Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gone Pfishing??

-the unreliability of unauthenticated email.-

I have an old uncle who refused to get an email address and does not email at all. If you want to communicate with him you have to pick up the phone. He uses the old fashioned method of mailing anything via post or fed ex. I think he is pretty much in the dark ages but he may be on to something. He has never had his email address stolen, been the victim of identify theft via the internet, never had his private or on line banking information compromised and as we speak is happily skiiing in Kitzbuuhl, Austria.
Missing emails can be bane of a lawyers' existence when they look like they could be material and can sometimes invoke sanctions for nondisclosure.

Then there is the authentication issue- and it is a serious issue that court's don't take seriously enough yet. They assume sometimes (typically) anything in an email appended as an Exhibit actually was transmitted in the form that it appears in the Exhibit. This is a grossly fallatious assumption-we now know. Emails can be and are regularly I have found altererd. They can be downloaded into Word and manipulated, with entire text deleted and added. A simple "not" can alter the meaning completely of a contractual term. I once as an electronic discovery attorney was assigned by an unnamed firm a software program that actually allowed the email text to be altered on line. Things marked "hot" were sent to that black hole "review" where I had no idea whether they maintained their integrity or not. Not co-incidentally, the software manufacturer was the same company that was the defendant in the very same litigation. Clever- or just obstruction--(hear no evil, see no evil.) So all emails, to be admissible, should have to be authenticated by the sender before they are credited.

Then there is the issue of spoof emails which are emails sent from someone else's email address. Any high school hacker apparently knows how to hijack an email address and send out emails as though it were from another person. Just yesterday I tried logging into AOL and got a spoof page into which I casually plugged in my password as usual only to find that it didn't connect me, but just stole my password. I can't wait to learn that now I am the seller of Canadian discount pharmaceuticals, products to enlarge male members and other wild porn and go by the name of "stripperella" as every spam-monster misappropriates my business email address. These spoof spammers can also infect your systems with malicious viruses that kidnap all your email address file information and send notices out to your entire listserv of contacts. Because I have several email addresses and they are linked on the address book files, I always love it when I get an email I did not send from one of my email addresses to the other trying to sell me Viagra or with the opening line "HI honey, my name is barbie and if you click this link below I will show you what I can do with my pretzel position."

Here is a good tip- if an email sounds out of character for someone- or if it says something outrageous- it is always a good idea to forward the email back to the person and ask "did you actually send this?" or better yet, do what my old uncle does and call a person for a chat. Otherwise gross misunderstandings go unaddressed, and conflict inevitably follows. If it doesn't sound like me-it probably wasn't. It's easier to set people up now by misappropriation of email addresses than it is to sign up for a free Hotmail address. If you don't want your email "hot", e.g. stolen, change your password every few weeks or less. And if you get an email from someone that you find questionable or annoying, pick up the darn phone for crying out loud.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

You once had a wife
she came to stay
but you drove her far away.
You once had a child
in God's mind's eye
but you cursed it to die
before it saw daylight
You once had a love
that could never be bought
or sold that your dreams once foretold
But you scolded your dreams
and crushed spirits untold
and now you are doomed to life
as a lonely soul, watching slavishly
the dreams of others going by as though a fly
on the wall of the sky.
If resurrection is real
call on it now to reveal how to find
the life again so there is meaning
in your Amen.

The Greatest Sin.

The greatest sadness
the saddest loss
the deepest sin
the crime within
Is the neglect of saying
how much how deep
a love like this should be for keeps
and you instead should have said
nothing is greater or worth living for
now and evermore if you had to chase
it from shore to shore.
But silence won instead, infused
with intimidated regret as the devil licked
his chops and won his bet and declared
another soul into the abyss
of despair.
A prince's kiss the only redeeming
resurrection from the liar's lair
And you it is needed now to be
more than proclamations of piety
but the strength that turns a thorn
into a rose of beauty eternally.

Reflections and Rejections

Lent- Get Real Already Time

In parishes and retreat centers across the country this Saturday marks the "Lenten Day of Recollection."
Lent is that time for taking account- and rejecting anything outside God's will for your life path toward Him. The Sacrament of Penance is supposed to clarify what the path is for you.
Catholic churches practice this "confessional" "penance" sacrament- which is basically spilling your guts to a priest, who is sometimes a stranger, who has the authority (according to the church) to forgive your sins if you confess them and say an "act of contrition"-meaning read some rote thing on the wall that says you are sorry- with feeling now.

This practice confounds protestants for the most part who believe that "confess your sins one to another" basically means to the person you wronged- fess up and make amends.
Say you are sorry. Whine to your mother if you need to-but make it right with the person you did in. In Catholic churches you can get the absolution without even telling the person you wronged you are sorry-if they even know. Perhaps having to tell the wronged person first before a priest absolves you might somehow diffuse the priest's authority to forgive in secret I suppose whether the -ewed over person forgives you or not. This always annoys me when I know that people who run around hurting others regularly who regularly sit in the confessional box get absolution when they do nothing to make amends with the people they run around hurting.

Because I am a Smart-A** or a Wise-A** depending on whom you talk to, here is what I would like to say in a confessional instead of the usual "forgive me father for I have sinned, it's been x days since I last sat in this box."

Confessor: Come In, the Light's On.
Penitent: Hi- why is this contraption rigged so the light actually goes out when I kneel down?
Confessor: Don't worry about it- what is troubling you today
Penitent: What should be troubling me? What have you heard?
Confessor: Why don't you just tell me why you are here
Penitent: You told me to come -it's lent.
Confessor: Tell me your sins
Penitent: What do you think my sins are? Have you been listening to rumors or do you have actual knowledge I sinned- do you have
my office phone bugged? Is this box bugged? I haven't told you any yet have I? Do you believe perjury? Do you believe jealous old church ladies who are trying to drive me crazy? Do you believe that psycho homeless chick who naps in the pews? Did you call my mother? What sins do you think I have?
Confessor: Do you want to start with the sin of snarkiness and pride?
Penitent: Do you think I should start with that? Is that a sin or a disposition? and What's the difference?

I could go on but you get the point. So if I don't grace your confessional box this lenten season consider yourself blessed!! I am still praying for you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I tried to see you
but you waltzed away
I sat by the caged Jesus
in his golden display
I heard you say
"Feel Better" to the old lady
in grey disposition
I listened to your voice's inquisitions
of her troubles and dramas
and wondered if I should traumatize
you by making my presence known
or shown in full hue but
I sat quietly instead
praying for you.
Perhaps another day
we will reconcile our inglorious
ingratitutes in the place where justice and peace
kiss tenderly in bliss forevermore
or perhaps you will never
recognize me as I sit quietly
under your nose by
the Caged Jesus locked in his golden lore.

Why you Shouldn't Destroy your Friendships over Moralistic Ideologies:

Because Vatican positions are nuanced and change. Case in point: condom use to prevent disease under certain circumstances. Think. God gave you a brain for a reason.

