Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I knew it!

The real breakfast of champions

Cold pizza, microwaved pizza, store-bought frozen pizza... It doesn't matter what kind of pie is on your plate this morning - it's probably a healthier breakfast than a bowl of cereal.

If you're considering eating pizza for breakfast, there's a good chance you're wildly hungover. Or maybe you're just feeling plain old lazy. You might feel like a piece of trash for eating America's favorite greasy food before 10 a.m., but you really shouldn't.

It's got protein. It's got carbs. It might even have vegetables. That hot slice of cheesy goodness is a balanced breakfast if we've ever seen one.

And heck, if Beyonce can eat cupcakes after SoulCycle, you can eat pizza before 10 a.m.

Plus, you're making a better choice than most moms are when they feed their kids cereal for breakfast. Why? America's cereal options are nutritionally bleak - there's rarely protein, healthy fats, or anything but spoonfuls of sugar in cereal these days. And with cheese gaining momentum as the next hit superfood, you can bet pizza is winning this nutritional war.

To make sure we aren't steering you towards your greasy, heart-clogged demise, we double-checked with a dietitian.

Read the rest here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Are Republicans Ready to Join a Third Party?

WASHINGTON — Want to know what a lot of Republicans have been thinking about in the days leading up to Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address to a Republican-controlled Congress?

A new party.

At think-tank conference tables, over coffee at the Senate Chef and at the incessant book parties on the Washington social circuit, disaffected Republicans are wondering whether, if they came up with a truly great candidate, they could jump-start a new party, just as the original Republicans did in the 1850s.

And if surveys have any truth to them, plenty of Americans are ready to join them. A September Gallup poll found 61 percent of American voters support the idea of a third major political party, the highest level of support Gallup had ever recorded. Young voters seem especially eager to junk the two-party system; NBC reported in November that 71 percent of millennials want another choice.

In a world in which Alabama voters elected a Democratic senator, all kinds of previously unimaginable possibilities make a new kind of sense. A third-party presidency in 2020 is no less likely today than the prospect of Donald Trump’s election appeared to be two years ago.

A viable third-party candidate — say, someone with credibility inside one of the parties who bolts from it — would have appeal to voters across the spectrum. There are many Republicans wary of a second term for Mr. Trump, and yet right now they are entirely reliant on the Democrats to deliver a winning centrist candidate out of a primary process that almost made Bernie Sanders their 2016 nominee. A contest between Mr. Trump and a liberal Democratic candidate like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts would leave the middle up for grabs. And a big contingent of politically orphaned political strategists, academics and donors would be ready to lend support.

Read the rest here.

Supreme Court Vacancies?

Democrats are biting nails over the possibility of multiple vacancies on the Supreme Court. It is widely expected that Justice Kennedy, the court's lone (left leaning) centrist, will step down at the end of the current term. Assuming this is true, President Trump will have the opportunity to replace him before the next Congress is seated. Which depending on the election this fall, could see the Senate shift to Democratic control.

That's bad enough for liberals as Kennedy has been the swing vote for a lot of very controversial decisions that went their way. But what is keeping them awake at night is the possibility that one, or even two of the court's more liberal justices might also stand down. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84 and has been dealing with serious health issues for years. She is often seen falling asleep in public, sometimes while on the bench. The other possible vacancy is Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Just 63, she has been struggling with diabetes and is rumored to be having difficulty remaining focused in her work. Court watchers have suggested that she appears to have aged dramatically over the last year.

My personal opinion is that neither of these liberal icons will stand down this year unless they just can't do the job anymore. With Trump in the White House I suspect that they would rather die in office than voluntarily give him the opportunity to name their successor. But Trump has the better part of three years remaining in his term of office and that is a long time for two judges with serious medical conditions, and one in her mid 80's. It seems likely that Trump will have the opportunity to name at least one more justice, and possibly as many as three.

This is why Democrats are desperate to regain control of the Senate. If the two liberal justices can hang on one more year and the Democrats flip the Senate then Trump will be severely constrained in his ability to get conservative nominees confirmed. After what the GOP did to Obama's nominee, which Democrats are still seething over, my guess is that the only man Trump would have any chance of getting confirmed would be Merrick Garland.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New York City in 1929

Film footage with sound taken by an early Movietone film crew of street scenes in New York City in 1929.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Trump says he wants to talk to the special prosecutor under oath...

