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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Doctor Who and Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee on Brexit :) ...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Supreme Court: abortion

From Emma Green at The Atlantic: The Fictions Around Abortion in America ... The Supreme Court has struck down parts of a major Texas law regulating access to the procedure. To do so, it had to navigate competing claims of medical fact and an intent to protect women.

A Court decision for women's rights and health!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pope Francis, apology not accepted

Today during a press conference held on the plane from Armenia to Rome, the pope said the Christian churches should apologize to groups they have marginalized, like LGBTQ people, women, the poor ...

"I believe that the church not only must say it's sorry ... to this person that is gay that it has offended," said the pope. "But it must say it's sorry to the poor, also, to mistreated women, to children forced to work."

In the same press conference, he also said no progress has been made on the issue of studying women deacons and that all it's only about study, not actually making women deacons ...

On women deacons, the pontiff was asked whether he had yet acted to create a commission to study the matter. As NCR first reported, Francis said he would create such a group during a meeting in May with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the umbrella organization of global Catholic women religious.

Francis first criticized the media coverage that decision received, mimicking headlines the next day that read: "The church opens the door to women deacons."

"Really?" the pope asked aloud. "I was a bit angry with the media because this is not saying the truth of the thing to the people."

Francis said the women religious had asked him only to study the matter. "Nothing more was asked," he said.

The pope said that after the meeting he asked both Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Sr. Carmen Sammut, the UISG president, to make a list of people he might consider for the group.

The cardinal and sister responded with names and "now, it is still on my desk to make this commission," said the pontiff.

"I believe we have studied this theme a lot in the 1980s and it will not be difficult to put light on this topic," he continued, mentioning a study the International Theological Commission did some decades ago.

I can't speak for LGBTQ folks, but maybe I can for women. Apologies are nice, but without any practical change to back them up, they are empty words. When the pope lets women be equals with men in the church, when he lets them be deacons and priests and cardinals, then I will accept the apology. I feel a biblical quotation coming on :) ... Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

More links

It's been hard to motivate myself to post stuff here - I've been somewhat depressed since I hurt my knee - but here's some of what I've been reading:

- So, the UK voted to leave the EU ... British Lose Right to Claim That Americans Are Dumber .... Brexit Is Also a Big Blow to the Environment... British scientists are freaking out about 'Brexit' too

- Jesuit Thomas Reese points out that Downsizing the Roman Curia is not reform

- The Republicans continue to thwart progress: GOP Excludes Birth Control From Zika Bill, Playing Political Games with Children’s Health

- And ;) ...

Thursday, June 23, 2016


- A Public Service Translation of a Catholic Bishop’s Letter Against SOL Reform

- The law Bernie Sanders backed to protect the gun industry is being used to fight the Sandy Hook lawsuit

- How Quantum Mechanics Could Be Even Weirder

- Saving Pups From China’s Dog Meat Festival

- The Last of the Great Escapist Blockbusters: Independence Day, Roland Emmerich’s 1996 alien invasion fantasy, was supremely silly, which is precisely what made it awesome.

Monday, June 20, 2016

"What we do, how we act in this life, matters"

- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the Egyptian god Horus

This week's movie rental was Gods of Egypt ...

a 2016 Australian-American fantasy action film directed by Alex Proyas. It stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Chadwick Boseman, Élodie Yung, Courtney Eaton, Rufus Sewell, Gerard Butler and Geoffrey Rush. In the film, which features ancient Egyptian deities, Butler plays the god of darkness Set who takes over the Egyptian empire, and Thwaites plays the mortal hero Bek who partners with the god Horus, played by Coster-Waldau, to save the world and rescue his love.

Ok, yes, the movie got mostly terrible reviews, not just for the story but also because of the ethnicity of most of the actors, but still, I signed up for it. Why? Because Nikolaj Coster-Waldau :) And, not just him - who isn't at least somewhat interested in ancient Egypt and its gods (think The Mummy, Stargate, etc.)? And anyway, if people can watch that cynical medieval-nostalgia rape and torture fest that's Game of Thrones without choking, then all bets really are off.

Though Gods of Egypt at many points was silly in a Clash of the Titans kind of way, at the end of the day it was about courage, self-sacrifice, and love. As the god Horus says, "The afterlife must be earned not with gold but by good deeds, compassion, and generosity. What we do, how we act in this life, matters".

Here's a review from The Guardian: Gods of Egypt review – ridiculous, offensive and tremendously fun

And here's a trailer ...

Anton Yelchin: RIP

- Yelchin, far L

Sad to see that actor Anton Yelchin has died ... Brand of Jeep that killed Star Trek actor in midst of recall. The young actor had been in a large number of movies. Here are three of the roles I liked best ...

