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Patrick Sweeney 19711971
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Saturday, January 03, 2009
 
Port Authority Police stop shoe thrower

I knew there would be copycat shoe throwing incidents. This one happened just after the Bush visit to Iraq -- on December 17, 2008.

New York Times: Say Whatever You Want, but No Throwing Shoes

The target was the chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The attempted thrower was complaining about the proposed fare increase.

It's not funny any more.

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posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:32 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Bernie Madoff. Was it good for the Jews? Rabbi Marc Gellman lets us know

Newsweek: Letter To Madoff. Measuring the toll of the disgraced financier.

Dear Bernie Madoff:

I don't think you know what you have done.

Life inevitably inflicts upon us different kinds of wounds. Very few people can live connected lives and not occasionally fail those who depend upon them and trust them. However, these are failures not betrayals. They come from trying to do the right thing and not being able to do it. A betrayal is different than a failure. A betrayal is an intentional wounding. It is born of cruelty, not ignorance. Most of us know of failures and betrayals. What you have done, however, is to radically expand the scope and viciousness of betrayal. You betrayed not just your friends, but your closest friends. You betrayed the trust of those who entrusted you with everything they had saved. You betrayed charities whose good works you have extinguished in an afternoon. These betrayals are epic in their scope and dazzling in their utter lack of remorse or responsibility. There must be some new word invented to describe the way you have redefined betrayal. The Bible calls such things a toevah, "an abomination". It means an act so alien to our values and our natures that it cannot be understood or explained. You have committed an abomination. This is what you have done.

I will writing a little later about how the Madoff scandal went undetected in a technical sense, but here is an excellent statement of outrage for a start.

The Madoff scandal taints everyone (including me) who works on Wall Street where there needs to be a certain degree of trust among participants in the securities industry.

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posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Reading List: The Catholic Thing: Three Clergyman, Robert Royal

Last week, three Christian clergymen were featured in the pre-Christmas news, and how they were treated tells us a good bit about where we have gotten to in our public ethos – and even our public etiquette.
A good summary of the three Christmas messages. The article lacked links which I have added here:

Rick Warren (no transcript)

Rowan Williams Christmas Sermon

Pope Benedict Christmas Message

I added as a comment there that Rowan Williams is again obsessed with power (his word is "authority" but he means power), and with the redistribution of wealth.

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posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:07 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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"Catholic" is only an ethnic identity in New York State

"Catholic" may mean several things in New York State:

  • My genetic background is a combination of Irish, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, etc.
  • My ancestors were Catholic.
  • My parents were Catholic.
  • I think I was baptized Catholic.
  • If I were forced to declare some closest religious affiliation, it would be Catholic.
  • (and finally) I believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.

    Yes, there are many CINOS -- Catholics in name only. In politics here, it is simply the litmus test to getting any funding to run for office.

    There's an absurd cynicism where it comes to party politics in New York -- the "Catholic" label applies not to real public policy positions which align with the teachings of the Catholic Church (i.e. abortion, same sex marriage, death penalty) but with the voters ethnic identity.

    The New York Times since it is discussing Republicans and Catholics gives it the crude name of tribalism.

    New York Times: What if Paterson Defies Conventional Wisdom?

    “That’s a white Catholic ticket,” said one person who has ties to the governor’s political team, and who requested anonymity for fear of losing those ties. “And it’s white Catholics upstate they are going to lose.”

    According to the tribal logic of New York politics, Mr. Paterson can expect strong support in New York City, among black voters and from staunch Democrats. Ms. Kennedy, a white Catholic, could help in the battleground suburbs of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. But the Democratic ticket already includes Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who is Catholic and already broadly popular in those places.

    I think Rudy can run and win the governor's office in 2010. I pray for his conversion.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:00 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Friday, January 02, 2009
     
    The Deacon's Bench: Catholic teacher loses job for marrying without annulment

    I side with the school on this one. During the time I was contributing on a daily basis to this blog I covered the story of Michelle McCusker fired for refusing to get married after getting pregnant in defiance of the school's teacher's code of conduct to live according to Catholic teaching. The ACLU took up the case, I guess the ACLU lost because they last updated the case status in 2006.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:50 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Denise Richards is wearing a cross

    I though I'd continue one of the unique and odd features of this blog and post photos of celebrities wearing the cross. Our first subject is Denise Richards appearing in the New York Post Page Six which actually appeared on page 11.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:58 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Christian Post: Malaysia Bans Catholic Paper for Use of 'Allah'
    The Malaysian government has put a stop to a Catholic newspaper over the use of the word “Allah” in its Malay-language edition, the paper’s editor reported Thursday.

    Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald weekly newspaper, said the government ordered the Malay edition to stop running until courts resolve a ban on the paper’s use of “Allah” to refer to God, according to the news site Malaysiakini.com.

    “The prohibition amounts to persecution,” Andrew told The Associated Press. “It curtails our freedom of expression and diminishes our rights as citizens…. We are perplexed and we do not think that the prohibition is on solid legal ground.”

