Monday, October 31, 2005

In the Eve of All Saints' Day

Still night closes in,
The breath of the passed-away
Whispers, "Live for him!"

All Hallow's Eve

Happy Halloween!

The growing hysteria over Halloween has become a tiring seasonal issue. I sometimes wonder how many of the well-meaning Christians that seek to excommunicate Halloween also rail against Harry Potter. Bet there's a lot of overlap there. Like in their struggle against the Potter series, these zealous--but perhaps imprudent--soldiers of Christ that shoot at Halloween take aim at the enemy and hit only their own feet.

The trap of the enemy in Halloween remains not it's pagan roots, or even it's (gasp!) Catholic sensibilities (As All Hallow's Eve) but rather in it's contemporary celebration of secular materialism. In short, this is the problem with Halloween. And this. And this. Note the common thread with them all? They're all twisted celebrations of ourselves and our lives, here and now. These twisted displays reference no life beyond the pleasure to be found in the moment--even perverse pleasure. Today's Halloween has become a collective cry of society, "Light up the fires, Bacchus! 'Cause their ain't nothing left!" The trouble is not that we take death and the macabre too seriously. The trouble is that we do not take death seriously at all.

'Twas not always thus. But to understand what Halloween truly is, we must understand how it came to be celebrated, both as the pagan Samhain and the Christian All Hallow's Eve. Our more impassioned brothers of the Faith that see it strictly as a Satanic instrument don't see the entire picture. Not all things Pagan are of the Deceiver, however. Were that the case, then St. Thomas consorted with Satan when he wrote his Summa Theologica, beholden as he was to that noted pagan, Aristotle. "Well then", some might ask, "If it doesn't celebrate Satan, what does that pagan holiday celebrate?"

Why, Death, of course.

More precisely, the pagen festival Samhain comemmorated the dead:

Many of the ancient peoples of Europe marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter by celebrating a holiday in late autumn. The most important of these holidays to influence later Halloween customs was Samhain, a holiday observed by the ancient Celts, a tribal people who inhabited most of Western and Central Europe in the first millennium bc. Among the Celts, Samhain marked the end of one year and the beginning of the next. It was one of four Celtic holidays linked to important transitions in the annual cycle of seasons.

Samhain began at sundown on October 31 and extended into the following day. According to the Celtic pagan religion, known as Druidism, the spirits of those who had died in the preceding year roamed the earth on Samhain evening. The Celts sought to ward off these spirits with offerings of food and drink. The Celts also built bonfires at sacred hilltop sites and performed rituals, often involving human and animal sacrifices, to honor Druid deities.

Imagine the time of year, and the place: The light of the summer now fades from the sky. The Earth gives off the fruits of her bosom no longer. The leaves kaleidescope and fall away. The Harvest yields the grains that must carry people through the long, cold winter to come. Nights lengthen. Is it any wonder that, at such a time, and in such places as the British Isles and Brittany, people would focus their attention on their own mortality? On those that had died? On death itself?

Now, being a people that took spirituality seriously, even if they lacked a full understanding of God, they interpreted their mortality spiritually. They interpreted the seeming mortality of their world spiritually. Thus, they believed that the spirits of the dead could move among them freely at the Summer's End. Thus, they appeased their dead with offerings of food. They hid from the vengeful and evil spirits by disguising themselves as one of them. They responded to the awareness of their own mortality with the vain attempts at overcoming it.

The Church understood the need of people to make sense out of their own end. The early Church Fathers certainly observed the same Autumns, and may have reflected on their inevitable deaths, as well. However, the Popes that transformed Samhain into All Hallow's Eve did so not simply to supress or to divert Pagans from a false celebration. They redeemed Samhain so that people could address death through the only successful way any man ever did: through Jesus Christ. Through his death and ressurection, Christ mastered death. Thus, those that lived their lives on earth in fidelity to him shared in his victory. The Church Militant could experience this victory through prayer in communion with the Church Triumphant. We no longer needed to appease or disguise ourselves as the dead in order to cope with our mortality; we faced death by Christ's side, and thus took our place with his saints. We could offer our prayers and join them with the saints in intersession to our Lord and Savior. Thus, our understanding of our own mortality. Thus, Samhain becomes All Hallow's Eve:

The Solemnity of All Saints is celebrated on November 1. It is a holyday of obligation, and it is the day that the Church honors all of God's saints, even those who have not been canonized by the Church. It is a family day of celebration — we celebrate the memory of our family members (members of the Mystical Body, the communion of saints) now sharing eternal happiness in the presence of God. We rejoice that they have reached their eternal goal and ask their prayers on our behalf so that we, too, may join them in heaven and praise God through all eternity.

The honoring of all Christian martyrs of the Faith was originally celebrated on May 13, the date established by the fourth century. Pope Boniface IV in 615 established it as the "Feast of All Martyrs" commemorating the dedication of the Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple, into a Christian church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs. In 844, Pope Gregory IV transferred the feast to November 1st. Some scholars believe this was to substitute a feast for the pagan celebrations during that time of year.

By 741, the feast included not only martyrs, but all the saints in heaven as well, with the title changing to "Feast of All Saints" by 840. Pope Sixtus IV in 1484 established November 1 as a holyday of obligation and gave it both a vigil (known today as "All Hallows' Eve" or "Hallowe'en") and an eight-day period or octave to celebrate the feast. By 1955, the octave of All Saints was removed.


The feasts of All Saints and All Souls fall back to back to express the Christian belief of the "Communion of Saints." The Communion of Saints is the union of all the faithful on earth (the Church Militant), the saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) and the Poor Souls in Purgatory (the Church Suffering), with Christ as the Head. They are bound together by a supernatural bond, and can help one another. The Church Militant (those on earth still engaged in the struggle to save their souls) can venerate the Church Triumphant, and those saints can intercede with God for those still on earth. Both the faithful on earth and the saints in heaven can pray for the souls in Purgatory.
All Hallow's Eve becomes the opening feast of a trinity of celebration in which we reflect on our own limited lives. How have we lived? How will we face our death? Have we lived for the Lord with the fullness of our heart, soul, mind and strength? How have we lived the dramatic tension between who we are and who we ought to become? These are questions all of us need to confront.

Both Samhain and Traditional Halloween demand that we take death seriously. When we refuse to do that, we cut ourselves off from the truth that we live on God's borrowed time. When we secularize Halloween, so that it's merely a time of amusing diversions and aquisition of yet more needless pleasures (come on! how many Hershey's Kisses do we really need?), we pretend we don't need God. That's the true risk of celebrating Halloween this year.

The answer is not to ignore it or refuse to participate in it. The answer is to celebrate All Hallow's Eve as the redeemed Day of the Dead it was created to be:
Instead of just suppressing the whole celebration of Halloween and leaving a gaping hole, the Church gives a replacement focus. The Church has the mindset of "How can this be turned into good, with the focus on the one true God and His Church?" Since All Saints and All Souls feasts are together, we can shift the focus of Halloween to a focus on the Communion of Saints in action. We combine honoring the saints in heaven, remembering our loved ones and then directing the destiny of our own souls by prayer and actions. Through this we see the Mystical Body all in action.
We live in the full communion of God when we experience him through his Mystical Body, the Church--and that includes the Saints who've received his glory. The proper celebration of Halloween helps us to live this sacred reality. Can we truly afford to pass it up? Or pass it off?

Trick-Or-Treat Premier

Quick steps on the path,
His finger, the doorbell rings,
Hands on his first treats!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Temper Tantrums

Little fists, big pounds,
A shaken dinner table,
Cries from his "time-out!"

Catholic Analysis on "Paradigm Shifts"

Oswald Sobrino of Catholic Analysis reflects on Paradigm Shifts, the changing of the shades of perspectives that shape our thoughts, attitudes and actions. In particular, he offers a glimpse of the world viewed through the Catholic "Paradigm":
Recently, I became aware of an incident at a public state university where female college students on campus were handing out condoms to anyone walking on campus as part of "Sex Awareness Week"--as if anyone in modern America needed to become, somehow, more "aware" of sex! What paradigm were these young women operating from in their actions? We can call it the paradigm of recreational sex. Under this very common paradigm, sexual acts are seen as having no effect on character. Instead, sexual acts are seen as mere biological functions that just need certain precautionary measures to ensure "safety."

Of course, in great contrast, the Catholic paradigm sees sexual acts as highly definitive, highly momentous, and dramatically defining moments for a person's character, integrity, and future. The Catholic paradigm would be to have a "Character Awareness Week" in which people were challenged to see how all acts, and especially sexual acts, can have a dramatic effect on character. The girls should have been handing out the Gospel, instead of condoms. The Gospel parables and sayings would have challenged and provoked true awareness and thinking, instead of deceiving the public that recreational sex was "character-safe."