- Chekov in Star Trek ...

- And he was Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation. In this clip he saves Sam Worthington's character with the famous Terminator line, "come with me if you want to live" ...

And he was also in the remake of Fright Night, which was really kind of awful ;) but he did well in the part of Charlie ...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bernie in the news

So, where was Bernie Sanders when the other Democrats were working against guns?: Bernie Sanders Goes AWOL on Guns Filibuster ...

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, a group of impassioned Senate Democrats launched a filibuster to pressure Congress on gun control. Led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), the effort to force a vote on a measure that would ban suspected terrorists from purchasing guns and expand background checks lasted more than 14 hours.

In all, more than 40 Senators, including Republican Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), joined the fight. Starting shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday morning and lasting beyond midnight, in the end, they successfully got a vote scheduled.

But, as progressives cheered, many noticed that Sen. Bernie Sanders was missing from the fray. Sanders, who recently signaled that he would abandon his bid for the Democratic nomination, was reportedly back home in Vermont. He took to social media to show his support.

For skeptics and disillusioned supporters, it wasn’t enough. Sanders, they noted, is still a sitting U.S. Senator. His absence stirred up a mix of disappointment and outrage ... with 50 dead and dozens injured in a terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Sanders’s decision to sit on the sidelines was a reminder that—at least on gun control—the sidelines are arguably where he has always been.

During the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton—the former cabinet secretary and once a senator herself—was quick to point her opponent’s legislative record on guns. In various debates, Clinton repeatedly railed about his votes against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly known as the Brady Bill, and his failure to stand up to gun manufacturers in the wake of Sandy Hook—a mass shooting claimed the lives of 20 children and six adult staffers an elementary school.

Over the years, Sanders has said that rural Vermont is different from urban areas where gun violence is more rampant. His state has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country ....

He was too busy to go, instead rousing his minions at his "Peoples' Summit": Hillary Who? Progressive activists not ready for Clinton.

Speaking of which, the Congressional Black Caucus has 'vehemently' opposed Bernie's' call to abolish superdelegates and to allow Independents and Republicans to vote in Democratic primaries. Me too..

And meanwhile, taxpayers pick up Bernie's tab of $38,000 a day for his Secret Service agents that must watch him because he refuses to concede he's lost the nomination: An expensive reminder that Sanders still hasn’t dropped out: His Secret Service detail ...

When Sen. Bernie Sanders, the now-vanquished Democratic presidential candidate, returns to Capitol Hill to vote Monday, he is expected to be accompanied by his constant traveling companions from the campaign trail: the U.S. Secret Service. .... Such round-the-clock protection can cost taxpayers more than $38,000 a day. And with the potential for the Secret Service to be watching over Sanders through the Democratic convention in Philadelphia five weeks from now, the taxpayers may get stuck with a big security bill long after his campaign ...

I think Hillary and the DNC should just ignore Bernie and his supporters and give them no concessions ... Ignore the Bernie Bros, Hillary ... Enough With the Bern

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dr. Willie Parker

There's an article in The Atlantic about Dr. Willie Parker ... The Courage to Perform Abortions ... and a video too. I think it is worth a watch ...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pope Francis and invalid marriages

In the news: Pope Francis is under fire for calling a "great majority" of today's Catholic marriages invalid ...

Pope Francis has said the "great majority" of Catholic marriages being celebrated today are invalid because couples do not fully realize it is a lifetime commitment, drawing sharp criticism from Church conservatives.

The pope, who has come under fire before for making spontaneous comments about doctrinal matters, was speaking at a question-and-answer session with priests, nuns and parish workers on Thursday night in a Rome basilica .....

In the Vatican's transcript issued on Friday morning his words were changed to read "some" instead of "a great majority". A Vatican spokesman said the pope's off-the-cuff remarks are sometimes edited after consulting with him or among aides ...

Actually, this isn't news - the pope said this in 2014 too: Pope Francis says half of marriages today are invalid. He's wrong. ... During a media blitz earlier this month, Kasper revealed to Commonweal magazine the pope's eye-popping assessment that half of Catholic marriages are likely invalid.

I think what this whole thing is really about is Cardinal Kasper ("the Pope's theologian") and his interest in having divorced/remarried Catholics get communion. The church won't simply admit that it's wrong about divorce ... that someone could have a valid marriage which somehow still does not last for life ... so instead, the pope says that most marriages are actually invalid, and thus annulment-worthy.

I think this is a cynical and disingenuous work-around .... it's time the church faced the truth that some valid marriages do end in divorce. And I'm not sure a vowed celibate, the leader of a church ruled by vowed celibates, can really understand what makes a marriage valid, anyway.

