Thursday, August 31, 2006

Catholics don't hate the environment, see!

Castel Gandolfo, Aug. 28 ( - At his Sunday public audience on August 27, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) urged greater care for the environment, a "great gift of God" which is now "exposed to serious dangers by the choices and styles of life" that tax natural resources.

As for me, I'm staking my hopes on solar power and biodiesel, along with a healthy smattering of wind. For energy that is, not salvation.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Free software and Communism!

In India, no less. A diabolical alliance. I wonder if this will have any affect on the Vatican's choice of operating system.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Republicans have good reasons to be disappointed in their Congressmen, especially with their runaway spending and amnesty bill for illegal aliens. However, before Republican voters decide to stay home at the next election, or perhaps to vote for the Democrats, they might repeat one phrase to themselves: "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi."

Todan, meanwhile, is the beheading of the Forerunner

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, of all places, has a lovely ikon for the occasion.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Don't think I forgot that today is St. Augustine's feast

Sadly I was unable to throw him a proper party due to work, as it isn't a national holiday yet. If you haven't read any of his work, by all means tolle et lege City of God or Confessions or anything really.

Ave, Doctor!

As usual, it's Constitutional

Apparently minors have a constitutional right to OTC morning after pills. Who knew the Founding Fathers were so forward-looking?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Good news from China!

Aug. 26 ( - A bishop of China's underground Catholic Church has been released after more than 10 years in prison, the US-based Cardinal Kung Foundation reports.

Bishop An Shuxin, an auxiliary of the Baoding diocese in Hebei province, was set free on August 24. He had been arrested in May 1996, in a government raid on the Baoding seminary, where he was rector. Since that time his whereabouts had been unknown.

Perhaps another sign of the growing legality of Catholicism in the Middle Kindgom?

I'm rather amazed that, according to the article, there are still six bishops MIA in China. Truly a land of martyrs.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Church is one

At work yesterday I was having a discussion with someone about religion as I was trying to code. He's quite the atheist, and in particular he was refusing to believe in God unless He were to smite all child abusers, whereas I was trying to make some argument about freedom of will and the universe operating according to its laws. He said something however that affected me deeply. It was:

"If this stuff was real, there'd only be one church"

Think about the next time you're considering schism.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Heads up

40 days until Yom Kippur (give or take). That means it's kind of like Lent, but I forget the word for it in Hebrew.

JWR has a new blog out

I'm not vouching for it, but it certainly does seem to be, well, busy.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Little Miss Nihilist

Dare I dredge up the topic of art and values once more, especially after the controversy I stirred up with my post on Brokeback Mountain? Indeed I do.

I was thinking of seeing the movie "Little Miss Sunshine." It received fairly high praise from the New York Times and it seemed like a funny quirky film about dysfunctional families, the horrors of beauty pageants, and a share of high-brow humor. However I also had the sense that though I would enjoy it to a certain degree it would fall into that genre of movies that I've seen enough of. There is a certain type of film, which us New York Times readers are often seen attending. They are pretty and witty (and often gay). They charm us by capturing life in all its ugliness and futility but make us laugh by recognizing how neurotic we are and how absurd life can be. But behind the laughter there is this darkness, becaues what we are laughing at really isn't funny but actually tragic. It is despair gnawing away at us to which the post-modernist of today has no answers, except to say as one character concludes in Little Miss Sunshine, we should "do what [we] love and f*** all the rest of it."

I hear that message enough in my life. Perhaps that's why I'm so picky with my films. The world is tiresome and depressing enough on its own. Sure art is art, and Little Miss Sunshine may be a fine film on artistic terms alone, but I would rather see something that is a little uplifting. I'm not saying I only want to watch Disney films with nothing offensive and where everyone lives happily ever after. I enjoy stories that are realistic about life and all its complications, but I like movies best where there is at least some glimmer of hope offered. It could perhaps be in the form of redemptive love between two broken souls or one person experiencing some change within that brings them a little bit more peace in this world. If I want to learn about the tragedy of humanity I go to see a documentary or simply look around me. There is plenty of misery in the real world to contemplate. I don't need an artsy high-brow film to remind me of my existentialist tendencies. Instead I think I'll try something perhaps more grounded in the reality of human relations and something a bit more heart-warming. I think I'll stay in a rent Akeelah the Bee instead.

