Friday, October 30, 2009

A Rather Unsettling Pair of Articles

Maybe everyone already reviews each day, like me, already.  Making this post and others like it thoroughly unnecessary.  Just in case you do not, however, here are two of my favorite OpEd writers: Sowell and Noonan. 

Sowell is a long-time professor of economics at Stanford and Noonan is, amongst other things, a former speech writer for Reagan.  

We're Governed by Callous Children

Americans feel increasingly disheartened, and our leaders don't even notice.

Dismantling America: Part II

By Thomas Sowell

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Knew It...

What Happened to Global Warming?

By Debra Saunders

"What happened to global warming?" read the headline -- on BBC News on Oct. 9, no less. Consider it a cataclysmic event: Mainstream news organizations have begun reporting on scientific research that suggests that global warming may not be caused by man and may not be as dire and eminent as alarmists suggest.

Indeed, as the BBC's climate correspondent Paul Hudson reported, the warmest year recorded globally "was not in 2008 or 2007, but 1998." It's true, he continued, "For the last 11 years, we have not observed any increase in global temperatures."

At a London conference later this month, Hudson reported, solar scientist Piers Corbyn will present evidence that solar-charged particles have a big impact on global temperatures.

Western Washington University geologist Don J. Easterbrook presented research last year that suggests that the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) caused warmer temperatures in the 1980s and 1990s. With Pacific sea surface temperatures cooling, Easterbrook expects 30 years of global cooling.


On a mostly separate matter...A National Geographic article was forwarded to me yesterday and it seems most of the dinosaur bones we have are completely misidentified.  They now believe that there was only a handful of species, as young dinosaurs went through a virtual metamorphosis as they aged/matured.  

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Rationale

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."

-Perhaps the Swedes should read the latest poll results from Rasmussen, Gallop, Pew, and pretty much everyone else...the US is becoming pretty darn disillusioned.

-Fascinating: must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority. Do they truly pretend to know what the majority of the world thinks? What a standard? I would be disappointed if my 6th graders failed to see the logical consequences of such a paradigm. Lets one time the majority of the world thought slavery was ok; at another time most people advocated monarchies; perhaps it wasn't quite the majority of the world, but certainly the majority of the world as the Aztecs knew it thought human sacrifice was advisable--so they did follow the standard of doing what was popular with the greatest number of people.

I side with Pope Benedict the XVI, who recently stated that it is the creative minority that most often influences history and changes the world.

Let's get creative...

Current Headlines

There are so many dandy headlines I have come across today!  This post will simply be a list of rewards for best and worst headlines.

1. The award for, No Real Surprise There goes to the who has, honestly I presume, discovered that the late Ted Kennedy actually came clean about much of his disordered life while dictating his autobiography to a ghost writer.  Fortunately for his legacy, the late Senator's family prevented this material from making it into the final version, which is to be published.  Ted Kennedy Claimed to Have Slept with over 1,000 Women  One of the highlights is as follows: The source added that Kennedy even admitted to having planned to seduce Kopechne the night his car plunged off the road in Chappaquiddick.  He even admits to paying out $10 Million to keep things mum.  And to think that a Cardinal opted to honor this man at a Catholic Mass...SCANDALOUS! 

2. The award for, Humor goes to and their following short headline: Ethics Panel Widens Rangel Probe  

3. The award for, You Have Got To Be Kidding Me goes to the Swedes who saw fit to award Oh, Bama the Nobel Peace Prize.  One colleague declared that he is truly offended by these racist Swedes.  Obama has published multiple books and is on his way to curing all that ills the American Health system.  There is no excuse for them to have overlooked Obama for the Nobel prizes in literature and medicine!  Clearly this was a race-based "oversight."  


4. The award for, Well That Just #*sses Me Right Off goes to Harry Reid and all his fellow frauds.  He actually found a way to get Nevada, and three other states, off the hook of paying for their own states' required expansion of Medicare as required by the Baucus Bill.  To think that thoroughly bankrupt states like California and Ohio will have to pick up the tab for Nevadans, who don't even have to pay any state income taxes just ticks me right off.  Especially because everyone else, but Alaska--as far as I know, has to pay a state-income tax to build their roads and what not, but Nevada gets that covered by their dividends from the gambling industry...which, incidentally, mostly comes from the residents of other states already.      

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Public Schools...a monster's metamorphosis

A cousin recently made a facebook comment on my facebook page, expressing her desire to reform education in our home state of California.  I replied with the following comment: 

Oh I have plans for education! Let me ask you this? What would be the worst possible system of education??? I posit that a system that is governed by large numbers of far away bureaucrats, with schools that are meant to house thousands of students at once, with 20+ students per teacher, with teachers that must pass the latest pop-psychology courses and be trained in theories of education but not required to truly master a specific discipline, all while providing a minimal amount of supervision between classes and, further more, not allowing even a conversation of objective, absolute values may be the most preposterous debacle ever to be evolved.

I would like to add a few more thoughts.

