Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hating ourselves

On the right sidebar of this blog (unless I have changed it by the time you read this - I am fickle) I have a list of "favorite quotes. One is a quote by Janet Smith:
We live in a culture in which condoms can be handed out in schools and Bibles can’t. And I think that tells you everything you need to know about our society.
A comment by a friend got me to thinking along similar lines. We live in a culture where "the family jewels" are now called "junk". I think that tells you everything you need to know about how we feel about ourselves

In this "enlightened" society, our equal, empowered women are referred to as sub-human animals ("bitches") and our equal, empowered black community members use the "N" word to refer to themselves. How far we've come.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why burden the decision?

I know everyone is probably sick to death by now of hearing stories about Kermit Gosnell's atrocities. For those who are reading this years from now (I flatter myself) and don't recall the story, Kermit Gosnell, MD is (or was) an abortionist in Pennsylvania who was recently arrested for, among other things, the murder of eight children who had been born alive during a late term abortion. The eight children are representative. It is believed he killed hundred of children that way, but these eight represent the "strongest case" for prosecutors to pursue.

There have been a virtual treasure trove of pro-lifers blogging on this incident. Some have focused on the fact that the main stream media almost completely suppressed the story, or how president Obama ignored this mass murderer while providing a dog and pony show over the killings by Jared Lee Loughner. We've heard how the DA virtually apologized for having to prosecute this man, and how state agencies and pro-abortion groups knew about the conditions and practices and ignored them.

I'd like to make two points. First off, these "horrible crimes" that Dr. Gosnell is being prosecuted for occur routinely in abortion clinic around the world, and in fact are legal as long as the baby is killed before it has completely emerged from the womb. In fact, in Virginia, what Dr. Gosnell did would be completely legal as long as he killed the child before cutting the umbilical cord. Here's an article on some of the finer points:
Yet the procedure that Gosnell is alleged to have preferred to implement in his practice is one that bears a strong resemblance to something several public officials have voted in support of as a U.S. Senators of "late term abortions." These procedures are more commonly referred to as "partial-birth abortions."

Both procedures begin by inducing early labor. Depending on how early, this alone will claim the life of roughly 76% of the pre-born children involved. Therefore in both cases roughly 25% of the pre-born children survive and a dilemma exists.

For parents who went seeking an abortion, a living child is exactly the opposite of what they wished.

In Gosnell's case he carried the delivery through to completion, it is alleged that he would then end the child's life by using a pair of scissors to snip the spinal cord.

With the majority of "partial-birth abortions" the medical practitioner would deliver the child to within two inches of being completely out of the birth canal, then using a pair of scissors, or a scalpel, would puncture the base of the head, and snip the spinal cord.
I bring this up specifically because partial birth abortion is a practice that is defended by none other than President Obama. He doesn't find anything wrong with partial birth abortion, and has voted against bills to ban the practice. His defense of his vote is that the bill did not have an exception for partial birth abortion to protect the life of the mother. This is despite testimony from multiple doctors and other experts that partial birth abortion is never required to save the life of the mother. And anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see that's clearly true.

In a partial birth abortion the baby is delivered and is killed as the last of its body leaves the mother. All one has to do is not insert the scissor into the brain and it's a live birth. It seems ludicrous to claim that inserting a pair of scissors into a baby's skull when the baby is already outside (except for part of the head) is required to save the mother's life. She has already delivered it.

The second point I'd like to make is that, not only does Obama not think partial birth abortion should be legal, he thinks what Kermit Gosnell did should be legal. In Illinois he several times voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. His claim was that the act was secretly a wedge to allow people to attack Roe v. Wade down the line (why he thinks a state law would be allowed to overturn a supreme court ruling I can't imagine, but he is supposed to be some legal genius so perhaps there would be a way). But what's telling is that he was the only person to give a speech bashing the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. What he said reveals his position. In his own words, the bill really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.
If you think this is just something out of context, go read the entire transcript. It is a succint summation of his argument. Now you can weasel word this and try to explain what he really meant, but don't tell me that Obama doesn't know enough about law to see that putting the decision of whether to save the life of an already born infant solely in the hands of the abortionist and mother effectively permits legal infanticide, just as Doe v. Bolton, by putting the decision of when an abortion was necessary solely in the hands of the abortionist and mother effectively permitted legal abortion up to birth.

Under the law President Obama has stated he thinks it should be, the decision as to whether to save those babies that Gosnell killed would have been solely in the hands of Gosnell. We have seen what Gosnell's decision was.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beacuse it's offensive!