While some children are starving others are shopping

Juliet B. Schor, the author of “Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture” (Scribner), ascribes children’s heightened acquisitiveness partly to increasingly aggressive marketing. “The very insidious thing about this,” she said, “is that kids get the message that they need this product — whether it’s a sugared cereal or the latest fashion trend — to be O.K., to be cool. That is potentially interfering with their intrinsic sense of self. Kids from the very beginning are learning that your self-worth depends on what you have and how the market evaluates you.”

We're breeding little consumers.

Rise in Sub-Saharan Child Labor

Here, more than one in four children below age 14 works, whether full time or for a few hours a week, nearly the same percentage as the worldwide average in 1960.

It is by far the greatest proportion of working children in the world.

By the United Nations’ latest estimate, more than 49 million sub-Saharan children age 14 and younger worked in 2004, 1.3 million more than at the turn of the century just four years earlier.

Their tasks are not merely the housework and garden-tending common to most developing societies.

They are prostitutes, miners, construction workers, pesticide sprayers, haulers, street vendors, full-time servants, and they are not necessarily even paid for their labor.

Some are as young as 5 and 6 years old.

In Kenya, nearly a third of the coffee pickers were children, a 2001 World Bank Report found.

In Tanzania, 25,000 children worked in hazardous jobs on plantations and in mines.

Their numbers in Africa grow even as the ranks of child laborers are dropping by the millions in every other region of the world.

This relates to our on-going attention to AIDS in Africa. Many of these children are orphaned by parents who died of AIDS. It's enough to make me want to fly out to Zambia and adopt. Unfortunately I'm not at that point yet in my life. Help me out here. Anyone know some good charities that work with children in this part of the world?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

For the Heck of It

I'm always astonished by the ability of Jack Chick to put out the most hateful cartoons demonizing Catholics, Muslims, and homosexuals. Strangely, Jews are in the clear with him.

But since we're among friends, let us wonder at the ignroance and libel that is Chick Publications. And the fact that he has 2 versions of his anti-Muslim comic, one for White people, and one for Black people. The Black one is an easier read than the White one.

18 ‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19If you belonged to the world,* the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants* are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
-John 15

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sometimes it's good to relax

Pope Benedict centered his remarks on the example set by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose feast the Church celebrated on Sunday. St. Bernard, he said, is recognized as a Doctor of the Church in large part because "his example and his teachings show how we can spend our time more usefully."

In the life of St. Bernard, the Pope continued, a deep and active prayer life "did not stop him from undertaking intense apostolic activity." Yet the saint warned against undertaking too many tasks, which can show "nothing other than suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence, dispersion of grace."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another Threat to Children: Obesity

By any health measure, today’s children are in crisis. Seventeen percent of American children are overweight, and increasing numbers of children are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, which, until a few years ago, was a condition seen almost only in adults. The obesity rate of adolescents has tripled since 1980 and shows no sign of slowing down. Today’s children have the dubious honor of belonging to the first cohort in history that may have a lower life expectancy than their parents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that 30 to 40 percent of today’s children will have diabetes in their lifetimes if current trends continue.

A good report in the Times Magazine. Skip to the end of the article for some statistics for cautious optimism that the resources and science may finally be impacting public education to make positive changes.

Dangers of the Internet: Communities of Sin

Experts described the pedophiles’ online worldview as reflective of “neutralization,” a psychological rationalization used by groups that deviate from societal norms.

In essence, the groups deem potentially injurious acts and beliefs harmless. That is accomplished in part by denying that a victim is injured, condemning critics and appealing to higher loyalties — in this case, an ostensible struggle for the sexual freedom of children.

