"Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion." John Adams

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Today on CMR —

Today is Terri's Day

I didn't want today to pass without mentioning Terri Schiavo. Today is the fourth anniversary of her passing.

I remember it clearly because it was right around the time Pope John Paul II passed away as well. I was really dumb because even right up until the end I expected something to happen to save her. I couldn't believe an entire nation was just letting this woman be starved to death. She wasn't terminally ill. She wasn't on a life support machine. She was being starved to death.

I kept expecting someone to do something. Some did but it wasn't enough in the end.

And I thought at the time that at least the nation would wake up after they realized what they'd done and be horrified by their own actions. But incredibly the moral of Terri's story to the culture seems to be a cautionary tale for right wing overreach. In short, the nation watched a slow-motion execution and came away unaffected.

Even President Obama said he regretted voting for congressional involvement in the case: 'I think that was a mistake, and I think the American people understood that was a mistake. And as a constitutional law professor, I knew better."

Wesley J. Smith writes:

I wish that Terri's death had convinced people that dehydration is wrong--at least when it has not been explicitly and knowingly requested in writing by the patient ahead of time. Alas, it does not appear to be so. But we can say this: Nobody can ever say again about the dehydration deaths that are happening in all fifty states and around the world as you read these words, "I didn't know." I believe we are all morally accountable for the positions we take on this important ethical issue.
So today, many remember Terri. And we pray for Terri, her family, and America.

Fr. Barron on "Slumdog Millionaire"

Gimme That Ol' Time Religion

I know it is not everyone's cup of tea, but I do so enjoy an ol' fashioned fire and brimstone sermon.

Week before last we had a visiting priest to our parish. I didn't catch his name because we had several children with only one shoe and thus we were a minute or two late and didn't hear the introductions. This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon occurrence. Anyway, we stood in the narthex because the baby was cranky and we were late. The narthex is windowed with speakers so you don't miss anything there.

Anyway, I didn't catch Father's name but he told us that he was eighty years old. By the sound of his voice, I think he probably grew up in Ireland but had been in the States most of his life, his brogue only detectable on a few words. Father may have lost most of the sound of the ol' country but he was most certainly still old school.

This mostly bald eighty year old man had a booming voice and knew how to use it. Throughout his 30 minute sermon he shook the rafters more than once. I am a fan of the speaking style that uses a judicious amount of yelling surrounded by almost whispering. I think it is a very effective technique that is widely ingored in favor of the card reading monotone of many parish priests.

This eighty year old priest did not need cards, he knew what he wanted to say. He talked about things you hardly ever hear about anymore. For instance Hell. Demons. Yes, you read that right.

Father was talking about the nature of sin and what it does to us and what it means to us. The beginning was a rather typical dissertation on sin when he moved on to mortal sin. Softly, he explained how mortal sin, by our own choice, cuts us off from God. Almost in a whisper, he reminded that God longs for us to return to Him and be reconciled with Him. But if we don't "WE WILL SPEND AN ETERNITY IN HELL. ETERNITY! BEING TORTURED BY DEMONS. YES, DEMONS! I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP! THIS IS WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY. THIS IS WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES. HELL IS REAL AND IT IS FOREVER!" Then Father returned to a near whisper, "But this is not what God wants."

Being in the narthex, I had a perfect view of the congregation. More than one person jumped when Father bellowed these words and many people were looking at each other surprised but what just happened. So accustomed to the sing songy and spiritless fare, they were rocked by Father's approach..

Father continued. He spoke of Jesus' passion and the tortures that he endured even prior to the crucifixion. With great detail that evidenced the long hours Father must have spent in contemplation of the Lord's suffering, he conveyed with great tenderness the sufferings he endured. The beatings. The Mocking. The Crowning with thorns. Softly Father said, "In mockery of the title King of the Jews, a crown of thorns was placed upon his head. Do you know who placed this painful crown upon the head of our Lord? WE DID! WITH EVERY SIN THAT WE COMMIT WE DUG THOSE THORNS DEEPER AND DEEPER! OH HOW OUR LORD SUFFERED BECAUSE OF ME! BECAUSE OF YOU! DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT IT? DO YOU? I DID THIS TO JESUS! YOU DID THIS TO JESUS!" and back to a whisper "but He forgives us" and almost near tears, "He forgives us..."

This time I looked at the congregation from my window on the nave, but they didn't look at each other. This time they looked down. Heads hung. It was clear to me that many people were really thinking about it. I know I was. Really thinking. Contemplating our sins.

As we walked back to the car I said to my wife, "Gimme that ol' time religion — any day."

Matthews: Palin Was a Mail Order Bride

Nice guy, huh?

Chris! The election's been over. Why does he hate her so much?

I understand why so many like her but I'm puzzled by the outrage this woman causes in people.

HT Jammie Wearing Fool

War on Terror is Over?

Whoo-hoo. Look at that Obama go. I gotta' admit I had my doubts but the dude did it. I'm on my third shot of some blue drink here and the victory parade is about to begin...When are you comin' over? What, you haven't heard? Well, congratulations are in order. The War on Terror is over, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Hee-hee. No no no I can have another I'm not driving. I'm cool.

You see, I guess without our noticing we've wiped out the thousands of violent Muslim fanatics or converted them or something because we're no longer at war or I guess under any threat whatsoever. Whew. And see that silly George W. Bush thought this would be a war that would last decades. Silly old Bush. Looks like Obama really took it to those terrorists because we're done fighting the War on Terror just 60days into Obama's Presidency.

Look. Look. Here's the story. Read it for yourself fromNPR :

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration has indeed abandoned the term "global war on terror."

Clinton says that while she hasn't seen any specific orders, the new administration in Washington simply isn't using the phrase.

The term was a rallying cry for President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the use of the term "global war on terror" is widely disliked overseas.
Oh. Wait a second. Wait. Wait. Holy cow. I think we misunderstood this a little. So we're just not calling it "The War on Terror" anymore essentially because the people who are trying to kill us don't like it. Uh-oh. Guys, put away the shots. Cancel the parade. Deflate the floats? Who brought the chimp? Oh, look at this carpet, get it out of here. Uh-oh. This is going to be a really bad hangover...and a very long four years.

Obama's Scaring Me Off School Vouchers

I was always a big advocate for vouchers for education. Boy, was I wrong. What convinced me I was wrong? The news about President Obama and GM CEO Rick Wagoner.

Rick Wagoner was the CEO of GM and was just forced to resign by...Barack Obama in a move that nearly everyone believes was simply "political theater" to appease a bailout-weary public.

Obama can now point to a villain of the bailout and say he forced him out. Never mind, that Wagoner is no villain and his biggest mistake seems to be taking money from the government bailout.

So this is exactly why I'm thinking that vouchers might be a bad idea. Once the government starts funding even indirectly) they can then use the amount as leverage to get private schools to do what they want. In short, money means regulation.

I fear the vouchers could lead to mass secularization of Catholic schools across the country. First, it could start with forcing non-discriminatory policies on hiring, then it would be removing crucifixes from the classroom, then it would be balancing Catholicism with other points of view...and so on until the schools were secularized beyond recognition.

The worst in government would attack what's best in our culture. Every time the government didn't get its way, they would threaten to remove funding and many of the schools would relent.

And if some principal stands up to them, they simply make the money contigent on the school getting rid of that principal.

I worry greatly about the fate of our Catholic schools but am becoming ever more fearful of secularization.

