Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The limbo update

Limbo is Currently in the Process of Fading from a Favored Theory to an Unfavored Theory

The operative word, of course, is "theory". It was never more than that.

I've never bought limbo myself, but Catholics are free to do so if they like (unless Rome formally condemns the theory). I think it's the fruit of a view of the sacraments which sees them as reducing valves designed to weed out as many people as possible from the mercy of God. I think it wiser to look at the sacraments as the places where we *surely* meet the love and grace of God, but not to pretend that we know these are the *only* places where God's grace can be manifested to us.

Some people ask "Then why evangelize?" This seems to me like asking, "If you've heard a rumor that the girl you've loved all your life wants to marry you, isn't that knowledge enough? Why actually go to the trouble of marrying her?" It's a crazy question if we know anything about love.

Look who's in the Times

A few years ago, I was flying from Dallas to Frankfurt and I ended up next to a computer programmer. He was straight out of central casting: nerdy-looking, glasses, pocket protector. I could sense that he wanted to chat, and after several minutes of back and forth, he mentioned that he traveled to Europe every week for business.

I hope this isn't me.

The President at Annapolis

An interesting read.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Greenhouse Gases- Serrious Stuff

Current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in the past 650,000 years, say researchers who have finished cataloguing air bubbles trapped for millennia inside Antarctic ice. The record, which extends back over the past eight ice ages, shows that today's concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane far outstrip those in the past.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have risen 200 times faster over the past 50 years than at any other time during this period, says Thomas Stocker of the University of Bern, Switzerland, who led the analysis.

The researchers studied air bubbles preserved in ice drilled from the Antarctic ice sheet as part of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA). The ice core represents a logbook of the state of the world's climate (see 'Frozen time') and goes back 210,000 years further than previous records.

After searching ice spanning the period of 390,000-650,000 years before present, Stocker's team has discovered that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere did not exceed 290 parts per million during that time. Today, that figure is around 375 parts per million.

The situation is similar for methane: during this period, levels hovered around 600 parts per billion. Today's atmospheric methane concentration is well over 1,700. Stocker and his colleagues report the results in Science

Is it bad I find this interesting?

It's an IBM press release about a new product they have that lets you simulate changing the time for certain applications. I fear my interest in it indicates that I have no soul.

RAs may not be religious

The Constitution says so, after all. | Did you hear about the University of Wisconsin — Eau Claire (UWEC) banning resident assistants (RAs) from leading Bible studies in their own dormitories? That's the subject of my latest e-mail blast from the ever-vigilant Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

This outrageous, indefensible assault on Christian religious liberties provides a perfect opportunity for the church-state separation crusaders to prove they're really devoted to religious liberty, as they claim. Let's see if they protest.

An UWEC official sent RAs a letter forbidding them from leading Bible studies because students might conclude that such RAs were not "approachable." Don't laugh. Violators, warned the letter, would be subject to disciplinary action.

What about the free exercise clause?

Is opposition to capital punishment equal to murder?

No. You are responsible for what you do, not what others do to others.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thinkpads going retail again

Oh yeah.


Vatican, Nov. 28 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) encouraged the use of Latin in the Church, and the study of Latin by young people, as he met on November 28 with the members of the Latinitas Foundation, a group dedicated to the promotion of Latin.

Latin should not merely be conserved, the Pope said; its use should be encouraged and spread, particularly among the young. He explained that "the great treasures" of the language must not be lost, nor should Catholics lose the habit of using Latin as the official language of the Church. The Latinitas Foundation was instituted in 1976 by Pope Paul VI to encourage the study of both classical and Church Latin, as well as the use of Latin in ecclesiastical life. In his apostolic constitution Veterum Sapientia of 1962, Pope John XXIII confirmed the role of Latin as the international language of the Catholic Church. Latin is also the official language of the Vatican city-state.

My school. always in favor of free inquiry

As Mark Shea points out:

Think of the Columbia Journalism Review as a kind of "Bias Hatchery"

Here it is arguing that "American journalists must stop acting as if there is any kind of scientific argument left to cover related to Darwinism. Thus, “fairness” does not apply, since there are no critics of Darwinian orthodoxy worthy of being treated fairly. Thus, all the critics are religious nuts and there is no need to take their claims seriously or present their arguments accurately."

And yet, here it is again, wringing its hands about Free and Open Pursuit of the Truth when a Catholic journal subverts Catholic teaching. The piece does include "outspoken conservative" Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' common sense comment that "If you’re a publication that aims to advance the mission of the Catholic Church, is it balance to publish material fifty percent in favor and fifty against? That’s not balance, it’s undermining the mission of the magazine." But notice that Fr. Tom Reese and Tom Roberts of the Reporter are not call "outspoken liberals". Nope. They're just normal. Neuhaus' quote has the look and feel of a comment that was cut-and-pasted into an article in the spot where the reporter had written in brackets "Find some quote from some supporter". The rest of the article leaves you in no doubt as to the fear and defiance you should be feeling about the pall of intellectual repression that now hangs over journalistic freedom in the Catholic world.

Some religious dogmas are open to question. Others are most emphatically not. If you have questions, the CJR will tell which believes you may correctly hold.


Boston's Mayor and Parks Commissioner has yielded to cries from people across the country: Beantown's "holiday tree" will be a Christmas tree, after all. The Christmas tree is an annual gift from Nova Scotia to thank the people of Boston for their great generosity following the explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax harbor during World War I. When he heard that the tree would no longer be called a Christmas tree, the Canadian donor said he'd rather put the majestic evergreen "in the chipper." Meanwhile on the West Coast, Encinitas, California, Mayor Dan Dalager braved criticism from the politically correct crowd. He renamed that city's holiday parade a Christmas parade. That's the name it proudly wore for decades, the Mayor explained. Mayor Dalager, a lifelong resident of the thriving coastal city, upset the local Girl Scouts council as well as the vice president of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Southern California. The dog club veep identified herself as an atheist. She did not, apparently, poll the dogs.

Now that's some ugly XML

Writing the Fastest Code, by Hand, for Fun

Something for all the code monkeys out there to aspire to:

Kazushige Goto's business card says simply "high performance computing."

Mr. Goto, who is 37, might even be called the John Henry of the information age.

But instead of competing against a steam drill, Mr. Goto, a research associate at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin, has bested the work of a powerful automated system and entire teams of software developers in producing programs that run the world's fastest supercomputers.

He has done it alone at his keyboard the old-fashioned way - by writing code that reorders, one at a time, the instructions given to microprocessor chips.

At one point recently, Mr. Goto's software - collections of programs called subroutines - dominated the rarefied machines competing for the title of the world's fastest supercomputer. In 2003 his handmade code was used by 7 of the 10 fastest supercomputers

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A greeting for the season

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

With this Sunday Advent begins, an extremely evocative time from the religious point of view, as it is full of hope and spiritual expectation. Every time the Christian community prepares to remember the birth of the Redeemer, it feels a tremor of joy, which is communicated, in a certain measure, to the whole of society.

During Advent, the Christian population relives a double movement of the spirit. On one hand, it raises its gaze to the final goal of pilgrimage in history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, recalling his birth in Bethlehem with emotion, it bends down before the crib. The hope of Christians is directed to the future, but always remains well rooted in a past event. In the fullness of time, the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary, "born of woman, born under the law," as St. Paul writes (Galatians 4:4).

The Gospel invites us today to remain vigilant while awaiting the last coming of Christ. "Watch!" says Jesus, "for you do not know when the master of the house will come" (Mark 13:35-37). The brief parable of the master who left on a trip and of the servants, in charge of taking his place, manifests the importance of being ready to receive the Lord, when he comes unexpectedly. The Christian community awaits his "manifestation" with longing, and the Apostle Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, exhorts them to have confidence in God's fidelity, and to live so that when he returns he will find them "guiltless" (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7-9) in the day of the Lord. For this reason, very appropriately, at the beginning of Advent the liturgy puts on our lips the invocation of the Psalm: "Show us thy steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation" (Psalm 84:8).

We could say that Advent is the time in which Christians must awaken in their hearts the hope of being able, with the help of God, to renew the world. In this connection, I would also like to recall today the Second Vatican Council's constitution "Gaudium et Spes" on the Church in the contemporary world: It is a text profoundly permeated with Christian hope.

I am referring in particular to Number 39, entitled: "New Earth and New Heaven." In it, one can read: "We are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:13). Nevertheless, "the expectation of a new earth must not weaken, but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one." We will rediscover the good fruits of our efforts, in fact, when Christ hands to his father his eternal and universal kingdom. May Mary most holy, virgin of Advent, enable us to live this time of grace watching and committed while awaiting the Lord.

In commemeration of the new year, Carolus Magnus

Charlemagne (ca. 742 or 747 – January 28, 814) (or Charles the Great, in German Karl der Große, in Norwegian Karl den store, in Dutch Karel de Grote, in Latin Carolus Magnus, giving rise to the adjective form "Carolingian"), was king of the Franks from 768 to 814, King of the Lombards since 774, and the renewer of the Western Empire. His dual role as Emperor—Imperator Augustus–and King of the Franks provides the historical link between the Imperial dignity and the Frankish kingdoms and later Germany. Today both France and Germany look to him as a founding figure of their respective countries.

