Saturday, June 30, 2007


When things that are supposed to help just drive you up a wall.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh Maguire

MILWAUKEE, June 29, 2007 ( – In a letter to the New York Times on Monday, Daniel C. Maguire, a professor of moral theology at Marquette University and prominent Catholic dissident, stated that bishops should stop "harassing" Catholic politicians who vote in favor of abortion.

Maguire drew on St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas who both thought that to allow certain moral evils would prevent “greater evils.” He further cited Aquinas, who said that the “wise legislator” imitates God, who “tolerates certain evils lest greater evils ensue.”

Right, but you don't tolerate greater evils lest lesser evils ensue.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Knew It!

People from Jersey can't drive!

People driving in Newark are more likely to be in a car crash than virtually any other large city in the country.

New Jersey's other big cities, Elizabeth, Jersey City and Paterson, aren't much better. In fact, a study by Allstate Insurance Co. finds four of the six worst cities to drive in are right in the Garden State.

The company's customers reported accidents in Newark an average of once every 5.2 years, tops on the list. By contrast, the national average was once every 10 years.

Elizabeth was No. 3 on the list, with drivers reporting an accident every 5.7 years. Jersey City was No. 5 (once every 6.2 years) and Paterson was No. 6 (once every 6.5 years).

The study was based on collision data collected between January 2004 and December 2005 for the 197 largest cities where the insurance carrier does business.

To everyone I offended from Jersey, I'm just reiterating the facts. I know many nice people from Jersey, in fact they are often much more humble than us folks on the otha side of the river. Probably because it's in our nature to take shots at them. Seriously though, stop tailgating me when I'm on the road in your phallic vehicles, and we'll go back to the usual ragging fare.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stem cells, but from adults

According to ABC News, the Pontiff made the remarks while greeting members of a conference organized by La Spaienza University about the use of adult stem cells to treat cardiac problems.

"On this matter the position of the Church, supported by reason and by science, is clear," said the Pope.

"Scientific research must be encouraged and promoted, so long as it does not harm other human beings, whose dignity is inviolable from the very first stages of existence."

Adult stem cells have already been used in a host of successful cures, whereas embryonic stem-cell research, which involves the destruction of live human embryos, has yet to be successfully used to treat any particular disease or illness. The Catholic Church has repeatedly expressed its approval of, and support for adult stem-cell research, and condemned embryonic stem-cell research as gravely immoral.

Not only are they moral, but they work better. Win-win.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New York

1:55 p.m. today. Landed at JFK, headed north on I-678. Sweltering. I turn on the radio and crank it -- hot Latin tunes followed by Michael Jackson. The East Coast urban edge comes flooding back. Guys playing basketball inside chain-link fence. Cars up on blocks. You can fry an egg on the sidewalk.

But the greatest thing is the infrastructure. The biggest legacy systems collection in the world. Huge bridges they don't even bother to keep painted. Massively parallel apartment buildings. Sleek, silver elevated trains cruising above concrete-and-steel jungles from the 1920s and '50s. A spaghetti of highways and rail yards and warehouses, then off in the distance, the shining, towering city it all exists for.

Happy Feast Day, OD

Yes today is the liturgical feast of St. Josemaria, founder of "The Work". I happen to be friends with a few OD fellows and can vouch that at the very least they are no stranger than me. Having read a bit of St. Josemaria's writings, I can vouch that he is much less strange than me, except in the way that people of great holiness seem strange to those around them. At any rate, I'd recommend a little bit of OD to anyone who has work (everyone really), because if you can turn your work into prayer, that's a solid 8-10 hours of prayer a day. Not bad.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Blood Donation

Just taking this opportunity of having donated blood a few days ago to stump a little for one of my favorite causes and encourage y'all to go out and give blood. It saves lives and usually doesn't hurt you. And you can always give platelets if you don't like being short blood.

Why liberalism is intolerant

Today's "liberals" are really leftists who have rejected the older liberal belief in a shared equality of citizens before the law and have embraced the socialist vision of "equality as a fact and equality as a result," as Lyndon Johnson famously put it.

..the left has for tactical reasons largely shifted its demand for equality of results away from the economic sphere to the cultural/moral sphere and the advancement of "oppressed" cultural and ethnic groups. The result is cultural socialism, which entails the same kind of bureaucratically imposed egalitarian “solution” as existed under the older socialism, and thus leads to a cultural double standard.

