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Sunday, July 31, 2016


- Snowden and WikiLeaks clash over leaked Democratic Party emails

- The Latest: Pope on Pell: Let Justice Take Its Course

- Two Catholic Theologians – Public Funding for Abortion and Poor Women

- HBO Slammed For Sexual Violence Against Women in Its Shows

- I've been watching an episode of the old Star Trek and in it Mr. Spock made an observation about people (homo sapiens) that experience is teaching me to share ;) ...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cardinal Pell and Tim Kaine

A couple of things in the news ...

- Cardinal Pell is once again alleged to have committed sex abuse: Australian Police Investigating Cardinal Over Sex-Abuse Allegations. Of course, the Pope will just ignore this latest negative info on Pell as he has since he chose Pell for a high spot at the Vatican: Cardinal George Pell won’t be asked to stand down from Vatican post, church insiders say. For more on Pell, check out my post from last year, The continuing badness of Cardinal Pell

- Hillary's VP pick, Tim Kaine, has gone back and forth on his stance on the Hyde Amendment. The latest has him saying he supports keeping it ... Tim Kaine Still Believes That Poor People Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Pay for Abortions With Medicaid. This is bad news for those of us who care about women's rights ... Tim Kaine Supports the Hyde Amendment but Says He’s Pro-Choice. That’s Impossible. Maybe it's not too late for Hillary to swap him out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mouse and the trumpet vine

The trumpet vine is blooming ...

And I finally was able to catch Mouse to go to the vet to be neutered. They looked at his sore arm too but the news wasn't good - apparently it was actually broken and then healed in such a way that he now can't bend his elbow. At present, at least, fixing that isn't really practical, but maybe we can in the future ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A few links

- Here is the speech given tonight about Hillary by her husband Bill Clinton. It's really amazing all that she has accomplished (The Sneaky Feminism Of Bill Clinton’s First Gentleman Speech) ...

- Why the D.N.C. E-Mails Aren’t Scandalous

- Cecile Richards: Tim Kaine Is An Incredible Ally for All Women

- Watch Usher, Sheryl Crow Tell Politicians 'Stop Using Our Songs' :) ...

The monster that Bernie built

It's day 2 of the Democratic National Convention and Bernie supporters are still protesting. What are they protesting? They believe the DNC rigged the election - they're wrong: Bernie lost fair and square, with Hillary getting millions more of the popular vote. What are they hoping to accomplish? That I can't answer - do they really believe that if they sulk long and hard enough, the DNC will subvert the popular vote and hand the nomination over to the loser?

I blame Bernie. He crafted this cult of personality and it was an ugly thing ... recall the thousands of death threats made by Bernie supporters to a DNC official because Bernie lost the vote in Nevada. Now the monster will not die and no one has control over it. Job well done, Bernie.

Watch an MSNBC Host Confront Bernie Sanders Delegates About Denial

Monday, July 25, 2016

Zen: Hair :)

The Dutch rock band of the past, Zen, and their version of Hair ...

Give me a head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...

Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

They'll be ga-ga at the go-go
When they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond
Biblical hair

My hair like Jesus wore it
Hallelujah, I adore it
Hallelujah, Mary loved her son
Why don't my mother love me?

Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

More on Tim Kaine

Do you guys get political emails like I do? I guess it's a result of having made a few small contributions to Hillary's campaign (I think $17 in total). Anyway, the latest email is from Tim Kaine, Hillary's VP pick, introducing himself. I thought maybe others might also like to see what he had to say ....

Thank you so much for the warm welcome to the team, Crystal!

I could not be more honored to fight alongside you -- I know that together, we're going to win in November.

I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit more about myself -- and bear with me, Crystal, since I know you might not have even heard of me before yesterday!

Growing up in Kansas, vice president was never a job I aspired to.

My dad ran an iron-working shop and my entire family pitched in to help.

My parents taught me the lessons that have guided my entire life -- my mom once told me: "Tim, you have to decide if you want to be right or do right. If you want to be right, be a pessimist. If you want to do right, be an optimist."

Crystal, I've been an optimist ever since. And since my time at a Jesuit boys school, I've been a man of faith.

After racing through college and starting at Harvard Law, I took a year off to volunteer with missionaries in Honduras. I got a firsthand look at a system in which the few folks at the top had all the power and everyone else got left behind.

That experience convinced me: We've got to expand opportunity and equality for everyone, no matter where they come from, how much money they have, what they look like, or who they love.

I'm lucky to have married a woman who felt the same: Anne is the daughter of Virginia Governor Linwood Holton, who integrated Virginia's public schools and modeled how important it was by sending his kids in to lead the way.

