Friday, April 18, 2003

Catholicism: Why the Scandals Hurt

As a practicing Catholic, it’s hard to watch, time and time again, sexual scandals appear in the church.

It’s even harder for the victims to be the targets of molestation.

There is not a person out there that will argue the above point. There is another affect of these scandals, and that is the affect of credibility.

In debating the war in Iraq, my two points have been 1) an unproven track record on behalf of the Bush Administration to the follow-up after a war. And 2) This war being labeled Unjust by the Pope, and many other religious leaders.

Every time a priest molests a child, every time a Friar sweeps a sexual misconduct charge under the rug, it undermines the church’s credibility.

It’s a weak argument on behalf of the Pro-war side, but when I mention the religious aspect, they respond “Oh, the same Pope that allows child abuse?” Unfortunately, Yes. The same Pope.

It has been 41 years since Vatican II. How the world has changed since 1962.

Good Friday is a day of reflection. I’ve been doing some self-reflection, but also to the Church which I belong.

Why can’t women be priests?
Why can’t priests marry, or be married?
In a world of over 10 billion people, why does the church still shun birth control?
Why is abortion the only subject that the majority of Catholics care about?
Why are we not fighting against executions with the same zeal that we fight against abortion?
Why do segments of the Catholic community try to push Dashchle out of the Church for his views on abortion, yet allow Tom DeLay to criticize the Holy See’s labeling of the Iraq War Unjust?

On this, Good Friday, the day humankind executed Jesus Christ, this is what I think about.

Catholicism: Yet another Scandal

A Catholic College in San Francisco is under fire again for failing to report to local police incidents of Sexual Abuse on its students.

St. Mary’s has apparently been sweeping charges under the rug, including charges by Tony LaRussa’s daughter.

Full story, as reported by KGO in S.F.

I doubt this is the only school that’s doing this. It’s grabbing attention because it’s Catholic.

But, because it IS Catholic, and because of the current scandals associated with the Catholic Church, it is vastly important for this school to have taken a better choice of action than which they did.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Post War Iraq: Hangovers.

It did not take long for the post-Saddam love fest to turn into a hangover, as I predicted last week.

"They are aggressors," wheezed Ali Ahmed, 17, lying in a hospital bed as a tube drained fluid from his lungs. "They destroyed us. They put us in war and didn't let us sleep. They just raided Baghdad."
Ahmed said he was shot in the back by an American bullet Friday as he left his home to purchase bread for his family's breakfast. A suicide bomber attacked U.S. troops up the street, and Ahmed accused the Americans of responding with indiscriminate fire.

Apparently this individual doesn’t know that he’s been liberated.

Actor Fadel Abbas watched his theater get torched by looters.
"They didn't want to protect these places — only the oil ministry," he said. "Why the oil ministry?"

“Freedom is untidy” – Donald Rumsfield, Pentagon Breifing

“They are killing us and no one's talking about it. We want Saddam back," said Zahra Yassin, whose 17-year-old son was shot in the stomach and wounded. "Let the embargo return. At least there was security."

“Stuff Happens” – Donald Rumsfield on Meet the press

May God not only bless, but forgive America.

Holy Week: Executions

Probably should have saved this one for Good Friday, but this poster is too good to pass on.

The story behind this goes like this:

The intended message is that it's just unconscionable that we could execute people in a very fallible criminal justice system that makes mistakes," McDowell said. "And I don't understand how we can get a perfect system.
"And I hope that it makes people feel since he forgave his executioners, those of us who have been victimized, as painful and as horrible as it is, we can still find a way to forgive."

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Blogging: Aggregation

A question facing any blogger these days is what kind of site does he or she want to run. Basically, it breaks down to two different schools of blogging: Aggregation or Commentary. Occasionally, you will see “old-school journalism,” but this usually require a budget, something most bloggers are lacking.

I was faced with this question earlier tonight, while driving back from my office. Dave Sutor over at phugit mentioned something about how he rarely Aggregates. (Aggregation is the practice of just linking to a bunch of articles written by others).

I, on the other hand, try to balance the two. Why? Is regurgitation of other’s work easier? I’d be lying to you to say that it wasn’t. But there are other reasons this is done.

If you have been living under the rear axle of a Ford 150 for the past three months, you probably haven’t noticed that the only subject in the news has been Iraq. For the rest of us non-axle dwellers, this has been all we have been fed by mainstream media. You almost would believe that nothing else is occurring except for the troubles in Iraq. How many times did you see mention of the Northern Ireland Peace Process breaking down on TV? Did you even know that there WAS a process to be broken down?

