My Blog List

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Professional Courtesy?

Scammers pumping out emails that try to trick recipients into parting with large sums of cash are getting a helping hand from the Democratic National Committee.

According to a researcher with anti-spam company Cloudmark, 419 fraudsters have been relaying a "significant" amount of messages through the domain name. The abuse, which dates back at least to the beginning of this month, helps evade filters that internet service providers employ to block the messages.
What's especially insidious about this diabolical undertaking is the intentions of the licit and illicit messages are precisely the same.

(Thanks to Instapundit.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Canterbury Sends Rome More of Her Best

The Society of All Saints' Sisters of the Poor, an order of Episcopal nuns near Baltimore, has after a long period discernment elected to be received, along with their chaplain Fr. Warren Tanghe, into the Holy Catholic Church on September 3rd. As a glance at the picture above will suggest, the sisters are a traditional order (I wonder if there is a single felt banner in their convent) and were, not surprisingly, having increasing difficulty reconciling their order to the ever-increasing heterodoxy of the Episcopal Church. From the (Baltimore) Catholic Review:
“We kept thinking we could help by being a witness for orthodoxy,” said Sister Mary Joan Walker, the community’s archivist.

Mother Christina said that effort “was not as helpful as we had hoped it would be.”

“People who did not know us looked at us as if we were in agreement with what had been going on (in the Episcopal Church),” she said. “By staying put and not doing anything, we were sending a message which was not correct.”
Those few remaining orthodox Episcopalians who still believe they might reverse their church's innovations of the past 30 years from within should note well the sisters' example, as well the following:
The sisters acknowledged it hasn’t been easy leaving the Episcopal Church, for which they expressed great affection. Some of their friends have been hurt by their pending departure, they said.

“Some feel we are abandoning the fight to maintain orthodoxy,” said Sister Emily Ann Lindsey. “We’re not. We’re doing it in another realm right now.”
Happily for the sisters they alone hold title to their considerable property so they should not have to face the greedy maw, in the form of lawsuits, from the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop Schori and her Consigliere Beers. Those who long for decent Catholic liturgy (especially hard to find in the Baltimore area I understand) should find the following especially heartening.
In addition to worshiping in the Latin rite, the sisters have received permission from the archbishop to attend Mass celebrated in the Anglican-use rite – a liturgy that adapts many of the prayers from the Episcopal tradition. Mother Christina said 10 archdiocesan priests, including Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, have stepped forward to learn how to celebrate the Anglican-use Mass.
The sisters' embrace of the full faith and sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church is sad news of course to the dwindling number of orthodox Episcopalians but joyful news to Catholics, especially traditionalists; the Anglicans posses a glorious worship tradition and Holy Church's considerable legacy would be enriched even further if it were subsumed by her.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spotlight on Democracy

This past weekend your Bloviator took in the 123rd annual Delaware County Fair, something he's wanted to do for years but was unable to find the time until now. As luck would have it that very same day the New York State Legislature was holding a special session on the fairgrounds, presumably so constituents could have a close-up look at how democracy works in New York State. I managed to sneak some pictures and am pleased to share them with you.

Here we see the New York State Senate in the midst of vigorous debate over a bill under consideration. I was unable at first to learn the bill's contents but a source (who swore me to secrecy) did reveal the astonishing information it would require the imposition of higher taxes and fees from Albany.

The bill just passed! The contents are now clearly revealed and all that is needed is the signature of the Governor...

who was delayed, busy posing for a photo-op. Say "Cheese," Governor!

Nearby I ran into some of the the legislators' constituents, the good folks who year after year vote those hard-working denizens back into office.

All in all a most satisfying day seeing democracy in action.

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Time Stay There!

We all knew the lefties would drop Cynthia Sheehan, the anti-war protester, into the trash can when she was no longer useful to them. That they did but I never would have believed they would shove her back into it when she tried to crawl out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That Old-Time Religion

There is a rousing discussion taking place at Christopher Johnson's MCJ over just when the Episcopal Church began its downward spiral. Johnson reasonably suggests that the institution's refusal to charge Bishop Spong with heresy 30 years ago marked the beginning of the troubles. Commenters have suggested numerous other possibilities including the heresies of a predecessor of Spong's, Bishop Pike, who also got away with them. Other suggestions include the church's liberalization of rules concerning divorced persons remarrying; the ordination of women; the church's endorsement of birth control, beginning with the cautious endorsement years ago of the use of contraception in sharply specific circumstances and culminating in our time with the joyful celebration of abortion for any reason, any time. Professor Tighe obligingly notes the remarkable number of heretics entertained by the Episcopal Church over the years, blotting her escutcheon all the way back to the nineteenth century.

