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November 2005 Archives

November 1, 2005

"Supreme Court Considers Hallucinogenic Tea"

Such was the headline on a Reuters story. Certainly it is getting difficult to make sense of SCOTUS proceedings, but one would hope Chief Justice Roberts could avoid the heavy drug use, at least for a while. However, peyote usage would help explain o'Conner's opinions.

Alito for SCOTUS

Let us heave a sigh of relief and take the fight to the Senate Dumbocrats. Now, Mr. President...was that so hard? Sheesh.

Saved from the Avian Plague

President Bush today announced a $7.1 billion federal program to confront the apocalyptic specter of avian flu. I for one found Dubya's plan to be a measured response. $7.2 billion would have been unreasonable given the nation's other commitments, but $7.1 spend by the federal government ought to be just about right.

Not everyone was satisfied. Dennis Kucinich, lunatic from Ohio, said Bush must go further, and "make" a French firm drop its patent for an avian flu vaccine.

"Roche's monopoly is an immediate and grave threat to the health and well-being of every American," Kucinich said in a statement. "While sitting on the patent to the first and best line of defense against an outbreak, Roche is holding the world hostage. This administration cannot sit on the sidelines and allow this to happen.” (Cue death ray sounds and screaming masses.)

Just for fun, read the story but every time you see the words "avian flu" replace them with "zombie virus" and every time you see the word "pandemic" replace it with "invasion of the undead."
_____

Dateline WASHINGTON — President Bush said Tuesday that U.S. health officials have found no indication that a ZOMBIE VIRUS outbreak is near, but his administration is in the midst of developing a long-awaited plan to combat a worldwide outbreak.

“At this point we do not have evidence an INVASION OF THE UNDEAD is imminent,” Bush told an audience of health and government officials at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

"In the event of an INVASION OF THE UNDEAD, we must have enough vaccine for every American," Bush said. "We can't waste time in preparing."

"There is no ZOMBIE VIRUS in our country or in the world at this time," Bush said. "But if we wait for an INVASION OF THE UNDEAD to appear, it will be too late to prepare. And one day many lives could be needlessly lost because we failed to act today."

ZOMBIE VIRUS has killed more than 60 humans (gasp!) in Southeast Asia, mostly in Vietnam. It has not yet spread from human to human, but in the worst-case scenario outlined by international scientists, it could cause millions of deaths worldwide. (60 humans died in Dafur since my last double mocha an hour ago.)

ZOMBIE VIRUS outbreaks can happen simultaneously in up to thousands of locations at the same time and unlike a flood, an INVASION OF THE UNDEAD "can continue spreading destruction in repeated ways that could last for a year or more," Bush said.

Critics have raised questions about why Bush administration officials, who recently have said the nation is not ready for an INVASION OF THE UNDEAD, did not have a plan ready earlier.

In recent months, federal officials and lawmakers frequently have expressed concern that the ZOMBIE VIRUS could come to the United States and cause an INVASION OF THE UNDEAD

November 2, 2005

Pot Legaliszed in Denver: What Are They Smokin'?

It says here that voters in Denver have joined such peaceful and productive cities as Seattle and Oakland in legalizing marijuana. The group that advocated thi sbold step argued that pot was a safer recreational drug than other options for abstaining from one's wits and reverting to a proto-human existence.

Instead of a safer drug, why not no drug at all? That seems safest.

American Girls Dolls: Gone to the Dark Side

This is old news, but this article reminded me of the evil in our midst. The American Girls dolls have made bazillions of dollars by offering parents a wholesome alternative to sexed up Barbie and other worldly dolls. Now that they have millions of young girls interested, they have subtly slipped a pro-abortion group into their product line. As usual, this attempt at indoctrination hides behind a front of building confidence and self esteem in girls. But the evil intent is apparent, and those in the know have begun a grass roots boycott this Christmas season. So in the interests of economic spanking, here are some better places to slap down your Benjamins if you’re looking for a great doll:

(Mentioned at Pro Life Blogs)
A Life of Faith

(Mentioned by Dr. Coleen Kelly Mast on Catholic Radio)
Seat of Wisdom

(Found via Google)
The Beautiful Girlhood Collection

With these options out there, I feel stupid for having spent our money a couple years ago on an American Girl doll. Why do we so easily slip into step with the secular world?

