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Some music cuz I feel like it March 31, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, blogfoolery, disconcerting, fun, huh?, non squitur, silliness, Society.
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And Dismas isn’t even around to enjoy it.  I guess I’m in the mood because I’m only workin’ two days this week.  Just a smattering of some favorites:

REK

My wife and I were at John T. Floore’s Country Store the night this song was recorded.  Helluva show, best I ever saw.

I spent several summers in the 80s out in the Panhandle. I think this song is a bit too much on the negative side, and McMurtry is generally annoying, but I think this tune does give a very good feel for what the Panhandle is like:

Have to throw in some Jerry Jeff:

Another, off an album almost no one remembers:

An even lesser known number.  It was on Contrary to Ordinary in ’78 but not performed by Walker.  Not sure who sang it.  John Inman?  Anyone know?  Few probably care.  Have no idea why someone thought it went with their railroader hobby:

Jack Ingram.  This song….well…….too much to tell:

 

 

 

Ewoks are real! March 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, huh?, non squitur, sickness, Society, Uncategorized.
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To me, it looks like a jackrabbit cross-bred with a koala bear, but my kids thought it looks like an Ewok.  Yes, it was at that moment that I realized George Lucas had completely lost his touch, and he never got it back.  Funny thing is, little kids tend to like the prequels better. But of course, they’re little kids. I will probably go see the JJ Abrams sequels rolling out late this year, but I don’t hold out much hope. I thought he ruined Star Trek.  And I hate CGI.  It has always looked fake to me, and it ages horribly.  Give me detailed models and slit scan techniques any day.  No one can possibly improve on Kubrick!

26F1B5F700000578-3009783-Adorable_The_Ili_Pika_is_one_of_the_world_s_rarest_mammals_and_h-a-9_1427222226572

Apparently it’s called  “lli pika.”  It supposedly lives in the mountains of western China/Tibet.  Looks tasty.

 

Claims that the US suffers from a terrible shortage of scientists and engineers are utter garbage March 25, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, disaster, disconcerting, non squitur, rank stupidity, scandals, self-serving, silliness, Society, technology.
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I have worked in telecommunications for almost 19 years.  Where I work is still kind of sorta called “the telecom corridor.”  15 years ago, that moniker made sense, as over 80,000 jobs directly or indirectly related to telecom existed in the Richardson/Plano area at that time.  But today, that number is down to about 7,000 – that’s right, over 90% of the telecommunications jobs have been lost in the past 15 years.  I know many, many former engineers who are now working jobs that pay pennies on the dollar compared to their former salaries.  Tens of thousands either moved away or simply never worked in engineering again.

Where did all these jobs go?  Some simply disappeared forever, when giants like Nortel and MCI simply ceased to exist.  But many others were transferred overseas, where replacements are paid 25-35% of their American counterparts, and with no expensive benefits. The fact that many companies have had very unhappy experiences, including poor design, bad quality, lack of communication, corporate theft on a massive scale (esp. in China), and higher than expected expenses has not prevented many from continuing in their commitment to off-shoring jobs. Even more, many other positions have been given to foreigners living in the United States under the H-1B visa program, making similarly low salaries.

Telecom is hardly alone.  Other towns and other industries have seen similar implosions.  The US continues to hemorrhage manufacturing and the associated engineering positions.  Long-term, this is gravely wounding the US economy, as “services” only go so far, and true wealth is really generated by manufacturing and trade (one reason why the US has run such long term deficits).

When I saw that high-tech industry leaders were once again, then, pushing for more H-1B visas, I was rather nonplussed.  But what really gets my gourd is the lie routinely told by these executives, who were once engineers themselves before they became such high flyers.  The lie is a lie of omission.  You’ve heard the phrase, but you rarely hear it finished.  The lie is this: “the US has a great shortage of scientists and engineers.”  The real statement is: “the US has a great shortage of scientists and engineers willing to work at the wages we would like to pay them, 18-45k per year.

Anyway, here’s the latest corporate propaganda from hyper-rich billionaires, who just totes swearz they can’t make a dime without bringing in more cheap foreign labor, who will then take the talents and skills (and perhaps corporate IP or even classified materials) back to their home country:

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, believes passionately that the United States needs more skilled foreign workers. He has long advocated increasing the number of so-called H-1B visas, which allow those workers to come to the U.S. for several years and, in many cases, work for lower wages than current employees. Schmidt is frustrated that Congress hasn’t done as he and other tech moguls want.

