The Spectacle Blog

How “Catholic” Can Still Mean Universal

By on 3.26.14 | 3:57PM

On March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated as he performed mass. His martyrdom broadcast his message of solidarity with the poor around the globe. I recently learned a bit more about this incredible man at a Catholic young adult’s speaker series.

During the talk, as the heating pipes groaned against a polar wind, vicar Rev. Patrick Riffle explained the division of the Church in El Salvador during its civil war. Some priests linked themselves to the ruthless families that ruled El Salvador. Some picked up AK-47s to protect the poor against both the Marxists and the government.

It affected the image of the regional Church for decades. Yet Romero was able to find the truly Catholic message amidst the firearm cacophony: stop the violence and treat your fellow citizens as brothers and sisters. No handgun required.

The global Church finds itself in a similar divisive crisis after Vatican II, especially in America. The “Orthodox” or “conservative” Catholics judge the “Catholic liberals.” Yet “Catholic” is supposed to mean “universal.”  

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Shocker: Obamacare Delayed Again

By on 3.26.14 | 3:45PM

Rumors swarmed in the media yesterday that President Obama might have the gall to delay the March 31 deadline for Obamacare enrollment. Then the AP reported the following:

Officials said the grace period will be available to people on the honor system, meaning applicants will have to attest that special circumstances or complex cases prevented them from finishing by March 31.

Oh, the honor system? You know, a president who doesn’t even adhere to blatant, on-the-books law does not quite strike me as one who will abide by a mystical “honor system” which he invented. How can we be certain the people who come after March 31 had “special circumstances”? Who decides what constitutes as a “complex case”? The White House, of course.

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Pope Obamus?

By on 3.26.14 | 1:52PM

No, not quite. But the New York Times might as well have referred to President Obama with that title in a story by Jason Horowitz this past Sunday that tried to portray the president as being part of the Catholic experience in America.

According to Horowitz (of Romney-was-a-prep-school-bully fame), President Obama began his professional career working in numerous Catholic parishes throughout Chicago's South Side. He worked intimately with priests, bishops, and other Catholic leaders to serve the poor and needy. And despite not letting Catholic doctrine "tempt him," he nonetheless "effectively proselytized for the church."

Moreover, the young Obama

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Buzzfeed to Readers: Start Fantasizing About Sex with Animals

By on 3.26.14 | 1:34PM

File this one in the growing pile of evidence that our culture is a sewer. Widely read blog BuzzFeed.com posted an interactive piece yesterday entitled "What's Your Sex Number?: The ultimate 'purity test' for the modern age." The author of the piece, one Summer Anne Burton, was kind enough to warn readers that the piece is NSFW. I share that same warning regarding the following.

The piece is a checklist in which readers can input whether or not they have participated in various sex acts. They are then scored based upon the answers. The list starts out innocent enough. Have you ever hugged someone? What about kissed? But by the end, readers are asked such questions as whether or not they have had sex while high on various substances, been urinated or defecated upon during sex, fantasized about sex with a relative, or--and this is the showstopper--fantasized about sex with an animal.

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Britain Incinerates Babies for Fuel

By on 3.26.14 | 11:10AM

Recall Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, where Swift satirically suggests wealthy Englishmen eat poor Irish babies as a delicacy to solve the problem of a rampant poverty-stricken population. Of course, he never meant a word of it. He meant to shock.

Melanie McDonagh said it best when she commented that “Swift couldn’t have made it up” in regards to the following story:

The remains of at least 15,500 aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste and even used to heat some hospitals in the United Kingdom, an investigation has revealed.

The Department of Health on Sunday issued an instant ban after 10 National Health Service trusts admitted to burning fetal remains alongside garbage and two others used the remains in “waste-to-energy” programs, the U.K. Telegraph reported.

In fact, I wonder if Swift could have even imagined this abhorrent practice.

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Morning Round-Up 3-26

By on 3.26.14 | 10:08AM

Feature of the Day: Smoking Proves Hard to Shake Among the Poor

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

  1. HHS Grants Extra Time to Enroll for Health Care

Politico

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Morning Round-Up 3-25

By on 3.25.14 | 9:56AM

Feature of the Day: 5.1 million Americans have security clearances. That’s more than the entire population of Norway.

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

  1. Videos Key to Case in NYC Against Bin Laden In-Law
  2. FCC: Thousands of Hotels Don’t Offer Direct 911

Politico

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Chris Christie: I Still Exist

By on 3.25.14 | 7:37AM

Following Bridgegate, Rand Paul emerged in the 2016 spotlight and Chris Christie retired to the shadows.

Debates on Paul’s foreign policy, his positions on social issues, and his attempt at broader conservative outreach at places like UC Berkeley have been front and center of both right and left publications. Christie has not.

In fact, murmurs of Jeb Bush emerging as a presidential candidate may further dwarf Christie’s standing in the media as the establishment-favored contender.

But there’s one public figure who hasn’t forgotten about Christie: Chris Christie.

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The Federal Government Runs a Paperwork Mine

By on 3.24.14 | 6:56PM

The Washington Post reports that retirement paperwork for federal employes is still processed by hand — in an abandoned mine 230 feet below the surface of the earth:

The employees here pass thousands of case files from cavern to cavern and then key in retirees’ personal data, one line at a time. They work underground not for secrecy but for space. The old mine’s tunnels have room for more than 28,000 file cabinets of paper records.

This odd place is an example of how hard it is to get a time-wasting bug out of a big bureaucratic system.

Held up by all that paper, work in the mine runs as slowly now as it did in 1977.

“The need for automation was clear — in 1981,” said James W. Morrison Jr., who oversaw the retirement-processing system under President Ronald Reagan. In a telephone interview this year, Morrison recalled his horror upon learning that the system was all run on paper: “After a year, I thought, ‘God, my reputation will be ruined if we don’t fix this,’ ” he said.

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