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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Commerce Clause-Schmommerce Clause

This is probably insendiary, violent, right wing, shrill, extremist, hateful, and bloodthirsty.
I'm sure I'll be talking to Mr. Waxman soon.

Waxman, Stupak want CEOs of Deere, Caterpillar, AT&T at congressional hearing
Triangle Business Journal


Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Bart Stupak of Michigan want the CEOs of Deere & Co., Caterpillar, AT&T and Verizon to come to Capitol Hill and explain how the health-care reform bill signed into law last week will lead to billions of dollars in extra costs for their companies.

The four companies have all said they face increased costs because of a provision in the health-care law that taxes a subsidy companies receive for providing prescription drugs to their employees.

AT&T (NYSE: T), which has more than 1,000 employees in the Raleigh-Durham area, said Friday that it would record a $1 billion noncash charge in the first quarter due to the tax changes. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), which announced earlier this month that it would lay off 121 employees in Clayton, said it would take a $100 million charge.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), which has 636 Triangle employees, put the price tag at $150 million after taxes. Verizon (NYSE: VZ), which provides phone service to Durham County, told its employees in an e-mail that the changes to the Medicare Part D subsidy could make it less valuable to employers and could result in significant changes for retirees and employers.

Waxman, one of the most prominent Democrats in the House, and Stupak, the anti-abortion Democrat whose last-minute deal with the Obama administration ensured health-care reform’s passage, sent letters asking four CEOs – Samuel R. Allen of Deere and Co., James Owens of Caterpillar, Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon and Randall Stephenson of AT&T – to appear at an April 21 meeting of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

The congressmen’s letter challenged the claims that health-care reform would increase the companies’ costs and requested that the CEOs provide copies of in-house analyses and correspondence related to the impact of health reform.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

.."And that day, Herod and Pilate became friends"...

Looks familiar, doesn't she?  This is former TX Governor Anne Richards' daughter, Cecile and she runs Planned Parenthood. 

Richards said Planned Parenthood was “committed” to changing the “egregious” Nelson language in the bill that President Obama signed into law on Tuesday. She claimed the bill unjustly treats abortion coverage differently than all other health care. 

Hmm, what's wrong with this picture? How about this notion: that those in favor of enforcing constitutional hooey are treating the unborn differently than all other born humans. If you want to read about how 59 misguided nuns can turn into a whopping legion of 59,000, just take a gander at the CNA article...is the CBO doing new math again?

Washington D.C., Mar 27, 2010 / 07:28 am (CNA).- Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has praised the Catholic religious sisters who endorsed the Senate health care bill, claiming they deserve gratitude for making “a critical demonstration of support” for a bill that significantly increased coverage of “reproductive health care.”


Writing for the Huffington Post Wednesday in her capacity as president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Richards claimed that it was Catholic nuns who “most importantly broke with the bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform.”


“This brave and important move, demonstrating that they cared as much about the health care of families in America as they did about church hierarchy, was a critical demonstration of support.”


The group NETWORK claimed in a March 17 letter to the House of Representatives that it represented 59,000 women religious across the U.S. It urged members of Congress to support the bill.


Their statement was uncritically reported by the Associated Press. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and others working to pass the legislation invoked the sisters’ endorsement for support.

On March 18 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) spokeswoman Sr. Mary Ann Walsh said NETWORK “grossly overstated” their numbers.


“The letter had 55 signatories, some individuals, some groups of three to five persons. One endorser signed twice,” she added. “There are 793 religious communities in the United States,” Sr. Walsh said.


Another group of women religious, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), issued a statement saying it represented 10,000 sisters and supported the U.S. bishops’ criticisms of the Senate health care bill.


In her Huffington Post essay, Richards said in the last days of the debate over the health care bill, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and the USCCB “threatened to bring down health care completely over their narrow demands.”


“Bart Stupak may not ask the nuns for advice, as he recently announced to the press, but maybe next time she should,” Richards jabbed.


She praised Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) for fighting against an “abortion ban” in the House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) gathered 41 signatures of members who pledged to vote against any final bill with the “Stupak ban.”


“These women stood in the way of plenty of men in Congress who were ready to cut a deal, whether with Bart Stupak or the National Conference of Catholic Bishops,” she continued.


Richards said Planned Parenthood was “committed” to changing the “egregious” Nelson language in the bill that President Obama signed into law on Tuesday. She claimed the bill unjustly treats abortion coverage differently than all other health care.


