Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This is how it should have gone down.
Christmas wishes to all of you as well, though Christmas is half over (though not completely, as some would think). Being married to a starving church musician doesn't make for a quiet, simple holiday schedule, so we caught up on sleep and celebrated Christmas with some of our extended and adopted family on Saturday.
I know I haven't been here much, and I hope to chime in more soon. Work's been busy, I've been searching for and just was hired for a part-time tutoring job, we're trying to sell our home and buy another one with little money of our own, and we've had two feet of snow and a few family sicknesses thrown in just for fun! I know, that's supposed to be some sort of excuse for not blogging everyday? pssh, whatever!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Now, in the Kennedy case, Christopher Young shouldn't have thrown the DVD. That, I believe, is really what got the ball rolling for him getting thrown out of the forum. But Kennedy never answered the salient point. Because there's no good answer.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Smarter people than me have pointed out that "gay marriage" is not a death-threat to traditional marriage in this county. It's just the slimy kid down the street poking its already decaying carcass.
The real threat to marriage is no-fault divorce. Now, I'm not talking about situations where there is mental or physical abuse. People have a right not to be abused and should be able to get away from their abusers.
I'm talking about, "You know, honey, I woke up this morning and I don't feel like being married to you anymore" kind of divorce. The month-long Hollywood "irreconcilable differences" divorce. The "I just want to find myself and it's not with you" divorce.
Before my wife and I got married we made a pact- no divorce. Period. As a product of a home shattered by divorce, my wife experience first-hand the pain and destruction that a failed marriage leaves behind. The hurt, resentment, mistrust, anger and doubt that it leaves on children, especially.
Some might think our pact naive. To those who would say so, I would point out that when a couple gets married with the possibility that if things "don't work out" they have an exit door, it's only a matter of time until they use it. When you decide that there is no leaving, you make every decision differently. You find a way to forgive, to reconcile, to ask forgiveness. You find a way to be patient and caring when you don't feel like it. You seek counseling if necessary. You make sacrifices. You pray and work and struggle to put the other's welfare first. Conversely, when the marriage is by definition, not permanent, why take the trouble to care?
To others, though, our pact seems redundant.
Until the culture as a whole sees such a pact as redundant, marriage will continue to travel down the cultural path towards the realm of quaint, irrelevant leftovers of an earlier time.
Until we appreciate what marriage truly is, there is no argument against "gay marriage".
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The plot is simple: two rambunctious girls attend four years at an all-girls Catholic school run by an order of religious sisters. Watching this movie struck a chord with Wifey and me, because my wife was the rambunctious redhead at a school just like this one. My wife started laughing when the eldest retired sister was asleep at the dinner table. (I thought maybe she had died, so I didn't get the joke. But her school was, like in TTwA, also the Motherhouse of the order, so she had elderly nuns asleep at the table all the time.)
Haley Mills plays Mary Clancy, the antagonist of every prank in the movie. Rosalind Russell is stunning as Reverend Mother. The Trouble with Angels is a character study. The charm of the movie lies the growth into maturity of Mary Clancy and her friend Rachel Devery, along with the softening process as Mary begins to see Reverend Mother as less the dragon who thwarts her "scathingly brilliant ideas", and more the strong, devoted woman who quietly but passionately loves her Lord and her girls.
It's a fun movie to watch and the kids enjoy it. Unlike its changing-with-the-times hip and vapid sequel, which should be avoided like bells on Good Friday, I highly recommend The Trouble with Angels.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
It's a point well taken and one that I had been pondering. I was assessing not just blogging, but how I've been spending much of my time. And it hasn't been good lately.
I work for a small company that is pretty casual about guidelines. As long as the work gets done, there's a lot of leeway. So if I get to work at 7:00, great. If I get there at 9:00, fine. If I have errands to run on the way in, even later is acceptable. Nobody hounds me about it. It just means I stay later.
The problem with such permissiveness is that it's ripe for cultivating bad habits. And getting to work later had become a bad habit for me, one that was affecting other areas of life. Especially considering my 45 minute commute, I'd get out of work later, missing the kids, or I'd get out at the normal time to help my wife with something-or-other and end up with a shortened payday. And at a period of time when I'm also keeping an eye out for a part-time job that fits my schedule, this is not helpful. In general, I've been experiencing diminishing returns and general frustration. And there's nobody to blame but me.
I need to set a deadline for myself. Otherwise, the snooze button is my best friend. After all, without a firm time to be somewhere, what's another few minutes of blissful sleep?