A Political Scandal I Don't Care About

The latest scandal erupting all over the blogosphere seems to be concerning someone who might be Joe Biden's daughter on videotape snorting cocaine last month. Some sweet guy who shot the video is marketing it around to the highest bidder.

You mean someone at a drug party wasn't a nice guy? Shock! The "anonymous male", who shot the video, initially hoped to sell the video for $2 million but has since scaled it back to $400,000. Hey, the recession's hitting everybody, buddy.

According to the Post, which did not purchase the video, the woman in the video did resemble Ashley Biden, 27, a social worker for a Delaware child-welfare agency.

But I've got to ask, who the heck would pay any amount of money for this? I hope nobody. I wouldn't cross the street to see it. What social/political relevance does this have?

If there's evidence, the law should treat her as it does everyone else but my earnest hope is that the press doesn't pay a dime for this thing. If she's found guilty, the department of social welfare would likely take action as well as her employer.

But if Joe Biden's daughter is a coke fiend, what does that matter to me or the country? Many good parents have children who do dumb things. Look, I want to care about this. I love mocking Joe Biden. I think Joe Biden is an egotistical, ridiculously Machiavellian, loose-lipped, amoral scoundrel.

But the only reason I could think this story would matter to anyone would be schadenfreude. I mean, who cares if the Vice President's daughter does cocaine? I honestly don't.

I could see an argument for a blackmail possibility as a national security concern but you could make that argument about pretty much everyone. So, in short, I can't see why anyone should care.

Now, the one thing I would add is could you just imagine how much the press would be paying if it were one of the Bush's daughters on video? Whew. That would be a big number.

We'd see wall-to-wall "breaking news" coverage on every channel. Keith Olbermann would be foaming at the mouth saying this was happening because George W. Bush was too focused on Iraq just minutes after saying that Bush wasn't paying enough attention to Iraq. There'd be Lifetime movies of the week about her titled, "From the White House to the Crack House" starring someone from The OC or 90210 with Valerie Bertinelli as Laura Bush.

Cardinal Speaks Out Against Notre Dame

Cardinal DiNardo has joined a number of bishops concerning Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama, writing in his pastoral newsletter this weekend, according to Catholic News Agency:

I find the invitation very disappointing. Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning."

The President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person.

The Bishops of the United States published a document a few years ago asking all Catholic universities to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life.

Even given the dignity of Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award for a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views.

Particularly troubling is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a 'Teacher,' in this case of the Law. I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique.
The pressure seems to be mounting. Currently, there are over 212,000 signatures at NotreDameScandal.com.

Believe A Lie And People Die

As you may have heard, this past weekend the Green machine orchestrated its latest stunt, a global Earth Hour during which participants were asked to turn off all their lights.

In his post on the topic, Matthew made fun of the stunt pointing out that even the organizers admit that the act will do little for the environment but that the payoff would be in awareness. We here at CMR make a habit of mocking the Global Warming scare as unsupported by science, overblown in its conclusions, and potentially harmful to billions of living creatures - namely humans.

Whenever we write about this topic we invariably get emails or comments of the sort of "Why do you mock this so? As Catholics we must morally take care of the environment and even if we are not sure of the effects of human produced CO2 on the environment, why take chances? As Catholics we should support this movement."

This is a paraphrase of the arguments put forth to us by well meaning Catholics confused by our opposition. We usually laugh off such critiques and questions but I felt that perhaps it requires more than mockery. Let me first stipulate that we absolutely consider ourselves to be Catholic conservationists dedicated to the good stewardship of our God given resources but we generally oppose the methods, tactics, and proposals of the Green Movement. Many assume that our opposition is a knee jerk opposition based on party loyalty and/or our disdain for the lefties who support it. This is emphatically not the case.

This post is not meant as a treatise on the evidence for or against anthropogenic climate change. We at CMR view the evidence as at best inconclusive. But does there exist a chance that humans contribute deleteriously to climate change? Yes, there is a chance, but there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case. Currently there seems to be more evidence to the contrary, but we will let the scientists work it out. What is clear is that supposed current ironclad case for anthropogenic climate change and its consequences is a lie and it is not a neutral act to believe a lie. In the real world believing a lie and acting upon that belief has real world consequences. Sometimes those consequences mean death for millions. This is not guess work, this is history.

History gives us a perfect example of what can happen when bad science is married with the cause-celeb and policy for a generation is built on a lie. In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote her (in)famous book Silent Spring which scaring the public with the horrors linked to the use of DDT.

DDT is an insecticide that up until that point had greatly reduced the incidences of hosts of diseases including yellow fever, dengue, sleeping sickness, plague, encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, fleas, and lice. Moreover, DDT was responsible for the near eradication of Malaria, a disease which up until that time had killed untold millions.

But the successes of DDT were no match for bad science married to celebrity endorsement. Over the course of a decade, the drum beat against DDT. Will little or no real science to back up their claims the same type of crowd that now drones on about global warming, raised the hue and cry over DDT. DDT was claimed to cause all kinds of terrible things to people and animals and plants. Of course all the studies making these claims used concentrations orders of magnitude higher than what was seen in real life. Never mind, they said. Why take chances? What if it does cause cancer or thinning of egg shells for migratory birds? Let's ban it so we never have to find out. The very same logic that some people use in their support for draconian cutbacks in CO2.

But what happened when policy was formed on bad science? Millions, millions of people died from malaria and other mosquito born diseases. As consequence of believing a popular lie, millions of people died over decades from diseases that had already been nearly eradicated. This is not conjecture, most mainstream scientists now admit that the science did not support the wild claims made at the time. In fact, quite the opposite. The evidence shows that DDT is safe. Today DDT is slowly being reintroduced, but much institutional opposition remains and people continue to die.

The evidence for anthropogenic climate change is scant at best. Even if it does exist to some degree, the potential impact of this climate change is largely unknown. But the same logic of "why take chances?" is being used, even by Catholics, to support radical remedies for a potentially fictional disease. The remedies proposed for global climate change would severely limit progress in many developing nations keeping billions in poverty. This mandated poverty would, like the ban on DDT, kill millions. For some in the green movement this is an acceptable or even desirable outcome. As a Catholic, I know that it is not.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive defense of my position on climate change or the history around the banning of DDT, but rather a modest explanation to those who ask us "Why not act as if it true? Just in case." When people ask me this I respond with what I said earlier, "It is not a neutral act to believe a lie. Believe a lie and millions might die."

Who Painted It?

After the reset button fiasco a few weeks ago, you would think that the protocol folks at Foggy Bottom would be a little more attentive to detail. You would be wrong.

This is absolutely priceless.

[CNA] During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking who painted the famous image.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted by Mary on the tilma, or cloak, of St. Juan Diego in 1531. The image has numerous unexplainable phenomena, such as the appearance on Mary’s eyes of those present in the room when the tilma was opened and the image’s lack of decay.

Mrs. Clinton was received on Thursday at 8:15 a.m. by the rector of the Basilica, Msgr. Diego Monroy.

Msgr. Monroy took Mrs. Clinton to the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which had been previously lowered from its usual altar for the occasion.

After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”

Clinton then told Msgr. Monroy that she had previously visited the old Basilica in 1979, when the new one was still under construction.

After placing a bouquet of white flowers by the image, Mrs. Clinton went to the quemador –the open air area at the Basilica where the faithful light candles- and lit a green candle.

Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”

This evening Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to receive the highest award given by Planned Parenthood Federation of America -- the Margaret Sanger Award, named for the organization's founder, a noted eugenicist. The award will be presented at a gala event in Houston, Texas.
This is the Secretary of State we are talking about. Wars have been started over less. As Catholics we can laugh off such and ill informed remark, other peoples are not so understanding.

