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Saturday, October 16, 2004
 
The Flu Vaccine Shortage

I wish I had time to put a longer item here but I'm racing against time today for several events.

Having recently taught the story of the Fall to kids 11 to 14 who were hearing it for the first time, I can make a connection to the flu vaccine shortage.

There have been emergency decrees to the criminalize price gouging for the vaccine and for bribes to obtain the vaccine.

I suspect that the sudden interest in the vaccine made come from people who have never been vaccinated but having learned that it was scarce, desired by many, and available to a few who have the ability to manipulate the system that is driving the near obssessive desire to get the shot.

It is the forbidden fruit du jour for our time, place, and culture.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:20 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Friday, October 15, 2004
 
I have never forgotten my local Selective Service Board

I realized that probably very few people under 50 can recall what a draft card looked like. As a good law-abiding citizen, I have always had the card in my possession.

What was my lottery number?

Selective Service (Draft) Lottery for men born in 1954 (March 8, 1973) shows February 8 as 291. No men born in 1954 were drafted as the United States armed forced became all-volunteer in 1973 and have remained so ever since.

Even though I faced no risk of being drafted, I joined the Peace Corps in 1974 after graduating from college and before starting my career.

You can see from the warning on the back that burning your draft card was considered a non-trivial crime. The actual size of a draft card was 3 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches, slightly larger than a credit card.

As any man 50 to 55 or so can tell you, the draft lottery which started in 1969 went a long way to eliminating the unfairness of a complex system of deferments and unpredictability of when one could and would be called into service.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:51 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Thursday, October 14, 2004
 
IEM 2004 US Presidential Election Vote Share Market Price Graph

You can see that the Kerry campaign was playing games in the Iowa Electronic market on the presidential election.

UPDATE: It appears I've got a reader on Rush Limbuagh's staff. Rush led off the show on 10/15 with my comment.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Girl's dog sniffs out abandoned newborn: New York Daily News
"A healthy newborn boy was found behind a door leading to the roof of a Brooklyn housing project yesterday, police said.

The shocking discovery was made by 12-year-old Yashima Williams and her dog, Princess, who ran barking up the stairs to the top of the six-story building in Red Hook.

The naked infant lay still on the floor, his eyes shut, just inside the door that leads to the roof at 507 Columbia St. in the Red Hook Houses.

"I was shaking," said Yashima, a seventh-grader who followed her pit bull-boxer mix up the stairs. "I thought that the baby was probably not going to make it."

Yashima grabbed the silent infant and dashed downstairs to her fifth-floor apartment, where she showed her stunned mother. A neighbor followed and dialed 911 at 5:40 p.m.

Yashima's mom, Tonya Williams, wrapped two towels around the boy, whose feet and hands had turned bluish, she said.

"The baby wasn't moving," said Williams, 36, a mother of three. "I'm so glad God sent her and the dog up there."

Amen.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:58 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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You don't have to be a person of faith to recognize how this makes a difference between the two men

Bush on faith: "my faith" personal. present tense.

Kerry on faith: past tense. "I was" rather that "I pray". Shifts to "we" and public policy statements of what "we" ought to do. Shifts from his own experience to the generic faith experience.

Only a Kerry Kool-Aid drinker could hear that and admire how he avoided making a personal statement and thereby answer the questions.

To serve his political ambitions, religion is just another tool.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:02 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Wednesday, October 13, 2004
 
Kenneth Bigley was beheaded. Blame America First. Belmont Club discusses the fact the the UK Telegraph pulled Mark Steyn's column because of his negative view of Bigley's conduct in captivity and British reaction to the his death.

Read the Belmont Club item and then the Steyn column.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:37 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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There are no accidents. Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR.

Buy It Read It

Reminder: this Sunday

Staying On the Road Toward God. Monthly Afternoons of Refection.

Sunday October 17, 2004. Basic Facts of the Spiritual Life

Church of the Holy Innocents West 37th Street & Broadway

Conference 1.30pm; Liturgy 3pm

We can use this as Catholic New York blogger meet-up. Please let me know if you are interested after Mass.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:50 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Saturday for Apologetics

Catholic Evidence Guild

Speakers presenting the Catholic faith to the public in Washington Square Park (vicinity of Garibaldi statue) Saturday, Oct. 16, 1-4 p.m., weather permitting

"C.S. Lewis and the Case for Apologetics"

Speaker: Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., 35th anniversary celebration of the New York C.S. Lewis Society, Fordham University, Lincoln Center, 113 West 60th St., 12th floor lounge, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2 p.m. (718) 817-4634.

