November 2006 Archives

Apostolic Journey to Turkey


This morning Pope Benedict XVI left for a 4 day visit to Turkey.

Here are three places to go for coverage:

Spero News - will provide news and analysis
Against the Grain and American Papist will have roundups of media coverage.

How could I forget John Allen, who is travelling with the Pope and has regular updates on his non-blog blog here.

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MCs in Chi-Town


The Chi-Trib has a profile of the Missionaries of Charity's home for single pregnant women and girls in Chicago.

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I'm generally mystified by its popularity, and this blurb from the Economist provides a nice example of what non-Americans think of the "sport."

On November 19th 80,000 enthusiasts gathered in Homestead, Florida. That made the speedway twice as populous as the city itself. Vendors did a brisk trade in beer, burgers and ugly T-shirts. A lonely “international food” stand sold slices of pizza. A car salesman tried to make a new friend. “Do you chew?” he asked. (That is, do you stuff a wad of tobacco inside your lip and then dribble quietly into an empty can?)
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109 Year Old Priest Passes

Berlin, Nov. 24, 2006 (CNA) - He was born during the Pontificate of Leo XIII, was ordained to the priesthood before World War II, and was able to witness a fellow German become successor of St. Peter. The oldest priest in Germany, Father Konrad Fuchs, died this week at the age of 109, after 83 years in the priesthood.
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Ex-Spy Poisoning


This is for Mama-Lu:

BBC story on death of Litvinenko, with a number of additional stories linked on the side.

More from the NYTimes.

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Now That's More Like It!



Career stats.

8 years, $136 million is a bit much, but even if, say 4 years from now we end up dumping him off to a contender and eating half his contract, I won't so much mind if there's a world series in there.

Why the fuss over Soriano?

He was third in the NL with 46 home runs, tied for sixth with 41 stolen bases, first with 89 extra-base hits, second with 363 total bases, third with a .368 leadoff on-base percentage, first with 22 outfield assists and ninth with a .560 slugging percentage.

Soriano also became the first player in history with 40 home runs, 40 stolen bases and 20 outfield assists in a season, and he was the first with 40 homers, steals and doubles in a season.

Foolishness of the DeRosa signing aside, this ain't a bad starting lineup:

Alfonso Soriano -- .277, 46 HR, 95 RBI (2006)
Cesar Izturis -- .288, 62 RBI, 25 SB (2004)
Derrek Lee -- .335, 46 HR, 107 RBI (2005)
Aramis Ramirez -- .291, 38 HR, 119 RBI (2006)
Jacque Jones -- .285, 27 HR, 81 RBI (2006)
Michael Barrett -- .307, 16 HR, 53 RBI (2006)
Mark DeRosa -- .296, 13 HR, 74 RBI (2006)
Matt Murton -- .297, 13 HR, 62 RBI (2006)

Murton's numbers will be better, DeRosa's will be worse and who knows whether Lee will ever be able to match 2005 again. But that's still two speed guys, four home run guys, no .250 averages and a big smile on my face.

Now, how 'bout a starter or two? Or three?

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Sunday Reading

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Quiverfull and NFP

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Last week, there was a largish buzz over this Newsweek article about a growing Protestant movement away from contraception.

You can imagine the kinds of discussions that resulted. One lively thread was (is) over at Amy Welborn's place. I chimed in there in three posts, and I'm reposting my comments (edited only for typos and grammar) here because they are a good summary of how I feel about NFP. I think some things I've said in the past would lead people to think I oppose it on principle. That's not the case, as I hope the following demonstrates:

Post 1:
First off, on the particular case of the quiverfull and like-minded movements - I'm ambivalent. I love that they want to be open to life, but I have a hard time getting excited about movements that take a single theme and give it a huge focus. It's too close to tribalism. I dislike labels when they're assumed as much as I dislike them when they're given.

