From Fox News.com
The whole Haiti story is so heartbreaking. I am remembering the 1994 Northridge quake which was the last major quake I experienced. Thinking of all the damage from a 6.8 quake in a part of the world where there were very strong building codes and earthquake preparedness. I can only begin to imagine the devastation given just how poverty stricken Haiti was in the first place.
Recently in politics and culture Category
From Fox News.com
This link is to a computer generated copy of Mr. Obama's birth certificate from the Los Angeles Times blog. It is not a photocopy of the original birth certificate. It is impossible at the present for most Americans to get an actual copy of the actual birth certificate with the signatures etc. As a matter of fact, most birth certificates are no longer actually signed by the person who delivered the baby!
The Los Angeles Times blog entry from which this link was taken has some other interesting commentary about citizenship including a clarification on Mr. McCain's status.
My sister was born abroad to American parents. She was born in a military hospital. However, she was required to obtain a certificate of naturalization and to my knowledge would not have been eligible to become President due to her birth status.
My concern in posting the letter below was that I did not want there to be a constitutional crisis should Mr. Obama be elected. I am still concerned about this. I would be more reassured if I could see a copy the actual Certificate of Live Birth that was filed with the local registrar. Alas, computer generated abstracts are simply that. GIGO. But the computer generated form is what you would likely get if you were to try to get a copy of your own birth certificate from just about any state in the Union.
I broke one of my own rules by not doing more assiduous fact checking. I sincerely hope that somewhere there is the requisite proof that all candidates for public office do in fact meet the requirements for that office as spelled out in the consitution.
What follows is part of an email just in to my inbox. I am hoping that we can avoid a constitutional crisis. I am very puzzled that a public figure would be reluctant to produce his birth certificate or at least the public portion that shows date, time, and place of birth.
A prominent Pennsylvania Democrat, Phillip J. Berg, filed a case in Federal Court on August 21st, demanding that Barack Obama produce evidence that he is a natural born citizen of the United States. Only a natural born citizen of the United States can serve as President. Sen. Obama could have put the matter to rest by producing a valid birth certificate. Instead, he and his lawyers fought tooth and nail to block access to Obama's birth records.
Here is a video of Philip J. Berg talking about his case.
Since that video was recorded, the Federal Judge assigned to hear Mr. Berg's case, Judge R. Barclay Surrick, a Bill Clinton appointee, ruled that an ordinary citizen of the United States does not have the right to file a case in Federal Court to challenge the credentials of a candidate for President of the United States!
Why would a Federal Judge go to such lengths to protect Obama?
Berg has now filed a request for an immediate injunction from the U.S. Supreme Court, to review his case before the election is allowed to take place.
Today's headline on WorldNetDaily is: "Constitutional Crisis Feared over Obama's Qualifications"
Evidence exists to substantiate the claim that Barack Obama is not a "natural born citizen" as required by the U.S. Constitution. His own paternal grandmother claims that she and two of Obama's half brothers were present at his birth in what is now Kenya, in 1961.
If elected, Mr. Obama may be the first candidate to win the election and be constitutionally barred from taking office. This would be an electoral disaster of epic proportions.
Courts in Hawaii have denied the public access to Obama's birth records by finding that the American people do not have "a tangible interest" in Obama's birth records. In addition, Barack Obama and his lawyers have stopped the release of his records at Columbia University, Occidental College, and Harvard Law School, all of which should include his birth information.
People hide the truth because it will hurt them. A candidate for President has an obligation to the American people to produce valid proof he or she is a natural born American citizen. This is what the American people want. Instead, we get nothing but stonewalling from Senator Obama and millions of Americans believe he is hiding the truth.
Senator Obama, we demand you produce a valid birth certificate that proves your birth in Hawaii. As a would-be President of the United States, you should provide a certified copy to every journalist who asks about it and to the Courts and plaintiffs in all the lawsuits seeking it. You must make the original available for inspection by any expert or news agency. Come clean and end the speculaton!
We must not let this issue corrupt, compromise or destroy the Constitution just because Senator Obama and the media want him to win the election.
Why won't Senator Obama produce a valid birth certificate for the court?
Why is the media silent on this issue?
In the absence of valid proof, the only logical explanation is that Barack Obama cannot produce evidence that he is a "natural born citizen" as required by the U.S. Constitution to be President.
I know, I've been missing in action for a while. But this article is worth reading. And I'll work on updating the blog. Blame it on summer. Blame it on a new laptop and having to learn a new OS (Vista - the logic is beyond me). Blame is on the shift to MT 4.
The election scares me and I am not sure quite why. Noonan puts her finger on a few items, and I heard a news report yesterday that right now the electoral college votes would be split 50-50 if we were to vote now. And that would put the election into the hands of the Congress.......that is a scary thought too. But there is more to it than that. Something about the way things are going remind me of the opening chapters of some of the more apocalyptic fiction I have read in my life, and I am just not ready for that.
