Exorcist and Solar Eclipse…Open Thread

Vintage Chicken Little Book

It is a lazy Saturday, and here in Banjoville, the humidity and heat is causing thunderstorms to build.  I sit here trying to keep my eyes open, and since it is imperative that I stay awake, y’all are going to get a post with some news links that are making headlines.

‘Exorcist’ author, William Peter Blatty, to sue Georgetown University in Catholic court

Sebelius, who addressed graduating public policy students on Friday (May 18), has been criticized by conservative Catholics for approving a mandate that requires many religious institutions to cover employees’ birth control costs. The Archdiocese of Washington called the Sebelius invitation “shocking.”

Blatty, 85, credits a Georgetown scholarship with fostering his writing career, which includes an Academy Award for “The Exorcist,” a blockbuster based on his best-selling 1971 novel. In the book and movie, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown, the nation’s oldest Catholic university, struggles to save a demon-possessed girl. Now retired, Blatty lives in Bethesda, Md.

“What I owe Georgetown, however, is nothing as compared to what Georgetown owes to its founders and the Christ of faith,” Blatty said in a statement.

That is interesting, what is it with these old white guys who have a problem with a woman’s health issue, but no concerns about the sex abuse that is being covered up by the Vatican.

The author says that Georgetown has violated church teaching for decades by inviting speakers who support abortion rights and refusing to obey instructions the late Pope John Paul II issued in 1990 to church-affiliated colleges and universities.

Georgetown should amend its ways or stop calling itself a Catholic or Jesuit institution, Blatty said.

A media spokesperson for Georgetown did not respond Friday to a request for comment. On its website, the university says, “Catholicism’s rich and diverse intellectual tradition is central to Georgetown’s academic life.”

In response to criticism of the Sebelius speech, Georgetown president John J. DeGioia said this week that the university is “committed to the free exchange of ideas” even if it does not agree with all of them.

Blatty’s “indictment” against Georgetown charges the school with failing to recruit Catholic teachers and students, neglecting to instruct students in Catholic morality and failing to act in accord with church doctrine. He expects the suit to be filed in the Archdiocese of Washington’s court of canon law this fall.

I guess Catholic Morality does not apply to children who are molested by priest.

There has been some arrest today regarding a protest that was being planned for the G8 summit. Mystery over Bridgeport arrests: Molotov cocktails or brewing equipment?

As the NATO summit approached, Chicago police Friday continued to hold several people suspected of making Molotov cocktails but would say nothing about the arrests, adding to a growing mystery over the nature of the investigation.

Police earlier Friday released from custody — without charging — four of the nine people who were swept up in a late-night Wednesday raid of a Bridgeport apartment building. Two more were released Friday night without charges.

According to law enforcement sources and police reports obtained by the Tribune, the arrests were the result of a monthlong investigation into a group suspected of making Molotov cocktails — crude bombs usually created by filling glass bottles with gasoline.

But the National Lawyers Guild criticized the police raid, saying the nine NATO protesters only had beer-making equipment in their possession.

The nine range in age from their 20s to a 66-year-old grandfather with a heart condition. Several are affiliated with the Occupy movement and had arrived in Chicago in recent weeks from California, North Carolina, Massachusetts and elsewhere.

Details of the investigation remain murky.


Witnesses described police officers dressed all in black armed with battering rams and guns drawn swarming into the building, conducting warrantless searches and refusing to tell them what was going on.

One resident told the Tribune police taunted him and his roommate, repeatedly calling them communists and using anti-gay slurs.

I will just say that while reading In the Garden of Beast, there are some things going on here in the US that seem to mimic various “laws” that were issued in Germany in 1933…I highly recommend this book, a review from the New York Times can be found here.

In other news…Chinese Rights Activist on Flight to U.S.

Chinese human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng, whose case overshadowed high-level U.S.-China talks earlier this month, left Beijing for the U.S. with his wife and two children, headed for Newark, New Jersey.

That is good to hear.

And lastly, tomorrow morning there will be a solar eclipse for some of you in western US and Asia.

Solar Eclipse: ‘Ring of Fire’ Coming Sunday, May 20

Don’t look directly at it (not to sound like your elementary-school teacher), but plan on checking out a “ring of fire” partial eclipse on Sunday, May 20, if you live on the West Coast of North America.

