2

ObamaCare Update

Government Health Care

[Update at the bottom as of 7:39 pm CST for 8-21-2009 AD]

President Obama’s Health Care push has suffered a couple of setbacks.  First they removed the end-of-life provision and Obama Joker Poster Artist Exposed As Liberal-Leaning Palestiniannow the President has removed the public option.

The Democrat and Liberal attempts at demonizing the American people having failed, President Obama could be beginning to understand that we don’t want socialized medicine.

Now come reports that the Obama Joker poster artist is a left-wing extremist, and a Dennis Kucinich supporter to boot.  Not the white, conservative, racist that the mainstream media was accusing the artist of being.

In other news CBS News has reported that the liberal-oriented A.A.R.P. has lost approximately 60,000 members since the video showing an A.A.R.P. representative belittling members at a town hall meeting.  The American Seniors Association has gained 5,000 new members, a rival organization to the A.A.R.P. and significantly less liberal.

CBS News reported that the A.A.R.P. response to the exodus of members as ‘with 40 million members that adds hundreds of thousands each month, losing 60 thousand is just a drop in the bucket.’

Update I:  I forgot to place the American Seniors Association weblink here.

Update II: The 60 Plus Association is experiencing a spike in members following A.A.R.P.’s endorsement of ObamaCare.

6

What We Are Learning About Obama From the Health Care Debacle

Obama Puzzle

I think one of the facts about Obama that will puzzle future historians is how a man so little known to the American public managed to win the White House.  The ObamaCare debacle has given us a grand opportunity to fill in the blanks regarding this man who came to the White House after just four years in the national spot light.  Much of what we have learned merely confirms what observant Obama watchers have already suspected, although confirmation is always useful.  Here is some of what I think we have learned about our President.

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"50 Best Catholic films of all time"

William Park (InsideCatholic.com) lists, in his judgement, “the fifty best Catholic movies of all time”.

Some readers, myself included, were very surprised by the absence of The Mission. A magnificent cast (including Robert DeNiro, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson); a play by Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons) — it has, in my estimation, one of the most powerful illustrations of penance and forgiveness in cinema.

The Mission deservedly won seven Academy Awards, and made the top 15 films under ‘Religion’ selected by the Vatican, commemorating 100 years of cinema.

So why didn’t it make the list? — the author doesn’t offer much of an explanation, save that “Bolt’s screenplay for The Mission looks at the Church from the point of view of Dostoevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor.” Steven D. Greydanus, however, explores the complexities and ambiguities of The Mission for DecentFilms.com.

Question for our readers: do you agree with the list? — Do you agree with Warren’s list? Any notable omissions? What would you have selected?

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Government Health Care Means Rationed Health Care

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air for the above video which was produced by the Independence Institute.  As Barabara Wagner learned, the Oregon Health Plan would pay for her to kill herself but will not pay for Tarceva to fight her lung cancer.  But that’s just Oregon, maybe ObamaCare wouldn’t ration health care? Continue Reading

1

The Loss of Limits… the End of Art

A priest friend and I are reading through Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ posthumously-published work, American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile, and it’s been an enjoyable read thus far, even in the places where I disagree with the author.

For the purposes of this post, I wanted to share a citation which I found very intriguing regarding the impact on art of modernity’s flight from anything which might be remotely conceived of as limitation.

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Faithful Catholic college faces lawsuit over refusal to provide contraception

The president of a small Catholic college said Friday he would rather close the school’s doors than violate the church’s teachings on contraception — Ben Conery of the Washington Times has the story:

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that Belmont Abbey College violated discrimination laws because the school’s employee health insurance plan does not cover contraception, according to a letter the EEOC sent to the school.

“I hope it would never get this far,” college President William K. Thierfelder told The Washington Times, “but if it came down to it we would close the college before we ever provided that.”

The factual conclusion reached by the EEOC could be a precursor to the commission filing a federal discrimination lawsuit against the college. (More).

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3

Google Is Watching Out For You!

From the only reliable news source on the net, the Onion.  In these days of the White House spamming people with unsolicited e-mails from the master of astroturfing, David Axlerod, in praise of Obamacare, perhaps the concept of privacy is a quaint 20th century notion.  However, there may be a way to have Google protect the privacy of its users.  Bribe the leadership of the People’s Republic of China (Red China) to require it.  Google has a history of giving lap-dog like obedience to edicts issued from Peking.

Update:  The White House has announced that, “We are implementing measures to make subscribing to e-mails clearer, including preventing advocacy organizations from signing people up to our lists without their permission when they deliver petition signatures and other messages on individual’s behalf,” spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a statement tonight.  Translation from Obamaspeak:   “We thought we could get away with simply spamming everybody whose e-mail address we have.  Now that there is a fuss we’ll blame outside groups and pretend we are not at fault.”

