday. He said that nominees "tend to answer controversial questions in direct proportion to how much they think the public is likely to agree with them."

Conservatives are right that our abortion debate is distorted because Roe v. Wade has forced too much discussion into the limited confines of Senate hearings over future judges. But that doesn't make the circumlocutions any more satisfactory. Conservative appointees who might well overrule Roe can't quite say so if they are to get the votes they need from Republican senators who support abortion rights and want to protect themselves with pro-choice voters.

Actually, that's not that "pithy" a quote at all. I don't think judges like Judge Alito -- as his colleagues, clerks, and acquaintances are uniformly quick to agree -- take into account public approval at all when deciding questions of the law, or when deciding how expansive to be publically in response to questions about jurisprudence. Nominees may, however, tend to answer "controversial" questions in hearings in proportion to how much they expect to be viciously and triumphantly attacked by senators who see their function as not to genuinely "advise and consent," but specifically to trip up and defeat nominees. All the promises of "it doesn't matter what your answer is" to Roe questions were pure baloney. Of course it mattered to the senators asking the questions; any straightforward answer affirming that Roe is a constitutional mess of an opinion -- as even defenders of its outcome admit -- would be seized upon by pro-Roe (many, pro-abortion) senators who have little understanding of what sound judicial reasoning looks like, but who sure know how to spin with soundbites on the evening talk shows. One exception to this scenario was Judge Pryor, who courageously took a stand against abortion itself and Roe in his appellate hearings -- and successfully got Ted Kennedy to back down. But in this even more public forum, when senators were already grandstanding and attacking on charges that had zero substance, it must be said that circumspection and caution were almost entirely appropriate responses for the nominee to adopt. Judge Alito wouldn't, and shouldn't, care about "public opinion" when deciding or speaking on controversial questions; but he or any nominee would be imprudent not to take account of senators who are going to vote against him no matter what -- but who could also successfully demagogue and derail the nomination.

For what it's worth, consider if the media ever accurately reported on the abortion issue -- explaining, for example, that overturning Roe would not outlaw abortion but would send the issue back to the states; or explaining that Roe has the real effect of legalizing abortion during all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever, and any attempts by states to restrict these parameters, including bans on grotesque partial-birth abortion procedures, are often immediately struck down by the courts. If the media reported this, then the public would be even more likely than it already is to agree with the idea that abortion should be seriously restricted -- and to agree that the Supreme Court decisions that prevent all serious state efforts to restrict abortion, including Roe, should be overturned. But the public's opinion was never what really mattered in this case -- only the opinion of those who think "super-duper precedents" (such as Roe, but you know, not Plessy or Bowers) should be fervently adhered to. That is, the opinion of those who have the power to defeat nominees for adopting positions that are perfectly reasonable legally, but anathema to the likes of Joe Biden.

Cross-posted at confirmthem.com.

Friday, January 06, 2006

ER's messed-up moral universe

I haven't watched "ER" in several years, except for a few occasional minutes, but "The Office" has just been moved to Thursdays at 9:30, so tonight I was watching and decided to see what was up on this, one of TV's most depressing dramas. The answer turned out to be: more somberness, depression, and moral emptiness. The topic of the evening was pregnancy, since Abby recently discovered she was pregnant by Luka Kovac, and needed to make her decision about what to do. It's previously been well-established that Abby is pro-choice -- I remember one episode in which she surreptitiously arranged an abortion for a woman with several children who was depressed about her pregnancy because she felt overwhelmed. Abby's assistance was shown to be compassionate and then righteous, when the unknowing husband burst into the ER and was very upset; later the episode seemed to emphasize the weirdness of this Christian couple by having the woman leave the hospital with a beatific smile saying, "He forgives me. We'll try for another one soon." Okay, so a dysfunctional family; but Abby's "help" was never going to improve the situation. I don't remember any doctors on the show really expressing a contrary view on abortion.

Coming to tonight. Luka, who has been shown to be religious, if morally troubled (how many people on the show has the character slept with?) in part because he does have tragedy in his past, is still anomalous in being religious at all. So, how does this play out? Tonight's episode had him start off by telling Abby that he knows "this has to be your decision." He wants them to have the baby, but he will apparently completely respect if she wants an abortion instead. Moving to the ER, we have a related story about a 15-year-old girl who, terribly, has been raped at a party and is now pregnant. She doesn't want the baby, but her family is Christian so abortion is not an option. When Neela (another pro-choice doctor) learns that the parents know about the rape, but still want to choose adoption, she is extremely upset and storms out to confront the mother, accusing her of "forcing" her daughter to have a baby and not even considering what's best for her. Somewhat to the show's credit, they have the mother reply that you can't punish the baby for how he was conceived -- that wouldn't be what God wants. To the show's discredit, on the other hand, they make the difference between the two positions seem slanted against the parents by having them display no reaction whatsoever to the fact of the rape -- which any ordinary person would of course be horrified by. In any event, Luka stops Neela. Neela says it's her job to give patients all their options (but particularly abortion, apparently, since she's not happy with the other options the family has chosen) and even outright go against the parents' wishes, since the girl does not need permission for an abortion. (Illinois does not have parental notification or consent statutes in effect, thanks to the state supreme court.) When Luka objects, she then requests permission to consult another attending physician besides Luka: "Someone who's not Catholic." (Wow.) Luka stops cold, says that he always considers a patient's best interests, and dismisses Neela.