God's solution to my problem was obvious.
I've been enjoying a better use of my days. Today I was out of the house before wifey was up, had a full day at work, came home, and made dinner for the kids and me (mom is out tonight). We brushed teeth, got Frac his medicine, read two library books, and sang extra night prayer songs (and a Star Wars theme)--both at the kids' request. And all of that because I had the best start to the day that there is.
7:00 Mass 1/2 mile from work.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
(Just so you know, I contacted thecurestartsnow.org, affiliated with the project, and they informed me that they do NOT fund embryonic stem cell research, so buy the book in good conscience.)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The Stupak amendment bans federal funding of abortion, which means that those who wish to have an abortion or who think they might need one in the future will either have to pay for one directly or will need to purchase the insurance with abortion coverage at their own expense.
Then Obama expresses concern that the amendment will restrict women's choices and opportunity to get such "health care."
Is he really afraid that purchasing private health care will be an actual restriction on procuring an abortion? That could only be the case if there is no private health insurance. There would only be no private health insurance if we move to the single-payer system, which Senator Obama declared was a goal of his. Many people have criticized the government intervention in health care as paving the way for single-payer health care, a charge that President Obama, Pelosi and Reid have vehemently denied. Who do you believe, them or your own eyes and ears?
Monday, November 9, 2009
Lately, I've been spending too much time reading other blogs. I started out by checking out what other people were doing, getting ideas, and linking to stories that piqued my interest. But now I find that I use up all my blogging time just weeding through what others post. Then I'm overwhelmed by the sheer number of topics to address.
I don't like drive-by posting. On other people's blogs, there have been so many items I'd like to comment on, but the topics are important enough to warrant lengthy conversation, but since I don't have the time lately to do that, I'd rather not leave any comment at all than leave a provocative one-liner that I'm not around to defend.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
quote from Cardinal Ratzinger's 1984 address to German seminarians:
The ability to accept and weather suffering is a fundamental condition for succeeding as a human being. Where it is never learned, existence is doomed to failure. Being up-in-arms about everyone and everything contaminates the ground of the soul, so to speak, and turns it into barren land. The priest must learn how to cope with pain -- formerly one spoke of asceticism in this context. No one likes this word any longer; it becomes more palatable when we translate it from Greek into English -- training. Everyone knows that without training and the will-power that goes with it there is no success. Nowadays one trains for all kinds of skills with enthusiasm and persistence, and in this way record performances in many areas are possible that were once deemed inconceivable. Why does it seem so outlandish to train for real life, for the right life -- to practice the arts of self-denial, of self-control, and of freeing ourselves from our addictions?
Man, do I need to be reminded of that often.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
When he announced in his plan to make the Federal government the biggest health insurance provider in the nation that it wouldn't pay for abortions, do you remember the giant uproar it caused among abortion providers and their supporters? Remember the hand-wringing that went on by those worried that abortions would be underfunded and the abortion industry would be left out in the cold unable to offer their necessary services to women who need them? Oh, wait, that's right. There was no uproar. In fact, they didn't say "boo." No rants by Maureen Dowd, no e-mail campaign by Planned Parenthood, no released statements by Naral. Nothing. Not even a wimper by Pseudo-Catholics for Free Choice.
Apparently, they had reason to think that President Obama either didn't mean what he said or there was a giant loophole in his meaning. Well, Congressman Stupak provided the answer to that riddle. Obama was talking about a bill that didn't exist while the bills that existed in reality did and still do cover abortions with Federal (taxpayer-supplied) dollars, despite numerous attempts to amend the bills otherwise.
But even when pro-life amendments to the House and Senate bills were proposed, there was still no uproar from the abortion industry; that is, until now. Planned Parenthood is attacking the Catholic Church.
It is now perfectly clear that abortion will be covered under the plans that President Obama, Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi are pushing. And the Catholic Church is pushing back. In the last couple of weeks, the USCCB declared that unless abortion is taken out of the federal coverage and meaningful conscience protections are put in place, it will be forced to oppose the single reform that the Catholic bishops have been hoping for since the 1950's.
The only problem is, I don't know if they'll keep pushing or if they'll cave. History is not on our side. The Plan B "contraceptive" debacle that embroiled the State of CT and the CT Catholic Conference a few years back paints a disheartening picture: the bishops loudly declare that they'll fight to the end, then timidly release a statement on page A9 at the last hour admitting that the abortifacient would be allowed in Catholic hospitals.