ND and Obama: "Make It An Opportunity"

I had the good fortune to attend the Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Chicago yesterday, where Bishop Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin was the keynote speaker. His talk was folksy and outspoken, yet with a good amount of depth on natural law and the questions of life and the human person, none of which I have yet found covered in the press.

Toward the end of his talk, he made a few statements about the Notre Dame/Obama controversy. He made it very clear several times that if he were the president of Notre Dame, he would never have invited Obama in the first place. However, he said, since Obama will no doubt be coming, can Catholics make this an opportunity for the Church? Like Cyrus, the Persian king who nonetheless was used as an instrument by God to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, can Obama be a foe who, wittingly or unwittingly, does God's work? Can it be a moment of conversion for Obama himself?

Instead of merely protesting the invitation, can it be an opportunity to demonstrate the love and logic of the true, universal position on life championed by the Church? The controversy has gotten the Church's position on life on the front pages of the news... can the moment be seized to make this a teaching opportunity for the nation? The skeptical among us will certainly say that Obama isn't likely to change any time soon. Perhaps this is true. But, skeptical or not, can the thought process be shifted to making the Notre Dame commencement an opportunity for conversion for all who attend or watch the news coverage? Something to think about from Bishop Morlino.

Fr. Barron Comments on Obama

Christopher Buckley Mocks Church

Christopher Buckley, the Obama loving publicity seeking son of the great William F. Buckley, writes a 500 word snicker about Newt Gingrich becoming a Catholic, the Catholic Church, and conversion in general in his piece "The Audacity of Poping" for The Daily Beast.

From the term "poping" to accusing the Church of thinking "like a $700-an-hour K Street lawyer," the piece only succeeds in being offensive and sad.

Some lowlights of Buckley's childish rant follow:

BTW: “Poping” in the headline above, which—sorry—I couldn’t resist, is the traditional, British pejorative for “becoming a Catholic.” Did you hear the news? Bertie just Poped! There will be an undercurrent of anti-Catholic bias in the commentary about Mr. Gingrich’s embrace of Rome. As the saying goes, anti-Catholicism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectual class.
Firstly, among much of the "intellectual class" anti-semitism is the anti-semitism of the intellectual class. Anti-Catholicism is just as popular but in no way does it replace anti-semitism.

Buckley admits that the term "poping" is a pejorative but then uses it anyway. Classy. And by using it is he saying he's a member of the intellectual class? I always wonder about people who have to tell you they're members of the intellectual class. If Christopher Buckley is a member of the intellectual class his membership is certainly because of his "legacy" status.

As for Mother Church, she’ll come in for drubbing this weekend for seeming two-faced about the sanctity of marriage. As you know, divorce is still not allowed in the Catholic Church. But here insert a large “however”—she is liberal in the granting of annulments.
You see how he shifts blame by saying the Church will come in for a drubbing while he himself is the one doing it. That's what children do.

Mother Church can be rigid, but at times—bless her—she can think like a $700-an-hour K Street lawyer.
Name calling?

The stated reason for it is that he wishes to worship alongside his wife, who is described on her husband’s Web site as “a devoted Catholic.” To the extent her devotedness is assessed alongside her early relationship with the then-married Mr. Gingrich, it should be borne in mind that to be “devoted” is not the same as being “perfect.”
Then why bring it up? We are all sinners. This is just gossip. This is essentially the old, "She says she's Catholic but she's not perfect and therefore all religion is a lie and I don't have to feel guilty anymore for doing anything I want to do." Because those with standards will eventually fall short of them, allowing others to call out "hypocrisy" as those without standards often can and will do.

Earth Hour: CMR Will Leave a Light on For Ya'

I'm reading everywhere about Earth Hour all of a sudden. At first I was like OK we've downgraded Earth Day to just one hour. Now, that's progress but it turns out that we still have all 24 hours of Earth Day but that wasn't enough so now we have an extra Earth Hour added on. It's kind of like Christmas in July for lunatics, I guess.

To be honest, I'd never heard a thing about it before a few days ago but now it's everywhere. I read that it's an international event organised by the WWF. So I asked myself why the heck do a bunch of wrestlers care so much about the environment but it turns out that WWF actually stands for the World Wide Fund for Nature or the World Wildlife Fund or some such ridiculousness like that. Either way I'd probably rather hang out with the wrestlers.

But I read the same line everywhere that while everyone agrees that turning off their lights won't really do all that much for the environment it will...come on repeat after me..."raise awareness."

Is it possible that there's anybody out there who's not aware of the supposed effects of global warming/climate change/2012/aerosol pollution/ CO2 emissions/cow flatulence/volcanic eruptions?

I'm aware. You're aware. Anyone with a television or radio is aware and if someone doesn't have a television or radio then they're not the problem anyway. So can we cut it out now?

At what point do we get to say that awareness has been raised. Mission Accomplished. We're done. Everyone's so completely aware that we're bored to death of our awareness.

You know how in polls if you ask the stupidest question ever like 'How many fingers does the normal person have?' you'll get like three percent of the people who are 'undecided.' Well, I don't think you'd get that high a number of undecideds for global warming/climate change. Anyone who's undecided is just saying that because the girl asking the poll question sounds cute over the phone and the weird guy who answered the phone just wants to keep talking.

So a note to all the climate alarmists: It's not that we're undecided. It's not that we're unaware. We just don't believe you.

Earth Hour will next take place on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm, local time. I would live blog it just to write about all the lights I'm turning on in my house at that exact moment but I think I'll be on the New Jersey Turnpike heading up to see my family in New York. But I'll be sure to have my brights on.

So Obama's Against Death Now?

In the past two years, a total of three people jumped off the All-America Bridge to commit suicide.

And that was such an assault on the senses of America, that President Obama and the liberals in Congress passed $7.5 million in funding for improvements to the bridge which includes installing a fence to prevent people from jumping.

Oddly, aren't these the same group of people who support abortion of viable babies on demand, federal funding for abortions overseas, destroying embryos for medical research, euthanasia, and physician assisted suicide?

Does this make sense to anybody?

Notre Dame's Values - Cartoon

via Redstate

AP: You and Your Bishops are a Distraction

Check out the language adopted by the Associated Press to describe the outrage among Catholics about Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama:

Many Catholics are angered by Obama's planned appearance at the May 17 ceremony because of his decisions to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and international family planning groups that provide abortions or educate about the procedure.

The consensus Thursday on the campus of the nation's largest Catholic university was that any president should be welcomed at Notre Dame.

"People are definitely entitled to their outrage, but I think the main thing is to see that it's an honor to have the president of the United States come to speak here whether you agree with him or not," said Katie Woodward, a political science junior from Philadelphia.

Justin Mack, a senior film major from Dallas, agreed.

"I didn't vote for him and there are a lot of things I don't agree with him or support. But I feel like for this event people need to put that aside," said Mack, a senior film major from Dallas. "My hope is that doesn't distract too much from what the weekend is about, which is the graduation."

But the distractions have been mounting, including sharply worded letters from two bishops.
See how they take the word of a student and then repeat it as their own. In that way, the reporter can just say they were simply using the words of an interview. But putting that quote there is what makes the reporter able to do label the bishop's letters "distractions."

We don't even get any Catholics upset about the invitation until much further down in the piece.

And while I'm not saying that the consensus on campus is against Obama's presence, how does the reporter verify that statement. How many people did the reporter speak with? That's just thrown in there and we're supposed to take the reporter's word for it?

