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KATLIX I

Sunday, March 1st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 32 Comments

Northwestern University student Kathleen Ferraro was RAISED CATHOLIC!! and thinks that it’s extremely important for all of you people to understand that fact:

My name is Kathleen and I am a little Catholic schoolgirl. I wore a sweater vest and knee-highs and a skirt that could be no more than two inches above my knees. Rogue nuns wandered the halls of my high school. We “left room for Jesus” at school dances, all of which were supervised by a resident priest. I come from a devoutly Roman Catholic family from a primarily Catholic community largely dominated by Catholic institutions, schools, values and beliefs.

Yet young Katie doesn’t consider herself Catholic any more.

And yet against all odds, I don’t fit into Catholicism. My Catholic upbringing and education seemed the perfect formula for a perfect Catholic. Nonetheless, I’ve developed values and beliefs that significantly diverge from this foundation.

Gee.  Wonder what those might be.

Whenever I think about this question, I always resort to my list-making ways, crafting an inventory of the reasons that Catholicism has not worked for me. Old-fashioned values and traditions, hesitation towards accepting the LGBTQ community and inherent political undertones of church leadership leave me feeling conflicted and uneasy. I will never understand why dressing up in a modest J.Crew dress and sitting in the first pew at church trumps participating in a climate march, or why accepting doctrine on faith alone beats independent thinking, questioning and customizing one’s religious life. For me, religion has been more a culture of privilege than of prayer, a competition of piety rather than a humble quest of personal growth and spiritual connection. These are all examples from my experience with religion that motivate me to reject Catholicism, but as I think about it, are these also reasons that Catholicism rejects me?

No, because that’s just stupid.

I believe it is. Speaking only for the Catholic institutions I come from, I do not fit the prototype of what a Catholic is supposed to be–the by the book churchgoer who accepts Catholicism because that is what is true.

Ya think?!!

I am pro-choice, don’t go to church on Sundays, don’t put stock in the Bible or doctrine, challenge traditional ideas of religion and spirituality and care infinitely more about trying to be a kind, humble person than actively worshipping.

In other words, an Episcopalian.

On one hand, this rejection validates my personal beliefs and their deliberate divergence from Catholicism. On the other hand, this rejection leaves me unfulfilled. I find myself an outsider, subject to the Catholic exclusivity that ostracizes other divergent thinkers and doers: the very exclusivity that prompts me to reject Catholicism in the first place. Its a perplexing paradox – my beliefs exclude me and define me as an independent. And because my beliefs disqualify me from active participation, I am consequently excluded from a community that I want to engage with, though not necessarily be a part of. I would say “its not you, its me,” but I think “its not me, its you” is equally appropriate.

Told you.

I’m not saying that my beliefs are right,

You are so.

but I am saying that I want to be heard, not just listened to.

Every Anglican in the world knows that means that we keep yammering until the Roman Catholic Church realizes that it’s wrong and I’m right.

For me, this conversation is not about stylizing religion to suit the tastes of young adults;

HAW, HAW HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW, HAW!!

it’s about aligning all voices with the process of organized religion and earnestly engaging in different conceptualizations of faith.

Whatever that means.  Katie?  I’d like to tell you a little bit about my mom.

Over and over again, I’m amazed at what a visionary my mother was.  Mom was also RAISED CATHOLIC!! but had some sort of major conflict with the Catholic Church in the 40′s, the nature of which she never disclosed to any of us.

I suspect what it might have been but I don’t know for certain so I’m not going to speculate.  But to those of you whose parents are still with you, a word of warning; you find out quite a bit after they shuffle off this mortal coil.

Mom was always a little bit of a rebel.  She was born and raised in New York City and when she was in college at Adelphi, she vocally stood up for the Jews.  She’d married in the late 30′s, early 40′s, somewhere in there, and had a daughter shortly after that.  Her husband was killed during the war and after it, she was a single mom with a little girl to raise and she didn’t have any money coming in.

So Mom found herself a job.  In Montana.  She left New York City and never again entertained the idea of ever going back.

Anyway, Mom’s got this problem with the Roman Catholic Church.  Know what she did about it, Katie?

