Crying “foul” after “aiding and abetting”…

Wednesday, September 14, AD 2011

It would be mildly amusing is wasn’t so sad to read emails and brochures produced by well-intentioned but hyper-reactive Catholic organizations calling for petition drives to demand that President Obama revoke some of the regulations associated with his “healthcare reforms.”

With Notre Dame University having honored President Obama in 2009, he subsequently turned on his heels by allowing his Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, to roll out new regulations flagrantly violating not only his word but also Church teaching.

These new regulations include:

  • requiring women’s health plans to cover sterilization and contraception, including  “abortifacients”;
  • mandating many Catholic organizations—including schools and colleges/universities, hopsitals, and Catholic charities—to violate their Catholic identity by providing health benefits that violate Church teaching; and,
  • compelling the insurance plans offered by Catholic organizations to offer free birth control and sterilization to college girls.

No doubt, these regulations are something the Church should protest.

Yet, all of this is amusing in that the majority of U.S. Catholics not only supported the President’s election but Catholic politicians also played crucial roles in crafting the healthcare “reform” bill and, now, designing the regulations.

Where was the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Health Association, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and Catholic Charities USA in 2008 and 2009 prophetically warning of the potential ill-effects of Obamacare?

For the most part, they were “working with the Administration,” believing the promises being made by their President, Catholic politicians, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  But, the truth is that they were “true believers,” savoring the limelight and empty promises made by Democrat politicians—whose Party’s platform explicitly promotes anti-life policies.

Now that the “hopium” has worn off with the reality of the new HHS regulations, it’s almost laughable that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is launching a nationwide campaign at parishes this weekend.  About the new regulations, the bulletin insert states: “This poses an unprecedented threat to individual and institutional religious freedom.”

Well, duh!  Isn’t that just great…after the fact?  Where was the leadership…before the fact?

Dancing with wolves, these U.S. Catholics weren’t just snookered.  They’ve also been taught a lesson…one they should have known all along.  Putting partisan politics ahead of Church teaching, the “hand which was to feed them” has “slammed the door in their faces.”

So, now they cry foul and organize protests?  It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

How can these true believers possibly believe their protests are going to effective now that they’ve thrown the weight of their support behind the conditions which allowed the horse to be let out of the barn in the first place?

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7 Responses to Crying “foul” after “aiding and abetting”…

  • “Where was the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops… in 2008 and 2009 prophetically warning of the potential ill-effects of Obamacare?”

    On the forefront.

  • The domestic policy group of the USCCB, which acts as the theological branch of the DNC, and CHA were actively involved in the effort to make Obamacare law. There was a purposeful dissonance found between authentic Church teaching and the harmful and arguably deceptive information being propagated by the USCCB and CHA at the time. I do not believe things have changed as just a couple of months ago I received an email from Virginia Catholic Charities to tell Congress to save entitlement programs during the House budget debate. I did not receive a reply back to my query about the source and purpose of the VCC budget alert email. The VCC and the USCCB were emailing similar alerts during the ‘health care debate’.

  • When you google for the USCCB’s messages on health care reform, you find lots of articles stating that the USCCB is opposed and one link to “Catholic Media Coalition” stating that the USCCB was in favor. I personally got regularly emails from the USCCB urging me to contact my representatives to oppose the bill. I remember Don posting here on this blog a quote from Bart Stupak before he flipped that he remains opposed to the bill because he listens to the USCCB.

  • Both through the USCCB and my archdiocese (San Francisco) I was inundated with e-mail messages asking me first to support pro-life amendments to the Obama health care plan, then after that fell through asking me to voice opposition to the plan.

    So I’m not sure where this criticism you have is coming from. I heard more from the USCCB and other church leaders on the health care than I have heard from them on any other topic, which I took as a sign that the council was changing course to be more vocal on these issues.

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  • What is “almost laughable” but really “too sad” is that those who share the same beliefs would WASTE their time writing critical articles of organizations and people who DO make efforts to change laws, whether pre- or post- facto, rather than using that same energy in the pursuit of those goals which they are busy criticizing over.
    A house divided cannot stand.
    If you have the time to ridicule your bishop or any bishops, perhaps you should consider aiding and assisting in the cause of NCHLA or any other organization who is lobbying for conscience protection and religious liberty.
    The USCCB was on the forefront warning against healthcare, and Cardinal DiNardo, chair of the Pro-Life Committee, has many stellar letters written to congress concerning these important issues.
    Pointing fingers only gets you so far.

  • In my observations of actions by the USCCB in the past few years, I frequently have found political naivete inhibiting the force of the message. Often it seems that the USCCB focuses on a very specific, narrow issue, while remaining silent on issues connected in the political agenda of those proponents of the policies the USCCB is opposing. It is important to recognize that politicians will spin any support of one isolated issue into apparent wedespread support of others. We need to look to the entire agenda in play, lest there be the “camel’s nose under the tent” problem that comes from the narrowness of the USCCB view, statement, or position.

Security Theatre Gets Badly Out Of Hand

Wednesday, September 14, AD 2011

With the administration having announced that there were “credible” threats of anniversary attacks on the US by Al Qaeda on 9/11, everyone was admittedly a bit jumpy. The AP carried mentions of two airline incidents which caused fighter jets and security personnel to be scrambled, including this description of one relating to a Frontier Airlines flight:

Police temporarily detained and questioned three passengers at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport on Sunday after the crew of the Frontier Airlines flight from Denver reported suspicious activity on board, and NORAD sent two F-16 jets to shadow the flight until it landed safely, airline and federal officials said.

The three passengers who were taken off the plane in handcuffs were released Sunday night, and no charges were filed against them, airport spokesman Scott Wintner said.

Frontier Flight 623, with 116 passengers on board, landed without incident in Detroit at 3:30 p.m. EDT after the crew reported that two people were spending “an extraordinarily long time” in a bathroom, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said.

FBI Detroit spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said ultimately authorities determined there was no real threat.

“Due to the anniversary of Sept. 11, all precautions were taken, and any slight inconsistency was taken seriously,” Berchtold said. “The public would rather us err on the side of caution than not.”

In such dry terms, it sounds reasonable that people would be “on the side of caution”. Try reading instead the account of one of the three passengers cuffed and questioned — for being so suspicious as to look slightly like two guys she didn’t know who were in her aisle, both of whom committed the suspicious activity of going to the bathroom:

We had been waiting on the plane for a half hour. I had to pee. I wanted to get home and see my family. And I wanted someone to tell us what was going on. In the distance, a van with stairs came closer. I sighed with relief, thinking we were going to get off the plane and get shuttled back to the terminal. I would still be able to make it home for dinner. Others on the plane also seemed happy to see those stairs coming our way.

I see stairs coming our way…yay!

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The Civil War, Amanda Foreman, Oxford, Nudity and Large Families

Wednesday, September 14, AD 2011

The above video is an interview with Amanda Foreman who has written a fascinating study of Great Britain and the Civil War, A World on Fire, a book that I have been reading lately.  It is a comprehensive history, 958 pages in length, fully sourced and end noted, not only looking at the diplomatic relations between Great Britain and the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War, but also examining individual Brits who fought on both sides of the War, and studying the travails of British war correspondents who covered the War for British papers.  If the British Empire had entered the War on the side of the Confederacy it is hard to see how the Union would have prevailed, and Great Britain came within inches of doing so during the furor over the Trent affair, the Union seizure of Confederate diplomats Mason and Sliddel from the British mail ship Trent, in 1861.  Foreman masterfully retells this tale, and explains why the Brits ultimately did not intervene throughout the War.   Her tome is one of the more original books on the Civil War that I have read in many a year and very well written.

Whenever I come across a book that I enjoy by an author I am not familiar with, sooner or later I will research the background of the author.  For most historians it is usually dry stuff:  where they attended college, which historians they studied under, academic positions they have held and a list of the books they have written.  The ink stained wretches who serve Clio, the Muse of History, may write about exciting events, but they usually live fairly dull and colorless lives themselves, a historian like Winston Churchill being very much the exception.  Well, I quickly learned that there is very little dull about Ms. Foreman!

Born in 1968 she is a daughter of the late Carl Foreman, a former Commie who was blacklisted in the Fifties.  He was also a screenwriter of genius, producing the script for High Noon.  Foreman embraced Communism, which he later renounced, while studying at my Alma Mater, the University of Illinois. (Well, living among the corn fields at Urbana can do strange things to college students unused to bucolic Central Illinois.!)    After he was blacklisted he moved to England where he enjoyed great success with such films as The Guns of Navarrone and Young Winston, becoming a Commander of the British Empire.  He also married, for the second time, and had two children, Jonathan and Amanda Foreman.  Jonathan Foreman has achieved fame in Britain  as  a war journalist in Iraq, being embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division, and helped found, and writes for, StandPoint , a center-right journal of opinion in Britain that celebrates Western Civilization.  (I wonder what Carl would think?)

Ms. Foreman was educated at a boarding school in England, although she lived with her father in California prior to his death in 1984 of brain cancer.  She attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, and then Columbia.  She earned a Phd in history at Oxford, writing her doctoral dissertation on Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, 1757-1807.  In 1998 she published her doctoral dissertation.  Normally such books fall stillborn from the press, and are usually read only by professors, people who are paid to read them, and students, people who are forced to read them.  Not so this book, which, while a superb history of the Duchess and her era, was written in a lively style by Ms. Foreman, who obviously had inherited a full measure of the dramatic skills of her father.  The book rapidly became a best seller, and was made into a play and a movie.  Not the usual fate for a doctoral dissertation.

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14 Responses to The Civil War, Amanda Foreman, Oxford, Nudity and Large Families

  • Yeesh, I was reading this article about her:

    (Because, yes, curiosity demanded that I look up that picture.) Her husband went through treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma a couple years ago. He’s in remission now, but that’s nasty stuff. (My father managed seven years, with one long and one short remission in there.) With five very young children, they could definitely use our prayers.

    Sounds like a fascinating book.

  • Indeed Darwin. Taking care of 5 kids, nursing an ailing husband and finishing off what may be the definitive study of Anglo-American relations during the Civil War. Ms. Foreman isn’t supermom or superwife, but she isn’t far short!

  • Another book for my seam-bursting Amazon wish list.

  • And she does all of this in *Manhattan.* I love the city, but I can’t imagine a more daunting place to try to raise a large family. I’ll go ahead and say it–Superwife and Supermom.

  • Thanks, Don, I shall read this at the earliest opportunity. When I read history as an undergraduate 40 years ago women on the course outnumbered men by two to one, and yet women academic historians are still very much in the minority; female historical writers seem more drawn to biography. From the evidence of the video clips I would certainly go out of my way to hear her lecture.

    BTW, I know that Oxford D.Phils often preferred the style ‘Mr’ to ‘Dr’ (as do surgeons, even if they have doctorates) but I’m not sure about Ms. – might be confused with the abbreviation for manuscript.

  • Since she kept her own name John, I assumed that Ms. Foreman would have preferred Ms. which of course might be mistaken on my part. I was aware of the Oxford custom of eschewing doctor for “phony docs”, but even if I hadn’t I would not have used the title in a fairly light-hearted post like this. American attorneys, like their Brit counterparts, do not claim the title of doctor, although German attorneys are always referred to as Herr Doktor. American “phony docs” outside of the academic setting tend to be cautious about using the title since Americans in common usage assume that a Doctor is an MD, a vet, a dentist or a chiropractor. Perhaps Dr. Paul Zummo could enlighten us further as to the etiquette of American “phony doc” usage.

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  • Don, the ‘phony docs’ are surely physicians who only have a bachelor’s degree and for whom ‘doctor’ is a courtesy title. Consultant surgeons are still Mr or Mrs although some dentists have recently started using Dr presumably imitating continental or US practice. Vets are Mr or Mrs. Those with doctorates in non-medical disciplines certainly use them; the Abp of Canterbury is Dr Williams.

    Sadly, I no longer receive formal correspondence addressed to J Nolan Esq. as computers can’t cope with it.

  • God Bless her, I hope her husband gets well again.

