Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grand Central Station is 100

Happy Birthday.  Some cool pics here.  A grand relic from America's past.  Now, as my boys noticed, all the really big and cool buildings are built anywhere else.  There was a time though when America could tip its hat as the rest of the world looked on with admiration (if not occasional envy).

A Super Bowl Rules Primer

Especially given the number of new rules that have come up in recent years.  As you're getting the chips out and thawing those wings, this isn't a bad little list of some of the more puzzling or confusing or misunderstood NFL rules.  Of course for me, the big question remains: is Superbowl one word or two?!

Ban all guns now!

For those good-hearted, yet hopelessly naive and hyper-emotional types who keeps saying things like 'nobody wants to ban all guns', I give you the good Mr. Lessenberry of the Detroit Metrotimes.  I know, that's one editorial.  One editorial it took 3 seconds to find with a Google search.  Fact is, there is an entire swath of our nation that would gleefully ban all guns and ditch the Second Amendment tomorrow if they thought there was any hope of doing so.  One group has simply been taught that guns are an intrinsic evil.  Like Southern Baptists with alcohol, they hold guns as far from their hearts as possible, and drop them in the nearest convenient dispenser.  They are Hawkeye Pierce, proudly declaring he'd rather let himself and his friend Colonel Potter be captured or killed by the enemy than even touch a gun.

The other group is more sinister.  These are part of the Barry Lynn progressives.  These are the folks who insist all Truth must be mandated.  Not values or religion of course. What they proclaim isn't beliefs or religion.  It's Truth, and it must be mandated.  And a growing number of those in this tradition (perhaps not Mr. Lynn) are concluding that it's time we shake up that old Constitution once and for all.  Eliminating the Second Amendment would be a huge symbolic victory, and in the minds of some on both sides of the debate, the first chink in the Constitutional Armor.

Lesson?  Argue for solutions to America's gun violence all you want, but please don't live in a silly land of make-believe, where evil NRA agents and stupid gun-clingers are the mischief, and everyone else is just hunky-dory swell with the purest of intentions to let everyone live and let live.

It's better in color

Or worse in some cases.  We're all used to seeing pictures of Hitler and the Nazi rallies at Nuremberg in all their glorious black and white.  But when you look at these color photos courtesy of LIFE magazine, you realize these really were people, just like we see on the widescreen today, whipped into a frenzy by a complete coming together of all the institutions of information that the country could muster.  I've often said that nuclear weapons were not the most dangerous weapons of the last century.  Nor were biological or chemical weapons the most dangerous.  That designation goes, IMHO, to mass media.  For in our age, in order to get common sense people ready to use some horrible weapon, or perpetrate some other terrifying deed, or promote an unthinkable evil (*cough* abortion), you need everything in an advanced society to come together to promote it, using all the information technology available.

As seen on TV.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The end of an era

The Andrew Sisters, c. 1947
Patty Andrews, of the legendary Andrews Sisters, has died.  Like so many things of that era, it had to happen.  They were icons of that home front mentality that propelled the US to victory against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.  Some wonder if the phrase 'the greatest generation' is appropriate.  I've argued myself that it's more complicated than a single generation's accomplishments.  But there was something about that period, when Americans came together for a greater good, and despite missteps  errors, and flat out wrong decisions, still, they came together.  Differences were set aside, and embraced a feeling of unified purpose the likes of which our country never felt before, or has never felt since.  Now, we sit and watch as day after day, those who made that era what is was pass before us.  The servicemen and women are leaving us on a daily basis, and most of the celebrities and names of that period have long since passed away.  I'm not sure who is left now, who would have entertained the troops, or rallied the home front   It may be that Patty was the last of the generation.  If so, what she takes with her will be more than just the loss of her being with us, it will be the loss of that time when America did the impossible.  She, and that era, will be missed.  Thanks for the memories.

A Catholic Blog in which there is no guile

Is found at Jimmy Akin's wonderful site.  True, you get the first snippets and then must follow the links to the full stories, but it's worth it.  Mr. Akin follows the path of the apologist.  He basically deals with unpacking the teachings of the Church, explaining this or that doctrine or scriptural passage, and occasionally touches on a controversial issue and defends the Church against those who would misrepresent or attack it.  Fair enough.  A good, well rounded approach.  I'm not saying he's perfect.  But he seems to get that the main job of an apologist is to win souls, not arguments.  And so his blog is both informative, and at times challenging  without the need to follow the sort of dialogue one expects on places like the Huffington Post. Here he is, tackling the issue of sickness and faith in a way that could help someone trying to make it through the tangled mess of misunderstandings about Catholic doctrine.

A put on?

You decide.  In a post in which the discussion is about, well, something to do with good bloggers vs. bad ones, this was posted:
I appreciate [....]'s labels and stereotypes because they are often helpful in holding up a mirror to others in the hope that they will recognize themselves. I reject the notion that all stereotypes are bad or false. Some stereotypes exist because……they’re true.
I'm still trying to work it out. Certainly the commenter couldn't be that unaware.  Was this sarcasm?  I mean, the irony would be the stereotypes of Catholics such a statement would reinforce.  So I'm still prepared to assume it's meant in jest.  Lord I hope it's meant in jest. If it weren't for others' similar resounding cheers to such things, I'd automatically smack it down as humor.

Call me a Toklien heretic

But I still think John Huston would have been the greatest Gandalf:

Not that Sir Ian does a bad job.  But it's not Sir Ian.  Yes, the picture looks more like it as he's getting older, especially with the beard. But as Sir Ian explains here, he's just acting the part (complete with prosthetics and altered voices).  On the other hand, look at John Huston in the first picture!  That was him.  That's what he looked like.  Toss on a wig, bush up the eyebrows, and you have Gandalf.  And that voice, that Huston-voice that held no rivals:

I see a more robust and dynamic Gandalf to be sure.  Again, love the job Sir Ian did, but have always wondered about a movie in which Mr. Huston donned the grey and white. Hat tip to Mr. Winchester for the link.  It just so happened the other day my boys and I were in a deep philosophical debate about the differences that Mr. Huston might have brought to the part.

Medieval perverts

Well, not so much. Thomas McDonald offers a link to this site.  The 'article' shows 20 marginalia from the medieval world which might offend modern sensitivities.  Marginalia being those illustrations we see when we look at illuminated manuscripts from that period.   He warns anyone who might click the link, and I suppose I should as well.  But not really.  Mr. McDonald laments that the only thing our modern researchers seem to care about is sex and this sort of sensationalism.  But that's not my beef.  My problem is that many of the images are simply the Medievals'  attempts at illustrating the theme of extreme.  Many of the images are simply images of the bestial  or of hell, or of other things that the medieval mind reckoned as not being part of the enlightened human condition.  Unlike modern thinking, that places humans as the lowest form of animal, Medievals saw humanity as the top of the chain, the closest to the divine, above the animal and the beast.

It's worth noting that devils had tails back then.  Why?  Because they were bestial, they were animal like, they were of a lower form.  Angels did not have tails.  Devils did.  It's this sort of trying to 'gross out' the person looking at a manuscript that many scribes were aiming at.  So a snake playing an instrument with its, well, butt, was simply a way of saying something.  Just like our modern era, when filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino must go for the uber-violent to make a point, that's all they were doing.  Does that mean those old scribes in their monastic scriptoriums couldn't be risque in their own terms?  Not at all, and anyone who has read some of the scribblings on their manuscripts knows that the medieval monks were no prudes.  But being ornery and sleazy is not the final explanation for many of these images.  They actually point to things that Medieval thinkers firmly believed, that many in our enlightened West forgot long ago.

