Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pro-life nurse asked to assist abortion told: ‘You just have to catch the baby’s head’

( As we’ve reported, a dozen pro-life nurses in New Jersey are fighting for their right to follow their conscience and not be forced to assist at abortions.

This quote in The Washington Post by one of the nurses stopped me in my tracks when I read it:
One of the nurses, Fe Esperanza R. Vinoya, said a manager told her: “‘You just have to catch the baby’s head. Don’t worry, it’s already dead.’ ”

Can you imagine anything more horrific than being forced to “catch” a dead baby’s head? A baby who only minutes before was alive in its mother’s womb?

Pro-abort writers and bloggers are hysterically (I don’t use the word lightly) attempting to attack these women’s motives.

Here’s just a sample of mockery by Erin Ryan of the feminist blog Jezebel:
“From the way the complaint describes it, you’d think they were being ordered to line babies up and shoot them with a crossbow in front of their children.”
I won’t even repeat some of the other things I’ve seen written about these pro-life nurses.

I think the need by pro-abort writers to hysterically blow this story out of proportion is telling: they have to exaggerate because the actual reality of what these nurses have been asked to do is truly horrifying. No one is talking about shooting babies with crossbows, we are talking about crushing a baby’s skull while the baby is still inside his or her mother and severing it from its tiny body. Pro-lifers demand that all sides simply face the gruesome facts.

For a movement that claims to be for “choice”, pro-aborts absolutely cannot admit that pro-life nurses have a choice not to assist at abortions. But the more important choice facing advocates of abortion is whether or not they will agree to discuss and confront the reality of abortion.

So, stow the crossbows and contemplate the heads of the poor victims of abortion instead.

Prayer Request

Please pray for a woman who is in constant pain and having difficulty walking and sleeping. Thank you.

And the Novena for Philip Johnson starts today:

Novena for Philip Johnson
November 30th through December 8th

Father all-powerful and ever-living God,
you chose the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
the mother of your Son, to be the mother and help of all Christians.

As she endured her bitter agony
at the cross of her Son, she was consoled by you
with the hope of His resurrection.

Now, in heaven
she consoles with a mother’s love all who turn to her with faith,
until the day of the Lord dawns in glory.

~Pray the Memorare~

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy hear and answer me.

~We pray~

O Mother of the Word Incarnate,

we are filled with confidence that your prayers on our behalf
will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
Bring our seminarian, Philip Johnson, healing, peace, courage and strength
as he shares in the suffering of your Son.

O Glorious Mother of God,
in memory of your joyous Immaculate Conception,
hear our prayers and obtain for us our petitions.


Rick Perry gets U.S. voting age wrong in New Hampshire

(The Washington Post) At a town hall meeting at the Institute of Politics at New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm’s College Tuesday, Rick Perry asked that all of the college students in the crowd who will be 21 by Nov. 12 support his bid for the presidency.

Say what?

The voting age in the United States is, of course, 18. And the 2012 election will be held on Nov. 6, 2012. (The New Hampshire Republican primary, which brought Perry to the state, will take place on Jan. 10).

“Those who are going to be over 21 on November 12th, I ask for your support,” Perry said, eliciting a few chuckles from the crowd.” Those who won’t be, just work hard. Because you’re... counting on us.”

The gaffe can be easily chalked up to a slip of the tongue. In fact after the event Perry spokesman Mark Miner said simply “the governor misspoke.”

But whiffing on electoral basics will hardly help Perry as he struggles to recover from a series of gaffe-filled and lackluster debate performances (the most memorable of which was the “oops” moment during a Republican debate when Perry failed to recall the third government department he would eliminate as president).

Perry would love to capi­tal­ize on conservative displeasure with Herman Cain, as the businessman reassesses whether to stay in the 2012 race following allegations that he engaged in a 13-year extramarital affair.

But he will first have to convince voters that he has the verbal dexterity to go toe-to-toe with President Obama in a general election; repeated gaffes will likely hurt any effort to do so.

After the event, Perry ignored questions from reporters about Cain’s status in the race as he was hustled quickly from the college auditorium.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Obama Legalizes Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption

By Madeline Bernstein

(Technorati) Horse slaughter plants are legal again in the United States. Restrictions on horse meat processing for human consumption have been lifted.

courtesy of Google Images In a bipartisan effort, the House of Representatives and the United States Senate approved the Conference Committee report on spending bill H2112, which among other things, funds the United States Department of Agriculture.  On November 18th, as the country was celebrating Thanksgiving, President Obama signed a law, allowing Americans to kill and eat horses. Essentially, one turkey was pardoned in the presence of worldwide media while in the shadows, buried under pages of fiscal regulation, millions of horses were sentenced to death.