“In the long list of stupid policies of the U.S. government, I think our attitude toward immigration has got to be near the top,” Schmidt said during an appearance this week at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “Everyone actually agrees that there should be more H-1B visas in order to create more tech, more science, more analytical jobs. Everyone agrees, in both parties.” [You mean, everyone agrees, among the hyper-rich corporate titans. I doubt even many of your own employees agree, Mr. Schmidt.]

The Eric Schmidt pleading for more foreign workers is the same Eric Schmidt who boasts of turning away thousands upon thousands of job seekers who apply for a few prized positions at Google. For example, at an appearance in Cleveland last October to promote his book, How Google Works, Schmidt explained that his company receives at least 1,000 applications for every job opening. “The good news is that we have computers to do the initial vetting,” Schmidt explained, according to an account in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Other tech leaders join Schmidt in calling for more foreign workers. Some companies are actually lobbying for more H-1Bs and laying off American staff at the same time. For example, last year Microsoft announced the layoff of 18,000 people at the very moment it was pushing Congress for more guest worker visas.

Given all that, there’s not quite the unanimous agreement on the need for more foreign workers that Schmidt claims. At a hearing this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a number of experts testified that the H-1B program, so sought-after by CEOs, is being abused to harm American workers. [Duh]

Ron Hira, a Howard University professor and author of the book Outsourcing America, told the story of Southern California Edison, which recently got rid of 500 IT employees and replaced them with a smaller force of lower-paid workers brought in from overseas through the H-1B program. The original employees were making an average of about $110,000 a year, Hira testified; the replacements were brought to Southern California Edison by outsourcing firms that pay an average of between $65,000 and $75,000.

“To add insult to injury,” Hira said, “SCE forced its American workers to train their H-1B replacements as a condition of receiving their severance packages.” [That’s very common.  It did not apply to me as a mechanical engineer, but most of the hardware and software engineers at Cisco had to train their Indian replacements when we got laid off at the end of 2005.  Cisco is now of course basically a footnote in the telecom industry, after spending over $10 billion trying to buy their way to a position of dominance.  CEO John Chambers has, of course, kept his job throughout.]

Hira testified that such situations are not unusual. And on the larger issue of whether there is, as many tech executives claim, a critical shortage of labor in what are called the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — another professor, Hal Salzman of Rutgers, testified that the shortage simply does not exist.

“The U.S. supply of top-performing graduates is large and far exceeds the hiring needs of the STEM industries, with only one of every two STEM graduates finding a STEM job,” Salzman testified. “The guest worker supply is very large [and] it is highly concentrated in the IT industry, leading to both stagnant wages and job insecurity.” [Yep. I saved this for now.  I personally know a good number of young engineering and science graduates who have either not been able to find a job in their field at all, have had to take lower-paid positions they are overqualified for, or have to work as contract and not direct-hire, that is, with no benefits.  Heck, 21  years ago I had a heckuva time finding a job out of college and it took two and half years of working really crappy, low-paid jobs before I finally built up enough experience to land a good one.]

The hearing also featured Jay Palmer, a former Infosys project manager who blew the whistle on a case in which the big outsourcing firm paid $34 million in fines for worker visa violations. “I watched this on a daily basis,” Palmer told the Judiciary Committee. “I sat in the offices in meetings with companies that displaced American workers only because the Americans who had been there 15 or 20 years were being paid too much money.”

That’s the main thing.  CEOs getting paid $50 million per year really object to workers vital to the corporation’s success making $120k a year.  All those darn “high priced” employees keep them from getting their next $20 million bonus.  Can’t have that.  So out they go.

Yes I’m being surprisingly populist, but I’ve also been one of a tiny handful able to remain in telecom lo these many years, but only by remaining at a company where the threat (and enactment of) layoffs has been constant for the past 7 years.  We’re about to have another one.  Meanwhile, we staff up in India, even though we often have to completely redo Indian projects, so problematic are they.

