39

Susan G. Komen Supports Abortion Still

[Updates at the bottom of this article as of 8:31pm CDT AD 9-30-2009 shows alternatives  –other than Komen– for fundraising activities related to Breast Cancer research that are Pro-Life in their outlook]

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen) is an organization that funds breast cancer research.  This noble effort by Komen to save the lives of both women and men who are afflicted with breast cancer is tainted by their funding of abortion via Planned Parenthood.

Each year Catholics and most other Christians raise their concerns about supporting Komen specifically because Komen donates money to Planned Parenthood.  Catholics and most other Christians unknowingly assist Komen in their fundraising efforts which goes against the teachings of Jesus as stated in the Fifth Commandment of “You shall not kill”.

Due to this criticism attributed to Komen in funding abortion, Komen released an open letter in March 2009 concerning their relationship with Planned Parenthood.  In this open letter they defended their donations to Planned Parenthood raising three (3) reasons why it is acceptable to continue to donate money to Komen even though they provide funding to abort innocent unborn children.

I will address their open letter with their three (3) reasons here:

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16

Two Reasons Why Government Drives People Crazy

A1BABYSIT_SA_C_^_SATIQ

1.  Lack of Common Sense: Lisa Synder, of Middleville, Michigan, pictured above, decided to help out a few friends get their kids safely on the school bus.  For free she allowed three other moms to drop off their three kids at her house.  The kids wait for an hour and then Snyder and another mom escorted the three kids and Snyder’s child to the bus.  Some neighbor with way too much time on his or her hands complained to the State and now Snyder faces possible misdemeanor charges for running an unlicensed daycare center!  That’s what you get for being a good samaritan Lisa!  A Republican state rep.,  Brian Calley, is attempting to pass legislation so that the resources of the state are not arrayed against moms helping each other gratis to keep kids safe.

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8

Jesuitical 9: Marquette and Dave Barry

Hattip to Instapundit.  Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some Jesuits in this country.  Marquette is a Jesuit run university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Notoriously, Marquette has employed as a  Professor of Theology for decades Daniel C. Maguire.  Maguire is an ex-priest.  He has long been an ardent pro-abort.  He has been an adviser of the pro-abort group Catholics For a Free Choice for decades.  One of his recent books is Sacred Choices which is a look at the right to contraception and abortion in ten religions.  In 2007 the USCCB publicly condemned as erroneous various aspects of the views propounded by Maguire and the statement can be read here.

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100

On Glenn Beck & Other Crazy People

I am allergic to political cable tv shows, talk radio, and nightly news. I cannot watch or listen to these programs for longer than fifteen minutes without subjecting anyone within earshot to a lengthy rant. And so I won’t pretend to be deeply familiar with Glenn Beck’s work. Instead, I’ll rely on Joe Carter at First Things:

There isn’t much I could add to the criticisms—from the left, right, and center—that have been made against him in the last few weeks. His recent comments have shown that he’s a naked opportunist who will say anything to get attention: If he’s on his television show on Fox he’ll pander to the audience by saying that President Obama is a racist who is ushering in an age of socialism, if not the apocalypse; then, when he is in front of Katie Couric and CBS News, he says that John McCain would have been worse for the country than Obama (which begs the question, “What exactly is worse than the socialist/communist/fascist apocalypse?”).

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37

The Pope, The Clown and The Cross

skelton_pope

In 1957 comedian Red Skelton was on top of the world.  His weekly comedy show on CBS was doing well.  He had  curtailed the drinking which had almost derailed his career.  Not too shabby for a man who had started out as a circus and rodeo clown and who was now often called the clown prince of American comedy.  He and his wife Georgia had two beautiful kids:  Richard and Valentina Maria.  Then the worst thing in the world for any parent entered into the lives of Red and Georgia Skelton:  Richard was diagnosed with leukemia.  Unlike today, a diagnosis of leukemia in a child in 1957 was tantamount to saying that Richard was going to die soon.  Red immediately took a leave of absence from his show.  CBS was very understanding and a series of guest hosts, including a very young Johnny Carson, filled in for Skelton during the 1957-1958 season.

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3

Cinema Classics: The Thin Man Movies

Giving strength to the phase “they’re not making them like that any more” is the classic series of film noir take-offs the Thin Man movies, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

The first movie, The Thin Man (1934), was based on a novel by one of the godfathers of noir, Dashiell Hammett, who also worked on the screenplays for the first two movies. However the chemistry of Powell and Loy make the movie of The Thin Man a good deal more fun than the book: classy, witty and all-around a good time.

The movie was such a success it was followed in 1936 by Another Thin Man, and eventually a total of six Thin Man movies were made, ending with the 1947 Song of the Thin Man. To my mind, the three 30s movies are the best, with the feel of the movies changing slightly in the later movies.

8

Congress Goes Batty

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  I wonder how the bat would vote on ObamaCare?

A few years ago my wife and I awoke in the middle of the night to a bat flying around our bedroom,  the only time we have seen  a bat in our house.  We turned on the overhead light and the bat began to circle it at top speed.  We opened the bedroom window, but the bat seemed to be having too much fun circling our light.  I grabbed a towel from our bathroom, and, hearkening back to the “towel wars” I participated in during high school a bit over three decades ago, I snapped the towel at the bat.  The creature fell stunned on our bed.  I threw the towel over the bat, and unceremoniously tossed towel and bat out the window.  The next morning I retrieved the towel.  No bat was lying on the ground, so I assume it went on its bat way unscathed.