Pedophiles see themselves as part of a social movement to gain acceptance of their attractions. The effort has a number of tenets: that pedophiles are beneficial to minors, that children are psychologically capable of consenting and that therapists manipulate the young into believing they are harmed by such encounters.

It's a very scary world today for children. I was shocked by the sexual humor and awareness of my fourth grade CCD students. I sometimes overheard them swapping stories of lewd and suggestive jokes found online. They have a vocabulary that I didn't acquire until middle school. It's enough to make me seriously consider having a household without TV and internet if I have children. At least I would put serious limits and restrictions on these activities.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A query

Does anyone feel that they hear the same Gospel readings over and over again? I bounce around between daily Mass, Sunday Mass, and a Byzantine Divine Liturgy (still trying to figure out what calendar they're on) and I could have sworn I heard the gospel reading today at least three times in the past two weeks.

The great state of Idaho

Chooses for its quarter a falcon. People are confused.

I mean, I like it, but what does it have to do with Idaho? Me thinks they're losing sight of what it means to be a state with this decision. I mean, it'd be pretty cool to see a quarter with the Boston Tea Party on it, but I'd be a little confused if it was from, say, Indiana.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Qumran settlement actually a pottery factory?

After reading so much about the site in the context as an Essene community it seems hard to think of it as just a pottery factory. After all hasn't the nearby cemetery revealed a community composed primarily of men? (Or have they found more women in later excavations?) Or is it possible the community made pottery as a means to maintain itself economically and trade for foods and necessities from the outside world? I'll have to get to a library to get a copy of the published article.


MONTREAL, August 18, 2006 ( - On August 17th 2006, Madam Justice Nicole Bénard of the Quebec Superior Court ordered the Government of Quebec to pay over $13,000,000 to Quebec women who had to pay extra fees for abortions at private centres since May 2, 1999. The Court granted a class action lawsuit by the pro-abortion activist association known as the Association for Access to Abortion.

The province already paid for all abortion procedures in hospitals and even for the abortion procedure offered by abortionists in private practice, however it did not pay the extra fee charged by private abortion mills which usually amounted to $300. Private abortion businesses such as the Morgentaler clinic claimed the fee was due to their superior services.

So the government providing you something free of charge on demand isn't free access to abortion? That seems like saying that the government has an obligation to pay for the housing of everyone even if they freely choose not to live in government shelters (something I'm told that having an SSN gives you the right to do). While I'm sure that would seem lovely to my bottom line, it'd probably be a disaster. Now apply the same logic here.

Doesn't look so good.

Friday, August 18, 2006

If you like seeing babies laugh

Check out my friend's niece. A seriously intense kid. Like wow she's happy. Probably a decent attitude to have on the world.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It makes me think of Mark Shea, a little.

While he found an interesting sentence, I have the joy of coming across two new words in a positive context.

"Brains" Behind Ugandan AIDS Success Condemns Toronto AIDS Conference “Abstinophobia" and “Matriphobia”

And the good pastor notes:

But, says Sempa, “all hell broke loose” in 1994 when the news got out that a program based on sexual self-control, one rejecting the condom-plus-promiscuity approach of the international organizations, had succeeded so dramatically.

AIDS groups began their own counter campaigns. The country is flooding with condoms and pornography and since 1994, the HIV/AIDS rate has begun to climb incrementally. In some areas HIV/AIDS is up to 6.7 per cent.

Let's examine the thought process here. There's a country without a significant percentage of the population infected with AIDS. The solution to this is to send lots of condoms. But what's the problem? I don't get it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

How many cease-fires have there been in the Middle East — or is the number too large to remember? Over the past half century, there must have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than in the rest of the world combined.

Thank you Mr. Sowell. Awesome.

Because We Don't See the Word 'Fedundity' Enough

All the research available to 2003 about NFP on the USCCB.

My question- If using hormonal markers is a better predicter of fertility, why are we still stuck with OM and STM? It seems a bit primitive.

Really Funny

I just discovered the best new idea for a comic strip- a fetus!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy Assumption!