1. Bishop Sheen warned years ago, when massive public funding of schools began, that if private schools did not share in that funding then Catholic schools would soon collapse.  I'm not certain if he foresaw the collapse of their mission or just the collapse of their finances.  

2. How is it ethical for the state, federal and local, to confiscate a parents' income to subsidize public education; an education the parents might find immoral and dangerous.  When public schools are rife crime and bullying.  When the parents are opting to save nothing in order to put their children through a private school which receives no, or almost no, financial assistance from the money the state took to educate their kids.   

3. I once read that all but one of the founding fathers of the US could speak or read Latin and Greek.  Why does the public, and typical Catholic, school omit our heritage?  

4. The US public schools did fine, initially...but like all things that are grounded with/in a false failed in the long run.  

5. Many in the Reagan administration wanted to dissolve the Federal Department of Education...Bill Bennett, former Sec. of Education says Reagan told him he simply couldn't do it at that time, but needed Bennett to at least make sense of the thing.  I don't think any one in a major office, at present, has the guts to take on this one.

6. Did anyone else think that the video of children singing the Obama kumbaya song smacked of scenes from the Hitler Youth...when the young were instructed to sing and praise and thank the political leader that made all things possible? 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rebuttles to some of Oh, bama's li(n)es

My comments are inserted after the quotes pasted from the transcript of Obama's speech, they are in italics.

under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance - just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. But with auto insurance you are only required to purchase it if, and only if, you choose to own and drive a vehicle. Talk about apples being compared to jello.

While there remain some significant details to be ironed out, I believe a broad consensus exists for the aspects of the plan I just outlined: consumer protections for those with insurance, an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses to purchase affordable coverage, and a requirement that people who can afford insurance get insurance. I'll concede this one. You probably could gather fairly broad consensus on these three points...but that's when you started in on part II of your speech tonight.

the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple. But the house/senate bill that was floated did include some sort of panel that would make decisions on what was and was not reasonable treatment for individuals. Of course you didn't CALL it a death panel...Sarah Palin and others simply saw through that one.

under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions But you are already using federal dollars to fund abortions internationally. It was right around the annual March For Life that you revoked the Mexico City Policy, which Bush II had restored after Clinton. So you are perhaps half-truthful on this one. Also, what is abortion anyway??? homicide, murder?

Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies Then tear down the restrictions that prevent out of state companies from marketing their competitive policies in other states.

they'd be right if taxpayers were subsidizing this public insurance option. But they won't be. I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers. It would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities. What a bogus example...considering that the US government is already subisdizing the private colleges and universities in the form of student loans, grants, etc. What would be left of the private colleges and universities if federal and state aid were not allowed to be paid to them??? And you just said you want to end such subsidies to health insurance companies. And what do you call the start of costs or the coverage of overhead, other than subsidies out of taxpayer pockets??? If you are not offering the same deals to the private firms, then you are using the taxpayers, and their customers, to undercut them...subsidze them. I find this one of the most egregious mis-truths of the night.

a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort I've proposed tonight. Thank you for informing us of this one, oh omniscient one...every report/poll I have read for the last few weeks says the opposite.

I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can't find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice. That is unless you want to choose to opt out of health insurance, because you already said that such a choice would be met with a penalty fee.

I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need. Define 'need.' Just the word I would choose to use here, if I wanted wiggle room later on down the road.

we've estimated that most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the existing health care system - a system that is currently full of waste and abuse. Right now, too much of the hard-earned savings and tax dollars we spend on health care doesn't make us healthier. Shouldn't that money longer taken from us, if we are being overcharged presently, then stop taking so much...just because you found a way to prevent fleecing the tax payers, you think you get to keep the fleece to do what you want with it???

This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money This will encourage every insurance buyer to go .....1%below the policy that is being taxed, this is a golden goose that will drop dead, not keep laying. Further, everyone wants such a plan! How is this just? You have the best, now you have to pay an extra fee for having the best. I bet that all of congres and all the Kennedy's have just such a plan!

health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that "it concerns more than material things." "What we face," he wrote, "is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country." Yes this is a moral issue! Taking responsibility away from the individual is morally repugnant. If I have to work two jobs to pay my bills then that is my problem, not Oh, bama's.

Obama's second half

Tonight I found myself down right surprised by the number of particulars I thought tolerable, and in some cases even liked, in Oh, Bama's speech. And then the second half of the speech ensued.

Let's simply highlight three humorous moments:

1. When Obama declared that his bill would not cover illegal immigrants. There was a racous boo, hiss that ensued. Oh, Biden and his cohort Pelosi truly glared, Pelosi possibly snarled.

2. Biden and Pelosi continued to glare at the crowd to their left (not a political code in this instance). Biden even passed Pelosi a note. It seemed he almost tried to pass it under the table, but a couple inches of the page were visibly passed, received, read, and acknowledged with a nod.

