Thursday, April 28, 2011

Endeavour Poised to Deliver High Value Science Payload

Tomorrow's scheduled launch of Shuttle Endeavour on its final mission is laden with human interest stories. The recovering Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will be on hand to watch her husband, Mark Kelly, launch into space, joined also by the President and First Family. Finally, the crew will be blessed with a call from Pope Benedict XVI next week while joined with the on-orbit International Space Station (ISS) crew.

In the midst of all of this, it might be easy to overlook the exciting and possibly groundbreaking scientific payload that Endeavour will deliver to the ISS. The mission of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which is designed to detect antimatter and hints of other exotic forms of matter, is described in these articles at the Washington Post and Cosmic Log (MSNBC).

Expose Planned Parenthood Web Site

I've added the Expose Planned Parenthood site, established by a coalition of organizations to the prolife section of my sidebar. Meanwhile, I've removed the ticker I had linked to from that site (for now) as I've recently noticed it appears to have suffered a glitch which reset the counts, thus understating the number of abortions committed by and federal dollars spent on Planned Parenthood so far this year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Prolife activist Lila Rose of Live Action addresses the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

I attended the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast this morning in DC, which was quite an event. Featured speakers included His Excellency Bishop William Lori, of the Diocese of Bridgeport,CT, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, VA Gov. Bob McDonnell and prolife activist Lila Rose. The theme of the breakfast was the upcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Have a Blessed and Happy Easter!

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
"Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day."
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.

Lk 24:1-12

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week 2011

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. Yesterday, in his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Benedict XVI described the meaning of the observance.
"But what are we really doing when we join this procession as part of the throng which went up with Jesus to Jerusalem and hailed him as King of Israel? Is this anything more than a ritual, a quaint custom? Does it have anything to do with the reality of our life and our world? To answer this, we must first be clear about what Jesus himself wished to do and actually did."

This year, it also happens that tonight is the start of 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.

NASA Funds Four Commercial Proposals

NASA today announced four winners of its CCDEV-2 round of funding to help commercial space ventures develop their systems to provide transportation of people to the International Space Station (ISS). Most intriguing will be to see what we learn about Blue Origin's space vehicle system. The company has been very secretive about their plans, but here is the description they submitted in their proposal to NASA.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Circus on the Severn Folds Its Tent for 2011

The Maryland General Assembly, after its 90 day run, adjourned for the year on Monday night.. None too soon, considering the crazy (and sometimes taxing) things they passed or tried to pass.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Human Spaceflight Anniversaries

Tomorrow, April 12 marks two significant anniversaries, the pioneering orbital flight of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961 and the first flight of the Space Shuttle with Columbia's first launch twenty years to the day later in 1981. There is already much respective reflection and pondering of the future in space across the media around the world, which is being tracked at There is a good collection of reflections posted in this weeks additions to The Space Review. An online movie recalling Gagarin's flight, First Orbit, premiers tomorrow.

This video tells the story of Yuri Gagarin and the meaning of his flight.

Defunding Planned Parenthood on the Ground

The agreement reached Friday night that averted a government shutdown did not include a defunding of Planned Parenthood in this year's budget (though it does defund abortions in DC). The decision by Republican leaders to drop the clause at this phase of the battle was a tactical decision that is being both defended and criticized by some in the prolife movement.

So what's the next phase of the battle? Well, the agreement does force Senate Majority Leader Reid to hold a debate and vote on the defunding measure on Thursday. Even if it does not pass, it will put every Senator on record as to whether they want to privatize Planned Parenthood or force the taxpayers to continue subsidizing the abortion industry.

Meanwhile the House will start fleshing out the details on next year's (FY 2012) budget following the outline of Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's plan. As this will require asking citizens to make genuine sacrifices of some of the benefits of many government programs, it is a no-brainer that defunding PP should be at the top of the list.

Both of these steps will continue to engage grassroots prolife citizens to continue to fight for this needed legislative change. But if this doesn't happen, the grassroots "boots on the ground" will be engaged in the great struggle nest year to make some drastically needed personnel changes, particularly in the White House and in the Senate.

At the same time, I've been reminded by a good friend who is strongly committed to prayer, sidewalk-counseling and the 40 Days for Life campaign that many of us are already involved in a ground level campaign that can help defund Planned Parenthood even before our nation's leaders make the right decision. As she says it so well, "Let's Defund PP one client at a time through our prayers, our love and our presence!"

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Shutdown Averted as Ryan Charts a Larger Course Change

Congressional leaders reached an agreement on funding the federal government through the remainder of this fiscal year (ending Sept. 30). Meanwhile, on Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan outlined his sweeping architecture on cutting spending and reforming taxes in FY2012 and future years in order to turn the nation away from its rush toward fiscal ruin. (Text of the plan is here.)

Ryan's plan, along with the debt ceiling limit issue are sure to ignite even more congressional fireworks with Democrats attacking the plan, sometimes with hysterical rhetoric, and some Congressional Republicans wanting to go further and faster.

SpaceX's Bigger Boost

This past Tuesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced details of his companies largest (maybe) planned space launch rocket, the Falcon Heavy. If this vehicle comes anywhere close to Musk's claims for cost and performance, it will bring about major changes to the space industry

Monday, April 04, 2011

40 Days for Life at Silver Spring, MD

The 40 Days for Life campaign at Silver Spring held it's mid-point rally Saturday morning in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Silver Spring, MD. This was a special event for me to try out my new cam-corder and to learn the ways of Windows Movie Maker and YouTube.

The first video contrasts the grim reality of Planned Parenthood's abortion business with the beauty of the Divine Mercy Chaplet sung by rally participants.

The second video shows some of the joyful singing of praise by the rally participants.

The third video shows the Forty Days for Life Campaign Director Shawn Carney addressing our local crowd. His presence was an exciting recognition of our local effort.

If you have trouble downloading any of the videos, go to the settings number in the lower right (e.g. 480p) and select a lower resolution setting.

For additional videos of this event, please see this Restore-DC-Catholicism post. To find out how to participate in 40 Days for Life near you, please check out the 40 Days for Life main web site.