Monday, February 28, 2005

Times publishes an op-ed with no point

My response: Yes, look at all the women who have become actuaries ever since the bad old days of the old boys network have ended.

5% you say? Federal investigation.

You never here people go on and on about how we need to encourage women to become actuaries, and garbagemen, and soldiers, and other such unglamourous fields. I wonder why that is.

Monkey business

All the news that fits the ideology

In sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda is the only country that has enjoyed some success in its efforts to stop the spread of AIDS. The Ugandan policy-- which emphasizes abstinence and marital fidelity rather than condom use-- seems to be working.

Since the positive trend in Uganda came to light, 4 groups of Western scientists have studies the results. Three of those studies found that the abstinence campaign was working. The fourth study found that actually abstinence wasn't working; condoms were the magic ingredient.

Betcha can't guess which one of those 4 studies waswritten up in the New York Times.

Or, a reason lefties can hate the left wing the SCOTUS

But that isn't why New London wants to tear down the 112-year-old Victorian that Susette Kelo worked so hard to renovate, or the house at Walbach and East streets where Wilhelmina Dery has lived for all of her 87 years. The city doesn't want their land for a public facility or a new road. It simply wants the expanded tax base and economic growth that will come with new development. Can that be what the Constitution means by "public use" — the trickle-down benefits of private use?

Once, Supreme Court justices would have given short shrift to such a claim.

"The despotic power . . . of taking private property when state necessity requires, exists in every government," Justice William Paterson wrote in a 1795 case, Vanhorn's Lessee v. Dorrance, but the state must not invoke that power "except in urgent cases." He could not imagine any situation that would justify "the seizing of landed property belonging to one citizen, and giving it to another citizen. . . . Where is the security, where the inviolability of property, if the legislature . . . can take land from one citizen, who acquired it legally, and vest it in another?"

But there is no echo of Paterson's spirited defense of property rights as the justices consider Fort Trumbull.

When Bullock argues that New London wants to throw people out of their homes for the sake of ordinary economic development, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asks why that's a problem. New London is depressed, she says; what's wrong with trying to "build it up and get more jobs?" If the city could buy property on the open market and turn it over to a developer, wonders Justice David Souter, why can't it use eminent domain to achieve the same end? Justice Stephen Breyer notes that there is bound to be some public benefit from almost any land taking. Isn't that enough to satisfy the Constitution's "public use" requirement?

Cool stuff

Today I learned how the draft and Social Security Numbers worked. Which is more than I'm gonna learn in class.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


The average American computer user comprehends only a minor fraction of what his or her machine can do. Word processing, Web surfing, and burning the odd CD hardly exhaust a computer's capabilities, and consumers who shell out $2,000 every couple of years to purchase a new computer for these purposes are a little like the bourgeois urbanites who use a Viking range to boil water and reheat takeout.

Which reminds me. If you're a Marxist and you own a Prada bag (not Pravda, which is something entirely different), you're not a prol, I hate to break it to you. You're part of the problem, not the solution, and you should consider turning yourself into the State. Ha. I love my school.


The Greek Orthodox Church reels from its own "tsunami" of sexual and moral scandals involving priests and bishops.

Greece's embattled Orthodox Church leader begged the nation for forgiveness Friday after a blitz of allegations ranging from trial-fixing to purported sex escapades battered the church's reputation as guardian of Greek culture and honor.

The apology by Archbishop Christodoulos - made as senior clerics opened an emergency conclave to impose reforms - showed the depth of the crisis for the church and its attempts to regain its footing even as the embarrassing scandals continue to unfold.

Public outrage has reached such a level that some lawmakers and commentators have suggested stripping the Orthodox Church of its status as the official state religion - a once almost unthinkable proposal in a nation where church and political history are often intertwined. . . . (read article)

If only Greek Orthodox priests could get married, then this sort of thing wouldn't happen and their scandal problem would be solved.

Oh, wait. Greek Orthodox priests can get married. Nevermind. I guess if Greek Orthdox bishops could get married, that would solve the problem.

Welcome to the Third Sunday of Lent

I thought maybe actually explaining what Lent is would be a good idea.

Sadly, the Catholic Encyclopedia article doesn't really have anything useful. Grr. But it does have a lot of interesting stuff. Which is good.

Origin of the word

The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days' fast preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season. Still it has been used from the Anglo-Saxon period to translate the more significant Latin term quadragesima (French carême, Italian quaresima, Spanish cuaresma), meaning the "forty days", or more literally the "fortieth day". This in turn imitated the Greek name for Lent, tessarakoste (fortieth), a word formed on the analogy of Pentecost (pentekoste), which last was in use for the Jewish festival before New Testament times. This etymology, as we shall see, is of some little importance in explaining the early developments of the Easter fast.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

An uplifting post about Down Syndrome

Remember the unborn Down syndrome baby we were trying to help get adopted last September because the mom didn't think she wanted to keep her?

Got a message from Geri yesterday: Mom and baby are happy, doing fine and together!

Good advice: Next time you talk about how we need abortion for Down's syndrome, think that the person you're talking to may be related to, or may be, a person with such a syndrome. Be careful before you advocate the killing of siblings. Lots of people don't respond well to that.

Those silly silly pirates

In beta versions of Windows XP, there was special code in the window manager to give every window a link in the upper right corner called "Comments?" which if clicked on displayed a dialog that allowed you to submit feedback to Microsoft about that window.

Since this was a beta release, there was no anonymity when you submitted feedback. (You signed away your anonymity when you agreed to the special beta license agreement and typed in your beta ID number.) Yet we got more than one feedback submission that begin, "Hi, I pirated this copy of Windows XP, and here's some feedback."

Please pray

for the freshmen at Columbia University, that they may, as it is put, not "lead towards the pro-choice side".

For this is a war and sides must be chosen.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Germans not quite up to par

Berlin, Feb. 25 ( - German Cardinal Karl Lehmann on Friday sought to distance the country's Catholic bishops from Pope John Paul's comparison in his latest book between abortion and the Holocaust.

The new book, "Memory and Identity," refers to abortion as a "legal extermination" comparable to genocidal massacres of the 20th century, including the Nazi Holocaust. Jewish groups protested that the comments were insensitive and underplayed the extreme suffering of Jews. Cardinal Lehmann, who heads the German bishops' conference, met with Paul Spiegel, president of the Central Council of Jews, and afterward issued a statement affirming the uniqueness of the Holocaust.

"When the Holocaust is taken up or mentioned in political, social, or church speeches a particularly sensitive language is always needed," the statement said.

In January, Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne ignited a similar firestorm of criticism when he listed the murder of the innocents by Herod and the genocides of Hitler and Stalin alongside abortion as examples of offenses against God.

The topic of the Holocaust is particularly sensitive in Germany, where denial of the event is a criminal offense. Nearly 6 million Jews and about 5.5 million others, including Poles, Russians, gypsies, and particularly Christian priests and religious, were killed by the Nazis in concentration camps.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (bio - news), a German and the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responding to the most recent criticisms, said the Holy Father "was not trying to put the Holocaust and abortion on the same level," but was only trying to convey the truth that evil can be found throughout all human works.

Someone who thinks a little too little

The rise of the Panopticon is most clearly evident in the case of computer communication technology. The most commonly cited privacy-buster is the "cookie:" a small program deposited on your computer that records your Internet browsing habits and reports them to a business you know nothing about. Corporations occupy the central tower in this cyber-Panopticon.

Governments are also moving to open up your private lives to public view. The Echelon system, controlled by five Western powers, is reportedly capable of scanning all available non-military communications in real time and recording for further review those communications which contain certain keywords. The FBI has developed a software package named Carnivore which allows the agency to scoop "packets" of your e-mails out of the flow of information from one terminal to another. These packets can be reconstructed into full messages and used against you. Interpersonal communication is no longer private, but is open to prying corporate and government eyes.

Response to 1: A cookie isn't a program and doesn't record anything. A cookie is a text file that maintains state in a communication. Here's what state is. Imagine that whenever you said something to someone, you would get a response, but they wouldn't remember that they just said anything to you or who you were. Might be a little hard to have a conversation, right? Now imagine two computer talking like that. That's lack of state. State is memory. Ooh. How evil. Computers can remember what they said to each other so you can do evil things, like, have a shopping basket on amazon.

