Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bailing Out Planned Parenthood

Excerpted from LifeSite News:

The so-called economic stimulus bill the Senate approved on Tuesday contains a bailout package for Planned Parenthood that will give the abortion giant hundreds of millions of dollars to promote birth control. President Barack Obama is soon expected to sign the bill into law.

Specifically, a provision buried deep in the legislation clears the way for expanded federal funding of contraceptives through Medicaid for those who aren't even poor.

A Clinton-era program allows states to seek a waiver to offer Medicaid "family planning" services - including people who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. If they seek the waiver, the federal government matches the state funding with $9 for every $1.

Naturally, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards was elated by the news. "We finally did it. It wasn't easy, but after two long years of working with Congress, I'm happy to report [the provision was included]," Richards told supporters in an email.

[...] The House included the Planned Parenthood bailout in its version of the spending bill, but Obama had to instruct House Democrats to remove the provision because it engendered so much opposition it threatened to derail the bill.

Senate Democrats snuck the provision back in the measure they have sent to Obama and with the Senate having a more pro-abortion makeup, the provision remained in the legislation without much of a fight.

As a result, all 50 states will now offer Medicaid "family planning" services (including contraception) with the federal government offering the same $9 to $1 match. Although the money doesn't fund abortions directly, it goes to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business, which would otherwise have to spend its own money on contraception.

[...] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said after the hubhub about the provision in the House bill, "While [Obama] agrees that greater access to family planning is good policy, the president believes that the funding for it does not belong in the economic recovery and
reinvestment plan."

However, that will not likely prevent him from signing the Senate-passed spending bill anyway.

The House debate on the provision also contained an interesting moment which saw House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defending the provision and appearing to indicate she thought children were a
burden to the economy

"Well, the family-planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost," she said on ABC.

This may sound strange, but as time wears on, I become more and more convinced that the culture wars in America are true spiritual battles being waged on a far larger playing field than mets the eye. The big culture issues - acceptance of abortion, homosexual behavior, contraception, and euthanasia - are all really nothing more than methods of giving the finger to God. Something far larger and nastier than Barack Obama (blessed be He!), Nancy Pelosi, Planned Parenthood, or the North American Man - Boy Love Association is driving all this.

I suppose I've always known that, at least since I woke up from the Seventies, but it just seems more and more blatant. As things spin more and more out of control, and the center fails, it seems like whatever veneer of politeness and logic that once coated the agenda is getting stripped away and That-Which-Lies-Beneath gets more and more visible.

It's hard for me to believe I even talk like this. I'm trained in the sciences; I spent half my lif in a research lab. I'm by nature a "touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it, feel it or it's not really there" sort of guy. I don't watch Ghost Hunters on the SciFi Channel; I think alien abductees probably have a really bad sleep disorder; I think their "implants" are what - when I was a kid- we used to refer to as "splinters." I might have been willing to believe in UFOs in the early 50's, but not after 60 years of "now you see it, now you don't." And I believe that the house down the street with the spooky windows and the gargoyles is just a house with some bad decorators. It may have scorpions or field mice, but it doesn't have ghosts, ghouls, or chupacabras.

But it's gotten to the point where something is tangible; you can feel it. Some thing is abroad in the land, and it is nasty, dirty, and creepy. I wonder if it felt like this in Babylon.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Signs of the Times

From, passed along without further comment:

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) - Montgomery County police say 16 people were arrested after a fight broke out during a concert held to promote nonviolence and to remember a Silver Spring teen killed last year.

The free Stop the Violence youth concert was held Saturday night on Ellsworth Street in downtown Silver Spring in memory of 14-year-old Montgomery Blair High School student Tai Lam, who was shot to death in November.

Police say fighting broke out near the stage toward the end of the concert and at least one person resisted arrest.

Police say 16 adults and juveniles were arrested for offenses such as assault and disorderly conduct.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Stimulating the Economy

Immediately after the election, I ordered a thousand rounds of 9mm full-metal-jacket for practice ammunition. I got an email this morning telling me it would ship today. That's not quite four months on back order.

I don't expect Obama's policies to do a lot for the economy in general, but he seems to have done wonders for the gun and ammo business.