Moral theology is just a wee bit more complicated than bumper sticker campaign sound bites and shouldn't be co-opted or hijacked by any political party for its own ends.
Worship the Lord your God with all your ....mind-. It's there for a reason. "Smart" isn't a Sin.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sick B-stards Need Not Apply

You Go First

In every Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC during Lent you can go to Confession on Wednesday evening from around 6:30-8pm. It's a campaign they are doing every year advertised in a campaign they stole from Motel 6 or 8 (a French owned parent company by the way) saying they will leave the light on for you.
I confess I have had mixed results with Confession and generally don't approve of the policy- while I know I need prayer to get over that sentiment. I much prefer just talking to any priest I trust. On the whole its generally a good idea but I am not convinced you need to do it to a "Priest." Your mother, your best friend, or better yet, the person you think you may have offended might be just as good. There goes my Presbyterian roots showing. The Catholic world believes it is imperative that a "priest" be the confessor because they are supposed to be (*cough*) more holy. Some truly are-Some are not. Some are smarter than you. Some are not. Some have better spiritual intelligence than you, some do not. Some are 12 when it comes to understanding women's emotional construction. They dismiss anything they can't understand from an emotional perspective as too earthly minded and missing the mark of heaven-sounds good. They have a distorted view of all sexuality generally, they have not experienced successful intimate relationships for the most part and so wouldn't know how to conduct themselves in one if the blessed mother asked them for coffee, they justify all their own sins and want you to tell them yours.
Sometimes the confessor replies "where is the sin in that-sounds like just a bit of dubious judgment." Sometimes they say "sounds like you are looking more for counselling, see the spiritual director" sometimes they just want to probe you for more information- because they take notes and prisoners. I have often wondered if there was a bug and secret mike in the box.
The good ones will ask you to pray for them- because they need it as much as you do and they know it. The bad ones will make you feel exposed like you never should have befriended them in the first place. The really bad ones insist you need to go to confession when they can't see the logs in their own eye and want you to grovel to justify their own stupidity and insensitivity. All types exist. They are just people- they are ALL men.

So my recommendation- Dear Abbey might help you solve your problems quicker. The biblical command to "Confess your sins one to another" doesn't mean just the guys with the white pin on collars, and the best policy for making amends is actually fixing the issue with the person you think is upset with you (something often priests never think to tell people to do.) The right to bind or release sins is really for Jesus to do and protestants maintain it isn't a corporate right of the church hierarchy- It is a right invested in all believers.

I know I will get in trouble for this post, but I don't recommend attaching your psyche to the mesh square of a dark box when you haven't seen the emotional resume of the person on the other side. He could be a serial emotional adulterer for all you know- everything but the sex.

Remnants of the First Temple Found

Solomon Built It- For Real.

Another Israeli excavation proves the bible a historically accurate text.
What- you thought a bunch of shepherds or nomads fleeing roman invasions made it all up? Of course it's historically accurate.

The Virgin of Pompeii

The Virgin of Pompeii

And more lenten musical mysteries ......CAPILLA DEL SOL- the Chapel of the Sun

Capilla del Sol

Performs Music from the Missions of Latin America

Sunday, March 7, 2:00 p.m.
Rasmuson Theatre
Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI)
4th Street and Independence Avenue
SW(202) 633-1000
Metro: L’Enfant Plaza,
Maryland Avenue/Smithsonian Museums exit

Capilla del Sol, an Argentine baroque ensemble, performs sacred and secular music from the colonial era composed for Jesuit missions in Latin America. Drawing on the work of musicologists who have helped bring this work to light, Capilla del Sol presents rarely heard music of the 17th and early 18th centuries for voice and instruments.

The group will also perform at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on Tuesday, March 9, at 6:00 p.m.
This concert is the first program in the series "Argentina at the Smithsonian 2010."

Must See Saint Patrick's Day Movie


Thanks to Solas Nua, the Irish culture organization in DC I went to a screening of THE ECLIPSE at the Loews in Georgetown last night.

Do you still think "irish" means green beer, lucky charms lepruchauns, and four leaf clovers?
Then you must watch the most authentically beautifully Irish film by an Irish author/producer Conor McPherson and brilliant actor Ciaran Hinds that reminds you of the greats (William Butler Yeats dramatized by Daniel Day Lewis wouldn't come close to the brilliance of this film) in it's poetic authenticity of depicting humanness and spiritual intrusions into the ordinary. The scenes of the Irish countryside and quaint Cork village by the Sea shots against a backdrop of an enormous Cathedral with white robed altar servers climbing moss covered stone steps alone is worth the price. If you are going on a pilgrimmage to Ireland this year- this is a must see first.
It is sublimely subtle and discrete-profoundly "Catholic" in its cultural reference and refreshingly honest on so many levels.
It has been to the Tribeca film festival in New York already- it will be released just before Saint Patrick's Day around March 9- skip the green beer, head for the popcorn. There are a few scenes that will have you scared out of your seat shrieking and the popcorn may go flying but you will thank me later- and it's probably a bit too real to take very small children to.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lent and God's Eyelashes

40 Days and 40 Nights and Sundays Off

Lent is the period of fasting and abstinence between now and Easter, April 4, which coincidentally is the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. whom someone should officially name a Martyred Saint.
Someone told me that while there are 40 days in lent, if you look at a calendar there are 47 between Ash Wednesday and Easter this year which means you get all Sundays off (and maybe even Saint Patricks Day!) You can fast Wednesday and abstain from meat Friday and go off the wagon completely on Sunday.
My mother always gives up watermelon (its always out of season) and I always give up Fois Gras (because I hate liver.) I also give up goofy hats and fur coats (never owned one.) Kidding aside...

Because it is such an important period of the year on par with Advent (if not more significant-as the sort of Yom Kippur repentant trek through the wilderness) I heard three homilies on it this weekend.
They each stressed that the period is a time of profound humility where we engage in repentance, and reconciliation and sacrificial giving beyond that place where it hurts Jesus you recall at the end of the lenten journey prepared his soul to actually die a humiliating criminal's death and took the 'curse' upon himself to resurrect us with him. Should inspire a bit of gratitude don't you think?

The definition of "reconciliation" was broken down into the Latin by one of my favorite priests who said that 're'-means do again, "con" means 'with' and "ciliation" actually comes from 'cilia' which means eye-lash. When you repent, make amends by giving alms, you are with God and come as close to God as God's eyelash brushing against your cheek. This is an extremely intimate sentiment and evokes memories of the times where your loved one brushed so close against your cheek you could feel his eyelashes. If I wasn't so focused on the singing I would have melted in a tearful puddle on the pew. It's a beautiful thought. I wonder if the "Mediation and Conciliation" branch of DC Superior Court has the definition printed anywhere for the litigants to read. Might make them think.
Another homily focused on the fact that the devil, Satan, is real- his 'temptations' fall along three pretty universal enticements: 1. They appeal to ego and instant gratifications by presto magic acts- if you are really the son of God turn this stone into bread like voila! a magician and you won't be hungry anymore- take the easy way out, just turn the thing into bread if you say you can. like magic -because all uncomfortable suffering is meaningless. That is a temptation because it isn't meaningless and no suffering should be wasted. There are a lot of ways to look at why this is a temptation- carnal mortifications have some redemptive value.
2. the devil lied and said he had power on earth to give whatever he wanted to anyone he wanted (lie-he doesn't) and offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if he only would follow him selling his soul [What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose your soul? ] and 3. he took him to the top of the parapet of the Temple and said -if you are the real son of God tell the angels to catch you because scripture says they are supposed to guard you so you don't so much as stub your foot or toe on a stone-to which Jesus says- I don't tempt God- you shall not tempt the Lord your God.
I don't do stupid stuff just to see if he will catch me when I fall. So the devil left for a while with a snarky- "I'll be baaaaack" under his breath- and back he has been with a vengeance.

So these "temptations"- to humor our egos with great ego stunts and magic to instantly gratify and satisfy our bellies (remember, those whose "God is their belly"?) reducing the value of mortifications to mere uncomfortableness that should be gratified, temptations to power and influence (the devil being the liar and the thief who actually comes to steal and destroy uses the lie of power), to temptations to do what we think we can get away with by testing God to get us out of trouble-are all things we are supposed to seriously examine and purify ourselves of. Temptations are not just about chocolate, sugar and giving up bad language and bad movies.

It's about anything that tempts you away from the Sacred Heart, which is a heart of purest Love, purest goodness and highest Joy, now and evermore, for your highest good- because With God, so close that you feel his eyelashes is Heaven.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

God's Purity Plan


Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York, may he rest in peace, one of the longest tenured Roman Catholic Cardinals in America was widely believed to be a rabidly voracious homosexual conducting affairs with members of broadway casts and fellow priests alike.
Don't lie-you heard about it too.
He was one of the starkest defenders of the old orthodoxy- For the Vietnam War, Against Vatican II reforms, against even a Mass in anything but Latin.
So wrong on so many fronts for so many years.