1

Saint John Damascene: First Sermon on the Assumption

The Assumption

The first sermon of Saint John Damascene on the Assumption of the Mother of God:

[147] THE memory of the just takes place with rejoicing, said Solomon, the wisest of men; for precious in God’s sight is the death of His saints, according to the royal* David. If, then, the memory of all the just is a subject of rejoicing, who will not offer praise to justice in its source, and holiness in its treasure-house? It is not mere praise; it is praising with the intention of gaining eternal glory. God’s dwelling-place does not need our praise, that city of God, concerning which great things were spoken, as holy.† David addresses it in these words: “Glorious things are said of thee, thou city of God.” What sort of city shall we choose for the invisible and uncircumscribed God, who holds all things in His hand, if not [148] that city which alone is above nature, giving shelter without circumscription* to the supersubstantial Word of God? Glorious things have been spoken of that city by God himself. For what is more exalted than being made the recipient of God’s counsel, which is from all eternity? Continue Reading

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Coming to America

new-york-ellis-island1221413744
The US is a nation of immigrants, and as such, many of us grew up with stories of how our ancestors came here. In what I hope can be a friendly, Friday-afternoon atmosphere, the purpose of this thread is to allow people to tell stories about how and when their ancestors came to the US.

I can trace back three stories, some sketchier than others:

Irish Story
famine My paternal grandmother’s family all Irish stock from County Cork, who’d left during the Great Famine in the 1840s and settled in Iowa. Several men out of the next generation served the Union in the Civil War, and two generations after that, twin brothers Clare and Clarence, both priests, served as chaplains for US soldiers in the Great War. One of their sisters served as a nurse in the war as well.
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We Are Americans, Not Europeans

Isn’t it obvious that most of our American ancestors came over from Europe because they wanted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  They fled totalitarian regimes, socialist governments, and anti-Christian repression for the freedom that is afforded all Americans.

We have the best health care in the world precisely because it is not operated by the government.  Private industry drives innovation, government regulation or government-run health care eliminates innovation, awards bureaucrats, and ultimately leads to marginal health care in the long run.

We are Americans, not Europeans.  Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.  What Europeans have is not necessarily right nor good.

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Sleeping Giant Awakes and Democrats Blink

Today Senator Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said that senators are excluding a provision on end-of-life care from the House bill.  This is a major victory for ordinary Americans.

As senior citizens voice their displeasure with “death-panels” and other provisions in the House bill, the Democrat leaders are grudgingly realizing that maybe, just maybe, some provisions in their House bill will not pass with the American public.

The most recent polls show that the demonizing tactics of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi have failed to cover the growing grassroots activism that is rising among ordinary Americans.

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Whole Foods Health Care

Whole Foods is headquartered here in Austin, TX, and I know a fair number of people who’ve worked there. The general consensus seems to be that it’s a good company to work for (so long as you’re comfortable with the “crunchy” culture) with especially good benefits for a food retail chain. So I was interested to see a piece in yesterday’s WSJ by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey advocating an approach to health care reform more similar to the benefits Whole Foods provides its employees. Although Whole Foods is seen as a progressive employer, Mackey’s suggestions are more along the lines of what innovative libertarians and conservatives have suggested for health care reform. (If the GOP scores a tactical victory in staving off the many bad ideas in the current health care reform proposal, one hopes they will exert themselves to actually bring something to the table this time, perhaps along these lines.) Extracting his main proposals:

Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:
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7

The Scarlet and The Black

Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty

Here, at 8:39, in my opinion, is one of the more profound observations on film about the Catholic Church and History.  The evil that men do make many a blood stained page of History, but the Church survives throughout History as Caesars, Emperors, Kings, Prime Ministers, Presidents, Commissars, Fuhrers, Caudillos, Duces, General Secretaries, would be fake messiahs, etc, pass away.

The Scarlet and the Black (1983) is one of the better films dealing with the Catholic Church.  Gregory Peck is brilliant as Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican, who during World War 2, hid 4000 escaped Allied POWs and Jews from the Nazi occupiers of Rome.  Christopher Plummer gives the performance of his career as Obersturmbanfuhrer (Colonel) Herbert Kappler, the head of the Gestapo in Rome.  John Gielgud gives a stunningly good performance as Pius XII.  At one point when he confronts a Nazi delegation he merely stares at them with steely disdain until they get the hint and leave.  I imagine the actual Pius XII used a similar look of disdain when, on March 11, 1940, his response to a complaint by the Nazi  Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop that the Church was siding with the Allies, was to read to Von Ribbentrop a long list of atrocities committed by the Nazis in Poland, which had been compiled by the Church.  This is a superb film that should be seen by every Catholic.

