Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Spanish really have to wake up

Hamas seems to be calling for the return of Seville to the rule of Islam.

Seville? That isn't in Isreal, is it? It's in Spain.

Yes. Spain. And they want it back. I suppose we should return their ancestral lands to them or maybe partition Spain back into its predecessor states.

Mark Shea's ruminations on the Alito affair

I still don't quite understand how senators can ask judges how they would rule on cases that might come before them. That's usually seen as unethical, as I understand it, but in this case it's seen as unethical not to answer it. Have they actually thought about this, or are they just so defensive at legal abortion that they don't care?

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Hamas victory is good news?

The Hamas victory is good news

By Jeff Jacoby

He argues that this is a blast of fresh air, insofar as it's pretty hard to ignore the fact that Hamas is basically a genocidally oriented group. Mr. Jacoby also gives us the quote of the day:

Islamist extremism isn't needed to fix Palestinian hospitals any more than Fascism was needed to make Italian trains run on time in the 1920s.

He demonstrates here his ignorance of Italian culture. I fail to see how anything short of a dictatorship could get them to do anything on time. Or maybe that's not a bright thing to say.

I hope people are listening.

It's a Catholic site in Hebrew

I don't know what it says. But it looks cool.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


To the visitor from Yemen looking for a "free homo show". Egads batman. I should have picked a better name for this thing.

A meditation on the Divine Name

When you experience G-d as Y HVH, but in a healthy way, then you will be selfless, humble, modest, generous, tolerant, forgiving, peaceful, tranquil, calm, easygoing, accepting etc.. You naturally let go and let G-d because you know that you don't exist independent of G-d and that all is in His hands. However, if you experience G-d as Y HVH, but in an unhealthy extreme way, then you will become self-effacing, self-doubting, meek, impersonal, lethargic, dependent, undisciplined, irresponsible, fatalistic, passive, unreliable, lackadaisical, etc. You feel like nothing because you believe that there is nothing but G-d. Subsumed in His overwhelming presence and totally obliterated by His light, you would never experience the joy of being in love. To be in love there has got be a "you" and there has got to be a "me" in order for us to experience the miraculous joy of we. Love cannot be manifest unless the oneness includes a significant other.

Response to Below

Don't you know by now? Sex, gender, and sexuality are three completely different things.

Having known such interesting people as a pluralistic gendered (femme-boi, gay-man, sparkly-girl, just to name a few gender identities) individual who was biologically male but on hormones, who was polyamorous, polysexual, and whose identities varied depending on what day of the week it was, but they finally settled into a monogamous relationship with a trans-man (biologically female) individual.... Let's just say, I've seen it all. (How's that for a run-on sentence, HA!)

Ask your gender? How dare they assume you have a gender? By only asking male, female, or opting out of the question they are still presuming heteronormativity and that is OPPRESSIVE!

They shouldn't ask gender at all, but if they do, it should be a fill in the blank question. "Do you have a current fixed gender identity? If so please explain:_________"

Or maybe they should give a whole paragraph for those who scream "I dare not to fit into your boxes! I dare not to fit into your conception of male and female! I Defy Gender!"

Gender is a social construction, haven't you heard? So is sexuality. Humans are a blank slate and given the right upbringing we will soon see the true natural diversity of gender and sexuality, a veritable rainbow.

Sex, biologically speaking, is also being deconstructed. What about those of us on hormones? What about those of us who have voluntarily removed our sexual organs or breasts or added new ones? What about those of us who have chosen to completely create our own idea of biological sex and are pursuing a new sex identity beyond male and female?

Brave new world? No, no, this is the reality all around us. Soon in sex ed in public school they'll be teaching kids to explore not only their sexuality but their gender and sex identities. In addition to free condoms they'll be handing out free hormones and plastic body part ad-ons.

It's not that far off in the future people.

While filling out a survey for my fine educational institution

I noticed that instead of asking me my sex, they asked my gender. And there were three choices. One for those who choose not to identify with a gender. Not quite sure how that works out.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

B16 in NY?

Baltimore, Jan. 27 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) plans to visit the United States in 2007, Baltimore's Cardinal William Keeler told a radio audience on January 27.

Cardinal Keeler, who recently returned from a visit to Rome, said that he had invited the Pope to visit for the rededication of the city's Assumption basilica in November of this year. He told a WBAL radio audience that Vatican officials had said the Pope would not be able to accept that invitation.

However, the Pope did point to a visit the following year, Cardinal Keeler said. "He is planning to come to the United States next year," he told the radio audience; the cardinal said that a visit to Baltimore would likely be part of the Pope's travel schedule.

That would be most impressive. Perhaps we could extend a personal invitation to Columbia University to him, and he could speak in front of Alma Mater . . .

They say the same thing about Spain, I think

The 9,000-word Hamas charter, written in 1988, is explicit about the struggle for Palestine as a religious obligation. It describes the land as a "waqf," or endowment, saying that Hamas "believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it."

Once Muslim land, always Muslim land, is the idea I think.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Fact of the day

Q: I heard a story a long time ago that around the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. Patent Office closed down, citing the fact that everything that could be invented already had been. Is there any truth to that?! — C.R. Crouse

A: C.R., it's a myth. But a widespread one, springing from a Patent Office commissioner's words.

Veritas. Quid est Veritas?

Google has offered a Chinese-language version of its search engine for years but users have been frustrated by government blocks on the site.

The company is setting up a new site - Google.cn - which it will censor itself to satisfy the authorities in Beijing.

Google argued it would be more damaging to pull out of China altogether.

Damaging to its profits, no doubt.

According to the BBC, searches of controvertial topics such as Taiwan and the Falun Gong bring up government websites instead of websites belonging to the Taiwanese government or the Falun Gong. So, basically google.cn is a search engine of the Chinese government.I don't see how this offers its customers any of range of information, if they all have one source.

According to Jack Ma, founder of China's largest business-to-business website Alibaba.com, "you've got to have patience to make money here." And to make money means to get in on China's astounding growth potential. Some have argued that Google had no choice but to submit and that Google gives more to the Chinese than a government website because it clearly states that it is censored, which doesn't even occur in most countries. But I wonder... what is the difference between say kiddie porn and a website about democracy? It is true that there are countries with even stricter guidelines regarding internet use, Cuba and Iran for example, but google isn't persuing those countries as ferverently is it?

Which brings me back to my title. This dilema is not uncommon, and has been experienced many times before. Jesus says: "For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." (Jn 18:37) to which Pilate replies: "What is truth?" and proceeds to sentence him to crucifixion according to the will of the people.

When some student out in Beijing searches for the Catholic Church he will find the CPCA instead, the government sponsored church not in communion with Rome. He would be unable to read the great writings of JP II such as Veritatis Splendor in which he writes, "Evangelization is the most powerful and stirring challenge which the Church has been called to face from her very beginning."