She left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopalians.  My mom loved the Episcopal Church until the end of her life.  And as far as I know, she was the only one in her family who ever did anything like that.  Her brother, my Uncle Howard, remained Catholic until the end of his life.

Kid?  The Catholic Church is almost 2,000 years old; you’re not.  Your idea that the Catholic Church needs to conform itself to the bumper stickers beliefs of the Young PeopleTM is too absurd for any intelligent person to even begin to entertain.  So emulate my mother, grow a freaking spine and drop into one of Chicagoland’s many fine Episcopal parishes next Sunday.  You’ll be glad you did.

OSTRICHES

Friday, February 27th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Speaking to a commission of the World Council of Churches Nobody Goes To Any More, the Rev. Canon David Porter, What’s-His-Face’s director for “reconciliation,” drove home why people with functional intellects no longer take Anglicanism seriously.

Violence perpetrated in the name of religion was highlighted as “a defining issue of our generation” by Canon David Porter when he spoke to members of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Porter, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as director for reconciliation at Lambeth Palace in London, joined the WCC meeting via Skype on 17 February. The meeting has brought together CCIA members who will set directions for the work of the Commission in coming years.

At the meeting, Porter said that religiously sanctified violence is a global challenge, and not just an issue of the Arab world. “The reality is that those promoting such violence are looking deep into their own religious traditions and are attempting to find justifications for their actions,” he said.

“It isn’t just a façade; for many it comes with a deep ideological commitment from their tradition, as they understand it. Therefore the challenge for us is to look again into all religious traditions and see how traditions and texts are used to justify violence,” Porter added.

All you really need to know about the worthlessness of Porter’s speech is that the word “Arab” appears exactly once in this press release while the words “Islam,” “Islamic” or “Muslim” do not appear at all.

GREG GRIFFITH?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 49 Comments

Dude, you are REALLY going to have to rein Fischler in:

Because college students have been sheltered all their lives from any information about sex, sexual behavior, or female anatomy (no information about any of these is available on the Internet, last time I checked, which was about 1989), the University of the South has decided to use art to edumacate its otherwise hopelessly naive student body. According to the Daily Caller:

Officials at Sewanee: The University of the South excitedly unveiled a massive golden clitoris statue on Wednesday afternoon. There was a reception.

The giant golden clitoris will reside in the main library at the Episcopal Church-affiliated liberal arts school in Tennessee for two weeks.

The sculpture is part of a project called “CLITERACY” by feminist artist Sophia Wallace.

A Facebook page entitled Cliteracy Exhibit Reception suggests that Wallace believes Americans are confused about female sexuality.

“By occupying public space with information about women’s bodies, CLITERACY destigmatizes the information itself, facilitating open dialogue,” the Facebook page instructs.

Also, somehow, the giant golden clitoris “reveals the ‘phallic as neutral’ bias in science, law, philosophy, politics, mainstream and even feminist discussion, and the art world.”

“The students who brought the exhibit to campus hope to encourage in-depth, healthy conversations about female sexuality and other topics,” Sewanee media relations director Laurie L. Saxton told The Daily Caller.

Yeah.  Sure they do.

POPE FOUND TO BE CATHOLIC

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

Slate’s William Saletan weighs in on what San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone expects from teachers in archdiocesan schools:

On Tuesday evening, liberal Catholics in San Francisco announced a vigil to protest new sexual-conduct rules for teachers in the city’s Catholic schools. “We stand with teachers,” they declared, “in rejecting morality clauses that impede their freedom, including the right to choose who to love and marry and how to plan a family.”

The following night the dissidents held their vigil and scolded the local archbishop for issuing the rules. On Facebook, they noted that it was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, “when we reflect on our lives [and] atone for our sins.” On Twitter, one dissident pleaded: “Tell the Archbishop of SF he’s got it wrong.” Another wrote, “I’m ashamed of the church I love.”

Good leftist that he is, Saletan is appalled by Cordileone’s proposals.

The rules are foolish. The problem isn’t their content, which, though I disagree with much of it, comes straight out of the Catechism. The problem is the clumsiness of announcing and applying the rules. By spelling them out in detail, putting them in teachers’ contracts, and defining every school employee as a minister unprotected by secular employment laws, Cordileone has alarmed teachers, students, and parents. He has provoked a panic over inquisitions or purges—exactly what he says he didn’t intend.