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1

Karen Novak, 1938-2009

Joseph Bottum @ First Things, relays the sad news:

Karen Novak slipped away this morning—a great artist, a good friend, the beloved wife of Michael Novak, and convivial presence at so many of our events.

You can find some of her artwork described on her website. But even they don’t capture her fun, her spirit, or how much we will miss her.

Please keep Michael Novak and his family in your prayers.

6

Witches, Essays, Agriculture and More

I was thinking of writing a lengthy piece over lunch, when I wrote up my task list and realized that “lunch” needed to be no more than twenty minutes long. So instead, I present a number of pieces that struck me as interesting lately, but which I don’t have a whole post worth of things to say about.

InsideCatholic just reprinted a lengthy piece by medievalist Sandra Miesel discussing the realities of witch burning in the Middle Ages through “Age of Reason”. It’s an article well worth the time to read, avoiding both the slanders of anti-Catholics and the overly rosy rebuttals used by some apologists.

Entrepreneur Paul Graham has an interesting essay on what an essay should be, why people ought to write them, and how high school English classes do a pretty poor job of teaching people this skill. Continue Reading

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Anger and Astroturf

democrats_republicans_head_to_head_hg_wht

There are two observations I have noticed during this health care debate that President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been pushing.

One, there is anger from the American people concerning the direction and the destination of health care ‘reform’.  Genuine anger.  The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst.  Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue.  Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now.

Which leads to my second observation and the accusations that this grass roots opposition to health care ‘reform’ is being labeled as astroturf.  Due to the cooperation of the mainstream media in failing to provide unbiased programming of the health care debate in addition to leading Democrats from President Obama to House Speak Nancy Pelosi having mislabeled genuine American concern of government intrusion via health care ‘reform’ as artificial.  If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment.  Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012.  They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

Just my two cents worth.

2

Greatest Movie Pope

Hands down for me the best film portrayal of  a pope is Rex Harrison of Julius II in The Agony and the Ecstacy.   A sympathetic portrayal of the soldier pope, Harrison portrays him as strong, cunning, a biting wit, a true lover of the arts, and a man of deep faith who fears his service to God has been a failure.   Michelangelo was the master artist of his time, perhaps of all time, but he required a rough hewn pope to hold him to his task.

Here we see Michelangelo explaining to the Pope his conception for the ceiling.

At this link here we have the great Pope and the great Artist discussing art and faith in one of the more profound discussions to be found in a popular film.  The death bed revival of the Pope is also one of the more hilarious sequences to be found in a non-comedy!  I think both Michelangelo and the Pope would have been pleased by their portrayals in this film.  It does justice to both of them, and no subject of any work of art can ask for better.

8

I Really Hate This Part…

If I’ve seemed a bit reclusive on all the recent fuss over the health care bill, town hall meetings, etc., it’s because the debate over the current reform package has now entered the phase of American politics that I really don’t like. There’s an early stage in which ideas are discussed and bills are drafted. People try to put coallitions together, compromises are discussed, and various groups push their policy recommendations. That’s the realm I find interesting, and in my small corner of the blogsphere, I enjoy participating, in a strictly informal fashion, in the debate.

But then there’s a point when an actual bill (or bills) are on the table, and the democratic melee is let loose. Over the last week I’ve been reading Alessandro Barbero’s The Battle: A New History of Waterloo, and in light of that it strikes me that there’s a certain Napoleonic-battle aspect to all this. A month or two ago we were staring at maps and discussing the merits of different formations, but now everything is shrouded in smoke while innumerable combatants in this democratic struggle (most of whom, on both sides, honestly have a fairly rudimentary understanding of the overall debate) slug it out until we find out which side will hold the field and which will break and run.

In a democratic republic, this is a necessary part of our political process. Continue Reading

AARP Vice-President Denies Problems With Members

The American Association of Retired Persons, A.A.R.P., Vice-President Drew Nannis refused to apologize for how his organization treated their members in a recent town hall meeting.  In that town hall meeting, the A.A.R.P. representative refused to listen to the members and abruptly ended the meeting after what seemed to me as frustration on her part.

Drew Nannis referred to those A.A.R.P. members that voiced their disagreement with A.A.R.P.’s support of ObamaCare as “a bunch of people yelling.”

If you take Mr. Nannis’ word, he did say that they recently had another town hall meeting, which he refers to as a listening tour, in Dallas where the same moderator and many of the same members did meet and have a much more cordial exchange of views and ideas.

Philip Klein of The American Spectator noted A.A.R.P.’s cozy relationship with President Obama:

Its CEO, Barry Rand, who was a major Obama donor, has gotten cozy with the administration, and along with the rest of the top brass at the Washington headquarters, has decided to support liberal policies.

