Perspective

Thoughts of a Catholic convert

My Photo
Name:
Location: United States

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Defend, don't defund, Planned Parenthood



Remember the 2015 controversy over misleading under-cover videos by an anti-abortion group purporting to prove Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts? I wrote about it here: Liar, liar, pants on fire

In the news today - Antiabortion activists face 15 felony charges over undercover videos that targeted Planned Parenthood

I won't be surprised if some Republican and conservative Catholic sites have stories about these "heroes" of the pro-life movement, but they are anything but heroes. Learn more about them here ...  Who’s Behind the Planned Parenthood Sting Video? Troy Newman—and Other Rabid Anti-Choicers. What you don't read about as often is that there are many Catholics who are *for* Planned Parenthood ....



More: Editorial Note to Republicans: Drop the crusade against Planned Parenthood ... and ... States with more Planned Parenthood clinics have fewer teen births and sexually transmitted diseases ... and ... What It Means to Defund Planned Parenthood

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Make America Polluted Again



Trump has signed an executive order that will dismantle the Clean Power Plan. Don't let him !!!! Please contact your elected representatives to tell them to stand up to him on this. And if you can, please donate to the environmental organizations that will go to court to stop him (Environmentalists Vow To Fight Donald Trump’s ‘Dangerous,’ ‘Embarrassing’ Climate Rollback).

More: Trump begins tearing up Obama's years of progress on tackling climate change ... and ... Trump's climate policies put China in charge of our future



Sunday, March 26, 2017

Blue World



The latest Moody Blues song I've been listening to is the 1983 Blue World ...



Heart and soul took control
Took control of me
Paid my dues spread the news
Hands across the sea
Put me down turned me round
Turned me round to see
Marble halls open doors
Someone found the key
And it's only what you do
That keeps coming back on you
And it's only what you say
That can give yourself away

Underground sight and sound
Human Symphony
Heard the voice had no choice
Needed to be free
Fly me high touch the sky
Left the earth below
Heard the line saw the sign
Knew which way to go
Cos it's easier to try
Than to prove it can't be done
And it's easier to stay
Than to turn around and run

It's a blue world
It takes somebody to help somebody
Oh it's a blue world
It's a new world
It needs somebody to love somebody
Oh it's a blue world

Heart and soul took control
Took control of me
Paid my dues spread the news
Hands across the sea
Put me down turned me round
Turned me round to see
Marble halls open doors
Someone found the key
And it's only what you do
That keeps coming back on you
And it's only what you say
That can give yourself away
Cos it's easier to try
Than to prove it can't be done
And it's easier to stay
Than to turn around and run

It's a blue world
It takes somebody to help somebody
Oh it's a blue world
It's a new world
It needs somebody to love somebody
Oh it's a blue world
It's a blue world
It takes somebody to help somebody
Oh it's a blue world
It's a new world
It needs somebody to love somebody
Oh it's a blue world



The budget

Now that Trump has failed at health care, his next project is the budget. I hope he fails at that too because what he has proposed is effing awful, from spending more on the military to cutting programs that help needy children and the elderly. The guy in charge of the project, Mick Mulvaney, is one cold-hearted bastard ...



Here John Oliver discusses all the ins and outs of this budget from hell ...



Saturday, March 25, 2017

:)

Bill Maher comments on the death of the Republicans' health care bill ...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Your Wildest Dreams

Another Moody Blues song. This one, Your Wildest Dreams, was released in 1986. The band had gone through some changes by then. One of the founding members and the Mellotron player, Mike Pinder, was no longer in the band and had been replaced by another keyboardist. Also, the bands music was being perceived as less symphonic and more pop-ish. Your Wildest Dreams was produced as a music video which played a lot on MTV and which won the "best overall video" at the Billboard Video Music Conference. It's one of my favorites of their songs ...


Republican health care bill pulled



Thank you, God! The bill was horrible for all the most vulnerable people ... the poor, women, children, the elderly ... it would have deprived millions of people of health coverage while benefiting the rich. Here Trump tries to put the blame for the bill's demise on the Democrats ...