Post 2:
Now, as to the idea, expressed obliquely by some, that my wife and I need to take a thermometer, a chart and maybe a reference book to bed with us in order to do God's will: that is simply offensive. We can do God's will just fine without being up to date on the daily mucous flow.

What I don’t see is a serious discussion of what’s wrong with abstaining. Paul says we shouldn't deprive our spouse of the marital act except to be more available to God for prayer. Well, if there are circumstances in a family's life that are serious enough to delay another pregnancy, wouldn't that be a great time to be more available to God in prayer?

Now, I refuse to judge particular families, precisely because the Church teaches that having recourse to the fertile periods is licit. But does licit mean "the best practice?" Is it better than contraception? Of course. Is it somehow morally obligatory? Prove it.

I don't have a beef with couples who use NFP. Though I see a tremendous temptation to misuse it, I don't see it as my place to judge particular families in particular circumstances. Maybe it's much easier than I think to avoid misusing it. Sure there are "easy cases" like the guy mentioned above who wanted more vacations, but those are few and far between. I have no malice towards those who use it.

My beef instead is with those who say that NFP is the higher road. Specifically, I'm talking about otherwise sane and wise public Catholics like Christopher "He expects us to use it" West and Greg "more effectively cooperate with God's Will" Popcak. Even Janet Smith says the word "providentialists" (a term I don’t really embrace probably due to my allergies to tribalism and labeling) with a derisive tone.

Yes, NFP is a great mercy for couples who have a serious reason not to have children, but the idea that it's somehow more in tune with God's plan is ludicrous. So, now that we have NFP we can be holier than people could, say, 300 years ago? Has there been this great path to sanctity that has been unavailable to families for centuries because we didn't have the right science?

I don't criticize any family who uses NFP - like I said: it is a great mercy that God has given us. But please don't criticize those who – when co-creating a new life is inadvisable – choose not to make use of the means of co-creating a new life.

Post 3:
One more thing with regard to the linked article.

The article says (with my emphasis): "Purists don’t permit even natural family-planning methods, such as tracking fertility cycles."

When I read that, I didn't automatically think that, when serious reasons to delay pregnancy arise, these people disregard those reasons. I did not assume that no NFP means recklessness. Some may, some may not. We need more information.

That is where I run into problems with NFP-as-the-norm. Refusing to track fertility cycles doesn't necessarily mean "have as many babies as you can." But if NFP is your norm, then it does; prayerfully abstaining isn't even on the radar. That is an error, and it comes as a direct result of the emphasis on NFP.

Again, I don't mean to assault those who practice NFP, but I have to defend what is - in light of scripture and tradition - a sound and venerable practice: abstaining. When NFP adherents and promoters think that those who don't use it are either contraceptive or irresponsible, they are simply in error. This error comes as a result of using their choice as the norm for all instead of as a licit method approved by the Church for serious situations.

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The Bucks edged out Michigan 42-39 to send the Wolverines home with heads low.

I have to say I was surprised that it was a shoot-out as opposed to a defensive game, but it ended up as close as I thought it would be. It didn't have to be though. I hesitate to give Coach Tressel advice, but Teddy Ginn dropped no less than three balls, and at least one of them would have kept a drive alive. I'd have him doing some extra work before the FIesta Bowl.

By the way, here is the play of the game:


Click on the photo for a caption.

Michigan came out in the second half and made it a seven point game. Ohio State needed to score, and my favorite Buckeye, Antonio Pittman, exploded through the middle and blazed a trail through the secondary, scoring practically untouched. There were some tense moments after that, but it was the second big touchdown run for the Buckeyes and it made Michigan respect the run the rest of the game.

Some folks are talking about a re-match on January, but I can't see that happening. As far as I'm concerned, Michigan had their chance and the winner of next week's USC-Notre Dame match-up should get the next shot.

By the way, is it me, or have their been an incredible number of huge match-ups this year? The Buckeyes have already played two #2 teams (Michigan and Texas), next week's USC-Notre Dame game is huge. LSU-Auburn and LSU-Florida were both huge this year. And I know I'm forgetting one.

