Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Week 2010

This week is the one considered Holy by many with a strong Faith in God. For Christians, it is the observance of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Easter Triduum as observed in the Catholic Church is described here. Today, Pope Benedict XVI described the meaning of the observance.
At his public audience on Wednesday, March 31, Pope Benedict XVI offered a preview of the Easter Triduum, during which the Church will be "living through the holy days that invite us to meditate upon the central events of our Redemption, the essential nucleus of our faith."

The liturgical events of Holy Thursday begin with the Chrism Mass, which will have a special significance during this Year for Priests, the Pope said. He urged all the world's priests to be "heralds of hope, reconciliation, and peace."

This year, it also happens that this week marks the Jewish observance of Passover, the celebration of the Jews' passing over to freedom from the bondage of slavery they suffered in Egypt. This event was a historical manifestation of God's power recognized by Jews and Christians alike.

May this week of Holy Days bring blessings and peace to all.

Terri Schiavo: Five Years Later

Today is the fifth anniversary of the court imposed death of Terri Schiavo by dehydration and starvation. Her brother Bobby Schindler comments on the meaning of her death to our society.
Perhaps the "Death Panels" Sarah Palin spoke of sounded like bombastic language. Yet when Palin added this term into our nation’s debate on health care, I believe she did not realize that many hospitals and facilities already have something frighteningly similar. Ethics committees are making many life and death decisions about patients, including whether to withhold simple provisions.

In a seemingly clandestine way, these ethics committees - comprised of medical and legal professionals - are empowering facilities to make life and death decisions independent of the family or a person’s own wishes.

"Progressive" versus Progress

Michael Barone discusses two conflicting philosophies in American society today.
The Declaration of Independence's proclamation that "all men are created equal" with "unalienable rights" to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" has proved to be happily elastic. It still sings to us today, thanks to the struggles and sacrifices of many Americans who gave blacks and women the equality denied to them in 1776.

In contrast, the early Progressives' talk of an "industrial age" and an outmoded Constitution sounds like the language of an age now long past. Their faith in centralized planning seems naive in a time when one unpredicted innovation after another has changed lives for the better.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Space Servicing Study

A major NASA workshop on spacecraft servicing is being held here in Maryland this week. Most of the presentations are being posted here. Servicing of spacecraft is gaining attention as an enabling factor in opening up space to more human activities.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Suan B. Anthony List a Key Political Player

I'll be attending the Campaign for Life Gala of the Susan B. Anthony List on Wednesday evening. This effective prolife women's political action committee courageously led by Marjorie Dannenfelser has played a key role in many modern political battles including the struggle over supposed health care reform. A Gala program change was announced Sunday evening after the would-have-been "Defender of Life" award recipient surrendered at the height of the climactic battle over abortion and health care.

UPDATE: 3/25/2010: The Gala last night was a great and inspiring event highlighted by prolife champions Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others.

We the People Have Only Begun to Fight

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people to dissolve the political bands which have subjected them to public officials who insist on turning fantasy into disastrous public policy, get ready to roll.

Last night's tragic setback for life and liberty has galvanized people and other public officials to stand up and thwart the policy that President Obama is expected to sign tomorrow.

Republicans in the House and Senate are already introducing bills to repeal the Democrats massive health care legislation. While the repeal measures won't pass this Congress, they will draw a sharp line of distinction for this November's Congressional elections. Even a decisive Republican victory will unlikely produce the veto proof margins required to enact repeal. That may have to await a new president in 2013. Bill Bennett comments on the people having the final say.

The Attorneys General of Virginia and numerous other states are preparing to challenge the constitutionality of the monstrous legislation, primarily over the issue of mandating citizens to purchase health insurance. While I don't have the constitutional law expertise to predict the course of these actions in the courts, we may be witnessing a historic push back by states against encroaching federal power.

One factor that changes this situation from other historical analogies is the emergence of a diverse and feisty array of alternate media sources that will enable the public to learn of the onerous new taxes, rationing of care, impact on medical research, etc. plus the cost of the deals required to ram this thing through. If you rely primarily on CNN, NBC, NYT and other conventional sources you may find yourself bewildered by what they're not telling you about the lively and tumultuous time ahead as the nation deals with this situation. People are turning to alternate sources of information. From Drudge:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Moving Toward a Reality Challenged Health Care Bill

Bart Stupak & a few other Democrats have broken the hearts of many who were supporting them when they appeared to be giving priority to the protection of unborn human lives. This afternoon they announced they are going with a deal in which President Obama issues an executive order that supposedly would prohibit any taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care plan. That is a worthless guarantee as an executive order can be easily overturned by Mr. Obama or a future president.

Even if the President has the best of intentions (which I doubt), knowledgeable people say that an executive order cannot change established law, only new legislation can. (Here's a statement released earlier today from Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)

Unfortunately, Mr. Stupak seems to share the liberal tendency to believe in fantasies, such as that a national health plan will will usher in some new utopia of guaranteed health care without any loss of quality. Unfortunately, he compromised his prolife principles in pursuit of this fantasy.

