This is Part 2. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch Part 1 here.
This is Part 2. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch Part 1 here.
I don’t know that I would go this far, even though I do think that Edward Snowden did the American people a favor by letting us know the extent to which our government was spying on us.
It is, however, an indicator of how at least some people in other countries feel about his actions that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize. If it does nothing else, the nomination — which probably has scant chance of ever being more than a nomination — demonstrates just what a rattrap our “representation” in Washington has become.
From USA Today:
STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Two Norwegian politicians have jointly nominated former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, saying his disclosures of secret U.S. documents have contributed to making the world more peaceful.
Anyone can be nominated for the prestigious award, so the submission Wednesday by Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen just means Snowden will be one of scores of names that the Nobel committee will consider.
“We do not necessarily condone or support all of his disclosures,” the two lawmakers said in their nomination letter. “We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”
My mother was sick last night, so I didn’t give a lot of thought and attention to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
I watched part of it by picking up a live stream on my laptop. But other things took my attention after that and I didn’t see the rest.
The major take-away I got from what I saw is that our president is a fine orator. President Obama’s speech — at least what I saw — was witty, charming and upbeat. He delivered it flawlessly.
As for the substance of it, I’ve heard the good news about America’s growing oil independence before. I think this is wonderful. It’s key to our economic stability and foreign policy freedom of action.
I’m not so impressed with the figures on the economy, for the simple reason that I think that we need to do a lot more to get this country back on track economically. I’ve said in other posts that I believe we must work to re-industrialize America.
A country that does not make its own goods is in a weak position in the world. The president’s ideas about re-building the infrastructure might help do that; if we can pry the contracts out of the hands of the usual pork-barrel recipients and actually work to advance a true free market ethic that gives everybody a chance at the gold.
I could go through the issues he raised, in fact I probably will go through them at other times, in more detail. But basically, it was the same stuff we’ve been talking about for months. I agree with President Obama about some things, and disagree with him emphatically about others.
My primary concern after watching what I saw of the speech is two-fold.
One, I’m tired of seeing the Speaker of the House sit behind the President with a look of obvious hatred on his face. It’s fine to disagree with people on issues, but this business of making everything into a the-other-side-is-the-devil hate-off is harming our country, not to mention doing mental and emotional damage to the politicians indulging in it.
Second, I wonder if Congress going to just keep on yammering at itself and allow the President to make Congress irrelevant in governing this country?
It seems to me that these two concerns are intimately related. Congress is like a bunch of drunks in a bar fight who won’t let themselves be interrupted in their slug-fest, even though the building is on fire.
The Speaker of the House needs to grow up and get over himself. So does everyone else in Congress. Nothing they do is about them and their mulish and picayune little grudges. Their job is about this country.
Congress needs to assert itself as a legislative body and take its place in the system of checks and balances that make this country free. That requires a lot more intelligence and forethought, not to mention higher aspirations, than I saw on the Speaker’s face last night.
This is a video of the President’s entire State of the Union Address 2014.
What does it mean when the Holy Father is Man of the Year for both Time Magazine and the nation’s number one gay publication?
What, pray tell, is the significance of a pope on the cover of Rolling Stone?
1. The Catholic Church is not irrelevant.
2. The Pope is showing us how to evangelize through love.
This adulation from the press won’t go on forever, of course. Sooner or later the media will figure out just how tough and immovable Jorge Bergoglio is when it comes to the Church and her teachings.
I think we should just roll with it and enjoy our Pop Pope’s popularity while it lasts.
And, in what is probably the most sincere of the bunch, the Holy Father has achieved super hero status in graffiti land.
Violent persecution of Christians continues in Nigeria.
At least 99 people were murdered in attacks on worshippers at a Christian church. The attackers also razed homes in the same town.
From ABC News:
Suspected Islamic extremists used explosives and heavy guns to attack a village and worshippers during a Christian church service in Nigeria’s northeast, killing at least 99 people and razing hundreds of homes, officials and witnesses said Monday.
The attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by militants who are defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria designed to halt an Islamic uprising there.
Attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village in Borno state after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, the security official said.
He said 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes. He also said two improvised explosive devices thet were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri. The official blamed suspected Boko Haram militants for the attack.
A police official who evacuated wounded victims confirmed at least 52 people were killed and 16 wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak to reporters.
Ari Kolomi, who fled from his village, which is 70 kilometers (45 miles) outside Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, said, “No house was left standing” by the more than 50 extremists who attacked, armed with explosives and guns. Kolomi was searching for relatives in the village to make sure they had survived the attack.
State Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko confirmed the attack but said he was awaiting details on the casualties.
Also on Sunday, suspected militants in Adamawa state, south of Borno, stormed a Roman Catholic church during a Sunday morning service in Wada Chakawa village. They fired guns into the church, set off explosives and took people hostage during a five-hour siege, residents said. The Rev. Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, said dozens of people were killed.
Archbishop Cordileone called on young people at the West Coast March for Life to defend both the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage.
His message is especially powerful, coming as it does from an area of the country in which much of the population appears to be hostile to traditional values.
I see Archbishop Cordileone’s statement as the first of what will grow into a movement in the future. Promoters of gay marriage often tell us that in a few years, people will look back on those of us who support traditional marriage and say that we were on the wrong side of history.
Not so, my friends.
In future years, the struggle for traditional marriage will still be on-going. Like the pro-life movement, it will grow stronger as the debacle we have brought on ourselves becomes more apparent.
The first step is for Christian people to reclaim the sanctity of marriage in their own lives. This means that Christian spouses should keep their vows to love and cherish one another, forsaking all others.
From The National Catholic Register:
SAN FRANCISCO — A massive crowd stretching out for a mile in sunny downtown San Francisco showed the growing momentum of the Walk for Life, which celebrated its 10th anniversary for participants from across California and neighboring states.
On Jan. 25, more than 50,000 people gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall, and the diverse crowd included a mix of ages and ethnic and religious groups, with songs and prayer in English and Spanish.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, during hishomily at the Mass proceeding the rally, congratulated the young people present for embracing the pro-life movement and for joining the hundreds of lay activists, priests, women and men religious and seminarians at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
“The steadily expanding presence of young people at the Walk for Life, he said, underscored a new generation’s awareness that abortion harms rather than helps women.
“Forty years and 58 million abortions later, the very painful truth has come to light: Yes, abortion does hurt women,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
The San Francisco Church leader credited an older generation of pro-life activists with helping to change the nation’s view of abortion and demonstrating “heroic virtue” during past decades when those who challenged the legalization of abortion were stigmatized. Now, he warned the students at the cathedral, they must help enlighten their own peers about the central role of marriage as the sanctuary of life.
“The pro-life movement is about more than saving the life of the baby,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
“It’s especially about connecting that baby to where he or she came from: the mother and the father. …There is no other institution that does that.”
… Archbishop Cordileone urged the young Catholics at the cathedral to stay “close to Christ” as they seek to present the truth about marriage.
“Future generations will understand that the natural truth of marriage benefits everyone and discriminates against no one,” he predicted.
“But prepare yourselves: It will require heroic virtue, for there is a lot of reverse bullying going on these days.”
To join the discussion about The Seeker King, or to order a copy, go here.
Elvis Presley never grew up.
He hit the big time when he was still a relatively unformed young man, and based on what I read in Gary Tillery’s biography, The Seeker King, remained emotionally at that age for the rest of his days.
Sudden success on the scale that Elvis achieved can and often does become a prison for those who experience it. The constant hammering from well-meaning fans exerts enormous pressure to withdraw from normal life.
I think people underestimate the powerful talent possessed by artists such as Elvis. His ability to connect with and hold his audience through decades of ups and downs was not just a manifestation of press and hype. There is an ability to touch people on a visceral level in these great stars. They have something in them that reaches through the screen or down from the stage and connects with the people watching them in a way that those of us who are unaffected by it don’t really understand.
