Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Right on Republicans, Wrong on Neanderthals

Last night, 29 September 2009, Alan Grayson, congressman from central Florida, gave a succinct and accurate speech and demonstration concerning Republicans and health care and insurance. He mentioned the bad and disingenuous behavior of the Republicans during the president's recent speech to congress. Grayson picked up one of the handful of papers childishly waived by one of the Republicans, they were blank. Yes, that was their health care alternative.

The freshman representative had a couple of large cards on an easel, with the the Republican plan—don't get sick, and the the back up plan, when that fails—die quickly.
“This is what the Republicans want you to do. If you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly!”
To-day, Grayson went on a cable, political, talk show. The four ninnies on the programme tried to coax him to take back his words, and admit guilt and slander against Republicans. He resolutely refused, for as he stated, “truth is an absolute defense”. Grayson compared Republicans to “foot dragging, knuckle dragging neanderthals. This is not true; there has been archælogical evidence, that suggests, neanderthals cared for their ill and crippled. While Mr. Grayson perfectly identified the Republican agenda and their stalling, obstructionist tactics, he gave a comparison that falsely, and unfairly demeaned neanderthals.

Grayson also cutely quoted the recently deceased Nixon/Agnew speechwriter, whom wrote
nattering nabobs of negativity”. Really, Grayson made successive, ferociously, clever, truthful statements. The Republican propagandist, Alex Castellanos, was repeating gibberish and Grayson defined it as amorphous nonsense”. While Borger and Blitzer and Johns also wanted public repentance, and were oblivious to the rash of Republican rubbish that has been relentlessly and reflexively spewed for a generation, Grayson never retreated. Mr. Grayson did not accept the loser rôle required of a Democrat by the media. I look forward to seeing and hearing more from this man.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More from James

Luther, in his vituperations, called the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Straws. Yes, these straws broke the misshapen hump of that camel. Several gems of truth are in that slim book. The second reading of the mass to-day (Year B) is from James v. 1-6. It is a cry for social justice. God is with the poor and mistreated. God is a friend to the laborer, and his justice will fall harshly on the robbing rich. There are many congregations, and congregants that will not receive this message gladly. There are four sins that cry out to heaven. This is the one from the New Testament:
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.―NAB

Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl in your miseries, which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted: and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered: and the rust of them shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up to yourselves wrath against the last days. Behold the hire of the labourers, who have reaped down your fields, which by fraud has been kept back by you, crieth: and the cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. You have feasted upon earth: and in riotousness you have nourished your hearts, in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the Just One, and he resisted you not. ― DRC
Fortunate and just the congregation that has a lector with a stentorian and dramatic voice to proclaim God’s Truth. Some might recognise their faults and squirm in discomfort, or sit in stony silence and contempt.

Also, to-day in the Gospel is the warning about the millstone to the corrupters of youth. From the following many applications of to-days horrors can be expounded upon, especially self-inflected scandal.
Et quisquis scandalizáverit unum ex his pusíllis credéntibus in me : bonum est ei magis si circumdarétur mola asinária collo ejus, et in mare mitterétur.
And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
― Mark ix. 41. DRC

Friday, September 25, 2009

Strain at a gnat, swallow a camel

Jesus often spoke with disfavor concerning pharisees:
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel. — Matthew xxiii. 24.
To-day, in the United States we have such a party in politics. They claim ‘family values’, patriotism, defender of all things american, and of being supportive of true religion...Yet, again and again, they strain at trivia and even fiction, while accepting whole absurdities and abominations. This they do on nearly everything, but let us just look at a very few.

Now, there is a motley horde proclaiming themselves ‘anti-government’ and pro-american. Some of us remember Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people,”; the one Republican they disagree with. How can this be reconciled?

Let us look at the tragedies of 11 September 2001. One response, with the politicised, doublespeak, contrived acronym of
‘Patriot Act’ was signed into law on 26 October 2001. One, and only one senator, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, voted against it.

It has come up for review again. The rookie junior senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, had to read the Fourth Amendment to a
‘Justice Department’ functionary, David Kris. Kris did not like it, “this is surreal”. The one time professional comedian, a jester, is foolish enough to quote a foundational document of governance to a government lawyer. The lawyer did not like the impertinence.