We can also see the significance of these two just described, conflicting paradigms in a wider context. For example, some people, including Catholic Americans, just can't seem to spot the reality of scandal anymore. Let's be clear and define scandal as the presentation of serious sin as if it were not serious or significant and thus making it appear acceptable and innocuous to others. We see it all the time in our culture: the family invites the sexually cohabitating partner of one of their children over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner thus legitimizing what is not legitimate. Some even expect spouses to socialize with the former sexual partners of their current spouse, as if they were socializing with mere friends from the past. Again, as in the case of the incident at the state university, the paradigm we see is one in which sexual activity has no moral significance. The Catholic paradigm is extremely different: what is momentous must not be trivialized. I suggest that human nature, whether Catholic nor not, whether Christian or not, offers the same paradigm for the importance of sexual activity as the Catholic paradigm does.
To experience life through the "Catholic Paradigm" is to put on the "mind of Christ." While a submission of our mind, heart and will to the Faith is necessary, it is not sufficient. Prayer, and a constant turning to Christ through our prayer and our living, allows us to put on the mind of Christ and put aside our old selves. Conversion, for many of us, is an ongoing experience that involves growth and regression, progress and stumbling, and the entire messiness of growing in Holiness and Formation. We need worship, prayer, sacraments, scripture and service--in as consistent measures as we can--if we are to nurture the relationship that changes our paradigm to Christ's.

Thank God that we have the freedom every day to work at it. When we use our Freedom to live in Love and Truth, we will find ourselves experiencing life through the mind of Christ. Let's not waste a day then; run the race before us, for our prize is ever before us, awaiting our grasp!


Julie D.a> and Rick Lugari crack me up!

Who say's being a Catholic means you can't have a sense of humor? Come to think of it, the only ones I can think of would be those that know no Catholics!

But wouldn't that be prejudice? Nah! There only Catholics; they deserve it, anyways.

Julie, I'm glad Rick has helped you see the light!

From our "The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same" File

"moral" embryonic stem cell research has become the new buzz word. If Reasonable propagandists don't blur the line by referring to ESCR simply as "stem cell research," then they look for the magical moral solution. Trouble appears to be, 'ain't so!

Ask A Voice From Eden: he's not buying it.

He offers up a simple reason why: the experimentation still threatens the integrity and dignity of the embryo upon whom this moral method of research is engaged. In other words, once again, researchers have discovered a way to treat an embryo as a clump of cells (potential life) rather than as a child (an actual, living person.) The debate concerning the personhood of a person at a certain stage of prenatal development demonstrates how far down the cha-ching! greased slope to a salivating Moloch and Thanatos our society has come. We simply refuse as a people to recognize the humanity of unborn children because we consider their personhood inconvenient.

Thus, our Reasonable elites consider the following wisdom as utter Foolishness:
The Church has already voiced its opposition to the IVF procedure of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis because it compromises the integrity and dignity of the embryo.

Additionally, how about the potentiality of that blastomere? I have seen reports indicating that in some cases these blastomeres have been implanted into the womb of an experimental animal and have matured into fetuses.

This “new” procedure, far from “solving” the ethical dilemma surrounding embryonic stem cell research, seems to bring more questions and problems.

It’s still best to be guided by the words from the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith's Donum Vitae:
No objective, even though noble in itself, such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living human embryos or foetuses, whether viable or not, either inside or outside the mother's womb. The informed consent ordinarily required for clinical experimentation on adults cannot be granted by the parents, who may not freely dispose of the physical integrity or life of the unborn child. Moreover, experimentation on embryos and foetuses always involves risk, and indeed in most cases it involves the certain expectation of harm to their physical integrity or even their death. To use human embryos or foetuses as the object or instrument of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings having a right to the same respect that is due to the child already born and to every human person.
Far too many absolutely drop their jaws in utter incomprehension at this clear teaching on the dignity of human persons. The utilitarianism propagated by our Reasonable overlords has gone popular and rendered the everyman nonplussed at the physiological manipulation of another human being. Simply because he or she hasn't been born: Planned Parenthood and the IVF industry can lick their chops at their expected windfall of more government subsidies.

This is how extensive the problem has become:
A new Harris Poll has some interesting numbers on public opinion concerning various "healthcare policies, programs, and practices." Major pattern: "the attitudes of Catholics are generally very similar to those of all adults and, on some issues, very unlike the official position of the Pope and the Church." On these issues, it looks like more evangelical Protestants than Catholics are reading the encyclicals:
Birth control/contraception is supported by 93 percent of all adults, including 90 percent of Catholics and 88 percent of born-again Christians, the "very religious" and Evangelicals.

Condom use to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is supported by 92 percent of adults, including 93 percent of Catholics, 82 percent of born-again Christians, 83 percent of the "very religious" and 81 percent of Evangelicals

Embryonic stem cell research is favored by 70 percent of all adults, including 70 percent of Catholics. However, it is supported by only 45 percent of born-again Christians, 38 percent of Evangelicals and 51 percent of the "very religious."

Funding of international birth control programs is supported by 70 percent of the public, including 66 percent of Catholics, but only 53 percent of born-again Christians and 48 percent of Evangelicals.
Foolables pander to the Reasonable pro-moloch agenda of the salivating ESCR celebraters even in that Body of Fools, the Roman Catholic Church. At least in the US, the enemy has pulled his greatest con against humanity since Cogito ergo sum.

Thanks be to God that the victory is Christ's. We, the members of his Mystical Body, owe our allegiance to no one else but him. Thus, we welcome the derogatory slanders we'll receive when we say, "embryos are human beings; keep your scalpals off them!" If we want to see our societies climb off the slide, we need to bring Christ to where they are. Bear the truth, refuse to be silent, and as more come to know him, more will embrace the truth. We will not find our solutions to this in mere politicking alone. No, we must change "hearts and minds." Only Christ can do that, so let's bring Christ to them. Before there's no one left to bring him to.

Not Strangers; Sons!

Alienation. It's the result of the isolation that has plagued humanity since the fall. The enemy deploys a legion of forces that seek to make us strangers in our own families, communities and societies. But there's good new; there's Good News!

Monsignor Clarke has more here.
In this complex, rapidly-changing culture of ours, that terrible malaise can afflict any one of us, and it can be crushing if we've lost our compass by letting ourselves get disconnected from Christ. He is the one who speaks for our Father and helps us to remember who we are — not aliens and strangers, but much beloved sons and daughters, and heirs, who have a future that's only begun to unfold.

So stay connected to him, and you'll always remember who you are. Stay connected to him, and you'll never doubt that you have a very special place in God's world.
The encompassing Darkness of this world longs to disconnect us from God. When we fall for our enemy's seduction, we surrender our place in the Lord's family. Then, we're left only as strangers among strangers. Then, we're slaves to the disordered thoughts and passions of our fallen and evil-addicted nature. Our Father in heaven becomes our Eternal Judge and Condemner, as Mark Shea eloquently explains here.

This does not have to be our fate. We can turn to our Father through his Son, Jesus Christ. We can open ourselves to his Love and Mercy. We can turn away from the seductions of Darkness and bask in the glories of Light. Then, we'll know once again what it means to belong.

Sunday Synchronicity


Wondering why I'm blogging today?

Let me count the ways: Missed blogging all day Thursday.
Blogged late Friday.
Low-blogged Saturday.

Besides, the Giants play a crucial divisional against the Washington Redskins. The Division's so tight that a half-game seperates the second-place Dallas Cowboys from the rest of the division, who are all tied for first! Philidelphia heads to the Rockies so that the Broncos can smack them around. Unfortunately, The Cowboys play in the desert, where they're expected to toast the Eagles. Thus, the match-up of the NFC East's red-hots is a crucial game.

Meanwhile, my beloved son screams like a banshee with anger management issues. He's been sick all week, but right now, he doesn't want to nap. Oh well!

So let me expound on the banal and profound. Sit back and sip the java as your humble Fool goes ranty and reflective.


Late October Fall

Fires of Autumn,
Colors arrive on the tree
In my yard at last!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Clash of blades, bell chimes
Afternoon, blood like rivers
Flood the open field.

A Promising and likely SCOTUS nominee?

Southern Appeal's Steve Dillard thinks so.

He links to Shannon P. Duffy's post at
On the hot-button issues, Alito has been consistently conservative -- so conservative that some lawyers have given him the nickname "Scalito." Roughly translated, the nickname means "Little Scalia," suggesting that Alito has modeled his judicial philosophy after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

If Alito is nominated and his record is put under the national microscope, conservatives are likely to be happy with what they see.

In ACLU v. Schundler, Alito wrote the majority opinion holding that a city's holiday display that included a créche and a menorah did not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it also included secular symbols such as Frosty the Snowman and a banner promoting racial diversity.

On abortion, Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands.
I hope Judge Alito is as advertized. The country needs a strict constructionist. Otherwise the Judiciarium will continue the Dictatorship of Relativism's work.

It's time. Fools must challenge the enemy in his own court. A selection of a strict constructivist throws the gauntlet down.

The Shepherd v. the Wolves

The Pope has a problem with the rhetoric of genocide. Were he not the only one! Perhaps I've been in my coccoon too long lately, but I've hear no other State condemn Iran's obscene statements regarding Israel.

Catholic World News has the story here.
The Vatican has denounced as "unacceptable" a statement by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad, who had called for the destruction of the state of Israel.

