“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

July 29, 2009

Flashback: Brent Bozell's 1994 Comment About Mitt Romney

July 28, 2009

What Would God's Facebook Page Look Like?

Probably not like this, but I have to give an A for effort and creativity to the folks who come up with stuff like these fake Facebook pages:

Here's another:

Mashable.com blogger Pete Cashmore comments on these hijinks:

With over 250 million users, Facebook is a social networking behemoth. The site is host to thousands of celebrity fan pages and has been taking steps to make these more appealing to self-promoters. On Saturday Bill Gates revealed that he’s not a Facebook user, and many other famous names are notably absent from the site. Which leads us to wonder…what might those pages look like? Fortunately, some of the web’s most creative minds had the exact same thought, and below we bring you the very best fake Facebook pages. . . . (continue reading)

July 27, 2009

Building the Magic Kingdom: Time-Elapse Footage of Disneyland's Construction

"John sends us "Rare and unseen footage of Disneyland's construction narrated by Imagineers. Includes some amazing new footage of Walt Disney walking the site before construction even started and some never-before-seen timelapse footage of the park from groundbreaking until opening day. This film was on the way to deep storage and was found by a curious employee, otherwise there's a good chance we'd never get to see this."

"This is just fascinating -- a look into the raw bones beneath one of the most polished created environments we have. The narration, from Tony Baxter, Ed Hobleman, and Walter Magnuson, is great. And I'm in heaven over the glimpses of the original Tomorrowland, another top time-traveller destination for me once I develop my Tardis.

"Be sure to click through to see the whole thing; this is just part one of five . . . . "

The Myth of Overpopulation Debunked Quickly and Easily

The Population Research Institute has a timely message for our society: "The idea of a world with no room or food is terrifying, but all it takes is checking the facts see how silly the whole thing is. We hope this video will do that for people."

Be sure to see this LifeSite article for more information about this ad campaign.

Would You Like to Have Dinner With Archbishop Charles Chaput?

You can! Be sure to save the date: October 8, 2009.

You are cordially invited to a gala dinner along with special guest speakers George Weigel (author of The Courage to Be Catholic and Witness to Hope), Joseph Bottum (publisher and editor of First Things Magazine), Father John Corapi (via video), Carl Anderson (Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, via video), and hundreds of grateful Catholics who will come together to honor the faithful and courageous leadership of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, author of the international best-selling book Render Unto Caesar.

Come and meet the Archbishop on October 8, 2009, as he is presented with the Envoy of the Year Award.

Please click here for more information in PDF format.

Date: October 8, 2009

Location: Hilton Charlotte Center City

222 East Third Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

(704) 377-1500 Fax: (704) 377-4143


For personalized service and to reserve your place at the table,
please call Mrs. Joan Bradley: 704-461-8009 or e-mail her at joanbradley@bac.edu

Tables are filling up quickly. Please reserve your spot as soon as possible.

If you are interested in sponsoring a table in your name or in the name of your organization, or if you would like to sponsor priests, religious, and college students who wish to attend this event,
please contact Mrs. Joan Bradley: 704-461-8009 or e-mail her at joanbradley@bac.edu. Thank you.

July 25, 2009

An Untraditional Wedding Procession

I have never seen or even heard of anything like this. Wow.

(Muchas gracias to Mr. H. for bringing this to my attention.)

Is Texas Heading Quietly Toward Secession?

It happened before, yes, but come on. Could it realistically happen again? Lots of folks would say no, it couldn't. But given all the weird stuff happening and all the unravelling going on in this country lately . . . a story like this takes on new and unsettling connotations.

Last time it happened was in 1861, and the burning issues of the day back then were states rights and slavery. Today, the new burning issues are, among other things, states rights, abortion, and "health care."

Yes, yes, I agree that it's far-fetched to imagine that, in this day and age, there could ever be a serious bid on the part of a state to break away from the U.S. And yet . . . I think that most of you would agree with me that there are plenty of really bad things going on these days that, 50, 30, or even just 10 years ago, would have seemed preposterously far-fetched. Am I wrong?

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry, raising the specter of a showdown with the Obama administration, suggested Thursday that he would consider invoking states’ rights protections under the 10th Amendment to resist the president’s healthcare plan, which he said would be "disastrous" for Texas.

Interviewed by conservative talk show host Mark Davis of Dallas’ WBAP/820 AM, Perry said his first hope is that Congress will defeat the plan, which both Perry and Davis described as "Obama Care." But should it pass, Perry predicted that Texas and a "number" of states might resist the federal health mandate.