... the belief in equality requires leftists to delegitimize
anyone who upholds the traditional moral code, and to excuse anyone who violates it, because traditional morality says that some behaviors are objectively better than others, which is (to leftists) discriminatory. The belief in equality requires leftists to demand the virtual dismantling of Christianity, because, as James Carroll claims in his anti-Christian opus, Constantine's Sword, Christianity, by its very existence and its claim to being the true religion, denigrates Judaism and the Jews; Carroll isn't bothered that every sentence of his book denigrates Christianity and Christians.

The above link is to an article that is a few years old, but still poignant. I've struggled with political labels myself and am still finding where I fit politically in a lot of things. Because of my background I've always had very bad gut reactions to the term "conservative" and to this day continued to call myself "liberal" or "left." More and more though I can't identify with that camp, at least as the mainstream understands it, and have to confess I'm falling in more with the conservative understanding. At the same time I certainly don't agree with everything traditional conservatives support, and find many beliefs alluded to in this article problematic. I guess I'm truly non-partisan and can't fit in with any one group's agenda. Unfortunately for me, this makes me feel totally impotent and voiceless in our two-party system.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Happy Nativity of St. John the Baptist

And as Augustine points out, it isn't that many biblical types whose birthdays we celebrate, so this really should be quite a big day. It's also rather appropriate that St. John Fisher's feast day was just Friday, because he was also beheaded for telling the king that his marriage irregular. Isn't history great?

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Washington, Jun. 22, 2007 ( - American Catholics are somewhat more likely than other voters to support Rudy Giuliani in the Republican presidential primary, according to a survey commissioned by the Pew Forum for Religion & Public Life.

The Pew Forum found that among likely Democratic voters, Hillary Clinton gains the most support among self-identified Catholics. But the poll found few significant differences between Catholic and Protestant respondents in their judgments on the leading Democratic candidates.

Among the Republican contenders, Giuliani drew the highest level of support among Catholics*. Nearly half-- 49%-- of the Catholic voters said that they were likely to support the former New York mayor, while Giuliani commanded only 30% "likely" support among mainline Protestant respondents and 32% among Evangelical Protestants.


More and Fisher

Their feast day was yesterday, the day on which Fisher was executed for treason. As always, I highly recommend the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons, as well as the play. Bolt (the author) was no Catholic, but he indeed realised that, as he writes, "I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos."


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Vatican gives advice on driving

I had never really thought of it as a social activity before, but they're spot on, I think. And yes I will admit to praying the rosary while driving.

A Vatican bureaucrat could have had the Tappan Zee Bridge in mind - at rush hour, backed up to kingdom come - when he wrote:

"When driving a vehicle, special circumstances may lead us to behave in an unsatisfactory and even barely human manner."

Backed up to kingdom come indeed. I'd like to see some instructions on how to ride the subway during rush hour without violating any commandments myself.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Now that's what IT is all about

In the mid 90s, Ken W. was working in the distribution center of a large commercial printing company. Since the department didn't generate any revenue, it was treated as a cost center. As such, getting purchases approved had a difficulty level somewhere between squeezing a camel through the eye of a needle and being rich and getting into heaven.

Since the printing branch was sending order information in Word documents or Excel spreadsheets, the distribution center needed Office licenses. Office costs more than $0, however, and the vehement opposition to approving purchase requests trumped the need for the software.

All that and you still have to make it work. Quite an inspiring story. Not as inspiring as, say, the Gospel according to John, but not bad overall.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Go Pell Go

Lee Rhiannon, a Greens lawmaker, won approval for a parliamentary hearing at which Cardinal Pell will be questioned about his statement that politicians who vote in favor of cloning should realize that their votes will have "consequences for their place in the life of the Church."

Rhiannon complained that the cardinal's remarks were intended to intimidate lawmakers. "Cardinal Pell has shown no remorse for his comments," she added.

The Sydney prelate responded by saying that he "would be privileged to appear before the committee if necessary, to resist this clumsy attempt to curb religious freedom and freedom of speech."

Now there's a cardinal with some backbone.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Seven dead

A WOMAN suspected of killing her seven babies will not face criminal charges.

