The Catholic intellectual. He was 83 years old. I enjoyed reading his columns and commentary although I never read any of his books.
This is a press release from the Catholic league, and below is a short video from Fr. Robert Sirico.
Michael Novak, R.I.P.
February 17, 2017
Bill Donohue comments on the death of Michael Novak:
Michael Novak was more than a brilliant and dedicated Catholic, his range of scholarship was astounding. Theologian, sociologist, economist, political scientist—he was all of these and more.
I have many fond memories of my exchanges with Mike. He was courageous and kind, thoughtful and considerate, and always there when you needed him. His commitment to the Catholic League's best interests meant a great deal to me and to the organization; he served on our board of advisors for over 20 years.
God bless Michael Novak. He will surely be missed.
I don’t doubt that these experts believe they are protecting the country from a president whose behavior they — like many of us — see as dangerous. A recent letter to the editor in this newspaper, signed by 35 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, put it this way: “We fear that too much is at stake to be silent.” It continued, “We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”
First, all experts have political beliefs that probably distort their psychiatric judgment. Consider what my mostly liberal profession said of Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964, right before the election. Members of the American Psychiatric Association were surveyed about their assessment of Goldwater by the now-defunct Fact magazine. Many savaged him, calling him “paranoid,” “grossly psychotic” and a “megalomaniac.” Some provided diagnoses, like schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder.
They used their professional knowledge as a political weapon against a man they had never examined and who certainly would never have consented to their discussing his mental health in public.
Goldwater sued (successfully) and, as a result, in 1973 the A.P.A. developed the Goldwater Rule. It says that psychiatrists can discuss mental health issues with the news media, but that it is unethical for them to diagnose mental illnesses in people they have not examined and whose consent they have not received.
Contrary to what many believe, this rule does not mean that professionals must remain silent about public figures. In fact, the guidelines specifically state that mental health experts should share their knowledge to educate the public.
So while it would be unethical for a psychiatrist to say that President Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, he or she could discuss common narcissistic character traits, like grandiosity and intolerance of criticism, and how they might explain Mr. Trump’s behavior. In other words, psychiatrists can talk about the psychology and symptoms of narcissism in general, and the public is free to decide whether the information could apply to the individual.
It's a good article - hit the link for the whole thing.
Just discovered this youtube channel belonging to a woman - Jennifer Mills, trail name "Dixie" - who'd never done an overnight hike - and then did a hike-through of the Appalachian Trail! Her youtube channel is good - she's chatty allrighty - with lots of fun informational videos. She's pretty sharp, a graduate of Auburn with a bioengineering degree. Her next project - hiking the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) that runs from Mexico to Canada.
Brigid sent this out Friday to the Australian family folks - it is summer in Australia and they'd been emailing her to warn that it was VERY hot. As I type this Monday AM, she should be somewhere between Frankfurt and Singapore - the second leg of her journey.
Great article from the NY Times Health and Fitness section. They had to set a new age level classification as he set a world record for people over 105 year olds. Mr. Marchand is the only one in the that group. Testing shows he's more aerobically fit then most 50 year olds. And his aerobic fitness has increased in the last several years, by raising the intensity of his training. Excerpts below, hit the link for the full article - it's about a dozen paragraphs.
Mr. Marchand pedaled more than 14 miles, setting a global benchmark for cyclists age 105 and older. That classification had to be created specifically to accommodate him. No one his age previously had attempted the record.
Mr. Marchand, who was born in 1911, already owned the one-hour record for riders age 100 and older, which he had set in 2012.
It was as he prepared for that ride that he came to the attention of Veronique Billat, a professor of exercise science at the University of Evry-Val d’Essonne in France. At her lab, Dr. Billat and her colleagues study and train many professional and recreational athletes.
She was particularly interested in Mr. Marchand’s workout program and whether altering it might augment his endurance and increase his speed.
Conventional wisdom in exercise science suggests that it is very difficult to significantly add to aerobic fitness after middle age. In general, VO2 max, a measure of how well our bodies can use oxygen and the most widely accepted scientific indicator of fitness, begins to decline after about age 50, even if we frequently exercise.