Anyway, as far as I'm concerend, we saw the national championship tonight, so let's send the Wolverines home with a song:

We don't give a d*** about the whole state of Michigan
the whole state of Michigan
the whole state of Michigan
We don't give a d*** about the whole state of Michigan
We're from O-HI-O!

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So, today is the big OSU v. Michigan game.

For those who live in a closet, the Buckeyes and Wolverines are ranked 1 and 2, respectively. Both teams are undefeated and are the only undefeated teams in the NCAA except for Rutgers (which should give Illini fans a reason to hold their heads a millimeter higher since their thrashing at the hands of Rutgers earlier this year seems bit more understandable). But Rutgers is not a serious championship contender, which makes tomorrow's game roughly the equivalent of the national championship (which surely the folks at the BCS don't want to hear).

This couldn't be more exciting. The stakes are ordinarily high for this game, but I don't know if this has ever happened before. The undefeated 1-2 teams who are also the biggest rivals in college sports and are facing off in the last game of the regular season. It's the stuff legends are made of.

The only problen is, I'm fully expecting Columbus to burn to the ground. This video is from 2002 and things have only gotten worse since then.

Adding fuel to the fire, legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler died yesterday, meaning Michigan will be even more fired up, meaning they might actually win, meaning more riots in Columbus.

Oh well, as long as Westerville stays intact...

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Venerable Mama Bosco


John Bosco's mother has been decreed to be venerable. Check out the story from Zenit.

Margaret Occhiena was born on April 10, 1788, in Caprigli, Italy. She lived at home until she married Francis Bosco. Later she moved to Becchi.

After her husband's premature death, Margaret, 29, had to raise her family alone at a time of starvation.

She took care of her husband's mother and of the latter's son Anthony, while educating her own sons, Joseph and John.

She supported her son John in his journey toward the priesthood. At age 58, she left her little house of Colle and followed her son in his mission among the poor and abandoned boys of Turin.

There, for 10 years, mother and son united their lives in the beginnings of the Salesian Work. She was Don Bosco's first and principal cooperator. She contributed her maternal presence to the Preventive System. Thus she became the "co-founder" of the Salesian family.

What a beautiful story!

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Almost time for a shotgun and bottled water


Bird flu comes one step closer to wiping out humanity.

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The Tribune reported that, "According to sources, Boston and the Cubs have expressed the most interest in [J.D.] Drew, who used an early-out clause to reach free agency only two years into a five-year, $55 million deal with the Dodgers. He's believed to be seeking $14 million a year for four or five years."

Anybody who wants to make $14 million a year should at least put together two all-star seasons in a row.

We just gave Neifi Perez, Jose Macias, Jerry Hairston Jr., Mark DeRosa $13 million to come be mediocre and now we're going to give J.D. freakin' Drew $55 million?

Hendry: your job this off season is to fill our gaps with stars, not mediocrities coming off of career years or mediocrities with off-the-chart sense-of-entitlement-to-achievement ratios.

In other Cubs news, my nostalgia meter went berserk when I saw that Bobby Dernier is the new minor league outfield and base-running coordinator.

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Solving the Cube

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How to solve the Rubik's Cube

I can get the top two layers done, I've just never been able to get that bottom layer worked out. Now all I need is a cube.

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USCCB Documents


The United States' bishops have been meeting holding their annual meeting in Washington D.C. this week.

Here are the documents that have been issued so far:

I know many people criticize the USCCB (and frankly, much of that criticism is justified to an extent), but I was quite pleased with the second document listed above. It is a very brief and clear presentation of the Church's teaching on openness to life. Here's a snip that succinctly and persuasive argues against contraception.

Married love differs from any other love in the world. By its nature, the love of husband and wife is so complete, so ordered to a lifetime of communion with God and each other, that it is open to creating a new human being they will love and care for together. Part of God’s gift to husband and wife is this ability in and through their love to cooperate with God’s creative power. Therefore, the mutual gift of fertility is an integral part of the bonding power of marital intercourse. That power to create a new life with God is at the heart of what spouses share with each other.

