Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Hundred Days

What can a President do in just 100 days?

Unfortunately, the answer is "plenty".

From FRC, this video summaries "100 Days of Change for the Family" ...

... and, from the Susan B. Anthony List, "just some of the items on the radical pro-abortion agenda that President Obama implemented or is in the process of implementing in his first 100 days."
  • Repealed the pro-life Mexico City Policy, allowing your tax dollars to fund international abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
  • Removed important conscience protections for medical professionals who choose to follow their conscience and refuse to participate in abortion procedures.
  • Increased Title X taxpayer funding – the slush fund for Planned Parenthood – to $307 million in 2009.
  • Restored $50 million in funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), which funds China's One-Child policy and other abortion providers around the world. Increased funding for International Family Planning by 19% for a total of $545 million.
  • Nominated cabinet officials and judges like Kathleen Sebelius, Dawn Johnsen, and David Hamilton, who will do all they can to advance the pro-abortion agenda.
But, as the SBA List notes,
There are still many important pro-life laws still intact, like the Hyde Amendment, which restricts further funding of the abortion industry. We must keep up our fight to ensure that these pro-life protections remain in place.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today is National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day

Today is the 7th Annual National Pro-Life T-shirt Day. Show your support for the most basic of all human rights by wearing your pro-life clothing today.

By happy coincidence, it is also the Feast day of St. Gianna Molla, who heroically chose life for her unborn baby at the risk of her own. You can find the prayer of St Gianna and more information about this model for Christian mothers here.

When I ordered our shirts some weeks ago, I made a mistake on my order. I called to ask whether it would be possible to exchange the shirt for the right size. Though I told them the mistake was mine, Heritage House was really nice about it and sent me a replacement of the right size for no extra charge. That's what I call great customer service!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Landmark originals vs. reprints

I'd like to collect the Landmark titles for my children to read, enjoy, and learn from. Unfortunately, they are out of print, but I read in mater et magistra magazine that they are being reprinted as "Sterling Point Books."

Of course I was excited, especially when I found that the titles are quite reasonably priced at a bit under $7 apiece. I got online and started looking for them, but found out that the two series are not quite the same.

For one thing, the Sterling Point books include titles not in the original Landmark series, such as The Great Escape, the story of the famous escape of Allied prisoners from Stalag Luft III during WWII.

For another, many of the titles have lost their original illustrations. I just purchased the reprint of Swamp Fox of the Revolution and happened to have access to the original 1959 Landmark title. Comparing the two, I found that all the original illustrations by Ernest Richardson were gone. Instead, there are a mere two illustrations in the new edition. One of them is a map, which, although clear and larger than the original, lacks the details present in the 1959 illustration. The other is a portrait of Francis Marion, the title character, which rather oddly portrays him in a cocked hat even though the very first page of the book states that he wore a battered old militia helmet.

I also discovered that at least this particular title had been edited a little. Specifically, the original text several times referred to Francis Marion's taciturn nature, comparing him with an Indian in this regard. The edited text omits the comparison. Here are a couple of examples:
(original) A small wizened man who walked with a swaying limp, he was swarthy, eagle-nosed, careless of appearance, and no more communicative than an Indian.
(new) A small wizened man who walked with a swaying limp, he was swarthy, eagle-nosed, careless of appearance, and a man of very few words.

(original) That was a long speech for a man as sparing of words as Francis Marion, beside whom an Indian was talkative.
(new) That was a long speech for a man as sparing of words as Francis Marion.
I guess this was done to remove the suggested stereotype of the Indian as a man of few words, but it still bothers me. I don't have the time to check the whole text of each book against the original; although this change is relatively unobjectionable, I have no way of knowing whether all the other changes are equally benign or if they are significantly more PC. At least the copyright information does note that this is an "updated" edition.

I'm hoping to find out more about the differences so that I can figure out whether I should hold out for the originals. If you have any additional info, please leave a comment for me here.

Make a difference!

Based on the aphorism of St. Augustine, let us pray as if all depended on God, and work as if all depended on us.

Pray as if all depended on God.

Work as if all depended on you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ever wonder why they don't just leave?

It's a good question, isn't it? People like Joan Chissiter and Frances Kissling constantly complain about the Church: why don't they just leave?