"I think you’ll hear states and governors standing up and saying 'no’ to this type of encroachment on the states with their healthcare," Perry said. "So my hope is that we never have to have that stand-up. But I’m certainly willing and ready for the fight if this administration continues to try to force their very expansive government philosophy down our collective throats."

Perry, the state’s longest-serving governor, has made defiance of Washington a hallmark of his state administration as well as . . . (continue reading)

You never know who may be following this blog . . .

Click the pic . . .

Yes, Virginia. Saint Augustine Really Was Catholic.

Dave Armstrong has compiled a handy series of statements from the great bishop-apologist, Augustine of Hippo, detailing his teaching on the sacraments of the Catholic Church. It's a useful corrective against those, such as Calvinists, who attempt to portray St. Augustine as not having been Catholic, at least not in the "Roman Catholic" sense of the word.

This list is worth bookmarking, both for your own personal study of this patristic giant and for those times that may arise in which you need to debunk bogus claims about what St. Augustine really believed.

Oh, and you can find here and here a couple of related items that I posted here on this blog awhile back.

July 24, 2009

North Korea Publicly Executes Christian Woman for Distributing Bibles

North Korea publicly executed a Christian woman last month for distributing the Bible, which is banned in the communist nation, South Korean activists said Friday.

Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and organizing dissidents. She was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon near the border with China on June 16, according to a report from an alliance of several dozen anti-North Korea groups.

Ri's parents, husband and three children were sent to a political prison camp in the northeastern city of Hoeryong the following day, the report said, citing unidentified documents it says were obtained from North Korea. It showed a copy of Ri's North Korean government-issued photo ID.It is virtually impossible to verify such reports about secretive North Korea, where the government tightly controls the lives of its citizens and does not allow dissent.

On Thursday, an annual report from a state-run South Korean think tank on human rights in the North said that public executions, though dropping in number in recent years, were still carried out for crimes ranging from murder to circulating foreign movies.

North Korea claims to guarantee freedom of religion for its 24 million people but in reality severely restricts religious observances. The cult of personality surrounding national founder Kim Il Sung and his son, current leader Kim Jong Il, is a virtual state religion.

The government has authorized four state churches, one Catholic, two Protestant and one Russian Orthodox, but they cater to foreigners and ordinary North Koreans cannot attend. However, defectors and activists say more than 30,000 North Koreans are believed to practice Christianity secretly. . . . (continue reading)

July 23, 2009

Legionary Troop Movements in High Gear

In recent weeks, there has been a flurry of "troop movements" within the Legionaries of Christ, and it's not entirely clear to me yet what is behind it. To be sure, for a large, multi-national organization such as the Legion to have some level of constant movement of personnel is quite understandable and quite common to any group of this type, secular or religious.

But some of these recent LC perigrinations are unusual both in that they involve priests and lay people abruptly leaving the organization — a number of them high-profile folks (Fr. Thomas Berg, Tom Hoopes, Paul Bernetsky) — and others who are being transferred far afield at precisely the time of the apostolic visitaion, which is undertaking the Vatican investigation of the alleged problems within the order, in the wake of the recently disclosed Father Maciel scandals.

These new movements are in addition to the rumor that upwards of 25 Legionary priests (a dozen of whom are said to be Americans) are soon to depart en masse from the order to establish a new religious congregation. Keep in mind that that is merely a rumor. But given the recent high-level LC and RC defections, it is a plausible rumor.

Legionary-watcher "Cassandra" offers some intriguing tidbits about all this in a recent post. Some of these I've known about, others are new to me. But all of them, taken together, indicate a new pattern of LC personnel changes that is, at the very least, curious.

Father Antonio Rodriguez, for ages academic dean at the Legionary seminary in Cheshire, Connecticut, has removed to Switzerland. How will he now be able to testify to the apostolic visitation about the seminary?

Tom Hoopes, National Catholic Register editor, resigned this week. Together with Brendan McCaffery, Chief Operation Officer for Circle Media, let go last week, these represent decades and decades of experience at the highest level of Legionary operations in Connecticut. Will the visitation seek them out in Kansas or Les Avants-sur-Montreux or wherever or lose forever their testimony?]

Life-after-rc the other day reported that there is evidence that the Legionaries have been moving members around possibly to make them less available for the apostolic visitation to interview.

History may be repeating itself: that’s certainly what the Legionaries did in the late summer of 1956 in the face of
the first apostolic visitation. Legionary Brother José Domínguez, who had recently helped Father Maciel draft the fourth vow, was moved for the duration to Massa Lubrense on the southern extremity of the Bay of Naples. Brother Saúl Barrales spent nine months of 1957 in the Canary Islands. (See González “Testimonios y documentos inéditos” 278 and Berry and Renner “Vows of Silence” 182.)

