Friday, July 30, 2010

Anne Rice 'quits being a Christian'.

In an announcement on Facebook, former Catholic, turned atheist, turned Catholic again, writer Anne Rice has declared that she is leaving Christianity for Christ's sake. She claims she will "remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity".

Naturally, I have no idea how long this new conversion has been on her mind but, she names two issues (as she posted on Facebook) that have recently caused her quite a bit of distress .......namely, an American "punk rock ministry", called You Can Run (YCR) saying that "executing gays is 'moral'" and a report about the Westboro baptist church in Kansas, which "spreads the message that because the United States condones homosexuality, abortion and divorce, all Americans are going to hell".

I am, likewise distressed over portions of the message conveyed by these two, allegedly, "Christian" groups. However, I don't quite understand how distress over the action and views of two Protestant groups would lead one to quit the Catholic Church.

She says,
"I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen."

Is the Catholic Church anti-gay?

According to Catholic teaching, "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life" and "They [homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

Rather than call this position "anti-gay" it would be better described as "love the sinner-hate the sin".

What of the charge that the Church is anti-feminist?
Feminists for Life would must likely say no. Authentic feminism is not defined strictly by being pro-abortion.

Anti-artificial birth control?
Guilty as charged. However, Rice, most likely, hasn't given much thought to the problems brought about by our society's contraceptive mentality.

Except in the area of abortion, the Church is hardly pro-Republican either.

Anti-secular humanism?
If by secular humanism we mean moral relativism, then the answer is yes.

The Church supports scientific research except in those areas where the research is detrimental to human life.

This is probably the most ridiculous charge of all. The Church's teachings on abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment and the just war theory put the lie to that.

It is my hope that Rice will one day reconsider her abandonment of the Catholic Church. Hopefully, she will seriously consider studying the Church's teachings as they are and not under a "progressive's" microscope.

Asteroid 1999 RQ36 Headed for Earth!!

You learn something new every day.

The report from had this tidbit:

A GIANT asteroid could be on course to hit Earth causing massive devastation, space boffins revealed today.

One thing I learned - after consulting Webster - a space boffin is very much different than a space buffoon.

I also learned that yesterday's press release regarding the one in a thousand chance that the asteroid known as 1999 RQ36 will impact with Earth in 2182 is actually old news. Discover magazine reports that the study was released last year.

The Sun quotes the study's co-author, Maria Eugenia Sansaturio, from Valladolid University;

"The total impact probability of asteroid 1999 RQ36 can be estimated at 0.00092 - approximately one-in-a-thousand chance - but what is most surprising is that over half of this chance corresponds to 2182."

Andrew Moseman, who wrote the article for Discover, says he emailed Ms.Sansaturio asking her if there was anything new to report on the asteroid;

"The answer to your question is that there is nothing new. I’m still trying to understand how this has made it to the international media. I was contacted by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology because they wanted to prepare a report on it and inform the Spanish Media, even though the article had been published in 2009…. and here I am overwhelmed with mails and phone calls from all over the world!"

I'm sure her website is getting an increase in the number of hits as well.

No word on what might happen if 1999 RQ36 were to hit Uranus.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ujiosama Rides Again.

Recently on CNN, Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed the idea that the Internet was in need of a "gatekeeper" to monitor the ubiquitous and often nasty anonymous blogggers that inhabit the nether regions of the world wide web.

"There's going to have be a point in time where these people have to be held accountable," Phillips said. "How about all these bloggers that blog anonymously? They say rotten things about people and they're actually given credibility, which is crazy. They're a bunch of cowards, they're just people seeking attention."

I want to say at the outset that I do not subscribe to the view that the Internet needs the type of regulation such a scheme might bring about. However, like Kyra Phillips, I have no great love for anonymous bloggers. There is something about having, potentially, a world wide audience and anonymity that tempts some folks to write the vilest, most hate-filled garbage imaginable.

