“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Their 2010 Christmas Wish!

Belle Chasse Primary School students and brothers Blake, Caleb and Zack Champagne got their Christmas wishes fulfilled at their school’s holiday play. Santa Claus disrobed at the assembly and turned out to be their Daddy, Lt. Col. Brian Champagne; home one week early from his second tour in Iraq.

A very uplifting story. Visit the story and video here.

We are so appreciative of all the sacrifices our military families makes to keep us safe.

God's speed and protection to them all!

-Voice in the Crowd

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My 2010 Christmas Wish!

If given a one Christmas wish this year, many would quickly reply that they wished for world peace, or an end to world hunger, or even an end to the suffering in the world. While these are definitely the most noble Christmas wishes and surely at the top of the list, my Christmas wish this year would be something a little more achievable and possibly more impactful.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mount Angel, Oregon, features a nomadic nativity scene that travels throughout their town serving as a reminder to all that witness it what the true meaning of Christmas is. Volunteers dress up as the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, mount a live donkey and quietly spend the weeks of Advent walking around the town heading to their final destination, the Church (see the accompanying picture as they cross paths with a pedestrian.)

Can you imagine that you are immersed in your morning: stopped at a red light, news radio blaring, wresting with your coffee cup lid, planning the mental checklist of your busy day and suddenly these two with their donkey pass in the crosswalk in front of your car? Can you imagine how this visual would stop you cold and force you to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas right there and then?

My Christmas wish this year would be to hire these two volunteers, and their donkey, for an Advent walk that would stop at all the major cities up and down the east coast from Boston to Miami.

Can you imagine, these two quietly walking through the college campuses of Boston, where college vices and secular intellectualism are worshiped as gods? This sight would cause these collegians to stop in their tracks and take inventory of their lives - - as this scene would portray the selflessness, purity and humility that these two unschooled participants had during that first Christmas.

What about these two stopping traffic on the “Canyon of Heroes,” slowly making their way down to Wall St. in New York City? Can you imagine the financiers and traders with their thousand dollar suites and Montblanc watches taking their thumbs off their Blackberries when they see these two pausing on their journey in their worn clothes? These two not even having a roof over their heads, not to mention a beachfront vacation home to speak of? It would force these financial brokers who worship money as their god to acknowledge how fleeting and meaningless all their wealth really is.

How about having these two proceed through the shopping mall parking lots in New Jersey? Where people literally stampede each other to death before dawn for the sole purpose of getting a large, flat screen at a discount price. These shoppers would be forced to witness these vagabonds not owning a single possession and, in doing so, would crush these people’s god of materialism.

Can you imagine the scene of these two slowly making their way down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.? This simple, small, endearing visual would even steal the tourists away from the massive monument structures in our nation's Capitol. The hollowmen, power brokers who slither there would be forced to see in this image that their god of political, man-made power will, as Archbishop Sheen says, “…end in its own destruction.”

And finally imagine this very plain, unassuming couple making their way through the beautiful, jet set people of Miami Beach. Where everyone spends all their time and money to prevent any undesirable change to their appearance; but then go completely opposite by spending fortunes on the cutting edge of fashion with their Gucci wardrobes to constantly change their external appearances with each passing fad. This unfashionable pair would force these "pretty" masses to recognize the absolute truth of that first Christmas -- and how this bedrock revelation is not only in fashion today, but an unchanging truth that will last through eternity. Their gods of beauty and image would not survive this beautiful image.

And through these travels, I would even have these two stop and knock at random house doors along their journeys and to ask, “My Son was not welcomed anywhere in this world 2,000 years ago, is He welcomed in your home today -- or do you have too many other of these gods occupying your home?”

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas to all my readers!

May we all come to a deeper appreciation of the true meaning of Christmas!

-Voice in the Crowd

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Iraqi Catholic Martyrs: "But The Cross Lives!"

With so much of the media running every horrible story they can dig up about any former priest these days, here is a story that you will not see in the mainstream media. It is an eyewitness account of the al Qaeda massacre at Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church in Baghdad on October 31st, and how their priest carried themselves in their final moments. These priest were only 32 and 27 years old:

"...While I was on the ground I saw Don [Father] Tha'er trying to defend the altar servers: he embraced them and covered them with his cassock, to protect them, as if he wanted to hide them. One of the men attacked him, trying to beat him to his knees, but he resisted and remained standing, in the end the terrorist killed him. I could hear the cries of the people in the church, terribly afraid, when at one point I heard a voice, I do not know who he was shouting to the terrorists: 'We die, we die, okay. But the cross lives. Whoever it was, was immediately killed."

...Don Tha'er, the priest who celebrated the Mass, died because he wanted to save the children. Don Wassim with, who at the time of the attack was in the confessional, tried to talk with the terrorists to convince them to let the people and children go, and take only the two of them
[the priests] as hostages. They offered their lives. Don Wassim, when he made to leave the altar and approach the terrorists he was shot by one of them. The last sentence of Don Tha'er, who died before the eyes of his mother [who survived and is now recovering in France], was: "Jesus, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

I would suggest you read this article to appreciate what our fellow Catholics go through in different locations around the world. We should never complain about how long a Homily is again.

May the angels lead them to paradise... Please say a prayer now for all these martyrs.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Pepsi Refresh Project & Our Secular Society

I came across the Pepsi Refresh Project the other day. The project, sponsored by Pepsi, allows people to enter a worthy cause on Pepsi's web site, then Web site visitors can vote for the best causes. Upon conclusion of the voting, Pepsi awards money - up to $250,000- to the most supported causes.

I thought the top leaders/choices at each dollar award level was a striking commentary on our society:

1) Rescue Animals from Cruelty
2) Stop Healthy Animals from Being Fed Antibiotics
3) Teach Hip Hop and Respect to Inner City Youths
4) Provide Dogs in Shelters with Comfort Items

Now, I am not saying that helpless animals don't deserve or need our help to save them from ongoing abuses, but three out of the four programs that our country currently believes is the best use for these financial awards does not relieve any aspect of human suffering. The other deals with teaching Hip Hop music.

Such a commentary on our nation.

By way of comparison, and to illustrate my point, these causes are beating programs that would work towards the end of human trafficking and one that would help babies with Cystic Fibrosis.

I thought over the past day or so what was responsible for this anti-human sentiment. Was it the belief that animals can't help themselves and people can? I believe this answer would not be at the true, underlying, subconscious root cause of this mindset. Babies with Cystic Fibrosis can't help themselves either, so that is not it.

I came to the conclusion that this anti-human sentiment is embedded in our society becoming more and more secular by the year. If we are all made in God's divine image, turning away from the priority of helping our fellow humans first has to coincide with turning away from God in our society, whatever the reasons these voters may give.

We all know people who are vegetarians and cite their lifestyle comes from a belief in not harming defenseless animals, or PETA members who subscribe to the same doctrine. For the most part, the vegetarians and PETA members I know personally have no problem with abortion, or even late-term abortions. I think the same rationale can be used here whether they acknowledge this mindset or not.

How many times has a pro euthanasia person argued with you, "Well they put animals out of their pain, don't humans deserve at least the same?" They are arguing actually humans should be brought down to the level of animals, although they think in their mind that humans should be raised at least to the level of animals. Same mindset again, Secularism 101.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pope John Paul II: Nine Days that Changed the World

I finally viewed Newt Gingrich's Nine Days that Changed the World, the story of John Paul II's victorious return to Poland after being elevated to the Papacy. The DVD is beautifully done with stunning, never-seen-before footage.

It is hard for Americans to understand this history-altering event from the inside. A bad day for most Americans is an unexpected $500 car repair bill. Our Polish brethren lived through Nazi occupation which resulted in the death of 5.5-6 million Poles, and the dark, soul-crushing, brutal regime of Communism after this carnage. Their suffering can not be comprehended by Westerners.

This documentary gives you that glimpse from the inside where in June of 1979, 12 million Poles (1/3 the population) greeted John Paul in person as their conquering hero and their national hope.

