Monday, September 29, 2008

A Defeated Bill

The House voted down the bailout package. The Democrats are blaming the Republicans even though almost 100 Democrats voted against it; the Republicans are blaming the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi who, I guess hurt their feelings beforehand. Bizarre, one would think that thick skin was a requirement in the House.

The stock market dropped almost 800 points for the day. Whatever one’s opinion on whether this package was good or bad, the stock market certainly didn’t like it.

There are certain things that we have learned.

Neither Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner has the pull that they need to get votes. They have both blamed each other for the defeat but if they were truly honest, they are both to blame. They have both helped create and maintain a partisan hostility within the House and it does not go away because a leader says so. Neither person was able to get the votes to pass the bill.

President Bush has lost the respect of people in both parties. Big time. The largest number of ‘no’ votes came from his own party despite him almost begging them to go along with him. He long ago lost the trust of the Democrats, but now he no longer has any respect from his own Party. Dick Cheney got booed off the platform the other day from his own party. This is an Administration that has completely and utterly lost the respect of others.

Neither Senators McCain or Obama were able to muster the votes. They may be the de facto leaders of the two parties, but neither of them could pull this one off. Obama didn’t push as hard as McCain and McCain’s party did not follow his lead. They will both blame each other, of course. The reality is that neither of them had the mojo to pull this one off.

Locally both Baron Hill and John Yarmuth voted against the bill. They, like most everyone in closely contested races, chose to vote ‘no’ to this incredibly unpopular vote. It’s hard to say if this was an act of courage or cowardice in their parts. Whatever is the case, in virtually every district where there is a close race looming, the person voted ‘no.’

Having said all of this, here is what we know for sure.

No one knows for sure if this bill will solve the problem. It is a $700,000,000,000.00 gamble. We really don’t know the answer to this.

We also don’t know for sure what will happen if no bill is passed. There are all sorts of ‘gloom and doom’ statements, but no one is really sure what will transpire long term.

We know for sure what we don’t know much for sure.

It seems to me that this mess is a mess that people from both parties helped create and the only resolution is for people of both parties to solve it.

They might need to grow up, however, in order to do so. And that might be a tall order!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sports Observations

In New York this is the last year for the venerable Yankee Stadium and the easily disposable Shea Stadium. Hard to say that as a life-long Mets' fan but their stadium has long ago ceased being a great place.

Speaking of the Mets. They are in their annual September swoon. It looks like they have blown their way out of the post-season. The thing is, I suspect that they might actually have the best team in the National League EXCEPT, and this is a huge EXCEPT, they have the bullpen of the 1962 Mets. No lead is safe for this bullpen. They have blown more leads then almost anyone else. And some of the leads were substantial. Even if they make the postseason, they won't advance very far; their bullpen is that bad.

I think that someone needs to whisper a name into Lovie Smith's ear. Brian Billick. Brian Billick coached the Ravens who had one of the finest defenses of all time and this was a team that could have and should have been in several Super Bowls. Brian Billick stubbornly held the notion that one of the stiffs he had in the quarterback position would do the job. They didn't. Billick is no longer on the sidelines. Lovie Smith is, from all accounts, a great guy and loved by his team. He cannot even be considered to be a good coach if he doesn't make a concerted effort, a huge effort, to fix this gaping hole in his team.

The Colts are complaining that it was a bad call against them last week that cost them the game. It might have been a marginal call; but it did have the aroma of at least defensive holding which would have given the Jags a first down. The thing with the Colts is this. They gave up in the neighborhood of 250 yards rushing. Two runners gained over 100 yards on them and the Jags burned a ton of time. That is where they really lost the game.

Funny thing about Brett Favre. Had he been patient and not pushed to come back when he did, he would have received a phone call from Boston inviting him to play for the Patriots... Instead he's with the Jets. Eric Mangini is not, in my mind, the sharpest knife in the drawer. Favre, crafty veteran, has played in a totally different system than the Jets have. Instead of adjusting his system to aid his quarterback, he's hoping that an old veteran can change. In the history of the NFL, great coaches adapt to their personnel. Eric Mangini is sans a clue...

Does one get the impression that Joe Torre has found the circumstances of this season to be quite entertaining?

My World Series prediction: The Red Sox and the Phillies. The Red Sox win it in 5. The Cubs? The ghost of Fred Merkle will wander in their midst and will wander in the stands, and prevent the Cubs from winning.