I do my best to avoid anonymously written blogs, though, at times, I stumble across one. A day or so ago, I was lead - via a link on Drudge - to one such blog. The writer, if he can be called such, was spewing filth - ranting about the Catholic church in general and Pope Benedict in particular. My first impulse was to write a commentary to tear apart his feeble arguments. I decided against that, however. You'll not find a link to that post here.

Unfortunately, the problem isn't reserved to one particular political view; these bloggers can be found on the Left and Right on the political spectrum. There is one rather popular blog (among traditional Catholics) which I no longer read because the anonymous writer will occasionally abandon good taste, saying things in a way I suspect he wouldn't if his readers knew his identity.

As much as I dislike the anonymous blooger, I have an equal lack of respect for those who comment on blogs anonymously. In doesn't take long for someone who comments anonymously to take things into the gutter. During the 2008 presidential primary season, I wrote something that upset someone so much that he began to seriously harass me with his anonymous comments. This individual even went into my blog archives to find areas to insult and pester me. Google Analytics revealed that this person was using a computer on the Georgia Dept. of Education web server.

I no longer allow anonymous comments.

Requiring that commenters have Google accounts is no guarantee that the problem is solved; it's easy enough to get a Blogspot profile. A couple of years ago, I began receiving comments from someone calling himself "ujiosama". At first, his comments were rather tame. After taking a look at his profile information, I knew that this "niceness" would not last long. There was nothing on his profile to reveal his likes or dislikes - nothing about his personality. He had no blog. This lack of candor told me that ujiosama had created this profile simply to be allowed to comment on certain blogs. He was still, basically, an anonymous commenter.

Sure enough, it was not long before ujiosama began with the insulting, nasty comments. As a result, I deleted all his comments as well as my replies to his tripe.

Now, after a few years of keeping his "secret identity" in the closet, ujiosama has returned to leave a comment. On my recent post -The EMHC Scandal- my nemesis could not resist. His comment was, as follows;

"Blogger ujiosama said...
What about those Extraordinary Ministers who just quit because everything does not go exactly as they feel it should. Could that be considered disrespecting the Eucharist(by failing to assist as promised)? What do you think?
July 23, 2010 11:03:00 AM EDT"

For those who are unfamiliar with my history with ujiosama, this comment may seem harmless enough. But there is more below the surface. Ujiosama believes he has found a weakness. Because he doesn't know as much as he thinks he knows, his comment isn't the "gotcha" he believes it to be.

I once told ujiosama that I had requested that I be dropped from the parish's list of EMHC. Immediately, ujiosama assumed that I had done this because of, what he called, "church politics".

No, I tried to explain to him, I have painful arthritis in my right hand and wrist. In addition to the arthritis in my left hand, there is nerve damage which causes numbness in two of the fingers of that hand. I was afraid of dropping the Blessed Sacrament and felt obliged to ask to be removed from duties. What ujiosama doesn't realize, since he is not a member of our parish, I have since that time, changed medication and can hold onto the cup or paten without fear of dropping either. Because he does not attend Mass at our church, he is unaware that I asked to be put back on the list several months ago. He does not know that, due to frequent absences by other EMHC, I normally help out 3 or 4 Sundays a month.

Again, thanks to Google Analytics, I know that ujiosama reads my blog on a regular basis. Perhaps, rather than waste his time reading what I have to say and commenting on things he knows nothing about, maybe he should just get his own blog. There, he could write, without fear of censorship, on lots of things he, likewise, knows nothing about.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Female "Bishop" Resigns.

So, let's see.......

One of the arguments put forward by those proposing the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic church goes like this; having celibate unmarried males exclusively in the priesthood goes against Nature.

Allowing women (and married men) into the priesthood would almost certainly eliminate sexual abuse by priests.

The latest news concerning Lutheran Bishop Maria Jepsen shows how illogical that argument has been all along. Jepsen, the first woman to be anointed bishop in the Lutheran Church, resigned on July 16 after having been instrumental in a cover up of sexual abuse by "Pastor Dieter K."