That was my one and only run in with a bat.  On the whole I would rather deal with them than the results of most Congressional legislation.

26

Just Desserts

I’m not normally the guy putting up political YouTube videos, but this was just too funny to pass up. Ill. rep Baron Hill talks down to a journalism major about why she’s not allowed to record video during his town hall: because videos invariably end up showing compromising moments on YouTube. And now here he is, hectoring the girl, on YouTube.

Lesson: For politicians, life is like the Internet. If you do something stupid, it will always be there for everyone to see.

13

Cult of Personality-Take 2

A followup to my earlier post on school kids singing a hymn of praise to Obama.  Hattip to Gateway Pundit.  Apparently the video was posted on YouTube by the proud teacher behind this piece of agitprop.

“We began to write the song after watching the Inauguration. Our school day is packed bell to bell with academics, but were usually able to spend the last five minutes of singing songs as short ELD (English Language Development) activities. Day by day we used this tiny window of time to brainstorm lyrics. As the song took shape, the children became more and more proud of their accomplishment. It soon morphed into a tribute to MLK and others honored for their work towards social justice.

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3

Jesuitical 8: I am Shocked! Shocked!

Part of my ongoing series on the follies of some of the Jesuits in this country.  Dana Loesch discovers that the Jesuit run Saint Louis University is still funneling volunteers to Acorn.   Of course this is over a year after the USCCB froze funding to Acorn, not to mention the recent colorful revelations that have led to investigations of Acorn and the cutting of funding by governmental bodies from coast to coast.  This is also after many years of scandal involving Acorn and voter registration fraud and misuse of funding.   I guess the hard pressed organization still has some friends among American Jesuits.  I am however shocked that the Jesuits would send student volunteers to a corrupt left wing organization, in much the same way that I am shocked that fire burns and water is wet.

2

Beatrix Potter, Capitalist Swine

[This is neither American nor Catholic, but it is, I like to imagine, mildly amusing in a bored-parent-on-a-Friday kind of way.]

As you can perhaps imagine, there is much reading in the Darwin family, as we consider it necessary to corrupt the dear little tabula rasas of our children with a mixture of facts and fairy stories from the very youngest possible age. And how better may one corrupt the youth then by wrapping up the harsh teachings of the dismal science in the charming trappings of a bevy of dear little fuzzy animals? Do not allow these subtle deceptions, gentle reader! As I shall demonstrate, under the cover of a whimsical, Edwardian children’s authoress, lurks a deadly capitalist in sheep’s clothing.

Attend, to The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (ebook available here)

THE TALE OF
GINGER & PICKLES

BY
BEATRIX POTTER


Once upon a time there was a village shop. The name over the window was “Ginger and Pickles.”
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4

Red Skelton: Pledge of Allegiance

One of the forgotten geniuses of American comedy, Red Skelton.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  As the above video indicates Skelton also had his serious side.  A remembrance of better times when students pledged allegiance to the country rather than chanting hymns of praise for a living politician.

2

Calling all Federalists!

The Federalists

The Cranky Conservative, Paul Zummo, is beginning a series on his blog on the Federalist Papers.  His comments on Federalist 1 are here. The Founding Fathers created a system of government which has endured for over two centuries.  That is a formidable achievement.  The Federalist Papers, written in the heat of the ratification battles over the Constitution, are the primary text for understanding what motivated those who sought “a more perfect union”, how they expected the new government to function and their arguments in response to the anti-Federalists who opposed the Constitution.  It is easy to draw up schemes of government;  it is very difficult to make them function in reality.  In the Federalist Papers we see at the beginning the drive to create one nation out of the disparate states.  Paul has embarked upon an intellectual adventure in giving an exposition to these theoretical building blocks of our Republic and I urge you to join him for each installment.

39

They Only Donate Money

Every so often, when dealing with Church projects and non-profit work in general, one hears someone who does a lot of volunteer work toss off a disparaging remark alone the lines of, “Oh, those people. They only give money. You’d never see them down here working.”

Sometimes this is used to support a claim as to “who really cares” about an issue, along the lines of:

“Sure, you’ll find lots of [members of group X] a pro-life fundraising banquets, but you’ll never see them working at a crisis pregnancy center.”

or

“[Members of group X] may give money to ‘charity’, but you’ll never find them filling boxes down at the foodbank or working with at-risk kids.”

This has always struck me as a somewhat unfair criticism, for reasons I will get into in a minute, but I was particularly reminded of this last week when I had to go down to the diocesan offices to be trained to count and report the collections for the diocesan Catholic Services Appeal. The annual appeal provides a about the third of the operating expenses for the diocese — and since I deal with financial-ish stuff at work and I’m going to be rotating off the pastoral council in a couple months, I half volunteered, half was dragooned, into helping out with the processing of the collection this year at the parish. At the training session, I was particularly struck by the numbers of where the money in the appeal comes from:
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38

Prime Directive Debate

“As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.”

Yesterday Darwin had a thought provoking post about the impact of technologically advanced cultures on less developed cultures.  In the combox discussion there were frequent references to the Prime Directive of Star Trek.  This of course gives me an excellent excuse for posting this examination of the Prime Directive and for me to burnish my credentials as the “Geekier-Than-Thou” member of this blog. Continue Reading

1

Pittsburgh Summit Insights

The always informative Dr. Boli provides an installment of his astonishing Encyclopedia of Misinformation (Diderot, eat your heart out!) bringing you up to date on some important world facts in regards to the G-20 summit. Kindly be informed:

…Australia. In an Australian sink, water spirals up from the drain and is evacuated through the spigot.