There are so many things to blog about, and so little time. I have several blog posts in the works, but God knows when I'll find time to finish one. I'm writing this because it's short, topical, and really ticked me off. I read this article today about how Fox Sports is banning a commercial from the Superbowl coverage because it is "too controversial".
“Fox Sports said they would not air it because they deemed it too controversial,” Taunton said. “I was stunned because the commercial is so tame. The text does not appear on the television screen, and no one reads John 3:16 aloud.”

The commercial depicts a multitude of fans watching a football game, and one player is tackled. The familiar bible verse is sketched in his eye black, and a couple of fans are struck with the idea to actually look up the verse for the first time. The commercial then refers viewers to a website, LookUp316, that explains the verse in detail, according to Taunton.

“The fact that the commercial gives you the freedom to look up the verse if you want to makes it your prerogative,” said Katie Naughton, a sophomore majoring in communication studies. “I’m kind of tired of our society trying not to offend anyone. I think it’s a really good way to spark people’s interest and plant a seed without hitting them over the head with the Bible.”
My "stupid quote of the day" award goes to Theodore Trost, who says:
“Controversy may not be obvious if you are a follower of Jesus Christ and see it as a message of hope,” Trost said. “However, the ad is controversial in the way it treats people of other faiths. What about Muslims, Jews, Hindus and atheists? That particular verse excludes all of those groups from God’s love.”
For those who don't remember and are too lazy to look it up. John 3:16 says
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Gee, I guess telling atheists they don't have eternal life will be very upsetting to them. And of course saying the God loved the world excludes astronauts on the ISS.

I'm sure Fox will air many commercials during the Superbowl that some people will find "controversial" - for reasons of morality. I'm sure there will be lots of skin and stereotypes. Heck I just turned on Fox and within one minute saw a commercial with a mother justifying why she was shipping her child in a dog carrier to save money. Of course, it's not really about not controversy, it's about pandering the right people.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why are people pro-choice? (part 2)

This is a continuation of my list of reasons why people tell me they are pro-choice. Part 1 is here. Please see part 1 for the intro to this series.

Reason #2: Nobody knows when life begins. [related - When life begins is a matter of opinion/religion/etc.]

This is really several related reasons, because the statement is ambiguous. Do they mean life as in any kind of life, or ensoulment, or some other definition of "human" that they have decided to use as a basis. No matter what they mean, the premise is false, and I'll get into that later.

But lets assume for the sake of argument that it is true. We know a human life emerges from the womb, and we know the process starts at conception. So at some point no earlier than conception and no later than birth, a human life begins. Let's say that nobody know when this happens. It could be at any point during the pregnancy. Nobody knows.

Based on that premise alone we should stop all abortions immediately! Why? Because we wouldn't know if we were killing a human being. Let's say you are driving down a residential street and purposely run over a box in the street. "I didn't know if it was a person" is not a valid excuse if there were a child playing inside it. You should have avoided the box altogether in case there was a child there. Or take the example of a hunter in the woods. He sees something moving in the bushes. It might be the deer he's after, or it might be another hunter. By law and reason he must assume it could be a hunter and not shoot until he is sure that it isn't.

So the entire argument is based on faulty logic. If you don't know when life begins you must not abort! Using that argument to support a pro-choice position is fatally flawed.

Of course we do know when life begins, thanks to modern medical science. It is not a matter of religion, or opinion, or guessing. It is a proven, uncontested scientific fact. It begins at conception, when the egg is fertilized by the sperm. At that point a new organism is formed that is genetically unique. That organism is alive from the beginning. According to Wikipedia (sorry folks, but it does not differ substantially from textbooks), something is alive if it exhibits the following characteristics (I have shortened the entry in the interests of brevity:
  • Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state.
  • Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.
  • Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism).
  • Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
  • Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment.
  • Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms.
An embryo exhibits these characteristics from fertilization onward.

But perhaps the person doesn't mean just life, but human life. Again, science to the rescue. The law of biogenesis states that organisms reproduce after their own kind. That is, pandas have baby pandas, whales have baby whales, cats have baby cats, and humans, surprise, have baby humans. To say that a fetus isn't human begs the question "to what species does it belong?"

To quote some doctors/scientists on the start of human life:
Dr. Jerome LeJeune, professor of genetics at the University of Descartes in Paris, was the discoverer of the chromosome pattern of Down syndrome. Dr. LeJeune testified to the Judiciary Subcommittee, “after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being.” He stated that this “is no longer a matter of taste or opinion,” and “not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.” He added, “Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”

Professor Hymie Gordon, Mayo Clinic: “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”

Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School: “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive.... It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.... Our laws, one function of which is to help preserve the lives of our people, should be based on accurate scientific data.”

