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Gender: Male
Hometown: Kentwood, MI
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 22,816

Journal Archives

James Foley: Martyr? Saint?

From the moment news broke that U.S. journalist James Foley had been beheaded by Islamic State extremists in the Middle East, many Christians, especially Foley's fellow Catholics, began calling him a martyr, with some even saying he should be considered a saint.


Numerous commentators had already picked up on that idea, holding Foley up not only as a witness to the Christian faith but as a spur for believers in the West to take more seriously the plight of Christians in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East who are being persecuted to a degree that some say is comparable to genocide.

But in the Catholic church, determining whether someone is a martyr is not so easy. Historically, two conditions must be met.


The Onion: GOP Maintains Solid Hold On Youth That Already Look Like Old Men

Plane forced to land after argument over reclining seat

Airline passengers have come to expect a tiny escape from the confined space of today's packed planes: the ability to recline their seat a few inches. When one passenger was denied that bit of personal space Sunday, it led to a heated argument and the unscheduled landing of their plane, just halfway to its destination.

The fight started on a United Airlines flight because one passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 gadget that attaches to a passenger's tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining.

The Federal Aviation Administration leaves it up to individual airlines to set rules about the device. United Airlines said it prohibits use of the device, like all major U.S. airlines. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air take the reclining mechanisms out of their seats, leaving them permanently upright.

The dispute on United Flight 1462 from Newark, New Jersey to Denver escalated to the point where the airline decided to divert to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, according to Transportation Security Administration spokesman Ross Feinstein.


U of Tennessee uses photoshopped Beyonce cover to try to recruit football player

Everybody in the world thinks Beyonce is the best, most important and most wonderful person in the world. Therefore, the most effective way to convince a player that he should choose a school is ... well ... Beyonce:

That's a tweet from five-star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle. Bey apparently not only knows who Shy Tuttle, a high school football player, is, also, she has strong opinions about where he should go to college. Also, she's walking really, really, really close to Shy, a fact which we will not tell Jay-Z about. You can tell she genuinely cares about Shy's career, because she personally has a vested interest in another orange-wearing team, but simply feels he'd be the best fit at Tennessee.

Mark our words: The team that tells the most players Beyonce wants them to go to their school will be the best team in college football.


Dearborn Muslims rally against ISIS, pray for family of James Foley

Muslim clerics held a vigil in Dearborn last night to show their opposition to ISIS, and to pray for the family of James Foley, an American reporter killed recently by the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria.

The small crowd held candles and signs saying “Muslims against ISIS.”

Sara Albusaid immigrated to Dearborn from Iraq.

She says her husband and son are still in southern Iraq, where they're being inundated with people fleeing the violence in other parts of the country.


Dearborn has one of the largest Muslim populations in the US.

Crooked road striping causes havoc in Virginia

Crooked and curving lines on a major Fairfax County roadway are causing confusion for drivers.

The problem occurred Monday morning on Interstate 66 goes from Centreville to Gainesville.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said temporary lane striping that crews put down over the weekend peeled up and moved.

The department said a contractor is working to fix the problem.


Solar power a win-win for bishop


The backyard of Bishop Terry LaValley’s residence in Ogdensburg is now home to an array of solar panels.

The solar panels, recently installed by Triangle Electrical Systems, Inc. of Plattsburgh, will produce approximately 11,300 kilowatt hours of electricity to the bishop’s residence.

The panels will reduce the electric bill to the residence, reduce the building’s carbon footprint and utilize renewable energy.

“The solar panels are good economically, environmentally and spiritually,” Bishop LaValley explained in a press release.

The liberal environmentalist nobody knew was Catholic

Few realized when Small is Beautiful was published that E.F. Schumacher’s economic theories were underpinned by solid religious and philosophical foundations, the fruits of a lifetime of searching. In 1971, two years before the book’s publication, Schumacher had become a Roman Catholic, the final destination of his philosophical journey.