Although he did not mention the Iranian leader by name, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the director of the Vatican press office, condemned "certain statements, particularly serious and unacceptable, in which the right to the existence of the state of Israel was denied."

The Vatican spokesman said that Israelis and Palestinians alike have the right to "peace and security in their own sovereign states."
The civilized world has tolerated genocide for far too long. Bosnia, Rewanda, Darfur: Iran will not have the opportunity to instigate another Shoa on Israeli soil. If the Vatican is the only state that will speak truth to power, then so be it.

The Reasonable internationalists that find convincing moral equivalencies between bulldozers and bombs (and between condomns and creamatories) may see nothing wrong with Iran's outrageous rhetoric. They condemn themselves as the irrelevent moral failures they've become. The Civilized World must stand up and cry out in one voice, "No More!"

We, the Fools of the earth, will no longer tolerate the indiscriminate talk of genocide. We refuse to condone the discussion of sins that cry out to Heaven. We condemn the descecration of decency that such rhetoric embodies. Enough is enough.

Iran may desperately try to divide the growing coalition of the democratic willing in the middle east. They may agitate the Palestinians to commit yet another self-destructive intefada. The ensuing chaos would provide diplomatic and political cover for their continued investment in the terrorism business. Never mind the pointless death and ruins of countless Palestinians and Israelis: as long as the Iranian Mullahs continue their Islamo-fascist reign or terror, it's all to the good! To that, Fools say again: Enough is enough.

The Latest Butcher's Bill

Islamo-fascist butchers murder at least 49 in New Delhi. My Way News has the story here.

As Pakistan and India prepare to discuss the unprecedented opening of the contentious "Line of Control" in disputed Kashmere, the blood-lusters have spoken. Peace between the righteous and the infidels will not be tolerated, even if it saves lives.

How else can sensible people explain this?
Home Minister Shivraj Patil said 39 people were killed in a blast in the Sarojini Nagar market. Jagtar Singh, a spokesman for the Delhi fire department said seven people were killed in the first blast, in the crowded central neighborhood of Paharganj and three were killed in a bus in the Govindpuri neighborhood. He had no further details.

Witnesses said the blasts shook their neighborhoods.

"The blast was so powerful, my house shook," said Kiran Mohan, a photo editor who lives about 200 yards away from the Sarojini Nagar market.

At least 60 people were injured in that explosion, according to a policeman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, with dozens more thought to have been hurt in the others.

While the Indian government faces opposition from dozens of militant organizations - from tiny fringe organizations to well-armed Kashmiri rebel groups - there was no immediate official word that the explosions had been caused by bombs.

The explosions occurred as Indian and Pakistani officials began talks in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday on an unprecedented opening of the territory's disputed frontier to help victims of the massive Oct. 8 earthquake believed to have killed about 80,000 people.

Foreign Ministry officials were discussing whether to let Kashmiris cross the heavily militarized Line of Control, the cease-fire line that divides the Himalayan region over which the South Asian rivals have fought two wars.
Agents of Evil continue their worship of hatred and death. May Fools in both India and Pakistan recognize the blood-lusting nihilism for what it is: a dead end. May they continue to seek the high road to a peaceful solution to the border in Kashmere.

Against a Sea of Troubles

Bloodied, exhausted,
The last warrior faces
The oncoming horde.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Miers Madness: End Game

I also missed the end of the madness. Harriet Miers bows out. Captain Ed covers it here.

While the nominee has surrendered, her advocates and critics haven't. They're still fighting each other on the whole debacle. The Captain has more:
My good friend Hugh Hewitt feels as though the Right has made a terrible mistake in speaking its mind about the actions of the Bush administration. He goes to the New York Times this morning to scold the Right for using the tactics of the Left in beating up what he sees as a qualified nominee:

OVER the last two elections, the Republican Party regained control of the United States Senate by electing new senators in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. These victories were attributable in large measure to the central demand made by Republican candidates, and heard and embraced by voters, that President Bush's nominees deserved an up-or-down decision on the floor of the Senate. Now, with the withdrawal of Harriet Miers under an instant, fierce and sometimes false assault from conservative pundits and activists, it will be difficult for Republican candidates to continue to make this winning argument: that Democrats have deeply damaged the integrity of the advice and consent process.

The right's embrace in the Miers nomination of tactics previously exclusive to the left - exaggeration, invective, anonymous sources, an unbroken stream of new charges, television advertisements paid for by secret sources - will make it immeasurably harder to denounce and deflect such assaults when the Democrats make them the next time around. Given the overemphasis on admittedly ambiguous speeches Miers made more than a decade ago, conservative activists will find it difficult to take on liberals in their parallel efforts to destroy some future Robert Bork.
What Hugh sees as a Borking, however, was the natural reaction from a conservative base that has seen Souter after Kennedy after Stevens, "trust me" candidates that later turned into lifetime-appointment nightmares -- and who still comprise a third of the Supreme Court. Even O'Connor has mostly disappointed those who believe, as Hugh does, in originalist thinking. Republicans have named seven of the nine sitting justices on the Court, and four of them have proven themselves to be superlegislators.

If Hugh wants to debate the meaning of the 1993 speech to the Executive Women of Dallas, a speech he repeatedly admitted on the air was "terrible" and not just "ambiguous" as he writes here, he knows he loses. That speech turns out to be the only documentary evidence of Miers' judicial philosophy that emerged from this candidate. The White House never bothered to produce anything, or more likely had nothing to produce, to counter it, other than George Bush's "trust me" based on a nonexistent vetting process.

Republicans made clear after David Souter turned south in a hurry what it expected the next time a Republican nominated a Supreme Court justice. We wanted someone who we could see -- through experience, writing, and erudition -- had the proper philosophy and temperament to not just cast a vote but to reverse decades of overreaching by the Court, turning themselves into an American version of the Iranian Guardian Council. Originalists, and most Republicans, don't want the Supreme Court making abortion illegal any more than they want the Supreme Court making abortions legal. They want the Supreme Court to stop making law altogether and focus on the strict meaning of the Constitution -- allowing the people's representatives, the Legislature, to make those decisions.
(emphasis mine.)
I couldn't agree with the Captain more. The points I highlight demonstrate how important an originalist/textualist judicial philosophy is to the preservation of the CST principle subsidiarity. Without a Supreme Court that enacts it's proper role as the interpreter and applicant of law, our government becomes the equivalent of society as SCOTUS becomes the National Judiciarium. With it's fiats enshrining "rights" in activist policies that many in the country have not favored, or even agreed with in any way, the Judiciarium violates it's long-established credibility. We can't continue to violate the federalism that undergirds our right to free association and determination without jeopardizing the Rule of Law that has guided our creedal culture since our nation's birth. Perhaps the President now understands just how important the next SCOTUS nomination is. I pray, for all our sakes, that he does.


Looks like I missed quite a lot of excitement.

BREITBART.COM covers the indictment--and resignation--of VP Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

So far, it looks as though he's committed the tragic mistake many infused with hubris make: He covers up alleged wrong-doing. Should he be proven guilty, he'd join Martha Stewart and other assorted felons that broke more laws covering up their actions than those actions themselves. If he's proven guilty. I can't help noticing the glee that Reasonable AP writer John Solomon betrays in an allegedly factual report. Dare I say that he may be forcing the narrative ahead of the facts? But then again, what sells better than recycled Watergate? Think of the Cha-ching! in this: Corrupt Republicans in a secretive White House attack nobel Administration-attache dissenter of the Iraq invasion. Oh, can you smell the money! Not to mention the brickbat pounding this adds to a Foolish Administration that's already made far too many Foolable--and incompetant--moves.

Take a closer look:
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff resigned Friday after he was indicted on charges of obstructing a grand jury investigation and lying about his actions that blew the CIA cover of an Iraq war critic's wife.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby became the first high-ranking White House official in decades to be criminally charged while still in office. A second key figure in the two-year CIA leak investigation, presidential strategist Karl Rove, was spared from criminal charges for the time being.

Libby wasn't indicted specifically for the leak, but special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald left little doubt that he believed Cheney's top aide learned Valerie Plame's classified identity from the CIA, State Department and his own boss and then revealed it to reporters.

"It's important that a CIA officer's identity be protected, that it be protected not just for the officer, but for the nation's security," the prosecutor said. "Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter."

Though Cheney was one of the top government officials to tell Libby about Plame's secret work for the CIA before it was leaked to reporters, Fitzgerald said there was nothing wrong with that contact. "We make no allegation that the vice president committed any criminal act," he said.

Libby promised to challenge the charges vigorously and said he was "confident that at the end of this process, I will be completely and totally exonerated."
Now, watch Mr. Solomon make these facts dance to the Conspiracy Tango:
Libby's indictment paves the way for a trial that could renew attention on the faulty rationale the administration used for going to war against Iraq _ the erroneous assertion that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Libby is considered Cheney's alter ego, a chief architect of the war with Iraq. A trial would give the public a rare glimpse into Cheney's influential role in the West Wing and his behind-the-scenes lobbying for the war. The vice president, who prizes secrecy, could be called as a witness.

