Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Things of Interest

My life's busy-ness continues unabated. Going on my third scout camp out in five weeks! So, still no time to write, but I do want to blog. So I'm going to be lame and just direct you to some stories I found interesting:

From the wonderful Mary Meets Dolly blog, comes "Is the United States backward in its embryo research policies? Yes! But not why you think!". Kind of scary.

Another great post over there is "How abortion magnifies our prejudices". An interesting take on prejudice.

And you've probably already sen the poll where "Americans Believe There Are More Homosexuals in the U.S. Than There Are Catholics". I guess if you watch TV, every show has at least one gay character - how many Catholics do you see (aside from "Blue Bloods")?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

Now that beach season is here, have you thought about sunscreen? I never did - just get the easiest stuff to apply. However, last year we got this spray on stuff that destroyed everything it touched, and even stained the kids' skin! So I did some looking and discovered many of the sunscreens we use contain chemicals which are kind of nasty - and by nasty I mean mutagens! No way I want to put that on my kids!

So I did some looking. Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a good list of the "best" sunscreens rated by effectiveness and also safety of ingredients. Their information looks sound, and they publish their methodology for assessing sunscreens, which appears to be quite well thought out. They recommend sunscreens based on titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide rather than chemicals like oxybenzone, since these metal oxidess are effective at blocking UV and relatively harmless to humans and animals. Some info from their report Sunscreens Exposed:
Poor UVA protection

Three of five U.S. sunscreens wouldn’t be acceptable in Europe. EWG’s analysis of more than 500 beach and sport sunscreens with SPF ratings of 30 and higher finds that more than 300 of them, about 60 percent, provide inadequate UVA protection and are too weak for the European market, where manufacturers voluntarily comply with a standard for meaningful UVA protection.

Risky vitamin A additives

Many sunscreen makers still use a form of vitamin A, called retinyl palmitate, ignoring recent scientific research by the federal Food and Drug Administration indicating the chemical may be photocarcinogenic – that it may heighten skin cancer risk when used on sun-exposed skin. While more definitive research is under way, EWG recommends that prudent consumers avoid vitamin A-laden sunscreens.
Which was a surprise to me, since I always figures vitamins are "natural" and "good". Here's some recommendations from their list of best beach and sport sunscreens.
These are just a random sampling of the hundred or so they recommend. EWG has obviously put in a lot of work to make this list. The hardest part, with so many products available with similar names, is finding the exact product in the store.

So check out the list and choose a sunscreen wisely this summer.

Solutions in Shrewsbury!

I was angry earlier this week when I read about NARAL's efforts to shut down Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). You would think that an organization that supposedly wants women to make informed choices would want those women to make informed choices - to hear something other than the sales pitch of the abortionist. Of course, NARAL is not really interested in pushing choice, but rather pushing abortions.

The ironic thing is that the video claiming that CPCs spread lies is itself a lie. The information that they show as being false is true (such as the link between abortion and breast cancer risk, or the inference that CPCs have untrained personnel performing medical procedures). This tactic of the "Big Lie" is NARAL's standard technique, and has worked all too well in the past. Pro-aborts today are still quoting the lies NARAL put forth in the 1960s as you can see in the video here.

On the other hand, we have a new Crisis Pregnancy Center here in Shrewsbury. Solutions Pregnancy & Health Center is a licensed medical facility that provides free services to women. From MoreMonmouthMusings:
Shrewsbury, NJ, May 26, 2011 - Lorrie Erli, Executive Director of Solutions Pregnancy Center, is pleased to announce the grand opening of its Medical Clinic on Sunday, June 5 from 2 to 4 pm. Solutions is located at 837 Broad Street.

“As a licensed medical center, we are excited to offer clients comprehensive services that are not available at other health centers, such as emotional and spiritual support, which is desperately needed by women faced with unplanned pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections.”

Solutions’ outstanding medical board of directors includes many local physicians: Dr. Margaret Lambert-Woolley serves as Medical Director and Chairwoman, Dr. Jane Neuman, Dr. John Taylor, and Dr. John Dalton as well as Linda Pascarella, RN and Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Director for Monmouth Medical Center. Dr. Lambert-Woolley volunteers her time examining and treating patients in Solutions’ medical clinic. Highly trained staff members provide a wide range of services.

