Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Making of Docile Lawyers

Originally published December 26, 2007 - republished in Remembrance of Saint Thomas Moore.

That lawyers are among the most miserable of men – and women – is well known





While the Ghost of Christmas past is still stored in our short-term memories, we are reminded that Blue Christmas is all too familiar to a number of people, but perhaps no more so than lawyers.


Harvard-trained, UCLA Law professor Sharon Dolovich, while a student at Harvard Law School wrote a piece titled "Making Docile Lawyers: An Essay on the Pacification of Law Students.", The piece is a "social psychology analysis of what happens to students at HLS to transform them from enthusiastic, engaged first year law students into fatalistic and pacified upper year students."




Maura A. Flood at Gonzaga Law School comments on Dolovich’s piece “I am certain that the effects she describes are felt by nearly every law student in nearly every law” and asks a rhetorical question: “Do law professors set out to create docile and demoralized lawyers? Of course not, but somehow it happens anyway…Could it have something to do with the fact that "justice" is a word that seldom makes its way into the first-year curriculum? I think it might. So many of the articles on first-year malaise, or law student angst, mention that students end up feeling set adrift from their values and beliefs, or made to feel that those values and beliefs are irrelevant”. A brief look at any university catalog clearly indicates that something similar happens in any field of study – that is, the first couple of years are replete with general education subjects that lead some students to ask something along the lines of “….why do I have to study art, my major is Engineering..!”, for instance.



“That lawyers are among the most miserable of men – and women – is well known”, writes WSJ columnist Sue Shellenbarger in the December 13, 2007 issue of the Wall Street Journal, citing widely quoted statistics from leading researcher on the subject, University of Ariozan’s Connie Beck: “Some 19% of lawyers suffer depression at any given time, compared with 6.7% of the population as a whole”, while Ronda Muir, Esq., a senior consultant with Robin Rolfe Resources and with law-practice experience in the US and Europe and an advanced study in psychology and conflict resolution has the following words of wisdom:



In general, lawyers score below the national average in emotional intelligence

Consider reverse psychology “You probably won’t….” might be a challenge the lawyer takes, Ms. Muir suggests

Lawyers are highly sensitive to criticism and likely to be defensive.

Do not play devil’s advocate, unless you can do so tactfully

Avoid emotional plays

Shellenbarger’s piece describes how “chronic anxiety over his work as an attorney snet Dan Lukasik skidding into a clinical depression”. Since then, and against friend’s and colleagues advice, Lukasik has come out of the closet by posting Lawyers With Depression, a website to help depressed lawyers. In his own words, “When I searched on-line for materials to read that would support me in my attempt to cope with depression and my law practice, what I found was sometimes helpful, but in the end, not sufficient” The site contains a number of bird of a feather articles and a number of tools to battle depression, including links to test for depression: Questionnaire, Treatment


Now that the closet is wide open, let us all have a prosperous 2008!


Saint Thomas More’s Zero BAG Index & The Legal Profession

Saint Thomas Moreironically, patron of those in the legal professionbelieved no lay ruler has jurisdiction over the Church of Christ. His willingness to die for his belief illustrates the The Belief- Action Gap Index also known as the cognitive dissonance index (C D I) - the gap between the person's beliefs versus his action - no gap at all in the case of Saint Thomas More.





For his beliefs, saint Thomas was beheaded on Tower Hill, London, on July 6, 1535, because he steadfastly refused to approve King Henry VIII’s divorce and remarriage and establishment of the Church of England.


More was a literary scholar, eminent lawyer, gentleman, father of four children, and chancellor of England. An intensely spiritual man, he would not support the king’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Nor would he acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the Church in England, breaking with Rome, and denying the pope as head.

More was committed to the Tower of London to await trial for treason: not swearing to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy. Upon conviction, More declared he had all the councils of Christendom and not just the council of one realm to support him in the decision of his conscience.