George Weigel summed up the trip saying that by the second day of this nine day trip, the Polish people had a new de facto leader of their county; the Holy Father had overtaken the government and eclipsed the fear it held on the people. Communism was headed to the "ash heap of history."

I can not emphasize enough that this is a DVD that every Catholic household should own. It should be viewed by your children and grandchildren to understand the greatness of Pope John Paul II, the unparalleled influence of the Papacy and the effect that the power of the absolute truths of Catholicism can have when preached and recognized.

Amazon apparently does not sell this DVD. I would go directly to the DVD's official website and secure this masterpiece for yourself and your family. Click here for the Nine Days Web site. Here is a little sample of this great DVD:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Decision Points: George W. Bush and Catholicism - Part II

It has been a great week for the Office of President of the United States. While promoting his memoirs, President George Bush threw the proverbial gauntlet down showing how the Office of the Presidency should carry itself. With attacks on his Presidency coming almost weekly over the past two years from his passing-the-blame successor, the former President stayed above the fray and reminded the world of the core character he possesses as he remained silent despite opportunist microphones in front of him all week. This, in Bush's way, drew a stronger comparison, and answered any charges, of the present administration more definitively than any written comment or spoken word could have.

In May of 2008, I wrote a post that received a good amount of traffic calling George W. Bush the second Catholic U.S. President with a question mark. Cracking open his memoirs have led me to the feeling again that he is a closet Catholic or a future convert.

On page 113 of Decision Points, Bush writes, "I did feel a responsibility to voice my pro-life convictions and lead the country toward what Pope John Paul II called a culture of life." Interesting, no? He could have gone with a more Protestant statement saying his sense of responsibility came from sacred scripture, or his personal relationship with God, but he surprisingly quotes a Pontiff. Moreover (it is very subtle but when you notice it is very telling and impactful), he aligns his personal views with that of a Pontiff, and the Pontiff's moral teaching. Martin Luther must be rolling over in his grave.

A few pages later, Bush pens that during a private meeting with John Paul he expressed to the Vicar of Christ, "I thanked him for his example of principled leadership. I explained [to the Holy Father] that the Catholic Church's steadfast support of life provided a firm moral foundation on which pro-life politicians like me could take a stand on." An Episcopalian standing on a Catholic foundation? Why can't he stand on the Episcopalian foundation? Again, he is lining himself with the moral teachings of the Magisterium more than his own religion.

Now for the grand finale. Bush remembers the last moments of the funeral Mass of John Paul II that he personally attended, " [The pallbearers] turned to face the crowd and lifted the coffin for the last time. As they did, the clouds parted and the sun shined through onto the simple wooden [coffin]." An Episcopalian believing God shone His favor on a life of Pontiff? Henry VIII is now rolling over in his grave and disturbing multiple wives.

Before everything is said and done, President Bush might very well close his eyes as the second Catholic President.

Blogger Note: It is important in understanding this post to read the evidence I laid out in the original post here. When these two posts are taken together, Bush converting is a much more clearer reality.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Notre Dame Loses vs. the Big Ten with Obama

CatholicCulture.org reports that the University of Notre Dame's annual donations fell off the cliff in the year ending 2009; dropping over $120 million dollars.

CC.org references in passing that honoring of the most militant, pro-abortion politician in America with a Humanitarian Award might have had some effect on donations. Ya' think???

The site then states, "The decline in donations largely coincided with the late-2000s recession, which officially began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009."

Oh really... let's see how the recession has affected some other big universities in the same region to test this theory. The below list shows: specific, similar-size universities; how much their donations went up or down in 2009 versus the previous year; and the percentage increase or decrease over the previous year:

Penn State University: +$4.8 Million (+2.7 percent)
Ohio State University: -$3.4 Million (-.14 percent - less than 1%)
Michigan State University: $-5.4 million (-4.2 percent)
University of Michigan: -$70 million million (-21 percent)
The University of Notre Dame: -$120 million (-35 percent)

If Notre Dame's decline in donations were due to the economy, other university declines would have been similar. As you can see, some of the universities' donations were actually up during this time frame.

If donations were affected by a lousy football season - I can hear this argument out there -, the donations to Michigan (who had a record of 3-9 that year) would have fallen much more than Notre Dame's (7-6). Notre Dame's donations for the year were $50 million worse than Michigan's.

I think the fallout from this decision is obvious with the above comparison. You can't offend the essence of an organization without major fallout.

People of Notre Dame, I am proud of you for not supporting this farce with your hard-earned money! I wrote this post to honor you.

The sad part is that Notre Dame did not lose this money for its beliefs, it lost this money for President Rev. John Jenkins' beliefs.

Htip to the bro's at CMR:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Barack Obama: A President Under Siege!

On the cusp of one of the worst political defeats that an American political party will ever have to endure, Obama chose very interesting terminology to try to rally his core supporters as he spoke to the listeners of Univision radio:

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying,We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

These comments are so insightful to President Obama's psyche.

First of all, Obama is feeling like he and his administration are completely under siege and the barbarians are at the gate. Notice his mention of the word "enemies." What professional politician ever says this word? Really, even Hillary used the term "Right-wing conspiracy," and not the term "enemies." Please note, Obama is a man who does not even call terrorists our "enemies." It is a complete slip up giving us insight to how threatened he really feels and how much pressure he is currently under - that he made the slip up.

The second aspect I see in this slip up supports the controversial piece written by Dinesh D'Souza in regard to what he believes is Obama's governing, literally, personality trait. His Kenyan Anti-colonial Behavior:

"It may seem incredible to suggest that the anticolonial ideology of Barack Obama Sr. is espoused by his son, the President of the United States. That is what I am saying. From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.

For Obama, the solutions are simple. He must work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. And here is where our anticolonial understanding of Obama really takes off, because it provides a vital key to explaining not only his major policy actions but also the little details that no other theory can adequately account for."

All of the targeted traits mentioned above (military, free markets, the affluent, profits) have to deal with how Obama actually sees Conservatives. His "enemies" -- which explains this slip up again.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Early Voting Shows A Democratic Whomping!

Jim Geraghty over at National Review organizes the early voting turnout compiled by the United States Election Project at GMU.

To give you an idea how bad it is for Liberals:

In Florida, 52.8% of the early voters are Republicans. In 2008, only 37.3% of early voters were Republican.

In Colorado, 41.7% of early voters are Republicans- beating this year's Democratic early voters by 6 points. In 2008, only 35.9% were from the GOP.

In Ohio this year's early ballots show "29,419 for Democrats to 28,506 for Republicans — after running more than 2-to-1 for Democrats in 2008."

In Pennsylvania, 56.4% of the early voters are Republicans. In the last 5 Presidential Elections going back to Bill Clinton's first victory, Pennsylvania voted Democrat.

Considering how much effort the Democrats put into getting early voters out, these numbers gives us a little glimpse to the Blue Massacre that is going to happen one week from tonight.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maximilian Kolbe: Was Just As Precious to God

Joseph Pronechen had a great interview in the National Catholic Register where he interviewed a 91-year-old priest - Father Lucjan Krolikowski - who knew Maximilian Kolbe. This interview crushed my self-inflected bias on St. Kolbe. I always thought of him as a man who met the moment; taking the place of a husband and a father in a Nazi death camp selected to die of starvation. After this article, I realize that the moment actually met Fr. Kolbe.

Fr. Krolikowski remembers the saint:

"Maximilian Kolbe used to come very often to the seminary. He played chess. He was so brilliant: a genius in math. He would play with 10 seminarians at one time and win every one. But he was humble and gave us a chance to win.

He was a genius. When he applied for the novitiate, there was a committee studying each case. When it came to Raymond — his name from baptism — his professor of math and physics said, “To be a monk would be a waste of time. He is a genius, and they need to send him to the university. He could be another Galileo or Copernicus.” The father provincial said, “Yes, you might be right; he is a genius. But I will tell you, professor, we also have geniuses of the spiritual realm, and we call them saints.”

...He was humble, very humble. Many times when people ask me how I would describe his humility, I say to all, “If you would come to [our religious community] and say to me, ‘I hear so much about Maximilian Kolbe. Who is he? What does he look like?’ I tell them, ‘I will march in a file in front of you (all the friars) and you guess who could be Maximilian Kolbe.’”

