USCCB on health care reform
Does Obama have a problem?
since I hammered the gnashing of teeth by Republicans on side show items I figured I would give Democrats their own hammering ....
A short while back Mark Shea linked to a Tom Tomorrow comic lamenting the lack of action on certain promises that Obama ran on. See Can this marriage be saved?
This post prompted me to note a trend in recent weeks. There was much to be said of claims by partisan Republicans that Obama was inexperienced. This health care plan, for all of its possible merit, has driven that point home quite nicely. The problem is that most Americans do not deal in vague generalizations. They want to know details because, unlike congress, they have to balance a budget and keep food on the table. "Change" with vague promises is nice rhetoric. It sounds good and it tingles the soul. Details, however, are boring. How to pay for things and how to implement them within the legal system we have in the country are of paramount consideration when making campaign promises. From recent appearances Obama simply didn't do that. So what I want to point out is that people are starting to feel snookered. Camille Paglia of Salon.com hammers the administration over its amateurish handling of domestic policy
. A sample:
Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.Ruth Marcus of the left leaning Washington Post chimes in with
The greatest peril for Obama, I think, lies in the question of whether he can produce the new, post-partisan, surmounting-special-interests politics that he envisioned during the campaign. In a month of raucous town hall meetings and stalled legislation, that hardly seems likely. The secret deal with Tauzin can only deepen the skepticism. Which leads to the core question facing the still-young administration: What happens when people start to wonder whether they can really believe in this change?A non-American author at Mercatornet points out the bleeding obvious about our system (in respect to getting meaningful health care passed)
An important factor is undoubtedly the extraordinary influence of special interests at several points in the political system."Interests" - in this case health insurance, pharmaceuticals and private hospitals on one side, and trial lawyers and trade unionson the other - are able to exert three kinds of pressure (see JoeKlein, "Will Special Interests Stymie Health-Care Reform?", Time, 3 August 2009).
First, they target politicians directly with massive campaigns of televised political advertising of a kind that would not be permitted by law (on account that it skews public debate) in most other developed countries.
Second, they lean on politicians by contributing large sums to their re-election campaigns, or to those of their opponents. The fact that elections for the House of Representatives are held every two years increases the temptation and vulnerability of congressmen.
Third, the interests can support a vast network of advocacy-groups, foundations, lobbies and public-relations operations which all strive to frame the debate. This includes the often explicit aim of influencing media reporting. The success here is most blatant in the resulting distortion of Americans' perception of how healthcare works in other countries (for example, the canard that people in Britain or Canada are notallowed to choose their own doctor).
How is Obama going to change the culture in Washington when it is so clear that this health care plan intends very much to work within ideological support for certain special interest groups? This is what happens when you make a promise and leave the details to a very unpopular and highly partisan congress. You pick your lobbies when you vote for Washington politicians and you are not necessarily going to like either set. So much for change eh?
We are at each others throats slinging only carefully packaged bombs of partisan talking points delivered to us by whatever party we hold dear at any particular point in time (this was the reason for Obama wanting supporters to "turn-in" their friend's arguments
). Never-mind that the Democrats have a good point on X and the Republicans have a good point on Y. We may never know what a good health care system is like because special interests are determined to screw up whatever the Democrats pass by controlling the debate and focusing it on short rhetoric and not basing it on facts, logic and legitimate REASONED and ad-hominem free discussion.
I want change ... I really do. For the record, I am FOR universal health care
but IMHO Obama isn't delivering it and I am not the only one who seems to think so.
News preists and nuns: Fidelity to the Church important
had this New Nuns and Priests Seen Opting for Tradition
Giving a real statistic to what many of us have known for a long time
“We’ve heard anecdotally that the youngest people coming to religious life are distinctive, and they really are,” said Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. “They’re more attracted to a traditional style of religious life, where there is community living, common prayer, having Mass together, praying the Liturgy of the Hours together. They are much more likely to say fidelity to the church is important to them. And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits.”