Response to 2: If you think that there's some kind of privacy when you hit the send button in your email program . . . come now. Your message gets routed through every computer from here to Nevada. There was no security well before the Feds came along. This is about as much of a privacy violation as sitting next to someone at a bar and listening to them talk.

People must calm.


Classic, so classic.

On the op-ed page of The New York Times, Maureen Dowd openly lied about the press pass, saying: "I was rejected for a White House press pass at the start of the Bush administration, but someone with an alias, a tax evasion problem and Internet pictures where he posed like the 'Barberini Faun' is credentialed?"

Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that dyspeptic, old Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president. Still, it would be suspicious if Dowd were denied a press pass while someone from "Talon News" got one, even if he is a better reporter.

But Dowd was talking about two different passes without telling her readers (a process now known in journalism schools as "Dowdification"). Gannon didn't have a permanent pass; he had only a daily pass. Almost anyone can get a daily pass — even famed Times fantasist Maureen Dowd could have gotten one of those. A daily pass and a permanent pass are altogether different animals. The entire linchpin of Dowd's column was a lie. (And I'm sure the Times' public editor will get right on Dowd's deception.)

Finally, liberals expressed shock and dismay that Gannon's real name is "James Guckert." On MSNBC's "Hardball," Chris Matthews introduced the Gannon scandal this way: "Coming up, how did a fake news reporter from a right-wing Web site get inside the White House press briefings and presidential news conferences?"

Reporter David Shuster then gave a report on "the phony alias Guckert used to play journalist" — as opposed to the real name Shuster uses to play journalist. (You can tell Schuster is a crackerjack journalist because he uses phrases like "phony alias.") With all the subtlety of a gay-bashing skinhead, Matthews spent the rest of the segment seeing how many times he could smear Gannon by mentioning "" and laughing.

Any day now, Matthews will devote entire shows to exposing Larry Zeigler, Gerald Riviera and Michael Weiner — aka Larry King, Geraldo Rivera and Matthews' former MSNBC colleague Michael Savage. As a newspaper reporter, Wolf Blitzer has written under the names Ze'ev Blitzer and Ze'ev Barak. The greatest essayist of modern times was Eric Blair, aka George Orwell. The worst essayist of modern times is "TRB" of The New Republic.

No, the Spanish government has no desire to get involved in religion

MADRID, Spain, Febrary 17 2005 (CNA) - A parish priest in Spain, the second in recent weeks, has become the object of a lawsuit alleging “public humiliation” of a militant homosexual who desired to receive Communion.

Father Domingo Garcia Dobao, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Jaen, Spain, has been sued by Juan Diego Fuentes Medina after the priest publicly denied him Communion for registering his gay union with Angel de los Reyes with local officials.

Father Garcia explained his decision by pointing out that by making formally public a situation the Church is against, “they cannot receive Communion.” “I have only applied ecclesiastical norms,” he added.

“What I did,” said Father Garcia, “was fulfill my obligations, as this is what the Church teaches.” “A Christian cannot receive the sacraments when he or she is officially living in a non-marital union with someone else.”

Father Garcia reminded reporters that Fuentes had been administered Communion at Mass on various occasions before formalizing his homosexual union, but that the decision to publicly register the union with the government obliged him to make his decision.

If this case is actually heard, I may cry. The . . . I'm speachless.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Can't talk now

But, for Lent, you should go let someone you know know that you love them.

Right on

Paper to blame for schools closing (Original publication: February 22, 2005)
I can imagine the great joy The Journal News took in reporting the closing of four Catholic schools in Westchester. These are the fruits of your labor.
By advocating every public school spending increase that has driven school taxes to astronomically high levels, you have convinced the voting public to strengthen the monopoly that is the public school system. By never demanding accountability from public school officials, you have succeeded in promoting your secular, socialist agenda and helped to eliminate what little freedom of choice parents have to determine how their children are educated. Quoting the Rev. Mathew Fernan from your own article "a big part of it (the four Catholic schools closing) is that so much of the education taxes are so high."
At one third the cost of public schools, it is obvious that parochial schools operate much more efficiently than public schools. If this is true, then why is enrollment decreasing? Very simply, it's the overinflated cost of public education. Yet public school proponents oppose vouchers, which would use a small portion of the public tax dollar far more efficiently. However, it is the goal of public education to be the only option for parents.
Public schools in Westchester now consistently raise budgets between 5 and 10 percent higher than the rate of inflation and the only people benefiting are its employees. It is time for some of that money to promote a more cost-effective alternative.
John Fitzgerald, Valhalla____________________________________________

We need more Americans like this man.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What happened to Roemer?

He was a Catholic running for head of the DNC. Bad news, becuase unlike most of the other Catholics in the party, he didn't sell out.

I don't really recommend the article, however, because it doesn't so much understand anything about Catholicism, but it's interesting to see from the outside in.

An interesting look at the internals of Social Security

Or, it's not what FDR set it up to be and we don't have any right to get anything out of the system. Nice.


Anthony Greco has been arrested!

But which one???

I hate Morgan Stanley

Turns out the guy who interviewed me was . . . well he thought he knew more than he did. The RSA definition of a hash function, which is what he used on a day to day basis, is for a "crytographic" hash function. A general hash function does not have to have all of these properties. Thus, I was right when I answered his question as I did. Of course, my being right doesn't really affect my chances at getting the job . . .

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pray for Terri

Clearwater, Florida, Feb. 22 ( - A Florida judge issued an emergency stay on Tuesday that prevented the husband of handicapped woman Terri Schiavo from removing her food-and-water tube to begin the slow process of starving and dehydrating her to death.

A previous court order had been set to expire on Tuesday afternoon and the state 2nd District Court of Appeal had refused a motion by Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to remove Terri's husband, Michael, as her legal guardian. But Judge George Greer, who has overseen the case for years issued an emergency stay, blocking removal of the feeding tube until 5 pm EST on Wednesday, after a scheduled hearing in his courtroom.

The Schindlers have fought for years to prevent Michael from removing their daughter from ordinary nutritional and hydration care. They maintain that their daughter shows signs of recognition when they enter her room and that she responds to people around her. Michael has maintained that Terri never would have wanted to live in her current state. Critics have pointed out that Michael is living with another woman with whom he has fathered children and that he has fought for years to have his wife put to death.

In October 2003, the feeding tube was removed for six days before Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed a law quickly pushed through the legislature that gave him the authority to order her tube re-inserted. The state Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional. The feeding tube was also removed for two days in 2001 before a court order had it put back.

My thoughts on eminent domain abuses

The 5th Amendment to the Constitution reads:

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. "

Apparently, our founding fathers felt the right to private property to be important enough to be included in the same amendment with the right to a grand jury indictment, protection against double jeopardy prosecutions, and protection against self incrimination. This was clearly not an afterthought, but a core component of the Bill of Rights.

If one were to read the Federalist papers, he would see that the line "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" was clearly referring to cases where the property would be used for a de facto government purpose. Some examples would be a military base, fire station, bridge, highway, or rail line, and only in such cases where no feasible alternative existed.

None of the authors of the Constitution envisioned the 5th Amendment used to have private property declared "blighted" and subsequently turned over to private developers for the ostensible purpose of "generating more tax revenue."

Feminists for Life ads

Cool stuff!

Common sense -- not Thomas Paine

If the government gave a $5,000 subsidy to anyone who buys an automobile, do you doubt that the price of automobiles would go up — perhaps by $5,000? Why then does no one see any connection between government subsidies to college students and rising tuition?

Well, not quite five grand, subsidies never work out like that because of varying elasticity. But yeah, it's safe to figure that price'll go up about 2.5 G's or so.

Which means that college tuition is probably up 20 G's or so. Ick.

Missing the point

About eminemnt domain:

Dana Berliner, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, which represents Kelo and several of her neighbors, sees it as a dispute that pits the affluent against those who aren't.