He would be the last to be recognized. He was so self-effacing, so ordinary and humble.

The brothers loved him so much. When he was arrested by the Nazis, 20 brothers applied to replace him, ready to die in his place, and the Nazi colonel said, “Even if it be 1,000 you would not liberate him. He is precious to us.”

...He had to be bright to manage everything — 700 brothers, 130 seminarians, all the printings [of a Catholic newsletter he published].

His monastery was so expanded and complicated; printing so many publications. What Maximilian Kolbe did sometimes — you judge it’s not in the ability of a man to do it. He has to be helped by God. It’s like a miracle.

[While Fr. Kolbe was actively running the monastery] Our superiors were afraid that, when he died, the monastery would collapse because it was too complicated to be run by one person. The father general said, “Let Father Maximilian Kolbe answer these accusations.” Fr. Kolbe stood up, put his hands like this [Father Krolikowski demonstrates, holding his arms down, with wrists crossed as if bound] and said nothing. Why? He believed in the providence of God.

Later I heard the father general said “I felt like Pilate before Christ.”"

As if Fr. Krolikowski wasn't lucky enough to know one saint, he tells a story in the article that a visiting Cardinal heard he was celebrating his silver jubilee with orphans. The Cardinal wanted to go and spend time with the orphans. Fr. Krolikowski remembers he saw the doors of the room he was in swing open, and before him stood Karol Wojtyla who spoke to the orphans for 10-20 minutes.

"No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?"~ St. Maximilian Kolbe

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Susan G. Koman for the Cure?????

As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Susan G. Koman Foundation is the most high-profile, and well-financed, organization that claims to prevent and pursue a cure for breast cancer. But do their actions match their tag line????

In 2009, the Susan G. Koman Foundation gave $731,000 to Planned Parenthood, the leading provider of abortions in America. Over the past 5 years, the number has been put at $3 million dollars sent to Planned Parenthood from Koman affiliates. The SGKF claims these funds were for mammogram screenings, but it is all dumped into a bucket at Planned Parenthood, and pays for the overhead expenses and all their services across the board. In addition, a $700K gift to Planned Parenthood helps it to thrive and expand as an organization.

So below is the killer chart, no pun intended, I found at the Polycarp Research Institute.

29 out of 39 studies (74% of the studies - almost three fourths!!!) found a higher risk of breast cancer for woman who have procured abortions.

So tell me again, how is this organization safeguarding and protecting women against breast cancer?

I would highly recommend diverting any Susan G. Koman donations to the Polycarp Research Institute. They also have a similar, eye-opening chart correlating birth control to breast cancer with 85% of the studies affirming the relation. You will never see these truths on the news or in the newspapers.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Coming Republican Tsunami

Here are two very interesting pieces that should not be overlooked:

Gallup just released a likely voter poll that found if turnout on this Election Day is as expected, The Republicans would lead the Democrats by a 46% to 42% margin.

After this, it gets interesting. This likely voters poll also projects that if the turn out is much heavier than expected, the Republican voters will then lead the Democrats 53% to 40%, a 13 point lead and what would represent a severe whomping.

It even gets better. If the turnout is lower than expected, say extremely bad weather from Washington to Boston on election day, or the Democrats are too embarrassed to show their faces, aren't motivated to vote and just stay home, Republican voters would lead the Democratic voters by 56% to 38%. An incredible 18 point lead!

Too put this in perspective, Ronald Reagan had an 18 point difference when he carried 49 states in 1984.

John Fund quotes Michael Barone in the Wall St. Journal stating if these second scenarios happen, we will be looking at possibly picking up 100, one-zero-zero, House seats in Congress, and the Democratic devastation would be on par with the 1928 elections, even exceeding the 1994 Gringrich landslide when 54 House seats changed hands.

Now here is the second piece of data that I took notice of recently that when laid along side of the above data is very pertinent.

During September's election primaries, American University confirms that we had more Republicans turn out than Democrats for the first time since the 1930's. This has not been achieved in close to 80 years! In addition, Republican turn out was up +28% over 2006. Democratic turn out for this year's primaries was down -5% compared to 2006. This foreshadows that the Republican turn out will be heavier than expected and their base is very energized.

The Tsunami is coming... Boy is it coming!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Boy AB Chaput Get's the Quote of the Week...

At the 61st Religion Newswriter Annual Archbishop Chaput addressed the media's hostility towards Christianity:

"Journalists engender some of the hostility but generally are in denial about their own secular orthodoxies, which color their coverage of religion's rightful roles in politics and culture, Chaput said.

...New York Times reporter Laurie Goodstein asked Chaput why then he wouldn't give interviews to her newspaper.

Chaput said the newspaper had engaged in deliberate distortion of his views, falsely reporting he had encouraged people not to vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a Catholic, in 2004.

Cathy Grossman of USA Today asked him if boycotting a paper because of one reporter and an event six years ago didn't somewhat undercut his plea for fairness.

[Blogger Note: Here it comes!!!!]

"We don't boycott everybody, just The New York Times," Chaput said. "

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Morning Bagel Quote: Founding Father

"...the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"

-Benjamin Franklin, June 28, 1787

I would add to Franklin's admission, likewise is it possible that an empire can fall without His abandoment? Pray and act and remain loyal to Him. Remember who we are.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Score of Compassion and Jubilance; Touchdown!!!

From Fox News:

"Scoring the team's only touchdown in a 35-6 loss is normally nothing to celebrate. But sometimes the touchdown counts as more than six points on the scoreboard.

In a high-school game in Snohomish, Wash. on Friday, the hometown Snohomish Panthers avoided a shutout in inspirational fashion as junior Ike Ditzenberger -- a 17-year-old with Down syndrome -- scored on a 51-yard touchdown run after entering the game for the first time with just 10 seconds remaining.

Opposing players and coaches of Lake Stevens were apprised of the play beforehand, dubbed "The Ike Special" by his team. According to the The Daily Herald (Everett, Wash.), the play resembles the final snap of each Snohomish practice as his Panthers teammates allow Ditzenberger to score each day.

It was 45 seconds that was insignificant in the scope of the game, but I am sure led to a flow of tears from his parents and left a big impact on Ike's life and self esteem. Kudo's to the Coach and Opposing Coach for leaving the spartan element of football behind and seeing an opportunity for kindness and love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bastille Day 2010!

This was the best story of the day, maybe the month.

Robert Rizzo, a city manager in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell, decided to give himself a $787,000 annual salary without taxpayer approval and get fat on the public trough. The per capita income of the people in his district that he was supposed to be representing is $24,800 a year.

Rizzo's hacks on the council provided Rizzo with 107 days of vacation and 36 sick days in 2008 as part of his cushy package.

Rizzo also gave himself two $80,000 personal loans as well.

Today, he and seven of his political minions were taken away in handcuffs this morning. Rizzo faces 53 charges of misappropriation of public funds.

It is a different day in America. The corrupt politicians have been put on notice and the exhausted and exploited peasants are coming with their pitchforks. Sic semper tyrannis!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catholic Motherhood: Two Souls; One Heart

A great article from CNA. It is absolutely a must read for Catholic mothers, and every Catholic should get something out of this:

"September is the month of Our Lady of Sorrows. In his fourth meditation on the "Seven Sorrows of Our Lady," St. Alphonsus Liguori describes the pain, horror, and pity that the Blessed Virgin Mary experienced as she anticipated Christ's crucifixion, and encountered him on his way to Calvary:

All mothers feel the sufferings of their children as their own. Hence, when the Canaanitish woman entreated our Saviour to deliver her daughter from the devil that tormented her, she asked Him rather to pity her, the mother, than her daughter: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil." But what mother ever loved her son as Mary loved Jesus?

Let us only imagine what a flame He must have enkindled in that pure heart of His holy Mother, void as it was of every earthly affection. In fine, the Blessed Virgin herself told Saint Bridget, "that love had rendered her heart and that of her Son but one." That blending together of Servant and Mother, of Son and God, created in the heart of Mary a fire composed of a thousand flames.

