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Friday, March 12, 2004
Richard Lionhearted

We're all Crusaders now.

Reuters: Al Qaeda Letter claims Spain bombings.

Thursday's letter, a copy of which was faxed by al Quds newspaper to Reuters, said: "We have succeeded in infiltrating the heart of crusader Europe and struck one of the bases of the crusader alliance."

Background Reading:

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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In praise of Google.

Many search engines (Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.) want to compete with Google.

They seem to have strategies the all but guarantee failure because they won't do what Google does so well:

  • Label the paid links clearly.
  • Fairly and uniformly index the pages.
  • Fairly and uniformly rank the pages.

A few years back a search engine called goto.com thought that always presenting all 1 to 100 paid links first made sense. Unfortunately none of the users thought so and the company went bankrupt.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:42 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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A human being died so that she would not have a six inch c-section scar

Salt Lake City Tribune: Mother is charged in stillborn son's death

Salt Lake County prosecutors on Thursday charged a West Jordan woman with criminal homicide in the death of her stillborn baby. Prosecutors claim the woman ignored repeated warnings in the last few weeks of pregnancy that the twins she was carrying could die or suffer brain damage unless she had an immediate Caesarean section.

Melissa Ann Rowland, 28, had refused medical treatment, saying she would rather die than go to either of the two recommended hospitals, and that being cut "from breast bone to pubic bone" would ruin her life, the county District Attorney's Office alleges in a probable-cause statement filed in 3rd District Court.

Why the procrasatination? There should have been a guardian ad litem for the unborn children and a court order to perform the c-section on Rowland without her consent.

I hope they carry the prosecution forward, but it's clear that the angle that "she lost a child -- she has suffered enough" would be an emotional claim to work on the jury.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:35 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Thursday, March 11, 2004
The Weekly Standard

A cartoon on going to see The Passion of the Christ

Don't Worry Sweetie.  In the sequel he comes back and kills all the bad people.

Don't Worry Sweetie. In the sequel he comes back and kills all the bad people.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 5:57 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Giving credibility to the conspiracy kooks

In doing some 9/11/2001 research I came across some Jewish/Christian dialog -- Jewish leaders urged that Catholic leaders support the call not to spread a conspiracy theory -- that Jews (or Israel) had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Now it's post-2/25/2004 and the conspiracy theory du jour is that Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is anti-Semitic -- is being spread by these same Jewish leaders.

Some two weeks later, still no outbreak of anti-Semitism and still no apology.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:28 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Jewish.com™ Store The Ten Plagues.

A fun and educational way to demonstrate the power of God to smite Pharaoh.

Blogger Credit: fark.com

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:27 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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I'm watching this one

One of my criticisms of the current Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Egan, has been his invisibility in matters where the Catholic faithful is being discriminated against. So far he's been content to let the Catholic League and the St. Thomas More Law Center do the heavy lifting.

Perhaps he needs to be given some slack because he had to deal with the sexual abuse crisis and a financial disaster he inherited from Cardinal O'Connor.

Does Cardinal Egan has any moral standing, any clout, as the religious leader of five million Catholics?

We may know soon:

1010 WINS: Cardinal Egan Asks Mall to Close on Easter

Cardinal Edward Egan has never been shy about expressing his views on gay marriage, abortion or welfare reform.

Now, the outspoken archbishop of the Diocese of New York is using the power of his pulpit to support hundreds of workers who are protesting their employer's decision to stay open on Easter Sunday.

The Mall has never been open on Easter before. Legally, of course, it is allowed to be open.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:18 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Wednesday, March 10, 2004
veronica passion veronica passion The Two Veronica's

The first two are (Saint) Veronica from The Passion of the Christ. I've not been able to discover the name of the actress.

The third photo is about 30 years old and of Veronica Leuken who claimed to have been instructed by Mary to inform the world of the apostasy of the Catholic Church. He visions were condemned by the then Bishop of Brooklyn.