"All the city is saying is that the private developer will produce more tax dollars and create more jobs than these homeowners do," Berliner said. "The neighborhood's not blighted. It's just in their way because the city thinks this is a good place for private development. I don't see how that would make this public use."

Doug Kendall, executive director of the Community Rights Counsel, which supports New London in the case, said Kelo and the others are asking the court to intervene in what should be a legislative question.

"The city of New London determined that this waterfront project was critical to the economy and future of a depressed New England town, and they want a court to second-guess that," Kendall said. "Eminent domain remakes cities. It's a power that should be used carefully and only when necessary, but government has to have it."

What you forget, my friend, is that property rights are the last, and probably the only, refuge of man against the government. A poor man can sit on his property and tell the world to go to hell, and the government can't do anything about that, because it's his, to paraphrase someone much smarter than me. If we say that property can be taken away so someone else can use it more profitably, I really don't see what we have a constitution for. I'm sure my house could raise a lot more revenue as an office building. But it's my house.

Didn't you know? Beforehand?

At least she has the guts to admit in a national magazine that she killed her fetus because he wasn't genetically perfect - she actually uses that term and doesn't try to couch it in euphemism or political correctness. She is only doing what an estimated 98% of women do when faced with the same news. Once a diagnosis of Down Syndrome is confirmed, termination is expected and encouraged - it is those of us who choose to give birth to our imperfect, hopelessly compromised babies who are shunned, or at least treated with utter bewilderment. I can't count how many times people approached me after Bug was born to bluntly ask "Didn't you know? Beforehand?" The tacit implication being, of course, why didn't you get tested like everyone else does, so you could have had an abortion before it was too late?"

Jewish groups rap Pope's new book

Rome, Feb. 21 ( - The latest book by Pope John Paul II (bio - news), Memory and Identity has not yet made its formal debut. Yet advance copies of the book have already drawn harsh criticism from some Jewish readers, because of the Pope's comparison between the Holocaust and the tragedy of abortion.

Memory and Identity will be introduced to the press on Tuesday, February 22. But extracts from the book, circulated by the Polish Znak publishing house, have produced a controversy.

The Italian edition of the Pope's book will be available on February 23; translations into 10 other languages are already planned. The book will be launched at a media conference one day earlier, at which the director of the Vatican press office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, will introduce the work along with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (bio - news), the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The book-- consisting of exchanges between the Pope and two old Polish friends, Krysztof Michalski and Jozef Tischner-- offers John Paul's reflections on the 20th century, and particularly the destructive influence of totalitarian ideologies. In one passage-- which was circulated to Polish reviewers by the Znak publishers-- the Pontiff draws a comparison between the legislation allowing unrestricted abortion and the Nazi policies to exterminate the Jewish people. In Germany, Jewish leader Paul Spiegel, decried that comparison, saying that it is "unacceptable" to compare "mass genocide" with 'the murder of one who is not born."

The Pope's work touched a delicate point in Germany, where Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne recently came under heavy criticism for making a similar comparison.

Oh, I get it now. Mr Spiegel thinks gassing 6 millions of people by the roomful is absolutely awful, while chopping up hundreds of millions of babies isn't so bad, so long as it's done one at a time. Sounds like it wasn't that Hitler was a murdering bigot that makes him Mr. S's villain of all time, merely that he lacked patience.


Monday, February 21, 2005

Seems to be a slow news day today

Which is good. After all, the traditional Chinese curse is "May you live in interesting times".

So I'll take this opportunity to speak a little about why college is bad.

Basically, the problem here is that we don't have time to think. We have plenty of work to do (those who choose to do it rather than get high), but most of it is busywork or is of such a type that you can do it without gaining anything from it. Not enough challenge, so to speak. I learn more from talking with my friends on an average day than I do in class.

Yeah and the sex and drugs are out of control . . . I'm really not sure how people have time to get quite so many diseases as they do. I like to sit around and drink coffee when I have a free moment, maybe discuss Kant.

End rant.

I almost forgot that

Let's start with basics. The Social Security system has no trust fund. No lock box. The system is pay-as-you-go. The money goes to support that year's Social Security recipients. What's left over is "loaned" to the federal Treasury. And gets entirely spent. It vanishes. In return, a piece of paper gets deposited in a vault in West Virginia saying that the left hand of the government owes money to the right hand of the government.

These pieces of paper might be useful for rolling cigars. They will not fund your retirement. Your Leisure World greens fees will be coming from the payroll taxes of young people during the years you grow old.

That is why 2042 is fiction. The really important date is 2018. That is when this pay-as-you-go system starts paying out more (in Social Security benefits) than goes in (in payroll taxes). Right now, workers pay more in than old folks take out. But because the population is aging, in 13 years the system begins to go into the red.

As an econ major, I am so very amused over the fact that we are complaining about when a nonexistant fund will run out of money. Ha. I'm glad I have all my money tied up in fine Latin books where the IRS can't find it.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

My wonderful living experience

Wien 3,

Whoever threw up last night, I hope you're okay now, come see me if
you're still sick. The vomit should have been cleaned up today,
but HAPPY hasn't responded to the fifty-seven phone calls I've made
so far, so we're just going to have to wait till tomorrow. It's
supposed to be a health hazard that facilities should be responding
to within 24 hours of the first phone call being made, but every
time this happens we go through the same aggravating problem of
never getting a response over the weekend.

Word to the wise -- the bathroom doesn't get cleaned over the
weekend so the mess you all make - toilet paper all over the floor,
feces remaining in the commode, urine stagnating for hours - all of
it stays there attracting diseases until Monday when Quinny comes
to clean. Half of you have gotten sick over the last few weeks,
and the germs just keep getting passed up and down the floor
because this floor is filthy and smells disgusting. We still have
three months to go living here -- I've told you this once before,
start learning to clean up after yourselves. It's not hard.

Your RA

NY Times op-ed doesn't really make sense

Ok. So basically what the piece says is that he's not nice . . . umm, yeah. Another brilliant article.

They don't really address any points, they just b*tch about Summers. That's what they're complaining about.

$840 million

Money that could have been spent on, well, charity, churches, education. Down the drain.

Washington, DC, Feb. 18 ( - The US bishops' conference on Friday released the results of its second yearly audit of sex-abuse prevention policies in American dioceses. The report said that 1,092 new claims were filed against clergy in 2004 and that more than $840 million had been paid out so far in legal settlements since 1950. An additional $20 million was spent last year alone on child protection programs in US dioceses.

The report said that most of the alleged incidents reported last year were decades old and nearly three-quarters of the accused priests or deacons were deceased, laicized, or removed from public ministry before the claims were made.

Last year's report revealed that 4,392 priests had been accused of molesting minors in 10,667 cases between 1950 and 2002. Both reports said most of the alleged victims were boys ages 10 to 14.

Kathleen McChesney, who heads the conference's Office of Child and Youth Protection, said the large figures show that the scandal is not history. "The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over," McChesney said. "What is over is the denial that this problem exists."

The audit of 195 US dioceses found that nearly all were complying with the charter on child protection approved by the conference in 2002. The auditors, from a private firm that sent out teams mainly of former FBI agents across the country, said the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, refused to participate. Lincoln's Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz has been a vocal critic of how the US bishops' conference has handled the response to the scandal.

The auditors found four other Latin-rite dioceses-- Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia; Burlington, Vermont; Fresno, California; and Youngstown, Ohio-- and three Eastern-rite sees out of compliance.

Victim groups decried the report's optimistic outlook that found most of the claims reported in 2004 to be decades old. David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said it often takes decades for victims to come forward. "There always has been and always will be years, perhaps decades, until victims realize they've been hurt and find the strength and courage to speak out," Clohessy said. "To suggest otherwise is at best premature and at worst reckless."

Asked on what steps the bishops' conference had taken so that bishops could hold one another accountable, Bishop William Skylstad, president of the conference, said it was a "complex issue" and that only the pope can discipline bishops. On the charge that some bishops continue to keep priests accused of abuse in ministry, he said, "I can't second-guess the individual decisions of bishops."

The auditors recommended that more steps be taken by the bishops, including extending outreach to victims and conducting a study of whether the reforms enacted in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth have been effective. The bishops are already undertaking a mandatory review of the charter, which will then be discussed at a meeting in the spring.

