3 Responses to Words to Live By

2 Responses to The True Significance of the Internet

  • I couldn’t imagine what I was going to find when I clicked on the title “True Significance of the Internet”. Oh.My.Gosh. Thanks for the huge and happy chuckle. I want a couple of those!

  • Here are two kids acting like humans.
    I wonder when humans will start acting like goats?

    – Oh, wait a minute………….


Saturday, February 7, AD 2015






From those same wonderful folks who brought you ObamaCare and the IRS as a political weapon:


February 6, 2015




Last night, Chairman Wheeler provided his fellow Commissioners with President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet. I am disappointed that the plan will not be released publicly. The FCC should be as open and transparent as the Internet itself and post the entire document on its website.

Instead, it looks like the FCC will have to pass the President’s plan before the American people will be able to find out what’s really in it.

In the coming days, I look forward to continuing to study the plan in detail. Based on my initial examination, however, several points are apparent.

First, President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works.

It’s an overreach that will let a Washington bureaucracy, and not the American people, decide the future of the online world. It’s no wonder that net neutrality proponents are already bragging that it will turn the FCC into the “Department of the Internet.” For that reason, if you like dealing with the IRS, you are going to love the President’s plan.

Second, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will increase consumers’ monthly broadband bills. The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband.

Indeed, states have already begun discussions on how they will spend the extra money. These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.

Third, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will mean slower broadband for American consumers. The plan contains a host of new regulations that will reduce investment in

broadband networks. That means slower Internet speeds. It also means that many rural Americans will have to wait longer for access to quality broadband.

Fourth, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will hurt competition and innovation and move us toward a broadband monopoly. The plan saddles small, independent

businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market. As a result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated monopoly is what we’ll get. We shouldn’t bring Ma Bell back to life in this dynamic, digital age.

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5 Responses to GovNet

  • I wonder if our Dear Leader consulted with Pope Francis on this?

  • More freedoms of the American people being whittled away.

    The New Soviet Union of America slowly but surely advancing.
    (Help – am I allowed to say that ???? )

  • Another opportunity for the Republicans to thrash the Democrats in the 2016 race, not only for the White House, but for more seats in Congress. Will they take advantage of it?

  • About the only thing I like about this situation is that, as ground-prep, they updated what is meant by “broadband.” My mom’s email times out when downloading formatted text emails, but is technically “broadband.”

  • (Pie in the sky, I’d prefer the gov’t not be involved in the internet AT ALL and that “broadband” be used more like “certified angus,” but I’ll take small improvements.)

Thought Control is Futile in the Age of the Internet

Friday, September 5, AD 2014




A follow up to Paul’s post, here, regarding the impotent attempt by the powers that be at the Archdiocese of Washington to silence Monsignor Pope’s views on the Saint Patrick Parade fiasco.  I am dumbfounded that in the age of the internet such attempts as removing a post can be thought to accomplish anything except to give wide coverage to the pettiness and lack of intelligence of those guilty of such attempts to “reason” with those who disagree with them by attempting to silence them.

Here is the Monsignor’s post.  It is run here expressly without his permission and without any consultation with him:

Time to End the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner?

By: Msgr. Charles Pope 


The time for happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement of our culture may be nearing an end. Sometimes it takes a while to understand that what used to work no longer works. Let me get more specific.Decades ago the “Al Smith Dinner” was a time for Republicans and Democrats to bury the hatchet (even if only temporarily) and come together to raise money for the poor and to emphasize what unites us rather than what divides us. But in the old days the death of 50 million infants was not what divided us. We were divided about lesser things such as how much of the budget should go to defense and how much to social spending. Reasonable men might differ over that.But now we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love and that LGBTQIA… (I=intersexual, A= Asexual) is actually a form of sanity to which we should tip our hat, and with those who stand four-square against us over religious liberty.

Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.

In New York City in particular, the “parade” is devolving into a farcical and hateful ridicule of the faith that St. Patrick preached.

It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.

But don’t go to the parade; stay away from the Al Smith Dinner and all that “old school” stuff that hangs on in a darkened world. And as for St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to stop wearin’ the green and instead take up the purple of Lent and mean it. Enough of the celebration of stupidity, frivolity, and drunkenness that St Paddy’s day has become. We need penance now, not foolishness. We don’t need parades and dinner with people who scoff at our teachings, insist we compromise, use us for publicity, and make money off of us. We’re being played for (and are?) fools.

End the St Patrick’s parade. End the Al Smith Dinner and all other such compromised events. Enough now, back to Church! Wear the purple of Lent and if there is going to be a procession, let it be Eucharistic and penitential for the sins of this age.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

How say you?


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18 Responses to Thought Control is Futile in the Age of the Internet

  • He said what I’ve been thinking for a long time. So sad the leadership in too many places just doesn’t get it. God Bless the Monsignor!

  • One thousand amens to Msgr. Pope. My greatest fear is that this Cardinal Dolan involvement is artificial and career oriented (as in papacy some day) by being same as Pope Francis on unjudging….but at the Diocesan level, don’t rule out an Irishman behind the curtains peeved by the truth of the “drunkeness” remarks either… along with papal fawning on unjudging. The parade should now be stopped. Romans 1 says one thing about gay acts and the parade says something else to millions of young people who never read Romans 1. The parade now militates against repentance. The parade at the deepest level will thus hurt all active gays who all are being called by God to stop this conduct. What is weakening many people is that many families have an active gay and want peace at any price come Christmas etc. But did Christ come to establish peace…or division when necessary for entering the reward of Purgatory and thence Heaven. He came to bring division in such areas just as Pope Francis rightly brought division to Mafia culture in his Italy travels….would that he had done the same with that elderly priest in Italy who promotes active gay causes.