China. If Pittsburgh proves a successful venue, President Hu plans to have the city crated and moved to Yunnan province as a regional conference center.

France. President Sarkhozy never travels to North America without his mascot, a badger named Alphonse.

Mexico. President Calderón was detained briefly by airport security after reportedly threatening to punch the next person who asked him about the Maya calendar.

Russia. As part of a recent economic-reform package, the Russian government is now operated on a for-profit basis by IKEA of Sweden.

South Korea. It is reported that the South Korean delegation will not sign any agreement unless the United States promises to increase its consumption of mediocre pianos.

For enlightening insider information on Canada, the US, EU, Indonesia, and others, it is needful that you should read the whole thing.

10

Who Is Irrelevant, Obama or Americans

Tea Party Protest 9-12

At this point it is almost irrelevant what President Obama thinks, says, or does.

As long as former Presidents Carter and Clinton keep calling Americans racists…

As long as Speaker Pelosi refers to Patriots as violent, swastika wearing, un-Americans…

As long as the extreme left on the Democratic Party insist on ignoring a movement that not only contains conservatives and Republicans, but pretty much everyone else in America…excluding most liberals.

Then it really doesn’t matter what the Obama Administration and their proxies continue calling ordinary American patriots.

Thus the only relevant question that can be asked is how badly will the Democrats continue to shoot themselves in the foot?

…It depends on how radical a health care bill they pass.

In the meantime  an insignificant handful of crazies the rest of America will wait for another round of insults as they continue to turn a deaf ear to the rhetorical platitudes of an ever increasingly irrelevant presidency.

40

Third World

Thought experiment:

Imagine that in 1880, Europe and the Americas had been brought into contact with another continent on which civilization had already advanced to the point at which we are now in 2009.

Let’s call this new continent Futureland, and place it in the middle of the Pacific where the Polynesian Islands are. They speak a non-Indo-European language. They’re highly secular, but have in their background an essentially animistic religion ala Shinto. The Futurelanders are friendly and open, eager to sell Americans and Europeans high tech products and to build factories in Europe and America. They also happily sell the “old world” modern farming equipment, superior strains of crops, and advise them on more efficient farming practices — resulting in a rapid increase of agricultural output which requires far fewer farmers than contemporary 1880s practices. They’re also quite willing to allow Europeans and Americans to travel to Futureland to attend university, and indeed settle there.

What happens to “old world” language, culture, political institutions, religion and economy? Would such a situation be at all desireable for Americans and Europeans, and if so in what sense?

Would such an encounter be significantly different if it were between Futureland and an “old world” circa 1800 or circa 1650? Or 1950?

Nouveau Poor

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  I am afraid even the Onion fails at milking humor out of the current economic hard times. As a matter of fact the whole thing is probably in bad taste, which is about par for the course for the Onion.  For a truly hilarious take on the economy I refer you here, here and here for attempts by the media to convince people that under Obama it’s funemployment not unemployment.  Seems sort of peverse to me.  Never fear however.  Once a Republican President is in charge, I assume the media will banish the term funemployment.

16

Kmiec Explains It All

Douglas Kmiec, ambassador to Malta and spiritual descendant of Richard Rich, has an interview with the Times of Malta here.

 

“Prof. Kmiec’s views on abortion have certainly not changed since he was appointed an ambassador by the Obama administration.

“I believe life begins at conception, in the womb, and is to be protected there as it is to be protected at every moment throughout the progression of life,” he emphasises.

He was disappointed when the US Supreme Court legalised abortion in 1973 and for some 30 plus years, as an advocate in the judicial system, including when he worked for Mr Reagan in the White House, he wrote briefs and made arguments seeking to reverse the law on that question.

“Of course it hasn’t happened; year after year, millions die in those awful procedures.”

He recalls how he told Mr Obama during the campaign: “How can you allow someone to terminate another person’s life? What moral authority do you have for that?”

Mr Obama replied: “Well, professor, not everyone sees life beginning in the same way. The Methodists see it differently, the Jewish faith in part sees it differently.” And he went through the list, Presbyterians and so forth.

“If I am elected President,” he told Prof. Kmiec, “I am President of all these people.”

Prof. Kmiec says Mr Obama told him that he views abortion as “a moral tragedy” and that there were two ways of addressing it. There is the law in which people who involved themselves in this procedure would be subject to a penalty. The Supreme Court has put that off limits.

The other way is to do something about it and look at what causes people to have an abortion.

Mr Obama asked Prof. Kmiec: “What would cause a mother to contemplate taking the life of a child? It has to be something awful. It has to be a woman without shelter, without insurance, without the next meal on the table.”

Prof. Kmiec admits that this approach to abortion is not the ideal solution, saying that poverty or not being married is no excuse to take the life of a child. However, he believes one should be realistic about the problem and if the abortion rate could be reduced – and some studies point out that tackling poverty could lead to fewer abortions – “this seems to me a good interim step”.

“I prayed on this,” he explains, pointing out that Pope John Paul II had said that Catholics must be clear on their stand on abortion but also that people in political life could sometimes do less than they would like to do as long as there were moves towards the protection of life.

“Mr Obama has taken some steps towards this, perhaps not as fast as some would like,” he says.”

I will do Kmiec the courtesy of assuming that he is being mendacious in the interview and that he really isn’t stupid enough to believe the bilge Obama was dishing to him.

Thomas Peters has a must read article here on the interview.