The fun of regular readers

Is that you get hilarious things sent to you just when you need them:

I know, I know.  It shouldn't be funny to a good Catholic - but I still laughed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recognized in a blog

I'm touched.  Some blogs that I comment on pretty much pass me by, seldom speaking to me or acknowledging my presence.  Others I wish they would.  And some I do pretty well with, getting good feedback and dialogue.  So there was one with a story about the Boy Scouts capitulating against the gay rights juggernaut (which I updated my post with accordingly).  I noticed that all of the quotes were from scouts and scout masters who were supportive of ending the ban.  I mentioned that it was not only silly to think this was even a real story, but typical of the media and its tendency to propagate narratives rather than report   I said it with a little more flair (I tend to be a bit more sarcastic in some venues). And a great debate opened up, with almost three hundred hits on my comment alone (the combox was already filled), and over 40 direct responses (why can't I get those here!!!).  This was the one that caught my attention:
[Dave G] is the one smart frog that is paying attention to the water temperature getting uncomfortably warm.
Nice.  I'm probably not the only one, but it's nice to be counted among those who see plainly the sun going down and the world spinning around. 

An old blog post revisited

Sometimes I have my moments.  This is one of my earliest blog posts.  It takes on the irony that today's liberals, who once stormed the wastelands of American traditionalism, screaming censorship if anyone so much as suggested day time pornography demonstrations on network TV wasn't a good thing for kids, are now the ones most likely to call for tactics they once decried as censorship.  Not a bad take really, and given the last couple years, darn prophetic.

Did he or did he not heckle

So it's been quite the buzz around the Internet (always a fine and reliable source for unvarnished truth) that while testifying before Congress, Neil Heslin, father of slain 6 year old Jesse Lewis, was heckled by a gun rights advocate.  First, let me say I have no idea how Mr. Heslin can even do what he's doing.  If that were me, I'd still be curled up in the corner of a bathroom picking flowers off the toilet paper.  Truckloads of Valium would be needed for me to even survive day to day.  So I applaud his strength and ability to try to use what happened to promote what he sees is the greater good.

Now it gets a little thorny.  That doesn't mean I'll agree with him. Maybe I will, maybe not.  Just as I wouldn't automatically agree with anyone on the basis that they have suffered the insufferable   That merely means I will listen, take into consideration the unspeakable pain and anguish he has suffered, and try to assess what is the best course of action.  I know, that can get you in trouble.  Way back in my getting banned from the Huffpost days, I dared point out that at least a couple of the ladies known as the 9/11 widows appeared to be drifting from message, and using their status as 9/11 widows as leverage against anyone who disagreed with their growing number of political opinions, many of which had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.  Call me a suffering realist.

But here's the thing, even if I disagree with someone, I'm going to be damn sure to take into consideration what he's or she has gone through. I'll try to be respectful,  kind, and not do anything to ad an iota to the hurt they must live with the rest of their life.  So I was somewhat shocked to hear someone could be so insensitive as to heckled him during testimony, especially since he referenced his own unimaginable loss.  No, I didn't run with it and try to pin the heckler on the gun owner, suggesting however subtly that this is what them gun clingers are all about, and it shows how evil the NRA is (how the NRA got dragged into it, I don't know).  But I admitted it was a rotten way to go about debate.

Until I read this link.  This suggests that - and you might want to sit down for this - MSNBC, which has been the main source of this story, might just have (wait for it) fudged the story a bit.  It may not have been heckling at all.  It looks like Mr. Heslin asked a question, and after waiting, someone in the audience answered.  Perhaps Mr. Heslin thought it was a rhetorical question, but if the transcript is accurate, he may well have been asking a valid question.  One that was not answered by anyone in Congress, that someone in the gallery then felt obliged to answer.

If that's the case, then this has been much ado about nothing.  Or worse, and outright exploitative lie on the media's part designed to take advantage of a grieving father while simultaneously misrepresenting a person (and by extension, and entire side of the debate).  A little lesson about believing venues such as MSNBC, who is now jumping on the legalize drugs bandwagon, using the gun debate to say that everything won't matter as long as we have the war on drugs, since it turns out that is the biggest cause of gun violence in our country.  I don't know.  I know I trust MSNBC slightly less than FOX News.  I also know that if I ran with the above story, and it turns out to be false, especially if I tried to link a lone non-heckler to them evil NRA types, I might be inclined to own up and recant my statements and even go so far as apologize.  But that's me.

The flip side of the gun debate

So here' s the story of a man who took a picture with the family and Santa Clause loaded with supposed guns and armaments.  OK, strike one against prudence, no matter what the props actually were.  But here's the bothersome part:

They [that is, the law] came to get him. Took him away in irons. Fingerprints. Jail cells. Humiliation. Cops confiscated the weapon. Turned out to be a BB gun. And it wasn’t exactly “pointed” at his baby; careful examination revealed only that the baby was in “close proximity” to the toy. Close enough to be arrest-worthy. Charge-worthy, too. They’re holding him without bond on “Child Endangerment.” Authorities reasoned there could have been a “substantial risk of physical harm.” 
Now that's a problem.  That's why many who are gobbling up guns at gun shows are doing just that.  It's that growing trend of the government seizing more and more power to control more and more of our lives.  It's that segment of the population that would gleefully ban guns tomorrow if they could.  It's the not-too-difficult link to establish between those yelling 'ban the guns' and those yelling 'hurrah for the HHS mandate!'  It's realizing that those who have complained about our growing police state, our government run amok  and our federal law enforcement agencies overstepping bounds are right - but they're also right when it comes to this issue as well.
As for those who spent the last ten years post-9/11 reminding us that Ben Franklin said you have to be an idiot to compromise your liberty for safety, the same applies now.  Those who have dropped that quote a thousand times who now say it's time to compromise liberty for safety are, in some ways, the most dangerous players in the debate.  For it's clear they are operating less on reasoned approaches to the debate and more on knee jerk reactions and high strung emotionalism.  
If we really, really want to get to the heart and soul of gun violence in America, we'll look at reality, facts, stats, and all such things.  We'll discuss, talk, question   We'll be honest that yes, there probably are some kooks, freaks, and dangerous people who worship guns as gods.  We'll also admit that there are others who may seem less freakish  or less kooky, but are every bit as dangerous as they see gun control and elimination as the first step toward a bright new future where they call the shots. 
The best thing is to look at what the problems are, to learn lessons from things like our reactions to 9/11, and make sure we don't repeat past mistakes.  We certainly have no time to demonize anyone and everyone who dares question our open and friendly discussions about the topic.  If the victims of Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine and Virginia Tech, all the other mass killings, and all the other killings that go unnoticed except by those who are devastated by the losses are to be honored, it will be by finding the best solutions, not the ones we always wanted anyway, no matter what the problems happen to be.

Formatting problems on my page?