  • AMEN!
    This should of been from the desk of Cardinal Dolan. I hope the good Cardinal thinks deeply on Msgr. Pope’s letter.
    Thanks for the post.

  • I had commented on Monsignor’s post while it was still up on his blog. When I went back to check the comments and the blog was down, I had first assumed a member of the Tolerance Brigade had hacked the site. When I checked later and the blog was still down, the thought crossed my mind that maybe his superiors had become involved, but I dismissed that since I thought his post was forceful but still respectful of all those involved. How stupid of me.

  • When Wm. Donohue was commending Bp. Wuerl a dozen years ago over his handling of sexual abuse cases in Pittsburgh, a tradtionalist priest offered me a caution: “he’s a nasty guy”, and insisted that the Diocese of Pittsburgh had bribed an ecclesiastical tribunal in Rome for a favorable ruling. Whether he’s nasty or not, subsequent behavior by Wuerl has demonstrated he’s no teacher and has his finger in the secular culture wind.

    There are 18 American cardinals. At least three had a history of scandalous discretionary decisions regarding sexual perversion in the clergy, at least three have engaged in public behavior unbecoming of a serious teacher of the faith, at least one fostered a rancid institutional culture in his chancery (degenerate press secretary, &c). One of the ones with a more congenial public profile has been removed from pastoral work and parked in a Vatican tribunal (and now stripped of his ancillary offices). For lower-octane disagreeableness you have the hostility to the traditional rites (characteristic of at least two others).

  • The very stones are shouting out.

  • “a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness…”

    On St Patrick’s Day, in the Irish regiments of the British Army, the men are woken by the pipe major and “Irish gunfire” (a mixture of coffee and Irish whiskey (sic)), is served by the officers and sergeants to other ranks. This recalls the Roman Saturnalia, when masters waited on their slaves.

    There is a Church Parade at 0800, followed by a march past at 1100, during which shamrock is distributed, usually by a member of the Royal Family. This is worn in the cap.

    Lunch is again served by the officers and sergeants to the other ranks and the afternoon is passed in the mess, to which former members of the regiment are invited and I understand that a certain amount of liquid refreshment is taken. The entertainment consists of songs and recitations, to which all are expected to contribute.

    I have never heard of any criticism of these festivities by the padres, or by anyone else, come to that.

  • The Penal Laws were “a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man. -Edmud Burke

    Now the important part of that quote to me is this: “and the debasement in them of human nature itself”. We see that when the devil swings The Irish people were demeaned in such a literal killing way for generations. The problems many Irish suffered with alcohol are legendary. At the same time, they made super attempts to remain faithful to the mass and to Mother Church while suffering the “impoverishment and degradation” born in hate and greed. St Patrick had prayed for them to remain faithful and asked the blessed Virgin to care for them.
    The Penal Laws were a punishment for stubbornly holding on to the Catholic Faith, for The Eucharist at “mass rocks” for the love of the humble and chaste Lady, and their oft repreated prayer- JMJ Jesus Mary and Joseph.
    When she came to them at Knock, she brought with her Joseph, John the Beloved Disciple and most importantly the Lamb of God – the Mass. The teachings of the Church, the Faith of the Catholic Irish were validated. They saw at Knock the vison of the Mass ongoing eternaly as seen by John in his Revelation.

    The devil is still slashing his knife-sharp tail and Irish descendants (Timothy Dolan?) of faithful and holy Catholics, are succumbing. The Faith that Irish people, Polish people, Chinese people, African people died for is being given up, without even a whimper on the streets of New York.

  • Then-Bishop Wuerl showed his true colors in 2004. John FARC Kerry’s wife, the widow of the late Senator John Heinz, retained some estates around Pittsburgh. Kerry showed himself for and was given Communion, despite his abortionist stance.
    Wuerl was, on the surface, very tough against those accused of sexual abuse. This, as well as Bill Donahue’s personal knowledge of him, led to Donahue’s remarks. Wuerl was never a good friend of the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community.

    Wuerl and Dolan…..peas in a pod.

    Under Wuerl’s leadership, the Pittsburgh Diocese, still one of the 20 largest in the USA, vocations decreased and numerous parishes closed. Some of those parishes were from very hard hit areas that were clobbered in the recession of 1981-82 and have never recovered, but still…..

  • I actually had sent out the original post of Msgr Pope before it was taken down [by him-as he claims? or in response to some official urging? I have my guesses.]

    To your point, Donald, concerning “thought control is futile in the Internet Age” I would offer some reflections.

    I do believe that if a site, blog etc refers to itself as Catholic in ‘name’ or ‘mission’ there should be ‘truth in advertising’, just as there should be in every Catholic institution: i.e. schools, hospitals, Catholic Charities etc. By Catholic I mean being in communion with the teachings [all the teachings], sacraments [all the sacraments] and with the bishops in union with the pope. Needless to say this is a tough one and we all have plenty of examples where the name “Catholic” might be problematic to describe the institution etc.

