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Today on CMR —

I've Got Nothing

Look, I tried to find something to write about but no dice.

I am not going to write about Michael Jackson. Although when I heard that Michael's dermatologist is the biological father of his children I was tempted to make a joke about the dermatologist playing "who's got your nose?" with the children the same way he played it with Michael. But then I thought better of it.

I thought about writing about Honduras. But let's face it more people care the supposedly repressed anti-global warming report at the EPA than about Honduras. (Hint - that means NOBODY cares about Honduras)

I thought about writing about Al Franken going to the Senate.

But that is a joke that writes itself. Strictly for amateurs.

Then I thought I had it. I thought that I would write about this picture from Runners World.

But then I remembered that my wife reads this blog, so that was out.

I thought about going the other way by talking about Gov. Mark Sanford's continuing public revelations but that is getting ickier than Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson dueling for deranged Jackson family spokesman. Its A Outrage. (and waaaay too much information)

Then I thought about writing about my experiences as a Catholic Dad of five, but Matthew already sucked all the air out of that room. Maybe next year.

Then I thought that I would write about all the media coverage of the continuing situation in Iran or of the four soldiers who died during the pullout from cities in Iraq, but I couldn't find any.

So I finally decided to give up. I've got nothing. Sorry folks. This post is closed. Moose should have told you up front.

Cardinal Rigali Vs. Congress

You know how President Obama and the majority of representatives in Congress aren't pro-abortion, they're just pro-choice. They all don't want abortion. They all want to work together to reduce abortions. You believe that, right?

Well, since when does the government fund something it's trying to reduce.

That's right. Government funding of abortion just got a little closer to reality. A Congressional subcommittee last week voted to directly fund with taxpayer money abortions in Washington D.C., a direct breach of the Dornan Amendment which prohibits taxpayer funded abortions in the nation's capitol.

CMR is a huge fan of Cardinal Rigali who is standing up against this outrage.This is why:

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to members of the House Appropriations Committee today urging them not to fund abortions in the District of Columbia. Last week the House subcommittee considering the Financial Services appropriations bill for 2010 voted to permit direct public funding of abortion in the nation's capital.

Cardinal Rigali said that the subcommittee's action "effectively nullifies the Dornan amendment," which for a total of 18 years has prevented public funding of elective abortions in the District. He said this move, "presumably the first step in a broader effort to restore such funding throughout the federal government," is misguided for three reasons.

"First, public funding of abortion is rejected by the American people, as numerous surveys of public opinion have shown," Cardinal Rigali said. He also noted that Catholics recently sent "tens of millions of postcards to their elected representatives in Congress, opposing... any weakening or reversal of current appropriations riders on abortion."

"Second, no lawmaker or Administration can support such a policy change and still claim to support 'reducing abortions.' The evidence is overwhelming, and universally recognized by groups on all sides of the abortion issue, that the availability of public funds for abortion greatly increases abortions," the bishops' Pro-Life Committee Chair argued.

"Third, this action takes place as Congress is working to win broad support for a much-needed major reform of our health care system," Cardinal Rigali noted. "This is the worst of all possible times to be injecting the divisive issue of public abortion funding into the debate on government health policy."

Cardinal Rigali concluded by urging the full House Appropriations Committee to reverse the subcommittee's action and retain the funding ban in current law. The full text of his letter is available at: www.usccb.org/prolife/Rigali-DornanAmendment-2009.pdf.
This is the first of many battles pro-lifers are facing when it comes to public funding of abortion in the near future. First we'll have this and then ObamaCare which will almost certainly seek to fund abortions nationwide.

So I believe this move to fund abortion in D.C. is just the start of the battle. Prayers will be needed to defeat this. Men like Cardinal Rigali will be needed to defeat this. And thank God for them.

My Unforgettable Day

My wife had to work last Thursday and the van needed brakes and the inspection was up at the end of the month. Recipe for a long day. I knew it going in. My wife apologized for not being able to help. I told her not to worry. It'd be easy. I knew it would be a day I wouldn't forget. Five kids waiting for a van to be fixed. Not good.

I called the mechanic and asked if they had time to check out the van and inspect it and all that stuff. Sure, the guy said.

Great, I said. "About how long should it take because I'll have my kids with me."

"Two hours. Tops," he said.

Tops, he said. Remember that. I mean, if you can't trust a mechanic, who can you trust, right?

So I threw two diapers in the bag, some drinks, some books for my five children and me. I'm all set. Two hours. What could go wrong?

We got to the mechanic and walked into his little office in back and he looked up alarmed at my five children filling his little office. "Call me Bob," he said and reached out his hand to me over the head of the four year old standing directly in front of him.

OK. Bob.

"They all yours?" Bob asked, referring to the children.

"Nah. Two of them are just hitchhikers I picked up along the way because I thought they kinda' look like the others."

He laughed and said that's how Madonna got some of her kids.

So I told Bob we'd take a walk for two hours and then we'd come back and he could call me on my cell if he needed me. (Now, the real reason we give mechanics our numbers is so that they can call us to say that he was surprised that our ziggelydaboot was worn down to nothing and we would be needing a new ziggelydaboot and maybe even a new plotzkin. And then we say that we couldn't possibly afford it right now but maybe next time we'd look into that stuff.)

So my kids and I walked outside. Not a lot of places to sit. A strip mall with offices. In the distance across a four lane road was a Wal-Mart. OK.

So we went. I know people do it all the time but walking along a major road with five children scares me- even with traffic lights. We're all holding hands and I'm pointing out bumps into the pavement so nobody trips. (Yeah, I'm that guy) And after waiting about twenty minutes to cross we finally got into the Wal-Mart.

Now, killing time in Wal-Mart sounds easy but essentially our quest centered around three aisles of toys where my children begged and pleaded for toys they needed and they'd never ask again for a single thing if they could only have a Power Ranger action figure, a foam sword, a book, a soccer ball, and a fish.

Are you crazy, I ask them. I can't even afford a new plotzkin for the van.

So we walked around looking at the new electronics. We looked at clothes. The girl's tried some shirts and skirts on until the boy and the one year old girl just couldn't sit still any longer. We stopped in front of the huge screen televisions because Spongebob was on. And let me tell you something, one year old's don't like their Spongebob three feet tall. It freaks them out. So we moved on to Sporting Goods.

So about fifteen minutes before the two hour mark I brought the baby into the bathroom and changed her. One diaper left. But it's fine, I thought. We just have to walk back, pick up the van and head on home.

We get back and the van is in the parking lot. Hooray, I tell the kids. It's ready. We all pile back into the office and Bob looks up surprised to see me. He looks at the clock on the wall.

"Oh. You're back with your army," he says. "Uh...I'll tell you what..."

Well, as you can imagine "what" consisted of saying it was going to be another hour and a half. Tops.

Tops, said Bob. He actually had the guts to tell me "Tops."

"OK Sir," I said. "We'll see you in an hour and a half."

"Call me Bob," he said.

I wanted to call Bob other things but off we went. Walking back up the road and boom. The seven year old falls. Knee on pavement. Blood. Children freak. Seven year old running in place. Screaming. Cars whizzing by. Trucks rumble. Baby starts crying. OK. Let's turn up the side road up here guys and see what's up here.

And there it was. A Diner. OK. How does ice cream sound everyone?

Crying stops. Celebratory cheers abound. We sing Hi-Ho as we walk and laugh as the baby rocks her head.

