Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chuck Colson, 1931-2012, RIP

"One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I don’t ever get up in the morning and wonder if what I do matters. I live every day to the fullest because I can live it through Christ and I know no matter what I do today, I’m going to do something to advance the Kingdom of God.”--Chuck Colson

Two weeks before he died of a  brain hemorrhage in Lansdowne, Virginia on April 21, Charles "Chuck" Colson, founder of the Prison Fellowship, was on the road lecturing and organizing for his ministry. Colson, who served seven months in prison in 1973 for his role in the Watergate scandal, paid special attention to the impact of incarceration on the families of prisoners. The three children pictures above are the subjects of this story from the Prison Fellowship web site, headlined The Girl Next Door:

Like a lot of little girls her age, nine-year-old Bailey enjoys school and soccer practice. She is a great student who loves to read and write. She never misses Sunday school. And she is a great big sister to Keara (4) and Drake (3). But each morning, as Bailey grabs her backpack and heads to school, her heart carries the unimaginable burdens of the past year. Last fall, Bailey was the one who discovered that her uncle had died from an overdose--right on her family's kitchen table. Her beloved grandmother passed away this spring. Her dad and his cousin (dad to Keara and Drake) are incarcerated, their crimes splashed across the front pages of the local small-town newspaper. Because of this, Bailey’s last name — “Bible” — is “the worst last name in town,” her mom Tasha explains. Ironically, “if you have the name Bible, people think you are trash.”

Bailey is even excluded from some play dates. “If your dad loved you, he’d be here,” her classmates taunt this sweet, innocent little girl.

So how does Bailey go to school each day with a smile on her face? How do Keara and Drake cope each day without their dad? “I’m doing all I can to break the cycle in my children’s lives,” Tasha says, “[but] I struggle all year to provide for all four of us.” Which is why Angel Tree means so much to this hurting family.

“Angel Tree gave my children a Christmas to remember,” Tasha shares. “When my son said, ‘My dad got me these!’ — it was priceless. You gave my children love from their father and you gave me a bigger gift: the gift of hope.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

Something My Son-in-Law Won't Like: National Parks Discourage Fishing

Cobia Fishing in the Atlantic: Obama Plays Golf, Why Can't We Fish?

Here's some news that may irritate my son-in-law (he's the handsome devil at bottom right) as much as it did me: The National Park Service is systematically closing off access to fishing and other recreational activities in the name of "saving the environment," and many of the new restrictions will kick in just in time to ruin your summer vacation.

Human Events reports this morning:
"Planning a vacation this summer to Miami’s Biscayne Bay for a little fishing?

"Think again, because the National Park Service wants to set aside a large swath of the pristine area as a marine reserve zone, so you might have to leave the fishing poles at home. And the boat.

"Perhaps horseback riding is more your speed and the family plans to ride through California’s Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks? Sorry, but all of the permits were pulled for those activities this summer.

"Or maybe you just want to lounge on the soft sands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and read a novel, fly a kite with the kids, toss a Frisbee to the dog, and watch dad catch some fish?

"No, no, no and no."

A slew of new federal regulations are shutting down access to beaches, fishing sites, boating lanes, and wildlife refuges.

As one distressed bait and tackle shop owner in North Carolina  noted: "It’s fine and dandy to protect the environment, but at the same time we have a mandate to provide protection of resources, as well as enhance the future and present recreational opportunities. But that’s not what’s going on. Now it’s a single mandate which is to protect the environment.”

 Read more at the link above.

Friday, April 20, 2012

More Children = Healthier Women

The Nelson Family Reunion                                
A study recently published in the Australian medical journal Age and Ageing finds preliminary evidence that women live longer the more children they have.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported April 20:

"The study, of older Australians living in Dubbo, found women [over 60 years of age] with six or more children were about 40 per cent less likely to die during the 16-year follow-up than women with no children. The study leader, Leon Simons, of the University of New South Wales, said some had up to 14. ''I'm not advocating for you to have six or 14 kids, but it does seem having a few children is good for survival,'' he said. The study used information collected from more than ... 1500 women who were aged over 60 when the researchers first examined them in 1988 and 1989.
''|'They were having kids in the '40s and '50s, pre-oral contraceptive pill,"|'' Associate Professor Simons said. '|''In this age group, large numbers of children were quite common'|'
"Compared with women who had no children, those with two had a 17 per cent decreased risk of death. For women with three children there was a 20 per cent decreased risk, and this pattern largely continued with additional children.
"Associate Professor Simons said it was not known exactly why childbirth might protect women in later life, but similar findings were seen overseas. The answer could be hormonal but behaviour could play a part as well."

This study is quantitative science reaffirming what is evident in simple observance of real life: Larger families provide a more stable, healthy, flexible, and supportive--and therefore better--life for their members at all stages of life. In  youth, the larger family provides the support, care, and teaching of siblings in addition to what the parents can provide; in adult years, sisters and brothers provide a buffer from economic reversals, in old age, a support system of children and grandchildren, and in final years, the comfort of family care-giving.

Happy is the man and happy is the woman who have a quiver full of them!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Is Wrong with the Department of Education?

4,800 staff members here spend $80 billion a year

Why does the lamestream media huff and puff every time a candidate makes the quite sensible suggestion that the Department of Education be shut down or, at least, reduced in size? After all, as National Review has noted, the department “was created as a straight political payoff to the teachers’ unions by President Jimmy Carter (in return for their 1976 endorsements). According to the National Center for Education Statistics, DE’s original budget, in 1980, was $13.1 billion (in 2007 dollars), and it employed 450 people. By 2000, it had increased to $34.1 billion, and by 2007 it had more than doubled to $73 billion. The budget for fiscal 2011 was $77.8 billion, and the department [by then employed] 4,800.”