Dr. Watson A. Bowes, University of Colorado Medical School: “The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter—the beginning is conception. This straightforward biological fact should not be distorted to serve sociological, political, or economic goals.”

A prominent physician points out that at these Senate hearings, “Pro-abortionists, though invited to do so, failed to produce even a single expert witness who would specifically testify that life begins at any point other than conception or implantation. Only one witness said no one can tell when life begins.”
Occasionally you will hear "religious" or "spiritual" people define the question in terms of ensoulment. "we don't know when the fetus gets a soul". Of course that is still subject to my initial argument - if you don't know you must not abort. However, I think we can do better at dismantling this argument. The usual suspect brought out is Thomas Aquinas. According to Cardinal O'Connor:
Although some people point out that Saint Thomas Aquinas thought the soul did not come to the fetus ("ensoulment") until sometime after conception, the fact is that he considered abortion gravely sinful even before this time. He taught that it was a "grave sin against the natural law" to kill the fetus at any stage, and a graver sin of homicide to do so after ensoulment.
So even though Aquinas thought that the soul was created after fertilization, he didn't consider that the "unsouled" embryo was not worthy of protection. But we can go Aquinas one better because we have science on our side today. As Christians (and in most other religions that ave a concept like "soul") we believe that the soul is the essence of something that makes it alive. In other words, every living thing has a soul, although not all souls are human souls. Since we now know that the embryo is a new living organism at the time of conception, by definition it is "ensouled".

Again, perhaps the person means a human soul, to which I ask "at what point do you think God removes the original soul and replaces it with a human one?" The only position that does not lead to an absurd conclusion is what the Catholic church teaches - that a human soul is present from the moment a human life begins, and that moment is the point of conception. If you don't believe in souls altogether, that is your right, in which case you can accept the scientific and logical arguments above.

To be fair, I've been throwing around the word "conception" a lot. Some will claim that we don't know when life begins because "conception" is not an exact point in time - the process of fertilization takes a finite amount of time, and is not instantaneous. I will grant that it is not instantaneous, but we are still talking about the course of the first few minutes of a pregnancy, not days or week, at which time abortions are performed. Even the "morning after" pill is killing an existing human being. Such an argument is only trying to muddy waters, and has no impact on the conclusion.

So the next time someone says "nobody knows when life begins" thank them for arguing a pro-life position for you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

40K in SF, 400K in DC

Today was the 38th annual March for Life in Washington DC. The government won't release the count of how many people attend, but I've heard estimates of 400,000 and given the size of the crowd compared to previous years I'd believe it! I don't have any videos for you other than this TV report.

There was also a Walk for Life in San Fransisco recently. Looks like they had a much bigger counter-protest (hundreds, rather than tens), but if you stick with the video you get an idea of the size of the crowd (after they run out of counter-protesters it keeps on coming), which I've heard was on the order of 40,000.

Why join 40 days?

With the March for Life over for this year, we are gearing up for the next "40 Days for Life" campaign. Will you be joining us this year? Is it too much effort? Here's a post worth reading (H/T AdoroTeDevote). A brief excerpt:
Suppose, one day, a woman is raped on a street corner not far from your home.  Most of us would be upset - it is a horrible crime.  Perhaps we would be concerned for our own safety or that of our friends, daughters, neighbors.  We would want to know what the police were doing about it.

Suppose we found out that the town, or the state, had decided that raping women on that particular street corner was legal.  We would probably be outraged that such a despicable crime were permitted under any conditions anywhere.  Some of us might fight to abolish that law.  Some of us might stand vigil on that street to warn women.  Some who stand vigil might see women being dragged there by men who want to rape them and know they can legally do it only on that corner.  Some standing vigil might be roused to violence in defense of the woman about to be victimized.

Suppose, despite all these efforts, the act remained legal on that corner and in other parts of the country.  Suppose after a decade, hundreds or thousands of women were being raped every day, legally.  How would we, as a society, cope with that?

Would the outrage remain?  Would we get tired of trying to protect women?  Would we stop the daily vigil and only show up on days that weren't quite as hectic (no soccer practice today, guess I have time to go rage against the violence)? 