In this weekend’s annular solar eclipse, the moon will slide in front of the sun and block 94% of its light. Because the moon is near apogee — the point in its orbit when it’s farthest away from Earth — it appears smaller to us and will cover most of the sun, leaving a ring of fiery light blasting the edges. (What, you thought it was a Johnny Cash reference?)

Personally when I think of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, I think of hemorrhoids.

Unfortunately for folks on the East Coast, the sun will have already set by the time the eclipse begins at 5:24 p.m. PDT. Those living in the central U.S. and Canada may miss the full ring-of-fire effect but will still get a partial eclipse. Viewers in Asia will also catch a glimpse in the early-morning hours of May 21. Check out NASA’s viewing map to get an idea of when and where you can get your best view.

Because an annular solar eclipse requires Earth, the moon and the sun to be in a particular alignment, the event is rare; this is the first such eclipse since 1994.

How to Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse – May 20 Annular Solar Eclipse

those lucky enough to be in a 185-mile-wide swath from northern California through western Texas will witness the sun transformed into a spectacular ring of fire in a rare event known as an annular eclipse.

The moon will be at nearly the farthest it travels from Earth during its 29.5-day elliptical orbit, so it will not block out the Sun fully, as during a total solar eclipse. Instead, the smaller-seeming moon will superimpose over the sun, eclipsing about 94 percent of its disc. An annular eclipse has not tracked over the U.S. in almost 18 years. “It’s pretty cool to be in a place where this symmetric circle of ordinary sunlight shines around the edge of the moon,” Williams College astronomer Jay Pasachoff says.

Safely viewing such an astronomical arrangement, however, requires caution and preparation. We often glance up at the full-bore sun, but for a very short time; our eyes instinctually look away from its big, bright disc. Yet when much of the sun is eclipsed, we can focus on the scene for hazardously lengthy periods. “Part of the everyday sun is still visible, so you shouldn’t look at it with your eyes unless you have protection,” Pasachoff says. “Just looking through sunglasses is not at all safe.” Staring at the sun unless it is completely eclipsed can cause permanent vision damage or even blindness.

So be sure to read those article, and take the right precautions if you are lucky enough to be in the view area.

This next link was something that is lighting up Memeorandum: NAACP Passes Resolution in Support of Marriage Equality | Press Room | NAACP

Guess this move is in response to the churches coming out against Obama last week.

(Miami, Florida) The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People today released a resolution supporting marriage equality. At a meeting of the 103-year old civil rights group’s board of directors, the organization voted to support marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.

“The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP.

The NAACP has addressed civil rights with regard to marriage since Loving v. Virginia declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional in 1967. In recent years the NAACP has taken public positions against state and federal efforts to ban the rights and privileges for LGBT citizens, including strong opposition to Proposition 8 in California, the Defense of Marriage Act, and most recently, North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which changed the state constitution’s to prohibit same sex marriage.

Below is the text of the resolution passed by the NAACP board of directors:

The NAACP Constitution affirmatively states our objective to ensure the “political, educational, social and economic equality” of all people. Therefore, the NAACP has opposed and will continue to oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the Constitutional rights of LGBT citizens. We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Further, we strongly affirm the religious freedoms of all people as protected by the First Amendment.

That is the full statement from the NAACP website.

This as an open thread, I will catch y’all later in the comments.

13 Comments on “Exorcist and Solar Eclipse…Open Thread”

  1. NW Luna says:

    Personally when I think of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, I think of hemorrhoids.

    Thought it referred to childbirth.

  2. ecocatwoman says:

    Terry Gross had a terrific interview with the author of In the Garden of Beasts. It was rerun recently since the book just came out in paperback. In case you missed it: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/04/151378813/the-u-s-ambassador-inside-hitlers-berlin

    Terry also had an interesting & scary story earlier this week with the author of Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/16/152818798/breasts-bigger-and-more-vulnerable-to-toxins

    This caught my eye when I was checking the current temperature online: http://www.weather.com/news/rocks-shorts-on-fire-20120518 The children of the woman burned had picked up the phosphorus coated rocks at a beach near Camp Pendleton.

    One final thought: If the bible thumpers got their way & Jesus did show up today, I don’t doubt he would end up in Gitmo. Preaching peace & love & throwing out the money-changers, why that’s downright UNAMERICAN!

    Thanks, JJ. Great roundup once again.

  3. The Rock says:

    That is interesting, what is it with these old white guys who have a problem with a woman’s health issue, but no concerns about the sex abuse that is being covered up by the Vatican.

    Hillary 2012