Democrats suggested the indictment was just the tip of the iceberg. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the case was "about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president."
Yeah, yeah. "Manufactured and manipulated intelligence," yada-yada-yada. Yawn. Does anyone besides the Democratic Kool-Aide drinkers truly believe that the President used only information gathered during his administration? Or do the public statements of former President Clinton, UN security council resolutions, the pronouncements of the British Prime Minister and countless other assertions of Saddam's WOMD capability--all issued before Mr. Bush swore the oath--count for nothing.

The show must go on, however:
Bush ordered U.S. troops to war in March 2003, saying Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program posed a grave and immediate threat to the United States. When no such weapons were found, the administration came under increased criticism for using faulty intelligence to make its case for war.

It was during the height of that debate that Plame's identity as a covert CIA officer was leaked in July 2003.

Her name was published just a little over a week after her husband, a former ambassador, wrote a newspaper opinion piece suggesting the administration had twisted prewar intelligence, and describing how he had gone to Africa in 2002 to check on claims Saddam had tried to buy nuclear materials.

Wilson couldn't validate the uranium claim but Bush later used it anyway.

Wilson alleged that the leak of his wife's name was retaliation for his criticism, and he said Friday, "When an indictment is delivered to the front door of the White House, the office of the president is defiled."

The indictment alleges Libby began digging for details about Wilson well before the former ambassador went public July 6, 2003.

Libby made his first inquiries about Wilson's travel to Niger in late May 2003, and by June 11, Libby was told by a CIA official that Wilson's wife worked for the agency and might have sent him on the trip. Libby also heard it from Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, the indictment said.

On June 12, 2003, the indictment alleged, Libby heard directly from Cheney that Plame worked for the spy agency.

"Libby was advised by the vice president of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA in the counterproliferation division. Libby understood that the vice president had learned this information from the CIA," Fitzgerald said.

A short time later, the indictment said, Libby began spreading information to reporters, starting with The New York Times' Judith Miller on June 23.

The indictment said a substantial number of people in the White House knew about Plame's CIA status before the publication of Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003 _ the first public mention _ including former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who was mentioned by title but not by name in the legal filing.

Among the false statements Libby is accused of making is that he learned of Plame's identity from NBC reporter Tim Russert. In fact, Fitzgerald said, Libby knew it long before that conversation and Russert didn't even discuss it with him.
Sorry, this juxtaposition of "facts" from the indictment is just a little too convenient. Mr. Solomon's presentation misses only a Marlboro chain-smoking Deep Throat hanging out in a public garage. Among Mr. Solomon's convenient forget-to-mentions? The Senate Committee on Intelligence had already discredited Mr. Wilson's investigation in Niger, noting inconsistencies between his statements to officials in debriefings, and reports based on previous debriefings (report p. 54). How nice. Plus, Mrs. Wilson had not performed non-official cover work in at least six years. Granted, the revelation of her identity could place her former contacts at risk, and she no longer can engage in NOC fieldwork. But to say, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid once said, that Ms. Wilson's life was placed at risk reaks of irresponsibility that only a Reasonable politician would love.

That's why the Reasonable love this indictment. It provides them with yet another brickbat to bring to the President's skull. The Administration, already reeling from post-Katrina criticism and the outrage of the conservative base over the Miers fiasco, can ill-afford to have the VP's Chief-of-Staff indicted for any reason. The President can ill-afford to have senior officials so closely tied to the Iraq War also bear the stain of corruption. Reasonable far-left mouth-foamers will use it to poison any public discourse on the wall.

Unfortunately for the nation, The Beltway Perfect Storm continues. If the Administration can't right the ship soon...

I'm Ba-ack! Again!

Well, that worked out well, didn't it?

Dad invited me to breakfast on Thursday morning. He served me a delicious omlet made with sliced red peppers and onions. I nursed a strong cup (or two) of homemade java in my travel mug. Suddenly, it's time to race the rush-rats.

That afternoon, I worked with one of my science team partners; we beautified an ugly classroom by redistributing clean bulletin board paper over graffittied, tired paper and posting new work. Suddenly, I only had an hour or so left for dinner before parents came.

This morning, just too tired.

This afternoon, an early family dinner, followed by precipitous whailing and grinding of teeth! Nothing too serious: every now and then my Father finds the need to indulge in the melodrama of opera without singing a note. I felt a tad too exhausted to go gently into that goodnight. Fortunately, I kept my smoldering response to myself. The Blushing Bride and I discussed his latest descent into the gloom for a good portion of the evening after dinner.

Now, you know where I've been. The question is, where have you been?

Don't be shy. Que up and tell all. I triple-dog dare you!

Commuting Home on Friday

Lemmings in shiny
Motorized Steel crates on wheels,
Hurry up and wait!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Cool One!

Cold night air descends,
Shiver through my warmest layers,
Race under blankets!

Announcements, Anouncements, A-nounce-ments!

Tomorrow I fulfill my sacred and contractual obligations. I'll be at work in the Bronx all day, attending Parent-Teacher Conferences in the evening.

Now, I'll attempt some posts in the morning. I may try to get some tomorrow afternoon from the job. It'll be the first time, if I do, and I'm not certain I will. Just thought I'd give you the heads up.

Expect me when you see me!

The Weekly Darfur: Looming Catastrophe

The Coalition for Darfur has the weekly post up:

Looming Catastrophe

In the last few weeks, there have been a series of warning signs that the situation in Darfur, already horrific, is rapidly deteriorating.

Two weeks ago, Juan Mendez, the UN's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, returned from Darfur and warned that the situation was worsening, stating frankly that "the situation much more dangerous and worrisome than I expected it to be." Shortly thereafter, the UN declared that, due to insecurity, large portions of the region were deemed "no go" areas, which in turn cut off aid access to at least 650,000 people. The UN also evacuated all non-essential personel from West Darfur.

All the while, attacks on the displaced continued and seven AU monitors were killed in an ambush. Not long after that, the New York Times reported that the Janjaweed militias, equipped and supported by the Sudanese government, were acting with complete impunity and were "now emboldened enough to turn their guns on the government."

That was followed by a frantic statement from Antonio Guterres, the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees, that "everything is getting out of control" and that the international community had just weeks to attempt to restore order in Darfur or risk "a very serious degeneration of the situation."

That, in turn, was followed by a report that "more than 100,000 people are now believed to have died in the Darfur region of Sudan since the United Nations Security Council set a 30-day deadline last year for the Khartoum regime to begin to resolve the crisis in the area." That is on top of the several hundred thousand who had died prior to UN-issued deadline.

Amid all of this, and mostly ignored by the press, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told an audience that the world had failed to "fully face" the genocide in Darfur. That is something of an understatement, but considering that it was Powell himself who first declared that what was happening in Darfur was indeed genocide - more than one year ago - it is certainly worth noting.

One year ago, the world knew it was genocide and did nothing. One year later, UN officials are warning that "everything is getting out of control" and that Darfur risks descending into utter anarchy, bringing with it an untold loss of life ... and still the world does nothing.

Philippe Gaillard was head of the International Committee of the Red Cross mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide - and though the following quote refers to international community's failure to respond to the atrocities in Rwanda, it could just as well apply to the failure to respond to Darfur
In such circumstances, if you don't at least speak out clearly, you are participating in the genocide. If you just shut up when you see what you see -- morally, ethically you cannot shut up. It's a responsibility to speak out. It did not change anything, and it …[did not] move the international community. I just can say that they cannot tell us or tell me that they didn't know. They were told every day what was happening there. So don't come back to me and tell me, "Sorry, we didn't know." No. Everybody knew.

The Synod Fathers on Catholic Politicians and the Eucharist

The issue threatened to become a national scandal in 2004. Thanks to Senator John Kerry's defeat in the last presidential election, the Bishops of the US evaded this travesty. However, the problem remains. And it's not just an American problem. A Canadian MP that voted in favor of a "gay marriage" bill, which became law, has been forbidden from receiving the Eucharist by his Bishop until he repents of his public dissent. This issue isn't going away. Therefore, many paid close attention to what the Synod would say on the subject.

Spero Forum Weblog has an excerpt of the relevent proposal here.

"Catholic politicians and lawmakers must feel their consciences particularly aroused ... by the heavy social responsibility of presenting and supporting iniquitous laws. There is no Eucharistic coherence when legislation is promoted that goes against the integral good of man, against justice and natural law. The private sphere and the public sphere cannot be separated, placing oneself in a position of contrast with the law of God and the teaching of the Church, and this must also be considered in Eucharistic terms. In applying this guidance, bishops should exercise the virtues of courage and wisdom, bearing in mind actual local situations."
The Synod Fathers have now spoken. They remind the Church of our obligation to be united with Christ when we come to receive him in the Eucharist. This goes for Catholic Politicians. They, like every other Catholic, ought to form their conscience on the truth witnessed by the Church. Therefore, they shouldn't present themselves for communion if they support policies at odds with Christ's commandments, as revealed in the Church's doctrine.