After becoming aware of the Pastor's sexual abuse of three of his stepsons, Bishop Jepsen transferred Pastor Dieter K. in 1999 to a prison chaplaincy in order to prevent further contact with children.

According to an article on;

"The female bishop had said she had no knowledge of a pastor's involvement in child sex abuse cases in Ahrensburg during the 1980s and only became aware of them last March.

But recent reports in the German news magazine Der Spiegel and the daily Hamburger Abendblatt claimed Jepsen knew of the priest's suspected behavior in 1999."

What do we have here?
Married Protestant "priest" Pastor Dieter K. molests his stepsons.
Female "Bishop" turns a blind eye.

As noted in a press release from Catholic League president Bill Donohue ;

"It is definitely true that sexual abusers are mostly male, but there is no evidence that when it comes to handling such issues, women in positions of authority do a better job than men. Mothers of abused youngsters, along with nuns, female teachers, social workers, counselors, lawyers and law enforcement agents have acted just as badly as men. But don’t tell that to Maureen Dowd—it would ruin her day."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The EMHC Scandal.

In the area of my understanding of Catholic teaching, I am very much the product of a pre-Vatican II mind-set. I received my first Holy Communion in what many might even consider prehistoric times - 1959. Indeed, the nuns who gave me instruction most likely received their first Holy Communion in the 1930's.

In those days, the only acceptable way of taking Communion was on the tongue. No one, other than a priest, was permitted to touch the Blessed Sacrament with his or her hand. Surprisingly, when I first encountered the, now acceptable, practice of taking of Communion in the hand, I adapted to the change rather easily. Obviously, I thought, if there was anything wrong with taking Communion in hand, the Church would not now be allowing the practice.

In addition to taking Communion by hand, another part of Holy Communion which those nuns of long ago would not recognize is the now common practice of taking Communion from the Cup. A logical step from Communion from the Cup necessitates the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC). Obviously, a priest could not manage this alone.

Unfortunately, this increased need for EMHC can - and has - lead to serious abuses. Sadly, I can use my own parish as an example of this abuse of the Blessed Sacrament. At the Mass we normally attend on Sundays, there are six EMHC scheduled to assist with Communion. For reasons which I cannot fathom, it is a rare Sunday when every scheduled EMHC attends Mass. More often two, three and sometimes four of the six do not bother to show.

If we were a Protestant denomination which viewed communion as simply a symbolic gesture, someone's not appearing at church on the day he had volunteered to assist with communion would be looked upon as unacceptable. Yet, in our Catholic parish where we understand that during Mass the bread and wine becomes the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, an EMHC can disrespect the Eucharist (by failing to assist as promised) and no one bats an eyelash. How could anyone who believes in the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist not view this as a scandal?

Being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is a sacred privilege....not a Right. In my opinion, any EMHC who displays such wanton disregard for the Eucharist should no longer be an EMHC. Will anyone be dropped from the roll in our parish? That's unlikely in these days when far too many people are afraid of hurting anyone's feelings.

There have been reports in the Catholic Press "......that approximately 70 percent of Catholics do not believe or do not know that by the action of the priest during Mass Jesus Christ becomes fully present in the Holy Eucharist."
Is there little wonder that this should be the situation when, by their example, EMHC are allowed to treat the Blessed Sacrament as if we are merely receiving bread and wine?

Nathan Deal, Karen Handel to face off in GOP runoff.

According to, the numbers in the Republican primary for Governor of Georgia look like this:

Karen Handel 34 percent
Nathan Deal 24 percent
Eric Johnson 19 percent
John Oxendine 17 percent
Jeff Chapman 4 percent
Ray McBerry 3 percent
Otis Putnam 0 percent

Karen Handel will face Nathan Deal in an Aug. 10 runoff for the Republican nomination for governor. The winner faces former Governor Roy Barnes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Choice for Georgia Governor.