We are expecting our fifth child
Our children are especially excited. :)
While Republicans go off the deep end
They will be saved by the fact that a party in control can get to deeper waters faster. I expect Republicans will make gains in 2010.
Complete on demand television
I am not exactly a visionary but I have seen how industries collapse. Anyone who followed the glory days of the CD to the MP3, then to Napster and the legal wrangling surrounding that has got to see the writing on the wall for television as we know it.
I own a Blu-Ray player. I bought it for watching movies I BUY. But it came with a bunch of features I didn't expect. My player lets me watch YouTube. It also lets me watch CinemaNow and Netflix movies. Right now I pay a small fee and I can watch some *enh* stuff on Netflix. I can send in discs and get better stuff. I am OK with this ....
With Cinemanow apparently I can get lots of the normal TV fare you see on network/cable for $2 a show (or less). I can also get better movies for essentially rental cost. For a low volume TV guy like me, that is perfectly fine.
Many cable series
All I need is local news, sports and weather. My point here is this. I can ALMOST piece together the things I want to watch. If I add in local over the air digital TV I can. I can do this for the cost of Netflix plus the cost of each show and I come out under $30 per month. Given that I could be paying $50/month for cable/satellite and I am asking myself how in the world these folks are going to stay in business once the channels themselves realize they can skip the middleman and come directly at high quality to me on a per show basis or at a lower quality and ad supported through YouTube.
I give television as we know it ten years before MOST of us have moved on.
The inverse relationship between a party in control and sanity
or I am part of the conspiracy - Part II / keeping Obama Derangement Syndrome at bay
In the United States I think there is an inverse relationship between being in power and maintaining some level of dignity when it comes to sanity.
For example, when Clinton was in office a list of people he had knocked off surfaced
Results 1 - 10 of about 6,770,000 for clinton deaths
When Bush was in office, claims arose that he orchestrated 9/11
Results 1 - 10 of about 7,280,000 for bush 911
With Obama in office we have the "birthers" and the collecting information about opponents via email amongst other absuridites ...
Results 1 - 10 of about 41,700,000 for obama birth
Results 1 - 10 of about 2,310,000 for obama disinformation turn inAnn Coulter has fun
at the expense of Democrats on these theories and rightly points out that challenges to Obama's birth started with Democrats running against him the primaries.
Just because it seems useful doesn't mean it should escape scrutiny. Don't take the bait. These things are the freak show on the side. They ignore issues and waste time in understanding what our differences are and in trying to enumerate what changes we as Americans would really like to see, for example, with health care reform. Worse, they serve to discredit you as a critical thinker whether it is justified or not.
Finally I want to offer a very brief comment on the "turning in your friends" to the Obama administration via email forwarding. Emails are notoriously unreliable. It is why your spam box is filled with people you know sending you things you could care less about. Its also why spammers can continue to get away with it. If Obama is using forwarded emails to keep track of his enemies then you can safely assume his biggest threat is as a great incompetent.
1. Emails cannot be traced back to IP addresses.
2. They can be spoofed with very little difficulty.
3. Some smart but misguided hacker is likely already out there filling this box with disinformation "forwards" from known Obama supporters.
In other words, they would never be able to sort this out for useful information to keep tabs on the simple folk who happen to disagree with Obama. So you can breathe a sign of relief. Seriously ... you can.
I want to propose a sane solution. Obama wants to know the arguments against his plan so he can try to debunk them.
Stupid is a strong term but in general I am not a fan of conspiracy theories because its like getting struck by lightning 1000 times in 10 seconds liklihood that the absolute five cleverest criminals can pull this off ... much less the numbers of people usually involved in any given theory. So in that sense, I have exactly the same take as Mark Shea on conspiracy theories
. He just covered it all here. :) FWIW, I will delete your conspiracy theories too but I *AM* part of the conspiracy.
