Saturday, August 31, 2002

I haven't been able to blog for the past few days because I'm at The National Black Catholic Congress [NBCC]. First, I will acknowledge, reluctantly and grudgingly, that Chicago is a beautiful city. At least what little I have seen of it.

The Congress started on Thursday with an opening mass. I don't know what the official number of Bishops present was, but there were quite a few, including a few cardinals such as Law, Bevilacqua, and McCarrick. Bishop Gregory presided and Bishop Perry, Auxiliary in Chicago was the homilist. Unfortunately, I was not able to be present for the full homily, but it was a wonderful mass.

There has been a concerted focus on the HIV/AIDS issue which is ripping through the black community relentlessly. Over 50% of all new AIDS cases are of Black people and it is the leading cause of death among black men ages 25-44. One problem is that priests are not speaking out about HIV/AIDS from the pulpit and as long as they are quiet, parishes are not going to reach out to HIV/AIDS victims.

AIDS ministry is vital these days, not only in Black parishes, but all parishes need to be doing something. AIDS is the leprosy of our day because of the hopelessness and stigma associated with it. Like Jesus, we need to reach out.

How can we be like Jesus, who was uncompromising with his message, but who attracted the marginalized and those without hope? As Christians, we are so far from that ideal that it is sad.

Hopefully, I'll blog more tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Well we arrived safe and sound at South Bend today after 2 days of driving with a 9 month old. Yesterday we drove for approximately 6-7 hours and my daughter was in her car seat for much of that time. She did well most of the time but it broke our hearts. She could not crawl or play all day because there was no where clean enough for us to put her down to crawl.

One of the most intriguing parts of the ride for me is western Maryland. It is so removed from the Baltimore-DC-Southern MD community that I wonder if it feels closer to West Virginia than MD. The air was cooler up there and the corn crop was nice and green, so I guess they are not suffering from the drought that's killing the central and southern MD farmer's crops. We got on the 70, so we weren't able to go as far as Cumberland, we instead went north at Hagerstown. However, I would really like to explore that part of the state. I think that, like Southern Maryland, it has a lot of history. Last year, on our way back, we stopped at a town and the streets were made of cobblestone and houses from the 18th or 19th century. It was really neat. I can't remember if it was Hagerstown.

The PA part of the trip was uneventful. Everytime I drive through PA, there's always roadwork going on! My wife was dissappointed that Ohio did not have a welcome center. I don't want to say that they don't welcome guests to their state but we really wanted to feel welcomed and loved . . .yeah, right! We spent the night in Streetsboro, which is 30 minutes east of Cleveland.

I watched MNF and we let our little girl crawl around the room like a mad sailor to make up for all the time couped up in the car. We finally arrived in Southbend early in the afternoon. Fortunately, the little one slept for about 2 1/2 hours because she was up early in the morning. She just about lost it for the last 30 minutes of the trip.

Tomorrow, I'll be taking the train into Chicago for the National Black Catholic Congress. Because I'll be working, I won't get to see the town, but that's nothing new. I was in Montreal and Toronto, earlier this year for work and did not even venture out of the hotel. Maybe someday I'll actually get to see Chicago.

Promo Guy Monday Mission 2.34

1. What do you do to make things better when you feel sad and/or lonely?

Work on any one of my fiction stories, or pop in an Andrea Crouch or Bob Marley CD. If I have space, I pace or walk.

2. Are you a "touchy-feely" person? That is, do you like to touch people you don't know that well? And on the flipside of that, do you like being touched by someone you aren't close with?

Nope, but I'm not a chronic no-toucher. I just do not see the need to touch people nor do I have a burning desire to receive hugs or be held, etc

3. Do you like to have "me" time, time to yourself to be alone and relax? Or do you prefer to just do your own thing with someone else in the room? When was the last "me" time you got and what did you do?

My life is one big "me" time.

4. Generally speaking, how do you feel about the concept of marriage? Are you the marrying type? Do you think the act of getting married means something today or is it simply just "a piece of paper?"

Love marriage, greatly recommend it. Marriage is a profound union between a man and a woman.

5. That said, as many as 25 states have passed legislation regulating who they believe should be the "marrying type." What are your thoughts on the banning of same-sex marriages?

I am against same-sex marriages on moral grounds. Not being a lawyer or legislator, I can't comment on if it is consistent or inconsistent with the Constitution. I'd rather not see it, but I won't loose sleep over it if it in fact does happen in all 50 states. I think it is going to happen, so we all need to get used to it.

6. If there was one law you had the ability to create or change, what would it be?

Can't think of any.UpdateMaybe Roe v. Wade? I would like to see less abortions but I think it is a legitimate question to ask if making illegal solves the problem. The cat's out of the bag so a repeal of that law won't solve the problem, but I guess Roe V. Wade would be the answer.

7. What would you like someone visiting your Blog for the first time to know about you? Now is your chance!

In my head are many deep dark caverns, winding deep into a deep void. In that void is the divine nothingness in which all is and is not. It is there that I am alone and one with the creator and without him I am not.

BONUS: Can you hear them?

I hear them all the time. Scary voices. But there are sweet angels drowning out those voices.

This week's comment question: What kind of car do you drive?
1992 Buick Skylark

Flos Carmeli discusses questions on Catholic Fiction. Being that it is 2 am in Indiana and I haven't slept much all day, I can't say that I read carefully everything that he had to say. I did read the post he has after this one on Fr. Andrew Greely's fiction, which he deplored.

I don't think I like the term "Catholic fiction" only because it seems to carry so much baggage with it. I think if the term is going to be used it should mean, " a piece of fiction centered around Catholic themes." I am of the opinion that orthodoxy should not be the measuring rod of the quality of the work, rather the writing and story itself. The term should signify a broad genre and embrace the breadth of the experiences that Catholics, who wish to write about their faith, go through.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

In Between Naps has a link looking at the neo-Pentecostal movement in Black Churches. Here's an excerpt.

Scholars who study the African-American church consider neo-Pentecostalism and the rise of the black megachurch to be the most significant trends in the past two decades.Although there are no official statistics, historian Vinson Synan said a conservative estimate is that a third of mainline black churches - Baptist and Methodist - have embraced neo-Pentecostalism; that's about 5 million people. Perhaps more significant is that nearly all the African-American megachurches (those with more than 2,000 members) are neo-Pentecostal, including Bethel AME, Empowerment Temple AME, and New Psalmist, New Shiloh and Mount Pleasant Baptist churches in Baltimore. But the success of neo-Pentecostalism has prompted debate about the nature and mission of the black church. On one side are the longtime heroes of the civil rights movement, who express grave concerns that church-based social activism is being cast aside by the new emphasis on entertaining worship services, which they deride as "shake and bake," and by the creation of a cult of celebrity preachers.... There is hesitation among the generation of neo-Pentecostal ministers to directly criticize men they consider their elders, for whom they profess respect and admiration. But the ministers also offer no apologies for their approach. "When social action became the emphasis, the church lost its balance," said the Rev. Frank M. Reid III, pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the city's oldest and largest black church. "Now, what the principles of this movement have done is to help us regain the balance between spirituality and social action."

There are many interesting issues here that cannot be covered in this post. One thing that should be noted is that the neo-Pentecostal movement has its roots in 1907(?) at Azusa Street and the leaders were both black and white, but primarily William Seymour; about this time was when others like "Dad Mason" came on the scene, who eventually started the Church of God in Christ. By the 1920s the movement had split up along racial lines and remained that way for a number of decades.

On the white side you had preachers like Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin. While Oral Roberts is very well known, the lesser known Kenneth Hagin may be the most influential Christian of this century. He has influenced literally millions with his teaching. He, I think, can be validly called one of the fathers of the contemporary neo-pentecostal movement. At some point in the past two decades both lines of the neo-pentecostal movement began to merge.

What is significant here is that the Church of God in Christ and churches like it that came about in the twentieth century from the Azusa Street revival were born of a different impetus than many of the traditionally black Churches, such as the AME Zion. The concerns of race and such like were no less among COGIC but many of the historically black denominations were born because of outright discrimination and racism, when many black people were literally thrown out of the white churches, while these people were on their knees praying. So naturally those historically black denominations from the 19th century and earlier had social justice as a core concern, second to none. On the other hand, many 20th century black churches like COGIC were not born because black people were kicked out of white churches, even though they did experience racism.

In as much as the concerns of racism and social justice are always a concern for black people, COGIC has always been involved in social justice, but that thrust has not been core to its mission as with other historically black churches.

The present concern among traditionally black denominations regarding the black neo-pentecostalists reflects pre-existing divisions in the black christian community, not about social justice, but the central message of the Church. Traditional black denominations see the message of justice and liberation, particularly in regard to race, as ultimately central to the message of Christ, as seen in Jesus's statement in Lk 4.18-19 On the other hand, COGIC tends to preach the Gospel without making race an essential part of it.

Sordid tale of love, adultery, Church and shattered father/husband. Truly sad and if true, shame on the diocese of Arlington. Check out the article here at (

Article about Gay Church in Dallas, TX.
Church's Growing Flock Changes Heart of Texas (

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Off to go get a hair cut. It's been many months. When I get a hair cut I am told that I look like a kid; that young. Oh well.

I'll be heading out to the midwest on Monday with my little family. We are going to South Bend for a few days. From South Bend, I'll be going to Chicago for the National Black Catholic Congress IX. From there back to South Bend and then to Dayton, OH and back to Maryland. Should be a fun trip. We were going to stop at the Football Hall of Fame in Canton but the $12.00/adult price tag, not to mention the food, etc were prohibitive. We'll probably stop in Akron for the night instead of Canton.

I find South Bend a funny place. Everything is Notre Dame! I must admit ND has a beautiful campus but I still don't get it. I guess that's why I'm not a domer.