This is, I pray, what we will all say in 50 years about the people who now resist a Marriage Option in the Priesthood.

God had a purity plan. He created man and no temptation known to man did he not know. He knew how man was sexually wired and he wired it to make propagation of the species highly enjoyable. He never told priests not to marry- in Jewish tradition it was almost a requirement and the early scriptures (Leviticus, Talmud, Torrah) contain rules for what kind of person is suitable to be a priestly wife for a Cohen or a Levite (with requirements differing for each.)
The first Pope, Peter, was a married man and Jesus knew it.
1 Timothy 4 warns that there will be some in the latter days who forbid marriage- and that is flatly evil.
Paul says "better to marry than burn" if one is not "gifted of the holy spirit" for celibacy-- it is now estimated at least a third of the entire Priesthood is not and regularly engage in some form of sexual behavior, hetero, homo or auto, while engaging in an institutionally intellectually dishonest policy of denial.

The Jewish orthodoxy had a plan for sexual purity. Marry, have sex half the month and take half the month off. This followed a natural menstrual cycle because it was deemed unclean to be with someone during menstruation or for the week cleansing period thereafter- meaning two weeks of the month is off limits. This engendered restraint, developing of a deeper non-sexually based love for the spouse and makes it all the more special when intimacy could take place. It gave people a break, and synched their sexuality to each other in a way that makes sense. It also guaranteed the strongest sexual activity happened during the time where ovulation cycles made it more likely that conception occurred. God is smart-he knows what he is doing. He made everything.

The biblical requirement for "Bishop" is that the man must be a husband of one wife-not many like polygamous heathen surrounding nations, not none like a social misfit or someone too heavenly minded to be any earthly good as an aescetic in the wilderness- Both too many wives and no wife are hinderances to effective service as a "Bishop" in the biblical plan-for reasons too obvious to here mention. In some areas you otherwise might just not have the first clue what you are talking about.

If you have a car, and it has an owner's manual, and the owner's manual says that you are to change the oil every 3,000 miles to save your engine, you should do it. In fact it is deemed so important to the life and health of a car that these oil changings are registered on a maintenance record for sale and new buyers routinely ask to see the oil changing schedules to make sure that they are not getting a lemon with an engine that is going to conk out after the test drive.
Sure you could find a thousand excuses why you don't have time to change the oil- it costs money, it is diverting of attention from the drive and destination. But nevertheless, you should change the oil, dump out all the old oil and get new clean oil in your engine.

The bible is your owner's manual. God is your maker. He told you that his plan for purity is marriage. This goes for individually priests (at least those not "gifted by the holy spirit for celibacy) and for the Institution. The car is the entire Institution. It is not hard to see how much the Church is suffering for having to follow the "discipline" of mandatory lifetime celibacy.
The deceptions and intellectual dishonesty that follow for having an institution entirely composed of single men who think that anything they sexually do is forgiven so long as they don't create children that the church has to financially take care of which requires expulsion for the financial liability is perverse and unchristian and lends itself to the most heinous abuses- that everyone is paying for.
Let me repeat that. Everyone is paying for this. The little old lady throwing her last widow's mite dollar in the bucket, the hard working professional trying to save for a house, the laborer trying to put food on the table, the relief worker trying to rescue children from rubble in an earthquake. Everyone is paying for the perversity of the abuses that this doctrinal error causes.

The mandatory lifetime celibacy of priests should be revoked. There should be a marriage Option for those whose ministries would be helped by this. It will be light years less expensive than paying out abuse settlements. Two billion and counting in the US alone.

Who has ever heard of the "Pink Palace"? Here is a scary website- and it's only getting worse out there.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When could discrimination be fine?

For the same reason Religious Orgs. are exempt under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Imagine if the only local homeless shelter and soup kitchen are run by the town synagogue. Imagine if the town synagogue services a community of 1,000 congregants and there are 1000 Jewish residents in the town. Imagine now that this is the only soup kitchen and homeless shelter and there are 10,000 residents total in the town; a ratio of 10 to one, non-Jewish to Jewish. Imagine anti-discrimination legislation that requires that for non-discrimination purposes, any humanitarian or charitable org. that receives Federal funding from the Presidents' federal Faith Based Initiative must hire according to a demographically reflective population ratio. If the Jewish run soup kitchen/shelter gets federal faith based funding, it must hire ten non-Jews to every Jewish person it hires. So they don't discriminate. Or is that discrimination against the 999 other Jewish people in the synagogue's congregation who don't get a job in their own soup kitchen?

Now imagine that there is an order of Jesuit Priests who collectively have a mission and ministry of visiting men's prisons as part of the Matthew 25 mandate. It's a men's prison, it's a men's order of religious men. As part of their ministry they collectively pray together for the souls of the inmates. Now imagine that they want to become eligible for federal funding under the President's faith based funding office to receive funds to, for example, deliver materials to inmates, or provide release anti-recidivist services, counseling, and the like. To qualify, they can't discriminate in any hiring for this program- because that's just, well, discriminatory. So
a woman, not even of the same religion applies- because she likes to visit men in prison. The government tells them that they don't qualify for the federal funding unless the woman is hired to follow them all in the prison. Discrimination? Against whom? The woman if she doesn't get to go, against the Priests because they are being discriminated against in their religion by violation of the tenets of exclusivity which mandate that their order is all men?

These were some of the tougher issues (not those exact hypos but the issues) that flooded the air today at the Brookings' Institution talk graciously hosted by E.J. Dionne on the recent developments in the guidelines for the Presidential Faith Based Funding office. Rabbi Sapperstein and an ACLU attorney predictably argued that any discrimination in hiring when anyone gets federal money is just bright line wrong. Sapperstein (who teaches at Georgetown Law, my alma mater) said "you can discriminate all you want in your private life but if you get federal money you can't. " Well, actually I think it's the other way around ethically. Ethically I wouldn't dare and don't discriminate in my private life a hoot or holler to the extent I can identify it, but I am not a "religion." The law has historically always allowed religions to discriminate in favor of their tenets.

This was almost titled "Rosencrantz and Gilderstern are Dead but is the Free Exercise Clause?" Sapperstein pronounced the second prong of the Establishment Clause -the non-infringement on the Free Exercise of Religion dead on arrival and cited a Supreme Court opinion to make his point. For the good of all religions everywhere including his I sure hope not.
The case recently granted cert. by the Supreme Court of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez might very well (I hope) resurrect it. Oral Arguments will be heard around Easter so I am sending up a prayer.
No agency or arm of a government (the State of California by the 10th Amendment extension of the 14th Amendment, etc.) should be able to legislate or engage in policies that infringe in the Free Exercise of Religion- which the law school in that case sought to do by kicking out a chapter of the Christian Legal Society for merely declaring that it's Articles of Incorporation prohibited anyone who didn't practice it's tenets from being on the Board. It's tenets are intrinsically exclusionary; one might even say discriminatory. For example, you cannot be on the Board if you engage in premarital or adulterous sex of any kind-
hetero or homosexual. Discrimination! So the State of California is Discriminating against religious orgs that Discriminate.

The question is obviously thus not, who is discriminating, but which kinds of discrimination are permitted and which are not. Merely calling one action discriminatory doesn't answer the ethical question. That cat in the Tasty Treats commercial has a "discriminating eye" and no one wants to kill the cat. What kinds of discrimination are permissible-
Clearly the Freedom of Assembly of the First Amendment has something to say about it. Clearly, the most basic of individual human rights has to be your right to your religious beliefs and form of worship.
Is the Federal Government going to start mandating that if Presidential Faith Based funds go to Catholic Charities that a self described Wiccan whose resume reads "Grand Master Poobah, Satanic leader of the East Bay Pentagon DPC-[Demon Possession Club]"- on top of their Harvard MBA has to get the job of comptroller for being better qualified than the Candidate whose resume includes "Catholic University...activities...liturgical chant singing."