3. Some bald Representative continued to sit, while others stood, with a sign he had quickly drawn: "What Bill?" Because, after all, despite all his talk about the bill he has put forward their remains no bill in anyone's hand. Is it all in his mind?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Catholic Bishops and Health Care

Let me start by saying that I was livid, appalled, furious, and seething two weeks ago when a I read the stance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, on Health Care.  The USCCB declares
 "In our Catholic tradition, health care is a basic human right. "  Our Bishop's conference goes further and states the following as well: This teaching is rooted in the biblical call to heal the sick and to serve "the least of these," our concern for human life and dignity, and the principle of the common good.

Let me me explain why I was seething as I read this hideous statement.  
1. The basic human rights are to be allowed to follow ones conscience, to have access to earn food and water, and so on.  
2. The Bible calls upon individuals to heal the sick.  Scripture DOES NOT call on the faithful to abandon their responsibilities and hand them over to the power of the state.
3. The principle of the common this to imply that doctors and nurses are to be slaves of the common good?  If a doctor withholds the brilliance of his mind and ability, because he wants fair compensation, what will be done to punish him for harming and denying the common good? 
4. For thousands of years the care of the poor has been placed upon individuals that volunteer to heed the call of the gospel.  By handing this task over to the state they would destroy charity.  Forced tithing is not charitable giving!  
5. Christ said to, render unto the Caesar the things that are Caesar's.  This is not Caesar's.  This is our own responsibility!  
6. Education has already been handed over to the state.  Diocesan schools are almost systematically collapsing and using texts which advocate against the Catholic Faith.  I see government health care replacing Catholic ministry to the sick and infirm and corrupting it, just as government managed education has done to Catholic education.  

However, I am overjoyed to read what two bishops worthy of the name have declared.  The bishops of Kansas City have stated the following: I. The Principle of Subsidiarity: Preamble to the Work of Reform

This notion that health care ought to be determined at the lowest level rather than at the higher strata of society, has been promoted by the Church as “subsidiarity.” Subsidiarity is that principle by which we respect the inherent dignity and freedom of the individual by never doing for others what they can do for themselves and thus enabling individuals to have the most possible discretion in the affairs of their lives.  (See: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, ## 185ff.; Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1883) The writings of recent Popes have warned that the neglect of subsidiarity can lead to an excessive centralization of human services, which in turn leads to excessive costs, and loss of personal responsibility and quality of care. 

Pope John Paul II wrote:
“By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus  #48)

And Pope Benedict writes:
“The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person -every person -needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. … In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) - a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est #28)

While subsidiarity is vital to the structure of justice, we can see from what the Popes say that it rests on a more fundamental principal, the unchanging dignity of the person. 
The belief in the innate value of human life and the transcendent dignity of the human person must be the primordial driving force of reform efforts.
...C. The “Right to Acquisition of Health Care” in the Teaching of the Church
The “Right to Health Care” as taught by the Church is a companion to the fundamental right to life, and rights to other necessities, among them food, clothing, and shelter. It may be best understood as a “Right to Acquire the Means of Procuring for One’s Self and One’s Family these goods, and concomitantly, a duty to exercise virtue (diligence, thrift, charity) in every aspect of their acquisition and discharge. This language of rights, coupled with duties toward those who ‘through no fault of their own’ are unable to work, is present throughout papal teaching, and only reinforces the idea that, in its proper perspective, the goal is to live and to work and ‘to be looked after’ only in the event of real necessity.” (Source: Catholic Medical Association, 2004 document,Health Care in America. – bold and italics our own)

The right of every individual to access health care does not necessarily suppose an obligation on the part of the government to provide it.  Yet in our American culture, Catholic teaching about the “right” to healthcare is sometimes confused with the structures of “entitlement.” The teaching of the Universal Church has never been to suggest a government socialization of medical services.  Rather, the Church has asserted the rights of every individual to have access to those things most necessary for sustaining and caring for human life, while at the same time insisting on the personal responsibility of each individual to care properly for his or her own health.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obamemnon and the NYC date

My sister in law asked me to blog about the Obama date in NYC...she said one news agency is now saying that the total cost was more like 250K, passed on to the American people.  

I'm the type who thinks the job of President is one that deserves a bit of extravagance.  A job that includes many perks.  I just take issue with the way Oh'bama's rhetoric fails to match his actions.  

Ben Shapiro has a worthy little article on the matter with a Greek bent on it.  The first two paragraphs are pasted below and followed by a link to the entire article. 

Obama Makes You Sacrifice for Him
by Ben Shapiro

Let us compare two historical situations. One took place several thousand years ago. The other took place on Monday.

According to legend, during the 13th century B.C., there was a Greek king named Agamemnon. He was bound and determined to attack and raze the city of Troy. When Agamemnon sought to launch his ships for Troy, however, the goddess Artemis sent a stagnant wind to stop Agamemnon's fleet. Agamemnon responded by calling out his daughter, Iphigenia, and sacrificing her to appease Artemis.