I was determined to finish work on one of my short stories today but the store was busy. I'm not complaining at all.

I got to talk with a new tenant moving into our shopping center, they own a pet store. It was great commiserating with a fellow small bizer. Someone once said that there are two things in this life that are overrated, breast feeding (update:"natural child birth") and owning your own business. I can't speak for the first part but the second sometimes does seem true at times. On the other hand, having a business is like having a child, you don't quite know how you can live without it even though sometimes you want to strangle it. Actually it is the ancillary stuff that's bothersome, like permits, etc but the actual biz itself is always great.

Anyway, off to get my haircut. I am worried that it might diminish my intellectual strength a la Samson. We'll just have to see over the next few days. I might not be able to blog on Monday or Tuesday, but I should be back in full access by Wednesday. If not, I'll be back sometime. Peace.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Death Row Artist!
Very, very, very interesting case of a death row inmate who does amazing paintings. See ... ibidem ... for more info.

The Magi


He Lives Blog thinks that he has his finger on the pulse of what bugs Catholics and Protestants respectively in apologetics.

The insight I have had (again, it is most likely a belated epiphany) has to do with what bugs one group about the other. I assumed that each had different side of the same coin as their most important point of departure. I am now reasonably convinced that each is most concerned about different sides of different coins. Protestants (well, at least this Protestant) are (rightly, honorably, and justifiably) still most concerned with Rome’s denial of Justification by Faith Alone (sola fide) and the unconscionable anathemas placed on the Reformers at the Council of Trent. The thing that bugs Catholics (at least those I’ve been talking to) most is the Protestant proclamation of Scripture Alone (sola scriptura) and the fact that is linked to the dreaded Private Interpretation.

Sola fide and sola scriptura are both important aspects of the Reformation, and are quite related. Nevertheless, the button to push for a Protestant tends to be sola fide, and for a Catholic, it is sola scriptura (and Private Interpretation).

what's your inner flower?

what's your inner flower?

[c] s u g a r de w

Religious and Civil Rights Leaders Convene to Respond to White Supremacist, Anti-Israel Rally at Nation’s Capitol

Leaders to Respond to White Supremacist Rally

Neo-Nazi groups are coming to DC for a rally on Saturday August 17. This rally is primarily an anti-Israel rally. We need to battle in prayer there forces of evil.

FYI, there have been 6 White Supremacists rallies in DC over the past I year, and the numbers are steadily rising. Here's a more descriptive piece on the rally tommorrow.

As the nation's largest neo-Nazi group prepares for a weekend
"Rock Against Israel" rally and concert, a new study reports the
danger this organization poses even after the recent death of its
founder. "Beyond a Dead Man's Deed: The National Alliance After
William Pierce" by the Center for New Community, the Midwest's
preeminent anti-bigotry organization will be released at a
conference on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m., at the National Press
Club, Zenger Room, 529 14th St. NW, 13th floor, Washington, D.C.

Beyond a Dead Man's Deed documents the expansion of the National
Alliance organization and the growth of its multimedia operations
that are being used to help recruit young people to the neo-Nazi
philosophy. The study illustrates how the organization became
strong enough to withstand Pierce's demise and how the group is
continuing to inspire activities of hate. The National Alliance is
using all its resources to accelerate its recruitment and spur
racist and anti-Semitic activities, particularly in the wake of
September 11.

Arriving under the auspices of "Taxpayers Against Terrorism,"
hundreds of white nationalists from across the country will convene
at the rally and concert organized by the National Alliance on
Saturday, August 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the west side,
lower pavilion of the U.S. Capitol Building to spread their brand
of bigotry and to memorialize William Pierce, author of The Turner

Thursday, August 22, 2002

A Reflection on Love
by Kathy Pluth

Love is the act of willed sight. Love acknowledges realities hidden beneath the cloak of appearance: the good in the apparently evil, the beautiful in the apparently worthless, a friend in the apparent enemy. Love is a decision to accept the shining and good, but hidden, reality of the other. Goodness is part of everyone and everything that is. The lover knows this, accepts it, and acts upon it.

The Eucharist tells of this love in two ways, which can be considered according to their directionality. First, God loves us. "Love consists in this: not that we have loved God but God has loved us." In the sacrifice and presence of God in Christ in the Eucharist we are given the primary example of loving what is hidden. Human worth has been obscured by sin, yet God acknowledges the hidden good in us. "It is precisely in this that God shows his love for us, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us ." In the intimate union of God with humanity in the Incarnation, we feel our true worth, which is not what we have made ourselves to be, but what God plans to make us. In the Eucharist, God expresses and effects a transformation which will show forth the holiness which we have hidden under our sinfulness. Second, in the Eucharist we are given an opportunity to love the hidden God: “Truly with thee God is hidden, the God of Israel, the savior.” In this life, we can be distracted by an image of a harsh God because of the presence of evil. In the meek Christ, who took upon himself our yoke of sinfulness, bore our griefs and offenses, and suffered in our place, God has revealed the truth about his love for us. In the Eucharist, this same Christ becomes even more gentle and humble. As St. Thomas Aquinas' hymn sings:

We adore you, O hidden God…
On the Cross, only your Godhead was hidden.
But in this figure, your humanity is hidden as well.

Revelation is obscured, first by the humanity of Jesus Christ, born of a woman, born under the law, then by the plainness of bread. But when we love the Eucharist, we love the whole mysterious One the bread has become. This love of God is love in itself, and also a building up of love so that within the Church we can love what is hidden in one another.

What is hidden in us is the fact that we are children of God and made in the image of his Son, both collectively and personally. We ourselves have obscured this reality by our own sin. God is so aware of this reality that he was willing to die in the person of his son in service of this truth. God has, so to speak, infinite trust in our own worth and in his fidelity. We are irrevocably children of God; this is our hidden reality . God restores us to this reality by our participation in the sacramental life. In Baptism we are reborn as children of God. In Reconciliation we are continually restored to our participation in the Sonship of Jesus Christ. In the Eucharist we are formed into the image of his body and are brought forward in holiness, even into the great glorious holiness of heaven.

Kathy Pluth is a Liturgical Coordinator and DRE and a good friend. Other reflections from Kathy Pluth can be found here

Memo to NPR
While some of your recent satirical commentaries have been decently funny and insightful, the genre is quickly getting old and is need of an infusion of new blood. May I recommend a commentary on junk food/snacks by KL at Come On, Get Lively.

Note to KL

I'd suggest recording these tidbits and sending them in to your local NPR station, you just might get airtime.

Debate raging on In Between Naps in regard to Mrs. Welborn's take on Rod Dreher's WSJ article.What I am interested in is this comment:

It's an interesting defense but the mindset is odd. May I ask -- just what would the Church have to DO, before you concluded it had failed sufficiently to find a better way? Would it, say, have to promote genocide? Slavery? Aggressive wars? Burn innocent people alive? Perhaps such doesn't count if it happened before anyone now living was born. But then, what if, right now, it was excusing rape? Would it be a sufficient institutional failure if it was only excusing such crimes wholesale -- or would retail be enough?

[second paragraph deleted because irrelevant for my purposes]

I mean it to be a sincere question: what is the limit beyond which the Church cannot go, and remain legitimate? Given the givens (including the poster's mindset to fix responsibility on those without authority as a way of excusing, well, anything), I don't think there ARE any.


Emily Stimpson of HMS Blog has a post on Rod Dreher's WSJ on the Pope and Bishops. Quite frankly, I haven't followed the story and I generally skip those posts. But something she said caught my eye, it was this:

I don’t know if Rod’s reactions are right or not. Maybe God wants him to use his pen as a means of stirring up the Vatican to more direct and swift action. On the other hand, maybe the Pope is handling the crisis in a far wiser way than we, with our limited human understanding, can see.

Emphases mine. The bolded phrase is really what interests me. She could be saying that the Pope's actions are being used for the good even in a way that neither he nor us ordinary folk are aware of . Or (and it sounds like this is what she's saying) that the Pope has some sort of divine wisdom that we as ordinary people don't have and he is handling the crisis with a hidden wisdom inaccessible to us. The Pope is truly a great man, but Popes are not God and I don't think Catholic orthodoxy requires that one ascribe wisdom to every action of a Pope.

... ibidem ... Blog has this very good piece on multiculturalism. Anti-multiculturalists need not apply.

error503 -- La vita nuova questions, polls, & silly contests

-- What do we think about women's basketball?

Can't really get into, but I hope it does well so that my daughter can be a pro and make us some money. I do like women's soccer.

-- What do we think about women's boxing?

Legal, not inherently evil, somewhat inappropriate. Against it unless they can make it safer.

-- Which poets don't get their due? Which are overrated?

Doesn't get his due? Wole Soyinka.

-- Which US presidents don't get their due? Which are overrated?

Reagan was overrated.

-- Which movies haven't gotten their due? Which are overrated?

Small Soldiers never got its due.

-- Why does Pat Buchanan get excoriated as a neo-fascist homophobe (i.e., lit., "fearer of same") while Eminem gets nominated for Grammy after Grammy, & receives the plaudits of those who froth at the mouth about Pat? And in this connection, you might provide a list of persons whom we can & can't criticize in this day & age.

The pendulum is swinging the other way, so while in the past homo,xeno and all phobias were not publically shunned, the pendulum must swing because that's what pendulums do. Who can and can't get criticized is relative, it all depends on audience. One group that is presently suceptible to unsympathetic criticism are muslims.

-- Who's cooler, Venus or Serena?


-- Which celebrities have, in your opinion, the most kissable feet?

I'm not going there! You never know what's under the socks.

And, finally, for the poets out there:

-- Give me the most ridiculous rhymed couplet of pentameter, tetrameter, or the strangest haiku ever composed in the history of literature! Write it yourself, if you like. In fact, that would be good.

