Last updated 6/18/09

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


So right now it's in between school years over here. At high schools, every year there are personnel changes. Most teachers don't stay at a single school for more than a few years, so there are constant moves and transfers. Anyway, one of my favorite teachers to work with just left, so I'm a feeling a little down. She is an older, motherly woman, always very patient and quick to laugh. I learned a lot from her and she made my transition here a lot easier. 
When confronted with a sense of loss, I think it's important to recognize the fact that you had something good and to be grateful for it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Dialoguing" with Mr. Obama

My respect for Professor Hadley Arkes continues to grow. Over at the Catholic Thing, Dr. Arkes proposes that Fr. Jenkins and Mr. Obama live up to their words and concede to a debate. The gauntlet is thrown, but the real question is whether or not anyone will take notice. It would probably be too inconvenient for them to.

Have a read here.

More appeasement and selling out our own?

I don't know if this has been getting much coverage at home in the States, but apparently two US reporters arrested in North Korea are about to stand trial for illegal entry and "hostile acts." Have we heard the US State Department issue any statements or contest the fact that US citizens are being tried in a crazy country for vague crimes? I guess this is another example of our wish to let North Korea be. I guess being a US citizen doesn't carry the implications it once did.

De-baptization or something

The anti-theist movement strikes again. 

From the group that brought you bus signs proclaiming that there's no God come: Certificates of Debaptism. What better way to apostacize than with an obnoxious campaign and a piece of paper (to really prove that you're no longer one of those brainless religion-lovers; too bad it's not wallet-sized)?

Oh well, it's their eternity.

The decline of academia

A school in England is now offering a Masters program in Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

"For $6,275 Birmingham City University in the U.K. will teach students how to blog, set up podcasts and make the most of the social media websites for marketing."

Wow - seems like a slap in the face to people who invest the time and money in a real subject of study. I could understand a class or two on such internet websites and applications, but a Masters program? I would say this kind of "expertise" should warrant a certificate at best.

Latest ND Coverage

Over at your local AmP, as usual.

Bishops Lynch and Morlino have added their voices to the chorus of protests over Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to deliver this year's commencement speech and receive an honorary law degree. Bishop Lynch's statement isn't as strong as som of the others have been, speaking of "uncivil" and "venomous" rhetoric from our side. I'm quite sure what he's referring to in that regard - I haven't seen much that I'd consider disrespectful, although perhaps there have been some uncharitable characterizations of Fr. Jenkins. Then again, what do you expect when someone is perceived to be a sellout?


Condoms sometimes ok, says bishop

Coverage over at American Papist.

He doesn't exactly contradict the Pope, but this doesn't exactly seem like he's falling in step, either. Seems kind of akin to a child asking one parent for something and getting a "no," then going to the other and getting a "we'll see." Although in this the two "parents" aren't exactly of equal authority.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Head to head about ND

Dueling editorials, with commentary from Fr. Z. I sincerely wonder whether Dr. Kmiec actually believes all these things he says about Obama (I mean, it's ridiculous to what extent he defends the man); I guess I can't imagine him being such an ardent Obama-supporter otherwise, but it's also difficult for me to understand how such an intelligent man can distort logic so.

Hmmm...back to appeasement?

It appears the story has changed with the N. Korean rocket launch.
The US now says it's not going to do anything. Awesome. Japan is only going to shoot it down if it looks like debris will fall into Japan. So apparently no one is going to call N. Korea on this, even though they're in violation of a UN resolution and Iran is aiding them in this endeavor. Appeasement is such an easy policy, isn't it? It's a great message to send, that these countries we fear so much to upset can do as they like, as long as it doesn't directly affect us at the moment. I bet this will be one of those moments we look back on with 20/20 vision in the future, when North Korea has long-range missile capabilities.

More ND Coverage

Get it at American Papist.

Archbishop Dolan of NY and Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston have released statements on the Notre Dame scandal.

And hat tip to American Catholic, which has coverage Bishop Aymond of Austin's response.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What, told you so?

You know, I think this is a sign that I've really come a true skeptic. So Senator McCain was right on spending - big deal. I mean, you know how I feel about the job Mr. Obama is doing, but I just can't help thinking McCain would have broken his campaign promises, also. Maybe not on this issue, but it's purely speculative to say he would be doing a better job than Obama right now. So yes, McCain was right on spending and the deficit. He still lost, though, so what does it matter?