Look, I get that corporations have to make a profit and sometimes times are rough.  But I also know that my own $1 billion a year company is being bled white by AT&T and Verizon, and each of those companies, supposedly so broke they cannot possibly pay us even what our equipment costs, somehow managed to find enough dimes and nickels in their corporate couch cushions to make $14 and $20 billion, respectively, in profit last year.  That was 10% and 15%, respectively, on overall sales.  Not too bad.  And I am not exaggerating that they have worked such a duopoly that they are refusing to pay even cost for most equipment, and not just from us, but from all major equipment providers, including Alcatel Lucent and Ciena.  Almost all major telecom equipment providers are in a state of decline if not collapse, and that will only leave the door open, eventually, to a critical national security-related industry to be dominated by foreign concerns.  Yet, AT&T and Verizon just keep maintaining they simply don’t have enough money to pay any more than they do for the equipment vital to their industrial infrastructure.

I really do not advise young people to get into design engineering today.  Some kinds of engineering are likely to have a bright future: civil, environmental, for two, along with anything government related.  Heck, working for the government is probably the best thing a young person looking for a well-paid career with fringe benefits and long term stability can do. But most disciplines, and especially design, are going to be in continual decline. I think I will be very lucky to continue full time employment into my mid-50s.  I can see the handwriting on the wall, and the steadily diminishing opportunities.

Sorry for the segue into non sequitur personal matters.

What are you willing to do? March 25, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, persecution, scandals, secularism, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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My dear departed friend Vicki Middleton, God rest her soul, was quite a hoot.  She was a woman of conviction, and much more.  She was willing to put herself on the line on things that she felt important.  When her husband Jim was still President of ARCO Oil and Gas Vicki started protesting outside the office in Plano regarding ARCO’s investments in Myanmar/Burma.  Since Burma had a very repressive government and was jailing dissidents, Vicki thought ARCO should not be doing business there, so she protested outside.  If I remember right, her actions eventually led the board of directors to divest of their operations there.

Years later, Vicki converted to Catholicism.  She was the same rabble-rouser she always was.  Longtime readers may remember the radio show Vicki invited me on a number of times.  Vicki and Jim spent a pretty penny buying air time on 660 AM KSKY to bring an authentic Catholic voice to the area. You may ask, “what about the local EWTN radio station, isn’t that authentically Catholic?”  Well, Vicki was on the local EWTN station for a while but was removed for being too critical of the leadership of the Church both locally and globally, although she only asked things like “when are our priests going to really stand up and oppose abortion, or porn, etc”.

But Vicki did more than that.  She and Jim were well off, and had been very generous with the Diocese.  But when they found out about many scandalous activities ongoing, such as support for Alinskyite organizations at many parishes and lack of preaching the Faith whole and entire, she went so far as to demand her donations be returned and protested outside the cathedral, sandwich-board and all, calling out the ongoing scandals.

The point is, Vicki was willing to do anything, say almost anything, to do what she felt was the best for souls – both her own, and those of others.  She loved people tremendously and wanted what was best for them.  She was willing to risk being attacked and vilified to make her stand – and she was, often quite vociferously.

I bring this up, because in light of recent posts regarding division among orthodox (or faithful or traditional or conservative – all of which simply serve to distinguish from the great Mass of self-styled Catholics who reject core aspects of the Faith or hold heretical views), some commenters have brought up a point that has been on my mind for quite some time, as well: what are we willing to do to respond to the crisis and effect change in the Church?

I can think of a number of responses, and have suggested some on this blog.  One is to really carefully consider the degree to which we support the entire parish-diocese-national conference monetarily, if at all.  And, there are examples from Catholics in other areas. Catholics in El Paso conducted prayer vigils outside the chancery for months in the wake of the dismissal of the former priest of San Juan Bautista parish, and with regard to the long interregnum between Bishop Ochoa’s departure and Bishop Seitz’ consecration.

I’ve spoken with Catholics near and abroad about this matter many times.  There always seems to be a consensus that something should be done, but no one seems to be ready and willing to take the lead on some concrete action.  For the most part, efforts seem to fall apart over disagreement on which issue is paramount to address, what action should be taken, and, even more, who should lead it.

But, just to throw out some ideas, I could see a series of efforts calling attention to the “ghettoization” of the TLM in Dallas.  Or, regarding the lack of preaching on the evil of contraception.  Or on the abysmal standard of catechesis in parish formation programs.  Or on the continuing support of left-wing “social justice” groups.  Take your pick.  There are dozens if not hundreds of such issues to choose from.