As an aside, I would recommend that Steve Bartman not attend any games.

And, lastly, Matt Millen was fired by the Lions. I mean, DUH!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Bitter Pill

The Federal Government is setting up a $700,000,000,000.00 bailout of the economy. Those are a lot of zeroes all in one place at the same time.

As I write this on Monday the Stock Market is down almost 400 points. Lots of questions abound about this bailout. Most of the experts think that it’s absolutely necessary and yet, no one knows if it going to work or not. We have watched some financial giants collapse and others are in danger.

Economically we have some major issues. Unemployment is up, though not catastrophically. Prices are up.

The price of oil is a disaster. This not only impacts our daily commute or our riding about town or our vacation trips. This impacts food deliveries and prices. This will greatly impact people this winter when they pay for gas, oil, or additional electricity to heat their homes. People who get sick because of living in colder than usual environments will strain the medical system.

There is also no place to invest money. Stocks are haywire at best. Bonds are doing nothing. The interest rates for investments are almost non-existent. The economy, for the average person, is not very good.

Is the bailout a good idea? I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone is addressing the fundamentals of what put is in the situation we are in.

First, there was the predatory selling of variable-rate mortgages. Sadly, many of the people who fell for this scheme were not educated as to what they were getting into. I strongly suspect that people were told that the interest rates would not spike. It was a lie. They did spike and many people were in trouble. As real estate plummeted people’s debts were higher than the value of their homes. As so many of these mortgages had been sold, and insured, when people defaulted on the mortgages, major money was lost.

Secondly, was the rampant short-selling of stocks. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are two banks that have been healthy, have solid assets, and were not in trouble based on anything that they did wrong. Last week, however, their stocks dropped like rocks and the banks, almost overnight, lost half of their value. This took place because ‘investors’ were short-selling their stock, betting that these banks were over-valued, and betting that they could drive the price of the stock down. There is a temporary ban on short-selling, but in the coming weeks, when the ban is lifted, I can’t imagine these ‘investors’ will be back at it.

As a digression, what does it say about people that they invest in hopes of a company’s collapse? It is mind-boggling.

In the midst of this is a Presidential campaign where two candidates are promising major tax cuts for most of us and happy days arriving.

For those who like to argue ideology, for those who love government, our government failed us.

For those who like to speak about the free market, the free market failed us.

I do not know what the solution to all of this is going to be. I do know that the pill we need to swallow shall be a bitter one.

Week Three in the NFL

I do have to begin where my heart begins. It almost stopped several times in the Giants/Bengals game. I was sweating this one out. The Bengals have looked bad the first two weeks of the season but I was also aware that the amount of talent they have on the Offensive side of the ball made them a serious threat. They were able to put it together very effectively against the Giants on Sunday.

The Giants have historically had a difficult time with the Bengals. Different players, different years, different teams, and the Giants have always had a tough time with the Bengals. Who’d have thought? In any case, they did. The Giants did get several sacks on Palmer, but it was from the front 4. Their blitzing was picked up by the Bengals very effectively and Palmer’s quick, short, passing worked well.

The difference of the game was Eli Manning. I may look foolish at some point, but Eli has risen into being one of the elite quarterbacks in the game. He was only the second to lead his team to victory in the final minutes of a Super Bowl. In the playoff game against Dallas, Eli led the Giants to a touchdown before half-time. The Giants got the ball with 45 seconds left. When the game was on the line yesterday, Eli rose up to the occasion and won the game. Good genes in that family.

The Colts. Sigh. Peyton was amazing, as usual. Their defense, however, did a poor job. The Jags ran, ran, and ran on them and chewed up the clock. When the game was on the line the defense folded. Ugh!

The Patriots and the Dolphins. We all knew it was coming. We all knew, at some point, the Patriots would have a meltdown game. They have been so good, so amazing, and losing Brady was devastating. They also have an older defense and injuries on the offense forced the defense to play more. They got smoked and faked out. Chad Pennington does not have a great arm, but when he’s healthy, he’s an effective quarterback. I don’t really think that the Dolphins are as good as they played yesterday and the Patriots aren’t as bad as they played.

One of the hidden treasures in the NFL this year was given up for done. Kerry Collins is now starting for the Titans and has played really well. Several teams do not have much competence at the quarterback position and Collins had been out there all along. Amazing.