Clio and the Catholic Church

Clio Muse of History

Regular readers of this blog know that I have a deep love for History.  I am glad that many Catholic bloggers share my passion.  Pat McNamara has a fine blog, named, fittingly enough, McNamara’s Blog, here, dealing with Church history.  I have found his posts to be insightful, concise and gracefully written, and he is definitely worth a visit.  I love this quote from one of my favorite writers, that old Whig Thomas Babington Macaulay, that graces the side of his blog:  (I am giving the full quote): Continue Reading

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Nancy Pelosi Calls Protesters Un-American

[Updates at the bottom of this posting.  Most recent update at 6:54 pm CST 8-10-09]

Nancy Pelosi, the liberal Democratic Representative from San Francisco, wrote early this morning in a special USA Today Nancy Pelosi 1editorial that those protesting against government run health care are “un-American“.

It is clear to Representative Pelosi and her cohorts that the majority of Americans do not want further government intrusion into their lives, hence Mrs. Pelosi’s attempts at demonizing ordinary Americans.

Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.

She is referring to the many town hall meetings where Americans were voicing their displeasure to government run health care.  Deliberately smearing Americans for voicing their opinions.

Sadly, the mainstream media is doing their part in painting these town halls as darkly as possible, regardless of the evidence that SEIU goons, Blueshirts, have already attacked health care protesters.

Let’s wait until the 2010 congressional elections and see their opinions voiced in turning back European style socialism by voting these malefactors out of office.

Update I: House GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) ripped his Democratic counterparts Monday for labeling those disrupting lawmaker town halls as “un-American.”  Read the rest of this here.

Update II: The guy that beat up Mr. Gladney:

Elston K. McCowan is a former organizer – now the Public Service Director of SEIU Local 2000 – and board member of the Walbridge Community Education Center, and is a Baptist minister, has been a community organizer for more than 23 years, and now, he is running for Mayor of the City of St. Louis under the Green Party.

McCowan accused the Mayor of setting fire to his van . . . because that’s what big city mayors do in their spare time, I guess.  He also called [St Louis Mayor Francis] Slay a racist.  And, on election night, McCowan thanked the family who voted for him.  It was quite touching, actually.

McCowan is not a rank-and-file, card-carrying union guy.  He is a director with SEIU. He IS the union.  He ISSUES the cards. Andy Stern himself might as well have kicked Gladney.

Read the rest here.

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On Vacation

Family on Vacation

I am on vacation this week with my family.  My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent.  I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example:  Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or there is an alarming outbreak of common sense in the government, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.

Among other activities we will be attending the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds.  If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled.  If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are.  Last year’s attendance was in excess of 28,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events.  A good overview of Gen Con is here.  Below is a Gen Con video from 2006 which gives a nice feel of the convention.

I have been threatened with being tossed in the Klingon jail, a fixture at Gen Con, before but it hasn’t happened yet.  As long as I mind my manners at the convention, I will be back on line next Sunday.

klingon jail

20

Blueshirts, Pelosi, and Mobs, Oh My!

It’s been an interesting week in the world of American politics.  With the arrogance of congressional Democrats and the White House attempts at discrediting a grassroots movement, the passions will certainly continue to climb after the weekend is over.

Here are some highlights from these past few days:

1. At a town hall last week in Dallas, an elderly “mob” with “manufactured” outrage questioned AARP’s support for nationalized health care, asking: “Do you work for us or do we work for you?”

There were no swastika-wearing grannies at Tuesday’s meeting, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might claim. Nor were they “taking their cues from talk show hosts, Internet rumor-mongers . . . and insurance rackets,” as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said.

But they were mad as hell at the perception that AARP was selling them out in the name of government-run medical insurance. That perception was not helped when the AARP town hall on the subject was shut down by the seniors outfit once the members dared to ask questions. The AARP representatives did not want to hear from the members at all. Just send in your dues, granny, and be quiet.

To read the rest of this IDB Editorial click here.

2. You’ve heard a lot about this crazy, scary, vicious mob on some shadowy GOP payroll. By the way the DNC, Rachel Maddow, and President Obama talk, you’d think it was a motley crue of Hell’s Angels.

Let me introduce you to the mob:

scary mob 1

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Evangelization in a Wired World – Pope Benedict and Social Networking

According to Rachel Wagner (“Sacred Texting: When Religious Writ Gets Wired” Religion Dispatches Oct. 23, 2008), Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to use SMS (“short message service”) technology, sending out a “papal thought of the day” to Italian mobile phone users.