When we will learn?  And when will we act?  If we do not defend the freedoms of others, there may be nobody left to defend us when we become the target.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why are people pro-choice? (part 1)

The one thing some pro-life people don't like to consider is that some pro-choice people have arrived at their position by reason. Their conclusion is wrong, but it is not the result of blindly following some cultural aberration, or being "bad" in some way. The problem is that the reasoning is based on incorrect information or there is a flaw in the logic. Let's look at one of the reasons people have given me for being pro-choice and examine the "facts" on which it is based, and the logic that leads to the pro-choice conclusion. To eliminate the possibility of using false information myself I will be referencing primary sources that are either unbiased (e.g. government statistics) or unabashedly pro-choice (e.g. Guttmacher Institute).

N.B. I was going to make this a list of reasons and rebuttals, but there is so much evidence against some of these reasons that this post would be too long. Therefore I am splitting this up into several (probably many) posts, each covering one or a small number of reasons.

Reason #1: If abortion were illegal tens of thousands of women would be dying each year in back alley clinics.

This is a good argument in the sense that the person is trying to minimize the death of humans - they are actually arguing a pro-life position. However, their information is wrong. The back alley abortion statistics on which it is based are lies made up by NARAL (then known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) in the 1960s in order to get people to support legalized abortion. NARAL co-founder Bernard Nathanson admits:
Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.
In fact, even the number Dr. Nathanson used were out of date at the time Roe v. Wade legalized abortion throughout the US. What were the real numbers? The United States CDC (Centers for Disease Control) keeps track of the number of deaths by cause. According to them, the number of women who died from illegal abortion in 1972 (the year before Roe v. Wade) was 39, versus 24 who died from legal abortions that year. Since then, reporting procedures in US states have changed so that today we have no accurate figures of how many women die from legal abortion in the US.

We still hear reports of tens of thousands of women dying form illegal abortion in other countries today. They too are lies. One set of figures, used by the UN groups to promote legalization of abortion worldwide, does not rely on any reporting or research, but simply assume 13% of illegal abortions result in death. By that logic, in 1972 there would have been 300 illegal abortions total in the US. While it is hard to estimate the number of illegal abortions that took place in the US, that figure is lower than any reasonable estimate.

But can we really relate numbers of abortion deaths in other countries to the lies told in the US? Let's look at some real figures:
On June 18, 1989, CNN World Report, in an hour-long documentary, stated that in Brazil there are 6 million illegal abortions each year and 400,000 women die. But the U.N. Demographic Yearbook of 1988 lists only 40,000 women, age 15-44, dying each year of all causes.
In other words, for these "facts" to be true the number of illegal abortion deaths would be ten times more than the total number of deaths! You can follow this link to find primary source references. Want more examples?
In Portugal the claimed figure was 2,000 deaths. The actual number of deaths of females between the ages of 15-46 was 2,106 in the same year from all natural causes, accidents and illness. There were only 97 listed in the "complications of pregnancy" of which 12 were due to abortion, including spontaneous and induced, legal and illegal.

In Italy, the claimed figure before their abortion referendum was 20,000. In the age group 15-45, there were actually only 11,500 female deaths from all causes.

In Germany the claim was that 15,000 women died annually. In fact, only 13,000 women of reproductive age died annually in West Germany, and less than 100 died of complications of abortion, legal and illegal.

At the United Nations Habitat meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 1996, the following "fact" was given wide publicity: The UNICEF suddenly claimed that 585,000 women die each year from causes related to pregnancy and birth.

The pro-life NGO’s for the family immediately answered, "This is wild. According to the U.N. Demographic Year Book for 1990, the total known maternal deaths worldwide for 1986 and 1987 numbered 11,924 (around 6,000 per year). This figure encompasses countries covering 35% of the world’s population."
These are not pro-life claims vs, pro-choice claims. These are pro-choice "talking points" versus official numbers collected by governments and health organizations. So the entire set of figures for maternal deaths due to abortion worldwide are lies. While any death is tragic, promoting the death of 42 million children a year is hardly a good tradeoff.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I will pay for your abortion

...but I won't support killing a unique human being. So if you can prove to me that what is inside you is not a unique human life I'd be happy to pay for the abortion. You must prove that it is:
  1. Not alive. That is, it doesn't require nourishment, grow (perform cellular reproduction) or exhibit other behavior of a living organism.

  2. Not human. That is, it belongs to another species.

  3. Not unique. That is, it is merely another part of your body. Its organs work for you. In other words, its heart is pumping your blood through your body, its brain is controlling your voluntary actions, its stomach is digesting your food.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What do you mean by choice?