The film, A Man for All Seasons, a 1966 British historical drama film directed and produced by Fred Zinnemann, adapted by Robert Bolt from his play of the same name, depicts the final years of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England who refused both to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul Henry VIII of England's marriage to Catherine of Aragon and to take an Oath of Supremacy declaring Henry Supreme Head of the Church of England.

As patron saint of those in the legal profession, Saint Thomas More must feel an extreme level of shock at what has happened to the legal profession: Passing the bar exam will soon not be required.  Consider the  Association Board of  Governors, Washington Supreme Court Justice Raquel Montoya-Lewis, one of the  chairs of the Bar Licensure Task Force, said the movement comes in part “from law students who have raised issues about equity, not just in the history of the adoption of  the bar exam, but also over the course of many decades, when you look at the disproportionate impacts that the bar exam has on examinees of color.” She went on to note, "They tend to fail the bar exam in disproportionate numbers." The Bar Licensure Task Force found that the traditional exam "disproportionately and  unnecessarily blocks marginalized groups from entering the practice of law" and is "at  best minimally effective for ensuring competent lawyers."

Soon doctors won't be required to be board certified and pilots will be allowed to fly if they can fly a drone.

Lawyers are now paid to come up with the best argument money can buy. Not to uncover the truth. A lawyer will argue that because a wealthy client broke the law, the law must be changed:  Either a 180 degree Belief to Action Gap Index,  to zero for Saint Thomas More.

Prayer to Saint Thomas More 
I pray, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, that I, with You, St. Thomas More, may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience.


RELATED

Pope Francis to university students: Be like Saint Thomas More  - 'Stay true to your convictions and faith'






Friday, June 21, 2024

EdSource: California’s Universities Providing High-Quality Academic Experience - NOT!

Today's EdSource OpEd piece states: "for all the challenges they face, the Golden State institutions of higher learning, are providing a high quality academic experience.

EdSource describes itself as "a highly respected source of education information, research and analysis. It has emerged as the pre-eminent multimedia education news organization in California, home to the nation’s largest and most diverse public education system."


While the OpEd is a reminder of California Governor Gavin Newsom's anger as a results of Louisiana's adoption of the Ten Commandments, hat exactly is a "high-quality academic experience.?"


Not long ago, vigorous debate used to take place in universities. Now the universities have become indoctrination and propaganda distribution centers, where propaganda in the broadest sense is the technique of influencing human action by the manipulation of representations.

Not much different from social media and legacy mecia's business model that encourages silos and monetizes hate and division.



Social Media companies, make money through advertising rather than charging each user individually. If you are not paying for the product, the product is you: The media company renting your eyeballs to its advertisers.The more users on the site, the greater the number of advertisers willing to engage them, and the more those advertisers are willing to spend. The more the inflammatory the posts, the more clicks.The more clicks, the more revenue for the social media company. It's all about data mining. The crown jewels of a social media company is the data mining algorithm that identifies affinity groups and the traffic cop algorithm that control traffic between silos. Affinity groups aka silos, are segments of users who have expressed or demonstrated an interest in a specific topic, category, or activity on social media platforms. For example, the Hollywood Rule Of Pedophilia is in effect in social media platforms: Pedophiles go where they are welcomed and stay where they are protected and well treated. Consider social media made $11 billion in U.S. ad sales from minors in 2022.

Pedophilia is just one of thousands of affinity groups found in social media. If you are into the occult, there's a silo for you. If you are into antiSemitism, Communism, Socialism, stsr-gazing, and so on, there are silos for you. These silos can then serve you ads designed specifically for you.


Just before that EdSource's Diana Lambert reported: "Public data posted by the California Department of Education has been incomplete, often outdated and occasionally inaccurate, forcing legislators to pass laws based on old data, researchers to delay inquiries and journalists to grapple with inaccurate information"

Now, consider that California ranks 43rd in education.

Compare the increase in the cost of college with the increase in the Consumer Price Index, the cost of medical care, and the cost of a new car over the last 41 years. While medical costs have risen at almost two and a half times the rate of inflation, the cost of college tuition and fees has exceeded inflation by more than four times!