Bravo Mr. Hannan

Watch as Daniel Hannan, a member of the European Parliment, blasts British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I wish someone would give a similar speech to Mr. Obama. However, he's new in office and it's going to take the American public some time, I'm afraid, to realize what's going on. Pay attention to Mr. Hannan as he speaks of squeezing the productive bit of the economy to fund the unproductive, and the foolishness of trying to "spend your way our of recession or borrow your way out of debt." Sounds a lot like what we're doing, doesn't it?

More attacks on the Pope

He's been under fire a lot recently, but I guess that's what happens in this world when you stand up for truth. Here's some coverage from BBC on the latest. The Lancet medical journal is accusing the pope of distorting science in his remarks on condom use as a deterant of HIV/Aids. The objectionable statement:

The Pope had said the "cruel epidemic" should be tackled through abstinence and fidelity rather than condom use.

The counterclaim:

It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.

"Whether the Pope's error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear," said the journal.

What? Catholic doctrine aside, how can condoms be more effective than abstinence? If you don't have sex, you have a near 0% chance to contract HIV. If you and your partner are HIV-free and you stay faithful to one another, you also also reduce your risk almost 100%. Condoms promote promiscuity and increased sexual activity, which in turn raises the risk of getting or spreading an STD. What is so absurd about that?

Sounds to me like Lancet has an agenda to push.

You may fire when ready

And it's on. Japan and the US are preparing to shoot down anything fired from N. Korea that violates Japanese airspace.  I agree wholeheartedly with the plan; I just hope the Korean leaders don't spaz out and start shooting salvos of missiles at Japan in retaliation for this "act of war."

Not just Japan

Apparrently humorous signs can be found in other corners of the world, as well. Saw this gem in Stonehaven, Scotland. My friend Vic, the young lady in the picture, found it insulting to old people. I just found it funny.

The real meaning of separation of Church and State

Over at the Catholic Thing, Austin Ruse writes about a move by the Obama administration to put pressure on Bishop Burke in the hopes of shutting him up about Kathleen Sebelius, the rabidly pro-abortion 'Catholic' governor of Kansas who has been nominated to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Ruse provides a good analysis of the situation, especially in pointing out that 

"More than anything else, the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution was intended precisely to protect religious bodies from meddling by the state, even covert meddling by the White House like this. Obama and his pet Catholics should back off – and fast."

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right  of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The whole "separation of Church and State" provision, which has become a mantra for the progressive movement, does not exist in and of itself - it is based upon a popular interpretation of this amendment. As you can see, it is nowhere stated that religion cannot be involved in public life or in government. What this amendment intended was that there should be no established state religion, nor would anyone be denied the freedom to practice his or her own faith. In other words, the government shall not interfere with religion; not vice versa. I think the paranoia afflicting the secularists and "religion should be practiced behind closed doors" crowd is needless. If religion did infiltrate the government, it would do so only in its moral tendencies, as a state religion can never be established. Plus we're living in a democratic republic. If those religious views were not upheld by popular opinion, they would be ousted. Ah, but I'm forgetting - boo morals, right?  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tidying up

Just messing around with the look of the blog a bit. I felt it could be a little easier on the eyes. 

Jenkins' act of public disobedience

The latest at AmP.

Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix has weighed in on the Notre Dame scandal with a fair and strongly-worded letter to the university's president. The highlights include the statement:

"It is an act of public disobedience to the Bishops of the United States."

And a quotation of John Paul II:

"John Paul II said, 'Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights - for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture - is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination.'"

(The above quotation is from Christifidelis Laici, see section 38).

I don't know what the future holds, but it seems the bishops are beginning to unite, with the exception of a few stragglers. In my mind, the bishops are much like ents - a comparison drawn by a friend of mine. They are powerful and slow-moving. I only hope that half the forest isn't burned down by the time they decide to take decisive action. Moves like this are positive, and I'm really looking forward to Bishop Burke's visit to D.C. in May. He may be able to rally our American bishops. In any case, let's continue to pray for courage and wisdom for all of our Church leaders. +1 to bishops for Bishop Olmsted's letter, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Notre Dame scandal heating up

Many alumni are taking action, as are several student groups. But the administration seems to be standing firm. I don't expect this will amount to much more than a hullabaloo in the long-run. It's another strike for ND's Catholic affiliation status, but how many strikes they need before they're out of there is anyone's guess.
I suppose that's not completely fair, though. It would be more justified for the reprecussions to fall on Fr. Jenkins and the administraton, not the school itself. After all, there are plenty of alumni, factulty, and students who oppose this; just not enough, it would seem.