However, she also said the bill was a “huge victory for women’s reproductive health” because it significantly increased insurance coverage of “reproductive health care, including family planning.”


“Reproductive health care” and “women’s rights” are euphemisms common among abortion advocates.


Richards, the daughter of former Democratic Texas governor Ann Richards, noted that some in Congress opposed her agenda.


“The simple and discouraging truth is that we have an anti-choice House of Representatives,” she claimed.


She lamented that 64 Democrats voted in favor of the Stupak Amendment and that there are “too many” Republicans and Democrats in Congress opposed to “women’s rights.”


“We need more than health care; we need women and men elected to office who will stand up for our health and our rights, even when it's hard. So here's to the women leaders in Congress -- and to the nuns -- and to the women everywhere who were counting on them. They need our gratitude and our support,” Richards’ Huffington Post essay concluded.

(Editorial color....so if there are too many republicans and democrats in congress who oppose women's rights, why not just euthanize them?)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When Pretense Masquerades as Virtue...

(Nationally syndicated columnist, Kathleen Parker)

Etymology: Eponym for Rep. Bart Stupak.


Function: verb

1: In a legislative process, to obstruct passage of a proposed law on the basis of a moral principle (i.e. protecting the unborn), accumulating power in the process, then at a key moment surrendering in exchange for a fig leaf, the size of which varies according to the degree of emasculation of said legislator and/or as a reflection of just how stupid people are presumed to be. (Slang: backstabber.)

Poor Bart Stupak. The man tried to be a hero for the unborn, and then, when all the power of the moment was in his frail human hands, he dropped the baby.

Now, in the wake of his decision to vote "yes" for a health care bill that expands public funding for abortion, he is vilified and will be forever remembered as the guy who Stupaked health care reform and the pro-life movement.

Of all the disappointed activists, Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org and creator of StandWithStupak.com, was perhaps the most demonstrative in his support of pro-life Democrats. He even created a video with a remake of the final battle scene from "Braveheart."

A helmeted British Barack Obama says, "Our cavalry will ride them down like grass. … Full attack!" Whereupon, Stupak, eyeglasses incongruously perched on his blue-painted face, commands his pitchfork army, "Steady. … Hold, hold, hold."

Alas, Stupak couldn't hold.

Read the rest of  Kathleen Parker's column, here
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-oped-0324-parker-20100323,0,1863746.column

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dear Congress: If you ignore your constituents, we will go away

You know something? Christ was sold out in the middle of the night too.  I am now left wondering how much all of the sweet deals will cost the American Taxpayer. Stupak...enjoy your airports.

Here's some snippets of the eloquent speech by John Boehner moments before the will of the people went into death throes...

“We are standing here looking at a health care bill that no one in this body believes is satisfactory. Today, we stand here amidst the wreckage of what was once the respect and honor that this house was held in by our fellow citizens.”

“We have failed to reflect the will of our constituents, and when we fail to reflect that will, we fail ourselves and we fail our country.”

“Look at this bill. Ask yourself: Do you really believe that if you like the health plan that you have that you can keep it? No, you can’t.”

“In this economy, with this unemployment, with our desperate needs for jobs and economic growth, is this really the time to raise taxes, to create bureaucracies and burden every job creator in our land?”

We will soon case “some of the most consequential votes that any of us will ever cast in this chamber. The decision we make will affect every man, woman and child in this nation for generations to come.”

The American people “want us to focus on jobs, not more spending, not more government, and certainly not more taxes.”

“Shame on us. Shame on this body. Shame on each and every one of you who substitues your wills and your desires above your fellow countrymen.”

“By our actions today, we disgrace (the) values” of America’s great lawgivers.

“This is the people’s house. And the moment a majority forgets it, it starts writing itself a ticket to minority status. If we pass this bill, there will be no turning back. In a democracy, you can only ignore the will of the American people for so long.”

“Never let this happen again. This process, this defiance of our citizens… it’s not too late to begin to restore the bonds of trust…and return comity to this institution.”

--John Boehner (R), Minority Whip

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Finish Line

Sweet Victory-Karen (aka, "Team Mary") crosses the 10k finish line at the Nun Run in Glendale today.