  • When I saw the headline of this post this morning, my first thought was “Civil War…Amanda Foreman (who is she?)…Oxford…nudity…large families…OK, I can’t process this yet, it’s too early and I haven’t had my coffee.”

    I’m glad I came back tonight to read the post. What a fascinating family! As Dale noted, yet another addition for the Amazon wish list. Thanks, Donald!

  • Thank you Donna! I suspected the headline would produce some question marks!

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  • What astonishes me is that she came from the family of Carl Foreman of all people, who was not, in my opinion, a writer of “genius” but competent nonetheless. Mr Foreman was also a bit of a royal pain on a movie set, with an autocratic style that did not endear him to his fellow workers. Oddly, none of these traits seem to be plaguing Miss Foreman.

    I will read her book. It sounds fascinating.

    And, oh, by the way, if I may say this: please don’t ever forget we are in a war of words, and that means me must never concede to the enemy one single inch of gorund in that war. So avoid using their “Ms” appellation (a meaningless one if ever there was one). “Miss” is the proper term when in doubt, whether the woman is married or not. If you know her to be married it is proper to use her married name, of course. Another war-word is “gay”, so please don’t ever use that perfectly innocent word to describe buggery. The War of the Words is much more important than perhaps you think it is.

  • “And, oh, by the way, if I may say this: please don’t ever forget we are in a war of words, and that means me must never concede to the enemy one single inch of ground in that war.”

    That is your war Dan, not mine. In business usage Ms. is handy when you do not know whether a female is married or unmarried. When a woman chooses to keep her maiden name I assume that she wishes to be addressed by Ms. unless she indicates otherwise.

We Are Shackled to a Corpse

Wednesday, September 14, AD 2011

Last night Republican Robert Turner won the special Congressional election in New York 9, the congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner of Weinergate infamy.  Weiner was a pro-abort.  Turner is pro-life and against gay marriage.  How does a candidate, a 70 year old retired executive with no prior political experience, like this win in an icy blue congressional district held by Democrats since 1923?

Turner won by turning the race into a referendum on Obamanomics, and with this strategy he won resoundingly, 54-46.

This race is going to send shock waves through the Democrat establishment.  Already some Democrat leaders were saying privately what most sentient Americans realize:  due to his lousy stewardship of the economy Obama may well lose next year.  With this election, many Democrat leaders may well change from “may well lose” to “probably will lose”.

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12 Responses to We Are Shackled to a Corpse

  • Drudge has this as its top story headlined: “Revenge of the Jews…” which give Obama a 13% approval rating in that district. Notice ‘The Jews’ terminology, which one poster has accused me of using. As a voting bloc, Jews, for all their reputation as liberals, have a solid conservative streak as evidenced by this election and their positions on social issues such as abortion and homo marriage.

  • Orthodox Jews do Joe, and those are the type of Jews which predominate in that district, which has not prevented them from voting for politically liberal secular Jews, up to now. Obama may not have brought the hope, but he certainly brought the change, just not the change his most ardent backers expected.

  • Something will “come up” and Obama will have to make the hard choice between his “whatever” and running for a second term … I think he will not be running.

  • I pray every day Obama loses the White House, the sooner (e.g., by impeachment) the better, but ejection after the November 2012 election would be satisfactory result.

  • Don’t forget the other special election GOP victory in Nevada-2 by Mark Amodei. Evidently President Obama had to rally the troops last night, and here’s some video:

  • Interesting thing about the district is that, though it’s solidly Democrat, it’s one of the more Republican friendly districts in the city outside of Staten Island. It’s a ridiculously gerrymandered district that snakes across the Orthodox Jewish section in Brooklyn to the middle class neighborhoods like Forest Hills in Queens. These are the areas that supported Rudy Giuliani and which will occasionally cross party lines for Republicans in local elections. Still a big shock, though I fear the seat could be swallowed up due to re-districting as NY is due to lose a Congressional seat in the city.

  • I looked up the district map to see if I ever lived in it. The district border looks like it’s crossing the street whenever it sees a black person. I’m generally a fan of gerrymandering (yes, a fan), but I just found the blatant racial districting amusing.

    How Republican-friendly blue state districts are seems to be highly correlated to the immigrant-to-WASP/black ratio. That kind of turns the popular narrative on its head. Blue state WASPs are the most reliably Democrat. First generation immigrants are socially conservative small business owners who don’t care for handouts. They’re natural constituents for the GOP. The only reason they’re still swing voters leaning Democrat is because of the GOP’s immigration problem.

  • The district was intentionally gerrymandered so that the surrounding districts would be more heavily minority, which means it’s a pretty white bread district itself. In fact it snakes through my old neighborhood (Ridgewood), though the district that my mother is in is actually represented by Nydia Velazquez – and said district is itself ridiculously drawn up.

  • I looked up the district map to see if I ever lived in it. The district border looks like it’s crossing the street whenever it sees a black person. I’m generally a fan of gerrymandering (yes, a fan), but I just found the blatant racial districting amusing.

    You’re on to something, but it’s the exact opposite motivation at work. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has a mandate to maximize African American representation. That’s why you sometimes see truly odd districts, and have seen some intensive litigation over them. The Shaw v. Reno line of cases (involving the infamous I-95 district in North Carolina) at the Supreme Court has really made district drawing a balance beam act.

    You also get to see some very funny arguments by lawyers as a result, in an attempt to evoke the bizarreness of the district shape. The Shaw case had a lawyer arguing that “if you drove down I-95 with both doors open, you’d kill half the voters in the district.” Bush v. Vera was even better: “these districts were not drawn, they were vomited on a screen door.”

    Ironically enough, the Supreme Court initially punted on challenges to majority-minority cases in a case originating out of a New York district that was heavily Orthodox Jewish in population: the United Jewish Organizations v. Carey case back in 1977. While the Supreme Court ultimately rejected the challenge, the justices were so befuddled by the problem that there was only a plurality in favor of the judgment and a lot of half-concurrences which make the Oracle at Delphi look positively forthright by comparison.

  • My day began with a good laugh, as I saw Debbie Wasserman-Schultz say that this district has always been “difficult” for Democrats. Oh yes, what an uphill battle the donks have had in a district that hasn’t had a GOP rep since the 1920’s.

    I’m becoming a big fan of Debbie, really I am. I hope she is on TV flapping her jaw as much as possible between now and Nov. 2012. She’s almost as entertaining as Biden.

  • Debbie does have a true talent for comedy relief. I suspect that her party will need all the comedy relief they can muster after the election results next year.

  • Last night Republican Robert Turner won the special Congressional election in New York 9, the congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner of Weinergate infamy.

    That election victory is more evidence that the public holds Republicans to a higher moral standard than Democrats.

TAC College Rankings Week 2

Tuesday, September 13, AD 2011

Straight to the rankings this week!

1. LSU (2) – Plastering a cupcake isn’t too big a deal-but LSU has had issues with cupcakes a lot in the Les Miles era. A short week sets them up with a Thursday night bout against the violators of the SEC noise policy.

2. Alabama – Crushing Jo Pa isn’t that big of a deal right now, but early in the season it’s a good indicator of Bama’s strength

3.  Oklahoma (1) – A trip to Tallahassee will tell us a lot about the Big 12 & ACC this year

3. Boise St. – they better not take Rockets offense lightly on the road in Toledo or they will find themselves facing more indigestion than a slew of Tony Packo’s chili dogs

5.  Stanford-they haven’t done anything to hurt their cause and they won’t face a major challenge for some time

6. Oklahoma St. -eagerly awaiting a showdown in a couple of weeks with the Aggies

7.  Texas A&M – Is it really a good idea to take a bye week on week 2?

8. Florida St.- The Sooners coming is in town a big deal not only for FSU but also for the ACC. It’s the best shot at a marquee out of conference win not to mention something to brag about if the ACC really is interesting in scooping up the Longhorns in the latest realignment rumors.

9.  Wisconsin – The Badgers probably can’t wait the few weeks until they introduce the Corn Huskers to the Big 10

10. Nebraska – acing the Washington Huskies in Seattle will reveal a lot about the Corn Huskers and the Huskies

11. S. Carolina – the bad news for the Gamecocks is that the win against Georgia only gave them the SEC East crown according to preseason thought. With Tennessee and Florida looking decent against weak competition, it’s too early to book a return trip to Atlanta.

12. Arkansas -Eagerly awaiting their Sept 24th showdown with the Crimson Tide

13. Oregon – It’s all about the Stanford game now.

14. Virginia Tech- ECU gave them a scare, but they scare everybody and the Hokies get scared at least once a year. In this ACC, they’ll still go to the title game,

15. Auburn (1) – Their goal line stand against the Bulldogs was inspired by the glass’s performance against their mascot.

16. Michigan St. – should be a great game against the Fighting Irish who have their backs against the wall all the while the Spartans have a lot to prove

17. Ohio St. – the Buckeys offense needs a jolt and the Hurricans are probably licking their chops, but the Hurricanes offense isn’t much better

18. Florida – The game against the Vols will set expectations in the SEC East. With Georgia imploding, the Gators are primed to reclaim their status.

19. Arizona St. – The upset of Mizzou stands as a lone bright spot in the Pac-12’s OOC play.

20. Baylor – From the sounds of it, the lawyers aren’t succeeding in freezing the collapse of the Big 12, in which case Baylor needs to perform extremely well on the field to try to salvage a good invite.

21. South Florida – With Notre Dame defeated, the schedule it entirely dull (save maybe a trip to Pitt and Miami) until the last week when they play WVU likely for the Big East crown

22. West Virginia – If the Mountaineers wear their all yellow when they travel to Maryland to see the Maryland Pride uniforms ie BIG FLAG I HAZ BIG FLAG EVERYWHEREZ! I’m going to tear my eyeballs out

23. Texas – Leave it to the Longhorns to find a conference with weaker competition than the Big 12 to beat up on-and that’s before the SEC digs in

24. Washington – They upset Nebraska in the bowl game, but upsetting Big Red in the Cornhusker state is a difficult proposition.

25. Houston – Medical redshirts are awesome!

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5 Responses to TAC College Rankings Week 2

Debate With a Liberal

Tuesday, September 13, AD 2011

A humorous, albeit stacked, debate.  The video does illuminate one facet of the American political scene.  Educated conservatives tend to be more familiar with liberal arguments than educated liberals are with conservative arguments.  The reason for this is quite simple.  Conservatives who have been to college have exposed themselves to an institution that is overwhelmingly liberal.  If they read or view the mainstream media, once again they are exposed to liberal ideas from an institution overwhelmingly liberal.  Their entertainment comes to them from sources that tend to be liberal.  Educated conservatives in our society can no more ignore liberal ideas and arguments than they can any other annoying and ubiquitous feature of modern life;   like people having “private” conversations at the top of their lungs over cell phones, liberalism is a constant background feature.

The same is not true for educated liberals.  If they choose, and a surprising number of them so choose, they can lead their lives without ever engaging with conservative ideas and arguments.  The colleges they attend support their political beliefs, the mainstream media presupposes that their arguments are correct and entertainment, if it has political content, will usually flatter their predispositions.  In short, liberals in our society can live their lives in an ideological bubble where conservatives need not be taken seriously.

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6 Responses to Debate With a Liberal

  • what ever became of that online test that was supposed to measure how well the other side understood their opponents arguments by trying to pose as one of the others? I think that it was one for Christian vs. Atheist, but this comment reminded me of that – certainly there is one for Lib v. Con.

  • That was a sexist video! 😉

    Loved the dude’s hairdo. 🙂

  • “That was a sexist video!”

    Wait until you see a post I do about Civil War historian Amanda Foreman later this week Don! I will probably have to ban myself from TAC for a time because of it!

    “Loved the dude’s hairdo.”

    Now coming close to looking like Mr. Clean myself, I tend to refrain from casting aspersions on male hairdos (I learned long ago never to say anything negative about a woman’s appearance if I wanted to remain hale and hearty), although his hair does have a certain resemblance to a black candle flame.