November 3, 2005

Bork on Alito

Robert Bork weighs in on the Alito nomination via National Review. His conclusion:

"Still, we do not know how the new chief justice and Justice-to-be Alito will rule on Roe and other liberal constitutional travesties of the past. Why, then, should conservatives support them? Because we can at least be sure that they will not start inventing yet new and previously unheard of constitutional rights. That would in itself be a vast improvement over the imperialistic Court majority’s drive to remake American culture and morality. That it will take at least one more justice of the Roberts-Scalia-Thomas-Alito stripe to return the Court to jurisprudential respectability is no reason not to support Judge Alito to the full. Let us rejoice in what we have gained."

Another Lesson in American Jurisprudence Brought to You by the Ninth Circuit

It’s reprehensible when a public school surveys its first, third and fifth graders about barriers to learning with questions about the frequency of “thinking about having sex” and “thinking about touching other peoples’ private parts.” This bold adventure in education also asked these children to relate the extent to which “touching my private parts too much” and “not trusting people because they might want sex” affected their learning. This is public instruction in America.

And at first blush, it is absurd when the federal judiciary condones such depravity as the nutty Ninth Circuit did today in response to a federal lawsuit filed on the part of aggrieved parents who claimed the school district had infringed upon their rights to control the information their children were exposed to. The three-judge panel held:

“[T]here is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed.”

Undoubtedly this is another cultural leftward lurch. But to deplore the court as many conservatives are today is to miss the point. If it didn’t advance a destructive agenda, conservatives would applaud this decision. The parents here founded their right to control what information is presented to their children in the general right to “privacy” so insidiously invented years ago. It is not in anyone’s best interests to seek an extension of the already ludicrous “right to privacy.” Conservatives rightly rage against the federal diktat in Roe because they feel abortion is not a question of fundamental constitutional rights, but one of local majoritarian values. Furthermore, as the court notes, we already have many laudatory (and some no so) laws on the books essentially restricting parents’ rights (such as school uniform policies, curfews, mandatory attendance, curriculum standards, etc). Based on sound legal analysis, the court gets it right.

One may ask, then, what is to be done? These parents did not find redress at the school board level or in the state courts. But the federal judiciary ought not be the place to run for a problem like this. The fundamental issue here is not a constitutional right, but local control. These concerned parents have lost control of their local public school. Rather than hope the federal judiciary will spank a renegade school district, they would be better off to assume the school district is renegade and be vigilant. Or, better yet, vote with their feet and take what is fast becoming the only legitimate step for parents with traditional values: a trustworthy private school or homeschool.

Washington Supreme Court: Homosexuals Can Sue as “De Facto Parents”

Another blow was struck against marriage and family life today when the Washington Supreme Court elevated non-biological homosexuals to the same status as traditional parents for purposes asserting rights. Read about here. The court explicitly invented a brand new class of parent in order to advance their political agenda. Of course, the most Orwellian aspect is the court’s claim that this is all done in the interest of the child. Funny that the state legislature didn’t think so when it passed the Uniform Parentage Law which defined the parameters of parenthood as defined by the majority.

Another aspect of this travesty is the assumption that all arrangements of sexually active adults are equal, even when children are involved. Here we had two lesbians, one of whom is artificially inseminated and gives birth. To the surprise of no one, the relationship does not last. She ended the lesbian relationship and ended up marrying the biological father. She then sought to protect the child from the former partner. From the bare fact, it sounds as though the mother reformed, and by any metric her child and she herself are better off. But there is no such thing as reform when there is no such thing as wrong.

