Friday, October 31, 2003

Light to No Blogging Next Week

I'll be down in So. Cal. all of next week on vacation and for a couple of job interviews. If things work out with the latter, it looks as though I might be moving out of Cowtown (people in Sacramento are actually proud of their city being called this) and back down to Tinseltown.
Passing Observation

Although most of them are pretty secularized and liberal, the Bay Area is a virtual Mecca of Catholic colleges and universities. Within San Francisco itself, there's the University of San Francisco and Campion College (aka the "Anti-USF"). Just across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, there's Dominican University. Over on the East Bay, there's Holy Names College and St. Mary's College. Down in the Peninsula and South Bay, there's the College of Notre Dame and Santa Clara University.

None of the above seven schools is probably more than fifty miles from each other (Campion is right across the street from USF). This is a pretty stark contrast to the number of Catholic colleges in all of Southern California, which probably has twice as many members of the Church than the Bay Area. Going north to south, there's Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, which is about 75 miles from Loyola Marymount University in Westchester (i.e., West Los Angeles). After LMU, you won't hit another Catholic college for about another 120 miles -- the University of San Diego.

Oh yeah, there are no Catholic colleges in all of Central California, although two are supposed to be in the works for the Sacramento region: the University of Sacramento and De La Salle University. How Catholic they will be is anyone's guess.
Can't Believe Nobody Got it Right

I'm watching the game show Jeopardy last night, and the final "question" was the word that describes 1.1 billion people in the world today, and was basically first applied by St. Ignatius of Antioch around the year 100 A.D. Given the fact that this word describes 1.1 billion people, you'd think at least one of the fairly bright contestants on the show last night would have known the correct answer (which must be given in the form of a question). Heck, even I, not the sharpest tool in the shed, knew the answer right off the bat. Well, two of the contestants (one an attorney and the other a college professor) wrongly answered "What is Christian?" and the third contestant answered "What is Chinese?" Needless to say, I suppose it would be fairly safe to presume that none of last night's contestants are the word that describes 1.1 billion people today.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

You Knew There Had to be One Out There

Catholic priest and university professor, Father Kevin O'Rourke, thinks Gov. Bush did a bad thing for Terri.

O'Rourke, the author of four books on medical ethics, finds it sad that the governor has tried to justify his actions on religious grounds and that Bush has used Schiavo's plight to curry favor with the religious conservatives.

''For Christians, it is a blasphemy to keep people alive as if you were doing them a favor, to keep people alive in that condition as if it benefits them. It doesn't benefit them,'' O'Rourke argues. "I know it is wrapped up in the pro-life, antiabortion activity, and while I am antiabortion, I also know there is eternal life and that we should not confuse or equate the antiabortion effort with the notion of withdrawing life support from dying people.

"They act as though the most important thing is to lead a long life and Christians who read the Gospel seriously believe that it is a good life you are pursuing, not a long life. But this notion of having a long life has become the watchword for these groups. Life is terminal. Life by definition is going to have an end.''

Also note this crazy comment by Sandol Stoddard, one of the founders of the hospice movement in the United States: "We are in the most death denying society that I have ever heard about or read about. We just don't want to accept the idea that we are going to die.'' You think Stoddard might be pro-abortion?
Terri's Schiavo's Right to "Privacy" Violated

So argues the vultures representing Michael Schiavo who have filed briefs challenging the legality of the emergency statute that allowed Gov. Bush to reinsert Terri's feeding tubes.

It argues that her constitutional right to refuse medical treatment was, in essence, cast aside by a statute that allows the governor to do that under any whim and without any standards and without any review," said George Felos, who represents Michael Schiavo, after filing the document.

Frigtening how Felos equates what is at best an alleged request to commit suicide through starvation as a mere refusal of medical treatment. I wonder if he thinks food is something that ought to be classified as a controlled substance.
Big Chink in the "Born Gay" Myth

The man who led the charge in the '70s to remove homosexuality off of the APA recognized list of mental disorders will be publishing a study that shows "ex-gay" therapy works.

If taken seriously, the study's findings have a far-reaching impact, [Robert]Spitzer said.