Happy New Year!

New liturgical year, that is.

Why fast before communion?

Just a reminder. :)

I personally did not know about this fasting business until I was in high school, so maybe there are others out there who don't know or have forgotten.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

JFK, tool of the extreme right

Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, applied for a promotion while working in the Reagan administration. His 1985 application read, in part: "I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, immediately pounced. These "extreme statements," said Kennedy, were "deeply troubling." Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the application raised questions about Alito's "ideological" position. The New York Times followed up with an obligatory editorial also denouncing as "extreme" Alito's assertion that "the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion."

. . .

The chorus denouncing quotas includes former President Bill Clinton. After his 1992 election, some women's groups criticized then President-elect Clinton for failing to appoint what they deemed a sufficient number of females to his administration. Clinton responded, "They're playing quota games and math games. I don't believe in quotas."

Clinton's ideaology doesn't seem compatible with Democratic values.

Some progress on the Vatican-Israel front

Negotiations toward this agreement have been lagging for more than 10 years, with Vatican officials expressing steadily greater concern about the lack of progress. The "fundamental agreement" of 1993, which led to diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel, called for the prompt conclusion of the juridical accord.

On November 17, when Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) met with visiting Israeli President Moshe Katsav, the Vatican issued a statement indicating that the Pope had spoken of the need to implement existing agreements between the two states-- an obvious reference to the absence of a juridical pact. President Katsav stated publicly that he would press for conclusion of the accord.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Regional Pride and Rent the Movie

This is why I refuse to see the movie-

In an act of poetic license, the makers of the movie "Rent" shot the facade of the Horseshoe, but when the action moves inside, it's a fictional version of the Life Café, which, for the record, looks a lot like the real Life Café, if patrons of the real Life Café periodically broke into elaborate song-and-dance routines.

That detail is just one of the small, reality-twisting inaccuracies in "Rent" that will no doubt drive certain East Villagers crazy.

They are little things, like the presence of a subway stop on Tompkins Square Park. (Would that there were.) Or the fact that the Mars Bar, the down-and-dirty Second Avenue watering hole, is midblock in the movie. (It's actually on a corner.) Or that the side street on which the Renters live in the movie doesn't actually exist. (A blurry street sign suggests that it is somewhere off East 11th Street at Avenue A, but it looks nothing like that block. Or any other block, for that matter.)

There are homeless people, yes, and riots and a tent city - all of which were in the old East Village - but, predictably enough, they are the best-looking riots, homeless people and tent cities you have ever seen. None of which is criminal - "West Side Story" doesn't look exactly like 1950's Hell's Kitchen, after all - and all of which can probably be traced back to the fact that "Rent," a New York story if there ever was one, was largely shot in San Francisco. (The director, Chris Columbus, lives in that foggy burg.) There are, to be sure, a few brief East Village exteriors, and a scene or two set around Tompkins Square, but anyone looking for a glimpse of the old East Village (or even the new East Village) will be sorely disappointed.

Thatched Roofs- a Lost Art

Plainly put, Ireland's traditional thatched roofs are facing extinction. The latest warning from a conservation group, in a new government-sponsored study, estimates that only 1,300 thatched-roof buildings remain in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. If more disappear, thatchers will go out of business, and the remaining roofs will rapidly fall apart.

For years, the government contributed to the problem by encouraging people living in thatched cottages to save on maintenance costs by covering the thatch with corrugated tin. But the homes topped with reed or straw no longer represent the rural poverty that generations of Irish people wanted to forget. Now, thatched roofs are occasionally tacked onto pubs and suburban homes as a startlingly incongruous status symbol.

When it comes to the cottages, though, it seems that few people in wealthy 21st-century Ireland have any interest in living in 18th-century homes with one bedroom and thick walls made of mud. Cottage dwellers are quick to list their advantages - cool in summer, warm in winter, environmentally sound - but the easily damaged roofs must be replaced about once a decade, and the earthen floors guarantee dampness.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Battle lines drawn over Vatican stance on gays

"We are calling on all Catholics of goodwill to speak to their priests and to express their outrage at this decision," said Harry Knox a director of Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group based in Washington.

"We'll seek to speak over the heads of the Pope to Catholics in the pews to urge them to take into consideration what Jesus would do if He saw His neighbor being treated in this way," said Knox. "Jesus would never exclude."

No, except for that little bit about seperating the goats and the sheep. And when he told off the various people bothering him. Other than that, Christ never made any distinctions between anyone.

Or, why you should pick one and stick with it

My religious life has always consisted of surfing superficially along, diving into many different pools of experiences. My turmoil can be explained simply by two words - my parents. It was a mixed marriage between a Jew and a Christian/Quaker, and no surprise then that the by-products of such a recipe can be considered a tad confused.

As a teenager I was bolted up in a Church boarding school singing psalms and carols, occasionally to be dragged out for Jewish high holy days at the liberal synagogue in St John's Wood. This was definitely enough to send a sensitive teenager into existential confusion. In fact at the height of my teenage identity crisis I sought out the school chaplain. On locating him one Sunday afternoon bent double in his pulpit, duster in hand, I confessed from the first pew my uncertainty as to which religion to follow. His advice - probably the worst ever offered - was simply to follow the religion of the parent with the most faith.

Oy vey.

And a Happy Thanksgiving from the Squach

Note: two new blogs on the blogroll


Thanksgiving Day: a religious holiday establish by Abraham Lincoln

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Hat tip to the charismatic prayer group at St. Casimir's in Yonkers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Boston archbishop pulls out of Catholic Charities fundraiser

Good, I think.

Boston, Nov. 23 ( - Boston's Archbishop Sean O'Malley will not attend a December dinner honoring the city's Mayor Thomas Menino. The dinner is a fundraising event for the local office of Catholic Charities.

The archbishop's withdrawal from the December 9 event follows a series of protests from lay Catholic leaders, who have pointed to Mayor Menino's record on key moral issues. C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, cited the mayor's "relentless opposition to the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church" in a November 17 statement urging the archbishop not to attend the dinner. Doyle pointed out that although Menino is a Catholic, he has consistently supported legalized abortion on demand and has been a stalwart proponent of homosexuals, even sponsoring a "gay prom" for local high-school students at City Hall. When a Massachusetts court cleared the way for legal recognition of same-sex marriages, Mayor Menino personally welcomed the first homosexual applicants arriving at City Hall for marriage licenses.

Mayor Menino was chosen as the honoree for the December fundraiser because of his support for Catholic Charities.

The Boston arm of Catholic Charities came under fire in October when it was revealed that the office was actively helping homosexual couples to adopt children, despite Church teaching that such adoptions are "gravely immoral." Father J. Bryan Hehir, the head of Catholic Charities in Boston, explained that the Church agency assisted in homosexual adoptions in order to qualify for state funding that underwrites other adoption services. "If we could design the system ourselves, we would not participate in adoptions to gay couples, but we can't," he said; "We have to balance various goods."

Why not to feel good about riots in France

Because the Bible says so.

The German word "schadenfreude" takes seven English words to define it. It means: "malicious satisfaction in the misfortune of others." In recent weeks it has become popular amongst Jews because of an article written by Si Frumkin, a journalist and Jewish activist in Los Angeles. He wrote about the sense of schadenfreude he know feels when looking at the situation in Gaza. At least 6 people emailed me a copy of the article! Internet surfers have surfed it, bloggers have blogged it … and us non-geeks have just read it.

The curious case of Fr. Alexander Men

He seems to be some sort of unorthodox Orthodox priest, that has something to do with Jews and ecumenism. But I'm really not sure what his story is. However, this is fascinating:

There was, of course, a downside. In an obituary written shortly after the murder of the priest, Men's friend (and a friend of some of you), Mikhail Agursky, called him a "passionate missionary, [who] tried to attract everyone to Christianity, but especially Jews. [...] For this, he was hated by many Russians as well as very many Jews." [6] Indeed, the former Metropolitan of Leningrad, Antonii Mel'nikov called him a "guard" of Zionism in Orthodoxy (postovoi sionizma v pravoslavii). [7]

So, the newly-baptized Jews did not always find the bridge of ecumenism and universality that Men' preached, however, and an interesting metaphor crept into many of my interviews: that of illness and healing: The Russian Orthodox Church is rather sick, "Marina" pronounced. "Avraham" diagnosed the illness: the Church is infected by antisemitism. … It is not just a disease in the Church. It is a genetic disease. It is destroying the Church from the inside.