If it is our will and our obligation to reach people and bring Christ's love to them through His Church, Google sure ain't helpin'. It is more concerned with whats best politically, to alter its content to remain in China, just as Pilate decided to free Barabas and crucify Jesus because it was best for him politically. I would even venture that to an outsider, the decision seems most efficient to prevent a local uprising in Judea. I'm not saying we should boycott Google; I'd find it hard to do so. Still, it shows us that sometimes, the best decision may not be the easiest, and reminds us that truth is something not to be compromised.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Last year, in The New England Journal of Medicine, two Dutch physicians published a set of guidelines for infant euthanasia; one of the doctors has admitted to presiding over the killing of at least four babies, by means of a lethal intravenous drip of morphine and midazolam (a sleeping agent). Although 12-year-olds in Holland already can, with their parents' approval, legally enlist doctors to kill them, the dispatching of sick babies remains illegal under Dutch law; the doctors hope that their proposed guidelines will provide a legal basis for such endeavors.

In the meanwhile, Belgium has enacted a euthanasia law similar to that of the Netherlands.

To some, this all is just the march of progress. In the eyes of Judaism, though, it is a descent into a deep moral morass.

Scientists discover world's smallest fish!

According to the researchers, the fish live in dark, tea-colored water with an acidity of ph 3, at least 100 times more acidic than rainwater. Swamps like this were once thought to harbor very few animals, but recent research has revealed that they are highly diverse and home to many species that occur nowhere else.

So awesome!

Patrick has a Point

What majority to overturn Roe?

I've read in more than one place that with the appointment of Judge Alitio to the Supreme Court, it is a majority to overturn Roe.

Can't anyone count to 5?

There would be only 4 safe overturn votes: Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

There would be Stevens, Breyer, Ginsberg as keep Roe votes.

What about Kennedy and Souter? They were both on the court and voted to overturn the spousal notification laws of Pennsylvania is Planned Parethood v. Casey

Has anyone detected any movement towards pro-life on the part of Kennedy or Souter?

At least we know that if our Supreme Court can't count to make a majority, neither can their citizens.

Kinda tragic, isn't it. I knew we should have invested more money in Kumon for public schoolers!

It was Inevitable

Amy Welborn analizes Deus Caritas Est.

So does Karls @ Summa Contra Mundum.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In case you missed it


In your choice of language, of course.


But despite the network's hype leading up to the series' premier on January 6, one NBC affiliate after another began either choosing not to air the program at all -- or dropped it after the first episode. That reaction may have been the result of a campaign launched by the Mississippi-based American Family Association, which urged families to register their disapproval of the program with their local affiliates as well as with advertisers.

Eventually, most companies pulled their ads, leaving the network to foot most of the bill. As WND puts it: "Advertisers ran from it ... [and] so did viewers."

The program's creator had harsh words for AFA for standing against Daniel. "AFA and bullies like them are hard at work to try and prevent you from seeing these beautiful shows," Kenny posted on a supportive blog site. "[T]hat is censorship, pure and simple -- and that is both un-Christian and un-American."

So telling a TV station that you think a show is offensive and you won't watch it is un-Christian? Do I have a moral obligation to watch Playboy? Am I un-American if I don't support Playboy's advertisers?

People have to think before they speak.

I think I found this link on my own, but it seems TWA picked up on this first,
so I'll link there too to avoid all-out flame wars.

I was waiting for this.

A front-page article on Sunday about new federal grants for education, which require most applicants to have earned a B average, referred imprecisely to Sarah Lawrence's policy on grades. While the school relies primarily on a system of evaluations written by faculty, it does record grades on transcripts for purposes such as graduate school admissions. It is not among institutions that forgo letter or numeric grades completely.

Is it weird I checked the corrections section everyday for this? It was a an experiment in fact-checking. I wanted to see how many days it would take to get this right. (4 days.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Something Justine is fighting

There’s the rub. In some churches, Sunday school is more of a holding tank than an process of Christian formation. Just keep the little nippers entertained, teach them how to spout Christian jargon, and maybe put on a performance for the adults a few times a year. Some other mainline congregations were more concerned with making faith "relevant and meaningful" to their youth, which usually involved stripping it of all meaning and relevance into a creed of simply being "nice" – the same process that was slowly stripping meaning and relevance from the faith of the adults as well. And lots of congregations were full of well meaning people who didn’t have a clue of what they were up against, or simply didn’t know how to present the truth claims of Christianity in the face of a hostile world. We will be reaping this harvest for generations.

Justine, teaching CCD, is kicking things up a notch for one lucky class. I was somewhat woefully unprepared at the end of my CCD program for the very reason, I think, that TWA is discussing here. Basically, my parents didn't have great formation, and I'm not terribly convinced their parents had great formation. A little here, a little there, the loss of a Christian society, and it's hell in a handbasket. Handbasket not included.

I'm still trying to clean up my life to some minimum level of standards. Though it may be somewhat Pelagian to imagine that there's some level to clean up to. Thoughts?

The New American Bible

Jimmy Akin lays down the law. The verdict: the footnotes suck.

Though my RSV:CE endnotes aren't the best.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Just a Reminder

God is here. And He loves you.

Now this may sound a bit... trite. But it's not. We, even as people of faith, forget God. We forget God when we make ourselves God and we forget God when we place everything on our own shoulders (which is basically the same thing). Yet, if this is the case, why worry? Why feel alone? Why feel affraid? Why try to be something you're not? This seemingly little fact is what we must remind ourselves day in and day out. For that is the result of original sin- forgetfullness. Willed forgetfullness that we are not in control and the one who is wants us to be near to Him as possible. This is our challenge and this is our faith.


It appears The Curt Jester and I share a pet peeve

Another pet peeve is I really dislike the term Roman Catholic used so often. Especially since the term was used first by Anglicans as part of their branch theory to refer to Catholics under the Pope. The term is so ubiquitous now and is confusing to what people are referring to. Most often the term is not used to specify just Catholics of the Roman Rite, but for Catholics in general.

I was going to blog about this this weekend but didn't get around to it. This is why you'll always hear me refer to myself as a Latin-rite Catholic, or a Catholic, not a Roman Catholic.

Coverage on Fox

There's. absolutely. nothing. on. FoxNews. about the March for Life at this point, 12:29 pm.

Nothing at the Times, yet, as far as I can tell. Though that's more expected.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Democracy in the EU

Strasburg, Jan. 19 (CWNews.com) - The justice minister of the European Union, Franco Frattini, announced this week at the EU parliament in Strasburg that member states which do not eliminate all forms of discrimination against homosexuals, including the refusal to approve “marriage” and unions between same-sex couples, would be subject to sanctions and eventual expulsion from the EU.

According to a report by the Archdioceses of Madrid’s news service Analisis Digital, the commissioner’s statements came as the governments of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland ruled against legalizing homosexual “marriage.”