But the truth is that even with a Republican majority, they could not get enough Republicans to vote for the bill. While some Republicans wouldn't vote for the bill because they didn't want to see their constituents who were on Medicaid loss their insurance, many of the Republican hold-outs were guys in the creepily conservative "Freedom Caucus" who thought the bill was too nice to poor people!!!.

More: The Trumpcare Con Implodes


Restoring faith in human nature

With so much badness happening, from terror attacks to Republican schemes, it's helpful to remember that there are still good people with kind hearts out there .....



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Democrats in Congress: vote against Gorsuch!

I've been watching the confirmation hearing for Neil Gorsuch. I've seen much in the press about how the Dems should fall in line and vote for him. I say they should not, that instead they should fight tooth and nail to keep him from being named a Supreme Court Justice. Why? Well, for so many reasons ....

- Because the Senate refused to consider President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland.

- Because the Trump administration is under investigation for colluding with the Russians to disropt our elections.

- Because Gorsuch seems to be for torture .... Where Does Gorsuch Stand on Torture? It’s Hard to Say ... and ... Neil Gorsuch was instrumental in defending George W. Bush’s torture program

- Because of Gorsuch's opinions in the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases ... What we really know about US Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch based on his controversial Hobby Lobby decision ... and ... Gorsuch's Selective View of 'Religious Freedom' ... and ... What Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s SCOTUS Pick, Means for American Women

- Because he is no friend to LGBT rights ... Neil Gorsuch’s Disturbing Record on LGBTQ Rights

- Because of his view of Planned Parenthood ... Neil Gorsuch’s crusade against Planned Parenthood ... and ... Neil Gorsuch’s Nomination Is Bad News For Planned Parenthood

- Because he's against physician assisted suicide ... High court pick Gorsuch is harsh critic of assisted suicide

- And then there's the question of what he might do about Roe v. Wade .... Gorsuch: Roe v. Wade Is the 'Law of the Land'

The Voice



I'm still on my musical journey with the Moody Blues. Tonight's song is The Voice. I have a distinct memory of hearing this song in a hotel gift shop in Hawaii while on a trip there with my sister, mom, and grandmother. That's me in the photo above with the Buddha at the Lahaina Jodo Mission on Maui.

And here's the song, which reached No. 1 on Billboard ...


Monday, March 20, 2017

Links and stuff

So much going on lately to comment on ...

- There was the testimony of FBI director James Comey before the House Intelligence Committee about the Russia/Trump connection ... What Investigation? G.O.P. Responds to F.B.I. Inquiry by Changing Subject. I watched a bit of it and what also came up was the subject of Trump's allegations that President Obama had his phones tapped. Comey put that idea to rest .....



- Also in the news, Pope apologizes for Catholics' participation in Rwanda genocide. This has been some time coming ... see my 2010 post The Church and Rwanda.

- And there's this article about Trump's pick for the Supreme Court ... Why Gorsuch’s Alleged Sexist Classroom Comments Are So Troubling—and Revealing.

- And a recent article by Fr. Thomas Reese SJ: Now is the time for married priests ... At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me,” not “have a celibate priesthood.” The need for the Eucharist trumps having a celibate priesthood.

- And finally, my latest listening from the Moody Blues. Or actually, from two of the members of the band, Justin Hayward and John Lodge, as the Blue Jays: Blue Guitar (1975) ...


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Out in the yard

A strange day today - warm but cloudy. I can hear the ice cream man going by in his music-playing truck ... it plays Scott Joplin's The Entertainer :) I walked around with the cats and the camera. Here is Olive giving Socks in the distance the gimlet eye ...



Here is a plant pot with some violets and oak balls ...



And here is Thor trying to nap on a dead tree stump. He looks like a wooly chameleon to me :) ...


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The War of the Worlds & Forever Autumn



Who knew there was once a musical made of HG Wells' book, The War of the Worlds? I read the book when I was a kid, but I mostly remember the story from the Tom Cruise movie version.. The musical, from composer Jeff Wayne, was apparently quite popular in the UK and I came across it while in my continuing obsession with the Moody Blues, as Justin Hayward sings one of the songs in the musical: Forever Autumn ...