So what, we might ask, are the Russian Jewish Christians doing in this hotbed of infection and disease? One might assume that they, too, would become infected. And, in fact, such so-called "self-hatred" is not unheard of among acculturated Jews in Russia as well as elsewhere.[8] And Jewish out-converts to other denominations often suffer from the illness. For example, the scholars Isser and Schwartz argue that, "modern Jews who have converted to 'Hebrew Christianity' or 'Jews for Jesus' groups are not only plagued by the 'ineradicable' Jewishness within themselves, but frequently suffer as well from minority self-hate, often manifested in anti-semitic behavior" [9]

But self-hatred was definitely not a characteristic I found in the population of Russian Jewish Orthodox Christians. As I was told over and over, But the deeper I went into the Church, the more deeply I felt myself as belonging to the people of Israel ("Avraham") and The more I am Christian, the more I feel myself a Jew ("Dima"). What is more, this Jewish identity had become positive and internal, rather than the negative, externally reinforced anti-Semitism that was their basic identification with Jewishness before entering the Church. They did not become "Russian" in the Russian Church, but "Jewish."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lest anyone thought I forgot the Christus Rex

I was going to post a Catholic Encyclopedia article on the subject, before I realized that the day didn't exist when it was written. Instead, all I have is the article, which ties in nicely with the special on metrospirituality.

The Feast of Christ the King was created by Pope Pius XI in 1925. He created it to fix the way people were living like Jesus Christ didn't exist. The feast proclaims how Jesus Christ is royalty above people, communties, nations, and governments.

The feast establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men: 1) Christ is God and holds high power over everything; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He made us His by His blood and now we belong to Him; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as his special possession and dominion.

We also learn that Christ's kingdom is for everybody who wants to be with Him, and it's endless. Most importantly, Christ's kingdom is not this world.

Prior to the Roman calendar reform in 1969, this feast was celebrated on the last Sunday of October.

I'm not metrospiritual!

Is it out?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Zadok mentions saints with earrings...

But what about earrings of saints?

Credit problems?

Go for the church-approved solution.

Scandal! Scandal!

I knew I couldn't trust them Life Teen people-

A charismatic priest who once held a high position with the Diocese of Phoenix was arrested this morning.

Monsignor Dale Fushek, once the highly popular, magnetic pastor of St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa, was being booked at the Madison Street Jail, according to Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

An official with Maricopa County Superior Court says Fushek is facing 10 misdemeanor counts. He is charged with three counts of assault, two counts of indecent exposure, and five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Fushek founded Life Teen, a popular Catholic youth ministry that swept the nation, in 1995. He also served as vicar general under former Bishop Thomas O'Brien.

School sucks

No Child Left Behind was based on the premise that embarrassing test scores and government sanctions would simply force schools to improve educational outcomes for all students. What has become clear, however, is that school systems and colleges of education have no idea how to generate changes in teaching that would allow students to learn more effectively. Indeed, state systems that have typically filled teaching positions by grabbing any warm body they could find are only just beginning to think about the issue at all.

Faced with lagging test scores and pressure from the federal government, some school officials have embraced the dangerous but all-too-common view that millions of children are incapable of high-level learning. This would be seen as heresy in Japan. But it is fundamental to the American system, which was designed in the 19th century to provide rigorous education for only about a fifth of the students, while channeling the rest into farm and factory jobs that no longer exist.

The United States will need a radically different mind set to catch up with high-performing competitors abroad. For starters we will need to focus as never before on the process through which teachers are taught to teach. We will also need to drop the arrogance and xenophobia that have blinded us to successful models developed abroad.

My question is, can we have a strong educational system if we don't believe in truth? A shared vision, at least?

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Nick Bradbury makes the software I use to read blogs, FeedDemon. He's quite a smart cookie, and here he's talking about making RSS software more open, so we can move our preferences from one to another. Not quite as smart as Irving Wladaswky-Berger, but I can also type his name without consulting my priest.

. . .

(He's Polish.)

A beautiful cathedral renovatoin

Almost intented as an insult to the Rog Mahol.

Andrew has found a fascinating article on abortion, Down syndrome, and genetic testing

MIA PETERSON is not a fan of tests. Because she has Down syndrome, she says, she cannot always think as fast as she would like to and tests end up making her feel judged. A recent driving test, for instance, ended in frustration.

Ms. Peterson, 31, the chief of self-advocacy for the National Down Syndrome Society, prefers public speaking and travel. And her test aversion extends to the latest one designed to detect Down in a fetus. "I don't want to think like we're being judged against," Ms. Peterson said. "Not meeting their expectations."

One man's "defect" is another man's sister. Or wife. Or son. Or my cousin.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Maddox doesn't like Idaho very much




Crazy books

Sometimes you have to face up to weird things.

Suppose I recommended that you read a particular book--let's call it Book X--that has all kinds of sick stuff in it. It's got murder and rape and homosexuality and prostitution and adultery and the dismemberment of corpses and decapitation and driving spikes through people's heads and stabbing people in the gut so that the contents of their intestines comes out. It also has a lot of weird stuff in it, like trees that talk and animals that talk and dragons and monsters composed of mixed-up body parts of other animals. It's also got occult stuff in it: witches and mediums and demonic possessions and people who read books of magic.

You might very well ask why I would recommend this book to you given all the sick and weird and occult stuff in it.

"Why on earth should Book X ever be recommended to Catholics?" you might want to know.

Well, because it's the Bible.

The Pope calling it like it is

And taking decisive action.

ROMA, November 18, 2005 – The bishops have come to realize that every time they meet Benedict XVI, alone or as a group, they must be ready for anything: accolades, rebukes, surprises.

One example of a collective accolade is the one the pope extended to the Italian bishops’ conference.

. . .

The conference was already set for 2007, but the place and the exact date remained to be determined. The four bishops were prepared to hold it in Rome, in order to ensure the pope’s participation in the work.

But Benedict XVI said to them all of a sudden: “It will be held in Brazil,” and immediately asked what the country’s most venerated Marian shrine is. “The Aparecida,” they replied. And the pope: “In Brazil, at the Aparecida, in May. I’ll be there.”

The four cardinals were taken completely by surprise. And so were the leaders of the Roman curia – the pope hadn’t discussed the matter with any of them. What induced Benedict XVI to choose Brazil may have been what Cardinal Hummes said at the synod a few days earlier:

“The number of Brazilians who declare themselves Catholics has diminished rapidly, on an average of 1% a year. In 1991 Catholic Brazilians were nearly 83%, today and according to new studies, they are barely 67%. We wonder with anxiety: how long will Brazil remain a Catholic country? In conformity with this situation, it has been found that in Brazil there are two Protestant pastors for each Catholic priest, and the majority from the Pentecostal Churches. Many indications show that the same is true for almost all of Latin America and here too we wonder: how long will Latin America remain a Catholic continent?”

But the choice of the Aparecida also left the four cardinals speechless. That is indeed the most frequently visited shrine in Brazil, but it is located in an isolated part of the state of San Paolo, and it lacks the structures capable of hosting a large-scale continental congress.

But none of the four cardinals dared to object. The pope had decided, and his reasons were all too clear. He has at heart a vigorous renewal of the Catholic faith on the Latin American continent, and symbols are very valuable in this regard.

There’s time to build a convention center on the plain of the Aparecida, until May of 2007.


Friday, November 18, 2005

The House of Lords

I feel as if they should have a more signifcant role in government, or be eliminated entirely. It seems to me that, like the Soverign, they are there mostly because the British are reluctant to change, not because the British think the Lords should have any power. I think I'm in favor of stronger Lords, much as I am in favor of a strong Senate, to act as a check on the power of the people, if such a thing can be imagined. After all, democratic decisions aren't always good decisions.

The Creed. In Hebrew.

Thank you to AHC for posting this.

Ani Maamin belohim ekhad
haav hakol-yakhol, bore shamayim vaaretz,kol-hagaluy
v'khol-hasamuy.uvadon ekhad, yeshua hamashiakh, ben yakhid lelohim,
asher noled min haav lifne kol-hadorot.
el meel, or meor. el emet meel emet. lo nivra ki im mulad, atzmo
etzem haav, v'al yado naasah hakol.
baavurenu, b'ney haadam, ulmaan yishenu yarad min hashamayim.
v'nihyah basar meruakh hakodesh b'rekhem miriam hab'tulah v'naasah
adam. v'nitzlav l'maanenu, saval biyme pontziyus piylatos v'nikbar.
uvayom hashlishi kam litkhiyah kidvar hakayuv v'alah hashamaymah v'
hu yoshev limin haav. v'shuv yashuv b'hod lishpot et hakhayim v'et
hametim v'lo yihyeh ketz l'malkhuto.
vaani maamin b'ruakh hakodesh, haadon, hamkhayeh, hanovea mehaav
umehaben. lo sogdim v'lo notnim y'kar k'laav ukhlaben, v'hu asher
diber b'fi hanaviim. vaani maamin baknesiyah haakhat, hak'doshah,
hakatolit vhashlikhit.
vaani modeh batvilah haakhat limkhilat hakhataim umtzpeh litkhyat
hametim ulkhayey haolam haba. amen

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's abortion, but don't call it that or I'll get upset.

"'Wednesday,' I replied, and then hurriedly got off the phone. I called Mike, my boyfriend, in tears, complaining about how inconsiderate people are, how no one thinks before they speak. The truth was, until I heard the word 'abortion,' it hadn't occurred to me that I was actually having one.

"I was, of course. But we'd been using euphemisms for days, ever since my doctor called to say my amniocentesis results 'weren't good.' We'd say 'when we go to the hospital' or 'the appointment' or 'after the procedure, we can try again.'"

