Archive for the ‘America’ Category

Term Limits

Watching parts of the funeral for Ted Kennedy yesterday, it hit me how few people who have been elected to recent public office in the United States wear eyeglasses in public. The president and those living ex-presidents. All the first ladies. Senators. And what good vision the elected government representatives had.

Or was it just vanity of vanities? The model of good government started with good looks?

My all time favorite forward was written in September 1986 in a book by Scott Walker. He was then working for the Minnesota-based Graywolf Press:

“After a time, some of us learn (and some more slowly than others) that life comes down to some simple things. How we love. How alert we are. How curious we are. Love, attention, curiosity. Layer by layer we discover and peel away superstition, fantasies, projections, levels of hate and anger and confusion….”

Woodstock & Stardust

Woodstock. The musical world was remembering what happened near Woodstock, New York 40 years ago.

I had watched the documentary “Woodstock: Then and Now” last night. And I woke up hearing Van Morrison sing “Have I told you lately that I love you?”

I was in high school 40 years ago. Perhaps I was an idealist at the time, but the world had seemed a lot more equal. Those Woodstock musicians had helped with a sense of vitality to point out a few problems with the world. With the Jimmie Hendrix improvised version of the National Anthem, which had seemed to address a war in Asia, race relations in the United States, or maybe the state of the union between men and women.

There was a lot of soul in the music. The documentary seemed to me to point out in its ending what was missing in the music today, watching kids today try to emulate the past, as they learned to make music. The music today which all looked like a Disney production. To make money.

The vitality of Woodstock: Kids listening to music, shouting “What the hell is wrong with you?” back at their parents. It was the same lyrics they had heard since they had emulated the hairstyle of The Beattles. Educated long-haired kids who had to go back home. Kids who for a longest time had been asked the same question, “What the hell is wrong with you?” Kids who still loved their parents. Despite the world.

I watched the documentary “Woodstock: Then and Now” last night. About songs of protest and songs of love. And I woke up hearing Van Morrison sing “Have I told you lately that I love you?”

Woodstock was all about vitality. About having fun. With little concern for making money. It was about a rain storm that humbled the crowd to equality. It was about a time of innocence. When musical artists were not concerned about impressing the audience as much as each other. Woodstock was about the muse. And about the true meaning of music.

Relationships Blogs - Blog Rankings



Relationships Blogs - Blog Rankings

http://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate.php

Religion Blogs

How Are Things in Glocca Morra

These were times of fear. It came during a sense of great loss. Over wealth. Over freedom. Over loss of life.

Mob rule. Politics. The devil in history.

Addictions. Issues of liberty. Russia Mafiya. Evil. The contract killing. In the wake of the KGB. The devil in history. All the things that came together as a system collapsed.

Mob rule. Politics. The devil in history. In the wake of World War I. The laws passed. Politicians who exploited constitutions, in times of fear. Evil.

Times of fear. The aftermath of genocide.

A lot of the world carried a disbelief in the devil. Evil seemed to be asleep, in the popular view in 2000. Then came September 11, 2001. It was much more than the current American view that evil was directed against one nation. It was much more than those 19 people from overseas? It was what had happened globally. In Spain. In London. In Saudi Arabia. In Morocco. In Kenya. In Yemen. In Somalia. In Turkey. In Mumbai. In Bali. In Jakarta. In the Philippines

Terror. Times of fear. Power. The fight in the north of Ireland. The fight of Basque separatists. The battles within China and within Russia over ethnic minorities that desired power.

The patterns are present which reflect deep currents in global sociology which work against any effort to transcend divisions.

Division. Divide and conquer. It was the mantra of terrorist and political parties.

Hunger and politics were inter-connected. So was politics and religion.

Ireland. Today there was a story in the Boston Globe about the Irish returning once again to Boston. The writer presented an update on how fast the world could change. For ex-patriots returning home in the 1990s. And now headed back to Boston.

Ireland. I have commented in the past about the title one of the more popular books sold in Ireland in 2007, Vanishing Ireland. Technology had changed generation and a nation, so much that the Vanishing Ireland book became a best seller. There seems to be a silent grieving, an expressed longing, a spiritual-type hunger, expecting things to be the same. And in all of its wake, returning to your life, carrying on, amidst the change. All that the Celtic Tiger had done was to get the romance out of the system. When Ireland had conquered the ghosts of the past, with jobs, with peace, a secularism had come in which changed the nature of the Irish. And with it had come a new division. Welcome to the European Union. Where everything seemed based on wealth. And in all of its wake, expecting things to be the same, when everything is based on wealth. The devil in history.