The archbishop is wrong. His policy against contraception is disastrous. His understanding of homosexuality is shallow. His injunction against masturbation is ridiculous. Liberal Catholics are right to reject their leaders’ pronouncements on these issues.

But breathes there the man with soul so dead that he will not consider Will Saletan to be an honest man?  Not to put too fine a point on it, says Will, but the Roman Catholic Church is…you know…a…um…church.  And churches…you know…believe stuff.

The protesters are confused. They reject morality clauses but call the archbishop’s behavior sinful, shameful, and wrong. They belong to a church but seem to think it shouldn’t forbid anything. They insist that no one can be judged, except for issuing judgments that contradict their own. They can’t explain or even acknowledge the moral differences between homosexuality, contraception, and abortion. The nonsense of nonjudgmentalism has turned their brains to mush. It’s clouding their ability to think and speak clearly about society’s mistakes—and their own.

The fight in San Francisco centers on rules proposed by the archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, two weeks ago. The rules instruct teachers in Catholic schools “not to visibly contradict, undermine, or deny” church teachings. These teachings include “the inviolability of human life,” “the sinfulness of contraception,” “the grave evil of artificial reproductive technology,” and the evil of “all extra-marital sexual relationships,” including “adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography, and homosexual relations.”

The rules are foolish. The problem isn’t their content, which, though I disagree with much of it, comes straight out of the Catechism.

But the response from the left has been just as clumsy. It’s a mess of new-age babble. It starts with denials of morality. The protesters’ Facebook page, Support SF Teachers, declares: “A morality clause has no place in our schools. We want teachers to be able to be themselves.” Christine Haider-Winnett, the coordinator of Equally Blessed, a Catholic pro-LGBT coalition, says lay Catholics will “make our own decisions about what is right and wrong.” A tweet posted as part of the social media campaign against Cordileone advises: “Be who you are and don’t care who says what.”

The dictionary says churches are supposed to teach doctrines. But the campaign against Cordileone says they shouldn’t. Students at one Catholic school “are very upset” by the new policy, says a teacher. “They’re afraid it’ll lead to indoctrination.” A statement signed by more than 200 opponents of the policy says Catholic leaders should follow their flocks: “Most U.S. Catholics believe very little of what is in the Archdiocesan document and actively reject much of it. The role of the bishop is to articulate the faith of the people.”

It’s called the Episcopal Church.  They do all that stuff and have done it for years.  Check it out.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments

Dear public-sector unions.  This is the reason (well, one of them) why people hate you:

An MTA bus driver was arrested Friday after mowing down a 15-year-old girl in a crosswalk, causing a leg injury so severe she may lose the limb.

Francisco de Jesus was driving his Q59 bus south on Union Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when he tried to turn left onto Grand St. and struck Jiahuan Xu about 8:45 a.m., cops said.

Jiahuan, who had a walk signal, was pinned under the left front wheel, police and witnesses said. She was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition.

“She grabbed my hand and said, ‘Dad I felt pieces of my ripped up leg,’” the teen’s father, Jingxiang Xu, who only speaks Mandarin, told CBS 2 News.

Pedestrian advocates said she may lose her leg.

Union officials were angry.  At this young girl’s horrific injuries?  At the incompetence and negligence of one of their drivers?  Not so much, no.

Union officials were outraged by his arrest.

“We drive for a living on the busiest streets in America,” said J.P. Patafio of Transport Workers Union Local 100. “The law of averages has it we’re going to get into an accident.”

Patafio threatened a work slowdown, saying he could tell bus drivers not to move an inch if a pedestrian is anywhere in a crosswalk.

“If they’re going to apply the letter of the law, we’re going to apply the letter of the law — and traffic ain’t going to be moving very fast,” Patafio said. “We have to protect our operators from being arrested.”

Thanks for your concern, dumbass.  If I were running one, the 2015 MCJ Idiot of the Year contest would already be over.

Do any of you guys read Jim Treacher?  He’s one of the house bloggers at the Daily Caller.  If you don’t read Jim, start; dude has mad skillz at this blogging stuff.