Tonight the debate is drawing to a close and Republican leader John Boehner is delivering a spirited challenge to the broken process that has brought the bill to this point. Liberal Democrats are comparing this day to past glories like Social Security, Medicare, etc. However, this bill is much more massive and intrusive. Moreover, with an engaged citizenry and a new variety of alternate media able to mix it up, the rumbling civic and political debate is just beginning.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Down to the Wire, Fighting for the Republic

Spring came to the northern hemisphere and Washington DC today on this pivotal weekend as the nation struggles over its direction. I joined a crowd estimated at at least 25,000 this afternoon on the Capitol west lawn rallying to support life and liberty and oppose the latest mutation of the ObamaReidPelosi health care bill.

Here are the Senate passed bill plus other relevant documents plus the latest House proposed changes ("reconciliation").

President Barack Obama's second cousin, Dr. Milton R. Wolf, explains why the health care bill would be bad for his patients and the nation, as he explains in this earlier article.

Among many creative signs, note the one in the center held by one of many docs who say that ObamaCare is bad medicine.

The image of Congress has been cheapened in the eyes of many Americans by the desperate dealing to try to pass this severely flawed legislation. (Watch this 8 sec. video clip of one House Democratic leader admitting they make up the rules as they go along.)

Today's citizens' actions included not only the rally, but visits to the House members offices. At the three Maryland offices I visited, Staffers at Reps. Van Hollen and Hoyer politely listened to citizens' objections to the bill, while Rep. Cummings' office was closed.

Rally activities were continuing into the evening and into tomorrow. Media reports indicate that the vote tally is still extremely close with intense pressure being put on ambivalent Democratic House members. Time to watch and pray.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Artist unknown, Link by

Wednesday is March 17, St. Patrick's Day. Celebrations have started early over the weekend. So, be blessed, safe, and happy whenever you are celebrating Ireland's patron saint.

Catholic Forum provides links to descriptions of St. Patrick here and here.

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort me and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

In the spirit of the holiday, check out for webcasts of Irish music and other media direct from Ireland.

But of Course He's not Bush

Remember when candidate Barack Obama promised that his administration would be much more refreshingly open than the Big Bad Mean Bush Administration? Here's a reality check.
One year later, Obama's requests for transparency have apparently gone unheeded. In fact a provision in the Freedom of Information Act law that allows the government to hide records that detail its internal decision-making has been invoked by Obama agencies more often in the past year than during the final year of President George W. Bush.

Major agencies cited that exemption to refuse records at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, compared with 47,395 times during President George W. Bush's final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies.

It's Getting Crazy in Fantasy Land

No, I'm not talking about Disney World but the struggle on Capitol Hill, where Democratic leaders are trying desperately to round up the votes to pass the ObamaReidPelosi health care bill over broad opposition. A few highlights:

- Nancy Pelosi is considering a gimmick whereby modifications to the Senate bill that will have been "deemed" to have passed will be voted on (while promising even more bizarre legislation to come if she succeeds this time). I think enough Americans will see through this dubious (and constitutionally questionable) move that if it is implemented it could trigger an unprecedented peacetime political crisis in the nation.

- House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) says the despite the climactic sense surrounding this week, a vote on some mutation of health care legislation might be delayed until past Easter. The Democratic leaders really want to avoid that though. Going home for Easter recess means that Congress members would again be "contaminated" by their constituents, many of whom are already burning down the Congressional phone lines in order to be heard. Here's another report on a "Rush" of phone calls to Capitol Hill and a report on today's Tea Party rally in DC.

- President Obama has threatened to not campaign for Democratic members who vote against the ObamReidPelosi bill. Considering all the good his campaigning did for Creigh Deeds (Virginia), John Corzine (New Jersey) and Martha Coakley (Massachusetts), I wonder if that will be seen as a threat or a promise.

- The vote math in the House may be more dramatic then the March Madness basketball tournaments. This ABC News analysis indicates the challenge Pelosi and her leadership have in passing a bill (or "deeming" a bill to pass). Once again, Bart Stupak and a small number of fellow prolife Democrats may tip the balance. Stay tuned, as there may be some votes switching both ways since the House's November vote.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Climactic Time (Again) for Health Care Vote

Nancy Pelosi claims she is confident that the votes are there to pass the latest mutation of ObamaReidPelosi health care (supposedly by the end of this week), even though her chief vote counter says the votes are not there now. If the votes for the scheme fall short, concerns over life will play a pivotal role.

Friday, March 05, 2010

It May All Hang on Abortion

The fate of ObamaRiedPelosi's attempt to ram through some mutation of their behemoth health care plan may hang on the issue of abortion funding (not that that's the only problem with the proposed legislation) and the actions of a small number of prolife Democrats.

Still More Water on the Moon

Plentiful amounts of water, in the form of ice, have been discovered by scientists using an American instrument on the Indian Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Here is a report from the Principal Investigator for the instrument on the details and significance of the discovery.

New Weather Satellite Launch

Photo credit: NASA

The GOES-P weather satellite launched into orbit last night from Florida.