  • Excellent insights, Donald. In the late ’80’s and early ’90’s, when I began having doubts about liberalism, it took some effort to ferret out conservative books and magazines in Washington, DC. After digging through magazine racks, I’d find a lone copy of National Review tucked in behind 10 copies of Mother Jones – and when I paid for it at the counter, the clerk frequently would shoot me the same sort of look a good Catholic mom would give a son caught with a Penthouse magazine. Indeed, I soon got tired of the hunt and the accusatory glances and ended up subscribing to NR, the American Spectator, and, later, the Weekly Standard. The Internet has made accessing material that is not the usual secular, liberal “conventional wisdom” so much easier and for that we should all be thankful.

    That’s why I have little patience for complaints that the Internet has created polarizing ideological and religious “ghettoes” I have noticed that the people who do the most complaining about it are those who benefited hugely from a liberal near-monopoly of news sources. They hate the “polarization” because they are not used to being challenged and fact-checked.

  • A humorous, albeit stacked, debate.

    I especially enjoyed the reference to What’s the Matter With Kansas? early in the first minute.

    “But I thought Democrats were in favor of empowering the working class.”

    “It was before the working class became anti-intellectual and began voting against their self-interest.”

    It’s not that the debate is stacked so much as shot full of truth serum.

What are their issues?

Monday, September 12, AD 2011

I went online to start doing research into the Republican presidential candidates, hopefully for a post (or series) examining the positions. I started with the “Issues” pages and was struck by how similar Romney and Perry’s were. Consider Romney’s

You’ll note the Issues listed are Jobs, Fiscal Responsibility, Health Care, and Foreign Policy. No abortion, no marriage, really no social issues of any kind. But that’s Romney’s weak point. Presumably Perry is going to be carrying the Christian banner.

Or actually, the exact same issues (except National Security rather than Foreign Policy).

I understand issue #1 is the economy and how to spend (or not spend) in order to realign the economy and our budget. Abortion isn’t going to win anyone the nomination, much less the presidency. I get that.

But this is a website. It takes so little effort to put something saying like “Romney is pro-life and believes Roe v. Wade ought to be overturned.”  Neither candidate even bothered to put that little on their website. That’s a small gesture to expect.

So my question is this: if I’m a pro-lifer, if they don’t care enough about my issue to put it on their website, why should I care about their candidacies? And more important, if they don’t want me to consider abortion, should I consider it in their favor? Or should I take their invitation to be indifferent to the issue of abortion and judge them solely on economic and foreign policy issues? After all, if they’re not going to put abortion on their website how much effort do you think they’ll expend trying to help eliminate abortion?

And just to stir the pot a little more…

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13 Responses to What are their issues?

  • Ron Paul isn’t going to be elected dogcatcher so he can say any darn fool thing he wants to, and he does. Perry has always been a reliable pro-life vote in Texas, and I feel completely comfortable with him as the Republican standard bearer. Romney has been all over the mat on abortion and I do not trust him as far as he could throw me, which wouldn’t be far.

    Here is Perry addressing Texas Right to Life on January 22, 2011. This is a man pro-lifers can trust:

  • Ron Paul and John Huntsman are the most reliably pro-life candidates but I have no reason to believe any of them would govern pro-choice. They would have nothing to gain.

  • Looking from the outside in, the candidates are going to focus on the least number of hot topic issues necessary to concentrate support fot their candidacy.
    Abortion is a controversial and polarising subject, and the divide in the USA is pretty well already defined.
    Get the nomination and get into office – then chip away at the entrenched attitudes that allow the holocaust to continue.
    My 02.c. worth.

  • True – they do not press their pro-life positions. To what extent that is tactical vs. apathy is difficult to tell. Perry is probably the safer bet that it’s tactical.

    Of course, that brings us to the age old GOP pro-lifer dilemma – is it better to vote for someone neutral/apathetic on abrotion vs. letting a full throttled pro-choicer win, or is it better to send a “message” that pro-lifers won’t be taken for granted anymore? It is a sticky wicket, as they say.

    Doesn’t matter too much anyway. The only candidates who could turn this train wreck around won’t get elected.

  • c matt,
    I do agree that Romney is not reliably pro-life in the way Bush was, and I fear that may be true of Perry too. That said, either would probably issue helpful executive orders similar to those issued by Bush, and either would probably nominate judges, including Supreme Court justices, who are likely to be unsympathetic to Roe. A Dem, any Dem, would do neither, and would almost certainly make support of pro-abortion rights a key requirement for judicial nominees. These differences are quite important — too important in my view to cast aside in favor of sending a feckless message, no matter how satisfying that might “feel.”

  • But that’s the catch:

    If you keep voting for the lukewarms, they won’t have any incentive to go beyond lukewarm (if even that). Is lukewarm good enough?

  • Considering the number of conservatives who stayed home in 2008 rather than vote for McCain I rather think that message has been sent, although the reign of Obama shows the drawbacks of that particular stratagem. The truth of course is that politics is the art of comparison. Compared to Obama I would vote for any in the Republican field except for Ron Paul, although I would do so for Romney only with the gravest of misgivings.

  • I held my nose to vote for McCain, who had at least built up some conservative cred over the length of his career. I won’t do the same for Romney who has not done so and, in fact, continues to undermine his own fraudulent claims to being a conservative.

    Not under ANY circumstances will I EVER vote for him.

  • It is a close call for me Jay, and me even considering sitting out the Presidential election of 2012 if Romney is the nominee is one reason why I do not think he will be the nominee. He simply alienates too much of the base.

  • Given Romney’s postitions on health care and the falsity of global warming, I don’t see how he can win the nomination.

  • Unfortunately, the guys on my dream ticket (Rubio/Jindal or Ryan) aren’t running and so I have to deal with the world as it is rather than how I would like it to be. I am no Romney fan and much prefer Perry – however, I’ll vote for Romney, Perry, or Bozo the Clown rather than sit back and watch as the pro-abort incompetent in the WH ruins my country a bit more with each passing day. But, wait, I just remembered, Bozo is already on the ticket – he’s Obama’s VP.

  • “But, wait, I just remembered, Bozo is already on the ticket – he’s Obama’s VP.”

    Sad but true Donna!

  • Change the hearts and minds of the public, Michael Denton, and the politicians will follow.

    Elected officeholders who try to lead the public where the public doesn’t want to go don’t stay officeholders for long.

Paul Krugman and Hatriotism

Monday, September 12, AD 2011


Yesterday while almost all Americans were recalling 9/11 with sadness, mixed with pride for the heroism and self-sacrifice amply displayed by so many of their fellow citizens that dark day, economist Paul Krugman in his blog, hilariously entitled Conscience of a Liberal,  at the, where else, New York Times, posted this:

The Years of Shame

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

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17 Responses to Paul Krugman and Hatriotism

  • Krugamn & Co are way too smart for all that old-fashioned “God Bless America” claptrap. They snigger at the hardhats chanting “USA! USA!” and the “God and guns” morons who inhabit who inhabit flyover country.

    Give me Archie Bunker any day.

  • Talk about projection.

    The only thing I am ashamed re: 9/11 of is that Krugman is a countryman of mine.

  • What’s really funny about this is that there was a marked sense of unity immediately following 9/11 as well as an increase in church attendance. GWB was increasing in popularity and was receiving support from many or most on the left. It wasn’t until the Dems realized they can’t win elections by taking the position of “yeah, what Bush said” that they commenced building a wedge and driving it in.

    There’s a reason why Krugman is only respected by the NYT editorial board and one other guy, and it is coherent thought.

  • Charcters like Krugman are demographically unimportant. Unfortunately, they often hold consequential positions in the world of public discourse. How that came to be and what is to be done about it are the interesting questions.

  • Indeed, Art.

    Also, it strikes me, Krugman’s wish for the “unity” that might have been reflects the Orwellian concept of unity which predominates among extreme partisans of all sorts: the idea that “unity” consists of a world completely cleansed of those with whom one disagrees. Krugman could only find the unity which he wishes he could look back on if most of the population of the country ceased to exist.

  • …and it is coherent thought.

    Ugh! ISN’T Duh…

  • I dunno. I’m no fan of Krugman, but he’s putting the blame on the politicians he disagrees with, and only secondarily on the country for letting the politicians get away with (what he thinks are) their misdeeds. Everyone but the most chauvanistic gets frustrated at his country for not following his vision for it.

  • Charcters like Krugman are demographically unimportant. Unfortunately, they often hold consequential positions in the world of public discourse.

    I hope it’s just the squeaky hinge problem, but I fear it isn’t… local radio jocks have been making the same sort of “What happened to our unity, why can’t you horrible nasty people be unified” type arguments, and some of my relatives (Alright, by marriage, and known flakes, but still) are echoing it.

  • Krugman is supposed to be an economist, which is a job for people who tell people why they don’t have jobs. He’s out of his league on most issues, along with Friedman, Dodd & Co.

  • Paul really needs to stop giving his wife free rein to add his byline to her rants. His reputation as a pundit is getting cuckolded.

  • The American Catholic?

    You bring me back to my youth with Brooklyn Tablet.

  • Sir Walter Scott.

    Very good, Don, and very apt.
    Krugman needs some HTFU pills.

  • Krugman was labeled by national Review Online as the Most Dangerous Man in America (this was before Obumbler was elected President).

    Krugman’s writing would get him run out of town in most American cities and towns, but in New York, the epicenter of 9/11, he has his constituency, as well as a lousy, third rate publication with an editorial policy that puts it beneath the National Enquirer that provides him with the means to blather.

    The New York Times is a despicable piece of garbage. I do not know why Carlos Slim puts his money into it – without Slim the paper would have gone out of business.

  • Another thing: he complained about a “subdued” observance of 9/11! What did Krugman want, the country to make like it was the Fourth of July, with fireworks and marching bands? The people at Ground Zero, Shanksville and the Pentagon were solemnly commemorating the anniversary of a mass murder. I don’t know if Krugman was in NY on 9/11, (he seems to reside in a galaxy of his own making), but, gee, Paul, surely someone told you it wasn’t a happy day.

  • Another thing: he complained about a “subdued” observance of 9/11! What did Krugman want, the country to make like it was the Fourth of July, with fireworks and marching bands?

    Well, clearly if it was not subdued it would have featured Obama and Greek columns — not to mention the oceans ceasing to rise.

    It strikes me that to any sane person somber commemorations are quiet natural. Our parish had asked policemen, firemen and military personnel to come in uniform and had a blessing out by the flag pole after mass. Our pastor read our Pope Benedict’s prayer from when he visited Ground Zero.

    Sure, it’s just one small town in Ohio, but there’s not a single other commemoration (including Memorial Day or the 4th of July) which gets that level of attendance and participation for something outside of mass. I think every single person who was at mass came — no one just hurried home.

  • Agreed, Donna V., that “oddly subdued” is a puzzling turn of phrase, considering the gravity of the events being recalled. Reading on, it appears that another ten or eleven phrases in Mr. Krugman’s brief post are also quite beyond my understanding.

    I know a “hatriot” and he is without a doubt the unhappiest person of my acquaintance. And he wants everyone to be just like him.

  • Crunkman. Glugman. Drugman.

    At least I’m a happy drunk. Queued up some of that Gosling’s Black Seal, mates.

Pope Benedict on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Sunday, September 11, AD 2011

To my Venerable Brother
The Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

On this day my thoughts turn to the somber events of September 11, 2001, when so many innocent lives were lost in the brutal assault on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the further attacks in Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. I join you in commending the thousands of victims to the infinite mercy of Almighty God and in asking our heavenly Father to continue to console those who mourn the loss of loved ones.

The tragedy of that day is compounded by the perpetrators’ claim to be acting in God’s name. Once again, it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism. Every human life is precious in God’s sight and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere.

The American people are to be commended for the courage and generosity that they showed in the rescue operations and for their resilience in moving forward with hope and confidence. It is my fervent prayer that a firm commitment to justice and a global culture of solidarity will help rid the world of the grievances that so often give rise to acts of violence and will create the conditions for greater peace and prosperity, offering a brighter and more secure future.