Team Mary finished 6.2 miles in 62 minutes (unofficially). That's not bad for a beginner. It was a gorgeous day; a bit of chill to the air, wedgewood-blue sky. Me and about 500 or so others arrived around 7:30 this morning for the 1st annual Nun Run to raise money for the Desert Nuns new home in Tonopah, AZ.

It was transformative.

Running alongside other participants all with same goal in mind was a moving experience. I started off all "adrenalined up" my first meter and realized "Hey, I need to regulate this rush of super power or I'll be dead by mile 2".  This kept happening as I past each mile marker thinking to myself: "I think I can, I think I can...Lesson #1: Stay in the present moment. 

As I zoned during the run, I had some moments of recollection about how the body is truly an amazing machine. For as much as I have abused my temple over the years (yes, I am a former pack a day smoker) I found the most overriding feeling was thankfulness and appreciation for all the ways I get to serve God and others around me. I got a new lease! Sincere gratitude for the many lovely friends who pledged their prayers and dollars and who kept repeating"You Go Girl". I've just decided to make it my personal mantra.
Lesson #2: Gratitude is a delicious attitude.

Which leads me to Lesson #3: Don't get over-emotional when you're trying to run...it starts to feel like there's a boa constrictor wrapped around your throat and upper chest. This started happening when I saw the final mile marker, imagined all the people who have inspired me along the way, and thought to myself: I am just one little person out here today however there were a lot of folks all over the place who are doing great things for God's glory. Gulp. 

So the credits...here you are. The real stars of the show.  You put your money where my feet were!
THANK YOU for helping me cross the finish line.

Ron, Jake and Karsten
Charlene and The Whitfield Family: for challenging me to do 10k instead of 5
Cathy and Jim
Deborah
Ray and Robbie
The Nikas Family
Anne Iles
Kay and John
Chris Christian: yes, that really is her name
Dorothea
Diana
Karen & Iver
Jeanne
Lyd
Kay A. 
Christy
Maggie M: The Inspiration behind Team Mary
Honorable Mention: Kathryn Cornella and Fat Jemma: You were the reasons I started running 2 years ago.
Honorable Mention: Dr. Joe Gibson: You were a silent motivating partner.
The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration: Who continue to inspire us by their life and devotion to Our Lord and who, through your prayers and sacrifices are making a beautiful home of worship a reality.

“Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Cor 9: 24-27)

Run so as to win.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Slaughtering" the Hyde Amendment

PRESIDENT OF U.S. BISHOPS SAYS COST IS TOO HIGH, LOSS IS TOO GREAT FOR HEALTH CARE BILL NOT TO BE REVISED

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the state of health care reform:

Statement by Cardinal Francis George, OMI

The Cost is too High; the Loss is too Great

The Catholic Bishops of the United States have long and consistently advocated for the reform of the American health care system. Their experience in health care and in Catholic parishes has acquainted them with the anguish of mothers who are unable to afford prenatal care, of families unable to ensure quality care for their children, and of those who cannot obtain insurance because of preexisting conditions.

Throughout the discussion on health care over the last year, the bishops have advocated a bipartisan approach to solving our national health care needs. They have urged that all who are sick, injured or in need receive necessary and appropriate medical assistance, and that no one be deliberately killed through an expansion of federal funding of abortion itself or of insurance plans that cover abortion. These are the provisions of the long standing Hyde amendment, passed annually in every federal bill appropriating funds for health care; and surveys show that this legislation reflects the will of the majority of our fellow citizens. The American people and the Catholic bishops have been promised that, in any final bill, no federal funds would be used for abortion and that the legal status quo would be respected.

However, the bishops were left disappointed and puzzled to learn that the basis for any vote on health care will be the Senate bill passed on Christmas Eve. Notwithstanding the denials and explanations of its supporters, and unlike the bill approved by the House of Representatives in November, the Senate bill deliberately excludes the language of the Hyde amendment. It expands federal funding and the role of the federal government in the provision of abortion procedures. In so doing, it forces all of us to become involved in an act that profoundly violates the conscience of many, the deliberate destruction of unwanted members of the human family still waiting to be born.

What do the bishops find so deeply disturbing about the Senate bill? The points at issue can be summarized briefly. The status quo in federal abortion policy, as reflected in the Hyde Amendment, excludes abortion from all health insurance plans receiving federal subsidies. In the Senate bill, there is the provision that only one of the proposed multi-state plans will not cover elective abortions – all other plans (including other multi-state plans) can do so, and receive federal tax credits. This means that individuals or families in complex medical circumstances will likely be forced to choose and contribute to an insurance plan that funds abortions in order to meet their particular health needs.

