Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Curing Poverty

Usually I respect Mr. Mallet's wisdom...

But I found LINK funny...

You see, thanks to Globalization, the new Calcutta is not full of homeless beggers, but is now prosperous, so he is lamenting the poverty of spirit in the love of pleasure.

Ummm....when you are starving, you worry more about your next meal than if you did your ablations to Shiva correctly...

He is right, of course, in that prosperous people too often get hard hearted and love the pleasures of the world...so we exchange one problem for another spiritually, but I don't agree that seeking a little pleasure by itself is bad.

In Lord of the Rings, it is the peaceful, hard working but pleasure loving hobbits that are the heroes...and in the Philippines, for all the corruption, people love fiestas.

After all: when we have pleasure, it reminds us that Heaven is not a dull place where we dress in robes and hold harps, but that it's like a wedding feast.

Yum. Pass the lechon

Wishful thinking

While reading opinion essays on JWR, I ran into this

advertisement:
Global Poverty
Sign the ONE Declaration today. Make Poverty History!
www.WorldVision.org

What's wrong with this picture?..
What do you sign? LINK
merely a petition saying ..."...WE RECOGNIZE that a pact including
such measures as fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and
directing additional support for basic needs — education, health,
clean water, food, and care for orphans — would transform the futures
and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries, at a cost
equal to just one percent more of the US budget...."


Ah yes. And of course, signing puts you on their donor list... (well, it might not end poverty, but it will make the NGO employees prosperous!)

But taking their agenda one suggestion at a time shows the problem:

Free Trade. I agree...but one reason our chicken farm never makes a profit is that under "free trade treaty" of ASEAN lets the lower cost chickens imported from Thailand and Viet Nam underprice our local industry. You see, they pay less there...and of course the farms are less clean farms--(bird flu anyone?)
There are similar underpricing of our local textile and shoe businesses...because fair trade means to allow China to underprice local factories and put Filipinos out of work...

Debt relief...yup. A lot of countries "borrowed" money for expensive projects...many of these projects worked, but a lot of corruption meant a lot were useless, and a lot of money "disappeared"...
So in reality, debt relief means that a US grandmom's Pension (i.e. investments) will be wiped out to repay money borrowed by a country that ended up in the politician's bank accounts (they're still trying to get back the $750 million in Marcos' bank account ..and no, it's not all from Yamashito's gold ).

Education, health clean water are government priorities. Fine. Help the locals do it, but don't just throw money into the funds, or they'll end up in the politicians' bank accounts too...
But doing so is a long term investment, not something you just throw money into and leave...

As for food: like the "free trade" you have to be careful. You will wipe out local farmers...
Ironically, World Vision does a lot of good.
So why don't they just say: The poor will always be with us, but we are doing our part to help? That would be much more accurate...


But, of course, don't worry about reality...just like wearing all those different ribbons to show you oppose breast cancer, HIV, heart disease etc. Similarly signing the petition shows you are against poverty is a bunch of crap.

It does only one thing: Boost your ego...See what a nice person you are?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Grand gift auto



CollisionDetectionBlog, who is a writer of video games, comments that the fact that Coca cola makes this parody points something out about modern youth....Indeed, the Coca Cola advertising team may even understand something much more subtle: c) that the average youth realizes that GTA is a self-parodying game -- i.e. that its purportedly psychotically amoral violent gameplay includes some incredibly self-mocking elements, as well as some acerbic satires of gormless politicians, rapacious capitalists, and kill-'em-all right-wing talk-show hosts that are heard on GTA's radio stations -- and that the Coke ad thus can exist as yet merely another layer of skin to be peeled off the endlessly ironizing onion of pop culture. The ad parodies violence in a game that parodies itself. Heh. Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton -- give up. You've lost. Move on to fresh fodder in the culture wars. Grand Theft Auto has become wholesome.

God's love

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Maid abuse in Lebanon

One story I am following in my main blog is about the Pinay maids who died jumping from windows during the war in Lebanon...because their employers had locked them up to keep them from escaping...and two or three more were badly injured in a similar fashion.

Now the government has a committe to investigate the problem.

But of course the problem is common in Saudi and other countries...

Heck, you could even argue that we work our maids without a day off (they get off Sunday and when they request it). But they can walk away...and often do.

I am going to write about the economics of the Philippines....in later posts. Right now I am still mulling over it in my mind, and then one of these days it will spring forth...(That's how I write longer essays).

Submission? Bull, father.

There is an old joke about two middle aged Irish grandmothers who listened to a young priest give a long sermon on the holiness of marriage.
"Ah, wasn't that a wonderful sermon" said the one.
"Ah yes, 'twas. And I wish I knew as little about marriage as he does" replied the second.