Horse slaughter has been prohibited in the United States as funding for inspections of horses in transit and at slaughter houses was non-existent. This worked because the horse meat cannot be sold for human consumption without such inspections. The House version of the bill retained the de-funding language and the Senate version did not. The conference committee charged with reconciling the two opted to not include it. The result is that it is now legal to slaughter horses for humans to eat.

Notwithstanding that 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter, that President Obama made a campaign promise to permanently ban horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption (horses can be sent to Mexico and Canada), that documentation of animal cruelty, slaughterhouse stench, fluid runoff and negative community impact exists, it is taxpayers that will bear the costs!

Wyoming state representative Sue Wallis and her pro-slaughter group estimate that between 120,000 and 200,000 horses will be killed for human consumption per year and that Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Georgia and Missouri, are considering opening slaughter plants.

During these trying times, is the only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that Americans need to eat horses?

Vatican Cardinal Burke: ‘We’re well on the way’ to Christian persecution in the U.S.

by John-Henry Westen, November 28, 2011 ( – One of the highest ranking cardinals in the Vatican has said that the United States is “well on the way” to the persecution of Christians.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and now the head of the Vatican’s highest court, told Catholic News Agency that he could envision a time when the Catholic Church in the U.S., “even by announcing her own teaching,” is accused of “engaging in illegal activity, for instance, in its teaching on human sexuality.”

Asked if the cardinal could even see American Catholics being arrested for their faith he replied, “I can see it happening, yes.”

In his remarks to several U.S. Bishops meeting with him Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI made similarly emphatic warnings about the U.S. The pope told the bishops that “the seriousness of the challenges which the Church in America, under your leadership, is called to confront in the near future cannot be underestimated.” 
He added: “The obstacles to Christian faith and practice raised by a secularized culture also affect the lives of believers.”

In the interview published today, Cardinal Burke declared that “it is a war” and “critical at this time that Christians stand up for the natural moral law.”  Should they not, he warned, “secularization will in fact predominate and it will destroy us.”

Pope Benedict too urged the bishops of the United States to speak out in defense of morality.  “The present moment can thus be seen, in positive terms, as a summons to exercise the prophetic dimension of your episcopal ministry by speaking out, humbly yet insistently, in defense of moral truth, and offering a word of hope, capable of opening hearts and minds to the truth that sets us free,” he said.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue told LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Burke’s remarks were accurate and not exaggerations.  “Secularism has become militant,” he said. “Many elites are taking an aggressive secular approach. They have lined up against the Catholic Church and other Christian churches particularly for their stand on moral values.”

Donohue pointed to New York where gay ‘marriage’ was passed without debate or exemptions for clerks who objected to having to grant such licenses. He also noted the closing of Catholic adoption and foster care agencies since they were unable to comply with laws forcing homosexual adoptions.

“The real big one,” he added, “is the HHS of the Obama Administration.” The forcing of abortifacient and contraceptive coverage in private health care plans under penalty of fines was described by the Catholic League President as the Obama Administration “on a full court press to shove its values down the throats of the Catholic Church.”

See the full interview with Cardinal Burke with Catholic News Agency

Monday, November 28, 2011

Jesse Tree

The Crescat: "...This year I resign from all that. I got all my shopping done the weekend after Halloween. The Christmas cards are all signed and sealed. All that is left is the fun stuff – decorating the house and tree. I’ve intentionally made the pace slower so I can savor each moment of the season.

And as for those arts and craft projects; behold, my Jesse Tree!"

Robert Downey Jr. Asks Hollywood to Forgive Mel Gibson

( At the 25th Annual Cinematheque Award Ceremony, which was honoring Robert Downey Jr., the Iron Man actor asked Hollywood and fans to forgive Mel Gibson just like they forgave him.

Mel Gibson has done a lot of questionable things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not a talented artist. If you compared the crazy things that Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson have done, Gibson might not look all that bad compared to Downey Jr. who once got arrested for speeding down Sunset Boulevard with cocaine, heroin and a .357 magnum. Since then, Downey Jr. has redeemed himself, stayed clean, and is filling out his potential of being one of the best ever to grace the silver-screen.

Gibson was requested by Downey Jr. to present him with the prestigious award. Gibson spoke kindly of the suave, charming star, who he helped in making his comeback by paying Downey Jr.’s insurance bond so he could take the leading role in 2003’s the Singing Detective.

“When I saw you all those years ago and got all those warnings, I just thought, ‘There’s nothing so much wrong with him.’” Gibson said, “You’re a good dude with a good heart.”

When Downey Jr. hit the stage for his acceptance speech, he spoke about a side of Gibson that the media rarely talks about now.