“It’s all very well to live simply and grow things and practice crafts… but what about the hundreds of thousands who can’t hope to be self-sufficient in property and craft?” This summarizes the complaint by modern critics against “Distributism”—the economic philosophy inspired by Catholic social teaching and developed, early last century, by Catholic thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. According to Distributism, property should be spread widely, so that people can earn a living without having to rely on the state (socialism) or a small number of individuals (capitalism). According to the pessimistic view of critics, small-scale economies are fine in principle, but are no longer practical.

Such questions were central to the philosophical grappling of Dr. E.F Schumacher, who came to the conclusion that pessimism was self-fulfillingly prophetic. If one believes the worst one will probably get the worst. Negation begets negation. The antidote to such despair, Dr. E.F. Schumacher believed, was hope. It was in this spirit that he wrote Small is Beautiful in 1973, a book which, for a time at least, made Distributism the most fashionable economic and political creed in the world. Schumacher’s trained economic mind had resolved many of Distributism’s alleged problems so that its principles became applicable even to ‘the hundreds of thousands who can’t hope to be self-sufficient in property or craft.’ Schumacher had succeeded where Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton had failed.

Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, subtitled ‘a study of economics as if people mattered’, was published in 1973 to immediate acclaim and became an international best-seller. At the time of its publication Schumacher was already well known as an economist, journalist and entrepreneur. He was Economic Adviser to the National Coal Board from 1950 to 1970, and was also the originator of the concept of Intermediate Technology for developing countries. In 1967 he became a trustee of the Scott Bader Commonwealth, a producers’ co-operative established in 1959 when the company’s owner, Ernest Bader, transferred ownership to his workforce. Bader, a Quaker, believed that establishing co-operative ownership was an expression of Christian social principles in practice. To the surprise of many sceptics, the Scott Bader Commonwealth prospered, becoming a pathfinder in polymer technology and a model of good labour relations at a time of considerable labour unrest throughout the rest of industry. Schumacher also served as President of the Soil Association, Britain’s largest organic farming organization.


In Mass for Ferguson, St. Louis Archbishop calls to 'dismantle systemic racism'

On Wednesday, the Archbishop of St. Louis, Robert Carlson, held a special mass for peace and justice in Ferguson as protestors continued to clash with police over the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

In a letter released on August 18, Carlson asked parishioners to donate to a collection set aside to "assist food pantries and parishes in the Ferguson area that offer assistance to those who have been affected by the looting and destruction of property." Over five hundred Catholics from the St. Louis area attended, according to the St. Louis Review.

The Archbishop laid out five crucial steps to "dismantle systemic racism" in his homily. According to the St. Louis Review, he said:


Cardinal Edmund Szoka, former Detroit archbishop and Vatican official, dies at 86

The Michigan native, who this year celebrated his 60th anniversary as a Catholic priest, was named by Pope John Paul II to lead the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1981. Pope John Paul II named Szoka a cardinal in 1988. And in 1990, Pope John Paul II moved Szoka from Detroit to the Vatican, where Szoka oversaw economic affairs at the Vatican City State, and later served as the top administrator, much like a governor, of the Vatican.

During his tenure as Archbishop of Detroit from 1981 to 1990, Szoka made his mark by helping bring Pope John Paul II to Detroit in 1987. He also streamlined the archdiocese’s methods to make it less expensive and easier for divorced Catholics to receive Catholic annulments, allowing them to remarry in the church.


During his time at the Vatican, Szoka’s position and influence on various Vatican commissions helped lead to the promotion of Detroit-based priests to become bishops of other dioceses. Among them is current Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who was a former seminary director and parish pastor in Detroit when in 1996 he was named Bishop of Oakland, California, before returning to the top post in Detroit in 2009. Others include Lansing Diocese Bishop Earl Boyea, Newark Archbishop Leonard Blair who previously was bishop of Toledo, and current St. Paul/Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Szoka was born in Grand Rapids and raised in the Muskegon area. His mother was a Polish immigrant and his father hailed from what is now known as Belarus. His parents were divorced when Szoka was about 3. When Szoka sought to enter the priesthood, his parents’ divorce could have stood in his way.

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