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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
Patrick Sweeney 20032003
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Saturday, December 10, 2005
 
Treeson : New York Post
The fir has been flying on Long Island over a Christmas tree-lighting celebration in the tony North Shore community of Manhasset. The North Hempstead town supervisor, who is Jewish, objected to a local Catholic priest's religious blessing at last Friday's ceremony, and he made his displeasure known — in front of the entire crowd. What followed was a mini-holy war, waged via phone and e-mail, that ended with Supervisor Jon Kaiman bowing to public out rage and repeatedly apologizing to the Rev. Nick Zientarski by letter and in person.

In a widely circulated e-mail, "Father Nick," associate pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Manhasset, noted that when he was invited to the annual event, "I thought about what kind of blessing to give — something generic or something 'Catholic.'

"It seemed to me that because this was a Christmas tree, it would be OK to use the blessing from my Catholic tradition."

But when he did, he heard Kaiman fuming behind him, saying "something to the effect of, 'This is nonsense,' 'We're not doing this next year,' 'I can't believe this.' "

When the blessing was finished, the priest said, Kaiman took the microphone and "in a harsh, annoyed voice," told the crowd, "I just want to make it clear that this is in no way a religious ceremony . . .

"We're here to celebrate the holiday tree lighting. This is not the place for a religious ceremony."

In other accounts he grabbed the microphone from the priest and shouted the above in rage and not merely annoyance.

On television, Supervisor Kaiman tried to look remorseful. I don't think he succeeded. To me, he looked like he knew that his political career is over.

This one almost looks made to order for Catholic League fundraising.

I also hope that the Diocese of Rockville Center doesn't retaliate against Fr. Zientarski for his boldness.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:15 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tuesday, December 06, 2005
 
I really liked

New York Magazine on the future of the New York GOP.

The smart money is on making the New York GOP less conservative -- just as the Conservative Party in New York is about to lose its ballot line. (according to the Associated Press)


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:18 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Cop's Track Stripper's Boyfriend : New York Post
Detectives probing the brutal slaying of stripper Catherine Woods were yesterday trying to pinpoint how their prime suspect — her estranged yoga-teacher boyfriend — may have traveled from his East Harlem apartment to her Upper East Side pad on the day of the murder.

NYPD detectives yesterday questioned workers at a car service across the street from the apartment of 25-year-old Paul Cortez, who had dated Woods over the past year.

"We're doing everything we can. We checked everything, even the buses," said a law enforcement source.

An employee of New Easy Way Radio Dispatcher said cops showed her a picture of Cortez, asking if she recognized the personal trainer and rock musician.

They told her he was a suspect in the killing of Woods, 21, who was stabbed and nearly decapitated in her East 86th Street apartment Nov. 27.

Law enforcement sources have identified Cortez as the prime suspect in the case.

The Post previously reported that cops learned Cortez made seven cell-phone calls in rapid succession to Woods — who did not answer — around the same time she was killed.

He told police he had called from his apartment, but cops learned the calls actually were made from near Woods' apartment, and that surveillance video from a building down the block shows Cortez standing near her residence around the time she was killed.

I was waiting for Cortez to be arrested before blogging, but since it hasn't happened yet and the story is getting old, I blogged it now.

In television coverage for the first 24 hours, she was a dancer who was in training and auditioning. She had told her parents he was in off-Broadway productions.

A day later she was now a "stripper" and the story has been covered from that angle ever since.

Here's some criticism of the coverage:

New York's gristmill exploits Ohio girl's murder : Scrips Howard

On the day after Catherine Woods was killed, the New York Post described her as "an aspiring Broadway dancer" in a story headlined "Dancing Beauty Murdered on Upper E. Side."

Within what seemed a New York minute, however, the 21-year-old was dismissively demoted in a WABC-TV Web site headline: "Still No Arrest in Topless Dancer Murder."

Scrips Howard seems here to be exploiting Wood's death here as well for it own purposes of putting down New York media. Scrips Howard folded its New York newspaper in 1967.

What's especially sad is how God gave her beauty and talent and how tragic her life has ended.

The dangerous thing to do is to say that God punished her or that she deserved it. God doesn't cause sin or suffering.

Technically, New York has the death penalty for murder, but even though there have been a few death sentences, none have been executed.