OK, I don't normally blog this often, but I had an "interesting" discussion with a "pro-choicer" today, and since I just discovered it's "blog for choice" day, I thought I'd mention it now. The gist of the case the person is trying to make is that yes, abortion is killing, but it is a "necessary evil" to promote a greater good - choice. The conversation is so pertinent because the very thing the person will not define is what is that "choice" that is so good it's worth a human life.

After much circumlocution, I can only infer that the "choice" that is so good is the freedom to have sex when you want to. My response is that shouldn't rape then be legal and protected by that definition? It would allow a man the same freedom to have sex. Yes women would be hurt (perhaps killed) but by the person's own logic, the "choice" would be a greater good.

The (predictable) response is that rape hurts someone. And this is where pro-choicers are actually anti-choice, anti-women, anti-life. Because they fail to admit the scientific truth that there is a human life in that womb, that there is no substantive difference between a baby 1 minute before it is born and 1 minute after, except that you can see it. Scientifically and medically that same argument holds all the way back to conception, when a unique new human life was created. To say that it's OK to kill someone as long as you never met them is just horrible beyond words.

So, tell me. what "choice" do you think is worth a human life? Having more money? Free time? A new car? Freedom form embarrassment? A slimmer figure?

Baby Feet

I have nothing to say that could possibly add anything to the post The Anchoress wrote on the Gosnell case. Please read. I'd say "enjoy" but it's not something you should enjoy - just something you need to know.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why is this controversial?

Sometimes living in "modern society" can be frustrating. Last month, the adoption organization "Children First" "won" its seven year long lawsuit to be allowed to have their name and logo on a NJ license plate (actually, they didn't win anything, the state just got tired of pursuing it). According to this article on December 10:
New Jersey's Motor Vehicles Commission has bowed out of a seven-year legal battle and is quietly offering license plates with the slogan "Choose Life."
The plates are available through the Children First Foundation, which first tried to get them approved in 2003.
State officials initially rejected the plates, saying they didn't want to get into a debate over abortion. The state also said it doesn't allow slogans, just the names of the organizations on the plates.
The Children First Foundation fought the decision in court.
New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission spokesman Mike Horan says the state decided to allow the plates to avoid further legal expenses. They went on sale Dec. 3, and none have been sold.
I went to the NJ MVC web site and found one reason why they are not selling - they are not listed as a choice, despite the article's claim. In order to actually get a plate in NJ you have to go to the organization's web site,, and click on a special link to have a special form mailed to you to request the plate. Now, I'm not a big believer in specialty plates - why pay the state $50 to have them donate $10 to my organization when I can give the organization $45 and spend $5 on a bumper sticker with the name and logo of the organization on it. Still, it's the principle of the thing.

Let's go over the state's arguments one by one.
  1. State officials initially rejected the plates, saying they didn't want to get into a debate over abortion.

    The license plate doesn't talk about abortion - it promotes adoption. Yes, the organization's slogan is "choose life" but to imply that this is only applicable to abortion is ridiculous. Other uses of the slogan, from Wikipedia:
    "Choose life" is a phrase which has been used in a variety of ways:
    • In a Bible verse, Deuteronomy 30:19: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
    • Choose Life (film), a 1999 film starring Peter Dobson
    • The title of a poem by John Hodge which begins the film Trainspotting
    • Choose Life (album), a 1983 album by Sandie Shaw
    • Printed on t-shirts designed by Katharine Hamnett worn by Wham! in the 1984 video for "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" and by Roger Taylor in the 1984 video for Hammer to Fall
    • Choose Life is the name of an anti-suicide themed song by the ska band Pilfers
    • "Choose Life" is also the name of a song by the Christian band Big Tent Revival
    • Choose Life, a song by Tzant under the name of PF Project featuring Ewan McGregor
    Suicide Prevention
    • Choose Life is the national 10-year strategy and action plan to prevent and reduce suicide in Scotland. The strategy has used many techniques to promote their message, including appearing on the shirt of SPL football club Motherwell for their 2010–11 UEFA Europa League campaign.
    And just in case there is a misunderstanding, the URL of the organization is right below its logo on the plate "".

  2. The state also said it doesn't allow slogans, just the names of the organizations on the plates.

    This is clearly a lie. Here are some slogans on current NJ state license plates.
    Organ Donors Save Lives
    Animal Friendly
    Treasure Our Trees
    Conserve Wildlife

What really incenses me is that it is so controversial to have a license plate that promotes adopting human babies that the state of NJ (using my tax dollars) has to fight for seven years to try to stop it, yet promoting the adoption of animals is perfectly acceptable like this plate, from Maine, or Colorado's "Adopt a Shelter Pet" plate.