Anne and I settled in Richmond, started a family, joined a church, and made our home together. I took on work as a civil rights lawyer, representing people who were denied housing because of their race or disability.

I found myself at a lot of City Council meetings to raise the issues I was dealing with on behalf of my clients. But the infighting was horrible! So in 1994, I decided to run for office. I knocked on every door in my district, and I won by 94 votes. (I know the value of the kind of organizing this team is doing!)

If I'm good at anything in public life, it's because I started on the local level, listening to people, learning about their lives, and trying to find consensus.

In the years that followed, I became mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor of Virginia, and in 2006, I served as governor.

I had to make tough calls during the recession. But I'm proud of what we accomplished in Virginia: the best managed state, the best state for business, and my personal favorite accolade, the best state to raise a child.

I've kept it up as Virginia's senator. And I won't stop when Hillary and I are in the White House. We'll do what we know best: Deliver results for people.

That's what drives us both. Hillary and I have different faiths but we share a common creed: Do all the good you can in all the ways you can.

We don't back away from tough fights. We're energized by them. Hillary and I have a strong progressive agenda and we're not going to get distracted from it.

We'll make our economy work for everyone. We'll make college debt-free. We'll take on the NRA, we'll work toward comprehensive immigration reform -- we'll fight for paid family leave, and equality for women, and making sure every kid has a chance to live up to their potential.

These are tough times -- but we're tough people. We can do it.

Let's go, Crystal. I'm excited to work with you to make history:

Thanks again for the warm welcome.


In Germany

From The Atlantic/CityLab: Germany's Week of Terror

- July 18: Ax-wielding attacker on train roils Germany over migrants

- July 22: Munich Gunman Was German-Iranian Teenager With ‘No Islamic Militant Ties’

- July 24: Germany machete attack: Syrian asylum seeker murders 'pregnant' woman in Reutlingen

- July 25: Suicide bomber in Germany pledged allegiance to ISIS leader in video

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Tim Kaine: 'let women be priests'

Hillary has chosen her running mate, Virginia senator Tim Kaine. He's a Catholic who has received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood for voting consistently pro-choice. The environmentalist group, League of Conservation Voters, likes him too. Still, many feel he's not quite liberal enough, and I do wish Hillary had chosen Elizabeth Warren instead. Having said that, though, I was happy to see this ...

Let women be priests, Sen. Kaine tells the pope

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a practicing Catholic and former missionary, had a clear message Wednesday for Pope Francis: Allow women to become priests.
Hillary's VP pick: Tim Kaine
Kaine said ending the church's centuries-old rule that only men can be ordained would be the most significant thing the pope could do.

"If women are not accorded equal place in the leadership of the Catholic Church and the other great world religions, they will always be treated as inferiors in earthly matters as well," Kaine said in a statement. "There is nothing this Pope could do that would improve the world as much as putting the Church on a path to ordain women." .....

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Pope, Star Trek, Trump, and foxes

- The Pope stomps on women yet again. When will those Jesuits who consistently tout his wonderful-ness have the integrity to call him on his sexism? Francis mandates changes for contemplative women religious, requests revision of constitutions

- New Star Trek movie :) From TIME: How Kirk and Spock’s Relationship Held Star Trek Together

- Jon Stewart's Well-Timed Comeback

- An Irishman and his fox children

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Carpool Karaoke: the First Lady

Michelle Obama's Glorious, Savvy 'Carpool Karaoke' Clip. Enjoy :) ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

London Has Fallen

- Butler in better days

My latest movie rental was London Has Fallen. I signed up for it because I like Gerard Butler. I thought to myself, how bad can it be? It can't be any worse than Gods of Egypt! I was so wrong ;)

The basic plot: The British Prime Minister dies and the heads of state of many countries, including America, must go to the funeral in London. Little do they know that an arms dealer/terrorist whose family was maimed/killed in a US drone attack a couple of years earlier has elaborately planned, with the help of a UK mole, to kill them all (and blow up lots of famous landmarks). Only the US President survives, thanks to the dogged determination of Secret Service agent, Mike Banning (Butler).

There are no good reviews of the film - it's that bad - but here's an interesting one from NPR ... Saving The President's Bacon Again In 'London Has Fallen'

The movie I liked Gerard Butler best in was Timeline. It's one of the few movies he's been in where he actually gets to be Scottish ;) Here a clip from it with him and Paul Walker ...

I hope he'll be in some better films like Timeline in the future. Meanwhile, here's a trailer for London Has Fallen ....

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Yard photos

One of the roses that's fading but still looks pretty ...

The evening primrose plant is taller than me now :) ...

