Saturday, February 27, 2010

First Lady Targets Fat

Are you fat? Worse yet, are your kids fat? If so, Michelle Obama finds you and your family to be something of a pox on the country's image.

According to the First Lady, we need "nationwide support" to get our "kids on track" and put an end to "food deserts" (whatever they are). We are a nation of "families in isolation" unable to "make desired changes" for healthy living because we lack the proper "tools." According to Mrs. Obama, we are not only fat, we're just plain stupid!

First Lady Michelle is the latest incarnation of her husband's nanny state and she's now on the warpath to get all of us hapless and hopeless families moving. That's the name of her initiative--Let's Move. She's a veritable foghorn of dire predictions and threatening news as she blasts us for being blubbery, dumb and incompetent. However, she assures us that she and her husband's government programs are there to fill the gap.

I have trouble believing that the First Lady knows how to boil water let alone plan an entire meal, and the sight of her digging up the White House lawn in J. Crew outfits leaves me wondering how she squares farming with her fancy Princeton degree and her law background. I can't help but think Mrs. Obama curses the darkness as she watches her husband appoint one person after another as his Czars and relegates her to the vegetable patch. Once the Obamas are out of the White House, my guess is that Michelle will leave the trowel and spade on the White House lawn and will run for senator from Illinois as quickly as possible. Until then, she's out there to save us all from our big, fat stupid selves.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Penn Wants To Welcome Gays

Why is the University of Pennsylvania reaching out to its admitted applicants who are gay? Their dean of admissions says that the university wants to reach out and enroll gays in the same way that they reach out to Blacks or to students with a particular interest. "We are speaking to students on [sic] the areas that they are most interested in," says the dean. What about the students who are interested in being heterosexual? Or being Christian? What about the students who are interested in classical music or cross-country skiing?

Colleges have wooed older students, non-traditional students, Blacks, Hispanics, females, first-generation college go-ers and Native Americans (have I forgotten anyone?). Now that there are virtually no 'underserved' groups left to recruit--except white, upper-middle class teen-age boys who work hard and like sports---Penn has invented one and wants to be "pro-active" for those "who are looking for a gay-friendly campus." Will we soon have the other Ivies out-doing Penn by flying gay and lesbian high school students to their campuses for gay visit days? Will colleges send their directors of LGBT services out to high school college fairs? Will we see adjusted admissions standards for gays? Special scholarships? Certainly, gay housing accommodations are in order.

Reaching out to gays is most likely a marketing tool for Penn, but their out-reach will probably be more effective in balkanizing the university community than anything else. Celebrating diversity usually divides rather than unites. When I was at Barnard College in the 70s there was BOSS, the Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters. The Black students lived together on one floor which happened one year to be the floor directly above me. When a decidedly White, blonde student on my floor went upstairs to ask the Soul Sisters to turn down their music, the Sisters reportedly flew off the handle and gave our White sister a talking-to. I don't think I ever sat next to, talked to, rode the elevator with or made even the remotest acquaintance of a single one of the Soul Sisters during my four years at Barnard.

Penn's approach is being praised by the chairman of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Caucus of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (oh,you didn't know there was such a group?). And, a group called Campus Pride will soon "be asking the Common Application to add a sexual orientation question so that colleges can refine recruiting techniques and also consider the diversity of their applicant pools in the same way they do now based on race and ethnicity, gender, geography and academics."

In the meantime, what is a white, heterosexual college applicant to do?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Catholics and Catholic Converts

The 2010 Annuario Pontificio reports that in 2008, the year for which there appear to be the latest figures, there was a 1.7% increase in the number of Catholics worldwide, causing our number to grow to 1.66 billion baptized Catholics or 17.40% of the world's entire popluation (which stands at 6.7 billion).

While the number of bishops is up by a little over 1%, the number of priests grew by a percentage slightly less than that, and the number of women religious actually fell by almost 8%. However, as Pope Benedict has said, we don't need a lot of priests, we need good priests, and the same would most certainly apply to women religious. With orders like the Sisters of Life and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, there's no need to fret over a lack of faithful--and good--women being called to various orders.

It's no surprise that most of this increase in the Catholic faithful comes not from our own shores, but from Africa, Asia and Oceania. However, there will be at least some new Catholics from the U.S. entering the flock of Peter. Many soon-to-be Catholics are now entering the final stages of their preparation for acceptance into the Catholic Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA process is a year of study and discernment for those wishing to be baptized and/or confirmed as Catholics and culminates in the Easter Vigil when those who were previously catechumens (never baptized) or candidates (already having had a Christian baptism) become full-fledged members of the Catholic Church. Or, almost full-fledged. The newly-baptized are called neophytes and all the just-initated next go through a period of Mystagogy. Earlier this week, I read that the bishops here in the U.S. called on all Catholics to welcome newcomers into the Church by giving consideration to ten different points.