Oh boy..

I'm not too worried, because (1) North Korean leaders may be crazy, but they're not suicidal (yet) and (2) there's nothing I can do about it, but:

North Korea is getting ready to launch a "communications satellite" over Japan, and apparently any interception of it is going to be taken as an act of war. Regardless, Japan and the US are preparing to bring it down. I'd be doing the same thing. I don't think North Korea has the stones to declare war against the US and Japan, at least right now, over a stupid launch test. Then again, they are crazy.

Notice the UN hasn't become involved. Big surprise.

Food for thought: I wonder where China stands on this. I'm sure they want to keep the region stable, but if push comes to shove, will they be willing to lay the smack down on N. Korea?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No more game consoles, proposes OnLive

Via BBC.
Quite interesting, although I'm not quite sure how this would work. Obviously if you're going to play games online through your TV, you're going to need some kind of interface hardware - controls and somewhere to connect to the internet. It seems to be working, but I wonder if having hundreds of thousands or millions of players online at the same time would complicate things.
And then there are those, like myself, who still like off-line games. True, at home in the States our Wii and XBox 360 are hooked up to the internet, but we rarely use it, as we don't want to pay extra for online content.
Still, an intestesting development.

Depopulation on the horizon

According to USA Today's Philip Longman, childlessness is becoming a trend, and it seems as early as 2040 the global population will begin to decrease.  Good news for all those who think overpopulation is a problem, I guess.

I'm not really too concerned.  Those who promote and believe in a culture of life will keep reproducing and (hopefully) passing on their values.

The Bishop on ND and the overall problem

Via CNA, Bishop D'Arcy has released a statement about the Notre Dame scandal.

This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith "in season and out of season," and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.
While I'm not sure that the bishop's absence will make much of a difference in th overall scheme of things, I respect his decision, and I suppose it's doubtful that he had the authority to do much more (bishops +1).  What remains to be seen, and what will perhaps have a bigger impact, is what action the students of Notre Dame take, as noted by Emily at the Shrine of Holy Whapping

This situation seems to be part of a much bigger problem that is spreading quite rapidly.  For a long time now, Catholic politicians have been thumbing their noses at Church teachings, ignoring central tenants of our faith, and presenting a deaf ear to their bishops.  Madame Pelosi's visit with the pope did not even change her heart.  It's even worse when this sort of conduct is coming from a priest like Fr. Jenkins (the president of the University of Notre Dame).  
There are probably several underlying problems at the root of this dilemma.  For some, like many politicians, it is a lust for power and a vanity that convinces them they can do no wrong. Their Catholic status is just that - a status, enabling them to win votes.  For many others (and perhaps partly for these politicians, as well), it may very well be a matter of poor catechesis, as my friend Ben, a theology graduate student, has pointed out to me.  I'm no expert, but this could very well be the main source of the American Church's problems. 
I've noticed an interesting link between religion and politics here.  I think one of the main culprits for this situation is "progressivism."  I don't know whether it is a root cause or a symptom.  If you've been keeping abreast of political developments over the past several months, you'll note that many of the more moderate or progressive Republicans have been calling for an expanding of the tent, so to speak.  They use such terms as "litmus test" and assert that core conservative tenants cannot be so strictly adhered to if the party is to survive. 
Likewise, there are some "Catholics" who try to pull the same nonsense.  Observe this interview with Phil Donahue regarding the Notre Dame scandal.  There are many pro-choice Catholics, huh?  Well, perhaps they shouldn't be Catholics, then.  Religion and truth do not change to suit the needs of the masses.  God does not change to assuage the consciences of those who want to have things both ways.  This progressive ideaology of all-inclusiveness is flawed and base.  Accepting practices that one believes to be evil and sinful is akin to supporting them.  

Yes, as Catholics we value charity and consider it a virtue.  But it seems these days that charity is being used as a shield by the unjust.  Where is the charity for the unborn?  