If I was born a chunky monk
I would live on a boat
To dream, to sleep, to eat, to pray
While floating on a moat

You said make something up!

Giant African Roaches Are All The Rage in Thailand

Thailand warns against pet roaches

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I am going to be blogging on John Henry Newman's Grammar of Assent sometime in September as I try to labor through the book. It will be a separate blog.

I'll also be fooling around with a blog on Edmund Husserl, who might be easier to read half-drunk, in German and under extreme torture than in English. The problem is that I don't get drunk, can't read German, and don't dig torture.

The third blog I might (probability: low) create is one on Blessed John Duns Scotus. I like him, but know little about his thinking and maybe blogging would help me get more into it.

A fourth blog will be on the Buffalo Bills . . . scratch that. I'm not a swearing man and I don't want to be tempted.

Someone apparently did a Google search for "Thank you for doing this Ellen," and got my blog.

Why? You may ask. Well it is because I believe it is one of the coolest movie lines of all time. Here's the full list

Coolest movie lines of all time:

(In no particular order)

1. "We keep you alive to serve this ship, row well and live." Ben Hur (My all time favorite).
Full Quote:"You have hate in your eyes, forty one, that's good.
Hate keeps a man alive . . . Listen up! You are all condemned men.
We keep you alive to serve this ship, so row well and live."

2. "If you were not a bride, I'd kiss you good bye," "If I were not a bride, there'd be no goodbyes to be said." Ben Hur.

3. "Thank you for doing this, Ellen." Dave.

4. "Help me, help you!" Jerry Maguire.

5. "They may take our lives, but they can't take our FREEDOM!!!" Braveheart.

6. "Why are you smiling?" "I know something you don't" The Princess Bride.

7. "et cetera, et cetera, and so on." The King and I.

8. "Oh mah Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, Lawd, . . .hmm hmm, hmm hmm." Slaves singing in Glory.

9. The line from Remember the Titans, about they'll remember the night the played the Titans.

And to round it off, a line from my favorite bad movie of all time, Deep Blue Sea!

10 "She fooled with the sharks, now they're fooling with us."

Noteable mention.

"Hope is a dangerous thing, my friend." Shawshank Redemption

This Is Why Philosophy Should Be Banned and Philsophers Imprisoned

Obfuscation and absolute lack of clarity!

From EveTushnet's page

"But while an experience of beauty in inanimate objects is a radical encounter with the present tense, an experience of beauty in human beings or human acts is more often a radical encounter with the subjunctive tense--the might-have-been. Human beauty is always 'almost,' always more poignant and more sublime because of the great disjunction between what we are and what we feel we should have been. ...Human beauty, to my mind, is a clue that man is not inherently good (since our beauty always comes with this downward pull toward decay; and since we are even able to pervert beauty and submerge it in lust or hate), nor inherently bad (since it would not be nearly as painful--as sublime--to see a bad thing just being its ordinary bad self), but fallen--a good creature that cannot, in this life, be what he was supposed to be."

This is so complicated that it does not make sense. Let me help Ms. Tushnet here clarify what she really intends to say. I say this in really simple terms.

The subjunctive aspect of the Beautiful is radically mannifested in the human present causing a disjunction of the present, subjunctive and the pluperfect subjunctive in the morally vague notion of human beauty.

That's better! I think that's what she's trying to say.

Jack Chick meets Victor Lams at et cetera blog. Funny stuff.

Adult email spam is getting cleverer by the minute. I normally can spot them a mile away, but I got one today that said in the subject line, "Thank You and Welcome [Member:onoekeh]" and I was fooled into opening it. You can imagine my frustration. I hope legislators do something about spam soon.

Victor Lams of et cetera informs me that you can actually zoom in on the Guest Maps to post your entry.

I guess if I read instructions better or looked more closely before I run my mouth, I would have known that. :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The Case for Logarithmically Scaled "Guest Maps"

You may have seen the "View My Guest map" links popping up on different sites like et cetera and on KL's site, etc.

If you click on one of those, you'll notice how scrunched up the East Coast is and how wide up the midwest and west coast and Canada are. Granted, that's the way it is (like Bruce Hornsby says), but we all know all the major action happens on the East Coast and there are definitely going to be more bloggers and blog readers on the East Coast. So why do they keep the East Coast so small and scrunched up?

I am proposing logarithmic scales in creating these maps. Logarithmic scales are the best poll or graph spin doctors you'll find. For instance if you have a bar chart with a huge descrepancy, maybe 50,000 people watch NBC compared to 2,000 who watch your UBCTV. Now on a bar chart, your bar will get trumped at first glance, but not if you chart it logarithmically. If do use a logarithmic scale, your bar will still seem smaller but misleadingly comparable in size. That's because logarithmic charts are great visual equalizers. Take note: politicians and pollsters and media people and spin doctors and . . . use them all the time.

Back to my Guest Map gripe. If the Guest Map people created a logarithmically scaled U.S., then the East Coast would be big enough to clearly post and identify all the guests.

Biggest movie bust ever? I think so. The Adventures of Pluto Nash starring Eddie Murphy, cost in the $100million range and it brought in $2 million its opening weekend.

The movie is so bad that Warner Bros delayed the film opening 16 months because they were dreading releasing it, finally the released it on a sleepy August weekend, when not much is happening and they hoped no one would notice.

Prior to this movie, I think Water World held that dubious distinction of greatest bust ever. The movie cost $200 million and I don't think it even hit the 50 million mark.

Question: Who was the smoothest player to ever play in the NBA?

No, not Michael Jordan, not Dr. J, not the Ice man, Kobe? (are you nuts?)

Answer: Clyde "the Glide" Drexler

I think the Monday Night Football team of Madden and Michaels is working out well. Madden is no Czar of the telestrator, but he sure makes up with his "boom!"

Pittsbugh was mentioned as a favorite for the AFC and maybe even the whole thing. Stewart and Batch got hurt and that could hurt their chances. But even with Stewart, I'm not convinced about Pittsburgh.

Big sleeper this year? watch for the Buffalo BIlls

On defense their one weakness is the D-line. However, they addressed that problem by signing Chidi Ahanatou along with veteran Shawn Price and they already had the Ted Washington-like, Pat Williams. It is a decent enough line. But the linebackers and secondary are above-average if not very good. So if the defense does not concede too many points, watch out! Bledsoe, Moulds, Peerless Price, Riemersma, Josh Reed, Travis Henry, I should stop here.

Buffalo will score about 24 points again this year. If they can hold defenses to about 20-21 pts again, I'm predicting a 13 win season.

I am predicting that this team is like the sleeper team of a few years ago that would have made the Super Bowl if the Titans hadn't done that forward lateral thing (when I lost my fifth life). That team had the best defense in the league and was capable of putting up a few points.

Anyway, I'm not going to depress myself with what could have been.

Everything is going fuzzy around me, help! I'm being sucked back into time, help . . .
1990--watching the ball sail wide right, I saw my life crash before my eyes

1991--I hate the Washington Redskins, horrible team, lousy fans, insulting name, I hate, hate, hate the Redskins. Before the game even started, I saw my second life evaporate before my very eyes.

1992--After the Bills got squashed on a fourth and goal against Dallas, my third life went down the tube. I had no eyes to see my life end, i had plucked them out.

1993--we were leading going into the half leading, Nate Odoms had also just intercepted Aikman . . . what the heck happened!! That was my fourth life . . .

I only have two more lives left, I can't take anymore Bowl defeats or forward laterals. So I declare that this is the year for the Buffalo Bills.

Sirman on the Mount Blog talks about the differences he's observed between his 9 month old son and his 3 1/2 yr old daughter when she was the age of his son.

About a boy...

My son Franklin is nine months old. As an examplar of masculine force, he has no equal. At this time in his life, he has learned to crawl and to pull himself up into a standing position by grabbing the nearest support. He is also "cruising", or walking sideways while holding onto furniture. He is learning fast.

My daughter Isabella is 3 1/2 years old. It is against her extraordinarily feminine example that I chart Frank's progressive, masculine differences. For example, Isabella has always been much quicker to signify when she needed help. Franklin, on the other hand, never ran up against a barrier that he did not feel he could surmount by sheer will alone.

Yes, it is sometimes trying, not to mention nerve-wracking. When a nine month old wants to climb the stairs, he does not spend time thinking about how he will get back down. His initial attempt at descending involved employing a forward motion and, apparently, good intentions. This did get him back down, but worse for wear. He has since decided that the way to descend stairs is to sit on the stair sideways with your legs extended in front of you, hold on to the upper stair, and then push your tush out over the edge until you drop to the stair below. Apparently, his motto is, "If you got the padding, use it!

He is fascinated by large, heavy machinery and trucks. When our parking lot was being repaved, he would stand at the window, entranced by the large work vehicles. Isabella considered it worthy of a passing glance, and nothing more.

His cheerful, albeit infantile, agression is sometimes disconcerting. He will frequently decide he wants to see what is in my mouth and the quickest way to do that is grab my moustache and my lower lip and pull them apart. Crawling up to my daughter, he thinks nothing of taking something out of her hands for a closer look. She of course, reacts with wholly understandable outrage at such rude provocations and we must be quick to explain that "he's just a baby and doesn't know any better. Please be patient with him"

Boys and girls are different. At his age, when Isabella wished me to pick her up, she would reach out to me and make plaintive noises. When Franklin wishes to be picked up, he throws his hands in the air and bellows a demanding, non-verbal imperative: aaahhh! When feeding Isabella, it was always a chore to get her to eat some food. With Franklin, the chore is finding enough food for him to eat.

To bend, but not to break.

To bow, but not capitulate.

I am Father to two, entirely different human beings.

Yet, I am only one man.

Douglas Sirman apparently has not met my 9 month old daughter.