With these sentiments, I extend my most affectionate greetings to you, your brother Bishops and all those entrusted to your pastoral care, and I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and serenity in the Lord,

From the Vatican, September 11, 2011

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2 Responses to Pope Benedict on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

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  • Dearest Holy Father, Thank you most ardently for your great diligence in shepherding the flock of Christ. Your kind words on this 10th anniversary of 9/11 provide much needed clarity and hope. May Mary bless you and your apostolate with her Son Jesus. Thank you for your apostolic blessing, thank you for your yes to Christ daily, and thank you for your faithfulness and sacrifice. Please be assured of my prayers and thank you for yours. Sincerely in Christ Jesus, Mrs. Therese Chidlow

Where Were You?

Sunday, September 11, AD 2011

I doubt if most Americans will forget where they were and what they were doing when they heard of the attacks on 9/11.  Our commenter T. Shaw was in New York City during the attacks on the Twin Towers. Here are his recollections that he wrote down three days later:

I need to confess that this thing has me nearly unmanned.  Late last night, the TV news had a segment wherein the wives and children made emotional appeals for info on their husbands and fathers who are missing.  I lost it, then. I have tears in my eyes as I “hunt and peck” this. That is not me.

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19 Responses to Where Were You?

  • I was interning at the House Ways and Means Committee. I had moved from NYC just a month earlier to start grad school and to intern on the Hill. When I got to work the television set was showing the Fox New Network (I worked in the Majority office) and it showed that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. We all assumed some commuter plane had accidentally hit. I then saw what looked like an explosion come from the other Tower, and we all soon realized we had been attacked.

    We actually attempted to go on with our day. I even went to my scheduled computer training session, but we got the call to evacuate – probably in response to attack on the Pentagon.

    I walked back to my apartment 20 minutes away in southwest, and that was the longest walk of my life. There were all sorts of ridiculous reports on the radio, including one that stated that the Mall was on fire. I finally got back to my place where my roommate – also a native New Yorker – and I just sat transfixed by all that transpired. At some point I had to leave and I walked down to the corner. I saw the smoke coming from the Pentagon, and a mixture of anger and sadness overwhelmed me, as it did for a while.

    As horrible as all the images on tv were, it didn’t hit home until I went back to New York about ten days later for my brother’s wedding. I went to the city on that Saturday, and the first eerie sign was the fact that Chinatown was empty. You usually are rubbing elbows on a Saturday morning down there, but it was a ghost town. Then I walked south to Ground Zero, and a good mile or so from the WTC the buildings were still covered with ash. Then I saw the missing person’s posters. Of all the images – and I’d soon be at Ground Zero – it was the posters that for stuck with me for the longest. That’s when it became very real to me.

  • “Patriotism is a form of piety and there are three principle forms of piety, love of God, love of neighbor, and love of country. All three are grounded in justice.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen – taken from facebook site…

    I was a lapse catholic living in New Hampshire. I was asleep as I worked nights at the Pease AIrport as a Weather Observer. I just interviewed for a position with the FAA as a Saftey Inspector in Detroit. I was also a memeber of the 202nd Weather Flight our of Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod. I worked the next day in tears and I still reflect that there were no contrails – sureal.

    I accepted the position on the 12 with the caveat that I was going to be delayed as a result of being called up for Operation Nobel Eagle. I reloceated to Michigan and since 2001 was activated twice to Iraq. In 2003 for the push and again in 2005. I mention this beacuse it was in Iraq that I first realised how much the Church meant to me (2003). In 2004 I went through RCIA. In 2005 I was in Iraq and looked at the wonderful sky at night and thought – this is where Christ came to be tempted. Since that moment I have been discerning a vocation. I am not all there yet as many things have happened. But my Love for God and Country has increased and I filled with Joy as a result. While I am saddened by what has transpired in 2001, I am grateful for the catalyst of its affect in my life.

  • I live in Cincinnati. I had dropped my youngest off at his half-day preschool and stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things on my way home. I was in line at the cash register when one of the clerks strode up to my clerk and said, “Two planes hit the World Trade Center. It wasn’t an accident.” I had never heard anyone use that tone of voice before. She was so serious and direct, like a soldier giving orders. We all stared at each other. I remember thinking how weird it was that the grocery store was playing canned music — shouldn’t they turn on the news? I got my groceries and drove the few blocks to my house, and turned on the television — Tom Brokaw, I think. I just sat in the living room and stared at it until it was time to pick up my son. Then I brought him home and, though I knew I probably should have put on something for him, just kept watching. The television was on all day, and I either watched TV or listened to the radio for days. That morning, my son (who was four) built towers out of blocks and used another block as a “plane” to knock them down, as he was seeing on television. I felt numb with shock and grief for what I assumed were at least 10,000 dead people and for my children, who would grow up in a world where what I found unthinkable had happened.

    A neighbor told me that none of it seemed real, it was just like watching a movie. But I felt the opposite — to me, it was not at all like a movie, but horribly and unmistakably real. Over the next few days everyone heard stories of a relative or friend who had lived through the attack, or who had died in it. My next-door-neighbor’s son was working in NYC, and he and his whole office just slept their office overnight because they couldn’t get home. Everyone knew people who had been stranded in different cities by the planes being grounded — they don’t talk much about that part today, but the planes weren’t allowed to fly again for weeks and all those people had to get home by bus or car. Someone we knew actually bought a car to get home in, because there were no rentals left. I didn’t know anyone in the towers, but I think I went a little crazy. For months I would just start crying out of nowhere as I suddenly thought of all those people. I had to get a prescription for a very mild tranquilizer, because a teenage malady (severe stomach cramps when I got anxious) had returned. I listened to Glenn Beck every day — he wasn’t a political guy then, and those who have never listened or have only seen him recently may be surprised to know that he was the most level-headed guy out there then. He talked about the attack all the time, but without being at all polemical or sensational, constantly cautioning listeners to stick with the facts and not go off on theories or rumors or conspiracies. He was the most calming voice. I remember how strange it was when the planes started flying again. For months, I would tense up any time a plane seemed too low (we live under a route to the airport, and some of the planes come in much lower than others).

    Last year I had an episode of what I guess is post-traumatic stress syndrome, or at least something like it. I was listening to Glenn Beck’s radio program (I don’ t listen every day anymore, and he veers between being hilarious, being sensible, and going off the “crazy train”) and he played a short clip of recordings that his show compiled at the time — news people, people calling in to dispatchers, his own show, etc. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before or since, but it was like something clicked in my head and I was in the middle of it all over again. I couldn’t stand up. I doubled over, and then I had to fall on my knees sobbing. I felt overwhelmed with grief, exactly as I had at the time. I now know what it must be like for people with PTSS and why they are paralyzed by it. It lasted about 10 minutes.

    That’s my 9-1-1 story.

  • I was attending classes at Franciscan University while living in Pittsburgh and just happened to be driving to Steubenville for a class when I heard something about a plane crash and then I heard something about another plane crash. It was so surreal. I actually thought it was some work of fiction that I was hearing over the radio. As I changed the radio from one channel to another and heard the words “news”, “airplane crashed” and “tragedy” I knew what I had been listening to was tragically a reality. At the beginning of class we said a prayer for all the victims and their families. Then we debated whether we should cancel class or continue with class. The nun professor decided to go on with class. I think that was a good call on her part, to preserve as normalcy as possible in our lives that day.

    God Bless our heroes! God Bless America!

  • I was working for The Catholic Post in Peoria, Ill. I had arrived at work early that day, and was the first person there, since Tuesdays were always busy, but I did not have a radio or TV on at first. I was sitting at my desk wearing a peach and white dress and light gray shoes (I even remember what I was wearing that day).

    Just after 8 a.m. (Central Time) my phone rang. Our editor was on the other end of the line. He said “Turn on the TV downstairs, TWO planes just hit the World Trade Center.” (We had a small black and white TV with rabbit ears in the office for the purpose of watching breaking news events when necessary… the last times it had been turned on prior to that were for Oklahoma City and the O.J. Simpson verdict.) I said “Did you say, TWO planes?” “Yes.” It was immediately obvious that it wasn’t an accident.

    No sooner had I gone downstairs than other staffers began to arrive. We flipped on the TV and of course saw the smoking towers. I watched this for a few minutes and then went back upstairs to call my husband (who was home at the time and did not usually watch the news). Of course, being reporters we had to start thinking about how we were going to cover this.

    Some time after I had gone back upstairs, one of my co-workers who was watching the TV came on the intercom system we had at the time, and said “The Pentagon just got hit!” And I screamed — literally screamed — “WHAAAT! NOOOO WAY!”

    At that point, my husband freaked out and drove to the school our daughter (then 5) was attending at the time to pick her up. He figured World War III was starting. The two of them then spent the day with his mother, who lived nearby, watching the news in total disbelief. I believe my daughter remembers this event, albeit kind of vaguely.

    Meanwhile we at the Post followed this story on TV and online as much as possible throughout the day. As far as our news coverage went, we divided it up among ourselves. I called Catholic schools all over the Peoria Diocese to ask how they were handling the event, if they were telling the students about it or holding prayer services, etc. Others called parishes to see what they were doing in the way of prayer services. I also phoned someone to do a previously scheduled unrelated interview, but needless to say, it was hard to concentrate on the originally scheduled topic since both of us were glued to the TV/computer.

    At that time Peoria Bishop John J. Myers, had recently been appointed to the Archdiocese of Newark and was scheduled to leave in about a month. That meant he would be heading to a See that was being directly affected by these attacks. I could not imagine the additional burden he was about to assume.

    All day long we were in news coverage mode as I am sure many, many other journalists both secular and religious were. Our deadline day for the weekly issue was Wednesday so we were quite busy. About 5:15 p.m. or so I left work, and stopped at a grocery store to pick up some items. I remember looking up in the parking lot and seeing a lone jet trail overhead in the empty skies, which I later found out was from Air Force One.

    I spent many hours over the next couple of weeks glued to the TV — I got kind of hooked on watching Brian Williams and Lester Holt’s coverage on MSNBC during this period — and sometimes, late at night, staring at the video of that smoking hole in lower Manhattan and crying, wondering how so many people could be vaporized just like that.

    One other note. My brother had gotten married on Sept. 8, 2001, and I was a bridesmaid in his wedding. He and his wife were going to travel across the Canadian Rockies by train for their honeymoon. They flew to Seattle on the 10th, and were preparing to leave for Vancouver (also by train) the next morning when they saw the news (around 6 a.m. Pacific Time). They did make it over the border, but only after a delay of 4-5 hours while their train and everyone’s bags were searched repeatedly. All this seems like a million years ago now.

  • There is an historical footnote to 9/11 involving my current job. In “Dreams of My Father” Barack Obama, then an Illinois State Senator, recalls that he was on his way to “a legislative committee meeting in Chicago” when he first heard the news of the attack. The committee in question is the body I work for today. My current supervisors remember all the State offices in Chicago and in Springfield being shut down and everyone sent home after the Pentagon attack, since no one knew how extensive these attacks were going to be or what cities would be targeted next.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy:) I brought my 3 kids to school and was going back to the car to head home, when our autistic son’s special ed teacher ran into me and asked: “Have you been listening to the news? A plane just flew into the World Trade Center!” I turned on the TV as soon as I got home, and was just in time to see the second plane hit the WTC. I wasn’t volunteering at the grade school library that day, so the TV stayed tuned to the news all day while I did household chores.

  • My sharpest memories were of the minutes before — just how beautiful a day it was — nice wind, blue sky, the crisp air of a fall day — a good morning — stepping out of the subway on 34th street Manhattan and going to work. Going up the elevator I hear somebody mention that a plane had struck the WTC. I remember checking the computer for news (no television in our office) — and the surprise and horror when we heard ANOTHER plane had struck, and the reports of the towers falling. The realization that this was something other than a horrible accident. I called my mother-in-law in NJ, my wife (then still at home), parents. Everybody milling about on the streets, a surge of human traffic from uptown. I believe they had closed down all subways by that time — our office joined thousands of others for the long walk across the 59th street bridge back to Queens. Crossing over, looking south I remember the sight of downtown NYC shrouded in smoke/dust, the marked absence of the towers in the skyline. It was a long walk home to Kew Gardens, around 9 miles — mostly in silence and shock.

  • “I accepted the position on the 12 with the caveat that I was going to be delayed as a result of being called up for Operation Nobel Eagle. I reloceated to Michigan and since 2001 was activated twice to Iraq.”