More: Can Only Theologians Get Married?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Heh :)

You Will Never Unsee This Wondrously Strange Fake Japanese Advertisement for Donald Trump ....

More on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife

In the news: How Ariel Sabar chased the true story of "The Gospel of Jesus's Wife" from the Florida swingers scene to the Vatican ....

The Jesus' Wife fragment has been in the news for a while - here's a post by NT scholar Mark Goodacre from 2014: The Jesus' Wife Fragment is Back.

And ... Karen King Responds to ‘The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife’

This news doesn't prove Jesus didn't have a wife, of course, but it just means that there is no known credible proof that he dud. What bugs me about the response to the Jesus' Wife fragment is the way so many Catholics seem relieved that it's a forgery. It's as if they believe Jesus couldn't be completely divine (and human) and at the same time be a husband. Why couldn't he be both?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Music to cheer up

I'm not feeling too good lately. A few days ago I hurt my "good" knee, so now my bad knee has to be my good knee. I've been practicing benign neglect, hoping it would improve by itself, but that doesn't seem to be happening so I'll probably have to go to the doc. I need some music to help me cheer up! ....

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


- Florida bishop on Orlando attack: Sadly, religion 'often breeds contempt' for LGBT people ... but at the same time, notoriously conservative SF archbishop Cordileone refers to Orlando victims' "personal lifestyles" in his statement on the shootings.

- The Complicated Pain of America's Queer Muslims

- Vatican doctrine chief downplays expectations over women deacons

- How To Talk To “Nones” and Influence People: Rob Bell’s Transrational Experience

- I've been listening to all the Carpool Karaoke videos. Not sure which I like best - hard to decide between this one with a still long-haired Harry Styles, or the one with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) ....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Terror in Orlando

Terror in Orlando: 50 killed in shooting rampage at gay club; gunman pledged allegiance to ISIS

Omar Mateen Committed LGBT Mass Murder. We Must Confront That

Saturday, June 11, 2016

This is why ....

I voted for Hillary - she is unequivocally for women. As she says in her speech, women's issues cannot just be dismissed as side issues ... "they're also family issues, they're economic issues, they're justice issues, they are fundamental to our country and our future".

- TIME: Hillary Clinton’s First Speech as Presumptive Nominee Puts ‘Women’s Issues’ Front and Center

- Mother Jones: Hillary Clinton Defends Reproductive Rights in First Speech as Presumptive Nominee

- ThinkProgress: Hillary Clinton's First Speech As The Presumptive Nominee Was About Reproductive Justice

- Slate: Hillary Clinton Proved Her Reproductive-Rights Chops in a Glorious Speech for Planned Parenthood

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mary M gets a feast day

Pope elevates memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to feast day

Recognizing St. Mary Magdalene's role as the first to witness Christ's resurrection and as a "true and authentic evangelizer," Pope Francis raised the July 22 memorial of St. Mary Magdalene to a feast on the church's liturgical calendar, the Vatican announced.

A decree formalizing the decision was published by the Congregation for Divine Worship June 10 along with an article explaining its significance. Both the decree and the article were titled "Apostolorum Apostola" ("Apostle of the Apostles").

In the article for the Vatican newspaper, Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the congregation, wrote that in celebrating "an evangelist who proclaims the central joyous message of Easter," St. Mary Magdalene's feast day is a call for all Christians to "reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelization and the greatness of the mystery of divine mercy." ....

Preaching about St. Mary Magdalene, Francis highlighted Christ's mercy toward a woman who was "exploited and despised by those who believed they were righteous," but she was loved and forgiven by him .... Francis also mentions her specifically in the prayer he composed for the Year of Mercy: "Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured paradise to the repentant thief." ...

This is a nice gesture. But we need more than gestures. Women are leaving the church and I doubt Mary M getting a feast day will make any of them change their minds. Mary was the person chosen by the risen Jesus to be the first he encountered, the apostle to the apostles, but if she was alive today, she would not be able to be even a "deaconess" in the Catholic church, much less a deacon or priest or cardinal. And Pope Francis seems to be perpetrating here the erroneous idea that Mary M was a prostitute. So this news is kind of a mixed bag.

Learn more about Mary M in this past podcast by Duke NT professor, Mark Goodacre ... NT Pod 13: Mary Magdalene: the First Woman Apostle

Thursday, June 09, 2016


- Ireland Abortion Ban Violated Woman’s Human Rights, U.N. Panel Says

- Police question French cardinal over pedophile priest

- AP warns reporters to be safe after harassment from Sanders fans ... and ... Sanders Supporters Contest NPR's Clinton 'Clinch' Call

- Reform groups challenge U.S. bishops to create 'a church for our daughters'

- Betraying the Faith of Christopher Hitchens

- Bernie Sanders Gives A Speech Divorced From Reality

- President Obama endorses Hillary for president ...