Three-times-married Roberta Bibby set-off a major police inquiry in 2004 by allegedly "confessing" to a psychiatrist that she had killed the youngsters.

The children lived between six months and 27 months between 1961 and 1974.

Yesterday, prosecutors revealed that they would not be charging Bibby.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


So today is Father's Day. And a happy one to all of you dads out there.

First thought - I'm reading a book at the moment which is quite relevant and quite good. And quite short. St. Joseph, Fatima and Fatherhood: Reflections on the Miracle of the Sun. I think the name pretty much says it all.

Secondly, on the definition of fatherhood. There was a really interesting article in either First Things, Touchstone, or Crisis a month ago or so about adopting children from Russia and the meaning of fatherhood. It occurred to me today that my definition of fatherhood is far too biological. If God is my Father, and St. Joseph was really and truly the father of Christ, then the meaning of the word must be much different than I think. Perhaps I was assigning the word progenitor to father or something like that. Another tip-off should be the calling of respected men (eg priests and village elders) "father" as a term of respect. I've certainly felt the term quite appropriate on occasion after comming out of a session with a certain Dominican.

I feel like if we sat down and digested the true meaning of "father" as a culture, there woulnd't be such a big push to things like IVF, and adoption would be more of the in thing. Which would help create a healthier society, I think.

Just some thoughts.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Without cost you have received, without cost you shall give

Too often I'm stingy with myself, especially with my friends or with my coworkers when one asks me for something I really don't feel like doing. But hey, if God were like that, I'd be up the creek without a paddle. Bad Squach.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart

Perhaps a reminder of the importance of being pure of heart.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A rather high bar

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother,
Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.

I sometimes wonder how much better the world would be if I could take this passage to heart and live at peace. Don't be angry with your brother. That would certainly lead to smoother interpersonal relations, but I think it would also make doing business a lot easier, wars less bloody, and public discourse less acrimonious. Perhaps next time I find myself angry I'll be able to remember this little bit and stop.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Response to the Journal News' article on abortion

Or, if you have an agenda, prepare to have it exposed.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I always love new STDs

Have to keep up, you understand, since I don't have health class anymore. Alas, the condoms don't seem to help as much with this one than with others.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Because I can't sleep ...

I decided to pray. This is much better than me rolling around in bed with anxiety and making lists in my head of all the things I have to do.

After praying for bits and pieces between my drifting thoughts, I got to thinking about the Sister who spoke at OLPH this morning. (That's right folks, I'm back in NY.)

She was director of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith for the Archdiocese of New York. She told a very moving story about her experience visiting St. Monica's in Jamaica, a home for the sick, the elderly, and the homeless. It reminded me of my childhood desire to be a missionary. I used to want to go to exotic and far-off lands and help people build schools and get health care while preaching the gospel. I got these notions from reading the Maryknool Missioner magazines my mother subscribed to. I was either inspired, or naive, depending on how you see it. Apparently though I can't quite shake that missionary zeal, which is why I am doing pro bono work in education for the Catholic Church, going first to Oakland for a year and now to Baltimore for two years. I still hope to do some mission work abroad as a lay person in the future. After I have my master's degree perhaps I could get away for a month, a summer, or a year. Right now though there is plenty of need for good work here in our own backyard and I am content to sit back and pray for those who have the courage to go globe-trotting for Jesus.

Anyways, I came across the above link for a Rosary to pray for missionaries. It wasn't cheesy like many online Rosaries I've come across. I rather liked it and thought I would share.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The homily today

It was pretty good, and it started with a story, which I will attempt to relate.

One day before people worried about cholesterol there was a farmer who wanted a hearty breakfast. He went out to the hen house to see if he could get a few eggs, and the birds were willing to part with a few, so he had his eggs. Then he went out to the pig pen and asked the pig for some bacon. The pig sat down and started pondering her response. The farmer said, what's the problem, the hen was very quick to give me the eggs, why won't you give me the bacon. The pig answered, well, it was pretty easy for the hen to give you the eggs, but for me to give you bacon requires total commitment on my part.

The point being, I think, that in the Eucharist, God totally commits to us, at least in a way we find understandable. I never read any of the Narnia books, but I think C. S. Lewis makes a similar point.