Someone just posted this to me:
just wanted to give you a quick heads up.  The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Internet Explorer.  I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility  but I figured I'd post to let you know. 
I know nothing of the tech-stuff behind the blog.  Anyone else notice this?  Anything I can do?  Is someone just pulling my leg?  Perhaps some undercover spam trying to be helpful?

Could gay scout masters be around the corner?

Looks like it's closer than ever.  One of the last holdouts against the Gay Rights juggernaut is beginning to crumble.  It's not easy to withstand a withering assault from multiple sides, while those who might defend you are splitting into a thousand fragments of varying opinions, blame games, and trying to get to the top of the hill. Whether it happens or not, I don't know.  Eventually it will.  Just like gay marriage will be the law of the land, and no matter how we slice it, those who reject such morality either will be consigned to the outer darkness, into the ghettos and treated like the second class citizens they are, or they'll find a way to conform to the new morality.  Conservatism can mean many things, which is why it's losing.  Liberalism, for the want of a better term, is a singular revolutionary worldview united for a common cause, which is why it's winning.

Update:  It must be in the bag, and a great thing to.  This story asks the searing question about what scouts and scout masters think  and guess what?  Every one of those quoted are in support of lifting the ban.  Why, that can only mean one thing: all scouts are 100% behind gay rights!  Must be true, the media says so.  I know, it's only Yahoo News, but still.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fr. Corapi and A tale of two Evangelists

Back in the 1980s, Jimmy Swaggart famously pounced when the Jim Bakker scandal exploded on the national airwaves.  Faster than you can take a splinter out of someone's eye, Swaggart was there, oblivious to the logs in his own eye, stetting himself up for the inevitable fall.  Because of the 'comeuppance' nature of Swaggart's fall, the press was eager to seek out other would-be inquisitors who would also jump in and cast their stones at the glass house of the televangelists scandals.  Who better, they supposed, than the Reverend Billy Graham himself.  What did he think of all these disgraces to the Gospel ministry?

I can't remember his exact words, but his point was obvious.  There was no way Dr. Graham was going to throw in with this mess, nor was he going to point fingers needlessly.  He'd offer prayers, and best wishes and all that.  But no condemnations.  No 'serves them right.'  And you know what?  He came out looking all the better because of it.

All this came to my mind as I read through the comments over at Mark Shea's CAEI.  The post was about the whole Fr. Corapi saga.  As a disclaimer, I know nothing about Fr. Corapi.  Some parishioners at another parish gave me a couple DVDs once.  I noted that most of his talk was about him, but then it might have been a testimonial.  Quite a life he had.  Beyond that, I don't know anything about him, what he's been accused of doing, whether it was horrible or not, whether his supporters were horrible or not, or whatever.  His supporter have been accused of being over the mark, but then some who have made the accusations are known to accuse massive swaths of humanity of being over the mark.

Still, I noticed two approaches from several religious who were commenting and that struck me.  One approach was rather shocking to see from notable priests:
Any priest dumb enough to let himself be adored deserves what he gets. 
Wow. And this little lesson in Thomistic approaches to fallen brethren 
To paraphrase St Thomas Aquinas, if a person is in error we have an obligation to correct him, even if he be the Pope. Criticism,as long as it doesn't have the additional character of malice, is a form of legitimate correction, especially of a public person. 
And yet, there was this little gem:
I maintain hope that his current silence and lack of visibility is a sign of prayer & penance after having returned in obedience to his community. Regardless of whether that is true, prayers are certainly appropriate.
Much better, IMHO.

Again, I don't know if Fr. Corapi is guilty as sin or not, if he's really some celebrity priest awash with hubris and messianic illusions or not.  I don't know.  I just remember what several of my non-religious compatriots back in the 1980s said when they agreed with me.  It wasn't that Bakker or Swaggart were horrible for trying to make time with some pretty agreeable young ladies. That's human.  Stupid, but human.  But what struck us was the number of Christians ready and, to be honest, quite eager to jump on a fellow believer and rend him alive.  It went a long way toward keeping me from considering religious alternatives to the world for the next couple years.

I wonder what the whole Bakker/Swaggart scandals would have looked like if they were in the Internet age?  I wonder what the response of the religious community would be?  I know as a former pastor, an initial response to such scandals was often 'ha! serves him right', until prudence and common sense set in and you realized 'gee, that could be me someday, perhaps some 'do unto others' might be the better track.'  So just kicking it around, noticing things and reflecting on life in the religious world of the digital Internet era. No matter what, Fr. Corapi and those whose lives he touched has my prayers, no matter what it is they need prayers for.

Prayers for jobs

I was just informed that a job I had applied for, and had interviewed for, is most likely not going to come my way.  The resume was praised, the initial interview flawless.  When I met with three department heads, I was told after the interview that if it was up to the individual filling the position, I would be hired the next day.  So what went wrong?

Ah, now we come to it.  There is still some slight chance it could come my way, but very little.  Basically, I've been kicked to the back of the line, and everyone ahead of me now would have to turn down the offer.  And that would assume I was hired then, rather than the search simply starting over.  How did it go from 'powerful resume, spot-on qualified, we'd hire you tomorrow' to 'sorry, you're at the back of the line'?  That's what we're trying to find out.  Something in the search for references and background checks appears to be the mischief.  There were five individuals I named as references, all but one of them Catholics I've known or worked for since my conversion.  My credit score is fine.  My work experience  by virtue of my background and the crazy recession, is a bit chopped up I'll admit.

So right now it's either the background check through my work history, or it's a reference   I ask prayers that this still, against all hope, goes through as we are still paddling upstream and taking on water fast.  Likewise, I ask prayers that if it is my convoluted work history,  someone will step in who will understand the uniqueness of my last several years and overlook it (like, say, the diocese!).  And if it's a fellow Catholic who I trusted and placed my family's well being in the hands of, well, all I can say is pray for me, that I keep my cool. For I've been using the same group of references for a few years now.

Islamaphobia in action

Or rather Multi-Cultural Political Correctness that is.  We all know that PC is simply some vague form of societal censorship, being used mostly by post-Christian, post-Western forces to silence debate and shut down dialogue.  Multi-Culturalism is, of course, it's greatest ally.  Born from the noble desire to impress upon American and European children the contributions of other cultures (while not realizing that the West had always, as it continues to, filtered these contributions through the latest biases of Western academia), the point was to look at other cultures and civilizations from a completely detached point of view.  Who were we to judge the Chinese, Aztecs, Polynesians  or any other people?  Whatever they did was to be studied, not condemned.  Of course we could condemn the hell out of anything in Western History till the cows come home.  A popular tendency embraced by many cultures and nations around the world.

And that has brought about such things as this story, in which Austrian Turks are outraged that a Lego set based on Jabba the Hutt's palace from the Star Wars franchise bears even a minor resemblance to the Hagia Sophia. Not that it is the only building in the world with a dome, but I guess it's too close for comfort.  A reader over at CAEI catches the hypocritical irony: how many of those same Turks are outraged at just why it's one of the most famous mosques in the world, as opposed to one of the most famous Christian churches?  That this is missed by the Telegraph shows the utter spinelessness of the post-Christian West to call out anyone but our own forebears.

