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Friday, January 30, 2009

Video Documents the Big Event the Media Ignores 

A professional movie team is acting to show the world the big event that most of the Old Media has been trying to ignore for decades. They've videoed last week's March for Life for a documentary, Thine Eyes: A Witness to the March for Life, to be released in March. (Hat tip to ProLife Blogs.)

Here is one of the promotional videos (~5 min). Turn up the speakers, as the U2 music adds to the power of the message.



Check out the web site for additional information, including words from actress Jennifer O'Neill, who narrates the documentary.

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Steele's the Man! 

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele was elected today by the Republican National Committee to be its new Chairman heading into the 2010 election cycle. I've met Michael Steele a number of times and was a campaign volunteer during his 2006 US Senate run. While there was a field of fine candidates, I feel this is the right choice to lead the GOP as the loyal but fiesty opposition to the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda.

Steele's selection comes on the heels of united Republican opposition, joined by 11 House Democrats, to that lumbering, oinking $819 billion 'stimulus package', which is also gaining increasing public skepticism. The political field may be much more exciting and competitive then it has seemed since the election.

As for that stimulus package, a less bloated and more focused bill would likely gain bipartisan support, given the serious economic downturn, but this bill is looking more and more like a liberal and bureaecratic wish list.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don't Miss This Video 

This video (~40 sec long) has or will be aired on several major networks and already been viewed hundreds of thousands of time online. It takes a unique approach to engaging public opinion on a most divisive yet decisive issue for our society.


Originated at CatholicVote.com.

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Billions and Billions! 

No, this has nothing to do with Carl Sagan. Rather, it's about the humongous 'stimulus ' package that passed the House of Representatives this evening, but with every Republican and 11 Dems voting NO. This vote may be remembered as the opening move in the new political landscape that will affect the next couple of election cycles.

The Wall Street Journal lists some of the highlights (or lowlights) of the $819 Billion bill. As I posted earlier, you can dive in and investigate this evolving behemoth yourself at this link. Thankfully, Nancy Pelosi's favorite contraception boondoggle was removed from the bill.

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Remembrance of Space Heroes 








NASA is observing the anniversaries of its human losses in spaceflight: Apollo 1 (forty two years ago yesterday), Challenger (twenty three years ago today), and Columbia (six years ago next Sunday, February 1). Space.com remembers each of these events and their impact on the nation's space efforts.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Now He's on the Record 

With the warm and fuzzy feelings of the Inauguration now behind us, President Barack Obama is quickly establishing a record of policy decisions, which are fair game for evaluation.

The President announced a decision to commit to closing the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While the 'Gitmo' system itself is not an ideal situation, the decision to commit to closing the facility without an established plan for how, and particularly where, to deal with the detainees currently kept there has raised real concerns about the future security of the nation. Marc Thiessen takes a broader look at how President Obama has a tough act to follow in protecting the nation.

While the 'Gitmo' decision may put lives at risk, another Obama decision directly supports the taking of human lives. That is the reversal of the 'Mexico City policy' that prohibited use of our tax dollars to fund organizations committing abortions in other countries. While supporters of this action claim it is for the 'health' of poor people in these countries, the reality is that abortion directly kills unborn human beings, can be hazardous to the women who undergo them, and support for abortion providers will divert resources from real aid to the poor.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, emailed LifeNews.com about Obama's decision.

He told LifeNews.com how the executive order will hurt non-abortion groups that provide medical care and services to women and families in foreign nations.

"One effect of Obama's order will be to divert many millions of dollars away from groups that do not promote abortion, and into the hands of those organizations that are the most aggressive in promoting abortion in developing countries," he said.

"Obama's order will predictably result in a redirection of funds to groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which are ideologically committed to the doctrine that abortion on demand must be universally available as a birth control method," Johnson said.

Of course, a president's actions are not the end of the story. Citizens who see their government taking a wrong course can be expected to organize action that will eventually lead to correcting such grave errors.