And here's the ending of the piece which worries me to no end about the state of Catholic education:
Chris Carrington, a political science major from the Chicago area, said he doesn't see how Obama's appearance at Notre Dame contradicts Catholic values.

"To not allow someone here because of their beliefs seems a little hypocritical and contradictory to what the mission of the university and church should be," he said.
Commence pulling out your hair now.

By the way, if you haven't done so already, sign the petition at http://notredamescandal.com/
As of this writing the petition is up to 182,000 signatures!

Food For Thought Friday - Healthcare

From the National Center for Policy Analysis

10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care

by Scott Atlas

Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers and academics alike are beating the drum for a far larger government rôle in health care. Much of the public assumes their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. However, before turning to government as the solution, some unheralded facts about America's health care system should be considered.

Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2] Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.[3] Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.[4] Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:

  • Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report "excellent" health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent). Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as "fair or poor."[5]

Fact No. 6: Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long - sometimes more than a year - to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer.[6] All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada.[7] In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.[8]

Fact No. 7: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either "fundamental change" or "complete rebuilding."[9]

Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the "health care system," more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).[10]

Fact No. 9: Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K. Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade.[11] [See the table.] The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.[12]

Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.[13] The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country.[14] Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined.[15] In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.[16] [See the table.]

Conclusion. Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.

Scott W. Atlas, M.D., is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the Stanford University Medical Center. A version of this article appeared previously in the February 18, 2009, Washington Times.

CMR's 8 Signs of Apocalypse (Vol VI)

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I know that you may be thinking that we are Stargate SG-1 geeks but you would be wrong. Well, not entirely wrong. Anyway. Replicators. Add this to the "Doesn't anyone think this might not end well?" files.
DVICE reports: Researchers at Cornell University in New York have created robotic cubes that can create copies of themselves in under three minutes which, surprisingly, the scientists purport are simple machines. Self-replicating robots are simple? That's because that's all the cubes do — at the moment. They could easily be outfitted with tools for specific tasks, the researchers say. The application for a machine that could reconstruct a copy of itself — reproduce, if you will — or repair itself with limited materials are nearly endless.
Self Replicating machines. Don't worry, they say, they are tiny and we can control them. Uh huh. Until they turn into...

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This Thing!

This monstrosity is nicknamed the Big Dog! Wait until these things grow laser beams and then start self replicating! Not good folks.

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Lightning Never Strikes Tw.......

According to the NY Times:
A 93-year-old Japanese man has become the first person certified as a survivor of both atomic bombings by the United States, officials said Tuesday.

The survivor, Tsutomu Yamaguchi, had already been a certified hibakusha, or radiation survivor, of the bombing on Aug. 9, 1945, in Nagasaki, but he has now been confirmed as surviving the attack on Hiroshima three days earlier, in which he suffered serious burns to his upper body.
And he didn't even become a superhero. I mean he didn't even get like any useless super-powers like the ability to see through wicker or anything. You know, I'm starting to think radiation has nothing to do with superpowers at all. Darn it. Note to CMR Labs: All funding cut off. Must start from scratch.

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How Do You Say Vampire in Latin?

I don't know about you but when the headmaster at a four hundred year old school is denying there are vampires on campus, it is time to get worried.
There are no vampires at Boston Latin School, says headmaster Lynne Moone Teta.Seriously.Students at the school, which was founded in 1635, began e-mailing news organizations Wednesday night with the strange story of vampires roaming the halls.
Not to worry though , Police denied reports that anyone at the school was bitten. Yet.

Ht to Jim and Helen! (thanks)
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Space Storm O'Death!

Doomed! So says the US National Academy of Sciences. Take a look at our future:

IT IS midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colourful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power.

A year later and millions of Americans are dead and the nation's infrastructure lies in tatters. The World Bank declares America a developing nation. Europe, Scandinavia, China and Japan are also struggling to recover from the same fateful event - a violent storm, 150 million kilometres away on the surface of the sun.

Oh no! This is terrible! We should all be very worried. This is definitely gonna happen. The U.S. Gov't say this is gonna happen! We should .... The U.S. Gov't? Wait, never mind.

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Save The Animals - Experiment On Babies!

This one speaks for itself.

BRUSSELS, march 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A proposed new directive from the European Commission (EC) will drastically restrict the use of animals in laboratory testing, and certain toxicology tests on animals will be permitted only after alternative methods, including research on tissue taken from human embryos, has proved fruitless, reports the Catholic Herald.

In its coverage of the issue, the Herald quotes a report accompanying the EC directive that says, "The establishment of human embryonic stem cells in 1998 raised hopes in many research areas, including the development of alternatives to animal experiments." The report says that human embryonic research is a "powerful alternative to animal tests."
Kill the people to save the animals. You can almost hear the asteroid careening toward Earth, no?

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This Guy!

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Apocalypse Meow

No, we didn't make that title up. In the not too distant future when radioactive fallout from the Obama wars has killed all the humans and mutated all the bunnies, the cycle of violence starts all over.

5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ..................................

If you'd like to add any signs of the apocalypse you are encouraged to write them in the combox. Eventually, one of you will be right.

Posted by Patrick & Matthew Archbold

Lawmaker in VA Takes On ND

CMR has come into possession of a letter written by Delegate Bob Marshall of the 11th District in VA to Fr. Jenkins at Notre Dame. We post it here for the record and also because it does a good job pointing out the nonsense of Notre Dame's rationalization.

Dems vs Liberty -- Part MXVII

As you know, Democrats control just about everything these days. This is especially true in Washington State. In that state, just like the U.S. government, the democrats control both houses of the legislature and the executive branch.

So, the following story may be instructive in that it reveals how democrats think and how they behave when unchecked.

Recently the Washington State legislature was considering a bill called "Worker Privacy Act." This act, as all such named acts, does something else entirely. The bill "would forbid any company from requiring employees to attend a meeting about labor issues." Forbid. Now there is a large company in Washington State called Boeing. Boeing has some labor issues and would not look kindly on such a move.

The bill got killed a few weeks ago because the Democrats got embarrassed by the public release of a threatening email sent by labor leaders in which labor threatened to stop giving money to politicians if the bill did not pass. When this became public, support for the bill dried up. But hey,whether you like unions or not, they can give their money to whomever they choose.

So the Democrats, smarting from the impression that they routinely cave to threats from big labor caved on the bill. Now their big donors are unhappy. Can't have that can we? To make sure that their union sugar daddies know that they are still their girls, the Washington legislature is proposing a bill to make it illegal for Boeing and other companies from threatening lawmakers with moving to another state. That's right. Boeing cannot tell legislators that if you pass this or that legislation, we are outta here.

[Seattle Times] Now comes House Bill 2316, sponsored by Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia, and several labor Democrats. Under this bill, it would be illegal for a lobbyist to "threaten any legislator ... with the relocation of manufacturing jobs," including jobs "involving commercial airplane manufacturing ... "
Big labor threatens them and they propose a bill to outlaw threats from manufacturers. Labor, of course, can still threaten as much as they want just as long as it doesn't become embarrassingly public again. But manufacturers cannot say anything.

This is what Statist one party rule gets you. What is to stop these same legislators from making it illegal for Boeing to move? Were I an executive at Boeing I would move the company while I still could. Don't threaten. Just move.

Remember this as you watch our Congress and our President in action. If they can target specific people's bonuses and seek the power to nationalize any company they deem a threat, then there is truly no limit to what they might try. Washington State is a prime example. I would move before it is too late, but there is no place left to go.