Fr. Philip has the diagnosis:
If the Roman Catholic Church is so horribly oppressive, so unjustly bigoted, so irrecoverably patriarchal, and these features cause you so much distress and anguish, then leave! But see, you won't leave. Why? Because you have an ODD relationship with Church authority. If you join the Episcopalians, a group that will embrace you and all your moon-batness, if you join the Episco-pagans, you become the establishment. You become the norm, the regular. . .and since you are constitutionally incapable of forming a positive identity, you will cling for dear life to your oppositional-defiant identity in the RCC.

Read it all here.

Lia's Challenge: Pro-Life Video Contest

Remember Lia Mills, the 12 year old whose school speech contest entry defending Life became a YouTube "viral" sensation?

The Susan B Anthony List is sponsoring a pro-life video contest for youth in her honor, with a $1000 prize. The video entries do NOT have to be videos of the student making a speech. There are two categories: 12 and under, and 13-18 years old.

When 12 year-old Lia Mills wrote her speech about abortion for a school contest, she had no idea the kind of impact it would have worldwide. Yet after her mother put the speech on YouTube, it garnered over a half a million views!

The greatest source of energy and potential the pro-life movement has is its youth. Youth have a unique perspective and voice, giving them an incredible ability to change hearts and minds. They are steadfast in their beliefs and want to share them with others! Now, Lia is challenging other young people to send in their videos and spread the pro-life message.

The SBA List wants to provide our nation’s youth with the opportunity to do just that. This new contest will award two winning videos with a $1,000 scholarship and will be featured in a Susan B. Anthony online campaign!

I think this would be a great fit for Catholic homeschoolers!

See here for full contest details.

Strong Public Support for Conscience Protection

From the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities:
New Poll Shows Strong Support for Conscience Rights in Health Care

WASHINGTON—A nationwide poll conducted on March 23-25 found that 87 percent of adults surveyed believe it is important to "make sure that healthcare professionals in America are not forced to participate in procedures and practices to which they have moral objections." Conducted by the polling company™, inc./WomanTrend on behalf of the Christian Medical Association (CMA), the survey also showed majority support even among self-identified "pro-choice" respondents for the two-month-old conscience protection regulation now at risk of being rescinded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Deirdre McQuade, spokeswoman on abortion at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), welcomed the data and urged HHS to keep the current regulation in place.

"The Obama administration has moved to rescind a vital HHS regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care providers," McQuade said, "But according to this new survey, the majority of Americans—whether 'pro-life' or 'pro-choice', male or female, Republican or Democratic—support the regulation and oppose its rescission."


Nearly 75,000 emails were sent in support of conscience protections from the NCHLA and Freedom2Care sites. This number does not include those many concerned citizens who contacted the DHHS directly at their email address or via other websites, such as FRC's.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is this for real? *Updated*

I can hardly believe that a department of the Federal Government of the United States of America could have put out such a pathetic report, free of content except for making unsubstantiated claims against the "dangers" of obviously political targets: those who are pro-life, anti-tax, pro-traditional marriage, pro-2nd Amendment, have served a military tour of duty, or are conservatives.
The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence, but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment. [my emphasis]
We at the DHS/I&A have no data that rightwing terrorists are doing anything, or even if they exist. None. Zero. Zilch. Yeah, literally. But we are afraid our political opponents will advance because we are failing spectacularly at fixing the economy. Oh, and of course anyone who disagrees with BHO must be a racist, so we expect all the racists to join up too.
Erm, hello? This is what the Department of Homeland Security is doing? Publishing a totally unsubstantiated and speculative report claiming that people who merely happen to disagree with the views of the current Administration are actually "extremists" and probably terrorists? Does the word "propaganda" ring any bells?

Pathetic and content-free as the report is, I would not be surprised to find it referred to in all seriousness by those arguing that those rightwing [sic] extremists -- like old ladies praying the rosary outside Planned Parenthood -- need to be kept in check and lose their civil liberties in order to protect society.

Can you imagine The Media letting it slide if the government issued a similarly thin report on left-wing extremism? (Check out this "right->left translation" if you are tempted to believe there is no double standard. h/t for link: the Anchoress.)

Arizona's gain is the nation's loss.

PS An in-depth analysis is here. Please do read it.
The American Legion response is here.
h/ts: FRC, Michelle Malkin, the Anchoress

Trip Highlights: Rail Grinder

I can't believe we've already been back at home for almost a month! Maybe I can consider this an extension of the enjoyment of the vacation instead of garden-variety procrastination.

On the first day out, we spotted an odd little train with some very unusual-looking cars. Dh found a convenient park with a trackside view, and we stopped and waited for the train to come by. It took a little while, but it was worth the wait!