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International Year of Astronomy 

Well, we've recently left the International Year of the Potato. Did you know that we are now in the International Year of Astronomy? This year was chosen for this observance to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of the telescope to study the heavens.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yes We Can! Prolife America Marches On 

The March for Life activities last night and today served to bring the prolife community together for a renewal of energy for the cause in spite of a more adverse environment in the new US government.

Last night's vigil Mass celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali accompanied by many bishops and priests was, as always, a quite inspiring spiritual preparation for today's activities.

The Blogs for Life conference (video stream linked here) this morning provided numerous insightful speakers describing how to use new media technology for the cause of life and some big picture assessments on the state of the prolife movement. We're still strong and will press ahead. (One correction from a previous post, the Danny Glover who spoke today is not the actor, but a dedicated blogger/journalist).


Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas addresses today's Blogs for Life conference.

The rally and March itself, with a large crowd including many young people, took place with sunny average not-uncomfortably cold temperatures as the large crowd surged several blocks toward the Supreme Court.


March participants make their way up Capitol Hill.



A couple of signs (above and below) use President Obama's words to make the prolife case.



After the march, I attended an inspiring and informative event cosponsored by the Filipino Family Fund and the Culture of Life Foundation and then dropped by The Dubliner and joined some prolife friends for a little while before heading home.

While these events observe a most solemn and tragic anniversary of the imposition of abortion-on-demand in our nation, it is an occasion to meet or reunite with some of the nicest people and recharge ourselves for the challenging fight ahead.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why We March 

This is a slightly revised and updated article I first wrote and posted in 2004 at this time.

Thursday, January 22, marks the 36th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court decisions which imposed abortion-on-demand in the United States. Once again, concerned citizens will gather on Thursday for the annual March for Life, which in recent years has usually drawn well over 100,000 participants. Now, why do so many people consider it so important to take time on a weekday to come to Washington, DC at the coldest time of the year to make their voice heard on this matter?

Before I go on any further, I need to say a couple of things. First, nothing in this article is meant to condemn anyone who has had an abortion or has been involved in abortion in some way. Far from condemning those with an abortion in their past, the people in the prolife movement are about healing and forgiveness, and want it to be clear that there is hope after abortion. Post-abortion counseling can be found through many church denominations and pregnancy counseling centers.

And second, while the prolife movement consists largely of people with strong religious convictions who feel called by God to defend the defenseless, that doesn't make the protection of human life a narrow, religious issue. The facts that the defenseless exist and that they deserve protection in the human family can be persuasively advocated by non-religiously reasoned arguments.

First, let's start with a little scientific background (from the Science for Unborn Human Life website) about how each of us began our lives as unique human beings. A new human being is conceived when a sperm fertilizes an egg. The sperm has 23 chromosomes and so does the egg. But the fertilized egg has 46, half from each parent, and is genetically unique. These 46 chromosomes, which are fixed at conception, establish the child's sex and are a blueprint for how it will develop, both during pregnancy and after birth.

Blood vessels start to form very early, about 13-18 days after fertilization. Then, on about the 20th day - nearly the end of the third week - the foundation of the brain, the spinal cord, and the entire nervous system is established. The heart begins to beat on about the 22nd day after conception, circulating blood throughout the child. The arms begin to form on about day 26, followed by the beginnings of the legs on day 28, the same day that the mouth opens for the first time.

Both the eyes and ears are developing rapidly during the seventh week after conception. At this time, the thumbs, neck, heels of the feet and all of the fingers are also present. Taste buds begin to form during the eighth week after conception. All parts of the limbs are apparent at this time. In addition, the fingers and toes have lengthened and are completely separated.

By the end of the eighth week the overwhelming majority (several thousand) of the body's organs, structures and systems have already begun to develop. Few, if any, new structures begin to form after this time. During the remainder of the pregnancy, development consists mainly of growth and maturation of the parts of the body that are already present.

Isolated arm, leg and backward head movements begin at about 7 to 10 weeks after conception. During the ninth week, a regular pattern of breathing movements is observed, with a median frequency of about 30 breaths each hour.