I believed then that the bishops had a much stronger position than they either imagined or were willing to put on the table. If the Church had threatened to close its hospitals in the state--and I don't mean sell them to another health care company-- I mean, lay off the staff, demolish the buildings and set the land as a nature preserve, the state would have backed off in a heartbeat.
But that's not what happened. Instead, we got a half-hearted hope that the pill which was known to have abortifacient properties might not actually be acting as such. Sigh.
I fear that the bulletin-insert campaign (which, btw, many readers at CMR report didn't happen in their parishes this past weekend) is a little too little, too late.
Maybe I'm being naive, and if someone can help me understand this, please do. Why can't the bishops threaten to close Catholic hospitals if the health care proposal covers abortion with taxpayer dollars? Why can't they threaten it now unless a pro-life amendment is passed? What government body is going to find the funding to rebuild hundreds of hospitals throughout the country? And what politician is going to want that on his resume-- (I forced Catholic hospitals to close)?
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Anyhoo, I've always found this song to be haunting, but I never put my finger on why. But the more it played over and over again in my head, a clearer understanding began to form. For the same reason that this song has captivated so many people (and been re-recorded by just about everyone who ever sang into a microphone) is that is expresses a longing, fragile tenderness that exists in every human heart. This song, whether the singer knows it or not, is about the search for God.
At first glance, that may not be what you see. In fact, at first glance, you could assume that this song is either about a couple growing serious in their affection for one another and about to make love (out of wedlock, we assume) or it could be about a one-night stand.
Now, let me get something out of the way. A good friend of mine frequently makes the "poop in the brownie" argument, which goes sort of like this: Good stories don't need to engage in gratuitous sin, even if it's just a little bit. After all, just a little bit of dog poop ruins the brownie batter. When she first made that argument it disengaged me, knocking me from my perch, rendering me unable to press for what I believed. Yet that argument, while relevant in many discussions, doesn't enter here. I'm not talking here about a gratuitous sex scene that adds nothing to the plot of a story, but is obligatory in order to reap box office cash, nor am I talking about torture porn (read: "Saw"), no matter how compelling the story may have ended up being. I'm talking about the glimmers of hope and transcendence even in sinful endeavors, the rays of light that may peek into a darkened corner that nonetheless reveal that there is a sun above.
The woman in this song is about to give herself to her lover, opening her body to his, revealing her inmost self. And in a moment frozen in time, she stops to question him. She is suspended in time while he stands before her, oblivious to the torrent of her heart within. Like Tevya, she wrestles with questions that may not have an answer. She looks to her lover to question him, but no answer comes, for the question remains only in her heart. But also like Tevya, it's not the answer that's important for the moment, but the fact that she grapples with the question.
Tonight you're mine completely,
You give your love so sweetly,
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes,
But will you love me tomorrow?
Is this a lasting treasure,
Or just a moment's pleasure,
Can I believe the magic of your sighs,
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Tonight with words unspoken,
You said that I'm the only one,
But will my heart be broken,
When the night (When the night)
Meets the morning sun.
I'd like to know that your love,
Is love I can be sure of,
So tell me now and I won't ask again,
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Will you still love me tomorrow?
What she is looking for, what we all are looking for, is not a love that is illusory, nor a love that only seeks its own pleasure, for that is not love at all. She seeks a love that lasts, a love that has no bounds. She wants a love that is everlasting. The woman in the song is playing at a dangerous game of trust, and she knows how dangerous it is, yet she can't do anything but trust anyway. She needs to trust, she needs to succumb to a love outside of herself. She needs to fall, hoping that her lover will catch her, though she knows that he may fail her.
Why, then, must she fall anyway? Why do we all run headlong into the abyss seeking after something that in this life seems never to fulfill but always to disappoint?
It is because we are made that way. We are created with one goal in mind: love. God, who is Love itself, created us with the sole intention that we might be one, in love, with Him for all eternity. But God does not force this love upon us. We must choose Him, Who loves us so much that he gave himself up for us, yet still allows us the freedom to love Him in return.
"27The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
- The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator."
- Psalm 63:2-8
- O God, you are my God-- for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, Like a land parched, lifeless, and without water.
- So I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory.
- For your love is better than life; my lips offer you worship!
- I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
- My soul shall savor the rich banquet of praise, with joyous lips my mouth shall honor you!
- When I think of you upon my bed, through the night watches I will recall
- That you indeed are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
The woman in the song is not looking for sex; she's looking for unending love. Like that quote from Chesterton, every man who walks into a brothel is looking for God.