Cell phone call traces put Cortez at the scene of the crime and he's already lied to the police, so I think it's only a matter of time before an arrest.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:20 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Muslim Women Complain About Head-Scarf Removal At DMV : AP
Despite a policy that allows motorists to wear religious head coverings in their driver license photos, some Muslim women complain that workers at the state Motor Vehicle Commission continue to require them to either remove their head scarfs or pull them back so that a substantial amount of hair is showing.

After several of the women complained, the motor vehicle agency wrote several letters of apology, and promised to redouble its efforts to make sure all its employees are familiar with guidelines on head coverings, and apply them equally to everyone.

Sarah Elfayoumi went to have her photo taken at the Lodi office in October, and said she was told by a female employee to take off her hijab, or Muslim head scarf. As is the case in other religions, observant Muslim women cover their heads as a sign of modesty and respect for God.

"Everyone in the room was watching, and it was incredibly embarrassing," she said.

First of all I believe that these women were wronged. They should not have been humiliated.

On the other hand, the Muslim community ought to come clean: covering up women is an Arabic cultural artifact that became popular when it became a signal of the the Muslim militancy of the 1970's. Look at any photos of Muslim parts of the world prior to 1978 and you will not see veiled women.

The rule for Islam is the same as the rule for Christianity and Judaism: i.e. modesty

As for the situation in Muslim countries, the authorities there would laugh at the refusal of a woman to refuse to show her full face for an official identification card. In Saudi Arabia, women are arrested and beaten for driving.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:16 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sunday, December 04, 2005
 
Grand Central Terminal

I'm not just a Catholic blogger and a Catholic teacher, I do Catholic outreach in the public. This is the mission of the Catholic Evidence Guild, to speak in public on the truth of the Catholic faith.

This weekend we were in Grand Central terminal. A member of the team was parking his car and some others were yet to arrive.

I heard screams and saw in the space of seconds, hundreds of people run up the stairs to get to the street. I was genuinely afraid that people were going to injured in the panic.

As the flow of people up from the subway dimished, a second wave was running down the stairs -- police officers.

I stood there waiting for instructions what to do. I was alone with a crucifix and about a thousand tracts on things from the Papacy to abortion -- from a half dozen or dozen people walking past the table per second to zero, now virtually alone.

It turns out that the reports of gunfire were exaggerated. Someone blew out a bicycle tire. Elsewhere in the terminal a wedding was taking place.

I love this place as a New York City landmark. I've been all over the great train stations of Europe and Grand Centeral has a unique and classic look which was recently restored. It looks almost exactly as it did in those 1930's location films.

National Geographic is having a special Inside Grand Central on Thursday.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:17 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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C.S. Lewis wasn't a Catholic you know, but for some reason, Catholics know him and love him.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:33 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Two great concepts come together for the first time: "Protestant Church" and "bursting with eroticism"

Youths reveal racy Bible calendar : BBC

A German Protestant youth group has put together a 2006 calendar illustrated with erotic scenes from the Bible.

The 12 re-enacted passages feature a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson's hair and a nude Eve offering an apple.

The Nuremberg-based group said they wanted to represent the Bible in a way that would entice young people.

Warning: the link above contains an indecent image


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:47 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Pro-life or Pro-litigation?

New Alberta law will permit some lawsuits against mothers : CBC News

Alberta has become the first province in Canada to enact legislation allowing children to sue their mothers for injuries suffered in the womb. But the law applies only to damage suffered in car accidents.

Lisa Rewega was pregnant when she was in a car accident five years ago while on her way to church. "I just felt so great, everything was perfect and I just never made it there. I hit black ice. I was five months pregnant."

Rewega spent eight months in hospital. Her daughter Brooklyn was born severely brain-damaged and blind, with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. She needs expensive, round-the-clock care.

In a ruling six years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada said a child can't sue its mother for damages suffered in the womb. But the ruling also left a small and very narrow loophole, saying provinces could allow a child to sue its mother, but only in the case of a car accident.

Alberta is now the first province to allow this.

I don't understand how the interests of the child are separated from the interests of the mother in this case. It's a bit like suing yourself.

It also doesn't make sense that you'd allow abortion (i.e. death of the child in the womb) but the child has rights which become real before birth -- in some limited sense.

It's wacky and it's inconsistent.

But it seems pro-life to recognize that child is a human being distinct from the mother before birth. After all, if the mother broke her her leg, the leg wouldn't be able to sue her in 12 months.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:13 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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