Upon his death in April 2005, Pope Benedict XVI followed suite — encouraging mourners with the admonition: “Let us go forth in the joy of the risen Lord and trusting in his permanent help”, and embracing “texting” during World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia.

Since that time, the Vatican has embraced the world of social-networking for the purposes of evangelization: Continue Reading

3

You May Be A Member of An Angry Mob If…

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy.

You may be a member of an angry mob if:

1.   You think your Congresscritter works for you and not the other way around.

2.   You’re real sure that the First Amendment protects your right to free speech.

3.   You believe that townhalls are something more than photo ops for members of Congress.

4.   You recall that the right to vigorous political debate is one of the reasons why this country was founded.

5.   You remember something in the First Amendment about the right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances.

6.   You have always regarded this picture as one of your favorite Norman Rockwell paintings:

Freedom of Speech

7.   You agree with President Reagan that one of the scariest phrases is, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

8.    You are pretty sure that a lot of brave Americans didn’t die for this country so you would just keep your mouth shut and do what you’re told.

9.   You strongly agree with this quote from George Washington:  “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

10.   You think that it might be a good idea for Congress men and women to actually read bills before they vote to make them laws.

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SEIU Blueshirts Attack Health Care Protestor

SEIU Blueshirts

[Updates at the bottom of this posting.  Most recent update at 7:41 pm CST]

On Thursday, August 6, the White House call to arms by Deputy Chief of Staff David Axelrod, “punch back twice as hard“, at the growing grass roots movement opposing government single-payer health care produced the first violent incident later in the day.  During a Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan at Bernard Middle School gym in south St. Louis County, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members dressed in dark purple shirts, though they look blue in the video below, attacked a black American protester by savagely beating him.  The protester ended up in the Emergency Room of St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.

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2

Book Review: Valkyrie

Valkyrie, The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by its Last Member is a fascinating book, though not primarily for reading about the Valkyrie plot itself. Other books have been written specifically about the plot, and I would imagine that from some of them you could find far more details about the plot itself. This book, a narrative of Philipp von Boeselager’s wartime experiences as he told them to Florence Fehrenbach (herself the granddaughter of another of the Valkyrie conspirators) a year before his von Boeselager’s death in 2008, is in many ways too close and personal a story to give the reader the most detailed possible understanding of the plot as a whole. So long as the reader understands this, Valkyrie is a fascinating window on the experiences of an honorable young man caught up in the Third Reich.

The son of an old Catholic family of minor nobility with a tradition of military service, Philipp credits his resistance to Nazi ideology in part to his school headmaster, Fr. Rodewyck, who had served as a German officer in the Great War before going into the Jesuits, and whom von Boeselager credits with having taught his young charges a German patriotism which was rooted in Christianity.
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1

Res et Explicatio for AD 8-7-2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York commended President Obama and the Democratic Party efforts inArchbishopDolan reforming Health Care.  He said this during the Knights of Columbus Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.  But his Grace gave this caveat that if reform…

“…leads to the destruction of life, then we say it’s no longer health care at all – it’s unhealthy care and we can’t be part of that.”

To accentuate this sentiment and as a warning to well meaning Catholics, Cardinal Levada explained that those that want to reform health care at any cost:

“[W]e do not build heaven on earth, we simply prepare the site to welcome the new Jerusalem which comes from God.”

2. Catholic convert Joe Eszterhas of Hollywood screenwriting fame, will be writing the screenplay for a movie aboutVirgen of Guadelupethe Virgin of Guadalupe.  Though no director nor a green light has been given on the go ahead of this movie project, the fact that Joe Eszterhas is writing the screenplay is newsworthy in itself because of the author himself is enough to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

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Townhalls Out of Control! The Unions to the Rescue!

Lots of videos of townhalls here where members of Congress face outraged constituents.

Liberals can relax however.  The AFL-CIO is going to send out union members to restore order at the townhalls.  I look forward to the footage when a union leg breaker decides to take a swing at someone who is not enamored of ObamaCare.  In the age of cell phone videos nothing will escape being placed on video.   Conservative union members, your dues money at work.   My late father was a member of Allied Industrial Workers for 30 years, and it used to anger him intensely that his dues were used to support political causes he adamantly opposed.  If you don’t like this and you are a member of a union, you might want to attend a townhall meeting!  Although maybe they won’t let you in.  At the Russ Carnahan town meeting in Saint Louis over a thousand protesters were locked out and only Carnahan supporters were allowed in. Similar tactics were used at a townhall in Tampa.  That will solve the problem!  Lock people out who disagree with the person purporting to represent them in Congress!

The Left  is completely misreading this situation.  This isn’t a matter of just Republicans and Conservatives.  There is a prairie fire of anger burning in this country, and it is not going to be stopped by biased media, attempts at intimidation, White House calls for informants or locking citizens out of townhall meetings.