Primary elections - particularly in off years - are pretty much for hard core political junkies like yours truly; the Republicans who will vote in the primary are really Republicans. Likewise, the Democrats who will cast their votes in the upcoming primary are equally hard-core. No middle of the roaders, these folks.

One might say that I'm the hard-core of the hard-core. We have early voting in Georgia; rather than wait until July 20, I took advantage of the early voting by voting on Tuesday.

When I first took a serious look at the candidates in January, I considered voting for Karen Handel for Govenor but, at that time it appeared that John Oxendine would be a shoe-in. After Handel received an endorsement from Arizona Govenor Jan Brewer a few weeks ago, I decided that Handel would most definitely be getting my vote in the primary. Brewer is my favorite Republican these days. The day after I voted in the "early voting" I learned that Handel was being endorsed by Sarah Palin.

Getting the endorsement of these two is no small achievement.

There was never a question that there would be a run off after next week's Republican primary. It looks now, though, that Handel will be in the run off, but it's difficult at this point to predict whether it will be Oxendine or Deal running against her. Earlier in the year, it looked like Oxendine would be the one to beat. A run off between Handel and Deal was not seen in anyone's crystal ball this past January.

At any rate, come November, I'll vote for which ever Republican wins the run off. There's no way I could vote for the probable Democrat candidate - former Governor Roy Barnes.

When you throw everything into the mix - his being thrown out of office by Georgia voters eight years ago, the unpopularity of our current President and Democrats in general - it's unlikely that Barnes will be elected in November. Barnes may lead among Georgia's Democrats but getting a majority of all Georgia voters is all together different.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is Islam Really a Religion?

After reading Islam and the Definition of Religion By Howard Kainz at the website, I've added to my to-do list as well as adding a few books to my must-read list.

The article discusses the ideas of former Muslim Nonie Darwish who claims in her latest book, Cruel and Usual Punishment, that Islam is not a religion but rather "......Arab Imperialism and a protectionist tool to preserve what they believe to be a supremacist Arab culture.”

The arguments used by Darwish to prove that Islam is not a religion are : (from the article)
1) a religion must be a personal choice;
2) no religion should kill those who leave it;
3) a religion must never order the killing and subjugation of those who do not choose to be its members; and
4) a religion must abide by basic human rights.

It addition to Cruel and Usual Punishment (subtitled The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law) other books added to my list are
A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam by Wafa Sultan and
They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It by Brigitte Gabriel.

In the mean time, my to-do list is fairly sort. I'll be looking into the Former Muslims United website and writing more on this subject.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

But Now It's Happenin' Now.

Over at his blog - actsoftheapostasy - LarryD posted two really funny videos, [Somewhere over the Double Rainbow] though, I'm fairly certain the comedy in the first one is unintentional.

The "rainbow" video reminded me of a video I posted on another blog almost a year ago. I couldn't resist posting it here for those who haven't had the pleasure of watching before.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fair Trade Cocoa.

I enjoy doing "little things" for my family. I know it would be much easier to head out to the grocery and purchase treats like chocolate chip cookies or brownies - for example - but I would much rather bake the cookies or brownies myself; homemade is always better. My wife and son enjoy them and I certainly enjoy doing it.

So, it was with this in mind that I whipped up a batch of brownies this past Saturday. It was easy enough......I already had all the ingredients I needed to make the brownies and I was able to find a great recipe on When I told my sister about the delicious brownies I baked, she wanted the recipe.........until I told her from where the recipe originated.

"We're boycotting Hershey's", she told me.

Her reason for the boycott was because of the corporation's decision to shut down it's U.S. operations (particularly in Hershey, PA) and move production to Mexico. Checking I found the claim to be "partly true".
As pointed out on snopes, "Boycott the chocolate maker's products if you feel it's the right thing to do, but if you do, do so on the basis of protesting a cut in Hershey's U.S. workforce, not because you think the company has ceased its American operations and shut down all its U.S. plants."
I, for one, will not boycott a company over it's decision to move part, or even all it's production to another country. Even though I feel sorry for anyone losing their job, a company has a responsibility to it's shareholders to maintain a profit. In many cases, business is business and often keeping a plant in the Untied States could be detrimental to the company.

