From BBC News US & Canada:
Several shots have been fired inside and outside the nation’s parliament in Ottawa, leaving one soldier wounded.
A gunman fired at the National War Memorial and then ran into parliament nearby, continuing the attack.
Canadian broadcaster CBC and several MPs report that one gunman has been killed but that is unconfirmed.
The incident came hours after Canada raised its terror threat level following a fatal hit-and-run attack on two soldiers earlier in the week.
“Shots fired at War Memorial at 9:52am today; one person injured,” Ottawa Police tweeted on Wednesday as a witness reported seeing authorities search from room to room for the suspect.
Police have told those in the vicinity to stay away from windows and roofs as they search for additional suspects.
One gunman – said to be carrying a rifle – fired on soldiers guarding Canada’s main war memorial and then ran into the parliament.
“The indications are there is more than one gunman. There may be several,” Canadian MP Marc Garneau told the BBC, adding he and fellow politicians were evacuated from the area.
Canadian authorities are doing something that American authorities appear to be incapable of doing: They are telling the truth.
They have named a recent hit and run in which Martin Rouleou-Couture used his automobile to murder one soldier and injure another at a strip mall as terrorism. The attack ended with the police shooting and killing Mr Rouleau.
Mr. Rouleau, who was Muslim, had been monitored by Canadian anti-terrorism forces since June.
According to police, he sat in his car outside a building housing military offices for around two hours before running over the soldiers. Mr Rouleau’s Facebook page evidently made statements supporting ISIS, and bashing Jews and Christians.
What is different about this and the beheading here in Oklahoma, as well as the murders at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Malik Hasan is that the Canadian government has not aggressively labeled it “workplace violence” or a “random nut” or some other mis-applied designation to avoid telling the truth.
I don’t know if Canadian talk show hosts have gone on air mocking and degrading everyone who dares to depart from the party lie that this is workplace violence, as they did after the beheading here in Oklahoma. I do know that if this was America, the national media would ignore the story if possible, and then, if forced to report it, would label it the action of a “lone nut.”
After the tawdry display over the beheading which happened here in Oklahoma, I no longer look to my government or most of the media for anything resembling truth about these things. They are engaged in propaganda. Nothing more.
Will the Canadian Prime Minister ignore the victims of this terrorism while sending high-placed government officials thousands of miles to read a greeting at the mosque where this terrorist worshipped?
Will both the government and the press diss the victims in this tragedy the way that the American president and much of the American media dissed both the victims and the people of Oklahoma when the beheading occurred here? I hope not.
Given that Canadian authorities are actually being honest with their people instead of attempting to propagandize and control them, maybe things will play out differently there. It would be way past good if it did.
America’s elected officials and media could both use a few lessons in honesty from somebody.
From The New York Times:
OTTAWA — A hit-and-run car crash that killed one soldier and injured another this week was a terrorist attack, Canadian politicians, police and military commanders all suggested Tuesday, saying it had resulted from another Canadian’s turn to radical Islam.
But little had emerged about why the man driving the car, Martin Rouleau-Couture, became radicalized last year or ran over the two soldiers at a strip mall in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on Monday.
The attack, which ended with the police fatally shooting Mr. Rouleau, as he was known, came at a time when Prime Minister Stephen Harper, like most of his Western counterparts, has been vigorously denouncing the Islamic State movement and warning of possible domestic terrorist attacks. Mr. Harper’s government has indicated that it is about to introduce new antiterrorism legislation, a move that troubles some civil liberties lawyers.
But the death of Patrice Vincent, 53, a warrant officer, and the wounding of an unidentified soldier underscored the difficulty the police and intelligence agencies face when dealing with radicalized citizens.
Superintendent Martine Fontaine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a televised news conference that a special antiterrorism force had begun monitoring Mr. Rouleau in June and arrested him a month later when he was about to fly to Turkey. He was released for lack of evidence that he intended to join a terrorist group. Meetings between the Mounted Police and Mr. Rouleau, 25, continued until Oct. 9.
I cleaned out my office the Monday after session adjourned.
My son and one of his friends drove over and carried it all out.
Now, after leaving them stacked up for months, I’m figuring out what to keep and what to toss from the things I brought home. I remember Princess Diana, after her divorce, selling all her old clothes. That was a smart move.
I’m going through a decidedly low-brow version of that this week. I’m tossing out clothes, shoes, books, files and all manner of things I don’t plan to ever use again.