These are just the highlights of how you developed during the first 2-3 months of your life. Now consider that a majority of abortions are performed during the tenth to twelfth week of gestation. Some are performed much later in the pregnancy, when the child has grown larger and any unbiased observer would recognize a baby when they see one.

So why if the evidence so clearly indicates that a unique human life begins at conception, how did the deliberate and violent destruction of that life come to be imposed as a 'constitutional right'? Time does not permit describing the whole history of abortion or the intertwining influences of the eugenics and population control movements. Let's start with the socially turbulent late sixties when a growing pro-abortion movement subversively exploited the legitimate aspirations of women for greater rights and participation in society.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former abortionist and co-founder of the pro-abortion group NARAL, has since changed his mind and heart and is now a leading prolife advocate. He points out the disinformation at the heart of the pro-abortion campaign.
- "The statistics that we gave to the American public about illegal abortions annually; the statistics we fabricated regarding the number of women dying from illegal abortions annually; all of these matters were pure fabrication and still persist to this very day."

- "We spoke of 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year. I confess that I knew the figures were totally false. It was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?"

- "We in NARAL were in the business of coining slogans principally for the media . . . we scattered catchy slogans for them . . . to use . . . in their stories. Slogans like "reproductive rights", "freedom of choice", "pro-choice". For many years we've known them to be hollow and meaningless. They're just catchy and, essentially, without substance."

The movement made rapid progress. California, New York and a few other states passed 'liberalized' abortion laws (though some other states rejected them). But what imposed abortion on American law were two Supreme Court cases, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, pronounced on January 22, 1973. The combined effect of the two decisions was to effectively impose abortion-on-demand throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Since that time, over forty nine million human beings have been exterminated by abortion in the United States.

Aside from the grave issue that was decided, the finding that abortion is part of a constitutional 'right of privacy' is considered an overreach of judicial power even by some legal scholars who describe themselves as 'prochoice'. The 'reasoning' was based on 'penumbras' the justices claim to have seen in the constitution.

Did you know that the two plaintiffs in the Roe and Doe cases, Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano, have filed affidavits to the effect that they were manipulated into their roles and that the decisions should be overturned? You would think that this development would be considered unprecedented in Supreme Court history, but I guess Chris Matthews, Katie Couric, the New York Times, etc. forgot to inform you.

One fact that is becoming evident that abortion-on-demand is not such a great thing for women. Abortion has left many women emotionally and sometimes physically scarred. Campaigns such as Silent No More and Women Deserve Better are tapping into this hidden anguish.

Also evident is the effect on our society, with conflicting attitudes on how we treat not only the unborn, but also the sick, disabled and elderly. Consider the heart wrenching case of the judicially imposed death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Abortion has torn marriages and families apart, and led to a hardened and increasingly violent culture. The raging debate over embryonic stem cell research and human cloning shows the growing risk posed by a disregard for the dignity of every human life.

So, we have had for the past thirty six years, a culture that in some ways has grown cynical, forgoing the promise of a hopeful future for instant gratification, or more often, the resignation to unimaginative 'solutions' that pit mother against child or people against the planet. One is reminded of a quote from the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats:
"The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere a ceremony of innocence was drowned."

These Supreme Court abortion decisions were assumed to have 'settled' the issue in our society. Yet much to the consternation of the pro-abortion establishment, the movement of concerned citizens to protect life has only grown in strength over the past thirty six years. The prolife movement has pursued multiple paths: educating the public, lobbying and litigating for change, participating in politics, and especially reaching out to help women with unplanned pregnancies. On the political front, abortion played a decisive role in the confirmation hearings of John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. Polling data consistently indicates that, even when economic or other issues determine the outcome of an election, those voters that consider abortion decisive in their voting swing overwhelmingly for the prolife candidates. Presidents, economic cycles and other national controversies come and go, but the struggle for life goes on.