Aggression, will, steely determination and the like have absolutely nothing to do with gender but more with personality. These assumptions constitute the valid concerns that feminists have, the fact that females are presumptively betowed with an ontological status that will hamper their future efforts to go into certain fields like mathematics and engineering.

Monday, August 19, 2002

Last One: Couldn't resist, Mark Shea here and here weighs in on reparations and greed

One more bit on Reparations

It is a funny thing that those who thing there might be something in an argument for reparations are often the same sort of people who think there is nothing in the Catholic doctrine of original sin. That doctrine does not teach that since your grandfather was a slave owner you are guilty and must pay. It simply says that when Adam and Eve lost the life of God they did not have it to pass on to us. It is, as Chesterton observed, the only Christian doctrine that can be proved by opening a newpaper. It's not that we are guilty of our first parents actual sin, merely that we have the hole in our being that resulted from their loss.

Reparations chatter is a sort of perverted doctrine of original sin, not unlike the perverted notion that labeled Jews living long after the Crucifixion in nations far from the event "Christ-killers". It is the attempt to charge descendants with the actual sins of their ancestors. But, as I've already said, it's primarily an attempt to shake down a lot of people for a lot of money. If Africa were the moneyed place and America the poor one, the shakedown artists would direct their simulated outrage there.

Curious how so many modern evils are dependent on the perversion of some Catholic doctrine for their power.

Emphases mine not Mark's

I think it is fair to say that Mark Shea represents a significant cross section of moderate to conservative Catholics. Check out the comments, some of the "theys" and "thems" are very revealing.

Last Word on Reparations from Therese

Subject: Cultural insensitivity starts at home
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 14:58:44 -0500

The civil rights movement in this country was and still is the appropriately
sensitive response to the sometimes-deliberate and sometimes-unconscious
racism against black Americans.

Those poor excuses for citizens were screaming violence, hatred and revenge.
MLK would NEVER have done that. In fact, I don't think the Rev. Jackson, on
his own, would either.

Recognizing pain, yes. Designing quotas and mandates and favorable bidding
(MBE and WBE) procedures in public and private works, sure.

Paying out tax money and land to people not directly enslaved, collected
from people who did not directly enslave them or anyone else? Nope.
Absolutely not.

Don't push people onto sides in this argument. You're an American (I
presume). I'm an American. Nobody owes me a damn thing but an equal chance.
Nobody owes you a damn thing but an equal chance.


This is why we all must make hard choices.

David Ancell of Danger! Falling Brainwaves Blog tells of his experience at a Tridentine mass. I assume it was his first.

I actually went to a few of those, the diocesan approved ones, in the past.

I must say that the first time, it was the strangest experience and afterwards I was asking, "what the heck just happened." I liked it but it was different. I did attend a few more and once you get the hang of it, it flows pretty well.

I think there are two kinds of people in the world, those who the Tridentine Mass does it for them and those who are left unsatisfied by the experience. I belong in neither category.

More Catholic bashing of reparations

MEMO TO FR. JOHANSEN, Neither MLK nor Mr. X would have been sickened by what took place on Saturday at the mall in Washington, D.C.

Fr.Robert Johansen of Thrown Back Blog has this to say on the Slavery Reparations rally in DC over the weekend.

The Legacy of Martin and Malcom?

Saturday afternooon, in our nation's capital, a rabble of leftist True Believers gathered for a rally (LRR) in support of Slavery Reparations. The rally was not well-reported, perhaps because, in the greater scheme of things, it was not well-attended. Only about 2,000-3,000 demonstrators showed up, which, in Washington demonstration terms, is insignificant. But the insignificance of the reparations movement has not prevented it from gaining a certain degree of acquiescence, if not support, from the establishment left.

Such "luminaries" of the self-appointed black leadership as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have expressed their support for slavery reparations. Advocates of reparations have thrown out figures of 50 to 100 billion dollars, as well as grants of large tracts of land, as starting points for negotiations. And who would supervise how these monies and lands are distributed? Well, ahem, people like Jesse and Al, of course!

Advocates of reparations cloak their arguments in rhetoric about the "stigma" of slavery and the "systemic effects of racism", etc., ad nauseam, but their cause has all the subtelty of a mugging, and about as much moral legitimacy. But the demonstrators tipped their hand about their true motivations when one of the leaders, New York City council member Charles Barron, said, "I want to go up to the closest white person and say, `You can't understand this, it's a black thing,' and then slap him, just for my mental health." So, Mr. Barron's "mental health" requires that he abuse white people. Who, then, I ask, is the racist?

The problem with "reparations" for slavery, as people like economist Walter Williams have pointed out, is that none of the proposed recipients of reparations is, or ever was, a slave, and none of the people from whom the reparations would come is, or ever was, a slave owner. Every former slave or slave owner has been dead for at least 60 years. By the reparations logic, Americans whose ancestors died in World War One should be able to extract settlements from the descendants of Austro-Hungarian Imperial soldiers. The argument is absurd. My family never owned a slave: my forbears all came here long after slavery was abolished. By what logic do I owe reparations? What about recent emigres from Poland or Russia? What "obligation" do they have to pay reparations? All of these questions and problems are ignored by the Reparations muggers because they expect to extract their demands from the government.

And in that we see the true origins of the Reparations movement. Reparations are really a new cover for the old redistributionist-socialist agenda. The failure of socialism and the obviously corrosive effect of redistributionist schemes has not deterred those who are desirous of lining their nests with feathers plucked from others. The champions of reparations are the same old leftists who championed the wonders of the Sandanista regime in Nicaragua and the glories of Castro's Cuba. They have merely covered their marxist fantasy in dashikis and dreadlocks. And does anyone seriously believe that, if they got what they wanted, we would hear no more from them? Rest assured, they would come back for more.

The problem with investing one's identity in victimhood is that victimhood is a fundamentally weakening and disabling phenomenon. One can, in a sense, never find the limits to one's own victimhood, and therefore, find limits to the demands one's victimhood imposes on others. You can never have enough of being a victim. To be a victim is to cede your power and moral authority to others, and the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons will always be waiting to take that power and use it for their own ends. The advocates of reparations are either cynical opportunists or dupes. The dupes are victims, but of their own supposed leaders.

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, I'm confident, would have been sickened by what took place in Washington on Saturday.

Here are a couple of comments from his page on his post



I am paranoid about being paranoid. Is this movement just a bunch of whining people getting media coverage, or is this ball of dung really rolling?
-- Therese

-- # Aug 19 2002, 12:57 pm e-mail

There is an interesting fact about reparations. The descendents of black africans who were brought to America forcibly as slaves are twenty times better off economically than the descendents of those who were left behind. That by no means implies that the kidnapping and enslaving of their ancestors was not a horrible crime. But doesn't it imply that, if reparations are due to any contemporaries, it should be paid to the descendents of those left behind by the descendents of those who made it to America?
-- Matt
-- # Aug 19 2002, 12:55 pm

After previous discussions on anti-multiculturalism and the issue of slavery reparations and some of the reaction I noted in the St. Blogs community (note, I say some, by no means all or most, even though I think many), I decided to no longer respond to or deal with any of those issues in my blog. I did, however, ask one question at the end of my post in reaction to Mark Sullivan's "bone in the nose" cultures post. The answer to that question for me has had to be in the negative; a move purely out of conscience and self respect.

I broke my self imposed rule here, though, to note that here we have a priest saying things and encouraging certain comments. I am a reasonable man and I understand that valid disagreements occur, however it is the insensitivity to the issue that is of concern to me.

In an email response to one of my postings on reparations, Barbara disagreed with me, however, she did note that she was sympathetic to my concerns. I found her response, along with some others which were quite charitable, acceptable forms of disagreement. But, again, my primary concern is the insensitivityof many Catholics to an issue that is so close to and painful to many.

In the postings that I have seen against reparations, people tend to bring up a variety of other situations in which our logic would demand that these people deserve reparations. Now, I may disagree with these examples, but what I shouldn't do is stoke any fires because all these situations are dear to someone's heart. For instance, I disagree with Fr. Johansen's example of similarly demanding reparations for his an cestors who died at the hands of Austro-Hungarian soldiers, but it would be unChristian to dismiss the real pain he may have or his demand for reparations as undercover socialism or something similar.

Anyway, back to my lunch of skillet macaroni and beef with a quarter cup of steamed sliced green olives and . . .

PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.33

1. Many children have blankets, or a favorite nubby stuffed animal that they like to keep near them for security. Do you recall what you had for your "security blanket" as a child? When did you finally give it up? What brought that about?

No security blanket as a kid.

2. Now that you are a big kid, what do you have to give you that same sense of security?

My wallet and my keys.

3. With a little over four months left in 2002, have you accomplished everything you wanted to for the year? Is there anything that you would like to accomplish before the year is over?

No I have not even come close to accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish. I still need to learn to read German and Greek and I was hoping my business would be doing well enough for me to quit my current job and go full time. I do have a manager there full time. It's not too late, this fall might be a blockbuster one.

4. I don't know about you, but it seems to me children have it pretty good these days. Game systems, computers in the home, microwaves, cable TV, the internet, cell phones and pagers, they certainly have a wider variety of technology than most of us did as children. What modern convenience, if any, do you think it would be good for children today to do without? What would they gain?

Video games. I just wish they'd learn to write with a pen, it is becoming a lost art.

5. Many of us have one thing in which we believe we excel. What do you do better than most?

I am an average kind'a guy, nothing special

6. In the United States, and possibly other countries, teenagers in High School usually wind up falling into several social circles or "cliques." Stoners, Rich Kids, Jocks, Cheerleaders, Band, Drama, Goths, and so on (though the names are probably different today). What High School "clique" did you find yourself in? Was it by choice or did it just happen? Did you look down on other groups? (Aw it's ok, it was/is High School, we all did dumb stuff)

I was the nerdy Christian uncool guy who carried a bible around and listened to Christian music.