Some things are so obvious and strike me as just too absurd to debate. If really they made it into Sapperstein's guidelines, I want to guest teach his class.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust

Remember the Time You Threw Your Heart Under The Bus

Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust. Remember the Time You Threw Your Heart Under The Bus.

It's Ash Wednesday. That's why you keep running into people with black marks on their forehead. They are thinking about their own death. You are supposed to remember that everything you say and do is lodged on a heavenly accounting under your name in the Book of Life, if you are blessed enough to be in it.
You are supposed to recall that your flesh will one day return to the dust while your spirit/soul will live on one place or another, depending...

What did you really do this year? Who did you cater to, cower to, cringe to, crawl to or cry to?
Who did you help, serve, or love? Do they know? Who did you screw over, betray, lie to, lie over, or throw under the Bus for your own ambitions or tower of babel?

The thing about throwing someone under the bus that you love is that you might as well stab yourself in the back. How long can you keep betraying your own soul and not feel sick to your core? What are you really living for?

-----spaketh Zarathustera.

Bring Back Cokie Roberts to the CIC

And Her Husband Too

Does the CIC understand how wonderful it is that the Jewish husband of a Catholic wife even wants to have a talk at a Catholic bookstore? Look at this incident:

Of all the reasons to diss an inter-religious couple, Cokie's allegedly objectionable politics should not be one of them. They wrote a book about a successful interfaith marriage that has lasted through Republican and Democratic administrations. She recently bought, I am told the house her Congressional father built and she grew up in, and her neighbors love her.
This is a wonderful person.
Of all the people to throw under the bus of political correctness- holy help us! Everyone is talking about this and it isn't good PR for anyone- except maybe Cokie's book.

Did I mention both her mother and brother were Ambassadors to the Vatican? In an age when the Pope makes gaffe after gaffe jeopardizing the peace and inflicting strife in the tranquility of the Catholic-Jewish relations issue, Cokie is a model domestic peaceforce.

Couldn't you just have had her come talk about being married and not endorsed anything too controversial?
If the CIC won't invite her back I am going to find her another venue.
She has a newer book on "Ladies of Liberty" on women who have impacted the country. Get ALL her books.

Sadists need not apply.

Cheney: The one man more responsible for ripping the American Catholic World in Two than anyone: between those blindly following him and those with half a brain and a quarter heart.

Cheney Admits to War Crimes, Media Yawns, Obama Turns the Other Cheek
Jason Leopold, Truthout: "Dick Cheney is a sadist. On Sunday, in an exclusive interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News' "This Week," Cheney proclaimed his love of torture, derided the Obama administration for outlawing the practice, and admitted that the Bush administration ordered Justice Department attorneys to fix the law around his policies."

40 Days in the Desert for Ash Wednesday

Or Go on A Pilgrimmage

I recently found a great selection of wonderful guides to shrines and sites in Europe at the Catholic Information Center- complete with monestary listings for rooms in monestary guest houses for about 20 Euros a night. See also,

There are two well run nationally recognized Travel Agencies that I would recommend for anyone going on a pilgrimmage out of the Washington, DC area. There are hundreds, I know, some think they are hot beans, but after reading reviews and talking to lots of folks I can only recommend two that are based in the DC area (not necessarily in this order.)

The real deals:

Ezio at The Renaissance Travel:

Ezio had a career with Alitalia before starting his Travel Agency which has been in business for over 15 years. He is a wonderful guy who has run pilgrimmages to major cannonizations at the Vatican and for special events. He is an Italian native (who owns a hotel in Italy) and does special things for people on pilgrimmages, getting the best places for the best deals.

Ezio de Filippis
Renaissance Travel, Ltd.
Great Falls, VA 22066
1 (800) 304-8259

GUIDO at Bethesda Travel:

Guido's family has been in the travel business pretty much all Guido's life. His father is from Sicilly and he was born in Palermo. He owns the building on East West Highway in Bethesda, Maryland where his family travel business has been for a generation which allowed him to weather well all the ups and downs of travel business travails with the cheap internet deals.
He puts together amazing packages for people for anything from group religious pilgrimmages to sacred shrines everywhere to honeymoon deals in fun places in Italy. Guido. His name actually means "Guide" and he is one of the Best in the Biz anywhere.

Each of these guys speak 3-4 languages and have multi-language talented staff.

I have personally been on trips organized by these agencies and found them both superb. The accommodations were the best in outstanding parts of cities/countrysides. In Ezio's case, in spite of an Air France strike where flights were cancelled left and right everyone made their connections back home as scheduled- both gentlemen know how to wine and dine in style. Just another reason to love Italians.

(Note to FTC: no one paid me to review them, I just love them!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Messy NBC

The Place for Politics For Everyone with Altzheimers

I love you guys at MSNBC and NBC, don't get me wrong. I love Chris Matthews, Mr. Psycho-talk Ed, Keith Olberman, my longest lasting newsman crush from my alma mater, Rachel, Keith Olberman, my longest lasting newsman crush from my alma mater, Rachel, Keith Olbmerman.
That is not a typo- I repeated it because you all keep repeating yourselves in rerun programming nonstop all night long. It's political news groundhog day. Many a lonely night I have fallen asleep to the sound of Rachel or Keith repeating the programming I just saw two hours earlier. What- you guys have a huge budget shortfall on staffing and film crew and lost your passports? What about more International politics? When Olberman says "Which news will you be talking about tomorrow?" I don't want him to mean "Which news can't you get out of your head because you saw it three time last night because they think you have early Altzheimers." Did all your audience forget what we just saw 2 hours ago? Or is it only lame people like me who have the tv on for that long any given night who have noticed. Clearly I need a real man as Keith is a figment of my high definition resolution cable and we have to stop meeting like this. I am starting to think I am going crazy.

How --Ewed Are We?

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy invites you to attend:

Citizens United v. FEC: The Decision, Its Implications, and the Road Ahead

In a 5-4 decision issued on January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court held in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that limitations on corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections violate the First Amendment. The Court struck down a section of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act that banned corporations and unions from broadcasting "electioneering communications" within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. In so doing, the Court overruled its 1990 decision in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and generated substantial controversy - President Obama mentioned the decision in his State of the Union address and both the House and Senate have held hearings on the topic. Many questions linger in the wake of the decision. Does the decision represent a victory for the First Amendment or an opening for corruption of elections? What are the merits of mechanisms being considered by Congress as ways of dealing with the decision? In practical terms, what does the decision mean for corporations and unions? What does the overruling of Austin suggest about the Roberts Court and its relationship to precedent? These questions and others will be discussed by a panel of experts in campaign finance law.
The panel discussion will feature:
Moderator, Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor and Legal Correspondent,
Jan W. Baran, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
Laurence E. Gold, Of Counsel, Lichtman, Trister & Ross, PLLC; Associate General Counsel, AFL-CIO
James S. Portnoy, Chief Counsel, Corporate & Government Affairs at Kraft Foods
Joseph E. Sandler, Member, Sandler, Reiff & Young P.C.
Monica Youn, Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law.
Click here for more information and to register
Lunch will be provided at noon with the panel beginning promptly at 12:30 pm. Wednesday, February 24, 201012:00 - 3:00 pmThe National Press Club, Conference Rooms529 14th Street, NW, 13th FloorWashington, DC 20045

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations. Founded in 2001, ACS is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals. Our mission is to promote the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental values it expresses: individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law. For more information about the organization, which has established student chapters at more than 170 law schools around the country and lawyer chapters in over 30 cities, please visit
American Constitution Societyemail:
info@acslaw.orgphone: 202.393.6181web: http://www.acslaw.orgFollow ACS on Twitter: @ACSLaw.

Benedict XVI: Abuse is a crime and a sin

Benedict XVI: Abuse is a crime and a sin

...but are heads rolling yet?
The true test of the pudding will be in actual resignations or firings. Defrockings. Demotions. Denunciations coupled with some Real Accountability.