The diner was empty so we had the full attention of the three waitresses and if you ask me the service was way too good. Within eight minutes we had two band aids on my seven year old's knee, my six year old begging for and receiving a sympathy band aid for an imaginary boo-boo, and our ice creams sitting in front of us. Never mind that it wasn't even 11 a.m. and my children were eating ice cream. I was just worried the ice cream got there way too fast.

We started the long trek back towards the mechanic shop even though we were early. As we approached, I saw a 20 foot by 20 foot patch of grass behind the mechanic shop parking lot in back. I had everyone sit and I read a storybook and they all listened well. When I was done we spoke about ways we could've made the story much sillier than it was. We invited hippos and monkeys into the story and giraffes with sore throats. We were passing the time well...

And then I smelled something.

The baby was sitting next to me in the grass and I was downwind. Whew. Let's just say the ice cream didn't sit all that well. So the last diaper came out of the diaper bag and the old diaper got thrown into "Call me Bob's" dumpster where I'm sure an innocent sanitation worker will likely be found unconscious in a few days.

At the proposed time as we got ready to go back into the mechanic's office, my phone rang. It turned out I needed a new plotzkin and the ziggelydaboot was shot. I said that we couldn't possibly afford it right now but we'll keep it in mind. "So how long until it's ready?"

Call me Bob says, "Two hours. Tops."

Now, I'm a patient man. I really am. "Bob,(I was struggling to call him Bob) I'm dyin' here. I've got five kids who are bored out of their minds and you told me two hours TOPS three and a half hours ago."

Well, "Call me Bob" had many reasons why this occurred. I just had five reasons I didn't want it to continue.

OK. He promises to hurry.

"Guys, let's go for a walk," I announce.

Now, behind the mechanic shop there's a wooded area and I see a little creek which leads to a river beyond which there's a neighborhood so we all walk down to the creek. I tell everyone to take their shoes off and I help the drama queen seven year old take her shoes off because the pain of her wound is so awful she's practically paralyzed. The six year old suddenly finds taking off her shoe difficult as well. I didn't bother reminding her that she hadn't fallen.

I collected some large stones nearby and threw them into the creek so the children could leap from stone to stone so as not to get too wet. I lift the baby, hop across, turn around to offer to carry the four year old boy but he was already knee deep in the water. The nine year old says, "Oh no."

"What's wrong," I ask her.

"You'll see," she says. And when the boy emerges from the creek I see he has his shoes on and he's smiling the biggest smile of his life. It's hard to get too upset by a child who clearly sees nothing wrong with what they're doing. And what am I going to say, "Hey next time we're waiting for the van to be done and the mechanic lies to us and we're forced to cross a creek you might want to take your shoes off." I'm not sure it's going to come up all that often.

I look at the boy as he emerges. "I didn't see that coming," I say to the girls across the creek.

"How didn't you see that coming?" asks my extremely sarcastic and know-it-all nine year old.

After they all laughed at me, the girls all hopped across thinking of it all as a grand adventure and oddly speaking in British accents which, I guess, fit the story they'd placed themselves in. (They alternately sounded like Sean Connery with marbles in his mouth or the Queen of England at high tea.)

We put our shoes back on and we walked out into the neighborhood. Each of the homes had a boat that could, I guess, be taken out into the river and the kids marveled at them as we walked past them. The boys squishy sneakers had the girl's giggling for a few hundred yards as well. After about a quarter of a mile, the street opened out into a large green field adjacent to an apartment complex.

"Can we play?" they all asked excitedly.

Sure. The boy asked if he could remove his shoes. I said he could. Then, of course, everyone wanted to remove their shoes. So we did. We chased each other like a bunch of Moglis and Huck Finns set loose in a field in Pennsylvania. Wrestling and tickling and running. We played freeze tag which finally devolved into what every game devolves into. The game has no official name but the rules consist of Dad chasing children around while growling like a monster. Insert children's screams here.

I worried a little about the fact that I'm sure dogs defected at will in the field but it turned out that we didn't need to worry about the dogs. As I chased my one year old who can scream as loud as the nine year old but can only run three steps from me until she freezes in anticipation of being caught so she just stops, screams and closes her eyes and sticks her arms out. As I approached her I noticed how low her bottom sagged and when I got closer I smelled her again.

Oh no. I had no diapers left. I scooped her up as part of the game and peeked down the back of her pants. She squealed. I reeled. It was bad. Should I carry her back to Wal-Mart? Certainly that would end messily for the both of us but what choice did I have. Could the baby go commando? There were no good options here. I actually suffered a kind of paralysis in that field. I stood there staring at my daughter's diaper. There were no options but somehow I thought that I'd somehow think of something. Finally, I surrendered to the optionless of my life and told everyone to get their shoes back on. And that's when I saw a woman with a stroller wheeling past the field towards her apartment complex about fifty yards away from us.

OK.

So here's what the lady with the stroller saw: Short chubby sweating bearded man with no shoes running away from an apartment complex through a vacant field with a baby in his arms TOWARDS HER!

Oddly enough, I didn't get pepper sprayed and I explained to her what had occurred and ended my tale with a plea for a diaper to borrow.

"Well, how about you can have one because I'm not going to want it back," she joked.

"Fair enough."

I thanked her profusely and as the girls came up behind me and the boy squished over they all explained that Dad hadn't given anyone lunch and that the baby only had ice cream and that's why the diaper "exploded." She laughed, gave me a "been there, done that" look and said "Hey, it happens."

In the end, we walked back through the neighborhood and I saw a way around the creek. I left it up to them which way we went and they all wanted to try jumping from stone to stone again. The boy actually did a great job hopping across and the girls made it a grand adventure of it by pretending the water was lava, again speaking like Britains.

Thankfully, "Call me Bob who I now had several other polysyllabic and unmentionable named for" had the car ready when we returned and it drove just fine (even with its old worn out plotzkin.) He apologized, saying it was "one of those days."

I said, "Don't worry Bob. It happens."

As we drove away the girls and the boy all said "We are never going back there again." We all came up with places we'd rather be than back at the mechanic. The North Pole in a bathing suit. In a cave with a bear. Hanging from the tallest building in the world. You get the idea.

But yesterday, when we were driving to the library we passed the mechanic and the seven year old said joyfully, "Hey remember when we crossed the river."

The six year old said, "Yeah" and reminded everyone that her brother forgot to take his shoes off and they all laughed again like it had just happened.

Remember we played tag, said the nine year old. Remember you fell and the waitress gave you band aids.

Remember...

I thought it would be a day that I wouldn't forget. But it turned out to be a day I'd remember. Always.

Obamateurism:When Is A Coup Not a Coup?

When is a coup not a coup? I guess when President Obama says so.

So never mind that President Obama is on the wrong side of the Honduras issue. And if you're unsure of that just look at the company he's keeping on this issue in Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and see Patrick's piece on Honduras for Dummies.
But Obama's words in this issue show he does not yet understand that words have meaning when you're the President of the United State.

In a Reuters piece, Obama says of Honduras: "We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there," Obama told reporters after an Oval Office meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

But then, according to Reuters, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was sent out to say the administration was not formally designating the ouster as a military coup for now, a step that would force a cut-off of most U.S. aid to Honduras.

So President Obama says it's a coup and then Clinton comes out saying it's not officially a coup and then Clinton adds this puzzling line.