And I hope he hasn’t read this story.

I can’t remember exactly when this was but not long after he’d gone to work for the DC and moved to Washington, Jim was crossing the street one night and, like this poor girl, he had the light and the crosswalk sign with him.

That didn’t stop a State Department SUV from plowing into him, blowing out his knee, and subjecting Jim to at least a year’s worth of excruciatingly painful rehab.

Same thing (or worse) almost happened to me a few weeks back.  I wanted to walk to Freddie’s Market to pick up a few things so I pressed the crosswalk button at Elm and Glendale Avenues, right in front of my apartment.

I got the light and the little guy on the crosswalk sign that tells me that it’s okay to walk so I started walking.  I was about halfway across the intersection when this car took a left on to Elm right in front of me.

And by “right in front of me,” I mean I could easily have reached out and touched the damned thing.  Missed me by no more than a foot or so.  If I hadn’t jumped back, I might have been knocked to the pavement and/or badly injured my leg.

The guy did stop and gave me a “Sorry about that” wave.  I just pointed back at him.

LEAVING THE NEST

Monday, February 23rd, 2015 | Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Disclaimer: direct all angry comments to Fischler who found this.

Your little girl is headed for college in the fall.  She wanted to go to an Ivy League school, and you have the money to pull that off, but even Brown, for God’s sake, her fifth back-up Ivy League school didn’t want her.  So she’s going to Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, a college which, like Bowdoin, Tufts, Amherst, etc., is sort the Ivy League’s Division Two.

Have you got her housing lined up?  If not, you may want to avoid 154 Church Street:

Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf__k, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.

Um.  It’s Bondage/Discipline, by the way.  Just sayin’.

I don’t know, maybe I’m too cynical or something but I just cannot see this arrangement working out too well.  Think about it.  You’re in your room one night, minding your own business, spanking your girlfriend, when the male [?] Gender Studies major in the room next door pounds on the wall and says, “Keep it down, will you?  My Introduction to Female Superiority final is tomorrow.”

Talk about a buzzkill.

Maybe this happens a few times and you’re eventually brought up on charges in front of whoever at Wesleyan adjudicates these things.  Bottom line is that you’re told that as long as you live there, you may only express the “variety and vivacity of gender, sex and” and your particular ”sexuality” within certain hours.

You’re quite naturally outraged.  Does anybody else in the house have to restrict the hours in which they may express “the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality?”  Eff this.  So until you can find yourself an affordable Middletown apartment, you resolve to ignore the fascists.

And you sue Wesleyan’s ass off.

Seriously, folks?  LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM?  Do you really expect people to keep up with this alphabet soup crap?  You guys badly need to update your terminology.  So might I make a suggestion?

Altersex.  Short for alternate sexuality.  You can include every alternative sexuality there is in that term.  The homosexuals won’t like it since they’re babies and they won’t get to be first any more but I have to think that it’s a much simpler way to express “the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality” than an acronym that may eventually end up becoming at least two or three hundred letters long.

PANDER BEAR

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

At that recent White House Conference on Violent Extremism Which Never Ever Involves The Islamic World In Any Way, Shape Or Form, I Don’t Care What You Read, Hear Or See On Television Because THE CRUSADES, Barack Obama said one of the dumbest things he’s said since the last time he said something:

“Here in America,” Obama stated, “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

Right.  President Just Makin’ Crap Up Now went on to relate the following story.

As I’ve noted before, Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia — perhaps the first Iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago. And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress — the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. And that’s a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam — like so many faiths — is part of our national story.

Nice story.  Be even nicer if it had actually happened.

Well, not so much. That magical “first Iftar” was a meeting between Sidi Solima Mellimelli, an emissary of the brutal Barbary pirates, and the president. Jefferson had over Mellimelli in an attempt to bribe him into submission after the USS Constitution captured ships from the bey of Tunis. Mellimelli requested food, lodgings, and concubines.

Fact is, that by today’s standards, ol’ Tom J was quite the Islamophobe.

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.

So was John Quincy Adams.

The precept of the Koran is perpetual war against all who deny that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.

So was practically everybody with a brain back then.

