Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Friday, March 30, 2007

One of These Days

This presentation (1.26 MB pps) has been bouncing around the Internet. It brings up some good points. Seize the day!

Another reason I'm happy to not be in the Navy. (2 MB wmv)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ads on METRO #3: Unrestricted Warfare

A few weeks ago I saw an ad for an Unrestricted Warfare Symposium. A bunch of smart people spent two days discussing ways to defend this country against the unrestricted threat.

Unrestricted warfare is a phrase coined by two Chinese colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. They developed a strategy for defeating a vastly superior force (the USA). By abolishing traditional restrictions on warfare and attacking all aspects of a nation, a weaker country could successfully defeat a super-power. All forms of attack are on the table:

Osama Bin Laden and his accomplices may well have taken a page out of the unrestricted warfare playbook, but the threat does not stop with terrorism. In the late 90’s I read an article describing the efforts of a military aggressor team. These patriots attempt to defeat the security of critical networks in order to discover security vulnerabilities. Using Dell laptops and software downloaded off of the internet they managed to hack into the southern California power grid. With the click of a mouse, they could have shut it down. Who needs airplanes and bombs when some smart computer geeks with laptops can accomplish your enemy’s desired military effect?

Unrestricted warriors also use politics and the media in their efforts. Osama bin Laden declared that any state that voted for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election would not be attacked. I suppose bin Laden has a vested interest in U.S. politics. Al Qaeda’s political ploy failed, but it is a simple example about how our enemies can attempt to manipulate our political process.

One of our nations biggest strengths can also be a weakness exploited by terrorists: the free press. They can use the American media to fuel their agenda. Excessively negative reporting of the war in Iraq certainly works to the benefit of our enemies. I am not accusing the mainstream media of being in collusion with terrorists. Most are just reporting the war the war through the lens of their own worldview. But, America often has to fight the war in the press as well as on the battlefield.

On another note, the war appropriations bill passed by the House and Senate gives me cause for concern. More on that later.


The Light is Still On

Last night, I took advantage of the Archdiocese of Washington's "The Light is on for You" program. I had the joy of receiving the sacrament of reconciliation at St. Patrick's, a beautiful church in downtown D.C. Tomorrow's morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours spoke to my repentant heart:

grant us your forgiveness,
and set us free from our enslavement to sin.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More Global Warming

Dr. Lindzen contributed to a BBC documentary debunking global warming. It was very interesting, but it is hard to get past the fact that most scientists still believe in it. Michael Critchton's novel "State of Fear" takes an interesting, though fictional, look at the issue.

I'm not opposed to taking care of the Earth as long as it does not come at the price of human lives. Sometimes it seems environmentalist see human beings as terrestrial parasites and not souls with dignity.

People need to be our priority. When the World Health Organization reports that 4 million children die each year due to smoke inhalation because they lack electricity, it is hard to convince me that developing natural resources as quickly and cheaply as possible is not a moral imperative.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Strange Science

I just attended another Rethinking Seminar sponsored by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. This evening Dr. Richard S. Lindzen gave an interesting lecture on global warning. His scientific credentials and qualifications are impeccable. He claims there is little evidence that the present warming trend (several tenths of a degree in the last 50 years) is caused by carbon dioxide or by human action.

There has been a large increase in carbon dioxide over the last 30 years. If the alarmists' models are correct, we should have seen a large increase (several degrees) in temperature, yet that has not been observed. Many of the models touted by the environmentalists exaggerate the sensitivity of temperature to CO2. Also, the relationship between warming and CO2 is not linear. Doubling the CO2 content does not double the change in temperature. The more CO2 added to the atmosphere, the less effect the added CO2 has on global warming. It is like painting a window. The first layer of paint may reduce transparency by 75%, but the second layer may only reduce it by 20% and so on.

Besides, CO2 is not the worst of the greenhouse gasses. Water vapor has a much larger greenhouse effect. I wonder what that means for hydrogen powered vehicles.

Efforts to reduce CO2 will have little effect global warming. Dr. Lidzen estimates that if the world had implemented the Kyoto protocol perfectly, then by 2100 we would have succeeded in delaying the warming trend by two full years. We could spend billions of dollars attempting to reduce carbon emissions, with little to no effect on the global climate. Those billions of dollars could be used to provide food and energy to poor people.