What do 4,800 plus DE employees do, as they spend the equivalent of twice what Obama’s “Buffet rule” tax would raise in one year? My one-hour lunchtime search of Google could not produce a list of departments by number of employees and budget. But here’s some anecdotal news that they are wasting plenty of taxpayers’ money:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced from Richmond March 31 that the state had succeeded in overturning a $55,000 DE fine levied on Virginia Tech in 2008. The reason for the fine? Apparently, the bloated staff at the department has developed strict guidelines on how campus officials must communicate emergency conditions to students, and Virginia Tech failed to follow these federally dictated standards during the 2007 shooting which left seven undergraduates dead. However, when Cuccinelli went to court to defend Tech, the chief administrative law judge of the U.S. Department of Education found that the university had complied with federal law in its response to the campus shootings, and as a result, he vacated the DE fine against the university.

In short, some bureaucrat at the Department of Education decided from his/her desk in Washington that it was correct and useful to harass Virginia Tech in the wake of the most terrible tragedy to ever befall the university community. This decision led to a colossal waste of time and money—at DE, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, and at Virginia Tech. It’s a good case study in what happens when the federal government bureaucracy mucks around in local affairs that should not concern them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bishop Jenky of Peoria: Obama Follows Path of Stalin and Hitler

 St. Michael the Archangel with Bishop Jenky
There can be no neutrality in the war for religious liberty, Bishop Jenky of Peoria, Illinois told an audience of Catholic fathers who attended the annual gathering of diocesan men this week: "As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and always be ready to fight for the Faith.”

Bishop Jenky's address echoed the themes of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' April 12 Statement on Religious Liberty, which called for America's bishops to focus "all the energies the Catholic community can muster" on a national campaign of prayer and action during the 14 days between the Feast of Saints Thomas More and John Fischer (June 22) through the 4th of July.

Bishop Jenky compared Barak Obama's  mandate that Catholic institutions pay for health insurance that supplies abortion, sterilization, and contraception for employees to the worst attacks on religious liberty in the 20th century: “Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama--with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda--now seems intent on following a similar path.”

“Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral. This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries--only excepting our church buildings--could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb. No Catholic ministry--and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries--can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions."

Get the full text of Bishop Jenky's address, and podcasts of other talks by the bishop, at the Peoria Catholic Post.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This Is Fun! Calculate Your Fair Salary as a 'Stay at Home' Mom

Hey! I've been underpaid  for decades--at least according to the Stay at Home Mom Salary Calculator  posted at salary.com in response to Obama spokesman Hilary Rosen's bashing of Ann Romney. Come to think of it, while I was holding down a six-figure job at home, I was also getting my #$* out the door every morning (thank you, Bill Maher, for that lovely formulation) to earn a considerably smaller "at the office" paycheck. Hmmmm... Does Ann Romney service as first lady of Massachusetts meet Maher's standard of "getting her #$* out the door"?

Could it be that six decades of progressive, increasingly radical-leftist anti-family policies from the Democratic Party since World War II have been the real "war on women"?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our Party of Life vs.Their Party of Death

A Hamas mother, who has already begun her child's training

Sometimes, there is no need to put an idea into your own words. Someone has already said it better. A new weekly feature titled They Said It Better begins today with this suggestion by Yale Professor David Gelernter from the Weekly Standard magazine for President George Bush's 2007 State of Union address. I post it in honor of my elder son, who will soon begin his third deployment in the War Against Jihadism.

Our enemies in this war seem varied but shared one common doctrine…all agrees on death. They believe in and cultivate death; they are the party of death. And we are the party of life—and they hate us for that and hope to destroy us because of it. No war we have ever fought id more fundamental than this.
 Obviously, we can’t confer life; can’t even protect and preserve it—not always. But we do our best. Life comes from God, and we hope to be its champions. We told the world so in 1776; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the things we stood for. Those words echoed John Winthrop’s as he sailed to Boston in 1650. He wrote about the city on a hill he hoped this land would become. He was quoting the Bible and finished with another biblical verse: “Choose life and live, you and your children!” On those words he set to work and build this great American community.

We claim no special credit for being the party of life. We invite every person and people in the world to join us. The less exclusive the party, the better. But as champions of life, we have awful responsibilities… [For] our enemies believe in death and have said so plainly. Almost thirty years ago, Shiite fanatics gathered in Teheran to scream hatred at this nation; they weren’t content with “down with America,” they screamed “death to America” and meant it. The secular tyrant Sadaam Hussein tortured and slaughtered his enemies and their little children. His terrorist friends believe in the same doctrine, “murder thy enemy.” The random killing of men, women, and children inspired their supporters to dance in the streets. Fanatic Muslim clergymen preach murder in their holy places. And on 9/11, al-Qaeda accomplished what even Hitler never did: the mass murder of American civilians.
These proud champions of death kill innocent people all over the world, and their own people at home; they have even discovered new ways to kill themselves. Suicide-murderers are in a rush to heaven, which they picture as a discount whorehouse. If that’s not sufficiently depraved, behold the ghoulish spectacle of a mother celebrating the death of her own (terrorist) child –a brand new hero by dint of the misery he inflicted on other mothers and other children. Theirs is the party of death indeed.
We understand our mission. The champions of life must defeat the champions of death.