Hospital group rejects system and cashes in - Los Angeles Times
You will need to be registered at LA Times to read the article.
Nightmare at Reagan National Airport: A Security Story to End all Security Stories
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
During WWII, there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace. This had an amazing effect as bombing stopped. There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time 8:00PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific, stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens and for peace in the world. If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along. It has been said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Thank You. If you are so moved, pass this on to anyone who you think will follow through.
Mahony accounts of abuse case tape differ - Los Angeles Times
I left Los Angeles 10 some years ago. As much as I miss LaLa land, the fact is that it isn't what it was when I was growing up.
Down screening urged for all pregnant women
Explaining this and other genetic testing is a lot more difficult than this article makes it seem. And I worry that this feeds into the eugenics movement.
One of the big problems with being an OB care provider is the cultural expectation that I will be able to promise or guarantee perfection. Not possible. Not at all.
From Julie D
A Jesuit chose fifty books that raise a moral or religious issue in unforgettable ways, writing essays about each to give a sense of both the contents and the reason for inclusion. Here is the list.
I have to say, I have not read many of the books here - many of them because I just don't like the writing style, and some because I just don't like the authors. The ones that I have read are the biblical ones (Genesis, Job, Luke, John). I would actually recommend Madeleine L'Engle's paraphrasing and fictionalization of parts of Genesis -
And It Was Good: Reflections on Beginnings, 1983
A Stone for a Pillow: Journeys with Jacob, 1986
Sold Into Egypt: Joseph’s Journey into Human Being, 1989
I have only read excerpts of Dante.
I've read many lives of the saints, I don't remember if Butler was one of the collections.
I didn't find Walden to be particularly Christian, it struck me as being more of an incentive to nature worshipping paganism.
I was given the Idea of the University as a High School graduation present. I haven't read it since. I would like to see it translated into modern English. Good ideas, but hard to understand in the context of the language.
The Brothers Karamazov I LOVED when I read it at the age of 10. Now, I don't think I would have the patience.
I have tried and tried to read St Therese of Lisieux. Maybe I need to read her in French.
I loved the Seven Story Mountain and have read it several times. Later Merton was most disappointing as he was drifting towards Eastern mysticism.
I also loved "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and was disappointed to learn that the author had left the church over the teaching on tubal ligation and similar issue.
Here is the list:
The Book of Genesis:
The Book of Job:
The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel by Robert Alter:
The Gospel of Luke: .
The Gospel of John:
The Confession by St. Augustine:
Inferno by Dante Alighieri:
Butler's Lives of the Saints by Michael Walsh:
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis:
The Idea of a University by Ven. John Henry Newman
Walden by Henry David Thoreau:
The Second Inaugural Address by Abraham Lincoln:
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky:
The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux:
Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams:
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton:
Dubliners by James Joyce:
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset:
Therese by Francois Mauriac:
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather:
Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly:
Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography by Albert Schweitzer:
The Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos:
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene:
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West:
Brideshead Revisisted by Evelyn Waugh:
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alex Paton:
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton:
Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day:
The Family of Man by Edward Steichen:
Divine Milieu by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.:
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.: a
Morte D'Urban by J. F. Powers:
The Other America by Michael Harrington:
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis:
The Historic Reality of Christian Culture: A Way to the Renewal of Human Life by Christopher Dawson:
The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor:
Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.: .
Everything That Rises Must Converge, "Revelation" by Flannery O'Connor:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley:
Silence by Shusaku Endo: no way.
A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation by Gustavo Gutierrez:
The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell:
The Love of Jesus and the Love of Neighbor by Karl Rahner, S.J.: .
In Memory of Her: A Feminist Tehological Reconstruction of Chrsitian Origins by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza:
Black Robe by Brian Moore:
Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States by Helen Prejean:
The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd:
All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time by Robert Ellsberg:
It gets a little confusing, but it looks like there was some pretty big malfeasance going on.
WRKO AM talk radio (Boston) recently had a call-in show where a father talked about the strategies that various public agencies had used to keep him away from his children. The show's phone lines were overloaded within minutes, to a degree that was apparantly unprecedented.
I guess that there is some ideology out there that assumes that dads are dangerous, simply by light of the fact that they are male. I know that there are exploitive men out there, that men can be predators of all kinds, but I also know that there are Godly and caring men - fathers and husbands - who are hurt and hurting from the attempt in our world to make them seem un-needed or even dangerous just because they have a Y chromosome.
Pontius Pilate had a great line in the Passion of the Christ - and one that I think may be emblematic of our 'modern' culture. "Veritas - quod es veritas?" Truth, what is truth?
Ethical, moral,cultural relativism would have us believe that there is no objective truth. You have your truth, and I have mine. I have been told that the basic credo of neo-paganism/wicca/many 'new age' religious expressions is that everything is OK 'an it hurt no one'.
Never mind that it is pretty much impossible to take any action without taking the risk that some one, some where, will be hurt. It is often unintentional, that hurt, and even more often it is unforseeable. But it is real.