It turned out to be a rail grinder train, and it was pretty impressive close up. The loco was followed by a couple of passenger cars with their windows blocked off, then two tank cars, and a couple of tool cars (guessing). Then came the VERY loud rail grinder cars, emitting metal grinding sounds with showers of sparks and much smoke.

They took a lot of care to avoid starting fires. They laid down some kind of retardant, plus a guy rode on the back of the train hosing down the track.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beautiful Pro-life Song

A blessed Easter to you all!

What better time to celebrate the gift of life and hope?

Singer Jaime Thietten hopes that her song will help bring healing to women afflicted by a past abortion as well as help moms choose life. Great voice, too!
"So many children lose their lives everyday," Jaime says. "People have asked me why I would want to tackle such a controversial subject at this time in my musical career. My answer is that we can't afford to wait. Lives need to be saved now. I'm not worried about what others think."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Whatever happened to Motherhood and Apple Pie?

Nominated by President Obama to head the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice, Dawn Johnsen, is the latest -- and the worst so far -- of a string of radical pro-abortion nominees. The only bright side is that she says out loud what a great many feminists secretly believe about motherhood.

The Susan B Anthony List has compiled a sort of "hit parade" of Johnsen quotes:
"The argument that women who become pregnant have in some sense consented to the pregnancy belies reality…and others who are the inevitable losers in the contraceptive lottery no more 'consent' to pregnancy than pedestrians 'consent' to being struck by drunk drivers.'"
Supreme Court amicus brief she authored in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services

"The woman is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not wholly her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends. Thus, abortion restrictions 'reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.'"
Supreme Court amicus brief she authored in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services

"Statutes that curtail her abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state's asserted interest."
Supreme Court amicus brief she authored in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services

Please write to your Senators today and oppose Dawn Johnsen's nomination to the Office of Legal Counsel

Reading these comments, I am struck by the real loathing of motherhood that Johnsen displays. I suspect most women, and especially most mothers, will find these comments to be demeaning and offensive. If you agree, please go either to the above link or here to ask your Senators to reject this nomination.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hear, hear!

Daniel Hannan is a Member of the European Parliament from South East England. Wish we had some members of Congress like this!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Conscience Protection Alert!

There's one more thing we can do to protect conscience.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has proposed an amendment in the Senate that would protect the right of conscience for health care workers!

The Senate is scheduled to vote on this amendment TOMORROW afternoon, April 2.

Please contact your Senators today and tell them to vote YES on the conscience protection amendment!

This is a link to an email form and takes just a minute to fill in your info and send.

PS If you haven't already send your comments to HHS, you can still do so until April 9, using the link at either the USCCB or at Freedom2Care.

Begin Pacschal Mystery Eggs today!

Today is the day to begin the countdown to Easter with the Paschal Mystery Eggs.

From Hindu to Carmelite

As a convert from Hinduism myself, I am always interested in others' conversion stories, with a special interest in those from India. Today, while searching for information one of my children needed, I came across this wonderful story of a Carmelite nun who converted from Hindusim over three decades ago.

Now known as Sister Mary Joseph, she says that while teaching at a Canossian Sisters' school in Bombay,
"I felt an urgent and incessant calling to a meeting with Jesus, my love for Jesus began growing and I felt a deep desire to know him, love him and serve him."
And yet her path was not easy. Again quoting Sister:
"My family was completely shattered, I had brought shame and embarrassment on the family, my parents had to suffer humiliation from my relatives, being from a very traditional and high caste Brahmin Iyengar family, and now converting to Christianity was a very big blow to our family pride."
This is a very common attitude in India. I would say that many higher-caste Indians consider conversion to be a shameful thing. It is a fact that within India most converts to Christianity come from the lowest caste and "untouchables"; it is difficult to know whether this is the cause or the effect of upper-caste Hindus' tendency to look down on converts to Christianity.

Although my own background is similar to Sister Mary Joseph's, I was fortunate in that my family, unilike hers, took my conversion very well. I am glad to say that, eventually, her family came around as well.

I want to offer just one more quote, and encourage you to read the whole article.
I suffer and pray, my calling today is: "Vicariously suffering for the world." I enter deeply into the suffering with my prayer, my prayer for the persecuted Church, the moral and ethical issues in the world, the attacks against life, the youth, the snares of temptations for the youth like drugs, pornography and such evils that exist, the breaking up of the family and also marriage, these are my deepest sufferings and prayer.

This gives me great hope. Contemplative religious are our "secret weapon" in the battle for souls.