As Thomas S. Kidd writes, philosophers upon whom the founders relied had similarly negative views of Islam. Montesquieu wrote that the Turks were despotic. William Blackstone wrote that religion could be used for despotism, as shown by “terrible ravages committed by the Saracens in the east, to propagate the religion of Mahomet.” Thomas Paine wrote of Islam in Common Sense, but only as a reference point for despotic attempts to stifle liberty: he said that divine right of kings was a “superstitious tale, conveniently timed, Mahomet like, to cram hereditary right down the throats of the vulgar.”

Good thing that Barack Obama is The Smartestest US President EVER.

EAT, DRINK AND BE COMPENSATED

Saturday, February 21st, 2015 | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Sometimes, many weeks go by without seeing something worth a post. Other times, the gifts just keep coming, and coming, and coming…………

If you’ve ever traveled for business, it’s likely that you’ve had to eat at least one meal “on your own” at a restaurant. This is a really depressing thing to do; you feel that everyone else in the restaurant is watching you, wondering “what’s wrong with him/her that they can’t find a companion?” You’ve got no one to talk to, and once upon a time you had no Smartphone, iPad or other electronic gizmos to help kill time. Reading was about all you could do, but a book and a bowl of pasta can be an unfortunate combination.

Leave it to the Koreans to come up with an answer. For about the past four years, a “fad” has been growing – “Mukbang”. Translated, it means something like “food porn.” Someone (in most of the samples shown, a girl) will sit down and cook themself a whopper of a meal in front of a web cam, and then eat it. Users log in to follow the action, “sharing” in the meal. Some of the “hosts” have become minor celebrities, and they’re referred to as (be adult now, people…..) “Broadcast Jockeys”, nowadays shortened to “BJ’s.”

No kidding – this is all for real. No longer need you eat alone. Pile up your plate with kimchi, bulgogi, and cuttlefish, sit down in front of your computer, and *PRESTO*! You’ve got company for your meal!

Of course, you don’t get something for nothing. Some sites ask for donations, others are subscription based. After all, someone has to pay for all that food, right? It’s not like anyone would eat unless they get paid for it, eh?

The video with it all is   here  . And I have to say that I can vouch for both the food market location shot being filmed where they say it was, and also that at least one other eating scene (showing a woman by a bulgogi brazier) looks very legit, as they are using ordinary scissors to cut the meat with – something unique to Korea. (Scissors are required because the cut of beef they use for bulgogi appears to be the calceatus lorum, or “shoe leather” part of the beeve.)

Bon apetit!

Bill (Not IB)

THE MANCHURIAN PRESIDENT

Friday, February 20th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 70 Comments

Recently, Rudy Giuliani got himself into incredibly hot water by suggesting that Barack Obama doesn’t really like America, a comment Giuliani has since refused to back away from.  As I can’t see inside anyone’s heart, I won’t go along with Giuliani there but I do think this.  Whether through malice, incompetence or both, the Obama Administration and everyone in it has gravely harmed the United States of America to such an extent that it may literally take generations to repair the damage.

A few days ago, everybody was pointing and laughing at State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf for her suggestion on what needs to be done in order to fight the Islamic State:

We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They’re in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war.

Marie?  We actually did kill out way out of that little dust-up with the Japanese in the Forties.  Just sayin’, babe.

We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether…

We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people…

Right.  The Islamic State is attracting members because Middle Eastern Starbucks aren’t hiring.  This seems to be the Administration line since the First Incompetent believes pretty much the same thing.

In the face of this challenge, we must stand united internationally and here at home. We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem. Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so.

This week, we’ll take an important step forward as governments, civil society groups and community leaders from more than 60 nations gather in Washington for a global summit on countering violent extremism. Our focus will be on empowering local communities.

We know from experience that the best way to protect people, especially young people, from falling into the grip of violent extremists is the support of their family, friends, teachers and faith leaders. At this week’s summit, community leaders from Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston will highlight innovative partnerships in their cities that are helping empower communities to protect their loved ones from extremist ideologies.

More broadly, groups like al Qaeda and ISIL exploit the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives. The world has to offer today’s youth something better.

Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.