As Catholics, we certainly have an obligation to take care of creation, but we must do so wisely. Good stewardship means using our resources efficiently, not wastefully. There may be something to this strange science of global warming, but the world should look at the problem objectively and scientifically. Alarmist thinking and politics have no place in this debate.

Full disclosure: I stole this title of this post from a good article on the subject.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hannity’s Insanity

I thought the title was cute, and it is one Sean Hannity uses himself. I am not suggesting Sean Hannity is insane, but he is misguided with respect to Catholic teaching. On March 9th, Hannity sparred with Father Euteneuer of Human Life International. The priest challenged Hannity’s dissent from Catholic teaching on artificial birth control. Honestly, I was disappointed with Hannity. Instead of addressing contraception directly, he obfuscated the issue by talking about the Church’s sex abuse scandal.

Why is it whenever someone disagrees with the Catholic Church, they bring up the scandal. As terrible as the abuse and scandals may have been, the Faith is still the Faith and the Church is still the Church and ultimately the scandals are irrelevant to the issue at hand. It is a shame the Church has damaged its moral credibility, but clergy and laity alike still need to stand up for the Truth. Good on Father Euteneuer doing just that.

That being said, I believe Father E had three goals when he wrote Sean Hannity a letter:

  1. To correct the misinformation promulgated by Hannity
  2. To save the souls of people who may have been deceived by Hannity
  3. To save Hannity’s soul

Father E certainly accomplished #1, it is questionable whether he accomplished #2 and he definitely did not accomplish #3. To accomplish those last two objectives, one must follow Father Morris’ advice and “speak out…with palpable love.” Sean Hannity’s aggressive tactics made it difficult for Father E to exude “palpable love” during his Fox News interview. Father E did the best he could under the circumstances, and Father Morris could learn from the former's devotion to the Truth.

However, Father E’s response to Father Morris’ letter was not entirely charitable in tone. When Catholics speak in the public sphere, they must do with the utmost charity. I applaud Father E for having the courage to speak the Truth publicly. More Catholics should step up to the plate, but charity must lead everything we do.

You can read about the whole affair at Father E’s website.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ads on METRO #2: A Second Look

This ad inspired me to take a peek at The Second Look Project. It is a coordinated ad campaign to advise people of the reality of Roe v. Wade. Their slogan, “Have we gone too far?” challenges the “conventional wisdom” the abortion-on-demand movement has worked hard to engrain in the American psyche. Their Roe reality check debunks abortion myths with some straight facts. For example:

What is more interesting is the response to the ads in the bay area. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, opponents of the ad campaign have responded by acts of vandalism and calls for censorship.

Fascists around the world would be proud. Why waste time engaging in a discussion with radical right-wingers the likes of the Diocese of San Francisco and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? The only way to deal with such religious zealotry is to tear down their propaganda and demand the local government censor their message. Never mind that most Americans agree with the pro-life movement on these matters. Why let facts get in the way of the abortion-on-demand agenda?

I wonder what the ACLU would say about the pro-aborts’ tactics?

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Redemption of Sorts

Lindsey Jacobellis may have redeemed herself for her mistake at Torino. She just took first place in snowboard cross at the FIS Worldcup.

The final race looked familiar. Jacobellis had a comfortable lead going into the final stretch. This time she stayed focused on the finish line and crossed it in first place. Go Lindsey.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I Knew I Had a Bad Feeling About Richard Rohr

If this is true, then my mistrust of Richard Rohr’s theology has been validated. Gerald Augustinius of “The Cafeteria is Closed” describes a mass performed (not celebrated) by Father Richard Rohr.

For those of you who have not heard of him, Father Rohr is a Franciscan priest who promotes popular feel-good spirituality. My men’s spirituality group was reading one of his books, and it left me very wanting for something authentically catholic. Fortunately, the group has switched to something with more substance. I hope it is going well.

To declare Rohr's mass was illicit would be and understatement. There were the common abuses of liturgical dancing, plastic pitchers for the Precious Blood, and wicker baskets for the Holy Eucharist (check out the photos*). But the coup de gras was the butchering of the Eucharistic prayer. Here are some excerpts from Agustinius' account:

Opening the preface, he prayed, “Father and Mother God....”

