Friday, December 31, 2004

Alice and Bill generously supply the acutal words to Auld Lang Syne


The Fisking of America

Or, the response of the century to the abortion arguments. True brilliance, not to mention a little humor. Look at the next article down on the linked blog . . .

"These conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all in favor of the unborn, they will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born (gives the finger) you're on your own.Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus, from conception to nine months. After that, they don't wanna know about you. They don't wanna hear from you. No-nothing! No neo-natal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're pre-born, you're fine. If you're preschool, you're fucked!"

1. I can only assume that Carlin is referring to the fact that conservatives generally vote Republican. What he might not consider is that conservatives are only conservative in some areas, like say, maiming and killing women and children via abortion. We're radically conservative about that. However, I know a TON of conservatives who are very liberal when it comes to education, welfare, the environment, etc. The problem is, liberals make sure that we can't vote liberal, like many of us would otherwise be glad to, because the platform includes abandoning women and children to abortion, which is very anti-civil rights/Mother Earth.

2. What a contrast the liberal abortion-supporter is when it comes to the born person! Once the born woman carries out her "duty" to abort her child (that she would most likely have kept if her abortion-supporting boyfriend/husband/parent/friend/boss would have let her), the abortion supporter is surely there at 3 A.M. when the roto-rooted mama is grieving broken-hearted on the kitchen floor.

The abortion supporter is surely there when the mother gets breast cancer because of what the abortion procedure does to her body, right?

The abortion supporter is surely there when a mom has to spend the second half of every subsequent pregnancy on complete bedrest because the abortion obliterated her cervix.

The abortion supporter is surely there when she is burning herself to distract herself finally with pain she can understand and treat.

The abortion supporter is surely there when her relationship with her surviving children becomes confusing, contradictory and painful.

The abortion supporter is surely there when intimacy disappears from the marriage due to the bloody scenes that flash before Mother's eyes when her legs are spread as her husband enters her body.

The abortion supporter is surely there when she wants to tell her story, when she wants to cry, when she is sorry, right? RIGHT?

Not a chance.

The abortion supporter is only there to put an arm around a grieving mother... so they can reach around and clap a hand over her wailing mouth. "Shut up," the abortion supporter sneers. "Your voice is not wanted. You made your bed, now lie in it. It was your choice. YOUR choice!"


Thanks to After Abortion for the link.

Nosce Temet

"The illusion that we can know ourselves puts us on the road to a frantic search for selfhood through self-fulfillment, self-realization, and self-actualization. We become so concerned with a self-acquired identiy that we constantly worry about how we are doing in comparison with others. This illusion sets us on the road to competition, rivalry and finally violence. It is this illusion that makes us conquerors who will fight for our place in the world even at the cost of others.

"We are not who we know ourselves to be, but who we are known to be by God. We are not what we can acquire and conquer, but what we have received. We are not the money we earn, the friends we make, or the results we achieve; rather, we are who God made us in God's infinite love. As long as we keep running around anxiously trying to affirm ourselves or be affirmed by others, we remain blind to the One who has loved us first, dwells in our heart, and is indeed our true self."

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

Sed Contra on Temptation and Identity

Also contains the quote of the day:

Sorry, Mr. Tseng, but refusing to endorse someone's behavior and upholding a way of living as a condition of being part of a group is not "bigotry." If someone doesn't want to act in a way that conforms tothe organization's rules, they don't have to be members.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Are the Gospels historical?

A bishop and the Church seem to disagree on this important point. I wonder who's right.

Firing bishops?

I'm not so sure that a bishop can really be "fired", so to speak, though I have heard of bishops being transferred to places buried under the sand. I suppose the line must be drawn somewhere, and this looks like as good a place as any.

So they're using a pro-life document to argue for abortion . . .

FRIDAY FAX

December 31, 2004
Volume 8, Number 2

UN-Funded Pro-Abortion Group Attacks Costa Rica's In Vitro Ban

The Center For Reproductive Rights (CRR), the most active pro-abortion
litigant in the United States and a major global pro-abortion force, has
filed supporting documents in a case against Costa Rica that is now
pending before an international human rights commission. The outcome of
the case could have repercussions on pro-life legislation throughout the
Americas.

Costa Rica's Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court issued its
landmark pro-life ruling in 2000, finding that "the human embryo is a
person from the moment of conception ... not an object," so that its life
and must be protected by the law from conception, and banning in-vitro
fertilization (IVF) due to the "disproportionate risk of death" to embryos
used in the procedure.

The Chamber's decision has been challenged by Costa Rica's only IVF
clinic and ten infertile Costa Rican couples, who have filed a complaint
with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The CRR filed
an amicus brief earlier this month in support of their claims.

The challengers allege among other things that the Court's ruling
violates various provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights,
which was ratified by Costa Rica in 1970. However, the American Convention
itself contains a "Right to Life" provision stating that "Every person has
the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law
and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one shall be
arbitrarily deprived of his life." The challengers want to limit this
clause by arguing that "the right to life is relative, and...it is subject
to limitations when it is opposed to the protection of other fundamental
rights."

The CRR openly admits that it uses international law to promote
abortion, saying in a recent report that it has "pioneered using
international human rights law and legal mechanisms to secure women's
reproductive rights," and that it has "filed groundbreaking legal cases in
the inter-American human rights system." The CRR considers this case
important because "Depending on the Inter-American Commission's final
decision, governments and courts across North and South America could cite
its ruling...in developing and interpreting their countries' laws on
reproductive technologies, contraception and abortion."

The Commission is due to consider the case in March, 2005. It will then
issue a report recommending actions to be taken by Costa Rica, and if its
recommendations are not adopted within three months, it may submit the
case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, where any decision would
be binding on Costa Rica.

CRR is one of the most aggressive promoters of abortion in the world
and is financially assisted by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). UNPFA,
however, denies they support abortion.

Copyright 2004 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
E-mail: c-fam@c-fam.org Website: www.c-fam.org

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Chaos in Baston

Boston, Dec. 28 (CWNews.com) - The parish closing process in the Boston archdiocese took another turn this week as two protesters were arrested for trespassing, even while Archbishop Sean O'Malley gave unexpected Christmas gifts to a couple of parishes slated for closing.

On Christmas Eve, two people were arrested at Sacred Heart parish in South Natick, Massachusetts, after they refused a police order to leave. Five people had set up sleeping bags in the church following the Christmas vigil Mass, intending to begin their occupation of the church to prevent its closing on Sunday. Three of the people acceded to the request of a police officer to leave, but the other two were arrested after refusing. The archdiocese on Tuesday asked for the charges to be dropped. On Sunday, police officers were posted at each entrance to prevent any attempted occupation.

Earlier this year, the archdiocese announced plans to close or merge more than 80 of its 375 parishes, citing financial problems, a declining number of priests, and changing demographics as reasons. While 50 parishes have closed without incident, eight churches have been occupied by parishioners who refuse to allow the parishes to be closed. In most cases, the closing process has been halted by as few as a dozen people in the community.

The protests have resulted in changes to the reconfiguration plan by the archdiocese. At least one parish marked for suppression has been given a reprieve and will now stay open. Several more parishes, including some where it was apparent that a sit-in protest was going to take place, have been given indefinite extensions, including St. Thomas parish in Salem, which received the news just a few days before Christmas. And in other cases, parishes marked for closing in the towns of Newton and Charlestown will instead be merged with other neighboring parishes. The various actions by the archdiocese have prevented further occupations of closing parishes in the past several weeks.

Meanwhile last week, Archbishop O'Malley allowed Christmas Mass to be celebrated in at least one of the churches that has been occupied after closing, St. Albert the Great parish in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The protest at the church is oldest of the occupations and the largest with dozens of people sitting in pews, day and night. There have been reports that daily Communion services led by several women in the parish are using Eucharistic hosts illicitly supplied by a network of priests disobeying archdiocesan orders.

AA on the UN

Just a little overview of the various nefarious UN "reproductive rights" issues under current bloody battle.

This is the U.N. we are supposed to trust?

(free registration required to view the piece)

The same U.N. who's trying to get abortion (to be exact, its euphemism, "reproductive health") listed as a "universal human right"?

The same U.N. who in 1979 adopted
"the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)...[an] international bill of rights for women proclaim[ing] women's civil, political, economic and cultural rights and their legal equality. It also addressed their reproductive rights, allowing them to choose freely the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights."[emphasis this author]

~ From a publication by the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia, The DC Voter, Vol. 74, No. 3, November 1998.
The actual details and text of that Convention, or treaty, are here: "The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women."

"Reproductive rights."

Google on that, in quotes, and what do you get?
"center for reproductive rights...The CEDAW Committee, which oversees implementation of the treaty, has been pivotal in promoting women’s reproductive rights around the world," by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which in an internal memo obtained December 2003 by the CFAM Institute, made the case that highlighting the unproven number of maternal deaths from illegal abortions could help guarantee a worldwide right to abortion. "'Because unsafe abortion is responsible for 78,000 deaths each year and hundreds of thousands of disabilities, criminalization of abortion clearly harms women's life and health,’ CRR’s memo said."

We posted on the shredding of that myth here.

"prochoiceamerica.org : NARAL Pro-Choice America... Decides? A state-by-state report on the Status of Women's Reproductive Rights..."

"American Civil Liberties Union...Since its inception in 1920, the ACLU has recognized that personal privacy and reproductive rights are among our most important constitutional liberties...." [author's note: we helped shred that myth too, here]

"NARAL Pro-Choice California...Learn more about reproductive rights..."

"NOW and Abortion Rights/Reproductive Issues... Difference (2/04). General Information: NOW's history of fighting for Reproductive Rights and Abortion Rights..."