“Solutions offers free pregnancy testing, ultrasound exams, and STD screening, among other services, all in a safe, confidential environment designed for multi-level support,” says Lambert-Woolley.

Solutions serves a broad population of women in Monmouth County, with many between the ages of 18-24. Generally, most of the centers’ clients are uninsured, underserved and lower-income. All of Solutions’ services are provided free of charge, but appointments are necessary.

To schedule an appointment, call Solutions toll free 24/7 help line at 1-888-595-TEST (8378).
For more information visit us at www.solutionsphc.com.
Take that, NARAL!!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Guess what I just got a copy of? I haven't read it yet, so I can't comment, but I've heard good things. If this is like the 100 other books on my reading list, it'll be a looong time before I can post a review, but The Curt jester has one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Habemus Radio!

For years I've been waiting for this! The bad news is that reception falls off north of exit 117 on the GSP, so I can't listen to it most of the way to work, but heck, some is better than none. If you live within range check it out on the air. If not, you can listen live on the internet at Domestic Church Media.

Trenton, NJ - May 18, 2011 - Last evening at 7:15 PM, Domestic Church Media President & CEO, Jim Manfredonia, interrupted "Catholic Answers LIVE" on WFJS 1260 AM (the organization's first full time Catholic radio station in New Jersey) and announced that he was launching their second station, WFJS 89.3 FM in Freehold.

To the strains of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus", WFJS 89.3 FM was on the air bringing Catholic radio to Monmouth County as well as parts of northern Ocean and southern Middlesex Counties.

Between the two stations, Catholic radio can be heard from the Atlantic Highlands down to Point Pleasant and a wide band of coverage across the state into Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia, PA.


I you nave a Blackberry or iPhone hand-held device, you can now download a FREE app for WFJS and listen to Catholic Radio anytime, anywhere 24/7!

Go to your App Store and search for "WFJS", download it and you'll have Catholic radio at your fingertips.

Or LISTEN LIVE ONLINE on our Web Site Domestic Church Media

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What about pirated porn?

I was struck by the juxtaposition of these two news stories the other day.
From TorrentFreak:
During the past 12 months the U.S. Government seized more than 100 domain names it claimed were promoting copyright infringement. But this was just the beginning. The domain seizures pale in comparison to a bill that’s about to be introduced by U.S. lawmakers.

Dubbed the PROTECT IP Act, the bill will introduce a wide-scale of censorship tools authorities and copyright holders can use to quash websites they claim are facilitating copyright infringement. It is basically a revamped and worsened version of the controversial COICA proposal which had to be resubmitted after its enaction failed last year.
You can read more about this at Techdirt. On the other hand is this article from Fox News:
New Yorkers can watch internet porn at the city's public libraries thanks to a policy of free speech protected by the First Amendment, the New York Post reported Monday.

"Customers can watch whatever they want on the computer," said Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Malika Granville, describing the anything-goes philosophy that is the rule at the city's 200-plus branches.
On the one hand, we are cracking down on those who would steal a $0.99 song. On the other, we are cracking down on libraries that restrict pornography viewing in public. I'm surely not advocating piracy, but let's get our priorities straight. Of course, this library policy is even more bizarre in the face of this article from Entertainment Weekly:
NewSouth Books’ upcoming edition of Mark Twain’s seminal novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will remove all instances of the “n” word—I’ll give you a hint, it’s not nonesuch—present in the text and replace it with slave. The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun. The effort is spearheaded by Twain expert Alan Gribben, who says his PC-ified version is not an attempt to neuter the classic but rather to update it. “Race matters in these books,” Gribben told PW. “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”
So we will censor sites that are accused of having copyrighted content shut down, but not those that exploit young men and women for sexual purposes. We can protect out kids from words like "injun", but we can't protect them from seeing and hearing pornography.

The question becomes, looking back in 1000 years, will this be the year that historians decide was the year the US jumped the shark?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I know, another video

Still dealing with too much right now to be blogging much, but this is really good.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The case against

I was hoping to post this earlier, but I had (and continue to have) problems with blogging that appear to be related to Firefox 4. I finally broke down and used another browser to try to catch the end of the Easter octave. So here goes...