So much alike, who can tell?  Obviously proof of Lego's deep seated  Islamaphobia

Brandon Vogt loves MLK

And gets an earful from the growing tide of folks saying 'wait a minute.'  He does link to Father Barron, who also has much glory and honor and praise to give to Dr. King.  I know, in the past I've been somewhat harsh on my appraisals, not so much of Rev. King, but of the god worship directed at him.  As one who worked with some inner city missions in my ministry days, and came across many African American ministers of a variety of stripes, my starry-eyed view of the post-Civil Rights era was dimmed.  I used to think it was a holdover of racists white ideology to think there were equivalents in the Black community to racist white guys. But more than once I ran into Blacks who held more hatred for whites than Khrushchev had for shoes.  Not all were that way of course, but enough that it was beyond a negligible number. Which made me wonder what part of King's message they actually followed.  What I noticed was an almost propensity for many to lean more toward Malcolm X than King's message, all the while flaunting King as the end all to everything.

Plus, I just happened to be of that particular generation that was old enough to remember the death rattle of pre-Boomer liberalism, and young enough to see the emergence in full force of our post-Christian, post-traditional culture.  So growing up, I listened to more than one teacher or professor draw a thick line between hip, enlightened progressives who were all about the brave new world and the backward thinking, hayseed hicks and bigots and dolts who did such quaint and mindless things like, you know, venerating old dead people.  I can remember lectures in which the statues of Jefferson and Lincoln and the Washington Monument were just evidence of how low and pathetic the old way was, and why it was time to break the chains of simple minds and small thinking.

So naturally it came as quite a shock when the issue of a national holiday for Dr. King came up, and I noticed many who had mocked President's day and ridiculed the celebration of other traditional heroes were the first to line up and demand unqualified official veneration of Dr. King.  I also noticed the turmoil and vitriol that accompanied the debate  as states that didn't want to follow suit were threatened, and districts that questioned adding another day off of school were called racist and summarily smacked down in the name of this new tolerance.

Again, the irony being that this sort of 'we're beautiful, you're evil' seemed like so many things that weren't based on Dr. King's teachings.  I know, Dr. King was a complex person, as all great men and women are.  As all not-so-great men and women are.  Some of his tactics have been questioned in recent years.  In the secular world, some younger atheists are meeting the challenge of 'what about Dr. King', when stating religious people never do good, by trashing Dr. King.  Others have now begun to look at certain potential missteps on the part of the good Reverend.

For me, even if he turns out to be the scum of the earth, and his holiday reduced to a time for furniture sales, what he did will still be noteworthy.  But not for what it, and the holiday celebrating it, became.  To me, it is noteworthy to remind ourselves that no matter how noble the cause, causes are taken up by flawed people, and almost inevitably screwed up by their flawed followers.  And yet, we still need to remember the better parts of what was accomplished.  We need to remember the good that Dr. King accomplished and focus on that, without the need for starry eyed hero worship or just using it as a prop for less King-like tactics.  And, to be consistent  it might be time to start applying the lesson to other people and movements as well.  Perhaps like those other dead guys like Jefferson, Washington, and various former heroes of our old, simple nation, if not applying this principle to the nation itself.

Another reason I love football

Like any sport, it can be full of totally awesome moments.  Like this one in yesterday's Pro Bowl.

It's a team thing, non-belongers wouldn't understand

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why are young people swinging pro-life?

In this case, technology might be helping:

Nods to Catholic Online for the image
After all, it's tough to embrace the old Phil Donahue line, vaguely applied, about a fetus being nothing other than a ball of sludge the size of a peanut.  Instead, we're having folks have to keep up with the times by saying 'yes, it's a viable, beautiful  living baby - and I'd gladly abort the hell out of it for money and orgasms, who cares if it's a baby!'*  Still, a growing number of young people are getting the heebie-geebies about such rhetoric, and for now, the images and good old common sense seem to be making headway.

FWIW, the more I think of Williams' article, the more I'm reminded of this other bit of stellar morality from the Bard's pen:
I have sucked a baby, and I know how sweet it is to love the baby at my breast.  But even as the baby was smiling up at me, I would have plucked my nipple out of its mouth and smashed its brains out against a wall if I had sworn to do that the same way you have sworn to do this." Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7
And that's for the more noble purpose of keeping an oath, not maintaining a life of hedonism and narcissism.  What is it about our post-modern era that takes the horrors of human history that warped even the most noble ideas and repackages them for our own petty and selfish desires?

Tina Turner to become Swiss citizen

Yep, you heard right, soul rocker and Thunderdome crooner Tina Turner is looking to become an official member of the country known for cheese and ski resorts.  Why do I care?  Well, I don't really.  But it's the stuff the media has been talking about the last few days, rather than focus on those half-million people who turned out for the March for Life rally.  Finding actual stories about it has been like digging for gold.  I found one news broadcast, but the reporter was stationed in front of a handful of pro-choice protesters  and it never once showed anyone from the March for Life. Kudos to this Washington Post article for mentioning the large percentage of young people.  Since we all know how important public opinion is to such things as gay marriage, I wonder who the MSM will do when it comes to growing public opinion about limiting abortions.

If it's Scottish, it's crap

At least in this case.  This is what people on this side of the Atlantic fear from the Gay Rights Movement.  A Catholic adoption agency in Scotland has been told it's time to get with the times, or hit the road. With the exception of the HHS mandate, it's been homosexuality, not abortion, that has become the one issue that threatens to overturn the apple cart when it comes to traditional understanding of religious freedom and religious liberty   Up until a few years back, you assumed that religious liberty meant the government could not force a religious tradition to change its deeply held beliefs 

And in America, that is still the case. But in other parts of the hip, enlightened post-Christian West, that is not the case.  I know, they don't have such things as a 1st or 2nd or 8th Amendment enshrined in their Constitution the way the United States does.  But, the fact is, it's a trend.  And given the growing tendency here at home for people to start questioning when it's a good thing to ditch some of this freedom garbage, it doesn't bode well for the future.  Especially when those who resist gay marriage are, like everything else non-liberal, more likely to fight each other and disagree on what any of it means, than to come together and join the common cause.  I fear our brethren and sistren overseas are realizing this too late.  I wonder if we Yankees will learn in time.

The Catholic Hospital that did

Did a terrible thing to the Church's number one issue that is.  Right now, the Church's stalwart defense of all things life is its defining mission.  Moving toward pacifism,  banning the death penalty, rejecting abortion, contraception, euthanasia - all of these come down to the Church's modern emphasis on human life above all things.  I mean, there are other things the Church will haggle over, or reach across the aisle about, like God, the Bible, Salvation, Heaven and Hell. But increasingly, when it comes to life, that is to be protected above all things, no matter what the cost.  No debate.  No discussion.

So naturally, it's made the news that the lawyers of a Catholic Hospital in Colorado are defending against wrongful death claim, partly by insisting that two babies who died at 28 weeks gestation weren't really people.  Sigh.  I know, I know.  I'm not a lawyer.  There are probably reams of legal mumbo-jumbo that would explain everything.  But in the end, this is a public relations nightmare for the Church.  Since I know a little bit about wrongful death claims, I can say the Church might be able to direct its lawyers to fight the claim, and then agree to settle both for the mother and the babies if found responsible.  Or something.