7. (it begins) I have great news! I won the contest and we now have plane tickets to anywhere in the world. The bad news is we have to pick a place now and leave in the morning. I can't decide where to go, so you get to pick. Where should we go, and what is the first thing we should do when we get there?

Somewhere where I could swin in a clear blue ocean . . . maybe the Virgin islands? I'm not sure. First thing we do, sleep! Then go snorkling and shark feeding.

BONUS: Must I beg you?
Get down on your knees and beg, damn it!

This week's comment question: What's your favorite dessert?
Key Lime Pie or Cheese Cake

Sunday, August 18, 2002

As part of my "veg" sunday ritual, I watched a made for TV movie on the Disney Channel called "The Thirteenth Year."

Your classic B to B minus movie it was and I enjoyed every corny second. It was about a 13 year old boy who was turing into a "merman," as opposed to a "mermaid." Basically, he was a guy mermaid.

I don't quite get the big deal about mermaids: the fact that they are supposed to be beautiful and irresistable. What is irresistable about a scaly, slimy creature that smells like fish? Anyway, it is always good to retire the brain every once in a while.

Every now and them you find gem type shows during the weekend B movie ritual. It was on one of these type of veg sessions that I caught Stephen King's "The Lottery," certainly a worthwhile movie and thought provoking (of course it doesn't take much to provoke my thoughts).

BTW, my favorite Stephen King movie is "The Stand," followed very closely by "The Shawshank Redemption." I liked "The Green Mile" but I'm not crazy about it. Oopps, I forgot Misery, now that's a creepy classic. I also happen to like "The Mangler." Everyone I tell about "The Mangler" thinks it is some kind of joke, but there really was a movie based on a Stephen King book called "The Mangler."

Actually, come to think of it, "The Mangler" and "The Lottery" are the same story in different contexts. Both deal with family sacrifice for the sake of prosperity and a young innocent girl who has to make a choice to continue or break the tradition.

La Vita Nuovo Error 503 Blog has this to say about my time travel post below.

Let us pray ... even if we're not "transcendental"!

In a quite recent post, Ono Ekeh writes:

(My comment)I do think transcendental spiritual beings have access to God's eternity and can access anytime if God so wills.

Hmm. Yes. Well, it's quite possible that those of us who aren't very transcendental can also gain access to God's eternity (if that is the same thing as relating to, or speaking to, the mind and heart of God).

It's a marvellous gift of the Holy Spirit called prayer.

That's the beauty of it: we need not be transcendental ascetics, or stylites, or monks, or daydreamers, or especially "enlightened" -- we need not be heroically virtuous -- although 'tis true that "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much" [cf. James 5:16] -- we need not have degrees in theology; we need not know how to read or write -- we can talk to God anytime!

We can be a thief on the cross, a criminal in prison, a penitent king, an abject pauper. We can look and sound ridiculous to our fellow man. We can be graceless, gawky, ugly, overweight, underweight, blind, deaf, what have you -- we can be Tom More (unsaintly protagonist of Walker Percy's Love in the Ruins) or we can be Thomas More (saint and martyr). We can be a base proud shallow beggarly worsted-stocking knave, whatever that is. We can be running a mile a minute from the Hound of Heaven, but I suspect that the slightest Godward aspriation of our heart is heard in Heaven.

And that, to paraphrase Macaulay Connor (Jimmy Stewart in the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story) is the blank and holy wonder of it all!

Good stuff

"Transcendental"--word used loosely not philosphically. Used to indicated creature that is of spiritual substance and free of earthly constraint.

My post was about "time travel"--discontinuous physical relocation of person from one time on time line A to another time on time line A. (I think I said that correctly?)

In prayer there is by default no time travel unless metaphorically speaking.

It is possible that God can physically bring someone into his or her past or into his or her future, if he so chooses. This is not a vision but an actual physical relocation. I did not it happens frequently or infrequently or even if it has been one at all, I just maintain that God can do it. Actually, I think God does it with angels not too infrequently.

Having said all that, I simply say that I am speaking of time travel and not prayer.

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Author Barbara Korsness has just released a new novel called Bull Dancer. This is her second novel, her first was Ancient Fire. It is time for me to get back into some fiction and so I am going to avail myself of a copy of each book. I suggest you do the same . . . support Catholic fiction!

It sounds like Barbara's books are well researched and they just sound well done, so I am really looking forward to reading anything but German articles on J.H.Newman.

I don't believe in time travel any longer because of what I believe about death. If time travel were possible then people are always potentially living and never really dead.

For instance I could go back to 56 AD and run into Paul of Tarsus and keep doing that. That means then that no one really dies because they are always present to be accessed by time travel. I think death is a definitive ending such that even if time travel were possible, you wouldn't find anyone there because the people would be all gone. In fact, I believe that the past no longer exists when it happens . . . if that makes sense.

On the other hand, I do think transcendental spiritual beings have access to God's eternity and can access anytime if God so wills. My concern is more with scientific time travel.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Re: Recent post on Our Lady of Hollywood being black . . . was kidding.
Mary wasn't black, just wanted Tim Drake and others to realize that Mary's features, in this case, lips, do not have to conform to European models. But this point has been made by David Alexander quite well.

Mary in the European style as she is traditionally depicted is no doubt beautiful. We all just have to remember that she was a middle eastern woman who at one time lived in Africa. But that is neither here nor there.

Favorite Jesus Christ Superstar Songs

Ranked in order of superiority

1. Heaven on their minds

2. Jesus in Gethsemane
"Can you show me now that it would not be in vain
show me just a piece of your omnipotent brain
show me there's a reason for your wanting me to die
I'm all to clear on where and how but not so hot on why

3. Last Supper
"Always hoped that I'd be an apostle
knew that I could make it if I tried
So when we retire, we can write the gospel
so they'll still talk about us when we die"

Judas:"You sad pathetic man
See where you brought us to
Our ideals die around us and all because you . . .

4. Judas with the High Priest asking to turn Jesus in

"think of the things you can do with that money
feed every charity, give to the poor
we've noted yor motives, we've noted your feelings
this is not blood money, it's a . . ."

"A fee. . ." "A fee nothing more"

5 Judas and Jesus when Mary annoints Jesus

6 All songs by Caiaphas and Annanias

"We've been seating on the fence for far too long"

7 The trial before Pilate

8 Simon the Zealot and the 50,000

9 All other songs with the exception of the following (Honorable mention goes to Herod's song)

10 I don't know how to love him (I don't like this and I wish we could go back in time and erase it from memory)
11 Could we start again please (like melody, but don't like the message)

Thursday, August 15, 2002

I still think Our Lady of Hollywood is beautiful. I do wish she had a prettier dress and maybe a shawl, if they wanted to avoid the veil thing.

Ultra-busy day at work heute (working on my Deutches). Interesting comments in blog world today.

St Blogs seems to be happy, generally speaking, that the Vatican has squashed the Dallas document accoring to DB's report. I think this is a bad thing. Besides being a bad move it undermines the Bishops. The Pope maybe the Vicar of Christ but Christ selected twelve apostles not one, and they as a body had responsibilities. The Holy See has left no role for the Bishops but to be zombies or puppets. I think it is a shame, if it is the fact that the Charter was squashed.

Another important point is that I think the universal church underestimates the sway of the U.S. Church, if the news of the rejection of the Charter is not recieved well here it would have a profound effect on the U.S. Church which would have a ripple effect on the universal Church. Just my opinion.

Many in St. Blogs seem to be unhappy with the declaration on Jews and Christians that we should not try to evangelize or convert the Jews. Since you are dying to know what I have to say, I say Oh well! I think it is not a bad move actually, but don't ask me why.

In the mean time I am trying to make a monumental decision, should I remain at my present job with its decent salary and good benefits or should I work full time at my Catholic retail business?

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Victor Lams of et cetera has weighed in bigtime on the incomparable and beautiful Our Lady of Hollywood.

Apparently this statue of Mary is all the rage on Kathryn Lively's blog and Tim Drake's. In the comment sections, there are discussion of who she looks like, e.g., Michelle Pfeiffer and others. I actually think was Mary was quite good looking and would have made a dashing Hollwood star if she so desired.

Tim Drake speaks of Mary's "Collagen" look lips. What Tim Drake doesn't know is that . . . and here's the 411, write this down . . .Mary was black that is why she has the lips.

9-11 Recollections

Heather in To Love, Honor, and Blog recounts September 11.

Can you believe it's been almost a year since that fateful day?

My wife was pregnant at the time with our daughter and was on absolute bed rest. I had just come out of the shower when she told me that stuff was happening in NY and she wasn't sure what. She said it seemed like a plane flew into a building. What she said did not make sense to me even though I saw the pictures on TV, I could not process it, and so I went back to the bathroom to finish getting ready for work.

Then she saw on TV, the second plane fly into the second building. She called me and we knew that something was definitely wrong. I work in Washington, D.C. and it was a no brainer that D.C. would be a target. I called work but there was nothing about closing down the building so I had to go into work. BTW, we live about an hour south of DC and 20 minutes from Andrews Air Force Base.

On the way to work the radio shows were all speculation, no one seemed to know what was happening. Then we heard locally that the Pentagon had been hit. And then we heard that there was a fire at the White House. Panic had set in.

My wife called me on my cell phone and wanted me to come back home. I was closer to DC at the time and decided to go in because my workplace still had not closed our building and i was concerned about panic fleeing from the DC area. As far as I knew, downtown DC and all the sensitive areas were now live targets and had possibly been hit. I work in the NE part of the city which is a siginificant distance from the Capitol building so I felt relatively safe because I knew there'd be other targets before my work place area.