November 7, 2005

PBS's "The Last Abortion Clinic"

In yet another sign of the tenuous state of Roe v. Wade, PBS is getting into the act with a Frontline shown set to air this week "The Last Abortion Clinic"

The rhetoric is pretty much standard fare. According to the preview the show focuses on Mississippi where there is only one abortion clinic in Jackson, and frames the issue as conservative Christians opposed to abortion vs. poor women who are being deprived their "right" due to a lack of access. Against this backdrop, the argument is Roe is becoming increasing irrelevant if you can't get access.

Our tax dollars at work!

November 8, 2005

The Case for a Catholic ID Card

Every so often I wish the boundaries circumscribed around the Church were a little more clearly defined. Take for example the case of "Bishop" Bordisso.

Is he a Catholic bishop or isn't he? The secular press figures the best approach is to ask him, which leads to confusing reporting like this:


Father Bordisso was consecrated as bishop for the Old Catholic Diocese of California. The title bestowed on him at Grace North Church in Berkeley marks Bordisso as the spiritual and administrative leader of the unique offshoot of the church known as the American Catholic Church.

Recognized as a valid but "irregular" branch of the Catholic Church, the church does not necessarily follow the edicts of Rome nor does it accept the concept that the Pope is infallible.

It also tends to be far more liberal, welcoming all people into the ranks of the clergy including women, homosexuals, bisexuals and married people.

"We don't see sexuality as a barrier to be overcome as much as a gift from God to be celebrated," Bordisso said.

Ah, a kinder gentler Catholic church, that is still nonetheless valid. It's the option so many have bene looking for.

Of course the technical meaning of the term valid is far different from the common understanding, and even then, while Bordisso may claim validity, that doesn't necessarily make it so, but I can appreciate a journalists conundrum. Who do you listen to? The guy who claims he's a Catholic bishop, or those who claim he isn't? How would a fact checker check? And what does validity have to do with it?

Like I said, time for the ID cards. Heck, they would even fit in well with the new U.S. Bishop's Viritus program. Background checks could be mandatory prior to issuance. We could track reception of the sacraments to help determine whether folks like Miers were raised Catholic. They could even be used to ensure quick entry to papal events.

Are you a card carrying member of the Catholic Church?

November 9, 2005

Godcasting

It's pod casting with an eternal objective. Read more here.

Georgetown to Offer Benefits to Same-Sex Couples

So it says here. I have long felt that the Vatican should copyright the term "Catholic" and force institutions that use it to toe the line drawn by the Magisterium. Otherwise, they should have to use some kind of euphemism to protect the innocent who might actually think Georgetown is Catholic. Some slimy, befuddling befitting the transgression like "a university in the Jesuit tradition." If you recognize the normalcy of homosexuality and repudiate the Church's unmistakable teaching on the harm it does to the soul and to society, are you still a "Catholic" institution? Like John Kerry is a Catholic? Ted Kennedy?

At least our own infamous St. Catherine's has the intellectual honesty and intestinal fortitude to simply ignore its Catholic heritage.

November 10, 2005

Month of Kindness?

The Univeristy of Minnesota is proud to proclaim Nov. 10th - Dec. 10th the annual Month of Kindness. Which raises the question how are members supposed to treat each other the rest of the year?

According to the official Month of Kindness website (at www.monthofkindness.com):


Kindness—it’s a simple concept, really, but one we too often take for granted. The Month of Kindness is a University-wide event dedicated to spreading kindness throughout the community. The Month of Kindness will promote involvement in the University community by promoting events from a wide range of student and community organizations. These events will allow us to reach out to others and improve our relationships with them. The Month of Kindness also hopes to raise awareness of the simple ways in which we can all show kindness to others every day, thus making their lives—and ours—a little better.

A striking testament to the human hunger for virtue, even when such language has been banished from the academy.

November 17, 2005

Be Careful What You Complement

The recent film Therese has just been released on DVD with Spanish subtitles. I didn't think much of it when it came out, and stand by that original assessment.

An emerging problem is that everyone who was gushing about the film before it came out make us look like fools now that it has been released. Check out this quote from the latest press release:


the first-ever feature length film to receive an official Vatican endorsement before its theatrical release. Critics have called the film “sensitive and humorous” “a lesson in inspiration” “a beautiful two hour retreat from the world” and “a tremendous cinematic achievement.”

