Saturday, November 15, 2003
Metaphors from Student Essays. My daughter's discovery.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:27 PM Permalink
Godwin's Law and Sweeney's Theorem
Godwin's Law /prov./ [Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups.
I like to propose the following theorem.
Like Godwin's Law, when the topic of the discussion is religion, the probablity of this quote being used in the discussion approaches one:
I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.
The quote is Cromwell's. The attribution:
Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), British Parliamentarian general, Lord Protector of England. letter, Aug. 3, 1650, to the General Assembly of the Scottish Kirk. Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches, Thomas Carlyle (1845).
Cromwell was asking the Scottish to support his Roundheads and stop supporting his enemies, the Cavaliers.
Now, considering Oliver Cromwell's hatred of Catholics was extreme, one wouldn't expect one to see him quoted in support of a Catholic's position. But it's easy to find such examples. This one is for the support of the (Catholic) ordination of women.
This is such transparent rhetorical special pleading. Am I mistaken? Well, Are you mistaken?
And again on the subject of the Episcopal episcopal ordination of Gene Robinson
When I have my colonoscopy this week, I'll think of Christ and Cromwell and Saint Bonaventure.
You are all invited to use the quote, find the quote, etc.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:07 PM Permalink
Reuters: Hanging Corpse Admired as Sculpture on Campus
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Police on Friday removed the corpse of a man believed to have hanged himself at least a year ago after builders and students at Budapest's University of Arts had initially mistaken it for a modern sculpture.
This has a lot more to say about how people regard modern art as being a representation of beauty than anything else.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:34 PM Permalink
Friday, November 14, 2003
About.com: Children's Sweet Tooth Linked to Adult Alcoholism
Can a child's sweet tooth predict a tendency toward alcoholism in later life?
That article made me think of the song:
"Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,
Everyone in high school or college (tragically) can see a fellow student ruin his or her life with drugs or alcohol.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:06 PM Permalink
Here's a guaranteed way to get hung up on by the host:
Host: It you can be quiet for a second, I'll answer your question.
Callers, if you ask the host a question, please wait for an answer before proceeding.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:17 PM Permalink
Thursday, November 13, 2003
A Pennsylvania judge ruled yesterday that three Long Island teens should be tried as juveniles for allegedly sexually assaulting their football teammates - a decision that enraged relatives of the victims.
If found guilty the mininum sentence would be probation and the maximum would be confinement to a juvenile facility until they turned 21. In any case, their criminal record would be expunged at age 21.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:03 PM Permalink
Less than the usual blogging...
I'm on a jury. Stories I can share with you:
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:55 PM Permalink
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Public Service Announcment:
Drudge to sub for Limbaugh. Paglia will be his guest.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:32 AM Permalink
Miami Herald: Clinic bombing suspect arrested
A man suspected of planning to firebomb abortion clinics was arrested after he bailed out of a boat off Miami Beach -- jumping into the water after he realized he was under scrutiny by federal law enforcement, the FBI said.
He's always been weird, not mentally stable," said Michael Jordi, noting that he had a poor relationship with Stephen Jordi. "He's stupid enough to do it. He's a religious fanatic."
Some headlines now, analysis later.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:12 AM Permalink
Why "Turn the Other Cheek" Doesn't Apply to the Decision to Go To War
Over in Mark Shea's blog, the justification for the war in Iraq debate has opened anew. My guess is that through the success of Mark's blog and mine, we have new readers, which I welcome.
I don't originate these ideas on "just war". I've tried to read the works of good Catholic theologian, pundits, and other writers and package them for blog readers as well as engage the anti-war bloggers in respectful debate.
This is from the Ethics and Public Policy Center 1996 (The EPPC is the home of George Weigel)
What are the contemporary implications of the idea of just cause, which is one of the fundamental elements in the just war tradition? That is, what sorts of concerns and situations should be judged to satisfy the requirement that for resort to armed force to be justified, a just cause must exist?...
There's more on the EPPC site. My point is just as the Church doesn't disarm the Swiss Guard in the name of peace. The Church since the time of Constantine when the possibility of a Christian state's armed force being used justly first arose never applied "turn the other cheek" as a teaching instructive governments to absorb a second blow like the invasion of Poland, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or 9/11 before countering the attack.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:23 AM Permalink
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Catholic actor Art Carney has died
A nice obituary in NewsMax. He was just about the same age as my father who passed away 10 years ago. He admired both Art Carney and Jackie Gleason. When I see Art Carney on TV, I think of my Dad.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:28 PM Permalink
LA Times David Gelernter: Don't Quit as We Did in Vietnam
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — U.S. policy in Iraq is haunted by Vietnam, no question about that. That's why Americans support the war and will keep on supporting it until we win. ("Win" is a verb you rarely heard in the Vietnam era.)