Sadly, I have found an even more pressing reason to boycott Hershey. I'm speaking of the issue of child labor and slavery in the production of cocoa. From,

"Thousands of children in West Africa are forced to labor in the production of cocoa, chocolate’s primary ingredient. The West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is the leading supplier of cocoa, accounting for more than 40% of global production. Low cocoa prices and thus the need for lower labor costs drive farmers to employ children as a means to survive. The US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry work under 'the worst forms of child labor,' and that some 10,000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement."

Like many, I had been ignorant of the facts. With just minimal effort, the evidence is available for all to see.

Major US chocolate companies like Hershey, M&M/Mars and Nestle are guilty of, at the very least, turning a blind eye to the issue of slavery in West Africa.
Fortunately, I was able to locate chocolate vendors who are certified Fair Trade. It's possible to satisfy one's love of chocolate without having one's money go to those who use slavery as a way to get rich.

One company, offers organic, fair trade baking cocoa - 12oz for $4.00. That compares to one company ( selling 8oz of Hershey's cocoa for $5.75. I'm not sure of the regular price of Hershey's cocoa at places like Publix or Walmart, but deansbeans' price seems reasonable enough that high prices can't be used as an excuse not to buy Fair Trade.

Update: March 24, 2015
Looking at my Google Analytics, I learned today that there has been recent viewing of this post from someone in Boston, MA. That discovering brought me back here to read what I had written nearly 5 years ago.
I wrote:
Major US chocolate companies like Hershey, M&M/Mars and Nestlé are guilty of, at the very least, turning a blind eye to the issue of slavery in West Africa.
I wanted to look into how things may have changed regarding the chocolate companies within those five years.
I'm happy to say that both Nestlé and Hershey have taken positive steps in dealing with the issues concerning exploitation of the cocoa farmers', their families and communities.
Nestlé: Tackling child labour in cocoa farming.
Hershey ‘21St Century Cocoa Plan’.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Government Regulations.

Approximately 3800 years ago - circa 1790BC - the sixth king of Babylon, Hammurabi created a code of laws that have, naturally, been named for him (for those in Alabama, this code is known as the Code of Hammurabi).

The code of Hammurabi consisted of 282 laws which were carved into large stone monuments, called stele, which would then be placed in a public place for all to see. One example that exits today is a 7 foot tall stele reportedly in the shape of an index finger. Considering that this finger stele is the handiwork of a "government", I suspect that it is actually a middle finger.

One would think that after nearly 4000 years of law making, government bureaucrats would have addressed every issue there is; you'd think that they would eventually run out of things to regulate. You'd be wrong, however.

As I pointed out yesterday [San Francisco Bans Soft Drinks] a clever politician can always fine something regulate. In that post, I related how San Francisco's mayor Gavin Newsom has issued a directive banning sugary soft drinks in vending machines located on city property. After writing yesterday's post, I learned from this article that the San Francisco Department of Public Health has issued a set of regulations for THC laced brownies, ice cream and milkshakes (and more) made in San Francisco's medical marijuana dispensaries.

These regulations deal with issues such as proper packaging, hand washing as well as each item have a warning that the item is a medication and not a food. Considering Mayor Newsom's war on obesity, I'm surprised that the regulations do not cover the amount of sugar in each marijuana brownie.

Years ago,when I was in my teens, I first heard the claim that "the reason why marijuana is illegal, is because they haven't figured out a way to tax it". As I pointed out in a post from two years ago, the notion that governments can't figure out how to tax something can best be described as dunderheaded. As if to prove my point, the Berkeley CA. city council has been discussing how to tax both medical and recreational cannabis.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

San Francisco Bans Soft Drinks.