Those who do not believe in any grand truth are often willing to distort the small truths in pursuit of a goal, be it an altruistic goal or a selfish one. After all, if there are no absolute moral standards, no absolute truths, no objective reality, then the ends do indeed justify the means.
The agonizing decisions of moral theologians over the dilemmas can become as naught. If one's goal is lofty enough, then any sin might be justified, nay, even sanctified. I think that we can all think about the political folks who have lied, cheated, and stole their way into power. But I am actually more concerned about the everyday 'venial' types of untruths. You know, the ones we learned at our parent's knees - calling in sick to be able to watch the game, having your child tell a phone solicitor that you aren't home, claiming that the store bought cupcakes were actually home made. Petty lies. "Little white lies".
But left alone, the attitudes behind these pecadillos can come to permeate one's soul, to the point where a police officer plants or fabricates evidence in order to assure the conviction of a person "we all know is guilty anyhow". We have accountants being fired because they refuse to make the bottom line look like what the execs think it should, rather than what it really is. We have contractors adding in just a shade more sand to the concrete 'because it really doesn't make that big of a difference'. We have inflated damage claims on insurance policies. We have students who buy their essays on the internet.
I remember reading some where (maybe in Heinlein) that there are 3 ways to lie. One is to tell an outright falsehood, another is to tell the truth but only part of it, and the third and most subtle is to tell the truth, all the truth, but in such a manner that no one believes you. But in a culture such as ours where lying is an everyday and accepted part of public life, where there is no absolute standard for truth, I think that there is yet another way to lie. That way is to tell everyone what you think that the truth should be, and loudly and often enough to get buy in from a large enough group.
Look at all the recent scandals - falsified medical research. Falsified financial records. Cover-ups of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors. We all need to get back to the basics - but without a unified sense that there are indeed some non-negotiable truths, how can we even decide what is basic and what isn't?
That is part of why I believe that we all need to look towards (among other things) the 'natural law'. You don't need to be a christian or a catholic to believe that there are basic principles written into the world around us. It is obvious that we have a law of gravity. Gravity is pretty much non-negotiable. We have technologies that can counteract some of its effects (airplanes and so on) but you or I can't just jump off the cliff and expect to float to a safe landing. No human being invented the law of gravity - rather observations of the way things work led to a discovery of this law, and to further refinements. Similarly, there are other laws that may be more subtle than gravity but just as universal - laws that apply not just to the physical universe but to the ways human beings relate to each other, to our place in the universe, to a right ordering of life.
I remember seeing a poster, probably 30+ years ago that I think applies to where we are right now as a culture.
John W. Gardner:
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
gotta love google
Tonight was the Pops concert from the Concord NH High School. We were packed into the sweltering gym to listen to kids from every performing music group in the school gave us their best.
Once again, I marvelled that these kids do so very well. I am so glad that the public schools here haven't yet pulled the plug on the music and arts programs. When we left California, it was after watching the schools being systematically gutted of all the so-called extras (except, of course, football and the like). We were able to game the system somewhat and get our kids into magnet schools where they were able to have some of those extra opportunities, but so many parents did not have the savvy or the persistence to try to get a good education for their kids from the public schools, and they also did not have the money for private school or the resources to home school. When we moved to Oregon, the process of gutting the public schools was just beginning, and we were still able to get the kids involved in music and arts and so on. But we could see the budget cuts coming.
Part of the problem is that the funding for the public schools rests basically on one tax, the property tax - and the structure of property taxes was such that with the rapid inflation in housing values, families were being taxed out of house and home. But the property tax 'reforms' had the unforseen side effect of moving the funding for schools from the local districts to the state budget. Hence no more money for 'luxuries'.
Also, there is a tendency for the childless to resent paying for the education of other people's children. It is part of our fallen human nature to be selfish. But I cannot think of a better use for my property tax than to pay for the education of the future citizens of our country. And I want there to be local control and local accountability for the content and nature of that education.
I never homeschooled, but I have great admiration for those who do. Mostly because they are practicing the ultimate in local control and local funding of their children's education. But many homeschoolers benefit from the presence of public education and use some or all of the services it provides. Much like homebirthers also benefit from the availability of hospital and clinic based services. It's a good thing, I think, when we recognize that we are not insular beings, but that God created us to live in families that live in communities that try to take care of each other.
What important adjective is missing from this story?
Missouri Race May Hinge on Stem-Cell Opinions
by Greg Allen
All Things Considered, May 2, 2006
Supporters of stem-cell research in Missouri have likely turned in enough signatures to place a measure protecting stem-cell research on the ballot. But Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) has announced he will oppose the measure -- a stance that pro-life groups had long requested.
The adjective is embryonic.
Here's a letter that I sent NPR on this very topic.
And here, following, is the reply I rec'd - almost a full month after my original letter. Do you think it would be worthwhile to send in another letter on the same topic?