The Raiders will probably fire Kiffin today. Good for Kiffin. Who would ever want to coach for Al Davis? The thing is, when the Bills were driving, Kiffin had two timeouts that he never used. The Bills drove down the field and kicked the winning field goal. What was he thinking? Scott Norwood is not longer the Bills kicker...

The Bears would be a really fine team if they had a quarterback. I think that Lovie Smith is greatly over-rated as a coach. He’s a sharp defensive guy and he gets players to play for him, no doubt, but he seems clueless as to running an offense and even more clueless as to the need for an effective quarterback. The Bears have not had someone capable in that position in a while and Smith has done nada about it. Ask Brian Billick how this works, long term?

It’s funny how Jeremy Shockey hasn’t been all-world for the Saints and is a disruption in the locker room. Hmm.

The Cowboys and the Eagles seemed to lack defense a week ago. Yesterday their defensive units went crazy. Especially the Eagles. They turned Big Ben into Uncle Ben and converted his rice!

Best division in football? The NFC East. After three weeks, the combined record of the NFC East is 10-2. The two losses were by the Eagles to the Cowboys and by the Redskins to the Giants, thus making both losses to division rivals.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Random Musings

I do find people to be amusing.

Carly Fiorina decreed that Sarah Palin couldn't run Hewlett-Packard. Of course, realizing that she had dug a hole she tried to climb out. So she said that John McCain couldn't run HP either. Realizing that she was closing in on her knee, she decreed that Joe Biden or Barack Obama couldn't run HP either. I guess that she thinks HP is a more complex place than the United States. In fairness to all those she has dismissed, lots of people at HP felt that she couldn't run HP either.

Word has it that Fiorina will not be making more television appearances for John McCain...

Barack Obama is releasing a two minute commercial. Critics say that we need more sound bytes than substance. Whew! Two minutes, I guess, is too short a period of time to really make a complex point, but we need sound bytes?

Sadly, the critics are probably right.

Ironies abound. People screamed for deregulation as regulation of financial institutions was Socialist. Too much government control. Well, greed and lack of regulation has caused some major collapses and the companies are being taken over by, ahem, the government. In a blind effort to not be socialistic, we've actually become more so.

Sarah Palin is blocking any attempts to investigate Troopergate. She really needs to read "All the President's Men." It's usually not the deed, it's the cover-up. Let the thing work its way through. Even if she fired the guy because he wouldn't fire her brother in law she'd probably have survived that-----now the story just plays on and on and on and if she did a misdeed, the cover up will make it far, far worse.

The Vatican decreed that Darwin's theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible, but decided not to rescind the condemnation they issued 150 years ago.

OJ Simpson is on trial for kidnapping and armed robbery and these are the less serious crimes he has ever been on trial for. I'm glad I'm not on the jury. My inclination would have been to vote 'guilty' even before the trial started. OJ in jail sounds about right.

The Mets are in the Septembe swoon. It's hard to be an optimist with the Mets.

Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys was in two different luxury boxes, on the sidelines, and in the stands during the game the other night. My guess is that he's an equal opportunity annoyer...

I wonder if Jerry Jones could run HP?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Of Tanning Beds and Substance...

The first thing I saw on the news this morning is that Sarah Palin has a tanning bed.

I am officially in the "I don't care" category on Sarah Palin's tanning bed. Actually, I do not care about her relationship with her husband or her children. I do not lay awake at night worrying that her daughter is pregnant. There are many things about her policies, etc., and her prevailing philosophy on things that I am interested in. I do not care that she has a tanning bed.

This weekend Lehman Brothers collapsed. Merrill Lynch was bought out by Bank of America. AIG is seeking major loans; loans exceeding its corporate worth. The Stock Market plunged over 500 points yesterday.

Lots of people believe that this is not going to impact them. Many people do not own stock or mutual funds. However, many pension plans and annuities that we are relying on or will rely on when we retire are getting hammered by this.

Phil Gramm (of you're a bunch of whiners fame) was the principle author of a bill deregulating the banking industry and allowing them to make almost unlimited investing. It has worked as well as Napolean's strategy at Waterloo or Custer's strategy as Little Big Horn. The fact that many people see him as the architect of John McCain's economic plans is downright chilling.

John McCain, to his great discredit, stated yesterday that the economy was fundamentally strong stands as one of the most monumental statements of the campaign.