Father C. is a holy man, but his language is flat.
The danger of "submission" is that it leads to passive aggression. I see this in my step son who, when his wife (who was the liason for their subcontracting) got the check in her name. He promptly told her she had to learn to submit, and shut down the livelihood business, to teach her submission.

Never mind that this meant perhaps fifty poor local villagers lost their income supplements. (the livelihood allowed women to do piecework at home watching their children...maybe only 100 pesos a week, but that is a day's wage here, and will buy 5 kg of rice to eat, and was vital for some of the families.)

I wouldn't submit to my husband. He's a doctor, and bosses people around. I'm also a doctor and boss people around. But we love each other, and have common attitudes toward things. So when he wanted me to move her fifteen years ago, and I knew I would have no income and no retirement, I refused. But he understood: Money is important.

But now that I have a pension (well, not really...due to a technicality I am not eligible and it was stopped) so I retired.

Because I love him.

and besides, we both get horney...

Books

Just a vanity post.

Sometimes people are asked what books they would take with them to a desert island.
Well, I know which books that I keep with me in my library, and replace when I lend them out and they don't return.

1) Catholic "Living" bible...No, no good notes, and not a theological book. But it is the best for those of us who just want to read.
THe last version I invested in was a "large print" version, so I can read it when I can't find my glasses (oh the joys of being old!)

2) Lord of the Rings. I kept lending and loosing various volumes, so finally got a one volume version.
The beauty of the language and the hope in the plot, that evil is strong, but that good prevails, has given me hope in bleak situations.

3) Kristin Lavransdattir. Again, I finally got the one volume version.
Kristin is a housewife, but back then it meant a working woman...and her passion for her husband and her love that transcends her bad temper gives hope to those of us who can be absolute witches to those they love...
And here too God puts her into places she never planned...it shows how passion, even sinful passion, not only leads to sorrow, but to God, since all love is a mirror of his love, as Erland's brother reminds Kristen, even when it is mirrored in muddy water.

4) Strangers and Sojourners. and Father Elijah.
Father Elijah is the novel most loved. But again, I prefer the crusty struggling woman who is the heroine in Strangers...again the theme is unexpected passion and love transforming life.

5) Poustina by Katherine Doherty. Ah finally a book on prayer for the rest of us.
I once was given a book on contemplation by a senstive Jesuit Doctor/seminarian...and threw it across the room when it related about a sister trying to learn about prayer. The sister was of course sweety nicey and well balanced...Fergedaboutit...Doherty, a passionate woman who remarried when love found her late in life, (hmmm...maybe there is a theme here?) explains the need for solitude and prayer for the rest of us...

6) Escapist novels. Various novels by Janet Evanovich, Andrew Greeley, and Tony Hillerman.
Ah yes, not g rated, but Stephanie Plum's neighborhood reminds me of my roots, and Andrew Greeley's novels fill one in on the gossip of the church (I love his satire on modern nuns)...and Hillerman? Well, when I went to work with the Navajo, I asked what book I should read to learn about the culture, since Indians frequently lied to nosey anthropologists, and I was told to read Hillerman...a non Indian who grew up in Kansas with Indians.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Beauty

In Oklahoma, I attended church at the Osage Cathedral.
When the priest attempted to "modernize" and whitewash the church, the tribal officials went to him and reminded him that their money paid for the church, and he had no right to destroy it.

Alas, other Indian churches were not so lucky...and some of the beautiful ethnic churches of Western Pennsylvania were similarly destroyed.

One of the side effects of this destruction of the beautiful in Catholic art is that our artistic heritage has rearisen in the New age and Wiccan movements.

for example, Ursi's link at the side has many beautiful entries with links to art. But she is not a Christian (pray for her). and except for a few "JP2 generation" sites like the previous link, we see little emphasis on beauty in institutional Catholic links, perhaps because the US Bishops bureaucracy is full of progressive nuns and priests who think they are artisitic but lack talent (the Salieri syndrome).

Patroness of the new Evangelilzation?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

old age

In the Cards

Midnight. She complains
in the nursing home they
play too slow, forget what's
led, make up their own rules,
cheat. My grandmother, 89, abloom
in her flower-print dress and Ben
Hogan golf cap, her tinted gray
spectacles and cane, her sensible
shoes, reviews the sleepy bidding.
She's waited all year for this:
her children sprawled around her
at the table one last time,
their scores climbing brightly
on the score pad.