    Having said that, I believe, and have expressed this before on this blog, that communion means Unity in Truth and Love. Both are necessary and cannot be separated. However, in today’s Church there seems to be a tendency (more than a tendency lol?) for us to lean more toward one than the other and isolating ourselves from ‘the other’ one. This has some very real consequences.

    Of course, Donald what you wrote concerning the reality of the Internet being ‘free and wide open’ certainly is correct. None of us want anything close to a government or other institution closing down sites etc. I don’t believe in Big Brother. As Americans we know that we have the right to free speech, but what does that mean for us as Catholic Christians?

    I believe we are even freer than the freedoms of which I just wrote. We have been delivered from bondage by Jesus Christ and given the freedom of the Spirit. That freedom however is not simply a ‘freedom from” but a “freedom for” and that’s where ‘Unity in Truth and Love” comes in. It is only when we are living in and expressing this Unity in Truth and Love that we are really free!

    For me this means, and I have expressed this before on this blog, that we have the responsibility to speak the truth with love. We all fail at this, including myself, so I am not casting stones here. I am simply expressing one very important aspect of this here. At times I have ‘challenged’ us all to raise the conversation a bit if we were getting carried away with our ‘criticisms’ etc. Anyone regularly reading this blog knows this. On this I don’t think I need to go further. I am simply reminding myself as well as the rest of us on this important issue.

    That being said, however, and here is the real crux of my post. Can the Church not only survive but actually thrive, when we speak with truth as well as love. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in the Gospel for this Sunday (Sept 7th) Jesus Himself speaks of the three steps in which we can and often need to correct our brother. It is not as if Jesus expected His disciples in front of Him or the rest of us down through the ages to be ‘perfect’. The only perfect Person was/is the One speaking (His Mother was by grace not nature). That means His Community of Disciples which He called “Church” and is built on Peter is full of disciples who need correction, conversion, reconciliation etc.

    Note that Matthew’s Gospel, which has a special emphasis on Peter, as well as the other four Gospels and Paul (in his Letter to the Galatians) have no problem speaking of the weakness, failures, and sin of Peter. Three of the Gospels recall Jesus referring to Peter, the Rock, also as “Satan”, an instrument of the Adversary, a Skandalein, stumbling stone, who in his own bumbling way, ‘thinking as man thinks and not as God thinks’, was an obstacle for Jesus. Paul speaks of taking Peter on “to his face”. That is tough stuff! The Apostolic Church had no problem being ‘open’. ‘transparent’ about Peter, or the rest of the Twelve for that matter-Judas betrays Jesus, Peter denies Him and the other ten abandon Him in the worst scandal ever to rock the Church

    How could the Apostolic Church be like this? How could they be so honest (blunt)? Because, while owning the truth that they were the Church, ‘the pillar and bulwark of the truth’ (1 Timothy 3.15) they also recognized that they were redeemed and established as Church through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the grace of His Spirit. They recognized that they were God’s work, what they were accomplishing was His doing, and they were nothing more than “unworthy servants” [see Luke 17.10]. In the Apostolic Church the focus was on Jesus Christ and not ‘the Apostles” themselves.

    Don’t get me wrong. We cannot divide Christ from the Apostles and or Church. What God has united let no man divide [see Ephesians 5 on the union of Christ and His Bride the Church] But while we can and should expect those in Holy Orders to live out their discipleship and Holy Orders faithfully (call to holiness) both they and we should not either expect nor pretend that they, any more than ourselves, are going to be perfect.

    What I am saying is this. The Church can and will survive honest dialogue (oooh there is that word lol) and yes criticism. This situation with the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York is something that touches the whole Church-immediately in America and not just NYC. The way it has been handled by Cardinal Dolan is open to criticism, to say the least. If Msgr Pope was asked/told to take it down by higher authorities in DC then they fail to understand that the Church not only will survive but thrive because of such open discussion and yes, criticism. If the Gospels can ‘reveal” and not hide what happened on the original Holy thursday night, this is a piece of cake lol [The issue of the canonization process for Archbishop Fulton J Sheen is a bit murkier at this point]

    As for ourselves, when criticizing anyone, including those in Holy Orders remember to hate the sin and love the sinner. Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Wuerl and whoever else including Pope Francis have a right to their good name and reputation. We all have that responsibility under the Eighth Commandment. However that does not mean we cannot point out, criticize something they did (wrong) or good that they have failed to do-just like the rest of us!

  • If O’Reilly allows and Cardl. Dolan permits sodomites, abortionists and atheists to proclaim their evil on banners during the parade they will have joined the blasphemers.
    Blasphemy does not have freedom of speech and press. Only truth has freedom of speech and press. The atheists deny the existence of God and the First Amendment freedom of religion. Abortionists deny the sovereign personhood of the child in the womb from conception, endowed by “their Creator”. The sodomites deny the human soul and invent fraudulent husbands and wives. People yes, banners, no. Lying is not allowed in court nor in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade.
    Time to take back the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner.
    Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Now, Saint Patrick must drive the snakes out of the U.S.A.

  • Botolph: “‘truth in advertising’” says it all. The secular law demands that truth, the absolute absence of evil, be the only truth that is allowed in the public domain through freedom of speech and press.
    Blasphemy, perjury and all that is evil incites to riot disturbing the peace and must be confined, imprisoned, ostracized, and exiled.