Thor, relaxing on the dead tree ...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Your donations to Peter's Pence

- Candy Crush Saga

I was reading an article by Jesuit Thomas Reese about the recent VatiLeaks trial ... 'VatiLeaks': A foolish and embarrassing case ... and it made me wonder what the guys at the Vatican have actually been doing with all the money they collect from those in the pews for Peter's Pence, that money sent to the Vatican to be used to help people in need. Here's what the Vatican states about Peter's Pence ...

“‘Peter’s Pence’ is the most characteristic expression of the participation of all the faithful in the Bishop of Rome’s charitable initiatives in favour of the universal Church. The gesture has not only a practical value, but also a strong symbolic one, as a sign of communion with the Pope and attention to the needs of one’s brothers; and therefore your service possesses a refined ecclesial character”. (Address to the Members of the St Peter Circle, 25 February 2006).

The ecclesial value of this gesture becomes evident when one considers how charitable initiatives are connatural to the Church, as the Pope stated in his first Encyclical Deus caritas est (25 December 2005):

“The Church can never be exempted from practising charity as an organized activity of believers and, on the other hand, there will never be a situation where the charity of each individual Christian is unnecessary, because in addition to justice man needs, and will always need, love” (No. 29) ...

Well, the truth of what Peter's Pence is really being used for is somewhat less noble ....

[...] “Holy Father…there is a complete absence of transparency in the bookkeeping both of the Holy See and the Governorate,” five auditors wrote Francis in 2013, according to Nuzzi’s book. “Costs are out of control and it is quite difficult to meet with anyone, due to the fact that many in the Vatican are often too busy playing Candy Crush.”

It goes on to mention that Vatican officials had spent all of 2014’s Peter’s Pence money in just over two months on Clash of Clans gem upgrades.

“Every day I walk the streets of Rome and see the homeless and other citizens of this city,” one anonymous Vatican official told EOTT. “Not on purpose…I mean I’m not trying to see them. I’d rather not see them, but since the homeless and other Romans are there walking, I am often forced to look up so I do not trip, but when I look up, I begin to lose in Clash of Clans. When I lose, I need to spend more money on the app. Since it is typically the fault of a drunk homeless man bumping into me on my way to work, then it should be the homeless man that pays for the in-app purchase. But they have no money, so I simply take it from Peter’s Pence. And like that, we are even. It all makes sense now?”

I was so curious that I had took up the games mentioned - Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. Actually, I never did get to Clash of Clans because I found a place online to play Candy Crush and I've been standing at the computer, playing like a brain dead zombie ever since.

I'm making light of this, but really, if I still attended church I would be horrified by the misuse of my donations. I don't know how people manage to ignore all the Vatican's badness.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The firecracker saga continues

I wrote in an earlier post that someone has been throwing firecrackers into my yard or driveway at my cats. It's been happening most days or nights, always (except once) when I'm inside. So last night I stayed out with the cats as much as possible and around 11:30 pm someone went by on his bike. Not unusual. But then he went by again and again and again, back and forth, and at one point when he went off down the block, there was the sound of firecrackers. For the next 15 minutes he did this this - he could obviously see me - and then he seemed to give up and leave for good. I don't doubt he'll be back.

What do normal people do in this kind of situation? Do they confront the person? Do they just ignore it and wait for it to pass? The one time something like this happened before - someone knocking my mailbox off its stand over and over - I did see it happen finally and chased the guys who did it down the street, telling them off. It didn't happen anymore after that. But I can't chase anyone now with my bad knee, and the cats are here now too, little hostages to fate if I piss someone off too much.

I know that in the grand scheme of things ... one only has to read the news ... my worries are petty, but still it's tiring to be harassed, to be worried all the time because you don't know if or when it will happen, to know someone out there has made the decision to make your life worse.

"Let’s Grow Up, Liberals"

Let’s Grow Up, Liberals

At last! Senator Bernie Sanders joined Hillary Clinton on a New Hampshire stage Tuesday to say two things many of us had begun to despair we’d ever hear from him. One, that he actually did lose the 2016 primary campaign to Secretary Clinton, and two, that he was endorsing her for president of the United States.

Sure, Senator Sanders’s embrace of the presumptive Democratic nominee included all the inclinations that many of us have come to find, shall we say, a tad grating about the man: his interminable, self-congratulatory stump speech, wearingly bereft of humor, argument, story or anecdote, more a listing of all bad things in the world and how they must be put right, delivered in his usual droning shout. The need to make it all about the platform concessions he had wrangled out of Mrs. Clinton, and the historical magnitude of the Senator himself: “Together we have begun a political revolution to transform America and that revolution continues.” Followed by about as short and perfunctory an actual endorsement as possible.