What a screwed up society we live in, where we laud organizations that promote adoption of animals, but viciously attack organizations that promote adoption of humans.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stupid Letters

OK, this is not news anymore, but I started blogging this and never got time to finish, so here it is.

One of the things about having a blog, or writing anything that it "published" in some way, is that anything stupid you say lives forever. Here are some stupid letters that came to light recently:

Senator Menendez writes to Santa:
Dear Santa Claus,

I am writing out of concern, because you may have to move from the North Pole due to the dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice. The Navy's chief oceanographer says that by the summer of 2020 the North Pole may not have summer ice and other scientists project that an ice-free Arctic is possible as soon as 2012!

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that polar ice is melting because of greenhouse gas pollution and I am working hard to reduce these emissions. But there is probably nothing we can do in time to save the North Pole. I am worried about your safety and your ability to deliver billions of Christmas gifts if the ice cap on the North Pole no longer stays frozen all year. What will happen to your house, your workshop, the elves' houses and your reindeer barns?

I want you to know that if you want to relocate to the beautiful state of New Jersey, I would be proud to assist you. But given the climate you are accustomed to, I will understand if you would like to relocate to the South Pole. Just be sure not to move to the Antarctic Peninsula or West Antarctic ice sheet, areas that are also experiencing rapid ice melt.

Please know that I will work to mobilize the U.S. federal government to assist when you relocate. I am sure we can both agree that on a warming planet, we need to do all we can to save Christmas.

Robert Menendez
U.S. Senator

Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Distorter Reporter, even more stupidly pretends to be the pope. Note that I have elided parts of this because it is long and frankly, too embarrassingly stupid:
Dear Mr. Boehner,

I write to congratulate you on becoming Speaker of the House on Wednesday, only the second Catholic Republican to hold the gavel. It is a source of pride for you, for your family and for all Catholics in the Great Republic. Please be assured of my prayers and apostolic blessing.

I also want to congratulate you for articulating so strongly your commitment to the defense of unborn human life. The bishops tell me that this new health care law provides federal funding of abortion and that this is one of the reasons you opposed that law. I am not so sure. I am eighty-two, and at eighty-two, you learn to listen very attentively to the sisters about health care, and they tell me the new health care law does not provide federal funds for abortion. Nonetheless, I hope that even if you are able to strengthen the rules preventing any government monies for abortions, you will beat back any effort to overturn to the health care law as a whole. Frankly, the rest of the world has been laughing at the U.S. for decades because you spend so much on health care and don’t even cover all your people. I have not been laughing. I have been scandalized that a great and religious country like yours has taken so long to guarantee health care as a right. I have spoken about this as clearly as possible and I am sure that you, Mr. Boehner, as a good Catholic will heed my voice in this matter.
There are some other areas of Catholic social teaching that I wish to call to your attention. As you know, in the past few years, one of the dominant themes of my speeches has been the moral imperative to address global warming. (I am told that in the U.S. you have to say “climate change” because “global warming” does not poll well, especially during the winter months, but here at the Vatican we do not take polls so I can call it what it is.) I invite you, my dear son, to look at the future generations of the world the way you look at an individual unborn child, as demanding protection because of their inherent dignity. Being good stewards of the environment, sir, is being pro-life too.
Given at St. Peter’s, this third day of January 2011, the sixth of my pontificate, Benedict XVI, P.P.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Because it's Cool

Click for a bigger version

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If you like vanilla... must hate people who like Chocolate. That's the logic behind an anonymous complaint made to Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) about the following commercial, which aired on Canadian TV in October and November.

The complaint was that by the firefighter thanking her mother for choosing life, the ad “discriminates against women by indirectly shaming women who choose abortion.” NB Right to Life had to waste its time and money responding to this.
In its submission to ASC, New Brunswick Right to Life maintained that “If an ad this low-key is unacceptable, then any pro-life ad connected to the issue of abortion must be considered unacceptable. If that were the case, it would be a manifestly unfair suppression of free speech.”

The Right to Life group denied the charge of discrimination, pointing out that while the ad praises one woman’s choice to continue her pregnancy, “it implies no condemnation of women who have made other choices.”