Update: Perhaps it is only my perception, but I see a resemblance between the two Veroica's.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:08 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Shadows Over Our Schools

(This illustration from Christian Herald Magazine is taken from Parochial School Funding: Catholics, Protestants, and Legal Activism at Mid-Century)

WSJ: Secular Absolutism (paid subs. reqd.)

Secular absolutism is becoming the most potent religious force in America. Just ask the Boy Scouts and Catholic Charities, which both fell afoul of secular orthodoxy and then found judges willing to punish them for it.

Start with Catholic Charities. The California Supreme Court just ruled that the social-services arm of the Roman Catholic Church must include contraceptives coverage to women as part of any prescription drug benefit it extends to employees. When Catholic Charities insisted that as an avowedly Catholic organization it fit the religious exemption provided by the law in question, the court simply said it was not a religious organization. Catholic Charities?

Leave aside the irony that of all America's Catholic institutions, Catholic Charities is arguably the most liberal and sympathetic to secular crusades. Even that didn't protect them. Nor did its practice of employing people outside the Catholic faith -- which was used here as reason for denying its religious claims. If the state can order a Catholic organization to include contraceptive coverage as part of its health benefits or drop all drug coverage, it's not hard to see where that's leading. This is what passes for civil liberties now.

The lone dissent in this 6-1 decision came from Justice Janice Rogers Brown. Judge Brown, nominated by President Bush for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, has been pilloried for refusing to bow before this increasingly stifling liberal orthodoxy. As she tartly noted in her decision here, the California high court has "such a crabbed and constricted view of religion that it would define the ministry of Jesus Christ as a secular activity."

Compare this ruling with what's going on with the Boy Scouts. Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the Scouts' appeal of a Connecticut decision to kick them off a list of charities on its state-worker voluntary-donation plan. Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union has routed the Scouts in San Diego.

In a settlement reached earlier this year with the ACLU, San Diego agreed to revoke a Scouts lease for public campgrounds, where the Scouts have had a presence since 1918 and a formal lease since 1957. The city also agreed to pay the ACLU a whopping $950,000 for its efforts.

The Boy Scouts are suing, and they will not actually be evicted until the courts have ruled on all the outstanding issues and the litigation has been settled. But their opponents cite previous briefs in which the Scouts used the words "religious organization" to describe themselves as an association of believers and explain why they could not admit atheists. Never mind that by this broad definition, the Continental Congress that signed the Declaration of Independence would be a "religious organization."

Twisting these words, the ACLU contends that leasing the Scouts public lands is tantamount to the public establishment of religion. Silly as that might sound -- and the civil rights division of the Justice Department agrees with the Scouts here -- the argument received a huge boost when a federal judge decreed that the Scouts are a religious organization and that the leases do raise Establishment Clause concerns, a decision that no doubt led to the city's decision to settle.

Never mind that the Scouts have not discriminated against, or even been accused of discriminating against, anyone who has sought to use the campgrounds they maintain. Their real crime is to have won the Supreme Court case involving their First Amendment right not to admit an openly homosexual Scoutmaster. Ever since, a liberal jihad has been launched to strip them of any public association. As another federal judge put it in that Connecticut case the Supremes have just refused to hear, the Scouts "pay a price" for exercising their First Amendment rights.

All this is being done notwithstanding that the results will leave people worse off than they were before. The easiest way for Catholic Charities to comply, for example, would be by withdrawing all its prescription drug benefits. Its female employees will end up with fewer benefits than now. And you can bet the people of San Diego will be worse off with the Scouts no longer maintaining those campgrounds.

What's going on here is an effort by liberal activists and their judiciary enablers to turn one set of personal mores into a public orthodoxy from which there can be no dissent, even if that means trampling the First Amendment. Any voluntary association that doesn't comply -- the same little platoons once considered the bedrock of American freedom -- will be driven from the public square. Meet the new face of intolerance.

I'll replace the link when it moves to Opinion Journal

This is so clear and well written, I expect it is being read over all the conservative talk radio programs today.