    Malaysia has a Muslim-majority. It often, with Turkey, is near the top of the lists of Muslim-dominated countries which claim to have a tolerance of non-Islam religions. This action doesn't seem to be an expression of that.

    "Allah" is not a name but the generic word for God which is an Arabic word which predates the prophet Mohammad. Its use by a Catholic newspaper is not blasphemous.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:34 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Catholic Google

    I just noticed a new front-end for filtering Google search results.

    Here is the search for "Madonna" on catholicgoogle.com

    Here is the search for "Madonna" on google.com. Try it.

    I suspect it is going to be shut down shortly or renamed as it seems to be violation of Google's trademark, but I am not a lawyer.

    quo vide techcrunch.com

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:12 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Kathy Griffin is vulgar, but is she funny?

    Matt Drudge has this thing for CNN, so it makes sense that he would shine the spotlight on this

    New York Post: HAPPY #*%! NEW YEAR TO YOU, TOO! COMIC KATHY LASHES OUT AT HECKLER ON CNN

    Comedienne Kathy Griffin may be doomed to life on CNN's S-list after answering a heckler with a shrieking, vulgar tirade during the network's live New Year's Eve broadcast.

    "Screw you," she told the heckler. "Why don't you get a job, buddy? You know what? I don't go to your job and knock the d- - - out of your mouth."

    Whoever greenlighted Griffin for this gig is probably looking for a new job as well.

    Well, it's a case of justice delayed here as people may recall that Griffin expressed some anti-religious biogtry in accepting an award,as the Catholic League reported

    On September 8 [2007], at the 59th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards, comedian Kathy Griffin won Outstanding Reality Program for her Bravo show, “My Life on the D-List.” In her acceptance speech, Griffin said, “Suck it, Jesus, this award is my God now.” Fox will televise the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 16 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
    I know, I know, her popularity is going to increase among Bravo's audience for this. It is the cult of celebrity, after all.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:03 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Thursday, January 01, 2009
     
    St. Patrick's Cathedral and evangelization

    This year I again was a volunteer guide to explain the meaning of the nativity scene of St. Patrick's Cathedral with the Franciscan friars and sisters of the Renewal.

    There were many ordinary questions but the memorable one came from a young boy who asked is sort of a repetition -- "Is this God's house?", "Where is God?", "Where can I see him?". I have answered this question in another form from adults, but I have about 30 seconds to explain it to an 8-year old:

  • God is everywhere so the whole universe is God's house.
  • In a special way, God is here in the cathedral, the whole cathedral is pictures of God and God's holy people.
  • Inside the cathedral, there's a special place where God is. It's called a tabernacle, it's a gold box next to a big candle to tell us God is inside.
  • Jesus held up bread and said "This is my body" -- changing the bread into his body. When the priest here does that, some of the people eat the body of Christ and some goes back into the tabernacle, the gold box, and people pray to Jesus before it.

    His mother understood and hopefully in her own way she can help him understand.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:37 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Wednesday, December 31, 2008
     
    Nepotism we can believe in: Caroline Kennedy

    It started when Robert Kennedy, Jr., the son of the carpet-bagging Robert Kennedy, spoke to accidental governor David Paterson, the son of another politician, Basil Paterson, and his mother was a secretary for Marcus Garvey. But I digress.

    The are enough skeletons in the closet of Robert Kennedy Jr for him to be an unpopular appointment, although he did publicly speculate about seeking the appointment in 2007 should carpet-bagging Hilary Clinton vacate the office.

    Robert said to David that Caroline might be interested in running. A few leaks to the press later, and she was the top of the news cycle, and really has been there ever since.

    I like the idea of people who are really wealthy sharing their time, talent, and treasure with the public school system. I like the idea the Caroline, until now, has not played the Kennedy card too often. None of these approach anything remotely distinguishing her as a candidate for the United States Senate. Let no one say that I don't like her.

    People point out the obvious, as I do now -- the Article I qualifications are: citizen, over 30, and a inhabitant of the state of New York. Paterson has millions of people to pick from, why Caroline? Why not one of the many politicians who have demonstrated leadership, competence and accomplishment in other appointed and elective offices.

    The United States Senate is not a place for beginners.

    Her "run" may be imploding as she is not doing well the the dinosaur media. Let me quickly run through the negatives:

  • Inexperience. No political experience.
  • Hypocrisy. As an advocate of public schools, she sent her own kids to private schools and denies real school choice to parents who cannot afford private schools.
  • Entitlement. She has evaded the question of whether she has earned this appointment or if she feels entitled to it. Paterson turns the burden of proof around and demands reasons why not appoint her.
  • Aristocracy. Whenever she or one her backers mentions "family" -- it is not in the same sense that Ronald Reagan or even George Bush meant by the word. "Family" is a code for aristocracy -- the putative American royal family -- the Kennedy's. There's a real irony here, her mother, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, strove to keep her and her brother isolated from the high risk, booze and drug culture of the Kennedy's that killed cousins David and Michael.
  • Isolation. Part of the protective bubble that her mother and later her husband put about her has kept her from contact with ordinary New Yorkers and the problems that ordinary New Yorkers. I don't have a dislike of trust fund kids who grow up, don't screw up, and marry into money. I just don't think they can represent New York in the Senate. Not only doesn't she have political experience, but has never run a small business or seen the face of government other than the friendly faces of her family and her admirers in government. I can't imagine her as seeing government as anything but a benign force.
  • Absence of any life test. We know that McCain was tested by his time in the Hanoi Hilton, George Bush by his recovery from alcoholism, Hillary Clinton by her husband adulteries, and even Barack Obama by the absence of his parents as he was growing up. Caroline was 6 when her father was killed, but beyond that where has she been challenged by life? Would the Senate be the first real challenge she has had to face since 1963.
  • No engagement in politics. If she got interested in politics after 9/11, where was she in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 before she joined Team Obama? She failed to vote in several elections and she never sought to increase public awareness on an issue she felt strongly about.
  • No mandate. What is she running for? It seems all about keeping a Kennedy in the Senate or about Paterson's attempt to graft on some Kennedy magic for his own career.
  • Not articulate. She lacks not only ideas but a good voice, practiced in teaching, persuading, arguing, etc. Without the Kennedy name and a media shield, she would be considered absurd as a candidate. YouTube has the "Kennedy Obama UmYouKnow Remix" and "The More You Know: Caroline Kennedy." The latter counts — with a buzzer — 30 "you knows" in 147 seconds of excerpts from an interview with The Associated Press. Via Hot Air To answer some critics who have said this is inconsequential, I ask in return, whenever you hear a speaker with so many "you knows", does it add to or undermine the authority and credibility of the speaker? It always undermines it.
  • No disclosure. The odd way that Senator's get appointed after a vacancy allows her to escape the financial and conflict of interest disclosures that elected officials undergo. A sign of her sincerity in the elective process would be to make in 2009 which she would have to do in 2010 anyway for the November 2010 special election when she would be running with 22 months of incumbancy.

    As a Catholic, I am a realist. There is no one with a chance of being appointed by Paterson or being elected in 2010 who will have public policy views that are aligned with the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church even if there are nominally Catholic as Mrs. Edwin Arthur Schlossberg is. So I am sticking up for meritocracy over aristocracy and old fashioned club house Tammany-style politics over nepotism. The ordinary stepping stone to the Senate is typically state-wide office and or distinguished career in the House of Representatives like Maloney, Velazquez, and Gillibrand.

    A recent development was the appointment of a caretaker who would pledge not to run in 2010 (AP) like Mario Cuomo or Bill Clinton. The advantage of a caretaker would be a big monkey off of Paterson's back and it would allow a clear field for the Democrats to sort out who should hold that seat and it would expose Caroline to real politics if she deigns to do so.

    Run, Caroline, run in 2010. But the appointment? A.B.C.: Anyone but Caroline.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:45 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Tuesday, December 30, 2008
     
    In one of those odd things that happen on the New York Times web site this text can no longer be found
    In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI said on Sunday, “I implore an end to the violence ..."
    Sunday refers to December 28, 2008. The Boston Globe owned by the New York Times has the remarks in its religion column.
    "The Holy Land, which occupies the thoughts and sentiments of faithful around the world during these days of Christmas has again seen itself struck by an outbreak of unprecedented violence.

    I am profoundly saddened by the deaths, the wounded, the material damage, the suffering, and the tears of the peoples victim to this tragic recurrence of attacks and reprisals.

    The earthly homeland of Jesus cannot continue being witness to such bloodshed that is repeated without end! I implore an end to the violence, which is to be condemned in all its forms, and the re-establishment of the truce in the Gaza Strip. I ask for a show of humanity and wisdom in all those who have some responsibility in this situation. I ask the international community to do everything possible to help the Israelis and Palestinians out of this dark alley and not to resign themselves - as I said a few days ago in the 'Urbi et Orbi' message - to the twisted logic of confrontation and violence, but to give precedence to the path of dialogue and negotiation.

    We entrust to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, our fervent prayer for these intentions, and to Him, Mary, and Joseph we say: 'Oh family of Nazareth, expert in suffering, grant peace to the world'. Grant it today, above all, to the Holy Land!"

    I don't recall the call for an end to the launch of Qassam rockets from Gaza into Israel when Israel was not responding in kind. When it is Israelis who are being killed, were there statements imploring an end to that violence?

    I understand that the Pope's concern is not accuracy in naming Hamas as the cause of the violence but in making sure that Christians in areas under the control of Hamas are not killed for being Christian. I join the Pope in praying for peace. I see the best hope of peace to follow the extirpation of terrorists from Gaza.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:19 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    Back in time for 2009 Anno Domini: Crucifixion

    Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post reported on Dec 25, 2008:

    On [December 23, 2008], Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.

    Via Little Green Footballs

    This is not an encouraging sign that Hammas can be engaged in negotiations to bring about peace.

    The article didn't provide details for what crimes would merit crucifixion. This is a Roman and non-Islamic penalty. The appearance of crucifixion in the Koran is only in the context of the alleged crucifixion of the prophet Isa by the Romans and never suggested as penalty to be imposed by Sharia.

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    posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:53 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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    link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com