To be sure, spouses who are not granted the gift of children can have a married life that is filled with love and meaning. As Pope John Paul II said to these couples in a 1982 homily, “You are no less loved by God; your love for each other is complete and fruitful when it is open to others, to the needs of the apostolate, to the needs of the poor, to the needs of orphans, to the needs of the world.”

When married couples deliberately act to suppress fertility, however, sexual intercourse is no longer fully marital intercourse. It is something less powerful and intimate, something more “casual.” Suppressing fertility by using contraception denies part of the inherent meaning of married sexuality and does harm to the couple’s unity. The total giving of oneself, body and soul, to one’s beloved is no time to say: “I give you everything I am—except. . . .” The Church’s teaching is not only about observing a rule, but about preserving that total, mutual gift of two persons in its integrity.

This may seem a hard saying. Certainly it is a teaching that many couples today, through no fault of their own, have not heard (or not heard in a way they could appreciate and understand). But as many couples who have turned away from contraception tell us, living this teaching can contribute to the honesty, openness, and intimacy of marriage and help make couples truly fulfilled.

The whole thing is quite good.

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Hating Paris


In this fall's City Journal, Kay Hymowitz takes the scalpel to Paris Hilton. Wowzers. Needless to say, it's impossible to accurately profile someone like Hilton in a family-friendly way, so consider yourself warned.

Hymowitz does a fine job, but a great companion piece would be an analysis of those who don't hate her. From junior high girls who want to be her to adult males who approve of her particular brand of skankhood.

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SecDef Worship


National Review Online has a fairly new contributor (since August) named Mario Loyola. He has so far distinguished himself from his peers by somehow being more worshipful of everything done by the Bush administration. In his latest dispatch, he celebrates the timing of Donald Rumsfeld's departure because it will be good for Rumsfeld's legacy.

This is only the most egregious of the arguments at The Corner over the timing of this move. How unfortunate that the only person who has mentioned that the impact of the decision on the prosecution of the war should be the primary factor is Michael "enter into evil" Ledeen.

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Abortion in England


The Economist has two articles on abortion in England this week. The first touches on this week's controversy over active euthanasia of severely disabled newborns. It does a good job summarising the debate, but despicably ends by praising the "brave" doctors for bringing up the question.

The second discusses recent attempts to push back the cutoff point for abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks.

Ironically, the second piece ends with a comment that pushing the cut-off to 20 weeks would be more likely if active euthanasia of newborns gains wider acceptance. That illogic is staggering. It would be illegal to abort a 40 week child in utero but legal to dope him to death 20 minutes after birth.

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Naomi Schaefer Riley has an update in the Wall Street Journal on the illuminated Bible being hand-written by Benedictine monks in Minnesota. It was started over 10 years ago, and some completed pages are on display in New York and D.C.

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Interview with Russian Orthodox Bishop


Zenit has an interesting two-part interview (1, 2) with Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria.

Among other things, the bishop discusses with frankness the possibilities and potential obstacles for dialogue between Catholics and the Orthodox.

Some snips:

On Regensburg:

The aggressive reaction of a number of Muslim politicians, as well as of many ordinary followers of Islam, has been regarded by some observers as overly exaggerated...

I should add, perhaps, that several theologians of the Russian Orthodox Church, even those normally critical of the Roman Catholic Church, expressed their support for Pope Benedict XVI when the controversy over his Regensburg lecture broke out. They felt that what he said was important, although, indeed, it was not quite in tune with modern unwritten rules of political correctness.

On ecumenical implicaitons of the Pope dropping the title "Patriarch of the West"

The main obstacle to ecclesial unity between East and West, according to many Orthodox theologians, is the teaching on the universal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. Within this context -- unacceptable and even scandalous, from the Orthodox point of view -- are precisely those titles that remain in the list, such as Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church...