It would be better for them if a millstone [ ] were tied around their neck and they were thrown into the sea- (paraphrased) is how Jesus put it. Because stealing the innocence of a child by sexually assaulting or abusing a child is just beyond belief for a cleric. The policy should be Zero Tolerance. Zero.
Anyone guilty gets to wash toilets in the rectory for the rest of his life.

Politics is All Local

Except When Paid for By Billion Dollar Multi-National Corporations.

In the event you have not heard a recent Supreme Court case has tilted the field a bit.
That could be the understatement that undermined democracy as we think we know it.

That was followed by Chris Dodd and now Evan Bayh announcing that they are not running
for re-election. Chris Dodd was plagued with accusations of some cozy deal with Countrywide on a mortgage inflamed into something you would think ranked with Watergate in it's portrayal of corruption from the talking head smear job on him. Evan Bayh talks of his disillusionment with the dysfunctional gridlock wherein a lot of good people are trapped in a systemic maze of strategic maneuvering that has little to do with advancing the common good and more to do with advancing partisan jockeying points. These are all scary signs that no one should feel good about. The undercurrent of all this disgust and disgruntlement has a lot to do with campaign finance frustrations. It takes too darn much money to run for office and the office holders are so tightly scrutinized it's hard to compete now with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and every major defense contractor's PACs (Political Action Committees) and campaign financing. Corporations can buy public offices, it is now feared quicker than they can buy a Plant in Taiwan.

This is all not a good thing. Aside from thowing up your hands completely, crying "uncle" and switching to the money party, I like Norm Ornstein's idea, expressed in today's Budget fireside chat by C-Span (link below) that Congressional housing budgets at least be increased. A cost of living raise wouldn't be objectionable either. Convert the old Congressional Hotel back into condos (where was that exactly?) and make it affordable for Congresspersons to maintain two residences-one in their home district and one in DC. I have long thought that Congress wasn't getting the best "help" because salaries were not competitive with top private sector jobs- at pretty much any level. Even the GS -whatever attorney staff people are paid less than associates in mid-ranked firms. If we pay our leaders less than we pay our private professionals can we really complain?

A fork in the Road

And for my Free Lunch

Thank you very much Peterson-Pew folks.
The concluding remarks at the Peterson-Pew Commission on the Budget was the luncheon keynote speaker stating "There is no such thing as a free lunch" which of course compelled me to give at least some journalist time on this blog to pay for my chicken entree because they didn't sell tickets -it was free. The whole room was watching for free as far as I could tell, and now you can too here, on C-Span. Please do- it will tell you a few things you need to know now.

I am tempted to sit at the computer and watch all four hours of it again to see if they got my good side but that would be far too narcisistic! If you know me, please don't write and tell me I need a better hair dye job because I already know.

I will later synopsize some of it here- but it is worth watching all the C-Span coverage.
Basically the take away is - we are in trouble people, and we are at a significant cross-road. The public debt to GDP ratio is in trouble, we need solid fiscal goals, a sound fiscal policy and a grip. What we have instead is a messy way democracy tries to reconcile bills that don't emminate necessarily from a coherent fiscal policy and congress is too beholden to special interests demanding entitlements without a full appreciation of the whole budgetary picture. You can't keep spending what you don't have. Our deficit is Carazy People. Just listen to these guys.

Bush spent money like a dry drunken sailor- blowing the surplus Clinton had hard fought with hard choices (thank you John Podesta) outdoing even Lyndon Johnson's spending.

We are in two 'undeclared' wars we can't afford and there is little let up in sight.

We need economic attainable sustainability and all those fun buzz words.
Monetary policy is intricately linked to fiscal policy and a crisis is not all behind us potentially.
What it really means is that, in old fashioned terms, we can't spend more than we make, take in less revenue than we budget out - and lets not forget how much in hock we are to foreign investors who either have us by our collective cahoonas or are terrified of what our tanking currency might do to their investments and balance of trade, depending on who you talk to. We are not out of the woods yet-stimuli notwithstanding.

Health care (how we fund, finance and pay for health) is a major issue, with John Podesta thinking it may very well bankrupt the country if we can't get a handle on it and more Republican sounding speakers thinking that it is only a piece of the hysteria and all the Senate/House bills on the subject so far only make it worse.

It went on for 4 hours so I can't do it justice here- really, just watch it yourself. Grab a pot of tea and watch the whole thing (or grab a Guiness -it's Mardi Gras-but then give up alcohol for lent because we all need to get a grip now.)

Bottom line- it's either political suicide or not to advocate for increased taxes for everyone, because how else are we going to pay for digging ourselves out of debt (Value Added Tax on certain goods -the V.A.T-was proposed as was a carbon tax). 'Read my lipstick' seems to sell better than send more money into uncle Sam for entitlements for everyone else. Sharing is caring and the country is veering toward a more european appetite for social programs while not sharing the european appetite for taxation. That doesn't sound like a winning recipe for a campaign pledge.

Bottom Bottom line: No one will bail us out. Crysler, AIG, Citibank and Greece may get a bailout. No one is bailing the US out. We all need to get ourselves a serious grip now.

The panelists framed the issue, clarified the problem, projected potential doom and gloom if the tide is not reversed and offered a few solutions, while clearly leaving room for rethinking more of it. How do you invest in R&D and Infastructure, for example, when arguing in cutting back entitlements and federal spending at the same time?

Where Intelligent Minds Go:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Booksigning at the CIC, DC Thursday

I am sorry to report that someone called the priest who is the head of the Catholic Information Center and objected to some unspecified political views of Mrs. Roberts, deeming them too outside the party line, so this event has been cancelled. I leave the notice here anyway and ask people to pray for the Roberts who no doubt are insulted.

I also ask everyone now to go buy her book.


STEVE & COKIE ROBERTS are coming to the Catholic Information Center (CIC) in Washington, DC to discuss and sign their book "From This Day Forward"
After thirty years together, Cokie and Steve Roberts know something about marriage and after thirty distinguished years in journalism, they know how to write about it.
In From This Day Forward, Cokie and Steve weave their personal stories of matrimony into a wider reflection on the state of marriage in American today.Here they write with the same conversational style that catapulted Cokie's We Are Our Mother's Daughters to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. They ruminate on their early worries about their different faiths -- she's Catholic, he's Jewish. They discuss the struggle to balance careers and parenthood, and how they compromise when they disagree. They also tell the stories of other American marriages: that of John and Abigail Adams, and those pioneers, slaves and immigrants. They offer stories of broken marriages as well, of contemporary families living through the "divorce revolution". Taken together, these tales reveal the special nature of the wedding bond in America. Wise and funny, this book is more than an endearing chronicle of a loving marriage -- it is a story of all husbands and wives, and how they support and strengthen each other.
If you are unable to attend and would like to reserve have a signed copy sent to you, please contact the CIC Bookstore at 1-888-574-3339. How cute are they!

Citizens United

Guess who the dissents are.

From the Nation's Top Diplomat

"Even today, in 2010, women are still targets of violence, [...] And all too often, religion might be used to justify it. But there is never a justification for violence against women. It is not cultural. It is criminal. And it is up to religious leaders to take a stand for women, to call for an end to honor killings, child marriages, domestic and gender-based violence."

Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State.


Oh Say Can you See By the Dawn's Early Light.

Here's to you President Obama. It's your day. Do what you want today. Run through the snow in your speedo if you feel like it. Drink hot chocolate spiked with Baileys Irish Cream. Challenge Sarah Palin to a game of one on one and trounce her for good. Eat an ice cream cake the shape of the country all by your slim self. It's your party, you can laugh if you want to.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Murphy's Law

The Cover-Up is Worse than The Crime (Maybe).

