johnmac's rants

Monday, October 01, 2012

Algorithms Rule!

I have just posted a new entry on my OpenSalon Blog concerning our coming almost unrecognizable economy:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Elections and the Internet

I have a new article on Open Salon, dealing with the amount of influence that Internet postings, Facebook ramblings, and "Tweets" have on the electorate.

Comments are welcome.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Who Are We? Will We Wake Up?

The following column shows some of my frustration in our political process. In the 2004 election, we spent the majority of the campaign focused on whether GWB had shirked his Air National Guard Duty, effectively dodging the draft, and whether John Kerry really deserved his medals -- things that had happened (or not happened) over 30 years before! What about the issues of 2004?

It's easy to blame the media -- but we tolerated it -- because those things were easier to get excited about than the nuances of health care or theories of educational improvement. We have become a "sound byte electorate" and 2012 does not seem to promise a sea change in our mindset -- and we really need one!


Sister Simone Campbell

In the last few weeks, after hearing her on a number of platforms, I have become a big fan of Sister Simone Campbell and, since she has both had a meeting with Congressman / VP Nominee Paul Ryan and come out strongly against his budget, expect her to get a good deal of media coverage as the campaign progresses. While disagreeing with his budget, she has been respectful of him as a person (and says that he has reciprocated), saying "We both love America; we just disagree on what is best for the country."

The following links further provide background on her:

3 ·  · 

  • John F. McMullen Article on Health Care -- http://

    The health care law is too vital to be cast aside. With our thousands of member ...See More

  • John F. McMullen On the Colbert Report -- http://

    the-colbert-report-videos/415112/june-11-2012/radical-feminist-nuns---simone-campbell?redirect=true the-colbert-report-videos/


  • John F. McMullen Bio and Blog -- http://

    Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A National Catholic Socia...See More

  • The Start of the Campaign

    (johnmac -- The following is not the Open Salon posting -- you will have to go there to read it)

    We must demand that candidates treat us with respect and debate important issues. We must demand that the political parties deal with issues, rather than personalities and slurs -- and, we, the electorate, must prove ourselves worthy of such an approach.
    I disagree with Paul Ryan on most of his platform and budget -- but he brings an articulate and energetic presence to the election and the opportunity to debate the conflicting visions of President Obama and him.
    The only clear dissent from Ryan's approach that I have heard has come from "Nuns on the Bus" leader Sister Simone Campbell -- there have been attacks from various Democrats but only on specific points or through blanket platitudes. Sister Campbell's appearance on the Bill Moyers' show went further.
    I will do my best during the campaign to keep my comments on a high level and I hope that others will too.

    Thursday, August 02, 2012

    For Profit Colleges

    This morning's The New York Times contains a news story on the report by the Harkin Committee on For-Profit Colleges:

    Nuns, Vatican, & Melinda Gates

    I have put a number on links on my Facebook page ( to current articles from the National Catholic Reporter  ( relating to the Vatican's "War on the American Nuns" as well as the recent public comments on Melinda Gates.  Those links follow a link to what I thought was an outstanding interview on the role of nuns in the US on WNYC (NY) today:
    Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director of Network, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, talks about being a progressive voice in the Catholic community, this summer’s nine-state Nuns on the Bus tour, and what the Vatican’s recent rebuke of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious means for the mission of nuns in this country.
    (this is the audio -- )

    Now to the NCR stories:

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    Mountain Lion

    I have installed it -- so far no problems

    Apple Introduces "Mountain Lion"

    Some Reviews (From My Facebook Page --

    Edward C. Baig:

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Dispatches From the World of Creative Disruption

    I have just posted some links on Open Salon

    More examples of improved efficiency, reduced cost (to the business), and ....job loss.

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    An Inwood Tale: Ellen Mulderrig

    My Roman Catholic Church and My Episcopal Catholic Church

    I've been going to both my Roman Catholic Parish, "St. Elizabeth Ann Seton", and my local Episcopal Church, "St. Mary's", for a few months. The liturgies are very similar and both pastors are extremely welcoming. Services at St. Mary's are attended by about 1/15 the crowd at Seton -- so one gets a different sense of community at each. Both parishes have active laity and they work together in a local "Food Pantry" and "Midnight Run" operation, distributing food to the poor.

    The homilies at St. Mary's are universally exceptional as they, during most of the year, are all delivered by one person, the Rector and only Clergy staff. During her vacation, her place was taken by another terrific homilist (and another woman) -- the homilies at Seton vary in interest to me as there is a staff of three priests, each with a different presentation style and focus. I went to both this weekend and found the Seton homily very good -- and the St. Mary's one better.

    I now have strong ties to both -- my poetry has appeared in the St. Mary's Journal and I'm active in fundraising at Seton. The Roman Church is the church of my upbringing and, despite many differences with various teachings, I have regularly attended services since childhood. The Episcopal Church, on the other hand, is usually a more peaceful environment for me -- I can concentrate on the Christian message without the distraction of all the things in the Catholic Church that I'm greatly annoyed by -- the coverups, the lawsuit about contraception, the vociferous opposition to she sex marriage, the absence of female and married priests, etc., etc., etc.

    .. and my spiritual journey goes on

    An Inwood Tale: "Chickie" Goes To War


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