The Pope, The Blogs, and The Google

Cathcon has a story from Kathnet that the Pope is planning to issue a new Pastoral instruction on the media and the world wide interwebs. This is meant to be an update-extension to 1992 "Aetatis novae."

The Vatican is planning a new Pastoral instruction about the media sector. A policy paper which will presumably be ready for publication in October will explain the attitude of the church to "the new digital culture", said the President of the Pontifical Media Council, Archbishop Claudio Celli, in conversation on Wednesday with the Italian Catholic news agency SIR. In essence, it will update the most recent media-instruction "Aetatis novae" of 1992. "Aetatis novae" comes from a time "when the Internet did not exist", so the "digital culture" was not yet taken into account, said Celli.

The President of the Media Council stressed that the Catholic doctrine to new media must be to meet the different cultural context, in which Christians live. He referred also to the call of Pope Benedict XVI. Even people in poor countries should share in the development of media technology and its opportunities.

Celli also announced a media seminar for young people in Africa. The media event planned for the end of April in Kenya's capital Nairobi by the Pontifical Council will deal with new media as a means of peace and reconciliation. Around 100 participants from various regions of conflict on the continent are invited, said Celli.
For my part, I hope he doesn't go on and on about neglecting your family in favor of your blog, or staying up in the middle of the night desperately looking for something to write about, or checking your stats while you are at work. I already know that stuff is wrong, not that I would ever do anything like that.

In recent remarks on the ex-excommunication fiasco, the Pope made mention that they need to use the Internet to do research before issuing instructions such as these. I hope they follow through. Just to be sure though, I just emailed the Vatican a link to Vox Nova. I just thought he should know.

In the meantime, let me get back to work. Don't you judge me.

Great! Now Gay Marriage is Cynical Too?

ANI is reporting that Portia De Rossi made a video where she pretends to earnestly issue an apology for marrying Ellen DeGeneres in a video spoof. In the video she says:

“When I got married, all I was thinking about was my own joy at committing to love my partner for the rest of my life. I didn't think about all the people I was hurting by getting married. That was selfish. So I want to apologise to all those people whose lives have been affected by me getting married...Paid for by married gay people who are sorry and The National Coalition of Bonobo Chimps."

Sweet, right? For a moment let's just consider the bravery of this woman. Backed only by the support of the press, the show business industry, and the state government this woman bravely agreed with everyone she knows by mocking mostly Christians and Mormons who support traditional marriage.

And you know what really burns me up? I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that this little video is just a cynical ploy to garner media attention just because her now show "Better off Ted" premiered last week to low ratings. How could you see a connection between this incredibly brave video and her need for media attention to spike interest in her failing television show? How could you think she would use something as important as her "marriage" to further her career? No, you're thinking of Anne Heche.

March To Madness - The Championship

This is the moment we have all been waiting for. The contest for the most destructive person in our culture started off with 64 hopefuls but comes down to the final two. A clear favorite coming into this contest, Barack Obama did not disappoint when he easily handled the ACLU to make it to the championship game.

In a stunning upset (at least for me) Oprah Winfrey also advanced taking down the traitorous dissenters of the Voice of the Faithful. While VOTF has been a strong contender all along, the consensus seems to be the extent of her reach and happy new age psychobabble makes her more destructive to the culture as a whole.

So there you have it. Your Championship. Barack Obama vs. Oprah Winfrey. May the worst person win!

Let the Voting Begin!

Francis Beckwith To Speak At ND

Francis Beckwith of Return to Rome will be speaking at Notre Dame this weekend. And he's not going to shy away from the issue of Obama being honored there.

I emailed him earlier today and he wrote back that he's currently working on the speech. He wrote on his blog:

I will be giving a lecture at the conference on Saturday, March 28, at 2:15 pm. It will be held in the Jordan Hall of Science (room 101). Entitled, "What the Abortion Debate is Really About," I am planning to address in my lecture the controversy surrounding the University of Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama to receive an honorary doctorate of laws as well as deliver the commencement address at the school's May 17 graduation exercises.
Can't wait to hear what he said.

To get a taste of Beckwith's take on Notre Dame's invitation to Obama click here.

Free Speech The Way It Should Be!

Old School.

Oh why?? Why can we not have in a country as great as ours someone with the will, forthrightness, and linguistic ability as MEP Daniel Hannan tell our own emperor in waiting that he has no clothes. Brilliant!

ND Students Start Protest Website

Mary K. Daly, President, Notre Dame Right to Life, wrote today that a new student group was forming on campus at Notre Dame to protest the school's honoring of President Barack Obama.

She wrote:

To ensure that the cries of outrage and worry expressed by so many who love Our Lady’s University do not go unheard, a coalition of numerous Notre Dame student groups has been formed. This coalition, ND Response, aims to lead the efforts of all those wishing for a reaction to Notre Dame’s decision. ND Response has issued a public statement...and launched a website (www.NDResponse.com) that I sincerely recommend you look at as we move forward in our response campaign.

The new group, NDResponse, has a mission statement:
In defense of the unborn, we wish to express our deepest opposition to Reverend John I. Jenkins, CSC’s invitation of President Barack Obama to be the University of Notre Dame’s principle commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree. Our objection is not a matter of political partisanship, but of President Obama’s hostility to the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life at its earliest stages. Further, the University’s decision runs counter to the policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops against honoring pro-choice politicians. We cannot sit by idly while the University honors someone who believes that an entire class of human beings is undeserving of the most basic of all legal rights, the right to live.

Additionally, Fr. Jenkins has put some of his students into a position of moral dilemma as to whether they can attend their own graduation. Many pro-life seniors, along with their families, now feel personally conflicted about participating in the commencement. The lack of concern for these devoted sons and daughters of Notre Dame, who love this University and the Catholic principles on which it was built, is shameful.

An Ad Hoc committee sponsored by a coalition of University-sponsored student groups has been organized to lead student response. These groups include Notre Dame Right to Life, Jus Vitae (Notre Dame Law School Right to Life), the Irish Rover independent student newspaper, Notre Dame College Republicans, The University of Notre Dame Anscombe Society, The Identity Project of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Militia Immaculata, Notre Dame Children of Mary, the Orestes Brownson Council, Notre Dame Law St. Thomas More Society, and the Federalist Society of the Notre Dame Law School.
No word yet on what they intend to do but keep an eye out for them as we surely will too.

Over the Counter Abortions for Children!

Barack Obama's clarion call for the separation of science and morality was heard loud and clear by one judge in Brooklyn.

According to the FDA, women younger than 18 require a prescription to purchase Plan B, the abortion drug over the counter. But one judge in Brooklyn just decided that the 18 year old age limit was arbitrary and capricious so he established his own arbitrary and capricious age limit of 17.

And then he recommended that girls of all ages should have access to the drug on an over-the-counter basis.

The judge, of course, has no right to do so and no medical degree to make decisions like this to overrule the FDA but as you know we are a country ruled by our leaders in black robes. Let's hope this will be appealed.

Some of the most disturbing language of the ruling comes from the scoffing at any kind of ethical judgement on science:
The Guardian is reporting:

Judge Edward Korman ruled that the FDA, which has restricted over-the-counter access to the emergency birth control drug to women 18 and older, must begin allowing 17-year-olds to buy it, and must also reconsider its ban on non-prescription sales to minors as young as 11.

In a blistering 52-page decision, Korman found that under the Bush administration, FDA restrictions on the drug had been influenced by conservative ideology and involved "political considerations, delays and implausible justifications," rather than being grounded in science and "reasoned decision-making."

