Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Passing Scene: 2014

Another year, another retrospective, and thanks to Wikipedia for refreshing my recollection:


1: Marijuana stores open in Colorado.
3: A deadly winter storm hits the northeastern United States.
9: "Bridgegate": Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey apologizes for senior aides abusing their power by deliberately causing a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge in September of 2013.
25: Murder spree, Columbia, Maryland: three are killed and five wounded in a shopping mall by a gunman who was afterward found dead.
26: 33 same-sex couples are "married" at the 56th annual Grammy awards.
30: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces that the death penalty will be sought against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Deaths: Jay Traynor (Jay and the Americans); Phil Everly (Everly Brothers); Ariel Sharon; Carmen Zapata; Alicia Rhett (India Wilkes in Gone with the Wind); Pete Seeger; Stanford Tischler (producer of M*A*S*H); Ruth Duccini (Munchkin, The Wizard of Oz); Russell Johnson (the Professor in Gilligan's Island); Dave Madden (Reuben Kincaid in The Partridge Family); Margery Mason (ancient boo-er in The Princess Bride).


4: Scotland legalizes gay "marriage."
6: Jay Leno hosts The Tonight Show for the last time.
7: Opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  I personally couldn't care less.
9: The U.S. federal government recognizes gay "marriage."
13: Belgian makes it legal to euthanize persons under 18.  
15: Bangui, Central African Republic: a mass grave full of Christian dead is found in a neighborhood formerly occupied by Muslim rebels.  Also: a federal judge strikes down Virginia's ban on gay "marriage."
20: Murder spree, Alturas, California: 4 are killed and 2 more wounded in a gun and knife attack at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office and Community Center before the murderer is taken into custody.
22: Pope Francis names 19 new cardinals.  Also: ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
28: Russia confirms that it has moved troops into the Crimea.

Deaths: Maximilian Schell; Philip Seymour Hoffman; Richard Bull (Nels Olsen on Little House on the Prairie); Shirley Temple Black; Sid Caesar; Ralph Waite (The Waltons); Bob Casale (Devo); Garrick Utley; Harold Ramis.


8: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears over the South China Sea between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, carrying a crew of 12 and 227 passengers.
13: Over 100 rockets are fired from Gaza into southern Israel, with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement taking responsibility.

21: Russia annexes Crimea.  Also: a federal district judge in Michigan throws out that state's ban on gay "marriage."
22: A mudslide engulfs a neighborhood in Oso, Washington, killing 43.
23: Two shooters invade a Christian church in Mombasa, Kenya, killing six and wounding more than a dozen.  There is reluctance to pin the attack on Islamists.
27: Barack Obama meets Pope Francis.
29: Same sex "marriage" commences in the U.K.

Deaths: Glenn McDuffie (the sailor in the famous Times Square V-J Day kiss photo); David BadEagle Yeagley (Comanche conservative writer); David Brenner; Fred Phelps (founder, Westboro Baptist "church"); James Rebhorn; Dane Witherspoon; Richard Black (artist, creator of Mr. Clean and Smokey the Bear); Charles Keating.


2: Murder spree, Fort Hood, Texas: shooter kills four and wounds 16 before turning the gun on himself.  Also: Australia's highest court recognizes a neuter "third" sex.
4: Beginning of the west Africa ebola outbreak.
9: A student stabs 20 people at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.
12: Armed protesters drive off BLM agents come to gather cattle in the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada.
13: Murder spree, Overland Park, Kansas: a 73-year-old shooter kills three at two Jewish community centers before being apprehended.
15: The Supreme Court of India recognizes transgender as a "third gender."
22: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the right of states to ban affirmative action under their state constitutions.
27: Pope Francis canonizes two of his predecessors, Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.  Also: a three-day tornado outbreak begins in the southern U.S., resulting in 36 deaths.
29: Convicted murderer Clayton Lockett dies of a heart attack after a botched attempt at execution by lethal injection.

Deaths: Mickey Rooney; Peaches Geldof; Reid Buckley.


5: The U.S. Supreme Court affirms the constitutionality of opening legislative sessions with prayers.
15: Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian woman, is sentenced to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy.  Also: The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is dedicated.
19: a judge throws out Oregon's ban on same-sex "marriage."
23: Murder spree, Isla Vista, California: a shooter travels around town killing six and wounding 13 before turning the gun on himself.
31: Bowe Bergdahl is freed by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Deaths: Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.; Mary Stewart (novelist, author of the Merlin series); Jeb Stuart Magruder (Watergate scandal figure); Jerry Vale; Maya Angelou; Wojciech Jaruzelski; Mary Soames, Baroness Soames (daughter of Winston Churchill).