Btw, if you want to read about other songs in our culture that in their own way point to the reality of Christ, visit Twisted Mystics.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
One of the kids came in crying with the extra sound of injustice in his voice. Our friend's son, we'll call him Thomas, claimed that his sister, we'll call her Sandra, and my oldest son, here known as Fric, hit him and knocked him to the ground. Oh, boy, here we go.
Thomas' dad, mom and I summoned all the appropriate witnesses to the bailiff's quarters (the porch) and commenced the interrogations in the judge's chambers.
One by one the involved parties were questioned, with Thomas' story distinctly different from Sandra's and Fric's, neither of whom had a moment together to corroborate their stories. To get to the point, Thomas started by hitting Sandra with (I believe) a wiffle ball bat when she retreived the frisbee before he did. And what did my son do? Why, he knocked Thomas over by hitting him in the chest, because, hey!, you don't. hit. girls.
That's my boy.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I was fortunate enough to get in, arriving at about 5:40 for the 6:30 meeting, one of the last people allowed into the 519-capacity auditorium. The place was packed, and as they wouldn't allow standees, I found an empty seat near a man formerly of my parish, whom I was happy to sit next to.
I had a copy of the House bill on my laptop for reference if necessary, but I quickly realized that this would be impractical and jotted down my questions for Rep. Courtney. Unfortunately, the mic at the podium wasn't working properly, so the moderators would hold the clip-on mic for questioners then race down to the front so Joe could answer.
There were loud protests when the first announcement was made that the school needed us to be done by 8:30, so we were on a limited time frame. (I wonder what other event was planned there that evening?)
Anyway, the crowd, from my estimation was a little more evenly spread pro/con than was evident from the people milling about outside. Yes, it was a bit raucous at times, but most people at least tried to be respectful to let others ask their question, and when emotion did overtake, many cries of "Let him speak" did carry sway. (I'll note that the only person who did have to be escorted out was a heckler in support of the bill who continually yelled over others' criticism of the bill and the congressman.)
Not surprisingly, I wasn't satisfied with the answers that Joe gave. He continually found ways to make general statements that didn't address people's particular critiques or questions (especially regarding how this can be paid for). He stated about four times that he himself does not participate in the Congressional health care plan, a principled stance he plans to continue until everyone has access to the same care. (Hey, for all my disagreements with Mr. Courtney, I can respect that. However, that answer only goes so far, especially when people wanted to know how other members of Congress could vote for this legislation without being held to its consequences.)
I did not get to ask my questions, though not for lack of holding up my hand the entire time.
So here are a few of my questions and concerns:
1. President Obama has gone on a crusade to quash myths about the health care plan in Congress. He claims that one such fabrication is that abortion would not be covered by tax payer dollars. Mr. Courtney also made that claim on his local radio appearance two weeks ago delineating a system of payment credits and sequestering of funds, citing the Capps Amendment, which passed on July 30th. However, the Capps Amendment only makes those delineations in the section on the private Health Insurance Exchange, whereas the section on the public option only states that the public option shall provide abortions for which public funds are allowed and shall not be prevented or prohibited from covering abortions for which federal funds are not allowed. Nope, no disconnect here.
2. As I read through the text of the bill (I had 16 hours to kill when I missed my flight at O'Hare) I was struck by the amount of authority that the Congress would essentially be ceding--in our name-- to the Administration. By this plan, the rules that govern the health care of every man, woman and child in the United States would be determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. That means that the decisions that most intimately affect everyone would henceforth be political. Every presidential election from now until the end of the Republic would be about what's in "my health care." Not the economy, not national security, not education. Don't like your health care plan? Wait four years and elect a new president.
For all those in support of this legislation, I can't help but wonder if they would have given this much authority to President Bush?
3. My congressman has very clearly read the bill (another point for which I have to give him at least that credit). However, many members of Congress had not until recently, and it's not certain that they all have read it yet. This bill would restructure one sixth of the American economy, and if President Obama and Speaker Pelosi had their way, this bill would have been passed a month ago before Congress went on August recess, before the American people could have read the bill. Is this responsible?
4. Courtney side-stepped another question about the path to single-payer health care by stating that this bill is not single payer health care and that such a plan would have zero chance of passing now. Yet that is not the concern here, Joe. We can see that it doesn't yet create a single-payer mandate, but Barney Franks is on record admitting that if we are to get to a single-payer structure, the public option is the best way to get there.