The Ireland these ex-patriots returned to was not the place that they had known. There was no comment upon any ill-will directed at the European Union that had poured money into the place to help the economic boom, which had become an economic bust. Deflation was close to 6% over the past 12 months. There was just an unstated acceptance, about everything, as these ex-pats returned to day to day Irish life.

Wealth and technology. Technology had changed a nation, so that there seemed to be a silent grieving, among the ex-pats. Still with a longing. Nostalgia was also some kind of spiritual hunger, for what forefathers and foremothers always had had. And with silent grieving, the same type of conflict of the hungry with the well-fed. That was always the conflict within religion, a conflict over those who strongly professed religious belief, in conflict for what ever reasons with those others without.

These were times of fear. Over the void left. It came during a sense of great loss. Over wealth. Over freedom. Over change and the effects of change. Over how the void would be filled. Over what had in the past had always been there, at least before many native-born had left the first time. They were now leaving again for Massachusetts.

When you left for economic necessity, how could these former ex-patriots complain? Yet theirs was a witness to how the world had silently changed. Even in a place like Glocca Morra. Or Camelot.

The past is always with us. Sometimes it was not even quite past.

http://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate.php


Visual Web Search

The Job of a Moral Theologian

Risk Management and good moral theology: where was a moral theologian when you needed one? Risk Management was described as good judgment calls.

If you cannot control health care payments, you cannot control insurance premiums. If you could not control who could acquire the most updated MRI machine, you could not control competition. Your urban hospital was going to be tested like rural hospitals were 25 years ago. Hospitals that were being killed in this current depression, with no control over the falling reimbursement for health care. As more and more people went uninsured.

Your doctors knew that if you cannot control health care payments, you cannot control insurance premiums. Thus the health care issues of 2009, with artificial deadlines of 10 days. When costs were out of control. Because with health care, no insurance company could say no, when a health care contract was written covering health care expense, without a rationale.

Population Control. Immigration. If you could not control the population numbers, you could not control government costs. If you could not balance budgets, or have some control over the number of citizens, you could not control the economy in a competitive world economy.

Future markets. I used to work across the street from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In the Age of the Ascent of Money. If you talked to a future trader, you learned that actions have unexpected outcome in human affairs. Future traders were hedging bets, with option contracts. Agreed prices when the seeds are planted. Agreed prices before oil or gold was taken out of the earth. Options. Hedge Funds. Derivatives.

The uncertain futures, beyond insurance. Falling family size. The universal desire to be rich, in a nation with borders. Balanced budgets. Border that were defended against neighbors. With defense departments.

Social Security. Amidst boom and bust cycles. Population Control. Until the demographics showed falling birth rates. Where the youth would not be able to sustain the medical bills of their parents. The numbers were not there. Thus the meager reserves which would not sustain either Medicare or Social Security. In addition to the health care crisis.

“The most controversial task of moral theology is to help people live their faith in the light of the times … to help them face new questions and not just to repeat or attack” the old formulas, Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley told the National Catholic Reporter.

http://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate.php

 

Religion Blogs

In the Beginning

Americans owed the celebration of the 4th of July to a printer. That was how important newspapers and the printed word were to this country. The PRINTED word. The Declaration of Independence kept in the National Archives in Washington. The one with the 57 signatures. Composed on July 2nd, with a decision to make the declaration known to the public. After the delegates gave the agreed on statement to a printer, those lamentations to King George, the force of publication of this declaration had carried the July 4th date.

Americans owed the celebration of the 4th of July to a printer. To believe that a nation came into being on a particular day in 1776 is to ignore all that had gone in the past. The past wrongdoing. Conveying a belief of a need to amend wrongdoing, there was this Declaration of Independence signed, sealed but not really delivered. To King George.

Wrongdoing. Conveying a belief. In order to form a more perfect uinon, people came together because of wrongdoing. The United States was all about fairness. “Unalienable” rights. Once upon a time there was such a strong belief in the need to safeguard a unity, about what I called inalienable rights. Just printed.