“This is delusional. Mr. Obama has “taken steps towards the protection of life … not as fast as some would like” in Dr. Kmiec’s view? In fact, Mr. Obama has taken steps in the opposite direction. And fast. Continue Reading

21

It's Just Legislation

Having a number of fairly liberal friends and acquaintances, it struck me recently how many blog posts and facebook updates I’d seen lately that began, “I was just watching one of the anti-health-reform protests and I’m just so angry right now.”

I get that many on the progressive side are very, very excited about whichever of the major proposals in the congress at this point ends up being the chosen one by Obama (despite the fact that none of them actually get that close to being what progressives have wanted in regards to health care reform for all these years), if only because they’re very excited to see Obama succeed at whatever he tries. But it strikes me that there’s a difference in how people think about the state and about legislation at play here as well. Thinking back, I can’t recall any example of a piece of legislation on any topic that I was so excited about that it made me angry to see people out protesting against it. Sure, there have been a few things that I’ve strongly supported (like the marriage amendment ballot initiative in California; the national partial birth abortion ban, etc.) or strongly opposed. But there’s nothing I found myself so worked up about that I felt it necessary to watch the protests for or against and then get furious that there were opponents out there — whether their sentiments were fair and honest or not.

My thinking would tend to be, “Hey, it’s just legislation. We win or we lose.” But then, that springs from a basic assumption that things will not change very much from the status quo, that the government will work no miracles for us or against us, and that on a day to day basis the government basically is and should be invisible to us. That seems to be a set of assumptions which many on the more progressive side of the political realm do not share.

9

Father Jenkins: Looking for a Pro-life Initiative? Drop the Charges Against Father Weslin

NotreDameDialogue

 

Hattip to Ignatius Insight.  Father Norman Weslin, arrested at Notre Dame for protesting Obama Day, faces trial on October 1.  Notre Dame has refused to drop the charges.  Now that Father Jenkins is trying to get some pro-life street creds,  perhaps a good place to start would be to drop the charges against Father Weslin. 

An open letter from Dr. Charles E. Rice, Professor Emeritus of Notre Dame Law School, to Fr. John Jenkins, President of University of Notre Dame:

Open Letter to Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President, University of Notre Dame

September 21, 2009
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556

Dear Father Jenkins:

Professor Fred Freddoso has shared with me the response on Sept. 17th by Dr. Frances L. Shavers, Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the President, to Fred’s email of that date to you asking that Notre Dame request dismissal of the charges against the persons arrested for trespass on the campus in relation to the honoring of President Obama at Commencement.  Dr. Shavers responded on your behalf to Fred’s email because, as she said, “the next few days are rather hectic for [Fr. Jenkins].”  I don’t want to add to the hectic burden of your schedule by sending you a personal message that could impose on an assistant the task of responding.  I therefore take the liberty of addressing to you several concerns in the form of this open letter to which a response is neither required nor expected.

First, permit me to express my appreciation for the expressions of support for the pro-life cause in your September 16th “Letter concerning post-commencement initiatives.”  I know, however, that in a matter as significant as this, you will appreciate and welcome a respectful but very candid expression of views.  In my opinion, the positions you have taken are deficient in some respects.

In your Letter of Sept. 16th, you rightly praise the work of the Women’s Care Center (WCC) and of its superb leader, Ann Murphy Manion.  I commend you on your statement that the WCC “and similar centers in other cities deserve the support of Notre Dame clubs and individuals.”  Your praise of the WCC and similar efforts, however, overlooks a practical step that Notre Dame, as an institution, ought to take.  That would be for you, on behalf of Notre Dame, to issue a standing invitation to the WCC to establish an office on the Notre Dame campus to serve students, faculty and staff if, in the judgment of the WCC, that would be desirable and effective.  Such would give practical effect, right here at Notre Dame, to your words in support of the WCC and similar efforts.

Your Letter announced your formation of the Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life.  Rather than offer a detailed evaluation of my own, I note my agreement with the personal analysis of William Dempsey, ND ’52, President of the Sycamore Trust, calling attention to “the obviously deliberate exclusion from Task Force membership of anyone associated with the ND organizations that have been unashamedly and actively pro-life: the Center for Ethics & Culture and the ND Fund for the Protection of Human Life.  Nor was the student representative chosen from the leadership of the student RTL organization or from anyone active in last year’s student alliance protesting the honoring of the President, ND Response.  It is hard to resist the inference that this is as a move toward marginalizing the Center and the Fund, neither of which receives any University support the way it is…. Finally, it is unsettling but instructive that this announcement comes a day after Fr. Jenkins’ annual address to the faculty in which he described his goals for the year, which included increasing female and minority faculty representation but not a word about the most crucial problem facing the university, the loss of Catholic identity through the failure to hire enough Catholics to restore the predominance required by the Mission Statement.  This is a striking falling away from [Fr. Jenkins’] wonderful inaugural address.  The fact that ND did nothing to serve the pro-life cause until forced by the reaction to the Obama incident testifies to the fact that, without a predominance of committed Catholics on the faculty, any pro-life efforts launched under pressure will in time fade away.  The risk, and surely it is real, is that this initiative and the publicity ND is generating about it will deflect attention from the fundamental problem besetting Notre Dame….But I return to where I began: A project that deliberately excludes from participation those who have courageously manned organizations standing against the faculty attitude toward the pro-life cause ought to be regarded with suspicion.” 