But the whole of this flame of love was afterwards, at the time of the Passion, ranged into a sea of grief, when Saint Bernardine declares, "that if all the sorrows of the world were united, they would not equal that of the glorious Virgin Mary." Yes, because, as Richard of St. Lawrence writes, "the more tenderly this Mother loved, so much the more deeply was she wounded." The greater was her love for Him, the greater was her grief at the sight of His sufferings; and especially when she met her Son, already condemned to death, and bearing His cross to the place of punishment.

The Blessed Virgin revealed to Saint Bridget, that when the time of the Passion of our Lord was approaching, her eyes were always filled with tears, as she thought of her beloved Son, whom she was about to lose on earth, and that the prospect of that approaching suffering caused her to be seized with fear, and a cold sweat to cover her whole body.

Saint Bonaventure, contemplating Mary on that night, says: "Thou didst spend it without sleep, and whilst others slept thou didst remain watching." In the morning the disciples of Jesus Christ came to this afflicted Mother, the one to bring her one account, the other another; but all were tidings of sorrow, verifying in her the prophecy of Jeremias: "Weeping, she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; there is none to comfort her of all them that were dear to her."

Mary goes with Saint John, and by the blood with which the way is sprinkled, she perceives that her Son has already passed. This she revealed to Saint Bridget: "By the footsteps of my Son, I knew where He had passed: for along the way the ground was marked with blood."

Alas, what a scene of sorrows then presented itself before her! the nails, the hammers, the cords, the fatal instruments of the death of her Son, all of which were borne before Him. And what a sword must the sound of that trumpet have been to her heart, which proclaimed the sentence pronounced against her Jesus! But behold, the instruments, the trumpeter, and the executioners, have already passed; she raised her eyes, and saw, O God ! a young man covered with blood and wounds from head to foot, a wreath of thorns on His head, and two heavy beams on His shoulders.

On the one hand she desired to behold Him, and on the other she dreaded so heart-rending a sight. At length they looked at each other. The Son wiped from His eyes the clotted blood, which, as it was revealed to Saint Bridget, prevented Him from seeing, and looked at His Mother, and the Mother looked at her Son. Ah, looks of bitter grief, which, as so many arrows, pierced through and through those two beautiful and loving souls.

The Mother would have embraced Him, as Saint Anselm says, but the guards thrust her aside with insults, and urged forward the suffering Lord; and Mary followed Him. Ah, holy Virgin, whither goest thou? To Calvary. And canst thou trust thyself to behold Him, who is thy life, hanging on a cross?

"We even pity wild beasts," as Saint John Chrysostom writes; and did we see a lioness following her cub to death, the sight would move us to compassion. And shall we not also be moved to compassion on seeing Mary follow her immaculate Lamb to death? Let us, then, pity her, and let us also accompany her Son and herself, by bearing with patience the cross which our Lord imposes on us.

Saint John Chrysostom asks why Jesus Christ, in His other sufferings, was pleased to endure them alone, but in carrying His cross was assisted by the Cyrenean? He replies, that it was "that thou mayest understand that the cross of Christ is not sufficient without thine."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2010: The Calling of Our Time

A few days after our country was attacked, on Sept. 14, President Bush came to a national cathedral in Washington D.C., and gave what I believe was the greatest speech of his Presidency. It received very little accolades from the press, probably too many references to God. It is a very worthwhile read on this 9th anniversary.

"We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our nation's sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the dead, and for those who loved them. On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes and bent steel.

Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read:

They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an airport, busy with life.

They are the names of people who faced death and in their last moments called home to say, be brave and I love you.

They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers and prevented the murder of others on the ground.

They are the names of men and women who wore the uniform of the United States and died at their posts.

They are the names of rescuers -- the ones whom death found running up the stairs and into the fires to help others.

We will read all these names. We will linger over them and learn their stories, and many Americans will weep.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you, you are not alone. Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history, but our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing. Our purpose as a nation is firm, yet our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there's a searching and an honesty. At St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, on Tuesday, a woman said, "I pray to God to give us a sign that He's still here."

Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing. God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that His purposes are not always our own, yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral are known and heard and understood. There are prayers that help us last through the day or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers that give us strength for the journey, and there are prayers that yield our will to a Will greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance and love have no end, and the Lord of life holds all who die and all who mourn.

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded and the world has seen that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave.

We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion, in long lines of blood donors, in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice:

Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end and at the side of his quadriplegic friend.

A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter.

Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down 68 floors to safety.

A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burned victims.

In these acts and many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another and an abiding love for our country.

Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called, "the warm courage of national unity." This is a unity of every faith and every background. It has joined together political parties and both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils and American flags, which are displayed in pride and waved in defiance. Our unity is a kinship of grief and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for, but we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America because we are freedom's home and defender, and the commitment of our Fathers is now the calling of our time.

On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask Almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.

As we've been assured, neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth can separate us from God's love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country.

God bless America."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Archbishop Sheen on Antique Road Show

I joke with my wife I know I am getting old because I am finding myself watching the Antique Road Show more and more. Just a few years back my preference was watching contestants eat live scorpions on Fear Factor, but with the demands of 4 children I now need a more peaceful intake of viewing on my down time.

Last week they ran an older show on one of the weekend editions. Here is a great story about Archbishop Sheen and a little Iowan girl. Now 60 years old, the woman on the show reflected back to her childhood in 1953:

"I was in the Brownie Scouts. And we had moved from Chicago, and mother had packed the Brownie uniform. We had found the dress, but not the hat. So every day, I came home from school saying, "Mother, have you found the hat yet?" This went on for several months, and every day, it was, "No, I haven't found the hat." So one night, I was watching Bishop Sheen on “Life is Worth Living,” black-and-white TV, and I saw his hat. And I ran into the kitchen, and I said, "Mother, I found my Brownie hat." And she said, "Well, where is it?" Because she was very relieved. I said, "Well, Bishop Sheen stole it." And she thought that was so funny that she wrote him a letter explaining the story. But she changed it slightly and didn't tell him that I said he stole it, that he had it, or he took it. So for Christmas, he inscribed [his zuccheto/skull cap], "To Frances, God Love You-- Fulton J. Sheen," and sent it to me as a Christmas present."

For those of you dying to know, the zuccheto was appraised for between $2,000-$4,000.

It has definitely been an Archbishop Sheen stretch for me lately. Here is a little Catholic trivia: Archbishop Sheen's baptized name was Peter John Sheen. Fulton was his mother's maiden name and became the Archbishop's preference.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Best of VCR: American Pro-Life Hall of Fame Inaugural Class

Originally Posted Sept. 22, 2008:

I recently had an idea for a post. My concept was that if an American Pro-Life Hall of Fame existed, who would be the inaugural class? Who would be the first five people to be honored based on the last 30+ years of the pro-life cause? The most influential individuals involved with the cause?

The guidelines would be that an eligible person for election would have to be American born and have exposure at a national level. To come up with this list, I spoke with someone whom I believe is a leading authority on the pro-life cause, and its history, in America. We bounced ideas off each other, and came up with the following list of whom we would select as the inaugural class trying to cover the multi-facets of the cause and our society:

Scientific Community:
Bernard Nathanson:
A founding member of NARAL and responsible for 75,000 abortions during his OBGYN career, Nathanson’s heart and views were converted as ultrasound became more sophisticated. He became a leading voice in the vanguard of the pro-life cause. His VHS video, The Silent Scream, was widely distributed in the early 1980’s where he gave a detailed window to the womb showing the viability of the baby and the horror of the abortion procedure.

Legislative Community:
Henry Hyde:
A congressman who represented the 6th district of Illinois. Author of the Hyde Amendment that in 1976 prevented federal funds being used for abortion. With this signed legislation, he became the first person to register a victory against the Roe v. Wade decision. For over 30 years Hyde was a stalwart for the defense of unborn children on Capitol Hill.