“Homophobia is a violation of human rights and we are watching member states on this issue and reporting on cases in which our efforts have been unsuccessful,” Fratti said. In this way “the Commission and the European Parliament seek to make any refusal to grant homosexual couples the same rights as a married couple a crime of ‘homophobia’,” the report warned.

Dating of Passover

Shalom Ariela:
I agree with you that the Last Supper was indeed the Passover Seder of Temple times, but I have to disagree with you that Rabenu Yeshu'a was following the Essene calendar. I have been fighting this calendar problem for years as it is used to show that substantial contradictions exist in the Gospel accounts. Matthew, Mark and Luke recount that Our Lord did observe the traditional Passover, while the Fourth Gospel seems to state that He celebrated an alternative Seder.

Let the fight begin. I'm not too much of a fan of the Essene theory myself.

I caught a mistake in the New York Times!

(Unfortunately it's probably not a rare accomplishment.)

In today's front page article of the New York Times, "College Aid Plan Widens US Role in High Schools" (an interesting article by the way), the following was said:

Pell Grants have been based on financial need, but eligibility for the new grants is more complicated, with requirements changing twice as students advance through college. The requirement that students maintain a B average, for instance, will force the department to decide how to handle applicants attending institutions like Hampshire College and Sarah Lawrence College, which do not give letter or numeric grades. With little time before crucial decisions must be made, some educators said they were expecting considerable confusion.

The statement regarding Sarah Lawrence is erroneous, because the college does in fact give letter grades. Sarah Lawrence does not place an emphasis on grades and gives students written evaluations in place of a traditional report card. However letter grades are given and a student may at any time go to the registrar's office to receive a printout of their grades.

I wrote a letter to the Times requesting a correction, let's see if it happens.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Canadian Politics

They seem to be even uglier than American politics. Which is impressive.

One of the ads suggesting that the Conservatives would allow troops to patrol the streets of Canadian cities has been scrapped but not before it had drawn criticism from Canadians writing in to online news sources. The ad’s voiceover said, "Stephen Harper actually announced he wants to increase military presence in our cities. Canadian cities. Soldiers with guns. In our cities. In Canada. We did not make this up."

Conservative MP Jason Kenny said the ad tried to call Harper a "threat to democracy." "This is without precedent in Canadian politics, this is the most vicious, baseless attack ad that our politics has ever seen," Kenney said.

Liberal spokesman Ken Polk told The Globe and Mail that though the ad had been pulled from Liberal party website, it may still be aired.

The bloggers, who are seeing the political influence of their "citizen journalism" grow in Canada as it did in the US, quickly debunked the accusation however. They pointed out that Harper had suggested the military be deployed for national emergencies such as restoring power and providing relief to those caught in the 1998 Montreal ice storms.

One commentator, who identified himself only as "Dave" said he had spent 21 years in Canada’s military and that he felt "hurt beyond belief," at the implication that Canada’s armed forces would be complicit in anti-democratic activities.

What a book review

Ahmed Osman, who is qualified in law, prefers Michael Baigent, G.A. Wells, P.L. Couchoud (a philosophy professor who wrote in the 1920s) and Sigmund Freud over historians in this book - which claims King David was Tuthmosis III, Moses was Akhenaten(!) and finally: "All the evidence points to the identification of Tutankhamun as the historical Jesus" [164]!! (while also stating all four gospels agree Jesus was crucified when Pilate was governor [17])

Whoa. Remember, kids, just because something's in a book doesn't mean you should read it.

I found the Music VIdeo!

Jesus Walks is my anthem. Let us absorb its awesomeness.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Blame Game?

Cardinal George told the Sun-Times that US bishops were concerned that the timing of the document's publication would create the appearance that it was linked with the current Vatican visitation of American seminaries. "We asked them not not to publish it, but to delay it-- to wait-- otherwise it would color the visitations," the cardinal explained. He continued: "We said, 'If you do this, it will be taken as a commentary on the visitations and we'll get into this whole business that the gay community is so sensitive to of, 'You're blaming us for the pedophilia.'"? Vatican officials

Vatican officials were not persuaded by the American bishops' arguments, Cardinal George said, because the Instruction on homosexuality and the priesthood was intended for the whole Church. The Vatican concluded that the document's release date should not be based on circumstances only in the US, he said.

Pray for the marchers

Especially Jenni and the CCUers. It gets a little rough down there . . .

Please pray for all the marchers this weekend, if you get a chance. I have bad memories of DC -- the last time I was there, I got spit on, cursed at, screamed at, and was probably given the bird about 1,138 times by "open-minded liberals." Cough.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

John F. Kennedy, ultra-conservative

Lauer's comments suggest that only "ultra-conservatives" oppose quotas. Yet back in 1963, President John F. Kennedy said, "I don't think we can undo the past. In fact, the past is going to be with us for a good many years in uneducated men and women who lost their chance for a decent education. We have to do the best we can now. That is what we are trying to do. I don't think quotas are a good idea. [Emphasis added.] I think it is a mistake to begin to assign quotas on the basis of religion or race — color — nationality. . . . On the other hand, I do think that we ought to make an effort to give a fair chance to everyone who is qualified — not through a quota — but just look over our employment rolls, look over our areas where we are hiring people and at least make sure we are giving everyone a fair chance. But not hard and fast quotas. . . . We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color." JFK an "ultra-conservative"? Who'd have thought it?

Vatican newspaper states: Intelligent Design Should Not be Taught as a Science

ROME, Jan. 18 - The official Vatican newspaper published an article this week labeling as "correct" the recent decision by a judge in Pennsylvania that intelligent design should not be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution.

"If the model proposed by Darwin is not considered sufficient, one should search for another," Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, wrote in the Jan. 16-17 edition of the paper, L'Osservatore Romano.

"But it is not correct from a methodological point of view to stray from the field of science while pretending to do science," he wrote, calling intelligent design unscientific. "It only creates confusion between the scientific plane and those that are philosophical or religious."

Note: This is not an official Vatican stance, just one persons opinion that the Vatican newspaper decided to publish.

I was glad to see this article, I was having trouble figuring out the Vatican stance in all this. I know that Vatican officials have supported the notion of intelligent design, but I shudder at the idea of it being taught as a viable science theory in the classroom. I've reviewed the "evidence," a single article that made it into a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and did not find it very scientific. Basically the argument goes like this: "the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts, how would this occur," "the odds of life being so successful and such complicated machinery occuring by chance mutations is absurd." As evidence the author played a little numbers game and tried to calculate such odds, and they were so infinitesmally small that he proved it wasn't possible. So then the author proposed a guiding force mechanism, suggests that some end plan was in mind. Frankly, as for a sound scientific theory, that to me is rather absurd.