My main concern in this letter arises from your statement in your Letter that “Each year on January 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, the March for Life is held in Washington D.C. to call on the nation to defend the right to life.  I plan to participate in that march.  I invite other members of the Notre Dame Family to join me and I hope we can gather for a Mass for Life at that event.”  I understand that Notre Dame students have invited you to participate with them in the March.  The problem arises from an aftermath of Commencement.  On this I refer back to Chief of Staff Shavers’ response to Professor Freddoso’s request that Notre Dame ask dismissal of the charges against those arrested.  Dr. Shavers states that “these protesters were arrested for trespassing and not for expressing their pro-life position.”  That is misleading.  This is not an ordinary case of trespass to land such as would occur if a commuter walks across your lawn and flower bed as a short-cut to the train station.  Notre Dame is ordinarily an open campus.  Those 88 persons, 82 of whom are represented by Tom Dixon, ND ’84, ND Law School ’93, were arrested not because they were there, but because of who they were, why they were there and what they were saying.  Other persons with pro-Obama signs were there but were not arrested and not disturbed.  Serious legal and constitutional questions are involved, arising especially from the symbiotic relationship between the Notre Dame Security Police, who made the arrests, and the County Police.  This letter is not a legal brief.  Rather I merely note that it is disingenuous for Notre Dame to pretend that this is merely a routine trespass case. Continue Reading

5

Right to Choose: 15 times.

Impossible Motherhood

Irene Villar, self described abortion addict, details in her book Impossible Motherhood her 15 abortions in 16 years.  Read a story on the book here.  The story is a prize example of mainstream media treatment of abortion.  Obviously Villar has psychological problems according to the story, but the right to abortion is sacred and must be protected.

Irene Vilar worries that her self-described “abortion addiction” will be misunderstood, twisted by the pro-life movement to deny women the right to choose.

Of course Villar is merely the abortion rights movement taken to an extreme.  Children in the womb are completely disposable for any or no reason.  There is nothing wrong with a woman having 15 abortions except for the impact upon her.

The blurb on the book states that “today, Vilar is the mother of two beautiful children”. Wrong.  She is the mother of 17 beautiful children, two of whom survive.

A wonderful resource for women who have been through abortions is Project Rachel.

In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning,
of bitter weeping!
Rachel mourns her children,
she refuses to be consoled
because her children are no more.

Thus says the LORD:
Cease your cries of mourning,
wipe the tears from your eyes.
The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward…
There is hope for your future.

36

Off Topic

We don’t do this too often, but judging from the number of off topic discussions that have erupted in some of the threads recently, I decided that some of our commenters might enjoy a post where they could discuss what interests them.   The usual blog rules regarding charity and not engaging in personal attacks apply.  Otherwise, this forum is yours, so long as the topics, broadly speaking, relate to the Church and/or the US.

3

Chutes, Ladders, & Progressivism

I came across this comment a while back, and I think it summarizes the experience of many of my fellow law and MBA classmates (all of whom are recent graduates or current students):

I don’t know how it was elsewhere, but the game my friends and I were sold had breezy constant ladders and shallow painless chutes. Now the ladders are falling apart or growing queues, and the chutes have proved to be sudden and devastating.

Now, on the one hand, it’s almost never rational to expect wonderful career opportunities to be awaiting one at every turn. And the graduates he’s talking about – people with sparkling resumes from the most prestigious undergrad and graduate schools – are hardly Dickens-level sympathetic protagonists. On the other hand, endless career opportunities are what many grad school admission offices are selling. And for many students and recent graduates of these institutions, six figures in debt with rapidly eroding job prospects,  the recession has been a rather traumatic experience.  This is certain to have a number of consequences, but I’ve been idly speculating that twenty to thirty years down the line, when they will be in a position to influence public policy, these individuals are likely to be more sympathetic than they might otherwise to redistributive policies. And, as it turns out, there is actually a recent academic study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that supports this idea. Here is the abstract:

Do generations growing up during recessions have different socio-economic beliefs than generations growing up in good times? We study the relationship between recessions and beliefs by matching macroeconomic shocks during early adulthood with self-reported answers from the General Social Survey. Using time and regional variations in macroeconomic conditions to identify the effect of recessions on beliefs, we show that individuals growing up during recessions tend to believe that success in life depends more on luck than on effort, support more government redistribution, but are less confident in public institutions.  Moreover, we find that recessions have a long-lasting effect on individuals’ beliefs.

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28

Changed My Mind: Three Strikes Laws

I’ve been challenged on a few occasions, as one tends to be if one is a fairly strong adherent of one end of the political spectrum or another, as to whether I’ve ever changed my mind on anything to a position contrary to the standard conservative one. And so, an example:

When a three strikes law was put on the ballot in California (where I lived at the time) I was a strong supporter. California was one of the first states to pass a three strikes law, and there was huge support for it because California was suffering badly from the 90s crime wave. The case for it seemed simple: If you’ve committed three felonies, you’re clearly not learning your lesson, and 25-life will take you off the streets and prevent you from continuing to be a danger to society. Support for the bill was heavily fueled by frustration with a justice system which seemed to act far too much like a revolving door, with rapists and murderers often being back on the streets within 5-8 years, and proceeding to commit similar crimes again. With the judiciary and prison system seemingly unwilling to do their job in keeping criminals off the streets, the case seemed strong for citizens to pass legislation forcing them to, and the three strikes law seemed like an obvious way to do it.
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101

Are You A Racist?

obamaflowchart21

Hattip to Powerline.  Jimmy Carter, incredibly enough one time President of the United States, believes a good portion of the opposition to Obama is racist.  Hmmm.  With Mr. Carter’s record on race, one could suspect that he might have a passing familiarity with racism.  The Obama administration quickly indicated that President Obama does not agree with his predecessor.  However, moogrogue at Missourah.com thoughtfully put together the above chart so that we may determine if we are racists according to the view enunciated by President 39.  Too bad Billy Carter is deceased and can’t be questioned about his elder brother’s statement.  I am sure it would be quotable and colorful as was this observation about his family: 
“My mother went into the Peace Corps when she was sixty-eight. My one sister is a motorcycle freak, my other sister is a Holy Roller evangelist and my brother is running for president. I’m the only sane one in the family.”