Wayne wanted to include a love song on the album that sounded like "Forever Autumn", and he decided that the best course of action was to simply use the original song. Hayward, of The Moody Blues, was hand-picked by Wayne to sing it (because, Wayne said, he "wanted that voice from 'Nights in White Satin'"), and it was recorded at London's Advision Studios in 1976. The song reached #5 on the UK Singles Chart in August 1978.

Here's Justin doing the song, from BBC Four ....



The summer sun is fading as the year grows old,
And darker days are drawing near,
The winter winds will be much colder,
Now you're not here.

I watch the birds fly south across the autumn sky
And one by one they disappear
I wish that I was flying with them,
Now you're not here

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

Through autumn's golden gown we used to kick our way
You always loved this time of year
Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now
'Cause you're not here
'Cause you're not here
'Cause you're not here

Like the sun through the trees you came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

A gentle rain falls softly on my weary eyes
As if to hide a lonely tear
My life will be forever autumn
'Cause you're not here
Cause you're not here
'Cause you're not here

Friday, March 17, 2017

James Bond wiretapped Trump?



I was watching yesterday's White House Press Briefing and my eyes bugged out when Sean Spicer explained to reporters that the reason why there's no evidence of our intelligence agencies having wiretapped Trump Tower is because Obama used British Intelligence instead so there would be no "American fingerprints" on the job.

Wow - who knew James Bond tapped Trump!! Well, nobody ;) ...



Having said that, apparently both Trump and Spicer have denied any need to apologize to the British ...

Trump declined to offer an apology for the claims, which the British government derided as "ridiculous." And Spicer denied to reporters after the news conference that the White House had said sorry to the British. "We just reiterated the fact that we were just simply reading media accounts. That's it," he said. "I don't think we regret anything. We literally listed a litany of media reports that are in the public domain."

More: GCHQ dismisses 'utterly ridiculous' claim it helped wiretap Trump

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tuesday Afternoon

Still more Moody Blues :) Here's a1969 version of Tuesday Afternoon, live at the Jazz Festival in the Belgian city of Bilzen ...



Tuesday afternoon,
I'm just beginning to see, now I'm on my way
It doesn't matter to me, chasing the clouds away.

Something, calls to me,
The trees are drawing me near, I've got to find out why.
Those gentle voices I hear, explain it all with a sigh.

I'm looking at myself reflections of my mind,
It's just the kind of day to leave myself behind.
So gently swaying through the fairyland of love,
If you'll just come with me you'll see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, afternoon,
I'm just beginning to see, now I'm on my way.
It doesn't matter to me, chasing the clouds away.
Something, calls to me,
The trees are drawing me near, I've got to find out why.
Those gentle voices I hear, explain it all with a sigh.

Finding Jesus



I guess most Catholics are not very into historical Jesus stuff? I don't understand why that's so.

Last year at this time CNN had a special series, Finding Jesus. I paid attention for a number of reasons, including that some interesting people were involved ... Mark Goodacre, David Gibson, Candida Moss, Ben Witherington, James Martin SJ, and Michael Peppard. I wrote a few posts about it back then and I mostly liked it, although I found the stuff about the Shroud of Turin pretty disappointing in that it seemed to give some hope in the authenticity of the shroud despite all evidence to the contrary (even David Gibson, who I think of as conservative, described the shroud as a 13th century forgery).

But anyway, the series is back ... Finding Jesus ... and it looks like it's dealing with some interesting stuff again. Duke NT professor Mark Goodacre has an article on the show. Here's a bit of it ...

The Historical Jesus: Separating Fact from Fiction

[...] Goodacre, a professor of New Testament and Christian origins in Duke’s religious studies department, helped plan the series and served as the production’s lead fact-checker. He also appears in each episode along with other scholars of early Christianity. “The big worry about any documentary in our area is, ‘Will it be sensationalist? Will it represent my field badly?’” Goodacre said. “The nice thing about this series is that it is robust academically, as well as being good TV.”