But Dr. Billat had found that if older athletes exercised intensely, they could increase their VO2 max. She had never tested this method on a centenarian, however.
One of my 2017 resolutions - you can check here - was for Brigid to get out for the first time to Australia, to see her brother Neville and his wife Gerry and their two (June and Samantha) daughters and their children. They've all - exception of Sammi but we'll get that fixed - visited us here several times, but we've not gotten down under to see them.
So Brigid flies out tonight and will also see her sister Libby and her family for six days on the return home, before getting back on March 6th. Overall 21 days with the trip out to Australia going through Frankfurt, and Singapore before getting to Brisbane - about 32 hours of traveling. Brigid is VERY excited about going! Meanwhile, Tom, Joe and Tim will be pining away here ... My hat in this picture says "Wallabies"
HAHA. You have to read the text below the video. That's one well-trained, well fed rabbit. Harvey?
He is known as the "Russian hobbit". Once a big city lawyer in Moscow, Yury Alekseyev abandoned his career three years ago and headed 60 kilometres (40 miles) northeast. Picking a spot near the road and the woods, he dug an underground home that he shares with his faithful pet rabbit Petrushka.
"It's become clear to me that I live in Moscow, rent a one-room apartment with concrete walls, in order to be able to live between these concrete walls I every day go to the office over the past several years and it looks like there is no perspective of a bright future in front of me. What I am doing at work is not interesting for me, so why do I need all of it," Alekseyev asked, sitting in his underground house between piles of books.
After leaving his job, the next decision he had to make was what kind house he wanted to live it and where.
He decided to settle not too far away from Moscow - just above 100 km (62 miles) north of Moscow and turned a self-made dugout in his new home.
"I started thinking what kind of house should I make myself, there were some ideas, I thought them over but not for a long time and I've decided that I should build myself a dugout. From that moment on I took a shovel... because what does the man need to build a house in the ground? He needs to take a shovel, to choose a place where to make it. So I came, chose the place and started digging," said Alekseyev, who doesn't shy away from the comforts of civilization: he has a computer, a cell phone, an iPad, and thousands of followers on social media and through his blog. Not long ago, the 42-year-old built himself a steam bath, powered by electricity from solar panels. During the dark winter months he turns on a generator that runs off gasoline.
And he doesn't live like a hermit. Almost every day he has a visitor.
Friends and strangers drop by to exchange books from his library of more than 4,500 titles, or just to see how he lives. Some bring food or fuel. Others pay his Internet bill.
Outside the house Alekseyev placed the large sign reading "Navalny" with letters painted on large round pieces of wood. He is a supporter of Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist who announced his decision to run for president in 2018.
"Putin with his criminal team has literally destroyed the alternative; he destroyed the option for political alternative. And in this situation Navalny symbolises this alternative. We simply have no choice. In Russia there is no choice to such an extent that Navalny has become the only chance to have at least some kind of choice," said Alekseyev.
Despite his disillusionment with the current state of Russia, he believes that changes will come and one day Navalny might become a Russian president.
Bill Donohue comments on a piece by Claire Markham of the Center for American Progress distorting President Trump's commitment to religious liberty:
Neither President Donald Trump, nor his competitor, Hillary Clinton, are known for their devoutness, but unlike the loser, Trump is a reliable friend to people of faith. That is exactly why he is coming under fire from militant secularists. The latest hit job comes courtesy of the Center for American Progress.
John Podesta founded the organization and George Soros funds it. They make quite a pair. In the Wikileaks email exchanges, Podesta was caught bragging about his efforts to subvert the Catholic Church. Soros, as anyone who has looked at the Catholic League's website knows, has a long record of lavishly giving to anti-Catholic groups. So it is hardly surprising that one of their own, Claire Markham, would rip Trump for being religion-friendly.