Bible Comics

Courtesy of Z(ed). I am toying around with the idea of asking Z(ed) to become a contributer like Doomed0. What say you, O readers?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Righteous pagans

Lk 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
"This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here."

Polygamy, sadly I'll have to wait

A federal judge says a recent Supreme Court ruling scrapping state laws against homosexual sex practices can not be used to scrap laws against polygamy—the practice of having two or more spouses at the same time.

Polygamy has been illegal in the U.S. since the Supreme Court decided the Reynolds v. United States case in 1879. But a polygamist and his two wives recently claimed the recent Lawrence v. Texas decision cleared the way for multiple marriages. Barnard hung his case on the fact that, in recent years, the Supreme Court struck down laws against homosexual conduct on the books in Texas and more than two dozen other states.

"The more recent cases," Barnard said, "decided by the United States Supreme Court, if they were applied, will result in a different decision than the Reynolds decision," Barnard said.

But U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart did not buy that argument. He ruled this week that polygamy laws are about marriage—not the personal sexual issues addressed in the Lawrence decision. Hence, polygamy is still illegal.

I'd actually like Mormon polygamy a lot more than lots of the stuff filtering up through the courts these days. I mean, if Orthodox Jews can do it, it can't be that bad.

Those zany Brits

British miracle baby survives 2-day abortion procedure; child
'defeated all the odds'
Feb 17, 2005

By Staff

WASHINGTON (BP)--Sometimes an abortion does not produce a dead child. In a
recently reported case from Great Britain, even multiple attempts at an
abortion failed to do so.

A baby boy who survived repeated efforts to kill him while he was in
the womb is doing well as a 2-year-old, according to a report in a
British medical journal. Physicians at Salford's Hope Hospital, where the
infant was treated after his birth 24 weeks into his mother's pregnancy,
believe he is the most prematurely born baby to survive abortion long

The infant's travails began when his mother, 24 and already the single
parent of a 19-month-old child, learned she was pregnant at 22 weeks,
according to a Feb. 14 online article of the Manchester News. The
newspaper reported she chose to have an abortion and was given four
different drugs during a two-day span for the purpose of taking her
child's life.

The clinic informed the woman the baby was dead and she should return in
four days for the body to be removed, according to the report. On a train
ride home, however, she felt her child move and quickly changed her mind
about the abortion.

She went into labor the same day and gave birth four days later. The
boy, born in November 2002, weighed only a pound and a half. Though he was
on a ventilator for more than seven weeks and had to overcome blood
infections and chronic lung problems, the infant left the hospital at
seven months of age. He had only a mild development delay by 10 months.

"It has defeated all the odds," said Paul Clarke, a former doctor at
the hospital and one of four physicians who wrote on the case for the
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, according to the News. The mother
"had guilt stemming from the fact she knew if she had not gone through
with the [abortion] procedure it would not have been born prematurely," he

A British pro-life leader lauded the mother, whose name and that of
her son have not been revealed.

"One can only praise this woman for the courage she showed in having
the baby in what was a very difficult situation," Julia Millington of the
ProLife Alliance told the newspaper. "The public is becoming increasingly
aware of what exactly we are permitting when babies are aborted at 22, 23
or 24 weeks when they could survive."

About 2 percent of abortions in England and Wales are done at 20 weeks or
later in pregnancy, but the number of babies who are born alive despite
the procedure is unknown, the newspaper reported.

According to the News, Mike Robinson, a coauthor with Clarke of the
report, said, "[W]hen a woman goes to have a termination she should be
aware that, while the pregnancy will end, the life of the baby may not."

The survival of a baby despite an abortion has been labeled the
"dreaded complication" for those who perform the procedure. Instead of
seeking to save such children, doctors in the United States and other
countries often have permitted their death through neglect or starvation
or killed them through such means as suffocation.

Several years ago, it was revealed some doctors in the United States
were using a late-term abortion method that frequently produced
surviving children. The procedure, which nurses testified was used at
Christ Hospital in Chicago, is called live-birth abortion. In the method,
delivery is induced. If the baby survives the procedure, he is left
unattended to die.

Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2002 a bill
designed to prohibit such a practice. The Born Alive Infants
Protection Act clarified a newborn child fully outside his mother's
womb is a person to be protected under federal law. This includes
every human infant "born alive at any stage of development," according to
the measure.


Friday Fax

February 18, 2005
Volume 8, Special Report

UN Adopts Pro-Life Declaration Against Human Cloning

In a monumental victory for the pro-life movement, the UN today
adopted a declaration condemning human cloning. The UN called on Member
States to adopt urgent legislation outlawing all cloning practices "as
they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human

Costa Rica, which led the effort for a cloning ban, called the
declaration a success for those who seek to promote ethical scientific

“This is a powerful message to the world that this morally
questionable procedure is outside the bounds of acceptable
experimentation,” said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and
Human Rights Institute, one of the main NGOs involved in the negotiation.
“By adopting this declaration, the international community is united in
condemning all human cloning as exploitative and unethical. This should
encourage similar bans in legislatures around the world including in the
US Senate,” said Ruse.

The declaration, introduced today by Honduras, came on the last day
of a week-long special session devoted entirely to resolving this issue.
The declaration proved at the last minute to be an acceptable compromise
to countries that have appeared staunchly divided all week. The
declaration also marks the end of three years of UN deadlock over human

Countries were divided mainly over whether to protect “human life” or
the “human being.” Costa Rica, Uganda, the United States and others who
sought to ban all forms of human cloning, supported “human life.”
Countries including Belgium, Singapore and the United Kingdom, who wanted
to ban only cloning that would result in born human beings, insisted on
protecting the “human being,” which according to some international legal
documents would protect only those already born.

The declaration also calls on countries to "prevent the exploitation
of women." Cloning requires harvesting eggs from women, and delegates from
developing countries feared their women being turned into inexpensive "egg
farms." The declaration calls on wealthier nations to direct attention and
funding to pressing medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria. It also condemns all applications of any genetic engineering
techniques that threaten human dignity.

The declaration sets an international ethical standard that sends a
clear signal to countries that encourage human cloning. For instance, in
the United Kingdom, two "licenses" for research cloning have been issued.
The first is currently subject to a legal challenge on the basis that the
cloning "license" is unlawful and unnecessary. It is due to be heard in
the High Court shortly. Cloning opponents in the United Kingdom welcomed
the UN's resolution and look forward to Member States fulfilling their
international obligations.

Copyright 2005 – 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: Website:

Friday, February 18, 2005

Jimmy Akin on copying music

Golden, as always. Also, a tribute to Sr. Lucia, the last seer of Fatima.

A Lenten message from the Pope

Dear brothers and sisters, during Lent, aided by the Word of God, let us reflect upon how important it is that each community accompany with loving understanding those who grow old. Moreover, one must become accustomed to thinking confidently about the mystery of death, so that the definitive encounter with God occur in a climate of interior peace, in the awareness that He "who knit me in my mother's womb” (cf. Psalm 139:13b) and who willed us "in his image and likeness" (cf. Gen. 1:26) will receive us.

Mary, our guide on the Lenten journey, leads all believers, especially the elderly, to an ever more profound knowledge of Christ dead and risen, who is the ultimate reason for our existence. May she, the faithful servant of her divine Son, together with Saints Ann and Joachim, intercede for each one of us "now and at the hour of our death".

My Blessing to All!


I am nerdier than 89% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Good article by Abp. Chaput on "Emergency Contraceptoin"

What I don't get is why the Catholic in the story is upset that the Church is preaching to her. Isn't it the Church's job to preach to churchgoers? I mean, there is a sermon every day.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

St. Paul's tomb found

An initial survey enabled archeologists to reconstruct the shape of the original basilica, built early in the 4th century. A second excavation, under the main altar of the basilica, brought the Vatican team to the sarcophagus, which was located on what would have been ground level for the original 4th-century building.

Under the altar was a marble plaque was still visible, dating back to the 4th century, and bearing the inscription: "Apostle Paul, martyr." Filippi remarks that surprisingly, "Nobody ever thought to look behind that plaque." When the Vatican team looked, they found the sarcophagus.

