Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wide but not Deep?

The GOP candidates are suffering from a wealth of girth and a lack of depth.  They seem to have shallow commitment to social concerns and the debt crisis, (which is the direct result of the sin of usury), as well as an inability to stick to principles in order to win.

For example, Donald Trump. Could any true conservative take this man seriously? Maybe he could take our country safely through a bankruptcy filing.  Maybe senate approval of his nominees might be more entertaining, like the early years of The Apprentice.  That's the only value I see there.

I like Charles Krauthammer's analysis as a rule, But here:
he seems more inspired by Urbane Urban Thinking than anything else.  Charles should take a field trip to the Midwest, and I don't mean Ohio.  Head into the bread (ethanol) basket of the Dakota's,  Iowa, Wyoming, and dare I say Nebraska, and I think he would find himself surrounded by people who think Romney and Gingrich are non-starters.  Let's face it, Romney is pretty, but not conservative.  Gingrich is a fountain of baggage, not ideas.  Barbour has already pulled out.

Pawlenty and Daniels are known only to news-junkies right now. And Daniels deferring of social issues is a real problem.  You see, when you abandon marriage and abortion as real issues, you increase entitlements to provide for the unmarried and Planned Parenthood.  There is a real relationship between marriage and children.  When that is broken, the society is broken.  Thinking you can fix our economy with out taking a long look at social issues is simply misguided.

I really don't hear any buzz about Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee from anyone on the street.  They have their place, helping to form and motivate the base, but they are not presidential.

Krauthammer misses some good potential candidates.  Herman Cain would be a a great president.  He understands that at this point, religion and economics are foreign policy.  Paul Ryan and Chris Christie seem to understand that as well.  Maybe even Michele Bachmann understands that.

I want to offer a candidate who is completely off of anyone's radar.  Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska has been a Governor, Secretary of Agriculture, and a staunch conservative for his entire career.  He is a very likable guy.  He has foreign policy experience.  He is solid as the day is long.  Bob Kerry was almost nominated on the Dem side years ago.

We may be only a fly-over state to some, but Johanns is worth recruiting.

I've met him in person.  He called my son to follow-up on a letter from my home-schooled boy.  I asked questions of him about articles I had read that day, and he had read them too.  This man is top-notch, trustworthy, calm, capable and experienced.

He is deep.  The rest are just wide.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Going Gaga for Judas

I wish Lady Gaga wouldn't embarrass herself this way.  It reflects poorly on any 'faith formation' she might have received at the Catholic schools she attended.  It reflects poorly on our cousin, Luc, with whom she's had a long relationship.  But the Catholic League should not be embarrassed for mentioning her, unless they don't look at the root cause.

The root cause of 'Catholic' pop stars who leave the church and it's teachings is the education they receive before the become famous.  The Religious of the Sacred Heart who educated Stephanie, aka Gaga, and the women in my family, have been watering down the faith in their schools.  It is to the point that a girl who graduates with her faith in tact is the exception rather than the rule.

The sisters even have featured a picture of Gaga on their promotional brochures.  Think about that.  They are proud of her.  They openly tell prospective parents, "If your daughter comes to our school, she could be the next Gaga."

I know we all wish that when we see little Catholic girls in their uniforms.  Oh wait, maybe not.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sarah Palin Rocks


Shame on me for thinking she had too much baggage and might not be presidential.  She clearly has it goin' on!!!  Come on Sarah, run like the wind!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Planning for Holy Week

I've been checking all of the movie channels for anything like a good Holy Week or passover movie.  They seem to be hard to find this year.  I like to limit my viewing time during Holy Week to exclusively religious themes.  Doing so helps me to enter more fully into the essence of the week.

I'm also trying to find a traditional three hour service for good Friday.   I remember attending them as a child.  The Veneration of the Cross was always moving.  So far, no parish seems to offer this important and meaningful act of humility this year.

I know that our parish will have a beautiful Mass on Holy Thursday.  At the end of the Mass, The altar will be stripped and the Eucharist will be exposed until midnight.  The silent procession to the small chapel  always leaves me feeling bereft. That feeling will grow during Stations of the Cross and Confessions on Good Friday. I will feel that way until Easter.

There's an edginess to that feeling.  I fell exposed.  I feel Jesus is not with us.  I feel like I imagine the apostles felt, lonely, afraid, unprotected, surrounded by a world full of people without God to guide them.  I chant aloud or in my head, like a mantra, "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom."  I imagine the battle in hell as Jesus releases the souls of the faithful.

Then Easter comes and the joy of hearing the alleluias is profound.  Heaven is open once more to us, and the Light has won.  Eternal Light seems to expand throughout the earth, and I begin to relax again into joy and hope.  Like Mary Magdalene, I run again with renewed strength.  HE IS RISEN.