“I asked Mel to present this award for me for a reason,” he said. “When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope and encouraged me to find my faith. It didn’t have to be his or anyone else’s as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in the lead of a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head and food on the table and most importantly he said if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoing and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly – hugging the cactus he calls it — he said that if I hugged the cactus long enough, I’d become a man.”

Downey Jr. continued: “I did and it worked. All he asked in return was that someday I help the next guy in some small way. It’s reasonable to assume at the time he didn’t imagine the next guy would be him or that someday was tonight. So anyway on this special occasion and in light of the recent holidays including Columbus Day, I would ask that you join me, unless you are completely without sin in which case you picked the wrong ******* industry, in forgiving my friend his trespasses and offering him the same clean slate you have me, allowing him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame. He’s hugged the cactus long enough.”

Paul McCartney / George Harrison MASSIVE ARGUMENT 1969

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Hippie was the Presiding Judge of Father Gordon MacRae's Sham Trial

h/t to S. 

    Newt Gingrich to Get Big New Hampshire Endorsement

    By Serafin Gomez
    Fox News has learned that former speaker of the U.S. House and current GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will receive the coveted endorsement of the highly-influential New Hampshire newspaper "The Manchester Union Leader," an endorsement Republican rival Mitt Romney has adamantly sought.

    The endorsement of the conservative newspapers' editorial board places an exclamation point on Gingrich's impressive surge from has-been GOP contender to front-runner, and sets him apart as the new anti-Romney candidate amongst his competitors.

    Gingrich has now fully reached a pinnacle as a front-runner. He shares this title with Romney, who has established himself as the consistent man to beat by the amorphous GOP field.

    The endorsement suggests Gingrich has the potential to beat Romney in the New Hampshire primary. This "first in the nation" primary is considered to be a must-win for Romney.

    Despite the Union Leader's endorsement of Gingrich, Romney has a commanding lead in New Hampshire according to fresh polls.

    In a new Suffolk University/7News survey the former Massachusetts governor garners a whopping 41 percent of Republican voters.

    Gingrich and Libertarian Ron Paul are tied for a distant second place with 14 percent.

    UPDATE from Politico:

    Union Leader endorses Newt Gingrich

    By MAGGIE HABERMAN | 11/27/11 6:52 AM EST

    The Manchester Union Leader, New Hampshire's most influential paper, picks Newt Gingrich as its candidate of choice in an editorial today (no link yet, but text provided by POLITICO's Ginger Gibson) across the top of the front page.

    Key points in the endorsement, made by publisher Joe McQuaid:

    America is at a crucial crossroads. It is not going to be enough to merely replace Barack Obama next year.

    We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing...

    Readers of the Union Leader and Sunday News know that we don’t back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent- minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job.

    We don’t have to agree with them on every issue. We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.

    Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate.

    But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running.

    It's the most significant  and impactful endorsement in the GOP race so far, and solidifies Gingrich's standing as the alternative to Romney as the race heads into the final pre-Iowa caucuses stretch...

    UPDATE from The New Hampshire Union Leader:

    Union Leader endorses Newt Gingrich

    This newspaper endorses Newt Gingrich in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary.

    America is at a crucial crossroads. It is not going to be enough to merely replace Barack Obama next year. We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing.

    He did so with the Contract with America. He did it in bringing in the first Republican House in 40 years and by forging balanced budgets and even a surplus despite the political challenge of dealing with a Democratic President. A lot of candidates say they're going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again.

    We sympathize with the many people we have heard from, both here and across the country, who remain unsure of their choice this close to the primary. It is understandable. Our nation is in peril, yet much of the attention has been focused on fluff, silliness and each candidate's minor miscues.

    Truth be known, many in the liberal media are belittling the Republican candidates because they don't want any of them to be taken as a serious challenger to their man, Obama.

    Readers of the Union Leader and Sunday News know that we don't back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job.

    We don't have to agree with them on every issue. We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.

    Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running. In this incredibly important election, that candidate is Newt Gingrich. He has the experience, the leadership qualities and the vision to lead this country in these trying times. He is worthy of your support on January 10.

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Bishop Trautman Criticizes New Mass Translation ...Bishop Donald Trautman, former chairman of the bishops' committee for the liturgy, says the priests now have to recite some sentences that are 90 words long. He also dislikes the formal tone. For example, in one funeral Mass, the priest implores God to give the departed "kind admittance to Your kingdom."

    "If your mother or father or brother or sister died," Trautman says, "would we want one of us to say, 'Welcome into Your kingdom?' Or do we want to say, 'Give kind admittance into Your kingdom?' I have [an image] of someone being a ticket-taker at the door giving out tickets to enter, giving kind admittance."

    A Power Play?

    Trautman says sometimes the new translation is not faithful to the Bible. For example, it has Jesus, a poor carpenter, sipping from a precious chalice during the Last Supper.