Ah, the old “root causes” garbage.  Haven’t seen that one around in a while.  And nothing says, “We don’t have the slightest idea what we’re doing” better than…whatever the hell this crap is.

But what happens when Islamic countries take direct steps against the Islamic State?  This does.

The Obama administration was given multiple chances Wednesday to endorse a longtime ally’s airstrikes on America’s biggest enemy at the moment, the so-called Islamic State. Over and over again, Obama’s aides declined to back Egypt’s military operation against ISIS. It’s another sign of the growing strain between the United States and Egypt, once one of its closest friends in the Middle East.

This shouldn’t be a complete surprise; Cairo, after all, didn’t tell Washington about its strikes on the ISIS hotbed of Derna, Libya. Still, Wednesday’s disconnect was jarring. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest passed on a reporter’s question about an endorsement of Egypt’s growing campaign against ISIS. So did State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

“We are neither condemning nor condoning” the Egyptian strikes, is all one U.S. official would tell The Daily Beast.

In other words, these once-close nations are now fighting separate campaigns against their mutual foe. And that could prove to be very good news for ISIS. The rift between U.S. and the region’s most populous country portends of another division that ISIS could exploit, this time for its expansion into northern Africa and the broader Middle East.

In the last 18 months, tensions between Cairo and Washington have only mounted. The U.S. has suspended some weapons systems sales, like F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Abrams tanks, and even spare parts for helicopters, in part because of how Sissi ascended to power. Meanwhile, Egypt has suppressed freedoms and made arms deals with China and France and hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

Sissi’s attack on Libya and his push to expand Egyptian relations beyond the U.S. has the backing of his population and the military. Egyptians demanded a reaction to the killing of its fellow citizens. And the strained relationship between the U.S. and Egypt is not lost on the public. The most common question Egyptians politicians, journalists and citizens alike have asked as their nation faced a mounting ISIS threat has been: “Where is the United States?”

And that’s just foreign policy.  Don’t get me started on all Obama’s executive orders because the Congress would not bow to the imperial will or the way the Affordable Care Act was stuffed down the throats of the American people and how Obama has been personally modifying it ever since as the political need arose.

Washington turned down an American throne.  Interesting that Barack Obama didn’t.

HOW TIME FLIES……….

Friday, February 20th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

My previous post dealt largely with how much time folks are willing to put into their faith. That brought a fair amount of discussion, and it raised an issue I think is worthy of further discussion.

More than a few commenters lamented their lack of time. I do understand this; in my younger days, it was not uncommon to work several 100+ hour weeks in a row when a project was falling behind schedule. That left time for one meal a day, a quick shower, and a few hours of sleep. Getting to banks, the grocery store, the post office, or church were literally impossible – I’d be at the factory from 6:00AM to 8:00PM. And I’ve been a parent; I know how the schedule of school, work and home can become overwhelming.

Nonetheless, it seems to me that something has happened to us as a society since about the end of the 1970′s. We’ve lost track of time.

Arriving at a party plus or minus 30 minutes was typical. When you took some photos, it then took a few days to have them processed and get the prints back. Waits of 25-35 minutes between ordering your meal at a restaurant and the arrival of the entree were considered normal. Just the very idea of “waiting” was okay – it wasn’t a big deal. Time was divided into blocks of 30 minutes; it was rare to have to narrow things down to 15 minutes. To put it simply – life was slower, more relaxed, and less clock-driven.

Now, with computers, cell phones, iPads, and their ilk, we have instantaneous communication*. And we time things in MINUTES. Not half-hours, quarter-hours – our days seem to get eaten up as fast as we can live them, with nary a spare few moments to catch our breath.

Is it just me? Am I imagining that the pace of life has increased; that we have to get out answers to email in a matter of hours; that text messages must be replied to almost instantaneously; that voice mail must get a response before the day is out?

I truly feel that we’re overdoing it; that we’re expecting too much of one another. There are darned few things that can’t be put off for a few hours, or even a few days. And if something doesn’t take place within the time frame we *think* it should, will the world collapse? Will we lose our job, be thrown out of our home, and tossed into jail for vagrancy?

Your thoughts and observations are solicited. I believe this is a very significant issue, and one which is intimately connected to our lives as faithful Christians.