The particular bone of contention was government wiretaps without warrants. The evidence has come out, that, perhaps the majority of these, are used in drug investigations. The over 300 page law is not about a
“war on drugs”, but on terrorism; and some provisions are just carte blanche for police activities.

A month and a half from terrorist attack to the imposition
of a book of laws, and one senator and 66 house members said nay. The book was written in a month and a half is something, an honest man with some thought, can not ever believe. Debate was minimal. Protest was ignored by the media. Now, shift that to the health insurance debacle, with raving, ranting, lying lunatics. Compare.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. ——Amendment the Fourth
How many teabagging idiots considered this under the previous, and unconstitutional, regime?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How the football of justice bounces

Michael Vick, when he was not running and passing on the football field, was a dog fighting impresario. For this he was sentenced to twenty-three months (and several conditions) under federal convictions, and was sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Dog fighting is vicious and disgusting. Anyone who profits from or enjoys this entertainment is wicked.

Donte Stallworth, football receiver, while drunk and driving, hit and killed Mario Reyes. Stallworth was sentenced to thirty days (and several conditions) and did twenty-four days in Miami jail.

Plaxico Burress, football receiver, accidentally shot himself in the thigh while dancing in a saloon. This sounds like a foolish video scene, albeit with a handgun, that would be shown on a television programme highlighting humor and stupidity, but the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, became intensely vocal advocating fullest possible punishment. Burress has been sentenced, to-day, to two years imprisonment.

Where is the equity? ‘Justice’ in the United States of America is a game, a contest of intangibles, and like a game can be decided by one bad call. There is no instant replay in the courtroom.

I would suppose all three men, because of their financial success in athletics had access to high calibre legal advocates. If they were three, poor, unknown, black men their trials would be of little note or contest. There is a huge thirst for punishment, and blind vengeance, over drunk driving. Organisations monitor and push courts and legislators to exercising greater severity. Hitting a stop sign, while drunk driving, can lead to a nightmare for the driver over virtually nothing. Government financial grants are given to elaborate sobriety stops, that are used as fishing expeditions. Yet, have you read supra? And then two years for an unintentional, self-inflicted wound? while a killing gets twenty-four days? The scales of justice are not balanced, there broken.

Now, in 1963 William Zantzinger, a young rich man, received a six month sentence for killing Hattie Carroll, a black hotel servant, in Baltimore. Bob Dylan has given this a lasting infamy:
In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom,
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin' that way without warnin'.
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished,
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance,
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence.
In 1991 Zantzinger was sentenced to eighteen months for collecting rent on properties he did not own as a landlord. Zantzinger died earlier this year, he has not been forgotten.

It is hard to correlate the dispensation of justice in this country. Wealth and the social status of participants skews matters, but not always correspondingly. The wheels of justice and fortune are similar to a roulette table’s.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bishop takes an Hyacinth

Saturday, the 19th of September, as mild and splendid a late summer day, that one can have, Saint Hyacinth had their ending mass. It is difficult to speak kindly of the local ordinary. Richard Lennon came to Cleveland, Ohio, to suppress [close] parishes. He as auxiliary did the same in troubled Boston. This was not his first such closure and seizure in town. It has already come routine. To use a simile, he is like an imported gunslinger. He has nasty tasks to do, and he takes count. Many are the notches he is cutting. He is a tall man, it is not unusual for him to be the tallest in a crowd. In general his public speech is neither loud, nor plentiful. He is determined to use the full force of his office.

An hour before mass, two uniformed city policeman sat on the last bench in church, while less than a dozen congregants, prayed and sat before them. They would later go in the parking lot. They would talk to the arriving bishop, a half hour before mass. Lennon rides in a black Infiniti. Four men stand in the street across the church entrance, one holds a Betsy Ross flag, another holds the papal flag, two others hold signs: “CATHOLIC ETHNIC CLEANSING” read one sign, “SAVE OUR PARISH” read the other. Three black teens walk on the sidewalk between. The girl says to the boys, “Dey want to keep dere cherch open”.