I'm the same age as Prof. Gelernter and our paths almost crossed. He attended Yale as an undergraduate, I attended Stony Brook. He went to Stony Brook for graduate school while I went on to Columbia University in the late 70's. He became a professor at Yale and I became a software consultant for Digital Equipment Corporation.
I wasn't an anti-war protester nor was I part of the post-Vietnam Carter-era armed forces. My only contact with the army was a period of three months medical rehabilitation in an US Army hospital in West Germany as a civilian in 1975. I honor the Veterans today.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:11 PM Permalink
WSJ: Palestrina Was Not in Vogue (paid subs. reqd.)
By GEORGE SIM JOHNSTON
A few years ago, while visiting college campuses with my son, I witnessed an odd but recurring phenomenon: Our student guide would be showing us around a beautiful New England campus -- all arches and spires and ivy -- when we would abruptly stop in front of a building of incredible ugliness. Either a science center or a library, it looked like the Death Star about to become fully operational. Or an auto parts warehouse that had escaped from some malevolent industrial park.
"Oh, this," the guide would say with a cringing gesture. "It was built in the early '70s. We try not to notice."
Such moments of cultural dissonance come to mind while reading Mark Oppenheimer's "Knocking on Heaven's Door" (Yale, 284 pages, $30), a study of the effect of the 1960s and early 1970s on our relationship with God. According to Mr. Oppenheimer, most Americans did not respond to that era's cultural upheavals by joining ashrams or doing TM. Rather, they brought the revolution into their churches and synagogues. And the results were striking: radical lesbian Episcopalian priests, Catholic Masses that sounded like Peter, Paul and Mary concerts, and Unitarians channeling whatever the Zeitgeist had to offer.
But was the era of lava lamps, bubble-gum music and appalling architecture a propitious moment for churches and synagogues to open themselves -- some might say, surrender -- to the secular culture? Did anyone really benefit from this?
Various denominations discovered guitars, sandals, hugging and identity politics.
Mr. Oppenheimer seems to think so, telling us that the innovations got people "involved." By importing big chunks of the surrounding culture into the previously hushed precincts of the sacred, religion was simply doing its job of selling itself. Much of "Knocking on Heaven's Door" is a chronicle of how this process unfolded. There are well-researched chapters on the pre-emptive surrender of Unitarians to everything from gay rights to ESP, the flight of some Jews into communal isolates where dope was available along with the Torah, and the willingness of Catholics to exchange Palestrina for acoustical guitars.
As a Catholic, I naturally took interest in the chapter "Roman Catholics and the Folk Mass." It is not quite accurate to imply, as Mr. Oppenheimer does, that all the liturgical changes that occurred in the Catholic Church after Vatican II were decreed by the council. Some indeed were, but most, including altar tables facing the congregation and the abolition of polyphony and Gregorian chant, were not. Nor were they asked for by the laity. They were the work of a determined minority of clergy and liturgists who had a horror of anything smacking of the transcendent. "Horizontal" was in; "vertical" was out. As a result, we found ourselves on Sundays singing pop jingles like "On Eagles' Wings," a song that makes "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" sound magisterial.
Mr. Oppenheimer is correct to say that the way we worship deeply affects our notion of God. But he does not really connect the dots. His discussion is glancing, almost annoyingly sociological. Yes, people in various denominations discovered guitars, sandals, hugging and identity politics. But what was really going on here?
At least in the Catholic Church, an increasing number of worshipers began to treat their faith primarily as an exercise in self-esteem, even while doctrinal teachings remained in place, and the church experienced an invasion of the "therapeutic." The model of the human person, as presented by certain theologians and even some catechisms, was of a little god in a universe of "options" -- self-affirmed, plotting his comforts, quick to "follow his conscience" when he wanted something he maybe shouldn't. By the late 1960s many Jews and Christians had managed to domesticate God into an affirmer of personal preferences.
None of this registers with Mr. Oppenheimer, who is mostly content to report the surface manifestations of the Me Decade without touching on the deeper issues, such as the validity of supernatural faith and the proper role of religion in public life, and without asking whether a secular culture benefits in the long run from denominations that simply do its bidding.