I think we get the drift.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Bias at Columbia

I don't know Massad personally. But a good friend of mine has him for Indian Civ and she assures me that he's a complete nutcase, so I tend to believe the accusations against him. I suppose time will tell, however.

Incidentally, this is what they're talking about in the other article below.

Doomed0's input

An article on, and I quote, "Conservative students, liberal profs".

Here's what I don't get.

At the University of North Carolina, three incoming freshmen sue over a reading assignment they say offends their Christian beliefs.

Now they sued b/c the University asked them to read the Qu'ran. Or Koran. Whatever.

Points follows thusly. First, the bad reason why this is bad. If we start taking things off of reading lists because we disagree with them . . . there would be no reading lists anymore. I mean, seriously, the first thing to go at any Uni worth it's salt would be the Bible, let's be honest here.

Secondly. Is thusly a word, or did I just make that up?

Thirdly. There's nothing in the Qu'ran that should frighten anyone, or at least any Christian. It's just the religious text of a different religion. A heresy, I would argue with Belloc, but the point remains. It should be no more offensive then reading "The Way of Change" for Chinese Civ. Open your mind. Read. Then you can engage and evangelize. If you're stuck in this us v. them mentality, you won't get anywhere. These people are not, NOT, your enemies. They're your friends. Read:

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Eph 6:12

WTF

For all of you who wanted to know about the difference between avoirdupois, troy, and apothecary weights (ounces, pounds, grains, stones, tons, etc). I still can't exactly figure why there were three different systems of weight with the same units, but at least this makes them a little big more . . . confusing.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Latest work on Limbo

Thanks to JimmyAkin.com for the link.

Going to the doctor at 3pm EST. Wish me luck.

Remember, today is the feast day of St. John the Apostle!

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Sorry for the lack of stuff. I died.

I woke up this morning feeling like poop. I went to church, got back, did a little reading, and fell into the weirdest combination of dreams I have experienced ever since I had nightmares in installments as a kid. There was this one when I was walking around Columbia U. and I had a new CC prof who was even more off his rocker than the one I have now (we love you Nauman!) and he assigned this homework that I couldn't do. Then I went to the bathroom in the ladies' room because I couldn't find a mens' and there were random people hooking up in there. Then I think I tried to commit a sexual sin with of some sort . . . details are hazy. Then after the most screwed up Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of my life I began to suspect things were arwy . . . when my freshman roomate showed up. It was at this point that I got hysterical, started asking people how many people there were in the room, and when I realized that the other people also saw him, forced myself to wake up and sit up through superhuman effort, thus escaping from the clutces of the myself.

Never read HP Lovecraft's horror stories if you're not feeling well.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Snip the tip?

Message: 7
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 13:25:41 -0600
From: "ardgowan"
Subject: Re: Re: Cantata Domino

---- Original Message -----
From: "lexcaritas"
To:
Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2004 11:27 AM
Subject: [AHC] Re: Cantata Domino

> Returning to the matter at hand--Question: Is the underlying
> assumption correct in presuming that circumcision is, or was, such a
> ceremony, sacred rite, sacrifice and/or sacrament? I wonder.

Judging from the blazingly clear teaching of Holy Scripture in the New
Testament, not to mention the unbroken witness of Tradition, we must
answer "Yes," that underlying assumption is correct.

> For example, it is not administered by cohanim or leviim, but by the
> mohel and is done at home if possible not at any modern substitute for
> ha Bayit.

In the same way, baptism need not be administered by someone in Holy
Orders. In rare emergencies, it can even be administered by a
non-Christian. So the analogy doesn't quite work.

> It is asserted that "[A]lthough they were suited to the divine
> worship" at one time, they ceased after our Lord's coming for a
> stated reason: "Because they were established to signify something in
> the future."
>
> But the premise includes this assumption: that they were
> established (by our Lord by the way) for no other reason that to
> signify something yet to come. Question: Is this narrow assumption
> correct? What do observant Jews have to say of this?

The Church does not relying on the testimony of observant Jews for her
understanding of the purpose and significance of circumcision. She draws
on the Deposit of Faith, wherein we find the teaching that the things of
the Old Covenant happened or we instituted as a shadow of things to come,
as allegories of the better covenant that Jesus would bring.

> Last Question: Who does or ever did see them as "necessary for
> salvation as if faith in Christ could not save without them"? Such
> persons may well have been, and are, I suspect, few and far between.

The New Testament mentions them -- they have been called "the Judaisers."
St. Ignatius mentions them as well. In those early days, they were a real
threat to the infant Church -- almost the oldest heresy on record (unless
you count Simon Magus, said to be the father of Gnosticism). Other names
for them were "Ebionites" and "Nazarenes" (though perhaps not all who had
those names actually believed circumcision and other Jewish rites were
salvific). Through the centuries, various sects have arisen that have
been Judaisers, such as the medieval Passigenes and the Circumcisi. In
Russia there were the Subbotniks and Molokani. In Transylvania in the
1500s there were the Unitarian Sabbatarians of Andreas Eossi and Simon
Pechi. Even today there are obscure sects (usually pretty small) who
believe circumcision is required of Christians.

Hope this helps.

Polycarp

It's Christmas!

So don't expect any articles until later.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Oh yeah. Merry Christmas.


France, on the forefront of society

The Senate upper house passed the law on Wednesday. It had previously been approved in the National Assembly. Under the new law, anyone found to be provoking hatred or violence against a person on the basis of sex or sexual orientation would receive punishments of up to one year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($60,000). The law was proposed after a gay man was set on fire by assailants, an act that prompted a major outcry throughout the country.

Catholic bishops, clergy, and laity said they were worried that priests could be jailed for preaching the Church's teachings in homilies. Journalists also said they were in fear of prosecution for doing their jobs and the international group Reporters Without Borders said, "A society advances towards tolerance ... via freedom of expression and debate and not through repression."


Remember, in Sweeden(Norway?) they actually arrested a guy for preaching a sermon on Leviticus.

Check out the festivities tonight

Vatican, Dec. 23 (CWNews.com) - The midnight Mass from St. Peter's Basilica on Christmas Eve, and the Pope's Urbi et Orbi message at noon, will be televised live to 72 different countries this year.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications has announced that 111 television broadcasters will air the midnight Mass across five continents, while 114 networks will carry the Pope's traditional message on Christmas Day.

In Europe the broadcast will be available to audiences in 38 countries; in the Americas (North and South) to 19 countries. The Mass will be telecast to nations as diverse as Algeria and Russia, Burundi and Turkey, Israel and India. The Knights of Columbus have furnished financing to allow satellite transmission to several countries where it might otherwise be unavailable.

The broadcast Mass will not be available in China. But at 5 pm on December 24-- midnight, Beijing time-- a Christmas Mass will be celebrated in Chinese in the studios of Vatican Radio, and broadcast live to that country. Pietro Chiami, who manages Chinese-language programming for Vatican Radio, explains that the radio broadcast has been offered for 20 years. "It gives the Catholics of China the opportunity to follow the Mass-- particularly those who cannot, for different reasons, find a church to attend," he said.

Pope Pius XII inaugurated the practice of broadcasting the Christmas Mass from the Vatican basilica, in 1954. For years the telecast was available only in Europe, until in 1969 it was made available in Chile and Argentina. Five years later, the first satellite broadcasts were transmitted from the Vatican, and 44 countries had access to the Christmas Mass celebrated by Pope Paul VI in 1974. The span of the broadcast has grown steadily with the increasing sophistication of the electronic media.


Do I get to watch? It seems strange to watch Midnight Mass before I go to Church for Mass. So wrong, on some level.

Misunderstanding English

To appreciate what we are actually doing when we pray, we have to examine what prayer really means. First, we have to understand that in Judaism we do not pray. Prayer is an English word. What Jews do is l'hispallel.

L'hispallel is a unique experience, but as with most Jewish things today, this holy word has been changed into an English word with a western connotation. The word "prayer" actually comes from the Latin word meaning "to beg" — exactly what most people feel prayer is. They imagine a big king in the sky who is getting a big ego boost from watching his subjects beg. This is a terrible image of our selves and of G-d.


Of course, with this definition and five minuites in front of Aquinas, we would of course learn that Catholics don't pray either. What we do is, well, oremus. But, of cousre, we don't talk like that, becasue a lot of people who think prayer is changing God's mind doesn't mean that's what prayer is.

We pray to change ourselves. That is what "to pray" is. You talk to God as a privilige, and you pray for things because He tells you to talk to him. I mean, carrying the logic of this article to it's conclusion, there's no point to "l'hispallel" either, because God knows you're going to do it . . . so why bother? Have to be careful about cause and effect. Very careful.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the infamous Googlebot

Be careful . . . it's crawling around looking for your website . . .

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Another great one from Jonah Goldberg

And I saw him speak at Cornell this year. Here's a short excerpt:

"Tolerance must be a two-way street. If minorities want the majority to be tolerant of them, minorities in turn need to tolerate at least some of the norms of the majority. Simply because there are more Christians than Jews or Muslims or atheists, doesn't mean that Christians should always get the shaft. That said, Christians - or at least the politically organized ones - don't do themselves any favors when they start talking like just another identity politics group. Christians seem to be complaining more this year than usual about the war on Christmas, even as they are finding more success. Arnold Schwarzenegger renamed the governor's "holiday tree" a Christmas tree. George Bush is the first president ever to include a quote from scripture on his Christmas card. Besides, once "Merry Christmas" becomes a political statement, everyone loses."



The UN is getting on my nerves again. Let's bomb them

FRIDAY FAX

December 24, 2004
Volume 8, Number 1

Human Rights Activists Reject UN Call for Legalized Abortion in Poland

The government of Poland is actively assessing its domestic laws on
abortion and other social issues. An influential UN committee has
intervened in the process by issuing a report calling on Poland to
liberalize its laws. The report issued by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights
Committee expresses "deep concern about restrictive abortion laws in
Poland" and tells Poland that it "should liberalize its legislation and
practice on abortion."