There is a homeless woman in Washington, DC who was once a supermodel who appeared in European magazines like European Vogue and French Elle. You can tell that she was quite the looker in her day, while now her hair hasn't seen a hollywood stylist for at least a decade and is streaked grey. She wears sandals or fancy flip flops even in snowy weather showing her painted toes, and a black ankle length skirt. Everyone knows her by her first name, like "Madonna"- she doesn't need a second one. This woman sleeps on the front top step of the Cathedral in downtown Washington, DC, rain, snow or shine. I am not kidding. We were in a blizzard and she slept outside every night of it with an umbrella on her head in a thermal sleeping bag. One priest I asked regarding whether she found indoor shelter during the blizzard said "She does what she wants, it's her purification....she slept outside."
I wondered- who ever convinced her she was so dirty she needed 'purification' for a decade of sleeping on a stone step outside? Another priest said "She has been spoken to..."
There is a fine line between psychological abuse and freedom of conscience- or maybe it's a line the size of a four lane highway. Who told this woman she needed to do this kind of penance? Who told her she was so dirty and unforgiven she had to be so punished?
"Her purification." I had to think about that - and wonder- why do they all hate brilliant, attractive, smart women so much. Why do they hate so much?

Why Really 'Stalking" Has To be Taken Seriously by Courts-When it's Real.

Because they are deadly serious

Generally the psychosis of a stalker is "If I can't have you no one will." They try to destroy their victims any way they can- they try to financially destroy them, make them unappealing to anyone (by for example in Afghanistan just throwing acid on their faces), they try to emotionally destroy them, and if that doesn't work they just knock them off. It is classic stalker behavior.
Courts need to take it deadly seriously. Seriously. The "If I cant' have you no one can" mentality is lethal.

"She loved to dance, she loved to sing, she loved art."

From Your Valentine: A Priest in Rome

Happy Valentine's Day from the Saint who married people in secret when it was against the law.

Because Margarine isn't Butter. A prosthetic isn't a real leg (sorry). A wig isn't your real hair,
Dentures are not your real teeth, and someone calling himself your "spiritual father" isn't really your biological one, while he may pray well and have learned to read scripture.

This 'spiritual children' thing only goes so far, but thanks for trying. Really, thanks for the effort. A for effort. The head of a congregation or pastor of a church calling himself "father" , isn't really nearly the same thing as the paternal actual head of an actual nuclear biological family who agonizes over providing for his family, paying for college and keeping a roof over everyone's head. Forgive me if I have just blown a hole wider than the Lincoln Tunnel through the orthodoxy- but I follow Timothy 4. -Don't listen to anyone who prevents marriage- of anyone. Saint Valentine would tell you the same thing. Priests in Rome and everywhere else were not forbidden to marry until 1130-something, some 1,000 years after Valentine walked the planet and was locked in a Roman prison for marrying Roman soldiers in secret. Yes, Priests should have the option of being married because otherwise the term "father" is, sorry, half a crock. Who'se foollin who now. It may be 'easier' to get free room and board and save you from treading through snow drifts to get to work, but get real, you don't have your own actual children. Sorry- I know it can be painful, but masquing your inability to understand real fidelity to a woman-one woman for life- with a roman collar doesn't get you points in heaven. All the spiritual children in the world don't add up to one wife with a child you actually fathered who calls you 'daddy' that you actually have to feed and house.
This might be brutally tough and honest but it's about time someone got real.
I'm sorry, I just have a hard time calling someone (anyone) the age of my generation x godkids "Father" when they aren't my father. I had a great one who died 14 years ago and actually did provide for all my material needs.

I have just been advised I am to become a great aunt. I am immensely proud of my niece who at age 22 in the middle of her extended college and part time working life got pregnant and is keeping the little girl who will be a wonderful welcome addition to our extended family sometime in June. OK ideally, she never would have been intimate with her loved one, but it happened. No, she turned down the marriage proposal of the ever-present biological father and asked him to check back with her in a few months to see how she was feeling- because she does have a trust fund, bless her heart. I attribute some of her wise decision to "keep the baby" to my indoctrination of her since she was old enough to read of the value of life and her value as the potential mother of life, because she has, unlike the male of the species and everyone matriculating in a catholic seminary, millions of eggs within her and the capacity to house a few fetal cells into mature infanthood to become a human. Men just deliver sperm- women have the nine months room and board and ability to deliver full blown humans into the earth. Ha- try that trick in the Seminary.

So my precious little niece will be a mother. I am a great-aunt.
If I have kids (by miracle of that Italian fertility specialist guy who can resurrect Sara's womb into fertility into age 50 plus) my kids will be the same age as their great nieces and nephews- or something like that. Cousins a few times removed??

Life happens. And thanks to Saint Valentine- some people are committed to making it happen.
Bite me American Papist boy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Your Assignment

Should You Choose to Accept It-If not, please Shut the ....Up.

Mr. Peters goes to Washington, and East Jibbip Wants Him Back.

This is for you Mr. Peters, Jr. The one who likes to call people "Catholyk" like they are not the real deal.
Here is your test to see whether you are really Christian (because not all Catholics are, some are the mindless take the wafer run mindless idiots who don't know the first thing about Jesus-like people who idealize a Virgin Mary made out of idolatrous stone and marble in statue form but treat the real women in their life like garbage)

Answer the following multiple choice and True/False questions:
1. Women should be forced to bear children by taking an accidental pregnancy to term even if they don't want to: (a) by the government (b) by their parish priest (c) by their parents (d) not at all.
If you answered (a) answer the following:
The government should compel women who have an accidental pregnancy who do not want to bear a child to term or have a child to be forced to have one by (a) locking them up in jail and taking away all instruments that could do harm (b) just intimidating them by harassing police action to threaten to lock them up in jail (c) handcuffing them to a four poster bed for six to nine months (d) drugging them unconscious and hoping it doesn't hurt the fetus until it can be cut out of their uteruses without them knowing post viability (e) excommunicating them, blacklisting them from employment so they have no prospect of sustaining themselves or their offspring economically.

Now here is part II. Go actually read Roe v. Wade, the opinion. Then go actually read all subsequent Supreme Court opinions on the subject (Casey, etc.). Then thirdly, go write the opinion you think should have been written instead of Roe v. Wade.

Until you have taken this quiz, in all its parts, please shut up. You and your ilk are just completely annoying and totally counter-productive to any true movement trying to bring fuller Life, more Life and more real babies into the world. It is about STRATEGIES. How dare you demonize everyone with half a brain who has given three seconds of intelligent energy to the discussion. How dare you and your ilk argue to "BAN" anyone from speaking at a Catholic school who has a better idea regarding strategies for implementation of a vision than the neanderthal counter-productive abuse you all construct.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fides et Ratio out the Window with the Crack-pot Jack-A bloggers starting to call people False "Catholyks"

Someone send the Punk back to Seminary.

That wet behind his seminary $7.00 hair cut kid Peters has a lot of nerve- and a few tricks up his sleeve as well. He posts on his blog some ridiculous entry castigating any organization that is not an RNC tool as Fake "Catholyk" as if he were the arbiter of Jesus' teachings. Then he posts on his 'comments' blog some absurd dialogue labeling ALL such organizations by the first feminine name "Cindy" to make the name synonymous with apostacy. Well, another, Cindy took umbridge, as should all Cindy's. I am "Cindy" to friends and family, Cinzia (because that is how you say Cynthia in Italian) on the occasional blog comments, and Cynthia formally -which happens to mean "Family of God" because "Cyn" means Kin in old Welsch/English as in Bala Cynwood (valley of the Family Woods) and Thia is the feminine of Theo'-meaning God, as in Theology- the Study of God.
So this kid gets into a planted debate with a "cindy" on his blog comments- (she may or may not exist, he may or may not be dialoging with himself ) and insists that ALL Fake non Catholic orgs should be called "Cindy." Is this guy just a nut? This is the "American Papist?" ( How much money does that George character actually pay someone like that to create this sort of unholy crap?