The neighborhood can hardly be thought of as doing better without this parish, than with it. The church is very close to an interstate terminus. Cleveland has suffered from the mortgage crisis, Ohio especially, did not regulate these matters. With the other economic hardships, this has further weakened neighborhoods. Nearby is a disreputable scrapyard, that has made the press several times, once for a large explosion. Many factories are shut, but one with stamping presses has gone from 40 hours a week to 24 hours a day. Many houses have been broken into. Others have been boarded up. Occasionally a particularly, brutal crime is noticed by the media.

The church, itself, has modest grandeur. It is wonderfully tidy. It has character. It is sacred space on a comfortable scale. The baptistry alcove shares a slavonic [polish], marian presence. The stations of the cross are stained leaded glass, illuminated from behind. A porcelain crock dispenses holy water. There is no shabbiness.

To use an euphemism, the neighborhood has been in ‘transition’. Immediately about the parish, it does not look too bad. The old school/church has gone too seed, shrubbery grows in the gutters. A son of the parish, John Krol became the cardinal archbishop of Philadelphia. Most of the parish has always been working class polish. The future does not appear promising to residents to-day.

Now, the weekly collection has had a threshold of a thousand dollars. The parish has been run by a deacon. The priest, connected with the cathedral, has come only to celebrate mass. This scenario is why this parish was suppressed so easily. Every parish is not required to have a resident priest, but those in Cleveland shall (it seems).

The scene will be repeated. Lennon will show up, preside over the liturgy, take the parish. Monday morning it will be physically seized. It may be possible* to take three in a weekend. The last closure date is to be 30 June 2010. Saint Emeric, Imre in magyar [hungarian], Amerigo [America] in italian, is scheduled for that day. They are still protesting to Rome, as are about a dozen others.

Reasons given are demographic and financial. Clergy is in short supply. Saint Emeric has gotten their pastor from the old country. He is not incardinated in Cleveland. Other parishes have missionary order priests serving. Some parishes are physically and financially healthy. There are such demographic and economic issues, but there is no one to one correspondence. Ethnic, urban parishes are taking a huge hit. Perhaps, certain pastors are not favored. Some of this deplorable outcome is to pay for past scandals. It is not pleasant. Parishes are held in trust and are created to be perpetual.

*It will happen this weekend, St. Hedwig (polish), Akron on Saturday, September 26; and in Lorain, St. Stanislaus
(polish), and St. Ladislaus (hungarian) on Sunday, the 27th. The diocese covers eight counties, with the cities of Akron, Lorain, Elyria also hit hard, but with less media coverage. The eastern european nationality parishes are heavily targeted.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Existentialism of literary characters

A man's life in toto, or a man's œuvre, or even one man's moment provides for his remembered essence. Most lives are spent over many years. These lives are filled with the biological functionings of existence, which are not unique and of particular interest [only] to the biologist defining his subject. The number of accumulated years concerned with eating and sleeping, we can gloss over by ignoring. The existentialist questions of meaningfulness remain. Most lives are spent in quiet, ignominious desperation.

Albert Camus writes of the absurd man. He, a member of the resistance to the germans, when and where a bad moment could lead to extinction of one's life, still smoked many a cigarette in boredom. The boulder Sisyphus pushes up the hill, rolls back down, and Sisyphus pushes it back up again.

Dino Buzzati writes Il deserto dei Tartari, a parable in undefined time and place, of a life wasted in a desert desolation. Where men wait with anticipatory desperation for fictional marauders, for generations. Men unfamiliar with the geography and the adversary. Time continues its progress, youth fades into old age, dreams of significance turn to the tedium of regulation and habit. Life's destiny is monotony. Buzzati puts this in a forgotten, frontier fort; it was his milanese newspaper office.

Camus and Buzzati are not part of american popular culture. Charles Schulz is, his character Charlie Brown and his troupe are. Charlie Brown is the existential being. He dreams of success, he tries again and again. He is an exemplar of perseverance and fortitude, and many have empathised with that, for they too, strive but do not succeed.

The writer and his creation are not the same, even though, the product is embued with the character of the draftsman. The hero is a fictional construct with a tailored existence. The writer is mired as a plodding actor in a life he cannot control, for he cannot create his own existence.