The report was released just as the Polish government prepares to
consider draft legislation that would loosen current restrictions on
abortion. In an unusually explicit attempt to influence national
lawmaking, the report directs Poland that "[t]hese recommendations should
be taken into account when the draft Law on Parental Awareness is
discussed in Parliament."

The report, which is a periodic review of Poland's compliance with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), does not
mention that it is purely recommendatory and has no legal force according
to that treaty. The ICCPR is one of the two major human rights treaties
adopted in 1966 to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
What is most troubling to human rights activists is that the treaty makes
no mention of abortion yet is increasingly used by the UN committee to
pressure changes in abortion laws. Not only does the treaty make no
mention of abortion it says explicitly that "Every human being has the
inherent right to life."

Human rights worker Ewa Kowalevski, Director of the Poland-based Human
Life International Europe, says that with this report, "A committee of the
UN has officially said that abortion is a human right according to
international law. Where is this right? Show me this right!" She cautions
that the report poses a "real danger" as it exerts pressure on Polish
leaders. The report, she says, is a warning sign to the rest of the world.
"It is against our sovereignty," and "if they can do it to Poland, they
can do it everywhere."

The UN's review is based on a Polish progress report that, according to
Kowalevski, was prepared this year by radical feminist and pro-abortion
groups led by the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the
Polish Federation on Women and Family Planning. Kowalevski says the report
was "full of inaccurate data," such as the claim that up to 200,000
illegal abortions occur annually in Poland, while the government's
official estimate places such abortions in the hundreds. A statement
released by Polish pro-life groups shows that even when abortion-on-demand
was available, before the current restrictive law came into effect in
1997, the total number of abortions did not exceed 60,000 per year.

The UN report also requests the adoption of a wider social agenda,
telling Poland to track doctors who refuse to carry out abortions, that
"[d]iscrimination on the ground of sexual orientation should be
specifically prohibited in Polish law," and that the undefined "sexual
minorities" should be protected. Poland should also alter the "nature" of
sexual education in schools to meet the Committee's standards.

Copyright 2004 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.


Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291 E-mail: c-fam@c-fam.org
Website: www.c-fam.org

What's up in England

Campbell, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, a muscle-wasting illness that means she cannot lift her head from her pillow unaided, was hospitalised for a case of pneumonia. The consultant treating her said that he assumed she would not want to be resuscitated should she go into respiratory failure. When she protested that she would like to be resuscitated, she was visited by a more senior consultant who said that he assumed she would not want to be put on a ventilator. According to the Disability Rights Commission, this was not was not an isolated incident. As Campbell says, these incidents 'reflect society's view that people such as myself live flawed and unsustainable lives and that death is preferable to living with a severe impairment'

I think we should secede. Again. From the West.

OO on the Trinity

He's back . . . good times.

I think the gist of it is that the Persons are seperate, but we can't distinguish them by their economic activity. No, not by what they buy, by what they do. Doesn't work b/c they were distinct before that. In addition, unity of substance implies unity of action, so they all do everything. Interesting.

I don't get it. Ugh.

What's going on in Bethlelehm?

The UN throws in their two cents. (It's a PDF, beware).

Thanks to Justine the Bean for the linky.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

One for Tony

Q: Is it ethical to use devices that warn drivers of speed traps?

A: Many devices are sold which can detect the presence of speed detectors used by police, though they are becoming less effective as technological means used by law enforcers are becoming much more sophisticated. These devices are very popular and are completely legal in many areas.

It would seem to be obvious that a device whose only object is to evade law enforcement should be unethical. However, a variety of arguments are brought to justify these devices: Let's examine a few:

1. Self defense. Police speed detectors are not always accurate; the radar detector reminds the driver to look at the speedometer so that he will be able to defend himself against an unjustified speeding ticket and honestly testify that he was not speeding.

This excuse is not inappropriate in and of itself, but today's speed detectors are highly accurate and so it is no longer germane.

2. Positive reminder. Sometimes a person speeds unintentionally. When the radar detector goes off, it reminds the driver to slow down.

Again, the argument is not illogical, but speed alarms could be made at a much lower cost yet we see that there is no market for them. Studies show that detector users drive consistently over the speed limit; many deliberately set their cruise controls at a speed above the limit.

3. Fair play. Speed detection is just a game between drivers and law enforcement officials. This is a sophisticated argument which goes like this: Speeding is not like stealing, something which is inherently wrong. It's a behavior that can sometimes be justified, but the law can't let it get out of hand. Therefore, enforcement procedures and sanctions are applied to make sure that speeding is not the norm. But sometimes individual judgment is needed, and a person can ethically speed while accepting the consequences that he may get a ticket.

This argument, like the others, holds water as far as it goes. Jewish tradition educates us to respect the law, but not to worship it. On occasion, there may be times when a person may be ethically justified in bending the law and facing the consequences. Sometimes you have an important appointment but no change to put in the meter; you may decide that it's worthwhile to risk the ticket and not miss your appointment.

If speeding is like stealing, then it should never be countenanced; if it is like parking without feeding the meter, it can be justified in occasional situations of special need. Since I am not an expert on traffic safety, I can't really tell. (Legally, it seems somewhere in between; like stealing, it is a crime, but like parking violations we allow people to get off with a fine.)

But no matter how we view speeding, radar detectors are definitely improper. Even if we view speed detection as a game, the game has to be played fairly. We certainly should acknowledge the need for law enforcers to use reasonable means to keep speeding under control, in order to provide safety for everyone. If many people have effective radar detectors, enforcement becomes impossible; if only a few have them, enforcement becomes inequitable. Radar detectors are an expensive investment in foiling legitimate public efforts to enable safe travel, and they constitute cheating in the law-enforcement game.

Ours is a society that loves games. In business we love competition, whereby productive activity is the by-product of a game among firms; in courts we adhere to an adversary process that creates rivalry between competing legal teams; and in law enforcement we have situations where enforcers and flouters are locked in a kind of cynical game of upholding standards. Games are not the most educational way to attain important social goals, and in Judaism the emphasis is far more on the individual ethical obligation rather than on incentives and enforcement. Even so, these games do have legitimacy and a certain effectiveness in maintaining social order — but only if we play by the rules

QOTD

Somehow events have so arranged themselves that French electors now face a choice, as the papers see it, between "la droite" et "l'extrême droite." The French people have taken to the streets in angry protests against ... the French people! Which must be a relief to the operators of McDonald's franchises, British lorry drivers and other more traditional targets of their ire, but is still a little weird.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Mass extinction

Of Europeans and Japanese, though, not animals.

The Christmas Tree is a religious symbol


Now, as George W. Bush's first term is ending and his second is about to begin, is a good time to examine his foreign policy under the lens of scholar Walter Russell Mead's splendid 2001 book, Special Providence . Mead describes four "contrasting, competing voices and values" that have contributed to American foreign policy over the years, each named after a major statesman. How well is Bush doing on each?

. . .

Thomas Jefferson's tradition, in Mead's view, "has consistently looked for the least costly and dangerous method of defending American independence while counseling against attempts to impose American values on other countries." This ain't George W. Bush. In fact, Jeffersonians in the career ranks of the State Department and CIA tried to defeat Bush with well-timed leaks to sympathetic reporters. CIA Director Porter Goss seems determined to get career officers under control. It's not clear whether Condoleezza Rice will do so at State.

Mead's Wilsonians believe that the United States "has both a moral and a practical duty to spread its values through the world." George W. Bush did not campaign as a Wilsonian in 2000, but he became one after September 11. His continued insistence that freedom is a universal yearning recalls the rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson himself.

But institutionally, the first Bush term has fallen far short in promoting its values. Few appointees abroad have effectively countered the fashionable anti-Americanism of European elites and media. Efforts to create favorable media outlets in the Arab world have been limited. There has been nothing like the broad-scale creation of pro-American cultural institutions in the early years of the Cold War. There seems to be no counterpart in the Islamic world of the Reagan administration's covert programs encouraging peaceful regime change in Eastern Europe. The administration sometimes seems to discourage more than encourage the efforts of evangelical Christian and Jewish organizations to spotlight religious persecution of Christians and others.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Chanukah at the White House

Something seems quite right about the picture in this article, as if the pieces were finally falling into place in one part of the world. I can't say so much for some parts of Minnesota, however . . . some problems with Regnum Christi being forbidden to act in the parishes while St. Joan of Arc gets to defy Vatican orders.

Movie Night

It's called "Farmingville", and was made by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini.

My homie Antonella was kind enough to provide the name of a movie about this subject which I feel might be educational. I haven't watched it so I can't vouch for it however.

[Linky to the movie]

On German civ

As a Catholic in the frontlines of pagan Europe (Berlin), I do not mind the omission of the word "Christianity" in the Constitution. We must not think that even one soul would be brought to the Lord through a legal text. The law is not a tool of evangelization. But truly Christian lives, sanctity and charity, prayer and vivid Christian parishes are. We must spend the energy on prayer, and action not on legal text. Then Europe will be Christian in fact rather than in words. Nunc coepi!!

They be comin'

Looks like a rather large group, by Anglican standards, is getting ready to break away and try to become Catholic, or is in negotiations with the Vatican to that effect at any rate.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I want this castle

I feel it would be somehow appropriate for me to be the owner (lord?) of a castle. I mean, I act as if it were the Middle Ages, I speak as if it were the Middle Ages . . . this could really be the last straw.

This is for everyone who need sto brush up on the subjunctive

Puto te esse! Certe me :-(.