Irving Kristol, 1920-2009

And so we lose another giant. A self-identified liberal “mugged by reality”, Irving Kristol, commonly heralded as the godfather of ‘neo’-conservatism, has died. Hillel Italie gives an account of his life for RealClearPolitics.com:

A Trotskyist in the 1930s, Kristol would soon sour on socialism, break from liberalism after the rise of the New Left in the 1960s and in the 1970s commit the unthinkable — support the Republican Party, once as “foreign to me as attending a Catholic Mass.”

He was a New York intellectual who left home, first politically, then physically, moving to Washington in 1988. … his turn to the right joined by countless others, including such future GOP Cabinet officials as Jeane Kirkpatrick and William Bennett and another neoconservative founder, Norman Podhoretz.

“The influence of Irving Kristol’s ideas has been one of the most important factors in reshaping the American climate of opinion over the past 40 years,” Podhoretz said.

Among the host of publications he is credited as founding and/or editing was Commentary magazine (from 1947 to 1952); The Public Interest (from 1965 to 2002) and The National Interest from 1985 to 2002.

Kristol’s life, along with that of his fellow “New York intellectuals” Irving Howe, Daniel Bell, and Nathan Glazer, was the subject of the 1998 documentary, Arguing the World. In July 2002 he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Continue Reading

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Weapons of Mass Destruction

MassDestruction

Happy 25th Sunday of the year!

Ahhh, the fruits from the spirit in the sky of Vatican II!

Give us your opinion as to what has caused the celebration of the Mass to deteriorate since the Second Ecumenical Council (using Vatican II as a starting point, but not the cause).

You can only vote once, but you can choose more than one answer (on your first and only vote), so be careful!  Voting will end on Friday, September 25, 2009 AD.

Key:

Ad Populum = The priest showing his back to God while staring at the people.  Instead of facing God with the people (Ad Orientem).

Vernacular Liturgy = The liturgy of the Mass is celebrated in only the local language of the people instead of both the vernacular and Latin language.

(Biretta Tip: Catholic Cartoon Blog)

11

Quote of the Day: Irving Kristol

Symbolic Politics and Liberal Reform, Dec. 15, 1972

“All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling,” wrote Oscar Wilde, and I would like to suggest that the same can be said for bad politics. . . .

It seems to me that the politics of liberal reform, in recent years, shows many of the same characteristics as amateur poetry. It has been more concerned with the kind of symbolic action that gratifies the passions of the reformer rather than with the efficacy of the reforms themselves. Indeed, the outstanding characteristic of what we call “the New Politics” is precisely its insistence on the overwhelming importance of revealing, in the public realm, one’s intense feelings—we must “care,” we must “be concerned,” we must be “committed.” Unsurprisingly, this goes along with an immense indifference to consequences, to positive results or the lack thereof.

6

Father John Jenkins Pro-Life Baby Steps

Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., released a message to the University of Notre Dame family outlining two pro-life initiatives to recompense for the scandal of awarding President Obama an honorary degree.

1.  Father Jenkins plans to attend the March for Life Anniversary of Roe v. Wade event in Washington D.C.

2.  Establish a Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life.

These two initiatives are a good first start in adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Church established by Jesus Himself.

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Deliver Us!

Something for the weekend.  You know that you are living in an odd cultural period when the best musicals are animated!  Deliver us from the Prince of Egypt

God is always with us in all of our travails, perhaps never more so than when He appears to us to be completely absent.  When our spirit is lowest and we give way to despair, I suspect that God is never closer to us than at those times.  As Isaiah noted so long ago,  “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

17

When Unions Go Bad

Occasionally unions are a good tool for righting genuine injustices in the working world, but often they later become organizations focused on their own self-perpetuation. Because all union members pay the same dues, this self perpetuation often takes the form of protecting bad workers from the consequences of their actions. The good workers, after all, will almost certainly be treated well by their employers anyway, so the only service the union can provide when there are no real injustices to fight is to take care of workers who are incompetant or just don’t care — allowing them to do the minimum and still get annual raises rather than pink slips.

According to this recent article from the New Yorker, hardly a conservative publication, the New York City teachers union has clearly reached that point and then some.

In a windowless room in a shabby office building at Seventh Avenue and Twenty-eighth Street, in Manhattan, a poster is taped to a wall, whose message could easily be the mission statement for a day-care center: “Children are fragile. Handle with care.” It’s a June morning, and there are fifteen people in the room, four of them fast asleep, their heads lying on a card table. Three are playing a board game. Most of the others stand around chatting. Two are arguing over one of the folding chairs. But there are no children here. The inhabitants are all New York City schoolteachers who have been sent to what is officially called a Temporary Reassignment Center but which everyone calls the Rubber Room.