Particularly significant is that the change in public attitudes on abortion is most striking among young people (who've lost peers they've never met). This is manifested in polling results and an upsurge of prolife activism among teens and college students, much to the consternation of their professors and, in some cases, their parents. Sort of adds a new twist to some lyrics from the sixties by Buffalo Springfield:
"Young people speaking their minds, Getting so much resistance from behind."

So the buses are starting to roll, as thousands from distant states once again journey to Washington, where many will gather in prayer the night before or the morning of the March. Then we will rally and march, knowing that those we are trying to defend would some day defend our nation, write great literature, cure disease, compose stirring music, and explore and begin to settle the Solar System.

But more than for their potential accomplishments, we speak out for them simply because of the inherent dignity of each of their lives. In so doing we are responding to a great calling as individuals and as a civilization. And we'll continue to speak and march and work and pray, confident in the hope that, one of these years, we'll no longer face the cold winds. Instead, we'll gather on a warm spring day to celebrate the inclusion of the youngest in the human family within the protection of the law.

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Our New President is Inaugurated 

Barack Obama became our 44th President today with the usual inauguration drama and ceremony and an estimated 2 million people out on the cold day witnessing the events.

Here are the videos of the oath of office and the inaugural address and the inaugural address text.

Barack Obama is known for his rhetorical skills. As a speech, the address was pretty good, a mixture of soaring rhetoric tempered by acknowledgement of the current economic and international difficulties (while I differ with a few of the specific remarks).
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

The real question is whether the policies will match the rhetoric. Do the words "the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness" really apply to all, at every stage or condition of life? Do the words of praise for "the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things" favor pro-entrepreneurial free enterprise not inhibited by excessive government interference?

Our prayer should be that our new president be successful at doing the right things and that, when our leaders go astray, we as citizens be engaged to fight for the right things.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Day and a Week in America 

Tomorrow, Barack Obama will take the oath of office and become the 44th President of the United States. Power will be transferred peacefully from President George W. Bush, who has served us nobly under difficult circumstances these past eight years. This is quite an event on a number of levels.

The Inauguration has become the expected mother-of-all-crowded-events. Locally, we’ve been hearing non-stop reports for weeks on heavy security measures, changes to traffic and public transportation patterns, porta-potties, etc. Overnight, lying in bed, I can hear the sounds of fighter jets on patrol overhead to protect the capital, reminding me of the days after 9/11/01.

This Inauguration is definitely the fulfillment of a dream of inclusion in terms of race relations. I can remember as a child hearing of Martin Luther King, civil rights marches and the struggle against segregation. Hopefully, Obama’s presidency will irreversibly put many of the remaining racial divisions behind us.

Along with real differences over policies, there is a real risk, however, that expectations have been raised to such a euphoric level that no mortal human could meet, no matter how effective a leader. Obama himself is trying to temper expectations with reality. The difficult economic situation will add to the frustration of trying to maintain a spirit of unity while forming a policy that will revive our economy without doing more long term damage.

Most of all, no leader can unite the country while the gravest issues remain unresolved. The movement toward inclusion that enabled Barack Obama to reach the White House is undermined by violence committed against the most vulnerable among us: the unborn, the elderly and the disabled. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has bought into the lethally erroneous arguments that try to justify the denial of the right to life to some. He threatens to reverse the life affirming policies implemented by his predecessor and expand the imposition of abortion and other life denying practices. We should pray for his conversion on these matters.

Whatever our new president does, we as citizens have a responsibility to fight for the protection of every person’s life at every stage and condition. On Thursday, many thousands will once again peacefully assemble and participate in the annual March for Life and associated events, ensuring that these issues will not be ‘settled’ until every human being’s life and dignity is recognized.

The peaceful transfer of power and the people peacefully assembling to petition their government, both happening in America this week.

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You'll Wonder Where Your Money Went 

Actually, a number of organizations are performing a public service by publishing the $850 billion (and climbing) stimulus package bill. Imagine, the people actually finding out what's in one of these monstrous bills before it becomes law.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Planet with Life or a Living Planet 

Scientists have announced the discovery of plumes of methane emerging from the surface of Mars. This 'could' be evidence of microscopic life, but also might be explained by geological activity. This discovery suggests a new path for further Martian exploration.