    Thank you for your service Robert. If you do decide to become a priest, I think you would likely make a first rate chaplain!

  • I remember the beautiful day also. I was in Boston. Had just started a new job the week before. A social worker came in and said that the Twin Towers had been hit. Listened on the radio as there was no TV in the clinic. Then the disaster plan was activated as everyone got ready for a possible attack in Boston. Many workers downtown started to leave town by 11 am. By 3 pm it was clear nothing was going to happen and we were allowed to head home ourselves. As I left the hospital, two F-15’s passed overhead. People ducked thinking it was another attack.

    Walked through mostly empty streets and got on a nearly empty commuter train as most people had left town already. Took money out to pay the conductor. Said this day it was free. They were making it free so people could get out of town quickly.

  • Halfway through bootcamp; one of the girls came back from medical and told us what she’d seen on the TVs there. We weren’t sure if they were screwing with our heads. (If you knew SK1, the guy in charge of our division, it’d make sense– he’d seen way too many bad movies.) AT2 smuggled in a “week in review” tape for us, made me proud to be headed for the same rate.
    We all cried –even BM1, who fancied himself a hard-a**– about a month later, after our final test– running around the base all night, called “Battle Stations.” They played “Proud to be an American” when we got our Navy caps, instead of the Recruit ones. Then we went on weekend liberty, and found that the world outside was incredibly different than the one we’d left– more American flags outside the base than inside.

    Our Catholic Religious Petty Officer’s dad is an Army Lutheran chaplain– he was at the pentagon for a meeting that morning, and he’d told her about it. (He twisted an ankle helping the secretary out, but it took a few days for her to get word.)

    A guy across the hall lost everyone on his mother’s side of the family except for his mom– they had a family restaurant in one of the towers. She happened to not be there that morning, for some reason. (When offered an automatic out– his family had already lost so much, they were going to let him keep his signing bonus and education benefits– he asked if it was possible to graduate with his unit, or if he’d have to skip the funerals to do that and get those *blankers*. He graduated with his unit, and didn’t miss the funerals.)

    My future husband was in the middle of doing the paperwork to join the Navy, at home, washing dishes with the news on. He signed the final paperwork not too long after.

    My dad came in from bailing and saw the news; went out to my mom, who was inverting, and told her we were under attack. My sister and brother were at school, where they pushed the TVs to the front of the room at watched them. I’m not sure when they got permission to drive themselves home.

    The AO roommate I had in Pensacola (aviation bomb technician) was a 31 year old sculptor with a 40 year old doctor husband, who had a beautiful studio with a huge window…that had a lovely view of the twin towers. The most perfect example of the steriotypical New York Artist I have ever seen, tall and lean with one of those not-pretty-but-sharp-and-stunning faces, and a pixie haircut.
    (In November of ’01, she was demanding of me why we didn’t go into Iraq and help them, since the New Yorker magazine told her about the gassing of the Kurds and it was well known that Saddam supported attacking the US. I sometimes wonder what happened to her– one of those folks who just burns.)

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  • Was at a client site and I got a call from another client, late morning. I said, “Do you know what just happened? Terrorists attacked the WTC in New York!” He said, “Oh great–it’s my 50th birthday.” I said “It’s these f-ing muslims.” And it turned out I was right.

  • Tuesday morning ten years ago started off well. I called our office in Flint Michigan to help the manager fix what was a non-problem on his computer. As we were talking he was handed a note that a Boeing 737 had hit the World Trade Center. A few seconds later the TV’s came on with CNN and a few seconds later CNN interrupted programming for breaking news. The day got worse quickly

    Three more air planes taken , two of them hitting occupied buildings. The third crashing as the passengers try to take it back. Over 4000 dead. I never thought I would see the day when the Day Care Center would be moved out of the building because we do just enough business with the Defense Department to be military target. The news later reported a shoot down order was issued but the fighters could not take off and get in place fast enough.

    Being sent home for two days as non-essential in an emergency does nothing for ones ego. I left work while two of the planes and maybe more were still in the air the radio in the car broadcasting rumors of car bombs, and went to church to pray them home. When I saw the President on TV that night I knew we would be called back the next morning. Looking at the TV I thought “That boy is going to lead us?” All thing considered he could have done much worse.


    When Flight 11 turned off it’s transponder, did not answer the radio, and turned towards New York, the air traffic controllers at New York Center assumed it was a mechanical problem and the crew was trying to get Kennedy International with the best recovery resources. They moved every thing out of the way so the there would be a clear path to New York. Doing the job right, and it was so wrong.

    Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

  • Like many Americans, I was at work and like many Americans, I ended up doing very little work that day. I was at a meeting and a physician who came in late casually announced as the meeting was wrapping up that “BTW, when I was driving over here I heard on the radio that a plane hit the World Trade Center.” I assumed it was a freak accident involving a small commuter or private plane. Then I caught sight of the images on the TV in the physicians’ lounge adjacent to our office – by the time I got there, the second plane had hit. I spent most of the rest of the day in the lounge watching TV. When I became overwhelmed by the horrible sights, I went back to my office and sat at my desk and stared at the wall,shuffled papers for a while. Sometimes I read emails – including ones falsely reporting attacks on Fort Knox and the Sears Tower- and then went back to the TV.

    The reports were that there were 50,000 people working in those Towers so when they fell I thought I had just seen 50,000 people die. (The actual numbers were quite bad enough.) A physician sitting by me (normally a loud, brash, profane fellow) made the sign of the cross. Someone began to read a prayer over the hospital intercom (it’s a Catholic hospital). Then I heard my phone ring and went, in a complete daze, to answer it. One of our worst physician prima donnas, who apparently was the only person in the US who hadn’t yet heard the news, was on the line and he chewed me out about – I have no idea. I had no idea at the time. I said “Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh” and hung up and went back to the TV.

    One bit of news coverage really sticks in my mind: one of the NY ER doctors waiting outside for casualities that never arrived sobbed and said “Cherish life.”

    Over the next few days, I called all the people I loved to tell them that, because I kept thinking of those who went off to work on a Tuesday morning and met death and would never again be able to tell their families and friends they loved them – not in this world anyway.

    I was not a practicing Catholic a decade ago. But on the night of 9/11/11 I did something I hadn’t done in years – knelt down and prayed with all my might for my country, my president, and the people of NYC, DC and United Flight 93.

    Robert and foxfier: Thank you so much for your service.

  • I walked in to work at 8:00 AM Pacific Time on September 11th, 2001. Normally I listened to news on the way in, but that morning I hadn’t felt like news and so I’d been listening to a CD on the way in.

    “I’ll bet you’ll always remember where you were this morning,” my boss said, as I entered.

    “Why?” I asked.

    “Haven’t you heard?”

    I shook my head.

    “We’re at war,” he said. “They’ve blown up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and who knows what’s next. We’re at war, but we don’t know who with.”

    I wandered over to my desk, logged onto my computer, and pulled up Both towers were already down by 8AM Pacific, but in the chaos of the morning news wasn’t always posted on the internet in order or as it happened, and we didn’t have access to TV in the office.

    Between being three hours off from the events, and not seeing any TV coverage until much later, I found myself feeling a strange distance from all that was going on — as if it were in some other world. My co-workers wandered around and talked in small clumps. People talked about how their worlds had been turned upside down and life would never be the same — the customer service pool debated whether the country should bomb Mecca or Bagdad first.

    The news that had changed my world forever was when my wife had called me up the previous afternoon (September 10th) and told me that we were expecting our first child. The 11th was my parent’s 25th anniversary, and we were scheduled to go out to dinner with them. We’d decided we’d tell them the news over dinner.

    When evening came Los Angeles remained jumpy — that we should somehow not be attacked as well seemed out of keeping with the West Coast mind. Lots of things were closed, and in keeping with the day we decided to have a quiet dinner at my parents house rather than trying to find a restaurant that was open.

    Seven years later, our forth child and only boy was born on September 11th, 2008.

  • I was in bed asleep when the phone rang. It was 6.10 am. – down here we are about 15 hrs ahead of NY – It was my daughter. She said, “Go and turn the TV on, quick.!” I jumped out of bed and with the phone in hand, asked, “What’s up?” and as the picture came on, it showed what I found out a little later on, was the second plane hitting the WTC.
    I said in an annoyed tone, ” What’d you wake me up to watch a movie for?”
    She said,” It’s not a movie – it’s real ! Some freaks have flown planes into the WTC and the Pentagon.”
    By this time it would have been mid-late afternoon in NY – but it seemed quite sureal that this had happened – to me, was happening right then. Sandy, my wife, came out to watch, and we both stood spellbound for several minutes, watching. Then they started showing people jumping out of the windows – to their deaths. Sandy started sobbing, and I must say I got a bit choked as well. We watched in silence for the next hour or so while we had breakfast, then the phone rang again. It was my partner – the salesman for a house building business I had started the previous year. We chatted briefly, and at around 10 am. went in to the office to meet him, and talked about what might happen next; how would the US react? was there more to come? How would this affect our lives?

    NY is a US city, but it is also a global city – dozens of nationalities are there. There were 2 NZ ers killed in the WTC that day – and , I stand to be corrected, but I think there was a kiwi on board Flight 93 as well.

    Within months there were literally tens of thousands of ex-pat kiwis returning home – from the US, Canada, UK and Europe, the logic being, that we’re pretty safe and away from the action down here in the bottom of the South Pacific. Overseas travel changed forever .

    In Sept,2002 Sandy & I and a couple of friends went to Hawaii for a holiday for five days on our way to Bellingham, WA for a yachting regatta. Sandy is 5’2″ and 100 lbs ringing wet. At all but one of our stop-offs, she was the one randomly selected for full search – we found that quite funny really.
    We went to Vancouver to meet the rest of our team, and the next day went by bus down to Bellingham. The border control check was rigorous, and when a busload of Aussies – whom most of us knew – pulled up just after we had gone through the checks, but they hadn’t come through customs, in our casual kiwi/Aussie way we walked over to eachother in greeting – the border guards were not amused – one even pulled out his sidearm. We then of course, realised that US border guards had understandably lost their sense of humour barely 12 months before.

    We stayed with a young family in Bellingham. I was hugely impressed by the patriotism demonstrated on the 11th – parades in memorial, Stars & Stripes everywhere – most people very sombre. We sat up till 11 pm. that night, watching the TV coverage of that fateful day one year before.
    Certainly a world changing event.

  • I was asleep when it happened. I’d been missing a lot of work back then due to a sleep disorder and crippling depression. I work in DC. I got on the phone with friends and family and assured them that I was nowhere near it.

    The next few days – troops directing traffic, the anthrax scare – I felt like, this is something I can do. I know how to function while my brain is screaming. We were all just going through the motions.

    A year later, there was a sniper on the loose.

    Eventually, the right doctors and the right meds got me back to health. If there’s a “where were you” moment for me during the last 10 years, it was a couple of weeks ago. I was in a meeting about four blocks from the White House when the ground shook. We all ran to the window which looks out in that direction and waited. Secondary explosions? Dust cloud? Mushroom cloud? DC doesn’t get earthquakes. But fortunately, that’s all it was.

Unforgettable Flight 93

Sunday, September 11, AD 2011

When they got up that morning ten years ago the very last thing that the 33 passengers and the seven crew of United Flight 93 expected was to be engaged in a life and death struggle to retake an airliner that was headed to Washington DC as a terrorist missile.    All they expected the day to bring was a hum drum flight from Newark to San Francisco.  Just ordinary people living their lives.  Their occupations included pilot, first officer, flight attendant, an environmental lawyer, the owner of a public relations firm,  university students, a senior vice president of a medical development company, a sales representative for Good Housekeeping magazine, a manager of a US Wildlife animal refuge, an arborist, an account manager for a corporation, an ironworker, retirees, a computer programmer, a computer engineer, a lobbyist for the disabled, a real estate agent,  an executive vice president of a corporation and a free lance medical writer.  They were wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, all with unique histories and lives, with little in common except that they happened to be on board Flight 93 when the world changed.