Though I do think that the comparison places the pig standing in for Jesus in the story, which does seem a bit unclean.

Total commitment. I guess we have to be willing to be eaten in return if we are to live up to our calling. Intense.

New website for Zenit!

Quite snazzy. They're an excellent source for all stories Rome-related, don't know what I'd do without them.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Have your cake and eat it too

Consumer advocates, who see a rare opportunity to strengthen lending laws, say that represents a misguided optimism, and point to housing statistics as proof that action is warranted.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday it expects sales of existing homes to drop 4.6 percent this year to 6.2 million while the median home price is expected to fall 1.3 percent to $219,000. It would be the first annual drop since the trade group began keeping records in the 1960s.

The foreclosure rate nationwide is rising at an annual rate double that of two years ago. Nearly 2 million adjustable-rate mortgages are forecast to reset at higher rates over the next two years, suggesting the foreclosure rate has not peaked.

If the prospect of soaring foreclosures doesn't motivate Congress "to take firm and deliberate action, I don't know what on this God's earth will," says John Taylor, president of the Washington-based National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which advocates for low-income and minority groups.

. . . .

Federal lawmakers and regulators say they are balancing how to make sure high-risk borrowers can still get loans against efforts to rein in abusive lending practices.

When abusive lending practices are defined as lending to high-risk borrowers at a rate that enables a bank to make their money back after a lot of them default. Note to regulators - when high-risk borrowers default, that's part of the whole high-risk thing. Note to activists - . . . probably not worth it.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Call it like it is

"Today no one is a virgin when they get married ... show me someone who's a virgin!" she said. She went on, criticizing the Catholic Church’s moral teachings saying, "How is it possible to not want people to use condoms and also not have abortions? It's impossible, I'm sorry."

However, in an interview with the Italian edition of “Vanity Fair” that appeared just after the supermodel made her remarks, the Brazilian soccer superstar known as Kaka has said that both he and his wife, Caroline, were virgins when they got married. Kaka, one of Brazil’s most successful soccer players, has long been known for both his outspoken Christian faith and his remarkable good looks.

Now there's a man with some backbone. And also a woman who doesn't understand what it means for something to be possible or not, I think.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Livers from skin

Looks like stem cells from embryos might not be very 'necessary' to grow organs and whatnot. I'm sure the states that just commited themselves to spending a few billion on stem cell research are quite pleased with their decisions right now.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A rather startling statement

When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Sir, come and see."

And Jesus wept.

Been thinking about that this evening. Not sure what to make of it.


Monday, June 04, 2007


After regaining his ability to speak, Mr. Grzewski told his relatives that he has memories of family gatherings while he was supposedly ‘comatose,’ at which they spoke to him, trying to elicit a response. Mrs. Grzewska, her husband’s doctor said, did the work of an entire intensive care team, turning him every hour to prevent bed sore infections.

Mmm maybe we don't know as much about comas as we think we know.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Prayer request

My grandfather died last night. Might be a little slow for the next few days. Mass is on Wednesday if anyone wants to show, not sure about the wake yet.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Nothing like a little Holding on a Saturday afternoon.

In the Fall 2003 issue of The Journal of Higher Criticism ("Can't pass peer review? Try here!"), an author named Herman Detering offers an item titled The Falsified Paul. The dedication tells the story by itself; it is partly to G. A. van den Bergh van Eysinga, someone of whom we once wrote much with extensive credit to Mark Nanos. The train of thought here is a form of highly radical criticism of the NT which ends up at the destination that declares the whole thing a forgery, though here, Detering is only concluding that "the Pauline letters in their entirety are inauthentic."

Always some amusing reads on his most excellent website.

Friday, June 01, 2007

No specialists, no ETFs

The rapid disappearance of stock-exchange trading floor "specialists" is starting to hurt the booming exchange-traded-fund business.

Specialists are the elite traders who, for many years, have helped maintain orderly trading amid the chaos of the floor. Now they are a vanishing breed as electronic trading gains acceptance -- the New York Stock Exchange has seen its specialists decline more than 30% since last year.

That is bad news for ETFs, which resemble mutual funds but trade on an exchange like a stock.

Always nice to read that your company actually provides a useful service to someone.

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