He then links to the classic "Conspiracy Fail"
Mapping out the Catholics - Largest participating religious group / Catholics as a percentage of all residents
had this gem ...
Largest participating religious group ...
which reminded me of this map which lists the number of Catholics by percentage in nationwide counties.
Read Rerum Novarum - I have questions for the gallery
I recently read Rerum Novarum
. From that I have a few questions that I would like some input on.
The Church condemns, in capitalism, an agreement between employer and worker where the employee takes a job because that is all the employer, who is in an advantaged position, will offer. It supports what is now called a living wage.
Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.
So my question is "Who deserves a living wage"? What about teenagers who are supported primarily by their parents? Are minimum wage jobs supposed to be for those in our society who are living as dependents of someone else? If so, isn't it unjust for someone who has a family to support to be working under those conditions?
Second the encyclical implies condemnation of a problem that exists in America today. It is what Chesterton quipped succinctly: "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists." This is implied by the right to property for as many as possible. As my wife and I have been looking at large tracts of land recently it has become very obvious to me that small farms are going by the wayside in favor of large farms owned by the few. It is very difficult for the average Joe to obtain and pass on "productive property". This is a problem.
The Church also condemns multiple propositions of socialism. First, the usurpation of the family unit by the state.
The contention, then, that the civil government should at its option intrude into and exercise intimate control over the family and the household is a great and pernicious error.
Second, is the concept of "community of goods".
Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal.
Third is class warfare.
The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth. Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of the different parts of the body, so in a State is it ordained by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement, so as to maintain the balance of the body politic. Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital.
Finally the encyclical STRONGLY supports the concept of private property.
The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.
Now I turn my questions to the current administration and the charge that they are ushering in socialism. What aspects of socialism condemned here are supported by the Obama administration?
Mark Shea skewers dogmatic 'Movement Conservatism'
Mark Shea is my favorite blogger and posts like this
are a reason why. As a former follower of the magisterium of Republican dogma it has come of great comfort to me that I can with glee skewer the inconsistency of American politics in favor of trying to find out just how my faith is supposed to inform my politics. One of these elections I suspect I am going to cast a vote for someone I know is going to lose by 40% percentage points because the major party choices are that bad.
Christians need to return to proclaiming the Faith, not to using it as a convenience for the building up of their favorite party. The same, of course, is true of liberals who routinely do the Kerry/Pelosi thing of wearing the ashes, citing Augustine in favor of their abortion politics, or prattling on ignorantly about Pius XXIII and "the Vatican II". But one doesn't expect jackasses to speak to Baalam. One expects self-described "committed orthodox Christians" to have some clue about what "seek first the Kingdom" means. Catholic Christians who claim to be pro-life while heaping contempt on inconvenient Church teaching about war crimes and torture or who use abortion as a sort of lead-in to their *real* agenda of a fight over tax laws or squabbles about the bailout should heed the warning of our Lord that those to whom much is given, much will be required. It's fine to have strong views about all these secular and temporal issues. But turning the Faith into a mere feeder system to steer people into being good little Movement Conservatives is just another kind of idolatry--and arguably a more culpable sin.
And that goes hard for party politics of any stripe. I could care less if Republicans regain power. I am not all that convinced they will return an improvement on my "values voter" investment.
Just remember ... when they are with us ....
You know, all those pesky rules ...
Mark Shea sheds some light on the general problem with the idea that simplifying and getting away from rules is in and of itself is a noble end .... or as he puts it "A brief history of Generation Narcissus".
You know, not all rules are the man trying to keep you oppressed.
14-ft tall lighted rosary - Marksville, LA
had this ... Celebrating 200 years of Catholicism in Marksville. I am not sure if CatholicUnderground would be all that impressed with this merging of technology with living out of the faith but I think its kind of cool.