Markham's first salvo is so obtuse that it makes one wonder how low the hiring bar has fallen at the Center for American Progress. She accuses the Trump administration of wanting to "redefine religious liberty to only people who share its vision of faith." Vision of faith? No one save a dunce speaks that way. The administration has no "vision of faith," but it is committed to the defense of religious liberty, something Podesta and Soros have worked to undermine.
Repeating the lie that is so popular among Trump's critics, Markham decries his "Muslim ban." But there is no ban—only select Muslim-run nations with a history of sponsoring terrorism (as determined by the Obama administration) are under a temporary ban.
Markham makes a big deal out of the White House statement on the Holocaust that did not specifically mention Jews. This political attack reflects the desire to tag Trump with being unfriendly to every religion, save Christianity. Ironically, it is not Trump or his staff who has been tagged for being an anti-Semite—it is employees at the Center for American Progress.
Trump was also criticized for his desire to repeal the Johnson Amendment, the IRS rule that limits tax-exempt organizations, such as churches, from involvement in the political process. While there are legitimate grounds to question what a repeal might mean, the issue raised by Markham about a "dark money loophole for political donations" is pure demagoguery. Has anyone at the Podesta-Soros organization complained how this has affected the teachers unions and the Democratic Party?
What upsets Markham most is what Trump might do: He might issue an executive order protecting religious liberty. The draft that has circulated is magnificent, notwithstanding the need to do some tweaking. It clearly represents a commitment to expand the reach of religious rights, insulating religious individuals and institutions from being encroached upon by government. Astonishingly, Markham criticizes the draft for its "narrow view of religious liberty." That's Orwellian doublespeak. It is precisely because it has a broad view that she is going ballistic.
Trump's dedication to religious liberty stands in stark relief to the assault on this First Amendment right by the Obama administration. Religious leaders have a moral obligation to support him in these efforts.
A very stupid column - but several people emailed me, so here it is. According to the extensive article, Bannon and Cardinal Burke met in April, 2014. Below the link & excerpt is an excellent rejoinder by Catholic journalist Phil Lawler.
Here's what I emailed to a person who sent me the article -
"...yes I saw it but only read it when you sent it to me. They politicize everything - the only way they see the world ..."
In one of the cardinal’s antechambers, amid religious statues and book-lined walls, Cardinal Burke and Mr. Bannon — who is now President Trump’s anti-establishment eminence — bonded over their shared worldview. They saw Islam as threatening to overrun a prostrate West weakened by the erosion of traditional Christian values, and viewed themselves as unjustly ostracized by out-of-touch political elites.
Actually the unmaking of this promising conspiracy theory can be found right in the story by reporter Jason Horowitz—if you look for it carefully. Yes, Steve Bannon met with Cardinal Raymond Burke during a trip to the Vatican. But that meeting took place in April 2014. That was before Bannon joined the Trump campaign team—indeed before there was a Trump presidential campaign. It was before the publication of Amoris Laetitia, before the dubia.
At the time, Bannon was an executive for an upstart news service. Raised as a Catholic (although his current practice is a matter of some conjecture), he was keenly interested in religious affairs. As a conservative American visiting Rome, he was naturally interested in talking to an American cardinal known for his conservative views. No doubt they discussed some common interests; very likely they found that they shared mutual friends. But any suggestion that this meeting was the start of a grand conspiracy against the Holy Father is foolish.
Has criticism of Pope Francis become more pronounced recently? Yes, certainly. But that criticism is centered on a matter of Catholic doctrine—the teachings on marriage and the Eucharist—rather than on the political issues that are Bannon’s primary interest. (And by the way, the thrice-divorced White House aide is not likely to share Cardinal Burke’s determination to preserve the indissolubility of the marital bond.) I highlighted this - TF
American journalists tend to view all religious issues through political lenses, and consequently their view is distorted. No doubt Bannon sees possibilities for collaboration with some of the Pope’s internal critics; seeking out such alliances is, after all, a major part of his role as a political strategist. But insofar as he succeeds, he will be exploiting the divisions within the Church, not creating them.