These fifteen teachers, along with about six hundred others, in six larger Rubber Rooms in the city’s five boroughs, have been accused of misconduct, such as hitting or molesting a student, or, in some cases, of incompetence, in a system that rarely calls anyone incompetent.
Continue Reading

13

House to Acorn: Drop Dead

 

Acorn

The House has voted to cut off all federal funds for Acorn.  The vote was 345-75.  Here is a list of the 75 House members who want to continue to shovel your tax dollars to Acorn.  Everyone of the 75 is a Democrat.

In other Acorn news,  the Obama campaign website has been scrubbing away references to Acorn down the old Orwell memory hole.

You know that Acorn is toast when even the Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is calling for an investigation of Acorn.  The day before yesterday she wasn’t even aware that the Senate had voted to cut off funding for Acorn.

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Lying Worthless Political Hack Fears Violence in the Debate Over ObamaCare

The Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, not content to call opponents of ObamaCare Nazis,  has now raised the spectre of political violence:

“I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw … I saw this myself in the late ’70s in San Francisco,” Pelosi said, choking up and with tears forming in her eyes. “This kind of rhetoric is just, is really frightening and it created a climate in which we, violence took place and … I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made.” Continue Reading

1

The Crowd Size of the 9/12 Rally in Washington

capitol-view-lo-res

A controversy has blown up on the internet with claims that the 9/12 rally in Washington had about 60,000-90,000 people in attendance.  Charles Martin at Pajamas Media drives a stake through the heart of that claim here.

“Since I wrote that piece, though, we have two new sources of information. First, the ridership statistics from D.C. Metro became available after being delayed, apparently because of a fatal accident on the Metro tracks. The Heritage Foundation, using these figures, computed that Metrorail ridership was about 235,000 greater than the previous weekend. As they say, that in itself is more than three times the (unreliable and badly sourced) number reported in the legacy media.

Second, there is now a high-resolution photo from FreedomWorks, which you can see in the poster here.

His conclusions from all available evidence:

“What can we take away from this exercise? Here are the main points:

  • The estimate widely used in the legacy media is not from an authoritative source, and it isn’t even consistent with itself: “full back to 3rd Street” is around 250,000 by Park Sevice methods, not a quarter of that.
  • Many estimates, using different assumptions and different methods, arrived at numbers well into the hundreds of thousands.
  • This is clearly consistent with the panoramic photo that we can source reliably.
  • With everything above, and with several more estimates, I don’t think there is a plausible argument for any total attendance figure much less that 500,000 to 600,000. That is, nearly ten times the reported attendance.”
9

Acorn on the Ropes

 

1.  The second part of the San Bernardino Acorn expose of O’Keefe and Giles.  Go here to read the comments of Giles regarding her “girl talk” with the flakey Acorn employee.

 

2.  In the wake of the Acorn scandal exposed by the intrepid duo of O’Keefe and Giles, Acorn has announced that it is suspending advising new clients and is setting up an independent review board.  Hmmm, this is an amazing turnabout from the initial reaction of  Acorn to the videos  which was that the whole thing was a conspiracy against Acorn put together by Fox.  Of course the “independent review board” is stacked with cronies and supporters of Acorn, but at least Acorn is under such pressure that it has to pretend to be trying to reform itself.

3.  Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota has ordered a review and suspension of any state contracts with Acorn.

4.  Governor Schwarzenegger in California is calling for a full investigation of Acorn’s California activities.

5.  Meantime Acorn has joined the Reverend Wright, and many other groups and individuals under the Obama bus.  Obama had a somewhat different attitude regarding the organization just last year:

When Obama met with ACORN leaders in November, he reminded them of his history with ACORN and his beginnings in Illinois as a Project Vote organizer, a nonprofit focused on voter rights and education. Senator Obama said, “I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That’s what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That’s the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”

6.  The Lying Worthless Political Hack, a/k/a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, was asked about the Senate bill cutting off funding for Acorn, her response was as follows:  “I don’t even know what they passed,” Pelosi told The Post yesterday. “What did they do? They defunded it?”

7.  I have never liked Jon Stewart:  too liberal for my conservative tastes.  However, this clip of his show here where he lambastes the mainstream media for missing the Acorn story is a must see.  As he notes, he is a fake journalist and he feels terrible about being scooped on a story by a couple of kids.  He gets to the heart of the matter.  The corruption of Acorn has been apparent for years, but neither the media nor the politicians did anything until a very inventive “couple of kids” took the initiative to expose the corruption for all to see.  A media that ignores this type of story is a media that is worthless.  Politicians who tolerate this type of corruption and shovel taxpayer funds at a manifestly corrupt organization are worse than worthless.  What O’Keefe and Giles have demonstrated is that we do not have to put up with this state of affairs.  Look forward for more shoes to drop:    more videos are on the way.

4

Dad and Daughter and Baseball

MLB lawyers were able to track down and depublish the YouTube video in order to protect the interests of their corporate masters.

No worries, I found another video link which shows the little dad and daughter moment.  Click here.

Saw this late last night and I wanted to share this with our American Catholic readers.

A very touching moment when the little girl throws away the baseball and gets startled by the gasp of the fans.  She quickly turns to daddy and he’s there to give his little girl a big hug of support that it’s alright.

Hope you all can view this before Major League Baseball lawyers take down the YouTube video.

Very nice.

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Rush Limbaugh, Race Baiter

I have to say, I try to keep my expectations for political personalities on the radio and television low. But this is pretty appalling:

It’s Obama’s America, is it not? Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, “Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white. Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives.