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A New Tool To Protect Us 

According to this report, our new president, our military and our intelligence community may have a new tool in the sky to eavesdrop on those who threaten our nation.

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National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009 

In one of his final acts, President Bush proclaimed today as National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009.
The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will prevail.

Thank you President Bush. We will prevail. We shall overcome!

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank You President Bush 

President George W. Bush gave his farewell address to the nation tonight. (Video here, text here)
As we address these challenges - and others we cannot foresee tonight - America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This Nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace.

President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.

The President showed the grace and class he has always shown under fierce and vicious attacks. While he has made his share of mistakes, I believe the perspective of history will be kinder and more realistic than the emotions of our time.

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What is Your Perception of Reality? 

Especially concerning people in public life. Jay Nordlinger describes how common perceptions of certain people in public life are really distortions of reality.
And what is his widespread image? He is a kind of Dr. Evil to people, although, unlike the Austin Powers one, not a comical Dr. Evil. He is a right-wing menace, a scourge of civil liberties, a Torquemada. This is absolutely perverse.

And what of President Bush’s image - at least one aspect of it? They say that he is less than bright: that he is stupid. And stupid is the last thing President Bush is. Call him willful, call him stubborn, call him petulant or cussed or difficult. Stupid, he is not.

Consider one more public figure: Sarah Palin. I keep hearing and reading, in various quarters, that she is a "bimbo." That is the word I hear about her, rather a lot: "bimbo." This is a woman, of course, who has been married since her early 20s. She and her husband, Todd, have five children. Sarah is governor of her state; Todd works in the oil fields. From what anyone can tell, they delight in each other, and in their family. They seem almost an advertisement for monogamy: for the married life. And yet people say "bimbo."

There is hope that the cultural establishment that creates these ugly distortions will be increasingly challenged by a conservative cultural emergence which includes Andrew Breirbart's Big Hollywood. Also, actor Danny Glover will be speaking at the Blogs for Life conference next week.

CORRECTION: 1/24/2009: The Danny Glover who spoke at the Blogs for Life conference is not the actor, but a dedicated blogger/journalist).

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Freedom of Speech Lives! 

While the Supreme Court may not be ready to recognize the right to life of unborn human beings, at least it recognizes the free speech right of citizens to educate others of the horrific results of abortion.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Vision at Five Years 

Five years ago today, President Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration, the initiative to return to the Moon and eventually go beyond. Rand Simberg assesses the current situation and future prospects in this article.
But Mike Griffin’s departure, and even the end of his vehicle designs, doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the Vision for Space Exploration. The two are not synonymous, though many supporters of the current plans would like people to think they are. The vision isn’t about any specific vehicle concept, or even any specific destination, even though many talk about it as the "Moon program," or the "Mars program." Regardless of implementation, it was never any more - or any less - than establishing a national goal, for the first time since Apollo, to once again send humans beyond low earth orbit. All else is simply details. There are many ways to do it, and perhaps the new administration and administrator will be more imaginative in doing it in an affordable way that permits much more activity, instead of redoing what we did forty years ago. The money currently being spent on redundant dedicated launch vehicles for the space agency could finally be invested in actual space exploration hardware, such as earth departure stages, lunar landers, and even propellant depots, and leave the earth-to-orbit task to private enterprise.

Meanwhile, speculation continues about the choice of the incoming Obama Administration for NASA Administrator. Space.com reports they have the name, but it has not yet been confirmed by other sources.

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Here Comes the Circus on the Severn! 

Look out! If you're a Maryland resident, hold on to your wallet and your sanity. The 2009 General Assembly has opened in Annapolis today. Here is an assessment from the Maryland Republican Party.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why Space? A Question of Providing for the Future 


NASA, Artist concept by Denise Watt.