Peter de Bolla writes today in the L.A. Times about an architecture of belief which had the power to change the world. May it also be remembered that the act of declaration in 1776 that created, founded, and continues to create a nation was based more on the action behind the words. Nowadays the world does not need more words. Rather it needs the resolve that went behind the words of the Declaration of Independence.

“Self-evident” truth. As to those signatures of people who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor, there were added later signatures of men who had not even been in the room on July 2nd. Maybe truth that had not been so apparent to be self-evident that day. New congressional delegates whose signatures were added later, once there was a Congress.

Ah, politicians and the bandwagon affect! Independence Day had never been a declared federal holiday by Congress until 1941.

Peter de Bolla wrote, as the Colonies were at war in 1777, a small and very low-key celebration was mounted, the members of the Continental Congress did decide to note July 4 by not meeting, and everyone went to church.

A toast! To the newscopy just printed. To a free press. By those who searched for the truth. Heroic as any soldier. A toast to those conveying a belief in the ideals of government. The ones which shall not perish from the earth. Facts now presented to be read as “self-evident” truth. And actually purchased by some “of the people,” for fifty cents. A toast! To the ideals of the people, by the people, for the people. A toast to those who pledged their careers, lives, fortunes and sacred honor, with high resolve that the ideals of the nation which have always been here – and that the people under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that the ideals of government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

It has never been more difficult on these shores to be a worker in the news business than in 2009. Americans owed this celebration of the 4th of July to a printer, who posted a date of the printing. This holiday was all about what had gone on in one moment in time, two days before.

The Storm Predictor Center

Change. The theme was always about change. Most of us fought change. Yet we were called to be changed.

Storm Predictor Center. Storms changed lives.

Unease about the economic outlook? There was a lot of restlessness out there. Beyond the stories coming out of Iran.

Tribes. Settlers. Nationalized settlers. Whether Israel or Ireland or anywhere, people everywhere show inner beliefs are strong, based not on materialism, not on nationalism. But there was the new found clash of secularism with religion and the inner beliefs which will never change. All they will do is become civilized. People marry, settle, look for jobs. The clash of the developed world with the tribes of the 3rd world.

Tribes clashing with the settlers. Unrest. And more unrest.

That 3rd world that had become radicalized. By occupying foreign armies. By death and destruction. And the anger never subsides. The Turks and the Armenians. The Bosnians, the Serbs, and the Croats. Not in one hundred or 500 years.

Diaspora. Tornadoes and June. The hurricane season started again on June 1st. The unrest between water temperature and air temperature. Hurricanes seemed to be related to the unrest between water temperature and air temperature. And the flooding that resulted. Unrest. And more unrest.

Diaspora and Pakistan. It is said that there were 3.5 million people displaced by the pursuit of 5,000 Taliban. The tribes of the Taliban. While as fate would have it, people now in the throes of the worst post-World War II recession everywhere. I think we all saw the unrest in Pakistan as the threat. Where the currency exchange was 50 rupees per dollar in 1999, and now was 81 rupees per dollar. Unrest in the market. When political parties based on the Taliban, the old tribes, hope to secure power from the settlers there. A power that would include nuclear weapons. In a world that witnessed the hostility of the disenfranchised against the developed world that never listened. To those without cars. Without educations. With only the bond of kinsmen. Pakistan was in trouble.

Money and the times always provided the ambiance to the story. The story of life. Or the lack of any money also did. Coming to grips with it all. Diaspora, but with people stuck in homes they could not afford. One story of change, amongst the settlers.

The story of change and eventual death. The stories of destruction. Belief or disbelief. About what had happened. The social texture which grows out of its religious ground. Out of tribes and settlers. About whether death could be changed into life. Coming to grips with fear and change. Coming to grips with it all.

Changing fear into something else. Unease about the political outlook? There was a lot of restlessness out there in coming to grips with it all. The theme was always about change. When most of us fought change.

That Storm Predictor Center. And diaspora. Those storms changed lives.

The Gravity of Money

It was the question of the year. How could home values go up or down so quickly? Where were the rating agencies? These were just opinions? Credit worthy? Fluctuating values. “Systemic risk.”

The changing valuations. The fluctuating currency value. Amidst the change in equity. In my house.

Equity markets. Falling equity in my home. When everyone felt secure with equity. It was as if equity was the purpose of life.

There were commissions involved with security. And commissions involved with exchange. Where had those commissions been?