Fast forward to last Monday. In announcing the bankruptcy of General Motors, President Barack Obama spoke directly all those who would lose their jobs and their livelihoods. "I want you to know that what you're doing is making a sacrifice for the next generation -- a sacrifice you may not have chose to make, but a sacrifice you were nevertheless called to make so that your children and all of our children can grow up in an America that still makes things; that still builds cars; that still strives for a better future," he said.

Obama is fond of calling upon Americans to make sacrifices -- or rather, he is fond of forcing Americans into sacrificing themselves at a time and place of his choosing. Heroic sacrifice requires volunteerism, or at least an element of extraordinary choice; Obama's sort of sacrifice runs along Agamemnon-esque lines. He names the time and the place, and you are expected to put your neck on the altar.

Friday, May 29, 2009

torture at

I've mentioned it before...Kyle is the guy who first suggested I start a blog. Since doing so, he and I seem to disagree on every topic that comes up. There has been a long, drag-on back-and-forth about torture on his blog, journeys in alterity. You can reach his blog by clicking on the name of his blog at the bottom of this page.

A couple of my recent comments to Kyle is posted below. I am eager to hear other people chime in on both this blog and Kyle's!

Kyle, et al...

Sorry I haven't been around for a few weeks.

Please allow me to posit the following remarks:

1. Kyle is right. V.P. Cheney did not make a sound case. His logic is flawed.

2. Teresa, I believe it was, to say that moral relativism is ok some of the time is preposterous. To state that such would be ok once in a while implies it is ok at all times. Moral Relativism is never ok. Like T. More said in R. Bolt's play, "Would you strike down every law in England to get the devil? [Roper says, "yes."] "Then where will hide when there is nothing in the land to stop the devil from coming down upon you?"

3. Kyle, we are at completely at odds with e/o when it comes to the issue of relativism. I side with P. Johnson in 'Modern Times' believing that moral relativism is at the heart of every problem and every evil that transpired in the 20th century.

4. I still uphold that severe, harsh questioning with physical and psychological tactics can be permissible by grounds of self-defense. Just like I don't think the death penalty is murder, so I don't think waterboarding is intrinsically torture.

5. I think that Dick Cheney will take Oh, Bama down with this torture issue. I think that Dick Cheney running for the presidency is possible if Obama doesn't change his tack--a Cheney-Obama debate would be fascinating to observe!

6. I think that libertarians are usual right but for the wrong reasons. I would say the same of Cheney, presently.

7. Some one said: If, according to Catholic teaching, the object chosen is intrinsically evil, the latter two sources of the moral rightness of an act cannot justify it. So, I make my point again, the question is whether EIT is intrinsically evil.
-I don't think EIT is intrinsically evil. Torture as revenge is wrong. Vengeance is not ours. But EIT upon an individual who is part of an ongoing plot of a certain nature can be reasonable.

So there it is, I continue disagree with every one of you. Aargh. Why is this?

May 22, 2009


Below I've pasted the entire section of Gaudium et Spes that keeps coming up. I copied the section from Vatican's website version of the "Pastoral Constitution."


27. Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all His life and the means necessary to living it with dignity,(8) so as not to imitate the rich man who had no concern for the poor man Lazarus.(9)IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE SECTION SPECIFICALLY IS MEANT TO ADDRESS OUR TREATMENT OF THE POOR. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE SAME SORT OF POOR IN OUR BACK AND FORTH.

In our times a special obligation binds us to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception. PASTORALLY SPEAKING THIS IS PERFECTLY TRUE, BUT IF OUR NEIGHBOR HARMS US WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECOMPENSE AND IF OUR NEIGHBOR ATTACKS WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE. and of actively helping him when he comes across our path, whether he be an old person abandoned by all, a foreign laborer unjustly looked down uponHOW DOES THIS CATEGORY MEASURE UP TO THE OTHER ONES? THIS SORT OF INSERTION IS WHAT HAS CONVINCED SOME THEOLOGY STUDENTS THAT THIS DOCUMENT IS ONE OF THE WORST CONSENSUS DOCUMENTS VAT. II PRODUCED, a refugee, a child born of an unlawful union and wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a hungry person who disturbs our conscience by recalling the voice of the Lord, "As long as you did it for one of these the least of my brethren, you did it for me" (Matt. 25:40). AGAIN, NONE OF THE SCENARIOS LISTED ABOVE MAKE ME THINK THIS SECTION IS MEANT TO BE A GUIDE TO WHAT TO THINK OF EIT'S ON ENEMY COMBATANTS. (I AM ONLY ATTEMPTING TO DEFEND THE POSSIBILITY OF A SCENARIO WHERE EIT CAN BE JUSTIFIED, NOT ANY PAST USE OR ABUSE.)

Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments THIS SORT OF TERM NEEDS SERIOUS DISTINCTION AND CLARIFICATION BECAUSE ANYTHING COULD BE CLAIMED AS A 'TORMENT' TO SOMEONE!inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportationDEPORTATION? WERE THE WRITERS OF THIS DOC. SERIOUS? HOW IS THE JUST EXPELLING OF A PERSON WHO VIOLATED MULTIPLE LAWS TO ILLEGALLY ENTER A SOVEREIGN NATION APPLICABLE TO THIS SPECIFIC DISCUSSION OF SECTION 27 OF GAUDIUM ET SPES?, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies(DEFINED BY WEBSTERS AS A BAD REPUTATION) indeed. DOES ANYONE KNOW THE LATIN TERM AND ITS POSSIBLE OTHER TRANSLATIONS FOR/WHERE INFAMY IS HERE USED? INFAMY HARDLY SEEMS A UNIVERSAL CONDEMNATIONThey poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator. THIS LAST LINE SEEMS OUT OF PLACE WITH SOME OF THE OTHER LINES...AGAIN, HOW DOES DEPORTATION QUALIFY AS 'SUPREME DISHONOR TO THE CREATOR?"


and, lastly,

The following is taken from the most noble, trustworthy source of information in the modern world: wikipedia!


It [Gaudium et Spes] has been criticized[citation needed] as over-optimistic, even from the floor of the council.
The ongoing question that arose from Gaudium et Spes is: how can the church be credible in a secular world? In the commentaries of the document, Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) called certain parts of Gaudium et Spes "downright Pelagian," particularly in the treatment of free will in article 17. He is not wholly negative in his judgment about Gaudium et Spes, however, and praises the discussion of atheism in articles 19-21 as “balanced and well-founded.”
Gaudium et Spes is a pastoral document. Lumen Gentium on the other hand is a dogmatic constitution document."

This excerpt may not have specific impact on our ongoing disagreements, but it does help serve to show us the weight we ought to give the pastoral document; casting doubt as to whether you can say that G. et S. has the authority to claim universal, complete denunciation of anything.

May 29

-Any insight people have to offer on Gaudium et Spes would be very welcome as well!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Catholic Colleges and Required Courses

It has been announced that the University of San Francisco, USF, is doing away with its MA in theology program.  Two reasons were given: it is losing money and the 'pastoral ministries' program at Santa Clara (home of old acquaintance Fr. Warren, S.J.-who led me on a personal Ignatian retreat years ago) essentially does the same thing, allegedly.  

An excerpt from an article that addresses this move by USF: But, he said, the university needs to adapt to all of its students - 71 percent of whom are not Catholic.

"I'm not sure that forcing students into a Catholic theology course is appropriate if the student is Muslim, Hindu or Jewish," he said. In the core curriculum, "what we are trying to do is evoke from students sensitivity to the mystery and reality of God."

Undergraduate students seemed to agree with Privett.[Privett is the president of USF]

I'm curious to hear from seems to me that a public school which requires a class in psychology or history or art or music or economics or political science would be forcing or foisting a potentially offensive course upon their students as well.  I'd say it is even worse, by such reasoning, for a public school to have such least a Catholic/Jesuit school has a clear, sectarian history, mission, and identity which its students applied and requested to enter and and take part.  What about Public Elementary and High Schools that require a course in World Religions and allow non-Muslims to educate the young on Muslim precepts?   

Why would anyone want to consider themselves Catholic if the "mystery and reality of God" were not something they considered absolute and certain?  If an institution has been around for 2000 years and it doesn't have any certainty of its 'core curriculum' then why is it around?

My thought on USF...If you don't think it is fitting to require the students that voluntarily enroll in a Catholic school to be reasonably well-informed of Catholicism, what do you think must be required core curricula at a Catholic institution?  Is history required?  Is Literature required?  If education pursues truth and knowledge, what role does Catholicism play in all things objective and absolute, such as truth.  Didn't someone ask the same thing of Christ, What is truth, some 2000 years ago?   

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Church hierarchy sees Oh, Bama's pragmatism at work

Taken from a short blurb from Catholic World News, a link to CWN can be found at the bottom of the blog.

While L'Osservatore Romano took a mild editorial view toward the Obama presidency, other voices from the Vatican are more critical. At a conference on human rights sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France, said that Obama's "subjective" approach to human rights actually undermines human dignity. Father Michel Schooyans denounced the "messianism" of the approach taken by Obama and Tony Blair. He continued:
In fact, a society that calls itself democratic but whose leaders, invoking subjective "new rights," permit the elimination of some categories of human beings, is a society that has already set out on the road of totalitarianism.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Adding to the discussion on Kyle's blog

Please read Saunders' article on waterboarding and the US approach to "torture."

Los Angeles or Waterboarding?
A Commentary By Debra J. Saunders

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Torture discussion on Kyle's blog: Journeys In Alterity

For a few days now, a discussion about the legitimacy of torture and how Christians should regard it as been going on at and his Kyle's blog: Journeys in Alterity.  

You can reach Kyle's  blog by clicking on the name, Journeys in Alterity, on the list of blogs I peruse found at the bottom of this page.  

Next you will find Kyle's original blog posting on the matter and one of my responses.  Please do go to Kyle's site and make some comments...I'm eager to explore this more myself.  