Ironically, one seemingly likely culprit for inclusion in the Episcopal rogues gallery, Gene Robinson, the adulterous attention-glomming Bishop of New Hampshire, merits only a brief mention in passing by Chris Johnson and by none of his commenters. I can't help thinking Robinson might feel snubbed by that (he does so exalt in being snubbed) but the astonishing fact is Robinson's theology, such as it is, is actually less appalling than those others mentioned above, which should give anyone not familiar with the Episcopal Church a fair idea what a dreadful state she is in these days.

I think the correct answer to the question who or what led to the demise of the Episcopal Church and most of mainstream protestantism is "all of the above and lots, lots more." Lacking strong central authority (or Magisterium, if you will) left most protestant denominations utterly defenseless to assaults from the radical proponents of 1960s "counter-culture" who successfully completed their takeover of most of those institutions, including the Episcopal Church, by the end of the 1970s.

Bishop Spong repeatedly claimed his church "must change or die" if the "reforms" he flogged were not enacted. They were enacted and his church continues to die. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church, which had a mighty close call with the counter-culture, suffering egregious damage,has nevertheless managed to hold the line in her moral teachings and theology (let us all pray for the repose of the soul of that unsung hero Pope Paul VI and give thanks for his brave stance in Humanae Vitae). After a steep decline in membership during those wretched years of folk masses and crappy liturgy, not to mention the unspeakable scandal of rapist priests and their protectors, the tide has turned for the Catholic Church, thanks in large part to our present Pope who is slowly making repairs and stressing traditional teachings and worship. What a surprise: membership is on the rise again and, even more heartening, so are vocations.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cry the Beloved Country

Ms. Sara Robinson, sedulous but perky chronicler of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy for the distinguished Campaign for America's Future blog, has been worried sick about the insidious fascistic movement in our country. Plucky optimist she is, however, she has up to now preached caution to her devoted followers.
All through the dark years of the Bush Administration, progressives watched in horror as Constitutional protections vanished, nativist rhetoric ratcheted up, hate speech turned into intimidation and violence, and the president of the United States seized for himself powers only demanded by history's worst dictators. With each new outrage, the small handful of us who'd made ourselves experts on right-wing culture and politics would hear once again from worried readers: Is this it? Have we finally become a fascist state? Are we there yet?

And every time this question got asked, people like Chip Berlet and Dave Neiwert and Fred Clarkson and yours truly would look up from our maps like a parent on a long drive, and smile a wan smile of reassurance. "Wellll...we're on a bad road, and if we don't change course, we could end up there soon enough. But there's also still plenty of time and opportunity to turn back. Watch, but don't worry. As bad as this looks: no -- we are not there yet."
Alas for America, Ms. Robinson has wiped that wan smile of reassurance from her face. Having grimly trained her gimlet eye on the nascent "teabag" (sic) movement and the resultant unpleasantness where jack-booted seniors and people who work for a living brutally assault, with harsh words and raised voices at "town hall" meetings, dedicated members of our Congress as they heroically but vainly assure them hard-working public servants in Washington D.C. know what is best for them when it comes to health care, Ms. Robinson declares now fascism has arrived, albeit lightening her tragic pronouncement somewhat by continuing the virtuoso display of her powerful gift for metaphor.
It's odd that I haven't been asked for quite a while; but if you asked me today, I'd tell you that if we're not there right now, we've certainly taken that last turn into the parking lot and are now looking for a space. Either way, our fascist American future now looms very large in the front windshield -- and those of us who value American democracy need to understand how we got here, what's changing now, and what's at stake in the very near future if these people are allowed to win -- or even hold their ground.
All is not lost, however. The saintly Ms. Robinson has promised us she will reveal in her very next post how our republic may be rescued from the evil forces looming in the collective, bug-splattered windshield. Bless her selfless soul.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009

All In

President Obama, via the Democratic National Committee, is urging supporters of national health insurance to fight back against those opposed to it, accusing those opponents (ironically) of being part of an "astroturf campaign;" of being shills for the insurance companies and branding them "mobs" and "right-wing extremists."

The President is taking a considerable gamble. If his pet program crashes and burns (and as support for it seems to be dropping daily that seems an increasing possibility), his credibility will be shot. Launching a harsh, name-calling campaign against "extremists," only to lose to them because they turn out to be a substantial and now alienated majority, could render the President a politically spent force and, possibly, a lame duck before even the first year has passed in his presidency.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Saint's Day

The 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, Curé d'Ars. The patron saint of priests and inspiration to all of us not exactly scholars.

Monday, August 03, 2009

What We May Look Forward To

The bad news: In 2008, the State of Oregon Health Plan (government run) wouldn't pay for the pills this woman needed to keep her alive; too darned expensive.

The good news: the Plan was happy pay for the pills she would need to off herself; dirt cheap.

With the intention of nipping problems like this in the bud, the Plan also provides abortions at little or no cost.