Now, at least two generations of americans are familiar with Schulz. The suffering Charlie Brown represents the autobiographical anguish Charles Schulz felt. The rich imaginative, play life of the dog, Snoopy exercises the desires of fame, glory and action that he [we] did not experience. Schroeder diligently, and enthralled, at the piano is the artisan in productivity. Schroeder on occasion becomes furious over insulting interruption. Linus is the gentle, inquisitive soul of wonder and belief. The near circle of females are (mostly) cruel, selfish harpies [the girls from the other side of town, Peppermint Patty and Marcie are a comic duo of bumbling humanity].

Recently, Robert Short, a presbyterian minister, died. In the 1960s he evaluated Schulz's universe into a post-war reformed protestant orthodoxy. Since then a generation has passed, and Schulz's religious perspective did not remain static, and Short's onerous and oppressive calvinism is inadequate to satisfy and give justice. A lot of Schulz's work is the art of humor, and as humor it is a set form meant to entertain, and as a perspective on reality--not doctrinaire propaganda. As a finalised creation it becomes, in part, a metaphor for the audience to interpret.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Now, on most Sundays, the Mass has three Bible readings, plus the psalm. To-day’s first reading was an oration from the Suffering Servant of Isaias. He has been unjustly and brutally treated, yet he stands unbowed and challenges any adversary to compare to him for judgment. He knows, he is right, and any opponent is not his equal. He also knows, God is with him.
...I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
...I am not disgraced;
...I shall not be put to shame.
...if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let that man confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?—Isaias l.5-9a (abbreviated)

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, ”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
—James ii.14-18. NAB
The second reading destroys Martin Luther [and the protestant heresy*], and in his [their] own terms. The self proclaimed theological claim of rightness and superiority against catholicism is — justification [salvation] by faith alone, with a corollary that ‘works’ are meaningless. Luther also claimed only Scripture could change his mind, ‘sola scriptura’; and by that rationale his programme is demolished. Protestant theology stands on feet of clay.

The Gospel reading, from Mark viii, has Peter recognising that Jesus is the Christ [Messias], and then refers back to Isaias, in that of the suffering Jesus would undergo. Wavering, fearful but perceptive [Simon] Peter can see the true importance of Jesus.
*To some this is a minor point to start a schism an heresy
—faith not works, instead of faith and works. For faith does not exclude good works. The false dichotomy of faith OR works is partially a non-sequitar, and a straw man argument.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

President Obama attempts to be heard

Look, Barack Obama is the legal, legitimate president de facto and dejure. There had not been one since the last day of William Clinton's tenure. In that interval great harm was done to the nation and the world.

The vociferous, mouthfoaming Republicans have made ridiculous attacks on the president's talk to schoolchildren. They claim it would be partisan [work, study, achieve], a claim they did not make against GHW Bush or Ronnie Reagan, whom proceeded to spin his political tale. No, the Republicans do not want the mantle of the presidency, to be seen by students, associated with Mr. Obama. Obama has too much gravitas, especially compared to the fraud he succeeded, the comparison is just too great.

The Arlington school district of Texas refused the public viewing, they are scheduling to bus children to see george bushjr and Republican businessmen. They will not admit the irony or the double standard. No matter how often or blatant the hypocrisy, they never seem to see it. They continue to yell that they are victimised. They never acknowledge any transgressions.

I am involved in a parish, which is in turmoil, it is divided between conservative Republicans and insane Republicans. The insane ones use the same tactics as the Obama haters and other mouthfoaming hypocritical zealots. They are a party of pharisees.

To-night the president will speak on the three traditional broadcast stations. He is blacklisted on the propaganda network owned by Rupert Murdock.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

To-day's holiday is not given the proper due it deserves in this country. I live in a rather large television market. Labor Day activities, real labor day stuff is often totally ignored, even a parade with the governor and congressmen. Organised 'fests' to sell food and beer get air time. Commerce over labor. There is an 'air show' in town, which in good part is a military recruiting event gets mention. Corporate media does not want to highlight labor! They have aided the rich to degrade labor, even in the eyes of those whom labor.