Discuss, boys and girls.

* – I HIGHLY recommend that everyone read this short story by Ray Bradbury:The Murderer

also available as an episode of Ray Bradbury Theater on YouTube

Bradbury nailed it.

Bill (not IB)

RELIGION ON THE GO (or, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUPER-SIZE THAT?)

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 43 Comments

I should have known what I’d find when I investigated this item from yesterday’s “Dallas Morning News”, but given the wide range of ecclesiastical frivolity in all sorts of churches, one can’t make blind assumptions.

In Allen a Reverend is driven to help on Ash Wednesday

Did you want to participate in Ash Wednesday services? Were you pressed for time, unable to give more than a few moments of your precious day (otherwise dedicated to eight hours in the office discussing last night’s sitcoms with your co-workers, getting your daughter to soccer practice, and then assisting at the ACLU monthly fundraiser)? Did the idea of having your faith take valuable minutes away from your day-to-day activities cause you to shake and tremble in frustration?

Fortunately, the Episcopal Church of the Savior in Allen, Texas, has you covered. No need to go to those time-consuming worship services, where you sit for perhaps 30 or 45 minutes as part of a group of commonplace robots. No, thanks to the wonders of time-management studies and efficiency experts, there’s a better way. You can be a part of Ash Wednesday with a minimum of fuss, and all from within the comfort of your car. Yes, “Ashes to Go” lets you just drive in, get a quick smear of soot on your forehead, and for the rest of the day you can feel every bit as righteous about yourself as those fools who actually took time from their busy schedules and attended worship.

I can understand wanting to make the church accessible. But – we are called to approach our Lord on his terms, not ours. Convenience has nothing to do with attending worship – it’s all about making ourselves accessible to God, not the other way around. Events like this one reinforce the idea that God is “on call” when we want him, and that he’s there to do our bidding.

Given the way that TEC has voted on God’s opinion in the last few decades, this is a natural outgrowth of revisionist doctrine. But it still sticks in my craw big-time.

Bill (not IB)

MAXIM

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 41 Comments

First, government urges.  Then it mandates:

California lawmakers on Tuesday urged the archbishop of San Francisco to remove from a teachers’ handbook morality clauses they say are discriminatory and divisive.

The lawmakers said in a letter to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone that the clauses “foment a discriminatory environment” and send “an alarming message of intolerance to youth.”

Cordileone earlier this month presented teachers at the archdiocese’s four high schools with a statement that says Catholic school employees are expected to conduct their public lives in a way that doesn’t undermine or deny the church’s doctrine.

The statement outlines the church’s teaching that using contraception is a sin and that sex outside of marriage, whether it is in the form of adultery, masturbation, pornography or gay sex, is “gravely evil.”

The letter, written by Democratic Assemblymen Phil Ting of San Francisco and Kevin Mullin of San Mateo, was signed by every lawmaker representing the communities served by the four Catholic high schools in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties.

A group of parents and students from the Catholic high schools plan to hold a candlelight vigil outside St. Mary’s Cathedral in support of teachers Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, a holy day that starts the Lenten season in the Roman Catholic church. 

“We call on the Archbishop to reconsider his proposal, stop his attack on our LGBTQ family members and friends, and instead, affirm the fundamental Catholic values of love, respect and justice,” vigil organizers said.

AND NOW…IDIOTS

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Old broad says stupid crap:

What’s your relationship with Catholicism at this point?

[Madonna]: Catholicism feels like my alma mater. It’s the school I used to go to, and I can go back any time I want and take whatever I want from it

Attention Episcopal Organization.  Potential convert here.

because I suffered all the oppression, and all the abuse

Yeah, your junior-year auto-da-fé must have been a real bitch.

and also enjoyed all the pomp and circumstance,

See what I mean, TEO?

the drama and the confusion and the hypocrisy and the craziness. I feel like I can say whatever I want and do whatever I want. I’ve been ex-communicated by the Catholic Church a few times.

Why?  Because the first couple excommunications didn’t take?  Bag of freaking hammers, ladies and gentlemen.  I don’t know how you Catholics are reacting to all this but I really hope you’re joining me in laughing so hard that it literally hurts.