For the information of Mr. George and Mr. Peters, who is what- 14? I here provide some of the highly esteemed Board members of one of the orgs that he deems fake catholic (I left out the one who served the US Bishop's Conference as Treasurer or something equally important for years.)-the Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

Jesuit Priest-William J. Byron, SJ President, St. Joseph's Preparatory School
Rev. William J. Byron, S.J., a priest of the Society of Jesus, was the 12th president of The Catholic University of America as well as the president of the University of Scranton. From 2003-2004, Byron was also interim president of Loyola University New Orleans. Fr. Byron has recently accepted the position of president at Saint Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia, from which he himself graduated in 1945. He is also a research professor in the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola College in Maryland. Entering the Society of Jesus in 1950, he was ordained in 1961. In 1969, he received a doctorate in economics from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Joseph J. Fahey,
Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College
Dr. Joseph J. Fahey is Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College. He received his Ph.D. from New York University and his research and scholarly interests include Christian Social Ethics and Peace Studies. His publications include Reinhold Niebuhr on Human Nature and World Peace; Peace, War, and the Christian Conscience; and Irenology: The Study of Peace, War and the Christian Conscience: Where Do You Stand?. Fahey served as co-editor of A Peace Reader: Essential Readings on War, Justice, Non-Violence and World Order. He is a member of the Workers Rights Board NYC Jobs with Justice, and also the State Committee of the Working Families Party. Fahey has served on the Boards of The Peace Studies Association; the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development; Pax Christi; the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and was a founding member and General Secretary of Pax Christi, USA.

Broderick Johnson
Broderick Johnson is the head of the Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Group for International Law Firm, Bryan Cave's related Bryan Cave Strategies, LLC. Mr. Johnson began his legal career in 1983 when he was appointed assistant counsel in the House of Representatives’ Office of Legislative Counsel. There he drafted such landmark legislation as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Mr. Johnson serves on the boards of directors of several philanthropic and academic entities and has co-founded or served as president of several child advocacy organizations.

Prof. Jennifer Mason McAward
University of Notre Dame School of Law
Professor Mason McAward is an Associate Professor at University of Notre Dame School of Law, where she teaches civil rights and constitutional law. As an attorney in Washington, DC, her practice focused on civil rights, children’s rights, and the First Amendment. Ms. Mason McAward graduated summa cum laude in government and theology from the University of Notre Dame and received a J.D. summa cum laude from New York University. After law school, she served as a law clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Professor Mason McAward is a member of St. Joseph Parish in South Bend, Indiana.

Stephen F. Schneck
Director, Life Cycle Institute, The Catholic University of America
Stephen Schneck, Ph.D. is the Director of the Life Cycle Institute at The Catholic University of America. The institute is a forty member academic think tank focused on the analysis of public policy from the perspective of Catholic social thought. Special concerns of the institute include: economic justice, family & children’s welfare, values education, health care, immigration, bioethics, racial equality, and religion & society. Tenured at the university’s Department of Politics, which he chaired from 1995-2007, Schneck is trained in political science and philosophy and received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in 1984. A well-known speaker in the Washington area, he is the author or editor of four academic books in the field of political thought.

Mark Tuohey
Vinson & Elkins LLP
At Vinson & Elkins LLP, an International Law Firm, Mark Tuohey concentrates his practice in complex civil and criminal litigation, internal corporate investigations and compliance programs. In addition, Mr. Tuohey is involved in alternative dispute resolution matters including arbitration and mediation, in the United States and abroad. He represents clients in a variety of national and international investigations and litigation matters. In 1998 and 1999, he acted as Special Counsel to the District of Columbia Council and conducted special investigations of the Metropolitan Police Department; he has also served as a Special Counsel to the D.C. Council on Anti-Terrorism Preparedness. January 2004, the Mayor of the District of Columbia named him as the Chair of the District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Commission. Mr. Tuohey served as an advisor to the Independent Commission on Policing For Northern Ireland, and he has served as a legal advisor to the office of the Attorney General of Ireland on various matters.

So, Mr. Punk Peters, are you telling me that an esteemed Senior Jesuit Priest educator, a Director of a Catholic U. Pro-Life Institute, a Professor at Notre Dame law school are all fake "Catholyks?"
If all these people want to call themselves Cindy- be my guest.
You on the other hand should call yourself a priest for confession more or less immediately. It is Ash Wednesday coming up after all. Hey kid- you LOST. Like a Year Ago. Get over it already.

I am an Emotional


No, actually the title is "I am an Emotional Creature: the Secret Life of Girls" by Eve Ensler, author of the V monologues who has raised over $70 Million for prevention of violence against women programs. I recommend this reading for anyone who doesn't have a clue about the emotional dynamics of the feminine- and you know who you are. Because what you don't know can hurt you. It's expected to start the "girl revolution" which won't be televised but you will be able to download it on i-tunes.

Run for your Ratings Colbert

It's the Palin-Nation.

The only other ostensible "news" story surfacing from the snow drifts was the Palin pain-in-the-you know what showing up at the Tea-Bagger "convention" of 600 people more aptly named a 'conference' at some hotel. She had crib notes on her hand declaring her talking points -things like "energy" and "hope" etc.
I can remember once writing on my hand something I couldn't remember- I had to do the reading at a Mass and introduce the priest. "Good evening, our celebrant today is Father ....."
It was a new priest (to me) and he had a complicated non-common name. I wrote it on my hand so I wouldn't forget it. I think I did it one other time. I was running to the grocery store and my mom shouted out another thing she wanted me to get; so as not to forget it I grabbed a pen in my pocket and jotted it down on my hand because I couldn't find a piece of paper and had the rest of the list memorized. Each time I confess to being an adult and not so old as to be plagued with the CRS syndrome (Can't Remember Sunshine). Come on, you have done it once in your life too, don't lie.
Palin's Palm talking points however totally cracked me up- because they were so obviously the core of what her talk was about. I won't even call it a speech because that gives her too much dignity, like she is actually someone anyone should pay speaker fees to. She couldn't remember "Energy" or "Hope"? Maybe she was afraid she wouldn't say them in the right order. Hope, Energy, Energy, Hope. Let me write them down. And what was the scribble out? "Prosperity"-no that's too controversial.
The more this girl develops a "following" the more I want to have Colbert nominate her Vice President of the Colbert Nation until she gets her own show she can call the Palin Nation. She is that caliber an entertainer, only less funny because she takes herself seriously.
This also reminds me of my mother's favorite pseudo-ballerina pose that she strikes when she comically proclaims "I am the Rose Princess." Not having graduated fifth grade ballerina class, this was her last role and she relished it into her old grandmother-age. Yes, Mom, you are the Rose Princess. Yes, Sara, you almost were the Vice President by Senatorial act of senility.