Fundamentally strong on the day of a collapse of one of the country's leading investment banks. Another one is sold. Another one is in major trouble. The stock market plunged 500 points. The job market is bad. The housing market is bad----people are losing value on their homes. Interest rates for investments are low. There is no place for people to put their money. Fundamentally strong? My sense is that when you have help to toast your bread and butter your toast and pour your coffee, you might have a bit of a disconnect with the average person. I think that John McCain, at his core, is a good person, but he is woefully out of touch with the average person.

I am not sure Barack Obama is either. He, at least, is pointing to the elephant in the living room. He is not touting that the economy is fundamentally strong----he sees a problem. I'm not sure, however, that he has any sort of idea on how to get the elephant out of the living room.

The economy is something that impacts all of us. A great deal of rhetoric has been thrown out there talking about the American worker and that small business has been the foundation of the American economy.

The thing is, this isn't what built the American economy. It was built by manufacturing. When the United States entered World War II, Herman Goering said he wasn't worried because the United States was too busy worrying about manufacturing cars and razor blades. To his great chagrin, those automobile factories built tanks and planes in quantities Hitler's Germany could never match.

In many places, part of the dilemma that is facing people is that the manufacturing jobs are gone. Automobile assembly lines are shutting down. In Louisville, General Electric's Appliance Park is being sold or shut down. My Dad worked for GE years ago for product service in New Jersey. In his GE branch in New Jersey, people spoke of how great Louisville was and how they would love to see where the refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines were being built. That branch, a proud group of people, is gone.

We are in a time of major transition and I suspect we will never again be the manufacturing superstar that we once was the American dream. The transition, however, is painful. In the meantime our greatest financial institutions are collapsing, the stock market is plunging, and there is no place for people to invest their money.

There is a huge issue hanging right out there.

And this morning, the first story on the news was that Sarah Palin has a tanning bed...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Early Season NFL Notes

I have thought this for a long time but I believe that Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of this generation----maybe all time. As good as Tom Brady is, part of Tom Brady’s success has been a great supporting cast. Manning proves that he can beat anyone at anytime with almost any supporting cast. The Colts linemen were wearing name tags yesterday because they were all so new. If you let Manning stay in the game, he’ll find a way. The great ones always do.

I should note that this appears to be a family trait. During last year’s post season Eli was very Peytonesque. People all recall the Super Bowl but in the playoff game against Dallas, the Cowboys scored at the end of the first half. They were going into halftime with a 14-7 lead and were pumped. The Giants got the ball with 45 seconds left and Eli led them down for a touchdown. Then, of course, in the Super Bowl, with a little over two minutes to play, he led a legendary drive.

These Mannings are really, really good.

Speaking of supporting casts. Aaron Rodgers looks excellent leading the Packers. He has played really well. He is very fortunate to have a really good supporting cast around him. Between his ability and the team, the Packers look really, really good. Brett Favre, I suspect, realized that the Jets do not give him a great supporting cast. He’s still really good and can still probably beat almost anyone----but he doesn’t have the horses to do it consistently.

The Vikings need a quarterback. Actually, the Bears do to. Orten isn’t making a lot of mistakes, but he won’t be making big plays, either.

Kurt Warner looked really good.

I watched the end of the Chargers/Broncos game. It looked like neither defense could stop a renegade Girl Scout troop. The Chargers, however, were robbed by a bad call at the end of the game. When officials defeat a team, as in this case, it is exactly what football shouldn’t be.

Vince Young has learned a lesson about being a quarterback in the NFL. You have to be able to throw. Young was an awesome player in college and his scrambling killed opposing teams. In his rookie year he did the same thing. But NFL defenses adjust and last year he wasn’t getting away and had to rely on this arm more than his legs. This year, disaster. The young man is a great talent, but he needs to learn how to drop back and throw.

Two games were on yesterday afternoon. The Colts and the Vikings. It looked like a laugher and that the Vikings were going to win easily. Alas...

I also watched the Bears and the Panthers. Again, a laugher. Then the Panthers got it going. Alas...

What is with the Seahawks. Several people were calling them the class of the NFC and some predicted them to be in the Super Bowl. They have not looked good, thus far. Of course, last year’s Super Bowl winner lost its first two games and looked putrid...

The Saints are learning why the Giants weren’t that upset to lose Shockey. He can make some really good plays, but he can make some killer, dumb mistakes along the way as well.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lessons from 9/11

It has been seven years since that very sad and difficult day. Over the years I have thought about it a great deal and I do think that there are some lessons we need to learn.