The Giver is a short novel that I suggest you read if you've not already, for I think it is one case of a disutopian society that is not too far off.  The ideas of The Sameness and "releasing" those who are of no use to the community...they seem to me to be the ultimate progressive ideals.


I'll tell you one thing that was kind of a strange feeling while in Europe, especially France: the sense that I am a lot more comfortable in and familiar with Japan.  I guess it's been a while since I felt completely out of place or lost here.  I'm not fluent, but I can communicate enough to get around or work things out if I'm ever lost.  Just a weird feeling, that America wasn't the first place to jump into my head as being a safer and more comfortable environs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Well, I'm back from my trip.  It was good to travel and to see my sister and friends.  It's also nice to not be traveling anymore.  I'm kind of out of it at the moment, but there is much of be done before I go back to work tomorrow. 

Disappointing, but predictable - things continue to spire downward in various arenas...I returned to news of further economic woes and moral decay.  For now I'll just point out that Obama is being honored by Notre Dame University and giving their upcoming commencement speech.  Even putting his radical pro-abortion agenda aside for a moment, what gives?  He hasn't done anything commendable thus far aside from being elected...and that could just mean he was a better liar than the other guy.
AmP and American Catholic coverage.

Update: More at Curt Jester and the Catholic Thing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Tomorrow I'm setting off to Europe to visit my sister and some friends, so there will be no new entries for a couple weeks unless Gobbler feels ambitious.

Apologies for putting off the toilet episode of Jukin' Japan.  I didn't want to rush it out at the cost of quality.  Only the best toilets for my viewers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Amazing that we've come so far: girl survives multiple organ auto-transplant.

One thing that struck me, though, was that one of the compromised organs that could not be re-implanted was her stomach.  I guess it makes sense that a stomach isn't a "vital" organ, but it never occurred to me that you could live without one.

More pirate troubles...

Some countries are having trouble prosecuting pirates, due to lack of evidence or jurisdiction...
Hang'em from the gallows, says I. Yarr..
But seriously, not even country out there has habeus'd think they could at least lock these guys up.

But I guess this impunity gives pirates another +1...

"Doing a good job"

Apparently the stimulus package is "doing a good job" stimulating the US economy, according to Mr.  Obama.  I'm not surprised at his claim, but I don't see that he's right.  I don't see that the value of the dollar has changed much, and the stock market is still plummeting.  

As someone pointed out, in the past 50 days of "stimulus" and bailout spending, not even taking the ridiculous new government budgets into account, we're spending about $1 billion an hour, and this is money we don't have.  I know we elected these people to spend (by "we" I mean the majority of the country, not everyone), but come on.  Someone's gotta see reason soon or we're going to sink.

And now we're paying for ESCR

Here's the Catholic Thing's take on it, but you can find articles on many of the major Catholic blogs.
Although Obama apparently respects those of us who disagree with him and find the practice to be unethical, he passed the order anyway. Now we're going to be paying for embryonic stem cell research.

Glad he has time to focus on these divisive social issues, now that the economy is rebounding. Oh, wait...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yay our system!

I know the little things like pipeline safety fees are aggregately important, but still...

It's sad and funny, simultaneously,  how close this is to reality.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Progressive Catholics

Up until now I've been calling them liberal Catholics, but I know now what they call themselves (thanks, Katherine) - "progressive" Catholics.  "Progressive" as in "progress."  Our out-dated ways - men as priests, marriages between men and women, the sanctity of life and of sex - these things must be stripped away and the Church refurbished with practices and an ideology that is more...with the times.  After all, Church scholars and theologians don't know what they're talking about - they're out of touch with what God wants, with what is proper.  But we know what's best.  We, the progressive lay Catholics of America.  Screw the bishops!  Progress!

I keep coming back to C.S. Lewis, but he really does provide a lot of valuable insights and wisdom, especially on these terms.  In one point in The Problem of Pain, he points out that one of the more dangerous attitudes of Christians of our time is our preoccupation with the virtue of mercy (charity).  Indeed, this can be applied to progressive Catholics.  He points out that there have been other points in history where mercy was not so highly valued, yet at each time, that people believes their own highly-raised virtue(s) to be superior and more pleasing to God than any other - be it courage or temperance or chastity.  Do you remember when chastitity was an important virtue?  Yet today, for our progressives, mercy is the be-all and end-all.  