    "Any Greek dictionary will tell you, it's a drinking cup," Trautman says, "It's a vessel. It's not a chalice."

    Trautman says even Indiana Jones got that one right; the rugged historian selected a rough cup as the Holy Grail.

    But Trautman's concerns also go beyond vocabulary to theology. He cites where the new translation says Jesus died "for you and for many."

    "In preaching, we will hear that Jesus died for all people, but at the altar we will hear it Jesus died for many," he notes. "For whom did he not die?"

    The Rev. Michael Ryan, the pastor of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, has similar reservations. "It seems that the Latin is more important than the theology; that's a pity," Ryan says.

    "The Second Vatican Council talked about language that would exhibit 'noble simplicity,' " Ryan says. "This is anything but that. No, it's a total move away from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council."

    "We're dealing with a power play on the part of certain people in Rome who wanted to make changes in order, I think, to bring under greater control people in the English-speaking world."

    Jeffrey Tucker, a musical director in Auburn, Ala., and managing editor of the magazine Sacred Music, thinks the changes are for the better.

    "There's a kind of paranoia about all of this," Tucker says. " 'Oh, look! We don't want to go back to pre-Vatican II days with nuns that hit us with rulers and priests [who] are fussing at us for our sins all the time or whatever.' All we're really saying here is that we want church to feel and sound like church."

    Tucker says the new words and music are an overdue adjustment from a liturgy that is too "chatty."

    Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, who is overseeing the change in liturgy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, agrees. And he asks: Just how accessible does the liturgy have to be? "People might say, 'Well, what about children?' So do we then say that the whole liturgy has to be at a third-grade reading level? How long would that sustain adults in the faith?..."

    h/t to Fr. R.

      ‘We were deceived’ on New York gay ‘marriage’ vote: Archbishop Dolan

      NEW YORK, NY, November 25, 2011 ( - In the aftermath of the legalization of gay “marriage” in New York state, some commentators had wondered why, despite their leadership role in the fight against the law, the state’s Catholic bishops’ efforts had ultimately seemed so strangely half-hearted, given the high stakes.

      One of these was gay activist Terence Weldon. Writing after the vote at the blog “Queering the Church,” he said: “the really interesting thing about the Catholic bishops and NY gay marriage is not how vigorously they fought against it (as the headlines would have it), but how lukewarm this opposition was overall, and how calm they have been in response.”

      Weldon pointed out that of 21 bishops in the state, he could only think of two who had taken any public steps to fight the gay “marriage” law - Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMazio. Overall he described the response of the bishops to the passage of the law as “muted and moderate...” (continued)

      Russians flock to see Virgin Mary relic
      Thousands of Orthodox believers, braving frosty weather, stand in a long line for hours Wednesday to get inside Christ the Savior Cathedral to kiss the relic.

      (AP) MOSCOW — Braving freezing cold temperatures and ice-covered sidewalks, tens of thousands of Russians stood in line Wednesday to see and kiss a newly arrived relic of the Virgin Mary in Russia's largest Orthodox cathedral.

      The Virgin Mary's Cincture, a belt that Christians believe was worn by Jesus' mother, was brought to Russia last month from Mount Athos, a monastic community in Greece.

      Kissing the relic, which is encased in an ornamental box, is believed to help barren women conceive and heal other ailments.

      The line of people, mostly women, waiting to enter the golden-domed Christ the Savior Cathedral stretched for 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) along the Moscow River despite temperatures that dropped to below minus 5 Celsius (23 Fahrenheit).

      Police officers announced through bullhorns that it will take worshippers 24 hours to get to the relic as the line swelled to tens of thousands.

      Hundreds of buses brought pilgrims from other Russian cities. Some 150 buses were parked along the embankment with their engines running so the faithful could get warm as they waited. The city provided free tea and food and put up portable toilets.

      Some 1,500 police officers were deployed to prevent people from cutting in line.

      Traffic in central Moscow has been snarled since the relic first went on display Saturday. By Wednesday afternoon, as many as 300,000 people had seen the relic, which will remain on display through Sunday.

      The St. Andrew's Foundation, which brought the relic to Russia, said it was viewed by 2 million people in 14 other cities before arriving in Moscow.

      The Russian Orthodox Church withered under eight decades of Soviet rule, but has enjoyed a resurgence over the past two decades. Russians adopted Christianity in 989 from Byzantine Greeks, and the Russian Orthodox Church has maintained close ties with Greek clergy and monasteries.

      Thursday, November 24, 2011

      Woman purchases turkey with '07 expiration date

      Reported By John Dwyer, Anchor

      NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Nashville woman was surprised to find that she had purchased a turkey from a local grocery store that had expired four years ago.

      Libby Spires bought the out-dated turkey earlier this month from Apple Market located on Lebanon Pike.