The first lesson is a lesson of culture. We were attacked by a culture that we did not have any understanding of. When Timothy McVeigh did the Oklahoma City bombing, he lit a fuse and ran away. While do we not understand his act of violence and cold-bloodedness, we do comprehend how he did it. There were hints of violence using an airplane flying into a building. Those hints did not register. Most of his would never even imagine such a thing happening, let alone doing such a thing. The problem is that we didn’t quite understand the culture. I don’t know if we do now, but we will never have any success in fighting terrorism until we begin to understand the culture from whence terrorists come.

During World War II there was a similar difficulty in fighting the war with Japan. We did understand much of the German culture, but the Japanese culture was a complete mystery to us. We suffered greatly for it. Conversely, the Japanese did not understand American culture and attacked Pearl Harbor with little awareness of what the consequences would be for them. The failure to understand other cultures is dangerous.

The second lesson is our shameful partisanship. There was ample intelligence handed over to the Bush Administration from the Clinton Administration about Osama Bin Laden. It was ignored. To be quite fair, if it had been handed over to the Clinton Administration from the first Bush Administration, it would have been ignored. The levels of division are so deep between our two political parties that there has grown to be an intense dislike and lack of trust. Talk Radio, Talk TV, agenda specific media of all sorts has helped cultivate this division. It has grown and continues to grow. Shame on us. It was part of the problem and remains part of the problem. This war on terror is an American issue, not a Democrat or Republican issue.

The upcoming Presidential Campaign is becoming increasingly partisan and increasingly stupid. The fighting, right now, is mostly over nonsense. This is a horribly dangerous thing for us as a nation at the moment. We cannot allow this to continue or we will continue to struggle and be vulnerable to attack and it will be our own fault.

The third lesson is a failure of imagination. NASA officials, when Apollo I blew up said that they had a weakness. It was a failure of imagination. They hadn’t thought through and imagined all the potential problems. Years later, the 0 Rings was a similar instance. We live in a very concrete, cut and dry society. We long for easy answers to complex questions and often view the world in black and white.

The party is over. We no longer have this luxury. The world around us is smaller and deadlier than it has ever been. Our greatest threats no longer come from nations, but they come from rogue groups. If we fail to have imagination, we will continue to be woefully vulnerable to attack. Sadly, what happened seven years ago may be small in comparison.

The fourth lesson is the danger of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is a strict and literal maintenance of religious ideas and can also be applied to political beliefs. While they held opposite views and were both atheists, both Ayn Rand and Karl Marx were fundamentalists. There was little gray in their worlds. Everything was absolutely clear.

In religion it’s very much the same. Fundamentalism often rejects science and history to hold on to whatever it wants to hold on to. Christian fundamentalism has little resemblance to historic Christianity. Islamic fundamentalism has little resemblance to historic Islam. Etc. As we live in a world in which fundamentalism of all sorts of being embraced, we live in an increasingly dangerous world. Ayn Rand and Karl Marx could never, ever, come to a consensus on anything because they were both right about everything. This is a lethal danger to the world.

That day, seven years ago was a tragic day. Perhaps even more tragically has been our national failure to have learned from the events of that day.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


"Jesus was a community organizer; Pontius Pilate was a governor."

Monday, September 08, 2008

Ah, NFL, Week I

NFL football is back. And none too soon.

There are two games tonight. I may have to add to this, but I don’t think tonight is going to be a ‘game changer.’

First off, the Giants won. Their offense came out looking great, but the more lead they built the more conservative they became. The Redskins have a great defense and I think that the Giants were overly cautious.

On defense it is difficult to tell how good the Giants are and how bad, offensively, the Redskins are. The Giants defense pretty much stopped them cold----helped by miserable play calling and game management by the Redskins’ staff.

A win, however, is a win.

The Bengals are a bad football team. They are highly undisciplined, bad defense, and not a very good offense. It makes me wonder if Marvin Lewis, who is a great defensive coordinator, has a clue on being the Head Coach.

The AFC East is a different world with no Tom Brady at the helm for the Patriots. I do believe that they need to sign someone better than what they have. They barely beat the Chiefs and the Chiefs are not, at least as of now, a powerhouse. This leaves it open to the Bills who had a fantastic game on Sunday and the Jets who suddenly look like geniuses in signing Brett Favre. (We will see how smart the Packers were...)

Pittsburgh was, wow. Awesome.

The Cowboys played a great game against the Browns. Hard to tell if the Browns’ defense is that bad or the Cowboy’s offense is that good.