Then the teachers unions, propagandists and corrupt politicians racked up $1.7 trillion in student debt worth of useless degrees.

The best part is that the most in-demand jobs in the next decade do not require a college degree.

But it is good to know that Golden State institutions are providing a high quality academic experience  - however that's measured 





Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Aloysius de Gonzaga was an Italian aristocrat who became a member of the Society of Jesus, a religious order he founded, with the motto; Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (To the greater glory of God.)

While still a student at the Roman College, he died as a result of caring for the victims of a serious epidemic. He was beatified in 1605 and canonized in 1726.






A
precocious child, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga had a spiritual awakening at the age of 7. As a young adult, and after a prolonged battle with his father, he entered the Jesuits where he had to learn to live and maneuver within community, and give up some of his independent ways of doing things. Aloysius helped nurse patients of the plague which he caught and from which he died.


 Bishop Robert Barron includes Saint Aloysius Gonzaga as one of 12 Pivotal Players  in his book The Pivotal Players, "because at a crucial time in the history of the Church, when Western Christianity was coming apart, Ignatius established a religious order with the organization, zeal and military discipline required to meet the challenge. The little band of brothers that he formed in the student dormitories of the University of Paris grew eventually into a religious family that has served the mission of the Church across the world foe the past five centuries."




Bishop Barron compares the impact of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga to his contemporaries writing "Though superficially his life seemed comparatively little moments, he has had an impact greater and more lasting than some of the best-known of his contemporaries: Charles V of Spain, Henry VIII of England, even Martin Luther and John Calvin. He effected this influence first through the establishment of the Jesuit order, which even in Ignatius' lifetime had become a powerful force in Europe and beyond and which today spans the globe, and second, through his masterpiece The Spiritual Exercise, which for the past five centuries has taught people how to commune with God and to find true freedom."



O God, giver of heavenly gifts, who in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga joined penitence to a wonderful innocence of life, grant through his merits and intercession, that, though we have failed to follow him in innocence, we may imitate him in penitence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Gavin Newsom Angry Louisiana is not like California

An enraged Gavin Newsom went to Twitter this morning casting aspersions on Lousiana, because Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry signed a bill into law yesterday that makes it the only state in the U.S. required to have the Ten Commandments on display in every public school classroom.


The facts indicate that governor Landry is Spot on, and governor Newsom is clueless.






Newsom thinks that instead of worrying about the Ten Commandments, Landry should be more concerned about fighting crime, inaccurately arguing that Louisiana has the worse crime in the nation. He who controls the chart of accounts controls the narrative. He who controls the narrative and the legacy media controls the people. He who controls the people can cancel the past. And the FBI has been cooking the books for a long time, aided and abetted by the Legacy Media.


 
The FBI’s own Hate Crime Statistics Report show who is more likely to commit a hate crime. It shows that parents who show up at school board meetings are not likely to be terrorists. 

Neither are Mass-attending Catholics, or those who display patriotic symbology  or Pro-Life Advocates.

Nevertheless, Attorney General Garland sends the FBI to “protect” school boards. The FBI knows which public officials spew hate and call for violence against the police:


 Mr Anh Le was savagely beaten with a bat by two people in Chinatown. Despite the high Hate Crime rate in the city, The San Francisco DA plea-deal so the  perpetrators did no get jail time – he had to sue to get justice


Consider two rioters who were responsible for burning down the Wendy’s in Atlanta during the BLM riots, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and two counts of first-degree arson. Their punishment? Chisom Kingston and Natalie White will have to pay a $500 fine, 150 hours of community service and 5 years of probation. For reference, this is the same Fulton County where President Donald Trump was charged with 13 felony counts and facing a maximum of 76.5 years in prison.


 Why the Ten Commandments?


At The Great March on Washington, held in DC August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech in which he called for an end to racism and racial segregation. I Have a Dream, is quintessentially American: inspired by the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address.