Ah yes, the truth. How inconsiderate.


I have nothing but respect for Miles Davis. After what I've been readin through this course, it seems like not only was he a classy guy, generally speaking, but I respect him creatively as well. There are some key things that we seem to have in common. This, however, does not negate the obvious fact that he was used as the inspiration for the hunter species in 'Predator'. And I hope that one day his influence on both the action and science fiction genres of film will be recognized by our supposed higher scholars.

A Mega Jesus for a Mega Church.

I have already thought of about a half a dozen one liners for this picture such as:

"Would somebody please give that guy a hand?"
"Christian American art achieves new proportions!"

Okay that's enough. Feel free to add some captions of your own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Today is the Feast of St. Gertrude

Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great
Our Lord dictated the following prayer to St. Gertrude the Great to release 1,000 Souls from Purgatory each time it is said.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

St. Gertrude the Great, a Cistercian nun, is one of the most lovable German saints from medieval times, and through her writings she will remain for all ages a guide to the interior life. She was born in 1256 at Eisleben and at the age of five taken to the convent at Rossdorf, where Gertrude of Hackeborn was abbess. Similarity in name has often occasioned confusion between the two Gertrudes. Our St. Gertrude never functioned as superior.

In spite of much ill-health, Gertrude used her exceptional natural talents well, knew Latin fluently. When she was twenty-five years old (1281), Christ began to appear to her and to disclose to her the secrets of mystical union. Obeying a divine wish, she put into writing the favors of grace bestowed upon her. Her most important work, Legatus Divinae Pietatis, "The Herald of Divine Love," is distinguished for theological profundity, sublime poetry, and unusual clarity. How it stimulates love of God can be felt only by reading it; Abbot Blosius is said to have read it twelve times each year. St. Gertrude died in 1302, more consumed by the fire of God's love than by fever.

Some observations about the human person

Why are we so drawn to the idea of a college education "paid" for with student loans? Why the dream of retiring at age 40? Why are the most popular work-at-home scams the ones that promise lots of money for only a few hours of effort? It's because we don't want to work for it. We want education, wealth and success handed to us.

Sowell draws the graphs

Or, don't talk about a social question until you actually sit down and think out if your answer makes sense. The wonderful world of labor economics.

Many people are blaming the riots in France on the high unemployment rate among young Muslim men living in the ghettoes around Paris and elsewhere. Some are blaming both the unemployment and the ghettoization on discrimination by the French.

Plausible as these explanations may sound, they ignore economics, among other things.

Let us go back a few generations in the United States. We need not speculate about racial discrimination because it was openly spelled out in laws in the Southern states, where most blacks lived, and was not unknown in the North.

Yet in the late 1940s, the unemployment rate among young black men was not only far lower than it is today but was not very different from unemployment rates among young whites the same ages. Every census from 1890 through 1930 showed labor force participation rates for blacks to be as high as, or higher than, labor force participation rates among whites.

Why are things so different today in the United States — and so different among Muslim young men in France? That is where economics comes in.

See Our Lady of Fatima in New York while there is still time!

The world-famous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was sculpted in 1947 by Jose Thedim, based on the description of Sr. Lucia, one of the three young seers who saw Our Lady each month from May to October 1917 in Fatima, Portugal.

On October 13, 1947, in the presence of some 150,000 pilgrims, the statue was blessed by the Bishop of Leiria at Fatima, Portugal to be the pilgrim, the traveler.

Sent out to bring the Message of Fatima to the world, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue has traveled the world many times, visiting more than 100 countries, including Russia and Red China, bringing the great message of hope, "the peace plan from heaven," to millions of people. Many miracles and signal graces are reported wherever the statue travels including shedding tears many times.

In 1951, Pope Pius XII remarked: "In 1946, we crowned Our Lady of Fatima as Queen of the World and the next year, through Her Pilgrim Statue, She set forth as though to claim Her dominion, and the favors She performs along the way are such that we can hardly believe what we are seeing with our eyes."

Or maybe going royalist

They really don't like kings there do they.

Vatican, Nov. 15 ( - Victor-Emmanuel of Savoy, the prince of Naples and heir to the Italian throne, paid a courtesy call on Cardinal Angelo Sodano (bio - news), the Vatican Secretary of State, on November 15, the I Media news service reports.

Victor-Emmanuel is the son of Humbert II, the last king of Italy. He left the country in 1946 when his father went into exile, at the proclamation of the Italian republic. Since the death of Humbert II in 1983, Victor-Emmanuel has been the head of the House of Savoy.

The former royal family lived in exile for 56 years, being barred from entry into Italy under a portion of the Italian constitution that was finally abrogated in July 2001. In 2002 the Savoy family made its first visit back to Italy, meeting Pope John Paul II (bio - news). Today Victor-Emmanuel lives outside Geneva.

Article XIII of the Italian constitution adopted in 1948 stipulates that no descendant of the House of Savoy can vote or occupy public office, and direct descendants of the former king were barred from Italian soil. After that passage of the constitution was amended, Emmanuel-Philibert de Savoy, the son of Victor-Emmanual and grandson of King Humbert, married the French actress Clotilde Coureau in a elaborate ceremony held in Rome in September 2003.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Italy shaping up?

The motherland.

The Pope wrote that "Italian national cohesion" should be built upon "a core sense of values around which the different ideological and political positions can converge." That core in turn must reflect reverence for the human person, he said, inviting the Italian government to join the Holy See in "the noble commitment" to defend human life and human rights. Pope Benedict noted that the Italian legislative body honors the memory of the late John Paul II, largely because of his outspoken defense of the same moral principles. With his address to the Italian lawmakers on November 14, 2002, Pope John Paul had become the first Pope to enter the Italian legislative assembly. During his 47-minute speech, he touched on some of the most critical themes in Italian public life, including the treatment of prisoners in the country's jails, the conflict with terrorism, and the demographic decline of the Italian nation. The late Pope also pointed out that it is difficult to make sense of Italy's cultural heritage without acknowledging the central role of Christianity.

Victims, victims everywhere

My addition:

Columbia College students victimized by incompetent professors. Wait, this actually happens.

Monday, November 14, 2005


I forgot International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church 2005 was yesterday. They say the greatest honor is to be persecuted and die a martyr, but it sure ain't easy. That's reason enough to pray for those who are persecuted.

Luckily the Acton Institute remembered-

The one comfort that privileged Christians can offer those of our brothers and sisters who are suffering beyond intercessory prayer is a word of reassurance and hope. We are told by the Lord that along with the apostles we will suffer rejection from the world and persecution at the hands of others (Luke 21:12–19), but he says that “By standing firm you will gain life.” Indeed, we honor and pray for the sacrifice of our fellow Christians, realizing at the same time that they are storing up for themselves “treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20 NIV)

I've been thinking a lot about this issue- especially the Church in China after reading about it from the many articles from the Angry Twins, this is their latest on Ignatius Cardinal Kung.-

Here's what I found-

The cell is only 20' by 20' and occupied by 40 prisoners. One of these prisoners is a Chinese underground church pastor in his mid-40s, sentenced to a three-year prison term for preaching the Gospel of Christ. At 5:30 a.m., after being allowed four hours of sleep, a swift blow awakens him to his back from the boot of a communist prison guard. Pastor Stephen is allowed to have one of the two bowls of soup that will be his food for the day including the one small steamed roll he is given each day, he will consume perhaps 500 calories.

Now all 40 prisoners are taken to a room and put in two lines facing each other and forced to kneel. In front of each prisoner is placed a box containing unassembled Christmas lights. The guard viciously barks out the command and Pastor Stephen quickly grabs the empty strings of lights and begins to assemble them. He takes the tiny individual light bulbs and threads the two small metal wires extending from the glass through the plastic holder and bends them into place. Before long, his fingers are raw and bleeding. Then he puts the bulb into the fitting on the string of lights and clamps it into place with his teeth, as prisoners are not allowed tools. His quota for the day - 5000 bulbs. Work will continue for 16 to 20 hours or all night if necessary. If the guards are unsatisfied with the speed or quality of the work, he will be beaten mercilessly. Such is a normal workday for this humble servant of God.

When he is taken back to his cell, he recalls the many verses of Scripture he has memorized and thanks God for His faithfulness in spite of the hardship. Then quietly he begins to sing worship songs he has hidden away in his heart and he begins to pray for the well being of his family. Tears of thanksgiving begin to roll down his face as he ponders how blessed he is to be considered worthy to suffer for Christ. Blessed because he is a part of the underground Church of China - the largest Church in the world, numbering over 80 million believers. A Church that is vibrant and passionate and deep in the things of God. A Church that is paying a great price for this great turning to God with persecution and suffering.

According to Adam Graham -
The Underground Church does not want us to boycott Christmas lights. The information that was conveyed to David Hunt of World Serve is that the Chinese government is going to have them make something. They just want us to use these Christmas lights as a reminder for us to pray that they would be faithful in their sufferings and that God would care for their families.

