Monday, November 30, 2009

Latin Mass Appeal

I'm honestly shocked that the New York Times would put a piece like this in their op-ed section! I'm speechless! (And quite pleased.)


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Respecting life

Where TCJ notes that while the Church disapproves of homosexual sexual expression, it also disapproves of killing people for it.

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Surprising views of the afterlife

I've been reading a book:

And what has most surprised me is the depth and breadth of Jewish writing on afterlife experiences, both philisophical and Dante-like. Not to mention how I've been told that "Jews don't believe in hell", only to find respected Jewish rabbis speaking of souls who never leave Gehenna, which sort of sounds like hell to my uninformed ears.

I am once again reminded that if you want to know about something you had better spend the time to learn about it yourself, from the primary sources if possible.

At any rate I should be done with the book in a week or so, so let me know if you want to borrow it. I can throw in an introduction to Jewish writings if you're really bored.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Liturgical New Year!

I'd say it's time to get wasted, but sadly Advent is a penitential season. Poor planing on the Church's part, alas.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Catholic University

As has been noted by some members of the City Council, Georgetown University, a Catholic university, has written eligibility for its staff and faculty benefits program broadly, so that employees can extend benefits to other eligible adults with whom they may or may not be romantically involved. Lawmakers point to a similar arrangement in San Francisco, where church officials reached an agreement with the city in the late 1990s under which church-related employers allowed employees to designate a member of the household as a “spousal equivalent.”

The error in the reasoning, of course, is that Georgetown is not really a Catholic university, it seems. Rather, it's "a national University rooted in the Catholic faith and Jesuit tradition". Or to make it a bit clearer, from the above page,

While the University and the Jesuit Community are distinct and separately governed entities, they are united in the long tradition and common spirit of learning and faith that characterize Georgetown.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh. But perhaps not.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Security Theater

Wherein the master tells people to turn their brains on.

Terrorism is rare, far rarer than many people think. It's rare because very few people want to commit acts of terrorism, and executing a terrorist plot is much harder than television makes it appear. The best defenses against terrorism are largely invisible: investigation, intelligence, and emergency response. But even these are less effective at keeping us safe than our social and political policies, both at home and abroad. However, our elected leaders don't think this way: they are far more likely to implement security theater against movie-plot threats.

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Costs vs benefits

“They know that in 2010, 15 people will die like my father did even though there’s a surefire way to prevent that?” Ms. Bourgeois asked. “I can’t believe that’s not illegal. Of course the F.D.A. should step in.”

115 people die every day in car accidents and there's a surefire way to prevent them. Just saying. Lives are valuable, and in the divine sense are of infinite value, but we are allowed to drive cars in this country.

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Cancer prevention, overrated

It seems that many people would rather take vitamins rather than pills which have good scientific evidence behind them that they prevent cancer. This of course leads to drug companies not investing in the pills as they know they won't make money.

Sounds like a win-win situation.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

The iPhone: A matter of priorities, you understand

A developer wrote an iPhone app which allows you to contact your elected officials, and included a sketch of each one to help the app stand out. Alas, Apple did not see things the way he did.

First of all, the caricatures are no more scandalous than what you might get for paying a street artist to sketch your face. But even beyond aesthetic quibbles about whether or not John McCain's forehead is drawn as “cartoonishly huge" or “insultingly huge," how is this any of Apple's business? This episode demonstrates once again how Apple is stifling the iPhone platform and alienating would-be partners by deciding to keep the gate, paternalistically levying arbitrary judgments about what users can handle. For whatever reason, Apple allows apps that fart, but disallows apps that help you get in touch with elected officials.

I don't really understand why you can't just go to the appropriate .gov website, but I see his point.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Positive stereotypes

JWR vs ADL. I will not step in the middle.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Because allowing religions to have rules is just, so, wrong

This from the country where the head of state is the head of the established religion:

In an explosive decision, the court concluded that basing school admissions on a classic test of Judaism — whether one’s mother is Jewish — was by definition discriminatory. Whether the rationale was “benign or malignant, theological or supremacist,” the court wrote, “makes it no less and no more unlawful.”

The case rested on whether the school’s test of Jewishness was based on religion, which would be legal, or on race or ethnicity, which would not. The court ruled that it was an ethnic test because it concerned the status of M’s mother rather than whether M considered himself Jewish and practiced Judaism.

So religion is whatever you feel like it is. Nice ruling.

Of course, if he cared so much, instead of suing he could just, you know, convert.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Trying to help people is always a power play

Kung seems to have ignored the fact that it is members of the Anglican Church who have asked the Pope for this pastoral provision to help them. It will only be those who wish to take up this provision who will be accepted. This is pastoral care -- not a thirst for power.

Father Martyn Hope

Perhaps Hans Kung hasn't helped anyone in so long that he interprets any gesture of hospitality as a power play. Zing!


Saturday, November 07, 2009

6 years of nonsense

Egads it has been six years since I started posting, you think I would get the hint and give up.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Stopping to think about your job

Johnson had been affiliated with Bryan's Planned Parenthood facility for eight years, and worked as its director for two. She said she began to feel uncomfortable with Planned Parenthood's business philosophy after the organization, suffering from the economic downturn, told her to try to bring more abortions in the door. "The money wasn't in family planning, the money wasn't in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that," said Johnson.

But the turning point for Johnson was reportedly when she witnessed an actual ultrasound image of an abortion being performed on an unborn child.

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Slashdot debates flu vaccines


I've personally never gotten a shot, and never gotten the flu, but that could be nothing more than luck. But I also never make money gambling, so maybe not?


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