First of all, none of this is really science. It is philosophy, not science. It is fine to be taught (yes in public schools) in religion or philosophy, or history of ideas, but not science. Science requires a testable hypothesis. Maybe it's old-fashioned of me, but without a testable hypothesis, it's not science. The advocates of intelligent design have proposed nothing that could be tested. They look at the complexities of life and are amazed that any coherent order could arise. I agree it's really amazing. In fact I think few people appreciate how remarkable it is that one should exist just as a physical fact.

If you want to pick holes in Darwin's theory of evolution, that's fine, but propose other mechanisms and let's find the evidence. The idea of intelligent design will never be killed, because it is untestable! It cannot be proved or disproved. As for the number crunching in terms of chances that we should happen to evolve, it shows a total lack of understanding for how evolution takes place. I think one of the major problems with this debate is a lot of people don't have a good grasping of evolution theories. Pseudo-scientists can spout numbers and bio-lingo and run circles around everyday folk, and it becomes difficult to discern between a scientific notion that sounds plausible and a genuine scientific theory.

Invisible Children

Must see. And tell.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Anyone have some good info on if there are any distinctively Mormon hairstyles?

I have a friend here who keeps getting picked up as Mormon. I wasn't under the impression that they were a distinct ethnic group, but perhaps I'm misinformed?

On the other hand, they do seem to have some somewhat odd guide to living a continent life which someone lifted for a personal website. Yikes. Not too bad, but still odd.

How much to eat?

It is certainly praiseworthy to eat in moderation, and the Talmud tells us that ideally we should eat and drink only to two-thirds of fullness.

I wish I could get this sort of stuff from the Catechism.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Happy 3000th Post!

Yay we did it! We managed to find enough amusing, infuriating, thought-provoking, timely, and/or pointless info to post about to create 3000 posts! Okay, so by "we" I mean "mostly Squach, and a few of us other folk helped a little toward the end." Still it is quite an accomplishment. Either that or a great waste of time. You decide. Maybe we should have a blog moment-of-reflection. Any thoughts, comments over these past 3000 posts?

For me, personally, the time-span of this blog covers a time of transition. When I first started reading this blog I would get so angry! It was so (*gasp*) conservative! What self-respecting New Yorker holds such absurd views about life, the universe, and everything! But I was intrigued by these views so different from my own, by the perspective that was so outrageous as to challenge such sacred rights as the right of same-sex couples to marry, the right to an abortion, and the right to bootleg software and music. I sparred with some folk in a few comboxes over various issues. But I always got good responses, though I wasn't always convinced.

This blog helped to expose me to a lot of views I would not have otherwise come across, or would have written off as ludicrous. Still most issues would have to be hammered out one-on-one with a live person, but it was very good exposure for me and caused me to begin to argue such topics with other people and to do research online for more dissenting opinions. This process, most significantly, is what turned me around from pro-choice to pro-life at I time when I did not have a faith-basis for such a point of view. This had implications for my personal life and the ripple-effect was for me to reexamine other fundamental beliefs I held.

This blog has done a lot for me. So I thank Squach for starting it for now allowing me the priviledge to post here. I hope I have added some value and variation to the scene.

I'm curious as to what other people have to say about the blog. Criticisms and suggestions are more than welcome. I have some ideas about changing things up in the future, but I have to run them by the Squach first. :)

Anywho, I didn't mean to write so much. What I logged on to post was a little link on one of the best random number generators on the web. I use it all the time for helping me make lots of pointless (and not so pointless) decisions. What's cool about it is it uses truly random numbers: "The true random numbers are generated using atmospheric noise which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random numbers typically generated by computer programs."

Try it out: http://random.org/


The Holy Days of Obligation, for those who have been wondering about them. I was pissed when I saw that half of them were suppressed or translated in the US.

Another religious extremist

Who is this?

He understood that America was not an island; it was at his suggestion that maps of the world graced the walls of the Pennsylvania Assembly. Eloquently he articulated what the War of Independence represented beyond American shores: "We are fighting for the dignity and happiness of human nature. Glorious it is for the Americans to be called by providence to this post of honor," he reminded Congress during a dark winter of the war.

On the freedom of strangeness front

From this story:
Oakland Diocese’ Respect Life Ministry paid $43,200 for the ads, which first appeared December 26 and are scheduled to appear through the end of January. Two hundred and eighty ads appear in BART rail cars while 48 larger versions can be seen in stations. BART spokesman, Linton Johnson, under fire from pro-abortion groups for allowing the advertising, said they cannot refuse the paid advertising given free-speech provisions of the First Amendment.

Lawsuit if a Catholic publisher won't publish stuff offensive to his conscience. Lawsuit if a subway will take advertising from a advertiser offensive to someone else's conscience.

Form this story:

Then the Supreme Court of Canada would decide. Now lets assume that the Supreme Court of Canada decided and they said, "that's a Charter right, you can't take away a woman's right to choose." Then what happens is, then parliament, it would go back to parliament and parliament would have a decision on the notwithstanding clause and since the original bill passed, parliament would vote the notwithstanding clause and suddenly the woman's, a woman's right to choose would have disappeared.

My view is that minority rights, Charter rights should not be taken away by the majority and that applies ah, in, in and that applies in a wide range of cases. I can't believe that a woman's right to choose actually being put in doubt, but the fact is that that roadmap is out there and it is an issue. And, and I believe that the only way which you protect it from ever becoming a, an issue is you essentially say parliament; governments are not to be able to overrule the Supreme Court and take away your Charter rights.

At least they aren't pretending it was in the Charter when they wrote it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

ShaBot 6000

For all the Judaeophiles out there :).

Senate Democrats Establish Abortion Litmus Test for State Dept Refugee Job

It appears that US Senate Democrats intend to impose an abortion litmus test on a State Department job that has nothing to do with abortion. Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey came under fire by Senate Democrats who charge that she has a history of opposing abortion at the UN. Sauerbrey has been nominated by President Bush to head the $700 million State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

At Sauerbrey's confirmation hearings on Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, California Sen. Barbara Boxer chastised Sauerbrey, charging her with being pro-life. "I question the wisdom of putting someone in that position who I believe has shown zealotry on the issue of reproductive health including family planning," said Boxer.

Why don't we just pass a law so no pro-life people are allowed to hold any government jobs, that way government money doesn't pay the wages of those who believe in religion?

I'm glad to see Jenni isn't a heretic

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

100% Chalcedon compliant. Also, 0% Arian, Docetist, Gnostic, Carthar, Modalism, Donatism. Take that early and medieval heretics.

Sadly Jennifer is more Pelagian than me, which I don't know how to interpret if we're both not heretics.

Some comments on the hearing

Though Alito's record, demeanor and reputation bespeak of an extraordinarily humble, decent, ethical and scholarly man, senators Kennedy, Schumer and Co. have strained to convince us he is an unethical rogue, among other things.

Aside from their pathetic attempts to taint him with the now familiar Vanguard, Concerned Alumni of Princeton and 10-year-old strip-searching red herrings, Alito's circumspection over the abortion question drives them batty. It really frosts them that — in the words of Saint Theodore — "He didn't back away one inch from his (1985) statement that a woman's right to make her own reproductive decision is not protected under the Constitution."