Besides giving money to these people one can-

For Pastors in Prison, pray that:
an extra provision of rice or bread will be given to them.
they can resist temptations to deny the Lord in exchange for food and comforts.
they are able to effectively witness to other prisoners and guards.
the hearts of those who persecute them will be filled with compassion and turn to Jesus Christ.

For the families of persecuted pastors, pray that:
a sense of safety will calm their spirits
clothing, food, and shelter will be provided to them.
families will be able to stay together.
the children will recognize their parent’s love for Christ.

For the house churches, pray that:
their ministries continue to flourish even when their pastor is in prison.
their meetings will be uninterrupted, and new believers will feel safe coming.
the secret training schools in caves and hidden in villages will not be discovered by authorities.

If you want a more Catholic approach to helping the Chruch in China, here's The Kung Foundation's Site


I don't know why but I find this Mark Shea post tragically funny.

Sarah Lawrence graduate to play Karol Wojtyla!

Cary Elwes '84 will portray Pope John Paul II in a miniseries scheduled to air on CBS December 4 and 7. The four-hour Pope John Paul II features two actors portraying the pope: Elwes portrays Karol Wojtyla's spiritual journey in his young adult years in Poland, while Jon Voight takes over the role after Wojtyla becomes pope.

Even the National Trust is Taking Notice

The Catholic Churches of Boston get on the 11 most Endangered list of 2005.

Another Cause I can Support

In December 2003, New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp wrote, “The refusal of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold hearings on the future of 2 Columbus Circle is a shocking dereliction of public duty. Unacceptable in itself, this abdication also raises the scary question of what other buildings the commission might choose to overlook in the future.”

According to the National Trust-

Created by architect Edward Durell Stone, who also designed Washington's famed Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 Columbus Circle is a nationally recognized - albeit controversial - icon of the Modern Movement. Sporting a marble skin, porthole windows and a street-level arcade that critics have likened to a row of lollipops, the unorthodox building is radically different from the glass-and-steel boxes typical of its era.

Now it is slated to be sold and renovated as a permanent home for the Museum of Arts and Design. That's the good news; the bad news is that the design proposed for the new use would strip 2 Columbus Circle of its architectural integrity, and since it is not protected by New York's preservation ordinance, these changes could be made without any kind of preservation review. This means that unless the new owner can be persuaded of the building's significance, sweeping architectural changes could rob 2 Columbus Circle of its distinctive character and rob America of an engagingly quirky icon of the recent past.

Heard this On the Radio and Was Appalled

This is why I don't believe in Farm Subsidies-
The felons are a small group of farmers who falsely claim that weather ruined their crops so they can collect the insurance. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says they cheated the U.S. Treasury and insurance companies out of $160 million last year. An NPR investigation reveals this crime is growing in size and complexity, while some insurance companies look the other way.

Interviews with 50 individuals in eight states -- investigators, prosecutors, farmers, watchdogs and government regulators -- reveal a culture of cheating that has grown up among a small group of farmers who exploit the nation's government-backed crop insurance program. The program was tailor-made for fraud.

Chambers says he bought a bag of cocktail ice and a disposable camera, and, on his boss's order, created a foul-weather tableau. "The way we did it, we was down taking pictures, out this row, and then we just stood behind it and throwed the ice over the top. To me, it looked like a hailstorm," says Chambers.

To complete the scene of devastation, they then picked up wooden tomato stakes and attacked the unsuspecting vegetables. "They had one Mexican who did all the beating, he beat every 16,000 of them. He'd just go through there and knock the leaves off of them," says Chambers, as he illustrates the activity with a long stick. "It made it look like where the hail had beat it up."

To understand the crime, you've got to know who the players are.

The farmer buys an insurance policy that provides partial coverage -- usually 50 to 60 percent -- for the crop he expects to raise.

The insurance agent sells him the policy.

The loss adjustor is dispatched to inspect the field if the farmer claims a disaster.

If the disaster is confirmed, the crop insurance company sends the farmer a check.

And the U.S. Treasury, which guarantees the riskiest farm insurance, often reimburses the insurance company.

And there's one more player: the federal prosecutor. In this case, Richard Edwards was the prosecutor who blew the whistle on the farmers, the agent and the adjustor.

Small Dead Animals
points out the worst of it-

It gets better. Not only does the US Treasury back insurers in the risky business, the USDA subsidizes premiums.

The government is so generous with crop insurance that it subsidizes farmers' premiums. Edwards says the USDA paid the Warrens more than $2 million to help them insure their tomatoes. He compares it to the following hypothetical situation: "Every year a bank gets robbed and they notice the bank robber is using an old getaway car and they ask, 'Would you like a car loan to have a nicer getaway car next year when you come to rob us?' Because the government is subsidizing the farmer's ability to defraud us for the coming season."

Ha. How regal.


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Sed Contra for the link.

I'm screwed next semester

My prof:

My worst academic experience. Pay 200% attention during lectures if you are taking his class since nothing he teaches in lectures will be found in the textbooks. Never buy the textbook he assigned since I have never used it once. Professor Rubenstein seems to be a very smart person and he gets annoyed with questions. Don't take his class if you have problems getting up. He always has 9:00am classes, hws are due at the beginning of the class and LATE assignments are never accepted, even if you arrive 30 seconds after the lecture has started. Homeworks are very very difficult, so are exams. you are doing really well if you get above 70% in HWs. Midterms and final scores usually averaged around ~ 40%.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Tolle et Lege, Ma'am

Along ths same lines as the earlier post:

Penguin Classics, the paperback volumes with the familiar black spine and the orange and black penguin logo, are known to generations of former students who struggled through Dickens and dozed through Henry James in school. While plenty of competitors also sell collections of classics, including Random House (Modern Library, Everyman's Library and Bantam Classics), Oxford University Press (World Classics), the Library of America and Barnes & Noble, arguably none is as instantly recognizable or as renowned as the Penguin Classics.

"It's hard to think of a rival," said Harold Bloom, the author, professor and literary critic who extolled his love of literature in "The Western Canon" and "How to Read and Why." "The Penguin collection has enormous range and comprehensiveness."

Not since Penguin started the collection in 1946, however, has anyone been able to easily compile or purchase a complete set of the books, which range from ancient Greek poetry to the novels of Thomas Pynchon and include the complete works of Shakespeare, four translations of the "Iliad," 20 volumes each of the works of Henry James and Dickens. (The complete list can be found at by searching for "Penguin Classics Library.")

"We'd always wanted to sell them together, but it was always an issue of how could we sell all of the books in a single bookstore," said Tim McCall, Penguin's director of online sales and marketing, noting that most bookstores carry only a few hundred titles in the series. "Finally the Internet became mature enough to give us the ability to display all the books and to reach an audience out there that might want them."

Ms. Gursky's collection arrived in mid-September packed in 25 boxes, shrink-wrapped on a pallet and weighing nearly 700 pounds. Since then, Ms. Gursky has spent countless hours unpacking, shelving, categorizing, alphabetizing and rearranging the books. Oh, yes - and reading; she said she had completed more than 30 of the books in the last eight weeks. Even at that rather remarkable pace, it would take her about six years to make her way through the entire collection.

Using Books lists a few that aren't on the list.

You know I was reading about this and supposedly these puppies used to sell for only 30p, which is less than $1... talk about inflation.

Christmas gift?

Read the story. It's pretty cool. It's not actually complete though.

However, I do have a post that has a little too much of . . . well . . .

snobbishness begins concurretly with the genesis of history. in the biblical (quick side note, the word "judeo-christian" is such a fallacy and used by people who can't separate text from context) creation story, God, gives the entire garden of eden to his humans, adam and eve. however, the tree of knowledge/tree of life were not to be touched or sampled. the right to special privileges is born. from then on, we establish cities with their classes and their ruling powers and caste systems. also, especially in the hellenistic times, elite relgious movements claiming ultimate truth are founded, holding special appeal to it members for their salvation. and this trend continues all the way down through history, highlighting in the colonial movements and feeling its first twinges of threat in the advent of the american revolution, arguably the first instance of "post-colonialism." the classless society has been imagined, although a serious consideration must be payed to the advent of the printing press as well, disseminating knowledge to others than the elite. america does indeed adopt the media and it ends up both helping and harming the snobbish cause.

I'm not sure why "Judeo-Christian" implies an inability to seperate text from context. It seems like it works fine to me, re JPII's analysis of the situation.

Sorry for the lack of posting

My internet connection is down. However, as you may have noticed Justine has posted an article. It's easier than me posting what she emails me.

Justine's first post: a book recommendation

I want to recommend The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal. The first half of the book is a story in which a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp is asked for forgiveness from an SS Nazi on his deathbed. The story was so compelling that I read the hundred page tale in one sitting and then found myself submerged in deep thought for a long time as I struggled to answer the question posed to the reader in the last sentence.

The second half of the book is a collection of essays by various theologians, politicians, philosophers, and writers (such as Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and Harold Kushner) in response to Wiesenthal's story.

Before reading this book I had not thought about what forgiveness essentially is; it was a concept I had taken for granted. Truly it is worth a deep examination so that we can exercise forgiveness in a more meaningful way.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The new features of very boring programs

Or, how I keep busy when I'm not doing homework

The Himmler family

Frau Himmler, a political scientist, is the great-niece of Heinrich Himmler, head of Hitler’s SS and mastermind of the concentration camp system that murdered millions of Jews.