Texas Independence Day - One Day late

Evil, nasty little streptococci prevented me from posting yeaterday, so I am commemerating the event today with Travis's letter from the Alamo:

To The People of Texas andAll Americans In The World --February 24, 1836

Fellow citizens & compatriots -- I am beseiged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man -- The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken -- I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls -- I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, & every thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch -- The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country --
William Barret TravisLt. Col. Comdt.

P.S. The Lord is on our side -- When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn -- We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves --

God bless Texas, as we look forward with hope to the next revolution. May it be soon, swift, and successful.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

From The Hill:

Attorney General Eric Holder raised the prospect Wednesday that the administration would push to bring back the ban. But Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat "no" when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.

"On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”

Outside of the dig at the recent Republican president, that phrase is the stock line of those who don’t want to pass new gun control laws, such as the National Rifle Association.

The White House declined to comment on Holder's remarks, referring reporters to the Department of Justice. The DoJ did not respond to The Hill's request for comment.

Looks like the House Dems aren't quite as eager to shoot themselves in the head as Reichsfuhrer General Holder. There's a general belief that the first "Assault Weapons" ban was a big contributor to the Dems' loss of Congress back in '92.

Let me see if I've got this straight. After the election, gun sales went through the roof (Ruger's sales are up 82%, for example). President Obama (may He live forever!) said that panic buying was silly and people didn't need to fear his administration in regard to gun control. Then his SS Chief Attorney General says he wants to reinstate the AWB, which would ban people from obtaining the very firearms that have been flying off the shelves, that The One (Blessed be He!) himself said people didn't need to run out and buy. Someone less in awe of He For Whom the Seas Recede (May his socks never develop holes!) than my humble self might choose the word "duplicitous."

In any case, I'm glad I bought what I did when I did.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Speaking the Truth to Power

From Catholic News Agency:
Canadians packed St. Basil’s Church in Toronto on Monday evening to hear Archbishop Charles Chaput speak about how Catholics should live out their faith in the public square. He warned that in the U.S., Catholics need to act on their faith and be on guard against "a spirit of adulation bordering on servility" that exists towards the Obama administration.

The public lecture by Archbishop Chaput took place on the campus of the University of Toronto at St. Basil’s Church and was attended by an overflow crowd of more than 700 people.

[...] "I like clarity, and there’s a reason why," began the archbishop. "I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth -- which means candor."

The Denver prelate then provided his critique of President Obama.

"President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with."

Yet this will be "very hard for Catholics in the United States," Chaput warned.

According to the archbishop, the political situation for Catholics is difficult to discern because a "spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused pro-lifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer."

Looking ahead to the coming months and years, Chaput offered four "simple things" to remember.

"First," he said, "all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil."

[..] In a reference to the messianic treatment the Barack Obama received from some Americans during the presidential primaries, Archbishop Chaput delivered his second point: "in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs."

[...] The third point to focus on when the beliefs of Catholics are challenged is that "it doesn’t matter what we claim to believe if we’re unwilling to act on our beliefs," Chaput counseled.

"The fourth and final thing to remember, and there’s no easy way to say it," remarked Archbishop Chaput, is that the "Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years."

"And now we’re harvesting the results -- in the public square, in our families and in the confusion of our personal lives. I could name many good people and programs that seem to disprove what I just said. But I could name many more that do prove it, and some of them work in

[...] Citing the example of "unhappy, self-described Catholics who complain that abortion is too much of a litmus test," he stated, "We can’t claim to be ‘Catholic’ and ‘pro-choice’ at the same time without owning the responsibility for where the choice leads - to a dead unborn child."

The archbishop also addressed the "abortion reduction" argument being made by some in politics.

"We can’t talk piously about programs to reduce the abortion body count without also working vigorously to change the laws that make the killing possible. If we’re Catholic, then we believe in the sanctity of developing human life. And if we don’t really believe in the humanity of the unborn child from the moment life begins, then we should stop lying to ourselves and others, and even to God, by claiming we’re something we’re not."

[...] Winding his talk down, the Archbishop of Denver remarked on the misunderstanding of the word "hope."

