Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Johnny Cash is Dead and His House Burned Down"


Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Years Ago Today: Space Shuttle Challenger

... perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy.' They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.


The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'

~ President Ronald Reagan
Speech to the Nation on the loss
of the Space Shuttle Challenger
and her entire crew
28 January 1986


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Digest of Today's Posts (27 January 2011)

Ohio Mom Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School District

Rep. Mike Pence: ‘A Nation That Will Not Stand For Life Will Not Stand For Long’ [UPDATED]

CHA Engages in a Little CYA


Ohio Mom Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School District

This is a travesty of justice:
An Ohio mother's attempt to provide her daughters with a better education has landed her behind bars.

"It's overwhelming. I'm exhausted," she said. "I did this for them, so there it is. I did this for them."

Williams-Bolar decided four years ago to send her daughters to a highly ranked school in neighboring Copley-Fairlawn School District.

But it wasn't her Akron district of residence, so her children were ineligible to attend school there, even though her father lived within the district's boundaries.

The school district accused Williams-Bolar of lying about her address, falsifying records and, when confronted, having her father file false court papers to get around the system.

Williams-Bolar said she did it to keep her children safe and that she lived part-time with her dad.

"When my home got broken into, I felt it was my duty to do something else," Williams-Bolar said.

[More, including video]
My Comments:
Gov. Kasich should pardon this woman. No parent should be jailed as a felon for trying to get a decent education for her kids. And no parent should be made to feel so desperate and trapped as to be compelled to break the law in order to get a decent education for her kids.

This is not justice. Not only is a pardon warranted for this mother, but a more just education system that doesn't trap kids in failing schools is an absolute necessity. One thing the State of Ohio could do in the short term is to institute state-wide open enrollment in every public school across the state.

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Rep. Mike Pence: ‘A Nation That Will Not Stand For Life Will Not Stand For Long’ [UPDATED]

From Cybercast News Service:
( - Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) told pro-life activists in Washington on Monday that “a nation that will not stand for life will not stand for long.”

The Indiana congressman -- who appears to have his eye on higher office – told the 38th annual March for Life that pro-lifers “will keep gathering until Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

(Roe v. Wade is 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions nationwide. One conservative leader, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, noted that the decision of seven unelected judges has led to the largest loss of life in human history.)

Despite the nation’s current economic challenges, Pence said the fight for life should not be ignored. He said the process of cutting federal spending should begin with a denial of all federal funding for abortion, both at home and abroad.

"We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged,” said Pence. “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life have forgotten the lessons of history. As in the days of a house divided, America's darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles.”

Pence called for stripping Planned Parenthood, which he referred to as the “largest abortion provider in America,” of federal funding.

“Every American knows in their heart, this is the greatest nation on earth because we acknowledge the God-given right to liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the unalienable right to life,” Pence said. He said it’s time to restore the “sanctity of life” to the “center of American law.”

My Comments:
Mike Pence is quickly becoming my favorite for President. Unfortunately, he hasn't said whether he's running yet. He may choose to run for Governor of Indiana instead. But, even then, that will provide him with some excellent executive experience in time for the 2016 elections.

(Obama probably has re-election in 2012 in the bag, anyway.)

As if on cue, Pence has announced that he will not seek the Presidency in 2012.

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CHA Engages in a Little CYA

After Sister Carol and her bunch so publicly bucked the Catholic Bishops (and accused them of lying), thus ensuring passage of a health care bill that covers abortion, this is too little, too late:
Washington D.C., Jan 27, 2011 / 06:08 am (CNA/EWTN News). - The Catholic Health Association has endorsed legislation to restrict federal funding of abortion in the health care law passed last year despite its belief that the legislation already prevents it.

In a Jan. 24 letter to Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-Penn.), Catholic Health Association president and CEO Sr. Carol Keehan offered support for the Protect Life Act, H.R. 358. She praised the congressman’s efforts to “ensure the protection of the unborn and of providers’ conscience rights.”

“While we continue to believe the current provisions of the Affordable Care Act prevent federal funding of abortion, your legislation will provide further protection by codifying the ‘Hyde amendment’ relative to the new health care reform law,” she wrote.

The bill would also prevent the use of federal funds to subsidize health care plans that cover abortion.

The place of abortion funding in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a point of major controversy. The Stupak Amendment, which would have restricted abortion funding and subsidies for abortion-providing insurance plans in the health care legislation, initially passed the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate.

When the passage of the health care bill was still in doubt, the Catholic Health Association broke from the U.S. bishops and other pro-life opponents of the bill to support the legislation.