She is married to an Israeli whose family was confined to the Warsaw ghetto, which was burned to the ground by troopers acting on her great-uncle’s orders.

Sometime soon her son will have to be told of the 20th-century tragedy that is part of his heritage. Katrin Himmler, 38, has tackled the problem by writing an account of the family which she will give to her son as soon as he is old enough to read.

She has used the stories of her extended family to produce a fresh portrait of the SS chief who became the Third Reich’s second most powerful man.

Die Bruder Himmler (The Himmler Brothers) published by Fischer Verlag, shows Himmler as a member of a normal German family, loved, respected and admired by his relatives who were aware of at least some of his crimes. It supplies the missing link between the man — the lover, hypochondriac and chicken farmer — and the monster.

The Messiah and Divorce

Message: 1
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 12:04:40 -0600
From: "Rick Conason"
Subject: RE: Marriage, Divorce and Unconditional Love

Dear Richard,

I've been away for a week so just saw this email, and being that I work
primarily in the field of marriage your comments in this area are
naturally of interest to me. And, I think you are definitely on the right
track here. As you say, "A second wife could not truly be a wife, for her
place as wife has already been taken, the perfection and completion of
human being that occurs through marriage has been achieved," although for
the sake of completeness I would point out that this is only true while
the first wife is still alive. If the wife dies then the "oneness" is now
gone and the husband can create a new oneness with another woman.

When you get to the part where you ask, "But, you might ask, why shouldn't
a person be able to love many--even all--people with an unconditional
love? Is that highest love limited to married couples?," however, I think
your analysis goes a little astray.

First, one's "highest" love is never the love for a fellow human being but
rather one's love for God. Second, all love is not the same, so there can
be different kinds of "unconditional" love, i.e., the love for one's
children as opposed to the love of one's spouse. Third, when focusing
only on marital love then it is true that unconditional love can only be
given to one person, because once a third person enters into the
relationship the love by its very nature ceases being unconditional -- it
is now divided. And of course, if it were possible for 3 people to become
one flesh then by necessity two of those people would be of the same sex
so one would be condoning homosexual marriage which is strictly forbidden
by Scripture and Tradition. That is why this paragraph

>>Of course not, but the capacity for that love is a grace. It comes
the sacraments of baptism and, for those whose unconditional love is
directed to another person (a husband or a wife) marriage. But for those
whose unconditional love is directed to Gd, it comes through the
sacraments of baptism and Holy Orders. For to commit oneself to loving Gd
unconditionally is to commit oneself to loving every man unconditionally:
"Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me" (Matt. 18:5)

is misleading. Everybody is required to direct unconditional love to God,
not just those in Holy Orders. It is just that the type of love directed
towards God is different than that directed towards one's spouse.

With respect to your comments about

>>Jewish tradition regards the prohibitions of the Torah as establishing a
spiritual bottom line. The Torah does not forbid divorce, and not even
polygamy because, while they do not represent a spiritual ideal, they do
not violate that bottom line.

>>The Torah permits divorce , it seems, in order to regulate marriages
are not true marriages, marriages of the sort which can, without
contradiction, bond a man to many women. A man who loves his wife
unconditionally will never divorce her.

I would suggest that the whole question about the Torah permitting divorce
can only be understood within the context of the traditions of Shammai and
Hillel. And the reason that the Church's current teaching about divorce
is even more strict than Shammai would have set it is because the actual
Messiah that came is even greater than that expected by the Jews so He can
help us live this even stricter rule. Oh, and divorce cannot regulate
"marriages that are not true marriages," because if a marriage is not a
"true marriage" then it is not a marriage at all.

Finally, the Church does not forbid divorce, "because the sacrament of
marriage confers a grace that establishes unconditional love between
husband and wife, or, at least, potential for that love, so that all
marriages are true marriages. Therefore, there is no place for divorce."
It forbids divorce only and strictly because that is what Jesus taught in
Scripture. Also, it is not at all true that the Church declares the
nullity of a marriage (it never "nullifies" a marriage), because the
unconditional love which creates a marriage was absent. Unconditional
love is not an essential element of a valid marriage or a criteria for
judging whether a valid marriage ever came into being. Unconditional love
is indeed a vital element if one is to experience the fullest expression
of the marital bond, but validity is judged by the lowest definition of
marriage not the highest.

Deacon Rick

Friday, November 11, 2005

The two holidays today

Armistice Day, which honors the official end of World War I on November 11, 1918, falls on the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a pagan soldier who gave up his military career upon becoming a Christian. (Martin Luther, whose birthday was November 10, was baptized on November 11 and given the name of the saint whose feast fell on his baptismal day.) After World War II, the name of Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in the United States.

I always thought Windows had the aura of prostitution about it

The Gates Foundation grant was designated "to determine the factors contributing to the success of" a particular "HIV/AIDS prevention project in Calcutta, India, and design training materials for use in other settings" according to the foundation's annual report in 2002. But according to the agency document, the DMSC acts as a sort of union for prostitutes and has financial incentives to protect prostitution from government interference and resist efforts to curb human trafficking.

C-FAM reports that the federal agency document it has obtained says that many of the members of DMSC are older ex-prostitutes who have paid off their debts to traffickers and brothel owners and are unable to attract new customers. These members become madams or brothel owners themselves and rely on revenues generated by children newly brought into the brothel system. DMSC distributes benefits to older members based on money generated by the profitable underage Indian prostitutes. Thus, the agency document says, DMSC has "a strong incentive to maintain this heinous trade as part of its 'revenue sharing' scheme."

Mainframes are forever

Not to mention a girl's best friend.

The IBM Mainframe is more than 40 years old, having been announced in April 1964. I have personally been associated with it for the better part of that time. In 1977, upon returning from a sabbatical to the Watson Research Center where I was a research staff member in Computer Sciences, I joined a project aimed at exploring what it would take to design a mainframe 20-times faster than our then-fastest machine, which ran at all of 5 MIPS (millions of instructions per second.).

Since then, many have predicted that the mainframe was dying and would soon disappear, some because they were competitors hoping to get customers to replace the mainframe with their product, others because they truly could not imagine anything this "old" still having value in an industry where new things show up at such an incredible rate.

I myself often wondered what it was about the IBM mainframe that kept it going while most other computer platforms from the '50s, '60s and '70s are long gone. These musings are no mere academic exercise -- certainly not from IBM's point of view. The more we understand what has kept mainframes going, the better prepared we will be to keep them going well into the future. And the more we understand them, the better prepared we will be to maintain the increasingly sophisticated and complex infrastructures which, like the mainframe, are not likely to be replaced anytime soon -- the Internet, World Wide Web and Grids, for example.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Newspaper death?

Is this true?

According to recent surveys of newspaper readership, you are not reading your daily newspaper. You get your news from somewhere else — the Internet, talk radio, an alien satellite that pipes everything through your fillings, the guy at the coffee shop who can't shut up about Dick Cheney.

No one is reading newspapers. Not even the people who make the newspaper. Even its traditional markets — cat-box liner, packing for glassware when you move — have been taken over by new alternatives. (You can pack your glassware in cat-box litter, for example.) Newspapers are dead.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Donkeys and Abortion

At stake is the right to abortion — in China. And so the feminist left and Democrats in this country are mobilizing to oppose the nomination of Ellen Sauerbrey as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. Among Sauerbrey's sins is her support for the Bush administration's policy of denying U.S. dollars to the U.N. Population Fund because that organization is entangled with China's abortion-dependent one-child policy.

Muslim rampage not about poverty, but Western weakness


Now, two weeks into the appalling explosion of violence in Europe (and the equally appalling French governmental passivity in the face of such violence), most of the world's media treats this huge event as the third or fourth story on the evening news. From the BBC and CNN to the major newspapers of the world, the story is underreported and mis-reported. On Monday, the Washington Post was still not reporting the story on the front page.

The big networks have consistently given only headline coverage to the story. I was in Russia last week (lecturing and doing media on my book) and actually timed the BBC coverage of the French Muslim violence story at about a minute and a half, while in the same broadcast the post-Pakistani earthquake relief story was given over 15 minutes. CNN International proportioned their coverage similarly.

Soon, the violence of the last two weeks will be seen as the opening of an event of world-historic significance.

I recently learned that today is Pro-choice day at Wellesley College

Let me note for the record that this makes about as much sense as one of the Roman universities having a Catholic awareness day. I.E. it seems to be a opportunity for self back-patting and little else.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Europe and war

Thanks to Jimmy Akin for the link.

I suspect Doomed0 has some inflammatory comments about this article. Just wait until I post the next one in the series.

Because it's Election Day

I've put up some "Vote or Die" comics. Here's another. Ok so they may not be too supportive on voting as a whole, but they sure make fun of those P. Diddy shirts.


To view and learn about.

Our Religion is Gothier than Yours

I found this so pleasantly amusing.

So are these people like the Visigoths? They were Catholic right?

Squach wakes up in the middle of the night

I've been on vacation for two days, and I've been able to read some interesting stuff again, in particular "The Mythical Man-Month".