Public Activist:
Randall Terry:
Founded Operation Rescue in 1987. Arrested over 40 times for civil disobedience at abortion clinics across America. Terry and his organization provided the activist wing of the pro-life movement an existence and created havoc for the abortion industry saving thousands of babies. Served as a spokesman for the Terri Schiavo family.

Religious Community:
Cardinal John O’Connor:
One of the strongest pro-life voices for the Catholic Church in America in the past 30 years. The Archbishop of the Diocese of New York City for 16 years and made the pro-life cause a cornerstone of the Diocese. Told any woman who was thinking of an abortion to come to him personally and he will get her help to her keep her baby. Caused fits for Catholic politicians Mario Cuomo and Geraldine Ferraro and their political deflection that they're "personally opposed to, but publically in support of abortion" stating this view was morally unacceptable.

Media Community:
Patrick Buchanan:
For over 40 years represented an unyielding pro-life voice in Republican administrations, print and television media. For seventeen years, appeared on Crossfire and defended and explained the pro-life position to America. Flanked George H.W. Bush in a 1992 Presidential run causing him to strengthen his social conservative positions. Gave one of the defining pro-life speeches in memory stating we are in a "cultural war for the soul of America," at Republican National Convention the same year.

A few notes of interest with this list. Although religious affiliations were not a consideration while compiling this list, all five listed ended up being Catholic. Nathanson and Terry converted. Some of the above listed did have problems within their personal lives but we have to give them their due in the pro-life cause.

Please understand this is one opinion of who should be honored. In no way do I want to take away from acknowledging anyone’s pro-life efforts or dedication to our cause . There were so many other names mentioned in the discussion (honorable mentions) including: Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Rush Limbaugh, Fr. Frank Pavone, Ronald Reagan, Sam Brownback, Alan Keyes, Judie Brown, Gov. Robert Casey, Dr. Carolyn Gerster, Rev. Billy Graham, Fr. Weslin, Joan Andrews, etc…

I would love to hear if you think we got it right, or anyone else’s list.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Archbishop Sheen Vintage TV Clip: "Is One of Your Titles, "Servant of God?"

Here is an archive film that I found last night. Archbishop Sheen was a guest on "What's My Line." It was an early television game show where the panel wore blindfolds and plays "20 questions" to try to eventually deduct who is the guest on the show.

A few things here to notice:
1) How loved Sheen was. The audience applauds for close to 20 seconds when they see it is him, and the first panel guest mentions, "it is the most solid round of applause I have heard in a long time." To put this in some perspective, the Archbishop received a 19 second round of applause when on the show; Joe DiMaggio received a 17 second round of applause when on the show.

2) His humility. When the same panelist asks, "Are you a familiar figure in public life," Sheen answers... "A little bit." Remember he had one of the highest ranking shows on television at the time.

3) How playful the archbishop can be, speaking French to throw off the panel. We also see the personal side of Sheen. How much he enjoys the "weekly on television and non-profit???" comment. And his quick wit telling the same panelist after he won money, "It's profit!"

4) He instructs to send his earnings to leper colonies.

5) At the end one of the panelist even kisses his ring. Wouldn't see that today.

This is a time capsule of a time when Catholicism in America was held in high esteem by even non-believers.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

We Could All Use a Miracle Right About Now, Couldn't We?

Today I was determined to find good news out there. It seems lately every headline posted at Yahoo or Google is depressing, as our country seems to be more adrift. I was determined to find a story to give everyone a quick Faith shot in the arm. It took quite a bit of searching, but I found such a story that was not even carried by English-speaking media outlets.

As we Americans are very familiar with, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is a horrible disease which gives its recipients very little hope. Sadly, only one in five people who are given this diagnosis live more than 5 five years. 50 percent of them do not make it 3 years.

By 2005, an Italian woman, Antonietta Raco (pictured), was completely paralyzed due to this disease and was resolved that this disease would run its course on her. In August of 2009, her body was completely free of the disease. What happened in between you ask? A pilgrimage to Lourdes, France.

Her prayers at Lourdes were not for self healing. She asked God to take her life in His hands. She asked the Lord to not have her last days mirror a recent highly publicized euthanasia case. She also prayed for a young girl in her village who shared her disease and her fate.

“I felt the presence of someone else [in the healing pool] that held me by the neck; I tried to turn around, but nobody was there. I felt a great pain in the legs, then a relief."

"It was at that moment when I heard to my left, a beautiful female voice, soft, tender, light," she said. “I never heard anything like it; I was relieved by the mere fact that I could actually physically hear her voice." The Woman said, 'Do not be afraid, do not be afraid!”

Upon examining Raco, Dr. Chio, her physician for the past 4 years, was quoted saying, “…from the standpoint of the medical literature, there has never been a case of regression for this disease.” He was surprised and said, "I am left speechless,'" Raco recalled.

I often think of an explanation for miracles that I once heard that resonated with me. The explanation was that a main purpose of a miracle is to remind us all who is really in control and still remains all powerful over science, nature, physics, perceptions, academia and our low-level realities. As humans we become standardized to the ways of the world and trapped in its secular thinking. Miracles drive a bulldozer through this default thinking.

Some links we all could use:

Here is a list of people who were cured at Lourdes. This is the official document, the Catholic Church is the most critical review on any reported cure. Ms. Raco has not been added yet.

Here is a link to get your prayer requests delivered to the Grotto at Lourdes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mother Teresa: A Beauty of God!

When ever I read about you, Mother, I realize what a poor Catholic I am. Here is a worthwhile piece by Fr. Raymond de Souza:

"...In 1952, Mother Teresa found a woman dying in the streets, half-eaten by rats and ants, with no one to care for her. She picked her up and took her to the hospital, but nothing could be done. Realizing that there were many others dying alone in the streets, Mother Teresa opened within days Nirmal Hriday (Pure Heart), a home for the dying. In the first 20 years alone, over 20,000 people were brought there, half of whom died knowing the love of the Missionaries of Charity. Nirmal Hriday is where one dying man, lying in the arms of Mother Teresa after being plucked from the gutters and bathed and clothed and fed, told her, “I have lived like an animal, but now I am dying like an angel.”

...She then came to be feted in the glamour capitals, receiving dozens of awards. In 1979, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, at that time still a prestigious award. When given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, the plaque described her as the “saint of the gutters.” There have been others who have risen from the gutters to receive such awards, but she was the only one who went back to the gutters to live.

Mother Teresa knew that the true good cannot be found in systems or plans, no matter how clever or efficient, but in a person. She was not against the work of welfare agencies, but remarked that welfare was for a purpose, albeit a noble one, whilst love was for a person. Mother Teresa offered love. When criticized by those who accused her of not going to the root causes of problems, she would simply remind them what the true root cause was. “The greatest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody,”

...Mother Teresa never played to the crowd who wished to obscure the Gospel and reduce her to a humanitarian celebrity. She spoke out against abortion as the “greatest destroyer of peace” when in Oslo at the Nobel ceremony, and shocked the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington when she reminded them of the Christian tradition on the immorality of contraception.

...The world only knew her as diminutive and wizened, with a slight stoop and gnarled hands. Yet all who met her found her beautiful, for her eyes sparkled and her smile radiated joy.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger once wrote that ultimately the Church has only two things to offer to the world for the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the beauty of her art and the lives of her saints. Mother Teresa captivated the whole world, becoming a patron saint of a difficult century. Like a great masterpiece of sacred art, she was indeed something beautiful for God."

Amen, Fr. de Souza, Amen. Happy 100th Mother, pray for us!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bubbalicious, "No Please... It's Not My Place to Speak... Well, O.K. Only For a Minute..."

Here is a very interesting column by Howard Fineman stating that where Democratic incumbents are terrified of being seen with Obama, Bill Clinton is stepping in to the rescue. This solution give these incumbents the power of a Presidential fundraiser, but not the baggage of being seeing with a completely incompetent and unpopular President.

What really is happening here, in the nuances, is that the Clintons are taking back control of the Democratic Party (he who controls the purse strings in politics...). They have given Barack enough time to have fun. The Clintons are also building IOU's for when Hillary challenges Obama for the 2012 Democratic Presidential nomination.