"For Christians," he explained, "hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a political slogan. Virtus, the Latin root of virtue, means strength or courage. Real hope is unsentimental. It has nothing to do with the cheesy optimism of election campaigns. Hope assumes and demands a spine in believers. And that’s why - at least for a Christian - hope sustains us when the real answer to the problems or hard choices in life is ‘no, we can’t,’ instead of ‘yes, we can.’"

The full text of the archbishop's speech can be found here:

A good bishop is a gift from God. I don't always agree with what passes for Catholic social policy (the policies themselves, not the underlying theology), but I have a feeling I'd feel obligated to give this guy a pretty good listen.

I understand why there are so many pro-abortion Episcopalians - TEC has been making up its theology for years, and readily adapts it to fit whatever winds blow through the culture. Orthodox Anglicans have gone thir separate ways to the Continuum, Orthodoxy, or Catholicism. But how can Catholics tolerate this crap? I know people who fall into that category - maybe they wouldn't kill a baby, but don't care if anyone else does. When I talk to them, there's just a disconnect somewhere. Something is just flat missing in their moral reasoning, something that should have been put there by the Church and just wasn't during the decades of "The Spirit of Vatican II." It's sad.

The lefties have always talked about "speaking the truth to power" when they wanted to foist Bolshie ideas onto conservatives. I wonder how they'll respond to this.

Eat More Rodent

Today is the beginning of Great Lent. Everyone should remember that their diet should be limited to plant products, fish, shellfish, and capybara.

Capybaras have been accepted as Lenten fod since the 1500's; now if I can just find someplace that serves a McCapy...

Giant herds of capybaras, alarmed by arrival of Ash Wednesday, have been observed fleeing for safety in Protestant countries before becoming Lenten centerpieces.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Informative Poll

From Rasmussen Reports:

Confidence in how America is doing in the War on Terror has dropped dramatically in the past two weeks. Just 47% of voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 23% believe the terrorists are winning, while 25% say it's a draw. Six percent (6%) are undecided.

Just over two weeks ago, 62% said the United States and its allies were winning the war, a new record high. Only 14% said the terrorists were winning at that time. The latest results are similar to those found in early January

Now this is interesting. Have any major defeats been incurred on the battlefronts? No. Have any major blows been struck by the jihadists? No. Has there been any major civil unrest in either Iraq or Afghanistan? No. Has Osama bin Hidin' released any new threats against the US, Europe, or any other civilized nation? No.

So what's the difference between now and two weeks ago? Obama (blessed be He) addressed the issue and said he was sending more troops to Afghanistan. People are beginning to realize just who we have as Commander in Chief, and what the implications may be.

I have a feeling that circumstances may constrain Obama's actions somewhat, but he has stated (a) that he wants to close Gitmo (but only sometime in the future); (b) that he wants to pull troops out of Iraq (but he doesn't know when); (c) that he wants to add troops to Afghanistan (but has not elucidated a startegy - not that anyone else has); and (d) that he wants to cut way back on military expenditures (to help subsidize his incredible spending goals). This whole thing reminds me of a former Democrat president named Johnson, who wanted to fight a war without really fighting a war. W was bad enough, but at least he seemed to keep his eye on the goal of winning. This new set of guys seems primarily interested in exiting without looking too bad.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The latest Ffrom TEC

From The Living Church Foundation:
The Diocese of Northern Michigan elected the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester as bishop Feb. 21 at a special diocesan convention.

Fr. Forrester, the
only candidate on the slate, was elected on the first ballot, receiving 88 percent of delegate votes and 91 percent of congregational votes, according to a diocesan news release.

The bishop-elect has served the diocese since 2001 as its ministry development coordinator and more recently as rector of St. Paul’s Church, Marquette, and St. John’s, Negaunee.

The announcement of Fr. Forrester’s nomination sparked controversy last month because he is also a practicing Buddhist and said he had
received Buddhist “lay ordination” and was “walking the path of Christianity and Zen Buddhism together.”

Assuming sufficient consents are received from a majority of standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction, Fr. Forrester will be consecrated Oct. 17 in Marquette.