  • Well…now we don’t know whether Msgr. Pope removed his own post on further reflection unaided or aided by an editor who urged the further reflection:


    He ends with a note on charity. Did Christ have charity when He used the terms “whited sepulchers” or when He used the whip for that matter on the money changers? Yes He did.

  • Bill Bannon wrote, “now we don’t know whether Msgr. Pope removed his own post on further reflection.”

    Perhaps, Mgr Pope concluded that the website of one diocese was not the appropriate forum in which to criticise the bishop of another, however well merited he might consider that criticism to be. His statement that “my intent is not to directly criticize any bishop or diocese” would appear to lend credence to that interpretation.

  • “If O’Reilly allows and Cardl. Dolan permits sodomites, abortionists and atheists to proclaim their evil on banners during the parade they will have joined the blasphemers”

    Nothing has shocked me more than the quick change in Dolan. I have never been under the delusion that O’Reilly thought his faith was something that should have deep implications for his own public actions–he has made comments re: the Catholic Faith that indicate to me his faith is more head knowledge & is a fire escape for him (just in case there is a Hell.)

  • What I want to know is which bishops are true to the Faith & are worth supporting. Are their any?

  • Barbara Gordon wrote, “What I want to know is which bishops are true to the Faith …?”

    We have always had a test and a very simple one; those who are in communion with Rome.

    As Mgr Ronald Knox explains, “The fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. No doubt, in the long run this means the people who are so orthodox that Rome has seen no reason to excommunicate them, so that unity and orthodoxy still react upon one another. But the fact remains that the Roman theory does give a test for defining the fideles without the question-begging preliminary of ascertaining who the fideles are, from an examination of their tenets.”

    It is a test remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

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PopeWatch: Internet a Gift From God?

Friday, January 24, AD 2014



Well, doubtless Al Gore will be miffed by this statement from Pope Francis:

The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.  This is something truly good, a gift from God.

In a message for the 48th World Communications Day (who knew?) Pope Francis celebrates communication on the net while pointing to problems:

In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of the unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all.  Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity.  The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another.  We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect.  A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive.  Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances.  The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.  This is something truly good, a gift from God.

This is not to say that certain problems do not exist.  The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression.  The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.  The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings.  The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.  We should not overlook the fact that those who for whatever reason lack access to social media run the risk of being left behind.

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Internet a Gift From God?

  • You bring up pretty good points – the net is basically an amoral tool, its morality depends upon what we do with it (although given the proliferation of porn on it, it could arguably be considered a near occasion of sin). On the whole, I have to say this is one of Francis’ better reflections.

  • The internet is a gift from God. Its salvation comes from the good it brings. Tienenmen Square was out of China in 8 minutes. Big Brother could not stop it. Of course Tank Man, the man who prevented the tanks from rolling over the people, would not have saved the people, if the internet was not watching. Tank Man has not been seen or heard from since. Perhaps a chip inserted under the skin could locate him or his body.
    Pornography is not the internet’s fault. Pornography is the fault of the Supreme Court redefining the perjury of pornography, the lie about the human being, human sexuality, as nothing but the truth, so help me God. The Court redefined the vice of lust which has no place in civilization with the virtue of love, love of neighbor, of another and of self, not to mention the love of God.
    The internet, like television, has been commandeered by the devil and his minions. Let the devil fall down and break his neck.

  • Only truth has freedom of speech and press. “All the news that is fit to print.” Lies, perjury and pornography are unconstitutional. Truth in packaging is also freedom of the press. Read the leaflet. Condoms do not prevent HIV/aids. Death is the side effect of so many drugs, and this is only what the drug companies have begun to learn. The Supreme Court did not ban prayer in public school. The Court told the atheist that “She can go her own way.” “Teachers teach in loco parentis” All public places and taxes belong to each and every citizen without discrimination. I am having tea.

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Internet: Brain Augmenter?

Friday, January 17, AD 2014



An interesting article by Tim Wu in The New Yorker:

A well-educated time traveller from 1914 enters a room divided in half by a curtain. A scientist tells him that his task is to ascertain the intelligence of whoever is on the other side of the curtain by asking whatever questions he pleases.

The traveller’s queries are answered by a voice with an accent that he does not recognize (twenty-first-century American English). The woman on the other side of the curtain has an extraordinary memory. She can, without much delay, recite any passage from the Bible or Shakespeare. Her arithmetic skills are astonishing—difficult problems are solved in seconds. She is also able to speak many foreign languages, though her pronunciation is odd. Most impressive, perhaps, is her ability to describe almost any part of the Earth in great detail, as though she is viewing it from the sky. She is also proficient at connecting seemingly random concepts, and when the traveller asks her a question like “How can God be both good and omnipotent?” she can provide complex theoretical answers.

Based on this modified Turing test, our time traveller would conclude that, in the past century, the human race achieved a new level of superintelligence. Using lingo unavailable in 1914, (it was coined later by John von Neumann) he might conclude that the human race had reached a “singularity”—a point where it had gained an intelligence beyond the understanding of the 1914 mind.

The woman behind the curtain, is, of course, just one of us. That is to say, she is a regular human who has augmented her brain using two tools: her mobile phone and a connection to the Internet and, thus, to Web sites like Wikipedia, Google Maps, and Quora. To us, she is unremarkable, but to the man she is astonishing. With our machines, we are augmented humans and prosthetic gods, though we’re remarkably blasé about that fact, like anything we’re used to. Take away our tools, the argument goes, and we’re likely stupider than our friend from the early twentieth century, who has a longer attention span, may read and write Latin, and does arithmetic faster.