Finally, at work, we were able to get the scoop that two planes had crashed into the twin towers in NY, one in DC and then reports were coming in about another near Pittsburgh.

Even though federal employees and later, DC employees, had been asked to go home, we couldn't, so we had to work through all that. I got a call from my Dad who was anxious and fortunately he had heard from my sister who lives in Brooklyn and frequently got temp jobs at the twin towers.

Our other concern was my wife who was back in Southern Maryland. There were rumors that Andrews AFB was a target which made me supremely nervous. Besides Andrews, there are quite a few military related insitutions in the area. That, in addition to our proximity to DC made me concerned for my wife. But since Andrews was still standing at the time, I knew that whoever the enemy was had lost the element of surprise and unless they wanted a couple F-15s lodged all the way up their ____ (pardon my French), the area was probably as safe as any in the country.

NY received most of the air time as it should have, but the Pentagon hit was significant for the DC metro area. It seems that everyone could play six degrees to the Pentagon crash. I knew someone who worked on the part of the ring across from where the plane hit who saw the whole thing live. A daughter of someone we are acquainted with worked in the area that was hit and had just left her desk for a meeting. These stories are not unusual as you probably may have some yourself.

Weeks later I would drive past the Pentagon a few times and it absolutely blew me away. You could see the missing section and the huge American flag. I never got to see ground zero, but I understand the experience of actually seeing the ruins was unlike any other experience.

Crazy day, but grace came out of it. We just have to remember that in al this craziness Paul tells us in 1 Thess 5:17, "in everything give thanks."

Israeli Candidate Urges Renewal of Peace Talks (

On NPR this morning they reported that Mr. Sharon's approval has fallen 8 points to 57 percent and that many Israelis, as many as 60 percent, do not think that he has a political plan to engage the Palestinians. I could have told them that a while back.

I think Sharon was elected to rough up the Palestinians because at the time, enough was enough, and coincidentally, Israeli support for tough action is still high. However, they know and we all know that they can't continue to live this way. Besides the horrendous toll it is taking on the economy, psychologically it is a nightmare. I personally wish Ehud Barak or someone like Mr. Peres would rise to power even though it is unlikely because they seem like men of peace. It seems like the right wing Likkud(sp) party is poised to win with either Sharon or Netanyahu. But like the linked article states the Labor party has someone who might be a legit challenger.

I just don't think sabre rattling is going to solve anything and someone is going to swallow his pride and the someones aren't Arafat or Sharon.

As unlikely as it seems, I still think Israel should consider dismantling its settlements and unilaterally pull out of the West Bank with entrance restrictions and then gradually ease those restrictions as things settle.

I have been battling the dreaded Error 104 the most evil of blogger errors. I had to wipe out the most recent post to get this thing to work. Oh well!

Tuesday, August 13, 2002


Myths, Lies, and Truths on African mathematical history.

Savage Natives and Their "Bone in the Nose" Inferior Cultures

More ignorant multicultural bashing from Ad Orientem.

For any multiculturalists still reading, this gem from Jonah Goldberg:

In Defense of Elitism

About a decade ago, one of the Smithsonian museums here in Washington had an exhibit on the history of human civilization, or something along those lines. I didn't see it, but a friend of mine went and his description always stuck with me. One of the displays was a comparative timeline of different cultures. At, say, 1250 you'd see what the British, the Japanese, the Chinese, or the Arabs had come up with. The sight that really struck home for my friend was a beautiful Renaissance Italian clock, with movable gears and a stunning hand-painted face with a sun and moon alternating for AM and PM. The clock came from the 15th or 16th century, I think. But that's not really important. On the same timeline for African culture there was a wood mask with eye- and mouth-holes cut out in some "novel" way. The little explanatory card on the wall tried to make it sound, somehow, as though the handcrafted clock and the mask were similarly impressive accomplishments. To which my friend responded, roughly, "Are you high?"

I may have gotten the details a bit off here, but the substance is obviously true. Some things are better than other things. Some cultures are better than other cultures. Some things are more worth studying, celebrating, and emulating than other things. Or as the late William Henry III put it in his wonderful book, In Defense of Elitism, "It is scarcely the same thing to put a man on the moon as to put a bone in your nose."

I can't respond to Ad Orientem's disdain for Africa except that to say to the more reasonable that the level of culture and technology in 13th century African was no different from much of Europe

Anti-multiculturalists do not realize that it was Arabs that preserved Aristotle's works and others and it was from the Arabs that Aristotle returned to Europe and that the Arab, North African and Sub Saharan African peoples were in constant interaction.

They also are ignorant of the fact that there were centers of learning that some have called universities in Africa and in sub saharan Africa most notably , Timbuktu.

These ignorant people also do not realize that Roman and Italian history records (Vatican records) record the diplomatic visits of sub saharan dignitaries from the 15 and 16th century on. They are also unaware the technological prowess of many of these cultures. The same bigotry that drives these people is of the same thread that makes people call the early middle ages the dark ages.

Another extremely significant fact of sub saharan history is its astronomy and mathematics. Many of those cultures had a value or the place holder or whatever you call it, "0" in their number system, see this page that talks about the Yoruba. That is significant. They understood to a remarkable degree issues about the number system. More on African mathematical history.

I haven't seen the mask about which Mr Ad Orientem speaks, but one thing he seems to not realize is the intricacies and technology involved in artwork and metal carving. Bronze figures are an indication of sophisitcated metallurgy. More on African scientific history can be found here.

Mr Ad Orientem speaks out of ignorance and bigotry, "bone in the nose." I am simply amazed that he didn't do more research before posting something so provocative and insulting. It is at times like these that I am unsure of being Catholic. Ad Orientem is not alone in this, I once heard Dr. McInerny says something similar in regard to Catholicism at a talk he gave at Catholic University of America, he said something to the effect of "Catholicism (or the faith) is Europe and Europe is Catholicism. His idea here was that we, as Catholics, need to abandon the quest to study other cultures and return to western civilization.

Is there a place in the same church on the same pew for elitists such as Ad Orientem and descendants of savage natives with bones in their noses like myself?

Monday, August 12, 2002

Last nite I watched The Wedding on abc produced by Oprah Winfrey and staring Halle Berry, Shirley Knight and Carl Lumbly of Alias.

Oscar-winner Halle Berry stars in a drama of exploding emotions in a wealthy African-American community on Martha's Vineyard, in Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding. This multi-layered story of young lovers deals with a multitude of complications in the stormy week before an elegant — and threatened — marriage ceremony. (Originally aired 2/22 & 23/1998)

The Wedding is based on the acclaimed novel by Dorothy West, the last surviving member of the flowering of African-American arts and letters known as "The Harlem Renaissance."

Shelby Coles (Halle Berry) is a young woman torn by questions of love and commitment, of racial pride and family secrets. She has only days to choose between two men — one a penniless white musician she is already engaged to marry, the other a successful and seductive black man who is determined to end that marriage before it begins.

Meade Howell (Thal), the white groom-to-be, is a stranger in this world of affluence. Gram (Shirley Knight), Shelby's grandmother, is the matriarch of the family; an unreconstructed survivor of the Civil War, the daughter of a slave-owner. She is concerned that each generation of the family be lighter than the last, and fully supports Shelby's marriage to Meade.

However as the wedding draws nearer, Shelby finds herself tempted by a dangerously charismatic black man, Lute McNeil (Carl Lumbly). Lute is fed up with his white wife and wants Shelby to be the next Mrs. McNeil. Lute is accustomed to getting what he wants.

Corinne and Clark (Lynn Whitfield and Michael Warren) are Shelby's parents. They married for social reasons, and have little to offer their daughter in the way of advice. Shelby's sister, Liz (Cynda Williams), ran away to marry a young doctor, Lincoln Otis (Richard Brooks). Lincoln was a little too dark in color and a little too rebellious in spirit to fit the family's mold. In doing so, Liz gave up the easy life and familiar support of the community. Now Shelby must decide if she wants to follow in the footsteps of her relatives.

I was very disappointed. For the amount of money that abc and Oprah wield, I'm sure they could have come up with a much better script.

I think Halle Berry is a very good actress, she hasn't earned "great" yet and projects like this don't do much to enhance her status.The dialog was poorly written and the story was so basic, trite and cliche driven. It seems like Oprah worked very closely with this production and wanted to use this TV show to "teach" and I think she is used to making things so simple that they sound puerile. That was the problem with this show, so simple that it made good actors look bad.

Simplicity is good in character development but I think simplicity works like a brick wall or wall paper pattern: the entire wall or pattern is built on simple patterns or individual bricks but yet the whole appears intricate. The show ended up with patchwork of bricks rather than a full wall.

The most fascinating character was that of the Great Grandmother, played by Shirley Knight, whose life was governed totally by appearances. A ignificant thread in the story is the story of her redemption and resolution. Knight was magnificent, you felt like you knew what she was thinking even when she didn't speak and you yearned to learn more about her. Her character had depth, or it may be more accurate to say that she gave depth to that character.

My criticism does not extend to the cinematography, I'm no expert at that and as a lay person, I think they did a fine job.

PromoGuy.Monday Mission

1. If I could guarantee that the Fashion Police would not lay the smackdown on you, which favorite out-of-style article of clothing do you wish you could wear right now? (and if you have photos of you wearing it, post 'em)

All manner of turtle necks.

2. In your opinion, who is famous but shouldn't be?

Kato Kalin (sp?) of OJ fame

3. Are there any new movies or TV shows that you are forward to this fall?

Nope, don't care much for new shows, but I am looking forward to Alias.

4. If you had a time machine that you could use only one time (there and back), where would you go and what would you do?

I haven't yet decided

5. What cologne of perfume do you like to wear? Which brand do you prefer that your partner wear?

Anything that's nice, masculine, but not subtle. My wife's fine, I don't know what she wears but I like it.