Further, the Senate bill authorizes and appropriates billions of dollars in new funding outside the scope of the appropriations bills covered by the Hyde amendment and similar provisions. As the bill is written, the new funds it appropriates over the next five years, for Community Health Centers for example (Sec. 10503), will be available by statute for elective abortions, even though the present regulations do conform to the Hyde amendment. Regulations, however, can be changed at will, unless they are governed by statute.

Additionally, no provision in the Senate bill incorporates the longstanding and widely supported protection for conscience regarding abortion as found in the Hyde/Weldon amendment. Moreover, neither the House nor Senate bill contains meaningful conscience protection outside the abortion context. Any final bill, to be fair to all, must retain the accommodation of the full range of religious and moral objections in the provision of health insurance and services that are contained in current law, for both individuals and institutions.

This analysis of the flaws in the legislation is not completely shared by the leaders of the Catholic Health Association. They believe, moreover, that the defects that they do recognize can be corrected after the passage of the final bill. The bishops, however, judge that the flaws are so fundamental that they vitiate the good that the bill intends to promote. Assurances that the moral objections to the legislation can be met only after the bill is passed seem a little like asking us, in Midwestern parlance, to buy a pig in a poke.

What is tragic about this turn of events is that it needn’t have happened. The status quo that has served our national consensus and respected the consciences of all with regard to abortion is the Hyde amendment. The House courageously included an amendment applying the Hyde policy to its Health Care bill passed in November. Its absence in the Senate bill and the resulting impasse are not an accident. Those in the Senate who wanted to purge the Hyde amendment from this national legislation are obstructing the reform of health care.

This is not quibbling over technicalities. The deliberate omission in the Senate Bill of the necessary language that could have taken this moral question off the table and out of play leaves us still looking for a way to meet the President’s and our concern to provide health care for those millions whose primary care physician is now an emergency room doctor. As Pope Benedict told Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel H. Diaz when he presented his credentials as the United States government’s representative to the Holy See, there is “an indissoluble bond between an ethic of life and every other aspect of social ethics.”

Two basic principles, therefore, continue to shape the concerns of the Catholic bishops: health care means taking care of the health needs of all, across the human life span; and the expansion of health care should not involve the expansion of abortion funding and of polices forcing everyone to pay for abortions. Because these principles have not been respected, despite the good that the bill under consideration intends or might achieve, the Catholic bishops regretfully hold that it must be opposed unless and until these serious moral problems are addressed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Bellarmine and the dreaded sex talk

I'm sure I'm not going to win many popularity contests by this blogpost, but Oh well.
You may want to plug your ears.
You may want to avert your glance.
You may want to send your children from the room. Ready? You've got three seconds...
3...2...1...(click on title to continue reading)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

See, running can be a good "habit"

(Above; The Desert Nuns in training for Nun Run Race Day on March 20...listen in on EWTN, Thursday March 11 for a phone interview with Sr. Augustine)

And now, a local update:
The run is 10 days away.  At the good suggestions of a few of my running compadres I have adjusted my run training to include a few wickedly long runs in my week.  Last Friday I ran for 57 minutes and pushed a little over 5 miles.  I believe this is a personal best. I started cramping at about 4 miles which passed and then I was able to get into a really good head space that last push. I am feeling good and strong. A 10k run is 6.2 miles so I have put a 75 minute run as a goal into my weekend. It's not as bad as it sounds.  Just about everything can be broken up into little bits.  hey wait a minute; that might be a blog post idea.... (note to self)

So inspired is as inspired does!  Because of my supernaturally generous donors and zealous challengers, I have committed to a 10k in lieu of the 5k.  Please pray that I can go the distance. I know that all things are possible with God. I have generated a little shy of $1000 for the good sister's new Monestary in Tonopah, Arizona! To those of you who have risen to this occaision in support of me, this, them, etc. THANK YOU! and keep praying...

You can visit the Nun Run Blog over at http://desertnunrun.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Men must endure their going hence." (CS Lewis' Tombstone)



CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. His major contributions in literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown and acclaim. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year.

I did not know it by Lewis completely abandoned the Christian faith of his childhood and became an atheist at the age of 15.