Kyle said: SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 2009

Torturing Christ

I find it disturbing that we’re actually debating the concept of torturing people, but what I really don’t get is the defense of torture by Christians. I say this not because Christians are better than others, but because, from the Christian standpoint, what we do to one another, even to the least among us and to the worst of sinners, we do to Christ. We show our love and respect for God in how we treat one another. A Christian who defends torturing a human person defends, in a sense, torturing Him in whose image and likeness we are all made.

I said:S. Rich said...

I don't have a definitive answer. But let me mention a few thoughts.

-Christ was certainly willing to be tough at times. When the money changers desecrated the temple Christ personally smacked them with a whip-like instrument. Was such a torturous action? Christ smacked them and publicly humbled them. Christ embarrassed there fragile psyches and physically assaulted their bodies, their temples of the Holy Spirit. 

-Christ also buys into justice. Of Judas, it would be better for him if he had never been born. Of someone that would harm a child, may he have a millstone tied about his neck and be cast into the sea. 

I suppose the definition of torture is at issue here. Is waterboarding torture because it scares someone? Is putting a caterpillar in a closet with someone afraid of bugs torture? 

I am inclined to believe that if it is possible to have a just war, then it is possible to have a just extraction of information...but there is certainly a fine line that cannot morally be crossed. I don't have an exact demarcation of that line myself, though I would tend to be cautious so as not to risk crossing that line.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Article from my favorite Stanford Prof., T. Sowell!

I didn't really think about what I would post on this blog when I started the thing...but it seems posting someone else's article just for the sake of sharing things I find significant has been appreciated.  Here is another such post, I've pasted sections of Sowell's article and my commentary will be inserted in bold print here and there in a scattershot manner.   A link to the full article is found at the bottom 

While the rest of us may be worried about violent Mexican drug gangs on our border, or about terrorists who are going to be released from Guantanimo, the Director of Homeland Security is worried about "right-wing extremists."...According to an official document of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, right-wing extremists include "groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration." It also includes those "rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority."I wonder if rejecting federal authority refers to states that want to secede or is it broader, including the subsidiarity advocates and distributists at the chesterbellocmandate?  ...

According to the same official document, the Department of Homeland Security "has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence."...

So-called "honor killings" by Muslims in the United States, including a recent beheading of his wife by a leader of one of the American Muslim organizations, does not seem to arouse any concern by the Department of Homeland Security.

When it comes to the thuggery of ACORN -- its members harassing the homes of bankers and even the home of Senator Phil Gramm when he opposed things that ACORN favored -- the Department of Homeland Security apparently sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no is an overreaction, but actions like this by ACORN made me think of Hitler's Kristalnacht...when his minions swept through the towns to intimidate all the churches and synagogues that resisted 'them.'

Maybe they are too busy worrying about right-wing "extremists" who don't like abortions or illegal immigration, or who favor the division of power between the state and federal governments established by the Constitution.

... it can be sinister as a revealing and disturbing sign of the preoccupations and priorities of this administration -- and their willingness to witch hunt and demonize those who dare to disagree with them....

All this activity takes on a more sinister aspect against the background of one of the statements of Barack Obama during last year's election campaign that got remarkably little attention in the media. He suggested the creation of a federal police force, comparable in size to the military.this may be an overreaction, but this smacks a bit of Hitler's SS

Why such an organization? For what purpose?...

What would be different about a new federal police force, as compared to existing law enforcement and military forces? It would be a creation of the Obama administration, run by people appointed from top to bottom by that administration -- and without the conflicting loyalties of those steeped in existing military traditions and law enforcement traditions.

In short, a federal police force could become President Obama's personal domestic political army, his own storm troopers....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Revisiting an old idea-a horse for every home!

A friend, that would be you Doug, asked why I don't have any new posts posted...I was on vacation. I'm short on the usual inspiration that comes to me as my mercurial personality reads the daily headlines. So, to hopefully satisfy Doug, let me posit a revolutionary, backwater idea that if forced on society could save society. It's late and I'll only give the briefest of outlines of my old idea for the time being. I'll look for a massive number of comments and expand my thinking in my responses.

All families and homeowners should be required to house and maintain a horse. The positive benefits to society will be as follows:
1. people will realize that even majestic animals are typically a great burden and royal pain. worth it if you love horses, but a real pain...this will have a great effect on the ignoramuses at PETA, and those that are wooed into sympathizing with the PETAns
2. synthetic glue marketers and manufacturers will see more competition
3. people will have to start having more kids, so that they don't have to do all the horse-ing around. farmers usually have many kids, share the wealth/burden!
4. jobs! horse trainers will be in high demand again, not to mention the shipping and growing of hay...small time farm operations will be more profitable due to increased demand for hay
5. less potentially harmful chemicals in the soil and food supply...the great glut of horse processed plant matter has to go some where
6. (and last for tonight) increased sense of responsibility for something other than yourself

I know this isn't quite workable, but it could save the world, maybe?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Keep Drugs Illegal

