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Thursday, May 21, 2015

President Obama to Coast Guard: Denying Climate Change "Dereliction of Duty"





Today's Wall Street Journal printed excerpts of President Obama's commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy yesterday.  It is hard to understand how, in the midst of the turmoil and the constant terror threat spreading around the world (that has recently reached our own shores), the commander-in-chief could make such a speech to the military organization charged with protecting the homeland.  He did, though, and here are the excerpts from the speech:
From President Obama’s commencement address Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.:
Around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict. Rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from Bangladesh to Pacific islands, forcing people from their homes. Caribbean islands and Central American coasts are vulnerable, as well. Globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees. And I guarantee you the Coast Guard will have to respond. Elsewhere, more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water and food, increase competition for resources, and create the potential for mass migrations and new tensions. All of which is why the Pentagon calls climate change a “threat multiplier.”
Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East. So, increasingly, our military and our combatant commands, our services—including the Coast Guard—will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, because you need to be ready.
The global warming religion continues to suffer setbacks fueled by facts, but that doesn't even slow them down.  Read THIS.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gary Kasparov: "American values created the greatest democracy in the world."


Gary Kasparov delivered the commencement address at St Louis University, on May 16, 2015.  The Wall Street Journal published parts of his address in the Notable & Quotable section today.

Here's the quote:
From the commencement address given by Garry Kasparov, the Russian opposition figure and former world chess champion, at Saint Louis University, May 16:
Every day we make choices large or small: individuals, companies, entire nations. Are those choices guided by the values we treasure? Are we loyal to the principles of individual freedom, of faith, of excellence, of compassion, of the value of human life? Or do we trade them away, bit by bit, for material goods, for a quiet life, and to pass the problems of today on to the next generation?
These moral values are also the values of innovation and the free market, by the way. It is no coincidence that these founding American values created the greatest democracy in the world and also the greatest economy in the world. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus urged his believers to be a “City on a Hill,” a shining example to the world, a phrase used to describe America by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. I saw that America from the other side of the Iron Curtain and I can tell you that it mattered. And it matters still.
If America is to continue as a “light of the world” it will be up to you and to your generation to hold fast to these values and not to trade them away for a safe and stagnant status quo. Risk is not only for entrepreneurs. Risk is for anyone who will fight for these values in their lives and in the world every day.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Nigeria's Boko Haram and The Battle of Lepanto


Our Lady of the Rosary is credited with the miraculous defeat of the Turlish (Mislim) Fleet by a vastly overmatched Christian fleet in the Gulf of Lepanto, in 1571.  The battle pitted the two largest naval forces ever assembled: the Turks fielded 280 ships; the Christians, 212.  You can read more about that battle in a previous post by clicking HERE.

Our Lady may be at it again, in Nigeria, in the fight against the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram.

The following is from onepeterfive.com:
Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, head of the Diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria’s Borno State, was in a chapel praying before the Blessed Sacrament last December when, he says, something extraordinary happened: Jesus Christ appeared holding a sword, which He offered to the prelate.
According to Bishop Dashe, the moment he took the sword from Jesus’ hands, it transformed into Rosary beads. He then heard Christ repeat three times, “Boko Haram is gone.”
The bishop recalls, “I didn’t need any prophet to give me the explanation. It was clear that with the Rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram.”

Fast-forward one month, and the position of Boko Haram in Nigeria appears to have all but collapsed. Gbenga Akingbule, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, describes the sudden and surprising turn of events:
Boko Haram has abandoned so many hundreds of kidnapped women and girls recently that Nigerian officials tasked with bringing them back into society on Sunday said they were looking to open a second rehabilitation camp, a nod to how fast the tide of abductions has reversed. In the past few weeks, as troops from Nigeria and surrounding countries have punched deep into Boko Haram territory, soldiers said they have rescued about 1,000 women and girls, hostages the Islamist insurgency left behind. They include about 275 that army pickup trucks brought into the city of Yola on Saturday night and 260 rescued on Sunday.
Of course, Boko Haram has not been thoroughly defeated, and the Christians of Nigeria are still undergoing horrible trials and tribulations. But I cannot help but be reminded of the words once spoken by Blessed Pope Pius IX: 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bishop Lynch and the Dismantling of Summorum Pontificum




From OnePeterFive.Com today:
Last month members of the Latin Mass community of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida were stunned to receive a letter addressed to them by their local ordinary, Bishop Robert Lynch. Following years of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass being offered at two different diocesan parishes, the faithful of both St. Anthony of Padua in San Antonio and Incarnation Catholic Church in Tampa learned that they would be losing the traditional Mass. Instead of further realizing Pope Benedict’s vision of both forms of the Roman Rite mutually enriching each other through greater availability, Bishop Lynch has instead chosen the path of displacement and containment.
You can read the whole post HERE.