Sen. Chuck Schumer was similarly exasperated, pressing Alito on how he could answer without hesitation that the right to free speech is in the Constitution but demur on whether the "right to choose" is.

I often wonder whether, with intellectual honesty, one can believe that abortion and freedom of speach are equally regarded in the Constitution, or whether one must be acting in bad faith. The presumption should be towards good faith and bad reason, as that's usually what ends up happening with me :-). But I often wonder.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

EU Says Gay ‘Marriage’ Rights Should Over-ride Clergy

LONDON, United Kingdom, January 13, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – UK pastors are alarmed at a report issued by the EU’s Network of Independent Experts on Human Rights that says clergy and registrars should not have the right to refuse to ‘marry’ gay couples.

The report states that “right of access” should take precedence over rights of conscience for clergy or registrars.

Although the issue is currently theoretical, since gay ‘marriage’ has not been legalized in the UK, clergy are concerned that the EU’s report indicates a growing disregard for rights of conscience.

Although the recommendations purport to refer only to cases where there is no alternative registrar or clergyman available to perform the ceremony, in fact the authors of the report justify the recommendation by referring to a case in the Netherlands where a registrar was fired for refusing to perform a same-sex ceremony, despite the presence of other registrars willing to take over.

Seems reasonable.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


If Steven Spielberg had made a fictional movie about the psychological disintegration of a revenge assassin, that would have been fine. Instead, he decided to call this fiction "Munich" and root it in a historical event: the 1972 massacre by Palestinian terrorists of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games. Once you've done that — evoked the killing of innocents who, but for Palestinian murderers, would today be not much older than Spielberg himself — you have an obligation to get the story right and not to use the victims as props for any political agenda, let alone for the political agenda of those who killed them.

The only true part of the story is the few minutes spent on the massacre. The rest is invention, as Spielberg delicately puts it in the opening credits, "inspired by real events."

By real events? Rubbish. Inspired by Tony Kushner's belief (he co-wrote the screenplay) that the founding of Israel was a "historical, moral, political calamity" for the Jewish people.

Pope rebukes Italian officials on civil-union proposal, RU-486

Vatican, Jan. 12 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) spoke out once more in defense of human life and the family on January 12, expressing his opposition to a proposal for recognition of civil unions in Italy and to the use of the abortion pill RU-486.

Pope Benedict made his points indirectly, but unmistakably, in an audience with political leaders from Rome and the surrounding Lazio region. The Pope traditionally meets with local political authorities at the beginning of each year. In today's private audience, the Pope spoke with Benedict received Piero Marrazzo, president of the regional administration of Lazio; Mayor Walter Veltroni of Rome; and Enrico Gasbarra, president of the provincial administration of Rome. All three are affiliated with the political Left in Italy.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Looking at BBC's Horizon

Prof JOE MILWARD: The first law of thermodynamics is the foundation stone of our understanding of chemistry and physics. In the universe there is a finite amount of, of energy. It, it can not disappear and it can not be created from nothing.

Somewhat true, of course. But I think thermodynamic laws are observed, not theoretical . . . unless my physics professor was wrong. He was somewhat bitter about not being a theoretical physicist.

Point being, some more nuance is necessary, IMHO, lest you give people the impression that physics knows more than it does about the world. Heck, we don't even know what 97% of the universe is (dark matter and dark energy).

Morally Offensive Art

I've been scanning the blog over and have seen what a bunch of people have said about the notion of Morally Offensive Art- i.e. Brokeback Mountain.

According to Jimmy Akin something morally offensive endorses practices contrary to Catholic Teaching.

If that's our general definition... you probably shouldn't look at most art.

Everything from Romeo and Juliet to Desperate Housewives to the Rite of Spring endorses some idea contrary to Catholic teaching.

That brings me to examine this entire notion of art and Religion and morally offensive.

The OED defines moral as

Of or relating to human character or behaviour considered as good or bad; of or relating to the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil, in relation to the actions, desires, or character of responsible human beings; ethical.

and derrives from the noun "moral virtue"

So we're clearly dealing with vice and virtue here.

Offensive is-

3. Giving, or liable to give, offence; displeasing; annoying; insulting.


2. a. Of or relating to offence or attack; attacking, aggressive; adapted or used for purposes of attack; characterized by attacking.

and is easily my least favorite word in the English language, especially when used in definition 3.

If we consider morally offensive art as insulting to morality- we are squeamish little sissies. Life as we know it is morally offensive. Sin is ugly, people, and covering our face because it exists in the world does no one any good.

If we consider it morally offensive as an attack on virtue- then avoiding or ignoring art, especially when it is subject to the market, is the proper response. "Be angry and do not sin" is a call to a resistance. Still, Justine says

You could argue, but isn't exposure to opposing viewpoints good and healthy? Indeed! But see I have already had plenty of exposure to gay-sympathy viewpoints, as someone who identified as lesbian/queer for some time, as someone who was a leader in the queer rights movement in one of the leading queerest schools in the nation, and as someone who has studied it academically. So I don't think I need a movie to expose me to the viewpoint that society may be to blame for the unhappy situation of people unable to pursue their love (lust).

I think in Justine's case she has every right to abstain from the film. Our existence as humans is marked by our free will. That means you can watch the vanity of the OC or not. However, if we cannot get into a huff over an ethical disagreement. Banning films or video games will not stop people from sinning. It is internal conversion of the soul that is important. Aesthetics, as in art, are not. And if that's the case, we will ultimately loose interest in these issues althogether.

An Especially Good Article

by Fr. Tucker of Dappled things on God, Jews, and Christians.

When Pat Robertson last week suggested that Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's punishment for his returning the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, there was a well-deserved outcry over this most recent nuttiness from the aging Protestant minister, and it seems to have cost him his proposed fundamentalist theme park in Israel. What went fairly un-commented upon was the fact that his conclusion is a rather natural extension of a peculiar sort of theology prevalent among many evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants in the United States: that the Israel of the Old Testament exists as an entity separate from and parallel to the Church; that the Old Covenants are in full force; that the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have an eternal title-deed to the Biblical Land of Israel; and that God will punish those who get in the way of the Old Law, and will reward those Jews who keep it. If you believe that sort of thing, then it's rather logical to suppose that God may be punishing the man who gives back territory that you believe God wants those with Jewish DNA to possess. Pat Robertson just said it out loud. And if you believe this sort of thing, then what might otherwise be simply a pro-Israel political outlook becomes an article of religious faith. There's a very interesting article in today's Washington Post on this (at first sight) odd Evangelical Protestant theological alliance with Orthodox Jews. For a little more history of this line of thinking, one can take a look at the Wikipedia entry on dispensationalism.