8: Murder spree, Las Vegas, Nevada: a married couple fatally shoots two police officers and one other person before themselves dying in a murder-suicide.
19: King Felipe VI ascends the Spanish throne.
30: Yosemite National Park celebrates its sesquicentennial.

Deaths: Ann B. Davis; Ruby Dee; Casey Kasem; Patsy Byrne (Martina the poisoner in I, Claudius); Eli Wallach; Meshach Taylor; Bob Hastings.


2: Former French president Nicholas Sarkozy is brought up on corruption charges.
4: The United Nations announces that it will recognize the same-sex "marriages" of its staff members.
8: Israel launches Operation Protective Edge, to stop the firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza.
9: Murder spree, Spring, Texas: a shooter murders six and wounds one before being taken into custody after a stand-off.  The dead are the shooter's former in-laws and include four children.
15: Croatia recognizes same-sex life partnerships.
16: Typhoon Glenda hits the Philippines and will also strike in south China and Vietnam, killing 195 people.
17: Eric Garner dies after a confrontation with New York City police over his illegal sales of cigarettes, in which police use a headlock maneuver on him.

Deaths: David Greenglass (Soviet atomic spy, brother of Ethel Rosenberg); James Garner.


9:  NASCAR driver Tony Stewart runs over and kills another driver, Kevin Ward, Jr., during a race.
10: Rioting begins in Ferguson, Missouri over the police shooting of Michael Brown, who had just robbed a convenience store
15: The centenary of the Panama Canal.
19: James Foley, kidnapped American journalist, is beheaded by ISIS.

Deaths: Robin Williams; Lauren Bacall; Arlene Martel (Spock's betrothed, T'Pring); Don Pardo; Richard Attenborough; Glenn Cornick (bassist, Jethro Tull); James Brady (Reagan's former press secretary, wounded in the assassination attempt on the President).


2: ISIS releases a video of the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
11: Oscar Pistorius is found not guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, but will be convicted of a lesser charge.
18: Murder spree, Bell, Florida: shooter kills his daughter and six grandchildren, ages 10 years to six months, before turning the gun on himself.  
19: Results of September 18th referendum on Scottish independence: Scottish voters reject independence, 55.3% to 44.7%.
20: Pope Francis appoints Bishop Blase Cupich of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane to succeed Francis Cardinal George as head of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
24: A fired former employee of Vaughan Foods who had converted to Islam returns to the plant and beheads one female employee and stabs another before being shot and wounded by the plant's owner.
25: Eric Holder announces his resignation as Attorney General of the United States.

Deaths: Joan Rivers; Polly Bergen; Ian Paisley.


2: The United States relaxes a ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam.
8: Death of Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, the first documented ebola victim in the United States.
9: Estonia legalizes same-sex partnerships.
19: Closure of the disastrous Synod on the Family, and beatification of Pope Paul VI.
22: A gunman murders a guard on ceremonial sentry duty at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa, then runs into the parliament building, where he is taken out by Kevin Vickers, the Commons Sergeant at Arms.
24: Murder spree, Marysville, Washington: a freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School fatally shoots five other students before turning the gun on himself.  Also: Murder spree, Sacramento County, California: a gunman kills two two sheriff's deputies, and wounding a third and a civilian, before being captured.
25: Unconstitutional government interference adds Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming to the number of states with gay "marriage."

Deaths: Fr. Benedict Groeschel; Paul Revere (Paul Revere and the Raiders); Jan Hooks; Oscar de la Renta; Marcia Strassman; Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.


1: Brittany Maynard, an activist for physician-assisted suicide who suffered from brain cancer, very publicly takes her own life.
3: Official opening of the new 1 World Trade Center.
4: The Republicans take Congress.  Meanwhile, citizens of Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. vote to legalize recreational marijuana.
17: The Church of England adopts legislation in favor of female bishops.
19: The beginning of the Bill Cosby sexual assault allegation scandal.
21: The House of Representatives sues Barack Obama over executive orders in connection with the implementation of Obamacare.
24: A grand jury returns a no bill in the shooting death of Michael Brown.  More riots ensue in Ferguson, Missouri.  Also: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigns.
28: Finland legalizes same-sex "marriage."

Deaths: Jimmy Ruffin; Richard Schaal; S. Donald Stookey (inventor of CorningWare).