Snow Over It-

How Bout You

I am so bored out of my gourd I have french manicured my fingers and toes twice. I have tried every variety combination of Hot Tottie for the heck of it. Fenty is being castigated for letting snow pile up in between Snowmageddon I and II and Eleanor Holmes Norton has declared a National State of Emergency to get more funding to move the trucks and clear the road. So far the only people clearing sidewalks appears to be Spanish-speaking hotel staff clearing front walks with manual shovels. People are so stir crazy they don't know what day it is. Bulletins and papers are reporting wrong dates and confusing Valentines Day (the 14th) with Sunday and Monday. It's Sunday, so the FTD guys better start delivering today!
There has been non-stop TV coverage on all major news channels regarding the massive closures, all Northern Virginia schools more or less, DC Courts, Federal offices, and your favorite coffee joints -all closed. Retail is still closed because there is no one to sell to. Even the guy who sells warm fuzzy gloves and scarves at the American Gift Center at 16th and K street is shut because he can't get his SUV out of his Potomac driveway.
This had me thinking- if there is this much news coverage over a friggin snow storm, imagine what kind of coverage will happen if it is actually the Second Coming, not the fake Snowmageddon Snowpacolypse.
Will there be coverage on the Yankee Stadium jumbotron with Camden Yards shooting fireworks and laser shows in the sky? Imagine if Jesus actually appears as if on the 'Clouds of Glory' so no one misses the event- what will that actually look like? We have an emergency broadcast interruption- Something or someone who calls himself the Savior of Humanity has just arrived on the Clouds of Glory overlooking Narraganset Bay, stay tuned for full coverage at 6:00 and a CNN special with Wolf Blitzer.
I for one, want the Post office to make good on its' motto-neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor
boogeymen on Channel whatever scaring the living sunshine out of everyone.
I grew up partly in Chicago, Pennsylvania and went to college in upstate New York (Cornell) where if you didn't have to tred to school in three feet of snow several weeks of the year you were "on campus" in a freshman dorm. That's why most older houses have "snow rooms"- to dump your wet boots in them so you don't track snow inside. In Pennsylvania what the roads don't plow we do by just running a few SUVs over fresh powder even if we lose a few into the creek. Just go out back, grab a few fat logs for the fire, put on the hot chocolate and start quilting or embroidering a pillowcase and a few wedding gifts while you are at it.
My motto for the week is:
I would rather be in Val D'Isere. Slushing around in partially cleared slushpuddles in DC is about as much fun as getting whacked in the face with a snowball and having a cop pull a gun on you. Thankfully, they all got the memo this time and didn't bring their firearms to snowball fights in Dupont Circle this time. DC.
And one last point: No, Snowmageddon does not belie 'global warming' or 'climate change'-
It actually proves the point- because the massive heated water systems means more water is evaporated and retained (January being the hottest month of January on record) and therefore more snow accumulates and falls. Uncle Al still Rocks.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

And From the Who Do You Think You Are Kidding

Say It Aint So Files

This just in from Germany:,1518,676497,00.html

The Cautionary Tale of


I have to do the reading tonight so I looked up the verse earlier, and already heard it once at Mass at the CIC. It's deep. Worth a second read. You can look it up on the Bishop's reading site to the right and it is also here with a bit of commentary:

The pharisees are accusing the disciples of eating without the obligatory hand washing. This must be, I thought, where the legal defense of "unclean hands" comes from-someone must have sued for food poisoning and the contributory negligence defense must have been you forgot to wash your hands. Hence the "unclean hands" affirmative defense which means you don't get to claim someone negligently hit you if you were standing in the middle of a tomato fight and lobbing a few at your perpetrator yourself. I digress.
The retort to this accusation of unclean hands was essentially- You guys are one to talk!
You maintain traditions of men over God's law. You know, for example that Moses said to honor your father and mother and yet, you have this man made tradition that you declare in practice trumps that obligation/commandment to give "Corban" to the Temple. In other words, you make people pay you and into the Temple treasury even while you know that these people are using money they are compelled to dedicate to the Temple that should be used to assist their aged parents in violation of Moses' law.
Here is what hit me: There is nothing wrong with Corban on its face and in fact quite laudable- a tithe or a tenth of the first fruits of everything go to the Temple. It was arguably a highly good virtue to dedicate for sacred use to the Temple Corban. Surely everyone agrees.
But Jesus is telling us something different here- he is saying- don't make up man-made traditions that you let supercede or trump what GOD wills and ordains. Don't elevate your own judgment over what God has said as if he didn't really mean it or it expired over time- even if you can think up really good pious reasons why it makes sense to you. I am sure that at the time Jesus was aware of this Corban dedication practice people felt they were doing the right and holier thing by giving the money to the Temple rather than their parents-even if their parents were struggling and needed it. One could be talked into the notion that it is for a higher more laudable noble purpose. But God says, bunk. No, take care of your parents first. Honor your Father and Mother so that it will be well with you and you will have a long life.

So this is about priorities and self-delusions. It is about letting yourself trump God's will, plan and commandment (which are designed for YOUR maximal benefit because he is in no need of your help) and substituting something man-made that sounds pretty good and pious. Jesus calls the pharisees on the carpet about it. Lipservice- you guys are paying Lipservice to God while your heart is far from Him- because if you really loved God you would do what he says, which is Honor your Father and Mother.

Substituting your own judgment any time or that butressed by popular custom, tradition or opinion for the commandments and will of God never serves you in the long run. You may get some traction on it in the short term but it catches up with you because you live then outside God's will and best path for you.

Nothing wrong with Corban- but when your widowed mother is losing her home to foreclosure, cut back on your huge showey church pledge and pay off your mother's house first.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Bless Your Soul

A voice from Central Pennsylvania who boldly stood against the Insanity of the Iraq War has passed to the other side. Jack Murtha is dead at age 77. Rest in Peace.
And Thank You.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Benedict XVI: Create a better society

Benedict XVI: Create a better society
Why not, always room for improvement.

There is no male nor female

But all are One in Christ

The principle of non-discrimination in the body of Christ is evident in scripture. In Christ there just isn't any male or female in terms
of status, rank, importance, piety or virtue. All are one in Christ. We are the same. We hold these truths to be self evident. All men are created equal, and created equal with women. That is why it does not defile a man to take a wife- as God intended and said this was the plan for everyone. This is why an all unmarried priesthood is a blasphemy.
Male priests forcedly ALL married to an institution, or married to each other effectively or married to the Pope or his doctrine is a missing of the mark. Profoundly.
This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to true ecumenicism. The entire Orthodox world has rejected the doctrine since at least the Fifth Century and the rest of all the Protestant/Anglican world since at least the Sixteenth Century.

The perversion is that priests take girlfriends anyway-they just deprive them of the full honor of open marriage-and those that do have honor are forced out of the church like Father Cutie. The emotional marriages that priests enter into can be twisted and harmful to many more people than the actual de facto wife. It encourages deception and abuse on many levels. It is just Bull-Shine. There isn't a parish, I venture to surmise that hasn't had its share of it.
It fosters manipulations and more deceptions. No, it isn't what Jesus thinks his church should be about. It's sheer hubris not to revisit the married priesthood option. That doesn't mean those more comfortable in orders wouldn't stay there- it means that the closet heterosexual players have to come out of the closet and make honest women of their conquests and crushes rather than use it to bilk them of their offerings.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Heaven's DNA

What is the "Eucharist" really.

The Catholic church proclaims something about the Eucharist that is not embraced by some (not all) Protestant denominations. Here, the mystery is hard to explain but isn't just an article of faith because it's power has over and over again been manifest and it's affirmance of what it is has also been evident in the physical world. The church proclaims it actually the real "presence"- the real "trans-substantiated" physical divine person of Jesus himself. The wine, they claim is actually the blood, transposed, transubstantiated, in real form. Not your happy hour cabernet- the REAL blood of Jesus.

Now, we know something from Jesus' resurrection in bodily form when he walked the earth and had a body, holes and all, that was capable of ascending to heaven. We know it had holes in it because Thomas put his finger in his hand hole created by driving the spike through it to nail him to the cross. We will be changed in the "twinkling of an eye" when we go to heaven scripture says. There will be a resurrection of the body in the life everlasting.

The Eucharist is like Heaven's DNA- it is the stuff we now have available to us which is creating in us a new creation destined for heaven- because we are partaking of Jesus himself, his DNA is ingesting in us, so we are at earthly death capable of the mystical recreated resurrection of the body in the new creation. The old will pass away. The resurrected body will be built on the microcosmic foundation of Jesus' very DNA. Jesus with us. God with us.

This is why the Eucharist is so much more profound than -lets all gather around the table and share a meal because sharing is caring and everyone is invited that a lot of protestant denominations do. Here is the bread, pass the butter.

Jesus. The Savior. His very name means "God Saves" Je or Ja is from Ya-Weh and Sus is derived from the hebrew word for Saves. God Saves. Through Jesus. First for the Jew, then for the Gentile. God Saves.

"I am the Way.
I am the Truth.
I am the Life"
"No man comes to the Father but through me." Says "God Saves", Ya-Sus, Jesus