As for me, I am going to commit to finally kicking off an effort I proposed some months back – to start praying outside some of the  many falsely named gentleman’s clubs in this area.  So here is the plan: I will pray across the street from The Men’s Club, 2340 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, on April 8, Easter Wednesday, at 8 pm.  There is a post office directly across the street.  I will park there and stand near the road and just pray.  No confrontation or picketing with signs at this point, just prayer.  I’ll stay for about an hour.  Any local Catholic men are welcome to join me.  

No, that won’t do much for the crisis in the Faith, and I don’t expect any miraculous reaction on the strip joint front, either, but it’s a start.  We’ll see how the first attempt goes and proceed from there.

Look, I’m just one guy, and I don’t know that I’m a natural born leader.  The broader point of this post is, what are we willing to do as faithful Catholics to really start opposing the crisis in the Church and the general decline and advancing perversion in the culture?  Are we just going to continue to complain on blogs (which have their place, obviously!), or do we start to take concrete action?  If so, what action could you take, either here in Dallas, or wherever you live?  What are you willing to do?

I think it would be fantastic if readers could make their own suggestions and efforts.  The militant left in this country makes up a tiny percentage of the population, but because they are motivated and willing to spend much of their time in support of their diabolical cause, they have managed to radically re-shape all of the former Christendom over the past 150 years or so.  They have bullied people into accepting all kinds of evil because their commitment and tirelessness gradually wore down opposition – including us. Goodness, they have even managed to get a rough majority of people to accept a definition of marriage both completely unnatural and utterly hostile to its many-thousand year history!

Are we just going to let them continue to steamroll us?  Yes, prayer is the foundation of everything, but if now is not the time to make a stand (it may already be far too late), then no time will ever be.  I pray my good readers consider how they can respond, individually and collectively. I pray we start to see a lot more Vicki Middleton’s out there obeying the Pope’s command to mix things up and make a mess.  The modernists count on us doing nothing.  In fact, it is precisely the fact that good men have done nothing that has allowed the modernist/progressive revolution in the Church to advance as far as it has.

I ask again……what are you willing to do?

Faithful Catholics need to keep the real adversary in sight (and cease the circular firing squads) March 23, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, manhood, rank stupidity, reading, scandals, secularism, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I have been reading a sort of autobiography of part of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s life for the past week or so, and I found a very interesting bit in it recently that has great bearing on a matter I touched on last week.  I had two posts on obedience last week representing two somewhat differing points of view.  In the second, I again reiterated my sort of live and let live with regard to the SSPX and maybe some other groups.  I figured I’d get some flak or questioning about that stand, and I did, and that’s where von Hildebrand’s bio comes in.

In 1933, Dietrich von Hildebrand fled Germany after Hitler became Chancellor.  Being a constant opponent of Hitler (and all totalitarianism) since the 51zHwVpwjnLearly 1920s, von Hildebrand had both written and said things that had severely displeased the Nazis.  He was quite certain they would eventually come for him if he remained.  He also feared being forced to make moral compromises through a slow slide of acceptance, something he witnessed many fellow Catholics doing.  After spending a brief bit of time in Italy, he moved onto Vienna where he worked to help shore up the Dolfuss government and there wage an intellectual and moral battle against the evils of Nazism (and battle he did).  von Hildebrand rightly saw Dolfuss as the most Catholic leader in Europe at that time, and a man who was committed not only to erecting a morally acceptable modern Catholic state, but also equally committed to opposing Hitler and keeping Austria (populated with Germans) out of the “Greater Germany” Hitler and the Nazis pursued.

Of course, there were many Nazis and Nazi sympathizers in Austria, too, which is why the Anchsluss eventually happened. There were also other factions, including the socialist “Social Democrats.”  Dolfuss had felt compelled to dissolve parliament and form a unity party called the Patriotic Front to oppose both the Nazis and the Social Democrats.  Certainly, as socialists, the Social Democrats were inimitable to von Hildebrand.  However, Dolfuss’ party also included an organization called the Heimwehr, which was a sort of militant wing of his corporatist Catholic movement.