"The record is clear that the FDA's course of conduct regarding Plan B departed in significant ways from the agency's normal procedures regarding similar applications to switch a drug product from prescription to non-prescription use," he wrote.

Jesuit: Notre Dame Right to Invite Obama

OK everyone, call off the dogs. We were getting ourselves all worked up about this Notre Dame/Obama scandal. But I think we should all feel a little foolish now.

It turns out that Notre Dame is perfectly right to honor Obama. Just ask Fr. Thomas Reese of The On Faith blog.

Fr. Thomas Reese offered five reasons why Notre Dame was right to invite and honor Barack Obama. Let's go over them, shall we?

1. "In his personal life, Obama has never acted in defiance of the fundamental moral principle that abortion is wrong."
Perfectly true. Except if you count his voting for abortion every chance he gets including voting against legislation to restrict partial birth abortions, battling Jill Stanek for the right to murder infants born alive during an abortion, funding overseas abortions, voting against prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, and declaring it open season on embryos by funding embryonic stem cell research. But other than that, he's been great.

2."Publicly, Obama has never spoken out against the fundamental moral principle that abortion is wrong."
Obama is the guy who said, "I don't want them punished with a baby" or did Fr. Reese never hear that one. You see, in that statement Obama is clearly making abortion a good that stands above the inconvenience of a crisis pregnancy. In his construction, it it at least a lesser evil if not a good.

3. "He supports legal restrictions on third trimester abortions with a health-of-the-mother exemption."
What part of the "Freedom of Choice Act" does Fr. Reese not understand?

4. "Although he does not believe that other abortions can be made illegal, he supports programs to reduce the number of abortions."
No. He supports handing out condoms like breath mints and thinks that saying they will reduce abortions makes it an easy sell. Although nobody has ever found that more condoms leads to less abortion. Nobody.

5. "Notre Dame is not honoring Obama because of his views on abortion but because he is President of the United States, as has been made clear by the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president."
Fr. Jenkin's intentions of honoring President Obama are unclear. I don't think many people believe he's honoring him because of Obama's stance on abortion. But what many Catholics are concerned with is that Fr. Jenkins is ignoring Obama's radical history of supporting abortion.

Much like Fr. Reese.

March To Madness - You Decide!

Stop the presses! Up until this point, the judges panel has decided the winners in each of the previous contests. But, after hearing so many heartfelt pleas from our readers in favor of their choice for most destructive force in the culture, CMR has decided that we cannot make this decision alone. In fact, we will not make this decision at all, you will. Vote in in each of these Fatal four contest to decide who will make it to the championship game. If so inclined, tell us your reasoning in the combox.

Bishop D'Arcy on Notre Dame

Bishop D'Arcy speaks out about Notre Dame inviting Barack Obama. He will not attend graduation. Overalll, this is a polite but stinging statement. Bishop D'Arcy says that Notre Dame has perhaps chosen prestige over truth, but he as a Bishop will not do the same. A Bishop (and one would think a Catholic University), needs to "teache[s] not only by his words — but by his actions."

For me the key part of the statement comes when he says, "Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth." I think many people are asking that very same question today. Sadly, I do not think Fr. Jenkins is among their number.

Here's the statement in full:

Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame
graduation, receiving honorary law degree
March 24, 2009

On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.
This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith “in season and out of season,” and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.

My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.

I have in mind also the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004. “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.

I have spoken with Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who is to receive the Laetare Medal. I have known her for many years and hold her in high esteem. We are both teachers, but in different ways. I have encouraged her to accept this award and take the opportunity such an award gives her to teach.

Even as I continue to ponder in prayer these events, which many have found shocking, so must Notre Dame. Indeed, as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth. Tomorrow, we celebrate as Catholics the moment when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became a child in the womb of his most holy mother. Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.

Richard Garnett Is Wrong About CMR

Notre Dame law professor Richard Garnett, writing at National Review, while not supportive of President Obama speaking at the University takes issue with her cyber-critics.

As I made clear in my initial contribution to this NRO symposium, I believe that the University of Notre Dame should not, at this time, honor President Obama with a ceremonial degree and the commencement-speaker role.
All that said, this is not the time for the tiresome anti-Notre Dame screeds that too often clutter the Catholic and conservative corners of the Internet. Some who are outraged, gathering signatures, demanding changes, and pointing fingers have long since given up — mistakenly — on Notre Dame. For them, Notre Dame's purpose is simply to serve as a convenient target. For many of Notre Dame's cyber-critics, her many achievements and successes are invisible; her mission is unappreciated or not-understood; her failures are cause for celebration, not constructive criticism.

These critics are wrong. This should not be an occasion for fundraising, grandstanding, or attention-grabbing by self-interested activists. Again, Notre Dame matters, and it is precisely because it still is meaningfully Catholic that its mistakes are disappointing. It's easy for [insert name here] Completely Pure Catholic College (or blogger) to avoid dilemmas (and mistakes) like Notre Dame's, because no one cares about that College (or blogger). Notre Dame's challenge is more difficult. We should want, and be willing to help, her to succeed.
As one of those cyber-critics and as one who has followed this story closely, respectfully I think Professor Garnett is wrong. While their may be some anti-ND Catholics out there, I think the vast majority of Notre Dame's critics are so loud and dissappointed precisely because we haven't given up on the University.

We here at CMR love Notre Dame. While other Catholic Universities have completely forfeited their Catholic identity, some of it still remains at Notre Dame. Some of it. But that does not mean Notre Dame is incapable of losing it. Moves such as this invitation to the President diminishes the Catholic identity of the University both on and off campus.

As a Catholic parent, I must keep this in mind when helping my children select an institution of higher learning. Is the Notre Dame campus a place where their own Catholic identity will grow or will it be undermined? As many have pointed out there are still many orthodox Catholics there, both on the faculty and in the student body. But it is also true that polls of the students last year showed widespread support of a virulently pro-abortion candidate, Barack Obama.

The point is, Catholic identity at a University is not something intrinsic. It does not remain no matter what action the administration may take. We have seen this process come to its completion at other Universities with those institutions eventually dropping the pretense of Catholicism.

This is why we criticize. We do not want the same thing to happen at the most prestigious of Catholic Universities. We do not want to read a story a few years from now about how the faculty protested when it was decided to put crucifixes back in the classroom. We fight now to make sure that Jesus stays in the classroom. We love Notre Dame and that is why we fight. That is why we sign letters. That is why we urge alumni to withhold contributions. We love Notre Dame so much and we have not given up hope. We want the golden dome to always shine.

Prop 8 Donors Fear for Their Lives...Yawn

With several groups and websites like "Californians Against Hate" and others listing the names and addresses of people who contributed to the Proposition 8 campaign, death threats and intimidation tactics are commonplace enough to inspire one man to file a class action lawsuit seeking protection from the government.
According to the Washington Times:

After giving $10,000 to California's Proposition 8 campaign last year, Charles LiMandri began receiving some unexpected correspondence.

"I got about two dozen e-mails and hate phone calls," said Mr. LiMandri, who lives in San Diego. "They were calling me Nazi, homophobe, bigot. I tried to engage people once or twice - I said that Proposition 8 had nothing to do with being bigoted, it was about preserving marriage - but people don't want to engage on the issue."

As a lawyer, however, Mr. LiMandri knew what to do with the e-mails.

"I collected them and turned them in to the lawsuit," he said.