Following the pro-life submission, the complainant did not seek a review of the matter by ASC’s Consumer Response Council. Therefore ASC closed its file on the issue.
So in other words, there is no resolution, and the complainant is free to try again at the next ad.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Because it's funny

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sex is better than God say Canadian judges. According to this LifeSiteNews article, Canadian courts have ruled that marriage commissioners are not entitled to religious conscience protection when it comes to the sexual lifestyle of homosexuals.
The Court claimed that allowing marriage commissioners to withhold their services because of personal religious convictions would undercut the fundamental principle that government services must be provided to all members of the public on an impartial and non-discriminatory basis.
Sounds pretty reasonable until you recall that marriage is not a fundamental right for all members of the public. I would be denied marriage by a Canadian marriage commissioner. Why? Because I am already married. So right there this government service is not provided to all members of the public on an impartial and non-discriminatory basis. Nor would gays be denied their "rights" if a particular commissioner were allowed to practice his or her religious rights - a different commissioner could perform the ceremony.
The court said that its decision was based on section 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which prohibits discrimination based on characteristics such as race and sex. Though the Charter makes no mention of sexual orientation, the courts have nevertheless read sexual orientation into this section.
Gwendolyn Landolt, National Vice President of REAL Women of Canada, csaid that the decision is another example of activist judges using the Charter of Rights as a weapon to undermine religious rights.

“What we are seeing now is that step by step religious rights in Canada have been diminished while homosexual rights have been accelerated by the appointed unaccountable judges,” Landolt told “This decision means that religious rights have been pushed to the side once again in favour of judge-made homosexual rights. If there were genuine equality between these two competing rights, then both should have equal recognition under the law which has been denied by this decision.” [emphasis mine]

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Liarsville, AK

I've been to Alaska, more than once. I actually have relatives who live there. If you are looking for a great vacation spot, it's hard to beat. From the sweltering hot streets of Fairbanks to the icy chill of Glacier Bay, it is a land of contrasts and natural beauty. The only problem is that it is literally too big to see everything worth seeing, even in a month.

One of the interesting towns I have been to is Skagway. Well, perhaps it's not the most interesting place to be, but it is the first incorporated city in Alaska. Skagway is a tiny town in a narrow glacial valley (population 862, although technically it covers 464 square miles). It is a 45 minute ride (by propeller plane) from Juneau. Unlike Juneau, which can only be reached by air or sea, Skagway can be reached by car, being a mere 110 miles from the Alaskan Highway.

It became a boom town in the great gold rush of 1898 due to its proximity to the White Pass that led to the Klondike gold fields. The Canadian government required that anyone traveling into Canada that way had to carry with him one ton of supplies to avoid starvation over the winter. Needless to say, purchasing the supplies and then climbing the steep, icy mountain pass with them made it very difficult for the prospectors.

All the major newspapers of the day (aka the main stream media) wanted to cover the gold rush, and sent reporters. But many of them were reluctant to endure the hardships of following the prospectors over that pass and then coming back with stories. So they set up camp at the base of the pass and invented the stories. That camp is still known as Liarsville today.

So when I hear all the brouhaha about how the main stream media has failed us in the coverage of the shooting of Gabrielle Gifford and others in Arizona I just have to thing "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I hope you will ponder this for a few minutes, and them join me in prayer for the victims of this violence, and their families and friends. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.


You've probably heard about Abby Johnson. She was director of a Planned Parenthood facility who, after years of working for PP and being pro-choice, actually witnessed an abortion in her own clinic and because of what she saw became pro-life. I believe Abby will be at the March for Life in Washington D.C. in a couple of weeks.

Abby was the target of a massive lawsuit and restraining order by Planned Parenthood to prevent her from talking about her experiences and why she decided to become pro-life. She has recently won that legal battle and has written a book, "Unplanned" published jointly by Tyndale House, Focus on the Family, and Ignatius Press. Tat book will be release on Tuesday, January 11.

On Monday evening at 9 PM EST Abbey will be promoting the book via a live webcast. The webcast is free, and you can join it at

I don't know if I'll get to hear it live, but I believe if you sign up you will be able to hear it even after the event. But another good reason to sign up is that when you register, whether you listen to the webcast at all, you get to download a PDF of the first chapter of the book.

Now I don't know if this is a good book or not, but the first chapter was very interesting, and I believe this book is likely to be important for anyone interested in the abortion issue, on either side of the question. So consider registering for the webcast, even if it's only to preview the book.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Things First

I am outraged by the State Department's announcement that they plan to drop "Father" and "Mother" as terms from US passport applications for at least three reasons.

First off, I am angered that decisions this fundamental to our notion of society are being made by appointed, not elected officials, and so they do not represent "the will of the people", nor is there any recourse to opposing the decision.

