Friday, April 30, 2010

Digital Maps: Visual Images of Virtual Worlds

Digital maps have expanded the world and even the universe into something new and wonderful. Yet that something is built on the art of the old and encompasses uncharted areas old time map makers could not have imagined.

 Let this BBC video explain it all to you.  The past is amazing. The present energizing and the future beyond imagining.  Behold the brave new world of digital map technology.

A tip of my virtual chapeau to rjj who sent me this video on Stumbleupon

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mark Foley Speaks Out About Vatican Sex Abuse

Remember Mark Foley? The six term Congressman who was forced to resign in 2006 for hitting on teen aged Senate pages?  Until now I thought he was just another sleazebag ( check out a transcript of one of his IM conversations with an ex Senate page here), but after what Mark Foley revealed about himself last week, I feel real compassion for the guy.

It's a well known fact that sexually molested children often grow up to be abusers themselves. Seems that Mark Foley is a perfect example of this.

In an interview last week  Foley commented on the ongoing Vatican pedophile priest scandal by describing  his own molestation at the hands of a priest at the age of eleven.

It takes a brave man to be so honest about what must have been a shameful secret carried for years. Few survivors are able to come forward and make themselves so vulnerable. I salute Mark Foley for having the guts to do so.  Here's a direct quote .  It is quite chilling to read.
 "The priest befriended me, started slowly, making me feel like a special child and as time went on things advanced and then we were going to steam rooms and places where I had no idea what we were doing but nonetheless, it was happening," Foley told WPTV's Jim Sackett.
  It was 40 years ago that as an 11-year old Catholic altar boy, Foley, met Father Anthony Merceica at his Lake Worth Church. "Virtually every commandment you've been taught is now violated, don't tell your parents, I'll kill myself if you do, nobody can know about our secret," Foley said the priest told him. Foley said the abuse lasted two years...stopping when Merceica left the parish and Foley was left with guilt."    source:

How do I know that Foleys' abuser was transferred out of the parish to avoid scandal and sent on to do the same thing somewhere else by a bishop who was " just obeying orders" from the Vatican?We are not just talking about sin here, we are talking about a soul-killing crime against a child  as well as an illegal cover-up of unconscionable proportions.

Mark Foley may have left Congress in disgrace, but clearly some long delayed healing has begun. May he find in his self-honesty the spiritual sustenance denied him so many years ago by his church.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

I hope the Vatican will figure that out soon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rush Limbaugh Thinks the Icelandic Volcano Is Armageddon

Can you believe it?  Rush Limbaugh inferred on his radio show yesterday that the plume of smoke spreading over Europe from Iceland and grounding air traffic ( principally keeping President Obama from attending a State funeral in Poland) might be divine punishment for the passage of the Obama Health Care Bill.  I swear it's true The guy is totally nuts.Here's the quote:
"You know, a couple of days after the health care bill had been signed into law Obama ran around all over the country saying, “Hey, you know, I’m looking around. The earth hadn’t opened up. There’s no Armageddon out there. The birds are still chirping.” I think the earth has opened up. God may have replied. This volcano in Iceland has grounded more airplanes — airspace has more affected — than even after 9/11 because of this plume, because of this ash cloud over Northern and Western Europe. At the Paris airport they’re telling people to head to the train station to catch trains out of France, and when people get to the train station they’re telling people, “There aren’t any seats until at least April 22nd,” basically a week from now. It’s got everybody in a shutdown. Earth has opened up. I don’t know whether it’s a rebirth or Armageddon. Hopefully it’s a rebirth, God speaking."
Rush, honey........Get a grip!!! It's time to lay off the OxyContin. Everything isn't about you, sugarplum.  Everything isn't even about Obama,or American politics. Sometimes things happen in Iceland that are about the geology of Iceland. This may not be so good for the airlines, but Armageddon it's not. So just relax and try not to appear too whacko or they just might cart you off to rehab.

Link to the original post on Think Progress

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Damage Control at Vatican Inc.

 image source: jobsanger
Vatican Inc is in big trouble. The worldwide corporation  is going to have to change its business  model in order to survive a worldwide scandal that might, just might, bring it down. It is one thing to think in centuries rather than years, it is quite another to live in the past.

What worked during the Inquisition and Counter Reformation, won't work today. Burning people at the stake is no longer an option and excommunication has lost its bite. Vatican, Inc had better learn some more modern damage control techniques.  Time for a little self examination and a total overhaul of the corporate structure.

The new rules for  handling priest pedophiles that were announced on Monday are all very nice.  Let's see if anything really changes.  Posting these rules on a website will certainly not reverse the damage done by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, who compared the public outrage against the Vatican  to  Jews in WWII and the "worst  excesses of the Holocaust" or the declaration by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, that homosexuality was the cause of pedophilia .

Then there was the Vatican spin machine which along with Bertone, insists that clerical celibacy has  nothing to do with clerical child molestation. Such assertions do nothing to help and, in fact, make crystal clear just how dysfunctional the Church's view of human sexuality is.   We are talking about a puritanical, homo-erotic, anti-female view of sex that goes back to St. Paul and St. Augustine. Celibacy is the ideal. Marriage is the fallback position for those who cannot handle celibacy and sex is ok between married partners for the purpose of procreation only.  You are not supposed to enjoy it.

Priestly celibacy is a mark of holiness.  This point of view is built on a theological  construct that elevates the priesthood to a mystical magic level without which the authority of  Vatican Inc would be severely restricted.  Thus the Church has sort of painted itself into a corner when it comes to sexual scandal, especially scandal involving the rape and abuse of  innocent children by the clergy.

As I follow the current priest pedophile revelations,  I remember sitting in a convent garden with an elderly nun of my acquaintance one spring afternoon twenty-five years ago.  She was a spiritual giant--a woman who gave her life to service in the name of Christ and her Church.  She was certainly a jewel in the crown of Catholicism.  I knew her because I was involved with an organization she ran. I loved and respected her.  To me, she represented the best of  the Roman Catholic tradition

 I will never forget the conversation she and I had that day about pedophilia in the Church It was still very hush hush then, but we were talking about a man we both knew who had just gone public with the fact that he had been sexually molested by his Parish priest from the time he was seven to the time he was eleven.  She opined  that the greater sin was not the abuse, but the hierarchy not addressing the problem and that sooner or later the Church would pay dearly for its denial.

 How right she was.  Payback day is here, I fear, as I watch the Vatican, again and again, totally mishandle media and public relations.  Once again it is circling the wagons, protecting the institution at all costs  and lying and playing the victim.. In a world where there is instant communication via the internet and 24 hour cable news programming worldwide, it just isn't going to work. Too many victims have come forward with provable, believable stories from  all over the world.  It is ironic that the word " catholic" means " world-wide"  since  a  long record of sexual abuse by priests seems to exist across the globe from Australia and North America, to Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy and even the precincts of the Vatican itself.  The universality of the church may, in the long run, be its undoing.  People are angry and repulsed all over the world.

There is no refuting the truth of the allegations.   There are no excuses to be made.   As with any corporation or government, when it comes to responsibility, the buck stops with the CEO and the Board of Directors( in this case the college of Cardinals). So far, they don't seem to be getting the picture..... but eventually they will. They have to if they want to survive.

I wonder what the boss ( not the pope; the REAL boss) would think? I doubt he would be too pleased.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

One More Tiger Woods Joke

Sorry, I can't help myself. Here's one more Tiger Woods joke from Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live. This was just too funny not to share.

Since it is the week-end, I am going to leave aside any serious discussion of women's issues, sex addiction or even celebrities and golf. This is not mean. It is just funny so enjoy.