Undoubtedly, a church or synagogue should update its usages so that it can communicate with the surrounding culture. But shouldn't this be done with caution, along with the conviction that a well-grounded faith has more to teach the surrounding culture than vice versa? When a religion simply signs on for the prevailing aesthetic -- which in the period under consideration was dismal -- and refuses to be "judgmental" about any behavior not proscribed by fashion, then it is in trouble.
Mr. Oppenheimer does usefully remind us of the good that religion can do when it stands against prevailing notions. The civil-rights movement in the 1950s, for example, was overwhelmingly religious in its leadership. But the question he never raises is whether these countervailing values will be around if religion keeps accommodating itself to the spirit of the age.
Mr. Johnston is a writer in New York.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:40 AM Permalink
Monday, November 10, 2003
NY1: Kids find missile launcher in Brooklyn.
Kids in Queens looking for nukes.
This was submitted by me and was accepted as a fark
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:56 PM Permalink
Neglect at Road Runner
On this page:
appears not to have been updated
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:46 PM Permalink
The Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, said in an interview with a newspaper: "Some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves."
It just may be a crime to say (or think that)
365gay.com takes a wait and see attitude.
Such intolerance cannot be tolerated.
UPDATE: Touchstone Magazine's blog takes my little soundbite and develops a coherent warning of the the coming persecution of Christians.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:57 PM Permalink
New York Magazine: Blog Blog Blog
The New York Weblog explosion has created a new wave of chattering-class grandees. So what if they’re sitting at home in their bathrobes?
Another round-up of hip New York City bloggerati and alas I was not included.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:44 PM Permalink
Washington Times, Diana West: Has the Vatican changed its mind about Islam?
You just might think you've struck a nerve when a guy who goes to work every day at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to promote interfaith dialogue — someone who keeps people talking — hangs up on you. You've certainly struck out, anyway.
(a) If you don't get the point after 3,083 words, then it's really a bad article or you need remedial reading. (b) This article has been out for a week, I've read it, if this is your job, wouldn't you feel a bit obligated to read it?
However, West had better luck than Ira Stoll who did not even get a call back.
That friendship resulted in William Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore accepting from Alamoudi the "Mahmoud Abu-Saud Award for Excellence" at a banquet hosted by the American Muslim Council in December 1995. Borelli didn’t return a call for comment.And here is a link to the excerpt in English from La Civilta Cattolica, it appeared in L'espresso Online
and blogger credit to Amy Welborn
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:22 AM Permalink
Jessica Lynch's Hero: Pfc. Patrick Miller
For now, Miller has been working anonymously in the motor-pool at Fort Carson in Colorado. Three months after the crash, The Washington Post referred to him thusly in an article about Jessica Lynch: "One soldier whose name could not be learned, took cover behind a berm. Iraqi soldiers were on the other side in a mortar pit. He killed a half dozen of them, a defense official said. Soon though, he was surrounded by a couple of dozen armed Iraqis and is believed to have been killed on the spot. 'He didn't have a chance,' said the official."
I began to watch the movie but I had to turn it off after the ambush because my son had not finished his homework -- which he had promised to do in order to be free to watch the movie. School comes first.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:47 AM Permalink
AP: New Hampshire Court Rules Gay Sex is not adultery
If a married woman has sex with another woman, is that adultery? The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Friday said no.
This ruling could have a minimal impact or a maximum impact like the Marvin decision in California which allowed unmarried lovers to sue for a share of the property when the relationship ends (aka palimony).
A really strict reading of this ruling would even mean that sexual intercourse between a man and a woman where some form of birth control was being used would not be adultery.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:12 AM Permalink
Nazis in the 'hood
and I'm not talking neo-Nazi
Washington - Before hundreds of suspected Nazis still living in the United States die of old age, the federal government wants its shot at justice first.
NEW YORK -- In Jackson Heights, protestors rallied Sunday outside the home of a 79-year-old Polish immigrant accused of being a former Nazi prison guard.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:42 AM Permalink
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Saint Gereon is praying for you! To learn more
about this Roman martyr go HERE
Which saint would you be?
brought to you by Quizilla
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:02 PM Permalink
Where in the Cosmos is Mohammed? (another question raised in the comment boxes)
[Dante and Virgil] arrive in the ninth gulf, where the sowers of scandal, schismatics, and heretics, are seen with their limbs maimed or divided in different ways. Among these the Poet finds Mohammed, Piero da Medicina, Curio, Mosca, and Bertrand de Born.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:20 AM Permalink
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:10 AM Permalink