Thanks to the guys at Creative Minority Report I learned of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's ban of sugary soft drinks in vending machines on city property. [ Creative Minority Report: Illegals With Cokes ]

Delving further, I came across an article on the SFGate website. Newsom's directive, issued in April, "... includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water. Juice must be 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners. Diet sodas can be no more than 25 percent of the items offered".

The directive is an effort to combat obesity.

Doesn't Newsom realize his new directive will adversely affect a soft drink which has the potential of being extremely popular with San Francisco residents ? - Leninade- With approximately 38 grams of sugar (all cane sugar, according to the label) and about 150 calories per serving, the "surprisingly satisfying simple soviet-style soda based on lemonade" (made by Real Soda In Real Bottles, Ltd) will certainly be prohibited.

A quick Internet search revealed the drink is available online. An ad for the drink mentions a mixed drink made from Leninade, ice and Vodka known as a CommieKaze. Perhaps Newsom should have one himself, put up his feet and relax.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Last Airbender.

I couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my son J.P. had become interested in the Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was a little surprised; although I knew nothing of the series, when I first started paying attention to what he was watching, I thought the series seemed to be geared towards kids a few years older than he.

While I've been off from work, there was a marathon of episodes showing on Nicktoons and the two of us spend lots of time together watching the show. I have to say that I enjoyed it.

Naturally, when we learned of the movie version of the series, we both wanted to see it. My wife Cathy had not been watching the program with us, but she was intrigued by the movie trailer and wanted to see the movie as well.

The film, in 3D, opened in our little town and the three of us went to see it last night. I won't go into the plot. We enjoyed the film. I'd say it fits in perfectly with the animated series and I'm sure fans of the series will be happy with it.

The only problem I had with the experience was the poor quality of the 3D. A few months back, the three of us were visiting friends in Greenville, South Carolina and went to see How to Train Your Dragon in 3D and were very impressed with the technology. However, that wasn't the case here in Rome; the 3D was lousy. We would have preferred to watch the film in traditional 2 dimension. I'm fairly certain that the problem lay with the theater here in our little backwater town; even the 3D coming attractions were off kilter. I'm sure that if one were to watch the movie in a theater which has state of the art equipment the 3D experience would beat the socks off what we had to put up with yesterday.

Never the less, I'd recommend the movie. I'm sure I'll get a copy of the DVD when it's released so J.P. and I can watch again (that will probably be timed to go with the release of the second part of the trilogy).

Taking it Back.

It looks as though I'll have to renege on my earlier statement that this blog will be put to rest.

As I mentioned earlier, I have started a new blog, Immigration Reformation. I was afraid that my Sorry, all the Clever Names are Taken blog was becoming too unmanageable. The problem with dropping this blog is that I have too many things I want to write about.

I'll continue to post on this blog as well as the others I've created. It's quite possible that I will create yet another one to cover strictly religion (particularly all things Catholic). In the mean time, the blogosphere is stuck with Sorry, all the Clever Names are Taken for a bit longer.

Update: I've updated this post by adding the photo of a pair of flip-flops on the left. This update was made after getting a comment from LarryD of ActsoftheApostasy which read,

"Flip-flopper! LOL!"

I received an email notification of the comment but the comment itself has not shown up on the blog. It seems Larry's having the same problem as well (see commenting issues on his blog).
I've had the same problem on my Immigration Reformation blog.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Final Update.

In what was to be my final post for this blog, I related how I believed that this blog had become the victim of "diversity".... that is to say that the rather loose and unfocused nature of this blog had begun to made it difficult for me to decide which subject to write about on any particular day.

I believe the solution to my problem is to "mothball" this blog while starting another which focuses on only one subject. The result of that decision has been the creation of Immigration Reformation. As one can tell from the title, the theme of the blog will, obviously, be immigration - both legal and illegal.

Chances are, I will start yet even another blog in the not-so-distant future in order to deal with other subjects of interest to me. For the time being, I hope those who read and followed Sorry, all the Clever Names are Taken will find my latest entry into the blogosphere as something worth reading - at least occasionally.