Secondly, I watched "Worst Cooks in America" the other night. One of the contestants, "Georg" Coleman introduces herself and her "wife". In fact every gay relationship I know of has a person who fills the role of "husband" and one who fills the role of "wife". This is the nature of relationships - they are complimentary. And so I don't know in what way this makes life better for gays, other than insulting and humiliating the American family.

Thirdly we are losing potentially valuable information about the applicants unless they add a "gender" box next to the "Parent 1" and "Parent 2". Sadly, if they do it will take up most of the form, since I have also heard there is a move to recognize something like 20 different genders (can't find a link right now).

This makes me want to rip up my copy of "Heather has Two Parents" and pray the "Our Parent". May our Blessed Virgin Parent help us!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Liquid Metal

I came across this article today about Apple's latest patent involving liquid metal. What is liquid metal, and what does it have to do with Apple? Liquid metal is an amorphous metal alloy. It is not actually a liquid (at least not at room temperature - I'm sure it can be melted).
The atomic structure of ordinary or conventional metals and alloys is periodic, where the layout of atomic elements shows repeating patterns over an extended range. This atomic structure is called "crystalline" and limits the overall performance of conventional metals.

Liquidmetal alloys possess an "amorphous" atomic structure, which is truly unique. By contrast to the crystalline structure, no discernable patterns exist in the atomic structure of the unique Liquidmetal alloys. As such, properties superior to the limits of conventional metals can be achieved.
Of course, there are many liquid metals alloys possible, and they have different characteristics. Apple currently uses liquid metal for the little "key" that technicians use to eject the SIM card from iPhones. Not very exciting, compared to some of the other applications listed on the web site.

However, this new patent is for a liquid metal current collector plate, believed to be part of a project to develop fuel cell powered mobile devices. If this technology can be brought to market, it promises lightweight power sources capable or powering a phone for a month between recharges.

I'm going...are you?

March for Life January 24, 2011

2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Epiphany and President's Day

Tomorrow is the actual feast of the Epiphany, the day when the Magi came to Bethlehem to worship Jesus. Of course, we celebrated it last Sunday. Similarly, January 1st was the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, but the holy day of obligation was abrogated because it fell on a Saturday.

The pastoral reason cited for these changes is so that more people will celebrate the feast than would happen if it were on a work day, or that people don't have to go to mass two days in a row. I find this disturbing. Here are the bishops, the very people who are the "keepers of the faith" telling us that they're OK with making work more important than our souls, and that going to mass is a "burden" which we shouldn't have to do more than absolutely necessary.

So what if they had a holy day of obligation on a Saturday and not many people came. Wouldn't that still be more than the zero people who were able to come to the mass that didn't happen? Is it too much to celebrate a feast day on a week day? I, for one, used to enjoy going to mass on my lunch hour. It not only gave me a spiritual break from an otherwise mundane day, but was an opportunity to find out who else at work was Catholic and have this common experience with them as a community within a community.

Moving or removing a feast day waters it down and shows us that it is not really important, that our day to day chores are more important. Take President's Day, which has become so much of a non-holiday in the US that many people don't even know what it means at all. It's not on any of the birthdays of the presidents it supposedly honors, but on a convenient day for disrupting the work week the least. And yet even President's Day is a day to put whatever it is about ahead of work.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

E Plebnista

On January 6th the Republican party has called for a reading of the Constitution to the US House of Representatives. Some knuckleheads idiots people are making this a point of controversy. My favorit post on the subject is Republicans to Spend $1.1M Reciting Constitution on the House Floor.

Yes, according to the calculations presented it costs the American taxpayer $1.1M for the 3 hours it may take to read the Constitution on the floor. What does that mean? That means it take $1.1M for every 3 hours that Congress exists. That's over $1.25M to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at every session (I do hope they at least do that). Assuming each representative spends just five minutes a day doing "necessary" things, we are paying over $6.25M for, um, "excretion".

When I heard the news, what came to my mind was more along the lines of this video clip:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Christmas Carol

As the Christmas season draws to a close (just a couple more days to the Epiphany) I thought I would share a song. If I shared it earlier it would have ruined the "real" song for this year - hopefully by next year you will have forgotten it. If not, "Oh well":

...and from the "real" song:
Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!
Interestingly enough, the version we sang today had a different last verse, which honored the Trinity rather than just Christ. I'm told that's a common Catholic practice. I didn't save the song book and I couldn't find the alternate ending online, but a friend was able to look it up for me. Thanks!
Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heav'nly Lord
Who with the Father we adore
And Spirit blest forevermore.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

If you haven't seen this

I know the Pope's Christmas message is "old news" by now, but if you haven't seen this video by Fr. Barron, you should.