Current features of the radar monitoring system
Clicking on the above image will bring up a large screenshot
I wanted to summarize the current features of the existing radar that I am using with the weather portion of this blog. The easiest way to access it is by the radar image in the Local Conditions portion of the Weather block on the right. Or you can click here
to go to a radar that positions based on where your IP is provided from. In many cases this will be close enough to where you live. Navigation
By default the radar will enter centered on a point with a zoom level of 0.2. There are five main ways to navigate: scaling, primary directional, nudge directional, search and go and warning links. a) Scaling
Scaling allows you to zoom in and out on the current radar site. The scale factors are (0.15, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0) where 1.0 = 100% of the radar range visible. Radar range is a 124 mile radius so the 0.2 default will give you a box approximately 49.6 miles by 49.6 miles. You are likely asking yourself "How on earth is this navigational when we are not MOVING anywhere?" Read on my friend. Read on. b) Primary directional (N,E,S,W)
The scale factor has everything to do with HOW the directional navigation pictured here to the right functions. If you are zoomed at the 0.2 level and you click "E" (east) then the position -- designated by a + on the radar -- will move APPROXIMATELY to scale. In other words you should reposition 50 or so miles to the east at 0.2. It is not a perfect algorithm but it moves you around. If you are completely zoomed out you will essentially move to another radar site and sometimes a lot father than you would like. c) Nudge directional (n,e,s,w)
Often the primary directional buttons can be a little more than you want to move. To fine tune your position you can choose one of the smaller lowercase letter directional buttons. That will move 0.1 latitude or 0.1 longitude which usually ends up being in the 5 to 7 mile range. d) Search and Go
Obviously the directional navigation is not going to get you to an exact location. For that we have the ability to type in a city, place, zip code, state name -- you name it and click GO. This will position you where you type in. Try some different search terms. You will be amazed at where you end up (powered by Google Geocoding for those who are interested). e) Warning links
The last form of navigation is by warnings. There are multiple ways to list warnings. The first and default way is by "Local" area. If there are warnings within a "scale" distance of the + they will show up in the warning box. If you click on "All" warnings you will get a list of all tornado, severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings in the United States. Below each of those warnings is a "Radar" link that will position you at the initial warning position. Radar Types
There are several radar types available to review with this radar. A good summary of the various types can be found at Weather Underground
. You can look at the radar images in "time order" or "vertical angle" order. The more common way to look at them is in time order. For time order viewing there are:
N0R = Reflectivity
N0V = Velocity
N0S = Storm Relative Velocity
NET = Echo tops
NVL - Vertically Integrated Liquid
NTP = Total rain accumulation
N1P = 1 hour rain accumulation
Clicking on any of them will select the appropriate radar type. Initially these will come up with 6 images representing half an hour to an hour depending on the mode of the radar during the time frame. You can select the number of images to display (1,2,4 or 6) in the "Loop images" section. You can also increase or decrease the speed of the images. Finally there are some extra features provided by Weather Underground that show Severe Warnings, Storms (with direction and estimated times), Lightning and radar smoothing for use with Reflectivity.
There are three radar types that can be viewed in "vertical angle" sequence. They are:
N+R = Reflectivity
N+V = Velocity
N+S = Storm Relative Velocity
This will show the latest frame in the time sequence but scanned vertically in the air. There are four levels. A three bar status indicator (pictured to the left) shows what level you are viewing at that particular moment. The lowest level has no bars highlighted. Each subsequently higher level illuminates one bar up the display. Some final notes on warnings
I developed this container for radar images to serve one purpose. To help me identify and follow severe weather around the country (and more specifically locally). Key in that is knowing where I am. The radar makes a valiant attempt to figure out where the + is located on the radar. This is listed under "Current Location". Due to the experimental nature of the algorithm I am using to identify this location expect a few wild answers. Second, I thought it useful to be able to see the warnings on the screen and since Weather Underground provides that, I included it. The radar image below contains "Echo Tops" radar with the "Severe" button pressed. There are two warnings in this image which are also visible in the warning box in the right hand corner. The legend that shows up when "Severe" is pressed helps identify those warnings.