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14 Responses to Internet: Brain Augmenter?

  • Instant information. Man still has the power to turn it off. While it may be addictive, the instant information not only is finite, it may be incorrect, both conditions not applicable to God.

  • Half of the stuff you see on-line is half right. Still, it’s a better source than the post-modern academy and the lying, liberal media.

  • Not sure if this qualifies as a counterpoint, but also an interesting take on basically the same phenomenon.

  • “How did this peevishness about expertise come about, and how can it have gotten so immensely foolish?

    Some of it is purely due to the globalization of communication. There are no longer any gatekeepers: the journals and op-ed pages that were once strictly edited have been drowned under the weight of self-publishable blogs. There was once a time when participation in public debate, even in the pages of the local newspaper, required submission of a letter or an article, and that submission had to be written intelligently, pass editorial review, and stand with the author’s name attached. Even then, it was a big deal to get a letter in a major newspaper.

    Now, anyone can bum rush the comments section of any major publication. Sometimes, that results in a free-for-all that spurs better thinking. Most of the time, however, it means that anyone can post anything they want, under any anonymous cover, and never have to defend their views or get called out for being wrong.”

    Bingo. That is why any blog with comments needs moderation and contributors and commenters willing to correct comments that are factually incorrect.

  • Paul Zummo: I loved every word. When I read of James Schall as his teacher, I knew it to be good. Tom Nichols has a sense of humor, humility and expertise. Thanks be to God and thank you too. (There is no “expertise” without humility and humor.)
    So, all those people chasing me may not be for my expertise.

  • Interesting, and great link to the Federalist, but the cat video… I could only make it about 1/2 way through- hope I didn’t miss anything interesting!

  • Personally, I am concerned about the turn in K-12 schools towards an over-reliance on online research by kids. Because they don’t know what they don’t know. For your amusement, I share:
    My youngest got an assignment when he was in 5th grade to pick a “hero” and find information online about this hero during his technology class, to put together a short multimedia presentation for the other kids. He was telling me about the assignment and he said he hadn’t been able to find a good hero yet… so I suggested Winston Churchill. Civilian, World War II, Courage – it’s all good, right?
    Well, he came home the next day and announced that there wasn’t anything online about Churchill, except for a few images. So he thought I had suggested a real dud. !!!
    It turns out he had been directed to search in online periodicals… but he didn’t realize Churchill wouldn’t show up in any recent magazine stories, and there was no supervision from the teacher. (Probably a lot of other kids chose more recent heroes from sports or medicine, so it worked for them.)
    I sure wish my kid had been able to go down to the school library to find a book about Churchill and spend an hour reading it. It would have been a much better use of his time. Hey, I would have settled for him spending five minutes reading an entry in the World Book Encyclopedia.
    A similarly memorable event was the time in 6th grade when he got a group assignment to research Charles Babbage for his math class. The group did their research online, at school, without supervision, and when I later read their final presentation, it was clear the kids thought a “difference engine” was an internal combustion engine. They had devoted so much time and attention to their humorous Powerpoint they never found out that the “engine” performed calculations. They all got a passing grade, because: it was pass/fail for effort (camaraderie!) alone.
    Anyhow, I learned my lesson: whether it’s ziggurats or hindus or Thomas Paine or viscosity (yes I could go on and on and on), I will continue to curate his Google searches.

  • One other thing that I’ve begun to notice about those experts in the comments is that there seems to be an inverse proportion to one’s arrogance/confidence and actual knowledge. It’s quite delightful to read comments from folks steeped in absolute bone-dry ignorance who nonetheless breezily dismiss the rest of the horde as petty neanderthals.

  • Paul, I didn’t know it had a name – the Dunning-Kruger effect. I always think of it as the Idiocracy effect. I don’t think it’s ever discussed in the movie, but it’s a running theme that the dumber a person is, the more he looks down on others for being dumb.

    As to the New Yorker article, I agree with a lot of it, but one thing that really strikes me is that the greatest concentration of knowledge online isn’t lucrative at all: Wikipedia. It has its errors, but shockingly few, and fewer all the time. It’s gotten a lot better. At this point, it’s unduplicatable. If they ever start charging a micropenny per link, they’d own Google in an hour.

  • This evening, my youngest is researching the Lewis and Clark expedition online (because schools don’t use textbooks anymore), and he runs across this gem:
    July 11–12 – Second trial in new territory. Pvt. Alexander Hamilton Willard is on guard duty. Is charged with lying down and sleeping at his post whilst a sentinel. Punishable by death. He receives 10000000000 lashes for four straight days.
    I redirected him to better web sites.

  • *twitch* Toxoplasmosis theory, again….
    Last time I found an actual checked against reality example of research, the actual infection of rate of Toxoplasmosis was a tiny, tiny fraction of that theorized– and that was in folks who were long term volunteers at pet sheltered focusing on cat!

  • Online research does require either knowing good sources (NOT wikipedia!) or knowing enough to identify good information– a family friend’s kid did a project and ended up claiming cows had something like 15 stomachs and a lot of other extra body parts.

    My mom felt bad, because she’d assured the friend that online research was OK, because it had worked fine for her kids. (Who DID have the sense God gave an apple, at least in regards to cow biology.)