In the process, I’m also deep-cleaning my house. My asthma has reared its ugly head after a couple years’ grace. I usually shampoo the carpets and clean behind and under all the places I don’t ordinarily clean behind and under a couple of times a year.
But I haven’t done it since before session started last year. Too busy. Too distracted.
Now, the asthma has brought it home that the carpets are holding dirt and the places back behind where I never clean are dusty, too. So, I’m going to take this place apart and put it back together again.
In the process, I will toss the detritus of my “official” life. The Representative Suits and all the stuff that goes with them are going to Goodwill. I’ve also got to figure out where I want to hang paintings and similar things that I brought home, as well as what shelves will hold which whatnots.
Some of these things are deeply meaningful to me, and I want them where I can cherish them as my life goes forward.
At the same time, I’m considering what software I need as a writer vs what software I needed as a legislator. The difference is the difference between a Honda Fit and an 18 wheeler. I used Microsoft Publisher to create my campaign literature, Microsoft Access and then later Filemaker Pro to run my databases, Excel to track financial records, and Word to communicate with my office.
I can’t think of a reason why I will need any of that going forward. I have, just by my daily usage, pretty well switched over to Mars Edit for blogging, Scrivener for book writing, Numbers for spreadsheeting, a free-form document filer for the research on my books called DevonThink Office Pro (Oh, how I love typing that phrase: “my books.) and a combination of Nisus Writer Pro, Mellel and Pages for word processing. My new database is a bitsy little thing called Tap Forms, which I use to keep such things as the serial numbers of my software, and smallish personal mailing lists.
If I had to cull it down to the things I really need for work, I could get by with Scrivener, Mars Edit, Pages, Numbers, DevonThink, Tap Forms and iPhoto. All of these (with the exception of DevonThink) are lightweight and inexpensive.
My only heavy duty software is Aperture and a suite of digital darkroom software from Topaz. But that’s not work. It’s hobby.
As for hardware, I have a desktop and a laptop and I use both. I plan to keep both. No way could the laptop handle the things the desktop does, and no way could I put the desktop in my purse and go.
I’m changing my life around the edges because I’ve changed it at the work core of it. It’s a bit discombobulating, going through such a fundamental change in my life. But it’s also exciting and liberating.
It took me a while to figure out what this lightness and happiness I was feeling actually was. Along with the files and the heavy-duty software, I was tossing away responsibility for tens of thousands of people. I grieved that a bit. I worry about my constituents, about who is going to take care of them.
But I have to let go of taking care of them and move on.
Aside from that, which is a little bit like sending your 5-year-old off to his first day of school, I feel incredibly light and unencumbered. I am awash with choices and the possibilities of new beginnings.
But it’s more than that. It took a while to figure it out, and then one day, it hit me what I was feeling.
I feel free.
Photo Source: Catholic News Agency
Remember the lies?
Gay marriage would not lead to polygamy, they said. But before gay marriage is even fully out of the gate, the court movement to legalize polygamy is afoot.
Gay marriage will never lead to ministers being forced to perform gay marriage wedding services, they told us. Well, so much for that one, too.
David and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, have been told by Coeur d’Alene’s city officials that, due to their refusal to perform a gay wedding, they may face up to 180 days in jail and $1,000 in fines for each day they do not perform gay wedding services.
A lawsuit filed on the minister’s behalf by the Alliance Defending Freedom, says in part:
If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for one week, they risk going to jail for over three years and being fined $7,000. If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for 30 days, they risk going to jail for over 14 years and being fined $30,000. If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for a year, they risk going to jail for 180 years and being fined $365,000.
The city is taking the legal position that the couple’s wedding chapel, which is called the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel, is a “place of accommodation” that would is subject to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
That’s kind of rich since the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel is a denomination going with over 8,000,000 members worldwide. There are 1,875 Foursquare Gospel churches here in the United States alone.
The legal basis for this contention seems to hang on the thread that the Hitching Post Chapel is incorporated as a “religious corporation limited to performing one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.” According to Fox News Radio, the Hitching Post Chapel is a for-profit corporation.
I do not know if Idaho law has a discreet entity called a “religious corporation” in its statutes, or, if it does, what that means. I do know that the City of Coeur d’Alene called these two ministers. Again, according to Fox News Radio, the city attorney claims that even ordained ministers whose church teachings do not allow gay marriage will be required to perform gay marriages.