But to take some nuanced, legalized technicality regarding the definition of person-hood and say they're running with it stinks to high heaven   I don't care what the reason.  I don't care if Colorado law says otherwise.  This is human life we're talking about, and right now, the pro-choice and pro-just about anything else crowd is having fun with the hypocrisy 101 charges.  Saying 'oh well, the state says it's not life, and we'll just have to benefit from it this time' is about as convincing as you probably imagine.
The hospital has every right to demand equal protection under the law. It’s not the hospital’s fault that the secular legal system doesn’t recognise [sic] the fetus as a person.
Especially nauseating was seeing Catholics rushing to defend the Hospital by, among other things, accusing the grieving family of being a bunch of money grabbers exploiting their dead unborn babies for loot.  Thankfully it looks like those posts have been removed.  We don't need another throwback to the glory days when people accusing the Church of abuse were the ones taken out to the stake. Still, at least some have gotten it right:
The twins either died due to negligence or they didn’t. IMO, that is the ONLY legal question the hospital should be willing to argue. If death resulted from malpractice, they need to pay up. It is the only moral thing to do. We all know that what is legal is very often immoral, so they must not hide behind Justice’s skirts.
I hope and pray that in the coming weeks, if this story sticks around, Catholics and the Catholic Church won't set itself up for another abuse-scale scandal about the one issue it has hung its hat on for the last 50 years.

When Obama is the reasonable one

So in an interview about gun control, President Obama said that gun control advocates need to listen more.  Here's a snip:

Obama says he has "a profound respect" for the tradition of hunting that dates back for generations. "And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake. Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas," he says.

How about that?  I know he's narrowed it to hunting only, but still. It's sure not been the case since Sandy Hook.  Almost immediate following that horrible day, you could see a profound disrespect for gun owners, no matter what anyone was saying.  Some came out and said it of course.  Gun owners are evil scum, screw them.

Others were more elusive  insisting they were saying no such thing while more or less saying just that when the opportunity arose.  Point out that measures could hinder 2nd Amendment rights, inconvenience gun owners, harm gun owners?  Who cares, the hell with them, that's their problem.  I'll give credit to those who came out and said guns and gun owners were evil and needed eradicated from our national fabric.  At least they were honest.

And in this case, so is President Obama.  While the pendulum has definitely swung in favor of sweeping gun control measures, even he is clever, wise, or simply good enough to realize there is a limit.  Something it would be nice to see as the debate continues to take place, even in the Catholic blogosphere, as another Catholic commenter noticed regarding the tenor of the conversation:
Or, maybe after several weeks of being demonized with comparisons to Nazis, slave owners, segregationists, or flat-out being called un-Catholic nutty survivalists or “Moral Escapists” (hey, new one!) by their brothers and sisters, they’re a little sensitive right now. It’s especially trying when the invective comes from people who are talking out their asses, but feel the need to exert Absolute Moral Authority anyway.
And sad to say, at least in some quarters and forums, that's exactly what's being said, or at least inferred.  And in some cases, long before Newtown.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Religion hates science

Narratives takes another hit.  Thomas McDonald posts on the first person to receive a certificate from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.  That's right, it was a nun.  A nun!  The evidence against the Religion vs. Science narrative is overwhelming, and should not be seriously accepted by an enlightened post-modern as anything other than what it is: falsehoods used to marginalize religious thought.  This is simply one more small piece in the overall puzzle that should, if we are as rational as we like to say, cause that silly tale to drift away with the tumbling tumbleweed.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Whenever life starts to get me down, I remind myself of one thing

At least I didn't make Howard the Duck.

Keeping things in perspective

A beef with pro-life Catholics

I was reading through this post on Marc Barnes' blog.  The focus is on the abortion culture.  He found what many have noticed.  I'll leave folks to read it and take things in.  The part that got me was this little quip:
I prefer telling people I support the abolition of abortion than that I’m “pro-life”, given that there’s plenty of people who support abolition but aren’t remotely “pro-life” when it comes to the death penalty, drone attacks or unjust war
Now, my problem is this: what does Marc, and others, mean by the the death penalty negates a pro-life Catholic?  When?  How? Has the Church officially said the Death Penalty is an evil?  Is it now banned?  For most of its history, the Church allowed for the use of Capital punishment.  Only in recent decades has that turned around.  Perhaps its inevitable that it will eventually reject such practices.  Many Orthodox Churches have already come out and all but officially banished the use of executions for any reason.  Certainly modern liberalism rejects capital punishment of any sort, but that's for different reasons.

Still, no matter what, I'm a little itchy about saying that anyone regarding the death penalty may not be sincerely pro-life.  Same with war actually, but that's for another post.  Right now, I'm curious.  What does it mean to say they aren't?  Does he mean those who love the smell of napalm in the morning?  That group of people who apparently have fantasies about torturing innocent babies?  Who?

There's something strange in the Catholic blogosphere that I've not noticed in Protestant counterparts, and I'm having a hard time getting my head around it.  There's a sort of vague judgmentalism that you can't pin down.  A 'they be the villains' without the need to define just who the 'they' is.  In fact, when I've seen people protest such swipes, those who have made such statements will back off and say 'I'm not saying anyone who supports the death penalty' yadda, yadda, yadda.  And yet, it's said.  Even when the Church has not, as far as I know, changed its 2000 year long approach to the subject.  Will it?  Probably.  Based on the trends I'm noticing.  But even if it does, is there really something wrong with people who believe what the Church always taught until a couple years ago?  And if not, shouldn't we define our statements a little better, rather than throw them out there without any qualifiers?  And if so, what's it say about the Church itself?

Not that Mr. Barnes is the only one who does it.  It simply caught my eye as I read over his piece today.

What's so bad about killing babies?

When Mark Shea is right, he's right.  Mark has spent years reminding us that science says we're all animals in a universe where the strong survive by consuming the frail and helpless.  It's a mystical, spiritual insight that suggests we're actually created equal by a Creator.  Since our crack intellectuals have been working to remove this silly religious stuff from our culture, we're left with the question: how will we continue believing all life is equally valuable without a religious grounding?  Atheists say that without religion, people would still come to all the right moral conclusions. So how will we do it?  We won't, says Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon.  Who cares if abortion is killing babies? Heck, who's to say what a baby even is?  

Once again, it's taking all the worst that humanity has offered, and filtering it through the cause of our own narcissism and selfishness.  It's the same contempt for life that pushed humanity past the brink of the Holocaust, the Killing Fields, the Gulags, but done not for some grand social experiment or sweeping national pride.  Instead, it takes all the worst that the last century accomplished, and embraces it for the sole purpose of our own desires, libidos, selfish greed.  Remember, abortion doesn't just save physical lives.  As Ms. Williams points out, "it saves lives not just in the most medically literal way, but in the roads that women who have choice then get to go down, in the possibilities for them and for their families."  A noble reason to redefine what human life is and when we get to abort it.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

He's a cool baby

He's got the threads, he's got the glasses, who could ask for anything more?

Unprecedented courage in America

Yep, according to Yahoo News (and you know, it's got to be true), a high school student named Jacob Rudolph came out as openly LGBT while accepting an award!  Wow.  In this day and age, standing up in a public school and declaring your same sex attraction must be tough.   It's as courageous as standing up in the 1950s and saying God bless America.  It boggles the mind.  But that's how propaganda works.  It's how revolutions work.  You never, ever admit victory.  To the media and others passionately advocating the homosexual agenda, there have been no victories.  We still live in the Soviet darkness, with people who have same sex attraction being forced to crawl along the floorboards and in the gutters as gangs of homophobes prowl the streets, seeking innocent victims to devour.  Funny.  Worrisome, but funny.