But, that’s only half of the problem. Although the cable news networks have been devoting 24/7 coverage of the Iraq crisis, they are doing a rather horrid job at it. The “story cycle” goes like this: (using WMD as an example only)

Story 1: Embedded Journalist locates POSSIBLE weapons find in Iraq.
Story 2: CENTCOM cannot comment on possible weapons find.
Story 3: CENTCOM can confirm that there is a possible weapons find.
Story 4: CENTCOM announces that the find was not weapons.

Not only is that list in chronological order, it’s in the order that the media networks “play” the story.

Aggregating allows the fourth story, which is JUST as important as the first, to get some much needed attention.

Call the mainstream’s practices what you will, but the truth is that it is a failure of modern journalism.

It’s this failure that has caused blogs on the left AND right to gain popularity. Doubt this? Take a look at the “hits” on the king of conservative aggregators, Matt Drudge.

Drudge proudly displays that his site has had 9.5 million hits in the last 24 hours, 192 million in the last month, and 1.3 billion in the last year. Granted, Drudge uses a sneaky practice called a meta refresh to boost these numbers (sit on his page long enough, and it will reload in your browser, allowing you to register another “hit”) But regardless, these numbers are just one example of how we are only getting 1/3 of the story from mainstream TV media. The far left and the far right? That’s up to us to find.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Technical Issue: Comments down again

It's the reason you are getting a signifigant number of error messages, or your page is loading slowly. Sorry folks, I'm contacting the provider

Syria: A Primer

In administration speeches, on the Sunday news shows, and in the papers, the rhetoric against Syria has begun.

To that respect, here’s a primer on Syria (stats from infoplease)

Government type: Republic
President: Bashar al-Assad
Prime Minister: Muhammad Mustafa Miro
Area: 71,498 sq. mi. (roughly the size of N. Dakota)
Population: 17,585,540
Capital: Damascus (pop: 1.5 million)
Largest cities: Aleppo (pop: 1.6 million), Homs (644,204); Latakia (306,535) Hama (229,000)
Religions: 90% Islam, 10% Christian

Axis of Evil Ranking™ (Determined by evilness factor/religion * oil reserves (to the third power) + Terrorism constant ) 5 or 6

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Nation at War: Obligatory “most wanted” cards post.

Seems many of my liberal blogging companions are worked up about this. I personally, don’t see an issue with it. Albeit morbid, poker cards to educate our troops has been an American “tradition” dating back to World War II, at least.

Back in the 40’s, the Government issued cards with silhouettes of aircraft, in order to educate the troops to learn friendly from foe. Honestly, this is no different. Could you be able to recognize Saddam’s number three henchman in a crowd of Iraqis? I couldn’t if he was at Sam’s Club. Poker cards just gives the troops something to do during the downtime.

Granted, I imagine there’s not a lot of down time going around, with fighting a war, looking for WMD, and policing the streets, but hey, I’m not over there. I don’t know.

I just wonder if Baghdad Bob is a Joker in the three joker deck. He sure as heck should be.

Tax Cuts: Go George!

I’ve heard it on our local talk radio channel enough, but didn’t believe it.

“George Voinovich is really a democrat in disguise.”
“George Voinovich is a damn liberal.”
“George Voinovich should be charged with treason.”
“George Voinovich is a communist.”
“George Voinovich blah blah blah blah blah”

Listening to this, I just said “whatever.” Figuring that the people of Ohio were just pissed off that he wasn’t conservative enough.

But as Senate GOP leaders struggled Thursday night to round up the votes to pass the compromise, they ran into stalwart opposition from two key moderate Republicans, Sens. George Voinovich of Ohio and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. They remained committed to a tax cut of no more than $350 billion, and wanted assurances the reduction eventually worked out between the House and Senate would not exceed that amount.

Turns out, Mr. Voinovich just has a good head on his shoulders. He has the common sense to see that War Bill + Iraq rebuild bill + Tax Cuts = Fiscal irresponsibility.

Wanna know the nice thing about this? This state is so Republican, they won’t vote him out for this…because that would leave a *gasp* Democrat to replace him.

Now personally, I would have preferred to see zero in tax cuts, but with the leadership makeup that we have now, This really is as good as it was going to get.

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