I think it’s telling that two days after the Ninth Circuit issued an order allowing same-sex marriages, in Idaho, Pastors David and Evelyn Knapp received a phone call from the city advising them they had to perform gay marriages.
David and Evelyn Knapp are ministers who were ordained by a legitimate denomination.
According to the Gay Christian Movement Watch, here is the International Church of the Four Square Gospel’s teaching on the matter:
The Biblical record shows that sexual union was established exclusively within the context of male-female relationship and formalized in the ordinance of marriage. In the New Testament, the oneness of male and female in marriage pictures the relationship between Christ and His Church. . . . The Scriptures identify the practice of homosexuality as a sin that, if persisted in, brings grave consequences in this life and excludes one from the Kingdom of God.
The facade of lies in support of gay marriage is falling down, and it’s doing it quickly.
From The Daily Signal:
For years, those in favor of same-sex marriage have argued that all Americans should be free to live as they choose. And yet in countless cases, the government has coerced those who simply wish to be free to live in accordance with their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
Ministers face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.
Just this weekend, a case has arisen in Idaho, where city officials have told ordained ministers they have to celebrate same-sex weddings or face fines and jail time.
The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.
The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.
On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.
A week of honoring their faith and declining to perform the ceremony could cost the couple three and a half years in jail and $7,000 in fines.
The Knapps have been married to each other for 47 years and are both ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. They are “evangelical Christians who hold to historic Christian beliefs” that “God created two distinct genders in His image” and “that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman.”
But as a result of the courts redefining marriage and a city ordinance that creates special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Knapps are facing government coercion.
I was bugged all day long yesterday by one of my own posts. The post in question in this one. It was the post in which I compared the recent Synod on the Family with the United States Congress.
I tried twice last night to write another post, essentially taking back some of the sharp-edged harshness of that one, but I couldn’t get there.
Here’s what I finally came around to.
I was wrong (and this is what was bugging me) to paint all the bishops who participated in the Synod with one brush. In truth and in fact only a smattering of the participants managed to set things on their ear with their reinterpretations of the Gospels along popular lines. The Synod participants as a group backed away from this and issued a final report that stood in accordance with 2,000 years of Christian teaching on the family.
The reason I couldn’t write a major I-was-wrong about that post as a whole is that I don’t honestly think I was wrong. I believe the Synod was a failure, and the reason it was a failure was the polarization among the bishops themselves. Faithful Catholics read that final report with a massive “thanks be to God” that it didn’t do harm. Unfortunately, it also didn’t do much good.
The things I said in the post are my honest assessment of a few of our bishops. The major positive accomplishment of the Synod is not the final report. It is that it may have shone the light of reality on some of these woefully out-of-touch men. Since the whole of Church governance is built on the bishops, that is, if it’s true, a significant and healthy thing. It is also why ducking our heads and pretending that they aren’t, in fact, out of touch and trying to lead us down the broad way, is a form of disloyalty to the Church.
Powerful people need the truth more than most for the simple reason that they so seldom hear it.
I may be wrong, and if it turns out that I am, I will not hesitate to say so. But for now that’s what I think and I can’t unthink it just because the people in question are bishops of my Church.
We need to thank the bishops who stood against all the nonsensical ideas and backed away from the theological cliff. Hopefully next year we will see developments that actually support and aid the family as well as develop pastoral practices to heal the reality of those who are living the lies of our broader culture.
First, Boko Haram.
Then, earthquakes in Oklahoma, Russia in the Ukraine, and then ISIS, followed by an Ebola chaser.
It seems that what may be next is spiders the size of chihuahuas. These adorable critters, are known by the nifty little name, the South American Goliath Birdeater. The Goliath Birdeater has a leg span of almost a foot, weighs in a half a pound, spits barbs into assailant’s eyes and has two-inch fangs capable of puncturing a mouse’s skull.
All in all, the South American Goliath Birdeater sounds like a good candidate for the role of horror movie villain and small child’s nightmare. In fact, it’s good entertainment all around so long as it stays in the Guyana jungle where it was recently spotted by entomologist Piotr Nastrecki.
Since entomologists study bugs, or as Mr Naskrecki calls them, “land arthropods,” he probably had a high old time with his find. At least he did until he got hit in the eye with a “urticating” hair ball that the spider launched at him. Urticating means hair that bristles with stinging barbs.