You will notice that there is ONE severe thunderstorm (the top warning) in the list. There is also a flash flood warning. This happens to line up with what we see on the screen. It doesn't always. Sometimes the position of the + is such that warnings are displayed on the radar but not on the right. Sometimes the list on the right has newer information than what is on the radar. You take what you can get.
One final thing I want to mention is that when you press on the title of the warnings listed on the right a popup window opens the warning text for you to read. If you are tracking a dangerous storm these warnings can often give you good information as to what is happening on the ground. They can also give you a good idea of where it is headed.
Anyway, I hope this wasn't too long.
William Bougereau - The Virgin With Angels
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque - Sacred Heart - Vatican museum
I am looking for nice Sacred Heart images so we can consecrate our home to the Sacred Heart. This is my favorite so far. Does anyone have a different favorite Sacred Heart image?
The death of the George Tiller
I am a pro-life Catholic. I condemn the Tiller murder unequivocally. It is an evil act that cries out to heaven. Mark Shea has always said that the most difficult teachings of Christianity to accept are its teachings on mercy. I believe that wholeheartedly. This man had a family, friends and fellow congregants. Vox Nova has a very sane summary ...
“As I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man’s conversion, that he may live.” (Ez 33:11)
Pray for his soul, his family and all who knew and loved him.
Obama Revises Campaign Promise Of 'Change' To 'Relatively Minor Readjustments In Certain Favorable Policy Areas'
Josse Lieferinxe - Crucifixion
Which reminds me, I need to continue posting the full size versions of the images I used with my rosary application.
The fifth sorrowful mystery -- The Crucifixion.
Virgin in Prayer - Giovanni Battista Silva
The cover of Magnificat this month has a stunning painting.
"Virgin in Prayer" by Giovanni Battista Silva
Whether naps are necessary for salvation
(Utrum Siestae Necessae sunt pro salute)
Objection I - It would seem that naps are not necessary for salvation. Salvation consists in becoming like to God. God is most actual. Hence, we must be actual. Now, naps are opposed to actuality and are hence opposed to salvation.
Objection II - Besides, the Apostle says, "Be watchful and awake, for your salvation is near at hand." Naps are opposed to being watchful. Hence, it follows that naps are opposed to salvation.
Objection III - Furthermore, Aristotle says that virtue consists in activity. Naps are not activity and are therefore not counted as virtuous. Hence, it follows that naps are opposed to salvation.
On the contrary, the Psalmist says, "He pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber." Now, salvation is a gift, and we must sleep to receive the gifts of God. Hence, naps are necessary for salvation.
I answer that naps can be spoken of in two ways: naps in a relative sense (secundum quid) and naps simply speaking (simpliciter dicta).
Relatively speaking, naps are neutral in that they can be used for a good or a bad purpose. Naps, simply speaking, are those naps which give us the rest that we might wake "refreshed and joyful" to praise God (as the Roman Breviary says). To this end, naps are necessary for salvation, since praising God is necessary for salvation.
Furthermore, contemplation is said to be "rest in God." Now, contemplation flows from Charity, and Charity is necessary for salvation; it follows that naps, which are also a kind of rest, are necessary for salvation. Likewise, contemplation is said to be a foretaste of heavenly beatitude. Naps are a foretaste of heavenly beatitude.
Furthermore, Jesus slept in the boat. Hence, we are to sleep in the Church, for the boat is a type of the Church. Hence we are to sleep during church, often during homilies. Consequently, it must be said that naps are necessary for salvation.
Reply to the first objection - One cannot mistake immobility for potency. For a man acts even in immobility; for instance, the liturgy compels us to times of silence. Sleep is perfect silence. God is all perfection. Hence, God is most actually napping.