What could possibly go wrong? If I were his lawyer I'd tell him to watch this video (I think I may have posted it before on here). Then I'd tell him that if he agrees to so much as discuss last night's ball game with Mueller that I would resign and he would need to get another lawyer.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Quote of the day...

“An impeccable argument can rest on undeniable facts, but if it is used to hurt another and to discredit that person in the eyes of others, however correct it may appear, it is not truthful. We can recognize the truth of statements from their fruits.”

-Pope Francis

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Another Bible thumping huckster praying [pun intended] on the credulous. Some people simply have no shame.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Unreformable Ireland? The Failure of the Reformation in Ireland

What makes Ireland so interesting for Reformation studies is that it stands out as the classic exception to the general rule of ciuis regio, eius religio. Despite the endeavours of successive monarchs to extend the English Reformation to Ireland since 1534, by the end of the sixteenth century the number of Irish Protestants was reckoned by contemporaries at between 40 and 120 individuals. In Dublin, the capital of Ireland, only twenty Irish householders attended Protestant church services, and only four of those would receive communion by Protestant rites. By any criteria the failure of the Reformation in Ireland was comprehensive and absolute.

Because the failure of the Reformation in Ireland was so overwhelming it had long seemed inevitable, and historians had generally seen no need to try to explain it before Brendan Bradshaw’s exploratory essay, “Sword, Word and Strategy in the Reformation in Ireland,” was published in 1978. However, that article prompted Nicholas Canny’s rejoinder of the following year: “Why the Reformation Failed in Ireland: une question mal posée?” Not only did Canny declare the question as misconceived, he presented a new paradigm for Irish Reformation studies. He claimed that until the 1590s the Reformation in Ireland was characterized by a “quiescent phase” during which the Irish were not bothered about the theological debates that concerned Christians elsewhere in Europe. He asserted that throughout that period they were as liable to be absorbed into the Protestant Church of Ireland as to be lost forever to the Counter Reformation. He argued that the Reformation was rejected at the fin de siècle, not for any religious reasons but because it came to be seen as merely another facet of an English government program for Ireland that was characterized by despotism, militarism, and Anglicization. Tellingly, though, it was not made clear how political alienation from English governance could suddenly have inspired a general commitment to Counter-Reformation Catholicism after more than six decades of supposed religious indifference. 

Read the rest here.
HT: Dr. Tighe

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Turkish Chemist Claims Noah Had Nuclear-Powered Ark, Called Son on Cellphone

A Turkish academic who claims to “speak for science” said that Noah used a cellphone to call his son before the Flood and powered the Ark with a nuclear reactor. The latest bizarre pseudoscience out of Turkey comes a year after the Turkish government claimed that the patriarch Abraham’s father built Göbekli Tepe and a couple of years after Turkey’s strongman president claimed that Muslim explorers built a mosque in Cuba long before Columbus visited the island. Such claims are part of a growing religious fundamentalism in the Turkish state, where the secularism of Ataturk has eroded in recent years in favor of Pres. Erdoğan’s policy of Islamization.

​Yavuz Örnek, 59, teaches marine science at Istanbul University. He was educated in Turkey and here in upstate New York (but of course) at Syracuse University. He is a specialist in organic chemistry and studies algae, but he is also an outspoken opponent of women’s rights, claiming that families break down when women are free and that gender equality must be bad because “the Jews” advocate for it. Speaking on the state-run TRT 1 television network on Saturday, Örnek outlined his strange claims about Noah’s Ark.

“There were huge 300 to 400-meter high waves and his [the Prophet Noah’s] son was many kilometers away. The Quran says Noah spoke with his son. But how did they manage to communicate? Was it a miracle? It could be. But we believe he communicated with his son via cell phone,” Örnek said, according to a translation published in the Hürriyet Daily News.