With the ongoing discussion of the future of NASA under the incoming Obama Administration, Dennis Wingo reminds us that it's time to go back and ask the fundamental question of why space is so important to our future.
The economic development of the solar system, beginning at the Moon and extending on from there addresses the critical national and even global problem of energy and resources, while providing the opportunity for mankind to incorporate the vast riches that await us there. Any other reasoning for the exploration of space is a hollow effort who's prestige value is no more than adding an additional footnote in some future civilization's history book.

I made a similar case in this post from February 2006 which also includes a moral imperative for expansion into space.
However, many foresighted people see human expansion into space and development of the resources and energy there as the long term positive alternative to the more dismal agendas. Protecting and providing for future generations is the moral imperative behind our expansion into space. Part of a culture of life is to take the long view, to take risks on the frontiers to provide for the lives of future human beings, each of whom have a unique God-given dignity.

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An Inventor Repudiates His Invention 

Carl Djerassi, the Austrian chemist considered a primary inventor of the contraceptive 'birth control' pill now regrets the "demographic catastrophe" caused by his invention.
Djerassi outlined the "horror scenario" that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now "no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction." He said: "This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete."

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Not All Bad Economic News Is Bad News 

The notorious Madoff scheme collapse has hurt many individual investors and legitimate charities. They have my sympathy but I won't shed any tears over the fact that Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations have lost major funding because of the scandal.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, R.I.P. 

Father Richard John Neuhaus, passed away Thursday morning after a struggle with cancer. He founded the journal First Things and was a leader in uniting Catholics and Evangelicals to take on the great cultural issues of our day. Fr. Neuhaus was also seen frequently on EWTN co-anchoring coverages of major events such as Pope Benedict XVIs US visit last year.

In an article just published, Fr. Neuhaus describes how the prolife movement is the natural heir of the civil rights and democracy movements of the sixties.
Whatever else it is, the pro-life movement of the last thirty-plus years is one of the most massive and sustained expressions of citizen participation in the history of the United States. Since the 1960s, citizen participation and the remoralizing of politics have been central goals of the left. Is it not odd, then, that the pro-life movement is viewed as a right-wing cause? Reinhold Niebuhr wrote about "the irony of American history" and, were he around to update his book of that title, I expect he might recognize this as one of the major ironies within the irony.

Fr. Neuhaus also wrote articulately about his conversion to Catholicism and how his previous bout with cancer prepared him for death.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Feast of the Epiphany 

Today is the final highlight of the Christmas Season, the liturgical observance of the Feast of the Epiphany (The traditional date is January 6), which celebrates the journey of the Magi, the 'Three Kings' or 'Wise men' to visit the child Jesus.

EWTN has posted an article from L'Osservatore Romano explaining the significance of this observance.
The story of the "Adoration of the Wise Men" is one of the best known in the life of the Lord. However, the episode recounted by the Evangelist Matthew is not primarily an exact historical chronicle. Rather, the focus of interest is the content, which concerns the history of salvation in the message passed on by this witness of faith.

This is why the story of the Three Kings has become a favourite subject in the theological expressions of art. The star that guided the Magi has become an example of the Gospel proclamation to all.

The brief account in Matthew's Gospel (2:1-12), which says that Wise Men from the East, guided by a star, arrived in Bethlehem to worship the newborn Child, was well-known from the Church's beginnings.

The Star that draws the Magi to Judea has long been a subject of wonder and scientific curiosity as explained in this BBC article.
A comet, an eclipse, a supernova, an alignment of planets - was the Star of Bethlehem, said to have led the wise men to the Baby Jesus, a real astronomical event?

Some 2,000 years ago, wise men saw an incredible star shining over the Holy Land. It was their signal to embark on an epic journey to visit the new Messiah. But what exactly was the Star of Bethlehem?
... perhaps it was a comet

Modern science is unravelling the mystery behind one of the most famous astronomical stories in history. New developments in technology allow astronomers to map the ancient night skies with extraordinary accuracy.

As they study the movements of the planets and stars, experts are challenging the traditional assumption that it was a blazing comet - instead there are several unusual astronomical events that the wise men could have seen in the skies.
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