These days I attend a rather "utilitarian" (in the aesthetic sense) Mass at Our Lady of Victory in the city, but even I was amazed at the number of people who showed up to 21 Masses in 24 hours. Wow. I'd say what they lack in quality they make up for in quantity, but of course each Mass is of infinite worth, I think, assuming no one tries any silly business.

If you'd like to learn a little more about your Mother in heaven (no, not in the feminist sense), Archbishop Sheen has a delightful little work:

I have just finished reading it, and though I found some of his points odd, I think it also began to lead me to a new phase of my spiritual life, God willing, due to the comprehensive survey he makes of Mariology. It seemed . . . relevant when he was done. Impressive.

The Dormition/Assumption

All human generations bless you, O Mother of God. The laws of nature were overcome in you, O Pure Virgin: for your birth-giving left you a virgin, and your death became the herald of your life. O you who remained virgin after giving birth, and alive after having died, O Mother of God, deign always to save your inheritance.

-Hirmos from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

...the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,[47] immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.[48]
-Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII

Hie thee to church ye people! A certain church in New York has 19 masses:

7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, 8:45, 9:00 and 11:30
12:00, 12:15, 12:30, 12:45, 1:00, 1:15, 4:30 and 5:15

So if you're in the City YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Prisoner #16670

or St. Maximilian Kolbe as we know him, ascended to the Father on this day in 1941.

At the age of 12, St. Maximilian saw Blessed Mother holding two crowns, one red and one white. She told him that the white one was for purity and the red one was for martyrdom. He said that he would accept both.

The story goes that he and a group of other prisoners at Auschwitz were lined up one morning. A man from their block had recently escaped. There, the guards selected a ten of them to be put to death. One of the men begged to be spared for the sake of his wife and children. Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to take his place, claiming that he was nothing more than a Polish priest. Surprisingly, the guard granted Kolbe his wish, and the man was let go. The prisoners were then stripped and put into cells to starve. Maximilian Kolbe supported his fellow prisoners in their last days and prayed with them, despite the protests of the SS. He and three others managed to survive for two weeks before being put to death by lethal injection on the eve of the Asumption. The next day, he was cremated in the furnaces of the camp.

The man he saved managed to survive the Holocaust and lived to ripe old age of 95.

If you're interested in Maximilian Kolbe, EWTN is playing the one man show Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz on Saturday at 8. I highly recommend it.

"This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
-John 15:12-13

UN Security Council Resolution 1701: An Unmitigated Disaster

One view from an Israeli on the resolution. I've heard my friend in Israel call the war a complete disaster as it failed to achieve any of Israel's objectives, but he was later reprimanded by his father who had more positive things to say. Maybe with his permission I will post some of those thoughts here later.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Well, at least they didn't describe it as a peace rally

LGF finds a rather . . . interesting photo from the San Fran anti-war rally yesterday. I won't tell you what it says, for fear of attracting ever stranger searches to my blog, but let's just say the combination of racial slurs and imagery is interesting.

People do have a lot of time

It's a manager for Beirut leagues. You know. Beer pong. And it's got a web server built in.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Terrorists versus homosexuality - who wins?


I was, however, taken by one image in which a demonstrator, concealing his identity with an Arab headdress, is brandishing a placard declaring that “Europe you will pay, your 9/11 is on its way.” Walking beside him is a policeman, turning a conspicuous blind eye to this glorification of, and incitement to, terrorism. The police, it seems, have more important things to do than offend “community relations” with Britain’s burgeoning Muslim population by arresting “peaceful” demonstrators. For instance, they have to keep Britain safe from an outspoken mother of six who dared criticize Britain’s new civil-partnerships act, which gave homosexuals the “right” to adopt children. Lynette Burrows, a devout Christian and a campaigner for family rights, dared to suggest, during a live radio interview, that allowing homosexual “couples” to adopt children would leave the children at increased risk of sexual abuse. As a result of this exercise of her free speech, and her expression of obvious plain common sense, she was visited the following day by a police officer, cautioning her officially for alleged “homophobia.” A spokesman for Scotland Yard explained that racist and homophobic incidents were considered “priority crimes.” “It is all about reassuring the community,” he explained.