Everything you ever wanted to know about sacerdotal coats of arms

I'm gonna try to convince Fr. Jacek to get one now.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Interesting article from Cardinal Kasper about covenants

Progress in my own reading on the subject has been somewhat slow, but hopefully I'll be able to read something good over the break.

Down Syndrome?

Baby diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome by two different physicians, is born normal, after parents refused to abort.

Firstly, it's wrong to kill those who are weak and in need of help.

Secondly, you'll usually end up killing the healthy as well. Though I guess it really doesn't matter at some point. Killing is killing.

St. Edmund

I am not sure why Campion so fascinates me, but I can put a finger on some clues. First, he was a man who could have had charted for him an excellent life with many of the things that men and women take for granted; position, worldly success, the esteem of peers, marriage, a family if only he would have conformed to the prevailing mores of his surrounding culture in terms of religion. Indeed, quite a career since he had attracted the favorable attention of very high men in Elisabeth I's court.

But he didn't take it. And instead chose a life of devotion and service to God and to education in a foreign land. I had been under the impression that Campion had gone abroad with the notion that he would necessarily be ordained and sent back to England, but this was not actually so. When he went abroad it was with the notion of being ordained and, after his recruitment, being ordained as a Jesuit. But as the Jesuits at that time had no English province, Campion was sent to Prague to teach, which he did faithfully for six years, before being called back to go to England to become a hero to Catholics there, a martyr and an example to use today.


And this is his prayer as they were hanging him:

"I recommend your case and mine to Almightie God, the Searcher of hearts, to the end that we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten." (1581)

Jimmy Akin on Hollywood

LOL, if I dare say so myself. Quite the fisking.

Disturbing

Pro-life MPs opposed the Mental Capacity Bill because it would allow doctors to withhold lifesaving medical treatment from terminally ill patients who request it. However, British officials promised concerned MPs that the bill will be amended to prevent that.

Great civilization, eh? You ask for medical treatment, they tell you you're not worthy of it.

Pro-Life Democrat Gets Backing for Party Chair

Are things looking up, or is this bone throwing?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Dumping large amounts of hormones into your body on a daily basis for years at a time doesn't reduce risk of heart disease

Researches befuddled. Incidentally, I can maybe explain whlie the old study found a correlation where this one didn't. Check this out.

That’s because it relies on women’s memories of what drugs they used in previous years rather than actual hospital or medical records.

As I learned in Econometrics, when there's measurement error, no matter which way it goes, all estimators of the effect of independant variables on your dependant variable become biased upwards. There is no way to correct for this, either, except getting better data or a proxy variable to replace the errored data. Extraordinarily counterintuitive, but the math works out, and it happens in reality all the time.

No, McCulture will not win the war against Islam

Sorry, but a bunch of people who like to feel good are no match for a religion that gets as many things right as Islam does. Yeah, we might take down the theocracies of the Middle East. But then we'll just drag them down when we collapse, much like the Romans took down most of the known world when they collapsed.

Garages are in.

Good times. I always like to see people watching the street. Probably got it from my great-grandmothers, making sure none of their kids were screwing around in Harlem.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

POS

And I don't mean Product of Sums experssion
----
FRIDAY FAX

December 17, 2004
Volume 7, Number 52

Radicals Host Anti-Family Conference in China

Following close on the heels of the pro-life and pro-family Doha
(Qatar) International Conference on the Family, the pro-abortion forces
met in a similar four-day conference in Sanya, China last week in what
some see as an attempt to counteract the Doha platform. The World Family
Summit was sponsored mainly by the Chinese government and organized in
part by China's National Population and Family Planning Commission. The UN
also played an unofficial but active role in organizing the conference,
and many representatives of feminist, gay and pro-abortion movements
participated.

Like the Doha Conference, this Summit also claimed the role of
observing the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
However, unlike the Doha Conference, which was welcomed by the UN General
Assembly as an official commemoration of that anniversary, this Summit was
neither recognized nor sanctioned by the UN. Moreover, the Summit opened
on December 6, the very day that the UN officially ended its year-long
celebration of the International Year of the Family with a consensus
resolution that recognized the Doha Declaration, co-sponsored by 149
countries, as an outcome of that celebration and did not mention the
Summit.

The participants of the Summit adopted the Sanya Declaration, which is
subtitled the "World Declaration for a Global Family Policy." In contrast
to the Doha Declaration, which called upon states to "ensure that the
inherent dignity of human beings is recognized and protected through all
stages of life," the Sanya Declaration states the need for a reduction in
"unwanted pregnancies" through the increased availability of "reproductive
health services, especially family planning."

Further, while the Doha Declaration called upon countries to "uphold,
preserve and defend the institution of marriage," the Sanya Declaration
says that families are "as different as alike," and "various forms of the
family exist in different social, cultural, legal and political systems,"
and insists that "respecting their diversity and peculiarity is
mandatory."

The Sanya Declaration also calls upon states to "encourage the
participation of adolescents in the design, implementation, monitoring and
evaluation of...health programmes that include sexual and reproductive
health," while the Doha Declaration asked nations to "reaffirm and respect
the liberty of parents...to ensure the religious and moral education of
their children in conformity with their own convictions."

The Summit also hosted several exhibitions by Chinese companies
involved in the research and manufacturing of contraceptive, abortive and
sexual enhancement products, including the China Family Planning
Association, a full member of the International Planned Parenthood
Federation (IPPF).

Copyright 2004 - C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
E-mail: c-fam@c-fam.org Website: www.c-fam.org

Good question

Stephanie, in this, states:

These were the original liberal arts

trivium: rhetoric, dialectic, grammar
quadrivium: geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy

I guess anything could be a "liberal art."
(...except calculus, which is neither liberal nor art)
...disregard the calculus bit
Stephanie


This being in response to this post. I think it deserves something of an answer, for I feel that we as a culture have forgotten, first of all, what liberal means, second of all, what an art is, and thirdly, why a "liberal education" isn't supposed to mean going to math class to learn about the glory of abortion.

Continuing.

What is an art, first of all? Let's look at the good ole' dictionary:

A nonscientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts.
A system of principles and methods employed in the performance of a set of activities: the art of building.
A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: the art of the lexicographer.
Skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of the baker; the blacksmith's art.
Skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties: “Self-criticism is an art not many are qualified to practice” (Joyce Carol Oates).


I think this is also related to the Greek word arete, which is often translated as virtue, but I'm not sure. At any rate, let's also consider the Latin word ars, which is the root of art. Defined:

ars N 3 3 NOM S F
ars, artis N F
skill/craft/art; trick, wile; science, knowledge; method, way; character (pl.)

So, it seems that basically an art is anything that involves a method, thinking about things, and studying. Or something. Now let's consider liberal. The dictionary, to put it mildy, sucks. Basically, it says free from stuff and modern, or traditional. In other words, if you look, it defines a "liberal education" as being the kind of education given at a liberal arts college . . . which isn't even recursive, it's just circular. Dumb. Though I didl like the last two definitions of liberal:

Archaic. Permissible or appropriate for a person of free birth; befitting a lady or gentleman.
Obsolete. Morally unrestrained; licentious.


At any rate, let's carefully consider this word. First, let's find it's opposite. No, not conservative, despite the modern usage. Just because people use words in a way that makes no sense, such as liberal to mean high-minded, doesn't mean you have to give in, though I have to admit I see how it flows from the earlier defintions of liberal as being thought befitting a gentleman. But here, of course, we hit the key point. Thoght befitting a gentleman.

A gentleman was a free man, back in the day. Liberal thought was free thought, as in, thought that had no servile end, not thought that had no conservative end. Thus we can distinguish the liberal from the servile arts. Baking is a servile art, an art that has an end, a telos, outside of itself: to make bread. Math is a liberal art, because you study it for math's sake, not for any other sake. Otherwise, you're not studying math, you're studying "applied math" or some such construction. Science isn't even an art, I think, because it's a science, though perhaps you could have liberal and servile sciences. Never really thought about that one.

So the liberal arts are those things that require skill, study, and method, like arts, don't require the scientific method, like sciences, and have an end in and of themselves, like dialectic logic. Or as the great Cardinal Newman puts it:

This process of training, by which the intellect, instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, or study or science, is disciplined for its own sake, for the perception of its own proper object, and for its own highest culture, is called Liberal Education; and though there is no one in whom it is carried as far as is conceivable, or whose intellect would be a pattern of what intellects should be made, yet there is scarcely any one but may gain an idea of what real training is, and at least look towards it, and make its true scope and result, not something else, his standard of excellence; {153} and numbers there are who may submit themselves to it, and secure it to themselves in good measure. And to set forth the right standard, and to train according to it, and to help forward all students towards it according to their various capacities, this I conceive to be the business of a University.

Now that is a very good book to read from. Pick up a copy or print it out off of the website. Thus, we have:

Dubium: I guess anything could be a "liberal art."
in Latina lingua: Cogito ut potest aliquem esse "artem liberalem".

Responsum: Non potest. Vide supra.

Signed,
Praefectus, Congregatio pro Doctrina Bloggi
Davidus Solimano, B.A. (almost)
Dies Martis, 16 Decembri 2004, Tertia Hebdomada Adventus

Here's something else that's pretty deep

I've noticed that when I and a great number of people are making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we start by taking two slices of bread out and placing them on the plate. Then we flip one slice over to apply the jelly. But why?

I mean, it's not like the bread knows which side is the inside and which is the outside? Right? At least, I hope not.

Resolved: From now on, don't flip slice over until after applying stuff.

Resolved: Get a lot more sleep and exercise after finals, because I'm clearly going crazy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Revelation

A banana is an amazing amazing thing. Look at one for a little while. Check it out.