 

MLK Jr. death cleared the way for the uber progressive Warren Court's Decision (1963) - the Court found that teaching children about wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord., charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity was too radical, and all hell broke lose. A decade later Roe v. Wade entered the picture.


Using analysis tools like the Ishikawa Cause-Effect Diagram, the Pareto Rule, Security Professionals' Attack Tree and or Occam's Razor, they all suggest that after the uber progressive Warren SCOTUS (1963) decision, we have had A mental health crisis. Infanticide turned into Black Genocide. .

African American nuclear family has joined the Sea Turtles in the extinct list. 80% of AA kids are raised in fatherless homes. AIDS epidemic. Opiod crisis, We have a fatherlesssness crisis, A Girlhood Crisis, A Trans Crisis, Obesity crisis
 



Since then,  California had became the number one Global Fentanyl Consumer, number one Child Exploitation in the state and 43rd in education.




Did I tell you California is broke?
The facts indicate that governor Landry is Spot on, and governor Newsom is clueless.


















Belief -Action Gap Index

The Belief- Action Gap Index also known as the cognitive dissonance index (C D I) is the gap between the person's beliefs versus her action.

When a person consistently does what she beliefs, the dissonance is non-existent. A typical politician will rarely walk the talk, for example.



In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is described as the mental disturbance people feel when their beliefs and actions are inconsistent and contradictory, ultimately encouraging some change (often either in their beliefs or actions) to align better and reduce this dissonance. There's no evidence this is the case with politicians and or lawyers.

 Relevant items of information include peoples' actions, feelings, ideasbeliefsvalues, and things in the environment. Cognitive dissonance is typically experienced as psychological stress when persons participate in an action that goes against one or more of those things. According to this theory, when an action or idea is psychologically inconsistent with the other, people do all in their power to change either so that they become consistent. The discomfort is triggered by the person's belief clashing with new information perceived, wherein the individual tries to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gavin Newsom Wants Phones Out Of School, After He Brought AI to Schools


With great panache, in a post on Twitter, California Governor Gavin Newsome shared a Politico headline writing: "It’s time to limit the use of smartphones during the school day. When our kids are in school, they should be focused on learning -- not their screens."






Meanwhile the New York Post reports:  "The Los Ageles School District, Second-largest school district in US creates ‘Phone-Free School Day’ that bans devices — even during breaks, in an effort to quell rising youth anxiety and cyberbullying.

“When I talk to teachers and students and parents … I also hear the same, which is that more and more time is being spent on policing student phone use. There’s not a coherent enforcement and they’re looking for some support from the board and from the district,” Nick Melvoin, the LAUSD school board member who spearheaded the ban, told ABC 7.


After Los Angeles Unified School District launched ED, characterized as 'a Pioneering Learning Acceleration AI Platform to Improve Student Achievement,' a “personal assistant,” to help them with everyday tasks and remind them about school work when they forget. "The tool, named Ed, is the first of its kind in the nation and will be able to accommodate students verbally and on screen in 100 languages."as reported by  EdSource's Mallika Seshadari.

After artificial intelligence tools were linked to declining intqellectual performance and memory loss. Students tend to turn to ChatGPT, a generative artificial intelligence tool, when faced with increased academic workload and time constraints, according to new research published in the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. The study also reveals a concerning trend: reliance on ChatGPT is linked to procrastination, memory loss, and a decline in academic performance. These findings shed light on the role of generative AI in education, sIuggesting both its widespread use and potential drawbacks.

Earlier this week, EdSource's Diana Lambert reported "Teachers work more hours with a lower average base pay than other working Americans with similar vocations, according to a national Rand survey released today. The flawed in the survey is "similar vocations,' as shown by the National Education Association found California's teachers and professors had the highest average salaries in the U.S.