"First, it questions the current conventional view that desire for therapy to change sexual orientation is always succumbing to societal pressure and irrational internalized homophobia," he wrote. "For some individuals, changing sexual orientation can be a rational, self-directed goal. Second, it suggests that the mental health professionals should stop moving in the direction of banning therapy that has as a goal a change in sexual orientation."
The Operative Word in File Sharing is "Sharing"

Father Kowalski on the morality -- as distinguished from legality -- of downloading MP3's. (link via Relapsed Catholic)

New technologies often make existing products obsolete. Who buys buggy whips anymore? These new media technologies do not nullify the property rights of artists and publishers, but they do decrease the financial value of those rights! This is a crucial point that the media conglomerates don't want you to realize. All those shiny plastic disks sitting in stores and warehouses are less valuable today than ten years ago, because their content is more easily distributed. This is why I personally believe that swapping MP3's online falls under acceptable private use (morally - not necessarily legally). There may be a moral problem here, but it is the vendors' problem to solve, not the consumers. Ancient Chinese proverb: He who owns the cattle builds the fence. Just because Sony could sell CD's at a big profit for 15 years, it does not follow that they have a moral right to continue doing so. The market changed. They have the duty to change their product or accept that it is of less value now.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

No Shortage of Fundie TV

I usually pass right on by them, but I've recently been catching a few novel and uintentionally amusing Protestant tv shows that are broadcast here in the Sacramento region. One is a cooking and health show produced by 3ABN (Three Angels Broadcasting Network). What I found kind of interesting about this show is the consistent emphasis it places on having vegetarian dishes and diets. Even the bacon bits that are used in certain recipes aren't made from real pork. Lo and behold, I've since discovered that although it doesn't claim to be owned or affiliated with any Christian denomination, 3ABN has pretty close ties to the Seventh Day Adventist church. In case you aren't aware, Seventh Day Adventists adhere to traditional Jewish dietary laws and generally tend, for claimed health reasons, to be vegetarians. They also don't believe people have immortal souls or in the existence of Hell. What barely keeps Seventh Day Adventists within the scope of Christianity is their acceptance of the Trinity and Jesus' divinity.

An even more goofy show that I've recently seen is a call-in Bible discussion show featuring a guy named Harold Camping. This guy not only preaches that the era of the "church" is over and we are currently in the process of the Great Tribulation, he also seems to believe that watching any movies about Jesus, or owning any artistic depictions of Him, is a violation of the Commandment against worshipping graven images. Yeah, wierd.
Another Reason to Stay Out of Public Schools

The California Teachers' Association endorse Howard Dean for President. Hacks.
Now There's a Contradiction in Terms

Democrats start up a newliberal "think tank".

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Saint "Pepto Bismol"

Please especially pray for me today. (I've gotta lay off those frozen burritos).
Pray for the Persecuted

Twelve "underground" Catholic clerics in China are arrested.

Religious gatherings are banned in China unless held under the auspices of state-approved religious groups. China broke links with the Vatican in the 1950s and has its own Catholic Church, which pledges loyalty to Beijing instead of the pope.

In the pope's most recent list of new cardinals, it was widely assumed that one appointed "in pectore" — without his name being given, for his own protection — was Chinese.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Gotta be East Coast Bias

Keeping up the sports theme today, it confounds me to end how USC can be ranked no. 3 in the writers' and coaches' polls, but be ranked no. 4 behind Florida State (ranked no. 5 in the aforementioned polls) in the BCS poll.

Update: In case anyone is wondering, the BCS poll is the only ranking system that really matters, since it determines who plays for the national championship.
It's the Curse, Stupid!

The Boston Red Sox fire their manager, even though he brought them to the brink of winning the AL Penant.

If it were me, I would have left Pedro in the game too.
You Mean This Just Doesn't Happen in California the United States?

An Italian court orders a Crucifix in a public school classroom be removed. The interesting twist to this story is that display of the Crucifix is actually required by law.
Evil Empire Defeated

I'm a little late in commenting on this, but I was sure glad to see the Marlins win the World Series, if only because as both a Dodgers and Red Sox fan, I truly despise the Yankees. I'm a little confused, though, on which saint Marlin Manager Jack McKeon thanked for looking out for him at the post game press conference. Was it St. Theresa (of Avila) or St. Therese (of Lisieux)?

Is it just a coincidence that there are massive brush fires going on at the same time to the immediate north, east and south of Los Angeles? Joseph Farah at wonders.

In August, Australian authorities launched an investigation into reports al-Qaida planned to spark bushfires in a new wave of devastating terror attacks.

A June 25 FBI memo to United States law enforcement agencies revealed a senior al-Qaida detainee claimed to have developed a plan to start midsummer forest fires in the U.S.

The terrorist hoped to mimic the destruction that devastated Canberra last summer, killing four people and destroying more than 500 homes, as well as in other parts of Australia.

The memo, obtained by the Arizona Republic newspaper, said an unidentified detainee revealed he hoped to create several large, catastrophic wildfires at once.