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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Road Apples, #143

From the temporary home/hiatus - I write this from the NCFE temporary lodging, as I am awaiting the sale of my existing home and the purchase of my new abode.  Now as I plotted this whole mess, I thought about doing one of those hiatus things that real bloggers often times do.  Then I realized that I can no more stop writing than I can stop breathing.  No matter what, the stuff flows out of me, and it might as well flow here.  Fortunately, I now have amassed enough technology such that I can pretty much blog from anywhere.

Jobs, Job, Jobs - Recent unemployment statistics released last week make Northeastern Pennsylvania number 1 again in Pennsylvania...for highest unemployment rate.  Remember, this means that NEPA has a worse economy as such garden spots as Altoona and Easton.  If you ever were looking for hard evidence for the failure of political (and economic) leadership, look no further than this statistic.  It's worth remembering when you think about this statistic that NEPA is blessed with an excellent location, a willing workforce and decent infrastructure.  So why the complete, total and repeated economic failure?

Nelson Mandela - The founder of the modern South African state, Nelson Mandela, passed away last week.  I've read many tributes from across many political lines, including a very moving one from Texas Senator Ted Cruz.  What's really interesting though is contemplating the fact that many on the hard political right in this country wanted nothing to do with Mandela back in the 80's.  In fact, Mandela was vilified as a terrorist and communist by former President Reagan.  Regardless, Mandela was a Communist sympathizer, maybe in part because many in the West were all too happy to support the former white supremacist/apartheid South African government.   If you neighbor on the right ignores you and helps your enemies, can you be blamed for looking to the left for support?  In the end, Nelson Mandela was a flawed hero, as are all heroes actually.  In my book that makes them all the more extraordinary in that it shows them as being fully human beings, just like the rest of us folks.

Rush Limbaugh - I fully enjoy the good work being done by the folks at "Flush Rush Limbaugh".  Having a group of folks dedicated to pointing out the verbal pollution being spouted by this comedian (and he is a comedian by the way, a point that many of this followers miss) in a real service to humanity.  I particularly enjoy hearing when Rush talks about issues of which he has a lot of experience, namely family values (no children), marriage (he has been married three times; his current wife is something on the order of 25 years younger than he is), the military (he dodged the draft during the Vietnam War) and drug abuse (he is an admitted abuser of prescription pain killers).

EWTN Catholic Radio - I've been listening lately to the local ETWN Catholic Radio affiliate, which  can be found at 98.9 FM in the Scranton/Wilkes-Borro area.  You can link the local affiliate's home page HERE.  A few observations:

It's a very hard-right brand of Catholicism.  

Persecution fears abound.
From listening to it, you would believe that FBI right now, as I type this, is getting ready to arrest the Catholic faithful.  Chief example:  Obamacare and contraception.  Never mind that most Catholics, including those at EWTN, would balk at the notion of an employer, for example, not covering blood transfusions*

You don't hear much about Pope Francis.  In fact, I've heard more about Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II.

They play the same 2011 Commercial from Pennsylvanian's for Human Life over and over again.

What isn't discussed on EWTN radio very often:
The poor and anything even remotely related to sexual abuse scandals.  Neither seem to exist in that slice of the radio spectrum.

All in all, it's pretty sad stuff.  In some respects I think it foster's a bunker mentality among some; if you say "we are being persecuted for our beliefs" enough times, some folks will start to actually believe it.

Now I get it...I am on the left when it comes to social issues.  But I was also raised to believe that, next to loving God, the most important thing for any Christian was to love his/her neighbor (see the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 22, verses 36-40).  That can't exist in a persecution vacuum, when 98% of your energies are spent wondering how "the man" is going to get you.  For more about the perils of being in "the bunker" seek out THIS FILM.

This isn't the Catholic Church I was raised in; this isn't the Catholic Church that was taught to me by the good sisters, servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  All of this noted, I still do pray.  Whether or not anyone listens is immaterial, for what's important is that I take the time to ask.

(*) Jehovah's Witnesses oppose blood transfusions on religious grounds.  If Catholic employers can refuse to offer health insurance that covers contraception shouldn't employers who are devout Jehovah's Witnesses be allowed to refuse coverage for blood transfusions as well?  You can read more about Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions HERE.  I don't say this in any way to mock the belief system of this...or any  Heck, I admire most people of faith.  My point is about hypocrisy and being in the bunker.

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