Unfortunately, the need for a Catholic photo-op may prove too tempting an opportunity for certain Catholic politicians. Others may not have received the adequate catechism they require to truly understand what they do. What is the Church to do, then, when Catholic politicians insist on, say, being "personally opposed, but..." and showing up at the communion rail?

Her Episcopals should exercise "courage and wisdom" in "applying this guidance." What does this mean?

It means whatever the Bishops of local Churches, or even a conference, say it means. They know their obligations; at least, Fools may hope that they do. Will they meet them?

That depends.

It depends on us. Yes, that's right. Us. We the people. We the laity. We, the presence of God's Church on the frontlines of the world. We participate in every sphere of society beyond the Church's door. We establish the culture in which we live; we determine the values that thrive within our shared life. We create the backdrop and contexts in which our Bishops live and operate. Yes, Foolable ecclesiacrats inhabit Chaunceries in every diocese of the Nation. Yes, Catechism and Liturgy have undergone such "Reform" that many Catholics in many parishes may wonder if they're even in the Roman Catholic Church. Yes, the laity do not govern the Church.

We govern the world. Literally. We decide what goes on in society. How many Bishops serve as CEOs of Fortune 500 advertizing and marketing companies? How many priests have directed academy award-winners? How many Deacons have served in Congress or the Senate?

Get my point yet? No? Let me make it clearer: we either manifest the Kingdom of God in the world, or we don't. Now, look around. How have we done, lately?

I thought so. Believe me, I've contributed my share to the decay all around. Every time I've chosesn to sit on my duff when I needed to act, I added to the decay. Every time I've lived as though only I stood at the center of the universe, I added to the decay. I know far too well how little I've helped bring about Christ's kingdom.

So say we all? I surely hope so. The world give us every reason to own up.

Which brings me back to the backdrop and context in which our Bishops live and operate. Who were our bishops before they were bishops? They were men of our society. Thus, they emerge from the cultural baggage that we helped to create. As Mark Shea says, we have the Bishops we want.

If we the people truly demand that our Bishops act as our Sheperds, then they'll do so. If we continue to demand that they affirm how Great We Are and then leave us alone, they'll do that. It's up to us. We rule the world, after all. Literally.

So what will we choose?

Foolish Development

The Catholic educators of the Archdioceses of Arlington are getting Foolish.

Catholic Herald has the story here.

Take a closer look:
Diocesan teachers and administrators gathered last week at the annual Diocesan Education Institute at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington. During this annual institute, Catholic school students get the day off while their teachers spend the day being refreshed in their knowledge.

"What we’re all about is students and children," said diocesan Superintendent Dr. Timothy McNiff.

But teachers in Catholic schools must care about more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. They also must guide their students in their formation as young men and women of the Church.

As the debate fuels in Richmond on whether or not the state will support embryonic stem-cell research, the Arlington Diocese wants to ensure that the young people in its schools are well-informed on the issue. A curriculum has been developed for grades five through 12 to teach students not only where the Church stands in the embryonic stem-cell debate, but also the scientific background that supports its stance.

"We are responsible for forming disciples of Christ … aiding our young people to make the right choices in life so they can be the persons God wants them to be," said Father Paul deLadurantaye, diocesan secretary of religious education and sacred liturgy, in his keynote address.

Catholic social teaching — the supremacy of the life and dignity of all God’s children — is an important part of education in Catholic schools.

Citing the preamble of the Constitution and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Father deLadurantaye began his talk by demonstrating that our nation was founded on the principle that all humans should be afforded certain fundamental and inherent rights.

When engaging in dialogue and debate with others over issues concerning the right to life and stem-cell research, Father deLadurantaye said Catholics should not only approach the issue from a religious perspective, but also from the natural law perspective. Civil laws are written to protect people once they are born, and medical students are taught that their first responsibility is to do no harm.

But as Catholic educators, he said, there is another dimension.

"Human life is a gift. Because it is a gift, it is sacred. We came forth from the hand of God and it is to God Himself that our lives are directed," he said.
This trend may represent the beginning of an important shift in catechism within the American Church. Pope John Paul the Great's teachings on the sanctity of life and the reality of our lives as gifts from God may at last bear fruit--if more Dioceses and parishes offer the staff development that Arlington has done.

It's important that the Roman Catholic Church in America renew her catechism of the young. Take a look at the comments at Katelyn Sills blog, and you'll see just how entrenched the problem of poor catechism has become. Far too many Catholics in American have become Foolable for lack of an appropriate catechism. How many more must do so before the Chaunceries awaken to the problem?

More efforts like Arlington's, please! Now!

Divine Judgment: Not Our Business

Mark Shea still thinks a hurricane destroyed NO.

For this, enthusiasists for God's Righteous Judgement on NO heathenry declare him person non Fides. Not to mention the ultra-fundamentalist New Agers, who take him to task for saying God judges evil at all. Of course he blames the victims when he does that! "God simply loves us! He doesn't demand we actually do something like change," they might as well say.

Truth's little more complicated:
People seem to have the idea that the Real Judgment of God is found in cinematic events like Noah's flood and the parting of the Red Sea. These are images of God's judgment. They foreshadow the real judgment which took place on the Cross. If we want to really understand judgment (and mercy) in fullness, we have to look there. If we say, "Oh. Yeah. That. I guess." and then turn eagerly away from it to the images we'll be reading Scripture backwards. Real judgment takes place in the Cross and in our response to it. And like all real judgment, it not only reveals God to us, but reveals us to ourselves.

So I believe divine judgment is real-and that it typically occurs when God shows us our own faces. In the crucifixion, a terrible judgment is rendered against Caiaphas, against Pilate, against Peter and the disciples, against Judas. But the judgment is intrinsic to who they are. Those who make it through that terrible day of judgment with hope are the ones who, either at that time or eventually, choose to bear Jesus' torment--the torment reserved for the accursed. Mary bore it immediately and fully. In the eyes of the Establishment who murdered her Son, she was also accursed and the rumors continued forever after about her alleged liaison with a Roman centurion who was the real father of Jesus. Those who came limping along after, smarting from their judgment like Peter, likewise shared in the curses that fell on Christ. But the respectable people--the people who were perfectly certain they knew why God had visited this punishment on Jesus and who were perfectly certain that he was being judged.... God help them.
If we want to see God's judgement, we will look no further than Christ upon his Cross. There, we will find what we seek. For if we are honest with ourselves, we'll experience the gratitude for Jesus choosing to bear what we alone could not. We'll also realize how far short of the Glory of God we truly are.

Then, perhaps, we won't act so quickly to speak for God when acts of Nature explode on the scene. I pray we do. Otherwise...God help us!

Beltway Inebriation

Congress just doesn't get it. It's times like these that remind me of the famous opening lines of the movie 1776:
"I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress!..."--John Adams

BREITBART.COM covers our contemporary Congress at work here.

The short end of it? They'll make budget cuts--as long as they spend on goodies elsewhere:
Like fussy children, lawmakers on Capitol Hill sometimes need a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. This budget season, the medicine is a $39 billion-plus deficit-reduction bill. The sweetener? Lots of new spending to go along with the budget cuts.

Republicans will tout the upcoming budget bill as the first effort to cut federal benefit programs in eight years. But there's no shortage of grumbling from fiscal conservatives over the new spending padded into the Senate version of the budget heading to the Senate floor next week.

The nation's doctors would get an $11 billion reprieve next year from a scheduled cut in their Medicare payments. Dairy farmers won a $1 billion extension of milk income payments. College students would get more than $8 billion in new grants, and more disabled children would retain Medicaid health coverage.

Then there's $3 billion to help people watch TV. That money will subsidize television converter boxes for an upcoming changeover to digital broadcasts.

The flood of new spending programs is made possible by congressional budget rules that permit deficit-cutting legislation to carry new spending so long as it's paid for with new receipts or spending cuts elsewhere.

Fiscal conservatives are less than thrilled. They're pushing to limit spending add-ons so Congress will be able to make net spending cuts that exceed those called for under the budget plan passed earlier this year. The spate of new spending makes that a lot more difficult.

"My concern with the current (bill) is that it's going to be packed with more goodies that are going to chip away at the effectiveness of it," said Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies for the conservative CATO Institute.

All told, Senate committees would add more than $30 billion in new spending, offset by cuts elsewhere and some new revenues. House GOP leaders vow to limit the amount of new spending in an attempt to cut spending by $50 billion. Still, the House version of the budget plan will include at least some new spending, though not as much as the Senate.

The Senate measure is designed to save $35 billion, but the Congressional Budget Office calculates it would actually reduce net spending by $39 billion. Some of the unexpected bonus may be claimed for Katrina relief.

Senate conservatives such as John Ensign, R-Nev., vow to knock some spending out of the bill during floor debate next week.

For many lawmakers, though, the spending add-ons are critical to winning their votes. In the Senate Agriculture Committee, for example, extending the Milk Income Loss Contract program helped secure the vote of Rick Santorum, R-Pa., for the overall package of farm cuts. The MILC program pays farmers when milk prices are low and its benefits are especially popular in states with smaller dairy herds, like Pennsylvania.