With respect to the Pope of Rome, "Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church" is a designation that points to the Pope's universal jurisdiction -- a level of authority which is not recognized by the Orthodox Churches. It is precisely this title that should have been dropped first, had the move been motivated by the quest for "ecumenical progress" and desire for the amelioration of Catholic-Orthodox relations.

On combatting secularism

Today both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches have the capability to conduct dialogue with secularized society at a high intellectual level. In the social doctrines of both Churches, the problems concerning dialogue with secular humanism on the matter of values have been profoundly examined from all angles.

The Roman Catholic Church has dealt with these questions in many documents of the magisterium, the most recent of which being the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, compiled by the Pontifical Commission "Justitia et Pax" and published in 2004.

In the Orthodox tradition the most significant document of this kind is the "Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church," published in 2000.

Both documents promote the priority of religious values over the interests of secular life. In opposing atheist humanism, they foster instead a humanism guided by spiritual values.

By this is meant a humanism "that is up to the standards of God's plan of love in history," an "integral humanism capable of creating a new social, economic and political order, founded on the dignity and freedom of every human person, to be brought about in peace, justice and solidarity."

Comparison between the two documents reveals striking similarities in the social doctrines of the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. If our understanding of social issues is so similar, why can we not join forces in order to defend it?

I believe the time has come for all Christians who choose to follow the traditional line, notably the Catholics and the Orthodox, to form a common front in order to combat secularism and relativism, to conduct responsible dialogue with Islam and the other major world religions, and to defend Christian values against all challenges of modernity. In 20, 30 or 40 years it may simply be too late.

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Bridge to Somewhere


That's the brilliant name of the Wall Street Journal's editorial on the necessity of a Republican house-cleaning.

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Cardinal George Homily


As I've said before, the Chicago Sun-Times has the worst religion reporter in the biz. But this week she gets a thumbs up for transcribing the text of a homily given by Chicago's Cardinal Francis George at the dedication of a new building at Chicago's Catholic Theological Union.

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Sinai in L.A.


The Economist has a preview of an upcoming exhibit at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles that will feature items from Egypt's Holy Monastery of St. Catherine, home to Orthodox monks living their vocation in the Sinai desert.

Here is the Webpage of the exhibit.

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Partial Birth Abortion


How wonderful to hear NPR run Nina Totenberg reading a NARAL press release and calling it "news."

It's not even worth listening to. It was important enough for NPR to provide a complete transcript, so you can read it if you want, but you will come away misled and unenlightened.

There is one point of real balance in the piece. It's this damning quote:

James Bopp, general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, asserts that this is a procedure that was appropriately criminalized by Congress because it is "too close to infanticide." He asks, "Do we have to approve the performance of partial-birth abortions, which involves the intentional killing of a child that is just inches away from complete delivery of the child? I mean, literally, the child is being held in the doctor's hand alive, and is then killed by the doctor."

The point goes unaddressed in the piece, of course.

Speaking of partial-birth abortion, I understand the powerful propaganda effect of the campaign against it, but more and more it bothers me. Yes PBA is heinous, but apart from being more overt, how is it more heinous that regular abortion? When we say that delivering 85% of a baby before killing it is wrong, are we saying that it's OK to scrape the fetus off of the uterine wall, or to inject it with acid in the womb and then dismember it bit by bit so it fits through the birth canal?

I know that the answer to the question is no, and I know that few people who oppose partial-birth abortion approve of the other ways of killing the baby, but by fighting an all-out war on a specific procedure, are we unintentionally ceding ground on the fact of abortion?

More and more, I just can't get around the fact that we spend a lot of time on PBA, when even the strictest PBA ban doesn't prevent any actual abortions, just abortions by D and X. In the meantime, Republicans can flash their pro-life creds without reducing the number of abortions and Democrats can hurl (often justified) accusations of cynicism and manipulation at their Republican counterparts.