Well, if you can have Driud priests and Moslem priests, you certainly can't discriminate and deny the Episcopate to Buddhists, can you? Anything else would be, well, unEpiscopalian. I'm sure it's okay, as long as he doesn't take his Buddhism any more seriously tan he takes his Christianity. I've been in TEC churches where the worship service was largely navel-gazing, so most people probably won't even notice any difference.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

One Courageous Young Lady, One Weaselly Old Priest

Despite facing threats of disqualification, a 12-year-old girl took first place in a speech contest when she eloquently argued for the rights of unborn children – after an offended judge quit.

"What if I told you that right now, someone was choosing if you were going to live or die?" the seventh-grader begins in a video recording of her speech on YouTube. "What if I told you that this choice wasn't based on what you could or couldn't do, what you'd done in the past or what you would do in the future? And what if I told you, you could do nothing about it?"

The girl, a student at a Toronto school identified only as "Lia," continued: "Fellow students and teachers, thousands of children are right now in that very situation. Someone is choosing without even knowing them whether they are going to live or die.

"That someone is their mother. And that choice is abortion."

[..] Despite Lia's enthusiasm for her topic, her teacher "strongly encouraged" her to select a different one for her class presentation or she would be considered ineligible for an upcoming speech contest.

"[S]everal teachers discouraged her from picking the topic of abortion; she was told it was 'too big,' 'too mature' and 'too controversial,'" her mother wrote. "She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition."

Lia's mother continued, "Initially, I tried helping her find other topics to speak on, but, in the end, she was adamant. She just felt she wanted to continue with the topic of abortion. So she forfeited her chance to compete in order to speak on something she was passionate about."

Lia's teacher was so impressed by the speech that she allowed her student to advance as the winner. Lia presented her speech to judges in front of her entire school on Feb. 10.

The school principal and teachers called Lia's presentation the "obvious winner" - but the judges suddenly disqualified her the following day "because of the topic and her position on abortion," her mother said.

Lia's father later revealed that the judges had a "big disagreement." One was offended by the speech and voluntarily stepped down while the others reversed their earlier decision - declaring her the winner.

Now Lia plans to take her message of life to a regional speech competition, and more than 130,000 visitors have viewed her presentation online.

Read the whole thing (and see the video) at WorldNet Daily. Then compare this young lady's words to those of the President of Assumption University of Windsor, Father Paul Rennick:

Fr. Paul Rennick, who is also Vice Chancellor of the school, gave the remarks when LSN (LifeSite News - ed.) sought comment regarding the school's decision to invite Cokie Roberts, a pro-abortion Catholic news analyst who has criticized the Church for preaching against homosexuality and contraception, to address the school as part of the "Christian Culture" lecture series.

Fr. Rennick told LSN that he had "personally vetted" the selection of Roberts and chose her because she was "a woman of faith," a "well known Catholic" and "successful as an individual Christian."

LSN asked Fr. Rennick, "Do you think there is a possibility of scandal from the fact that she has professed very pro-abortion views and has criticized Catholic bishops for teaching Church doctrine on homosexuality and contraception?" The President of the Catholic University replied, "No, I don't."

Asked to elaborate, Fr. Rennick said: "If you look at the catholic population, you'll find a whole variety of positions on all of those topics. It seems to me that disagreement on a particular position doesn't disqualify one from being a Catholic. Unless, of course, that position is whether Jesus is the Christ."

"Abortion is not an infallible teaching. It never has been proclaimed infallibly," he said. "This attempt to put everything that the Church teaches in this one set of categories, it seems to me, is not a proper Catholic position, not according to the history of our church," he added.

He should check out the Catechism of his own church. But, then, I expect he is familiar with it - he simply doesn't care for what it says. A weasel in a white collar is a weasel nonetheless. My personal opinion of Fr. Rennick is irrelevant, but Da Boss and Da Ghost seem to have made some comments about guys like him.

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 18:2-3, RSV)

Not to mention:

Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.
(1Ti 1:6-7, RSV)

Not to mention even more:

... but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
(Mat 18:6, RSV)

But I suspect Fr. Rennik finds that irrelevant as well.

Monday, February 16, 2009

On a Kinder, Gentler Note

From OneNewsNow:
The new president of HCJB Global says the Christian radio ministry now has an estimated seven million mostly-Muslim listeners in North Africa and the Middle East.