Having gone through the RCIA process myself, I heartily endorse the bishops' entreaty that current Catholics should welcome the new ones. The whole RCIA process, apparently a well-intentioned attempt to mimic the induction of pagans and idol-worshipers into the 1st Century Christian church, was one I found a bit off-putting. We catechumens and candidates were often paraded about the sanctuary like so much inventory as we were put through our paces. Given the catechesis of many Catholics in the wake of Vatican II, I often felt that the entire congregation should be joining me in instruction in the faith. Instead, here we stood, making public declarations about our intentions and, most troublesome to me, being led out of Mass after the homily. This was presumably to make us yearn for the day when we would be sufficiently prepared to stay and participate in the sacrament of the Eucharist. I must admit that being denied the opportunity of sitting through the Mass never called forth a yearning in me. First of all, I had already sat through many Catholic Masses. Besides, I wasn't a pagan. I was already a Christian! Yet, each week, we stood in front of the entire congregation before filing out behind our 'teacher' who took us upstairs and out of sight.

I hope the bishops will continue to educate Catholics about the RCIA process. There is certainly a need for it. On my way home one Sunday, after again standing to face the priest and then being herded out of the Mass along with my fellow students, I ran into a neighbor and fellow congregant, a Catholic by birth, who said to me, "By the way, what are you all doing standing up there anyway?"

As the bishops explain, the journey of inquiry that the catechumens and candidates undertake is an example for all Catholics to re-discover and re-commit to the teachings of their Catholic faith. I was often gently reminded that I was providing this wonderful example whenever I ventured to whine to my RCIA leaders about traipsing around in front of the congregation. I always felt that being praised as an example to other Catholics was a bit of a mixed message. We uninitiated were not sufficiently Catholic to witness the liturgy of the Eucharist, but we were simultaneously inspiring enough to be an example of faith to others? Never made sense to me. Rather, it seems that the responsibility for instructing the many poorly-catechized Catholics in their faith is something that the hierarchy of the Church should address, which, I suppose, is what the bishops are doing with their aforementioned list.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Sacred Meets The Profane

Oprah Winfrey recently interviewed several members of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, a growing order near Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can read a bit about the show here and watch one of the segments below.

I'm not an Oprah follower (no TV in our household), but I do know enough about her show to have been curious as to how the splashy, pop-culture-queen Oprah would present the Sisters. I have to admit that the segment is pretty good! After all, who among us does know much about the life of the religious? Hearing these young women explain why they left the secular world to join a religious community is eye-opening and inspirational. Yes, Oprah had to sensationalize her questions about their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, but the Sisters' answers are so articulate and thoughtful that it's easy to overlook Oprah's media hype. Oprah devoted a lot of time to the Sisters and the show's correspondent traveled to the Michigan convent and spent some time there.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LGBT Law in the Military--Bad Law and Bad News

The matter of gays serving openly in the military lingers on as a very troubling issue. Dick Cheney is now on board with his recent remarks that, "Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of 'don't ask, don't tell.' I think things have changed significantly since then ... I think the society has moved on. I think it's partly a generational question. When the chiefs come forward and say, 'We think we can do it,' then it strikes me that it's -- it's time to reconsider the policy. And I think Admiral Mullen said that."

The chiefs haven't actually come forward to say that, and Mullen's comments, as already noted, were his personal opinion not his opinion about what was best for the military. As for society having 'moved on,' what evidence is there that it's been for the better?

Cheney notes that views about gays are generational. Yes, I've noticed too that there's a tolerance, even a disinterested acceptance of homosexuality among the younger generations, but that only suggests to me that relativism, secularism and gay lobbies have successfully brainwashed whole segments of our culture, including, apparently, people supposedly as distinguished and smart as Dick Cheney. Just because the kids think being gay is not a big deal doesn't make it so, and that's especially true when it comes to gays in the military, an institution about which most of us, including young people, know very little.

The Center for Military Readiness held a news conference today on the question of how gays in the military would improve military readiness. As one of their policy papers explains, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, Rep. Patrick Murphy, is sponsoring H.R. 1283, legislation that would repeal Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C. (commonly, though erroneously, known as 'don't ask, don't tell') and would "replace it with an open-ended, radical “LGBT Law” that would forbid discrimination based on “homosexuality or bisexuality, whether the orientation is real or perceived.”"