But I also feel like this new pope is kind of groovy, and I think we might be able to get together and have a chat about sex.

Sure you can, old-timer.  Francis will get right on that.

MARTYRS

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 116 Comments

As most of you know by now, this recently happened:

The Islamic State terror group released a video on Sunday showing the Islamic jihadis beheading 21 Egyptian Christians who were previously kidnapped in Libya.

The Egyptian Copts, who were dressed in prisoner-like orange jump suits, were lined up along a beach and abruptly beheaded in the graphic five-minute video.

The IS was quite explicit about why they did it.

The Islamic State’s Al Hayat Media, the group that has published the previous beheading videos in the Middle East, produced the Libya video titled, “A Message Signed With Blood To The Nation Of The Cross.”

Pope Francis also knew why.

At the end of his prepared speech, the Pope switched to his native language and continued off the cuff in Spanish, turning to the events in Libya, and said that the witness of these brother Christians should move all Christian communions to draw closer to one another.

“Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians,” the Pope said. “Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’”

“They were killed simply because they were Christians,” he said.

Francis made reference to the speech that Chalmers had given, in which he spoke of what is happening in the land of Jesus. “The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a witness that cries out to be heard,” the Pope said.

“It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants,” the Pope continued. “They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.”

It was only our idiot president who wouldn’t admit the obvious.

On Sunday night, White House press secretary Josh Earnest issued a statement condemning the actions of Islamic State Militants after they released a video of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians.

The statement from the White House described the victims as “innocents” and “citizens,” but made no mention of the victims’ faith.

“The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists,” the statement read, offering condolence to the victims families.

Earnest condemned the actions as a “despicable and cowardly murder” and a “heinous act.”

“ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds,” he reminded the world. “It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity.”

What I find fascinating is that some Muslim countries are awakening to the danger the Islamic State poses not only to them but to the Islamic religion itself.  Jordan, for one.

After the IS burned its Jordanian pilot captive alive, Amman responded by immediately executing two captives it had considered swapping for its pilot, one of them a woman, and initiating a series of air strikes on IS positions. The Egyptians hit IS’s Libyan positions just as hard.

It sure is nifty living in a country whose foreign policy is lamer than Jordan’s or Egypt’s.  I can’t remember a time when my contempt for an American president was higher than it is right now.  Richard Nixon included.

MEEEEE-YOWWWWW!!

Sunday, February 15th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 48 Comments

Sewanee University recently awarded N.T. Wright, the former Bishop of Durham, an honorary degree and Paul Holloway, Professor of the New Testament at Sewanee’s School of Theology, is pissed off about it:

I am writing to express dismay at Sewanee’s recent awarding of an honorary degree in Theology to Tom Wright, former bishop of Durham and now professor of New Testament at St. Andrews University in Scotland. I am the current professor of New Testament at the School of Theology at Sewanee, and Wright’s receiving an honorary degree during my tenure is a professional embarrassment.

Why is that, Paul?  Well, there’s the Unforgivable Sin.

Some of the readers of this letter will know Wright as an outspoken opponent of LGBT rights and a vociferous critic of the Episcopal Church for its progressive stance. I find Wright’s position on these matters offensive and harmful. It is an affront to the School of Theology in general and to its LGBT community and its allies in particular.

But that’s not what really has Professor Holloway’s panties in a bunch (although it really is).  According to Holls, Tom Wright is, get this, a bad scholar.

But that is not my complaint here. My complaint is that Sewanee has recognized Wright as a scholar in my discipline, when in fact he is little more than a book-a-year apologist. Wright comes to the evidence not with honest questions but with ideologically generated answers that he seeks to defend. I know of no critical scholar in the field who trusts his work. He contradicts what I stand for professionally as well as the kind of hard-won intellectual integrity I hope to instill in my students. I feel like the professor of biology who has had to sit by and watch a Biblical creationist receive an honorary degree in science.

Long-time readers of this site already know what all that crap means but for the benefit of anyone new here, let me bottom-line it for you.  Tom Wright actually has the audacity to publish Scriptural opinions that not only disagree with but completely contradict my own.  And the…shudder…general public actually buys his books.

Yet again, a reading from the Prophet Søren:

“The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”    

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