Wayne Pederson says the Arab world is full of "lost people who need Jesus, and they're getting tired of a message of hate and are looking for a message of love." He says that through HCJB radio broadcasts, the gospel is penetrating Muslim societies -- so much so that entire households, and in some cases entire villages, are converting to Christianity.

"When Jesus came, He didn't just preach. He healed. And so we want to do both -- preach on the radio and heal through our healthcare. People in that part of the world are coming to Christ as households, as communities. Entire villages are coming to Christ together," he notes.

"Each household has seven to eight people in a household. So we're saying conservatively, we've got seven million listeners. In a huge Muslim section of the world, you've probably heard stories of how the gospel is penetrating that society. An independent survey has found that we have a million households a week listening to our broadcast in North Africa and Middle East."

Okay - I came across this tidbit right after my previous post mentioning ecumenical dialogue via B-52. Although I can still do the math, I quit believing in random coincidences quite some time ago. God rubbeth mine nose in the unclean soil of mine rants. This guy Pederson and his organization have the proper Christian approach to "what to do about Islam," and - of course - it bears fruit. I stand chastised, and grovel before the Throne of Judgment.

Religion of Peace Update

From the Buffalo News:
Orchard Park police are investigating a particularly gruesome killing, the beheading of a woman, after her husband - an influential member of the local Muslim community - reported her death to police Thursday.

Police identified the victim as Aasiya Z. Hassan, 37. Detectives have charged her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, 44, with second-degree murder.

[...] Muzzammil Hassan is the founder and chief executive officer of Bridges TV, which he launched in 2004, amid hopes that it would h
elp portray Muslims in a more positive light.

Well, that worked out well.
[...] "Obviously, this is the worst form of domestic violence possible," Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said today.
Well, that was a brilliant comment. If you don't have anything worth saying...
Authorities say Aasiya Hassan recently had filed for divorce from her husband.
Uh-oh. That must have been an unforgivable offense to any follower of The Prophet. Divorce is pretty much a one-way street; I can divorce you any time I feel like it, but if you divorce me, you're a dead woman.

How did we ever lose Constantinople to these people? I'm sorry; I guess it's not a very Christian attitude on my part. But the only "dialogue" I want to have with these guys is long distance - preferably from about 40,000 feet in a B-52.


From The Sun (UK):
British and French nuclear submarines which collided deep under the Atlantic could have sunk or released deadly radioactivity, it emerged last night. The Royal Navy’s HMS Vanguard and the French Navy’s Le
are both nuclear powered and were carrying nuke missiles.

[...]The collision is believed to have taken place on February 3 or 4, in mid-Atlantic. Both subs were submerged and on separate missions.

She (Vanguard - ed.) was last night towed into Faslane in Scotland, with dents and scrapes visible on her hull. Triomphant limped to Brest with extensive damage to her sonar dome.

Triomphant has a crew of 101. Vanguard weighs 16,000 tons, is 150 metres long and has a crew of 140.

No word yet on whether the French boat surrendered.

Apparently, there were a number of collisions between US and Russian boats during the Cold War. At least one may have resulted in loss of a Russian boat and its crew. These guys, however, were (reportedly) not playing chicken and just ran into each other in the middle of the ocean. I'm not sure I believe that...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Galaxy Has Billions of Earths?

From an article on BBC News:
There could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, a US conference has heard.

Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science said many of these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms.

He was speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

So far, telescopes have been able to detect just over 300 planets outside our Solar System.

Very few of these would be capable of supporting life, however. Most are gas giants like our Jupiter; and many orbit so close to their parent stars that any microbes would have to survive roasting temperatures.

But, based on the limited numbers of planets found so far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one "Earth-like" planet. This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable of supporting life.

"Not only are they probably habitable but they probably are also going to be inhabited," Dr Boss told BBC News. "But I think that most likely the nearby 'Earths' are going to be inhabited with things which are perhaps more common to what Earth was like three or four billion years ago." That means bacterial lifeforms.

Dr Boss estimates that Nasa's Kepler mission, due for launch in March, should begin finding some of these Earth-like planets within the next few years.

Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify how many intelligent civilisations might be out there. The research suggested there could be thousands of them.