Update: An  update here from Gateway Pundit on the violence at the Carnahan town meeting.

5

Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

The Transfiguration of the Lord can sound embarrassingly magical. Jesus goes up onto a mountain and his clothes become dazzlingly white. Prophets appear and talk to him. And then it is all over and Jesus tells his disciples to say nothing.

We should hold on to the absurdity of the incident. There is simply no reason for all this to have happened. In particular, there is no reason to put it into a gospel – the evangelist makes no capital out of it, it is simply there.

And this is the strength of the Transfiguration as an historical incident. There is no reason for anyone to have invented it. It is not central to the Christian case. It is not used to win arguments. There is only one reason to put it into the Gospel, and that is because it happened. It is one of those cases of the evangelists writing things down without knowing why they were important, and their very puzzlement is what makes the story so convincing.

Why, then, did it happen? Surely so that we could see and understand that Jesus is at once one of the prophets and the one that was prophesied by them; and that he is God, and lives for all eternity in a blaze of dazzling and unapproachable light.

The true miracle of the Transfiguration is not the shining face or the white garments, but the fact that for the rest of the time Jesus hid his glory so well.

[Reflection courtesy of Universalis.com]

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Hey Pelosi, Are Senior Citizens Well Dressed Nazis?

[Updates at the bottom of this story]

While the Democrats continue to dig holes big enough for their smarter-than-thou heads to plant in and ignore the rising public outrage of government intrusion, regular Americans continue to raise their voices of displeasure to President Obama’s health care “reform”.

On August 4, 2009, an A.A.R.P. Town Hall meeting was being conducted for members when a group of well-dressed Nazi’s carrying swastika banners sabotaged the meeting.

That’s the Nancy Pelosi/CNN version of events, here is what actually happened:

Here are some highlights from the above video:

1.  Spokesperson: “I think we can agree that health care is in need of reform…“.

AARP Attendee’s: “No, we don’t agree!”

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Lying Worthless Political Hack Calls Opponents of ObamaCare Nazis

I must say, although I have never been a fan of the Lying Worthless Political Hack, I was surprised at this latest example of the depths of her political ineptitude and detachment from reality.  As to her comment about “astroturfing” ( creating a fake, rather than a real, grassroots movement), David Axlerod, the campaign manager of Obama, built a large fortune by mastering the techniques of astroturfing as this article here relates.  Alas for the Lying Worthless Political Hack, as the polls amply indicate, the opposition to ObamaCare is real and growing.

Update: The indispensable Iowahawk has the White House Under Minister for Truth, former ABC and CBS reporter Linda Douglass, explaining here all about those evil townhall mob agitators!

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Great Jesuits 2: Chaplain of the Excelsior Brigade

ohagan

Excelsior Brigade

Part 2 of my series on great Jesuits in American history.  Ireland has given many great gifts to the United States of America and one of them was Joseph B. O’Hagan who was born in the Olde Sod in County Tyrone on August 15, 1826, the feast of the Assumption.  His family emigrating to Nova Scotia, he entered the seminary in 1844.  Meeting a Boston Jesuit in 1847, he joined the order in December of that year.  Finishing his theological studies in Louvain, he was ordained a priest in 1861.

Returning to the US he joined the Union Army as a chaplain for the New York Excelsior Brigade, one of the hardest fighting outfits in the Army of the Potomac.  Assigned to the 73rd New York, at first Father O’Hagan didn’t think much of many of his fellow soldiers as this passage from a letter he wrote on August 7, 1861 indicates:  “Such a collection of men was never before united in one body since the flood. Most of them were the scum of New York society, reeking with vice and spreading a moral malaria around them. Some had been serving terms of penal servitude on Blackwell’s Island at the outbreak of the war, but were released on condition of enlisting in the army of the Union, and had gladly accepted the alternative..”  The sense of humor of Father O’Hagan is demonstrated by his account of a regiment electing a chaplain:  “Over four hundred voted for a Catholic priest, one hundred and fifty-four, for any kind of a protestant minister; eleven, for a Mormon elder; and three hundred and thirty-five said they could find their way to hell without the assistance of clergy.” . Continue Reading

10

The Prudential Science

I ran into this quote going through an old EconTalk the other day, and thought it interesting:

As economists, we’re specialists in prudence only.

That, as you say, is not what Adam Smith recommended. Not at all. I and a number of other people would like to get back to a Smithian economics, which although it didn’t throw away the very numerous insights that we get from thinking of people as maximizers — maximizers in this narrow sense — acknowledges that temperence and justice and love and courage and hope and faith can change the way the economy works.