"Some of those spending items are in there, quite frankly, to grease the skids for other stuff," said G. William Hoagland, top budget aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. "If you start taking pieces out, you will jeopardize the final vote."
$3 billion to subsidize television viewing? I wasn't aware the state had a vested interest in propping up a multi-million dollar industry that operates just fine on advertizing revenue. And the great Rick Santorum needs $1 billion in milk income payments in order to support a package of farm cuts. The Fed will pay dairy farmers when milk prices are low; why don't dairy farmers rely on speculators to control the risk for them?

Fiscal responsibility means prioritizing spending and making touch decisions. That requires leadership. Little comes from the White House on fiscal matters these days. Congress is proving incapable of providing it as well. Their ATM-esque manner of fiscal management comes up wanting. And we all get to pay for it!

Este Disgratzia!

Autumn Cold

Early morning chill,
numb fingers, bitting keyboard
Foreshadows winter.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Young Woman's Courage

Alone, face the crowd
Gnarled faces, words cast like stones,
Smile, tell the Truth

Intellectuals, Inc.: Anne Rice's Ultimate Supernatural Hero

This review of Anne Rice's forthcoming novel on Jesus sings Ms. Rice's praises. Consider:
Rice’s prose is both economic and effusive. She wastes not a single word, yet her style draws the reader into a world hitherto unknown in all its luxuriant reality. Whether the description of blood sacrifice in the Temple or a dying man singing the Psalms in the Jordan River or a mother telling her kith and kin what is to happen to her child when she dies, Rice places the reader in the scene, making you a participant. This is not just good writing, but it draws on Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s spiritual practice of Biblical contemplation.

In imagining the hidden life of Jesus, Anne Rice uses her gift for character development, so finely tuned after three decades of writing, to create portraits of the people who would have had the greatest influence on the young Jesus. Joseph, who disappears from the Gospels before Jesus begins his ministry, is portrayed as a rock of faith. He is an ethical man who follows the Law and he trusts in God when angels speak to him. When the local Pharisee, Rabbi Jacimus, gives a hard lesson on living water and the purification rituals, Joseph helps his boys understand the ways of the Pharisees. “See two paths on a mountain ridge. One is close to the edge, the other is farther away. The one farther away is safer. That is the path of the Pharisee—to be farther from the edge of the cliff, farther from falling off the cliff and into sin, and so Rabbi Jacimus believes in his customs.” Is it any wonder that the adult Jesus would accuse the Pharisees of laying undue burdens on God’s people?
Sounds great! I may need to read this now!

Hat tip once more to Mark Shea for the assist to Anne Rice's website, where I found this review.

Not Too Shabby!

Not bad! Not bad at all!

My blog is worth $55,889.46.
How much is your blog worth?

Hat tip to Tony of Catholic Pillow Fight!

A Loretto High School Student Stands Up and Speak Out. Again.

And again, there are plenty of Reasonable and Foolable commentors lining up to take shots at her! Why? Her mother helped get the Planned Parenthood volunteer that taught drama at her school fired. Like she should have been. Ms. Sills and her family deserve praise for their witness. Listen to her motivation:
Let me tell you the whole story. My family was not originally as pro-life as we are now. Actually, it all started at Loretto. In my freshman year in our Sexuality and Spirituality class, we had to research abortion, develop an opinion, and give a presentation to the class. That night I went home and was reading some websites. It was then that I realized that there really was no argument. You can see what I have to say on it here. I realized that if abortion is the ending of a human life, I would need to do whatever I could to protect that life. When I shared all of this with my family, they agreed. We had always made small donations to the Life Center, but after this touched our hearts, we knew we had to do more. Since then, we have gone to abortion clinics, passed out literature on fetal development and the facts of abortion, and have offered to help women in any way we can.

I have gone to the Planned Parenthood mentioned in this article and have seen this individual as an escort there. I know that many people do not know what exactly an escort does, but a blogger named"Naaman the Ex-leper" was formerly an abortion clinic escort and explains it here. When I started school and saw Ms. Bain, I just thought that they looked very similar. I mentioned this to my mom and she could not believe it. Others who go to abortion clinics with us document their time there with pictures, not of the "clients" but of the long term employees and escort activity in general just so any falsehood that the abortion clinic decides to tell can be easily disproved.

The article mentions the "brochures" that were handed out last year in our Sexuality and Spiritualty class. These "brochures" were actually business cards that were labeled "Just in Case" and listed emergency numbers and "helpful" websites. One of these websites was, which is Planned Parenthood's teen outreach. If you visit this website, I'm sure you can understand why my family would be opposed to such a website being distributed at this Catholic high school.

Interestingly, the Sacramento Bee chose to interview Kathryn Wahlberg. Kathryn and I are both sophomores and we consider each other friends. We know what each other's views are, but we don't let that interfere with our friendship.

At a Catholic school, people can reasonably expect that the staff will support Catholic teaching. This does not mean that the teachers have to be Catholic. I have had many teachers that I admire and are not Catholic. However, Ms. Bain did not just disagree with the Church. Her moral identity is in direct conflict. John Paul II states that abortion "is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being," and that "it is contrary to the law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church." This was not some small issue. When a teacher at a Catholic school has actively demonstrated that her beliefs are contrary to the Church on an issue that the Church believes is "deliberate killing", something is very wrong.
Stand Up for Katelyn Sills here! Let loose the hounds of laughter, Fools! Bum-rush her comment boxes and pour out your hysteria on all the nay-sayers and haters that are shocked (shocked!) Ms. Sills stands and delivers for the gospel. Let her know she does not stand alone!

Hat tip to Mark Shea.

Update: What a firestorm! I read every comment--including the venemous opening salvos by hurt students and enabling parents. It's amazing what Foolable folks will do to obscure the truth and hold on to their fuzzy-feeling rosy shades!

Anyways, I offered my support:

You and your family dared to speak up for the Gospel. Many of those that say they share your faith have attacked you for defending it. They want you silent; they want to go on believing that "private" thoughts have no public consequences. They insist that integrity is made of stronger stuff than that.

Rejoice, Katelyn. For you now stand in the best company:
10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5: 10-12
You have spoken the Truth in Love. I pray I have your courage one day. God bless you and your family. Stay strong in the Lord; remember, he is with you always!

To Katelyn's detractors,

Have you no decency? Have you know prudence?

How does personally attacking a sister Catholic accomplish anything? You completely misunderstand why Ms. Bain's behavior jeopardized the education of all Loretta students. Instead of acknowledging your ignorance, you schmear the character of those that have helped you and your community. May God shower you in his mercy, for you surely have shown none to this young woman!

The Fundamental option for the good--this idea that a person makes a fundamental choice for God that no action can then gainsay--is false. Veritas Splendor taught us that. Look it up.

A teacher entrusted by the school to teach Catholic students violated Catholic doctrine by assisting in the murder of unborn children. How can any of you say that this behavior has no bearing on her performance as a teacher? Are you blind? Do you truly believe we can compartmentalize our morality--our spirituality? This is more American that Christian! We are body-persons; how we live in one dimension of our lives affects every part of us.

No one's perfect. Ms. Bain, however, didn't simply make a mistake; she took a stand in defiance of the Catholic Church. She therefore failed to carry out the mission in which Loretta, as a Catholic High School, participates.

Mss. Sills point this out, and many of you castigate her as an "extremist." You call her "hateful" and insist that she act with greater "compassion."

If you only knew how compassionate they have both been to all of you!

Clear your heads! Try and remember why you are Catholic, or Christian, or even decent citizens. Then do the right thing!
Keep praying for her and her family. They need it! Stop by if you haven't already. She'll appreciate it.

The Truth Laid Bear says "Take Your Stand on Miers"

N.Z. Bear wants to know where you stand: for or against Ms. Miers for SCOTUS Justice.

He notes:
The Miers nomination is reaching a critical point, with rumors of her withdrawl swirling and conservative fixtures such as Jonah Goldberg and George Will coming out in opposition.

Recognizing that the Supreme Court is deliberately designed as a non-representative part of our government, I'd still like to hear clearly from bloggers as to whether they give Miers a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

So let's make this simple: if you want to have your position noted, post your argument and include one of the following exact phrases (quotes and formatting are not required):
He then lists the key phrases you'll need to get your post recorded by the TTLB. He launched the tracking page here.

I've made my position clear here. The short straight-up: I oppose the Miers nomination. Here's a summary of why:
The Culture of Death subsists on institutional support. The horrendous legal reasoning that gave birth to Roe v. Wade continues to provide rulings that shore up this support. If the Supreme Court is to do an about-face from this regrettable Judiciarium-esque behavior, it will require justices that do more than just believe abortion is wrong. It requires brilliant legal minds that can clearly and persuasively argue why Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. It requires Justices that demonstrate a convincing judicial philosophy that is rooted in strict constructionist interpretation of the US Constitution. It requires principled men and women that possess a well-conceived and insightful legal philosophy--before the nomination process!