Here is Fineman's take:

"...According to Democratic polls, Democratic Senate candidates are doing much better in the horse race of the campaign than Obama is doing in overall popularity in most states. In Missouri, for example, Obama’s approval rating is 36 percent, but Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan is only a couple of points behind Republican Roy Blunt.

So into the top-of-the-ticket, presidential-level campaign void has (happily) stepped Bubba, as charming as ever, as sharp as ever at stating his case to voters. Plans are still “up in the air, but expect to see him out quite a bit,” says his spokesman, Matt McKenna.

...And when Clinton is “out” there, don’t expect him to fill his speeches with personal praise of Barack Obama. As a lawyer and salesman, Clinton knows that touting Obama as The One is a nonstarter given the president’s plummeting job-approval numbers. But permit me a moment of Machiavellian thinking to suggest that Clinton loves to be in a situation in which he has to make the Democrats’ case by damning with faint praise a man whose campaign he once dismissed as a “fairy tale.”

I always love listening to Bill Clinton. If you listen carefully, you can see all the gears in motion: he makes himself clear to people who bother to take him seriously. So what is he saying? That this president has “done a better job than he has gotten credit for so far.” (Which is not the same thing as saying that Obama has done a good job)."

The UK tabloid rag the Globe reported that Bill Clinton only has 6 months to live ;) , but boy is he going out doing what he loves: being the center of attention and being seen as selfless and benevolent despite his political motives!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Denis Dillon: A Profile in Courage

This week a pro-life hero was laid to rest.

Denis Dillon was the Nassau County District Attorney for 31 years and one of the most non-wavering, public pro-life voices on Long Island over the past few decades.

During the week, he revolutionized the District Attorney’s office and provided such a progressive standard that eventually countless DA offices across our country adopted his way of doing things. He had one of the highest conviction rates in the country.

On weekends, he would be a pro-life activist by often partaking in public pro-life demonstrations setting a golden example on how public servants did not have to abandon their convictions.

Long Island’s newspaper, Newsday, took many cheap shots at him over the years because of his convictions and he was persecuted for his Catholic Faith.

New York State Justice Arthur Diamond remembered Denis at his funeral Mass with a story:

“Days before former Nassau District Attorney Denis Dillon would stand for re-election one year, Dillon's longtime friend Arthur Diamond offered him some unsolicited advice.

"Stop hitting so hard on the anti-abortion issue," Diamond remembered telling Dillon, a devout Catholic. "It's hurting you politically."

Dillon paused, then said, "I love you, Artie, but I can't worry about this election. I have to worry about what happens to me long after this election," [Blogger Note: meaning when he met God].

There have been many quotes in Denis’ eulogies that were taken from the St. Thomas More (patron saint of lawyers) movie, A Man for All Seasons. But Denis, I believe you did meet God and it was a welcoming embrace because as stated in this great movie, “[God] will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to him."

"May the angels lead you into paradise: may the martyrs receive you at your coming, and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have everlasting rest.”

For more of a biography of this great man, click here:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Charles Krauthammer: "...no Mosque at Ground Zero."

Charles Krauthammer has a very compelling column today on the controversy of building a mosque at Ground Zero. I, being a New Yorker impacted by 9/11 -- while also be a huge proponent of the Freedom of Religion, go back and forth on the issue, so this piece was a worthwhile read for me:

"A place is made sacred by a widespread belief that it was visited by the miraculous or the transcendent (Lourdes, the Temple Mount), by the presence there once of great nobility and sacrifice (Gettysburg), or by the blood of martyrs and the indescribable suffering of the innocent (Auschwitz).

When we speak of Ground Zero as hallowed ground, what we mean is that it belongs to those who suffered and died there
[Blogger Note: and the first responders who sacrificed their lives there trying to save others] -- and that such ownership obliges us, the living, to preserve the dignity and memory of the place, never allowing it to be forgotten, trivialized or misappropriated.

That's why Disney's 1993 proposal to build an American history theme park near Manassas Battlefield was defeated by a broad coalition that feared vulgarization of the Civil War. It's why the commercial viewing tower built right on the border of Gettysburg was taken down by the Park Service. It's why, while no one objects to Japanese cultural centers, the idea of putting one up at Pearl Harbor would be offensive.

And why Pope John Paul II ordered the Carmelite nuns to leave the convent they had established at Auschwitz. He was in no way devaluing their heartfelt mission to pray for the souls of the dead. He was teaching them a lesson in respect: This is not your place; it belongs to others. However pure your voice, better to let silence reign.

...Religious institutions in this country are autonomous. Who is to say that the mosque won't one day hire an Anwar al-Aulaqi -- spiritual mentor to the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber, and onetime imam at the Virginia mosque attended by two of the 9/11 terrorists?

...Location matters. Especially this location. Ground Zero is the site of the greatest mass murder in American history -- perpetrated by Muslims of a particular Islamist orthodoxy in whose cause they died and in whose name they killed.

Of course that strain represents only a minority of Muslims. Islam is no more intrinsically Islamist than present-day Germany is Nazi -- yet despite contemporary Germany's innocence, no German of goodwill would even think of proposing a German cultural center at, say, Treblinka.

Which makes you wonder about the goodwill behind Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's proposal. This is a man who has called U.S. policy "an accessory to the crime" of 9/11 and, when recently asked whether Hamas is a terrorist organization, replied, "I'm not a politician. . . . The issue of terrorism is a very complex question."

America is a free country where you can build whatever you want -- but not anywhere. That's why we have zoning laws. No liquor store near a school, no strip malls where they offend local sensibilities, and, if your house doesn't meet community architectural codes, you cannot build at all.

These restrictions are for reasons of aesthetics. Others are for more profound reasons of common decency and respect for the sacred. No commercial tower over Gettysburg, no convent at Auschwitz -- and no mosque at Ground Zero."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Barack Obama's Persona Part II; The Academic

In following the point from a previous post that I believe Barack Obama is emotionally voided, I believe the second major component of his persona is that he is completely entrenched in the academic mindset.

Academia is a place where concepts and theories are king, where unrealistic concepts never have to be put to the fire to test their validity. It is a place where elite educators congratulate themselves on producing written thoughts on paper and theory lectures and not tangible measurements of creation and achievement.

For 12 years, Barack Obama served as a college professor at the University of Chicago Law School. This decade of academic mindset became thoroughly entrenched in him and is present even to this day. Even Liberal talking heads currently mention his press conferences have more of a tone of a college professor lecturing his class than anything else.

It should surprise no one that Barack Obama came from Academia. Do you ever wonder why there are so many Liberals in academia? It is not because they all decide one day to all be professors. It is because they gravitate to one of the only few places left in the world where they can exist with their failed, non-real world ideologies and get paid handsomely.

In contrast, however, academics will also shoot a proposal down based on their bravado academic reputations that prevent them from seeing possibilities. In 1965, Fred Smith turned in a term paper to his Yale professor that dealt with the concept on having centralized distribution hubs for a national package delivery company. So a package would go from New York City down to Memphis to be sorted; then back to the final destination across the river in Paramus, NJ. The paper received a “C” from his academic college professor stating it was implausible. Fred Smith had the last laugh though; he went on to found Federal Express.

To give you a real life story of mine comparing academia to real world, upon completing my Masters Degree I knew four different ways to determine a break-even selling price on a product to a customer; the exact price where a company selling a product does not make profit, but does not lose money either. At my first real job I was posed with a problem that Wal-Mart told my company that we needed to sell our product to them at a 20% loss, or we would lose their $80 million dollar business. I was completely a deer frozen in the headlights. I knew the text book instruction on how to figure out a break-even, but did not have real world experience to take it to the next level, or even understand there was a next level, in deciding whether we should sell something at a loss. I needed some real world experience to catch up with my education.

In the business world, if you say something completely foolish or wrong you are beaten to a pulp by upper management who are protecting their turf, and you probably do not get promoted. If you throw out an idea on the table, that you haven’t thought through thoroughly, it will be a feeding frenzy exposing all the holes in your suggestion. So you learn to think about every objection that could be brought up and all the real world considerations. Abraham Lincoln once said when he debated someone he would spend one-third the prep time thinking about what he would say, and two-thirds his prep time thinking what his opponent would say.