UIC Economist, Deirdre McCloskey

I’m trying to decide if I agree with it or not. I would certainly agree that economics basically only looks at certain prudential concerns, it doesn’t consider humanistic or theological questions. However, I’m not sure if economics should acknowledge those concerns, or if it is more the case that economists (and others dealing with the field) should clearly acknowledge that there is much more to any question than the question of what is most economically efficient.

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7

Obama Homeland Security Alerts

ObamaSecurity

Commenter Donna V. has come up with this list of Obama Homeland Security Alerts:

Hey, maybe the Obama admin will revise the Homeland Security alerts, now that we know we have nothing to fear from terrorists. Maybe something along these lines:

Level Red: The Great Leader is more popular than Jesus, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson combined. This is how it should be.

Level Green: A few grumblings are heard from disgruntled rednecks in fly-over country. Nothing to worry about, really, but keep your eyes open.

Level Orange: Uh, oh. The peons are doing a lot of grumbling and booing at town hall meetings and there’s a quite a bit of seemingly fishy information (cunningly planted by Fox News) out there on the Net. Couric, CNN, HuffPo, you know what to do.

Level Purple: Lord, the fish is now a great big dead rotting whale on the WH lawn. Comrades Dowd and Krugman, fire photon torpedoes!

Level Gray: We’re screwed. We have now crossed the River Styx and are in Jimmy Carter territory.

2

Sebelius and Specter Respond

Save_Freedom_of_Speech

Hattip to the ever reticent Lads and Lasses at the Lair of the Catholic Cavemen. Yesterday I had a post celebrating the warm reception that Secretary Sebelius and Senator Specter received at a town hall meeting.  Now the indispensable Iowahawk has thoughtfully penned here, a response to the voters for Secretary Sebelius and Senator Specter.  No doubt they will be duly appreciative of his efforts, and Iowahawk will probably enjoy his time on the no-fly list.

10

Well, at Least Spell my Name Right

Inform

Hattip to DrewM at Ace of Spades HQ.  This from the White House Blog:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected].”

I trust that some of the Obama supporters who frequent our site will draw the attention of the White House to a few of my posts regarding ObamaCare on this blog.  When you do please remember that the last name is spelled McClarey, not McCleery, McClaren, McClary, etc.  Thank you!

Update I: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has some pointed comments here about the sheer political stupidity of the White House making this public call for informants.

6

Post Office Going Broke

snail mail

As this story indicates here, the Post Office, in spite of a rate increase, is in deep financial trouble.  Unwilling to adapt to a changing market, the wranglers of snail mail no doubt will be the recipient of a massive bailout in the next few months to “save the local post office”.  Something to keep in mind before the government is put in charge of our health care.

36

It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy and Gal

Ah, it does my heart good to see Senator Arlen Specter (D.Pa) and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services exposed to the verbal anger of the public!  Now why is that?

Well as to Snarlin’ Arlen, he was for decades a pro-abort Republican and now is a pro-abort Democrat.  My reaction when he jumped parties earlier this year was good riddance.  He jumped parties of course because he was an almost certain loser to pro-life Pat Toomey in the Republican primary.  The hilarious thing is that Specter will face a Democrat primary challenge from Congressman Joe Sestak who announced his candidacy yesterday.  If he survives the primary challenge he faces an up-hill fight against Toomey.  In a Quinnipiac poll on July 22, Specter leads Toomey by a single percentage point 45%-44%.  This is a devastating poll for an incumbent facing a well-known challenger.

As for Sebelius, she is a fanatic pro-abort, as I detailed here, and a close political ally of the late Tiller the Killer.  Just before her confirmation it came out that she had received three times the donations from Tiller than she had claimed.    Of course this is only the tip of a large ice berg of campaign funds that Tiller used to aid Sebelius as this letter here from Tiller indicates.  Her ties to Tiller were outlined by Bob Novak last year here. When confronted about Tiller she was always in full ” Tiller?” mode:

Yep, I can watch these two being booed with a fine enjoyment!  Schadenfreude?  Indeed!

11

So….What About the Other 10 Million?

By this stage in the health care debates, most people are aware that roughly 47 million individuals in America do not have health insurance. And many people are further aware that the 47 million statistic is misleading, because roughly 14 million of these individuals are already eligible for (but have not enrolled in) existing government programs, 9 million have incomes over $75,000 and choose not to purchase private insurance, 3-5 million are only temporarily uninsured between jobs, and roughly 10 million do not have the legal right to reside in the country. In the end, this means roughly 10 million U.S. citizens lack meaningful access to health insurance.  It has been noted elsewhere that insuring these individuals would cost a lot less than the $1 trillion proposal currently under consideration in Congress, and further that it would not require a dramatic (and costly) restructuring of the U.S. health care system.