I realized how dull and boring I've become by being overwhelmed by TAs who change the fundamentals of an assignment 36 hours before they're due and advisors who change your graduation requirements the semester before you graduate. Therefore I have resolved no longer to care about such things.

Refreshing. Let's see if I can keep it up.

Check this out.

A correction. I can't find my post however, can someone track this down for me?

Dear Squach:

I came across your blog while searching for people who might be interested in a project some friends and I put together to revive the fiction of Robert Hugh Benson, Reviewing your postings, however, I found your posting of 21 July 2004 re. Culture Wars weird obsession with "the Jews." I myself and the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ"), were trashed this past May (with a large number of references to "the Jews" that had nothing to do with the subject of the article), and recently I came in contact with Dr. Philip Blosser and his family who, as converts, were singled out for the treatment in the September issue (probably crypto Jews). I then became curious and began looking around the blogosphere. Holy cow.

Culture Wars' primary issue with CESJ is our "Just Third Way," which we posit as a viable alternative to both capitalism and socialism. Unfortunately, Dr. E. Michael Jones' (editor of CW) economic advisor is Dr. Rupert J. Ederer, professor emeritus of economics, Buffalo State University, New York, and Dr. Ederer is a socialist. He rejects Catholic teaching that private property is a natural right that must be regarded as sacred (Rerum Novarum), and considers it "merely prudential," i.e., determined by the State. Oy.

Our current project is a proposal to finance the rebuilding of the areas affected by Katrina and Rita in a manner consistent with Catholic social teaching and without putting everything on the backs of the taxpayers, which flies directly in the face of the anti-everything stance of Culture Wars:

The proposal is based on principles detailed in our book, Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen, available as a free download from the web site. Capital homesteading is derived from the social doctrine of Pius XI, particularly as found in Quadragesimo Anno and Divini Redemptoris, and the economic justice ideas of Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler in their books, The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists (1961). Despite the titles, what Kelso and Adler discuss is the antithesis of both capitalism and socialism.

I invite you to look over the material on the web site. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail either me or Dr. Norman G. Kurland, CESJ's president, at

Michael D. Greaney
Director of Research
Center for Economic and Social Justice

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thought to ponder

What is Unitarianism? Is it a religion? They don't seem to have beliefs. Or actions. So you don't do anything. And you don't think anything. No doctrine. No practice. So what makes one a UU?

For my first trick

JWR has an article about a book. It's called a "book review".

Religion is not entirely irrelevant to suicide terrorism, in Pape's view, but what matters most is not the particular faith but whether it happens to differ from that of the occupier. Conflict that crosses a religious divide, he writes, "makes demonization, and therefore killing, of enemy civilians easier" and makes it possible to redeem "suicides that would otherwise be taboo." As Pape emphasizes, such ideas are not unique to Islam. His database includes groups that adhere to several different creeds, all of which embrace some version of martyrdom.

Indeed, Pape tries to prove mathematically that there is no special connection between Islam and terrorism. In one statistical analysis, he divides 66 known al-Qaeda suicide terrorists into groups based on national origin. Comparing these nation-by-nation tallies with the total number of Muslims in each country who are known to be influenced by Salafism — the fundamentalist creed embraced by al Qaeda and other Sunni Islamist terrorist groups — he finds no significant statistical relationship between the two.

. . .

As for Pape's effort to prove his thesis mathematically, it in fact proves nothing. Like all statistical results, his are only as reliable as the assumptions built into the underlying model. In this case, as any informed observer of the Middle East would know, the assumptions are not credible.

In a nutshell, Pape starts with the premise that all "Salafist-influenced" citizens in Sunni nations should exhibit an equal chance of becoming suicide bombers. Since Saudi Arabia accounts for 52 percent of the 66 al-Qaeda terrorists under study, but only 8 percent of the total number of Salafists in Sunni nations, the discrepancy, Pape concludes, must be the result of the U.S. military presence in that country.

But Salafists cannot be treated as interchangeable data points, like so many fruit flies in a jar. For years, and in a manner unparalleled elsewhere in the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia's leaders have systematically indoctrinated their subjects with a sectarian and particularly virulent brand of militant Islam known as Wahhabism (a term sometimes used synonymously with Salafism). Until very recently, state-sponsored preachers openly espoused jihad, and the government paid hundreds of millions of dollars in protection money to al Qaeda. The practice of Christianity is a criminal offense there, and any deviation from the country's official sect is deemed heretical. Obviously, such a nation can be expected to produce far more terrorists per capita than a randomized model would predict.

Just in case you were wondering


If you read the secular papers carefully today, you might have seen
headlines about a Vatican statement defending evolution and rejecting the
theory of intelligent design.

And if you saw those stories, you may wonder why the Vatican statement
isn't covered in today's CWN headlines.

There's an easy explanation: The Vatican made no such statement!

Last Thursday, at a conference in Rome, Cardinal Paul Poupard said that
spoke about the need for mutual respect between scientists and
theologians. CWN carried the story that day. Frankly, it wasn't very

But a few reporters decided that when he said evolutionary theory was
worth discussing, Cardinal Poupard was putting the Holy See on the record
in favor of Darwinism. And a few other enterprising reporters went a step
further, claiming that the statement was a rejection of intelligent
design-- a subject that the cardinal never even mentioned.

- Phil Lawler

Why I have little respect for my county gov't

I'm not sure quite why the county needs a sort of gay rights office, but the knowledge that my tax dollars go to one more morally questionable source is enough to wish many hexes on Spano's election tomorrow.

Thought/Convo of the day

Hmm . . .
Squachameal (11:45:50 AM): looks like me and my mom are getting lunch
Q (11:47:32 AM): ok
Squachameal (11:47:39 AM): but we're getting takeout
Squachameal (11:47:59 AM): from the pelham cafe, one of finest greek-owned diner-like establishments in the county of Westchester
Squachameal (11:48:11 AM): If we live in a county, does that mean Andy Spano is our count?
Q (11:49:16 AM): maybe

Sunday, November 06, 2005

For Justine

Andrew has some New York political questions. You wanna drop down to the combox and help him out?

FT reviews SCOTUS for 2005

A gem:

A notable feature of the majority opinion in Kelo is its straightfaced invocation of legislative deference. It would be presumptuous of the Supreme Court, Justice Stevens argued, to second-guess the considered judgment of local authorities over the details of urban revitalization. Such deference is a laudable concept, but it makes only cameo appearances on the liberal stage. It is strangely absent from the liberal temperament when the subject under review is, for example, the regulation of abortion or the presence of religion in the public square. Legislative deference in such matters suddenly gives way to "strict scrutiny," a self-empowering interpretive rule invented by the Court for those occasions when it wishes to question legislative purpose and its possible adverse effects.

Check out the new header

Yes, that is a rabbit reading First Things.

Let's keep praying for OO

I'm going down my blogroll to pray for people. Yikes.

This does remind me of something. I was reading an issue of some Evangelical magazine one day and this guy was talking about he uses Outlook to improve his prayer life. Every day, he spends 5 or 10 minutes going through the address book, praying for some people, and sending them emails letting them know. I thought it was quite touching.


Doctrines of exclusion and reconciliation

Some more thought-provoking material from Richard R. Yes I am in favor of thinking.

YOU WROTE: During this reconcilliation process, I ask the question... what is the absolute bare minimum that is catholic and the absolute bare minimum that is judaism and start from there.

I take a similar but essentially different approach. The effort to reconcile Christian revelation and Jewish tradition raises the issue of what is essential, but, at the same time, as a firmly committed Orthodox Jew and as a person with a great respect for religious tradition, I would not presume to be capable of discerning what is essential in either Judaism or Christianity. There is a great danger of imposing our own ideas on the tradition when we take upon ourselves the authority to decide what is really Catholc/Jewish and what's not. My approach is to try to intepret both traditions in terms which affirm and justify the traditions while at the same time suggesting an approach to consolidating them into the foundation for a coherent religoius life. My message on doctrines of reconciliation and exlusion was an example of that approach. At the same time, it is clear that some things are more important than others, and that the Church has been influenced in many respects by the Gentile cultures. I often ask myself: how would a member of the Church of Saint James relate to this or that doctrine? Would he understand it? Would it seem alien to him? How would he tie it into his traditinal observance?

YOU WROTE: I also think we should take our place within the eastern rite where marraige for priests is permitted and attempt as much as possible (at least emotionally) to remain within the jewish religious community. I as a caholic jew want the yidishkite that is a part of Yehoshua and that Yaacov (James) belived in.
Richard how do we move within the church and make a place for ourselves that is warm, familiure and jewish?

First of all, by being Jewish! I don't think that a Catholic Judaism can be consolidated by a person who is not committed to either tradition, if only because respect for the authority of tradition is so much part of both Judaism and Catholicism. A person cannot be Catholic or Jewish, and certainly not a Catholic Jew, until he accepts the authority of tradition. That is one of the reasons that I am completely opposed to innovations that are not supported or consistent with Jewish tradition, such as making up blessings or innovations in the liturgy which disregard the halachah. After all, the Book of Acts bears witness that the community of Jewish believers remained zealously devoted to mitzvah observance. They had been the disciples of Jesus. They included individuals whose lives had been transformed by him and by their faith in him. If they are our witnesses to him, they are also our witnesses to the enduring value of Jewish tradition for the Catholic Jew. Indeed, Jesus himself says that he comes to perfect the Torah, i.e., the Catholic Jew keeps the Torah and then perfects his Torah observance through Jesus.