Academia is different however. You have a tenure certificate in your hand that protects your livelihood from mistakes and stupidity.

This was definitely the environment from where Barack Obama emerged from.

Our President announced that he would close down Gitmo, a great in-theory-promise to his left-wing supporters. Then after blurting this out, he realized that no state or country wanted to take any of the prisoners and there were legitimate reasons why Gitmo existed. A very bad promise in reality, only half thought through. He was congratulated by the academics on this idea before the operation of this project imploded. Academia vs. Real World.

There are countless examples of Obama not thinking about what he was saying. “Spread the Wealth”, No business trips to Las Vegas, the Special Olympics gaff on the late show, etc… All these show why the teleprompter is so valuable to him.

Obama’s stimulus package is completely borne from academia. It is based on all theories that will not work in the real world. You can’t spend your way out of a recession. Ask FDR who policies failed for 10 years eventually needing the industrial production of WWII to get us out of the Great Depression. Do we really think America will be on the road to recovery with a $13 Trillion debt? Taxes and inflation will have to follow this. If you make the rich and corporations pay more taxes to pay for this, they will only constrict their expenses, read cut jobs, that the middle and lower class people need resulting in even less consumer dollars - - extending the recession. It is a vicious cycle.

One story that you should read is how they increased taxes on the wealthy in Maryland believing this would increase their government coffers. The wealthy moved out of Maryland and took all their tax revenue with them and now Maryland has less tax revenue than when they started. Academia vs. the real world. This solution made so much sense up on the chalk board...

Bill Frezza had a great column stating that the $700 Billion bailout resulted in one million jobs. Doing the math, it cost us $787,000 per job creation. Frezza points out that Obama’s White House Economics advisers are all academic professors who never worked in the business world:

"They never had to meet a payroll. They never had to raise money to fund their businesses from skeptical investors. They never bet their life savings on their own business judgment. They never had to scramble to pay off a banker who called in a loan. They never had to decide whether to take a calculated risk to expand their workforce hoping to take market share from a fierce competitor. .. They never had to manage a reduction in force, explaining to employees that their jobs have been eliminated because the tax and regulatory burdens imposed by some new law forced them to cut costs. They never lost business to a government-subsidized competitor whose cost of capital was vastly lower than theirs. They never had to grease the palms of politicians offering constituent services to resolve a bureaucratic hangup caused by the labyrinthine government approvals these selfsame politicians inflict on many businesses. They never had to deal with a missed sales forecast caused by an economy so roiled by capricious and uncertain fiscal policy that frightened customers were holding back orders. They never had to deal with a key supplier that unexpectedly went bankrupt because their source of credit dried up as dollars got sucked out of the commercial economy into government debt... They never had to stand up in front of disappointed investors to explain why they lost money that had been entrusted to them. And you can be sure that none of them ever fell on their face and had to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and decide whether it was worth going through all of the joys described above to take another shot at building a business from scratch.

Go read their biographies. Do Christina, Austan, and Cecilia appear to you to be contributing members of the productive economy? Do you see any evidence that they've spent even a fraction of their careers creating jobs? What do you think qualifies these people to work as high level apparatchiks of a governing class determined to manage the businesses of others?

All three have Ph.D.'s from fancy universities. They are prize winning experts in macroeconomics. To have come this far you can bet that they are ambitious, articulate, well connected, and brilliant. Yet when the Council of Economic Advisers did its calculations to determine the number of jobs saved by the stimulus, they shamelessly counted assets and totally ignored liabilities.

… No, these people and those that appointed them are cunningly smart. It's we who are the fools for listening to them. Long after these experts return to their sinecures in academia to train another generation of economists on the wisdom of central planning and Keynesian pump priming, it's we and our children and our grandchildren who will be paying the price.”

So it is somewhat sad, we are left with a country with such major, serious problems, and a President who does not have the real world, tangible experience to fix them. He doesn’t even know where to start with his chalk in hand.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Top Americans that Liberals Hate the Most

The Editors of Townhall.com put out a "Top 100 Americans that Liberals Hate the Most" List. Here is their Top 10:

1-Glen Beck
2-Sara Palin
3- Rush Limbaugh
4- George W. Bush
5-Ann Coulter
6-Michelle Malkin
7-Tea Party Members
8-Dick Cheney
9-Bill O'Reilly
10-Michelle Bachmann

Now, I think they are giving Glen Beck way too much credit. Liberals see him as an emotional flake, not overly threatening. I mean this guy pauses in the middle of a show, directs his head to the covering camera and starts his eyes tearing up for dramatic purposes.

I also noticed on this list there are many people who are involved with Town Hall magazine that seem to rank higher than they should. I really don't think the ACLU stays up at night thinking about Michelle Malkin who is number 6 on the list.

Here is my real list of who Liberals really "hate" the most in order. I also go inside the Liberal mindset to show you how they perceive these people to give you a little insight on how Liberals think:

1- Sarah Palin- There is a very-old skit on Abbott and Costello where Lou Costello tries to ask directions to the Susquehanna Hat Company. Upon mentioning this company to any pedestrians passing by, the pedestrians become totally enraged beyond measure for some incomprehensible reason and start lashing out. Whala... the” Sara Palin Affect” with Liberals, need I say more? Liberals see Palin as a bumpkin, air-head who is foolin' (you betcha') everyone in regard to her intelligence and abilities. They don’t understand why everyone can’t see her for what she obviously is in their eyes. Then there is that whole Elitist vs. common man thing, and a woman who welcomed a Down Syndrome baby into her life. It is total rage!

2-George W. Bush – The poor guy has been lying on the couch,watching sports and barbecuing for the last 18 months and he is still blamed for every societal ill there is. He was even mentioned as being responsible for the Gore divorce and the Gulf leak. Way too funny. Liberals see GW as a irresponsible frat boy who stole an election and could care less about any of their opinions when he ran the country. Liberals hate being ignored or having their pseudo-intellects dismissed. They also firmly believe that he tricked us into the Iraq war, despite almost every member of Congress voted for it.

Recently, Sienna College polled 238 professors/presidential scholars on the greatest and worst Presidents in history. These academics, read Liberals, put GW at 39, fifth from the bottom with the likes of Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan. Obama came in as 15th overall. Obama was also ranked 8th as most intelligent - although he's not looking to bright lately. All of this is one more piece of evidence that academia is in la-la land, and not tapped into or respected by the real world. GW is in good company, though. Bill Clinton (who was impeached) beat Ronald Reagan (who won the Cold War) on the list as well.

3-Dick Cheney – Liberals see him as the Evil Emperor to GW Bush’s Lord Vader. They believe that GW was not smart enough to run the country by his own wits, so Liberals are convinced that Cheney called all the shots; pulled all the strings. Kinda’ like Sinatra in Vegas. They kinda’ see him like the old, bald, grouchy puppets in the balcony of the Muppet Show who is miserable and heckles everyone. They think of him as a war monger because of his prior role as Secretary of Defense. Throw in his fortune was made from Big Oil, he is deserving of number 3 most hated.

4- The Roman Catholic Church - Townhall.com names an organization on their list, the Tea Party, but the Catholic Church in America is far more hated than the Tea Party. Some would argue this should be number one on the list. Liberals know that the Church is the last bastion of unwavering morality in the world. Her teachings completely conflict with every self-centered lifestyle that Liberals want to have without a ping of conscience. I will bet my life on where the Catholic Church will stand on abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research five centuries from now. I could not do this with any other religious, political, social or ethical organization, and Liberals know this as well.

5- Ann Coulter - Is seen as obnoxious, loud, rude and without class, and that's just how her fellow Conservatives view her.

6-Newt Gingrich – Liberals see Gingrich similar to how the right sees Nancy Pelosi. Some extreme wacko swinging on the fringe of ideology completely not in touch with any reality. They see him as a hypocrite, family value guy who left his wife when she was sick, actually validity in this charge.