Comfused people

Message: 17
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 21:23:42 -0500
From: Ev
Subject: Re: Infibulation...ancient African female circumcision

Hannah,

I was not familiar with the medical term for female mutilation. The
Chinese used to bind their women's feet, to keep them from wandering.

By comparison, Europeans tried chastity belts......


Oy. OY oy oy.

All wrong. The Chinese women absolutely were nuts about binding their feet. The Manchu government, when they took over China, tried to outlaw it becasue they thought it was barbaric, but their women thought it was so sexy that they told the government to go screw themselves and bound their feet anyway. It's "fashion".

Hell we do the same thing today. "Oh these shoes are so uncomfortable". But no one ever takes them off, or wears different shoes.

end rand.

Illegal Immigration, legalized

Bernard Kerik might not have been the dream candidate for homeland security secretary that most of us imagined when the president first announced his nomination, but disqualifying him for the job because he hired an illegal alien should give pause to lawmakers and citizens alike. Whether we care to admit it or not, most of us benefit from the services of illegal aliens, even if indirectly, and the law that ensnarled Kerik has turned many good people into scofflaws. Currently there are some 12 million illegal aliens living — and working — in the United States, which makes lawbreakers of the millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans who hire illegal immigrants as nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, painters, carpenters, and for other odd jobs. Is this really a good thing for the country or an effective way to control illegal immigration?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Remember, honesty is the best policy

So deny everything

A few days ago I noticed that one of the systems I manage had had someone trying to hack into it for ten minutes," the reader wrote. "Hacking attempts occur almost daily but they're usually from compromised systems in the Far East or elsewhere overseas. Those attempts last less than a minute and appear to be via a script, as the interval between each failed attempt is almost always less than five seconds. In this case, the entries in my log file showed all 100-plus attempts were from a system on Adelphia.net's network. I always report these types of violations to the abuse contact on the ISP's WHOIOS record, with the individual lines from the log file. Nineteen hours after I reported the incident someone at Adelphia responded that the machine involved was not on their network and they could not help, directing me to other links to pursue the matter."

The reader found Adelphia's denial a little hard to believe. "I thought it strange that the system with a Fully Qualified Domain Name wasn't on Adelphia's network," he wrote. "I was wondering how a hacker had configured a reverse DNS lookup to falsely return an Adelphia.net FQDN when it wasn't an Adelphia system. I ran a ping against the full name and it returned the IP address. I then queried the WHOIS for that IP address and found it was in a block of addresses assigned to Adelphia. I copied all the information and replied to the Adelphia abuse address hoping for a response. Nothing."

Receiving no further response to his e-mails, the reader tried phoning Adelphia a few days later. Three phone calls were routed to tech support staff who said they couldn't help and were not sure who at Adelphia could. Finally on his fourth attempt he managed to get through to an Adelphia tech who would at least discuss the issue. "I explained the hacking attempts and provided her with the Adelphia incident number from their e-mail," the reader wrote. "I re-stated the IP address of the system used in the hacking attempt. After a minute or so she repeated what the e-mail had said -- the IP address of the system was NOT an Adelphia address. After explaining what the WHOIS tool was telling me and how a reverse DNS lookup was supplying the adelphia.net system, she conceded that it was in fact an Adelphia system. She put me on hold for a few minutes, then returned to say that the matter is under investigation."

What an upstanding citizen

What did i do? Well, i was scared shitless, but i listened to her, tried to encourage her to rise above this, to see also my point of view, basically taking a softly-softly approach towards an abortion. I told her how much i loved her and how we'd get over this and build a good future to raise a family properly, in time, when we were both ready, happy, stable. She stopped taking my calls at one point and i took a 10 hour bus to see her and reassure her. Basically i didn't want her martyr-ing herself by having the baby, which is just like her to do.

It didn't work. Then i had no alternative but to be more disagreeable because i was feeling so fucking disagreed. Agrieved, betrayed, trapped, bullied. I outlined every possible reason, and all the inherent logic, for us not to have this kid. I pleaded with her (over email, we couldn't talk on the phone any more), i asked her to have someone else's baby if she wanted one so bad, i even called her names, bitch.

Priceless

Squach (6:32:03 PM): would you say wellesley is a liberal arts college?
Forde (6:32:09 PM): yeah why
Squach (6:32:25 PM): Isn't science not a liberal art?
Forde (6:32:36 PM): yeah well
Forde (6:32:37 PM): anyway

IBM rocks the boat

By releasing their Power architecture for free, they've placed the world in a very interesting position . . . Now anyone can make truly rocking chips without having to design them, and IBM gets to circumvent US export regulations because, well, they're not selling anything, and everyone is going to use their chip. Interesting.

Don't forget!

Tomorrow is Ember Wednesday! Partial abstinance and fast!

You don't know what Ember Weeks are? Oh. You're normal.

I love these Catholic / pagan ecumenical holidays. Always reminds me of how badly the pagans got spanked that no one remembers anymore.

JPII on Christmas

He's for it.
-----
Vatican, Dec. 13 (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II (bio - news) has entered into the suddenly lively debate in Italy over the public display of Nativity scenes. At his public audience on Sunday, December 12, the Pontiff said that the traditional Christmas crèche "is part of our culture and art."

"Large or small, simple or elaborate, the creche is a familiar yet very expressive representation of Christmas," John Paul said. He added that "above all it is a sign of faith in God, who in Bethlehem came 'to live among us."

The Pope did not refer directly to the public debate that flared in Italy last week, when some public schools announced plans to withdraw their Nativity scenes, allegedly in deference to Muslim students. But reporters quickly put the Pope's words into the context of that controversy.

Actually the Holy Father's remarks were in keeping with an old Vatican tradition; each year, on the third Sunday of Advent, the Pontiff blesses the Christmas crèches that children bring to the papal audience. Thus the Pope gave his blessing, saying that the Nativity scenes "invite us to be vigilant in prayer" as Christmas approaches.

An enormous Christmas crèche is under construction in the middle of St. Peter's Square, in fulfillment of another more recent Vatican tradition that dates back to 1982. A dozen workers are still finishing the construction of the scene, which is hidden behind a screen that will not be removed until after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

The other major piece of decoration in St. Peter's Square, the giant Christmas tree, will be illuminated during a small ceremony on Wednesday, December 15. At his Sunday audience, Pope John Paul appeared more energetic than in previous public appearances. He spoke with satisfaction of the 54 new churches that have been built around the Rome diocese in recent years-- although he added that the diocese needs 200 new church buildings to accommodate the needs of the faithful in outlying communities. And he issued an invitation to the faithful to attend a Mass at which he will preside on Tuesday, December 14, for the university students of Rome.

Cool Rabbi

Thanks to Forde for the heads up
---
December 7, 2004
By COREY KILGANNON





A century of poring over ancient Jewish texts has carved
deep circles under Rabbi Yehuda Chitrik's eyes. Decades of
Sabbath- table storytelling have left him speaking softly
and seldom. At 105 years old, he seems almost mortal.

"He is not so good," his daughter Shaindel Schneerson, 72,
said the other night. "Right now, he's saying his morning
prayers" - she reported after dinner. "In the evening, he
is doing this."

But even at "not so good," Rabbi Chitrik rises at 5 a.m. to
study, attends synagogue at least twice a day, teaches a
class and works with his regular study partner: a
whippersnapper rabbi from Crown Heights named Meir Itkin,
who is 95.

Rabbi Chitrik has learned directly from the last three
leaders of the Lubavitch movement. He has a keen knowledge
of Torah, the Talmud, and other texts that his relatives
believe has contributed to his longevity. But it is his
storytelling that has made him a fixture in the Lubavitcher
community.

His grandson Ari Chitrik, 51, calls him "a walking
encyclopedia of Hasidic tales."

And a great-grandson, Eliezer Zalmanov, 25, says, "He can
repeat stories word for word that he heard 50 years ago."

And the stories do not remain at his table.

His stories
are collected in a book called "From My Father's Shabbos
Table" (Moznaim Publishing, 1991). One tells of a rich man
who pays young scholars to fast for his ailing daughter.
The rich man then learns that one of the scholars has used
the money to buy himself a hearty feast. When he is
questioned by the rich man, that scholar, explaining his
actions, says that the angels were surprised to see him
being able to afford an expensive meal, and learned of the
rich man's generosity. So the angels grant his daughter a
quick recovery.

The stories are part of an active oral tradition, told and
retold around the world by the many Lubavitcher emissaries
related to the old rabbi, a global diaspora of Chitriks
spanning five generations.

Rabbi Chitrik has four children, 18 grandchildren and more
than 100 great-grandchildren, Mrs. Schneerson said, adding
that an exact tally is difficult and that anyway: "Only
money likes to have count; children don't need counting,
because whatever number you have, you never have enough."

The Lubavitch movement emphasizes intense study of
Talmudic, Hasidic and mystical texts. Rabbi Chitrik has
been studying them intensively since childhood.

"He's never slowed down," said Ari Chitrik, the grandson,
who manages real estate in Manhattan and has six children.
"He's always reading, writing, talking, discussing."

Rabbi Chitrik's relatives attribute his longevity to
blessings he received from Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the
seventh rebbe who led the Lubavitch movement from 1950
until his death in 1994. Rabbi Chitrik also had contact
with the two previous grand rebbes.

"All three grand rebbes gave him a blessing for a lengthy
life," said Ari Chitrik.

At a recent gathering at Mrs. Schneerson's house on East
12th Street in Flatbush, Rabbi Chitrik sat at the head of
the table, along with a dozen other Lubavitcher rabbis -
four generations of Chitriks. At his right hand sat his son
Hirsch Chitrik, 77, who owns a jewelry business in the
diamond district. Mrs. Schneerson was bustling about the
kitchen.