During his time at Oxford, Lewis converted from atheism to being one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century; 1931 marks the year of Lewis's conversion to Christianity. He became a member of the Church of England. Lewis cites his friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien, as well as the writings of the converted G. K. Chesterton, as influencing his conversion.

I love C.S. Lewis and I blame him for the roughly 2 year that I have been scanning all of his printed works for a particular quote that had a profound impact on me. I've been misquoting it ever since I discovered it. It was something about our ability to bring out the very best or the very worst in people, yadda yadda. I had gone to a friend with a question about conversion and long story short, I was given the task of finding my copy of "Mere Christianity". I opened the book and it practically fell open to page 92. The jaw-dropping quote practically slapped me in the face:

"People often think of Christian Morality as a kind of bargain in which God says 'If you keep a lot of rules I'll reward you, and if you don't, I'll do the other thing.' I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice, you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."  Mere Christianity, p. 92

CS Lewis was blessed with many gifts. Chief among them was his gift of literary clarity that rose to genius level. I'm glad he's looking over my shoulder. His words decorate the Masthead under the word "Spikenard".

I think it's time to read that masterpiece again...

Friday, March 5, 2010

100 Anglican Churches Cross the Tiber

(How ironic, my copy of Anne of the Thousand Days just arrived from Netflix today...)

The Telegraph reports the following: 100 Anglican parishes in the USA are set to swim the Tiber buoyed up by Benedict XVI’s provisions in Anglicanorum coetibus. (Thank you for the story Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬)


100 US Anglican parishes convert to Roman Catholic Church

By Simon Caldwell

About 100 traditionalist Anglican parishes across the United States have decided to convert en masse to the Roman Catholic Church, it emerged yesterday. But the Vatican insisted that the move to create self-governing "personal ordinariates", which resemble dioceses in structure, came as a result of requests from at least 30 disaffected Anglican bishops around the world for "corporate reunion" with the Catholic Church.

The Anglican Church in America (ACA) will now enter the Catholic Church as a block, bringing in thousands of converts along with their own bishops, buildings and even a cathedral. They will worship according to Anglican rubrics, and use the Book of Common Prayer, but they will be in communion with the Pope, recognising him as their leader.

The decision was taken by the House of Bishops of the ACA during a meeting in Orlando, Florida, earlier this week.
The bishops said in a brief statement afterwards that they had agreed to formally "request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the (Vatican’s) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Farrakhan and Flying Fingers

Just trying to digest a few bits of my day that aren't going down easy.  It was a particularly unfriendly day praying at the Abortion Mill on 7th and Roma today.  Fingers and foulness spewing from the patrons of the Planned Parenthood "clinic" while only one brave soul, wrapped in "matrix-esque" garb was brave enough to engage me in dialogue.  His girlfriend was aborting their first child.  I was sort of expecting him to do a back flip to transport himself atop the avocado green building and then pump all of us full of bullets from his semi-automatic machine gun. (Sorry, I've been watching too many movies).  Fortunately, we bantered about the plight of black people and how hard it is for them to eh-hem...survive.  We did manage to agree on that.

And then there was Louis Farrakhan.  (I'm just a little concerned about what this man is stirring into his coffee.)
Quotable: "Farrakhan repeated his claims that 9/11 was "an inside thing." He added that he had been given the ability in 1985 to predict the future on a wheel-shaped spaceship with technology "1 million years ahead" of America's -- claims he also has made in the past....The spaceship contains 1,500 airplanes, each equipped with three bombs, he said, and the "angels on that human-built planet can build a wall out of air ... wall America in and start a fire."

Notable: He seems to think that "the white right is setting up Barack Obama to be assassinated. Christians are praying to God to kill Barack Obama"

Now c'mon Lou...you know darn well that the President is not on the radar here.  No, as a matter of fact, there is a much broader scope of assassination that you haven't seemed to notice.  They are black children in the womb.
  • In America today, almost as many African-American children are aborted as are born.
  • Since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent.
  • Twice as many African-Americans have died from abortion than have died fromAIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined.
  • Every three days, more African-Americans are killed by abortion than have been killed by the Ku Klux Klan in its entire history.
  • About 13 percent of American women are black, but they submit to over 35 percent of the abortions.
  • The most dangerous place for an African American to be is in the womb of their African American mother
So while I witness many white (and hispanic and asian and black) Christians pray and work to close these death factories, we don't see you out there.

But I'll keep lookin. Maybe you're disguised in a matrix duster.