In light of that, interesting:

Father Jonathan Morris, formerly vice rector of the Legionary seminary in Rome, is now on sabbatical for six months or more at Old St. Patrick’s in Manhattan. (
exlcbloglinks to the Old St. Patrick’s bulletin with this information.)

Yesterday, July 16, the National Catholic Register’s accountant was let go. This may have been another cost-cutting move – in the downturn the Register became a bi-weekly -- though cost-cutting was not the purpose of the
acquisition of Southern Catholic College announced yesterday as well.

Such movements would provoke an important procedural question for the apostolic visitation: will the visitators interview only Legionaries and employees currently in place or will they also seek out former Legionaries, those on sabbatical, and those no longer employed? It’s not as if Father Morris can hide in lower Manhattan, but how can Bishop Versaldi, whose responsibility includes Italy, interview him if he is not in Rome? How will Archbishop Chaput, whose responsibility includes the US, interview him if he is on sabbatical from a Legionary assignment? (continue reading)

New Legionary Imbroglio Erupts Over Probate Fight With Wealthy Benefactress's Family

The Hartford Courant (a newspaper that has for years been vociferously antagonistic in its coverage of the Legionaries of Christ and their founder, Father Maciel) reccently reported the story of a new court fight between the Legion and the family of the late Gabrielle Mee, a wealthy widow who, in her old age, became a consecrated member of the order's Regnum Christi women's branch.

Mee's family is fighting to recover the millions in cash and real estate that she donated to the Legion. They want the money returned to them, arguing that, "Had she been aware of what is going on with the [order and its leader] there is no way she would have left everything to them."

It will be interesting to see who emerges victorious in this struggle over the money, mainly because the court's ruling could portend how future such lawsuits may be adjuticated if more are brought by others who have the same type of complaint against the Legion.

In addition to the Courant's report below, be sure to also read an opposing view of this matter, written last month by someone identifying himself as a relative of Mrs. Mee who disagrees with the arguments the rest of the family are making against the Legion.

When Gabrielle Mee died in May 2008 on the Greenville, R.I., campus of the Legionaries of Christ, her caregivers mourned the loss of the order's "grandmother."

Leaders of the secretive Roman Catholic order rushed from Connecticut and New York to pay their final respects. Six of her consecrated "sisters" carried her plain wooden coffin to the cemetery where she was buried next to her husband, Timothy Mee.

None of her family attended the service for Mee, who was 96 when she died. In fact, many of her relatives didn't find out that Gabrielle Mee had died until nearly a year later when a letter from the Legionaries' lawyer arrived, notifying them that the Probate Court in North Smithfield, R.I., was about to administer her will.

What relatives discovered is that since the mid-1990s Gabrielle Mee steadily turned over real estate and money — upwards of $7.5 million — to the Legionaries of Christ, which is headquartered in Orange, Conn.

Stunned family members are accusing the church of taking advantage of a lonely, deeply religious older woman. They have hired a Providence attorney to contest her will . . . (continue reading)

July 21, 2009

Cletus, Take the Reel

I am not much of a Country Music fan, but I know that many of you probably are. And many of you are familiar with Carrie Underwood's hit song "Jesus, Take the Wheel." (You can watch it here, if you aren't.)

Now I introduce you to Tim Hawkins, singing "Cletus, Take the Reel."

Enjoy . . .

Obama's Science Czar Considered Forced Abortions, Sterilization as Population Growth Solutions

President Obama's "science czar," Paul Holdren, once floated the idea of forced abortions, "compulsory sterilization," and the creation of a "Planetary Regime" that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet -- controversial ideas his critics say should have been brought up in his Senate confirmation hearings.

Holdren, who has degrees from MIT and Stanford and headed a science policy program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for the past 13 years, won the unanimous approval of the Senate as the president's chief science adviser.

He was confirmed with little fanfare on March 19 as director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, a 50-person directorate that advises the president on scientific affairs, focusing on energy independence and global warming.

But many of Holdren's radical ideas on population control were not brought up at his confirmation hearings; it appears that the senators who scrutinized him had no knowledge of the contents of a textbook he co-authored in 1977, "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," a copy of which was obtained by FOXNews.com.

The 1,000-page course book, which was co-written with environmental activists Paul and Anne Ehrlich, discusses and in one passage seems to advocate totalitarian measures to curb population growth, which it says could cause an environmental catastrophe.