Mr Naskrecki said that after this hairball “hit my eyeballs” he itched and cried for several days.
Although the Goliath Birdeater’s venom is not poisonous to humans, getting bit by those fangs would be “like driving a nail through your hand.”
The South American Goliath birdeater is the spider of many people’s nightmares, but encountering one of the puppy-sized critters in a dark rain forest in Guyana was a dream come true for entomologist Piotr Naskrecki.
The largest spider in the world, the birdeater has a leg span of about 30cm, weighs up to 170g, and hardened tips and claws on its feet that make a clicking sound when it walks.
Naskrecki was looking for katydids the night he encountered a Goliath. He had turned his headlamp off to concentrate on listening when he heard the sound of an animal running in complete darkness.
“I could clearly hear its hard feet hitting the ground and dry leaves crumbling under its weight. I pressed the switch and pointed the light at the source of the sound, expecting to see a small mammal, a possum, a rat maybe,” Naskrecki recounted in his blog The Smaller Majority.
“And at first this is what I thought I saw – a big, hairy animal, the size of a rodent.”
But something was not right, so within a second the entomologist was lunging at the spider, “ecstatic about finally seeing one of these wonderful, almost mythical creatures in person”.
“Goliath birdeaters are ridiculously huge for a land arthropod,” Naskrecki said.
How was the Synod on the Family like the United States Congress? Here are four ways.
1. We switched from hoping that they would accomplish something good to praying that they didn’t do any harm. By the time the Relatio came out, most faithful Catholics were just hoping and praying that the Synod managed to get through the next week and adjourn without trashing the sacraments and deep-sixing 2,000 years of Catholic teaching. We were no longer looking to the Synod for leadership, and we were certainly not expecting anything that would actually help Catholic families in they struggle to live our faith in a post-Christian world. We were just hoping that they didn’t start re-writing the Scriptures to suit the ACLU and the scriptwriters in Hollywood.
2. The Synod didn’t seem to be concerned with us, or with the Church. It gave the appearance of being all about the bishops’ private agendas and their fights with one another. At least a few of the bishops seem to be in rock-star envy of Pope Frances. The sound of one’s own voice is addicting, and several of our bishops appear to be in serious need of a sound-bite 12-step program. None of this would have mattered if they had not used their time on air to attack one another, (one of them even took off after the Pope) and to prattle on about their great desire to re-make the Church in their own image. It was a sad, sorry display of ego-driven sniping, carping tom-foolery by men who claim they speak for the humble Carpenter of Nazareth.
3. The Synod exposed a number of the bishops as men who are too insulated, too flattered, too pampered and too proud of themselves to properly do their jobs. Does anybody tell these guys they’re full of it when they’re full of it? Does anyone in the circle of people around them remind them that they are but dust? I’ve seen, up close and personal, how easily constant flattery and being treated as if you were special can destroy a person’s equilibrium. I’ve seen it enough that I recognize its effects on a person when that person is in front of me, or, as in this case, on a news video. A number of our bishops need a year or so of sacking groceries in a t shirt and blue jeans to get their minds right.
4. The Synod talked about Religion with a capital R, but it didn’t seem to care about faith and following Christ all that much. Was I the only observer who noticed how often these men talked about themselves and one another and how seldom they referenced Our Lord? Jesus was mostly absent from their comments, as was faith. They did not give me the impression that they were trying to follow Christ and Him crucified. I mean that. They were singularly lacking in humility, gentleness, common kindness and common sense.
All in all, I was relieved when these boys in red and black wrote up their final results and went home. I am not looking forward to the next go-round at all.
I don’t want pious play acting from my bishops. I certainly don’t expect perfection. In fact, I know that they are as incapable of perfection as any other person who walks this planet. I know and acknowledge what so many Catholics, priests and bishops collude in trying to ignore: These men are just people. I don’t want perfection. I would know it was a lie if they tried to pretend it. I certainly don’t want the stuffy royal distancing that would help them maintain a false facade of holy perfection.
The day is past when the Church can grow and witness to the Gospels on a diet of religious cornflakes and Queen Elizabeth waves from distant clergy.
We don’t need CEOs in miters, playing to each other. We need men who are alive with the call to convert the world. The Church has lost its missionary fervor. It must regain it.
All I ask of my clergy is authenticity. I don’t mean a fantasy, never-sinned perfection. I don’t care if my priests and bishops fall down and skin their knees. I don’t hold that against them any more than they’ve held my sins against me. We are all down here in the pits together in this life and we need to forgive and love one another without grinding our failures in each other’s faces.