Asked by a visitor how he has lived so long, Rabbi Chitrik
whispered in Yiddish to his son, who then said, "He says
it's because he's been blessed with wonderful children."
This brought a snort from Mrs. Schneerson, who was now
leaning in the doorway with a wet fist on her hip.

"What I think: The man lives like Maimonides," she said,
referring to the 12th century Jewish sage who lived by and
outlined a strict code of living. "He's up at 5 every
morning, dressed and sitting at the table studying his
books."

Her husband, Rabbi Sholom Schneerson, a cousin of Rebbe
Schneerson, whispered his assessment to a reporter. "The
man never leaves the table full," he said.

Mrs. Schneerson heard that, and shrugged in agreement.


"This is true," she said. "He eats a very small breakfast."


That evening, he did not touch the cakes, nuts or Ritz
crackers that were on the table along with ancient Jewish
texts. There was also a bottle of vodka, and Rabbi Chitrik
clasped a shot glass of it as he listened to the lively
conversation and occasionally joined in the lilting Hasidic
tune being hummed continuously by several rabbis.

Known as shluchim, these rabbis are dispatched from
Lubavitch world headquarters in Crown Heights. They settle
permanently in locations all over the world and establish
educational and spiritual centers to foster Jewish
awareness. The men at Rabbi Chitrik's table the other night
had settled in places as disparate as Westchester County;
Indiana; Nuremberg, Germany; Turkey; Israel; and Uruguay.
They were in New York to attend the annual International
Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

One of Rabbi Chitrik's grandsons, Mendel Chitrik, an
emissary living in Turkey, said, "This man is a living
example of the importance of one Jew."

"He has touched so many lives," he said. "He's responsible
not only for all of us in this room, but for our
followings. He's like Adam."

"When he's not feeling well, he says, 'None of it bothers
me - not the pain, nothing - unless it interferes with my
learning.' "

At the table, Rabbi Chitrik spoke in halting Yiddish of his
days as a young yeshiva student in the town of Lubavitch.
He was born in 1899 and began studying at age 14 in
Lubavitch, the seat of the Lubavitch movement. After the
Russian Revolution, Rabbi Chitrik and other Jewish students
scattered, studying covertly to keep the Lubavitch movement
alive.

Rabbi Chitrik became a rabbi in his early 20's and met his
wife, Kayla, in Ukraine (She died in 1983.) They had four
children, and Rabbi Chitrik worked making shirts, sweaters
and soap. In 1946, the family fled Russia, lived briefly in
Belgium and then moved to Montreal, where Rabbi Chitrik
taught at a yeshiva. He retired in the 1970's and moved to
Brooklyn, where he lives alternately with Mrs. Schneerson
and with Hirsch Chitrik in Crown Heights.

"He inspired us all," Hirsch Chitrik said. "His message is
that we should not live for ourselves." Hirsch slapped the
table to silence a side discussion between Shlomo Wilhelm
and Sholom Herzel, two rabbis who married into the Chitrik
family and whose wives exemplify the tangled Chitrik family
tree. Rabbi Wilhelm married Rabbi Chitrik's youngest
granddaughter, Esther, while Rabbi Herzel married the
rabbi's eldest great-granddaughter, Devorah. The twist is
that Devorah is older than Esther, despite being from a
latter generation.

When the evening's discussion was over, the men began
singing loudly and clapping. They stood and danced around
the table, arm in arm, so that the 105-year-old rabbi was
practically carried around by his shoulders.

Later, Ari Chitrik observed that a lifetime of nourishing
himself on the sacred Jewish texts seems to have given his
grandfather the gift of the extraordinary life spans
described in the Torah.

"I recently showed him how an odometer works, how it resets
again when it gets to 100,000," he said. "So he told me
when he reached 100, he starts again from zero."

Something's rotten at the UN

And it's not b/c Kofi left his lunch from last week in the fridge.

Massive graft underway.

Oy

VANCOUVER, December 13, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The controversial Canadian Anglican Bishop who bears partial responsibility for the ruckus in the Anglican Communion worldwide for his blessing of homosexual unions within his New Westminster diocese, has said he is worried about the Supreme Court opinion on homosexual 'marriage'. Bishop Michael Ingham is concerned about the section of the Court decision which specifies that religious officials in Canada cannot be forced by the state to perform homosexual 'marriages'.

Bishop Ingham told the media: "It means that if you're a non-believer, you can't discriminate against gay and lesbians, but if you're a believer you can. So if you want to discriminate against gays and lesbian people, join a religious organization."

Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews.com that Bishop Ingham's remarks were indicative of the New Age morality being imposed in Canada. "God-given morality and nature itself tells us that sexual relations are intended between a man and a woman in a loving, committed and monogamous union. However, the New Age morality which is being imposed in Canada has turned normal morality on its head. Good is called evil and evil good. Bishop Ingham's comments appear to be those of a bishop of this New Age morality," said Hughes.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Two finals down

Three to go.

Thank you Professor Sklar for that test if you didn't have multiple children I might have proposed.

Looking for a martyr . . .

Though mainstream media eagerly embraced Shepard as a victim of homophobia, both killers described a robbery gone wrong that had no connection to sexual orientation.

Indeed, the trial transcript gave no evidence that the two meth-crazed perpetrators — who had brutalized several straight victims in the days, and even the hours, before they assaulted Shepard — had been motivated by homophobia. Nonetheless, all three of the TV movies about Shepard portrayed his death as a "hate crime," as did "The Laramie Project," a play performed across the country in high schools and other venues.


Oh the short life of man, that he must make up imaginary enemies when the real ones are nowhere in sight.

Good point

As Dr. Wade Horn of the Department of Health and Human Services sagely observes: "We don't need a study, if I remember my biology correctly, to show us that those people who are sexually abstinent have a zero chance of becoming pregnant."

Supporters of condom distribution remain unconvinced, however, and James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth responds: "The only 100 percent way to avoid a car collision is not to drive, but the federal government sure does a lot of advocacy for safety belts."

What he doesn't mention is that we strictly limit driving privileges to citizens over age sixteen — even if fifteen year olds used seat belts — and we strongly discourage driving without a license.

Doesn't it make similar sense to discourage intercourse without a wedding license?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Oh yeah

I think it's someone's birthday today . . . guess who!

What is going on in this country

They're not sure if the bombing was terrorism or two shop owners who don't like each other. Oy.

I was right all along

What would happen to a kid if he got absolutely no exercise at all--just sat (or lay) around all the time?

Well, it's pretty obvious: Some parts of him (like his muscles) would underdevelop while other parts of him (like his waistline) would overdevelop.

Kids, like people in general, need exercise. God designed us so that we need to work out to grow properly.

That's why God gave kids the instinct to gain excitement (before the invention of TV and video games) by going outdoors and running around (in packs) and playing and wrestling and rolling around.

In the dirt.

And getting cuts and scrapes.

Which the dirt gets in.

Now this is the part that drives a lot of contemporary American parents wild with worry. Cuts? Scrapes? Dirt? In? Don't you know that dirt has viruses and bacteria and parasites in it???

But wait: Maybe that's part of the plan.

God designed children (and the rest of us) to live a rambunctious--and dirty--existence, not to waltz around in a sterile Star Trek-like environment. That's why he gave us an immune system.

But maybe, just like kids in general need exercise, so do their imune systems. And if their immune systems don't get the workout they were designed to have, what then? It might seem reasonable to suppose that some aspects of their immune system would underdevelop (leaving them vulnerable to one set of maladies) and other aspects of it would overdevelop--leading to . . . leading to . . .

Allergies.

Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious

"My dear daughters, many of our holy fathers in the faith, men who were pillars of the Church, did not die martyrs. Why do you think this was?" Each one prsent offered an answer; then their mother continued. "Well, I myself think it was because there is another martyrdom: the martyrdom of love. Here God keeps his servants and handmaids in this present life so that they may labor for him, and he makes of them both martyrs and confessors." -- Memoirs of the life, p. 306

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Pray for this man

An honest pagan is this man.

New York, Dec. 10 (CWNews.com) - Antony Flew, the British scholar who for years has been the world's most noteworthy philosophical proponent of atheism, has conceded that scientific evidence points to the existence of God.

Flew-- a prolific writer and energetic lecturer who has advanced atheist arguments throughout his long academic career-- made his dramatic concession in a video presentation on scientific evidence for the existence of God. In the video-- based on a conference held in New York in May of this year-- Flew said that the latest biological research "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved."

Early this year, writing in Philosophy Now magazine, Flew had indicated that his commitment to atheism was wavering. He wrote: "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism."

Flew credited a Texas Catholic, Roy Varghese, with helping to persuade him that biological research points to the workings of an intelligent creator. Varghese, the author of The Wonder of the World , organized the May conference at which Flew first questioned his own atheistic position, and produced the video in which the 81-year-old scholar abandoned that stance.

Flew-- whose 1984 essay, "The Presumption of Atheism," fixed his place as the leading proponent of that view-- emphasizes that he has not accepted Christianity. He said: "I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian, and far and away from the God of Islam." He likened his current position to the deism of Thomas Jefferson, explaining that he is now sympathetic to the researchers who theorize about an "intelligent design" in the working of creation.

Antony Flew conceded that many of his philosophical followers will be shocked by his announcement. But he told Associated Press: "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads."

State of California to force Catholics to particpate in abortions

Isn't tolerance grand?

That Dr. Laura Letter

Chewed up and spit out.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Latest from the AHC

Message: 8
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 02:22:44 -0000
From: "aron"
Subject: Mari


Herman Hoeh writes:"In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Europeans became aware of the treasures of the TELLS or mounds of
the Mesopotamian flatlands. Archaeological expeditions cut into many of
the most impressive ones. Hoards of private and public documents were
discovered -- most of them lying to this day untranslated in the basements
of European museums. A multitude of undreamed of facts were disclosed for
the first time. But how were the archaeologists and historians to
interpret these facts? How would they arrange the dynastic lists of
hitherto unknown kings?