This same kind of thinking poses a real threat to the Middle-East peace process. Just as there are extremists on one side who refuse ever to accept any possibility for any sort of Jewish State in Palestine, there are those who refuse to accept non-Jewish control of any of the land that once comprised the ancient Land of Israel. Pat Robertson falls into that second camp, which is the inevitable result of the kind of theology that he embraces.

There's a lot more in the actual post.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Some words to ponder as we enter OT

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Man Who Shot JPII Released From Jail

Mehmet Ali Agca, served nearly 20 years in Italian jails for the attempted murder. In Turkey, he was jailed for bank robbery and another murder.

Agca, 48, shot the Pope in St Peter's Square in 1981, but has never explained why. The pontiff later visited him in jail and publicly forgave him.

The Turkish government is appealing against the release.

That isn't even the beginning of it

Newspapers in Turkey are angry at the release from jail in Istanbul of Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981.

But their outrage is directed at what they see as leniency towards Agca over another of his crimes - the 1979 murder of the editor-in-chief of the Milliyet newspaper, Abdi Ipekci.

The Holy See, of course, does its own thing

Establishing the first point, the Pope said, "commitment to truth is the soul of justice." Dedication to truth, he said, requires one "to reject the law of might, which is based on a lie, and has so frequently marked human history, nationally and internationally, with tragedy." The reliance on power, he said, includes a willingness to distort the truth, which can be seen in political regimes "of the past, but not only the past."

Experienced diplomats who are dedicated to truth will recognize the legitimate needs and aspirations of their counterparts from other countries, the Pope said. To illustrate his point he mentioned "that nerve point of the world scene which is the Holy Land." He continued:

There, the State of Israel has to be able to exist peacefully in conformity with the norms of international law; there, equally, the Palestinian people has to be able to develop serenely its own democratic institutions for a free and prosperous future.

Sharon in the press


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

One idea that's worth a million dollars

If you have an envious streak, you probably shouldn't read this.

Because chances are Alex Tew, a 21-year-old student from a small town in England, is cleverer than you. And he is proving it by earning a cool $US1 million ($A1.37 million) in four months on the internet.

Selling porn? Dealing prescription drugs? Nope. All he sells are pixels, the tiny dots on the screen that appear when you call up his home page.

This happens to me

Let's analyze your question. Normally it is forbidden to give a false impression of how much you exerted yourself for someone. For example, the Talmud teaches that if you just happen to run into someone, you may not lead them into believing that you made a special trip to meet them. Even though the person will feel better thinking that you honored him in this way, you shouldn't benefit from undeserved gratitude; rather, you should subtly inform him that he has an exaggerated impression of your efforts.

It follows that if the customer is satisfied to get his repair back after five minutes, but you keep him in the shop fifteen minutes to give the impression that you invested a lot of effort on his job, you are subtly misleading him. Our Sages call this "geneivas daas" — stealing someone's goodwill.

But your case is different. You're not trying to score points with the customer; you're just trying to stave off unfair resentment. In this case the customer doesn't have to know how little time you need to get the job done. (Of course it goes without saying that you can't lie about this.)

For those who can't afford a graphics card

Check out the text-based browsers of the world. They're sort of fun, if you have no concept of fun, like me.

Before I forget

Welcome to Ordinary Time!

I'm not quite sure why the Vatican has an Ordinary Time webpage, but it's still got a lot of good ordinary homilies on it from JPII and B16.

Also try to keep in mind, ordinary doesn't mean "same old, same old". Think of the Latin "tempus per annum", the time through the year. It's more like time that takes us from one place to another, IMHO.

JP Holding's latest book reviews

John MacArthur's Heart of the Bible http://www.tektonics.org/books/macheartrvw.html

Stephen Carlson's The Gospel Hoax http://www.tektonics.org/books/carlhoaxrvw.html

J. Denny Weaver's Nonviolent Atonement http://www.tektonics.org/books/denatrvw.html

Dale Allison's Resurrecting Jesus http://www.tektonics.org/booksllrezrvw.html

L. Michael White's From Jesus to Christianity http://www.tektonics.org/books/whitejcrvw.html

John Shelby Spong's Sins of Scripture http://www.tektonics.org/books/spongsinrvw.html

David Klinghoffer's Why the Jews Rejected Jesus http://www.tektonics.org/books/klingrejrvw.html

Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy's Laughing Jesus http://www.tektonics.org/books/laughjesrvw.html

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

In pictures: Pope in Synagogue

My fav is the last one.

The Miners and Us

Picture yourself thousands of feet below the earth's surface, surrounded by darkness and without nourishment, confined and cut off from loved ones — indeed, from the entire world.

And then imagine — as the miners surely hoped with all their might would happen to them — being rescued from the depths, hoisted to the surface once again into the light and fresh air, into the presence of family and friends. Imagine laying eyes on familiar things again, the sun, the sky, the faces. Imagine the gratitude that would swell any human heart at such a moment.

And then consider that each of us undergoes a similar experience each and every day.

We wake up in the morning.

It's not only the fact that in sleep we are not conscious, not in control, or that people can and do die in their sleep; or even that sleep, like death, is insistent, and will only be postponed so long. The rabbis of the Talmud said something more; they considered sleep itself to be a virtual microcosm of death — "one sixtieth" of it, in their turn of phrase and thought.

I wonder if anything comparable is to be found in the Church Fathers. I've only read a little Augustine, but I don't recall him talking about sleep.


A most happy b-day to Mr. Blair! If he ever calls me back I might even be able to chill w/ him tonight.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Anyone got any good missionary work?

I got a friend looking for some short-term God-like employment. The Maryknolls seem to have some interesting stuff in this regard. Is it good?

Missing in India: 10 million girls

Researchers in India and Canada for the Lancet journal said prenatal selection and selective abortion was causing the loss of 500,000 girls a year.

Their research was based on a national survey of 1.1m households in 1998.

The researchers said the "girl deficit" was more common among educated women but did not vary according to religion.

The unusual gender balance in India has been known about for some time.

In most countries, women slightly outnumber men, but separate research for the year 2001 showed that for every 1,000 male babies born in India, there were just 933 girls.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Interesting thread at LGF

A Turkish court has approved the release of the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, saying he has completed his prison term, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported Sunday.

The responses vary from "kill him" to "enough already", which is a rather impressive spectrum for them.

EDIT 1/12, 8:21PM, link fixed

Schumer and Alito

I was listening to Sen. Schumer and a few others go on and on at breakfast this morning about how, because Roe v. Wade was decided, no one should ever rule otherwise because it would be a break with precedent. Apparently it didn't occur to them that Roe v. Wade was a break with precedent.

I would be amused if I wasn't so annoyed.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Biodiesel coming to the Empire State

Hopefully this will stop the use of corn syrup in everything.

A fine Latin-English dictionary

My new fave, in fact, since it goes both ways. English to Latin and back, that is.