Ms Christine Flowers has a lovely little article defending the continued illegal status of Marijuana and other currently illegal drugs. This has been a somewhat pet issue with me for some time. Allow me to expand in bullet point fashion. Ms. Flowers’ article is l

-This is my greatest beef with Libertarians…it doesn’t hurt me, let them do what they want to themselves. Hemingway and Donne both explained it well…’For Whom [does] the Bell Toll’? ‘It Tolls for Thee.’ Everytime a member of our league, that is humanity, is lost we all lose something. As father Klein once said…if he is still addicted to drugs or alcohol then you don’t really have him back…meaning that someone who is addicted to such controlling substances is not free to be a part of society. They may be high functioning at times, but an addicted soul is not a free soul. A man who is always acting under the spell or compulsion of drugs is not himself. If someone is addicted to drugs then it is a long slow toll of the bell for thee!

-Let’s say the congress legalized marijuana…that’s commonly accepted as the least dangerous drug on the list. How many people can drink a beer and then safely drive a forklift…I ‘d wager most all of us. How many can smoke one joint and then safely drive a forklift…it’s not a bet I want to take, though neither is prudent. A considerable amount of my research activities in DC at the think tank/lobby group FRC were dedicated to the issue of medical marijuana. I think people need to keep in mind that current strains of the plant yield more than 30% of the active ingredient THC, while the stuff the “hippies” were smoking in the 60’s averaged only around 3 to 5%. If you are an old hippie, or just from that age, or foolishly romantic about that age, then you should be very aware of the new state of the plant and its wildly expanded potency!

-If you want to use THC as a drug…make a pill. Actually a suppository is quicker in delivering the active ingredient than is inhaling the smoke…which one coroner told me is significantly more damaging to lungs than is simple cigarette smoke-and just think of the bans states have place on cig. Smoke! It’s not like states are legalizing opium production for the diseased and disabled the way CA and others have done with ‘medical cannibis.’ Why? That’s my next point.

-Recall the Opium Wars of the history books…Imagine something like 8 of every 10 people in the country being addicted to a drug…that was China at one time. Britain defended their right to engage in free trade (read: selling addictive drugs) to the people of China and militarily defeated China’s government to preserve this ‘right.’ How much harm was done to China by doing so? I’ve read that entire villages ceased to function…as everyone hung out in the Opium Den all day. Gangs of thugs roamed the streets to get money for the legal ‘goods.’ And gangs sent by merchants prowled the streets to lure more customers…image the billboards that would be on the freeway to recruit your kids like a cool-hip new rendition of the Marlboro man with a syringe wedged in his hat bank-sure such a comic lure would be made illegal, but there would undoubtedly be advertising. Even well-raised kids with everything going for them would find it tough to resist peer pressure when it is legal. Some kids would certainly resist, but how many good kids have experimented with alcohol and then turned away…you can’t just turn away so easily with highly addictive stuff.

-Some argue that a more cleanly refined product would be less dangerous…but morphine is exactly that, well-refined opium…it remains one of the most addictive substances on earth. The body physically craves the stuff forever, once it is tried. Imagine legally experimenting with the stuff, just for kicks when you’re young…The rest of your life could be a constant struggle to fight addiction.

-The documents, articles, and figures, I read and reviewed at FRC about eight years ago as regards the Netherlands’ experiments with drug legalization were severely disturbing…they tried and continue with a narrow legalization, all is ‘fare’ and legal in the red light district. Drugs of all shapes, sizes, potencies, and qualities were legalized in one small area so that those who do it anyway would be clear of the rest of society. The story that disturbed me above all others: prostitutes, all addicted to heroin, lined the streets, sat in a chair behind a clear glass door, naked for the world to use. To think that drug use and addiction doesn’t lead to sexual exploitation of young women who experimented and became addicts is preposterous. Drug experimentation, especially if it is legal and thereby more common, will lead to junkies who are incapable of functioning…imagine your sister or daughter, addicted to drugs because of foolish college experimentation being abused by prostitution so that she can get the next dose she craves. Now imagine the source of that addiction was legal and you hand no recourse to intervene for her good and for her life.

-Some time back PBS did interviews with drug addicts in Europe, who, thanks to their society’s permiscuous goodwill gave them clean needles and cleanly refined heroin. Though they were no longer in the same danger they were in in the streets from gangs and unclean product, they were still addicts, incapable of being the people they were raised and capable of being.

-I was shocked to see that Pat Buchannon even endorsed drug legalization. Of course Buchannon also argued that the US would eventually bring in Quebec as the 51st state, and Greenland as well. Good grief. Of course, if the US thinks it is well and good to allow mothers to abort, or terminate, the lives of their young, forming children then allowing profit maximizing companies to peddle addictive, mind-altering drugs is not unreasonable.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Monday's press conference and how Oh, bama "wrestles" with ethics

Below is a portion of the transcript from Obama's press conference from Tuesday March 24th.  Obama's remarks on stem cell funding and ethical wrestling seems to have received no coverage based on my searches.  I've inserted my commentary in bold print throughout the text of the transcript. 