  • Foxfier: “Who DID have the sense God gave an apple.” great line.

  • Toxoplasmosis oh no! I almost brought that up but I also twitched! I thought I was the only one who would think of such a thing Foxfier! Seems like the cat/internet analogy just naturally led me there!
    – how cats/ internet can worm into your brain and make you seek more of them

Whats That Purple Building, Daddy?

Wednesday, June 16, AD 2010

Pornography has taken off with the advent of the Internet.

Now you can get streaming video and pictures of exploitive acts of all sexual natures and variety.

Viewing pornography can be addictive.  It can also destroy your soul, not to mention your relationships with women and how you view women in general.

It is said that your eye is the window into your soul.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 6:22-23)

Then why do you view pornography?

A documentary film titled What’s That Purple Building, Daddy? explores how pornography destroys souls, families, and this nations fabric of life.  It also shows what you can do to fight this evil.

Former porn users, Mark Houck and Damian Wargo, co-founders of The King’s Men, have taken steps to fight pornography by engaging in a strategy to close down Coyotes, a strip club in their own backyard. They succeeded! This inspirational video tells you how they went about it and outlines a plan of action for others to follow.

What’s That Purple Building, Daddy? will give you a fresh insight into how pornography is affecting everyone in America, and how men can successfully fight against this evil in their own lives and in their communities.

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11 Responses to Whats That Purple Building, Daddy?

  • Thanks for this. This is a movement that needs to grow. I don’t have statistics in front of me, but believe me I’d be lowballing it to say that 8 or 9 out of 10 men view pornography regularly, especially with the advent of the internet. Porn addiction is a real thing, and it is every bit as difficult to kick as drugs.

    We need movements like this that put a public face on the resistance, a group that lets men know that they aren’t alone in their struggles, and we need to fight back against this industry that exploits women (by reducing them to their physical appearance) AND men (by appealing to their basest, strongest sexual urges to make money).

    Porn is typically a private problem, and most individuals feels alone in the struggle. Let’s get this monster out into the light, where we can overcome it together.

  • Nice. Porn is shown prominently in the anti-porn trailer and documentary itself.

  • TAD,

    No it is not.

    Scantily clad women are out of focus and in the background, hence the warning.

  • They are not always out of focus or in the background. Despite the clear warning, the film itself is pornographic.

  • TurnAroundDude is the Catholic Anarchist who has been banned from this site, in yet another pathetic, and transparent, guise to leave a comment on this blog.

  • Catholic Anarchist redefines the concept of “pathetic.”

    Nothing less than a modern-day crusade against pornography and pornographers is required. On the website, the makers of the video take credit for costing one porn business hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    If we had real Catholic leadership, indulgences would be promised to those who caused similar financial and other kinds of serious damage to the pornography industry. As far as I’m concerned, it is the top threat to families and the souls of children and young adults today.

    Of course, within the boundaries of the law, moral and civil. Maybe instead of focusing on trying to cripple the economy of Arizona, for instance, the outraged Catholic left could try and cripple the finances of the porn industry.

    Wonder what our friend will think of that suggestion?

  • Wow, reading the comments at Mother Jones is pretty eye-opening…

  • Andy,

    I completely agree.

    It is an addiction and Catholics must be on alert for those to help those in need.


    I read the first few and I stopped.

    The contempt for Christians was unbearable.


  • Thank you all for making a video to help those of us who want to help others’ but not sure where to even begin.
    The Kings Men are Awesome!!!

Just Desserts

Saturday, September 26, AD 2009

I’m not normally the guy putting up political YouTube videos, but this was just too funny to pass up. Ill. rep Baron Hill talks down to a journalism major about why she’s not allowed to record video during his town hall: because videos invariably end up showing compromising moments on YouTube. And now here he is, hectoring the girl, on YouTube.

Lesson: For politicians, life is like the Internet. If you do something stupid, it will always be there for everyone to see.

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26 Responses to Just Desserts

  • “Lesson: For politicians, life is like the internet. If you do something stupid, it will always be there for everyone to see.”

    Amazing how many of them still don’t realize that. The internet has changed everything about politics and so many practitioners are showing they have a very steep learning curve.

  • Desserts, Indiana.

    Agreement on … well, not stupidity, but errors.

    That said, I think it’s … unwise to suppose one’s public meetings won’t be broadcast on the internet. Somewhere. Eventually politicians will get the message, and they will be inclined to more circumspection in their public appearances. And that will be good, right?

  • It seems to me that the Congressman was in the right here. You don’t have the right to film a Congressman’s townhall if he doesn’t want you to. The fact that a video ended up on YouTube seems less a matter of just deserts than of vindication.

  • “You don’t have the right to film a Congressman’s townhall if he doesn’t want you to.”

    Why not? He is an elected official meeting with constituents. I doubt that there is any law giving him the right to unilaterally stop video taping of a public meeting. Even if he did have the right, he was a complete idiot for exercising it, especially in a district where, except for 2008, his victory totals have been unimpressive and he lost his seat for two years in 2004.


    His perennial opponent Mike Sodrel, who beat Hill in 2004, is hinting that he might run against him in 2010.


  • If he does not want compromising moments, then he simply should not create any.

  • I agree with Blackadder here; this is not to say I think he is wise to say “don’t film,” because that will encourage it. On the other hand, I understand why he says it — it is very easy to take such film out of context.