Unfortunately the key to a true knowledge of history was being
discarded at the very time excavations began in Mesopotamia. That
key is God in history. Without God -- and hence without the Bible -- there
were no bounds to curb historical speculation. A deliberate conspiracy to
interpret every possible fact in opposition to the Bible was summarily
begun. The literary critics quickly seized the opportunity. The Babylonian
accounts of creation and the Flood were interpreted as the originals of
Genesis. Moses, they claimed, patterned the law after Hammurabi's Code.

No one questioned whether Hammurabi lived BEFORE or AFTER Moses. Or
whether Genesis was written before rather than after the idolatrous
Mesopotamian accounts of creation and the great Flood. Everyone
assumed that the ancient arrangements of the dynastic lists of kings and
city-states were in proper sequence. That the scribes might have
deliberately arranged their history to make Babylonia appear older than
any other part of the world did not dawn upon the first critics.

Then came the astounding discovery. Business documents, public
monuments, literary classics were translated which made kings
contemporaries who were separated by hundreds or thousands of years
in the dynastic lists of kings. What were the historians to do?

Wrote Leon Legrain in 1922: "The problem of parallel dynasties is
one of the most troublesome for Babylonian chronologists"
(Publication of Babylonian Section of University of Pennsylvania,
XIII, 17). Weldner of Austria forced the historical world to
recognize the problem despite themselves. His famous articles
pointing out that several successive dynasties were in fact
contemporary appeared in 1923 in "Archiv fuer Keilschriftforschung"
(I, 95), and in 1926 in "Archiv fuer Orientforschung" (III, 198).

But the strongest evidence against the modern interpretation of
history was discovered by the French at Mari on the Euphrates River. There
it was discovered that during the lifetime of Hammurabi -- who was
mistakenly dated by historians to the time of Abraham -- the Benjamites
were in control of Palestine and men like David were famous! (See Werner
Keller's "The Bible as History", pages 49-52).

How were the historians and archaeologists to interpret these
astounding discoveries? Were they to date Hammurabi properly to the
time of Saul and David? Not at all! Rather, they cleverly assumed
that Benjamites were in Palestine long before Benjamin was born --
that the name of David was famous for nearly a thousand years before David
was born! They hoped thereby to keep their interpretations of the king
lists and reject the history of the Bible.

It is time such nonsense were banished from history. It is time that the
truth of history were made plain. "

The decatholiciation of Catholic colleges

And the battles fought over this. Thanks to OO for the link.

Loaded poll questions spotted on netscape.com

Should Scott Peterson receive the death penalty?
Yes, an eye for an eye.
No, there's not enough proof he's guilty.
I don't know.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Dood

Our friends at F*cktheSouth.com seem to have missed a little basic information. Let's investigate.

Let’s talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It’s fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that’s right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that’s just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad.

If no one is getting married, obviously that's gonna lower the divorce rate . . . similar thing's happening in Scandinavia if memory serves. Once they introduced this same sex sorta stuff, no one bothered to get married anymore because it didn't help them in any way and they were only vaguely theists anyway. So, of course, the only people who get married are those who really care, and they're gonna stay together quite well.

Gotta be aware of where your metrics come from, not to mention history, before you start spouting off about the Constitution. Live and learn.

40K a year for this

Bud (2:10:53 PM): you don't know sophie?
Squach (2:11:03 PM): not really no
Squach (2:11:04 PM): i mean
Squach (2:11:10 PM): i "know" her
Squach (2:11:12 PM): but i don't know her
Squach (2:11:15 PM): you know?

Disgusting

A monument to decadence.

Intellectual cover for paedophilia starts

First they'll be a few reports proving that what we thought before was wrong. Then,

Mr Yuill, who was awarded his doctorate this week, interviewed paedophiles by describing himself as a "boylover" and said his work could challenge the law which states that children under 16 are incapable of giving informed consent to sex with adults.

And of cousre in a few years anyone who opposes this kind of stuff will be a Neanderthal.

I say, let's kill a wolly mammouth and eat it. Cave paintings for me!

Or, don't screw it up

Along with mass-market merchandising, Chanukah hasn't gotten just time. In some quarters, it has simply merged with Christmas to create a new end-of-year, quasi-ecumenical, yet non-religious holiday, called, by some, "Chrismukkah."

...

Decrying any of this may be as futile as spitting into the wind, but it still behooves us to remember that, the calendar notwithstanding, Chanukah really doesn't fit into the mold that the ignorant would like to stuff it into.

The mixed message that Chrismukkah brings us does the children of intermarriage no favors. Those who seek to give the next generation a piece of their Jewish heritage by combining it with the traditions of another faith are actually asserting that neither has validity. Religion may have been drained out of Christmas for many of our neighbors, but it is particularly inappropriate for us to follow suit.


I really think that I'm going to cut Santa out of the lives of my children, if at all possible. While this kind of stuff might have been good once, I've heard too many "Is Jesus fake like Santa?" stories to stomach the idea of feeding it to my children.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Argh

I should have went here.

End of an era

IBM, after creating the PC industry, sells out to Lenovo. A moment of silence, please.

Dualism, monism, and a lot of other BS

Or, why the belief in the soul is not some "religious dogma" that has no place in political discourse, but determines whether we should treat each other like people or like animals.

It would seem a promising premise for story about Chelm, Jewish folklore's fabled town of the clueless. The resident philosopher sagely informs his fellow citizens that since he can't perceive his own face directly he must not have one. Besides, he explains to the townsfolk, as anyone can plainly see, what seems to be his face clearly resides in his mirror.

The Chelm tale idea is inspired not by hopeless simpletons but by celebrated scientists. Like Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom, the author of a new book, "Descartes' Baby," about, as its subtitle puts it, "what makes us human." In a New York Times op-ed, Professor Bloom lamented human beings' stubborn commitment to "dualism," the philosophical idea that people possess both physical and spiritual components. He pities those who, like his six-year-old son, insist on pretending that there is an "I" somehow separate from the physical cells of one's body and brain.

The boy's father, though, knows that his son's intuition is wrong. "The qualities of mental life that we associate with souls are purely corporeal," he asserts confidently. "They emerge from biochemical processes in the brain."

Joining the call to re-educate and enlighten the backward masses is Professor Bloom's admirer at Harvard, the gifted psychology professor Steven Pinker, who, in a newsmagazine essay of his own, mocks those who think of the brain as "a pocket PC for the soul, managing information at the behest of a ghostly user." Professor Pinker advises us to set aside such "childlike intuitions and traditional dogmas" and recognize that what we conceive of as the soul is nothing more than "the activity of the brain."

Or, as they might say back at the University of Chelm, since the soul seems perceptible only through the brain, the brain, perforce, must be the soul.

In the absence of the concept of a human soul, there is simply nothing to justify considering humans inherently more worthy than animals, nothing to prevent us from casually terminating a yet-unborn life, nothing to prevent us from considering any "personal lifestyle" less proper than any other, nothing to prevent us from coldly ending the life of a patient in extremis. Indeed, employing our brains just a bit further, neither would we be justified to consider any insect our inferior, nor prevented from embracing unbridled immorality or wanton murder. Put succinctly, without affirmation of the soul, society is, in the word's deepest sense, soulless.

There is no escaping the fact; the game's zero-sum: Either humans are something qualitatively different from the rest of the biosphere, sublimated by their souls and the responsibilities that attend them; or they are not. And a society that chooses to believe the latter is a society where no person has any reason to aspire to anything beyond the gratification of the instincts or desires we share with the animal sphere. A world in denial of the soul might craft a utilitarian social contract. But right and wrong would have no meaning at all; for the individual, there would be only the cold calculus of biological survival and the pursuit of pleasure.

Latkepalooza!

Ecce Homo's Chanukkah special begins today with a culinary delight. IE I need someone in a long skirt to make me some and I'm willing to pay money. Yum.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Welcome to Hanukkah

Sadly I won't be celebrating this year :-(

Chaos in the WJC

The characters in this melodrama suffer from sizable egos. Edgar Bronfman, who revived the WJC with his billions and finances some 25% of its $8million annual budget, is one of America's wealthiest businessmen-philanthropists and is used to getting his way. Singer, with a penchant for hyperbole, has run the organization since 1985. Liebler, an Australian tycoon ousted from the WJC power structure when he crossed political swords with Bronfman and Singer, is still seething.

The congress, an umbrella organization for Jewish groups in 86 nations, always has operated loosely. That was one of its strengths. Swiss bankers, who eventually had to cough up more than $1 billion to settle congress claims on behalf of Holocaust victims; French museums that had to return stolen Jewish-owned art, and most everybody else the group has taken on were convinced the stealthy WJC was a Jewish CIA with a huge staff.

Actually, WJC's headquarters in New York operates with fewer than a half-dozen full-timers. During research for "Pack of Thieves," my book about the search for Holocaust assets, I found that WJC superpublicist Elan Steinberg kept a cache of hitherto secret documents not in locked files but in a bunch of cartons in a closet.

Unfortunately, such informality is now proving to be a weakness.

Prayer of the Day

Loving Father, Source of all wisdom, help me to use my time and my
intelligence wisely as I prepare for my exams.

Help me to dispose myself to listen to Your Holy Spirit, so that
You, as my Loving Father, may place me in a state of prayer and lead me to
understand that the supreme wisdom is knowing I am Your child.