"We do think that this has evolved into a coup," Clinton told reporters, adding the administration was withholding that determination for now. Asked if the United States was currently considering cutting off aid, Clinton shook her head no.
All I can say is huh?

So Your Avatar is Green. Now What?

So you turned your Twitter Avatar green in honor of the fight for freedom going on in Iran. But now what?

Now, you're stuck with a green avatar but you find that other stories are crowding out the front pages. Even your focus has moved onto other stories like Michael Jackson or the cap and trade bill. And you're worried that other people's avatars will start turning back to their original colors.

Now starts the awkward phase. It's like all those news reporters who wore flag pins right after 9/11 and then became embarrassed by them a few weeks later when America actually defended itself but they didn't know how to get rid of them.

You don't want to be the first to change your avatar back to normal but you also don't want to be last, right? I mean, you definitely don't want to be the last guy with a green avatar.

Maybe you start by going with a lighter shade of green. You know, easing your way back down the color spectrum from fern to chartreuse, etc. so nobody will notice.

Or do you just stunt jump onto another cultural bandwagon like the Honduras debacle. Or maybe you could get all snarky and say something like, "In honor of Obama's position on most foreign policy issues we are changing our avatar back to neutral."

Don't laugh. This is a real problem that affects us many Twitterers. You're not alone. But, for me, I think Iran is still THE story of the moment. I believe so much of the world's future depends on this moment. So I'm willing to stay green for a while more. Even if I get laughed at. And hey, maybe I'll be the last green avatar out there. Hey, as Kermit said: "It's not easy being green." But it's tougher being Iranian.

For updates on Iran, see Gateway Pundit, or Amy Proctor.

Apocalypse - Flesh Eating Robot Edition

In the annals of really bad ideas there is a scale. The are really bad ideas (like Microsoft Bob or Meg Ryan's plastic surgery) and then there are really really really bad ideas. This story most definitely fits into the latter category.

Now, regular readers of this feature are aware that Matthew and I are always warning about the potential for robot inventions to go terribly terribly wrong. Well, this robot idea starts out terribly terribly wrong and then invents it's own new and trademarked avenue for apocalyptic suckiness.

Now someone, Brit James Auger to be precise, has done the unthinkable. He has created robots that power themselves by feeding on...FLESH! No, I am not making that up. No, I am not exaggerating. The robots actually digest mice and flies to power themselves so that they can attract more mice and flies to power themselves further.

Sure the robots start looking like nice appliances from robot IKEA

But they end up looking like THIS!


The question here is not what could go wrong but rather what could possibly go right.
Futuristic-looking robots like Honda's sleek humanoid Asimo don't cut it for designer James Auger, at the Royal College of Art, London. Believing that they need to fit unobtrusively into the home, he has built robotic furniture. And, believing they need to be useful and entertaining, he has given the furniture an appetite for vermin, like mice and flies.
...
But the robots also have a taste for flesh. They can gain energy by chomping on flies and mice, an idea inspired by researchers at Bristol Robotics Lab, UK, who built a fly-powered robot and have also suggested that marine robots could feed on plankton.

"As soon as there is a predatory robot in the room the scene becomes loaded with potential,"
Loaded with potential you say. I agree. Loads of potential...for the robot. What happens when there are no more mice or flies around, huh? What is the potential then?

First it'll be hamsters and kittens. But pretty soon we are all merely hairless batteries hooked up to a giant computer dependent on bad actors in leather and latex to rescue us while being chased by Hugo Weavings. Thanks, but no thanks. Been there, done that.

* * *
Reminder! Today is the last day to vote for CMR at the Catholic New Media Awards.

Caroline Kennedy is a Comic Book Hero?

Caroline Kennedy is being hailed as a hero for women by a feminist organization which is making her the star of her own new “biography comic” in the “Female Force” series published by Bluewater Productions, according to Feminist Law Professors.

Just one point. If the comic book which hails you as a hero requires a picture of your Daddy behind you because you haven't actually accomplished all that much, uhm...you know...you might not be a feminist hero after all.

HT Instapundit

Honduras For Dummies

Even though I have sometimes been accused of being reflexively anti-Obama, it is not true. When I heard initial reports of what happened in Honduras over the weekend and the reaction of the Obama administration, I took it for granted that they were doing the right thing. Standing up for the law. Standing up for Democracy. I admit that I was somewhat cynical in that I assumed that this was an easy opportunity for the Obama administration to be viewed as defending democracy in the wake in their widely criticized feeble response to Iran.

Like I said, I assumed that they were standing up for democracy and the rule of law. You know what they say about assuming.

The more I dug into the situation, the more I realized that it was not as clear cut as I had previously assumed. The duly elected Honduran President Mel Zelaya was seeking a constitutional change that would allow him to remain in power. Only problem is that the President, in the Honduran constitution, does not have the power to call for a Constitutional change. This can only be done by a national referendum approved by the Honduran Congress. But they did not call for the referendum.

Zelaya, unrestrained by the Constitution he intended to rewrite anyway, illegally called for the referendum himself. He then had his good buddy and fellow lefty Hugo Chavez send the the ballots for the referendum. The Supreme Court, basing its decision on the Constitution and not the whim of an aspiring dictator, declared the Constitution referendum illegal. It then ordered the military not to carry out the vote as mandated by Zelaya.

The head of the military then told Zelaya that he would not carry out the election or distribute the ballots as per the lawful ruling of the Supreme Court. For this, he was promptly fired. Zelaya and his cohorts then illegally broke into a military installation to secure the ballots shipped from Venezuela so that he could effect the illegal referendum on his own without military assistance. He then began to distribute the ballots against the ruling of the court.

For this transgression, the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya to be carried out by the military. Zelaya then relocated to Costa Rica and began claiming he was ousted by a coup when in fact it seems that the military actually prevented one.

In the face of these facts, I find the statement of the Obama administration through the person of Secretary of State Clinton more than a little perplexing.

“The action taken against Honduran President Mel Zelaya violates the precepts of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and thus should be condemned by all. We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue. Honduras must embrace the very principles of democracy we reaffirmed at the OAS meeting it hosted less than one month ago,”
While I cannot be sure that all other parties acted perfectly according to Honduran law, it seems quite clear that Zelaya was operating in his own self interest and outside the Constitution. So it seems that the US, rather than supporting the rule of law, is condemning it.

Like I said at the beginning, I am not reflexively anti-Obama. However if I were, I would be right more often than wrong.

The 'Blob of Tissue' Era is Officially Over

You know how us Christian types are always trying to shut down science. (Insert evil laugh here) So why is it that we're the ones always embracing new technology and scientific breakthroughs when it comes to babies in the womb. And why is it that pro-choice liberal types continually scream, "Move along. Nothing to see here. It's just a blob of tissue! Don't believe your eyes!"

Well, this is the kind of science that pro-choice liberal types don't like too much. They enjoyed the "blob of tissue" era when they could tell women it wasn't a baby they were ripping limb from limb or burning alive, it was just a blob of tissue to be discarded at will, an accident to be remedied.

That gets a lot harder with each scientific advancement. And while this isn't really science, it's crazy cool and I consider it a fascinating breakthrough. I was going to put this up on The Reader but I really wanted to make sure you saw these pictures. I got this from Joe Carter over at First Thoughts so please check him out over there.