Those e-mails are now among hundreds of exhibits in a landmark case challenging California's campaign-finance reporting rules, which require the release of the names, addresses and employers of those who contribute $100 or more to ballot-measure committees.

The lawsuit argues that those who contribute to traditional-marriage initiatives should be exempt from having their names disclosed, citing the widespread harassment and intimidation of donors to the Proposition 8 campaign.
Lest you think this is just a bunch of people being wimpy, intimidation tactics have come in the form of letters and e-mails to death threats, proponents say. One man, a Sacramento theater director, was fired after opponents of the initiative publicized his Proposition 8 campaign contributions.
"Anybody who's in California knows that it's very widespread," said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, one of the biggest contributors to Proposition 8 and a joint plaintiff in the lawsuit. "Every donor has a story. I talked to a $100 donor the other day who had a note in his mailbox that said, 'I know where you live and you're going to pay.'

"These are just hardworking people who believe marriage is a union of a man and a woman and who never expected to be threatened in their homes," Mr. Brown said.
Now, I don't think this lawsuit will pass and in fact, I believe it would likely be dangerous if it were to pass because the more sunshine we have in our political system the better. But don't you just think that in America today if the opposite thing were occurring with homosexuals seeking protection from death threats from Prop 8 proponents, that it would be a heckuva lot more likely to pass?

It would be a national emergency. We'd be subject to nightly news programs leading off with reports of weeping victims waving bloody notes. President Obama would call it "uhhh..uhhh...disgraceful and uhmmmm...uh...reprehensible" and hold a press conference right during my favorite show to announce legislation to protect these people. There'd be a Lifetime movie of the week starring Nancy Mckeon as a beleaguered woman who receives threatening notes in her mailbox. Tom Berenger could play the creepy Mormon neighbor. There'd be task forces and Senate hearings.

But now the shoe is on the other foot. So let's all just ignore it.

HT Headline Bistro

March To Madness - Fatal Four

Here we go! This is what you have been waiting for, we have your final and Fatal Four.

Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president ever, the man who suggested that preventing infanticide was an undue burden, the man who made reversing Mexico City and ESCR policies top priorities was a clear favorite for the final four and he made it.

The American Civil Liberties Union is conducting a determined and long-term campaign to remove every trace of Christianity from America's government, schools, public property, and public discourse. They are clearly one of the most destructive forces in the culture.

Oprah Winfrey. Oprah runs a cult disguised as a television show. Oprah's brand of celebrity is particularly dangerous as she presents a very reasonable and charitable face to the world while championing everything but truth.

Voice Of The Faithful is out to destroy, as if it were possible, the Church. Using the defense of victims of abuse as their launching pad, they champion every kind of dissent possible while still claiming to be Catholic. For this they have earned thier top showing.

Next Up. The Championship Game.

Fr. Jenkins Is...Being Disinegenuous?

According to LifeNews, Fr. Jenkins said today that there's essentially no way that he's going to rescind the invitation to Obama no matter what you nutty pro-lifers say.

He said you've got it all wrong. See, you thought Notre Dame was honoring President Obama with an honorary Law degree and allowing him to give a Commencement address. You thought Fr. Jenkins was showing by his invitation that he was uncommitted to the life issue but what you mouth breathers are too dull to understand is that Fr. Jenkins' invitation to Obama actually shows how pro-life he really really is. You see he's engaging with Obama.

No. Stop laughing. I'm serious. This is what he said:

"We are not ignoring the critical issue of the protection of life. On the contrary, we invited him because we care so much about those issues, and we hope … for this to be the basis of an engagement with him," Jenkins told the Observer. "You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them … show respect for them and listen to them."
I'm just wondering when this engagement will actually occur? On his way from Air Force One to the commencement? Or on his way to the cameras where he'll pose for CNN right after speaking at a Catholic university that ignored his record on abortion and emryonic stem cell research?

For a thorough fisking of Fr. Jenkin's remarks on this topic you can visit The Curt Jester.

I Am So Much Better Than You

I am so much better than you, so much smarter, so much more reasonable than you right wing mouth breathing reactionaries. That is about all I could discern as a point in an absolutely ridiculous post at America by Michael Sean Winters.

Winters (A former speechwriter for -ahem - Wesley Clark -Stop laughing!), remember he is smarter than you, thinks Obama speaking at Notre Dame is wonderful.

The University of Notre Dame made twin announcements that President Barack Obama would be giving the commencement speech and Ambassador MaryAnn Glendon would be receiving the university’s Laetare Medal this past weekend. The first news about Obama came on Friday, and blogger extraordinaire Rocco Palmo broke the story about Glendon Saturday evening. Whoever devised this timing in the Notre Dame press office deserves a raise! Maybe even a bonus!

The right wing of the Catholic Church [These guys always see things in political terms] was, as we noted on Saturday, up in arms within a twinkling of the eye over any honor being given to the President. Mr. Hudson is in high dudgeon at his blog, even issuing a veiled threat to Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy: "Bishop D'Arcy, who has challenged Notre Dame before, must invoke the guidelines of ‘Catholics in Political Life’ or risk some of the other bishops doing it for him." (Must? Call me conservative but I do not think laymen should issue "musts" to prelates.) [This is priceless, a liberal defending the dignity of a Bishop. Anyway Hudson of course made no threat - veiled or otherwise . In order for this to be a threat, Hudson would have to be a Bishop no? Don't let logic get in the way] The Cardinal Newman Society has started a petition drive to protest the decision. Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has no ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the matter [so?], urged a letter writing campaign to the university’s president.

Now, of course, the stage at Notre Dame will be shared by someone whom the right has seen as a champion, Ambassador MaryAnn Glendon. There is no denying her credentials either as a conservative or as a pro-life advocate. I will bet dollars to doughnuts the next few weeks will make clear, however, that some on the right will begin attacking Dr. Glendon. Of course, Dr. Glendon, like Notre Dame University, is a source of pride for all Catholics [Apparently not all Mr. Winters or do we not count?], not just for conservatives. I view the world through very different lenses from Dr. Glendon, but I would be blind not to admire her accomplishments, her intellectual force, and her love for the Church. Whatever disagreements I have with her are disagreements within the family. (Of course, the right wing doesn’t view Notre Dame with the same "All in the Family" spirit.) And, in any event, here is a chance to fight another battle in the culture wars so who cares if Dr. Glendon must be thrown overboard? [Get this? First, he is criticizing THE RIGHT for something they haven't even done only what he thinks they MIGHT do. Mr. Winters has issues with Glendon but unlike us Neanderthals can rise above them. I have issues with Martin Sheen, Mr. Winters, but you heard not a peep of protest from me last year when he received the very same medal Glendon is receiving. You know why? Mr. Sheen, despite all else, does not support killing babies. It is not about politics for us, its about babies.]

This latest contretemps is disturbing not only because some of us are more than tired with the right wing insisting that only they can lay claim to the mantle of Catholicism, that those of us who see the demands of the world, or the challenge of the Gospels, differently are bad Catholics. [No, not all of you.] Last week, before the latest mess, I ran into a priest whom I have known for more than twenty years but whom I had not seen recently. He did not discuss President Obama, he ranted. He did not offer a conversation or even an argument, he threw out slogans, and vulgar slogans at that, despite the fact that he is one of the least vulgar men I have ever known. [Being a right winger causes you to foam at the mouth!]