As Christians, and still a majority in the United States I believe, we are being squeezed to death by the secularists and Islamo-fascists.

The Protestants with their Blaine Amendments eventually shut themseleves of schools they tried to shut the Catholics out of.

Today, the Koran is protected and the Gospel is offensive in a public school.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:45 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Commonweal: St. Blog's Church
Rachelle Linner

As a librarian and information specialist, I have a professional interest in the social aspects of the Internet, particularly its use by activists (of several political stripes) and those who lack access to conventional forums of public debate.

(Anyone who doubts the efficacy of the Internet as a means of "people power" should talk to China's Internet censors.)

The segment of the Internet that fosters this kind of dynamic grassroots effort is powered by e-mail and includes listservs, bulletin-board discussion groups, and weblogs (better known as blogs.)

NetLingo: The Internet Dictionary defines a blog as "a frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links... a mixture of what is happening in a person's life and what is happening on the Web, a kind of hybrid diary/guide site."

Most blogs allow readers to comment on postings, so dialogue and debate become a part of the reader's experience.

Alas, so many of my blog-sisters and blog-brothers are mentioned in the article -- and this blog isn't.

congratulations to the blogs which were mentioned.

Blogger Credit: Catholic World News

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:03 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Cephas Ministry
Christian research on Mormonism, Masonry, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholicism and other aberrant teachings.

I got some comments on anti-Catholic sites. He's a good example of a site that is a little more polished than most. It combines a lot of "New World Order" hogwash and other conspiracy theories into something that's supposed to scare you.

Visitors to Cephas Ministry are probably reading the DaVinci Code more than Bible.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:33 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Dhimmi Watch: Islam 'will be dominant UK religion'
Quoting the Gulf Daily News:
Islam will be the most widely practised religion in the UK by 2020, according to British and Muslim magazine editor Sarah Joseph.

She says mosque attendance is expected to outstrip church attendance over the next 16 years.

Estimates suggest that anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 people a year convert to Islam in the UK, which is currently home to approximately 1.8 million Muslims.

Robert Spencer has some great comments on how Islam is being presented to Muslim youth in the U.K.

I want to add some points of hope:

  • Freed from oppresive Muslim governments, many Muslims in the US stop practicing the faith, or as I pray, convert to the Catholic faith. The Catholic faith being the "purest of Christianity" in the Muslim worldview.
  • Through mixing in with non-Muslim children, the Muslim children are learning tolerance and a less-biased version of history
  • Through intermarriage the Muslim faith may not always be passed down to the next generation.

A few fears:

  • Many Muslim communities are being undermined or being taken over by Wahhabists funded by Saudis.
  • Many Muslim schools preach intolerance and a distorted history to children.
  • With political skills and common appeal to the ACLU absolutists sin the suppression of Christianity, Muslims are able to get special rights as religious minority in school and in public life that would trigger a lawsuit if they were obtained by Christians.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:02 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Cowan and Alexander shows

a wonderful auction and insights into the world of the dot coms -- MP3.COM is the dead dot com of the week.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:52 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Someone out there is pondering a doctoral thesis on this topic

Is there any point to publishing is a medium that is not replicated or doesn't get some sort of online reference?

So much research, academic, business, and personal is now going to exclusively on the net, getting published in an obscure journal means that you won't be read and cited.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:49 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Memo to Catholic Bishops:

You are being reduced to the absurd.

When you give an interview and say a lot of serious stuff and, for laughs, you add "What's to stop a person from marrying their pet", please realize that's the sound bite they (i.e. the mainstream media supporting gay marriage) will use to make the Catholic position seem silly.

Let the comedians and talk show hosts take care of reducing things to the absurd.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:07 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Martha Stewart Verdict: Dennis Miller offers an opinion
paraphrase: She received insider information, and as a former stockbroker she knew what was going to happen to that Imclone stock within hours.

She lied to the Feds.

She pressured staffers and friends to lie to the Feds.

Only because Doug Faneuil was scared ****less from going to jail did he tell the truth, and the whole thing came down around Martha.