This same policy paper contains charts showing the consequences that will arise if such a law is passed--how this social engineering project places fabricated rights above the needs of the military, the potential increase in sexual harrassment to include not only male/female harrassment, but male/male and female/female harrassment as well as demands for PC diversity training just to mention a few. As the charts show, open homosexuality in the military can only lead down a black hole--"Military Reputation and Recruiting Rates Down" and "Military Culture Irrevocably Degraded."

Unfortunately, we have a president who places his liberal social ideology above the best interests of the military, along with a culture so steeped in narcissistic self-involvement that its citizens have little motivation (and perhaps now lack the ability) to consider the greater good as opposed to what's good 'for me.' The Center for Military Readiness is rightly examining the issue of gays in the military in terms of the former.

The Mount Vernon Statement

First there was the Manhattan Declaration and now there's The Mount Vernon Statement.

Over 100 conservative leaders signed the statement yesterday saying they 'recommit' themselves to the ideas of the Founding Fathers including those stated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. There's nothing bad about the document, but it seems a bit redundant. After all, we already have the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and we already know that the founding principles are under attack by progressives and liberals. The statement is also kind of vague: "If we are to succeed in the critical political and policy battles ahead, we must be certain of our purpose." Which critical battles? Which purpose?

There's a preachy tone to the statement as well with: "We must begin by retaking and resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles." Why? Because the conservative leaders say so? I think this is the objection of Ann Kane in her American Thinker piece. The notion of a conservative establishment is as troubling to her as that of a liberal establishment.

While there's no particular reason to compare the two, The Mount Vernon Statement lacks for me some of the punch of the Manhattan Declaration. The latter defines the culture wars in our society, draws a line in the sand and calls on Christians to defend their beliefs in the public square. I'm not sure exactly what the Mount Vernon Statement does.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Women in the Military

An article in the Times advocating women in combat units in the military prompted Blackfive's Uncle Jimbo to emphatically disagree. Rather strange that he opposes women serving in combat units, but finds the idea of gays serving openly to be acceptable. (He does acknowledge the irony.)

Catherine Ross, the female civil affairs sergeant who authored the Times article strikes that whiny, let-me-play-too tone as to why women serving alongside men in combat is no problem. After all, it wasn't a problem for her she says. When she had to share a container (hardly combat) with three male soldiers, they were, in her words, "perfect gentlemen." And if they hadn't been? I imagine that Ross would have been quick to file a sexual harrassment suit and seek redress for the wrongs committed against her person.

This article boils down to a few loosely connected thoughts on the part of a somewhat smug female who seems to place a lesser value on her innate feminine qualities and a greater value on her ability to be just like a man. Ross expresses the perverse twist of the feminist agenda which is not and never was a celebration of being female. Rather, it's an agenda fueled by women who covet entry into a man's world----but only on a woman's terms.

Far more interesting than Ross's article are the comments posted by readers of the Blackfive article. There is another set of comments here. As one reader comments:

I have an image of an interview with Navy Secretary John Lehman. I'll paraphrase: "Surely there are a few women who can run and jump and carry as much weight as men. Maybe 1 percent. But they are freaks. And we're not building a Navy on freaks." There are plenty of places for women in the military. We bring talents and a unique skill set to many different jobs. But battlefields and combat should not be on the list. I think they should interview every man who has been in combat and ask him "Would you want your daughter to experience what you experienced?" Bet I know the 99% answer.

Team Rubicon

I have been meaning to again mention Team Rubicon which I wrote about here. Team Rubicon is the privately-organized relief effort that was conceived of and created by Jake Woods, a former Marine, who recruited retired military personnel, firemen and doctors and went into Haiti before the larger and more cumbersome relief organizations could get there.

To my surprise, Jake Woods is all of 26 years old.

He was
interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt show a couple weeks ago. Hear what a former Marine, a former college football player and a person of (Christian) faith can do with an idea and some hard work.

Team Rubicon now has a
website , and a documentary about the group is in the works as well.

Lt. Col. Allen West in Florida's 22nd District

Lt. Col. West, like Allen Griffith, is another leader at the local level whose candidacy will help strike more blows against what West calls the "leadership by entitlement" that we currently suffer with in Washington.

In this Newsmax interview from last month, West is straightforward and articulate about any number of issues. On race relations, he says that Blacks have to get away from the victimization of liberalism and engage in the empowerment of conservatism. He describes the 'self-licking ice-cream cone' whereby government creates victims who then become wedded to the government for help, causing the government to claim it must grow ever larger to help all the victims it created. (Sounds like a perfect description of the Obama presidency.) On Islam, West doesn't hesitate to say that Islam isn't a religion, but rather a "theocratic, political system disguised as religion."