OK. John Ward, Washington Times? Where's John?

Question: Thank you, sir.

Obama: There you go.

Question: Thank you, Mr. President.

Obama: Sure.

Question: In your remarks on stem cell research earlier this month, you talked about a majority consensus in determining whether or not this is the right thing to do, to federally fund embryonic stem cell research.

I'm just wondering, though, how much you personally wrestled with the morality or ethics of federally funding this kind of research, especially given the fact that science so far has shown a lot of progress with adult stem cells, but not a lot with embryonic?

Obama: OK. No, I think it's a legitimate question. I wrestle with these issues every day.

As I mentioned to -- I think in an interview a couple of days ago, by the time an issue reaches my desk, it's a hard issue. If it was an easy issue, somebody else would have solved it and it wouldn't have reached me.We disagree.  If you are certain of a hard and fast rule, such as ‘murder is wrong’ or ‘organic is good,’ then on all questions that relate to those foundation principles a decision is easy.  If you have a solid core of beliefs, if you believe in absolutes, then moral questions are rarely mind boggling. 

Look, I believe that it is very important for us to have strong moral guidelines, ethical guidelines,what are those guidelines?—are they more than just popular consensus? when it comes to stem cell research or anything that touches on, you know, the issues of possible cloning or issues related to, you know, the human life sciences.

I think those issues are all critical, and I've said so before. I wrestle with it on stem cell; I wrestle with it on issues like abortion. But every vote you have ever cast sides against conservatives.  Every social policy you promote seems one-sided.  The Mexico City Policy, calling abortion a “right” while campaigning, saying your daughter could be “punished by a pregnancy,” rescinding the conscience protections Bush signed into law, and now using tax money to do research on stem cells from aborted (murdered) children.  Your record shows no sign of any wrestling…you have the highest rating NARAL can give…clearly they don’t see you wrestling with this either. Perhaps you do wrestle, but the decision always seems to be the same.

I think that the guidelines that we provided meet that ethical test.What Ethical test?  I’m yet to see where you identified the grounds, rubrics, or criteria of any test? I know of no anti-abortion advocates you've included in your abortion advocacy your litmus test?  Do you think an anti-abortion judge could ever be fit for you to nominate to the Supreme Court?   What we have said is that, for embryos that are typically -- about to be discarded, for us to be able to use those in order to find cures for Parkinson's or for Alzheimer's or, you know, all sorts of other debilitating diseases, juvenile diabetes, that it is the right thing to do.  If you saw the child from which the stem cells were extracted as a murder victim, then you would likely have a problem with how they were acquired…so, do you have a problem with how the stem cells are acquired?  If you’re ok with abortion then I don’t see why you would need to wrestle with the issue of funding stem cell research, as you said before.  If abortion is murder, then no one should have these stem cells in the first place.  (miscarriage would be a completely separate issue)

And that's not just my opinion. That is the opinion of a number of people who are also against abortion. I’m curious to hear names.  And, again, is consensus the criteria, is pragmatically making the greatest number of people happy your criteria?  It’s not a matter of how many people hold the opinion.  What reasoning, logic, teleology (ends/means thinking) do YOU use to draw these conclusions?

Now, I am glad to see progress is being made in adult stem cells. And if the science determines that we can completely avoid a set of ethical questions or political disputes, then that's great.When do you think all scientists could ever agree on that?  How can science prove that stem cells could never be useful for some scientific experiment.  Science can’t prove that.  Some scientist will always want to tinker with stem cells.  The question remains: what is the morality of acquiring the stem cells in the first place? 

I have no investment in causing controversy. I'm happy to avoid it if that's where the science leads us. But what I don't want to do is predetermine this based on a very rigid ideological approach (this is code for???), and that's what I think is reflected in the executive order that I signed.How is a matter of moral reasoning labeled as mere ideology?  I’m more than ever inclined to believe that you hold no absolutes.  Is there one action which is forever wrong under any and all circumstances no matter where or when you live? 

Question: I meant to ask -- just to follow up -- do you think that scientific consensus is enough to tell us what we can and cannot do?

Obama: No. I think there's always an ethical and a moral element that has to be a part of this. Again, what is that line of  ethical and moral reasoning?  What are your philosophical/ethical/moral premises that lead you to this conclusion?  And so, as I said, I don't take decisions like this lightly. They're ones that I take seriously, and I respect people who have different opinions on this issue. (like those you labeled as people who “cling to guns and relgion?”

But I think that this was the right thing to do and the ethical thing to do.Again, why do you think this?  On what grounds?  And as I said before, my hope is, is that we can find a mechanism, ultimately, to cure these diseases in a way that gains 100 percent consensus. And we certainly haven't achieved that yet, (do you honestly think that that is in any way possible in your life time?) but I think on balance this was the right step to take.  Is a balance of good and bad your standard?  If it is only a little bit evil then is it ok?  What is your balanced criteria?