Using Simon Sinek's Golden Circle, teachers who complain about overwork, salary and stress, should not be teaching:



A majority (72%) of eighth graders were not proficient in math and a majority of fourth graders were not proficient in reading in recent years, according to a new report cited by King5.com


And another study ranks California 35th in education



Universities in Oregon are saying the costs of operating a higher education institution are becoming more and more overwhelming.But Compare the increase in the cost of college with the increase in the Consumer Price Index, the cost of medical care, and the cost of a new car over the last 41 years. While medical costs have risen at almost two and a half times the rate of inflation, the cost of college tuition and fees has exceeded inflation by more than four times!



Meanwhile the teachers unions and Propagandists created $1.7 Trillion in student debt worth of useless degrees.

So, who is to blame for disastrous academic performance? Technology, such as smartphones in schools as Gavin Newsom argues? Overworked, stressed and underpaid teachs as the research published in the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education indicates or is it mercenary, vocationless teachers as the research by similar vocations,' as shown by the National Education Association indicates?

What is clear is that there's a growing body of research showing self-serving research is highly suspect.



Thursday, June 13, 2024

True Christians be like Anthony

June 13th is the Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church. Portugal and the city of Padua, Italy, claim him as their patron saint, and he is invoked for the return of lost property. He is also the patron saint of sailors, fisherfolk, priests, and travelers. For his theological knowledge and missionary work, Anthony has been proclaimed a doctor of the church.



An Augustinian monk, inspired by the martyrdom of Franciscan missionarie while preaching to Muslims, Saint Anthony of Padua joined the Franciscans hoping to be a missionary. God had other plans for him. He became one of the outstanding philosopher/theologians of the Order.

Anthony was born in 1195 (13 years after St. Francis) in Lisbon, Portugal and given the name of Fernando at Baptism. His parents, Martin and Mary Bulhom, belonged to one of the prominent families of the city.

St. Anthony of Padua’s life is what every Christian’s life is meant to be; gives up worldly treasures, is a steady courage to face the ups and downs of life, the call to love and forgive, to be concerned for the needs of others, to deal with crisis great and small, and to have our feet solidly on the ground of total trusting love and dependence on God: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried." - G. K. Chesterton






Anthony's Epiphany

As a young priest Anthony' life took a radical turn, when the bodies of the first five Franciscan martyrs were returned from Morocco. They had preached in the mosque in Seville, almost being martyred at the outset, but the sultan allowed them to pass on to Morocco, where, after continuing to preach Christ to Muslims, despite repeated warnings, they were tortured and beheaded. Their remains were returned to Spain and in the presence of the queen and a huge crowd, their remains were carried in solemn procession to Anthony ’s monastery.

Such procession inspired Anthony to take a momentous decision: He went to the friary in Coimbra and said, “Brother, I would gladly put on the habit of your Order if you would promise to send me as soon as possible to the land of the Saracens, that I may gain the crown of the holy martyrs.” After some challenges from the prior of the Augustinians, he was allowed to leave that priory and receive the Franciscan habit, taking the name Anthony.

True to their promise, the Franciscans allowed Anthony to go to Morocco, to be a witness for Christ, and a martyr as well. But, as often happens, the gift he wanted to give was not the gift that was to be asked of him. He became seriously ill, and after several months realized he had to go home

But man proposes and God disposes (Proverbs 19:21) - 
Man Proposes, God Disposes is an 1864 oil-on-canvas painting by the English artist Edwin Landseer.


He never arrived. His ship ran into storms and high winds and was blown east across the Mediterranean. Months later he arrived on the east coast of Sicily. 


Still ailing, he wanted to attend the great Pentecost Chapter of Mats, called because the 3,000 friars could not be housed and slept on mats. Saint Francis was there, also sick. 

An ordination of Dominicans and Franciscans in 1222 was pivotal to illustrate Anthony''s gift, ked by the Holy Spirit: As they gathered for a meal, the provincial suggested that one of the friars give a short sermon. As you would guess, nobody volunteered, so Anthony was drafted. He was asked to give “just something simple,' hesitantly. That something simple sparked an unquenchable fire. He began to speak in a simple, artless way, but the fire within him became evident. His knowledge was unmistakable, but his holiness was what really impressed everyone present. Anthony’s quiet life of prayer and penance at the hermitage was exchanged for that of a public preacher. Francis heard of Anthony’s previously hidden gifts, and Anthony was assigned to preach in northern Italy.