That Filipino guy the other night. That guy, wanting to have sex. The nightclubs were filled with people like this. Just sex. Without concern with equity in a relationship. Without concern for real love. Without any real gentleness or compassion about a mate.

Slavery. Whether it was the Hebrews in Egypt or Africans sold for a cotton plantation. We were all descendants of slaves. Sex. Slaves to sex. But with choice. The choice beyond just having sex with someone in a relationship. The choice to marry someone. How many times?

How to teach the souls of the young? Teaching that “gentle” part of “gentlemen.” The graciousness. Learning the kind of God to believe in through religious education. And about that sanctity of marriage.

Searching for love. Little had changed from the past. The restlessness amidst all the change. I felt it upon my own college graduation. I wanted to get out of there. And make some money.

Memorial Day. Remembering the past. The great tradition, amidst all this change. And amidst the change, searching for God.

As to those outward signs: you had to be looking. A lot of people passed them by without a clue as to what was going on.

There was the rhythm of work. Lolling us. Investment bankers. Mergers & Acquisitions. Equities.

In partnerships. Keeping behavior in check. With liabilities assumed in partnerships. But behavior was not kept in check with the change to stock companies. There were dangers of greed. “Wall Street is a very dangerous place.” It was worse than polygamy.

Amidst all the change, to keep making money. Once the norm has been relativized, there was no obvious way to declare a way of life beyond the pale. Former Treasury official John Taylor, who had devised the “Taylor Rule” as a formula for rate-setting based on the outlook for inflation and growth, said the Fed’s growing balance sheet is a “systemic risk” because it may be difficult to unwind quickly enough without igniting inflation. Since last September 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet has more than doubled to about $2 trillion as it purchased government and corporate debt to help unfreeze credit markets and support banks’ demand for cash.

“Systemic risk.” Rate-setting. Rating agencies. Searching for value. Communal belief in value.

Communal beliefs were more than just opinions. Communal beliefs in action were more than just opinions.

Was there honesty in this work? At work? In the currency? In the trading? Was there honesty in my words? Or was there a lot of passing of the buck, the way government works.

Was there honesty in my words? In my prayer? Which reflected my actions? Was there any prayer by these people?

Falling valuations. Where was the honesty? Some got lost in the search and gave up.

Values. Opinions? These were just opinions? Or beliefs? Communal beliefs. Community’s norms.

Communal beliefs in action were more than just opinions. As to those outward signs: you had to be looking. A lot of people passed them by without a clue as to what was going on. Relying totally on those rating agencies. Passing the buck.

Searching for love. Searching for shelter. Amidst all the change. Searching for belief.

Creeds

Memorial Day. Remembering the past. The great tradition. Amidst all this change.

Amidst the change. Searching for God. And searching for love. Amidst all the change.

Was there honesty in my prayer? In my words? Which reflected my actions? Amidst the change in equity. In my house. The changing valuations. The fluctuating currency value.

About that sanctity of marriage. How many times?
There were commissions involved with security. And exchange.

Movies. The Russian Revolution. History was not an illusion. Nor was God.

Real fear. As an export.

The currency. Amidst the change in equity. In my house. The changing valuations. The fluctuating currency value.

Equity markets. Falling equity in my home. When everyone felt secure with equity. It was as if equity was the purpose of life.

Memorial Day. Remembering the past. The great tradition. Amidst all this change.

Beliefs. Opinions. Memorial Day. Prayer.

History was not an illusion. Nor was God. Slavery. Sex. Gentleness. That Filipino guy the other night. That guy, wanting to have sex. Just sex. The nightclubs were filled with people like this. Without concern with equity in a relationship. Without concern for real love.

How to teach the souls of the young? Graciousness. Teaching the “gentle” part of “gentlemen.”

Choice. The choice beyond just having sex with someone in a relationship. The choice to marry someone.

As to those outward signs: you had to be looking. A lot of people passed them by without a clue as to what was going on.

Some got lost in the search and gave up.

Learning the kind of God to believe in through religious education.

Was there honesty in my prayer? In my words?

Opinions? Or beliefs? Communal beliefs.

The Ascension Gospel: Why are you standing there? Go! Spread the news of God’s love.

Communal beliefs in action were more than just opinions.

Empty Nests

To be moved, in this world with all of its dysfunction, to act.