My concern about the bishops who made all the noise at the Synod isn’t that some of them are rather obvious snobs and that some of them are in love with being in front of a camera. Being a show boat is probably one of the job requirements for being a bishop. If you’re the sort of person who detests being the center of attention, you probably would never want to be a priest in the first place.
My concern — and it is a concern, not a condemnation — is that at least a few of them are getting dangerously close to abandoning the call of every Christian on this planet, which is to follow Christ the Lord. We are — all of us, from back-row pew sitter to prince of the Church, required to yield ourselves over to Him and His leadership.
I didn’t see that in this Synod. What I saw was a lot of in-fighting and politics, a tiny bit of faith-talk when it fit the scenario and an overwhelming me-me-me. In that it was remarkably like that other all-too-human deliberative body, the United States Congress.
Pope Adds African Cardinal to Synod Drafting Committee. Cardinal Pell Says ‘We’re Not Collapsing in a Heap’
Public Catholic reader Ken alerted me to the fact that Pope Frances has added another member to the drafting committee for the final report from the First Synod on the Family.
This report will not directly affect Church teaching. It will be used for further discussion during the next year.
The new member is rather interesting, considering Cardinal Kasper’s foot in mouth comment about African bishops a couple of days ago. He is Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, of South Africa.
The Holy Father also added Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne to the committee.
In the meantime, Cardinal Pell has given an interview to Catholic News Service in which he says,
We’re not giving in to the secular agenda; we’re not collapsing in a heap. We’ve got no intention of following those radical elements in all the Christian churches, according to the Catholic Churches in one or two countries, and going out of business.
The midterm report was ‘tendentious, skewed; it didn’t represent accurately the feelings of the Synod fathers. In the immediate reaction to it, when there wa an hour, an hour and half of discussion, three-quarters of those who spoke had some problems with it.
It promises to be way past interesting, reading the final report and seeing what the “Synod fathers” have done. I imagine that this “final” report will be drug around, cut apart, analyzed, applauded and attacked until we get to the “real” synod and the whole things starts over again.
I don’t have the money to take a cruise right now, anyway.
I’ve got to hire a plumber to fix some drippy leaks and figure out why water backs up into the vents on my house when the yard is soaked. That, and not airline tickets and cruise ships, is where my money is going.
But even if I was full up on cash and aching to roll, I think I’d settle for a car trip and a family picnic. Since 9/11, travel has been punishing at best. Now it’s looking more and more like a nightmare waiting to happen.
ISIS and their desire to blow us up/behead us/take us prisoner/rape us and sell us into slavery is like the ubiquitous elevator music of our travel. We know, as we are wanded, patted down, searched and yelled at by airport personnel that this little bit of medicine is for our own good. We take it in hopes that it will ward off having us end up like the Passengers of Flight 93, careening into the earth to save the nation’s capital from attack, or like James Foley, kneeling in the sand to recite some bit of ISIS dogma before we are murdered by a satanic braggadocio.
We’ve got a handle on all that.
We’ve learned to tune the noise down low and go about our business, semi-secure in the law of averages and what has so far been well-placed faith in our government to ferret out these murdering dirt bags before they get to us.
Then, along comes Ebola, which will not show itself to the wands and metal detectors and which can not be bothered to telegraph its intentions with email and cell phone calls. Ebola travels from human to human in the silent stealth warfare of life against life.
Disease knows no faith, nationality or cant. It does not announce itself by shouting slogans and waving weapons. In the famous words from Terminator 1, “… it can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.”
Ebola is the latest in an endless line of attacks humanity has faced from other life forms. The virus, with its magnificent simplicity, and its half-life/half-not-life status, is particularly difficult to manage. Unlike bacteria, a virus can’t even breed itself. It cannot, as the scientists say, “multiply” on its own.
It needs a “host” and when that “host” is us, and the virus in question is a killer, you’d better, as Okies say, get back Loretta. Because things are going to get crazy. Each virus has its limits, and we, being the smarter of the two in this battle, can size up those limits and figure out how to take the thing on by getting it on our turf instead of its turf.