Help me to remain serene so that my work may truly reflect this
profound truth. Mary, Mother of my spiritual life, guide me in the
ways of your Son, so that my work may help to transform this world
for His glory. Amen.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Debate-ish thing on the Bible here


This is the proudest moment of my life

I just found a subtle and henious dynamic memory allocation error in some C code my professor gave us to use that has been giving me agita for the past 6 hours, which is why I'm still awake at 4 in the morning. Go coding binge!

Someone's gonna cut me down to size pretty quickly though I think . . .

Jenni on, well, me

Jenni (12:51:05 AM): i know you have it there, in great depths
Jenni (12:51:15 AM): probably more affectionate than the most flamingly gay people

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Invalid Baptisms

UGH.

According to ABCNEWS On-Line, a parish church in Australia might have performed thousands (yes, thousands) of invalid baptisms over the years as a result of its priests changing the Trinitarian formula (the words) used at baptism. Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby has stated: "At a certain stage a parish could—and I'm not saying it has happened here—a parish could make so many changes that they really are no longer Catholic…Perhaps they're a type of Christian church in their own right but they're not a part of what we would refer to as a Catholic church."

In some respects, even these worrisome words understate the problem.

Invalid Catholic baptisms do not result in some half-way form of Christianity. They result in nothing. One who is invalidly baptized is in exactly the same ecclesial status as one who was never baptized. Period. Think about it this way: when Angela and I brought home each of our new-borns, they were the cutest little pagan babies in the world. But if they had never been baptized (validly, of course), they would have remained our cute "pagan" babies. Just progressively taller.

Given, moreover, evidence that such invalid baptisms have been going for many years, one must now ask how many of these deceived people went on to first Communion, Confirmation, perhaps even married, without benefit of the desired sacraments, because no sacrament can be validly received without prior Baptism (1983 CIC 842, 849). The complications in those areas alone will be enormous, and we haven't even raised potential penal implications of sacramental simulation (1983 CIC 1379), let alone sacrilege, by offending clerics (1983 CIC 1389).

In light of such factors, I have to wonder how priests who seem to have performed so disastrously for so long on such an incredibly simple but vitally important point are actually being left in place pending investigation. +++

Our esteemed and missing Doomed0 gets printed

Legislature should impeach liberal judges
(Original publication: December 2, 2004)

Regarding a Nov. 29 article, "Appeals ruling casts shadow on murder convictions:"

While I am outraged by the moral depravity of the Court of Appeals' decision in People vs. Payne, I am far from surprised. The court has shown itself willing to create procedural advantages for criminal defendants at the expense of the peace and safety of New Yorkers. Many of these decisions defy logic.

In a 1998 decision, Hynes vs. Tomei, the court reversed a Brooklyn death-penalty conviction, and subsequently several others, on the grounds that allowing a defendant to plead guilty and receive a no-parole life sentence, avoiding the death penalty, could coerce an innocent defendant to plead guilty to save his life, violating his constitutional right to a trial. However, the court somehow applied this to cases in which the defendant did not plead guilty and did receive a fair trial. Last June, in People vs. LaValle, the court effectively declared a moratorium on the state's death penalty, which was created by our legislators.

Liberal judges in New York, including Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo's appointees — three of the four justices in the LaValle majority — have been coddling criminals for decades. I urge the Legislature to begin impeachment proceedings against these justices.

Meanwhile, I implore the four U.S. attorney's offices that cover New York to bring criminal charges in all cases where federal law is applicable. This would send a message by bypassing New York's criminal-justice system, which all too often is decided by judges predisposed to imposing their visions of moral superiority.

Jonathan M. Walder, Pelham Manor

Second Sunday of Advent it is

Be back soon. Gotta go hit up church.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Ugh.

She was raised a Catholic. Now she heads the most prominent pro-abortion organization in the US.

She says that she had a major clash with her bishop, 15 years ago, because of her outspoken support for the slaughter of unborn babies. The bishop, she claims, made "a public effort to excommunicate her," and she "stood up" to it. It was "very, very big," Nancy Keenan told the Washington Post.

A bit of background here. Bishops have the authority to declare excommunications. (There's no question of making an "effort" to do so; it's done.) The individual could appeal, through canonical courts. But that's not what Nancy Keenan did. Instead she told Bishop Elden Curtiss to take a hike. By her own account, then, she was excommunicated.

But there's a problem with Keenan's account. If Bishop Curtiss made a public "effort" to discipline her, it's odd that there is no record of the excommunication.

So what's the real story?

Now comes Eric Schiedermayer, spokesman for the Diocese of Helena, Montana, who tells CNSNews.com that there was never any attempt to excommunicate Keenan in due canonical form; the bishop just tried to "help her understand" that public support for abortion is incompatible with the Catholic faith, and there were "no threats of sanctions at all."

So here's where we stand:

- The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America thinks her clash with the Church is "very, very big," and she was willing to forsake the faith rather than stop promoting the abortion industry.

- The spokesman for her local diocese says that it really isn't such a big deal, and you can become the figurehead for the pro-abortion movement without facing any Church discipline.

The abortion lobby wants a fight with the Catholic hierarchy. But this heavyweight can't land a punch, his opponent is backpedaling so quickly.


Someone has to do something about these people. It's getting out of control. I know it usually takes like a hundred years, but I don't want to wait that long.

Lovely stuff

Baby girl Sarah was born on July 15, 1993, in Wichita, Kansas. She had survived a late term abortion attempt on her 15 year old mother. The infant’s mother had been brought nine hundred miles by her parents, to the office of George Tiller, infamous late term abortionist of Wichita, Kansas. This is the same clinic and the same abortionist who recently was contacted by Arizona authorities to commit a late term abortion on a 14 year old Arizona ward of the courts who was 26 weeks pregnant.

The partial-birth abortion procedure was not yet in vogue. Sarah, as she was later named by her adoptive parents, was already positioned in the womb to be born. The abortionist injected the baby’s head, in two places, the left side of her forehead above the eyebrow and at the base of the skull, with potassium Chloride, leaving permanent burn marks and needle track scars. The pregnant 15 year old left the office with the admonition to return the next day for the completion of the abortion.

Much to everyone’s dismay, the baby had not died in the intervening hours, but was still alive. The 15 year old was sent to the local hospital where the baby was eventually born. The delivery room staff, familiar with handling Tiller’s mistakes, wrapped up the baby, set her in a bassinet and left her without attendance. The 15 year old girl and her parents went home.

Twenty-four hours later though she had not been cleaned up, the umbilical cord had been improperly severed and she had had no nourishment, Sarah continued to live. A nurse in the newborn unit of the hospital finally took pity on the child. She called an attorney with whom she was familiar and explained the situation. The attorney called Bill and Mary Kay Brown and asked them to come to the hospital and rescue this remarkable child.

Though hospital staff predicted that the baby would not survive more than 8 weeks,Bill and Mary Kay and their seven children took Sarah home, adopted her and loved her till the day she died of kidney failure, at age five. If she had received attention during that 24 hour period, some of the effects of the brain damage might have been lessened. Only when the Brown’s filed for adoption was the child issued a birth certificate.

The potassium Chloride destroyed the left portion of Sarah’s brain leaving her blind, unable to walk and totally dependent upon the love and care of others. She required 15 different types of medication, two and three times a day, to synthetically replace what had been destroyed. Bill and Mary Kay took turns, even through the night, repositioning Sarah in her bed so that she never got bed sores. She required an apnea monitor and a heart and lung machine recording her oxygen levels. Because of the damage to her brain her physical growth was impaired. At age five she weighed 25 lbs and was the size of a two year old

. The Browns insurance company refused to include Sarah in the family’s coverge. She was provided with health care coverage by Bill Brown’s company, but at age 4, removed from coverage when her medical expenses became to costly. Mary Kay claims that it was, once again, the pro life community and local, private agencies who provided the most financial and compassionate support.

Sarah had two funeral services, one in the Southern Baptist church of her father, Bill Brown, and the second in the Catholic church of her mother, Mary Kay, presided over by Wichita Bishop, Eugene Gerber. Between the two services eight hundred people attended Sarah’s funeral.

Mary Kay claims that the hardest part of caring for Sarah was the verbal abuse the family endured from strangers. From, as she put it, other pro death people. The Browns moved from Wichita to Valleycenter, a rural farming community, because of a particularly ugly encounter with someone claiming that the Browns had done Sarah an injustice allowing her to live.

According to Mary Kay, Sarah was never viewed as a burden by any member of her family. What with seven other children and help from members of the local and pro life community, there was always someone around to hold, talk to or touch Sarah. During the adoption procedures it was necessary to subpoena the birth mother’s medical records. There was nothing in the record to indicate that any of the medical problems faced by Sarah were genetic or inherited in any way. She would have been a normal, blue eyed, reddish blonde haired little girl.

Mary Kay’s brother summed up everbody’s feelings at the funeral when he declared that George Tiller had succeeded in killing Sarah, it just took him five years to do it.

Sarah was buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Wichita. Her grave site is within ten feet of another grave where twins are buried. These two little girls died as a result of the effects of previous abortions on their mother.

The state of Kansas has nothing to say about the activities of George Tiller. According to a judge, Tiller did nothing wrong. Sarah Ministries, begun by Mary Kay and Bill, during Sarah’s life time, grew out of a conviction that they had to try to prevent this happening to any other child. Mary Kay has opened her home to pregnant women, providing them with love, parenting classes, medical attention, jobs, housing, whatever the woman needs. Sarah Ministry has provided services to about 25 women age 12 years to 35 years. Many of the women helped had been scheduled at Tiller’s clinic.

Mary Kay is a regular sidewalk counselor outside Tiller’s clinic. The day that the Arizona girl arrived at the clinic 175 were there, standing in the rain, praying and witnessing to the value of life. Unfortunately that baby was not spared.

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