If Joe Biden happens to be looking for any more mainstream African-Americans who are clean, bright and articulate, he need look no further than Allen West.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Allen Griffith 4 Congress

Please follow and support this candidate from my home state of Pennsylvania. The video is great and so is his message. More people, regular people (all those 'folks' that Barack Obama keeps referring to) need our support when they, like Allen Griffith, decide to take a stand and throw their hat into the ring of public service. Our government should not be in the hands of a self-anointed, ruling elite in Washington, but rather in our hands, the hands of our local leaders, friends and neighbors who have the ability to articulate our viewpoints and the integrity to represent us honestly. Great success to Allen Griffith in his run for Congress. Griffith's website is:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Corpseman" Obama

As others have quippped, maybe this is why we haven't heard much about his track record at Pomona College, Columbia and Harvard.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Anti-Catholic Obama

Harry Knox is part of Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships even though he continues to be outspoken with his criticism of Pope Benedict XVI. This week he stood by his comments about the Pope 'hurting people in the name of Jesus.' Back in March of 2009, Knox called the Catholic group, the Knights of Columbus, 'foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression' and cited the Pope as one of its discredited leaders.

Tolerance? Diversity? Open-mindedness? Respect for others' beliefs? Yet, Obama stands by Knox.

If you are so inclined, visit the St. Michael Society website and read the petition asking for Knox's resignation.

Anti-Life Obama

Barack Obama continues to push a culture of death. Now clinics on military posts are required to distribute Plan B, also called the morning after pill, at U.S. military hospitals both domestic and international. The morning after pill, an abortifacient, means that even military personnel who oppose abortion will be required to dispense it. Whereas President Bush blocked distribution of the drug, Obama has not. A spokesperson for NARAL calls it a 'tragedy' that military women have been denied the pill and she applauds 'experts' for 'standing up for' military women. A twisted perspective to say the least.

Obama is the president who supposedly is committed to reducing the need for abortion. If he were serious about this commitment, he would be promoting the many pregnancy resource centers around the country that support and counsel pregnant women to avoid abortion. Not only does Obama not promote these centers, his stance on abortion creates a climate that promotes threatening to de-fund them with the 'Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act.' (Note that my district's House representative Carolyn Maloney is among those leading the de-funding charge.)

Obama seems to always choose measures that destroy life rather than measures that will preserve it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Public Law 103-160, Section 654, Title 10

It is worth mentioning again that 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' is not a law. 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' was an arrangement made in 1993 by then-President Clinton in order to satisfy his homosexual constituency. A law does exist, however, that prohibits homosexuals from serving in the U.S. Military. It is

Public Law 103-160, Section 654, Title 10—the homosexual exclusion law passed by both houses of Congress in 1993 with veto-proof, bi-partisan majorities. The flawed cornerstone principle of "don’t ask, don’t tell," to the effect that homosexual orientation is not a bar to military service, is conspicuously absent. Instead, the plain meaning of the law and legislative history affirmed the classic principle that "Homosexuality is incompatible with military service."

It is also worth mentioning again Frank Gaffney's article which points out what Obama is trying to do. Obama wants the repeal of the aforementioned law, Section 654, Title 10, which is "a statutory prohibition on openly homosexual individuals serving in the U.S. military." There are 15 points in this prohibiton which state why homosexuals should not serve in the U.S. military. You will find the law here.

What Obama can't get by fiat, he will seek to get by arm-twisting and the small incremental changes that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are agreeing to. They seem more than willing to do the president's bidding. Here is Mullen going on about his personal views regarding homosexuality in the military. (Mullen, spouting PC 'rights' rhetoric, isn't questioned by the mainstream media as to the relevancy of his 'personal' views on a matter of national interest. Recall the outcry of criticism when a former chairman, Peter Pace, expressed his views on the same topic. )

Lest there's any doubt about the far-reaching negative effects of open homosexuality in the military, Richard Black describes the threat to over-all discipline and moral conduct that homosexuality can pose. (Interestingly, Fort Hood, TX was the site of one such disciplinary breakdown.) Colonel Beady describes here how advancing the cause of homosexuality in the military has the potential to destroy the military community which tends to hold traditional values regarding marriage and family.

The push to have gays openly serve in the military is not about equality, rights or fighting discrimination. It is about the will of a few forcing disordered social policy on our country regardless of the cost.