What is it about President Obama that makes the right wing so crazy, so uncharitable, so frothing-at-the-mouth unreasonable? I asked another priest who ventured racism was part of the answer. [Ah. There it is. Throw out the charge of racism. Obama supports abortion on demand up to and including infanticide, but we are frothing-at-the-mouth racists to oppose him. Winters wants to throw out the charge of racism -through the guise of an anonymous Priest. I say guise because that is what exactly it is. A lie. He thinks this charge coming from the mouth of a priest gives it more credibility and it too cowardly to make the charge himself. He then proceeds to back off the charge to make himself sound reasonable. Coward.] and I am not so sure. I suspect that many people, with profound sentiments about abortion, had convinced themselves that our nation was close to seeing Roe v. Wade overturned and that Obama’s victory makes that less likely. But, overturning Roe would not have a large effect on the abortion rate as most states would codify the decision in their statutes. Besides that, what did the pro-life movement really gain from eight years of the George W. Bush’s presidency? Mr. Hudson may have had access to the White House, but what did the movement gain from the association? A phone call at t he Right-to-Life March? The Mexico City Policy, which is not nothing but it is not exactly a casus belli? [I see this silly line of argument all the time. You elected a pro-life guy and abortion is still around. Therefore it is pointless to elect someone pro-life. How do I say this? Stupid. This is the same as criticizing the war-monger generals in World War II. "See, you invaded Europe and what did it get you? Sure, we don't like the Nazis either but you invaded Europe and now you are stuck in the cold in the Ardennes Forest! So it was pointless to invade. Well genius, you don't get to Berlin without going through the Ardennes Forest and sometimes you get pushed back a bit, but you keep on fighting. Again, Cowards!] I suspect the problem is that many on the far right listen to each other only, they have convinced themselves that FOCA will pass and Obama will be the "most pro-abortion" president in history[Uh? Yeah! If we hadn't been vigorous in our fight against FOCA, Obama may have done it already like he promised! Remember this is what he promised, we are not making this up Mr. Winters, this is what he said he would do.], their understandable and laudable disgust at the entire nation’s tolerance of abortion has been channeled to focus on this man and like water entering a narrow channel, that disgust moves quickly and destructively. They are sincere, but sincere in the sense that they are the first to believe their own propaganda.

This crowd of conservatives does not own the Catholic Church. They certainly do not own Notre Dame University. [That is for dang sure!] They are about to find out that they do not own Dr. Glendon either. [Dr. Glendon, who no conservative has attacked and who most have praised!] The rest of us Catholics, however, must not let the public square think that they do. Our voices must be raised to say that we are thrilled such a distinguished Catholic university is considered such a part of the life of the nation that our President will be coming to address its graduates. We are thrilled that he will be sharing the stage with one of our Church’s and nation’s finest scholars and diplomats. And, we should be thrilled that the right wing commentariat has again adopted its smug "I thank Thee, Lord, that I am not like other men" stance. The Master condemned many things when he trod the earth, but none more than the smug judgmentalism of the Pharisees. Alas, like the poor, the Pharisees will be with us always. You will be able to find them on Graduation Day protesting outside the gates at Notre Dame. [Don't you just love the irony of a smug liberal writing about how is so much better than the right wing decrying the Pharisaical judgement of others? Suppose he never heard the parable of the splinter and the log.]
Please tell me if you could discern any point from this article other than the fact that Mr. Winters thinks he is better than all of you?

Moderation in Temper But Not Principle

A letter is being circulated among students at Notre Dame considering the school's invitation to President Obama to be Commencement Speaker. I'm happy that the letter is being signed by many students as it clearly is a protest letter.

But I am concerned that the authors did feel a need to throw in some caveats which I think Catholics should be concerned with, including this sentence:

There has been overreaction on both sides, and it is important to keep the discussion civil - Uninviting Pres. Obama would be a disrespectful move...
Firstly, who has "overreacted" on the pro-life side? Has there been instances of civil disobedience? Sit ins? Violence? Graffiti? Snowball throwing, even?

None that I've heard of.

As far as I can see Catholics have shown great moderation for many years in their protestations of abortion. But there's a difference between moderation in temper and moderation in principle. To me, if you're going to defend something. Defend it with all your heart. Ceding ground like that simply makes the rest of the letter your terms of surrender. And please don't show how "moderate" you are by exclaiming that both sides have gotten carried away and that now...thank God you're here...can now march in under the banner of truth and moderation.

John McCain tried that. Oh excuse me, Senator McCain tried that. He's still a Senator. He lost. Obama won - which is what got us into this mess in the first place. You know, the President who just declared it open season on embryos and is now being given an honorary degree by a Catholic University. Yeah, that one.

Now as far as uninviting Pres. Obama being a disrespectful move. Disrespectful? How about it would be disrespectful to the millions of unborn who've been killed to allow Obama to speak at Notre Dame?

Disrespectful would be giving DVD's to a world leader that don't even work in his home country. That's disrespectful.

Allowing Obama to speak at a school named after Mary, the Mother of God, would be something else. And disrespectful doesn't begin to describe what that is.

Here's a link to the letter and the text below:

Dear Fr. Jenkins:

As students of Our Lady's University, we are proud and honored to take part in the tradition and heritage that is so unique to our school. Notre Dame is a place for intellectual inquiry, open discussion, personal enlightenment, and the pursuit of truth. Its Catholic identity, grounded in 2,000 years of the Church's moral, social, and theological teaching and guidance, provides both a foundation and guidance for our pursuit of a deeper understanding of faith and reason.

The University's status and reputation make it a powerful national platform, and its place as a leading Catholic university engenders a responsibility to be a loud voice for the disadvantaged, the poor, and the marginalized. Programs such as the Center for Social Concerns, the Alliance for Catholic Education, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies all bear witness to the school's commitment to proclaim the truths of the Church in public life.

It is in this spirit that we take issue with the University's decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver this year's Commencement address. By now, extremists on both sides have made their views known, and quite passionately. Let us be clear - This is not a letter based on political beliefs, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for the office of the President, as well as for Pres. Obama's call to find a common ground on issues that have torn our nation apart for decades. It also speaks highly of Notre Dame's reputation and national stature that the leader of the free world has agreed to come and speak to our graduates.

This stature, however, should not be used to give the impression that the University, its students, or the Church approves of Pres. Obama's stances on the unborn and other issues on which the Catholic Church has taken a strong stance. His decision to undo the "Mexico City" provisions re-opened the door to U.S. taxpayer dollars funding abortions overseas. His executive order expanding federal embryonic stem cell research went in the face of the teaching of the Church and ignored the advances that researchers, including some from our own university, have made in developing stem cell treatments that aren't based in embryo-destructive work.

There has been overreaction on both sides, and it is important to keep the discussion civil - Uninviting Pres. Obama would be a disrespectful move, and having students turn their back on his speech, as some have called for, would be an immature gesture. As the preeminent Catholic university in America, we have an obligation to respect the office of the President of the United States, and his visit to our beloved campus can serve as the impetus for increased discussion about the role of Catholicism in the public square.

But the University should also use Pres. Obama's visit as an opportunity to reiterate its commitment to the teachings of the Church and the sanctity of life. We ask that you consider making a public statement, if not at the Commencement exercises themselves then in a highly visible public forum, distancing yourself and the University from his views, making it clear that the University disagrees in no uncertain terms with his views on the unborn, which stand in contrast to that of the Church's stance of protecting the most defenseless and voiceless among us. Awarding him an honorary degree without making clear that the University disapproves of his stance on issues regarding the sanctity of human life would be a disrespect to those students who, like ourselves, chose to attend this University based not only on its status as one of the country's premier institutions of higher learning, but a school that takes pride in its Catholic foundation and identity.