Carter writes:

Brazilian student Jorge Lopes has pioneered the conversion of data from ultrasound and MRI scans into life-size plaster models of living embryos using a method called rapid prototyping.
It's truly amazing. Really impressive stuff that to me, could change so much. I think if mothers can hold something like this in their hands, they'd be far less likely to pretend that the baby is just a blob of tissue, something to be disposed of.



Now there are a bunch of other images that seem more like art. No matter what they're pretty cool.


Lots of other pics available. This one to me looks like the baby's doing a poor Macaulay Culkin impersonation from "Home Alone" but it's a baby. Hey, babies don't know that 'Home Alone' stinks.


So please go over to First Thoughts and click on the link to check out some of the other pics. Amazing stuff. Remember, science is our friend.

The Radio-Shackification of America

As a Catholic I know I am not supposed to hate, but I hate radio shack. Hate it.

Bear with me. My Sirius Radio was on the fritz. I called the support line and the young man on the phone told me I needed to get a new antenna. I informed him that my radio had full bars but would get stuck with the message "acquiring signal." After a full fifteen seconds of diagnosis the young man insisted it was the antenna. I told him I didn't think so.

"Sir," he said condescendingly "you need a new antenna. If you don't get a new antenna I cannot help you!"

"Fine!", says I. "Where can I pick one up?"

"Any Radio Shack should have them," came the reply.

Nuts!

I hate Radio Shack. It seems I cannot go in to a Radio Shack with getting into an argument. I value independence and privacy. Radio Shack is determined to strip these from you. In many ways, Radio Shack is a microcosm of everything wrong with America these days. Let me tell you my tale(s) and then you may understand where I am coming from.

Let's go back one year to the last time I went to Radio Shack. I was going on a trip and I lost my USB cable that I use to charge my Blackberry and I was leaving that night. I was near a Radio Shack and against my better judgment I went there to get it. I mean it was just a USB cable after all, should be simple enough.

I walked in the door and a pimply faced nineteen year old kid bounded up to me. "Welcome to Radio Shack, how can I help you?"

"Ok, where are your USB cables?", I asked.

"What is it for sir, is it for a camera, a phone, or a printer?", asks the kid.

"Its actually for a phone, but that doesn't really matter. Can you just tell me where the USB cables are?"

"What kind of phone is it sir?"

"Listen son. Can you just tell me where the USB cables are?"

"Well sir, not all phones use the same kind of cable. Not all phones even use USB cables. If you don't tell me what kind of phone you have I can't help you!"

My voice rising I said, "You can help me by answering my question. Where are the USB cables?"

Now the manager, hearing my voice growing louder, comes over to smooth the situation. "Hello sir, can I help you?"

"I hope so. I asked your fella here four times but he refuses to answer what I think thinkis a rather simple question. Where are your USB cables?" I said rather tersely (which anyone who has known me for more than five minutes knows is an understatement.)

"What is the cable for?", asked the manager.

At that point I nearly lost my mind. I eventually just walked away from them and found the cables myself. Since this was not my first such encounter at the Shack, I have avoided going back there. Sworn it off actually. However, since the Sirius support guy had told me that I could pick up the antenna at any RS and I had been without my radio for weeks, I figured I would brave those waters again. That was a mistake.

The Sirius guy told me that I could get the antenna at any Radio Shack. I went to five different stores and, of course, none of them had it. On Friday I went to my sixth store. I asked the young lady if they had it in stock and she informed that they did not.

"However sir, there is a basic Sirius Radio that comes with a car kit and it actually costs the same as just the antenna, so you are better off getting it just in case the antenna is not your problem," she helpfully informed me.

"Well, that sounds great. I will take that," I said, relieved I had finally made some progress.

"Oh, ummm, we don't have that either, sorry"

"Are you kidding me?"

"Well sir, if you give me a moment I will check with some other stores in the area to see if they have it. While I tried to keep my cool she made a few calls. Ten minutes later she told that there was a store only ten minutes away that had them in stock. I thanked her and made my way over to the other store.

When I got to the other store a sales guy closing in on fifty, as energetically as the nineteen year old pimply faced kid, bounded up to me. "Welcome to Radio Shack, how may I help you?"

I started to explain the situation but all I got back was a deer in the headlights, so rather than do a question and answer session I said, "Can you show me where your Sirius radios are?" And to my great relief the response I wanted came "right over here sir."

I found the model I was looking for and went to the counter to purchase it. I was so close to a clean getaway. But it was not to be. The guy went through what seemed to be a ten minute login procedure at the register before even scanning the item. Then he finally scanned it.

"May I have your address and telephone sir?"

"No thank you. I don't give out my private information." There are many reasons why I don't wish to give out this type of information. In this age of identity theft and telemarketers, it is just my policy. Besides, its simply none of their business.

"Uh, sir. I need this information," came the puzzled response.

"I don't think you do and I am not giving it to you. I just want to make this purchase and be on my merry way. Ok?"

"Ok sir." then some more typing, "Oh see here sir, the computer is asking for it."

"But I am not giving it you." said I. Truly trying to muster all the patience I could while sticking to my guns.

"But the computer says you have to!"

"Look, I don't care what the computer says. I am trying to make a $39 purchase with cash. I am not giving you any personal information in order to do that. This seems pretty simple. Enter in whatever information you want but I am not giving you my address or my telephone number."

"Ok sir. Why don't you just give me your cell phone number then?"

"Are you kidding me? Look. I am not giving you any, ANY personal information. Why don't you just put in the address and number for the store if you need to put something in?"

Flustered he began to type and then abruptly stopped. Unsure of the phone number of the store, he took out his wallet searching in vain for a business card that would have the number he so desperately sought. Now really getting agitated he yelled for a colleague to help him out.

"Jim, what is the store number?"

"51290" came Jim's response.

"NO NO. Not the store number! The store TELEPHONE NUMBER!"

Completely unhelpfully Jim responded, "Why do you need it?"

The Radio Shack guy now was coming completely unglued and he yelled at Jim, "This guy won't give me his phone number and the computer is making me put in a phone number!"

Unaffected by the outburst, Jim responded casually "Well just put in the store phone number then."

"BUT I DON'T KNOW THE STORE NUMBER! THAT IS WHAT I AM ASKING YOU!"

Even more casually if that were possible, Jim responded with the number. The sales guy typed the number in and finally got passed the screen which had tormented him so. Then, his whole mood turning on a dime, he looked up from his terminal at me. His eyes locked on mine and then without the least bit of irony or self awareness said "Sir, would you like to purchase the extended warranty with that?"

With all the Dirty Harry I could muster, I very quietly responded, "No."

I finally completed my purchase and returned to my car. I pulled the antenna from the kit and plugged it in to my radio, turned it on, and then sunk low in my chair as the radio displayed an unchanged "Acquiring signal."

I called Sirius up again and chewed an innocent technicians ear off for ten minutes after which he told me, "Well sir, acquiring signal never means the antenna is bad. It means the radio is bad. You can pick up a replacement at Radio Shack."

* * *

So what is the point of this ridiculous tale? I suspect that this is exactly what Government run health care and the ACORN run census will be like, on a good day. Caveat Emptor.