The passage Örnek refers to appears in Qur’an 11:42-43: “And the ark swam with them between waves like mountains: and Noah called up to his son, who was separated from him, saying, Embark with us, my son, and stay not with the unbelievers. He answered, I will get on a mountain, which will secure me from the water. Noah replied, There is no security this day from the decree of God, except for him on whom he shall have mercy. And a wave passed between them, and he became one of those who were drowned” (trans. George Sale). As you can see, there is no indication in the text that Noah’s son was kilometers away; rather, the plain reading is that Noah passed him in the Ark and called to him as the ship sailed by him.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Who needs coffee...

When you wake up to this on your cell phone?


Somebody needs to get their @$$ run up a flagpole for this one. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018


There is talk of some grand bargain that would resolve the status of millions of illegal aliens in the country. I smell an amnesty sell out. I hope I am wrong but let's just say that when talking about politicians my trust level is pretty close to zero. So is there anything that might move me to accept some kind of broad amnesty?


The one thing that will forever remain an impediment to effectively limiting illegal immigration is birthright citizenship. It's enshrined in the 14th amendment in language that is, unfortunately, at least as clear as that of the 2nd amendment, which means we can't get rid of it without another constitutional amendment. And that is impossible without bipartisan agreement in both houses.

So here are my terms for supporting some kind of broad amnesty.

* Secure the border with Mexico. I don't care about a wall, but the border needs to be secured.
* End chain immigration.
* End the Green Card lottery. If we are going to legalize and absorb as many as ten + million illegals, well we just don't have any room for the others who played by the rules and waited for their turn. Sorry, you got screwed by the fence jumpers and their allies.
*Pass and send to the states for ratification an amendment abolishing birthright citizenship. If it can get out of Congress it will get ratified. There are plenty of states that will do it and fast. The number of states that will oppose ratification are high in population but few in number. California and New York each only count once.
*Require background checks and back taxes to be paid by those being granted residency.

If the Democrats can swallow those terms I can swallow an amnesty bill. That's a long term win in the fight against illegal immigration.

Mail call

Now and then I get emails from inquirers and others seeking advice on various issues. I'm not sure why, as I'm not a priest. But setting that aside I try to help if I think I can.  Which brings me to an email from Ben (not their real name) who is in a situation that I very much fear is not all that unusual these days.

Ben is a small 'o' orthodox Roman Catholic who resides in a diocese (he didn't specify but I can take a guess) with what he describes as a pretty bad bishop who is promoting things that are simply a no no for serious Catholics as well as we Orthodox. Ben used the "H" word in describing him and I'm not going to argue the point. The parish he grew up in and was married in sounds like it has become Episcopalian in all but name. Last summer the priest there gave a homily that was the last straw and Ben realized that remaining there was no longer an option for him or his family.

So they started shopping for a new spiritual home and landed in an Orthodox parish where they have been welcomed with open arms and they are very happy. He and Mrs. Ben love the church, and the liturgy and are very happy with the priest.

I will bet you know what's coming.

The problem is that Ben is not ready to swim the Bosporus. There is much that he admires about Orthodoxy but he is still a Catholic deep down. And of course while he and his family have been warmly welcomed, they can't commune the Holy Mysteries which he, rightly IMO, believes is a problem.

His options vis a vis his own church are limited. There is a fairly conservative parish that is about 90 minutes away. But he would still be within the diocese with a bishop that Ben is convinced is a flat out heretic.

My best advice is to see if there is an Eastern Byzantine* Rite Catholic parish within a reasonable distance. Your mileage may vary, but the Eastern Rites used to be fairly safe compared to a lot of the really dreadful stuff going on in some corners of the Roman Rite. Failing that I would look for a traditional (Tridentine Rite) parish. If necessary, I'd consider a parish under the Society of St. Pius X. Their exact relationship with Rome is not clear. A friend described it as one characterized by strategic ambiguity which seems to suit both sides. To be clear the SSPX has had some issues in the past, but I think they got rid of the more hardcore wing nuts when they expelled Bishop Williamson. Recently the Red Pope granted them faculties for hearing confessions and their Masses are considered valid by the Holy See. For some, in the current emergency in the Catholic Church, the SSPX may well be the safest port in which to ride out the storm.