Furthermore, this, in speaking of how revenge and retribution are not inherently wrong:

Some enlightened people would like to banish all concepts of retribution or desert from their theory of punishment and place its value wholly in the detterence of others or the reform of the criminal himself.  They do not see that by so doing they render all punishment unjust.  What can be more immoral than to inflict suffering on me for the sake of dettering others if I do not deserve it?  And if I do deserve it, you are admitting the claims of 'retribution'.  And what can be more outrageous than to catch me and submit me to a disagreeable process of moral improvement without my consent, unless (once more), I deserve it?  
(The Problem of Pain, 91-92)

Lastly, of forgiveness - and I think this is especially important.  To put this in context, Lewis is asking if a horrible man who has lived a base life and delights in nothing but the suffering of others is deserving of forgiveness (after all, we have a compassionate God):

The demand that God should forgive such a man while he remains what he is, is based on a confusion between condoning and forgiving.  To condone an evil is simply to ignore it, to treat it as if it were good.  But forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered if it is to be complete: and a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness.
(The Problem of Pain, 124)

In my mind, and in the minds of many of my fellows, progressive Catholics are guilty of condoning evil.  You cannot forgive a pro-choice politician for his or her actions if he or she is not sorry, for example.  And none of them are sorry, or they would change their ways.  Thus their actions are condoned by many of "our own."  Didn't Jesus dine with sinners?  Didn't he forgive them?  Yes, but they sought forgiveness, and he always told them to go and sin no more.  He didn't say "No problem - see you the next time you cheat your neighbor or go whoring yourself!"

Traditionnnn! Tradition!

I just watched Fiddler on the Roof for the first time - good movie.  I hadn't realized that Topol was in anything aside major from Flash Gordon.  Anyway, it is a compelling story that some probably find very one-sided and easy to judge, while others may have a more conflicted opinion.

Tradition is an important thing, especially in religion.  In the Catholic faith, revelation comes to us through holy scripture and tradition, so its importance cannot be denied.  While it is nothing new, there are many Catholics who wish to disregard or redefine doctrine or teachings that have been passed down for centuries, simply because they happen to disagree.  
It is true that sometimes traditions must change.  Sometimes the new ways are better ways.  However, just as some would argue that just because something is old and accepted, that does not make it right, it is equally true that just because something is new and fashionable, that does not make it right either. 
I was able to relate to Tevye's predicaments.  Tradition is important.  But then, none of the traditions broken (or changed) by Tevye had significant moral implications.  This is a fact we must consider in our own circumstances. 

The truth in comedy

I love the Onion, but it's a shame they have so much material for satire...

I like the part at the end, about having a president identified with a logo. Like an O, perhaps?
But seriously, I don't think corporations need to worry about our politicians...they seem to be getting plenty of money from the government now.

Don't need to comment on that, really. Our society, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Obamedia starting to waver..

I'm sure there are those people who will never admit that Obama can do any wrong, or those who will be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until his term runs out, then assert that although he wasn't perfect, it was mostly due to problems inheritted from Bush.  However, it is starting to dawn on at least some in the media that Mr. Obama isn't exactly the bringer of hope and change that he claimed to be.  In fact, he looks awefully like another run-of-the-mill lying, special-interest-pandering politician.  And he is a radical, not a moderate.

Here's Chris Matthews, of all people, chewing him out for not controlling earmarks as he said he would.  Who's next, Olbermann?  I'm not holding my breath, but it's possible.

And here's Jim Cramer of CNBC's Mad Money.  Cramer is not a conservative guy, and he is calling this "the greatest wealth destruction I've ever seen by a president."

Obama had better get his act together.  Our country got into this mess because people were spending money that they didn't have and borrowing what they couldn't pay back.  So Obama wants to correct the problem by...spending tax money that the government doesn't have?  Oi.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not enough madness in our schools

I'm not so sure about that, but I do like me a good Onion article.  Man, I gotta read some Lovecraft.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bishop Martino continues to lay down the law

Senator Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania is not to receive Holy Communion, according to the bishop. Senator Casey claims to be pro-life, but his voting record doesn't back him up.
You can read his letter to the senator and more about this story at Te Deum Laudamus.

I'm giving the bishops another +1 for his fortitude in defense of the unborn.