This kind of magnetism does not admit the normal limits that exist between performers and their audiences. It creates a fusion between the artist and his art that leaves no space for the person to exist.
Elvis was young and naive when he rocketed to fame. He was a high school graduate raised by adoring but impoverished parents in the rural South of the great depression. His parents’ love gave him the sense of self necessary to step out as an individual at an early age. Their unquestioning support was, in a very real way, the loft beneath his wings.
But nothing in his background prepared him to deal with the onslaught of fame that took over his life when he was barely out of school. He fell, as so many of these young talents do, into the habit of isolating with a group of paid cronies. Sadly, he was introduced to mood altering prescription drugs by physicians who were, to a great extent, just another part of his entourage.
Despite all this, he retained the generous and gentle spirit, the courtesy and spirituality, that were his trademark. Elvis was intelligent and sensitive enough to hunger for more from life than empty fame. Based on what I read, it sounds as if there was a bit of esp in Elvis’ family, and that he had a good dose of it himself.
He grew up in the Holiness church of the 1930s and 1940s South. The beliefs he found there didn’t leave him as an adult, but he seems to have hungered for an understanding of God that went deeper than that simple theology.
The book draws its name from Elvis’ constant seeking after spiritual truth. This quest ran through all the years of isolation that became his life after he achieved stardom.
From his first hit record, Elvis ceased to live as a free person. I think that his plight, including the increasing and ultimately fatal dependence on prescription drugs was, to a great extent, the product of surrounding himself with hangers on whose livelihood depended on keeping him caught.
It must take great self-awareness, courage and determination for a person this famous to build an independent, healthy life for themselves. Elvis came to his fame from a background that did not give him the skills or associates to handle what his life became. He was so young when he became The King that he was still figuring out who he was.
It’s to his credit that Elvis Presley stayed a nice person despite all this. He was, in many ways, an innocent until the day he died. That’s because Elvis Presley was hermetically sealed in the capsule of his fame and the entourage that formed a protective barrier between him and the outside world.
Elvis died from what amounts to medical malpractice by doctors that he trusted. It is bitter irony that this man who didn’t drink and who abhorred drugs was hooked on prescription drugs and ultimately died from that untreated addiction because he believed that if a doctor prescribed something, it had to be safe and medicinal.
I recommend The Seeker King to those who are interested in Elvis Presley. It is also a good case study in the deleterious affects of fame on the lives of public figures.
One doctor’s answer to the argument that the baby is going to die anyway. This doctor also explains how Obamacare violates the consciences of medical practitioners with its enforcement of abortion at any cost.
As a side note, I know a number of people who have healthy children that they were told to abort because the baby supposedly had a terminal illness or grave disability and, when they refused the abortion (often they were under serious duress from their doctors to abort) the baby turned out to be fine.
You gotta admit. I do have an interesting job.
One of my colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives has filed a bill that would make marriage illegal in Oklahoma. He says this is a way to keep gay marriage out of the state and satisfy the Constitution.
I’m not going to comment about this right now. I may have to vote on it. And I definitely will be hearing about it in more detail in the next few days.
In the meantime, I’m going to toss it out there for Public Catholic readers to chew on. Remember: No name-calling or verbal fisticuffs.
From Oklahoma’s Own News 9:
OKLAHOMA CITY -
State lawmakers are considering throwing out marriage in Oklahoma.
The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.
“[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all,” Turner said.
Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner.
“Would it be realistic for the State of Oklahoma to say, ‘We’re not going to do marriage period,’” asked News 9′s Michael Konopasek.
“That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it’s something that would be part of the discussion,” Turner answered.
Such a discussion will be made possible by a current shell bill — something that can be changed at almost any time to react to upcoming rulings on Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban.
“I think that, especially with issues like this, [these lawmakers are] out of touch with most Oklahomans,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU Oklahoma executive detector.