I don't think he mentioned the class envy thing. DM's opinion pretty much matches mine. MS could have admitted to a technical violation, paid a fine, and this would have been forgotten.

$520,000,000 have been paid in fines for trading violations in the first 80 days of 2004. How many of these do you know of? Stewart's $50,000 or even $100,000 fine would have been quickly paid and forgotten in Wall Street.

Fobes magazine has the details of these fines if you are skeptical.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:52 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Verbal scare quotes in the local news

Of course, I can't reproduce the intonation of the voices so you have to take my word for it, WNBC's reports on the gay marriage controversy used the neutral voice when talking about the numerous mayors and county clerks who have come up with their own interpretations of the constitution.

When it came to reporting what Cardinal Egan testisfied,

My position would be that marriage would be an agreement to be faithful and to stay together in a union between a man and woman with openness to children and with a seeking of mutual support.

the voice used that skeptical tone. I know -- you had to be there.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:08 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004

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Troy Record: Lawyer: Hubbard probe 'dangerous'
By:Robert Cristo , The Record 03/09/2004

TROY - Investigators hired by the Albany Diocesan Review Board to look into allegations of sexual misconduct against Bishop Howard Hubbard refused to interview an elderly person who may have shed light on the death of Rev. John Minkler.

The interview was supposed to occur in Minkler's 11th-floor office at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Hospital in Albany, but private investigators representing Mary Jo White walked away from the table after realizing the elderly person wanted attorney John Aretakis in the room.

Minkler was found dead in his Watervliet home just days after signing an affidavit stating he did not write a letter that allegedly linked Hubbard to sexual relations with two other priests.

Aretakis' client requested anonymity, and asked to be identified only as an "elderly person." His client was called by investigators for the interview last Tuesday, according to Aretakis.

A videotape supplied by Aretakis shows the attorney and his client in the office with investigator Frank Citera and Rev. Sennen SanFratello, a priest at the Veterans Affairs Hospital, arguing with Aretakis over the legal ramifications of the attorney being in the room.

Citera called Aretakis' presence in the room "inappropriate" and a "conflict of interest," considering the lawyer has represented dozens of clients alleging sexual abuse against the diocese.

However, the investigator never presented any legal reason as to why Aretakis should be barred from the interview.

"He just wants to ask her a couple of questions. ... It's (having Aretakis in the room) creating an atmosphere that's putting her ill at ease," said SanFratello, who added, "we are trying to piece together" the investigation in the interests of Minkler.

The video clearly shows the elderly client requesting that Aretakis remain in the room.

"There's nothing improper about my client wanting to bring a lawyer. ... People have legal rights and White and her private investigators have no power over me or the law," said Aretakis. "It's dangerous, because they want to work in secret.

"One of Minkler's closest friends is willing to answer all the questions, but they bullied her into speaking without the benefit of a lawyer present," he added...

And 3 1/2 weeks later, still no report from the coroner on Fr. Minkler's suspicious death. It's a whitewash and a coverup.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:17 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Martha Stewart Verdict: Rush Limbaugh offers an opinion

Rush thought the Martha Stewart verdict was based on class envy.

When a calm, patient caller started to demolish his argument by pointing out that Martha lied and was convicted for lying and not for "insider trading" -- as Rush and the caller mentioned this charge was thrown out.

Rush called him a "seminar caller" and hung up on him.

Rush identifies more with Stewart than the 12 on the jury. That is obvious. But for him to offer such a lame defense -- "Clinton got away with it, why not Martha" is far below Rush's usual standards.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:20 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Bunsen: Compare and Contrast: Starsky and Hutch and The Passion of the Christ

Starsky & Hutch: Stiller and Wilson resurrect 70s cop show icons David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson. Stiller's Starsky is predictably uptight, nebbishy, and filled with impotent rage -- a fitting successor to the character he's played in Along Came Polly and Meet the Parents. Wilson's Hutch has all the surfer-dude, golden-boy, loosey-goosey charm of every surfer-boy, golden-dude, goosey-loosey charmer he's played to perfection in any number of previous roles. Hutch endures Starsky's high-strung kinetic energy with a cock-eyed smile and a twinkle in his eye. And the partners may or may not have partnered off-duty.