Without Holy Week, we are all Judas.  Judas who betrays.  Judas who is afraid.  Judas with no request for remembrance.  Judas despairing.  Judas who never gets to the Alleluia.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ethics, Morals, and Teaching College Freshmen

I teach a public speaking class at a local state university.  Because the course is required by all students, I have many freshmen in my classes.  It's basically a skills class, but at the end of every semester the students must present two persuasive speeches, using sound reasoning and avoiding the fallacious use of reasoning, claims, and evidence.  It's my favorite part of the semester, but also the most tricky.

When students make unsubstantiated claims, provide little evidence, no evidence, or evidence that doesn't support the claim, or when students use faulty reasoning, I play devil's advocate to show them their errors.  It's not often that I am given a new argument by a students.  They tend to stick to the tried and true topics that interest them, aliens, social problems, legalizing drugs, abortion, capital punishment, etc.

I was therefore thrown when a student proposed for advocating in favor of medicinal prostitution for patients receiving care for chronic pain and terminal illnesses.  His premise was that if medicinal marijuana is okay, why not?

Today as I prepare for class I have to summon every braincell to discuss with him the moral pitfalls of such an argument.  I plan to discuss the importance of the failure rates of contraception that could lead to aborting the child of a sex therapist created with a terminal patient.  If a child is conceived, does someone determine whether the child is:

  •  Added to the will and provided for by the estate of the (presumably) deceased?
  • Allowed to be brought to term and adopted?
  • Aborted as an unintended by product of therapy?
And of course, who will make this decision: The patient?  The therapist?  The prescribing physician?  The existing heirs of the patient?  If the patient is the one who is pregnant, does this make it impossible for them to receive other treatments that would affect the unborn child?

What is striking about this entire idea is that the notion of sex as palliative care because it makes people feel good is completely devoid of any notion of sex as procreation.

I know we are making great strides in the pro-life movement among college students.  That is an amazing thing,  I  see the changes in student attitudes all of the time.  Ten years ago students never mentioned a desire to have children in the future.  Now most do.

But the suggestion of  medicinal prostitution by a 19 year-old young man from a small town tells me we have a long way to go.  A very long way to go.

***I had my conversation today and the young, thoughtful, man decided to continue,even though this is an  argument he is making only for argument's sake.  And one of my other students who wanted to advocate for homosexual adoption now understands that she must address freedom of conscience issues for religious providers of adoption services.

Overall, a successful day.

Update #2:

My student gave his speech today.  He included stories of the men and women who live at the nursing home that provides his day job.  One man has Viagra PRN to have relations with his wife.  My student said on walking into their room while they were active, "Dinner is ready.  Do you want a fork or a spoon?"  Nice use of humor, but one of the points he made was that women who have partners who do not use condoms are less likely to be depressed.  The study is out of Ireland.  So you see, happy couples who are open to children are happier and live longer.  I knew I could trust him to find the right info!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eric Cantor AND John Boehner are Weenies

Saturday, April 09, 2011
John Boehner and Harry Reid
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at the White House on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP photo/Charles Dharapak)
(CNSNews.com) - The federal debt increased $54.1 billion in the eight days preceding the deal made by President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to cut $38.5 billion in federal spending for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which runs through September.
The debt was $14.2101 trillion on March 30, according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and $14.2642 on April 7.
Since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2010, the national debt has increase by $653.4 billion.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paul Ryan and our Federal Budget

I think Eric Cantor is a weenie.  For the last year I've been receiving his emails inviting me to vote to cut some small amount of funding from native American whaling communities, and needle work circles.  Of course all of that has to go.  Today, Paul Ryan showed him how that's done.

If we don't cut entitlement programs, we will sink into the abyss of indebtedness that is causing countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland to face riots and national emergencies.  What would that world look like?

In the first few months of the current recession, abortion numbers began to climb after years of decline.   (http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/news/ci_17114949)  Ireland and Portugal actually started considering making abortion legal in the midst of the most recent global recession.   If you think the budget isn't a life issue, you aren't paying attention.

On a more controversial level, who decides which people are going to be able to adopt young children?  Do you want the government deciding that it is okay for two male gay partners to foster parent a 15 year-old heterosexual boy?  Do you want to pay for  a single gay man to do the same? http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-02/news/ct-met-gay-foster-care-20110301_1_care-and-adoption-catholic-charities-parents

Do you want to subsidize corn farmers?  The government has been subsidizing corn producers for years.  Now it is apparent that ethanol production is causing famine by diminishing the amount of corn we have available for export.  So green policies cause famine, and the death of real people.  Go figure.      http://www.openmarket.org/2008/04/10/how-al-gore-fostered-famine-food-riots-and-rising-greenhouse-gas-emissions/

So you want to subsidize dairy farmers?  http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6764  
After we subsidize them, we can pay $3.50 for a pound of butter.  Last week it was around $2.75.  So what are we paying for?  More expense?

I'm sure I could continue forever, but what it comes down to is that we pay too much in taxes so that we and others can pay too much for essentials.

Paul Ryan is going for it.  He needs our support.