Now, secular historians often view Dolfuss as authoritarian, which von Hildebrand did not believe (and, I think, demonstrates as false), but whether he was or not, he did encounter a great deal of opposition.  In late 1933, the “Austrian Civil War” developed when open fighting broke out between the militant Heimwehr and the socialists.  Dolfuss and his government quickly restored order, and he remained in power until murdered by Nazis in a putsch in July 1934, but it is von Hildebrand’s reaction to the little civil war that I found most telling.

von Hildebrand was exasperated that fighting had broken out.  He recognized that Nazism was the main existential threat to not only Austria but all of central Europe at that moment.  He also knew that both the Heimwehr/Patriotic Front and the Social Democrats were  – more or less – unalterably opposed to Nazism. The conservative elements in the Patriotic Front and the socialists had been enemies since long before Nazism ever came along. And what he saw as the great tragedy of this fighting that broke out between the two was that they had taken their eye off the really deadly enemy – Nazism – in order to engage in their internecine strife with each other.  This only weakened Austrian and made it less likely to stand against Hitler.  Even more, he feared that this long enmity would always be a temptation for the two groups, Catholic conservatives and socialists, distracting them from what should have been their prime effort against Hitler.

In saying this, von Hildebrand noted his own life long opposition to socialism.  He was no friend of the Social Democrats. But in the hour of direst crisis, all opponents of the gravest evil should be welcome.  It is also important to keep the relative scope of evils and scale of threat in perspective – the Social Democrats were erroneous, to be certain, but not advocates of such obvious, criminal evil as the Nazis.

I hope the point is clear.  You and I and many others may have concerns, even very serious ones, regarding the SSPX or any other such groups, but in the face of the overwhelming threat posed by the progressive-modernist revolution within the Church, is that where we should really direct our efforts?  We may not agree with the SSPX on every point, we may have points of profound disagreement, but when it comes to the absolutely vital matter of the day – recognizing the crisis in the Church and reacting against it – the SSPX is clearly a leader in this field, as well as being a source of unalterable opposition to the efforts to remake the Church into something She can never be.  I think were he alive today, von Hildebrand would counsel cooperation with the SSPX, despite any disagreements, in the matter of overwhelming importance – the crisis in the Church – and to not focus on the points of disagreement which will only have the effect of weakening the already small and rather disjointed “reaction” to the ongoing revolution.

At least, that was the very strong impression I got from reading von Hildebrand’s lament on the division within the small and weak nation of Austria in its struggle against the German juggernaut.  I was struck when I read von Hildebrand’s words how applicable they were to search for the best response to the crisis in the Church.  I have always been a “big tent” guy when it comes to this response.  I welcome all those who recognize that things are going very badly for the Church and that the revolution has been profoundly harmful to Her earthly mission, even if they see that revolution as somehow separate from Vatican II (as many conservatives like Jeff Mirus and Lawler do).  The main point, the critical point, is opposing the errors abounding and the ongoing efforts to radically alter the Church with the most cohesive, loudest, most articulate coalition we can assemble.  Insisting on doctrinal perfection or adherence to one’s preferred “party” and “platform,” if you will, distracts from this most vital mission and only weakens the response.

And that is just what the progressive/modernist cabal both wants, and expects, from us. They have a long history of weak responses from the faithful Catholics because we are more concerned about the divisions between ourselves than we have been with the real, true, and present threat.

That’s my point of view, anyway.  As always, it’s worth what it cost you.

Flightline Friday: Putin threatens Armageddon March 20, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, disaster, Flightline Friday, fun, history, silliness, Society, technology.
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I was going to do a post on the plane that should have won the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition back in 1990 – the YF-23 – but that idea was overtaken by events.  News came out this week that Vladimir Putin considered putting Russian nuclear forces on alert during the Crimea crisis last year.  That really doesn’t necessarily mean very much, leaders always contemplate putting strategic forces on alert during a crisis. This deliberate leak, after a rare, long absence from the spotlight, was surely intended as a veiled threat to NATO.