The Passion of the Christ: Angel Eyes star Jim Caviezel channels his mega-watted star power into the portrayal of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the central figure in the worship of billions of Christians. Washes the feet of his followers, loves and forgives his tormentors. Jesus endures two hours of beatings, torture, and cold-cocking with otherworldly stoicism, the twinkle in his eye hardly dimmed by the fact that it was swollen shut through most of the film. Buddy movie-type chemistry with Pontius Pilate. May or may not have partnered with Mary Magdalene (see The Last Temptation of Christ), whom he saved from an execution by stoning.

I believe this is the first time I've linked to Bunsen.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 6:14 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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The Silence of the Vatican

I went looking for words of praise for the people of Iraq and the United States-led interim administration of Iraq from the Vatican for the signing of the Constitution and a major milestone on the way to bringing peace and freedom to Iraq.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:37 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Monday, March 08, 2004
New York Times: Kerry's Shifts: Nuanced Ideas or Flip-Flops?
When Senator John Kerry was speaking to Jewish leaders a few days ago, he said Israel's construction of a barrier between it and Palestinian territories was a legitimate act of self-defense. But in October, he told an Arab-American group that it was "provocative and counterproductive" and a "barrier to peace."
Of course, the Times concludes it is "nuanced ideas".

The odd thing is that articles like this always run in the Saturday edition. One tenth of the readership of the other editions of the paper. How coincidental...

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:17 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Sunday, March 07, 2004
gene-robinson Reuters: Anglican bishop Gene Robinson invested in Concord NH

Is there any Christian symbol evident in the vestments and regalia?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:15 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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My political theory

The core value of the Democratic party since 1970 has been to obtain unlimited abortion (achieved in 1973) and maintain it, not only by the legislative and executive branch elections but, supremely, the judiciary.

Every action that will have a long-term impact for the Democratic party cannot threat abortion: My own current Congressman Joseph Crowley is a example of it. He's "pro-life" on paper, in theory... His father was in politics and a was a leader of the Catholic pro-life wing in the Democratic party 30 years ago.

The 42-year old Joseph Crowley votes about 50% of the time with the pro-abortion forces. He can be counted on to vote pro-life on lop-sided votes that will be defeated, and vote pro-abortion on close votes. His "Crowley Amendment" was to restore full funding to the primary abortion-funding bureaucracy of the United Nations, the UNFPA.

Crowley, like me, is a Irish-American in a area that has only a handful of Irish-Americans under the age of 40. Most of our generation have moved with our families to the suburbs.

Abortion is at the center -- the right to choose. Their tent is big enough to accomodate anything except something that threatens this.

I'm not a political scientist, this is anectodal: the people likely to be influenced to vote pro-life around me are practicing Catholics and Evangelicals. A lot of elderly people around me are voting Democratic: out of habit, and they believe that Democrats will deliver the goods: more benefits, more social spending for them.

I think the Democratic party has become the party of special interests, each looking for the biggest piece of the pie they can grab.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:39 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Emerging Political Trend Dept.

UK Guardian: Need to build a case for war? Step forward Mr Chalabi

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (Jinsa) is the focus of a conspiracists. There was a caller on CSPAN today who wouldn't shut up about it.

Victor Davis Hanson said that the remarkable thing is the emegence of anti-semitism from the left.

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:44 PM   Permalink   HaloScan

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Questions asked about The Passion of the Christ

Grand Central Terminal: New York City, 2PM March 6, 2004

  1. Who was that guy with the snake?
  2. Who were those kids who turned into monsters and back into kids?
  3. Why did Claudia bring towels to Mary and Mary Magdelene?
  4. Why did the Jews keep whipping Jesus? What was the point of that?

posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:19 AM   Permalink   HaloScan

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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com