An interesting take on free will

So let's for a moment imagine that you and I are cells living in an evolving chicken embryo. Of course you and I don't know this. You're doing your thing. I'm doing my thing. Never in a million years do we think that what we're doing has any impact on any other cell, anybody else around. You're building your yacht and I'm building my estate, and you're fixing your motorcycle and we are all doing various random activities which seem to have no connection to each other. And then there is this smart-aleck cell that says: "I think there is some kind of thematic principle to our histories. And even though we all kind of feel like our activities are very random and disconnected and fragmented, I really think that somehow – in a way that we ourselves don't even realize – we are contributing to some greater plan that is actually being fulfilled through us. In some way, each and every one of us, without knowing, are instruments of this theme. And it's playing through us."

Of course, a number of us cells right away call him a nut. But this guy is absolutely committed to proving his point, and he develops this contraption – a rocket ship – and he gets out of the scene, and he starts taking pictures of the whole chicken. And he proves that every single one of us atoms was contributing to the development of a cosmic chicken. You thought you were just building your yard, but in fact, you were building the beak. And you thought you had nothing to do with me when you were fixing your motorcycle, but in fact you were completing the feet. And so on, and so forth, there actually has been this pattern that we were completely unaware of but to which we've been contributing all along.

You thought you were free to do whatever you wanted –and you were – but nevertheless there was a predetermined plan at work as well. And so it is with our lives on earth.

Choice and Fate. Very Catholic answer, why choose sides when you can have both?

EDIT - 1/12, 8:23PM, link fixed

Friday, January 06, 2006

I have to take one of these classes

W4913.2 looks the most interesting, as it could not inaccurately be titled "Seminar in Macroeconomic Theory: Why Europe's abandonment of the Faith has lead to economic faults". Except of course we'll study the effects rather than mention God.

The Book of Daniel.. Surprisingly Episcopal

It's the raucous, not the meek, who are inheriting the earth in NBC's prime-time provocation, "The Book of Daniel," which has its premiere tonight. And the flock of the Rev. Daniel Webster (Aidan Quinn), an Episcopal minister in Westchester County, N.Y., seems to be following his outrageously wayward lead. Their errant behavior has a few NBC affiliates in the heartland debating the supposed disrespect in depicting churchgoers who indulge in worldly delights.

The real mark against "The Book of Daniel" is not any antipathy it might show toward the family or sympathy for the devil. The real objection is that it's just not very good.

it's sporting to christen a lead character Daniel Webster, and have him consult with Jesus rather than debate the devil, the television show's creator, Jack Kenny, falls far short of a worthy homage to this orator. Plus, the musings of Jesus (Garret Dillahunt) are decidedly, uninspiringly earthbound. ("Boy, you never know, do you?" Jesus mutters from the sidelines, when one character reveals a lesbian relationship.)

Women priests, lots of gay people, affairs, drugs... while the Catholics gossip and eat dinner with the mob. How stereotypical is that?

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

Don't Broadcast it on your Television Program.

"He was dividing God's land, and I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the [European Union], the United Nations or the United States of America,'" Robertson told viewers of his long-running television show, "The 700 Club."

"God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone,'" he said.

What is it with Pat Robertson willing ill to world leaders? First it's Hugo Chavez and now it's Ariel Sharon. Can we please get over this Rapture hoo hah and speaking on behalf of the Almighty and say something meaningful?

I'm sending protest letters.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Constitution and Wiretap

The court of review, apparently a stickler for such things, said the FISA "court did not provide any constitutional basis for its action – we think there is none – and misconstrued the main statutory provision on which it relied." Besides that, it was world-class jurisprudence. By effectively trying to micromanage the Justice Department, the decision continued, "the FISA court may well have exceeded [its] constitutional bounds."

. . .

Every administration, liberal or conservative, has claimed this warrantless surveillance power, and no court has ever denied it. The FISA court of review explained, citing the 14th Circuit's 1980 decision in a case involving the surveillance of a Vietnamese spy named David Truong, "The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." The court added, "We take it for granted that the President does have that authority."

Fascinating to see that what everyone else can do, Bush cannot. I do fail to understand the hatred.

EDIT -- added link at TWA's request on Friday night

Sam and Max come back!

For the uninitiated: Sam and Max Hit the Road

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Prayer Requests

Ariel Sharon



People think that mass transit must be a government function: Who would build the subways? But did you know that private companies built many of New York's subways and ran them until government forcibly took them over? The private sector would do it better.

The government paid for the subways b/c no private company wanted the risk.

Cardinal Schonborn responds to critics

A much more nuanced approach than he was able to give in the Times, and also one that makes much more sense to me than the first article, which confused me.

Time flies when you're having pasta

Error message of the day, from IBM:

If you are a resident of Italy, your password may have expired. Please back up and try again.

Responding to Tragedy

A sampling of some of the headlines today:

Grief, anger as all but one miner found dead

'190 feared dead' in landslide

36 killed, 40 wounded in Iraqi funeral blast

I try to keep my posts on fairly light matters, but sometimes I can't help but be affected by world events. It reminds me of something I read in the Catholic Catechism recently:
The body's unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: "In the building up of Christ's Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the Church." The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: "From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice." Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

So one cannot help but feel connected and sorrowful to these events. Even though the above paragraph is speaking of the Church, I cannot help feel similarly for mankind in general. Those in the Body of Christ share a special connection to each other for we form one Body united by the Holy Spirit. Still that is not to say that we are not also connected to our brethren all over the world. When I hear reports of Muslims in Indonesia calling out "Allah Akbar" as they drown in mud, I cannot help but feel that in spite of our religious differences they are calling out to the same God, the Father.

How do we respond to such tragedy? How do we respond to so many events of disaster, acts of nature and acts of man, that result in seemingly senseless death?

There are many ways to respond. But the simplest and perhaps most powerful appeal one can make is always to pray. So upon hearing such news I take a moment and pray. I pray for the families of the lost miners. I pray everyday for the Iraqi people. I pray for all those suffering from natural disasters and acts of war. Sometimes even these moments don't seem enough though, and I feel a need to do even more. That's when I pull out the big guns: sometimes I pray a Rosary for world peace or I retreat for a little while to the peaceful quiet of a church and hand my concerns over to God.

Tonight, as every Wednesday night, at St. Catherine's parish in Pelham there will be a silent hour for prayer for peace at 7 PM. I think tonight I will be found there. I invite anyone in the area to join me.

Mayor of Lawrence, Kansas proclaims International Dadaism Month

Lawrence residents, pay heed to what your mayor has to say — “zimzim urallala zimzim urallala zimzim zanzibar zimzalla zam.”

No, really.

Mayor Boog Highberger wants to awaken Lawrence to the wacky world of Dadaism, an early 20th century art movement that embraced chance, randomness and nonsense. On Tuesday, Highberger will proclaim International Dadaism Month at the city’s weekly commission meeting.