The Bears played a great game against the Colts. Manning was rusty. They also lacked blocking and their defense made Kyle Orton look All-Pro. The Bears embarrassed the Colts in the Colts first game in their new home. What an ugly game. Ugh.

Two other big surprises. Atlanta looked really good against a Lions’ team that people said was going to challenge for a playoff shot this year. It didn’t look that way. And the Panthers defeated the Chargers. Wow.

Great week of football!!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Is Religious Faith Reasonable? Part I

Is religious faith reasonable? By reasonable I’m not saying that it’s low priced or even just acceptable. I’m using the word in an older definition of this. Can religious faith and reason dance together?

I think that this is a valid question because, increasingly, people are questioning whether there are any valid, rational reasons to have faith in God. Sadly, this is often a response to the increasing irrationality of much of modern day Christianity. This irrationality comes from a lot of places and each place is unique unto itself. My humble plan is to look at each group’s contribution to this.

I’m going to start with the church of my roots, the Roman Catholic Church.

A year ago or so the Pope summoned Bishops to Rome to have a ‘serious’ discussion on Holy Communion within the Roman Catholic Church. As Holy Communion, the Eucharist, is pretty central to Roman Catholic theology, this was a major event. For many people it was a sign of hope that perhaps the Roman Catholic Church was going to finally address some serious issues within their theological realm. And there were/are some serious issues.

The Eucharist is central to Roman Catholicism. The centrality of the Mass, the coming together of the people, and the literal re-enacting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is central to Roman Catholicism. Increasingly more churches are having to do without Sunday Morning Mass because there is a critical shortage of priests. Furthermore, this is an aging profession. In 1999, the last year they did a study, the average age of Roman Catholic priests in the United States was 60. No one doubts that it is higher; probably much higher than that. Priests are spread too thinly now and this promises to only get worse.

As a result, many churches share a priest with other churches----and these are often large congregations----and there simply are not enough of these men to cover all that needs to be done.

There is a two-fold problem in attracting priests. The rule of celibacy and the ordination of women. The problem, at least from a seemingly rational perspective, is that they have an easily solved problem if they ended the discipline of celibacy and ordained women.

The discipline of celibacy is just that. A discipline. Celibacy is not a central doctrine of Christianity.

Celibacy dates back to the early part of the second millennium of church history, which is to say that the first 10 centuries this was not a central issue, although it was debated. The debate was two-fold. The first was sexual and the second was structural. They did not understand human sexuality, saw it as debasing behavior, and somehow unholy. Additionally, the rules of property ownership and the Church was in play and inheritance of one’s children became an issue. The response was to have a discipline of celibacy.

Celibacy is NOT a doctrine----it is a discipline, something one does to increase one’s holiness. Praying each day or reading the Bible each day, or not eating meat on Friday, or fasting, are all disciplines. A discipline, by design, ought to be one’s choice. The Roman Catholic Church, made this a mandated discipline.

The problem is that by maintaining celibacy the Roman Catholic Church has demonstrated that a discipline trumps a doctrine.

The meeting in Rome, many hoped, would address this.

The ordination of women should also have been on the table. Churches that do not want to ordain women use St. Paul to ‘validate’ their opinion. Paul’s words come from a particular context and the argument that women shouldn’t be ordained is as thin as rice paper. This is more a case of using Scripture to back an opinion rather than to discover the truth underlying it.

Within Roman Catholicism, there is a belief that the priest is the ‘persona Christi’ the literal ‘person of Christ’ at the time of consecration. The presumption, I guess, is that it requires a penis in order to transcend one’s self. Who’d have thunk it?

Actually, I have a difficult time even debating the ordination of women. The arguments in opposition are usually too shallow to even remotely approaching a reasonable discussion.

Again, they had this meeting in Rome.

There were other issues as well.

With the rising divorce rate many Roman Catholics had chosen to remarry and either couldn’t attain or couldn’t afford an annulment. When they remarried, they cut themselves off from the table. Many simply left the Roman Catholic Church, many joined Protestant churches, and many just gave up on religion (and God) all together.

Again, they had this meeting in Rome.


The meeting in Rome discussed the serious issues of:

How to teach people to hold their hands property when receiving Holy Communion.

The increasing problem of people sitting while other people in the church were receiving Holy Communion.

Along with this, assorted quirks of individual priests during the Mass.

Is religious faith reasonable or ludicrous. Unfortunately, by these examples, there is a great argument for the latter.