From Wikipedia:
Summorum Pontificum (English: Of the Supreme Pontiffs) is an Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued motu proprio (i.e., on his own initiative), by which he specified the circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church may celebrate Mass according to the what he called the "Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962" (the latest edition of the Roman Missal in the form known as the Tridentine Mass), and administer most of the sacraments in the form used before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.
For more on the Summorum Pontificum, go HERE.

For more on Bishop Lynch, go HERE.  Don't miss the video.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Amity Shlaes: Why is Calvin Coolidge the Forgotten President?




From YouTube:
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, was a man of few words. He believed in less government, balanced budgets, lower taxes and a climate friendly to business. Unemployment averaged 3.3 per cent during his administration. Yet, in the vortex of the Great Depression and the New Deal policies, which followed, his legacy has been all but forgotten. Conservative writer Amity Shlaes tells Jim Zirin what we can learn from "Silent Cal."
About Amity Shlaes:
Amity Shlaes (/ʃleɪs/; born September 10, 1960) is an American author and newspaper and magazine columnist who writes about politics and economics from a conservative free market perspective. She currently chairs the board of trustees of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. The foundation aims to advance the ideals of President Calvin Coolidge, which the foundation describes as conservative values and devotion to public service.


Shlaes graduated from Yale University magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in English in 1982. She attended the Freie Universitaet Berlin on a DAAD fellowship.


Over the years, she has written for The New Yorker, The American Spectator, Commentary, The Spectator (UK), Foreign Affairs, Forbes, National Review, The New Republic, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit, among others. Her obituary of Milton Friedman appeared in The New York Sun.
 
Her biography of Calvin Coolidge is available at Amazon.com


Bill Shuey: The Disaster of Inner Cities


That's Bill Shuey, a freelance writer in North Carolina. He's an old friend of a special friend.  He posted this piece (emphasis added) about "The Inner Cities" on his blog, on May 9, 2015.
The reoccurring melodrama that is the disaster of America’s inner cities has surfaced again, and in Baltimore this time. There is nothing really new in the on-going upheaval – just another dead druggie and a community in revolt because of his demise.
Interestingly, it seems that the police rarely kill a young black man who is well dressed and on his way to work, school, or church. For some unknown reason the recipient of the bullet or the harsh treatment are always the least functional of society. Yes, I know that every human life has value, but some lives are far more valuable than others.
As in Ferguson, MO, the street thugs and chronic unemployed are out in the streets in mass attempting to fill the void between their welfare income and what others work for by stripping store shelves. The mayor of Baltimore actually encouraged this sad criminal behavior by suggesting that they should be allowed to steal and destroy as they chose. Nice policy, unless you own property that is being destroyed.
The federal government has sunk $1.8 billion into Baltimore in just the past few years. The population of the Baltimore metropolis is 2.7 million, which indicates a fund breakdown of 665 dollars per individual. But that figure is highly misleading because not a dime of the money went to the suburbs or the more affluent areas – it all went to the inner city. Unfortunately federal money is funneled through city governments, where it is diverted to things that have little, if any benefit to the folks who actually need help. And of course there is always the city council member who just happens to have a cousin or uncle who owns a business that needs some income. The milking of the white cow is after all the national pastime!
There are systemic problems in the inner cities of America, and they are neither new nor unique to Baltimore. Leading the roll of unfortunate circumstances is the fact that marriage and the presence of a father figure in the home is a rare occurrence. Also, there seems to be little motivation to attend school for the purpose of actually attaining an education – 55% of fourth graders can’t read! Fifty percent of students actually complete high school – far fewer truly receive a diploma! Thus, if there were jobs available in the inner city, there would be few individuals who could read a job application or perform the tasks associated with today’s mechanized work environment.
The desire to advance socially and economically does not seem to afflict the residents of the inner city. The insidious intentions of government to help the lower class have bred dissatisfaction by providing just enough to exist and curbing any desire to achieve. The results are people who are resentful, basically helpless, have little foresight or ambition, and more than willing to destroy what they did not build.
The mayor, police commissioner, prosecuting attorney, the president of the Baltimore city council, and most other Baltimore officials are black – what could only charitably be termed black leadership is inept and ineffectual. The self-appointed reverends who come into the inner cities are there for the face time and are little more than parasites – what have they ever done to make anything better for the citizens of Baltimore? Until the residents of the Baltimore’s of America decide to want effective representation, and something more than existence – nothing can change – and that is the sad truth.
If you are reading this article in the hopes of finding some solution to the chaos that is America’s inner cities – you came to the wrong place. From the White House to the outhouse, the resounding cry is RACISM. This is the constant convenient drumbeat that allows the politicians who have actually created this mess through their ineptness, promotion of racial divisiveness, and failed policies to hide behind the term and avoid any responsibility.
I am not a pessimist by nature, but I see no resolution for the problems that plague the ghettos. Throwing tax dollars at the problem may help cleanse the souls of politicians but does nothing to heal the problems!
 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