The film had a good scene or two, but the fact it received a Vatican endorsement is not a fact we should be proud to mention. Overall it was poorly done, and calling it great is an insult to artists everywhere. I recently watched the French version of Therese and found it far more compelling (as did most critics, including those at Cannes who gave it the Jury Prize).

I'd take a quality film about the true, good and beautiful over a Vatican endorsement any day!

Joking Outlawed on College Campus

I recently got an e-mail from none other than the president of my favorite Big 10 university, explaining the ins and outs of the latest iteration of the hate crime, the "bias-related incident." No, I am not making this up. Here goes:


The University of Minnesota is committed to creating and maintaining a respectful culture and environment that values diversity. All members of our community should have the opportunity to pursue their education and work in a respectful, civil environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and violence.

I deeply regret that some members of our community have been targets of hate and harassment because of their identity. Bias-related incidents include expressions of hostility against an individual or group because of the individual or group's actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, and/or veteran status. Expressions of hostility include, but are not limited to, language, words, signs, symbols, threats, or actions that could potentially cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others, or would endanger the health, safety, and welfare of a member or members of the University community, even when such expressions are presented as a joke. Bias-related incidents are hurtful to those individuals and groups who are targeted, and negatively impact our entire University community.


Pay close attention to the second paragraph. If you do pretty much anything to anyone and they don't like it, you're guilty, no questions asked, no defense allowed (you have to hand it to them, they covered their bases well).

You don't even have to intend to do anything, guilt is dictated by the victims interpretation, regardless of your intentions.

And the best part, you can report incidents online. Check it out here.

Pregnancy is Worse than Death

You probably heard about the recent reports that a dozen women died in 2004 due to their usage of the birth control patch. But the most curious part of all this in my mind was a comment by a doctor in the CNN story.


"If the patch is delivering too much estrogen, then it may need to be redesigned," Miller said. "Women should not just take off their patch; they risk pregnancy. If they are worried and want to change off the patch, they can wait to get something else."

Hmm, you'd think that pregnancy just kinda happened out of the blue. But even if it did, given the choice between blood clots and pregnancy, I'd take the pregnancy any day.

November 23, 2005

Biometric Big Brother at the Grocery Store

I went to my local Cub Foods the other day, one of the local big box grocery stores here in town, to do some shopping and was greeted with ballons, streamers, and a kiosk, not to welcome my return after a long hiatus, but rather to promote their new biometric payment system.

Apparently you visit one of the balloon-decorated kiosks to provide your fingerprint and payment information, and then come checkout time you place your finger on the new fingeprint scanner, decide which of your previously setup payment methods you want to use, and away you go.

The thing I can't figure out is what's in it for Cub, except that in the case of fraud, they have your prints. And I'm sure local law enforcement will be able to subpoena all that info when they can provide some compelling reason why they need it to protect us from terrorists, but something about seems a bit odd.

I guess the beauty of Big Brother is that he isn't forced upon us, but that we choose him time and again as a matter of convenience.

The Temptation to Believe

Archbishop Foley, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications kicked off a film congress in Rome the other day, where he noted "the temptation to believe ... has given rise to a dialogue between human beings and God, a dialogue capable of stimulating spectators to profound reflection, bringing them face to face with their own intimate identity and with their fellow men."

November 24, 2005

Boston’s Archbishop O’Malley Keeps the Faith

O’Malley has withdrawn from a Catholic Chrities event that will honor an outspoken advocate of gay marriage and abortion. Would that all our shepherds were so faithful to their own teachings. Read about it.

November 28, 2005

Chunk of Marble Struck Down from Supreme Court Façade

According to this report, “[t]he piece that fell was over the figure of Authority, near the peak of the building's pediment, and to the right of the figure of Liberty, who has the scales of justice on her lap.”

Perfect. The only thing missing was the visible thunderbolt from on high. Someone upstairs is not pleased with American jurisprudence.

About November 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Seventh Age in November 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2005 is the previous archive.

December 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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