Reply to the second objection - The Apostle spoke figuratively, not literally. For Saint Joseph was watchful in his sleep, that is why God spoke to him in a dream. So also God spoke to many Saints in dreams. Hence, we are to nap watchfully, that God might speak to us.
Response to the third objection - Aristotle was a pagan and cannot be expected to have understood the deep mysteries of God's napping. Had he known the revelation, he would have slept much more than he did.
:) HT Inside Catholic
Vivian passed away this morning
Please continue to pray for her and her family.
To All Who Have Been Praying for Vivian,
We believe that her soul left her body at 11:11 this morning. A look of complete peace came over her face at this time. We know that our angel is with God now. She had a brain death exam about an hour ago. She showed no signs of brain life. We are waiting on a scan of her brain to confirm and give the official time of death. Please keep praying for peace, comfort, and strength for (her family)
Please continue to pray for Vivian
First off the news is improved!
Dr. Golden just came and examined Vivian. She felt that Vivian has enough brain activity to eliminate removing life support as even being considered!!! Vivian does have seizure activity. This is actually a positive sign of functioning of the thinking area of the brain. Your prayers brought Dr. Golden into this room to tell us that our angel still wants to be here with us!! Both times they came to do the dreaded brain death exam, Vivian began taking many breaths in between the ventilator breaths. She is trying to tell us in the only way she can, that she is not giving up and wants to stay with us in this loving community that we are so blessed to be a part of. Dr. Golden said that the outcome could range from a vegetative state to being in a wheelchair and having some cognitive function that would allow her to interact with her environment and people that she loved. She didn't think that the odds of her walking or regaining speech were likely. However, Vivian will let everyone know exactly what she thinks about those predictions. Dr. Golden felt strongly that she would require 24 hour care for the rest of her life. It is a huge comfort to Lisa and Herman to know that they have a loving community behind them who will provide the support network that they need to take care of Vivian. Dr. Golden also feels that Vivian is not out of the woods as far as the brain swelling. She said that there is a possibility that it could still progress to brain death. By this coming Tuesday, the worst should be over and brain death will no longer be a possibility. Please pray for Vivian to remain stable and suffer no more brain death through Tuesday. God bless each and everyone of you!!
Second, from our own experience in the hospital this next set of weeks is when you feel the most lonely. The worst is over. The news is getting better. The prayers warriors seem to move on to more pertinent tasks. That isn't the case, of course, but it often feels that way. I think it is very important for people to continue to pray for Vivian and her family. Also of importance for the emotional well being of the family is letting them know the prayer and support is continuing. Its hard to comprehend how difficult it is in the face of the worst life has to give to even eek out a simple prayer unless you have been there. The family is often very dependent on others for the simplest of tasks -- including something as simple as knowing what day of the week it is.
Please continue to pray and if you have any thoughts post a comment here and I will forward it to the family.
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The latest on Vivian - PLEASE continue to pray
This from her mother:
I just wanted everyone to know that the only change in Vivian's condition is that her blood pressure has been elevated all night. they gave her some fentenyl yesterday morning and this brought it down, but it does not seem to be working tonight. the nurse just gave her another dose. Maybe I'm wrong, but It is my gut feeling that her condition seems to be worsening.
I have been reading all the entries and I am so moved that our precious baby girl has touched so many lives. She is so unbelievably kind, gentle and loving. I don't know how I would have gotten through this so far without all the love and support.
Its really important to point out that her parents have told us that they are only getting by on the prayers of others. From having so recently felt the power of the prayer carry us through a dire situation I want to second that observation. Like my wife mentioned in another forum yesterday ... We like to say "well, all we can do is pray".
No, it is a privilege to be able to say "WOW we can pray". We have been given tremendous ability to support Vivian and her family.
EDIT: They are doing a formal assessment again to determine if Vivian is brain dead at 2:00. Please unite everyone in prayer at this time. I will post as soon as we know anything.