So here we see that in the UK it's not ok to say that homosexual adoption is bad, but it is ok to threaten the nation with bloody destruction.

Of course, Mr. Pearce points out what this means:

There is a darkly comic dimension to this whole sad, sorry state of affairs. If, as the “peaceful” Muslims proclaim, Islam is destined to “dominate the world” (or England at any rate), the “freedom” to practice homosexuality will “go to hell,” as will so many of the other freedoms cherished by liberal secularists.

It's so refreshing to get First Things more than once a month.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Belgium is having trouble killing people

BRUSSELS, Belgium, August 11, 2006 ( - Palliative care personnel in Belgium are complaining that a changeover in the pharmaceutical market has rendered them unable to euthanize their patients, Expatica reported on Wednesday.

What a pity, because I'm sure there's only one drug that causes death on the market.

Palliative care workers are deeply concerned about the dearth of Pentothal. Without the drug they say it is impossible to comfortably kill the on-average 30 patients a month who are officially euthanized in Belgium, as well as the speculated much larger number of patients whose deaths by euthanasia go unregistered as such.

“Our supply [of Pentothal] is completely finished,” said Marc Cornely, a spokesman for a large chain of Belgium pharmacies.

Come on people, use your imagination. Arsenic, radiation poisoning, guns, knives, there are plenty of ways to make up for the shortage.

Alex Schadenberg the executive director of Canada’s euthanasia prevention coalition, pointed out the dark irony of the earnest concern of Belgium’s palliative care and pharmaceutical agencies.

“This proves how the dignity of the person has been lost in Belgium,” he said. “When it is considered a medical emergency that they do not have the necessary drug to kill people. People don't need to be killed they need to receive excellent end of life care. They then die with true dignity, being cared for with proper pain and symptom management with care to the persons physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

An interesting factoid

She also said that the morning after pill doesn't reduce the number of abortions and pointed to its use in Scotland, where it was made available over the counter in 1999. Officials recently announced that abortions there are at their highest points on record.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Doe of Doe v. Boulton looking to have her case reversed

Which would, of course, make it legal to ban most abortions.

Sandra Cano, the "Mary Doe" of the Doe v. Bolton decision, which entrenched Roe v. Wade by declaring abortions should be allowed to protect a woman's health and that health could be any reason at all, wants the high court to overturn the decision.

Attorneys for an Atlanta woman filed papers in the case on Monday and they also suggest that the Supreme Court take a new look at Roe v. Wade as well and consider overturning the pro-abortion precedent.

Claude Newman for Sainthood

Apparition stories are always quite inspiring. When they're with conversion, Mississippi goddam, and death row, they get quite intersting. They remind us of the amazing things our mother does on behalf of her Son.

Forgive the dated language.

Edith Stein

Or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross if you prefer

This is a good icon of her I found.

Many consider it offensive that she gained the status of martyr because she died in Auschwitz. They argue it's somehow anti-semetic because she died for being Jewish yet she converted. Personally, I don't get why it's such a big deal. St. Maxamilian Kolbe did the same thing for being a Catholic.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In Defense of Beauty, Play, and a Liberal Education

It is a bit sad such things need defense. Perhaps it is just my own inclination, but I often have this absurd urge that everything I do have some purpose behind it. But by behaving so I deprive myself of the ability to play, create, and imagine. Too often I feel that if something does not have immediate utilitarian and practical use, then it must be useless. Rationally I know this not to be so, but still I often fall prey to this mentality and lose out. I have to kick myself every once in a while and remind myself that it is okay to admire beauty and not sheer vanity and that it is okay to play and not a misuse of resources. Children don't have this problem, but somehow our ability to play is beaten out of us as we become adults in society. Perhaps that is one of the meanings behind "Unless you turn and become like children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

Again With the Dominican Theme

If you didn't think we were done with the OP thing. I saw the crest of the Dominican Republic-

The motto above the crest translates to: God, Country, and Freedom.