In point of fact, neither Russia’s nor the United States’ nuclear forces were really taken off alert.  Well…….the bomber force, attrited down to near nothing now, has a more relaxed posture, but ICBMs still have targets programmed and can be launched in 30 seconds from the receipt of a valid Emergency Action Message, as can the SLBM force.  But perhaps to cash in on the recent hoopla and people’s fears of nuclear conflict, a quasi-governmental agency released the following graphic below, purporting to show their expectation of the targets to be struck in a major nuclear exchange with the Soviet Un Russia.  It’s an interesting map:

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It examines two scenarios, a 500 warhead “limited” exchange and a 2000 warhead (the maximum permitted under current arms control treaties) full-up exchange (note: only the latter would actually occur. When it comes to nuclear warfighting, this maxim is the first, inviolable commandment: one flies, they all fly).  I have some serious problems with two plans given above: for one thing, the 500 warhead target set is an obvious countervalue campaign (meaning, cities, killing as many Americans as possible), while the 2000 warhead scenario is oriented much more towards counterforce (destroying US strategic forces as the prime objective).  The 2000 warhead distribution also targets many things like major power plants, virtually every military base, etc.  It is odd, however, that certain targets seemingly vital to the countervalue analysis – state capitals, for one – are sometimes left off the much expanded target list.

Even though the 500 warhead target set seems to target cities primarily, the 2000 warhead exchange, apparently striking rural targets with no major population centers nearby, would kill way more Americans. The reason is fallout.  All those dark black blotches in North Dakota, Montana, etc., represent ground bursts to destroy ICBM silos and launch command centers.  Ground bursts generate huge amounts of extremely potent fallout.  Groundbursts are also used for other targets like hardened nuclear power plants (every one is targeted above), airfields, major railyards, etc.  The US would be coated in a thick radioactive plume, and with virtually no fallout shelter program active anymore (save for our governing elites), tens of millions would die as a result.

aacont2

Some might wonder….why do areas like DFW or the LA basin get such a heavy seeing to?  Would not one be enough?  The answer is no, it wouldn’t. Even with optimal altitude airbursts to maximize the region of 5 psi+ blast overpressure (sufficient to destroy all but reinforced concrete structures), an area the size of DFW would need the 7-9 warheads, spaced and timed very carefully, to maximize casualties.  Timing is key because warheads detonating adjacent to each other can wipe each other out, before their “friend” gets a chance to initiate, and, the effects of one device going off can diminish the impact of the nearby friend who just went off.  So what you would probably have to live through here in DFW would be about a half hour of hell, with one device going off, then another 3-4 minutes later, then another, etc.  No fun.  But a 5 psi bomb shelter can be built in your backyard in a few days with minimal expense, if you’re worried, and airbursts have the “benefit” of being very clean, generating very little fallout.  There would be a fallout zone in the immediate area of initiation, but most likely, anyone close enough to be hazarded by the radiation would be long dead due to other nuclear effects.

The Nuclear Effects bible is here.

NRDC nuclear exchange study here.

It is absolutely criminal that the US does not have a highly effective missile defense system operational.  Don’t believe the crap you hear in the media and from the left (but I repeat myself), we could have had a very good defense over 40  years ago.  Even today we have only the barest of defenses against an accidental or extremely limited threat.  Other nations are far ahead of us in ballistic missile defense – apparently, they haven’t believed the leftist shibboleths.  That includes India, Israel, and quite probably Russia. Did you know Russia actually orbited a laser battle station with a very powerful 1 megawatt laser in 1988, as the Soviets were far ahead of the US in directed energy weapons at that time?  The launch turned into a fiasco, poor quality control (another Russian hallmark) caused the satellite to fail to enter orbit properly and it eventually burned up.  But they had the means.

Flightline Friday: re-live Apollo 8 in darn near real-time March 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, Glory, silliness, Society, Victory.
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Videographer “LunarModule5” has spent an enormous amount of time gathering footage from the glory days of American space exploration and posting them to Youtube.  He has all manner of launch footage, footage from missions, moonwalks, his collection is greatly comprehensive.  However, one of his most impressive achievements is to take a large majority – possibly all – of the onboard and ground-to-space communications recorded on the NASA Apollo site and putting them together into videos so that you can follow along the mission in more or less real time.  He has already done this for some missions like Apollo 13 and Apollo 10, and is in the process of doing so for Apollo 8.  He has uploaded six videos so far in the Apollo 8 series.