Then, after hearing President Obama's campaign speech before both houses tonight, another thought crossed my mind. He said that the public option would have to be self-sufficient, operating only on the premiums it collects. And then I got to thinking, if the public option is for those who cannot get health care because they either have pre-existing conditions or they cannot afford it, how will they be able to afford the premiums on the public option unless it is taxpayer subsidized? (Let that sink in, then, and see question 1 above.)
And if the Health Insurance Exchange will impose rules on private companies that forbid them from denying coverage or dropping people, why would the public option be necessary at all? A cheaper alternative? How then, will it stay viable as a system if it is collecting lower premiums?
Obama made it clear that everyone will have to purchase (or in the case of employers, provide) health insurance or they will be taxed. Two questions: 1. If an individual decides not to buy health insurance and is fined/taxed, does that tax automatically enroll him in the public option or does he still have to buy insurance now on top of that? 2. If a company drops insurance benefits for employees and is fined/taxed, will the fine be much greater than the premiums it currently pays? Otherwise, any business owner will be calculating the premium amount and administrative costs; suffering the tax and letting all the employees get dumped into the public option might be a wise business decision. (Is this the ultimate goal? Is the public option the mechanism for eventually getting everyone into a single infrastructure of health care?)
Keep watching the shell. This game isn't over yet.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Therefore, I'd like to point your attention to No Question Left Behind, a blog written by teens to answer questions by other teens on matters relating to living the Catholic faith. They discuss Church teaching, Scripture, practical decisions, and teen issues all with an eye towards helping others towards a full life in Christ. Check 'em out and see for yourself.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Response to the Washington Post
Homeschoolers Say No to Mandatory State Testing
Director of Media Relations
In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the guardian ad litem involved in the case concluded, according to the court order, that the girl “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that the girl’s interests “would be best served by exposure to a public school setting” and “different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief...in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”
I wonder, if, as Subvet asks, what would have happened if she had been raised as an atheist? Would she have been sent to a Catholic school? Or if she had been raised by Muslims, would the judge have ordered her to a synagogue school?
Of course not.
Now, I don't know this girl and neither do you. Maybe she has a devout, even orthodox, faith in Christ. Maybe she thinks that anyone who rolls the toilet paper off the top instead of the bottom is predestined for hell. But that's not the point here. Obviously, her education was not an issue, as the judge clearly admits that she is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level”. What the judge found in need of correcting was that the girl has firmly held beliefs not in conformity to the amorphous, relativist, secular mindset that pervades our culture. The problem is not that the girl has religious beliefs; the problem is that she takes those beliefs seriously.
See, people in our culture are very tolerant of those who have different beliefs, as long as no one holds those beliefs to be actually true. Beliefs are permissible if they are not actually beliefs. Nice fables, fine. Vague moral compass, OK. But the moment that someone acts like beliefs and actions have real consequences in a metaphysical way, then they must be isolated and corrected.
It's like the parents that send their kids to Catholic school so they will have some religious upbringing, but fail to attend Mass. These are the people who send their kids to learn all about the faith that's not real enough or important enough to put into practice. But that's OK, right? I mean, as long as you're a good person, God's not going to reject you.
I'm not advocating any witch-hunts of non-believers, if that's what my tone suggests. But my frustration lies greatest with an attitude toward that faith that renders it "cute" or "curious". The danger of a pluralistic society is not that there are people who believe differently who might challenge my beliefs. It's that a pluralistic society demands that I have no belief at all.
Johnson maneuvered every step of the way getting this bill through Congress, and one of the things he did — and this is a little dicey in today's climate — was suppress the costs. So this young kid gets elected from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, in 1962, and Johnson is explaining to him [over the phone] how you get a health bill through. And what he tells him is don't let them get the costs projected too far out because it will scare other people:"A health program yesterday runs $300 million, but the fools had to go to projecting it down the road five or six years, and when you project it the first year, it runs $900 million. Now I don't know whether I would approve $900 million second year or not. I might approve 450 or 500. But the first thing Dick Russell comes running in saying, 'My God, you've got a billion-dollar program for next year on health, therefore I'm against any of it now.' Do you follow me?"
We believe, after looking at the evidence, my co-author [David Blumenthal] and I, that if the true cost of Medicare had been known — if Johnson hadn't basically hidden them — the program would never have passed. America's second-most beloved program would never have happened, if we had had genuine cost estimates.
Ya got that? One of the most "beloved" entitlement programs in American history, which is headed into insolvency only passed because Johnson hid the actual cost of the program. And a host on NPR offers this as advice to President Obama in order to pass health care reform. You see, what Mr. Monroe calls "dicey" is known better by a different word: "deceit."