It seems that the main value of the PBA bans are to show that aboriton is in fact akin to infanticide and to make radical abortion proponents oppose the ban and expose themselves as extremists. Are we reaching the point of diminishing returns there yet? I don't know, but it seems like a good question to ask.

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Those Darn Moderates


"Republicans were so ideologically bent that they wouldn't allow a moderate to survive in their own party." - Harry Reid

WHAT? I think he forgot that Joe Lieberman is a Democrat.

Seriously, though, the Republicans, much to the chagrin of many actual conservatives, have dumped millions into the campaigns of liberal Republicans like Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chafee in the past two elections, even backing them against more conservative challengers. I don't like that fact, but of all the damn fool things to come out of Harry Reid's mouth, this has gotta be a top ten.

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We Threw the Bums Out! OK, So Now What?


Postmortem thoughts.

Well, the Republicans are out in the House (and probably the Senate pending recounts), which is what is supposed to happen when those in power rule with hedonistic disregard for the welfare of their constituency, so I'll not shed a tear. I'm bummed, however, that Santorum lost to an empty suit running on his father's legacy and that neither of the two African American Republicans I was rooting for - Michael Steele in Maryland and Ken Blackwell in Ohio - pulled it off.

The only problem with democracy working is that now the Democrats are running things. Are you ready to be inspired?

Nancy Pelosi: "The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history."

How's that for an agenda? We promise not to be corrupt!

Actually, it's not a bad idea. If the Democrats govern according to their actual mandate - to clean up government and get us out of Iraq - then great! There will be a real problem, however, if they act as if they have some broad policy mandate.

The Democrats should realize that their majority hinges on pissed off Republicans, and if they overreach the tide will quickly turn back. If the Democrats raise the minimum wage, pass serious earmark reform, hold productive hearings on the real point of our presence in Iraq and whether we have sound, achievable goals that justify our presence there, then the next session of Congress will be a success, and voters might reward them. Over-reaching would be to raise taxes unreasonably, to push for amnesty for illegal immigrants without real border control and - specifically in the Senate - to deny the president any conservative nominees to judicial vacancies. That will make the pendulum swing faster than it otherwise would.

This was a vote against an undefined Iraq policy, pork-barrel spending, corporate give-aways and rampant Republican corruption. A smart Democratic majority would clean house in those areas. I would love to see lobbyists and members of Congress brought up on charges and thrown in jail. I would love to see actual Congressional reviews of the contracts we gave to private companies in Iraq. A lot could be done on those fronts in two years, and no Republican looking at what happened yesterday could oppose it.

One of the bright spots is that here in Illinois, the Green Party candidates did surprisingly well. While I have no particular love for the Greens, I'm big on third parties. If the Greens can split the liberal vote, that would make it easier for authentic conservatives to break the Republican party and make it easier for solid candidates who represent the views of actual people to run. Maybe it's a pipe-dream, but it's better than the notion that I'll be choosing between Judys and Rods for the rest of my life.

As for the pro-life movement, there is no relief in sight. We'll have mostly gridlock on any pro-life legislation, and if, as it's been rumored, John Paul Stevens steps down, there will be a war in the Senate for his replacement, and it's unlikely we will get somebody with a known stance on abortion. As for 2008, the Republican field looks grim: pro-abort Giuliani, "Maverick" McCain, Mitt freaking Romney, and no other serious candidates. Sure, a lot can happen between now and then... except that any realistic candidate needs to declare themselves within the next few months in order to get the organization and fundraising together to mount a serious campaign. So that leaves... who? Huckabee? Brownback? I like 'em both, but I can't see voters on the coasts punching either of those tickets. So it looks like gridlock for two years and then if the Republicans can't make gains back in the Senate in 2008, we'll most likely have a pro-abortion president with not enough pro-lifers in the Senate to stop him or her.