IMHO, DR's got its priorities together. At least in theory.


Because it is the feast of St. Dominic... I'm highlighting one of my favorite contributions of the religious to the West- Drink!

Fr. Jack Hackett seems to agree. I really liked how it details the many different places one can visit in Bohemia to see beer in its natural habitat. What better a combination than good culture and good drink? I can't think of any.

For more fun, check out A Good Beer Blog- it's awesomely devoted to its subject.

You Down With O.P.P.

Hodie est the feast of St. Dominic. Here is a biography of the man.

In honor of his feast, I would like to to highlight some Dominican blogs-

Moniales, Contemplata, Disputations, and Cnytr

As of right now only one acknowledges the feast of their founder on their blog. Anyway the point is, hug your local Dominican or visit a blog. For, if Dominic didn't bring to us the Rosary, he sure brought to us some wonderful lay and religious.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Petition for People in NYS

I haven't found it online, but at church there was a man looking for signatures to get Pro-Life candidates in the ballot in NYS. They need 15,000 of them. So if you like pre-born people and you can vote here, please do something about it.

Colberticism of the Catholic Church

Does anyone know what Stephen Colbert teach his 6 year olds during CCD. From what I hear he isn't into those dinky textbooks that are an educational illusion. I've heard he calls himself devout. I've also seen him recite the Nicene Creed on his show in 1 breath (I was very proud). Then again, he says "I don't believe I can't disagree with my church." Some people in fact do disagree with their churches or even the Vatican and still call themselves Catholic out of respectful disagreement (i.e. female altar servers, the death penatly, use of just war theory). We won't be taking that up for now, but if anyone could dig up the dirt on his truthiness, please comment.

My Suggestion to The Squach

Or anyone else in the city-

why don't you take on this or this? It would be quite useful.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Transfiguration?

The transfigured of Christ is the culminating point of His public life, as His Baptism is its starting point, and His Ascension its end.

I was profiled to listen to Fr. Rutler, a man of many skills and many parishes I frequent, homilize on this subject this morning. The point which most resonated with me was that the disciples just didn't understand what was going on at the time, that is, that Christ was showing Himself as divine. Peter wants to build a few tents for everyone to stay in, and afterwards they call him Rabbi and wonder what all of this rising from the dead nonsense is about. Perhaps it would be a good idea to really listen to what Christ has to say and then do it, so as to not repeat the errors of our illustrious forefathers in the faith.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Just a note

Tonight starts the fourth book of the Liturgy of the Hours. If you've been thinking about starting, now might be the time . . . it's a great way to structure your prayer life, though it is somewhat demanding of ones time. And of course the danger that you'll do it rotely rather than sincerely. But with any great adventure comes great risks. You can check it out online here: or at Universalis.

My kind of conference

In the mid-twentieth century, the industrialized world embraced contraception as the way to eradicate poverty, lower the birth rate and guarantee freedom for women.

But contraception ushered in widespread promiscuity, divorce, sexually transmitted diseases, single parent households and abortion. While abortion was hailed as a triumph for women's rights and the solution to "failed" contraception, it brought a host of its own problems, including post-abortion trauma, sterility, and an increased risk of breast cancer.

If anyone wants to go out to Chicago with me in a couple of months to learn about the problems of contraception . . .

Friday, August 04, 2006

This is exactly why I don't want him as the governor

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s second attempt to ban the phrase "Choose Life" from a pro-adoption specialty plate.

The Attorney General’s first defeat occurred in January 2005, when a federal judge ruled that The Children First Foundation (CFF) had sufficiently argued that its First Amendment rights would be violated.

Spitzer appealed the federal court ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with CFF.

The three judge panel agreed with CFF's contention that Spitzer, who is pro-abortion, and state officials denied the Choose Life plate application "based on their disagreement with [the] life-affirming viewpoint expressed on the plate."

The court said the officials "engaged in viewpoint discrimination."

The state argued, in a written submission to the appeals court, that the Children First Foundation's plate was rejected in order “to avoid any appearance of governmental support for either side in the divisive national abortion debate.”