The series blends reenactment with scholarly commentary. Each episode homes in on a key character or location that figured in Jesus’ life, examining what contemporary scientific evidence, history and archaeology reveal about the world of the historical Jesus. For instance, an episode about Pontius Pilate considers physical evidence about the man who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion. In this case, the archaeological record contains rich sources, including coins minted by Pilate, Goodacre said ...


Here's a trailer for the series ...


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What I've been doing

I haven't posted much lately for a number of reasons. I've been feeling kind of blah physically, and also it's really spring/summer here and that means more time away from the computer doing yard work. Here's Thor enjoying the 70s weather ...



And when I do get to the computer, I've been obsessing over the Moody Blues. Looky here at another of their songs :) ...



But that doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention to the Catholic news ...

Remember my post about the last of two sex abuse survivors leaving the pope's sex abuse commission? Well, apparently the head of the CDF, Cardinal Müller (see my post Cardinal Müller, Klaus Mertes SJ, and Spotlight ), has disputed her view of events and now she has replied to that: Exclusive: Marie Collins responds to Cardinal Muller's allegations about abuse commission

And I thought this was great - John Oliver visiting the Dalai Lama. He and the Dalai Lama speak in part about the Chinese effort to co-opt Buddhism, and it's interesting that China has been trying to do the same thing with Catholicism in China. But anyway ... ....



I just need to perk up a bit and get back to posting more.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Never Comes the Day

Today I saw a promo video from 1969 for the Moody Blues' song Never Comes the Day that I had never sen before. I think it's from the BBC Sessions series ...



Friday, March 10, 2017

No, the Pope won't allow married priests



In the news: Here’s What Pope Francis Actually Said About Ordaining Married Men

Some news outlets are stating that the Pope is considering allowing married men to be priests. Unfortunately, I think this is untrue. The Pope didn't bring the subject up. He was asked by an interviewer from Die Zeit about the possibility of married men to help with the priest shortage and the Pope responded that "voluntary celibacy is not a solution". When pressed by the interviewer about ordaining "viri probati" ... men already married and of proven virtue ... the Pope prevaricated, saying "We need to consider if viri probati could be a possibility. If so, we would need to determine what duties they could undertake, for example, in remote communities". This sounds like he envisions married men as having different duties than actual priests.

This is not unlike the news last year about the possibility of women in the church becoming deacons. The issue wasn't brought up by the Pope but by some Women Religious who asked him why women could not be deacons, given that there had been women deacons in the early church. He said that a commission could be created to study the role women deacons had in the past. People were excited, believing that the Pope had decided to let women be deacons. Nope. And nothing has and nothing will come of that commission's work (see It's time to be honest about Pope Francis and women for more on this).

Pope Francis is not a progressive reformer trying to liberalize the church against the wishes of a corrupt curia (ok, yes, the curia is corrupt, but that's another discussion). Francis is a social/moral conservative. He believes that marriage for LGBT people is against God's plan, he has been dragging his feet on fixing sex abuse, he has said that women can never be priests in the Catholic church.

And given this, I am sure that, despite the fact that the original disciples, including Peter, were married, despite the fact that in the early church priests and even popes were married, Francis won't allow celibacy to be voluntary. Why not? So many reasons, but I think the two main reasons are ... the church doesn't want to pay priests with families a living wage .... and ... it is easier for the church to control a person's life when that person has no other loyalties except those owed to the institution.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Muslim Ban 2.0

In the news today: Washington State Wants Judge's Restraining Order Applied To Trump's New Travel Ban

[...] In an announcement Thursday, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson contended that Judge James Robart's Feb. 3 ruling — which suspended Trump's first ban nationwide until a challenge brought by Washington and Minnesota could be heard in court — ought to cover the second ban, despite revisions that narrowed who would be affected.

Here's a press conference from a few days ago with Washington AG Bob Ferguson discussing the new executive order ...