      "I was shocked because it said November 23, 2007," she recalled.  "I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I can't eat this turkey!'"

      Spires continued, "I don't know why I didn't look [at the date when I bought it]. I was just busy. I didn't look at it then, but it's the first thing I did when I took it out of the freezer today."

      Spires returned the expired bird to the store on Tuesday afternoon for a complete refund.

      She said she decided to purchase a turkey for Thanksgiving at a different store and was sure to check the expiration date.

      Nashville's News 2 contacted Apple Market on Tuesday evening. General Manager Ken Osborne did not want to speak on camera, but said he was horrified to learn of the incident.

      In a statement, he said, "This is an honest mistake.  We donate unused food to needy families and area churches.  I don't know how this was mixed up.  It never should have happened."

      Osborne said besides encouraging customers to check expiration dates, he is going to urge his employees to do so as well.

      Despite the slip-up at the store, Spires said she will still continue to shop at the location.

      "I understand. It's okay. I will shop there, but I will always look at the dates though," she said.

      Officials do say that frozen turkeys should remain fresh up to three years past their sell by date.

      Was first Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, Fla.

      Sunday, November 22, 2009

      By Virginia Linn, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

      The 208-foot-tall stainless steel cross at the Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Fla., was erected in 1965 to mark the 400th anniversary of the city, which is the location of the nation's first Thanksgiving in 1565, according to Florida historians.
      ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Forget the turkey, the silly Pilgrim hats and the buckles.

      Forget Plymouth Rock and 1621.

      If you want to know about the real first Thanksgiving on American soil, travel 1,200 miles south and more than 50 years earlier to a grassy spot on the Matanzas River in North Florida.

      This is where Spanish Adm. Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore on Sept. 8, 1565. This is where he, 500 soldiers, 200 sailors, 100 civilian families and artisans, and the Timucuan Indians who occupied the village of Seloy gathered at a makeshift altar and said the first Christian Mass. And afterward, this is where they held the first Thanksgiving feast.

      The Timucuans brought oysters and giant clams. The Spaniards carried from their ships garbanzo beans, olive oil, bread, pork and wine.

      Eric Johnson, director of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche -- the site at which Menendez landed -- doesn't expect Americans to change their Thanksgiving traditions that are shaped around the Pilgrims' feast. But he, like other Florida historians, would like folks to recognize that the stories they learned in grade school -- the stories presented in textbooks today -- are wrong.

      It all happened in this bucolic 300-acre Catholic mission and shrine that offers a quiet respite amid the frenetic tourist activity of St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States. A replica of the Rustic Altar sits next to the shore in the general area where archaeologists believe the Mass took place...

      Planned Parenthood Gives Tips to Promote Abortion at Thanksgiving

      By Steven Ertelt

      ( The New York affiliate of the Planned Parenthood abortion business is giving out tips today for its supporters in terms of how they can push abortion on their guests at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

      The website is sure to upset millions of pro-life advocates who are busy spending the day thanking God for the gifts and blessings they’ve been given, especially the gift of human life that has been snuffed out more than 54 million times since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

      As is expected, the tips Planned Parenthood of New York city gives its supporters involve covering up promotion of abortion with terms like “reproductive health” and focusing on women’s rights.

       “The holidays are upon us! Going home or getting together with relatives for the holidays is always a stressful time, but if your family members are the type who regularly protest outside the local Planned Parenthood, you know that this holiday is going to be a doozy,” PPNYC complains. “Luckily, we have some tips for surviving those awkward conversations. So read on, and bring some diplomacy and understanding to the table along with that pumpkin pie.”

      Planned Parenthood also encourages people to push abortions of disabled unborn children on their Thanksgiving guests, by telling them, “We can try to imagine the heartbreak of a family when they get the news that a test has shown there is something wrong with their baby.”

      The tips include “Avoid bumper speak talk” and “Remember the big picture” and abortion activists are told, “Debating when life begins or whether or not abortion is federally funded may get you nowhere. Instead focus on your shared values and the big picture—for instance, talk about how you believe everyone should be able to afford to go to the doctor, or how the decision about when and whether to become a parent is a personal one.”

      Activists are told to tell their guests that it is “misinformation” that certain forms of birth control can end a pregnancy (cause an abortion) and that they should be “open and accepting of other people’s personal views” unless, of course, they are pro-life. Abortion backers should tell their guests, “I might not personally choose to get an abortion, but I could never decide for another woman whether or not she was ready to become a parent,” Planned Parenthood advises.

      Other suggestions include telling people who don’t support taxpayer funding of abortion, “I do believe that everyone deserves access to basic, preventive reproductive care, and that it’s important we support those services. No one should ever have to choose between paying rent and buying birth control” — which has nothing to do with abortion funding.