Although this would in many ways be extraordinarily cool, I can't help but think Dr. Ross is pulling his numbers out of the air, or somewhere less pleasant. This question has been tossed around for decades now, and there really doesn't seem to be that much more information on which to base these guesses - and guesses is what they are. I'm not an astronomer, but I try to keep up, and near as I can tell there is exactly one earth-like world that has been detected. In addition, Earth is special in more ways than just having the right composition and being at the right distance from its star. Current theory has the tide-producing moon being formed by a rather unlikely collision, while the presence of Jupiter helps buffer the inner solar system from impacts.

Any guesstimate that ndicates there are many civilizations in the galaxy runs smack into the Fermi Paradox. (The Fermi Paradox, simplified, raises the question that - if complex life is common - where the heck is it? If star travel is possible, even slowly, the galaxy should have been colonized millions of years ago. At the very least, we should be finding buried starships or Brontosaurus bones with bullet holes in them. If it's not possible to bridge the gap between the stars, then signs of an advanced civilization should still be observable over galactic distances.

The fact that we don't see them is a pretty good indication that they aren't there - either technological civilizations are extremely rare, or they have a very short shelf-life in cosmicterms. Other explanations make for good science-fiction stories, but aren't very convincing.

Theologically, intelligent extraterrestrial life would raise all sorts of interesting questions for a Christian. Is Jesus unique to Earth, making us the lone universal source forthe Gospel? It sounds conceited on our part, but the Savior would have had to be born somewhere, and Earth is as good as anywhere else. Or are the Incarnation and Atonement events that are re-presented throughout space and time in a manner symbolized by the way Christ's Incarnation and Atonement are re-presented in the Mass? I.e. are Christ's birth, death, and resurrection recapitulated wherever they are necessary? Are all these other beings fallen in the first place? If so, would they even be willing to talk with the likes of us? Or, rather horrifically, might some be fallen beyond hope of redemption?

With no data whatsoever, this is a subject best suited for late-night dorm room discussions among stoned undergraduates. The only thing I know for sure is that - should a saucer land on the White House lawn - the foreign missions assessment is going to go through the roof.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Deacons

Congratulations to Andrew Brummett and Tim Williams, who were ordained to the Diaconate today at St Francis Episcopal Anglican Church today by Bishop William Millsaps, assisted by Bishop Council Nedd.

a) The service was labeled as "The Ordering of Deacons." Does that prove that our candidates were previously disordered?
b) Is it really propitious to be ordained to the order made famous by Stephan, the first martyr, on a day named for another martyr named Valentinus?
c) With two bishops, fve priests and two newbie deacons, we gotta get a longer altar.
d) The females of the parish clearly participated in the post-ordination meal preparation, because the brisket, mild sausage, hot sausage, pork chops, chicken, roast beef, chicken spaghetti, and fried turkey were separated by bowls of green things wih leaves.

The auto-da-fe will be scheduled at a later date.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

And this one, from a Dallas Borders Bookstore, explains our current situation quite nicely.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Public Final Transit

From - not one of my normal news sources, so I won't guarantee this isn't apocryphal. If true, however, then whatever you do, don't get on the wrong bus in China.

If you're a criminal in China, you'll want to avoid its new death buses, vehicles that carry out executions while streaming live video of them, then provide some privacy for organ harvesting.

The buses, of which over 40 are currently in use, are replacing firing squads as China's preferred method of execution. The buses provide a setup for lethal injections, and the acts are carried out on streaming video so local authorities can observe and ensure that everything is done legally.

Critics say that the buses help the government secretly harvest organs to sell to the west, as there's already a doctor on hand to administer the injection and they never show the bodies between execution and cremation.

Sounds like a good idea for Texas, since we send more goblins into the hereafter than any other state. I suspect we'd go for black stretch Hummers instead of the happy-bus, however.

I know a lot of people oppose the death penalty - I have waffled back and forth on the topic several times myself. I do get tired when people claim its a foundational Christian belief and try to make it equivalent to opposing abortion and euthanasia. They are not the same thing. It especially bugs me when Catholics do it, because it means they are either lying about what their church teaches, or have been lied to by someone else. As was said,

"While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

Of course the guy that originally wrote that probably doesn't know what he's talking about. Some dude named Ratzinger...wait - didn't he change his name? Benjamin...Bartholemew...Benedict...Yeah - Benedict ExVeeEye. That's it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scandal of Particularity?