President Obama gave Sr. Keehan a presidential pen he used to sign the final legislation.


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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is There "Common Ground" on Abortion?

Last week, Fr. Robert Muhlenkamp wrote a piece on Facebook in which he asked and answered whether it was possible to achieve "common ground" on abortion.

Take a moment to read what he wrote.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tomorrow is “Ask Them What They Mean By ‘Choice’ Blog Day”

Jill Stanek is asking pro-life bloggers to join her tomorrow (January 21) in asking pro-aborts ... errr ... I mean "pro-choicers" ... just exactly what it is they mean by "choice".

By the way, go here for the disgusting answer to what "choice" means.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heroic Judge Died Saving the Life of Another

Judge John Roll, a devout Catholic (daily Communicant and 4th Degree Knight of Columbus), died in the Tucson shooting while shielding someone else from the deranged gunman's bullets:
... The video, according to Richard Kastigar, the investigative and operational bureau chief of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, also reveals that Judge John M. Roll appears to have died while helping to save the life of Ronald Barber, a Giffords employees. Mr. Barber, who was near Ms. Giffords when he was shot twice, has left the hospital.


Describing the video, Mr. Kastigar said the judge was “intentionally trying to help Mr. Barber,” adding, “It’s very clear to me the judge was thinking of his fellow human more than himself.”

The judge guides Mr. Barber to the ground, shields him with his body, and then tries to push himself and Mr. Barber away from the gunman, who was no more than three to four feet away as he fired, Mr. Kastigar said.

“He pushes Mr. Barber with his right hand and guides him with his left hand. The judge was on top of him and is covering up Mr. Barber, literally lying on top of him, and his back was exposed,” Mr. Kastigar said.

The judge was shot in the back...
“Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

~ Gospel of St. John 15:13

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Knights of Columbus Mourns Death of Judge John Roll in Arizona Shooting

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blood Libel

Quin Hilyer writes at The American Spectator:
... The truth is, there is almost nothing this lady has ever done or said that merits the sorts of venomous vitriol to which she has been subjected. Her rhetoric is sharp but not hateful. Her views -- and even more, her actual record -- are mainstream conservative, not extremist. And her story of a plucky, self-made rise from unlikely (for a politician) origins, on the basis of hard work and gumption, is remarkably admirable. And, frankly, whom has she hurt along the way? The feelings of those who are appalled that she wouldn't abort her Downs Syndrome baby? The ideology of those who thought she should force her daughter to get an abortion? The corrupt old-boy network who plagued (and effectively robbed) Alaska, whom she defeated in fair-and-square elections? The self-important worldview of those who believe that women who aren't liberal are illegitimate political actors? Go ahead: Show where Sarah Palin has been mean-spirited, abusive, or hateful? Can't do it. She hasn't been.

Sarah Palin has been libeled for the past nine days, and indeed libeled ever since John McCain announced he was choosing her as his running mate. Amidst all the slings and arrows, she has retained remarkable composure. She's not my choice for president, but I would be happy for her to continue, at any time she wants, to put leftist folly in her verbal gunsights.
"Were it not for double standards, the left would have no standards."
~ Sarah Palin

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Cranky Conservative is Back in Action

Good news.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Knights of Columbus Mourns Death of Judge John Roll in Arizona Shooting

The Knights of Columbus, a prominent Catholic group known for its pro-life work, is today mourning the death of one of the victims of the Arizona shooting Saturday.

In addition to the injury of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Judge John Roll, who was nominated by former President George Bush, was killed along with five other people.

Roll, who was the chief judge for the District of Arizona, was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and was a charter member of a Knights council in his hometown.

Carl Anderson, the head of the pro-life Catholic fraternal order, today expressed “profound sadness” at the death of Roll and the others.He asked the 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families to pray for the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 other people who were seriously injured in the attack.

[Read the whole thing]

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Steven Greydanus: "True Grit and the Grace of God"

Stop what you're doing and go read Steven Greydanus' excellent review of the Coen Brothers' remake of "True Grit" at National Catholic Register.

And don't stop with Steven's review. Read the comments (both at the bottom of Part 1 of the review and Part 2 of the review - there are 2 sets of comments), especially the very enlightening one from Nick Milne.

I am kicking myself for not having already gone to see this film and for thinking that it couldn't possibly measure up to The Duke's original. And I simply must re-read the novel, which I read many, many years ago back when I was in high school.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
True Grit?