      “Oftentimes it’s easier to dismiss abortion or other health care procedures as “bad” when it’s framed as a political issue. But when you’re talking about an individual woman making a personal decision, it’s harder to just write off,” PPNYC says.

      Some arguments PPNYC suggest also include:

      “A woman may have an abortion for any number of reasons. Some of these reasons may not seem right to us, but even if we disagree, it is better that each person be able to make her own decision.”

      “I can accept someone’s decision to end a pregnancy, even if I wouldn’t make the same decision myself.”
      Essentially, if abortion backers cover up abortion with euphemisms and platitudes based on family, personal decisions, health and women, they’ll do fine, Planned Parenthood says. Anything to ignore the unborn baby.

      Lady Tambourine Priest

      Just saw at WDTPRS that Zuhlio has released a new song:

      Monday, November 21, 2011

      Social Injustice: The USCCB-run Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD)

      Catholic Investigative Agency

      'Abortion … prostitution … gay sex … condoms … did you know the vast majority of church-going U.S. Catholics give money to support all of these evils through the social justice initiatives at the National Bishops Conference?

      You may have heard of all this before .. but not like this. Despite all the denials by Church leaders and accusations that the whistle-blowers are disobedient .. mean and uncharitable .. THESE are the facts that need to be addressed .. not the people shining the light on them.

      If you want to learn how your collection plate money is used to promote all kinds of intrinsic evil … then stick around … because the lid is about to get blown off the U.S. Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development..." (to learn more click here.)


      Gingrich at top of pack for first time in CNN polling

      Washington (CNN) - Newt Gingrich tops the list in the race for the GOP nomination, according to a new national survey.

      And a CNN/ORC International Poll released on the eve of a CNN presidential debate focusing heavily on national security and foreign affairs also indicates Republicans consider the former House Speaker the most qualified GOP candidate to be Commander-in-Chief.

      Programming note: GOP presidential candidates face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C. 
      According to the survey, 24% of Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP say they are most likely to support Gingrich for their party's nomination, with 20% saying they back Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is making his second bid for the presidency...

      Gingrich gets another chance to shine Tuesday, when he along with seven of his GOP rivals face off in a CNN presidential debate on national security, foreign policy and the economy. CNN is teaming up with the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, two long time Republican-leaning think thanks, to put on the debate, which is being held just a few blocks from the White House.

      According to the survey, on national security issues, 36% of Republicans say Gingrich is most qualified to be commander-in-chief - 16 points higher than Romney.

      Walesa unveils one more for the 'Gipper'

      Lech Walesa said that there would not be a free Poland without Ronald Reagan, during the unveiling of a statue in Warsaw of the late American president on Monday.

      photo - PAP/Andrzej Hrechorowicz

      (Polskie Radio) The former Solidarity leader said that “as a participant in these events,” it was “inconceivable” that such changes would have come about without the last American president during the post-1945 cold-war era.

      Walesa added that thirty years ago, it seemed that the fall of the communist system would not be possible without a nuclear war.

      The bronze statue of Reagan has been installed not far from the American Embassy, on Ujazdowskie Avenue, one of the capital's most picturesque thoroughfares.

      A statement from President Barack Obama was read out to the guests attending the ceremony, which said that: “The location of this monument is a fitting reminder of the close ties between the American and Polish people, and a tribute to the strong support the United States gave Poland during its long struggle to free itself from communist rule”.

      The three-metre high monument, designed by sculptor Wlaydyslaw Dudek, depicts Reagen nicknamed ‘the Gipper’ making his famed 1987 speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

      During the Berlin address Reagan called on his Russian counterpart, President Gorbachev, to “tear down this wall.”

      A letter was also read from Nancy Reagan. “I am touched by today’s ceremony in Warsaw to recognize his accomplishments,” Reagan’s widow writes.

      “My husband always felt a strong bond with the people of Poland who longed for freedom. I remember the Christmas in 1981 [after martial law had been declared] when we placed candles in our White House windows, in honour of Solidarity, as [Reagan] was determined that America would do everything it could to advance liberty,” she writes.

      Although the statue was created as a result of a private initiative by a group of Polish businessmen, today's ceremony was attended by a number of state dignitaries.

      Poland's foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski was joined by US Ambassador to Poland Lee A. Feinstein, as well Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.

      Three American senators also flew to Poland for the event. (pg/nh)

      Sunday, November 20, 2011

      Crystal Cathedral prays for miracle to stop sale

      The bankrupt megachurch is to be sold to the Diocese of Orange.

      GARDEN GROVE – Crystal Cathedral's head pastor spoke optimistically about the future of her iconic megachurch at Sunday morning services, telling a congregation of about 400 that it was not too late to ask God to intervene and stop the church's impending sale to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

      Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, the daughter of the church's founder, offered a prayer thanking God for "intentionally delaying" a miracle, and indicated that the bankrupt church would continue to pray and wait for God to reveal His final plans.