7-Justice Antonin Scalia – The Town Hall polls put Clarence Thomas ahead of Scalia, but I believe Scalia is hated more than Thomas by Liberals. First off, Scalia has been infuriating them for longer. Thomas is seen as a misdirected African-American. Thomas is always civil and soft spoken to his credit, though. Scalia is cutting and bluntly honest. When asked who was the one Liberal he disliked the most, he answered, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg…” So much for harmony in the workplace. He once rebutted a lawyer arguing a capital punishment case with, "Where does it say the death penalty has to be painless?" There is nothing that Liberals hate more than a Conservative who is razor sharp and can destroy all their emotional arguments easily with facts and intellect. The ACLU does lose sleep over Scalia.

8-Mark Levin – I think if you gave the Obama administration a choice to take one Conservative talk show host to take off the air… It would not be Rush, nor Sean Hannity, nor Glen Beck nor Bill O’Reilly. It would be Mark Levin. Levin met the dawning of the Chosen One’s euphoric Presidency with his best selling, wet-blanket book “Liberty and Tyrrany.” He is also the most cutting, the highest I.Q. and the most inciting of all the talk show hosts. The other hosts would be very careful about calling Obama a socialist openly for fear of lawsuit. Levin screams it before every commercial break and dares the lawsuit with “That's right… I said it!” There is nothing more than Levin would like than to be sued for slander by the Obama administration, and explain to the world via satellite-courtroom why our President is a socialist. Liberals see Levin as someone who should have been institutionalized a long time ago. They truly believe he does not have all of his faculties. To all the Bill O'Reilly fans, you should ask yourself why Obama picked O'Reilly to go on out of all the Conservative talkshows when running for President.

9-Gianna Jessen – I called her in a previous post the Most Dangerous Woman in America. Many liberals do not even know her, but when they find out she is the fetus who made it through a botched abortion with scaring injuries, and now can give these destroyed members of the human race a human voice… Oh boy… hold your hat. They truly wish that she could have been discarded as planned.

For the 10th slot, take your pick: Donald Rumsfeld, Rush Limbaugh, Michele Bachmann, Pat Buchanan, etc...

One name on this list that is going to climb like a bullet is Madeleine Sackler. I don't know if you have heard about her movie, The Lottery, that shows the true underbelly of the teacher's union, but this movie is going to tear down the place. Nothing is more hostile than lazy people making tons of money who have their tenure questioned. Good stuff!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Obamacare: Academia Incompetence vs. Tangible Reality

Karl Rove lays out what is coming in Obamacare, initiated by an academic who never had to exist in the real world:

"...This [reality of people being able to lose their health care] was brought home to me when I asked the CEO of a major restaurant chain about health reform's effect on his company, which now spends $25 million a year on employee health insurance. That will jump to at least $90 million a year once the new law is phased in. It will be cheaper, he told me, for the company to dump its coverage and pay a fine—$2,000 for each full-time worker—and make sure that no part-time employee accidentally worked 31 hours and thereby incurred the fine.

This reality is settling in at businesses across America. A Midwestern contractor told me he pays $588,000 for health insurance for 70 employees, contributing up to $8,400 a year for a family's coverage. If he stops providing health insurance, he'll pay $2,000 per employee in fines, and the first 40 employees are exempt from fines altogether." [Blogger note: 70 employees, the first 40 are exempt from any fine, so he will pay $2k on 30 employees totaling $60,000, as opposed to the $588K he is paying now. This owner could pocket $500K in savings and can throw 70 people on the public health care system. Maybe that's what Obama wants.]

So basically, Obama's legislation was set up so it is more efficient for private sector companies to pay the fines and drop health care for its employees, than provide health care for its employees. Driving quicker towards having everyone on national health care.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dick Morris: The President is No Executive

Dick Morris wrote two columns that I combined that really touches the essence of President Obama's limitations is this recent crisis:

"Contrary to what the Constitution says, the president does not run the executive branch of the federal government. It runs itself. Following Newton’s Laws of Motion, it is “a body in motion that tends to remain in motion in the same direction and at the same speed unless acted upon by an outside force.” The bureaucracy keeps doing what it is programmed to do unless someone intervenes.

And that intervention is the proper job of the president. He has to step in, ask the right questions, get inside and outside advice, and decide how to intervene to move the bureaucracy one way or the other. President Clinton had an excellent sense of how to do this and when to get involved. President Obama does not.

…Because [Obama] has no administrative experience. I often saw Bill Clinton, as governor and as president, call in experts and ask the tough questions when he faced a new disaster. In Arkansas, it was tornadoes or floods or fires. In Washington, it was Oklahoma City. But, each time, he thoroughly familiarized himself with all the technical issues. He took a bath in the science and substance of the hazard and became as knowledgeable as those who had spent a lifetime studying it. So he knew what questions to ask.

Any CEO or COO or manager has similar experience. But a community organizer, law professor, state senator, US Senator, and president doesn’t have the requisite experience. He doesn’t know not to trust his own bureaucracy. He hasn’t been burned enough to realize that he needs to intervene to waive restrictions, set aside regulations, and open up the process to new solutions.

Why did he not waive the Jones Act (he still hasn’t) to allow foreign vessels to ply our waters to clean up the spill? Not because he was against it. He couldn’t have been against so obvious a course as waiving it. It was likely because nobody told him about it and he never knew to ask

…When the spill started, he and his campaign staff – now transplanted to the White House – reacted the way a Senator or a candidate would, blaming British Petroleum, framing an issue against the oil company, and holding it accountable. But what he needed to do was to review the plans for coping with the disaster and intervene to move the bureaucracy in untraditional but more appropriate directions. Instead, he let business as usual and inertia move the process.

…But this president is no executive. He is a legislator – he is now pushing new environmental legislation. He is a lawyer – his Attorney General is investigating criminal charges against BP. He is a populist – he is quick to blame BP. He is a big spender – he wants a fund to pay the spill’s victims. He is all of these things. But he is no chief executive and that, unfortunately, is the job he was elected to do."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oil Spill and Obama's Inaction

Yep, Mr. President... It's oil...

Below is a portion of the Oil Polution Act from 1990, that clearly outlines the Barack Obama can quickly and legally take complete control of the clean up of this spill through Federal agencies and does not need to wait for BP to get their act together:

Section 4201(a) of the Oil Pollution Act, which is codified at Title 33 of the United States Code, Section 1321(c), reads in part:
(c) Federal removal authority.

(1) General removal requirement.

(A) The President shall, in accordance with the National Contingency Plan and any appropriate Area Contingency Plan, ensure effective and immediate removal of a discharge, and mitigation or prevention of a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance–
(i) into or on the navigable waters;
(ii) on the adjoining shorelines to the navigable waters;
(iii) into or on the waters of the exclusive economic zone; or
(iv) that may affect natural resources belonging to, appertaining to, or under the exclusive management authority of the United States.

(B) In carrying out this paragraph, the President may–
(i) remove or arrange for the removal of a discharge, and mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of a discharge, at any time;
(ii) direct or monitor all Federal, State, and private actions to remove a discharge; and
(iii) remove and, if necessary, destroy a vessel discharging, or threatening to discharge, by whatever means are available.

(2) Discharge posing substantial threat to public health or welfare.
(A) If a discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility is of such a size or character as to be a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States (including but not limited to fish, shellfish, wildlife, other natural resources, and the public and private beaches and shorelines of the United States), the President shall direct all Federal, State, and private actions to remove the discharge or to mitigate or prevent the threat of the discharge.
(B) In carrying out this paragraph, the President may, without regard to any other provision of law governing contracting procedures or employment of personnel by the Federal Government–
(i) remove or arrange for the removal of the discharge, or mitigate or prevent the substantial threat of the discharge; and
(ii) remove and, if necessary, destroy a vessel discharging, or threatening to discharge, by whatever means are available.

We got what we knew we were electing. Someone with no executive experience; and someone who's leadership style is framed around blaming someone else.

What Obama has to be careful of is that he is at the top of the list for BP's political donations, and he should be concern with the appearance of inpropriety. Erica Lovley reports at Politico:

"During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records."