In my last post "Who Cares?" I made the case for the Resurrection as a historic fact. Since this is sort of a courtroom dialogue, and having "accused" Christ of the Resurrection, I will now give the "defense" a chance to refute the arguments. These arguments have been proposed over the years to explain away the Resurrection, as described in the Catholic Encyclopedia and other places. Here they are:

The Wrong Tomb theory
This theory posits that the Disciples all forgot where Jesus was buried and went to the wrong tomb on Easter morning. The guards were still standing outside the tomb where Jesus lay, still dead.

While it must have been a stressful day for the Disciples, they can't have been that stupid. Nor does this theory explain the appearance of Jesus for the next 40 days, nor why the officials didn't immediately call them out and point them to the right tomb and the body of Christ.
I declare this theory

The Swoon theory
This theory, proposed by Paulus in 1842, supposes that Christ did not die, but only fainted on the cross, and woke up in the tomb on Easter morning. This supposes that the Gospels' description of the treatment of Jesus (scourging, crown of thorns, etc.) are wrong, since according to medical experts even without the crucifixion those torments would have eventually killed, or at least permanently crippled Jesus. Then we have the piercing of His side and the testimony of the Roman executioners, who no doubt had seen people faint before. Added to that is that nobody, even Jesus' enemies, attempted to deny that Jesus had died. Finally, when Jesus does appear, after three days of laying in a tomb, He is not described as a barely living cripple.
There are far too many contradictions in this theory, and so I declare it

The Imposition theory
Matthew 28:11-15 tells us.
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened.
They assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.'
And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy (him) and keep you out of trouble."
According to this theory the disciples really did steal Jesus' body. At first glance this sounds plausible. By some accounts the disciples themselves thought Jesus had been taken (John 20:1-2):
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him."
However, as I said in part one of this discussion, what is their motive? To spend the rest of their days traveling in poverty? To end their lives in torture and death? This theory also doesn't explain how Jesus appeared, to over 500 people, as St. Paul describes in 1 Corinthians, 15:6
After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
We' have to add to the disciples' trickery a doppleganger who could teach and perform miracles for 40 days, then disappear as mysteriously as he appeared.
Nope, this one is

The Vision theory
This theory claims that the whole thing was just a vision by deluded people who desperately wanted someone to be resurrected. There are a number of problems with this theory.
  • The disciples were not looking for Christ to rise. They are reportedly amazed by it. Thomas doesn't even believe it at all, requiring Jesus Himself to appear to him personally.
  • Jesus does not appear as what would have been expected from a resurrection. He is neither the "same old Jesus" as they would have seen in the case of Lazarus and the little girl, not is He coming in heavenly glory as they would have expected in the resurrection at the end of the world. He is something totally unexpected.
  • It does not agree with the actions of the disciples following Easter. They are not running around spreading the good news (that happens after Pentecost, when Jesus has already ascended). Instead they are trying to understand what's going on and deliberating what to do about it.
  • Apparitions are typically a one time thing, or else permanent (insanity). Lasting 40 days is not consistent with any psychological phenomenon.
  • Likewise, the "vision" appeared in unusual places. One would expect them to happen in or around the tomb itself (ala a "ghost") or in Galilee (where Jesus was from).
  • The "vision" appeared to many people simultaneously. Despite the popularity of the term "mass hysteria" there is no such phenomenon as mass visions.
Because of these contradictions, this theory does not seem possible.

The Modernist view
This theory states that the Resurrection is a supernatural event, and can therefore not be known historically and nothing can be said about it. The accounts of the Resurrection were made up little by little over the centuries as a representation of the disciples' belief that Jesus was with God.

This view disagrees with what we know. Although the Resurrection is a supernatural event, we can and do know things about it historically. Although science cannot explain the cause of supernatural events, they can in fact be measured, and do take place at a particular place and time, historically. We know that Jesus was crucified and buried, and that the tomb was empty. We know this through the testimony of historians other than the Gospel authors. Furthermore, the disciples preached Jesus' Resurrection from that very first Easter morning. This was not an idea that came later.
So, I declare this also is

So, the best that can be done to deny the Resurrection is to ignore historical documents and evidence, and simply call on "blind faith" that it did not happen. In other words it is not irrational to believe in the Resurrection. It is, in fact, irrational not to believe in the Resurrection.