As for the conservative parish that is an hour and a half away, if all else fails I'd maybe do that once a month, which would permit the reception of confession and holy communion. But I am really reluctant here because that parish is under a bishop that is a heretic. Here I must note my Orthodox side is showing through. In Orthodoxy our connection to the broader Church is through the Holy Mysteries of the Altar which among other things, requires submission to a canonical Orthodox bishop. And to be blunt, if hypothetically my bishop were to be doing/promoting the kind of things that Ben's is, I'd be gone. Which is to say I would never set foot in, much less commune in any parish under their jurisdiction.

The one obvious solution is conversion. But again Ben doesn't sound ready to go there and I for one consider his reluctance to be a sign of spiritual maturity. Conversion should never be done lightly. And as I have noted in the past, it is better to remain in schism from the Church then to enter, only to leave later on. Everything I have heard suggests that this is a chronic problem.

So with my rather lame advice out of the way I am going to open this up in case someone else can offer something a little better. However, I do want to caution that comments need to be constructive and charitable. Any that IMO fail that standard will be quickly dispatched to the cyber trash bin.

* Per the suggestion of Dr. Bill Tighe who worries that some of the non-Byzantine sui iuris churches have been "reformed" in unhealthy ways.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fr. John Whiteford Reviews David B Hart's Translation of the New Testament

You may read it here. If you would prefer just the executive summary... (WARNING: Spoiler Alert)...

It sucks.

From the "you can't make this up" file

SANTA CLARITA, Calf. (WFLA) — While the rest of us were debating where to abandon our trees, one woman decided to take hers back for a refund.

So come January, the woman wanted her money back for her once lively Christmas tree because it was now dead.

Customers at the Costco in the suburbs of Los Angeles were blown away, and one man couldn’t help but post the rest of the details on Facebook.

Read the rest here.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Christ is born (again)!

The Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ from St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church in Washington DC (in English).

Just a reminder...

Summer really is coming.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

How Europe Built Its Own Funeral Pyre, Then Leapt In

Mass immigration, guilt and a continent on the brink of ‘societal catastrophe.’

The single most significant issue of our time is not North Korea’s drive to develop long-range nuclear missiles. It is not the threat posed to Europe by the Russian land power or the threat posed to America’s Asian dominance by Chinese sea power. It is not Iran’s growing Mideast influence, nor the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections and possible “collusion” by the Trump campaign.

No, the defining issue of our day is mass immigration into the nations of Western heritage. This growing inflow threatens to remake those nations and overwhelm their cultural identity. This is the issue that played the largest role in getting Donald Trump elected. It drove Britain’s Brexit vote. It is roiling the European continent, mounting tensions inside the EU and driving a wedge between the elites of those nations and their general populations.

Indeed, the central battlefront in the immigration wars is Europe, which accepted a trickle of immigrants in the immediate postwar era due to labor shortages. But over the years the trickle became a stream, then a growing river, and finally a torrent—to the extent that ethnic Britons are now a minority in their own capital city, refugee flows into Germany went from 48,589 in 2010 to 1.5 million in 2015, and Italy, a key entry point, received at one point an average of 6,500 new arrivals a day.

Throughout all this, the European elites celebrated the change and imposed a kind of thought enforcement regime against those who raised questions. The in-migration was initially hailed as an economic boon; then as a necessary corrective to an aging population; then as a means of spicing up society through “diversity”; and finally as a fait accompli, an unstoppable wave wrought by the world’s gathering globalization. Besides, argued the elites, the new arrivals would all become assimilated into the European culture eventually, so what’s the problem? Meanwhile, public opinion surveys over decades showed that large majorities of Europeans harbored powerful misgivings about these changes.

As British journalist and author Douglas Murray writes, “Promised throughout their lifetimes that the changes were temporary, that the changes were not real, or that the changes did not signify anything, Europeans discovered that in the lifespan of people now alive they would become minorities in their own countries.”

Murray, associate editor of the Spectator in London, is the author of a compact volume exploring this phenomenon. It is called The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, and it was published six months ago by Bloomsbury. The tone is measured but unflinching. The picture he paints of the European future is bleak.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

David Stockman: Unhinged, Part 1- The GOP's Fiscal Madness

Pulled: I am blanking this post as the linked article has been moved behind a paywall. Apologies. It was quite good.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Catholic Bishops of Kazakhstan Implicitly Rebuke Pope Francis

His name may not have been mentioned but there can be no doubt who this was directed towards.