  • The least interesting question here is whether the Congressman has a legal right to bar videotaping of a town hall meeting that he convenes. People have the “right” to do all kinds of stupid, immoral, and wrongheaded things. A congressman who convenes a public meeting of his constituents with the stipulation that it may not be recorded is making a foolish decision at several levels, but the most important level is that he will be understood as behaving like a potentate rather than a servant.

  • “The least interesting question here is whether the Congressman has a legal right to bar videotaping of a town hall meeting that he convenes.”

    The fixation, in part, on rights. What about common courtesy? If a person hosts an event and asks people not to do something … take video, get drunk, spit tobacco juice on the carpet … what does it say when people do not heed a request? Even a servant can ask, “Please extend your leg further so I can shine your shoe.”

  • “What about common courtesy?”

    Mr. Hill was showing zero courtesy, common or otherwise. Townhalls used to be photo-ops for members of Congress. I guess Hill didn’t get the memo that times have changed quickly. Elected officials had better get used to being video taped by constitutents. That genie is never going back in the bottle.

  • Well, Donald, I didn’t watch DC’s video. I have no reason to doubt the congressman may have acted a bit like a rump if you say he did.

    The question then shifts: does it make a difference, then, if a potential YouTube target says please and thank you? Or if somebody demands you take your crappy boots off at the door, does that give you license to track mud where you please?

  • I do think that the journalism major shows herself quite a child of the moment with her phrasing “isn’t that my right?” I don’t see that video taping a townhall is any kind of a right.

    What does strike me as amusing here is that the girl asks a question very politely, having clearly obeyed the request to not use her video camera.

    The congressman then proceeds to put her in her place pretty rudely, explaining that it’s his townhall and no one can tell him how to run it — all the while being caught on video by someone else in the room (from the quality, I’d guess it’s someone using a cell phone to record the video). If the congressman had seen fit to explain his position politely, there would have been no YouTube moment, but instead he takes the assumed safety of there being no video cameras to give a college student the “I’m way better than you” treatment, and ends up as a YouTube sensation.

    I do think that it has to do with the importance of politeness, but the politeness of the congressman is the problem here. If he’d remained polite despite his assumption there were no cameras running, there would have been no YouTube notoriety despite someone disobeying his rules.

  • This wasn’t a private home Todd or a private meeting for invited guests only. This was a public meeting held by a Congressman and anyone, by definition, could attend. Video taping such a meeting is commonly done by members of Congress for campaign commercials to show how in touch they are with their constituents. Now members of the public are doing precisely the same thing and some of the members of Congress are foolish enough to say publicly that they think is terribly unfair. This is not about manners, but rather a testament to just how totally out of touch some members of Congress are.

  • I would disagree that the Congressman’s response was rude (he gets a little snippy towards the end, after he’s already been booed). In fact, if his response is considered rude, it’s hard for me to imagine how he could have explained his position without coming across as rude. Maybe if he’d said “I paid for this microphone” people would be applauding him. But I doubt it.

    As for the question of whether he could prohibit people from videotaping, come on. Suppose I had stood up at the townhall and started playing a violin. Presumably I would be asked to stop or leave. By whom? By the same people who told the young lady to stop recording. Why? Because they set up the townhall, and have the authority to set the conditions under which it is held.

  • Apples and Oranges BA. Your playing a violin would serve no useful purpose, while video taping a townhall does, and that is why Hill didn’t want it done. He realizes the political climate and he doesn’t want a video to add to his electoral difficulties. Ironically his futile attempt to stop video taping has added a great deal to his 2010 problem as the ad writes itself.

    A townhall is specifically set up for a Congress member to hear from his constituents. Some of Hill’s attendees want to video tape the process. Hill had a choice and he made the decision to attempt to enforce a self made rule against video taping which is clearly unenforceable due to modern technology. He now looks foolish on YouTube. Good. May his discomfiture be a lesson to other politicians who do not yet realize that they no longer control this process of public meetings alone.

  • “This wasn’t a private home …”

    What is it with the legalese of rights, privacy, et cetera? Isn’t “privacy” the mantra of the pro-choice effort? Are you sure you want to associate your argument with it?

    There are technical reasons why amateur video capture isn’t always a great idea. I for one feel frustrated when the questions from the floor aren’t properly mic’ed and equalized, like the main speaker usually is.

    And sure, a Fox-style editing of comments is well within the technical capability of many videographers. The ad, by the way, doesn’t write itself. It will need some editing, which I’m sure will be provided.

    So I went ahead and watched the video. I withdraw my assumption Donald was right. He was quite wrong. The representative stated his policy firmly but politely and was booed before he finished his statement. He reacted to it by stating his policy in a more stern tone of voice. Not what I would have done, but it wasn’t a butthead expression like his detractors. He didn’t seem at all discomfited to me.

    Not seeing what came before this exchange, it’s hard to tell if the boo-birds were just being boorish because they had a bad day or if the previous minutes weren’t going well for them.

    Like most anything else, context means quite a bit. I think Rep Hill was within bounds to request the meeting not be taped. The one who did tape it showed her or his colors by continuing to do so.

  • “The one who did tape it showed her or his colors by continuing to do so.”

    Yep. An American who understands that elected representatives are public servants and not lords of the manor. Last I checked the YouTube video has had 170,000 views and over 1000 comments, almost all of them scathingly against Hill. I do encourage all Democrat members of Congress to adopt the same policy, and attitude, of Hill at townhall meetings, and I also encourage all members of the audience to treat all such policies against video taping at a public meeting with the complete disdain they merit.