I don't have much interest in the entire Armstrong saga, but from where I sit, it's called chickens coming home to roost.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fr. Barron addresses this milestone in the bold fight for abortion rights

Here he is, by word of mouth and by letter, breaking down this blight upon the American heart.  Years from now, when whatever happens to wipe out swaths of humanity finally happens, and what is left of the human race is scrambling for babies, I have no doubt our time will be looked back at with all the love and understanding that we look back at other stellar moments in history.  At least I hope.  A future in which the world doesn't care that we aborted tens of millions of unborn babies, most of the time because they stood in the way of a me-centered universe, is a future I hope nobody I know and love has to endure.

California is seeing growth in ADHD

Or at least, that's what this crack story suggests.  It's odd that we get so upset about kids who can't sit still, when fighting the obesity pandemic is all about getting kids to stop sitting still.

The two ways of Barrack Obama

1. My way
2. Highway

Everyone agrees that there was no attempt at unity or striking a conciliatory tone in President Obama's speech yesterday.   He made it clear the next four years will be about a hard left agenda.  The most partisan and agenda heavy inauguration speech I've ever witnessed.  Fair enough.  He won.  But it is what it is.

The disgrace of the Catholic Church continues

Priest abuse and widespread cover up.  I'm sure that those involved will be prosecuted.  But this is the part where the Catholic Church seems to stand apart from other cases of child and sexual abuse.  It's that systemic nature of it, that entire swaths of this or that diocese seem to be involved.  In few other cases are there examples of so many being behind obstruction of justice or other attempts at cover up.  When it has happened - thinking Penn State here - the result has been swift and devastating justice, from the authorities as well as the institution in question.  And, quite frankly, outrage on the part of the public and the media.  But it's that these cases keep coming up, where it's not just some rogue priest assaulting children (like a teacher or doctor or something), but there is a clear and obvious attempt to cover up the crimes on the part of so many.  Sadly, that continues to be the black eye that sets the Church apart.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Baby it's cold outside

No, we're not having a heat wave.  We'll be doing good to get through the night without shutting the furnace off, just because we can't get it cold enough to do it automatically.  Ours, being a Maronda home, is as insulated as a piece of Swiss cheese.  Our boys are upstairs tonight, as there's no reason trying to imagine a situation where the basement won't end up colder than a skating rink.  So it's bundle up time, hoping everything stays on and warm, and weathering it until this bit of global warming finally passes by.  Below, a picture of the Crystal Caverns from the old Odyssey 2 home video game The Quest for the Rings.  The picture always evoked something in me, and right now, it evokes the freezing cold that's outside my bedroom window.

What Fr. Federico Lombard really said

Over at Catholic and Enjoying it, Mark Shea posted the entire statement by Fr. Lombard.  This is it:
The initiatives announced by the United States government in view of limiting and controlling the diffusion and use of arms are certainly a step in the right direction. It is estimated that Americans today possess about 300 million firearms. No one can be under the illusion that limiting their number and use would be enough to impede horrendous massacres in the future, such as the one in Newtown, which shook the conscience of Americans and of the world, of children and adults alike. But it would be much worse if we were to satisfy ourselves with only words. And if the massacres are carried out by people with mental illness or distorted by hate, there is no doubt that they are carried out with arms. Forty-seven religious leaders of various confessions and religions have issued a call to American politicians to limit firearms, which “are making society pay an unacceptable price in terms of massacres and senseless deaths”. I’m with them. But while American society is engaged in this debate of dutiful civil and moral growth, we cannot but widen our gaze to recall that arms, throughout the world, are also instruments for legitimate defense, but surely they are everywhere the main instruments used to bring threats, violence and death. Therefore, it is necessary to repeat tirelessly our calls for disarmament, to oppose the production, trade, and smuggling of arms of all types, fuelled by dishonourable interests for power or financial gain. If results are achieved, such as international conventions, the ban of landmines and other deadly arms, the reduction of the immense and disproportionate number of nuclear warheads…all the better! But weapons are and will always be too many. As the Pope said while travelling to Lebanon, we are all distraught by the massacres in Syria, but the weapons continue to arrive. Peace is born from the heart, but it will be easier to achieve if we have fewer weapons in hand. 
The part that got me was the call for eventual and universal disarmament.  It's going to be difficult to accuse people who raise the alarm about the desire to eliminate all firearms when you have a spokesman of the Vatican more or less pining for the day when we can eliminate all firearms.  I know, I know. Lion and lamb, swords into plowshares.  Who doesn't want that?  And yet, we can either just live the Messianic age now, or accept we must deal with the age of these principalities and powers of this present darkness.  If the Vatican is preferring the former, then more than just telling everyone to lay down their weapons will be needed.   But in any event, it's not time to call them idiots who see a growing movement to eliminate weapons altogether.  Call them anything, but you can't call them idiots.  Not when this is said by the Vatican, and in line with a growing segment of the country's population.

When I read Leah Libresco

I'm reminded of my own warning that the Internet is filled with amateur apologists.  In Leah's case, she's a brand new convert.  When I was a convert to Christianity, I was pretty much still a liberal agnostic.  I just believed something about Jesus and God and hoped for forgiveness, there being parts of my previous life I felt were begging for forgiveness.  It would be many years before my old prejudice that was formed in the hallowed halls of a radically post-Christian and leftist state university would be replaced by teachings informed by the historic Christian faith.  Eventually, of course, that led me into the Catholic Church, but that's for some other time.

For now, as I read Leah's bold celebration of the hope for gay marriage, coupled with her continued preference for the wonder of gentle atheists, plus other strange posts, like one about praying for fictional sci-fi characters, I'm reminded that Leah is not just an amateur, but a babe in the faith.  She's just starting out.  And perhaps having a blog where she will be pulled in multiple directions by people who wish to pull her in multiple directions isn't the wisest course of action.  I know it was tough enough for me to come to grips with various elements of the faith and that was without a blog.  So here's my prayer, that she shuts down her blog and works out her faith in fear and trembling, and away from the spotlight of a million prowling trolls. Do a blog about Hobbits or something.  Or how cool it is to dress like your favorite Harry Potter character.  But working out such difficult things in the cross-hairs of 21st century discourse, I can't imagine it.  If she chooses to do so, she has my prayers.  And my sympathies.

I love polite Spam

For some reason, my spam filter isn't what it used to be.  As I said a while back, I've been deluged with Spam making it through the defenses.  Don't know why.  My fear is that legit posts may be blocked, as I found one a while ago that looked to all the world to be authentic.  So in the middle of it, I have to say it's nice when the Spam not only appears helpful  but also polite as well:
Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; many of us have created some nice methods and we are looking to trade techniques with other folks,please shoot me an email if interested.Here is my web blog 

There are times I love Bill Clinton

I know his legacy should be tarnished, but the press has done everything it can to elevate him to the top spot of presidential history.  Still, we all know.  No matter what he did or didn't accomplish, and I think he accomplished some worthwhile things, we all know what really defines him. So pictures like this:

become those little things we can all giggle about because, in the end, we all know.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

More suicide than murders by gun

Ross Douthat, as is his manner, brings sense and clarity to an issue by focusing on something other than the two extremes of the gun issue.  I admit, I don't really have a dog in this fight, apart from the sneaking suspicion that there are those exploiting the horrible massacre at Newtown in order to advance agendas bent on eliminating this pesky freedom stuff.  Still, not having done the homework myself, I'm reluctant to throw out too many opinions.  I have no doubt there are bad apples and extremists on both sides of the debate, as there always are.