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Excessive Health Care Profits

In the health care reform debate, we often hear about how huge amounts of money that could be going to provide people with treatment is being sucked up by insurance company profits instead. This kind of thing always makes me wonder, since in my experience a competitive market place will usually drive profit margins down pretty low. So I thought it would be illustrative to look up how much money the top private insurance companies make, and then determine their profit margins and profits per enrollee.

The following information is publicly available on Google Finance. Revenue figures are annual ones for the year ending 12-31-2008. The total revenue, income before tax and income after tax figures come directly from each companies public financial reports. The enrollee figures are potentially slightly more approximate, since there I googled for the most recent press release which showed total enrollment for each company.

health_care_finances

health_care_profits
It struck me as interesting that it was Humana, with the lowest profits per enrollee in 2008, which just posted a healthy profit increase for Q2. Wellpoint and Aetna have suffered membership declines in the last quarter.

In no case is the company making more than $100 per enrollee per year in profits. Given that most insurance plans cost a good $4000-$6000 per year, the amount of what we pay for insurance that goes to “lining insurance companies’ pockets” would seem to be fairly small.

8

Saint John Vianney Play To Debut In Houston

Saint John Vianney is being staged as a one-man production titled “VIANNEY” and will be debuting in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston on August 4, 2009 AD.  This is in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of this patron saint of parish priests.  The play will continue in other dioceses across America.

Leonardo Defilippis plays the role of Saint John Vianney as he performs at various churches across the archdiocese.  Mr. Defilippis’s one-man stage production opens amidst the chaos of the French Revolution, a time which mirrors the secularization, materialism and anti-religious sentiment of today. Against this dramatic backdrop, a simple ignorant peasant priest enters the backwater town of Ars, a place where no one cares much about their faith, or sees the Church as particularly relevant. They don’t expect much out of John Vianney.

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4

Catholic Health Care: Our Lady of Hope Clinic

As Catholics, and other Americans, continue the debate over national solutions to help the uninsured, Our Lady of Hope Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin is helping treat the uninsured one person at a time. Long time reader Steve Karlen is the development director for the clinic, which opened in April of this year. OLHC has a unique model, based on Dr. Kloess and Dr. Johnson’s desire to provide outstanding primary care through a structure designed in accordance with Catholic principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.

Like the increasingly popular private practice or closed practice model, OLHC accepts up to a set number of patients, which due to OLHC’s non profit model are called benefactors. The limit is set at 600, which has not yet been met, so the clinic is still accepting memberships. Benefactors receive unlimitted primary care through the clinic with no additional charges or co-pays beyond the annual benefactor fee — which is set at a 1200 dollars with various discounts which can apply for couples, children, or younger patients. (This pricing is comparable to other closed practice/concierge-style doctor’s offices.) Like a closed practice, benefactors can make same day appointments any time and have direct access to their doctors via phone and email. They are expected to carry insurance for specialist, prescription and hospital care — however benefactors can often save money overall on health care by switching to a high deductible plan for care not covered by the clinic.
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5

Canada Has Its Own Health Care Debate

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. John Stossel is an anomaly:  he is a libertarian in a profession, journalism, dominated by liberal democrats.  Here is a column he wrote which summarizes the video, which spent quite a bit of time discussing the shortcomings of Canadian health care.

The experience of Canada under national health care is intriguing.  A battle is raging over the net with opponents of ObamaCare pointing out its shortcomings and proponents rallying to the defense of  the Canadian system.  One often overlooked feature is the role of private medical clinics in Canada.   Recently such clinics have been made legal based upon a Canadian Supreme Court decision and are becoming increasingly popular.  A good article on the subject is here Here is another article on the clinics.

I found this quote from the last article linked to curious.

“It’s obviously extra billing and queue jumping,” says David Eggen, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “If this goes on unregulated, it’ll spread like wildfire and we can see it, even in a recession, starting to expand here in Alberta.”

Now why would these clinics spread like wildfire if the Canadians are as enamored of their national health care system as the proponents of ObamaCare say they are?  Here is a story from 2006 on the subject which appeared in that notorious right-wing rag The New York Times.   As we debate changing our health care system to something approaching that of the Canadian system, we should also understand that there is a debate in Canada about broadening the availability of private pay health care.

11

Congress Feeling the Heat

town-hall-2

Hattip to Instapundit. Democrat Congress beings are reporting here that they are encountering angry constituents at their townhall meetings.  Now why would their constituents be so angry?

red-ink

Oh yeah.

There is a political storm brewing in this country of immense proportions.  If some members of Congress aren’t aware of it yet, they will be after they return from the August recess.