And I will be going to the Catholic Evidence Guild if it is not raining, otherwise I'm going to hear the Cardinal.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:40 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Third debate.

No one can belive that Kerry moved ahead with undecided voters on this debate.

If anything, it only worked to solidify his base.

On what questions will the Kerry will his partisans claim that he won, I wonder.

All of Bush's flaws from the prior two debates were fixed -- but what was the size of the audience?


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:33 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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One more time: Kerry's military records

Why doesn't he sign Standard Form 180?

Thomas Lipscomb has the details in the New York Sun.

My summary: Kerry likely was initially given a less-than-honorable discharge (or worse) in 1972 (at the time he service was scheduled to end) and needed to fight it to maintain political viability. Thanks to Carter issuing amnesties in 1977, he got the upgrade in 1978, which is the published date of his navy discharge.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:59 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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They Laughed at the Idea of a Mob Graveyard last week, but

NY1: Bones Found At Suspected Mob Graveyard In Queens

After a week of digging, federal authorities have found what they were looking for in a vacant lot in Queens, bones believed to be the remains of mob victims.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NYPD detectives uncovered what appear to be at least four human bones Monday morning: two leg bones, a pelvic bone and a small hand or foot bone. The New York Times reports those discoveries were followed by the finding of eyeglasses and a watch. And working into the night, searchers reportedly found parts of a jawbone, ribs and a skull fragment.

People in the neighborhood had reported seeing things that looked like secretive burials of murder victims but there was never any interest in digging until now.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:40 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Why this election matters.

There are two reasons why this election matters in a way that all the elections that I have had the opportunity to vote in starting with Nixon in 1972 (8 elections!) have not.

Presidential (i.e. executive branch) power matters in two big ways:

  • War. Kerry would be a second George McClellan and take a cheap dishonorable peace that would leave the United States at risk as it was before 9/11.
  • Judicial Tyranny. Some members of this court will be called back to God eventually and if history is any guide, it will be in the next four years. Kerry would increase the pro-Roe pro-tyranny number of votes. We're going to make the executive and legislative branches irrelevant figureheads if the current trend is not reversed.

Things that would matter greatly in other elections: social security, medicare, taxes, out-sourcing take a back seat to this.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:22 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Tuesday, October 12, 2004
 
Robert P. George and Gerard V. Bradley on Catholics & John Kerry on National Review Online
Not In Good Conscience

Kerry would perpetuate a great evil.

“History will judge our society's support of abortion in much the same way we view earlier generations' support of torture and slavery.” These words appeared Monday in an essay published in — are you sitting down? — the New York Times.

You can get back up. There is an explanation. The point of the piece was to explain to Catholic citizens why they can in good conscience — indeed, why they should — vote for John Kerry.

But, you may be asking, isn't John Kerry in favor of legal abortion? Indeed, doesn't he support the public funding of abortions? Hasn't he consistently voted against efforts to prohibit partial-birth abortions? Didn't he even vote against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act that would have held murderers of pregnant women and their unborn children liable for both deaths?

An excellent summary of the Catholic argument for voting for Bush being made daily here by me and the commenters and in the Catholic blogs for Bush.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:23 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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ESPNSoccernet.com: Europe: Holy hosts and racists

I'm going to need help with understanding this story, but it's fascinating even if you don't know the cultural aspects discussed.

But after about ten minutes, he rushed across to gather up the ball for a quick throw-in. Quick as a flash, one of the boys was ready for him. 'Stoitchkov!' he yelled. 'Eres la hostia!' (You're the Holy Host!)

As I turned round to look at the boy, an elderly man suddenly rose from the second row of seats and clouted the boy around the head, in traditional grandpa style. He looked furious. 'Eso no se dice!' (You shouldn't say that!) he shouted, red in the face, then sat down - the boy suitably cowed.

Neither of them said a further word for the whole game, even when the Bulgarian came into abusing distance on several occasions. I was utterly confused.

Why had grandpa taken so long to clout the little sod? The answer, of course, lay in the phrase that the boy had used. Whilst it was fair game to label the player everything under the secular sun, once the boy chose to employ a phrase lifted from the sacred context of Catholic ritual, grandpa had to be seen to be taking action.

'La Hostia' is of course only the holy host in the most literal of senses, and in everyday parlance it means that the person in question is either brilliant or hopeless - with the latter the obvious implication in this case. But it didn't matter. To an older Spaniard particularly, the phrase crosses the line into the realms of blasphemy, particularly on such public view.