These videos will probably only interest very committed space enthusiasts.  There is a lot of dead time and spaceflight is not nearly as exciting as the movies like to portray it as.  But there are also some really entertaining gems buried among the many videos.  Since those videos are so long and involved and will appeal only to an eccentric like me, I post a more general video from LunarModule5 below, a British production that gives a sort of overview of those glory days, from Chuck Yeager to the Space Shuttle:

Another video on mostly the same subject.

Includes some coverage of the highly ambitious X-20 Dyna-soar, a program to produce a Shuttle-like military spacecraft for the Air Force that ran from 1958-1963, when McNamara cancelled it for spite (no, not entirely, but basically, he didn’t want the Air Force to have that mission, so he cancelled it Claims that Gemini or other alternatives could perform the same mission were ludicrous.  I say McNamara acted from spite, because that was basically it – he (and his boss) determined to build up a large land army, which Eisenhower had gutted, and the funding had to come from somewhere.  A lot of Air Force and Navy programs were cut to fund the Army expansion.  Eisenhower gutted the Army because he knew a large standing Army would be too great a temptation to politicians to use.  He was right.  And that is how we got into Vietnam).  He did a lot of things like that.  He was an awful, awful self-serving little man.  Typical of the administrations for which he served.

Blasphemous play coming to Dallas March 11, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Christendom, Dallas Diocese, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, persecution, pr stunts, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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You may sadly be familiar with the blasphemous theatrical production called “the testament of Mary.”  This came out a few years ago, was written by a leftist (go figure), who attacked the sanctity of the Blessed Mother by portraying her as a worldly woman opposed to her son’s delusional messianic call and who ends feeling just betrayed and empty after his death.

So, this play, after attracting scandal and attention around the world (surely, the very point, but the playwright would never be so transgressive about islam or Mohammad), is coming to Dallas.  Oh, lucky us.  It will be playing at the Untermain Theater starting March 21 and the production is getting heavy advertisement on the local classical station WRR (owned, coincidentally, by the City of Dallas).

TFP has a good report on the myriad problems with this play.  It is not just offensive to Catholics, but really to any Bible-believing Christians.  It so dishonors not just the Blessed Mother but also the Person and Sacrifice of God.  I hesitate to include the descriptions of the sacrilegious filth on my blog, but for the sake of providing context for why this event is so heinous, I will do so:

A narrow-minded, vulgar, egoistic and even idolatrous woman — this is how Irish author Colm Tóibín presents the Blessed Virgin Mary in his novel (now making its debut on the stage) titledThe Testament of Mary.…..

Although a former Catholic seminarian, the Irish writer gives free rein to his imagination when expressing his contempt for the Gospels, Christian tradition, and Mary Most Holy…….. [Given what we know of modern seminaries, especially in Ireland, I am not surprised at all the play was written by a former seminarian.  In fact, I expected it, as I expected his hatred to have been driven by his avowed attachment to sodomy]

Contrary to what Christian tradition affirms, Tóibín suggests that Mary was not taken care of in a filial manner by Saint John the Evangelist in Ephesus, but instead was “kept” there by two extortionists who pressured her to provide false testimony they could use to compose the Gospels. Among other things, they urged her to affirm the divinity of Jesus Christ, but she refused, since “She does not agree that her son is the Son of God.”[4]

Mary is portrayed as a skeptic who did not follow her own Son: “I am not one of his followers.”[5] And, she deemed His disciples, “a group of misfits.” Not one of them “was normal.”[6] [Ah……but a sodomite is!]

For Tóibín, the Mother of God was secretly a pagan worshiper of the hunting goddess Artemis (the Greek equivalent of the Roman goddess Diana)…….

There is actually much more, and worse, but hopefully you get the point.  Obviously the author has some very, very serious “issues.”  The fact that so many (by far, the most) atheists don’t disbelieve in God, they hate Him as they loathe themselves, would seem rather pertinent in this case.  Physician, heal thyself.