Let me get this straight, according to Rush: 1) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for white kids getting beat up on school busses. 2) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for people cheering while white kids get beat up on school busses; 3) Obama approves or is responsible somehow for the idea that white kids are all racists and deserve to get beat up on school busses; and 4) Somehow there is a connection to be drawn here to Joe Wilson’s intemperate outburst during Obama’s speach the other night.

How do people listen to this stuff?

H/T: The American Scene

Update: Re-reading the transcript again, I still think Rush is race-baiting, although not in the sense my comments above suggest. I don’t think Rush was actually intending to make a direct comment on Obama, much less about busses and school children. Rather, he was engaging in a caricature of lefty  outrage over various political and racial issues (e.g. Jimmy Carter’s recent remarks) . I think this type of caricature is irresponsible and foments racial tensions, even if Rush’s intention was just to foment partisan outrage. Race is a highly charged issue with good reason given our country’s history, and the risks of misinterpretation are very high. Accordingly, I think it is irresponsible and, in some sense, race-baiting, to belittle these concerns and treat them as if they were trivial. While I don’t want to be humorless or disingenuous, I agree with Megan McArdle that 1) if so many missed it, it’s not a very good satire; 2) what Rush is actually doing is quite bad enough.

Also, for those interested, Michael Iafrate thinks that many of the commenters in this thread are racists. I have not allowed his comments to come through because I do not think they will lead to a productive discussion here, and I will delete any comments that respond to Michael’s accusation. If you would like to discuss these issues with Michael, he blogs at Vox Nova and Catholic Anarchy.

2

Medical Bankruptcy in Canada

There’s been a lot of talk about how lack of sufficient health care is a major cause of bankruptcy in the US. Some of this is based on a couple of very bad studies, which essentially assumed that anyone who declared bankruptcy who had any outstanding medical bills at all must have done so because of medical costs, regardless of the relative size of their medical and other debts. But there’s also a legitimate aspect to this, though it doesn’t have to do with medical costs. Bankruptcy is often the result of some sort of unexpected circumstances (lost job, divorce, medical problems) which drastically increases expenses or lowers earnings. Obviously, if you come down with major medical problems, you may well end up earning less regardless of your medical bills, and this can cause bankruptcy.

Illustrating this is a recent study commissioned by the Canadian government investigating the high prevalence of bankrupty among older Canadians. (via Megan McArdle) The finding: medical problems is the number two cause of bankruptcy among Canadians aged 55-65, the group with the greatest propensity to declare bankruptcy. (see pages 18-19) Continue Reading

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History and the End of Schism

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill

Rumors and rumors of rumors of an imminent end to over a thousand years of the Great Schism between Catholics and Orthodox have exploded over these past few days.  If these rumors are correct then not since the Ecumenical Council of Ferrara-Florence have these great Church’s been so close to unity.

In A.D. 1054 Catholic prelate Humbert and Orthodox prelate Michael Cærularius excommunicated each other.  This marks the beginning of the Great Schism between the Catholic and Orthodox Church’s.

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7

The Acorn Scandals Continue

O’Keefe and Giles take their pimp and prostitute masquerade to an Acorn office in San Bernadino California and are met with open arms!  Four Acorn offices across the nation have no problem with helping out a criminal enterprise involving underage prostitutes!  This has been a brilliant sting which has brought Acorn to its knees in just a few days.  Amazing, simply amazing!  Go here to read Hannah Giles’ comments on the science behind the Acorn sting. 

The mainstream media and this story?  Best summed up by ABC’s Charlie Gibson’s comment this morning on WLS in Chicago that he knew nothing about it.  If a story reflects poorly on Democrats, it might as well not exist for much of the mainstream media.  In the day of blogs and youtube, this type of partisan “ostrich journalism” is rapidly becoming extinct.  They will not be missed.

 

Update:  The New York City city council has suspended payments to Acorn and the Attorney General of New York has announced an investigation into pork barrel grants to Acorn. 

7

Do you trust people who profit from you?

We’re often told that we shouldn’t trust people whose only interest is to make a profit from us. I ran into a brief piece by economist Russ Roberts which stands that conventional wisdom on its head in an interesting way.

The other day I had to get some important tax receipts to my accountant. He’s in St. Louis, it was getting close to April 15, and it was very important that the papers didn’t get lost. To give my accountant plenty of time, I wanted the papers to arrive the next morning.

So what did I do? My first choice was to get on a plane and deliver the letter myself. Too expensive. Too much time.

So I did the next best thing. I went down to the airport and found someone headed to St. Louis. I told her how important it was for my accountant to have my receipts by the next day. Fortunately, she seemed really nice. She said she’d be happy to help me out. I sealed up the envelope, and she promised not to open it after I left.
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From Tiny Acorns Mighty Scandals Grow

Acorn, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is a left wing political action group with close ties to the Democrat party.  Since 1994 it has received over 53 million dollars in federal funds.  It has a long history of involvement in voter registration fraud.  Obama has a very long history of involvement with Acorn.  Acorn has acknowledged problems in voter registration fraud but has blamed a few “bad apples”.

Thanks to the intrepid James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, posing as a pimp and prostitute, we now know quite a bit more about advice that Acorn gives to those seeking assistance from them.  Hitting Acorn offices in Baltimore, Washington and Brooklyn, Acorn employees were only too happy to assist O’Keefe and Giles in setting up a fictitious house of prostitution involving underage prostitutes.  The advice of the Acorn worker in Baltimore that the girl prostitutes could be listed as dependents on the tax returns of O”Keefe and Giles is pure comedy gold!

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