Anthony traveled tirelessly in both northern Italy and southern France,  seeking  the cities where the heretics were strongest. His sermons used honey rather than vinegar. According to historian Sophronius Clasen, Anthony preached "the grandeur of Christianity." Anthony wanted to win them to the right, the healthiness of real sorrow and conversion, the wonder of reconciliation with a loving Father.


Liturgy of the hour

Almighty ever-living God, who gave Saint Anthony of Padua to your people as an outstanding preacher and an intercessor in their need, grant that, with his assistance, as we follow the teachings of the Christian life, we may know your help in every trial. Liturgy of the Hours, June 13th, 2024 Concluding Prayer.




Saturday, June 08, 2024

Free Markets, Creativity, Art, Fake Art and Genuine Art

If we cannot label  art as either good or bad, because "there’s something to be learned and gained from every piece of art," even if that something is bad, should we say that angels and demons are not good or bad?

Creativity allows us to view and solve problems more openly and with innovation. Creativity opens the mind. A society that has lost touch with its creative side is an imprisoned society, in that generations of people may be closed minded. It broadens our perspectives and can help us overcome prejudices. A creative person has the ability to invent and develop original ideas, especially in the arts. While the The 1984 Republican Platform tries to encorage creativity using  a Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger paraphrase:  "The arts and humanities flourish in the private sector, where a free market in ideas is the best guarantee of vigorous creativity," it leaves out an important prequisisite -  vigorous debate."For a free society to prosper, a marketplace of ideas is required, vigorous debate is encouraged and the best ideas emerge victorious" - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Not long ago, vigorous debate used to take place in universities. Now the universities have become indoctrination and propaganda distribution centers, where propaganda in the broadest sense is the technique of influencing human action by the manipulation of representations. 

Vigorous debate is not found in social media, television, mainstream media or even on the halls of Congress.  Why? Because , he who controls the chart of accounts controls the narrative. He who controls the narrative and the legacy media controls the people and the establishment  controls the media.




Scholarly interest in creativity is found in a number of disciplines, primarily psychologybusiness studies, and cognitive science. However, it is also present in education, the humanities (including philosophy and the arts), theology, and the social sciences (such as sociology, linguistics, and economics), as well as engineeringtechnology, and mathematics. These disciplines cover the relations between creativity and general intelligence, personality type, mental and neural processes, mental health, and artificial intelligence; the potential for fostering creativity through education, training, leadership, and organizational practices; the factors that determine how creativity is evaluated and perceived; the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning; and the fostering of creativity for national economic benefit. According to Harvard Business School, it benefits business by encouraging innovation, boosting productivity, enabling adaptability, and fostering growth.

What is good art? 

Art is creating something out of something that already exists, for good, or bad.

The Catholic Catechism (279)
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Holy Scripture begins with these solemn words. The profession of faith takes them up when it confesses that God the Father almighty is "Creator of heaven and earth" (Apostles' Creed), "of all that is, seen and unseen" (Nicene Creed). We shall speak first of the Creator, then of creation and finally of the fall into sin from which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to raise us up again."

While  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger explains “Life is not just a succession of events or experiences. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this – in truth, in goodness and in beauty – that we find happiness and joy.” 

Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents, Adam and Eve,  lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".The Church teaches (CCC 391) that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."

Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial intermediaries between God and humanity. Other roles include protectors and guides for humans, and servants of God. Abrahamic religions describe angelic hierarchies, which vary by religion and sect. Some angels have specific names (such as Gabriel or Michael) or titles such as seraph or archangel. Those expelled from Heaven are called fallen angels, distinct from the heavenly host. Angels in art are usually shaped like humans of extraordinary beauty. They are often identified in Christian artwork with bird wings, halos and divine light.

Some argue against labeling art as either good or bad, because "there’s something to be learned and gained from every piece of art."  Would that be the same argument for labeling angels and demons good and bad angels?