      "Is a miracle delayed, denied?" Coleman asked repeatedly during the service, as congregants shouted "No!" from the pews.

      "We have many reasons to believe that God's miracle will still come to pass," Coleman said, "and His glory will still shine all that much brighter."

      On Thursday, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled that the Diocese of Orange would be able to purchase the 40-acre Crystal Cathedral campus for $57.5 million. In his decision, Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kwan in Santa Ana rejected a higher offer of $59 million from Chapman University in Orange, which was the other top contender for the Garden Grove property.

      Under the diocese's plan, the ministry will be able to lease the core buildings – including the glass-walled sanctuary and its shimmering tower – for three years, at $100,000 a month during the first year and $150,000 for years two and three. They also will be able to lease back the Crystal Cathedral school building for $10,000 a month through summer 2013...

      Saturday, November 19, 2011

      Come, Pray the Rosary

      Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Selling Wizard

      Person of the Week

      Strange Medjugorje News

      By Father John Zuhlsdorf

      I prefer to keep WDTPRS a fairly “Medjugorje Free Zone”.   It’s all too strange for me, I’m afraid.  That said, a while ago I had a note from someone declaring that if the Holy See gives approval to the Medjugorje “apparitions”,
      “I will seriously take a step backwards from my Catholic Church. I am afraid that I cannot take this nonsense, and can no longer attend Mass. If it is approved.”
      First, I don’t think there is any chance that the Medjugorje… I don’t know what to call it… phenomenon? … will obtain official approval.

      Second, we are not bound to give assent of faith to messages or revelations delivered in apparitions.  Approval or recognition from the Church gives us the freedom to accept them or not according as our lights and inclinations guide us.  Leaving the Church because the Church gives approval to this or that apparition is short-sighted... (continued)


      Friday, November 18, 2011

      PETA asks Turkey, Texas to change name to Tofurky

      ( PETA is asking the small north Texas town of Turkey to change its name to Tofurky to help promote compassion for the animal this Thanksgiving.

      Thursday, November 17, 2011

      US police re-open probe into Natalie Wood's death

      By Michael Martinez Angeles (CNN) -- The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office is reopening its investigation into the death of movie star Natalie Wood, who drowned in 1981 while boating off Catalina Island near the California coast, authorities said Thursday.

      Homicide investigators are taking a new look at one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries after they were contacted by people who claimed they had "additional information" about the drowning, the sheriff's department said in a statement.

      Authorities didn't provide further details late Thursday and said a news conference on the matter will be held Friday at 11 a.m. (2 p.m. ET).

      Last year, the actress' sister, Lana Wood, and the captain of the yacht on which Wood sailed with her husband, actor Robert Wagner, had asked the sheriff's office to reopen the case.

      On Thursday, L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Benjamin Grubb couldn't say whether the sister and the yacht captain have prompted the renewed investigation.

      "I don't know if that's related, but that's what the press conference is about tomorrow," Grubb told CNN.

      Natalie Wood once said in a televised interview that her greatest fear was of dark seawater. On November 29, 1981, she drowned in the Pacific Ocean off the isthmus of Catalina Island.

      Wood's body was found floating in the water about a mile away from the yacht.

      According to police reports, Wood was found wearing a long nightgown, socks, and a down jacket.

      The autopsy report shows Wood had two dozen bruises on her body, including a facial abrasion on her left cheek, and bruises on her arms.

      "My sister was not a swimmer and did not know how to swim, and she would never go to another boat or to shore dressed in a nightgown and socks," said Lana Wood.

      Although the county coroner's office ruled that Wood's death was an accident, others say the case hasn't made sense. 2010, Lana Wood told CNN she believes a highly charged argument between her sister and husband on the yacht's back deck preceded Wood's drowning. She told CNN last year she does not suspect foul play.
      "I just want the truth to come out, the real story," she said last year.

      Dennis Davern, the former captain of the yacht Splendour broke his long silence with a detailed account in "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour," a book he wrote with his friend Marti Rulli. It was published in September 2009.

      Davern has said he believes Wood's death was a direct result of the fight with Wagner.

      Lana Wood and Davern couldn't be reached immediately for comment Thursday.

      Wagner's publicist Alan Nierob issued a statement saying the actor's family "fully support the efforts of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and trust they will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid, and that it comes from a credible source or sources other than those simply trying to profit from the 30 year anniversary of her tragic death."

      Nierob said no one from the sheriff's department has contacted Wagner or anyone in his family about the case.

      In a lengthy interview with CNN in 2010, Davern said he now believes the investigation of Wood's death was incompetent and suggested there was a cover-up. He said he regrets misleading investigators by keeping quiet at Wagner's request.