Nevertheless, since most Trads try to listen to uplifting music, quite a few listen to WRR. It’s the only classical station in the 6.5 million soul Metroplex.  So quite a few folks are upset by this.  The station has been contacted regarding running ads (AFAIK, they are only running on WRR and the local NPR stations), and their reply was a typical and sneering dismissal of the concerns raised.  However…….highly voluble criticism of a niche market station can sometimes evoke some radical changes of heart.  If you are local and/or concerned over this blasphemous production, you can contact both the theater (good luck there, this Untermeinkampf Theater prides itself on its (culturally safe) leftist transgressiveness – as such things go in Dallas) and the station:

Here is WRR’s email and phone #.

info@wrr101.com

Tel: 214-670-8888

Undermain Theatre

tel:214-747-5515

http://www.undermain.org/

If it were me, I would focus on WRR, especially if you are a local Catholic who listens to them, which quite a few do.

A sample submittal:

WRR 101.1 FM Dallas is currently running advertisements for the blasphemous, sacrilegious production of the Undermain Theater, “The Testament of Mary.”  WRR has many Catholic listeners and supporters and this play is gravely offensive not just to them, but to all convicted Christians.  This advertisement represents such an enormous lapse of judgment and is so incredibly offensive that I can no longer listen to or support your station in any way should it not be pulled and an apology issued forthwith.  Does WRR run advertisements for productions that gravely offend against Islam or other religions?  Not in my extensive listening experience.  Why, then, does it feel comfortable in mocking and belittling the sacred beliefs of Christians?

Please desist from your support for this obscenity immediately.  I do believe an apology is called for in this matter.

Very sincerely….

——–End Sample——–

I do suggest some effort be made to protest outside WRR by Mater Dei’ers if they refuse to pull the ad.  We have a week and a half until the play starts.  I’d really like to ask readers outside the Dallas area to spend a minute or two sending a quick e-mail.  Use the one above or use your own text.  But I think a few hundred comments might result in a positive response, and I certainly have more than enough readers to generate that kind of response.  A few thousand would be even better, that would represent a sizable chunk of WRR’s regular listening audience (they don’t have to know you don’t live in the area).

The main reason why there have been so many blasphemies against Christianity like this is because it has been cheap and easy for enemies of the Church to do so.  They haven’t had to bear any real cost for their offenses.  Islam, by contrast, makes clear there may be a huge cost.  And that has had not just a chilling effect on any criticism or offenses against that forlorn, false religion, but it has even led to islam becoming the de facto religion of the West.  I’m afraid – and I know this is a bit radical to say – if we want to re-assert Christianity’s cultural prerogatives our Faith once enjoyed, we’re going to have to instill a cost on this kind of behavior.  I think sending an e-mail a very, very small step in that direction.  We may have to do more, but 2000 e-mails (again, quite possible with this blog’s regular readership) would be a good start, and we can see what develops from there.

Try to leave a comment if you send an e-mail!  Don’t assume the other readers will send, YOU do it!

Thank you.  Deo Gratias!

EWTN excommunicates itself right out of the Church March 4, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, episcopate, General Catholic, Grace, Latin Mass, religious, sadness, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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At least, that’s what some might say, for daring to give positive coverage of an SSPX-affiliated organization without absolutely castigating the Society as more evil than satan?

Those reactionaries, they’re insidious.  Trending liberal for years, suddenly an organization like EWTN will just burst out in revaunchist reaction!  Deplorable neo-prometheans Pelagians!  Or was that neo-Pelagian prometheans?!?  Pretty soon they’ll have “Bishop Williamson LIVE!”

I thought the coverage given to the SSPX’s situation with respect to their canonical standing was pretty forthright, accurate, and fair.  I thought the Bishop Ochoa interviewed gave a nice summary: “their hearts are in Rome.”

“Rome is our home.”

Rome is the external expression of the spiritual Church, which materializes so to speak, here, which becomes tangible around the Pope and the relics of St. Peter.”  That’s really beautiful.  And what a beautiful nun.

I know some may take strong exception with the expressions of unity made above, but I don’t think they can be summarily dismissed.  Yes there are grave problems, and I have expressed concerns to the extent of my limited understanding of the situation, but I do know there are a number of people of good will on both “sides.”  But the gap remains wide.

There are so few alternatives for women’s traditional religious orders.  Seeing these nuns gives me great hope for an eventual reconciliation.

And if you haven’t figured it out yet, this post, especially the title, is a lighthearted take on a matter that often makes too much blood boil.

Celebrate Easter like the rabbits you are March 4, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, Papa, silliness, Society.
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This is too awesome:

B_RHmT7VAAEaEce

Hey, a priest tweeted it, so it must be OK.

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