Saturday, June 04, 2016


- Pope Francis Scraps Abuse Tribunal for Bishops Who Cover Up Pedophile Priests

- The White Entitlement of Some Sanders Supporters

- Women's Ordination Worldwide meets, marches in Rome

- Do We Need Zoos?

Friday, June 03, 2016

Misty retires from baby-making

Today I was able to catch Misty the cat and take her to the vet to be spayed. That's cat #6 that I've had spayed or neutered since they first started showing up in my yard and I'm finally getting close to the end, I hope! I've been trying to catch Misty ever since she appeared a couple of years ago with kittens in tow. My new successful strategy = feeding her canned cat food inside the cat carrier every day for like a month. It was Misty's pile of kittens that I was able to catch falling off the roof of the house a few weeks ago, and 4 of the 5 kittens were there at the vet office in a large cage behind the desk, playing like little maniacs. One of them has already found a home :)

What Wolverine has for breakfast

Saw this today :) ....

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Where is God?

I saw a past article today by Diana Butler Bass (her most recent book is Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution ).

The title of her article is something I've been wondering about a lot lately - where are you, God, because you sure don't seem to be here. I haven't read the article yet myself, but maybe Diana Butler Bass has an answer I haven't considered yet. Here's the start of her article ...

Where is God?

It seems like a child’s question, a theological query during bedtime prayers or following a holy day at church or synagogue. Usually, the first answer we learned was simple, certain, and reliable: God is in heaven.

But “Where is God?” is not really a child’s question. It is a question many people are asking right now - one that often arises in the wake of troubling events, such as Roseburg, Aurora, or Sandy Hook. It was asked as the World Trade Center collapsed, as people drowned in New Orleans, died from Ebola, are tortured by terrorists and warlords, or murdered for the crime of being different. Where is God in the midst of this mess? There appears no reliable answer, and no reply completely trustworthy or logical. This theological question is roiling around a chaotic globe, and is being asked by so many people, that it may have emerged as one of the most consequential questions of our time. And it is a question that we have to answer for ourselves because the answers once proposed no longer seem to make sense ...

Bernie will get Trump elected

Saw this chilling video in the news today ...

Bernie's supporters have been convinced by him that denying the popular vote is somehow the right thing to do in a democracy, and they consider corrupt the same system that Bernie himself is using by trying to flip super-delegates. If they can't blackmail the Democratic Convention into nominating Bernie over the will of the voters, they will abstain from voting or will actually vote for Trump. If Trump wins, I will blame Bernie and the purity cult he's created.

- How the Democratic Race Will Probably End

- Bernie Sanders and Rigged Elections: Sometimes You Just Lose

- A Sanders Supporter Leans Toward Supporting Trump: Some Democratic primary voters are indulging in the dangerous fantasy that burning down the system is best.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Links and a book

- Major environmental group backs Hillary Clinton in its first presidential endorsement

- Poland’s Rethink on the Polanski Case

- Paul Krugman: Feel the Math: Hillary will win both nomination & election

- Johnny Depp’s defenders don’t get it: Being a “very low-key guy” isn’t evidence of anything

_Sorry, vegans: Bernie Sanders likes eating meat

- Clinton’s Fibs, and Her Opponents’ Double Whoppers

- And about the book: the latest kindle book I've downloaded from the public library is The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane (Sleepy Hollow). Here's a blurb from the Amazon page ...

In "Sleepy Hollow," a supernatural twist on Washington Irving's classic short story, Ichabod Crane has been pulled two-and-a-half centuries through time to find that he and detective Abbie Mills are humanity's last hope in the war against evil. Passionate, intelligent, and wryly funny, Crane has always used journals to collect thoughts and documents that may prove useful later, and The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane offers an unprecedented look at the battle also raging inside his fascinating mind.

On the pages within, Crane shares new memories of the American Revolution; more amusing reflections on modern-day phenomena, from the Internet to Election Day; and private thoughts about Abbie, Katrina, and others. He also includes hidden case files; secret Freemason puzzles; selections from George Washington's mysterious Bible; and photos, letters, and drawings he has collected along the way. Filled with detail about past battles and vanquished monsters, as well as clues about those he and Abbie have yet to face, this journal is not just the ultimate repository for fans, but the key to Sleepy Hollow’s future—and the world’s.

The tv series has been one of my favorites and the book is pretty fun so far :) Here's a video that will tell you all you need to know about Sleepy Hollow ...