An Open Plea to the yet unscarred (without Tattoos)


The following letter to the editor appeared today in a local newspaper.  It's an apparent attempt to convince young ladies who have not yet scarred their bodies with what has become known, and unfortunately accepted, as "art," to think twice before making a huge mistake.
An Open Plea to the yet unscarred
To the editor:
At the risk of offending a large number of people frequenting our  beaches, I want to offer some heartfelt advice to every young girl  who has not yet engaged in the repulsive practice of scarring her body with so-called art. 
You should know that this low class practice, which has become all the rage, was formerly indulged in here in this country only by sailors (and usually drunken sailors).  Don’t let the fact that the practice is now engaged in not only by sailors and drunken sailors, but also by wannabe sailors, pretty young girls, and even older women who wish they were still pretty young girls, influence you. 
Do a little research on the web, and you’ll find the following interesting information:
“Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times. Ötzi the Iceman, dating from the fourth to fifth millennium BC, was found in the Ötz valley in the Alps and had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle.  Other mummies bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the second millennium BC have been discovered, such as the Mummy of Amunet from Ancient Egypt and the mummies at Pazyryk on the Ukok Plateau... 
“...The decoration of blues singer Janis Joplin with a wristlet and a small heart on her left breast, by the San Francisco tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle, is taken as a seminal moment in the popular acceptance of tattoos as art.”
Janis Joplin, by the way, died at the age of 27. “The official cause of death was an overdose of heroin, possibly compounded by alcohol.”  
The Mayo Clinic lists the following risks associated with tattoos: Allergic reactions, Skin infections, Other skin problems, Bloodborne diseases, and MRI complications.  More detailed information on each of those bonuses can be found on the Mayo Clinic website, and, while your computer is open, google “Think Before You Ink: Celebs Who've Removed Their Tattoos.”  They can all tell you just how painful, and expensive, the removal of their mistakes actually was.  
So, my heartfelt advice to all the young ladies who have not yet allowed themselves to be inducted into a group that includes Ötzi the Iceman, the Mummy of Amunet, and Janis Joplin, and who might be a little squeamish about the above mentioned risks, and who might want to think twice about the pain and expense of correcting a foolish mistake, is simply this: Just Don’t Do It!  PLEASE DON’T DO IT! 
  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

"The Way of St. James": Santiago de Compostela and its Censer


Whether you saw the movie, The Way, or not, you should enjoy this video of the largest liturgical censer in the world traveling at almost 44 miles per hour.  The Cathedral at Compostela is the destination for pilgrims who walk "The Way" to the tomb of St James the Greater, one of the original 12 apostles of Jesus.

Click on the below link to watch the censer fly.

http://go.aleteia.org/g6LCndW


Malcolm Muggeridge on Conversion



Malcolm Muggeridge, who converted to Catholicism in 1982, at the age of 68, credited Mother Teresa, and her prayers for his conversion.  He had met her years before while filming a documentary of her work in Calcutta.

According to an account in Literary Converts, by Joseph Pierce:

Before becoming a Catholic, but already a Christian, Muggeridge produced, in 1971, a documentary series on the life of St. Paul, entitled: Paul: Envoy Extraordinary.  During the production of that documentary, Muggeridge and his life-long friend, Alec Vidler, an Anglican priest, discussed the nature of conversion.

Muggeridge and Vidler made the following observations during their discussion, perhaps presaging Muggeridge's future "crossing of the Tiber."

Muggeridge:
"Conversion is something that you as a priest must have met with often - a person being reborn, becoming a new man.  Paul is said to have been blinded by the experience, but he was blind only because afterwards he truly could see whereas before he couldn't."
Vidler:
"Paul's conversion does seem to have been sudden, but of course sudden conversions are seldom as sudden as they seem…" 

Muggeridge:
"You mean fighting against something he knew would ultimately captivate and capture him."