Wide awake for once, she exclaims
how she's amazed by each new day,
her one blind eye a pool
of blue glacier water, her other
eye asquint and smiling, her lips
blue in this warm room, taking
tricks for all she's worth.
The evening blurs into beer,
smoke, Velveeta, and sleep.
Oh my, she remarks, hearts
are trump? And they are,
and we hold the cards she's dealt us,
and we make our startled bids,
or go over, or go down.


by Ronald Wallace from Long for This World: New and Selected Poems

Are you part Neanderthal?

And if you are, did neanderthals have souls?

We report, you decide..

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Peace? or egotism?

David Warren has an article blasting clergy who demonstrate for peace, which translates into surrendering to terrorists...no, not Iraq or Lebanon, but in Sri Lanka...

Except for Andrew Greeley's novel Virgin and Martyr, how many modern Catholics have seen the harm done by "heroic" missionaries who were actually true believers trying to impose their Marxism on Latin America? And how many who lament the war in Iraq bother to demonstrate against the deaths in the Congo? Has the World Council of Churches, who backed Mugabe by funding his arms, ever bothered to condemn when his "freedom fighters" killed Catholic nuns and priests? Or are they condemning his genocidal economic policies that lead to one quarter of the population fleeing and many others dying of famine related disease?

Mark Mallet's essay on Mary as leader of an army of intercessors is a good place to start.

Because I know from personal experience it is easy to fight evil outside ourselves. But if we are to be effective, we must also fight the evil in ourselves, and serve God not our own ego.

It is a lesson I am still learning..

Monday, August 21, 2006

Guess who upsets both left and right wing catholics?

ORIGINAL LINK

hmmm....left out a few facts now, didn't they?

Peace? Or warmed over Marxism?

Mark Steyn asks: Is the hijacking of the Democratic party by the radical left weakening the war on terror? And is this leading to a weakness in our ability to respond?
Dr Sanity asks a similar question, and points out polls do not support them...citing the recent story of airline passengers refusing to fly with two men suspiciously dressed and speaking Arabic (or this tampering incident in a Delta flight), she asks:

What's most interesting to me is the observation that, not only are citizens in the west waking up to the reality of the threat, but that they are clearly beginning to realize that their governments' desire to protect them from harm is not quite as strong as their governments' desire to follow the dictates of political correctness and multicultural foolishness....
Those who should be dedicated to protecting us, instead seem more dedicated to being perceived as "fair" and "tolerant". It does not take a genius to figure out that neither of these qualities could be applied to the religious fanatics who blow themselves up in crowded markets; fly planes into buildings; and crow about the number of people they have murdered for their god.

Yup. Confiscate deodorant, but forget profiling....even profiling based on gut feeling that cops call "hunches", women call "instinct" and psychiatrists call "counter transference".

I suspect a lot of the Democratic left are good people, but naive,..so they ignore evidence to the contrary....(See Dr Sanity on defense mechanisms.). And alas, such American intellectuals easily find their opinions of "che guavara in a turban" echoed in a press in Manila, where the elites were taught in Catholic universities steeped in liberation theology.

That is why Allen's article here doesn't worry me as a Catholic...you see, unlike the Catholic elites, the protestants tend to be middle class business people, not the rich families.And the dirty little secret is that there is a "third way" between a ruling rich oligarchy and tyranny: the Calivinist (or Confucian, or Malaysian Muslim) work ethic, that allows poor people to become middle class, and middle class people to prosper.

Like the upper class and upper middle class Democratic left in the USA, too many of the Manila elites take political views from a "nobless obligue" vague leftism that tends to have more to do with guilt than with reality.
Perhaps they should read Thomas Friedman's books on globalization instead of Norm Chomsky.

The telecenters in Makati, television antennas on bamboo huts in Mabuga, the internet cafes in Baghdad, Muslim entrepeneurs in Kuala Lumpur, and the large Farsi Blogosphere are not even in the discussion. The story being ignored is that ordinary hard working people can advance into prosperity, thanks to globalization.

No, things are not perfect, but what would you prefer to do? Live in a bamboo house, drink dirty water, prepare the field for one harvest a year with a water buffalo, or migrate to Saudi and work as a maid? As Friedman points out: You now have a third choice: Work in Jolibees, or for Dell...

With the impact of the internet and globalization, even the poorest know now that there are alternatives. So, a more likely result is to what happened in Algeria, a "civil war" where 100 000 civilians were murdered by Islamicist groups---but eventually the government prevailed...and people are now safe in their homes.

A similar parallel might be drawn to the success in Colombia, ElSalvador, or the Philippines...all countries which are stumbling along fairly well with low grade "insurgencies" that kill a couple thousand a year.