Many potential candidates for the Supreme Court fit that bill. Harriet Miers did not. Her experience may provide a helpful perspective on how the interpretations of the Court play out in real people's lives. While surely a beneficial and even necessary perspective to bring to the Court, it's not a sufficient one. She will need to convince eight other brilliant legal scholars that her interpretations are appropriate ones for the Court to take. Does she possess the qualifications that will enable her to do this? Not by any reliable indicator made public so far.

Her nomination may indicate the beginning of the end of Judiciarium. More likely, however, is that it continues, as its insidious culture infects Ms. Miers, transforming her into, at best, another O'Connor. I hope I'm wrong. I pray I'm wrong. Perhaps someone on the "chillin'" side of the aisle can explain to me why I'm wrong. Right now, I'm not seeing it.
I've seen nothing since I published that post that has changed my mind. Ms. Miers represents a stealth candidate that will enact judicial activism beneficial to a culture of life, at best. At worst, she becomes seduced by the Dark Side of the Court and takes her place beside David Souter and Anthony Kennedy as another liberal Judiciarium enthusiast nominated by a Republican president. Her tenure on the Court will not serve the nation in either case.

The Administration's clumsy attempts to simultaneously silence her critics and cover her mistakes have turned her pre-hearing nomination process into Ringling Brothers on the Beltway. How many more embarrassing lapses of competence must the base of the Republicans endure before they finally see the Republican party that they voted for in November, '04?

I remain illin'.

Afternoon Relief

Downpours, swirling winds,
Sip a hot mug of fresh tea,
Shelter from the storm.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Changing Colors

Red Kaleidescope,
Giant maple turns at last,
Bow before winter.

"Let Them Eat Potatoes"

The More things change, the more they stay the same. Funny, didn't I hear another despot say something similar? Oh, yeah! Yeah, that went really well for her.

I guess Robert Mugabe doesn't take European History seriously. After all, he can institute the most productive reforms of a functioning agriculture industry since Mao Tze Dong's Great Leap Forward and still call Bush and Blair Hitler at World Food day in Rome. That just takes some serious guliones! Not to mention the greatest degree of stupidity a dictator can demonstrate.

‘Dust people’ starve in Zimbabwe ruins" says the Times Online

Here's why:
The International Crisis Group estimates Zimbabwe has between 4m and 5m internal refugees — more than a third of the population. They are the victims of Operation Murambatsvina, and workers kicked off commercial farms seized in five years of violent land grabs.

Yet Mugabe refuses to allow a $30m humanitarian appeal by the UN for blankets and food. He objects to the use of the word “humanitarian”.

A consignment of 6,000 blankets and 37 tons of food raised by the South African Council of Churches for the new homeless was blocked at the border by customs authorities. First they demanded duties, then they refused entry, claiming they needed proof the food was not genetically modified.

Many of those who lost their homes were dumped in rural areas, putting enormous strain on villages on the edge of starvation. But others had nowhere to go. These are the people who ended up in the dust of places such as Tsiga Grounds and Ground No 5 in the Mbare district of the capital.

Among the hundreds crouching in fly-ridden makeshift shelters is Zvikomborera, a 33-year-old woman with short cropped hair who is blind in one eye. A single mother with two daughters aged 5 and 13, she lost everything when armed police with dogs and bulldozers arrived at her small cabin.

We met in secret because Tsiga Grounds is patrolled by a vigilante gang who beat the inhabitants and try to destroy the makeshift dwellings. Gang members appeared both times I tried to enter.

“They tell us, ‘Sons of bitches, are you moles that live on the ground? Crawl back to the hole that you came from’,” Zvikomborera said.

While Mugabe was enjoying Rome, Zvikomborera explained how she is forced to live. Her children scour the rubbish dump of a supermarket for rotten potatoes and tomatoes out of which she cuts any good bits. The previous day, the two girls had shared one cup of rice. Zvikomborera had nothing.

Until two weeks ago they were getting food from a Buddhist organisation. Then the Department of Social Welfare summoned aid agencies, such as World Vision and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), and banned them from distributing any more.

“They told us there is no such thing as urban displaced people in Zimbabwe and there is no hunger in Harare,” said one aid worker. “They just want these people to die.”

Like most of her fellow dust people, Zvikomborera is still astounded by what happened to her. “Before Murambatsvina we were poor but we were managing. My children were clean and went to school. I collected scrap wood from carpenters and industries and sold it for firewood.

“When the police and dogs came, we lost everything. In one hour they had smashed my home, bed, wardrobe. We have nothing left but a few clothes and pots and pans. I just cried and cried.

“Now we live here on the dust. We have no water. There is a tap at the bus station but they make us buy the water at Z$50,000 (£1.10) for 20 litres. Where can I get money now they have stopped us selling things? My children cannot go to school as I have no address and don’t know where I will be in two weeks. Everyone is sick and starving.”

Some of her neighbours have turned to prostitution and she is terrified she will soon have little option but to follow them.
Zimbabweans will only stand for these indignities for so long. Sooner or later, Mugabe will slip up with key personnel in the military. Or the IMF will sink the country. Then, his rule will last hours, not days.

Until then, He'll commit his hypocrisy while his people starve. He'll glorify himself while pretending to administer "justice" to his people. He'll continue to get a pass from the Reasonable MSM because he's the wrong skin color and political philosophy to attack for something as trivial as forced internal relocation and mass starvation. Perish the thought that a committed socialist and an African can actually Stalinize his own kind! Then again, have any noted leftists decries Stalin?

Mr. Mugabe's sins cry out to heaven for justice. May he receive that justice soon, so that the people of Zimbabwe may survive his capricious cruelty.

Hat tip to an email from the Coalition for Darfur.

Just Stop What You're Doing...

...And go tour the Sheameister!

He has some unbelievable stuff today. One time, I emailed him and asked, "How do you do it? How do you find such amazing stuff?"

He sent me a reply, that said: "Magicians never reveal their secrets."


Speaking of which, the man already scooped me on an email we evidently both received. Well, er, here it is:
Dear Mr. Fool:

Sorry about that -- when I worked for the American Red Cross we got form solicitation letters addressed, "Dear Mr. Cross ..." Anyway, I came across your blog while searching for people who might be interested in a project some friends and I put together to revive the fiction of Robert Hugh Benson, Reviewing your postings, however, I decided that you would probably be more interested in the work of our interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ"), Our current project is a proposal to finance the rebuilding of the areas affected by Katrina and Rita in a manner consistent with Catholic social teaching and without putting everything on the backs of the taxpayers:

The proposal is based on principles detailed in our book, Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen, available as a free download from the web site. Capital homesteading is derived from the social doctrine of Pius XI, particularly as found in Quadragesimo Anno and Divini Redemptoris, and the economic justice ideas of Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler in their books, The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists (1961). Despite the latter titles, what Kelso and Adler discuss is the antithesis of both capitalism and socialism.

I invite you to look over the material on the web site. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail either me or Dr. Norman G. Kurland, CESJ's president, at

Michael D. Greaney
Director of Research
Center for Economic and Social Justice

Killer Wilma

Yahoo! News has the story.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Hurricane Wilma knifed through Florida with winds up to 125 mph Monday, shattering windows in skyscrapers, peeling away roofs and knocking out power to 3.2 million customers, with still a month left to go in the busiest Atlantic storm season on record.

At least five people were killed in Florida, bringing the death toll from the storm's march through the tropics to 24.

After a slow, weeklong journey that saw it pound Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula for two days, Wilma made a mercifully swift seven-hour dash across lower Florida, from its southwestern corner to heavily populated Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast.

"We have been huddled in the living room trying to stay away from the windows. It got pretty violent there for a while," said 25-year-old Eddie Kenny, who was at his parents' home in Plantation near Fort Lauderdale. "We have trees down all over the place and two fences have been totally demolished, crushed, gone."

The 21st storm of the 2005 season — and the eighth hurricane to hit Florida in 15 months — howled ashore around daybreak just south of Marco Island as a Category 3, cutting electricity to the entire Florida Keys. A tidal surge of up to 9 feet swamped parts of Key West in chest-high water, and U.S. 1, the only highway to the mainland, was flooded.

"A bunch of us that are the old-time Key Westers are kind of waking up this morning, going, `Well, maybe I should have paid a little more attention,'" said restaurant owner Amy Culver-Aversa, among the 90 percent of Key West residents who chose to ignore the fourth mandatory evacuation order this year.

As it moved across the state, Wilma weakened to a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 mph. But it was still powerful enough to flatten trees, break water mains, litter the streets with billboards, turn debris into missiles and light up the sky with the blue-green flash of popping power transformers.

Officials said it was the most damaging storm to hit the Fort Lauderdale since 1950.

The storm's reach was so great that it left homes and businesses without power as far north as Daytona Beach, an eight-hour drive north from Key West. A tornado spun off by the storm damaged an apartment complex near Melbourne on the east coast, 200 miles from where Wilma came ashore.
I hear she's headed out to the Atlantic after she finishes her jaunt ashore over Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. I also hear she's formed a Nor'easter that's headed right toward the NY-NJ-Conn tri-state area of the US Northeast. Great. Looks like your humble Fool's gonna get drenched.