Kurt Vonnegut, in A Man Without a Country encourages the arts: "If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."

Dominick Albano, director of digital engagement for The Catholic Telegraph, credirs Vonnegut’s advice for changing his life. "Kurt Vonnegut’s 2005 New York Times bestselling book, A Man Without a Country, changed my life. Without this book, I don’t know that I would have published two books, recorded an album, painted original works (that only my mother could love), written poetry or even if I would be writing this article."

Other labels used to classify art, include:Imitationalism- Art is good when it imitates reality. Not only does imitationalism lacks creativity and originality, Oscar Wilde said that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
The NYT previously got a Pulitzer Prize for Fake News, why not the National Medal of Arts for some of these movies? 


Formalism- Art is good when it masters the artistic elements and principles. According to The Art Story, 

Formalism is a critical and creative position which holds that an artwork's value lies in the relationships it establishes between different compositional elements such as color, line, and texture, which ought to be considered apart from all notions of subject-matter or context.  Not sure about the critical or creative part. Formalism sounds more like a PowerPoint presentation where form is more important than content, yet the planning is more important than the plan. Churchill said, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential,”



Instrumentalism- Art is good when it communicates a message. Political cartoon try to communicate a message and some do so succinctly.

Simon Sinek argues his Golden Circle explains why some leaders are able to inspire, while others aren’t. Likewise, the Golden Circle of Hate explains why some leaders are able to promote hate. And if Sinek is right, the reason the Anti-Semitic message is so sticky and motivational is because it’s simple to communicate: “God is Love. Allah is Hate:”

Emotionalism -Art is good when it evokes an emotional response. The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers insight into the experience of emotion: “The passions are natural components of the human psyche; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses and the life of the mind” (CCC 1764).  Our emotions aren’t that extra dose of a chemical that God mistakenly threw into the mix when creating us. As inconvenient as a bad mood may be, God created us with emotions for a reason, because through them, He communicates with us. Our passions are like a speed dial communication between our senses and our mind and God can use them to help us respond to the world around us:  The term "passions" belongs to the Christian patrimony. Feelings or passions are emotions or movements of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil." (CCC 1763

The Catechism makes clear that it’s not what we feel but what we choose to do with our feelings that matters: 
In themselves passions are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, ‘either because they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way.’ It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason (CCC 1767).

To a certain extent, what we feel is out of our control. What is in our control, though, is how we handle these feelings. 

Paraphrasing Pope Francis, The Holy Spirit inspires creativity and simplicity. Shibui” is used to describe an aesthetic principle that values simplicity and the subtle beauty of minimalism. The seven essential factors of shibui are simplicity, implicitness, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness, and imperfection."


Genuine Art vs Fake Art


Should Louis-Dreyfus get a National Award for the Arts?

Is her performance good art? Genuine Art or Fake Art? Not that there's anything wrong with that.  The #NYT got a Pulitzer Prize for Fake News.


Is AI-assisted or God-assisted?

Is it transformational or merely entertaining: satisfying.The truly beautiful does not merely entertain; rather it invades, chooses and changes the one to whom it deigns to appear.

Is it affirmation of moral greatness?

Is it affirmation of artistic greatness?

Is it affirmation of theological greatness?

Does it evoke and glorify, in faith and adoration, the transcendent mystery of God?


Majestic creation points to a Creator




This spiritual beauty of God is reflected in the most holy Virgin Mother of God, the angels, and saints.



A Miracle of Life

Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.

If we cannot label  art as either good or bad, because "there’s something to be learned and gained from every piece of art," even if that something is bad, should we say that angels and demons are not good or bad?



Friday, June 07, 2024

Raising children, Is it the Where or Is it the How?


Raising children in the best possible environment is a solid reason to relocate, according to New York Times' Michael Kolomatsk




He writes "But today’s tough real estate market has slowed migration. In 2023, about 26 million people moved, way down from nearly 43 million in 2019, according to the Census Bureau. All the more reason for parents to carefully consider local resources, support systems, living and other attributes when researching a new city."