This is his standard feminist/inclusive language mumbo-jumbo.

Following the consecration, Rohr said the Christ's bloood “will be poured out for you, and for all, so you will know your sins are forgiven."

Is he suggesting that Christ's work on the cross did not accomplish the forgiveness of our sins? Does Rohr believe His death was not necessary to atone for our sins? I hope Christ didn't suffer and die just to give us a warm fuzzy feeling of forgiveness.

In praying for the departed, he referred to them as “especially your own beloved who are already with the Lord.”

So much for the poor souls in purgatory. By the way, when I die, don't ever say that I am in a better place or that I am with the Lord. Pray for me like I'm going to be in purgatory for a long time, because I probably will.

After reading this account, I am convinced that Father Rohr has gone beyond liturgical abuse. He seems to be promoting heresy. Fortunately, the next generation of priests tends to be much more orthodox (more on that later).

Thank God for ex opere operato.

St. Patrick, pray for us.

* The photos were taken at a different mass during the same conference...but you get the idea.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Good News and Bad News

The bad news: I picked Notre Dame to win the tournament.

The good news: it only cost me a dollar.

Yes, I pick teams with my heart, not my head.

Cousin Justine Has Joined the Blogsphere

My cousin Justine, a bright catholic high school girl, has started her own blog: The Twins Explain it All: The World to Two Friends. She has been given the distict honor of being added to our coveted blogsphere list. Welcome aboard Justine.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ads on METRO #1: The Light is On For You

I see interesting ads on my commute to work. Many of them have inspired blog ideas, so I've decided to start a regular post on the subject. This week's post is appropriate for the Lenten season.

The Archdiocese of Washington posted this ad on METRO cars. Their program, entitled "The Light is on for You", calls Catholics back to the faith with something truly innovative: the sacrament of reconciliation. That's right. No gimmicks, no frills, no support groups, nothing except the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life.

On Wednesdays, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, parishes across the Archdiocese offer confession. The program's website carries a pastoral letter and a step by step guide to the sacrament.

Will it work? I believe so. Nothing calls people home like forgiveness and salvation. I asked a local priest how it was going. He told me he's heard some very good confessions.

Bravo to the Archbishop of Washington for getting back to basics...and if you live in the D.C. area:


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Return of the V-logs

Last weekend, my sweetheart and I found ourselves driving a teen to a play in downtown Tacoma. She was going to take the city bus to her destination, but we thought we'd save her the trouble. On the way, she informed us she and her drama class were going to hear "The Vagina Monologues."

She told us she wanted to get a "my vagina is angry" button.

So I asked the obvious question, "Is yours angry?"

She replied, "No"

"Then why do you want the button?"

"I just think it's cool."

I suppose latching on to the latest fad is better than accepting Eve Ensler's message. It is a shame having an "angry vagina" is the cool thing in her high school.

A psychologist friend of mine who is not catholic and would not necessarily find the licentiousness of the play morally offensive, still did not like it. She thought all of the negativity and anger in the play was "unhealthy." I agree. The last thing the young and innocent need is to harbor anger, especially the kind promulgated by radical feminism.

Women have just cause to be concerned about the way they are treated in today's culture. Many women have been harmed by the lust of men. I am very sorry for that. Early feminists attempted to correct the problem by demanding more from men, and their men rose to the occasion.

Modern feminists of Eve Ensler's ilk have taken a different approach. Instead of demanding more from men, they demand less from themselves. Instead of insisting men not give in to their lusts, they have given into lust themselves. They have sought to be equals in the sexual revolution and it has hurt them badly. Contraception, abortion, no-fault divorce and free love have made it easier for men to use and abuse women sexually.

Assuming a woman gives her consent, and far too many do, a man can sleep with a woman, use abortion and/or contraception to avoid children, and then dump her with no consequences. That is a problem.

Eve Ensler's solution is to get angry, swear off men all together and become a lesbian (heterosexual sex is never treated positively in the v-logs). Encouraging young women to get angry is not the answer to happy relations between the sexes.

Encouraging women to respect themselves, to recognize and be the beautiful prizes that they are, and to demand more from the men in their lives is the answer. Men will step up.

Ladies, expect more and you'll get it.

Saint Katharine Drexel, pray for us.