Gays in the Military--Bad News

On the matter of gays serving openly in the military, Blackfive has published a disappointing and mis-guided opinion. It may or may not be 'silly for gay service members to pretend they're something that they're not,' but that isn't the issue.

Although Americans are pressured to believe otherwise, repealing the mis-named 'Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy'(DADT)has nothing to do with the desire of gays to serve their country. They can do that now if they are truly dedicated to service and to a cause greater than themselves. Nor does DADT have anything to do with rights. As others have pointed out, no one has a constitutional or God-given right to serve in the military any more than any of us has a constitutional or God-given right to be admitted to Harvard.

The repeal of DADT has everything to do with social engineering. The soldier has traditionally been the embodiment of manliness and manly virtue. If as a society we are willing to so pervert what it means to be a soldier by normalizing homosexuality, then we are also willing to pervert what it means to be a man. And that's what gay activists seek to do. They wish to redefine biology, defy nature and nature's God, and re-create society in their own image. Gays in the military is another step, perhaps the final one, toward re-defining normalcy and defining traditional manhood out of existence.

With a distinctly feminized and unmanly president in the White House, it is no surprise that this administration is "bludgeoning the Pentagon" and Congress to, as Frank Gaffney writes,
go along with him on the repeal, not of Bill Clinton's DADT executive order, but of a statutory prohibition on openly homosexual individuals serving in the U.S. military. But is he really up to the job of arguing that the fifteen findings why such a ban is necessary that were solemnly and deliberately enacted with President Clinton's signature somehow no longer apply?
Gaffney goes on to say,

Instead, the current law is an appropriate and necessary reflection of the realities of human nature. Sexual proclivities, especially in circumstances of forced intimacy (like foxholes, barracks, submarines, etc.), do interfere with the "good order and discipline" required if the military is to be able to recruit, retain, prepare and employ effectively in combat the sort of armed forces we must have in a dangerous world. This case will be made by more than 1100 senior retired military officers (see who will speak for colleagues still in uniform who cannot easily engage in the public debate.

Family Research Council explains some of the subtle ways that the Obama administration will impose its will.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, together with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is rolling out a "relaxed" standard on homosexuality in the military that would strip the law of its teeth while the President tries to overturn it.
They go on to explain that,
the top brass has said it will dramatically shift the process of "outing" homosexual servicemen. For starters, the military would no longer investigate a soldier's sexuality based on a "third party" account. In other words, only "flagrant violators" would be ousted--dramatically cutting down on the number of dismissals. Also, generals and admirals will be the final authorities on which soldiers are discharged after years of processing those decisions in the lower ranks. In effect, the President is saying that he may not be able to overturn the law without Congress, but he can stop enforcing it.
Besides re-defining traditional notions of manliness, FRC also points out the violence and harrassment that will accompany open homosexuality in the military.

It's interesting to note that after the Fort Hood terrorist shooting, media pundits on the conservative side denounced General Casey for his PC remarks about preserving diversity in the military. Here, now, is the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mullen, promoting an equally insidious and dangerous type of diversity and, so far, I see
no criticism of his politically correct cooperation.

All told, this is another piece of Obama's hope-and-change puzzle that needs to go down to a blazing defeat.

It's Hard For Obama

What is our president thinking? He treads softly with terrorists, apologizes to the world for America's contributions and bows to mayors. On the other hand, he turns aggressive when he scolds Supreme Court justices, and he gets tough on unborn babies by continuing to promote a health plan that will have all of us paying to abort them.

Today he commiserated with Senate Democrats about these being "tough times to hold public office." He couldn't say enough about all the hard work he and the Democrats have been doing. Who would have thought that a senator's life was full of "hard decisions," " hard work," " working hard," "doing the hard thing," " hard political decisions," problems that are "hard to solve" and that they have the "burden of working harder." The speech will likely give any sane person agita.

What is the president thinking? Nothing of particular substance. Obama is a clanging bell, a crashing gong and, under all that noise, a wimpy man.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tim Tebow and His Super Bowl Ad

Yesterday, American Thinker published this short piece that I wrote on the upcoming Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad. With no TV, I listen to a lot of talk radio and thought it curious that such disparate talk-show hosts as Rush Limbaugh on the one hand and Mike Francesa on the other mentioned the Tebow ad. Part of Rush's showmanship is his claim to be the all-knowing, always-ahead-of-the-curve spokesman for relevant issues. I find he's always a little behind on the social issues like abortion and gay marriage, and his comments on the Tebow ad and so-called pro-choice women were just that, though he was accurate. As for Mike Francesa, he's almost always level-headed when he dips into subjects other than sports. (His interviews are always good, too!)