Meanwhile; WalletHub's Adam McCann writes "With families in mind, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 45 key metrics that consider essential family dynamics, such as the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation. While not perfect — given personal preferences and the limitations of publicly available data — our findings will hopefully give movers a better sense of their options. According to McCann the Top 5 Places to Raise a Family in 2024 are Fremont, CA, p 1Overland Park, KS, Irvine, CA, Plano, TX, and Seattle, WA."


Washington State and particularly Seattle, have not only seen the biggest influx of college-educated Americans, but Seattle is the least-religious large metro area and passing the bar exam will no longer be a requirement for becoming a lawyer in Washington. It turns out

Washington not only has several student loan forgiveness programs that are specific to just the State of Washington, but residents can also qualify for various Federal student loan forgiveness programs. Consistent with the Law of Bilk; Residents who want to bilk the system go where they are welcomed and stay where they are protected and well treated.




Is this why McCann has Seattle as a top place to raise children? Shouldn't McCann not offer full disclosure and say "Top 5 Places to Raise a Family Like Mine" in 2024?






Louisa Ballhaus,, writing for SheKnows, explains that .." a surprising number of A-list actresses have gone on a similar trajectory when they have kids. Over the years, some of Hollywood’s hottest leading ladies have opted to turn a corner when they became moms for the first time, turning down movie roles they previously would have leapt at and finding that nothing felt quite as fulfilling as being home with their kids for all the little moments," that includes Eva Mendes, Jennifer Garner, and Demi Moore.



Mark Wahlberg and Durham, married in August 2009,  share daughters Ella, 20, and Grace, 14, and sons Michael, 17, and Brendan, 15 moved from Hollywood to Las Vegas in 2022 so "... my kids can thrive and do their thing and pursue their interests," the actor told PEOPLE. And apparently the mice was fruitful.  In an update to PEOPLE one year after the relocation, the actor said his family was happy and thriving in their new digs. "Everybody's adapted nicely. The kids are all out at school, and everybody's happy," he shared.




Jack Hobbs, writing for the New York Post, thinks that "while many dream of moving to Los Angeles and finding stardom, some A-list celebs ultimately flee Hollywood for a quieter and more private life.  Mark Wahlberg, Dean Cain and Nicole Kidman are just some stars who have made the move over the years..While Wahlberg, 52, escaped Hollywood for his family, others have claimed that the change has improved their “quality of life.”"


In his piece, Hobbs includes a number of celebrities who have escaped Hollyeood over the years, first various reasons.



AP's Isabella Volmert worries that  teaching children about wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord., charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity may be hazardous to children: "An Ohio nonprofit that provides off-site Bible instruction to public school students during classroom hours says it will triple its programs in Indiana this fall after new legislation forced school districts to comply."





Brings up the question, is it the place that matters when raising children, or is it the how? 

At The Great March on Washington, held in DC August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech in which he called for an end to racism and racial segregation. I Have a Dream, is quintessentially American: inspired by the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address.

MLK Jr. death cleared the way for the uber progressive Warren Court's Decision (1963) - the Court found that teaching children about wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord., charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity was too radical, and all hell broke lose. A decade later Roe v. Wade entered the picture.

Using analysis tools like the Ishikawa Cause-Effect Diagram, the Pareto Rule, Security Professionals' Attack Tree and or Occam's Razor, they all suggest that after the uber progressive Warren SCOTUS (1963) decision, we have had A mental health crisis. Infanticide turned into Black Genocide. African American nuclear family has joined the Sea Turtles in the extinct list. 80% of AA kids are raised in fatherless homes. AIDS epidemic. Opiod crisis, We have a fatherlesssness crisis, A Girlhood Crisis, A Trans Crisis, Obesity crisis and so on.

Seems like the question is not whether to relocate to the best possible environment to raise children, but to first determine how we want our children to turn out, then find the best possible way to teach children to develop their full potential.