Hat tip to Eitan for pointing out this celebration of absurdity.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Filipinos want their priests back

He said that the recruitment by American dioceses of Filipinos is not limited to priests. He pointed out that the US Catholic churches are also recruiting seminarians who are offered scholarships to study in American seminaries with the commitment, of course, to serve in the diocese which shouldered his studies after he finished his theology course.

Filipino priests must find it difficult to refuse offers from US-based Catholic dioceses. The "recruiters" offer to work on the immigration papers as well as free airfare. American Catholic churches which are the richest in the world also provide for all the needs of their priests including comfortable accommodation, generous allowances, a car and other needs.

The offer is tempting especially for priests who are assigned to poor parishes and who must get other jobs for their needs. There was a priest, for example, assigned in Laguna who was featured in a story because he was working as a jeepney driver on the side to augment whatever contributions he gets from his parishioners. His story is repeated in poor communities all over the Philippines.

Disney's Desperate Housewives

Thanks you Bridget.

Funniest Commerical EVER

Ohh baby baby.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Now for something completely different

I've been getting more into "world" music, or more simply, music from around the world or with a fusion of various cultures. One of the best "world" bands I have thus far encountered on this musical journey has been 3 Mustaphas 3. Well after that band fell apart nothing has quite come along like them, but Sabah Habas Mustapha has done some work on his own. I got this CD for Christmas off of my Amazon.com wishlist. Don't be put off by the weird cover art. It is really one of most interesting albums I've listened to in a long time. It is a combination of West Javanese traditional music with some Western interpretations and a semi-pop feel to some of the pieces. It is so different from anything I've heard, but not so foreign as to be unpleasant or unrecognizable. It is really a beautiful album. Some songs are festive, others are groovy, some are soothing, and some are a little bizarre. I recommend it to anyone wishing to expand their music tastes.

Catholicism & Environmentalism

A good link: http://conservation.catholic.org/

I've been reflecting lately on how my love of the earth as God's wild and precious gift to us ties into my Catholic faith and stumbled upon this site. It's a little kitschy as far as aesthetics go, but it has a great collection of links to articles about ecological issues and the Catholic faith, as well as links to other sites.

Food private, not public

CHENNAI, JANUARY 1: After successfully launching the Annadhaan scheme in 180 temples and 12 dargahs, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is facing stiff resistance from the Catholic Church in the state following her attempt to introduce the free noon meal programme in churches as well.

The Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council has appealed to the chief minister not to extend the scheme to Catholic churches in the state. Dr Peter Fernando, president of the Bishops’ Council and Archbishop of Madurai, and Dr Chinappa, Archbishop of Chennai-Mylapore Diocese, in a joint statement last night, said there were practical difficulties in selecting churches and beneficiaries to implement the scheme.

A call for charity, rather than state subsidy. Brave indeed.

Selling churches to pay claims

Portland, Jan. 02 (CWNews.com) - In a ruling that severely damages the strategy of some American Church leaders, a federal judge in Oregon has ruled that parish properties legally belong to the Portland archdiocese.

The ruling means that the Portland archdiocese could be forced to sell parish rectories, schools, and even church buildings to settle the financial claims of victims of clerical abuse.

The decision announced on December 31 by Judge Elizabeth Perris is not binding in other jurisdictions. However, it matches an earlier decision by another federal judge in the state of Washington, and suggests that American bankruptcy courts are unlikely to accept the argument that parish properties should be exempt from the claims of plaintiffs suing dioceses.

As hundreds of sex-abuse victims press their legal cases for compensation, several American dioceses have argued that their financial assets are strictly limited, since the dioceses do not own the properties held by individual parishes. Questions about the ownership of parish assets have arisen in legal proceedings involving dioceses all around the US.

In July 2004 the Archdiocese of Portland became the first Catholic see ever to seek protection under US bankruptcy law. In their petition for bankruptcy protection, the archdiocesan lawyers listed the claims of sex-abuse victims who had won judgments of over $150 million against the archdiocese, with dozens of other plaintiffs still asking for $400 million in pending lawsuits.

Brokeback Mountain Review

I was thinking of seeing Brokeback Mountain because a friend asked me to see it with him, and I had heard it was a good movie in that it was artistic and thought-provoking. I was getting ready to scrounge up the ten bucks when I read the above review online. I'm glad I saved my much needed money for better things.

The meaning of a work of art cannot be reduced to a thesis or proposition; if it can, it is not art but propaganda, a tract. Brokeback Mountain is not a tract. Still, there is a perspective at work in its depiction of these characters and events. The film does not argue, but assumes, that the pain suffered by men like Jack and Ennis and those around them is the result of what is and isn’t permitted by entrenched social attitudes of intolerance and hate, which constrain such men from following their bliss, and push them into conventional arrangements that are ultimately truly satisfactory to no one. Compared to this film, the euthanasia advocacy of Million Dollar Baby, the anti-Catholicism of The Magdalene Sisters and and the abortion activism of The Cider House Rules are practically child’s play.

In the end, in its easygoing, nonpolemical way, Brokeback Mountain is nothing less than a critique not just of heterosexism but of masculinity itself, and thereby of human nature as male and female. It’s a jaundiced portrait of maleness in crisis — a crisis extending not only to the sexual identities of the two central characters, but also to the validity of manhood as exemplified by every other male character in the film. It may be the most profoundly anti-western western ever made, not only post-modern and post-heroic, but post-Christian and post-human.

This is why I love Catholic film critics.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Another classic play from ABBA

Chess is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, formerly of ABBA. The story involves a romantic triangle between two players in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.

Only here because I've recently become addicted to the song "One Night in Bangkok", which has caused me to meditate on the Thai hooker situation. People are so desperate, so sad.

The Idaho Update

At a banquet Monday night before the MPC Computers Bowl between the Eagles and Boise State, Mike Adkins read a list of the top 10 things Boise and Boston have in common, including, ''No one in either city can properly pronounce Mathias Kiwanuka.'' Adkins mispronounced Kiwanuka's name in the punchline and some Boston College players said later they found the joke insulting and disrespectful.

Kiwanuka is the grandson of Uganda's first prime minister, assassinated by mass-murdering dictator Idi Amin. Adkins apologized to Kiwanuka in a statement Thursday.

''The MPC Computers Bowl, whose roots are based on a humanitarian model of service, would never attempt to discredit, humiliate or offend anyone,'' said Gary Beck, the bowl's executive director. ''We again apologize to Mr. Kiwanuka for any discomfort or embarrassment the speech at the event caused him or his family. It was certainly unintentional and without any malice.''

Beck said the game, which began its nine-year history as the Humanitarian Bowl, would develop policies and procedures for guest speakers at future events to ensure an impartial atmosphere.

Bah humbug. Insulting the visiting team is part of the home-field advantage, right?

Happy Solemnity of Mary!

And that new year stuff too.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?