As an archeologist, Giorgio Filippi says that he has no special curiosity to learn whether the remains of St. Paul are still inside that sarcophagus. The tomb should not be opened merely to satisfy curiosity, he insists. There is no doubt, he says, that St. Paul was buried on the site, "because this basilica was the object of pilgrimages by emperors; people from all around the world came to venerate him, having faith that he was present in this basilica."

The Vatican archeologist said that Church officials would now have to decide whether to undertake further explorations around the tomb, to make the sarcophagus more visible. Archbishop Gioia, questioned about that possibility, was noncommittal. The prelate affirmed only that he would like to "make known the figure of St. Paul and the historic reality" that he is buried in the basilica. According to tradition, St. Paul died under the Emperor Nero, sometime between the years 64 and 67. The Emperor Constantine began the construction of a basilica on the site of his death, along the Ostian Way, in 386; the building was enlarged and completed a half-century later.

In St. Peter's Basilica, excavations that were begun in June 1939 finally uncovered the tomb of the first Pope in 1941. But it 35 more years before the Church officially attested to the authenticity of those remains, in a statement released by Pope Paul VI in June 1976.

A similar span of years could elapse before the Church confirms that the tomb discovered in St. Paul's Basilica is truly that of the apostle--if such an affirmation can ever be made. But the archeologist whose team discovered the tomb is already convinced.

Apparently Abbas's PhD thesis was about how the Holocaust was a sham

I think mine's gonna be about how Jews secretly run the church. I mean, Peter was a Jew, Paul was a Jew, even that Jesus was a Jew. It must be a big Jewish conspiracy to repress the goyim.

Oh wait. The Nazis already published a book on the subject . . .

Still time I suppose.


People are dumb. Made in the image of God, but dumb.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


A Kansas woman who was hadn't spoken since being struck by a drunk driver two decades ago uttered her first words since the accident last week, a recovery that spotlights the perils of euthanasia

Health experts are unable to explain why Sarah Scantlin suddenly regained the ability to talk. She just did.

I'm not usually one to poke fun, but . . .

I got an email today which had this wonderful factoid.

Most sexual assaults are committed by
A) A stranger
B) Someone the survivor knows

Which makes about as much sense as saying

Most people in the world are
A) You
B) Someone else


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bishops of Canada respond to marriage

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

The Catholic Bishops of Canada oppose Bill C-38, An Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes. Our opposition is based on the conviction that the common good of society will not be served by the proposed redefinition of marriage, as well as out of misgivings as to the protection of freedom of conscience and religion. We will continue to encourage Canada’s 13 million Catholics, together with millions of other Canadians from all faith traditions and no faith tradition, to express their concerns about this proposed legislation.


Howard is not the only Democrat protesting the Republicans' supposed identification with scripture. Alabama state Rep. Alvin Holmes defiantly promised to give $700 (now it's up to $5,000 I hear) to any person who could show him a biblical passage expressing that marriage is between man and woman. When someone took him up on it, Holmes said, "Anybody could have any interpretation they want of the Bible, and that's not my interpretation." I suppose it should not surprise us that in this postmodern era with its full frontal assault on truth, people — even some who call themselves Christians — will say that scripture says anything we want it to say.

People, I've noticed, really really don't like it when I show them where Jesus talks about marriage in the Bible.

Go to Church?

Maybe not if you're amoung the living dead . . . Old Oligarch gets the straight scoop.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Capybara Fridays!

Whoo hoo! Certain water rodents are ok to eat during Lent on Fridays!

Seriously, it's really cool, and I want one for a pet, or maybe a few hundred. Thanks to Z(ed) and Jimmy Akin for the info.

What I'm reading

We examine a number of personnel practices, laws and regulations that lower the supply of labor in the Japanese economy. Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of impediments, those that restrict the movement of labor between firms, and those that discourage women from participating to a greater extent. Using other OECD countries and especially the United States as a benchmark, we estimate that removal of these barriers would increase the productive labor supply in Japan by some 13 to 18 percent and thus could raise the potential growth rate of the Japanese economy by roughly 1% per annum over a ten-year period.

Un-lovely quote of the day

Despite all the talk about "deep cuts" in the president's budget, such things are few and far between. Nearly 80 percent of the federal budget right now has been spoken for already. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security gobble up more than half the free cash. Defense claims another large chunk, leaving Congress to tinker with the remaining 17 percent. After Congress has finished "deep cutting" the budget, expenditures will grow by at least 3.6 percent, and probably more than 5 percent. Only in Washington could someone spend an additional $125 billion a year and call it "deep cuts."

I just go the strangest email

It was basically, "If you don't have a Valentine, come watch kung fu".


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Need a knife?

You really really need to get a Magna-Wonder Knife. We used it one year to cut the turkey, then later to cut the Christmas tree. Really versitile. Good for Easter.

Still looking for something to do for Lent?

You should pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or at least an hour or two, every day. The site above has it for free, for now. Be careful though! You might get addicted like me.

OK guys first Sunday in Lent

That means no more fun from here on in. I'm serious.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The nerds?

When I was in school, suicide was a constant topic among the smarter kids. No one I knew did it, but several planned to, and some may have tried. Mostly this was just a pose. Like other teenagers, we loved the dramatic, and suicide seemed very dramatic. But partly it was because our lives were at times genuinely miserable.

Bullying was only part of the problem. Another problem, and possibly an even worse one, was that we never had anything real to work on. Humans like to work; in most of the world, your work is your identity. And all the work we did was pointless, or seemed so at the time.

At best it was practice for real work we might do far in the future, so far that we didn't even know at the time what we were practicing for. More often it was just an arbitrary series of hoops to jump through, words without content designed mainly for testability. (The three main causes of the Civil War were.... Test: List the three main causes of the Civil War.)

And there was no way to opt out. The adults had agreed among themselves that this was to be the route to college. The only way to escape this empty life was to submit to it.

Demand, supply, and all that stuff

A good read for any leftists/Communists in the crowd . . . and an interesting look at the yacht luxury tax of the past decade.

Homosexuality and genetics

The analysis says of the study, “The authors describe in the article three non-X chromosomal ‘new regions of genetic interest’ (7q36, 8p12, and 10q26). In the authors’ view, a noteworthy aspect of the study as follows: ‘Our strongest finding was on 7q36 with a combined mlod score of 3.45 and equal distribution from maternal and paternal allele transmission. This score falls just short of Lander and Kruglyak's (1995) criteria for genomewide significance.’ They go on to say ‘two additional regions (8p12 and 10q26) approached the criteria for suggestive linkage’ -- again pointing out that neither was statistically significant.”

Thus, even the author’s “strongest finding” was not statistically significant by widely accepted scientific criteria.

Thockmorton and Durwood conclude: “In summary, the Mustanski study finds no significant relationship between DNA regions and self-reported sexual orientation. Available evidence suggests that genes may be expressed via the interaction of temperament with certain environments. Practically, then, at present, one cannot know with any degree of certainty that a gene or combination of genes will distinguish why one man is homosexual and another is not.”

I have to get some med students on this . . . I hate it so when people try to play with statistical significance.

Smack down number 2

Burke gets Medieval on a rebellious parish and puts them under interdict! The article is poorly written. As I understand it, basically, the parish refuses to submit its title to the archbishop. Burke, upon assuming the See of St. Louis, noted the irregularity of the autonomous parish and requested, numerous times, to correct it. Curiously, not a word is said by or about the pastor of the church in the interview. I wonder how he stands. I'll bet the lay parish governing board doesn't help any. Nothing combines theological ignorance and audacity like untrained laymen without vows of obedience thinking they can sass-talk their bishop into abiding by their preferences.

When the board of directors considers what Jesus would do in their situation, not suprisingly it resembles their own opinion. Funny that no one asks WWPD: What would Paul do? The inspired writer who wrote the most on the topic of church order would have had them all anathematized a month ago. I love the primitivism implied in the remark that interdict is about "raw power and greed" and not "the teachings of Jesus Christ." One might imagine the next line reading: "After all, Adolf von Harnack has clearly shown that anything Medieval is a gross distortion of the unstained, completely horizontal communal life of the first century, where everyone wore flowers in their hair and ate agapes all day."