This sort of stuff was a project of mine, when I still had time to think. Those were the days.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Bill's commentary

Or, why reading Alice and Bill was one of my favorite pastimes of days gone by.

The nation's first trial to test the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design as science ended Friday with a lawyer for the Dover school board pronouncing intelligent design "the next great paradigm shift in science." His opponent, a lawyer for the 11 parents suing the school board, was mysteriously struck dumb as he tried to deliver his counterpoint.

No, seriously, he dismissed intelligent design as dishonest, unscientific and based entirely on "a meager little analogy that collapses immediately upon inspection."

The conclusion of the six-week trial in Federal District Court on Friday made it clear that two separate but interconnected entities are actually on trial: the Dover school board and the fledgling intelligent design movement.

Jesus Christ submitted an Amicus Dei brief but could not be reached for comment. Aides claimed He was enjoying a fish dinner, after which He would take a stroll on a nearby lake and left orders not to be disturbed. One aide, who confided on terms of anonimity, said He was quite angered at being referred to as a, "meager little analogy."

Speaking of, Brian Vander Ark on "The Freshman"

Every day I wake up and I realize that I know less than I did the day before. Or rather, I know more, but I realize that it's a lot less than I thought it was.

I was also a freshman, not so long ago, and I thought I had it down. Ha.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Jimmy Akin's map of abortion

To go with the map of religion.

JC's pro-life?

Jimmy Carter, that is.

More West Coast fun

Yay! I don't see why allowing kids to opt out isn't a solution under the judge's logic, however. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Nov. 04 ( - An American pro-family leader has expressed his shock at a federal court ruling that parents have no right to control the education of their children regarding sexuality.

Allan Carlson, the founder of the World Congress of Families, observed that a 9th Circuit Court decision, released earlier this week, essentially argues that "once parents surrender their children to the state education system, the schools can attempt to inculcate attitudes and values which families find abhorrent-- over their strenuous objections."

In the November 2 decision, written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the federal appeals court said: "There is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children."

A Public Service Announcement

Hey guys,

I'm forwarding you some stuff as a reminder to please vote November 8
birthday!) for Tony Castro for DA. Crime is a real issue in Westchester
County and having a person of integrity and experience in the DA office

Remember Nov 8 - my birthday and election day!

David and Blair also please vote for Caitlin Goldschmidt for Pelham Town
Clerk (on the Pelham Action Party Line) for town clerk. I know her
personally and she is an honorable person. Town clerk position is
important because they oversee local elections and take minutes of the
town meetings. If elected she promises to further open up local
by posting the minutes on the internet and clarifying and simplifying
voting process for local elections.

These are going to be close races so every vote does count. I believe a
recent vote for DA came down to about 18 votes in Yonkers.

Thanks. Please remind your family members, friends, and relatives to
as well.

Dave maybe you could post a reminder to folks on your website too.



Thursday, November 03, 2005

Huh? - QOTD

From Slashdot:

Summary says 3 million, the article clearly, even hyperlinked so it's highlighted, says 5 million.


The editors converted it from British Emails into American e-mails. Thus 5 million becomes 3 million.

I didn't expect it to look like this

Keeping busy

Ken's Story: Jewish to Secular to Unitarian to Messianic Jew to Lutheran to Catholic

Note: It's a word document for some reason.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Blessed Dia de Los Muertos to ALL!

It might sound somewhat morbid, but the Mexicans react to death with mourning along with happiness and joy. They look at death with the same fear as any other culture, but there is a difference. They reflect their fear by mocking and living alongside death.

I think that's a very good idea.

We should all do that.

And on another note, here's a panachida from the Eastern Tradition honoring the dead.

Today is All Souls Day


That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
shall heaven and earth in ashes lay,
as David and the Sybil say.

What horror must invade the mind
when the approaching Judge shall find
and sift the deeds of all mankind!

The mighty trumpet's wondrous tone
shall rend each tomb's sepulchral stone
and summon all before the Throne.

Now death and nature with surprise
behold the trembling sinners rise
to meet the Judge's searching eyes.

Then shall with universal dread
the Book of Consciences be read
to judge the lives of all the dead.

For now before the Judge severe
all hidden things must plain appear;
no crime can pass unpunished here.

O what shall I, so guilty plead?
and who for me will intercede?
when even Saints shall comfort need?

O King of dreadful majesty!
grace and mercy You grant free;
as Fount of Kindness, save me!

Recall, dear Jesus, for my sake
you did our suffering nature take
then do not now my soul forsake!

In weariness You sought for me,
and suffering upon the tree!
let not in vain such labor be.

O Judge of justice, hear, I pray,
for pity take my sins away
before the dreadful reckoning day.

You gracious face, O Lord, I seek;
deep shame and grief are on my cheek;
in sighs and tears my sorrows speak.

You Who did Mary's guilt unbind,
and mercy for the robber find,
have filled with hope my anxious mind.

How worthless are my prayers I know,
yet, Lord forbid that I should go
into the fires of endless woe.

Divorced from the accursed band,
O make me with Your sheep to stand,
as child of grace, at Your right Hand.

When the doomed can no more flee
from the fires of misery
with the chosen call me.

Before You, humbled, Lord, I lie,
my heart like ashes, crushed and dry,
assist me when I die.

Full of tears and full of dread
is that day that wakes the dead,
calling all, with solemn blast
to be judged for all their past.

Lord, have mercy, Jesus blest,
grant them all Your Light and Rest.


What's going on in Thinkpad land?

"I have just been billed $953.41 for a new screen on a two-year old laptop," a reader recently wrote. "I have a three-year parts and labor warranty on the T40. My wife and I, who are in are mid- to-late 60's and retired, have been accused by IBM /Lenovo of damaging the screen."

The reader's laptop had long displayed some lemon-like tendencies, but he had assumed he could rely on IBM's warranty. "Back in April I'd had to send it in to IBM's repair facility in Tennessee because it had crashed to a blue screen," the reader wrote. "I went through the diagnostics with the support tech over the phone and they thought it was a problem with motherboard or the video adapter. I don't know what was done specifically, but I got it back in just a few days."

At first the reader thought the laptop was fixed, but then a new problem developed. "Shortly after receiving the machine back I noticed, from time-to-time, a 'blink' every once in a while on the screen," the reader wrote. "After a couple of months it got progressively worse, so much so that the screen started to go black intermittently. After a couple of weeks of this nonsense I called IBM Tech support. We went through all the diagnostics again and everything passed. I then hooked up the laptop to another monitor and saw the screen clearly and there was no 'blackout,' so they concluded it must be the monitor."

Again he was instructed to send the computer to Tennessee. "A few days later I got the call telling me my computer was being held hostage for $953.41 because I damaged it!" the reader wrote. "The gentleman who told me this was not a tech support type - he admitted he was in Atlanta and hadn't seen my computer himself. I guess he's the heavy who is in charge of telling customers their warranty isn't going to be honored."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Someone tell Squach about This

My blog is worth $2,822.70.
How much is your blog worth?

Here's the deal-

October 7, 2005
AOL bought Weblogs inc., the two year old weblog network founded by Jason Calacanis and Brian Alvey, for a number that is rumored to be anywhere between $25 million and $40 million. In this process, Time Warner may be providing some ideas as to the valuation of blogs by traditional media.

The power of the network and links
Many in the blogosphere say that traffic is not a good measure of what blogs are but that conversation, as represented by links and indexes like Technorati, represent a more accurate view of the value of a blog. As a result, I decided to look at how may sites were linking to sites in the WeblogInc empire. Jason and Brian have been doing a great job at building a stable of blogs but it seems a large portion of their success comes from a single blog. Let's dig into the numbers.

In the following table, I took a look at the list of blogs listed on the weblogs Inc. main site and ran the Technorati site numbers against them (duplicate entries in the weblogsinc list were removed as well as entries that pointed to sites which no longer exist).

Someone should also tell O.O. to check this puppy out. He has a goldmine on his hands.

Is the HPV shot unethical?

Groups working to reduce the toll of the cancer are eagerly awaiting the vaccine and want it to become part of the standard roster of shots that children, especially girls, receive just before puberty.

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage. Several leading groups that promote abstinence are meeting this week to formulate official policies on the vaccine.

In the hopes of heading off a confrontation, officials from the companies developing the shots -- Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline -- have been meeting with advocacy groups to try to assuage their concerns.

Can you get HPV from anything other than sex? No. Still, if I had to weigh in on the issue, I think the shot should be available, but not mandatory. Sexually abstinant people would have use for the vaccine, like a person who is marrying someone with previous sexual partners. That's not as uncommon as one would think. I don't think that it's fair to "punish" people with HPV. The damage of premarital sex is bad enough as it is.


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