Thursday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Trends and criteria vis a vis Afghanistan.
  2. Our mostly dysfunctional government.
  3. Does anyone remember the kerfuffle over the refusal of communion to the lesbian in a Catholic church, turns out … there’s more to the story. I guess the story “Catholic refuses communion to a Buddhist” doesn’t have the same cachet.
  4. Woops.
  5. Consider this. (HT)
  6. For the Orthodox smartphone set.
  7. Zuh zuh zuh zooooooom. Or not.
  8. A smooch.
  9. A taxpayer feel (not so) good story.
  10. Parasites.
  11. Mr Holder and liberties.
  12. So … if after all that you need a dose of really cute.

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  1. Boonton says:

    3.Does anyone remember the kerfuffle over the refusal of communion to the lesbian in a Catholic church,

    Actually no I don’t think they do. Digging through the cross links by the time one actually gets to a main stream mention of the story, its from the Washington Post local section, which linked to Catholic bloggers defending the denial.

    A valid question was raised over protocol. It seems Catholic priests are not supposed to deny people communion. It is up to the person themselves not to present themselves for communion if they know they are in a state or mortal sin or if they are not in communion with the Catholic Church. This would make sense because a public denial of communion is, of course, dramatic and also because a priest is often not in a good position to make such judgements from the communion line. For example, say a priest knows that Molly Megan had an abortion on Monday. He cannot be sure, though, that between then and Sunday she didn’t go to confession and was absolved by some other priest. Cannon law would seem to say that he is to give her the benefit of the doubt rather than using the communion line to try to audit her fittness to receive. (Doing so, of course, would open up other problems such as keeping confessions confidential which are a bit deal in the Catholic faith).

  2. Boonton says:


    Interesting book I read had a chapter with the hypothesis that our immune systems are like a vast army with itchy trigger fingers. They want and almost need to fight something and since in developed countries we have done such a good job of cleaning up our homes and food we get much fewer worms and other parasites. AS a result our immune systems get a bit stir crazy and end up attacking our own bodies…hence the rise in diseases like Chron’s and Irritable Bowel Syndrome which might be the immune system attacking our own guts because it has nothing better to do. Some have even experimented with infecting themselves with hookworms and other parasites as a treatment. Interesting…..

  3. Boonton says:

    9.A taxpayer feel (not so) good story.

    Problem with stories like this is you have no idea if they are really true. It’s public record that someone won the lottery, but food stamps are confidential. The person may say they were getting food stamps, they may say they will keep getting them, but you have no idea if a week later they got a letter from the food stamps people saying their benefit was being reduced to zero because the income levels changed. Same dynamic happens with IRS horror stories. Every now and then Congressmen get a table of people to testify about the horrors they endured at the hands of the IRS. The IRS, though, can’t say anything unless those people sign papers agreeing to let the IRS talk about their cases. (Which they almost never do). The media, likewise, can only take people at their word

  4. Mark says:

    Catholic’s self-police at communion? I didn’t know that.

    I missed communion last night because the priest and deacon wrapped up before I could scramble down from the choir loft. I got a lot of effected sympathy glances as I started stopped at the foot of the stairs, realized what was happening and returned to the loft (or balcony).

    Orthodox churches usually have lay members making sure visitors don’t wander into the communion line … so that the priest doesn’t have to refuse them. Our priest regularly notes that if you are late (miss the gospel reading) you shouldn’t take communion. I don’t know if that’ self-policed or not. Certainly failure to obey strict fast from midnight (or lunch/noon at weekday evening liturgies) is self-policed and a far far lower percentage of attendees take communion at evening liturgies.

    re 10 … I think the rising incidence of asthma is related to our hyper-clean environments as well.

    Re food stamps … you *could* check to see if the food stamp passes the smell test, i.e., if the person *has* food stamps, uses them … the food stamp requirements state that your household cannot have in excess of $2k in resources. A actual journalist might do some investigative reporting on what checks are done once one has started receiving them to insure that the situation noted does not occur, i.e., that eligibility is rechecked periodically and how easy/hard it is to “fool” the checks. Even if whether you are/aren’t receiving is public record … a private dick (last week’s family movie was “The Big Sleep”) isn’t all that expensive. CNN reported this so you’d expect that the food stamps checks out. If not, never ever ever watch CNN again, you’ve just learned they aren’t journalists.

  5. Boonton says:

    Catholic’s self-police at communion? I didn’t know that.

    Just going what I’m reading from the blogs and posts linked said, plus what I recall from memory. Clearly most of the time a priest is not going to know if you have a mortal sin on yourself that would keep you from communion. It’s also not uncommon for Catholics to show up at mass at different churches so it’s not like a priest could be expected to know Catholics and non-Catholics by face unless you’re talking about a very small, very tight knit, community. I have been at services where a priest is addressing a mixed audience and will ask that non-Catholics do not take communion….it is on the honor system as far as I can see, though. With that in mind ‘self policing’ does make sense in that it’s almost impossible for a priest to know if someone should be denied communion. It’s not really up to the individual Catholic, though. Since one is supposed to be going to regular confession and examining one’s conscience, if one is told by a priest that they shouldn’t take communion they are obligated to obey that. It’s just that it is rather easy to bypass that rule if you’re so inclined. But then if you take it seriously enough to go to communion then it would be kind of illogical not to take the rules surrounding communion seriously.

    Re food stamps … you *could* check to see if the food stamp passes the smell test, i.e., if the person *has* food stamps, uses them … the food stamp requirements state that your household cannot have in excess of $2k in resources.

    My father-in-law was on food stamps late in his life. I believe there’s a yearly check on your assets plus an obligation to report any change in your finanial condition. State lottery departments, though, also share their data with state agencies so if you have tax judgements, have leins or fines on you your lottery jackpot can get hit even before it makes it to your checking account. Food stamps are usually administered by the state so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some cross checking that goes on. I also suspect that there’s provisions in the law that let the state ‘craw back’ benefits. While the lucky lottery winner may see his benefits still coming to him month after month, he may be in for a surprise at year end if the state turns around and issues him a bill for his benefits. I know another family member who is disabled and years, years ago she did a little number where she went up and down the coast constantly changing her address and requesting a new check be issued. She was able to game one or two ‘extra’ checks out of the system until it caught up to her and started docking her checks until she ‘paid back’ the extras. I also know people who’ve gotten zinged by the state tax department because they thought they could dodge tobacco taxes by buying mail order cigarettes from out of state Indian reservations. It’s very easy to think your state gov’t is made up of ding dongs who are easy to fool. Don’t buy it. They may be ding dongs but they get their money.