The plane took off at 8:42 AM Eastern Time.  Four terrorists had boarded amidst the other 33 passengers.  The terrorists began to hijack the plane at 9:28 AM, soon after both the hijacked airliners had struck the Twin Towers in New York City, and just brief minutes before a fourth airliner was hijacked in Washington and slammed into the Pentagon.  At 9:28:17 AM a member of the cockpit crew shouted “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio, with sounds of violence in the background.  35 seconds later someone in the cockpit shouted over the radio, “Mayday!  Get out of here!  Get out of here!”

By 9:31 AM the terrorists were in control of the cockpit.  They informed the passengers that they were in control of the plane and falsely told them they had a bomb.  Now began the final 30 minutes of Flight 93.

Passengers and crew during these final 30 minutes made 35 airphone calls and two cell phone calls.  They quickly learned of the other hijacked planes that had been flown into the Twin Towers.

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25 Responses to Unforgettable Flight 93

  • Good morning,

    I have been to Shanksville once, back in 2002. It is about 75 miles from where I live. The crash site was fenced off and there were impromptu memorials, a sheet of plywood erected with photos and many flags.

    A few years ago, I used to post at an unofficial Pittsburgh Steelers message board. It had a large section for discussing other events and affairs. I remember one board member who was feeling depressed because his birthday is 9/11, and he felt it inappropriate to celebrate anything, let alone his birthday, on 9/11. As an aside, I left that message board because of the increasingly crude behavior of far too many of its members.

    I pointed out to him that I thought we should consider the members and crew of Flight 93 as heroes. They had the ability to figure out what was going on and what their fate was – and the fate of other innocent people – if they did not stop the terrorists.

    They did stop the terrorists. These people are heroes to me.

    Mr.. McClarey, it would be interesting if you would post a piece asking how our parish pastors reflected on September 11 during Mass – if they did at all.

    Our parish priest is a retired Navy chaplain. He is a most pleasant fellow, who usually doesn’t follow the rubrics to the letter and interjects a few of his own words into the Mass. I pray for him. Our priest talked about how shaken he was and he wondered how anyone could do such a thing. He stressed the importance of forgiveness, as evidenced in the Gospel passage for Mass (St. Matthew 16:18, I think without checking it).

    I preferred Fr. Corapi’s interpretation of 9/11. It was a wakeup call.

    For a short time, we answered the wakeup call in this country. Now it has been forgotten.

    The secular media and its atheist friends took out their fury on religion less than a year later with the abuse scandal that was epicentered in Boston. They took it all out on the Catholic Church for two reasons. One reason is that the Catholic Church, through the actions and inactions of its clergy and members, often gives others the club to beat it over the head with. The other reason is that Catholics don’t call for jihad and threaten those who insult her.

    I remember that morning of 9/11 well. I was at work. We heard that a plane crashed into the WTC and thought it was someone flying a Cessna. When we heard of the second crash, I made a very uncharitable remark about Muslims and said to my supervisor that it was they who were behind this. We were told to get out of the office and go home shortly after.

    Others cried. I burned with anger and when I think about it, I still do. Does anyone remember the ABC made for TV movie about the events leading up to 9/11? The bombings of the US Embassies in Africa? The USS Cole? Al Qaeda was active for a long time before 9/11.

    This week, there are several important feast days on the Latin Catholic calendar. Tuesday, September 13, is the Feast Day of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church. Wednesday, September 14 is the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross. Thursday, September 15 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows. All of these were mentioned in the parish bulletin.

    September 12 is the Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of May, in honor of King John Sobieski’s entrusting of himself and his army in battle against the Ottoman Turks who were trying to conquer Vienna. Sobieski and his Polish Hussar cavalry smashed the Ottomans and sent them into retreat. Sobieski said, “Veniums, vidimus, Deus vincit.”
    In a letter to his wife, Sobieski wrote, “Thanks be to Heaven, now the Half-Moon Triumphs no longer o’re the Cross, And ’twas thrown down from St. Stephen’s Steeple in Vienna (whom it had o’retopt so long) immediately on the Defeat: Neither have the Turks any occasion to upbraid us with their Blasphemous Mahometan Proverb. Ye Christians where is Your God?”

    September 12 has no feast day mentioned on it in our bulletin. The feast day was removed in 1969, but Pope John Paul II put it back in 2002.

    Sorry for rambling.

  • Here’s another story about that day: Heather “Lucky” Penny. She was the pilot who was going to have to take out the flight – in a suicide mission – had the passengers not done it.

    The movie “United 93” is the one of the most spectacular movies I have ever seen, and I’ve never cried as much through a movie as I have that one.

  • “Mr.. McClarey, it would be interesting if you would post a piece asking how our parish pastors reflected on September 11 during Mass – if they did at all.

    Our parish priest is a retired Navy chaplain. He is a most pleasant fellow, who usually doesn’t follow the rubrics to the letter and interjects a few of his own words into the Mass. I pray for him. Our priest talked about how shaken he was and he wondered how anyone could do such a thing. He stressed the importance of forgiveness, as evidenced in the Gospel passage for Mass (St. Matthew 16:18, I think without checking it).”

    My parish priest sounded a similar theme but he also noted that these people had to be stopped which I think gets it about right. In our age we emphasize God’s mercy rather than His justice, and we tend to forget that He has both attributes to the full.

  • I wish I could find this somewhere, but sometime before 9/11, I had read an essay by some Catholic writer about how the Christian idea of a “good death” means NOT necessarily a death free of suffering or fear, but one transformed from a merely passive thing that happens TO you, into a sacrificial action.

    What took place on Flight 93 is, in my mind, a quintessential example of that… instead of simply sitting back and being victims, those heroic passengers took ACTION that saved hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others.

    I believe they also set an example that others have followed in the intervening years. You may recall that the “shoe bomber” and the “underwear bomber” were both successfully subdued by other passengers aboard those flights. Untold hundreds or thousands of other lives have been saved as a result.

  • Excellent points Elaine! I have long thought that the best security development since 9/11 is the example of Flight 93 and which has been followed by passengers and crews since then.

  • Interestingly, the celebration of the Holy Name of Mary in the Ambrosian Rite is on 9/11

  • Another interesting fact is that in 1684, to celebrate the victory of the Battle of Vienna the year before, Pope Innocent XI inserted the feast of the Holy Name of Mary in the General Roman Calendar, assigning to it the SUNDAY within the octave of the Nativity of Mary (8-15 September). There are no coincidences. And today’s Mass readings center around forgiveness.

  • “Mr.. McClarey, it would be interesting if you would post a piece asking how our parish pastors reflected on September 11 during Mass – if they did at all.”

    One of our deacons gave the homily. Talked about forgiveness. Mentioned how we could not be pro-life if we were pro-death penalty. Said we needed to abolish the death penalty.

  • Is he always a jerk Phillip, or does he merely reserve it for his Deacon duties?

  • And speaking of jerks, one can always count on Paul Krugman to be very big one indeed:

  • The homily I heard (by a parish pastor) talked about how forgiveness seems impossible when faced with such atrocities, and how it IS impossible to reconcile with the need for some kind of justice or for someone to “pay the price” — until we realize that Christ Himself already paid that price. No polemics against military action, self defense or the death penalty but mostly an acknowledgement that Christ’s words are indeed very difficult to follow.

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  • Speaking of John Sobieski, check out this link to see a picture of him thanking God for his victory in the 9/11/1683 battle of Vienna, as portrayed in the windows of Springfield’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (scroll down about 2/3 of the way to see it):

  • “Brave and Valiant Gentlemen of Poland, it is not here
    only requisite to make good the Glory which your
    Ancestors Valor have aquir’d, in making us consider’d
    as the Bulwark of Christianity against the Arms of the
    Ottomans: It is not only sufficient at this present to defend
    your Country, which the loss of Vienna would expose by a
    necessary consequence to the Invasion of those Infidels, with
    whom we are to fight. Here it is necessary to defend the
    Cause of God, and to preserve the Western Empire, which
    hath done us the Honor to have recourse to our Alliance;
    an Honor which our Ancestors dust never aspire unto, and
    was reserved for your Valor. Entertain therefore no other
    thoughts at present, but either to Conquer, or Nobly to end
    your lives in this Just Cause, to which the Glory of our common
    Master is annexed: Think now that you are to Fight in the fight
    of so many Brave Commanders who are engaged in the same
    Cause and Peril; reflect also that your King Fights at the Head
    of you, whereby to have a share both in your Glory and Danger;
    and withal be confident that the God of Battles whose Cause we
    defend will undoubtedly Fight for us.”

    John Sobieski’s speech to his men before the battle of Vienna. After the battle he sent one of the captured green flags of the Sultan to the Pope with this message:

    “Veni, vidi, Deus vicit.”

    I came, I saw, God conquered.

  • A very modern problem: mercy and justice– the shortest solution I know is that you can’t give mercy to someone who won’t take it. All you can do is the right thing, and hope they eventually accept it. Kinda what Jesus is doing since He died for us, no?

  • Another facet to Flight 93 is that it involved “ordinary” people who were not (as far as I know) active duty or reserve military, police, firefighters or otherwise trained to be first responders.

    Of course the heroism of the professionals as displayed at the WTC and Pentagon is and should be commemorated every Sept. 11. Still, in some ways I am more impressed with the fact that a random, thrown-together group of about 3 dozen civilians who did not know one another, suddenly confronted with an unprecedented horror and with little time to spare, literally “winged it” and may very well have stopped the attacks from turning into a de facto coup d’etat (assuming that the intended target was either the Capitol or the White House).

  • Quite right Elaine. Hard enough for a group of unarmed specially trained soldiers or Marines to take down a group of terrorists who claim (falsely) that they have a bomb. A group of random civilians, who have just met each other under the worst circumstances imaginable, to take on such terrorists takes heroism and daring of a high order indeed.

    The cops and firefighters who went into the Twin Towers to save lives, knowing that it was entirely possible that it could, as it did, collapse at any moment, is an example of the type of “professional courage” that indicates why certain occupations, where risking one’s life is a part of the job, are held high in public esteem, while others, why did the word “lawyer” just flash through my mind ?, are not. The priests who ran to give the Last Rites to the dying at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, along with the Protestant clergy and Jewish rabbis, also distinguished themselves that dark day.

  • I agree with Paul Z about the film “United 93.” I think it is the best movie that has been made or ever will be made about 9/11.

    When I feel pessimistic about the future of our nation and our pathetic ruling elites, I try to remember the heroism shown by the ordinary folks on United 93 and think to myself that if America is still producing citizens like Todd Beamer and co, we are not quite finished yet.

  • I read an article on a blog some years ago about one of the guys on Flight 93. He had had dream – or premonition – that he was to be involved in some defining type event, which possibly involved the US president. He was a devout Catholic, and had a devotion to Our Lady – I think Our Lady of the Rosary (of Victories – Battle of Vienna, 9/11/1683)

    When he found himself in this predicament, he realised that this may be the event. He rang his wife and told her what he and the others had to do. The rest is history.

  • Don, I think the man you are referring to was Thomas E. Burnett Jr. I seem to recall several stories about him in the Catholic press after 9/11, and I believe he attended daily Mass, though this is the first I have ever heard about his premonition.

  • About Mr. Burnett:

    “Mr. Burnett phoned his wife Deena four times. In the first call he told her about the situation on the plane and asked her to call authorities. The second time he phoned, he told her that he believed their captors were going to fly the plane into the ground. “The next time he called,” Mrs. Burnett said, “I could tell they were formulating a plan.” In the last call, he reportedly said, “I know we’re going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it.””

  • The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of Victory (7 Oct.) was established to commemorate the naval battle of Lepanto, 1571, when a combined Christian fleet routed the Turks (and anyone who doesn’t know Chesterton’s bravura poem should look it up without delay). The Christian commander, Don John of Austria, an illegitimate son of the emperor Charles V, was born in Regensburg, that beautiful city on the Danube with which the present Holy Father has such close links.