But do you get the bigger implication here? Medicare is the second-most beloved program in America and it would have gotten derailed if people had been scared off by the cost of it. And all of you fear-mongers trying to derail this health care reform just don't know what's best for you like we do. If only you'd shut up and let us pass this without your opposition, you'd get another giant entitlement program that everyone will love twenty or thirty years from now.
Except that there's this nagging fact about Medicare: it's going to be bankrupt because the money was mismanaged and the original cost was incorrectly predicted. But there's no reason to think that will happen in this case, is there?
Monday, August 24, 2009
(Note the vice-grip she has on two hands at once!)
By the way, the clapper on that bell is still attached. And it is LOUD.
(And in case you're wondering, yeah, we came home with about fifty pounds of rocks.)
Friday, August 21, 2009
When you want to sell snake oil to the American public, and someone in the crowd, whose vocation is to give witness to the truth, points out that it's snake oil, don't accuse him of lying, especially when that person is citing the documents that proves he's right.
Did I mention that I've always liked Cardinal Rigali?
Ave Maria Home is an independent, non-profit, Catholic lay organization that is dedicated to providing residential care for pregnant women in Southeastern Connecticut. We emphasize a respect for life, recognizing the unique dignity and potential of each individual. We are affiliated with Good Counsel Homes of New York. Our goal is to maintain the highest level of assistance to pregnant women. We uphold the same principles of Good Counsel Homes and operate in the same manner.
I know the people involved and they are trying to start this much-needed project with great faith in God and love for the unborn and their mothers. Their site is still under construction, so please visit often and offer any help you can!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
40 Minutes for Health Reform: National Faith Community Call to Action with special guest President Obama Wednesday, August 19, an estimated 140,000 people of faith gathered on a historic national conference call with President Barack Obama and the American faith community.
COMMIT TO DO YOUR PART DURING 40 DAYS FOR HEALTH REFORM
Over the next 40 days, people of faith are leading a national campaign for health care reform. While members of Congress are in their home districts, we’ll be holding hundreds of prayer vigils and in-district events. We’ll sign petitions, write our representatives, organize a nationwide conference call for people of faith, and air a national TV ad –all to say the faith community supports health care reform.
What I noticed was absent was any discussion on why the particular kind of health care reform that the White House and Democratic members of Congress are proposing is the right plan. There are no citations as to why the health care plan doesn't actually cover abortion, doesn't actually lead to more rationing of care, doesn't actually lead to more government control. No explanations necessary, I s'pose. God is Obama's partner in this, folks. Are you going to go against God?
And what of the 40 Days? Prayer vigils, letter writing campaigns, petitions... I wonder where they got that idea from? It doesn't explain the significance on their site, but I suspect I know the source.
AmP points out another place where the White House has no problems emulating the work of others for his own purposes while being deceptively silent on the issue of abortion.
Who was receiving the emails?
How many staff had access to them?
What was the protocol for sifting which emails should be addressed?
Was personal information expunged? (Correspondence with the White House is to be retained in the Archives unaltered)
What was the plan for addressing "misconceptions"?
Would the authors of such "misconceptions" be contacted directly or would the issues be referred to by administration staff on weekend talk shows, for instance?
Some people got letters from David Axelrod to clear up misconceptions. I outed myself and have received diddly squat for a response. What gives?
Maybe Mr. Gibbs will clarify all that for us. Here's to holding my breath.
From the White House Press Briefing, August 18th:
Q Was “Flag” at whitehouse.gov a good idea?
MR. GIBBS: Yes, still is.
Q Why remove it?
MR. GIBBS: It was consolidated on “Reality Check.” If people see or hear misinformation or have questions or concerns about some rumor that they’re hearing on , there’s a mechanism to get the truth.
QSo it’s just been put together, it’s not really gone?
MR. GIBBS: Consolidated from two platforms into one.
That's right! If you'd like to point out the persistent myths your neighbors are continuing to pass along, just visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/contact. Oh, the White House kindly asks you to refrain from including other people's personal information without their permission. (Sounds to me like the AG or White House counsel took someone out to the woodshed for the heap of trouble the White House can get in for collecting and retaining information regarding their political adversaries' use of their First Amendment rights.)