Michelle Malkin has more:
Back down in Florida, Boudicca's Voice is blogging the hurricane and has compiled a map of Florida bloggers.

Tim at Hyscience watches FOX News reporter Orlando Salinas as his shoes get blown off by storm winds.


Some vivid Wilma photos here and here.

Best Wilma photo caption of the day at Small Dead Animals. Ha!


National Guard prepares:

- 5,000 Florida National Guard troops are on alert.

New York sends personnel and equipment.

- 14 members of the South Carolina National Guard are headed down to Florida to help with communications.

- Air crews from the North Carolina Air National Guard are assisting with medical evacuations.
Didn't I hear something about a Tropical Storm Alpha? I thought so!


I've been Memed! Again!

Paul, from Thoughts of a Regular Guy has memed me with the following:
The rules are as follows:

1.Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.
Oh, boy! A stroll down memory lane! Wow! (Cue the "ooohs!" and "ahhhs!")

Drum roll, please! By acclaim of my own dysfunctional memory, and increasingly inept mathematical skills, I hereby declare that my 23rd post is:

"I Beg You, Never Fail to Give Me Your Support!"

From this acclaimed post, I hereby annoint into the binary code of java-script once again, the fifth sentence:
In the case of Pope Benedict XVI, the more they hound him--in unfair overtones a mere hours into his Papacy--the more they will experience a serious backlash.
Thank you! Thank you! Please, please, no applause: Just click my pay-pal or Amazon Honor System buttons. Better yet, support my sponsers(if they're worth supporting; you never know with Google Ads!)

And now, it's that time. Your humble Fool gets to pass this fine meme along to five other victims recipients. Therefore, let me pass this Foolishness along to: You Duped Me, Lord; Contemplata aliis Tradere; North Western Winds (The Great Bard of the North!); Clairity's Place; and Contemplating the Laundry

Wilma Strikes Florida

She struck at 6:30 this morning.My Way News has the story here.
Hurricane Wilma crashed ashore early Monday as a strong Category 3 storm, battering southwest Florida with 125 mph winds and pounding waves that threatened flooding in low-lying areas.

Wilma made landfall at 6:30 a.m. EDT near Cape Romano, 22 miles south of Naples in Collier County, bringing with it a potential 19-foot storm surge, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane-force wind of at least 74 mph extended 90 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds reached 230 miles, the hurricane center said. The storm strengthen in the hours before making landfall.

More than 22,600 people were in shelters across the state. But in the low-lying Florida Keys, not even 10 percent of the Keys' 78,000 residents evacuated, Sheriff Richard Roth said.

That could prove to be a mistake: While Wilma did not make landfall over the Keys, the storm could bring a surge of 8 feet to sections of the low-lying island chain.

"They're going to be in deep trouble," warned Billy Wagner, the senior Monroe County emergency management director. Street flooding was reported in the Keys, while power outages were reported in both the Keys and along the southwest side of the state.

The fast-moving hurricane was next expected to slice northeast across the state at up to 25 mph, with the Atlantic Coast likely to get winds nearly as strong as those hitting the Gulf Coast.

"Less weakening should occur as compared to typical hurricanes moving over land," said forecaster Stacy Stewart of the hurricane center. "Therefore, Wilma is expected to be a Category 2 hurricane when it reaches the Florida east coast."

Darwinism v. ID in NY: Catholic Schools Side-step the Battle

Close to home this hits! Gary Stern, religion beat reporter for the Journal News, writes this article, headlined: "No conflict in Catholic schools over evolution"

Now, his report is part of a series that began yesterday. He takes the expected MSM angle: ID is creationism in disguise, and the usual suspects agitate for and against it. Consider his lead:
Charles Darwin may be on the run in statehouses and classrooms across America, not to mention a federal courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa. But in the public schools of New York state, he is still openly revered by educators who champion the scientific method.

His theories about the origins of life are clearly espoused in the state's biology curriculum and through the Regents exams students strive to pass. And the state's school districts have received little heat, so far, from those who might believe that evolution contradicts the Book of Genesis.

One lab required of all biology students involves using various "beaks," devices like tongs and tweezers, to pick up tiny seeds. Those whose beaks fail become extinct (they're eliminated). That's natural selection for you.

God is not part of the lab. The idea that life's complexity may be the result of "intelligent design" is not hinted at in the curriculum.

"Most biology teachers I've known teach evolution the way they teach gravity, as the closest thing to fact," said Randy Barbarash, a veteran teacher who until recently was the Westchester/Rockland liaison to the New York Biology Teachers Association. "Could we find out tomorrow that gravity doesn't work? Sure. That's science. But virtually all teachers proceed with the mind-set that life can be explained by looking at adaptations and how they allow organisms to survive. That's evolution."
In today's article, he follows up with how one Christian constiuency approaches the debate. I wonder who he thinks he's surprising with the news that Catholic Schools don't see a conflict between revelation and Darwin's theory (as long as Catholics acknowledge God as the Author of Life!) Behold:
Some might be surprised that a Catholic high school would perform "Inherit the Wind" at a time when evolution is being attacked by those who promote "intelligent design" and want public schools to acknowledge God's role in the development of life. But Catholic schools in New York, which make up the vast majority of religious schools in the state, are not players in this drama.

Religious schools are free to teach what they believe about the origins of life. A small number of local evangelical Christian schools teach creation as depicted in the Book of Genesis — and contend that dinosaurs and humans lived together. But Catholic schools, like conservative Jewish day schools, stick to science in their biology classes and leave matters of faith for religion class.

These traditions see no conflict between faith and reason, even if outsiders might expect them to take the anti-evolutionary position in one of the most divisive cultural debates of the day.

"I was a little nervous about doing it, but we thought the time was right," said Frank Portanova, assistant principal of Stepinac, which will present "Inherit the Wind" on Nov. 18, 19 and 20. "Some of the kids thought it might be anti-Catholic or anti-God. It's important that the play says that faith and reason can coexist. As Catholics, we do not fear reason."

The Rev. Richard Veras, chairman of Stepinac's religion department, said he would hope that Catholic schools would teach evolution just as public schools do.

"Science tells us about material, empirical facts, about fossils and evolution," he said. "We have no problem teaching what science has found. It is obvious to us that there is intelligence behind it, but it can't be proven by science. I can't prove that my mother loves me scientifically — but I know it's true."

Veras said if the physical record shows that man evolved from other species, so be it.

"We believe the human soul is created by God," he said. "God may have evolved matter until he got it to the point to house the human soul."

Deacon John Crapanzano, religion chairman at Albertus Magnus High School, a Catholic school in Bardonia, said students sometimes ask him about the evolution debate on informal discussion days.

"One did ask if it was true that we evolved from apes," Crapanzano said. "I told him, 'If you want to think you evolved from apes, that's up to you. But the church doesn't care.'

"The church cares that God gave us a soul, free will and an inner yearning to return to God. With that yearning comes a consciousness that there is a greater power.

"I have no problem believing my ancestors walked on all fours."

Historically, the Catholic Church has not interpreted Scripture literally. So the church can easily integrate scientific findings that update human knowledge of the world, said Sister Marie Pappas, associate secretary for religious education for the Archdiocese of New York.

"If things came into being from a single cell, God would be responsible for that single cell," she said.

"The science teacher will acknowledge that the single cell came from God. And the religion teacher will acknowledge the big-bang theory, evolution, and explain that they are theories."
Mr. Stern may believe that his colleagues often paint the Catholic Church with the same brush that they paint evangelical Christians: you know, the one that covers them in the "Christians are fundamentalist, unReasonable right-wingers" paint. If that's his intention, I salute his effort to set the record straight. I'll let the Rev. Veras' take pass without comment, for now. Oh, I could cringe, clear my throat, and mention The Council of Trent or the First Vatican Council, where council Fathers anathemize any that say God can't be proven through reason. I'll forego mentioning how St. Thomas has offered a natural reason defense for the existence of God. Why? I think the Rev. Veras is trying to make a point about science as it's currently practiced. He notes that the "intelligence" behind creation can't be "proven by science." I submit that this indeed is the case--because the philosophical materialism of many scientists that maintain the consensus of many disciplines within the field causes an undue bias when examining the question of a Creator, a la intelligent designer. In fact, the philosophical Darwinism that presents itself as "Science" is no more valid than any doctored-up creationism would be. The trouble is, tell that to the Richard Dawkins of the scientific world. Tell that to the teacher-preparation professoriat. That and a buck will get you on the subway!

I've already made my case on ID--especially on it's role in the classroom here. I'll leave with this question: Why can't the media get the real story? Why can't they cover the far more engaging story of how an academic elite, who subscribe to an atheistic materialism, want to legitimize their philosophical perspective as a science and do so through current science education? Why can't they address just why ID may not be appropriate for HS education because it's too specialized? Why create a false dichotomy and label it a "Culture War" issue? Is the Cha-ching! factor really that entrenched in newsrooms? Sad. Reasonable, but sad.