Still, I'm a bit shocked to see some things unfolding.  Ever since 9/11, and during the hellstorm debate over the Patriot Act and water boarding  I saw and read time and again, over and over, the arguments against allowing torture.  Time and again Jefferson and Ben Franklin were quoted to remind us how stupid is a country willing to compromise its liberty for safety.  And now, some of those who dropped those quotes, are saying we must be willing to give away parts of our liberty for preventing such horrible things as Sandy Hook.  That's something I'm going to reflect on for later.

My concern is that all of these gun control measures will, in fact, do nothing at all, but take us one baby step closer to being at ease with seeing [anyone else's] freedoms compromised.  The fact that I don't own an assault weapon doesn't mean I don't care about the rights to own one.  While I would be willing to look at what rules and regulations exist, I'm worried that the progressive juggernaut is gaining steam when it comes to intruding ever more into our lives.  Thinking that they will only intrude into their lives but not mine would be the height of idiocy.

Especially if these intrusions don't actually help the problem we're all clamoring to resolve.  So Mr. Douthat, always wonderful in his insights, reminds us that it might be that suicide, not murder, is the number one cause of gun death to be helped by such measures. The laws could possibly help there more than the murders, which are usually perpetrated by criminals with no intention of following laws anyway.  It's an interesting read.  Kudos to the fellow who provided the link, as well as this interesting stat from Justice Breyer’s dissent in District of Columbia v. Heller:
“From 1993 to 1997, there were 180,533 firearm-related deaths in the United States, an average of over 36,000 per year… Fifty-one percent were suicides, 44% were homicides, 1% were legal interventions, 3% were unintentional accidents, and 1% were of undetermined causes.”

Thank goodness it wasn't Palin

Because instead we have this genius one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.  Don't get me wrong.  I like old Joe Biden.  In a drunk uncle sort of way, he seems to have a heart somewhere.  But his gaffes, his  lunacy, his idiocy make Sarah Palin seem like an Oxford Scholar by comparison.  Yet, how much time and energy did the media invest convincing us that Palin was so air-headed (as is Michele Bachmann), that there is no way she should ever be within a thousand miles of Washington?  While, at the same time, the MSM just chuckles and says 'ah, Joe, you silly boy.'  That his almost unbelievably infantile and bratty performance in the VP debate was hailed a victory just shows the depths to which our pre-pubescent society has sunk.  Partially due, in the end, to the MSM's clear and obvious agendas working on the minds of America.

It's America's fault

What's America's fault?  Well, just about anything these days.  So the Patriarch of Antioch of the Syriacs is saying that the violence in Syria, and the slaughter we see on our televisions, is - you guessed it - because of America, as well as Europe, and also the Gulf States.  Who knows?  Maybe it is.  I don't know.  I don't reckon myself an expert in Syrian foreign relations.  I just notice the ease with which just about anyone can blame the US for almost anything today (and in some parts of the world, Europe gets lumped in as well).  I'm reminded that, while America more or less is willing to admit America sucks and it's all our fault, most of the rest of the world is willing to chime in with the same viewpoint.  Catholics around the world, being products of their own cultural heritage, are no doubt willing to chime in as well.  For that matter, Catholics in America make some of the loudest clanging when it comes to criticizing the US.  Nothing much to comment on.  Just an interesting look on how easy it is for other countries to blame other countries, while in the US, the only segment left that dares suggest other countries could be the blame is the gradually shrinking American Right.

Fr. Barron has some ideas

For a Lenten study.  Seven Lively Virtues for the Seven Deadly Sins.  If it's anything close to what Fr. Barron usually produces, the DVD will be wonderful.  I'll be looking for it.

Reflections on an altar server

Thomas McDonald offers a link to reflections on the role of altar boy, or as they are called today due to allowing both genders: altar servers.  Mr. McDonald brings his own reflections into the mix.  Since I didn't grow up in the Faith, I have nothing to add, though my boys have been altar servers in the past, with the youngest planning on continuing for at least one more year.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Last of the rugged individuals

Want to see some snowflakes up close and microscopic   Here's your chance.  Check out these images of snowflakes taken through an electron microscope.  Not the fuzzy kind that make you think of sleigh bells in the snow, but pretty darn awesome nonetheless.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Again, liberalism demands conformity

Turns out the priest who will deliver the benediction at Obama's second inauguration was his second choice.  His first choice?  A fellow who, back in the 90s, apparently took a stand against - I can't say it - homosexuality. He's out of there!  In comes the face of modern liberalism:  99% conformity will no do.  You have to conform 100% to the dogmas of progressive thought if you are to be embraced by liberalism's dogmatic definitions of diversity.

Ah, remember back in the day, before we were as enlightened as we are today, when Billy Graham would take part in the inaugurations  and nobody tried to label him as unworthy of a tolerant society for failure to conform?  When we didn't judge everyone based on this or that position.  When a person could be a person, even if we disagreed?  Thank goodness we're past those dark ages.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

You will not, I repeat not, hear about this in the mainstream media

Apparently two men who adopted children have been charged with sexually assaulting them.  The story doesn't come out and explicitly say they are gay, but since the the two men are said to be married, we'll assume.

Now, why won't we hear CNN or CBS or NBC or the AP running with days and days and days of coverage over something like this?  They've been known to do it before.  Because there is no such thing as a media.  There's only propaganda   Not to say there are no real journalists out there.  Bless their hearts, there are some left.  But on the whole, most media outlets are simply advocacy groups for various agendas.

And ramrodding non-heterosexual normality down the West's throat is one of most media outlets' prime agenda.  Thus, like most progressive ideals, we are presented with the narrative that in these liberal ventures, there is no guile   All will be right with the world.  All is perfect.  All is wonderful.  Just like Glee and other shows, the job is to advocate and promote, in a way not unlike the old Ozzie and Harriet was accused of doing for the traditional American family - though I'm not sure it was as flagrant as most media and entertainment venues today.

Therefore, when something like this pops up, don't expect any coverage at all.  I merely stumbled across it on a comments thread on a blog about a subject not at all to do with this story.  Get used to it, all who fail to conform to non-progressive, non-secular values and ideals.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Press continues to worship at the feet of Jodie Foster

And again, for the second straight day, the press continues to gush over Jodie Foster's brave and bold confession of her lesbianism.  Really.  A woman who made it official years ago that she was a lesbian  and did so on prime time television  comes out and says what everyone already knew, that she's a lesbian.  Not that it was a shock then, but it sure isn't a shock now.  And then - and this is the hilarious part - the press acts as if this is some bold, courageous thing because she made this confession in ... Saudi Arabia?  Afghanistan?  A fundamentalist tent meeting?  No!  She made this bold declaration of what we already knew in a Hollywood awards assembly.  Hollywood.  Ground zero for the entire gay rights movement.  The primary backing and promoter regarding all things homosexual and post-Christian sexual ethics.