  • The decorous Baron Hill calling opponents of ObamaCare at townhall meetings political terrorists. No wonder he doesn’t want some of his rantings video taped!


  • I found it most interesting when he went beyond “This is MY townhall meeting” to “You’re not gonna tell me how to run my congressional office.” Tell me Mr. Hill, what exactly do constituents do in your world?

  • “What is it with the legalese of rights, privacy, et cetera? Isn’t “privacy” the mantra of the pro-choice effort? Are you sure you want to associate your argument with it?”

    Right, because not wanting to be filmed in your own home and wanting to murder a child in private are just soooo similar.

    Is this a desperate times call for desperate measures sort of argument, or are you trying to keep us all entertained?

  • While the legality of it may be in question in the current milieu, a appeal to the principal of it:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    If those words were not written to allow the accurate documentation of the public words and actions of an elected official for the purpose of disseminating it for those not present… the I have no clue as to why it would be inserted in such a place between freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble.

    This act was clearly an attempt to control the press.

  • “Last I checked the YouTube video has had 170,000 views and over 1000 comments, almost all of them scathingly against Hill.”

    Well, Donald, you’re already batting .350 on this comment thread. At that rate, you’d have posted almost thirty dozen times on YouTube.

    “Is this a desperate times call for desperate measures sort of argument, or are you trying to keep us all entertained?”

    Well I’m not part of your echo chamber, if that’s what you mean. It’s a good thing for the GOP that in the US, unlike in parliamentary democracies, you can’t sink lower than second place on the political totem pole. At least nobody has in nearly a century.

    “This act was clearly an attempt to control the press.”

    Right. Everybody with a cell phone and an internet connection is a member of the press. I’d stick with “peaceable assembly” instead.

    Take the last word, Donald. Three-fifty is worth another plate appearance … or seven.

  • “It’s a good thing for the GOP that in the US, unlike in parliamentary democracies, you can’t sink lower than second place on the political totem pole.”

    Todd, there is a political wave building that will relegate the Democrat party to that position. All the signs are there for a wipeout of the Democrat majority in the House next year and I assume you must not pay much attention to the internal mechanics of politics or you would not make such a silly comment. The best political prognosticator in the business is Charlie Cook and this is what he wrote earlier this month:

    “Clearly, the Obama administration was mindful that in the Clinton era Democratic majorities in Congress spurned the White House’s fully formed proposals. But in trying to avoid a repetition of President Clinton’s mistakes, Obama opened the door to charges that he was outsourcing domestic policy to Democrats on Capitol Hill.

    Even in the best of times, Congress is unpopular. And now voters see Obama as having sent suggestions rather than proposals to the Hill, staking his future and reputation on a body that they hold in low regard. (On foreign-policy matters, where Congress plays a small role, Obama’s job-approval ratings remain quite good. It’s on the domestic side that his numbers are dismal.)

    “With 14 months to go before the 2010 midterm election, something could happen to improve the outlook for Democrats. However, wave elections, more often than not, start just like this: The president’s ratings plummet; his party loses its advantage on the generic congressional ballot test; the intensity of opposition-party voters skyrockets; his own party’s voters become complacent or even depressed; and independent voters move lopsidedly away. These were the early-warning signs of past wave elections. Seeing them now should terrify Democrats.”


  • I wonder how Hill would have reacted to audience members making audio recordings of the meeting? Or jotting notes of what was said. While any sort of recording can be used by an opponent against you, it can also be used as verification in your favor if somebody accuses you of an outrageous remark. It’s easier to misstate when taking written notes than when you have a backup recording.

    Hill, and other elected reps, should suck it up and get into the habit of practicing their manners and making sure they know what they’re talking about to minimize the likelihood that they will be filmed looking bad. It beats having your words misquoted and used against you.

  • Pingback: Privacy and Circumspection in the Age of Blog « Catholic Sensibility
  • First of all, it is silly to predict the impending demise of one political party from the dumbest thing that one of its hundreds of members of Congress did. If that ever happened, we’d have no political parties at all. There is always a Republican or a Democrat doing something utterly stupid.

    And this is one of them. As a Democrat and a strong supporter of health care reform, I thank the heavens that town halls WERE videotaped so we can see certain elements of the opposition in all their ugliness. They not only won over no converts, but they gave us priceless moments such as the guy screaming at his Congressperson to keep the government’s hands off Medicare.

    But on the other hand, just exactly how far did this attempted ban on recording go? Were TV stations not allowed to videotape? Were print reporters not allowed to use audio recorders? And if you can’t ban all, then how on earth can you try to ban some?

    What next? Granting access to your public “town halls” only to those pre-selected members of the public you like? How George Bush can you get?

  • According to Rasmussen ObamaCare now is at its lowest ebb: 56% oppose-41% in favor.


    In regard to Medicare, in order to pay for ObamaCare there are substantial cuts planned in Medicare.

    “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed her support for this cost-cutting agenda on Thursday. “Half the bill will be paid for by squeezing excesses out of the [Medicare and Medicaid] system,” she said, “and there is $500 billion dollars to do that and we’re looking for more. That can be achieved—waste, fraud, redundancy, obsolescence, whatever it is.”


    The gentleman yelling at his Congresscritter about Medicare has every right to be concerned.