Ebert Doesn't Know what Pro-Life Means

The new movie "My Sister's Keeper" deals with the phenomenon known as savior siblings. In the film, which was reviewed favorably by movie critic Roger Ebert, young Anna was brought into the world via in vitro fertilization, so that she would be a genetic match for her older sister Kate, who was diagnosed with leukemia at 2 years old. Now, when Kate's kidneys fail, Anna is expected to donate one of her own, but she hires a lawyer to be medically emancipated from her parents and gain the right to make the decision herself.
Ebert writes:

Although “My Sister’s Keeper,” based on the best-seller by Jodi Picoult, is an effective tearjerker, if you think about it, it’s something else. The movie never says so, but it’s a practical parable about the debate between pro-choice and pro-life. If you’re pro-life, you would require Anna to donate her kidney, although there is a chance she could die, and her sister doesn’t have a good prognosis. If you’re pro-choice, you would support Anna’s lawsuit.
Uhm. I think Mr. Ebert is a little confused here. I'm not even sure where his logic stems from, or if it can even be called logic. I'm pro-life and I wouldn't create a person so they could be used for spare parts. And I wouldn't force a young girl to donate her kidney. In fact, doing so would seem antithetical to everything I do believe in.

In fact, the true pro-life perspective here I believe would be to not create a daughter with the intent of saving another.

Part of being pro-life is celebrating the miracle of every individual, which wouldn't include using each other for spare parts. It's odd that Ebert seems to think of that as pro-life as that sums up quite well the pro-embryonic stem cell research debate.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states
"A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."

We believe using other people for spare parts is evil. We believe killing other people to avoid inconvenience is evil. It's not that difficult.

I think Roger Ebert is a smart guy but it goes to show the blinders people can have when it comes to issues like abortion. They just accept the cliches and don't follow the logic of the issue. I guess what Ebert means is that those mean old pro-lifers force women into medical procedures to save others even if its against their own will.

I think Mr. Ebert hasn't done his thinking. I'll pray that he starts. I won't force him to. I'll just pray.

Name The Saint!



Of course, it's Saint Paul. But this recently discovered portrait may be the earliest pic of Saint Paul. Word has it that in all the other photos taken at the time he blinked or they didn't get his best side so they were destroyed.

Check out Gateway Pundit for the fascinating story.

Crop Circles Explained by Stoned Wallabies

So all day long everyone has been talking about the death of Jacko and the cap and trade deal in Congress. But much more stunning news has flown in under everyone's radar. And this is really important news.

For years, mysterious crop circles have been popping up in the poppy fields in Tasmania. I know you think it would be really weird if it were little green men in UFO's, right? But trust me, the truth is even weirder.

It turns out that Stoned wallabies are making crop circles. That's right. Stoned wallabies.

According to Reuters:

The mystery of crop circles in poppy fields in Australia's southern island state of Tasmania has been solved -- stoned wallabies are eating the poppy heads and hopping around in circles.

"We have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," the state's top lawmaker Lara Giddings told local media on Thursday.

"Then they crash. We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high," she said...

Australia produces about 50 percent of the world's raw material for morphine and related opiates.
I think this may also solve who's been stealing all the Doritos and Pringles from local markets as well.

This, of course, doesn't explain where the rest of the crop circles around the world are coming from but I suspect stoned humans.

HT Mary's Aggies

Congress Honors Accused Child Molester

Alright. This is getting to be a little much. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. led Congress in taking a few moments to honor the passing of Michael Jackson with moments of silence.Hot Air writes:

What’s more irritating here, that the House would interrupt national business for this or that JJJ would have the stones to pay tribute to the “grace” and “mercy” of a guy who was accused of child molestation more than once and was known to pay $20+ million settlements in hush money to his accusers?
Now, could you just imagine if the Pope said some kind words or asked for a moment of silence for a priest who'd been accused of similar outrages.

Something tells me, it wouldn't go too well.

Today's Legislation

I'm not a big fan of political grandstanding. I'm an architectural historian. I talk about eschatology and column capitals and HVAC.

But today's vote in the House is big.

We've all be inundated by the Michael Jackson story , so its been hidden in the news. But the government is voting on an energy bill widely known as "cap and trade." This means that the federal government will decide to sell the right to "pollute" with carbon dioxide. This might not sound so bad, but that means every factory, power plant, and car driver will have to buy the right to use fuel and the money will go to the federal government. Selling the rights alone is supposed to bring in a TRILLION dollars to the federal government. And it all gets passed on the the consumer. The largest tax in American history. They are predicting the doubling of electric bills. $5.00 per gallon gas. A surtax on all products made that use fuel. Forget building (or heating) churches with their high ceilings and large spaces.

All to control our behavior by making fuel so expensive that we use less. Other countries without the regulations will be allowed to "pollute" more. Some are calling it the India and China stimulus package.

Amendments added to the bill to limit its enforcement if gas reaches $5.00 per gallon or if unemployment goes to 20% were vote down by the majority party.

And here's the biggest issue: the government can then decide who to sell these rights to. Government control of our lives will take a huge leap.

Nancy Pelosi claims she has the votes to pass it.

Do something today. The votes is scheduled for TODAY, Friday June 26th.

Click here if you don't know who your congressperson is: who is my representative.

Is Michael Bay on the Hollywood Blacklist?

Michael Bay's career has BOOMED for a while. In fact, most of his movies are filled with crashes and booms. Booms are actually what Bay does best. But it seems that with Transformers II, Hollywood wants Bay to go bust.

Bay's strong suit has never been his story telling. It's action. It's stunts. It's slow motion heroes staring off into middle distance. That's his trademark. He's done similar movies for the past decade and a half.

But this week, suddenly Hollywood critics are finding Bay's style so awful that they're viciously panning his latest, Tranformers II.

Look, I'm pretty darn confident that Transformers II is not a good movie. And I'm pretty sure I'm not going to see it. But the vitriol coming out of reviewers is pretty odd and it intrigued me. And what many of them seem to focus on is Bay's unpardonable sin of dissing President Obama in the movie.

Variety:

"So as usual in these movies, the federal bureaucrats are portrayed as annoying if not villainous. The President's man, "Galloway," is a bespectacled blowhard who becomes an obstacle to our brave fighting men and their alliance with the noble Autobots. Operating specifically under Barack Obama's presidential authority, he makes all kinds of mischief. He says the President wants to try "diplomacy" against the evil Decepticons and hints the President would consider handing over Shia LaBouf's character to be killed by them."

This doesn't sit well with the elites whose sole commandment is "Thou shall not disrespect Obama." They say it's unfair. (Sounds kind of believable to me after you read this.)

But Rolling Stone ups the ante and gives the movie 0 stars and personally attacks the director.
Disguised as a human director, Bay is actually a destroyer of dreams. When Hasbro invented those Transformers toys, the intention was for kids to use their imagination about what those bots would morph into. Bay crushes that imagination with his own crude interpretations that seem untouched by human hands and spirit. I know there are still 17 months to go, but I'm thinking Transformers 2 has a shot at the title Worst Movie of the Decade.
What? Aren't we forgetting Basic Instinct II or The Love Guru?

But it's more than one teeny weeny Obama mention in his latest movie. I think it's worse. Much worse. I think Hollywood is starting to suspect that Bay is not a liberal. And there's reason to suspect it.

Bay created the uber-patriotic Armageddon where oil drillers save the world. Oil drillers! (That should have clued Hollywood in, huh?)

Bay directed the patriotic WWII movie Pearl Harbor.

Bay also directed one of the most pro-life movies I've seen in the past twenty years in "The Island" in that it comes out against human cloning, for the existence of the soul, and deals with other moral dilemmas along with all sorts of explosions and car chases. There's a lot more explosions and near nudity than moral dilemmas but the morality of the movie is clearly anti-cloning anyway.