Here's the thing.  I could almost begin to have a shred of regard for the progressive juggernaut if it would just stop with the bull.  Just admit that its basic teaching - that all religion is an evil lie made up by evolved animals to make sense of the world, and therefore life is whatever we define it, especially when it leads to sex, legal drugs, and bathroom humor, while being assured of the right to abort (and eventually euthanize) anyone getting in our way - is the up and coming philosophy of the century.  Furthermore, admit that the Western educational system, the media, and the entertainment culture have indulged in an ideological ménage à trois, more than willing to support each others' backs and fronts, while ruthlessly advancing their desire to demand conformity to their indisputable dogmas.  Just admit it. It's time to be real.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gun control and the facts that mess it up

I haven't waded much into the gun control debate of post-Sandy Hook.  I'll admit, my first reactions that day were based on 'round'em up, round all the guns up now!'  That's why policy shouldn't be decided in the heat of the moment, not unless massive human life is depending on it.  The same could be said, of course, about the death penalty.  I've always been against the death penalty, largely on the grounds that no legal system is perfect, and one innocent person executed isn't worth the feelings of justice that capital punishment evoke.  Still, there are times when I would gleefully pull the trigger if given the chance, simply out of the horror of what criminals are sometimes capable of.  Hence the need for reason to check emotion.

So rushing to policy decisions when something like Sandy Hook occurs is not, IMHO, a great idea.  It's better to take a deep breath, and look at the facts.  Like these, that suggest gun ownership and mass shootings really aren't connected.  Naturally there could be other facts that suggest other things, and I'm fine with looking at them all to see what we might see.  You never know.  I doubt there's anyone who doesn't pray there will never be another Newtown.

But the price is too high for knee-jerk reactions and emotionally driven responses.  Sure, it's an emotional topic.  Who wasn't cut to the heart that day when the news of Newtown first broke?  But the goal is finding a solution, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Not to base solutions on ideas that are refuted by actual facts.  Certainly not rushing through things that could do more harm than good.  And yes, that means compromising our liberties.  I, for one, have been shocked that individuals who have spent years trashing our government over its claims that our liberties might need to be re-imagined in our war against terrorism are suddenly acting as if any damn fool knows we should be ready to compromise our liberties to prevent another Sandy Hook.

It's that sort of thing that we must avoid.  Sit down and find answers?  You bet.  Look for solutions?  Oh yeah.  Do whatever it takes to prevent another Sandy Hook?  No.  Not whatever.  Because there is an immense volume of terror that can be put into a term like 'whatever'.  And if our desire is for the best for everyone, we'll not forget it.

If Helen Keller was alive today

She might be euthanized.   At least in cool and hip Belgium.  Of course Belgium, like most secular European countries, is enlightened   We know this because nobody in Belgium cares if you take drugs or have sex, and they stopped believing in that dumb religion stuff years ago.  So in case you're worried, we no longer live in an age where we will be burdened by the likes of Helen Kellers ever again.

Meanwhile in the gay promoting segment of the Golden Globes

Jodie Foster takes the occasion of her much deserved award to celebrate her lesbian partner.  Really?  I mean, come on.  I'm glad she was recognized, as I do think she's a talented actress, even if some of her later movies haven't been quite up to her earlier work.  Still, she's good and deserves the award. But why is the press gushing over her, like this was some wonderful, courageous thing?  She already defined herself accordingly some years ago.  That's like someone reminding us the Berlin Wall was torn down.

What makes me laugh is how the press and Hollywood act as if it's some bold, courageous thing when celebrities come out and openly advocate what 99% of Hollywood and the media passionately support.  Talking about all the courage that goes behind giving at testimony at a tent revival.  I don't think there are many institutions today that lumber on with the same stunning lack of self-awareness, or ironic demands for conformity, that our entertainment industry is able to muster.

The patron saint of the Baby Boomer generation is honored

Bill Clinton, who is the darling of the liberal establishment, was given great praise and adoration at the Golden Globes.  That's about as shocking that Billy Graham was given a standing ovation at the Southern Baptist Convention.  I mean, really?  Most of Hollywood is a willing yap dog for the liberal Democratic establishment.  Let's be honest.  We're talking court prophets here.  And the press has labored with great effort and sweat to convince us that Clinton deserves to replace Teddy on Mount Rushmore.  So what's the big deal? Other than the fact that the press actually thinks we should believe this means something?  Or, it could be that the big deal is that for some people in America, this actually does mean something. Which might be the most shocking thing of all.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thank goodness the Broncos didn't have Tebow

Or they might have won their playoff game!  I know, cheap shot.  I'm a big Manning fan, and I hate to see it end like this, especially with Baltimore capitalizing off a Manning interception.  But here's the thing.  I also hate watching what the pop culture, and the hedonistic NFL, has done to Tim Tebow.  Is there a legitimate debate about Tebow's qualities as a professional quarterback?  Sure.  Anything is open to debate.  But a guy whose training was broken up by a strike, who was shoved in at the last minute to take over a foundering program, and who led the team against all odds, and against all naysayers  to a playoff slot, and spectacularly silenced all doubters by winning against Big Ben and the Steelers - and his reward?  Tossed out the window, thrown to the Jets, who almost took pride in shoving Tebow out toward the trashcans, and now watching as various teams play hot-potato with this young man who dares flaunt his religious faith and pro-life values in an increasingly hedonistic and debauch-laden society.

So sorry, I hate it for Manning, and I'm not really a big Baltimore fan (being a Cleveland Browns native and all - you know what I mean).  For me, hats off to both teams and everyone involved for braving the frigid arctic temperatures. But it is nice, a little guilty pleasure, to see if folks will give a second look at Tebow and wonder 'what if?'.

Please tell me this is an Onion piece

Apparently, tens of thousands have signed a petition to have America build a Death Star in space.  And what's more, apparently the White House has responded.  Really.  I'm still hoping that this is a put on.  I'm really, really hoping.  If this is true, then it goes a long way toward explaining the biggest obstacles our children are presented with in trying to become mature, productive citizens in a radically changing world: namely, the adults.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sledding in a winter wonderland

In keeping with the sledding off into the unknown motif, here's some shots of our last day of Christmas Break.  The boys, having made the decision to homeschool, seemed lighter on the feet because of it.  Even our oldest cut loose and joined the silly fun.

Mom takes the little one down the first time around, just to make sure.

Next up, our oldest gets the privilege of sledding with our angel.

Success!  But getting up the slick hill was easier said than done.

Our 8th grader, ready to brave the slopes with his baby brother.

From what I can tell, they had fun.

And speaking of fun, I think our 7th grader is the one having it.

Yes, he's actually like that most of the time.

The older three goofing around.

Wondering when he will have a chance to go solo.

It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

The family in all their intense glory.

And there he goes!  He did great!

Competitive to the last, I can't remember who won.

Did I mention he's always like that? 

In keeping with the spirit of a new adventure, even I got into the act.

Back home, the younger two make a snow model of Helm's Deep from Lord of the Rings.

Our 8th grader had already decided to use the snow mounds to mold into the Misty Mountains.

Our oldest's melancholy. solitary walk illustrates the more somber realization of what we're up against.
Please Pray for us!