At least it was done. If Achilles had sulked this long in his tent we would all be speaking Trojan .....

Heh :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mary Magdalene movie

- Mary Magdalen and angels from St. John's Cathedral

Coming to a theater near you, a new movie about Mary M ... Chiwetel Ejiofor in Talks to Play Peter the Apostle in Mary Magdalene Movie

Chiwetel Ejiofor is in talks to join Mary Magdalene as Peter the Apostle.

If cast, the Oscar nominee will star opposite Rooney Mara as Magdalene and Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus Christ in the Garth Davis-direct film, which is being described as an "authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history." ...

That would be great. I'm actually just watching him in a film right how - 2012 - and saw him most recently in The Martian.

Don't know what the film will actually be about, but hopefully it will be interesting ... maybe they will reference the Gnostic Gospel of Mary, which would kind of pit her and Peter against each other.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bye Bye Bernie

- Bernie’s Uninspiring Endorsement ...

Bernie Sanders went off for a month to contemplate life after the revolution, and this was the best he could come up with? “Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that.”

So said Sanders at a rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where he appeared on stage with Hillary Clinton as an ally for the first time. As big events go, it felt pretty small, with Sanders waving his arms around and offering up his usual list of shouted slogans.

Sanders avoided subjects like war and foreign affairs, since he and Clinton disagree violently on those things. He harped on his successes, which was understandable, but it was passing strange when he claimed that he and his backers “showed the world that we could run a successful national campaign based on small individual contributions.”

Yes, if you define successful as losing ....

- Does Hillary Clinton even need Bernie Sanders? ...

Bernie Sanders at long last appeared alongside Hillary Clinton on Tuesday morning in New Hampshire for an endorsement that had been a long time coming — surely too long, if you are on Team Clinton — but was also somewhat anti-climactic.

Of course Clinton would prefer to unite her party and have Sanders's long-withheld support to ensure against his supporters staying home or perhaps even supporting Donald Trump.

But in recent weeks, it's also become clear they were very unlikely to do that.

In fact, two polls showed Sanders supporters rallying to Clinton rather quickly and overwhelmingly, with more than 8 in 10 saying they would support Clinton in the general election. In both polls, fewer than 1 in 10 Sanders backers indicated that they would support Trump — despite his efforts to woo them ...

Sunday, July 10, 2016


- A Week of Bloodshed in America

- Is Pope Francis Pro-life? The Perplexing Silence of Laudato Si’ on Human Overpopulation

- The Debate Over Sulu’s Sexuality in Star Trek Beyond Should Set Off Your Red Alert

- The Importance of Contraception to the Zika Fight

- I'm looking forward to seeing this sometime soon :) ...

The church on not-really-married sex

In the news, Catholic Bishop Wants to Ban Married Sex: A conservative bishop in Philadelphia says remarried Catholics can take communion just as long as they aren’t having sex. And gays? Fuggedaboutit.

Yep, Catholic views on people's sex lives has reached The Daily Beast ;) What makes it news is that conservative Archbishop Chaput is willing to put into public words the church's belief (a belief shared by Pope Francis, BTW) that people who are divorced/remarried and LGBT people who are married are not really married. And since the church only allows married people to have sex (in theory), divorced/remarried people and married LGBT people must refrain from sex in order to be in good standing.

This is why there's the dust-up over whether divorced/remarried people can take communion - given the church's doctrine, these people are living in continuous sin if they're having a sex life. They can't even confess their sin, be forgiven, and then go to communion, because they plan to continue to sin .... what's weird is that if they had murdered their spouse instead of merely divorcing them, they actually could confess, be forgiven, and go to communion.

And when I wrote that Catholics in good standing are not supposed to have sex outside of marriage in theory, what I meant was that at any given time about half of the celibate clergy is having sex, and that almost all Catholics have sex before marriage and that most cohabit before marriage. Yet there's no great campaign to stop all these people from going to communion, as there is with divorced/remarrieds and LGBT marrieds.

But, anyway, there's a way out for these not-really-married people (well, unless they're LGBT). Just buy an annulment from the church in which you and the church enter into the fiction that you were actually never really married the first time. Then your second marriage becomes your first (wink wink) and the church gets to preserve the falsehood that it follows Jesus' advice not to allow divorce.