The 40% of American Catholics that had moved to different churches, amidst the dysfunction. The European Catholics who just plain quit worshiping. The leadership which by the way was supposed to believe in the Gospel of “I am the Good Shepard,” failed to respond to the dysfunction. Mostly it was left to the parish priest. The leadership, which seemed to called to go looking for its lost sheep, were lost in their own spiritual golf game.

To be moved. When creation had become chaos. Golf games. The priests to whom I was related had loved to play golf. Simple parish priests.

Dysfunction. The dysfunction. I saw it not far from my home in the black community. I heard it on a walk the other night where one woman never took a deep breath in the 120 to 180 seconds I just stood listening to an uninterrupted rant inside a house. When another neighbor came along from the opposite direction, I felt like I had to move on. It might have been the television but if it was, a commercial seemed over due. To this passer-by, it was not funny. It was hilarious.

Uninterrupted rants. There were a lot of them in the world. Creation had become chaos. All that the Good Book says is that Noah submits to God’s will and nothing more;uninterrupted rants. About the ongoing effects of World War II. When you elected leaders who had lived through it all. It was not just what Adolph Hitler had done to all of us, Jews and non-Jews. It was what Stalin had done to all of us. When so much of the media was ready to offer canonization, what had the leadership of John Paul II done to the church? How could anyone lived a life through all of this and not show affects of dysfunction?

Gdansk in 2001. People coming back to claim property wrongfully taken. Gdansk is about my favorite historical place in all the world. On issues of freedom in that shipyard. Following September 11, there were not many travelers looking at the Gdansk museum, where I learned that Gdansk represented much more than just Lech Walensa. The fight for freedom that arose there under the leadership of Lech Walensa came from events that had happened at the shipyard over a 10 year period. Massacres really. This was the successful Polish uprising, a lot like the ones that had ultimately failed in Warsaw in response to German occupation.

Where was the accountability in Rome to all the lost sheep? It was not just the abuse of the 20th Century and the lack of response from Rome. It was about addressing the status of women in the church for the 21st Century. Men born before World War II did not see the need to address it. Not when nuns were still ironing your vestments, making your food, and cleaning your apartment.

With a dysfunction seen in the corporate world with board of directors appointed by CEOs. When those boards did not question executive compensation. With politics as usual, without a concern for the real world. The real world of Bernard Law. And archbishops like that all over the country, not much different than the world of Wall Street.

When there was a laziness that came from your habits, without thinking. Going back to the same staid ways. When things quit working. The culture will soon be demanding even more reparations for these sins, if they had not already. The juries made up of women were a scary scene when they were going to sit in judgment of this church, on issues of damages against the church.

In this dysfunctional world, with all of the lost sheep

That party in Omaha. “What did you think about John Paul II.”

To be moved. Beyond words of apology. To be moved to change. It was time. This Penecost Sunday.

Those Fingers in My Hair

Those fingers in my hair
That sly come-hither stare
That strips my conscience bare
It’s witchcraft

And I’ve got no defense for it
The heat is too intense for it
What good would common sense for it do?
’cause it's witchcraft, wicked witchcraft

One woman in Saudi Arabia, Fawza Falih, is now on death row charged with witchcraft, based partly one one man’s accusation that her spell made him impotent. Egyptian Mustafa Ibrahim was executed in Riyadh on November 2, 2007 for what the Saudi Minister of the Interior described as “sorcery” and “witchcraft.” And decapitation awaits murderers.

There is no written penal code in Saudi Arabia. Capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is a public spectacle. Over the past 23 years, 1,750 convicts have been executed in Saudi Arabia, with reliable information scarce about the executed (830 against foreign nationals). There is no advance notice in Riyadh where beheadings happen any given day of the week at 9 a.m. The death penalty applies to many other crimes, such as drug use and trafficking, rape, adultery, armed robbery, and renouncing Islam. In trials involving the death penalty, the Saudi interpretation of the Koran discourages all forms of evidence other than confessions and eyewitness accounts. Decapitation awaits murderers. Questions of illegality depend on the on-the-spot interpretations of police and judges.

Nearly half of the executions are carried against foreign nationals who make up approximately 25% of the population. Amnesty International has called for a moratorium against the practice. .

There is nothing like a well run police state for personal safety.


Relationships Blogs - Blog Rankings

Relationships Blogs - Blog Rankings



Relationships Blogs - Blog Rankings

http://www.homeboy-industries.org/donate.php

Religion Blogs