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Poem for Twelfth Night - "How the Puritans Stole Christmas"

Yes, it's that time of year again. Christmastide is approaching it's festive conclusion, punctuated by the Twelfth Night revelry. And, of course, that means that it's time, once again, for my traditional Twelfth Night post* : a poem titled "How the Puritans Stole Christmas" ...

... with apologies to Dr. Seuss:

How the Puritans Stole Christmas

Every High-Church Anglican and Catholic
Living in Jolly Olde England
Liked Christmas a lot...

But the Puritans,
Who were infected with Calvinism,
Did NOT!

The Puritans hated Christmas!
The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that their round heads weren't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, their predestinarian arses were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
Was a distaste for mince pies - shaped like a manger-bed in a stall.

Whatever the reason,
Mince pies or their arses,
The Puritans saw the yuletide celebrations as farces,
Staring down on the festivities with sour, dour frowns
At the merriment and good will of those in the towns.
For they knew all the revelers were engaged in such vices
As eating tarts made of suet and spices.

"And they're eating plum pudding!" they snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then they growled, with their greedy fingers nervously drumming,
"We MUST find a way to keep Christmas from coming!"
For, tomorrow, they knew...

...That the Christmas events
Would involve the consumption of pies made of mince!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing they hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Then the revelers, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
They would start on plum pudding, and rare roast-beef
Foods again giving Puritans nothing but grief!

They'd do something Puritans liked least of all!
Every merry-maker in town, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
They'd stand hand-in-hand. And they all would start singing!

They'd sing! And they'd sing!
And the more the Puritans thought of the whole Christmas-Sing
The more the Puritans thought, "We must stop this whole thing!
"Why for over sixteen hundred years we've put up with it now!
We MUST stop Christmas from coming!
...But HOW?"

Then they got an idea!
An awful idea!

"We know just what to do!" The Puritans began plot-ting.
And they made civil war against England's King.
And they built up an army, and the Puritans said,
"When we've won this war, we'll remove the King's head!"

"All we need is a ploy..."
To get the job done.
But since kings are kings,
It was difficult to come up with one.
Did that stop the Puritans...?
No! The Puritans said,
"Charges of treason and Romish sympathies will cost him his head!"
So they called a rump court; charges the King refused to refute.
And the court issued the sentence to execute.

They loaded poor Charles
Dressed in clothes resembling sacks
On a ramshakle scaffold
And severed his head with an ax.

Then the Puritans said, "Huzzah!"
For they had brought the King down
And they began to march
On all the churches in town.

All their stain-glassed windows were dark. Quiet filled the air.
All the vestrymen were all dreaming sweet dreams without care
When the Puritans came to the first church in the square.
"This is stop number one," The Puritans hissed
And each Puritan approached shaking his fist.

Then they broke all the stain-glass.
And smashed statues galore.
Their horses dishonored the graves in the floor.
Then they burned all the vestments,
And prayer books, too.
Then they said "Let's move on, we have much to do!"

Father Christmas on Trial

Then they slithered and slunk, with dour looks most unpleasant,
Around the whole town, to despoil places where Christ was once present!
Stained glass! Statuary! Painted images! Candles!
All manner of popish influences that for years had caused scandals!
And they smashed them to pieces and threw them on piles
And set them ablaze, smiling devilish smiles!

Then they turned to the larders. They banned the Yule feast,
The plum pudding, the boar's head, and all toasts to that beast!
They forbade all the foods that had given offense.
And they succeeded in banning the pies made of mince!

The Puritan Ban on Christmas

Then the last thing they took
Was the yule log for the fire.
On the walls they left nothing but hooks, and some wire.

And the one little speck
Left in the church house
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.

They did the same thing
To the other church houses

Leaving crumbs
Much too small
For the other church mouses!

And what happened then...? England they say
That the Lord Protector's round head
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute that "defender of liberty" felt safe from the strife,
He became the Commonwealth's dictator for life!
And he enforced the outlawing of Christmas! And all the foods for that feast!
And he...

The Lord Protector ruled the realm like a tyrannical beast!

Mince Pie Still Life

NB: Christmas was not only outlawed in the British Isles but in parts of colonial America, as well. In 1659, a law was passed by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony requiring a five-shilling fine from anyone caught "observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way."

* Originally posted as "A Poem for the Twelve Days of Christmas - 'How the Puritans Stole Christmas' ..." on 3 January 2007, and again on 5 January 2007 under the title "A Poem for Twelfth Night - 'How the Puritans Stole Christmas' ..."

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
How the Puritans Stole Our Lady

A Song for the End of Christmas

A Song (and a Poem) for the End of Christmas

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