But the conflict can't stop here. Luka later goes back in to the girl and says he'll insert a laminaria -- to induce dilation and miscarriage -- if the girl really doesn't want the baby. Apparently to make her feel better about going against her religious beliefs even though she's upset, Luka then says gently, "It's a way of giving God a chance to reconsider." Excuse me? Are all abortions a chance to see that if God really wants this baby to live, He'll find a way to make them survive the abortion? (Some babies do survive abortion attempts; over a million per year in this country alone do not.) Luka performs an insertion of the laminaria, and the girl sits up and says quietly, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." Luka quotes back a few Bible verses, and affirms that he's a Christian too. He then heads out to see that his own girlfriend has decided not to have an abortion but to keep the baby; he joins her as they sit joylessly on a park bench. (Does Abby ever smile?)

It took awhile even for the show to even mention the word "abortion," framing the discussion mostly in terms of "termination," "choice," and "decision." There was never any discussion of possible consequences of abortion; the decisions seemed to exist in a vacuum (so to speak). I was simply stunned at how the show presented Luka's actions as compassionate. The Catholic who really loves children, who has suffered the loss of his own two in war, is so noble that he'll help a 15-year-old girl act against her parents, and against her faith, while using his own nominal Christianity to establish rapport with the girl. And he's also so noble he will absolutely respect his girlfriend's decision if she wants to abort their child. The character of Luka may simply have been misguided. His action as shown on the show, however, was evil. How can a person be for life and then proceed to persuade another that it's all right to end life -- even to perform the abortion himself? Unfortunately, it's not only on "ER" (to which I'll return to not watching) that people buy into this "not for me, but, well, sort of for me, and definitely all right for thee" logic. Abortion is a moral evil that preys on people's fear, desperation, and confusion to twist logic and regard the value and very existence of human life as being subject to individual whims.

Next week will be the 33rd annual March for Life here in D.C. The goal, as always, is to pray and to show solidarity in support of an end to abortion in America.

ADDENDUM: Interesting comments on this episode over at Amy Welborn's. One commenter remembered another ER episode about abortion, where the impatient supervising doctor (Weaver) performed an abortion because the subordinate was uncomfortable.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

After the fact

Well, ND's loss on Monday night coincided with my return to work and ongoing document reviews on Tuesday . . . not so unhappily, since I needed a bit of time to get past the initial frustration of the game. Which I have been to do, to the extent of being able to say to the Buckeyes, in all sincerity, nicely done. OSU's defense was impressive in closing off options for Brady Quinn all night, so that even though we had some success running and were able to put together several scoring drives to pull within seven, we weren't able to come near our season scoring average (over 36 ppg). OSU's offense was also impressive. While our defense made some nice stops, causing a few turnovers and blocking FGs, we gave up too many big plays to Smith and Ginn, who had great speed. Kudos.

For all that OSU was the better team on the field, I'm still frustrated with knowing that it was entirely winnable for the Irish, if we, say, hadn't given up more yards on defense than to any other school in team history. Stop even one of those big plays (how many scoring plays over 50 yards?!) and we're right there. On the other side of the ball, a few key drops (I'm thinking of a couple by Samardzija) on open first-down routes really hurt. And I did quibble at the time with Weis's decision to go for a touchdown on fourth after the first turnover. Unlike some, I don't think his decision to go for it was arrogant; it was just aggressive playcalling like he's done all year. But in this context, in your bowl game, even early on, you do what you can to capitalize on turnovers and take the points you can get, because the likelihood is those points will end up being critical. Getting nothing out of the two turnovers in the first half stopped any early momentum, when it was key.

Looking ahead, as the AP notes, "Most of Notre Dame's key players on its record-setting offense return . . . Notre Dame could also find some help from a recruiting class expected to be one of the school's best in years." There's plenty of cause for optimism going forward, and once we get more depth on defense we'll be in much better shape. It'll just be a long off-season.

(Other note . . . I had picked USC last night, but I was very happy to be wrong. Vince Young was outstanding.)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Game time