Heck, if Los Angeles can live with the crips and bloods, we can live with the NPA...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Forgiveness part five

Most of the headlines are about the Middle East.

What we forget it that most of the deaths in civil are not in Afghanistan or Iraq but in Africa.

And there children are often kidnapped from families and made into soldiers.

This is bad enough if they come from intact families in dysfunctional societies (LGF blog has lots of photos of indoctrination of children by Islamofascists and anti Semites) but in Africa, they lose contact with families.

Imagine an impresisonable 12 year old, given a gun and allowed to bully people. He may not even realize the reality of death or suffering.

Something else to remember in our daily prayers

Friday, August 18, 2006

Asian Christianity

People often criticize Christianity for being "european", ignoring of course the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches...

They also ignore Asian Christianity...that has long roots.

The link is to the history of the Korean church...which was brought to that country by Korean catechists, not westerners.

nor do they know about the persecution of Christians there. I had a friend whose grandfather (or granduncle) was martyred.

and if you go to the moviecamera box on the top right, you'll see a film in Korean on the history of the Korean church...has some neat old phots and film footage.

Forgiveness part four

I used to live in Oklahoma, and we heard that McVeigh refused and abused all chaplains who went to see him until near the time of his execution, where a guard witnessed to him and he may or may not have accepted Christ.
We also heard that a priest was with him before execution, but never heard what happened.
Well, the priest now speaks. LINK

Background:LINK
and LINK
Society for the Divine Word was established as an outreach to African Americans.
His twin brother is also a priest..

The lesson is that God can reach even the hardest hearts. There are many Okies who wanted McVeigh dead, but many Okies who prayed for his soul.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Forgiveness part three

Woman of the Dawn
by Wenona Gardner

I am the heart of my family,
I am the center of my community
I carry the nation on my back
I carry the life of tomorrow in my soul.

I rise above the violence.
Bones heal. Bruises fade. My fear I face.
The rage I channel to protect myself.
To protect my children.
I walk away from the destruction
with my Great Creator by my side.

I am the one who can change the tide.
I am the one who will say STOP!
No more forever.

For I am the Woman of the Dawn.
I rise with the morning sun.
Blazing with light, love, and hope.
I hold the future within me.


If this was a feminist junk poem, I'd puke.
But this is from a Native American web page.
Abuse is alas common...as is drug abuse. But despite the poverty and the problems of culture there is a deep belief in God and that a person can connect with God to cure his or her heart.... (i.e. the stresses of changing from a traditional culture to a more modern culture, which in Native Americans is made worse by reservations that give welfare, taking away the pride of th emen)

The number of the beast

OK, you know that 666 is the Number of the Beast, but did you know that:

660 Approximate number of the Beast
DCLXVI Roman numeral of the Beast
666.0000 Number of the High Precision Beast
0.666 Number of the Millibeast
/666 Beast Common Denominator
1010011010 Binary of the Beast
Beast1-666 Area code of the Beast
00666 Postcode of the Beast
1-900-666-0666 Live Beasts! One-on-one pacts! Call Now! Only $6.66/minute. Over 18 only please.
$665.95 Retail price of the Beast
$699.25 Price of the Beast plus sales tax
$769.95 Price of the Beast with all accessories and replacement soul
$656.66 Target price of the Beast
Route 666 Way of the Beast
666F Oven temperature for roast Beast
666mg Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast
Netscape 6.66 BetaBrowser of the Beast
i66686 CPU of the Beast
666I BMW of the Beast
668 Next-door neighbour of the Beast

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Uganda: reintegrating child soldiers into society

read it and weep

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BLASPHEMY

One of the news stories is of Madonna, an overaged rock star (not a great singer, but a manipulator of the media) pretending crucifixion.
She's had blasphemy in the past, and her blasphemy ironically is neither original nor heroic. Indeed, it doesn't make sense except to grab a headline. Indeed, such blasphemy is old hat: Both Jim Carey and Penn and Teller have done similar blasphemies in the past.

There has been increasing distortion of Christian beliefs in the opinion pages, and I say distortion because having lived in Oklahoma, what is being claimed is skewered.

It reminds me of some of my patients who know a little bit about medicine and then insist they have an exotic disease, or refuse to take a much needed medicine or vaccine because they "know" it causes side effects...their knowledge has holes in it, so they are not really able to judge these things and thier beliefs are absurd to one who has studied medicine (and has seen the diseases that the vaccines prevent and what happened in the days when those medicines were not available) .

Are we in a persecution? Well, I suspect few will lose jobs over religion (then again, with abortion and euthanasia, maybe we will).