    Ten years ago the traditional festivities of the Last Night of the Proms were replaced by an evening of solemn music, including Barber’s moving Adagio, and at the Changing of the Guard ceremony the band of the Grenadier Guards played the Star Spangled Banner in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Many of the spectators wept. No mention of the anniversary at Mass yesterday morning; instead we were reminded it was ‘racial justice Sunday’ and invited to pray for ‘all victims of discrimination’. I prayed for the Christians routinely persecuted in Moslem countries and for the innocent victims of 9/11.

  • According to his wife, Thomas Burnett did have premonitions:

    “In 1998, when Deena learned that Tom was going to daily Mass she said “I was a little bit surprised, but I didn’t say anything,” she said. “He said, ‘I feel like God is calling me to do something, and I don’t know what it is. But I know it’s going to have a great impact on a lot of people.’ He said, ‘The reason I’ve been going to daily Mass is because I feel like if I can be closer to God, then I’ll know what his plan is for me.'””

  • Hi John Nolan.

    Yes – I got mixed up between Lepanto and the Battle of Vienna.
    Quite familiar with Chesterton’s poem – In fact Don McC. posted on it a little while back.

    Good to see I’m not the only ‘demmed furriner’ commenting here on an American blog 😉

    Thanks Don, for the confirmation – I thought I had it right.

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9/11 Conspiracy Theories Debunked

Saturday, September 10, AD 2011

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of 9/11.   To head off any “Truthers”, a truly despicable and delusional movement that contends that 9/11 was an “inside job” perpetrated by nefarious, and apparently omnipotent forces in our government, who could arrange for terrorists to hijack four airliners and launch their attacks at the same time that the real dirty work was carried out by government agents, and keep this conspiracy hidden from view for a decade, except from the paladins of the “Truther” Movement who are able see beyond mere facts and evidence to the evil conspiracies within, I would suggest viewing of a series of videos on You Tube that patiently debunk 9/11 conspiracy theories one at a time.  The above video is one of them.  Go here to watch others in the series.

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12 Responses to 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Debunked

  • Although I’m sure “anti-theist” (his description) Christopher Hitchens would not be terribly popular on TAC, he earlier this week wrote an eloquent piece about 9/11, his conclusion excerpted as follows:

    “The mass murder in Bosnia-Herzegovina was not the random product of “ancient hatreds” but a deliberate plan to erase the Muslim population. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fully deserve to be called “evil.” And, 10 years ago in Manhattan and Washington and Shanksville, Pa., there was a direct confrontation with the totalitarian idea, expressed in its most vicious and unvarnished form. Let this and other struggles temper and strengthen us for future battles where it will be necessary to repudiate the big lie.”

    To read the entire article, click here:

  • Despicable and delusional are spot on right. Wicked and nutso work.

  • One would have thought that any illusion of a grand well orchestrated conspiracy of this type would have been shattered by the “grand well orchestrated” response to Hurricane Katrina four years later. They can’t talk their way out of a run on sentence and we are to believe they pulled off **what?** Riiigghhht…..

    Consiracy theory-itis is a full blown addiction. The addict craves his hit of fantasy and Gnostic I-told-you-sos.

    A Gnostic addiction. Wow that’s scary.

    “Hello. My name is Bill, and I am a conspiracy theorist”

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  • Some are just deeply, sadly messed up.

    I can see the appeal of conspiracy theories– it must be comforting to know that Someone Has A Plan, even if it’s evil. Just think of all the horrible things people do– wouldn’t it be comforting to be able to believe that it’s not so much that People Suck as The Conspiracy Is Behind It? One big evil, instead of a bunch of small ones… they’re all competent and even super-competent, and if the bad guys are like that, so to are the good guys.

  • JohnnyZoom-
    THEY wanted things to go badly. All that destruction, and the precedents set for things like disarming people after a disaster? (Note: I happen to think that bad precedents were set, and that shoddy construction was largely at fault, but I favor Hanlon’s Razor over a grand conspiracy. Especially when there’s money to be made without immediate downside, like shoddy construction or covering up a mistake, or when an action is in keeping with someone’s worldview, such as Guns Are Evil, They Must Be Removed.)

  • Indeed, FOxfier, you are very smart. The cosmpiracy fits their worldview. Someone is holding us back, they say. We should experience utopia. But Republicans or some bad people keep getting in the way–they won’t let us fix things. They keep screwing things up instead. That’s why life is still hell for us in Ameirca, and throughout the world. The world needs us to get out of the way. We need to listen better to them because they’re more in tune with reality. Especially France. Yes, that’s the worldview that says Americans planned 9/11.

  • But think!!

    If evil people have the ability to mastermind a plot like nin eleven


    God people should be able to mastermind a National Health System that provides improved medical care at lower prices.

    One is more socially respectable than the other.

    Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

  • My question about the vile idiots: In a Venn diagram of “truthers” and Obama-voting imbeciles, does the “truther” circle (90% inside the imbecile circle) comprised 99% or 100% the whole?


    Would Obamacare be less respectable if the penalty for declining to buy health insurance were being jailed or water-boarded?

  • T Shaw

    I make no pretense of understanig social norms, I somtimes note them.

  • I need to travel from NYC to DC later today. I would fly, except from LaGuardia . . . I think I’ll drive. I flew back into NYC on 11 Sep the second or third year after . . . That plane flew past the two light beams.

    It’s 10 years since that day. I typed the following early 14 Sep 2001.

    I need to confess that this thing has me nearly unmanned. Late last night,
    the TV news had a segment wherein the wives and children made emotional
    appeals for info on their husbands and fathers who are missing. I lost it,
    then. I have tears in my eyes as I “hunt and peck” this. That is not me.

    Have been praying ever since the attack. Tried to
    give blood yesterday. They said come back, had too many donors to handle.
    We need to come together and work to keep the economy going and spark the
    recovery. This is no time for “gloom and doom.” There is a lot of work
    needing to be done, and we have to pull together and get at it.

    I went to work, as usual on Tuesday, 9/11. Took the LIRR to Penn Sta. Rode
    the #2 IRT Train to Wall and William, arriving there 9:10AM. They wouldn’t
    let us out by the usual exit, Wall/William. Went out the next one back. A
    construction worker came into the subway, and said, turn around and go home.
    I should have listened.

    When I hit the street, there was already paper, debris and smoke everywhere –
    even though we were about ¼ mile away from the WTC. I went into my office in
    20 Exchange Place and heard about the first airliner strike. Shortly
    after we heard the second. Most had CNN on-line live TV on in the offices.
    An hour or so later, it became as dark as night as the smoke and debris from
    the collapses surrounded us. Heard a rumble and saw a flash.

    About Noon, they told us the FDNY (God bless those magnificent heroes and
    have mercy on those gallant men who gave their lives: greater love hath no
    man than to give his life for his fellows.) had ordered the evacuation of the
    building. I stayed until 2PM, because I wanted to let the smoke clear, and
    our offices’ air quality was good. Luckily, my wife’s brother-in-law works
    at 120 Wall, and he had a car. Wet my handkerchief for a makeshift gas mask
    and walked over there. We were able to walk uptown along Water Street and get
    it out of the parking lot and drive out. We gave a couple of other “lost
    souls” a ride to Grand Central Station. Took about two hours to get home by
    local streets. Thank God, we were home in eastern Queens by 4PM.

    We don’t know when they will let us back into lower Manhattan to get to the
    office. I had an appointment at a bank in Yonkers, today, that I made a
    point in making. The other agency guys cancelled. I just felt I needed to
    show the colors. Stayed a while to talk to the people there and told a
    little of what I saw. Traveled to and from pretty good except, I’m an idiot,
    I got lost. Am home now and my boss said he’d call if he needed me. I doubt
    we will be back in the office before next Monday, if then. Amazingly, we had
    electric and good phone throughout.

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Handel, Judas Maccabeus and Mel Gibson

Saturday, September 10, AD 2011


Something for the weekend.  The overture from Handel’s Judas Maccabeus.  Judas Maccabeus is a musical tribute to the revolt of the Maccabees, 167-160, against the attempts by Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes  to forcibly convert the Jews to paganism.  The revolt was not simply against the Selucids, but also against a sizable chunk of the population of Judea who were only too happy to embrace the ways of the Greeks.  Led by Mattathias, the father of Judas and his brothers, collectively known as the Maccabees, the revolt started in 167 BC when Mattathias, in the village of Modein outside of Jerusalem, cut down an official of the Selucid empire who was attempting to cajole Mattathias, a priest of Yahweh, to offer sacrifice to Zeus.  Mattathias and his sons then literally took to the hills, with Mattathias uttering a cry that has rung down the centuries:  “Let him who is zealous for the Law, follow me!”

Mattathias, an old man at the start of the revolt, soon died, and leadership descended to his son Judas.  Fighting a crafty guerilla campaign, Judas and his brothers, against all the odds, established an independent Jewish state.  After the heroic days of the Maccabees, the new Jewish state eventually descended into a fairly squalid series of civil wars, which ultimately led to the Romans under Pompey the Great seizing Jerusalem in 63 BC.  The Romans thereafter ruled Judea through puppet rulers.  Our Catholic Bibles have First and Second Maccabees which retell the heroic saga of the Maccabean Revolt.  This of course brings us to Mel Gibson, who has brought two heroic revolts to the screen and is apparently working on a third.

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19 Responses to Handel, Judas Maccabeus and Mel Gibson

  • Predictably, the ADL is not happy about this.

    Once you get a scarlet letter, hard to remove especially when the Jews are the targets given their miraculous ability to shape public opinion. Poor Mel. He’ll never be forgiven for his drunken rant. Everybody’s apparently forgotten Jesse Jackson’s Hymietown comment and Hillary Clinton’s “f—n jew bastard” remark (ironic now that she has a Jewish son-in-law).

  • “The Jews…” Don’t go there, Joe, for all our sakes. A little chauvinism can be fun — otherwise, we wouldn’t cheer for our high school football team — but without care and reflection it can also drift into the horrors of 1933-1945.

  • Oh, brother. I may be in need of reeducation camp and sensitivity training.

  • Of Gibson’s movies ‘Braveheart’ was historical tosh but in Scotland had the unfortunate effect of pandering to an unhealthy inferiority complex manifested in a growing culture of victimhood which does that once proud nation no credit. The best part of the film is the last fifteen minutes. I’m not sure what sentiments ‘The Patriot’ was pandering to. Surely Americans no longer need to mythologize their history and demonize their erstwhile adversaries. They did after all win that particular war (albeit with a lot of luck and with outside help). I find film-makers’ perversion of history far more offensive than the soft porn of ‘Showgirls’ which is really neither here nor there.

  • Colonel Tavington in the Patriot John was based on Colonel Banastre Tarleton who is still remembered for “Tarleton’s Quarter” that he gave to the surrendering Americans at Waxhaws by butchering them. My only regret is that Dan Morgan didn’t get to kill Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens instead of merely defeating and humiliating him. I found the Patriot very good entertainment that is not to be confused with a documentary on the American Revolution in the South, although it does do a fairly good of showing the success of American partisans in keeping the war alive in South Carolina after the American forces under that British import Horatio Gates had been shattered at Camden.

    Much of Braveheart is a historical mess from the British lords seeking to enforce a right of the first night with Scottish brides to William Wallace impregnating the future Queen Isabella, who I believe was all of nine years old at the time of the death of Wallace. Having said that, the battle scenes are first rate, and the Scots have long taken pride in their struggle for independence against England. I do agree that modern Scottish Nationalists strike me as whiney and silly.

    There was nothing soft core about Showgirls, and I regard such pornography as far graver than the liberties that Mel Gibson has taken with history in what are, after all, movies. Of course Gibson, like most Aussies, transplanted or not, does have a big chip on his shoulder regarding you Brits. Perhaps Don the Kiwi would care to elaborate on this phenomenon?

  • I find many educators’ brainwashing of pupils in history (providing ideologies not educations) far more worrisome than film-makers’ entertainments.

    Regarding “Scotland the Brave”: Did Obama (“I will not rest . . . “) predict Scotland will be a nation once again?