Even in Transformers, the military is seen almost universally positive tones which sets it apart from virtually every other movie coming out of Hollywood right now.

And while the critics are savaging the movie, regular folks seems to like it fine. The critics on Rotten Tomatoes give the movie 22% out of 100% while the regular folks give the movie a 68% approval. Something tells me there's more going on here than critics upset that the plot doesn't hold together all that well.

So critics and liberal weenies are after Bay. Something tells me he won't care too much as Transformers is already zooming towards $100 million just a few days after being released. And this is the same Michael Bay who said:
We don't make movies for critics. I've done four movies; there's millions upon millions upon millions of people who've paid to see them. Somebody likes them. My greatest joy is to sit anonymously in a dark theater and watch it with an audience, a paying audience.
Sure sounds like a fiscal conservative.

CMR's 8 Signs of Apocalypse (Vol XIV)


══ 1 ══

Fakers Of The Lost Ark


Marion, don't look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don't look at it!
WND reports:
The patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia says he will announce to the world Friday the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, perhaps the world's most prized archaeological and spiritual artifact, which he says has been hidden away in a church in his country for millennia, according to the Italian news agency Adnkronos.

Abuna Pauolos, in Italy for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI this week, told the news agency, "Soon the world will be able to admire the Ark of the Covenant described in the Bible as the container of the tablets of the law that God delivered to Moses and the center of searches and studies for centuries."
I guess President Obama hasn't visited the partiarch and given him DVD's of old American movies like he did Gordon Brown. So, at the risk of spoiling the end of Raiders for the patriarch I'll say the ending. When they open up the Ark, EVERYONE MELTS AND DIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


══ 2 ══

Oh No, There Is A Cosmic Blob In My Pants

OK. Ready for the scariest headline ever. I'm serious. I don't even know what it means but this is apocalyptic if I've ever heard apocalyptic. Ready? OK. I warned you. Here it is from New Scientist: "Gluttonous black holes power ancient cosmic 'blobs.'"

Look, to be honest if I ever encounted an ancient cosmic blob I'd freak. I mean change-of-pants kind of freak. But if a gluttonous black hole happens to come along and powers up the ancient cosmic blob. Forget it. I'm dead.

A regular old ancient cosmic blob is bad enough but one that powers up on gluttonous black holes is seriously bad. I mean, what chance does a short chubby bearded guy like me or any of us have against something like that?

But remember -and this is important - if we're ever attacked by an ancient cosmic blob the first order of business is to keep it away from any gluttonous black holes. Remember. If you're reading this you are the resistance.

══ 3 ══
Lord Of The Flies


According to the New York Times:
The White House is bugged!

No, not like that. But actual flies are swarming the place, confounding housekeepers, irritating aides, even trying to feast on the president. During an East Room interview with John Harwood for CNBC and The New York Times on Tuesday, a giant fly orbited Mr. Obama’s head.
Do I even have to say the Lord of the Flies joke or is it implicit?

══ 4 ══

Martian Lakes Mean Martian Tourists - Take No Chances!

News reports say:
University of Colorado team finds definitive evidence for ancient lake on Mars.

First unambiguous evidence for shorelines on the surface of Mars, say researchers.
So we have a lake but still no martians? Now, it's just a matter of time before we start hearing about a lake monster on Mars. And the lake monster might have some answering to do on where all the martians went.

I think it's long past time we nuked Ogopogo and Nessie. Just to make sure.


══ 5 ══
Great Balls Of Fire!

Fox News: reports:
Military Covering Up Fireballs From Space.

For 15 years, scientists have benefited from data gleaned by U.S. classified satellites of natural fireball events in Earth's atmosphere — but no longer.

A recent U.S. military policy decision now explicitly states that observations by hush-hush government spacecraft of incoming bolides and fireballs are classified secret and are not to be released, SPACE.com has learned.

The upshot: Space rocks that explode in the atmosphere are now classified.
I suspect that the government knows that an ancient cosmic blob is already on the way and they don't want us to know about it so they can maybe cut some kind of deal.

And just in case you think this kind of coverup by the government has no real effect on our lives. Well you haven't spoken to this kid...


══ 6 ══
If Only A Meteor Had Killed The Nazis!

Space.com: ">Space.com reports that a meteorite traveled thousands and thousands of miles in space, burned through the atmosphere at hundreds of miles per hour and crashed into Earth hitting a young 14 year old boy. Now, thankfully, the meteorite was the size of a pea and just knocked the boy down:
A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite that scared the bejeezus out of him and left a scar.

"When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road," Gerrit Blank said in a newspaper account. Astronomers have analyzed the object and conclude it was indeed a natural object from space, The Telegraph reports.
Some scientists are skeptical of the claim. They fear it might be Global Warming induced hysteria.

══ 7 ══

This Guy!




══ 8 ══

Smurf-Alypse!

So we've got fireball conspiracies and ancient cosmic blobs and this is how humanity is spending its time:
The Welsh city was turned blue as a group of 2,510 people, the majority of whom were students from the local university, crammed into the Oceana nightclub to almost double the previous record.

The event was organised by UK fancy dress costume seller Jokers' Masquerade and was not verified until 1am as every "Smurf" had to be checked to make sure no natural skin was showing.

The record was previously held by the town of Castleblayney in County Monaghan, Ireland, which recorded 1,253 Smurfs gathered in the high street last year.

Rebecca Oatley, of Jokers' Masquerade, said: "Smurf Guinness World Record holder has become an illustrious title.

"There have been five attempts over the last 18 months, with Swansea trumping Castleblayney's 1,253 Smurfs recorded last year.

"We knew that if we were going to break the record, we had to do it in style and 2,510 Smurfs will be a tough act to follow for any budding record-breakers."
Sadly, someone will likely try.

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

Posted by Patrick & Matthew Archbold

Pelosi: Preserving God's Beautiful Creation

Nancy Pelosi said today at a press conference: "It's important and that's why I'm so glad that people of faith are working with us to preserve God's beautiful creation."

No she wasn't talking about God's beautiful creations like this one:

She was talking about the cap and trade energy bill that will, she says, protect the environment for the next generation. Yes, the very same next generation that Pelosi is very cool with killing. Makes sense, right?

HT Market Watch

Sarah Palin as Rocky Balboa

I've had doubts that the reason the liberal elites attack Sarah Palin so viciously is because she scares them. I don't doubt it any longer.

Yesterday, Sen. Kerry, when talking about Gov. Sanford's disappearance, told a room full of liberals that he wished it were Sarah Palin that would disappear.

Why?

Kerry's botched jokes have had a way of revealing his true feelings in the past like when he said to a group of students that if they did not study hard and do their homework they would likely "get stuck in Iraq." That's what Kerry thought of people in the military.

GOP hopefuls are falling by the wayside. Sen. Ensign and Gov. Sanford most recently lusted their way out of any hope to attain the presidency. Jindal, who still could make a run, seems to have retreated from the national stage for a while after a much critiqued national speech.

There are candidates out there including former Gov. Mike Huckabee. But I really do fear that although Huckabee ran last year with surprising success, he ran last time as a media favorite because the media liked his underdog status and how he allowed McCain to hold off Romney and thus escaped heavy scrutiny.

Now, there's one Presidential hopeful that has been vetted more than any candidate's ever been vetted and come up clean. For about a year now, the Democratic Party and the mainstream media have done everything in their power (and I mean everything) to destroy Sarah Palin. And they've come up with nothing substantive. Nothing.