THE FIFTEEN COMMANDMENTS

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hello Kitty Darth Vader

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kateri

Kateri is important for Native Americans.

People often assume that Native Americans are "spiritual" but ignore that many are Christian...and have been for a couple hundred years.

Many converted not to reject their own belief system, but because the revelation of Christ perfected their belief, and assured them that the vague "Great spirit" sent his son to suffer and die and protect his people, just like a great chief does.

Ironically, some anti Catholic priests ridiculed her in more recent times saying she was merely imitating French virgin spirituality.

Actually, her spirituality was very Indian, and the French priest had to discourage her severe penances...penances that have their roots not in some medieval convent but in the fasting and flesh offerings of Indians during vision quests who search for God.

An accurate book on some Native American spirituality of the Chippewa tribe would be Michael O'Brien's book A Cry of Stone... (Having worked with many tribes, I know it can't be generalized to one belief or custom system).

It is not his "best book" (I prefer Strangers and Sojurners) nor his easiest one to read. But it says a lot to those of us who think doing lots of good stuff is the way to holiness (when often our deeds are full of ourselves) .

And I say this not to criticize those of us who do good deeds, but I recognize that we all have our own calling.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tamuka


Another blog was discussing whether it is licit to name a child after a "blessed" rather than a full blown saint.
Well, I was given the name Nancy because my mother was Anna, and I was named after her, but they wanted a variation of the name so we wouldn't get mixed up. But our priest was old fashioned and wouldn't allow nicknames so I was baptized Anne.
And my husband just pulled his birth certificate and found he was named after a Philippine revolutionary hero, but was given a different name at baptism...and because the US was in charge when he was a child, he used the baptismal name on all his papers.

Nowadays, they are not so strict.

When I lived in Africa, we had a lot of people with old fashioned saints names like Alois and Philomena and Thomas. But most Africans had several other names: One given as a baby, one they used as they got older...as for last names, they didn't exist. So many would use the name of their villages or the name of their father, or the name of their animal totom.

As a result, we had a Bishop Chakaipa (things are bad) and a Father Zishiri (Father BigBird)...

When they loosened the names for Baptism, many children we allowed to be baptised with traditional names, such as Mercy (Tsitsi) or God's love (Kudakwashi) or Faith (Tendai).

Even our Sisters were allowed to go back to their given childhood names if they wished.

My one friend still used her name Sister Euphrasia, explaining that her family was Dutch Reform and that she never had a secular name.

But another explained she couldn't use her original name because it was "Tambudzai" i.e. Troubles.
I teased her and asked if she was a colicy baby, but she explained sadly that there had been troubles in the village when she was born, so her mother named her "Troubles".

This chosing of names was similar to what we read about in Genesis...a name might merly be a nice name, but it might mean something going on...and like Tambudzai it might not mean what we outsiders would think it meant.

A child named "Leave Us" was named because he was born when many children were dying of dysentary, and the name was his mother's prayer that God "Leave us" keep this child...and a child born after an Emergency Caesarian section was named "rescue"...

Similarly, if a child was named "Hard Times", usually he ended up in our Nutrition Village nine months later...

Once we had a small schoolteacher who came in with her 4th pregnancy, and was huge. X ray showed twins...the pregnancy was so large she kept going into heart failure, since her heart was not large enough to pump all that blood...so we decided to deliver her at 34 weeks, even though it meant that there was a chance the babies might not live.

So when I did the Caesarian Section, I pulled out a boy, and a girl, and then went in to remove the Placenta...and pulled out a third baby...
"Sister Christina, there's a third baby here", I warned....
She though I was joking, and was annoyed since she and nurse Sarah had their hands full cleaning up baby one and two....
"Doctor, stop joking, I'm busy..." she started to say, at which point baby number three looked around and started to cry...

Well, I teased mom that in the US we would name them Faith Hope and Charity...
And later the mom indeed named the first boy Faith (Tendai) and the girl Charity, but the third baby was named "Tamuka"...

Tamuka? I asked the sisters...
Oh, you know the babys we have here called "Tapedza", ("I am finished" meaning that the woman thinks it's her last child)
Yes, I answered...we had treated several children named "Last" or "Tamuka"...

Well, said sister, the child AFTER "Tapedza" is often called "Tamuka", or "I have arisen"...

Well, I wish the story had a happy ending. Mom of course didn't have enough milk but since she was a teacher and her husband a farmer, they fed the children cows milk and they did fine. But at nine months Tendai developed RSV Pneumonia and died...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Another reason to receive Communion in the hand