6. Do you recall your first "French kiss?" Tell me about how that felt, and how it came about. Do you like them?

Oh my! (blush!)

7. Excluding your partner...If you had the opportunity, who would you most like to French kiss?

Oh my my!! (blush! blush!)

BONUS: Can't you see that it's late at night?

It's always late at night here
It's alway deep, dark and dreary
As horrors dance upon wispy clouds
And demons howl for want of blood
It's always late at night here
And never will the light appear
Your fate is sealed, your soul is doomed
It's always late at nite here
Where here is not there
It's right here where you are

error503 -- La vita nuova blog asks:

With which character in the film or series M*A*S*H do you most identify? (If that wasn't your favorite series, substitute Cheers or Boston Public or your favorite teledrama or sitcom or movie.)

Cheers: Cliff the Postman. With a sense of humor like that? . . .oops, I forgot, Diane, she was by far the best ever Cheers character.

Alias: Arvin Sloan: he's ruthless, cold and mean, with a very genuine and caring side.

E.R. Peter Benton or maybe Romano.

At Ad Orientem we see another example of conservative Catholic insensitivity to race and culture. Also check out the comments.

Busy day, light blogging.

Over the past week I had something of an epiphany. I was watching a lady on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) who was preaching and she got into describing the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and wiped with her hair. The preacher was very descriptive and I began to try to go back in time to picture this woman.

Who knows what things she had done. It is a forgone conclusion that her life was not a clean and holy one. It was such that even Jesus' host would think, "if he knew what kind of person was touching him, he wouldn't allow this." But regardless of the woman's sin and fringe status in society, she knew that, while she had to avoid the upright of society for fear of contaminating them, she sould run to Jesus.

It then hit me, what kind of man was this Jesus to whom the outcast and down trodden of society could run to freely without condemnation? As a church are do we exude that quality? As Christians do we exude that quality?

Saturday, August 10, 2002

I watched Pear Harbor last nite. What do I think? It had moderate entertainment value and not much else. The story was trite, or so I thought, the bombing scene was somewhat exciting but not spectacular.

I think they tried to do too much in one movie and ended up doing little if anything at all. The relationship between Ben Affleck's guy and the lady was without sufficient development. And then each progressive twist was trite and uninspiring and over complicated for such a basic story.

Also lacking development was the war history itself, the Japanese show up late in the movie, not much is said about the what the administration was doing behind the scenese, etc.

As far as post-Saving Private Ryan war movies go, it is not worth your money. One thing, however, that it did do for me was that it makes me want to do more reading on that war. I know Pearl Harbor was a surprise, but I think the Navy came across looking like a bungling mess of sorry excuses for soldiers and I don't think the movie did them justice.

I'd appreciate any good book ideas on WWII, especially the Pearl Harbor, Japan-American-Pacific conflict.

Regardless of what you tink abut nihil obstat, she/he/it actually reads a lot of blogs . . . poor thing. What it/she . . . whatever, doesn't realize is that I bated it with my eententional spellin erors.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Semi-Definitive List of Most Distinguished Looking Actors

Roger Moore (based on his most recent appearance on Alias)

Ron Rifkin (Alias and ER)

Sean Connery

Morgan Freeman

Brian Denehey

Oliver Cromwell

I am currently seeking a well qualified actor to play me in my story. There aren't too many black actors out there so the choices are limited.

First choice is either Wesley Snipes or Denzel Washington. I am cooler than both so they'll have to fight over me.

If we go transcendental, where race or gender does not matter, Michelle YeohCrouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (and no, I do not have identity issues) would make a good me, tough, sensitive, likes to kick butt, and spiritual. Also, I'd give Sean Connery and Harrison Ford a shot.

I'm still ironing out the kinks in the script though.

I am adding Sean Connery to my list of most-distinguished looking actors.

We now have:

Brian Denehey, Morgan Freeman, Oliver Cromwell and now Sean Connery.

My wife strongly suggests Tommy Lee Jones. I'm still thinking about that. Tommy Lee Jones is more cool than anything else, he is like Clint Eastwood.

A Saintly Salmagundi blog is leaving the blog sphere and generating a lot of comments.

Everyone seems to be assuming that his Bishop is up to something sinister.

There could be a valid reason for such an action by a bishop which doesn't necessarily have to imply malevolence. On the other hand it raises an issue that is a major point of contention for me with the Catholic Church, the absolute power of Bishops and the heirarchy.

I interpret the primary goal of the hierarchy, as it is now, as the maintenance of their power and control over the Catholic faithful, any mission statements to the contrary notwithstanding. I view most things like I do bodies. Every body exudes a force of attraction, a sort of personal gravity. So also do non-physical entities including the Catholic hierarchy. The hierarchy has its own personal gravity.

Just as the bigger bodies get, the more pronounced and effective this gravity is, so also the bigger the hierarchy has gotten since its "inception" hundreds of year ago has its force of gravity grown. This gravity or pull to one's self is the same thing as self interest. Self interest is not a bad thing and is, at base, responsible for many of the good things in our lives and in our world. The problem is when it grows beyond a critical point.

Just as when bodies get too big and their gravitational pull is excessive and becomes harmful so also is my interpretation of the hierarchy now. There was a time when the hierarchy could pursue it's self interest, its preservation, control and power, and this was inherently beneficial for the Church. But after a certain point, that self interest collapses in on itself and it fails to serve the Church usefully.

The Church, using the U.S. as an example, has three kinds of political power: spiritual power, as leaders of the church; internal Church political power, i.e., the fact that they control 60-65 million Catholics and each one is king in his own diocese and real secular political power, i.e., Catholic bishops can exert a significant amount of political influence on secular politics. All three kinds of power reside in the hierarchy unchecked.

This is clearly unhealthy and counterproductive to the Church's life.

The other disconcerting fact is that, given the laity's effective exclusion from the hierarchy, the only place that reforms can then legitimately arise is within the hierarchy itself. But then, there is absolutely no self interest or impetus to engage in any meaningful reform. Nothing makes this clearer than our Catholic obsession with obedience. Obedience allows the hierarchy to silence and police itself thereby preserving its real self interest of preservation of power and control.

Of course, here in the U.S. because our culture is opposed to such control and the idea of free speech is fundamental to our ethos, the self policing of the hierarchy cannot always, or even often, be succesful. Also, because we believe in full participation, and that tends to be a guage of equality, the laity feel they have as much a right as any to have their opinion heard in the Church.

I think the culture of free speech and participation is a true gift that the U.S. Catholic Church can inject into Catholic culture and the tide, it seems, is swinging that way.

The hierarchy at this point, as an entity, does not have the interests of the faithful at heart, because they have gotten too big, too bureaucratic, and have too much unchecked power. It's primary interest is itself. No one ever gives up power, and so it would be foolish to expect the hierarchy to do so, but that power can be eroded gradually if the hierarchy begins to loose its relevance.

I contend that the Catholic hierarchy is losing its relevance to younger U.S. Catholics, I'd say 35 and under. For this reason, I think they need to be considering ways to get lay people really involved in the power structures of the Church and also think of ways to rid themselves of unnecessary political and power baggage.

Conservative Catholics like to point to studies that show that Gen X, Y and Millis are more spiritual and orthodox, but that is an over simplification and a gross mistake. It is true that these generations are very spiritual, like rules, and appear to be somewhat orthodox (I question that claim), but these groups have a far different sense of authority, its competence, its relevance. They do love the social justice aspects of Church and many traditional aspects of Catholic worship but that should not be mistaken for unwavering and unquestioning orthodoxy. They will question and if not satisfied, will reject, teachings. And yet they do not perceive this as a contradiction.

The hierarchy needs desparately to reconsider itself and interest and reform itself or reform will come upon it like a dam breakin loose. Vatican II showed us the devastating effects of waiting too long to attempt reforms and the Church of the period between Trent and VII showed us the negative impact of a fortress mentality. We need to avoid both mistakes and attempt necessary reforms. The ball is in the hierarchy's court.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

I have been totally and completely swamped at work today so I could not blog much. I'll probably blog a little later tonite.

I am, however, working on a list of the most distinguished looking actors, in regard to appearance. Here's what I've come up with so far in no particular order:

1. Brian Denehey (sp?)

2. Morgan Freeman

3. Oliver Cromwell

Blank! Blank! Blank! I had a nice mental list this morning!

Short Tribute to My Base Role Model

Abraham Laboriel is the world's best bassist (in my opinion). He is the founder of a Christian jazz band called Koinonia, Alex Acuna on percussion, Bill Maxwell on Drums, Justo Amario on woodwinds and Hadley Hockensmith on guitars.Absolutely phenomenal group. They are all renowned session players in the LA area and were very instrumental in the rise of my favorite all time musician, Andre Crouch.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

More Mailbag on Slavery & Reparations

Inadequacy of corporate model for Reparations

I can't spend any more time on this, but I would like to leave you with one thought: Corporate liability is really not an adequate concept for the following reason: Certainly corporations (and whoever owns them at that moment in time) bear responsibility for legal wrongs, however, corporations and their shareholders are not given the responsibility for defining what is a legal wrong. Slavery was not a legal wrong prior to 1863 (in the South), and prior to 1865 (in the border states). It isn't whether the corporation and its shareholders can be held accountable, they clearly can, it's whether they should find themselves -- through their elected representatives -- liable, that is whether it is just for them to be held accountable. The issue is not statute of limitations, retroactivity or any other legal doctrine that normally limits the extent to which past wrongs can be preserved in perpetuity for possible redress (more than one of which would clearly limit the ability of current descendants to pursue legal action against the U.S. arising out of the civil war amendments to the Constitution). It is not evident to me, at least not yet, that justice will be served by reparations. First because it is doubtful that we can expiate the grievous injury inflicted on thousands of people over approximately 300 years by paying their putative descendants. Second because whether you admit it or not, those paying today didn't inflict the injury. If you want to convince me otherwise you would have to explain what, exactly, reparations will involve, and who will be paid, and so on.