The Observer at Boston College qualifies for an entry in the you-just-can't make-this-up files:

Returning to school for the Spring semester, some professors were shocked to learn about a new university policy that added crucifixes to every classroom on campus over the winter break. Calling the crucifixes and Catholic icons offensive at a Jesuit university, at least one professor is refusing to teach in classrooms adorned by a crucifix even if he should have to move his class to a dfferent room at his own expense.

Well, as a Jesuit university, I guess BC lives up to modern Jesuit standards of faithfuness to the Catholic Church. Do the good professors at BC understand the meaning of the word "laughingstock?"

It should have been a giveaway that BC decided to label the Christmas holidays as "winter break." Since a number of Traditional Anglican churches are currently pursuing communion with the Roman Catholic Church, perhaps it would be a fair trade to give the Jesuits to the Episcopal Church. They could simper and mince around well together.

Note: the above image is of a Jesuit-sponsored "monument to Peace" somewhere in Canuckistan, that symbolizes 12 extant religions. Don't know why they didn't include Santeria - of course, nobody knows what's buried in the base of the monument.

I Don't Think It Will Catch On Here

From The Times (London) Online:

Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing? India's Hindu nationalist movement apparently has the answer: a new soft drink made from cow urine.

The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India's biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.

Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink - called "gau jal", or "cow water" - in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and could be launched "very soon, maybe by the end of this year".

"Don't worry, it won't smell like urine and will be tasty too," he told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges.

[...] The drink is the latest attempt by the RSS - which was founded in 1925 and now claims eight million members - to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness.
[...] In 2001, the RSS and its offshoots - which include the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party - began promoting cow urine as a cure for ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity and even cancer.

The movement has often been accused of using more violent methods, such as killing 67 Christians in the eastern state of Orissa last year, and assaulting women in a pub in Mangalore last month. It also has a history of targeting foreign business in India, as in 1994, when it organised a nationwide boycott of multinational consumer goods, including Pepsi and Coca Cola.

He insisted, however, that it would be able to compete with the American cola brands, even with their enormous advertising budgets. "We're going to give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind," he said. "We may also think of exporting it."

Well, I've been looking around for a retirement business where I can stay a little busy and make a few extra bucks when I finally pack it in. I don't think I'll be looking to acquire the US import license for this stuff, however. It just doesn't sound like a money maker - at least, not in Texas.

On a theological note, it does emphasize the distinctions between Hinduism and Christianity. With apologies to my Hindu friends: We have the Body and Blood of the Incarnate Word; they have Cow Pea. I really don't see much of a contest here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Headline of the Day

From CNBC:
"US stocks fell sharply Tuesday in a broad-based decline as the government announced details of its latest bailout plan."

Well, if the government were offering to help me, I would probably get pretty droopy myself. These "stimulus plans" are going to cost us at least 2 trillion bucks. There's no way the government can fund that without resorting to printing money. A massive increase in the money supply that doesn't correspond with a massive increase in the supply of (and demand for) goods just leads to increasing prices. Inflation leads to increases in interest rates. Increased interest rates inhibit people from borrowing money to buy houses and grow businesses. Does anybody remember Jimmy Carter and "stagflation?" He achieved what was supposed to be economically impossible - a deep recession with massive inflation and near-unthinkable interest rates. I remember looking at a used car and being offered a "preferred" interest rate of 18.5%.

Everybody seems to be thinking in terms of the New Deal. Nobody seems to recall from history that the New Deal didn't work! (The unemployment rate in 1939, the year WWII broke out in Europe, was 17.5%.) I think we are pretty well screwed.

On a side note, I heard today that the "stimulus" bill contains funds for a panel to weigh cost-benefit analyses for health care procedures. This is the same sort of board that the Canadians use to deny care to the elderly - usually by moving them to the end of a waiting list. That way, you aren't "denied" care by a loving government - you just have to wait 17 months for throat cancer surgery. Of course, by then you're dead. But that's just an incidental statistic, not the fault of National Health Care.

If you don't think it's coming here, you're crazy. Your kids will off you in the name of Federal compassion, and think they're doing something good.