The level of cynicism and dishonesty is depressing. And what is never discussed is whether the church has got the view of what Jesus meant wrong. That is the one bridge too far for the church - admitting it might be mistaken.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Last Ship

The 3rd season of The Last Ship has begun, so my latest viewing experience is a re-watching of seasons 1 and 2 of the series. For those not aware, it's ...

an American post-apocalyptic drama television series, based on the 1988 novel of the same name by William Brinkley. In May 2013, the cable network TNT placed a 10-episode order for the series .... After a global viral pandemic wipes out over 80% of the world's population, the crew (consisting of 218 men and women) of a lone unaffected U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James (DDG-151), must try to find a cure, stop the virus, and save humanity.

It's pretty fun and action-filled ... no surprise, given that Michael Bay, the executive producer, has made action films from The Rock and The Island to the recent 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

To catch you up, here's a trailer for season 1 ...

And season 2 ...

And season 3 ...

Friday, July 08, 2016

Cupich: not a liberal beacon

The Pope has appointed Archbishop Cupich to the Congregation for Bishops. The idea is that he's so liberal that in the future we will end up with liberal bishops. I don't think so. This is the man who implied that marriage equality would lead to incest and polygamy. Here's part of what he wrote in 2012 in Spokane, Washington, against a marriage equality referendum, in "Some Reflections on Referendum 74 " ...

[...] If there is anything we have come to appreciate and value more fully in this modern age, it is that men and women are not the same. That is true not only biologically, but on so many other levels. Men and women are not interchangeable. They each bring something of their difference to complement each other. In a marriage union, a mutual sharing of each other’s difference creates life, but it also nourishes that life in a family where sons and daughters learn about gender from the way it is lived by their mothers and fathers. The decision to unhinge marriage from its original grounding in our biological life should not be taken lightly for there are some things enacted law is not capable of changing. Thoughtful consideration should be given to the significant consequences such unhinging will mean for children, families, society and the common good .....

If marriage is only about relationships, why limit unions to two people? Why does the new law include the traditional prohibition of close kinship unions for both opposite and same sex couples? The threat of genetic disorders in children is not an issue for same sex couples. Is it not reasonable to assume that a closely related same sex couple will in time successfully challenge this prohibition as an unreasonable imposition? .... In the coming weeks I will provide through the Inland Register, and our websites ( and materials based on what we believe God has revealed to us about creation, the meaning and value of marriage and family, and the way we are called to live as Christ’s disciples.

So, he's not exactly a liberal beacon in the night and I wouldn't expect the guys he picks as bishops to be any better. What few liberals there are left in the church are so demoralized that it seems to them like a victory to simply have someone appointed to the Congregation for Bishops who isn't obessed by man-lace like Burke or who isn't a signatory to the notorious Manhattan Declaration like Rigali. Sad. I guess I sound bitter ;) and I suppose I am. I joined the church like 20 years ago and nothing has changed for the better on the issues that matter to me in all this time (a mere change in "tone" doesn't count).

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

This is why I hate fireworks

Police: Man tortured chained dog with fireworks

On the muzak at Whole Foods tonight :)

Rick Springfield: Jessie's Girl ...

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

The book I'm reading now is timely - Independence Day: Resurgence: The Official Movie Novelization.

I was so looking forward to the movie so decided to read the book while I waited to rent it. As noted in The Atlantic, the original Independence Day film was The Last of the Great Escapist Blockbusters, and I thought it was great fun, so I'm hoping the sequel will be fun too. Many of the original characters return to the second film - Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Brent Spiner.

Sadly, the movie got mostly bad reviews - Richard Roeper hated it - but there were a few who liked it ... ndependence Day: Resurgence Review.

Here's a trailer ...

Saturday, July 02, 2016


- Remembering Elie Wiesel

- Is Pope Francis Pro-life? The Perplexing Silence of Laudato Si’ on Human Overpopulation

- Pope Francis should do more than just apologize, demand gay Catholic groups

- Even Christian Pharmacists Have to Stock Plan B

- Can You Really Rebuild Tarzan Out Of Whole (Loin) Cloth? ...

Zachary Quinto: Star Wars v Star Trek

Zachary Quinto with Stephen Colbert ....

Here he is in a past commercial with Leonard Nimoy. The two Spocks :) ...

Friday, July 01, 2016

Fostering the hope that there's hope

I've been watching season 4 of Once Upon A Time. In the last two episodes, Operation Mongoose, part 1 and 2, the characters lives have been all switched around, with good guys being the unlucky losers now, and the bad guys getting to be the heroes with happy endings. Only Henry has been unaffected and he tries to convince his adopted mother that her life should really be different than it is. Sad how convinced she is that her life cannot get better. She tells Henry, "I'm not the kind of person that gets happy endings. I'll never have true love .... you gave me the worst thing you can give anyone. Hope." ....

I know the feeling.