Burke's uncompromising episcopal response calls for a round of the Pelagian drinking song:

And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall --
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Smack down number 1

Vatican finds serious doctrinal errors in Jesuit's work

Vatican, Feb. 10 ( - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has condemned the work of an American Jesuit theologian, and barred him from teaching.

In a "notification" approved by Pope John Paul II (bio - news), and signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (bio - news), the Congregation said that the work of Father Roger Haight contained serious doctrinal errors, and forbade the Jesuit priest from teaching theology until the errors have been corrected. The notification was dated December 13, 2004, and made public by the Vatican this week. The Vatican notification came after a 5-year investigation, prompted by the publication of Father Haight's book, Jesus Symbol of God. During the investigation, Father Haight had resigned his teaching post at the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Father Haight, whose work was devoted to inter-religious dialogue, argued that God's grace was active through non-Christian religious traditions. After an examination of the book, and repeated questioning of the author, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found that Father Haight's work conflicted with key Catholic teachings, including the doctrines on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the divinity of Christ, the salvific power of Christ's Sacrifice, the Resurrection, and the unique role of the Church in the economy of salvation.

Soon after the book was published, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found that Jesus Symbol of God contained serious doctrinal flaws. In July 2002 the Congregation submitted a list of errors to Jesuit superiors, inviting Father Haight to correct his work.

Father Haight is the second Jesuit theologian whose work has drawn a formal rebuke from the Vatican in the past five years. In February 2001, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith warned of doctrinal errors in the work of Father Jacques Dupuis, a Belgian Jesuit and former professor at the Gregorian university, who died in December 2004. In the case of Father Dupuis, too, the central doctrinal problems cited by the Vatican involved the unique role of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church in the work of salvation.

What to know when Easter is?

It's calculated off of the time of a full moon that doesn't happen . . . maybe you need more math background before getting into this one.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Go to Pelham, NY

This Sunday my parish, OLPH, is having a candlelight vigil for those of the Sudanese persuasion. Their phone number is (914)738-1449.

Ave Maria College

I really don't know what the deal is up there in MI or down there in FL, but this guy is not pleased.

Feminists for Life has become an NGO at the UN

Feminists for Life (FFL) has been designated as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

"We look forward to sharing our message that Women Deserve Better® with international audiences at the United Nations headquarters in New York, UN offices in Geneva and Vienna, and at special international conferences around the world," said FFL President Serrin Foster.

The UN Council recognized the woman- and child-centered issue advocacy of Feminists for Life as a special competence that will contribute to the work of the Council when it granted special consultative status to the organization.

"Many of the problems women in developing countries face today are the same problems faced by our feminist foremothers. And like them, our feminist foremothers championed the rights of women to vote, to be educated, to own property and to be protected from abortion. We proudly continue their legacy," said Foster. "Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. We look forward to focusing attention on the unmet needs of women that often drive women to abortion worldwide-primarily lack of resources and support-through holistic, woman-centered solutions."

FFL's international director, Marie Smith is also excited about the new challenges and opportunities awaiting FFL as an NGO. "We are eager to work with other NGOs to question abortion as the answer to women's pressing health, economic and educational needs. Women in the developing world need governments to commit to prenatal care, safe deliveries and postnatal care to save women's lives. They need access to education and help through programs like micro-credit loans to feed their families. Destroying members of her family through abortion does not end a poor woman's poverty. She deserves lasting solutions. She deserves better than abortion."

Violence against women and children around the world is a great concern to Feminists for Life. According to Smith, "The early American feminists opposed slavery in their day. Trafficking of women and children for sex and forced labor are modern day slaveries. It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of our feminist foremothers and join others at the United Nations to actively work to end these horrific practices. We hope to influence delegates to take action to protect women and children from all violence, including the violent act of abortion." Foster agreed, "Domestic violence-especially against pregnant women-must also be addressed."

Feminists for Life is guided by the basic tenets of feminism: nonviolence, nondiscrimination and justice for all. In the U.S. FFL has advocated for the Violence Against Women Act, Family and Medical Leave, and enhanced child support enforcement as well as policies and resources on campus for pregnant and parenting students.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ash Wednesday

Turn away from sin. Be faithful to the Gospel.

Slavery and Christianity

For those who said that everyone accepted slavery before the 1800s . . .

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the legislative movement which took place during the same period in regard to slaves. From Augustus to Constantine statutes and jurisprudence tended to afford them greater protection against ill- treatment and to facilitate enfranchisement. Under the Christian emperors this tendency, in spite of relapses at certain points, became daily more marked, and ended, in the sixth century, in Justinian's very liberal legislation (see Wallon, "Hist. de l'esclavage dans l'antiquité", III, ii and x). Although the civil law on slavery still lagged behind the demands of Christianity ("The laws of Caesar are one thing, the laws of Christ another", St. Jerome writes in "Ep. lxxvii"), nevertheless very great progress had been made. It continued in the Eastern Empire (laws of Basil the Macedonian, of Leo the Wise, of Constantine Porphyrogenitus), but in the West it was abruptly checked by the barbarian invasions. Those invasions were calamitous for the slaves, increasing their numbers which had began to diminish, and subjecting them to legislation and to customs much harder than those which obtained under the Roman law of the period (see Allard, "Les origines du servage" in "Rev. des questions historiques", April, 1911. Here again the Church intervened. It did so in three ways: redeeming slaves; legislating for their benefit in its councils; setting an example of kind treatment. Documents of the fifth to the seventh century are full of instances of captives carried off from conquered cities by the barbarians and doomed to slavery, whom bishops, priests, and monks, and pious laymen redeemed. Redeemed captives were sometimes sent back in thousands to their own country (ibid., p. 393-7, and Lesne, "Hist de la propriété ecclésiastique en France", 1910, pp. 357-69).

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Thanks to Z(ed) for the linky. The subject is quite pertinent with Lent coming up.

The baroness who almost never was

"When I was born, the medical people said I would be blind, I would be deaf, I would be unable to communicate and I would have no noticeable mental function. Forget it. My life was worth nothing," she said. She cast a look around her red-carpeted office, at the leather chairs emblazoned with the House of Lords portcullis, the piles of embossed stationery and her personal assistant organising her schedule, and added: "That is a little bit different from what I have managed to achieve and where I am today."

Nicky Chapman became the first person with a congenital disability to be appointed to the House of Lords under the People's Peers initiative when she took up her seat in October last year. Her maiden speech was unforgettable, causing a storm in the Upper House as she condemned the Government's Mental Capacity Bill because "if this Bill had been passed 43 years ago, I would not be here".

CC class question

In class yesterday we were discussing the Constitution. I said that the proceedures in it implied substance, and so we should follow them aware of what they were supposed to mean. Someone else said that they were without substance, and she didn't really care what they were supposed to mean because we had "progressed" to somewhere different.

We later got into a discussion of the legal takeover of the Weimar republic by the National Socialists, and the prof asked if there was anything in the American constitution that prohibited it.

And today I realized the answer. Proceedurally, no. Substantitively, yes. Once you lose the Federalist papers, sure you gain the ability to claim that we constitutionally need gay marriage, but you also lose the ability to argue against any other bizarre idea that should come up.

It's kind of like deism . . . the first ones, the apostates, thought that you could rationally prove Christianity, without Christ, essentially. The next generation realized that it was all special pleading and went on to construct their own view of the world. Cut off from the source, nothing follows anymore.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Bite me


Unfortunately, congressional leaders chose to conflate that real and present danger with the, so far, unproven assumption that abortion causes widespread depression. Even C. Everett Koop, when he was President Reagan's surgeon general (and personally opposed to abortion), concluded after an exhaustive study that the psychological effects of abortion are minuscule from a public health perspective.

He actually said the opposite . . . he said the numbers were small compared to something like polio, but it was a very serious problem. Also, the research is there, it's just, how do you say, ignored. Talk to a few people with the disease, and it's hard to deny.