A Palin candidacy might be full of surprises but they won't be from skeletons in her closet, that's for sure.

Palin's Vice Presidential candidacy was a spectacle and the nation witnessed how the elites in our culture dragged Sarah Palin and her family through the mud in a way that no other politician has ever had done to them before. It's still going on now with Letterman, Kerry, and Democratic operatives, and even a select class of "conservative intellectuals." She infuriates liberals as much as Ann Coulter but not because of outrageous hyperbole but with a wink and a smile.

But after they attacked her a funny thing happened. After the general election, everyone expected Sarah Palin to go back to Alaska to lick her wounds. Run silent, run deep for a few years. But she didn't go away.

Sarah Palin keeps coming back. Try as they might they can't keep Sarah down. So the Democrats keep attacking her, they keep hitting her but she keeps coming back.

It reminds me of Rocky II when Apollo's Trainer Duke tries to warn Apollo off of a rematch with Balboa:
"He's all wrong for us, baby. I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before, and the man kept coming after you. Now we don't need no man like that in our lives."
Liberals are used to destroying Republicans who then have the good taste to go away. Sarah Palin is different. She keeps coming. She keeps smiling. She keeps winking. She keeps drawing record crowds wherever she goes. And the liberals in power in Washington and the liberals in the media don't know what to make of her. So they keep following the old plan of attack, attack, attack and seem puzzled that it's not having the desired effect of making her go away. And that's why Sarah Palin scares the heck out of liberals.

Family Man Or Freak?

We were sitting in the conference room halfway through a meeting at about 4:45pm. A colleague across the table is nervously glancing at his watch. The boss, noticing his growing anxiety, interrupts the flow of conversation to say, "Hey guys, let's try to wrap this up, Jim has his kids today and he has to leave at five sharp." The priorities shift for all in the room. Banished is the small talk. Less important items can wait until tomorrow, let's just tackle the big things. We need to be finished by five because Jim, divorced father of two, has his kids on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and family comes first.

We all recognize that divorce is hard, especially when kids are involved. In situations like the one above most people realize that family comes first and make the needed accommodations. This is the right thing to do and usually nobody thinks twice about it. Let's just wrap it up, Jim has to see his kids.

Now picture another scenario.

We were sitting in the conference room halfway through a meeting at about 4:45pm. A colleague across the table is nervously glancing at his watch. The boss, noticing his growing anxiety, interrupts the flow of conversation to say, "Got some place to be Jim?"

Jim answers, "Well, I was just hoping we could wrap this up by five, my son has a little league game and I want to catch the end of it."

"Didn't you have a little league game yesterday?", ask the boss.

"Yeah. But that was another son. I have two playing little league now and I need to take my daughter to her dance recital rehearsal after the game and my wife can't take her because the baby is sick and she is taking her to the doctor with the others.", says Jim.

Jim, you see, is a father of six. He stays late at work at least a couple of times a week but sometimes he has to go because the kids or his wife need him. After all, family comes first.

At five, Jim excuses himself and asks a colleague to fill him in tomorrow on anything he missed. After he leaves, the boss mumbles to himself, "Maybe if Jim got a TV or a hobby, he could finish meetings." A few others hear his comment and laugh.

The above is a fictionalized compilation of situations and attitudes that I have witnessed myself over years. Of course, this is not the rule, but I have noticed that these attitudes exist and they are not isolated.

These days it seems that when it comes to family values, people can more readily relate to the divorced Dad who sees his kids twice a week than to the father of six who scrambles to get to two little games or dance practices a week.

I am not trying to generalize too much here and I certainly admire any man who puts his kids first no matter what the situation. But it seems to me that today, the divorced dad rushing to pickup his kids is generally seen as a family man but the father of six is often seen as someone who needs to get his priorities straight. It seems upside down. I suppose that people today can more easily relate to the divorced dad than the haggard but happily married father of six. I guess they just see a lot more of the former than the latter.

As many of you have heard, Jon and Kate (of Jon and Kate plus eight) are getting a divorce. It is a sad situation. On the bright side, in light of the things I have seen over the years I wouldn't be surprised if, in the view of the general public, Jon get upgraded from freak to family man once he has visitation only twice a week.

Me, I prefer to be a freaky father of five who needs to get his priorities straight.

Neutralizing Christianity

Prayer in public? On City grounds? You know what comes next. Atheists screaming and pulling their hair out.

Detroit News reports that a local church has set up a prayer booth in City Hall for folks facing job losses and/or financial problems. Mind you, the space is free and available to any and all non-profits that apply to use the space so this local church is well within the law. But some atheists are upset. Surprise. Surprise:

The offer has been well-received by the 400 or so folks who have stopped by, but it's a concern to an atheist-agnostic group that's blasting Warren for allowing evangelists to set up shop inside a government building.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation said resident concerns over the booth -- located in the lobby of city offices and adorned with a banner that simply reads "Prayer Station" -- prompted the nonprofit to file a request for copies of city policy, its rental agreement with the church and verification it is being charged to use the space. The group is also criticizing the city's failure to disassociate itself from the religious message of the church.

"This is ridiculous. Prayer should be private," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Wisconsin-based nonprofit. "A government is supposed to be neutral when it comes to religion."
OK. Who wants to bet a lawsuit is imminent?

This is the kind of story going on everywhere. But I think the misconception is everywhere, even among Christians that a government that is "neutral" on religious matters must act in a discriminatory manner against religious organizations.

An open space to all non-profits, according to the atheist group, must be denied to only religious organizations? That is not neutrality. That's discrimination. Plain and simple.

This is exactly the kind of thing that worries religious folks, especially with gay marriage being legalized in several states. When governments enact laws granting homosexuals a right to marry, a government would not, according to the logic presented by the atheist group, be acting in a neutral manner by allowing churches to not grant homosexuals their right to marry.

And this whole business that prayer should be "private" like the atheist said in the article sounds an awful lot like "you can be religious but don't bring that whole Jesus thing out in public."

This fight will be played out in every state in America. We've got to make sure that Christianity is not "neutralized" into being what the government mandates.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Pith

Just a reminder. If you are on Twitter be sure to follow CMReport. If you are not following us, here are our most recent tweets so you know what you are missing


* * Dont cry in Argentina-The truth is I wasn't hiking-These wr my wild days-My mad existence-I broke my promise-now keep yr distance #tcot

* * Question is not if Sarah Palin will be the frontrunner for the 2012 nomination but whether there will be anyone left to challenge her.

* * Oh No! Obama trading hostages with Terrorists! Time to buy hostage futures! http://tinyurl.com/mzfq8d

* * Anyone else get the sense we're a Britney Spears culture in a Wagnerian world?

* * American's in trouble. We have a Governor who's absent and a President who votes "Present."

* * Obama on Standing up for principles. .... Ok. Hold on now ... It's coming ... I can't hear myself think .. hold on now....

* * Obama said today he'll "discipline insurance companies.” Top3 synonyms for "disciplinarian" are "authoritarian, bully, despot."

* * If Gov. Sanford wrote "A Dummies Guide to Destroying Your Presidential Ambitions With Strange Behavior" it'd sell.

* * So Nixon was against interracial babies. Hey! Just like the founder of Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger.

* * If I promise not to burn fossil fuels in front of my kids, can I burn fossil fuels as much as like? If not for double standards ...