Note this is being written by a sports reporter and not a religion beat reporter.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:53 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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The Pope has not condemned the United States role in the war in Iraq

More support for my claim that the Pope never condemned the US role in Iraq from Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute on today's Laura Ingraham program.

He said that while the Pope did not advocate the war, he accepts that President Bush has the responsibility to decide and this is a prudential decision where people acting according to properly formed consciences can come to different conclusions.

I'm most willing to retract this claim if someone can send me a link to a on-the-record statement from the Holy Father on this point.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:35 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Respect the message and not the messenger here

CNS: In Mexico, Cardinal Law cites erroneous belief on receiving Communion

A growing number of Catholics from the United States and Canada have developed the erroneous belief that they have the right to receive Communion even if they have not confessed their sins and reconciled with God, said Cardinal Bernard F. Law.

"It appears to me that (this) has developed especially since the Second Vatican Council," Cardinal Law said during an Oct 11 talk at the 48th International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara.

The former archbishop of Boston, who now serves as archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, described the "shadows" that have fallen over the Eucharist as he spoke to the congress on the state of the Eucharist in Canada and the United States.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:00 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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A father calls talk radio 770 WABC on this topic
Yes, they are are living human life -- but they will never be babies.

But they are being thrown away. They are going to die anyway. Why can't they be used to help others.

I'm mailing this off to my former classmate of Brookyln Prep, Curtis Sliwa: The myth of 400,000 embryos

Plenty of good pro-life information at Stem Cell Research: Do Not Harm. The Coalition of Americans for Reseach Ethics on this topic.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:50 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Group of Bishops Using Influence to Oppose Kerry: New York Times
For Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic prelate in Colorado, there is only one way for a faithful Catholic to vote in this presidential election, for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry.

“The church says abortion is a foundational issue,” the archbishop explained to a group of Catholic college students gathered in a sports bar here in this swing state on Friday night.

Under the byline of David D. Kirkpatrick (who is a new name to me) and Laurie Goodstein who embarasses herself in every article she writes in her ignorance of the Catholic Church which she is sometimes assigned to cover

The usual suspects are there:

“We are looking at a broader picture, a more global picture,” said Bishop Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles who is president of Pax Christi USA, a Catholic peace group that initiated the statement. “If you look at the totality of issues as a matter of conscience, someone could come to the decision to vote for either candidate.”

For the New York Times, it's a good article. At least it acknowledges that the Catholic vote is a powerful force in this election.

The other JFK, of course, got 83 percent of the Catholic vote in 1960.

See also Jacob Warren Harper in schadenfreude who has a take on this regarding the proportional number of deaths.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:38 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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This victim of spinal cord injury is opposed to embryonic stem cell research

15 year-old Shavod Jones shot police officer Steven McDonald in July 1986 in Central Park. McDonald lowered his gun and his guard believing that this boy was holding a toy and not a gun. Today Detective McDonald is paralyzed from the neck down and breathes with mechanical assistance.

He forgave Jones and even hoped that the two of them could go on a speaking tour. Jones never responded.

Jones was in prison for 8 years and then on the third day after his release died doing a stupid stunt on a powerful motorcycle.

Steven McDonald has been a outspoken supporter of the right to life and a devout Catholic. He publicly opposed Christopher Reeve's position on the use of living unborn human embryos in medical research. He's never been given the media spotlight as Reeve had been given.

Steven Malzberg of WABC Radio had him on last night at 1AM. I had to stay up and listen.

(Now) Detective McDonald is close in age to me. I have heard him speak on numerous occasions including in person. He's now 48 and has been a quadapelegic for 18 years. He's always realistic about the possibility of the improvement of his condition but never asks anyone to feel sorry for him.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:56 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Do you recognize this man?

The WSJ artists typically do a better job in these line art portraits. These are simply horrible.

For some great examples see Kevin Spouls

Updated: Here is John Kerry's scan.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:39 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Vatican buries the hatchet with Blair and Bush over Iraq By Julian Coman and Bruce Johnston in Rome: UK Telegraph
Senior Vatican officials have decided to put aside their differences with Tony Blair over the war in Iraq, calling for multinational troop reinforcements to secure the country's fledgling democracy.

In February last year, both Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state, offered some of the fiercest denunciations of Mr Blair and President George W Bush for their strike on Saddam Hussein.