Spitzer's office came under fire last year when it claimed the Choose Life plates could lead to road rage.

Road rage? Good grief. If that's the case you should ban all pro-life bumper stickers, not wring your hands over license plates.

Sanity in politics?

Ms. Farrell said, reasonably, that she felt Mr. Shays was trying to link her to Hezbollah. That brings us to a modest proposal: Let’s try to go through the next three months without having any politician compare an opponent to terrorists.

Mr. Shays says he agrees: “Point well taken.” It’s a start.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I really should have blogged this before sunset

For today (yesterday???) is (was???) a fast day, similar to Yom Kippur, by the name of 9th of Av, or Tisha B'Av.

Tisha B'Av, the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which coincidentally have occurred on the ninth of Av.

. . .

The restrictions on Tisha B'Av are similar to those on Yom Kippur: to refrain from eating and drinking (even water); washing, bathing, shaving or wearing cosmetics; wearing leather shoes; engaging in sexual relations; and studying Torah. Work in the ordinary sense of the word [rather than the Shabbat sense] is also restricted. People who are ill need not fast on this day. Many of the traditional mourning practices are observed: people refrain from smiles, laughter and idle conversation, and sit on low stools.

Want to get into Rao's?

I'll get a table there one day, though I may have to commit several crimes to procure it. Such is life.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Technology intersects with culture

I love it.

Schwarts starts out with an observation:

“With VoIP, geography means nothing,” says Eslambolchi. In the public switched telephone network, when you dial 415 you know you’re talking to someone in San Francisco. But with an IP address no one really knows where you are.

And then realizes that this means that people can do more working from home, more working in their own communities.

The death of locality could also lead to more local phenomena, not fewer. We could see the re-emergence of small towns with local workforces, more local newspapers, an increase in neighborliness, and even the rebuilding of a community-minded spirit.

I say there is indeed a distinct possibility of this. While sometimes there are no substitutes for having a lot of people in a small space, and face to face meetings will probably always need to be regular events, there's a lot of work that I do which I could do just as well for home. Same for many of my coworkers, I suspect.

TCJ commends on the sparsity of Holy Days of Obligation in the calendar

"The circumstances of modern life in England and Wales has made it impossible for a large proportion of the Catholic community to attend Holy Days. And these three Holy Days are very important mysteries of our faith and it is important that the whole community should be able to attend."

"In fact once we decided on this course of action we soon realized that we should just go ahead and make the next step. To ensure that all Catholic's can participate in these important mysteries of faith and are do not have any occasion to miss Mass because of work/entertainment scheduling we have decided to not only transfer Holy Days of Obligation that do not occur on Sunday to Sunday, but will also move and combine all 52 Sundays to one day a year."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Community service call

From my old friends at NYU:

St. Joseph's Soup Kitchen located at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Washington Place is in urgent need of volunteers
for both the morning prep shift from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and food service shift from 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Many of the soup kitchen's regular volunteers will be on vacation this week and the crew will be very short-handed.

Last week, St. Joseph's served 525 meals to hungry New Yorkers. This week with the anticipated heat wave, the numbers
are expected to be even greater as hunger is mixed with heat and homeless people are driven indoors for a brief respite in the air conditioning.

Please help.

To volunteer, please contact the Office of Community Service at (212) 998-4994 and a staff member will register you.

The phone number listed is for NYU, which you can probably ignore, and the parish website is yonder.

Reading this today

I came across the following comment:

There are 2 different aspects to war: Military engagement and propaganda. The Israeli ambassador states that they place "great importances on the public statements of the Vatican," yet the war-crime decimation of Lebanon continues.

I'm just wondering what the actual definition of a war crime is. Some are obvious, like genocide, or ignoring a flag of truce. Others, like shooting paratroopers while they're parachuting, don't really make much sense to me in the least. If some guy was floating down with a gun to kill me, I'm pretty sure I'd shoot at him. Here, while the intentional killing of civilians is badness, what's going on may be a bit tamer . . .

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