The politics of abortion have no place in honoring the memory of Melanie Blocker-Stokes or Mine Ener's baby, or the other babies whose births have caused so much suffering. No place at all.

Well, look at it like this. Abortion says that life isn't worth living, it has no intrinsic value. Therefore, neither do any other lives. Therefore, abortion has bearing on this issue.


Did he say SpongeBob was gay?

No. Nothing like it in fact. Thanks to Jimmy Akin for the explaination on this one.


In response to the comment that abortion facilities don't get money for sonogram machines, so crisis pregnancy centers shouldn't either, I'd just like to note that Planned Parenthood has no need for a grant of a few hunderd thousand dollars to pick up sonogram machines, since they are both an immensely profitable business and also get about four hundred million dollars of government aid a year.

End note.

The conversion of a pro-abort

During my time as an "escort" for the Commonwealth Women's Center, I had my first moment of doubt about the validity of the pro-abortion cause. My parents and I were on our way home from the clinic. Dad was driving. About halfway home, I asked my parents, "If women don't want to be pregnant, why don't they just not have sex? Why is abortion the answer?" My parents were shocked into silence for a moment, and then they started rationalizing. I had spent too much time on clinic defense duty. I had spent too much time with these crazy pro-lifers. (Ironically, I don't recall the pro-life protesters ever posing the question that I had raised.) I was "confused", "troubled", and "wounded". I simply needed some time away from the clinic. In all fairness, they might have tried to address the substance of my questions, but I don't recall their answers if they did. I do recall that they were much more concerned with soothing my troubled teenage spirit than with answering the question head-on.

Fortunately, I drifted away from pro-abortion activism when I went to college. My views hadn't changed, though. I developed a long-term relationship with a young woman who lived in my freshman hall. Our relationship became sexual. Before we "did the deed", we tried to pretend that were were responsible by deciding on birth control options. We both felt that we weren't ready to be parents yet, so we agreed that we would use birth control. I went a step further. What if the birth control failed? What would we do then? I suggested abortion as a sensible "backup plan" for our birth control. My girlfriend agreed with me. Thank God we never had to use my "backup plan"! After our relationship had ended, a number of her former friends told me the truth about her "agreement". Actually, she never thought she could go through with an abortion. She just agreed with me because she didn't see any other options. Now, I wonder ... how many women agree to abortions because they feel trapped by others? How many women abort their children because they feel pressured by men who don't want to accept the consequences of their actions? Who says that abortion is a matter of women's rights, anyway?


A Catholic view.

Imagination is the faculty of representing to oneself sensible objects independently of an actual impression of those objects on our senses. It is, according to scholastic psychology, one of the four internal senses, distinct, on the one hand, from the sensus intimus, the sensus aestimativus, and the memory, and, on the other hand, distinct from the spiritual intellect. The last distinction is to be specially noted on account of the similarity between the operations of the imagination and certain acts of the intellect. We acquire knowledge of our different faculties only from a study of their operations, and the nature of image is the object of endless controversy. Is it psychologically identical with perception, being differentiated only by lesser intensity? Or, on the contrary, has it a specific nature of its own?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Hit the nail right on the head

"You went to church with me once"
"Was I drunk?"
"Yeah, I get girls drunk and take them to church."

Me and Laura

A look at science and ideology in the dispute over post-abortion syndrome.

How many apostles were there?

Speaking of Matthias, I caught a sermon by a fundamentalist preacher on the radio somewhat in the middle of it, but it seemed to me that he was arguing that the election of Matthias was invalid, presumably because it was done by casting lots, and that God over-ruled the early Christians by making Paul an apostle. The moral, he said, was that we shouldn't force God to choose between two man-made choices, but rather, we should give him the maximum freedom in revealing his will. (He used Matthias as an example of this, although the principle seems valid).

My question is: how common is this line of thought? And, if Paul was an apostle and so was Matthias, then weren't there 13 apostles?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

An ecumenical moment

The Chief Rabbi of Rome is praying for the Holy Father's health. Amen.

Errors of the nth degree

The expression “vale of tears” goes back to pious sentiments that consider life on earth to be a series of sorrows to be left behind when we go on to a better world in Heaven. It conjures up an image of a suffering traveler laboring through a valley ("vale” ) of troubles and sorrow. “Veil of tears” is poetic sounding, but it’s a mistake.

Everything you've been messing up since 6th grade. Hot.

Oh my

on jan 29 2005 was the worse day of my life.i finally got the abortion everyone wanted. my mom,grandma an the father thought that it was best for me to do.not caring what will happen to me afterwards.i was so happy to find out i was pregnant cuz thats all i ever wanted was a child i can call my own.i know i'm only 20yrs still young but i really believe i could have this baby.the father never wanted kids an made me feel bad.he went under depression the whole two months i was pregnant cuz he feared mom at first was fine wit it till she told my grandma got into my mother's head an force her to change her mind an make me get the grandma did it cuz she was embarssed an worried about what people would of thought if i had this child an i wasnt married or even livin wit the guy.everyday i would hear my grandma's mouth.everyday i would hear "so did u make the appointment yet".the father wasnt mean to me but made me feel guilty an sorry for him.finally he gave me the money an i told my mom .so we made the appointment an all i did was cry cuz at this point i didnt even know if i still wanted it.i was goin out my mind.all i wanted was my life back an for people not to b mad at me i broke down an got the abortion.i cryed when i see the protester out side the offices tellin me not to kill my baby,but to love it.that hurted cuz i did love my unborn child.i still mom felt so guilty.she didnt even wanna wake me up that horrible morning.but my grandma made hurt cuz i didnt have no one by myside to help me.all i had was a nightmare pregnancy.once i got the abortion i was fine.but the next day when i felt the awful pain for the first time i wanted to died right along wit my baby.everytime i felt the pain or seen the blood i felt more an more guilty an depressed.i think over an over in my head about how that baby had to kills me inside to think i help kill my child cuz i was to weak to say no.its only been a week an i cant shake this depression get more an more deep.i'm scared i will never come out of it.sometimes i feel the only way i'll feel better is the day i have my baby back.but i'm not plannin on havin another one for another two yrs.that was my plan in the start to have one when i was goin on 23 so i guess now ima stick to that plan.but it feel so far really who ever is readin this that are pregnant.please think it thru an make sure its what u really want.cuz everyone have a one can make it but u.

ST: Enterprise is dead

May it rest in peace. The first ST series I didn't like, and according to Jimmy Akin's review, I'm glad I missed the soft-core porn.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Q: Is the Shoah [Holocaust] at the summit of crimes against humanity?

Cardinal Lustiger: It is the summit because of the reasons put forward,
not the quantity of victims. I don't know about other situations. I don't
know how there were millions of dead in Communist China, I don't know how
there were millions of deportations under Stalin.

What makes the Shoah singular is not only the quantity but the nature of
the crime, namely, the massive, scientific, deliberate, willed destruction
through totally rational procedures, at the price of all economic,
geographic or historical rationality.

There was destruction for the sake of destruction, while the troops
withdrew and continued to exterminate -- for example, the extermination of
the Warsaw ghetto, real madness, even strategic.

And there were other events of this nature. It is the singular
characteristic of this destruction, which had a religious dimension, that
I have evoked. Why the Jews? Why that way? Why with such force, and such
mad rationality? And why such a lie?

It was necessary to camouflage everything. It was Saul Friedlander who
made evident the deceitful character which necessitated the fabrication of
a new language -- as the Soviets did later -- to say things without
talking about them.

The Vatican's gonna speak out on marriages . . .

Vatican, Feb. 03 ( - The Vatican will soon release a new teaching document on the norms that should govern the work of Church marriage tribunals.

Dignitas Connubii ("The Dignity of Marriage") will explain how ecclesiastical tribunals should handle marriage cases. The document has been prepared by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, the Vatican's top body for questions of canon law, in collaboration with other Vatican offices.

The new Vatican instruction, entitled Dignitas Connubii, will be released on February 8. It will be presented at a press conference chaired by Cardinal Julian Herranz, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Also participating in that press conference will be Archbishop Angelo Amato, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Bishop Valasio de Paolis, the secretary of the tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; and Msgr. Mgr Antoni Stankiewicz, the dean of the tribunal of the Roman Rota.