The turf of the Ebola virus is literally hand to hand. As in, it passes from hand to hand. So far (and hopefully from now on) it doesn’t pass by breath. An Ebola victim can’t exhale on you and infect you. It also can’t pass from one person to the next until it has reached the stage where it shows itself. When it demonstrates its presence with a fever or a headache or nausea, then it is powerful enough to reach across the divide between persons and jump, on a touch or a shared bit of bodily fluid, from one person to the next.
It’s far more infectious than HIV, but it’s not contagious like, say, the flu. However, it is deadly, and I don’t mean deadly in years the way HIV is, but deadly in days. And the death it gives is agonizing.
We don’t understand Ebola. And we haven’t been so good at doing what we don’t admit we do with these deadly diseases, which is to “contain” it among what we appear to regard as the riffraff of the world. From the nightly news to daily conversations, the horror of Ebola is not that it is laying waste whole countries in Africa. It is the all-too-human fear that it’s going to leap the fence of national borders, rivers and oceans and get to us.
The best single disease vector on our planet today is the commercial airline, which is also the vector for the social disease of terrorism. A jet plane can do in a matter of hours what once took months or even years, and in the case of isolated areas of the world, what, in centuries past, didn’t happen at all.
Plague of any type can now spread at the speed of a jet engine. And it goes everywhere on this planet. Thus we have a man from Liberia, dying of Ebola in Dallas, and a health care worker from Dallas ending up in quarantine in Belize.
That’s the latest story, you know. A poor health care worker from the same Dallas hospital where the Liberian man died and a nurse contracted the disease, went on a cruise and ended up in quarantine because she got sick. Does she have Ebola? Given the length of time since she handled the specimens (she’s a lab worker) it’s unlikely, but possible.
Her exposure, if there was one, occurred long enough ago that Ebola has almost run out its string with her. All living things, including somewhat living things like the Ebola virus have an amount of time it takes them to reproduce. In the case of disease, it takes a lot of these reproductions, these multiplications, before symptoms develop. We can measure it and predict it within parameters that allow for individual variations. If this health care worker has Ebola, her body is keeping it down well enough that it’s taken a long time to manifest.
All this raises questions. Government questions. Health care questions. And what are you and I gonna do questions.
The what are you and I gonna do questions are actually the easiest because they’re the ones we have complete control over. Holiday season is coming, and a lot of people will want to hop a jet and go to Grandma’s house. I like to take trips in October because the weather is pleasant and the tourists are thinned out. The answer for me about what I’m gonna do is largely academic. I don’t have the coin to go gallivanting. I’ve got plumbing to fix. I
may load up the car and take a couple of day trips around Oklahoma. But that’s about it for me. However, given the various complexities that are being heaped on travel, a staycation is looking more and more like the smart move, and not just for me.
I mean, who wants to go on a cruise and end up quarantined? Who wants to go on a flight and end up alerted that they have to watch themselves for symptoms for the next three weeks? Who wants to be patted down, wanded and yelled at? And I’m not even talking about squeezing yourself into those tiny seats and hauling luggage through airports.
I love to travel. But, fortunately for me, I also love to be at home. I’ve got plumbing to fix and things are in a roil on the travel front. I see a staycation in my future.
Four men have been accused of plotting a terrorist attack on police officers and soldiers in the streets of London.
According to the Daily Mail, the men had sworn oaths of allegiance to ISIS and were scouting a London police station and an army barracks. They had photos of four officers. I assume these were photos of their intended victims.
They had managed to arm themselves and had “jihadist materials, including videos of beheadings.”
From the Mail Online:
Four men have appeared in court accused of plotting a terror attack on police officers or soldiers on the streets of London.
Tarik Hassane, 21, Suhaib Majeed, 20, Nyall Hamlett, 24, and Momen Motasim, 21, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with intending to commit acts of terrorism.
The men allegedly swore allegiance to extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) and scouted out Shepherd’s Bush police station and White City Territorial Army Barracks.
They allegedly kept Instagram images of two Scotland Yard police officers and two Metropolitan Police community support officers, as well as a trove of jihadist material including videos of beheadings.
In addition, they are accused of having a Baikal handgun, silencer and six rounds of ammunition.
It is alleged the men discussed getting hold of and stashing a moped as part of the terror plot and are said to have used codewords over secret communication channels.
A fifth man, Nathan Cuffy, 25, also appeared in court charged with firearms offences.
Nigeria’s chief of defense, Alex Badeh, has announced a truce between the Nigerian government and Boko Harma and the possible release of the 200 school girls that Boko Haram abducted six months ago.