> And if reparations don't entail the payment of money, what, pray tell, do they entail? Your the first person I've ever heard suggest that reparations involve something besides paying the descendants of the injured.

> Barbara

The "corporate" example I used in earlier post has to do more with a "corporate-like" relationship between individuals and an entity such as the State. While legal corporations are not responsibile for defining right or wrong, the State has a responsibility to ensure social justice. Even if slavery was not a legal wrong at a certain time, the State can acknowledge that its laws at a certain time are or were unjust.

Barbara is right in saying that grevious injury over that period of time cannot be expiated. For instance, reuniting a mother with her child is, like the commercial says, "priceless." But, I do think that steps can be taken in some form that would address injustices. This is also why I say that an official apology would go a long way, because at the present time the official ignoring of the State's sanction of slavery and legal segregation is pouring vineagar on the wound. It is impossible to give back to Africans and African Americans what was unjustly taken, but it would be unjust not to try to anything that can be done.

As for the point that people alive today were not slavers and thus shouldn't be made to pay, I think it still goes back to the fact that we are all a part of the State and it is the State that is making reparations. The State always does things in which substantial parts of the population are not involved, but that's the nature of the State. The U.S.benefitted tremendously from slavery, I think that is a well documented fact. This is not U.S. bashing but combine free land with free labor and you get a rich and powerful country. The U.S., could have gotten where it is now if there were no slavery, just by virtue of its philosophy, but it would have taken so much longer and would have been much more difficult. The U.S. built itself up on the labor of slaves, at least for a significant period of time, and so as a State it now has responsibilities to those it wronged. An all who are part of the State now bear both the burdens and the glory of its past.

My major point, which shouldn't be lost in all this, is the Catholic sense of Justice. The secular legal system or society as a whole may lack the resources to discuss this issue, if at all that is the case, however, the Catholic tradition has the language and ideas to do defend the notions of reparations adequately. And my point is that the Church needs to do more talking and penance about slavery. The whisperings are that the Maryland Jesuits are considering something in this regard, but I am happy to hear, even if it is a whisper, that some Catholic groups are falling back on our intuition of justice. (BTW the Maryland Jesuits and some orders in Southern Maryland were well documented slave holders.)

Another side point of interest is that there are lawyers, Johnnie Cochran et al, who are actually suing insurance corporations that were involved in slavery. The insurance companies were involved in insuring slave cargo brought from Africa during the middle passage. There are documented instances of captains drowning their entire slave cargo for insurance reasons. These legal actions would to some extent determine the shape reparations will take. but I can assure you that most reasonable commentators on the issue do not have money in mind, extremists might. The main issue on the table right now is to get acknowledgement that reparations are due and then the how can be addressed in public debate.

Click here for more on our local UFO.

UFO sighting right over my head. F-16s Pursue Unknown Craft Over Region (

Somehow I missed this. I must have been really sleepy.

More Mailbag on Slavery and Reparations

From Error503 Blog

Ono Ekeh's blog has been discussing slavery reparations of late, with emotions high on both sides. And here, I use some vivid examples for the sake of rhetoric. I'm leaving some of the sloppiness unrevised, as a penance.

dear Ono Ekeh -- I cherish the wit & the grace & the good humor with which you deflected my recent criticism of your posts on slavery reparations! It is an issue on which both sides have emotional responses, mixed in with a bit of reason.

Two ideas that might merit comment or further exploration:

(1) Haven't slavery reparations already begun to be made? I refer, of course, to affirmative action. It's not a large sum of money, it's not 40 acres and a mule, but it is something -- and not of negligible significance. (Whether affirmative action as currently constituted is always & everywhere just is a question that I'll place to the side for a moment.)

(2) You speak of "corporate responsibility." This notion can have its dangers. Let us ask: Are there any sins, collective or individual, in the last 40 years or so, for which African-Americans need to make reparations, need to acknowledge as having been wrong? To choose from fairly recent history: Do non-blacks living in Los Angeles have the right to demand reparations from the African-American community for the damage & loss of life incurred during the 1992 [riots? Or do] African-American rhetoricians who display anti-white hostility need to be held liable for the murderous actions of Colin Ferguson on 7th December 1993?

You raise many interesting questions & issues. But there are perils to the groupthink in which we can all get stuck. And there are very grave perils to what I would call "governmental penance." (Russia felt the need to do penance for the injustices of the Czars, and the medicine she inflicted on herself -- 75 years of bleak nihilistic dehumanizing Communism, with gulags & camps of torture and slave labor -- was far worse than the disease.)

In the first draft of my post addressing your views, I was going to say [in a fit of high dudgeon, to be sure!] that slavery reparations are as defensible as the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in 1979. But there is a wonderful logic to it: the Irish Republicans perceive injustice in the way Northern Ireland is treated by "the British," and decide to assign "corporate responsibility" to England's powers that be -- and to inflict a fatal wound on the royal family by killing Prince Charles's uncle! This is where a certain brand of groupthink gets us.

But you will doubtless say that whites have been guilty of an insidious groupthink (racism) for hundreds of years, & that we can't blithely brush off the past, turn on a dime, & switch to the color-blind society in 10 seconds (or 40 years) flat! And there, perhaps, you have a point. And a rather sharp one. But I don't have the answers. And I'm suspicious of some of the answers that I've heard, from left and right, from white and black.

Your thoughts are thoughtful, even when they inspire disagreement.

Haven't reparations been made already, i.e., affirmative action?

I'll use the image of building a house. It takes a lot of time and man (and woman) power to set the foundations, put in the walls, wiring, lights, appliances, etc. On the other hand, ask yourself how much time it takes to tear down a house? Relatively not much time at all. Or think about a relationship with a friend or loved one. It takes time and a lot of human resources to build a lasting friendship or relationship, but it doesn't necessarily take long to destroy them. For instance, an unfaithful spouse can destroy a solid marriage in three months, with a series of trysts. My point here is that tearing down is not too difficult, but building is.

A further point is that we have to remember that African American families and communities were torn apart continuously for centuries. Economically, what this means is that families, as part of communities, cannot begin to build wealth. For instance, say a German family arrived in the US in 1854, very poor and destitute. They, being first generation, probably worked their tails off just to get by. But we can expect that the next generation would do a little better and also probably were fortunate to receive a little inheritance from their parents, even if was shoes or shirts, those wouldn't have been insignificant then. By the time we get to the fourth and fifth generation, that family and the community would have built up some wealth. (And we need not get stuck on the word "wealth" by it, I do not mean rich, I simply mean having possessions.) This is what the American dream is about and what has been the case with many immigrant communities.

How does this all relate? The African American community was torn down and hammered incessantly for 200-400 years. Anything that is going to be done to even begin to repair the damage and rebuild and restore the community is going to have to take a very long time, possibly generations. And just as the tearing down was instituitionalized, which is what enabled it to continue so long, so also the rebuilding has to be institutionalized so that it does not run out of steam as justice is brough to fruition.

The African American community has not had the possibilty, by and large, to build the sort of families and wealth I spoke about in the above example, because, as slaves, children were routinely bred and sold and the slaves had not human life to speak of. The other aspect that we can't measure quite easily is the psychological toll and the destructive effect slavery has on culture. As human beings we need families, friends, communites and a healthy environment in which to thrive. We also need liesure to develop our culture and the freedom to express our dignity in our cultures. These factors are just as important as any in the building and passing on of wealth from generation to generation and in the development of wealth in communities.

The first and, believe or not, most important thing that the government needs to do is offer an apology to the African American community. An official apology has not surfaced and probably won't in this climate because the U.S., as is the U.K., is concerned with liability issues. Programs like affirmative action are good steps and the kind of thing that should be done and they would have to be continued for a long time. The other issue is that any programs established would have to be organic so that they can evolve with the current needs.But the thing about reparations is that they have to be addressed as such and it wouldn't work if we point to programs after the fact and say that that's reparations. Remember, affirmative action and similar programs are actually designed to address current problems with current, not past, racism. It is conceivable that the African American community could retroactively accept affirmative action as a program towards reparations but either way, someone would have to still bite the bullet, offer an official apology and initiate steps.

On the "corporate responsibility" issue, no one is exempt from this sort of reckoning, so if a "corporate body" acts a certain way then that body should be held accountable. Now, note that a mass of individuals does not a "corporate body" make. The African American individuals who engaged in the shameful activity in the LA riots should be punished for their actions as should anyone who would engage in such activity. Because it was not an official body, or "corporate body" of African Americans, and because such actions are not endemic to African Americans, there is no reason that one should suggest that all African Americans be held liable. Now, if for instance, the NAACP and let say the Nation of Islam and the Fourth Street Baptist Church officially called on their members to engage in such destructive behavior, then those organizations, including should be held liable as organizations. So the distinction between individuals and corporate bodies should be maintained.

Furthermore, anit-white racism is no less evil that anti-black racism, there are differing factors here traditionally between the two, but anti-white racism should be aggresively prosecuted. However, no one is calling for reparations for racism, people have a God given right to be racist if they so chose. The reparations are for the consequent injustices and not the racism per se.

The example of Russia, which responded to the Czars with communism doesn't quite work because it is a different kind of situation(apples and coconuts). Even if we took this example to heart it would mean simply that we need to do "government penance" the right way not the way the Russians did it, that would be the lesson there.

As for the assasination example given in the case of the Irish, reparations is not revenge. Reparations is a case of a government actively working to rectify wrong done as opposed to the victims taking matters into their own hands in an unjust manner.

I find this civility and quasi-rational discourse disconcerting, I actually prefer shouting matches, mass condemnations and finger poining!