* * Bad decisions last. Both Kelsey Grammer and Bebe Neuwirth appear in new version of 'Fame' Shelly Long - not so much. Just sayin'

* * Obama's Iran policy seems like a form of international Darwinism. He doesn't want to act until he knows who survives

Follow US on Twitter Here!

Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral, c. 1926

CMR readers who know Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral might be interested in this historic photo from the Mass held there for the famous 1926 International Eucharistic Congress (click image for larger view).


The extraordinary decorations include not only the banners, the draped fabrics and swags of flowers, but also the turning of the front rows of pews in choir arrangement. The photo also shows many of the features of the cathedral before its renovation in 1969, including the stone pulpitm, the high altar and some of the murals. Holy Name as it exists today is shown below.

Great Ad from Family Research Council



We did a post yesterday here at CMR about President Obama saying a father's responsibility doesn't end with conception here. But this ad from Tony Perkins' Family Research Council does a great job in thirty seconds.

It seems that this is not a new ad but actually from last year when then Senator Obama made similar statements on Father's Day as he did this year. As such, it deserves a new airing now that Obama is the President.

HT American Papist

A Miracle In Kansas?



The Wichita Eagle reports on an amazing story that might just be miraculous:

People in Colwich like to touch Chase Kear's arm or his shoulder with their fingers. Or they hug him. "Miracle Man," they say. "Let me touch the miracle." With anybody else in Colwich, this would be just talk. But it's not just talk to the Vatican.

Prompted in part by what the Kear family has said publicly, and partly by a preliminary investigation begun by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, a Vatican investigator named Andrea Ambrosi will arrive from Italy in Wichita on Friday.

He will investigate on behalf of the church in Rome whether 20-year-old Chase Kear's survival qualifies as a miracle; whether he survived a severe head injury last year in part because his family and hundreds of friends successfully prayed thousands of prayers to the soul of Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain from Pilsen, Kan., who died a hero in the Korean War.

Ambrosi, a lawyer by training, is coming here to thoroughly "and skeptically" investigate whether Chase's story is a miracle, said the Rev. John Hotze, the judicial vicar for the Wichita diocese. The church requires miracles to elevate a person to sainthood.

Hotze has investigated Kapaun's proposed sainthood for eight years, which is only a fraction of the time the church has been considering whether to elevate Kapaun to sainthood.

Soldiers came out of prisoner-of-war camps in 1953 with incredible stories about Kapaun's heroism and faith. Across Kansas, his memory is kept alive at Wichita's Kapaun Mount Carmel High School, in his hometown of Pilsen and elsewhere.

Kapaun is so well-known and so highly regarded by area Catholics that the diocese has received other reports of miracles involving Kapaun, Hotze said. Ambrosi on Friday will consult area physicians in at least three such cases, including Chase's, Hotze said.
There's more at the The Wichita Eagle.

Episcopal Priest: God Rejoices in Abortion

Episcopalian Priest, the Rev. Nina Churchman wrote a letter to Episcopal Life Online saying that women shouldn't have to ask for forgiveness for aborting a child. In fact, Rev. Churchman then goes one step further and says God rejoices in the woman's choice to abort. Here's the text in full:

After reading the 3 June article, "Pregnancy-loss Prayers", I found the text for Rachel's Tears online and was sickened to discover that the rite for abortion is couched wholly in terms of sin and transgression. The Episcopal Church, by resolution, has long held that women have the freedom to choose an abortion. It is not considered a sin. That this new rite begins with the words, "I seek God's forgiveness..." and includes "God rejoices that you have come seeking God's merciful forgiveness..." is contrary to the resolution. Women should be able to mourn the loss of an aborted fetus without having to confess anything. God, unlike what the liturgy states, also rejoices that women facing unplanned pregnancies have the freedom to carefully choose the best option - birth, adoption or abortion - for themselves and their families. No woman makes this decision lightly or frivolously. But each needs the non-judgmental and non-coercive support of her faith community to make the best decision for her circumstances.
The wording of this liturgy focuses solely on guilt and sin instead of the grief and healing that may accompany a very difficult but appropriate decision to terminate a pregnancy. If anyone is paying attention at the General Convention, this rite should not be approved.
Firstly, the question of sin being based on resolution seems strange to me. I wonder if before that resolution passed, did Churchman believe abortion was a sin. I'd bet not. What if at some future date the Episcopal Church reinstates abortion as a sin, do some people in Heaven then have to go to Hell?

But the point the Rev. Churchman is making that God rejoices in the choice of abortion is absurd, illogical and offensive. God creates each life. Breathes a soul into each of us. For the Rev. Churchman to say that God rejoices in the destruction of a baby is awful. Truly heartbreaking stuff from an alleged follower of Christ. And further, her point that God doesn't really differentiate between giving birth to the baby or killing the baby is shocking.

We've seen and heard many folks over the years saying they're "personally opposed" to abortion but don't believe it should be illegal for everyone. To me, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But Churchman is not only taking it one step further by saying she is perfectly fine with abortion, she then says that God isn't even "personally opposed" to killing one's baby.

I fear that Rev. Churchman confuses forgiveness and understanding for acceptance of sin. Though God may not reject outright those who have had an abortion - that should never be confused with rejoicing in the sin. God rejoices in repentance.

HT Opinionated Catholic

Pic from Midwest Conservative Journal

Taxing Life to Fund Death

The state of California has long been driving at unsafe speeds towards the cliffs of fiscal insanity. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger came in and just stepped on the gas a little harder.

Now, instead of searching for spending reductions to close the widening fiscal gap due to the drunken spending spree, California has decided to remedy their out of control fiscal policies by...wait for it...punishing families.

According to SF Gate:

California parents beware: Those little tax deductions running around the house are now worth less (in a strictly financial sense, of course).

To help balance its budget, California has reduced the state tax credit for dependents. The change will increase a family's California taxes for 2009 by about $210 per dependent compared with 2008.
So let me just get this straight. Isn't this the same state that funneled $3 Billion of taxpayer funding on embryonic stem cell research just last year? So the state must think it's in its long term best interests to fund killing human beings by punishing live ones.

California's stem cell program is referred to as the largest source of embryonic stem cell research funding in the world, mainly because everyone in the private sector saw the research as fruitless and with little to promise that wasn't already being delivered by adult stem cells.

These kind of bloated budget maneuvers has California taxpayers fleeing the state for Arizona, Nevada and other states. I wish the embryos could do the same.

Obama's Inappropriate Gift Catalog

It has now been confirmed that President Obama will have an audience with Pope Benedict XVI on July 10th. In preparation for the momentous visit, the crack White House protocol office has sent the President a list of gifts to choose from.

After a series of embarrassing gaffes surrounding wildly inappropriate and narcissistic gifts given to heads of State, the President is determined to get this one right. These are the gifts that Obama has settled on.

Digital Photo frame with pictures from the Obamas' date night in NYC

A Collection Of Great American Religious Films
including
DaVinci Code - Angels & Demons - Dogma
(In North American Format)


Autographed copies of a couple of riveting Catholic Bestsellers!
Kerry Kennedy's Being Catholic Now and John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope



Post Card From Recent Trip To The Pope's Fatherland



Since the Holy Father is a known music lover!

Sinead O'Connors Greatest hits.



Reliquary with Obama's own hair & fingernails in it!
(Catholics are in to this kind of stuff!)


Pretty crystal necklace with beads and a cross for the Pope's wife