The three authors summarize their guiding principle in a single sentence: "To provide a high quality of life for all, there must be fewer people." . . . (continue reading)

Attention, Bush Haters

You people who think President George W. Bush was "the dumbest president ever" (and, amazingly, many of you still do), please note that political blogger Josh Ray has this message for you:

I just got this in an email from a good friend who is currently serving in the Marines:

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia , would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent “Austrian language,” would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current on their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to Cinco de Cuatro in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the fourth of May (Cuatro de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word advice would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded hes a hypocrite?

If George W. Bushs administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W.. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plans holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can’t think of anything? Don’t worry. He’s done all this in 5 months — so you’ll have three years and seven months to come up with an answer.

No. Common-sense, naive, incompetent, uninformed voters did this to themselves. Insanity is wide-spread. Real Americans are waking up. (source)

A Classic Case of Having One's Priorities Bass Ackwards

[Hummed to the tune of the "Beverly Hillbillies" theme song . . .]
Come and listen to a story about a man named Ed, a poor parish priest, barely kept his people fed. Then one day he got the bright idea to run for public office and leave the ministry.

Polictics, that is, fool's gold, secularity.

Well the next think you know old Ed's the governer. His bishop said, "Ed, move away from there!" Said, "Standing in the pulpit is the place you ought to be!" But Ed loaded up his truck and moved into the governor's residence.

Frills, that is. Swimming pools, movie stars.

A Filipino priest, elected provincial governor in northern Philippines, said God has called him to run in the presidential race next year.

Gov. Eddie Panlilio, 55, who became the first Filipino priest to sit in public office, said he loves his priesthood very much, but he might be forced to leave it for the sake of the nation.

The priest-turned-politician is now very busy going around the country to complete their slate of candidates for the 2010 national elections. The governor, however, stressed his decision is not yet final since he still needs to feel the public pulse and acceptance of his candidacy.

Panlilio, who is suspended from performing priestly duties for entering politics, defeated two administration candidates in a close race for the governorship in Pampanga in 2007.

If elected, Panlilio said his administration would focus on the areas of livelihood, health, food security, and would address the problem of insurgency and corruption. (source)

See also here.

July 20, 2009

Father Maciel and His Thousand-Dollar Hams

Journalist Jason Berry, a long-time nemesis of the disgraced, recently deceased Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, levels more unsavory accusations about the priest's bizarre double life:

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed five bishops from as many countries to investigate the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order founded in 1941 by the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest who is accused of sexually abusing young seminarians, and who left a grown daughter who was born out-of-wedlock.

Even after death, Maciel wields power through the influence he secured. While the American Catholic Church has been publicly battered by two decades of priest sexual abuse scandals that erupted in the press and devastated church finances with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on compensating victims and legal fees, the Maciel scandal has gone largely unnoticed by most of the American press.

There’s a reason: For decades, the Legion shunned the media while Maciel cultivated relationships with some of the most powerful, conservative Catholics in the world. He also forced his priests and seminarians to take vows never to criticize him, or any superior. The legion built a network of prep schools and an astonishing database of donors. In Maciel's militant spirituality, Legionaries — and their wing of lay supporters, Regnum Christi — see themselves as saving the church from a corrupted world. Behind the silence he imposed, Maciel was corrupt — abusing seminarians and using money in ways that several past and present seminarians liken to bribery, in forging ties with church officials.

The silence Maciel imposed on his followers allowed Maciel to pursue a double life.

Maciel, who was born into a wealthy ranching family in Mexico, wooed cardinals and bishops with money, fine wines, $1,000 hams and even a new car — and in so doing secured support for his religious order inside the Roman Curia.

Now, as the investigating bishops, called “visitators” — from America, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Chile — begin travels for interviews in the order’s far-flung religious houses, two Vatican officials are in the Legion’s corner.

Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals and the former Secretary of State, and Franc Rode, the cardinal who oversees religious congregations, were both longtime allies of Maciel and strong supporters of the order today.

The issue facing Benedict has no precedent in modern church history: whether to dismantle a movement with a $650 million budget yet only about 700 priests and 2,500 seminarians, or to keep the brand name and try to reform an organization still run as a cult of personality to its founder. Excessive materialism and psychological coercion tactics continue Maciel’s legacy.

Two years ago Benedict abolished the “secret vows” by which each Legionary swore never to criticize Maciel or any superior, and to report any criticism to the leadership. The vows helped facilitate Maciel’s secret life of sexual plunder. . . . (continue reading)