On several occasions in recent years, Pope John Paul II (bio - news) has decried the sharp increase in the number of couples seeking marriage annulments. Last January he cautioned the Roman Rota-- the tribunal that handles appeals of marriage cases-- against the presumption that a failed marriage was never a valid sacramental union.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Not that I like to get involved, but . . .

IBM and its German subsidiary custom-designed complex solutions, one by one, anticipating the Reich's needs. They did not merely sell the machines and walk away. Instead, IBM leased these machines for high fees and became the sole source of the billions of punch cards Hitler needed.

Of course, he fails to note that IBM only leased all of their machines and were pretty much the sole programmers of them, because no one else knew how to use the damn things . . . and they were the only people who made punch cards that worked with their machines, pretty much, so anyone who was using their machines had to buy their punch cards.

As he later notes,

The answer: IBM Germany's census operations and similar advanced people counting and registration technologies. IBM was founded in 1898 by German inventor Herman Hollerith as a census tabulating company. Census was its business. But when IBM Germany formed its philosophical and technologic alliance with Nazi Germany, census and registration took on a new mission. IBM Germany invented the racial census--listing not just religious affiliation, but bloodline going back generations. This was the Nazi data lust. Not just to count the Jews--but to identify them.

In other words, they used fourty and fifty year old technology, customized it a little, and shuffled it towards the German government.

Or this reference:

For example, I encountered an IBM reference to accumulating "points." Eventually, I discovered that "points" referred to making sales quotas for inclusion in IBM's Hundred Percent Club. IBM maintained sales quotas for all its subsidiaries during the Hitler-era.

IBM maintained sales quotas for everyone, always . . . not sure quite what he's driving at. Nor does he address IBM's allegation that IBM responded then that it had lost control of its German subsidy Dehomag before the war began in 1939., that page is still under construction four years after the website went up.

I mean, I suppose you could call Intel an enabler for the US government, but even the most left of the left wouldn't say that they've been backing the war in Iraq. Calculators can be used for good or evil certainly, but I don't think it makes sense to fault a calculator company when the rest of the world was doing the same thing. If you want to displace responsibility, blame the Allies for not attacking Germany in 1936 when Hitler first started militarizing the Rhineland.

Legal BS

Or why tort reform is a popular rallying cry without any real purpose other than to make it easier for people to screw up other people's lives and get away with it.

Image is everything in tort reform, such as President Bush's visit earlier this month to a "judicial hellhole" in Illinois where tort cases supposedly flourish. He has made tort reform a priority of his second term and is expected to repeat these calls in his State of the Union address Wednesday. It is all part of a well-funded campaign to limit damages against companies and physicians across the country.

Horror stories offered by industry groups play to a weakness in the media for "you-are-not-going-to-believe-this" stories. Of course, it is not surprising that the stories are unbelievable — because many never occurred.

The war on terror

There appears to be a commitment among the majority Shiite leadership to create a government which minority Sunnis and Kurds find acceptable. The most promising development was the extent to which Iraqis provided for their own security in the election. The polls were protected by more than 25,000 Iraqi troops, with the United States providing largely unused standby backup. As the elections approached, local militias started stepping forward to volunteer to help with Election Day security.

The terrorists have been targeting Iraqis more than Americans. It appears that a critical tipping point may have been reached, in which Iraqis view the battle as less between the insurgents and the United States and more between the insurgents and their own future.

While, again, there is a long way between this election and a broader democratic movement in the Middle East, this vote and that of the Palestinians did reverberate. The prospects for democratic reform elsewhere will undoubtedly improve.

If Iraq becomes a stable, secure democracy, the international view of the Iraq war will undoubtedly change. The defiance of international opposition to invasion and the failure to find the precipitating weapons of mass destruction will give way to the success of the enterprise.

There are many difficult passages yet to negotiate. But if Bush's policy turns out to have worked, does that make it right?

Success — now and in the future — shouldn't be the end of the argument as to whether the Iraq war was a prudent exercise of American force. The liberation of the Iraq people, particularly if followed by secure and stable democratic governance, is a wonderful event. But the purpose of the United States government is to protect the freedom of and provide security to the American people.

The Iraq war, at least in the short-run, unquestionably makes the United States more of a terrorist target, not less of one. Islamic terrorists are inflamed both by U.S. intervention in their lands and by the prospect of secular democratic governance. So, the cause of their grievance has been doubled.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A thought

In reference to this thread:

. . .while they discuss "social justice" (usually in dangerously socialistic political terms), they focus on reconciling their homosexual/bisexual behavior to Catholic doctrine. Furthermore, they could care less about uniting with the pro-life group on campus. . . . I can attest first-hand that Newman Centers are NOT spiritually fulfilling.

I think it needs to be said that regardless of the behaviour going on at certain Newmans, we are called to love, always, unconditionally. It may feel liberating to go on a rant when you see something bad happening, but it usually won't help. When I do it, someone please correct me (Thanks Z(ed) for the occasional swift kick in the ass).

The only way to really change anything is to be holier yourself, to pray more, to love more, to realize what Paul says in Ephesians 6 is true:

11 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. 11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. 12 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.

Our struggle is not against flesh. It is against Hell. You won't get anywhere by attacking a person, it's like cutting off a head of the hydra. You have to pray, and strengthen your spiritual armor. Get a confessor. Love everyone always. Don't entertain thoughts. Be transparent. Pray the Rosary, the Liturgy of the Hours.

Be not afraid.

Cool Catholic calendar

This one's for Justine.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Please pray for the Holy Father

He has been taken to the hospital . . . fiat voluntas tua.

Happy Birthday

To young Stephanie, who turns something like 8 today. But such is the life of the frosh. Let us wish her birthday goodness, since, though she can no longer be a high school dropout, she still has a shot at being a teenage pregnancy with enough hard work, as the (in?)fam(e)ous Schulyer Clemente once succintly put it.

A story

Last month, in the empty days between Christmas and New Year's, I finally went to see Sonya's father. At this point, he was in a nursing home, having broken his collarbone after falling on the way to the bathroom. His body was thin, almost skeletal, a boy's body under the sheets, but his face, round yet bony, thin lips, narrow eyes, revealed the weariness of a tortured life.

"Hello, I'm — "

"I know who you are," he said, smiling, his voice weak.

He was 91. Or 89. No one is sure. It really doesn't matter. Once I heard his story, it was clear that the remarkable thing about Harvey Vinton wasn't how long he lived, but that he lived at all.

So it begins

Parents are no longer allowed to make medical decisions for their children. That must be left up to the experts. Let's see now. We have voluntary killing of infants in the Netherlands. We have involuntary restriction of medical care to infants in England. How far do you really think it is from involuntary killing of infants?

Oh yeah. I forgot. We have that here, now, since doctors can, for "medical reasons", perform abortions on women who don't want them. Great country.

England, Jan. 31 ( - A UK judge refused on Friday to overturn a doctor's order that a 15-month-old girl not be resuscitated should she stop breathing, despite her parents' opposition to such an order.

The parents of the girl, Charlotte Wyatt, in another hearing planned before Easter, hope to present new evidence proving that the girl's condition has "dramatically improved" according to a BBC report.

In October, Mr. Justice Hedley sided with the hospital, part of the government-run socialized health-care system, that decided Charlotte's "quality of life" would be so poor that she ought not to be resuscitated should she experience another medical emergency. Charlotte was born three months premature and her chance of survival at birth was estimated to be only be 50 percent.

"The hospital is trying to get us to pull the plug," said Charlotte's father, Darren Wyatt, before the October ruling. "I cannot do that. I would have to live with that for the rest of my life. I simply cannot make a decision to end Charlotte's life. She has been fighting for 10 months and I'm not prepared to let her down. We need to be able to say we did absolutely everything in our power to help her."

"A caring society should support the needs of a family who wish to care for and love their special needs child," said Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, on Friday. "Baby Charlotte is not dead but cognitively disabled. Society should be willing to care for all children with disabilities. Charlotte's parents are suffering enough without having to battle the state over the medical care of their child."

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