If that seem inconclusive, then consider the Capps Amendment to the bill, passed in The Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 30th, two weeks before Ms. Yolen’s letter. It not only states that private plans in the Health Exchange must have at least one plan that covers abortion but that the public option shall provide coverage for abortions. This amendment can be read here: http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1721:energy-and-commerce-markup-on-hr-3200-the-americas-affordable-health-choices-act-of-2009&catid=141:full-committee&Itemid=85
If this health care legislation were to pass in its current form, it would mean that taxpayer dollars would be used to kill babies in the womb. This is not a myth, it is a fact, and no amount of repetition by the White House and Planned Parenthood can change that.
No, I have not been in some sort of accident and am now in traction and must type with my chin, but it has been an incredibly busy summer: two trips out of state (one of them out of the country) lots of overtime at work, packing, repairing and moving junk out to put our home on the market, birthdays, phantom car repairs, reading training manuals, and of course, goofing with my boys and baby girl.
So if anybody out there was thinking, "Hey that Mike guy just up and disappeared! The re-education squad must have picked him up already," be at peace. (Besides, they haven't finished constructing all the camps yet.)
I'll try to post pictures and some of my thoughts about my own travels this summer as well as some angry comments and amateurish analysis of the health care reform over the next few posts. Same bat-time, same bat-channel.
And I, for one, am still reading the instruction manual on how to navigate the new site, so bear with us all as we settle in to our new digs.
Check it out! (And thanks to RobK and Jason for putting it all together! But why are there two screws left over?)
Friday, August 7, 2009
I am writing to let you know that I am a fishy American. I do not accept the party line that you expect Americans to believe on the issues of health care reform. I am deeply concerned about a socialist future, as well as end-of-life health care rationing and taxpayer-funded abortions. I reject this plan and will continue to voice my concerns to you, my senators and representative in Congress, and my family and friends.
To make it easier for you to track the use of my First Amendment right, please feel free to read on my blog:
A concerned citizen.
Monday, July 27, 2009
In the Godfather II, Michael Corleone, the head of the Corleone crime family, was about to be brought before a Senate committee investigating the allegations of his powerful organization. One of the members of that committee was Senator Pat Geary, the Nevada senator who was strongly opposed to Michael Corleone's presence in the powerful gambling industry.
The Corleones knew that Senator Geary was powerful and his opposition would be detrimental to their operations; his support was crucial.
The problem that Senator Geary had, though, was that he cheated on his wife. Frequently. With a hooker. Bad idea jeans, Senator, because in one such encounter with the particular hooker he frequented, she mysteriously and suddenly died while he was passed out on the bed. And the cardinal rule of politics is that you should never get caught with a dead girl or a live boy. The senator had a problem on his hands, and he knew it. But then comes a knock at the door. Tom Hagen, Michael Corleone's consigliere, walks in and assures the Senator that the Corleone family owns the hotel at which they are staying and no one will find out what happened. Consider it a favor, eh?
The audience knows full well that the entire episode was a setup. One of Corleone's men drugged the senator to knock him out and killed the girl. But it really doesn't matter if Senator Geary was setup. He can't exactly go running to the police to say that someone killed the hooker in his bed.
Bought. Paid. Owned. Senator Geary was given an offer he couldn't refuse and was now in the pocket of Michael Corleone.
I am reminded of this scene with all the crises that have befallen this country lately. Housing crisis, banking crisis, automotive crisis, insurance crisis, health care crisis, and on and on. All of these crises arguably created by the mismanagement and over-regulation of the government who then steps in to save the day by offering its help. But, oh yeah, you'll have to take our direction if you want our assistance. We'll make the rules from now on. Move over, that's my seat, Mr. Chairman.
Ronald Reagan once said that the scariest nine words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I tread lightly in this post because I take no pleasure in the facts at hand. But I have to say that I was right. I argued more than once that Obama's plan to remove troops from Iraq at the pace of a brigade a month was unreasonable, dangerous, and deceptive. I argued repeatedly that unless stability was firmly reached in Iraq, reducing the number of troops there prematurely would place the remaining troops in greater danger and might also undermine the gains that have been achieved. I argued that Obama would end up doing almost exactly as McCain promised he would do, and that was to leave troops in Iraq until the job was finished.
But they wouldn't listen. Obama was the enlightened one. He wanted to end the war in Iraq, unlike the war-monger John McCain. He wanted to bring peace and happiness, unlike the ex-military man John McCain. Obama would do it all.
Except he didn't and he won't. He'll just tell you he will.
Tom Ricks, a senior fellow at the Center for A New American Security, in this NPR interview explains how the Obama administration is doing in Iraq what I predicted it would do, despite his campaign promises to the contrary.