On most other subjects, though, gridlock is good. I don't really mind if nothing gets done in the next two years. Congress was out of control and change was necessary, but I'm glad that we still have a Republican president who can veto any nonsense that comes out of Congress. As I said before, Democrats would be wise to stick to Iraq and ethics reform. They probably won't be able to do much else anyway.

So what could they actually get done?

A minimum wage hike would be a good thing, and Bush wouldn't dare veto it.

If the Democrats are wise, they won't go whole-hog on tax hikes and will focus instead on ending corporate giveaways. There would be tremendous support for ending subsidies to oil companies, so that would be a good starting point. Many of Bush's tax cuts, however, were very pro-family, and the Dems will be shooting themselves in the foot if they get rid of them.

The estate tax will stick around, which is good. But if the Dems were really smart, they would carve out certain exceptions where the estate tax would not apply - such as for family farms and family businesses (under, say $10 million). For non-farm and non-business estates, they could create a limit - say $500,000 per person. Any bequest to an individual under that amount is tax free, any amount over is taxed agressively. This would take care of the actual problem - large chunks of inherited wealth passing from generation to generation while growing more and more consolidated - while simultaneously taking care of the (very few) people who suffer actual hurt from the estate tax.

What about the Republicans? Well, they should get on board with the minimum wage hike. That's not a place you want to be seen as obstructionist. They should participate fully (to the extent the Dems let them) with any investigations the Democrats initiate. And as for lobbying and earmark reform - after a thrashing based 50% on corruption, obstructing ethics reform would be the last nail in the coffin, so the Republicans need to get on board there, too.

What agenda of their own could they promote? They should push hard on things like abortion and judges. They should push hard on abortion laws such as parental notification, interstate transport and late-term abortions. Even if this push goes nowhere, they need to make the so called "pro-life Democrats" take a stand on these issues. We'll see whether Bob Casey Jr. is actually pro-life or if he's all talk, which is more likely, though I'd be happy to be shown wrong.

Democrats will probably stall any good judicial nominees over the next two years. Republican senators need to make a lot of noise about this. It's a winning issue for Republicans, and they may be able to peel off enough moderate Democrats to get some decent judges confirmed, and if not, they can still portray the Democrats as obstructionist even with a Democrat majority.

And finally, they should fight any tax raises the Dems try to implement on the middle class. If the Democrats want to create a new tax bracket for those who earn more than $200,000, let them, that's what Democrats do, but fight anything below that hard.

Of course, the number one thing the Republicans need to do is clean their own house. It would be great in 2008 to see Republican Congressmen receiving primary challenges from actual conservatives, holding their feet to the fire on things such as rubber-stamping the Bush Administration and being beholden to lobbyists.

And there, dear friends, is your year's supply of Papa-Lu wonkery.

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Pope Buys Immunization Bonds


Yesterday, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, acting on behalf of the Pope, was the first to purchase bonds being sold to finance the immunization of children in third world countries. The funds will be used to manufacture and purchase vaccines for diseases which are ignored because no market exists for them in developed nations.

The project hopes to raise over $4 billion, vaccinate 500 million children, and save 10 millions lives, inclusing 5 million children.

Zenit has the address given by Cardinal Martino at the presentation of the bonds. He expressed the Pope's "hope...that the participation by the Church in this program will help to inspire others to take the step toward concrete action."

Here is the Website of the immunization initiative. Unfortunately, it looks like the bonds are not registered with SEC and cannot be sold in the U.S. Regardless, this was a wonderful symbolic gesture for the Pope to make.

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I Love My Wife


Mama-Lu, in response to this story about a North Carolina soccer coach who blared Hitler over the P.A. for his team's pre-game motivation:

"What's wrong with Patton? 'We're gonna run through them like sh*t through a goose!'

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An Election Day Message



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Celebrity Catholic File


I don't know much, but I know Aaron Neville is Catholic

Check out this World Cafe segment at about the 7:30 point, where he talks about being moved by the Ave Maria in middle school and his devotion to St. Jude and the Blessed Mother.

Where can I get a St. Jude earring???

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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