Their private criticism of Mr Blair was made embarrassingly public by Vatican officials, who revealed at a press conference that the Pope had urged him to "make use of all the resources offered by international law to avoid the tragedy of war".

Now, in light of the post-war chaos, Cardinal Sodano has announced a newly hawkish line on Iraq from Rome. "The child has been born," he declared recently on behalf of the Vatican. "It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must be reared and educated."

Despite the Vatican's vociferous opposition to the war, the bloody terrorist attacks and the continuing insurgency have convinced the Pope that only an increased military presence, including Nato troops, can secure peace.

"There is a feeling that there really is no going back," said a Vatican adviser.

In a trenchant interview in the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, Cardinal Sodano said that as the crisis in Iraq deepened, the time had come to forget past differences over the decision to invade.

His comments appear to be part of an orchestrated campaign to galvanise military and financial support for a democratic Iraq among critics of the war such as France and Germany.

Both countries have refused to contribute troops to Iraq, while American and British occupation forces remain in the country.

A subsequent front page editorial in Avvenire, an influential Roman Catholic magazine which boasts Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's own vicar, as a board member, calls for "tens of thousands of Nato troops" to be sent to Iraq to assist the interim government and ensure free elections.

The prominent theologian, Vittorio Parsi, criticises the "laziness" of countries that have refused to commit troops to Iraq unless all occupation soldiers are removed. The Telegraph has learnt that the editorial was almost certainly commissioned by Cardinal Ruini.

"Even the European countries that opposed the American decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime know well that an Iraq in the hands of the worst terrorists and criminals goes against the interests of all," wrote Mr Parsi.

The Vatican's new stance will hearten Mr Blair and President Bush, whose campaign for re-election has been overshadowed by the crisis. Senator John Kerry, his Democratic opponent, has repeatedly criticised the president for failing to garner sufficient international support for the invasion of Iraq.

"The child has been born. It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must be reared and educated." Given the sexual scandal the Catholic Church in the middle of, it would have been prudent to pick another metaphor.

This is quite an undiplomatic thing to say. Search the archives and see if he used such insulting language to describe the ancien regime.

The Pope regretted the war. President Bush regretted the war. I am looking for an on-the-record statement from the Pope condemning the United States government decision to start the war or its conduct in the war.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:00 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Monday, October 11, 2004
 
A new low for Kerry

It isn't bad enough that Kerry continues his lies about his position on embryonic stem cell research and his lies about the position of President Bush -- but before the body of Christopher Reeve is cold -- he has lied to the thousands of people with some form of spinal cord injury and Parkison's disease to tell them that a cure is just around the corner and being blocked by President Bush and that group known as "The Religious Right".

The truth is that there's been no demonstration of a application for embryonic stem cells in preventing or curing disease or injury.

The only promising use of stem cells have been in adult stem cells or umbilical stem cells.

I disagree with President Bush's decision to use the existing embryonic stem cell lines. It is like using the data collected by the Nazi scientists in the death camps. But at least President Bush was willing to draw a line ethically somewhere.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:15 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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The abortion advocates are in yer face

but where is the campaign by our bishops to remind Catholics of their obligation to vote for candidates who hold values consistent with Catholic teaching?

I can't recall a presidential election where the bishops as a group decided to sit on their hands like this.

Kerry campaigns in black churches without a thought to the separtion of church and state. (WCCO)

Meanwhile, many voters don't know the positions of the candidates. (Lifenet)

No one really knows how people who are undecided at this point are going to be influenced to vote for one candidate or another, or even to be motivated to vote.

Laura Ingraham has suggested that there's a class of voter who will claim to be undecided before they enter the polling place, then vote, and then upon leaving will claim to remain undecided.


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:36 AM   Permalink   HaloScan


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Sunday, October 10, 2004
 
Hey Charlie, how does this become a question, in fact the last question of the town hall meeting, than an undecided voter gets to ask?
GIBSON: And the final question of the evening will be addressed to President Bush and it will come from Linda Grabel. Linda Grabel's over here.

GIBSON: Linda Grabel's over here.

BUSH: Put a head fake on us.

(LAUGHTER)

GIBSON: I got faked out myself.

BUSH: Hi, Linda.

GRABEL: President Bush, during the last four years, you have made thousands of decisions that have affected millions of lives. Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it. Thank you.

And what is is the question to John Kerry -- “Do you, John Kerry, think President Bush made a wrong decision?”


posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:15 PM   Permalink   HaloScan


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link to extremeCatholic.blogspot.com