4: A grand jury returns a no bill in the death of Eric Garner.  Protests ensue.
15: Murder spree, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: a man travels around the county murdering his ex-wife and her family, then commits suicide.  Also:  The U.S. Supreme Court creates a good-faith legal mistake exception to the warrant requirement.
15-16: An Islamist held the employees and patrons of a Sydney, Australia chocolate cafe hostage until police raided the cafe.  Two hostages and the Islamist died.
16: Scotland legalizes same-sex "marriage."  Also: a federal district judge in Pennsylvania declares Obama's immigration executive order unconstitutional.
17: The United States and Cuba resume diplomatic relations.
20: Two New York City policemen are assassinated, supposedly in retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, by a shooter who later turns the gun on himself.  Moral microbes across the country applaud the murders.

Deaths: Joe Cocker; Mary Ann Mobley; Ken Weatherwax (Pugsley on The Addams Family); Queen Fabiola of Belgium; Edward Hermann.

May 2015 be an improvement over 2014.

Monday, December 08, 2014

The Immaculate Conception

Yesterday was the 73d anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; today, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, is the 73d anniversary of our declaration of war on Japan.  Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of these United States.  Have you ever thought about whether there is any significance in the fact that we entered the Second World War on our patronal feast?

This year it seems good to link to a couple of apologetics posts on the subject of the Immaculate Conception:

Mary, Conceived without Sin, You DID Know: why a certain popular song about Mary must never be sung in a Catholic Church

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Remember Pearl Harbor

That awful December 7th, 73 years ago, was also a Sunday.  At a stroke, the lives of millions were turned upside down and changed forever.

A Japanese camera captured that stroke on the morning of December 7, 1941.  The images of Japanese planes, tiny yet unmistakable, can be seen passing over Ford Island.  The U.S.S. West Virginia and U.S.S. Oklahoma, on the far side of the island, have just sustained torpedo hits. 

One of the iconic images of the Pearl Harbor attack: the U.S.S. Arizona burns.  The explosion of the Arizona's forward magazines claimed 1,177 of the 2,403 American lives lost at Pearl Harbor.  The crew of the nearby U.S.S. Tennessee attempts to fend off burning oil with fire hoses.  

The first two American chaplains to die in World War II -- one Protestant minister, one Catholic priest -- died at Pearl Harbor.  Protestant chaplain of the Arizona, Capt. Thomas Leroy Kirkpatrick, sprang to action in sick bay as soon as the attacks commenced.  Sick bay was so near to the forward magazines that he was killed almost instantly in the great explosion while ministering to the wounded.  Chaplain Kirkpatrick still lies with his crewmates in their sunken ship at the bottom of the harbor.
Chaplain Kirkpatrick's clock was recovered from the wreck of the Arizona, the hands frozen at the moment the forward magazines exploded.  

The U.S.S. Oklahoma, capsized and burning.  429 men perished aboard the Oklahoma.

The total number of the Oklahoma's dead would have reached 441 if it were not for Fr. Aloysius Schmitt, Lieutenant Junior Grade, Acting Chaplain.

On December 7, 1941, the young priest from St. Lucas, Iowa, had only been ordained for six years, appointed a chaplain for two and a half years, and had celebrated his 32nd birthday only three days earlier.  Did he have any suspicion that that was to be his last birthday, and indeed almost his last day on earth?  Yet although death came to Fr. Schmitt suddenly, it did not find him unprepared, nor even without Viaticum: when the Japanese attack began, he had just finished celebrating Mass.  

When disaster struck, Fr. Schmitt went to sick bay to minister to the wounded and dying. Mission Capodanno gives the following moving account of what happened next:
When the Oklahoma was struck and water poured into her hold, the ship began to list and roll over. Many men were trapped. Schmitt found his way -- with other crew members -- to a compartment where only a small porthole provided enough space to escape.

Chaplain Schmitt helped other men, one by one, to crawl to safety. When it became his turn, the chaplain tried to get through the small opening. As he struggled to exit through the porthole, he became aware that others had come into the compartment from which he was trying to escape. As he realized that the water was rising rapidly and that escape would soon be impossible, he insisted on being pushed back through the hole so that he could help others who could get through the opening more easily. Accounts from eyewitnesses that have been published in the Arizona Memorial newsletter relate that the men protested, saying that he would never get out alive, but he insisted, "Please let go of me, and may God bless you all."

Fr. Schmitt, martyr of charity, was posthumously awarded the Navy/Marine Corps Medal for his selfless bravery, which saved the lives of twelve crewmen who otherwise would have been trapped in the sinking ship.

Remember Pearl Harbor, soon to pass from living memory.  Remember and do not forget.