  • (Guest comment by Don’s wife Cathy:) The Gibson/Eszterhas collaboration won’t be the first film depiction of the revolt of the Maccabees. There was also the 1962 film The Old Testament, which Don & I used to have (maybe still have?) on DVD. It doesn’t seem to have received very good reviews, though — see here:

  • I guess this film is current and generating some buzz. An hour ago I’d never heard of it and yours is now the second blog discussing it. You’ll be shocked, just shocked, but this other one (which I stumbled across while looking up “oderint dum metuant”) manages to invent a pre-Classical 9/11 conspiracy in “The Hammer”‘s uprising. Here’s the link:

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  • Don, I take your point, but the fact that Tavington was based on that gallant officer Banastre Tarleton who was not the proto-Nazi portrayed in the film (made by Germans, hmmm…) did not play well on this side of the pond where anti-Americanism lurks beneath the surface and which I have spent the last thirty years attempting to counter.

    On the tenth anniversary of what Europeans must call 11/9 be assured that our prayers are with you. God Bless America.

  • Thank you John. We Americans realize that we have no better friends than the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    In regard to Tarleton, he figured in another recent film, Amazing Grace, that detailed his career in Parliament as a shill for the pro-slavery forces.

  • Interestingly, Spielberg’s film ‘Amistad’ created quite a stir on this side of the pond as it portrayed the Brits in a good light – the RN officer giving testimony in a US court, the bombardment of the slave fort and the liberation of the slaves by British redcoats – not what we expect from Hollywood!

  • Without the anti-slavery stance embraced by the British Empire John in the 19th Century, I have no doubt that slavery would still be flourishing in much of the world.

  • Mel Gibson, through his movie the Passion and the reactions to it, almost single-handedly destroyed one of the reliable myths that the ADL types could rely on to provoke guilt among Christians. The idea that Christians and in particular Catholics invariably work themselves into a frenzy over the perfidious Jews during Holy Week, is apparently widely believed among sections of the Jewish population. He will never be forgiven for this.

  • Although I do think that Gibson obviously has personal demons to deal with regarding Jews, his drunken rant established that beyond question, the argument that the Passion was anti-Semitic was truly hilarious. I guess it sailed right by the critics, who often seemed to have only a very vague knowledge of the Passion, and zero knowledge of Catholic theology regarding it, that the only time Gibson appears in the picture is when he had his hands nailing Jesus to the cross.

  • For what it is worth I do not think that Gibson has “issues” with Jews in general. His schtick – the mad rebel on edge – does not comport itself easily to the prevailing orthodoxy in Hollywood that between Jews and Christians, they have to be uniformly portrayed as helpless victims, sardonic critics and altruistic lovers of mankind .

  • “Gibson, like most Aussies, transplanted or not, does have a big chip on his shoulder regarding you Brits.”

    Not to mention the old saw about a well-balanced Irishman having a chip on BOTH shoulders…

  • Hi Don.
    Just caught up with your comment of 9/10 @ 7.21 pm. re the Aussie “chip on the shoulder”.
    I suppose ‘chip on the shoulder’ could be an apt description, certainly in the earlier days. There is an excellent book written by Robert Hughes entitled The Fatal Shore which details the early settlement of Australia (see Wikipedia or Amazon) – in one chapter it details the settlement of NZ as well some decades after Oz; deals with the socio-political climate of the time – late 18th. century.
    One of the things that the Aussies and Kiwis used to find annoying about the Brits was their penchant for comparing everything over here in a negative light with “Back home”. The natural respose was, of course, “Then why don’t you piss off back, then.”
    This, in NZ anyway, was common, particularly in the 50’s and 60’s. In those postwar decades NZ and Oz were needing immigration, and for NZ , british migrants were subsidised to come out here. It cost them 10 pounds for a sea voyage, and many took up the offer – a small number of them were’nt happy with the decision, and decided to return back to the UK. They were called “ten pound poms”, a rather derogatory title, but which the majority put up with, and assimilation became easier.
    The Aussie situation was a little different. While NZ was settled mainly by entrepreneurial types, Aussie, of course became the dumping ground for convicts – rightly or wrongly accused of mainly minor crimes and transported to the colonies. As convicts, they were often branded with the letters “P.O.M.E” – Prisoner of Mother England.Many were Irish, and generally lower working class people. So there was a built in resentment to the English, and of course, the upper classes were able to purchase land holdings in Oz, and the military – soldiers and officers -were treated favourably by the authorities, and gave quite a distinct class difference. This is where the nick name of ‘Pommies” or just “Poms” comes from – and still today are called such. In NZ, its more a friendly term – but when I lived in Oz in the 80’s, many Aussies still spat out the term in an almost insulting way, preceded by an adjective beginning with ‘f’.
    I must tell about “John the Pom” – a Pommy guy from Nottingham, John Swaby, who came to Oz in the early 70’s with his wife and young family. He had a great nature and a wild sense of humour (as most Poms do, actually). One of his favourite jokes went like this:
    “When I came out to Australia, after a few years, Aussie guys would come up to me and ask, ‘Tell me John, what do you think of the average Australian?’
    To which John would reply,’ I think the average Australian is a pretty good bloke – its the white fellas you’ve got to look out for.” 🙂 (a dig at the Aussies who are still pretty prejudiced against the ‘black fellas’ – Australian Aborigines)

    I had a joke which enabled you to tell whether a pom was a good bloke or not.
    ” A Pommie walked into a bar with a frog on his head. The barman asked, ‘where did you get that?” The frog replied,’ Dunno – started off as a wart on me bum.” 🙂
    I had to dodge a fist on the rare occasion, but most of the guys took the joke, and you could guarantee that they would come back with with an equally humorous rejoinder.

    Life’s great, aint it? 🙂

  • At the entrance to a safari park in Australia, along with the the warnings about dangerous animals, don’t open car windows, don’t get out of car etc. there was a list of entry fees to which was added “Poms on bicycles, free”. Poms everywhere were highly amused, reinforcing the point that racial insults only work if those against whom they are directed feel inferior in the first place. On the radio recently one of the “£10 poms” who emigrated to Oz in the 1950s recalled that his workmates wouldn’t speak to him for six months, only referring to him in the third person, e.g. “Does the pom want a cup of tea?” It was only when he was referred to as a “pommie bastard” that he realized he was half way to becoming accepted.

    Going back to Don’s point about slavery, it is often forgotten that the eradication of the slave trade was Britain’s number one foreign policy objective for most of the 19th century and the main task of the RN after the defeat of Napoleon. The east African slave trade, run by the Arabs for over a thousand years, was particularly intractable, not least because it was bound up with the ivory trade (the slaves carried the tusks to the coast). The only answer was to establish protectorates in east Africa, something HMG was reluctant to do but was pushed into by men on the spot, notably Sir James Kirk. The great slave market in Zanzibar was finally closed in 1890.

    A footnote: Uganda, though never a colony, was known as “the jewel in the crown of the British African empire” and Ugandans who remember the last years of the British protectorate are quite nostalgic about it. Bizarrely it was offered to the Zionists as a possible Jewish homeland – now that would have set the cat among the pigeons …

Education and out-of-wedlock children…

Friday, September 9, AD 2011

Those who worry about the state of marriage in the United States might want to read a recent Brookings Institute study.  “The Marginalization of Marriage in Middle America” examines the  marital status of the 51% of young adults between 25 and 34 years of age who have completed  high school but haven’t earned a college degree.



According to study, college-educated Americans generally marry before the birth of their first child and divorce levels among this demographic have fallen to levels comparable  with the early 1970s.  For college educated American women, the likelihood of having a child outside of marriage is 6%.  For moderately educated American women (finished high school and may or may not have attended some college or professional school), the likelihood of having a child outside of marriage is 44% of births.  But, among  women who did not finish high school, it’s 54%.

The findings indicate that this increase in births outside marriage correlates with higher levels of  cohabitation, not the cultural and economic factors that are most oftentimes cited as making it necessary for couples to cohabit today.  The report cites 3 cultural shifts that have changed the decision-making process:

  1. Attitudes towards sexual activity and childbearing outside marriage  have changed. Combined with the introduction of contraception, cohabitation and childbearing outside of marriage are more accepted than in the early 1970s.
  2. There has been a significant decline in religious participation  among people in Middle America.  Compared to the 1970s,  church attendance among this group has dropped from 40% to 28%.
  3. Since the early 1970s and the introduction of “no-fault divorce,” the jurisprudence affecting family life has been re-oriented, from being  supportive of marriage to emphasizing individual rights.


The problem is that the relationship among cohabiting couples is inherently unstable.  65%  of children living in a household where the adults are cohabiting will see that relationship break up before they are 12 years old.  This compares to 24% for children born to intact marriages.  These children are also 3 times more likely to be abused.  Drug use,  problems at school, and miscreant behavior are also more common among these children.

These findings shouldn’t surprise anyone.  In fact, they parallel those of the folks at Smart Marriages and what they have been arguing for almost two decades.




Perhaps the best explanation for all of this is the change in jurisprudence.  Marriage is now a “choice” rooted in individual rights rather than selfless love, fidelity, and trust.  Where those are absent, how likely is it that a marriage or a family will be healthy?



To read the Brookings Institution report, click on the following link:

To learn about the research conducted by the folks at Smart Marriages, click on the following link:

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6 Responses to Education and out-of-wedlock children…

  • There’s actually some positive news in there, at least within a segment of the population. The way you see it depicted, it seems like everyone is a child of divorce.

    Not that these overall levels are good. You know what I mean.

  • How is it that selfless love, fidelity and trust can be restored?

    I do not see this as likely. The damage done is very deeply ingrained throughout society.

    I do not think the waiting to have a family among the more well-educated has much to do with selfless love, fidelity and trust. I think it has more to do with being able to “afford” a child. This is not cause for optimism. It is desperately trying to find some good news in order to build some hope.

    There is little support for marriage today. There is little support for the effort it takes to be a family who hangs tough in thick and thin. There is little help when help is sought other than for a quick fix. I think because many of us are “max’d out” trying to keep our head above water.

    Were I in a position to be married, I would not do it. I would help our children as best I could to raise their families. I am glad I grew up when I did. The young people have their work more than cut out for them.

    May God give them the grace to work at improving the mess we have left for them to sort out.

  • “It has more to do with being able to ‘afford’ a child.”

    I suspect the same thing. Likewise I suspect the lower rate of marriage among the college educated has to do with the notion that a couple must attain near absolute financial and employment security AND that they (or their parents) must be able to pay for a big wedding before they can even consider marriage.

    I am, however, kind of surprised at the sharp drop in church attendance among the middle class and poor as compared to the college educated… you’d think it would be the other way around — after all aren’t the lower classes supposed to be the ones “bitterly clinging” to their religion because it’s all they have?

    Or could it be that the high rate of divorce and cohabitation among the middle class and poor in turn makes them less inclined to attend church because they know their lifestyle will not be accepted? Or could irregular work and transportation schedules among the working poor (e.g., having to work weekends or Sundays to make ends meet) have something to do with it?

  • Good points at the end Ms. Krewer.

    Many people work on Sunday now and have multiple jobs to make ends meet.

    However, my personal experience and from knowing many divorced people is that the old “stigma” is gone, except in rare cases and then it seems to be more of personal issue than a corporate one. The opposite is much more true.

  • Maybe the causation is the other way around? They don’t start or finish college because they had a child! Makes you wonder how many of those that did finish college made it through unscathed, or more scathed due to an abortion.


Bette Davis, Abortion and Irony

Friday, September 9, AD 2011

Recently on the American history blog Almost Chosen People that Paul Zummo and I run, I wrote a post, which may be read here, saluting the actress Bette Davis for the ardent patriotism she displayed during World War II.  In the course of my research however, I came across information which paints a very bleak picture of the famed actress indeed.

In the video at the beginning of the post we see a clip from the movie Juarez (1939) where the Empress of Mexico, Carlota, superbly portrayed by Bette Davis, is begging the Blessed Virgin for a child.  This scene is extremely ironic, since throughout the thirties and into the forties, Davis, for the good of her career apparently, and with the consent of her husband, had a series of abortions.  She opined in an interview in the eighties that she did not believe that abortion during the first month of pregnancy was the taking of human life, which leads me to wonder if she did not routinely go through pregnancy tests and abortions as a matter of course.  The cold bloodedness of this needs no amplification by me.

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9 Responses to Bette Davis, Abortion and Irony