And this hideous article from Askmen.com showing all you selfless, caring, responsible men how to convince your girlfriend to have someone butcher your child.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Josh Mercer at CatholicVote.com has this post about the new CT law banning the use of prenatal ultrasounds except for medical reasons and under the care of a licensed physician. The bill was touted as addressing the "keepsake ultrasound boutiques" that allow women to have high quality ultrasound imaging of their unborn child for early bonding, souvenirs, and other purposes. I read the text of the bill here, which was signed into law by Governor Rell two weeks ago. (Yes, I only heard about it after it was made law-- big surprise.)
Considering the apparent vagueness of the wording of the bill, I was concerned that this might affect the operations of crisis pregnancy centers in the state. I contacted the director of a local CareNet branch, who forwarded me this article from Lifenews.com:
by Steven Ertelt
June 30, 2009
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) -- Now that Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell has signed a bill into law that would ban ultrasounds not done for medical reasons, some pro-life advocates are concerned about the effect it will have on pregnancy centers, which rely on ultrasounds to help women consider abortion alternatives.
Kristin Hansen, the vice president for communications at Care Net, a national organization with more than 1,100 affiliated centers, says the bill doesn't adversely affect its affiliates.
Hansen says abortion advocates sometimes wrongly believe that pregnancy centers perform ultrasound for non-medical reasons.
"Care Net pregnancy centers follow all FDA guidelines related to ultrasounds and all ultrasounds are performed by trained medical professionals under the direction of a licensed physician," she told LifeNews.com late Monday.
Hansen added, "We are not concerned about the Connecticut bill having a negative impact on Care Net pregnancy centers."
Unlike the "ultrasound boutiques" the bill is targeting, Care Net pregnancy centers are required to only perform ultrasounds for a medical reason.
"We require this of our centers because we insist that they uphold the best medical practices," she explained. "Not only has the FDA said that entertainment or keepsake ultrasounds may be dangerous to the unborn child, but a number of medical professional associations have done the same."
Hansen says most pregnancy centers perform a “limited ultrasound” to confirm a viable pregnancy and determine gestational age.
There are three types of ultrasounds as defined by the professional groups that meet the medical requirements: Targeted (intended to find a fetal problem when there is reason to believe there is a problem); Basic (no reason to suspect a problem, but performed to find any problems) and Limited (to determine viability or search for specific information -- i.e. gestational age, etc).
Hansen says Care Net has greater issues with legislation in New Jersey and New Mexico "which would potentially prevent centers from purchasing ultrasound equipment and from using trained nurses to perform ultrasounds."
I was also in contact with Linda Cochrane, executive director of Hopeline, who informed me that their organization, which currently has 3 locations in CT (with a fourth soon opening in Bridgeport) that offer pregancy resources, including ultrasounds for pregnancy diagnosis and checkup, is connected with CareNet and operates under the same guidelines.
I said to Ms. Cochrane that my concern is that, even though this law doesn't affect CPC's in the state immediately, this may be the first step in an ongoing strategy. She shared that concern and said that we must continue to fight, though, she said, "we do our fighting on our knees, and with our voices."
As the Lifenews.com article pointed out, other states already make it difficult to purchase or operate ultrasound equipment. What's to say that the next step in CT isn't to change the state guidelines of proper medical use of ultrasound equipment, as in, only medical facilities that will offer or refer for abortion services can be considered as adequate facilities?
While we can still breathe for now in CT, I do share Josh Mercer's concern that CPC's performing ultrasounds constitutes a target that pro-abortion advocates will seek to limit however possible to continue to undermine the truth that the child in the womb is a child, living and breathing, and responding to its environment.
In the meantime, check out Josh's post and drop him a line congratulating him on the baby in the pictured ultrasound--it's his!
Please visit CareNet's and Hopeline's websites to learn more about their services and offer your assistance if you can!
A full list of CPC's in CT that offer a range of services and referrals for women in crisis pregnancy can be found here.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
We'll work together.
Ooops, I slipped.
Got you, too!
Curses! I will get him back for his treachery!
Psst, we can gang up on him! You fill my bucket carefully and I'll dump it on him.
Hey! That's not what I asked you to do!
Meanwhile, the angry older brother turns off the water, befuddling the smallest combatant.
The middle child decides to hide and wait this battle out.
Fiend! I repay you the injustice you served upon me! Ground water, a dish served best really, really cold!
Oh, the humanity!