From BBC Africa:
Nigeria’s military says it has agreed a truce with Islamist militants Boko Haram – and that the schoolgirls the group has abducted will be released.
Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce. Boko Haram has not made a public statement.
The military has struggled to defeat Boko Haram, which has been fighting an insurgency since 2009.
Boko Haram sparked global outrage six months ago by abducting more than 200 schoolgirls.
The girls were seized in the north-eastern town of Chibok in Borno state, and their continued captivity has led to criticism of the Nigerian government’s efforts to secure their release.
The hostages are thought to have been taken to the vast Sambisa forest, along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.
Members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign said in a tweet on Friday: “We are monitoring the news with huge expectations.”
Cardinal Kasper says he didn’t say it.
The reporter says he’s got it on tape.
“It” is the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad interview that Cardinal Kasper gave yesterday. I can understand why Cardinal Kasper is doing his best to unsay what he said. He truly did open his clerical mouth and insert both his priestly feet.
His terrible, horrible, no good, very bad interview began with a few off-the-cuff remarks about how the bishops from Africa were opposing what Cardinal Kasper wants the Synod on the Family to do. If the quotes are correct, the Cardinal came across like a grand dame sniffing her titled nose at the effrontery of serving salads on warm salad plates. He might as well have said, It is, you see, just not done, but then, you know these colonials; all feathers and drums with no class.
He ended that little riff with a snippy comment to the effect that, while African bishops had to deal with their reality, that didn’t mean that their opinions should be taken seriously by the bishops from the more enlightened parts of the world.
If you want to listen to the interview, go here. If you can read German (I can’t) I’m told you will find the Cardinal’s denial of the whole thing here. If you’d like to read intelligent commentary — as opposed to the big nnnnhhhh I’ve giving you here — check out Deacon Greg Kandra and The Anchoress.
I punted on “the interview” and didn’t write about it yesterday because I’d already decided that Cardinal Kasper was a few cards short of a full theological deck.
I know. Who am I to say that? The answer, of course, is that I’m nobody. I am a pew-sitting convert from Oklahoma, of all backward places.
But I can’t help thinking with my backward little Okie brain (which I’m sure would rank considerably below an African brain.) What I’ve been thinking for a while now is that Cardinal Kasper’s recent spate of press conferences sound like an interview for the position of Catholicism’s answer to Episcopalian Bishop Shelby Spong.
Cardinal Kasper seems to like being interviewed, at least most of the time. He’s been running to the press on a regular basis to engage in an unseemly spite fight with his brother bishops. The quotes from his foot-in-mouth interview were a bit of a face-palm moment for some people, but I was, by the time I read them, all done with paying attention to Cardinal Kasper and his press peccadilloes.
Cardinal Kasper’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad interview doesn’t, in my opinion, reveal him to be a racist so much as it pinpoints him as a self-important snob. That’s pretty much the message I got from Cardinal Kasper’s comment.
Those “Africans” and their backward countries just can’t be expected to exercise the enlightened Christianity of the Church of What’s Happening Now. Poor things. They can’t help it. We need to be nice to them, but certainly not let their third-world hang-ups get in the way of our first-world compassion and tolerance.
The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Interview has boiled itself down to a he-said-it-and-I’ve-got-him-on-tape-saying-it/I-didn’t-say-it-and-I’m-not-that-kind-of-guy deal between Cardinal Kasper and Edward Pentin, the reporter who told on him. I can’t see any way that is going to end well for the Cardinal. My advice to him is just belly up to the bar and tell the truth, which is most likely “I didn’t mean it the way it came out.” He can follow that by saying “I denied it because I was embarrassed to admit it.”
That would be humiliating, especially for someone as much in love with himself as the Cardinal appears to be. But it might also end up being spiritually edifying to him.
As for me, I have no desire whatsoever to flog the poor Cardinal for his foot in mouth disease. It really does happen to all of us from time to time. The truth is:
Things often look all different in print than they sounded in your own ears when you were saying them. That’s just a fact.
Anybody who talks to the press a lot is going to, as we Okies say, come a cropper at some point. That’s another fact.
I don’t want to keel-haul Cardinal Kasper for his Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Interview.
I don’t even want to scold him for it.
My beef with the Cardinal is more fundamental. It’s about that Jesus guy.
You know. The One Who said What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Note: The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Interview is a play on the title of a book by Judith Viorst.