      Wood and Wagner married in 1957, divorced in 1962, then remarried in 1972. They often sailed their yacht off the coast of California and they invited Wood's "Brainstorm" co-star, Christopher Walken, to join them on a sail on Thanksgiving weekend in 1981.

      Walken and Wood had been filming "Brainstorm" at the time and the Hollywood rumor mill was abuzz with speculation that Wagner was jealous over Walken, but authorities have said Walken witnessed only the events leading up to an argument between the couple.

      Walken couldn't be reached immediately for comment Thursday.

      Wagner admitted his jealousy in his book "Pieces of My Heart," also published in September 2009. He acknowledged that there had been a fight with Wood, writing that he smashed a wine bottle on a table.
      After Wagner argued with Walken and broke the wine bottle, Wood left in disgust and went to her stateroom, Davern told CNN last year. Walken also retired to a guest room, Davern added, and Wagner followed his wife to their room. A few minutes later, Davern said, he could hear the couple fighting.

      Embarrassed, Davern said he turned up the volume on his stereo. At one point, Davern recalled, he glanced out of the pilot house window and saw both Wagner and Wood on the yacht's aft deck. "They'd moved their fight outside ... you could tell from their animated gestures they were still arguing," he said.

      A short time later, Wagner, appearing to be distraught, told Davern he couldn't find Wood. Davern searched the boat but couldn't find her. He noticed the rubber dinghy also was missing.

      Wagner shrugged and poured them both drinks, Davern said. He suggested his wife had probably gone off in a temper.

      Wagner's story, as told in his book, differs from Davern's. He maintains that after the argument with Walken, Wood went to her room and prepared for bed while he and Walken sat on the deck, cooling off.

      Wagner writes that he went to check on Wood, but she wasn't there. He maintains that he and Davern searched the boat and noticed the dinghy was missing. Wagner wrote that he assumed his wife had gone ashore on her own.

      He radioed the restaurant on shore where they'd had dinner and called the harbor master to see if anyone had seen Wood.

      The dinghy was found about a mile away from the yacht, and a mile from where Wood's body was found.
      Wood's first starring role was as a child in "Miracle on 34th Street" in 1947, and she played alongside some of Hollywood's top leading men -- James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" and Warren Beatty in "Splendor in the Grass." She was nominated for Oscars in both of those films, as well as for "Love With the Proper Stranger" (1963), according to IMDb. One of her more memorable roles was as Maria in "West Side Story."

      Wagner's striking good looks landed him roles in dozens of films in the 1950s and '60s before he hit it big in television. He starred in two popular series, "It Takes a Thief" (1968-70) and "Hart to Hart" (1979-84), and more recently as Number Two in the "Austin Powers" spy spoofs.

        Be Wary of Crusaders! The Devil Sigmund Freud Knew Only Too Well

        By Fr. Gordon J. MacRae

        ...From an analysis of typical comments in Catholic media, it might appear that a lot of people have ongoing and extremely negative views about Catholic priests. That may not be the case. What’s really going on is that a relatively small number of crusaders are “seeding” the Internet with their comments. If you take the time – and have the stomach for it – to track comments throughout the catholic on-line world, and at mainstream media articles about the Catholic scandal, you’ll see the same few screen names over and over.

        They seem to be everywhere, and Chris Tressa ran into one of them. They are on a very personal crusade, but what makes this so personal for them? As Chris Tressa asked, “Who does that?” Is it because they are victims of sexual abuse? Perhaps so, but I know MANY adult victims of sexual abuse who are not crusaders. This prison and prisons everywhere are filled with men who were seriously victimized as children. A number of the readers and supporters of These Stone Walls are survivors of childhood sexual abuse who resent the venom being spewed in their names.

        But it’s also a fact that many of the most vocal crusaders at SNAP, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), and Bishop-Accountability are not victims of sexual abuse. So what’s behind the nasty crusade of vilification and suspicion?


        We got a hint of the answer in the case of Dr. Steve Taylor, a Louisiana psychiatrist and member of SNAP who has been one of the more vocal advocates for an end to all civil rights for accused priests. Dr. Taylor has argued loudly for an end to any state respect for the seal of the Catholic confessional. Dr. Taylor was also the founder of a local chapter of SNAP. “We have faces now,” he bitterly exclaimed to legislators and news cameras while SNAP members held up the contrived “Holy Childhood photos” described in “SNAP Exposed” and my own post, “SNAP’s Last Gasp!” in September.

        Over the last three years, Dr. Steve Taylor has lost his medical license to practice psychiatry. He is now serving a sentence in a federal prison convicted on multiple charges of possessing child pornography.

        Before he was sentenced to prison, SNAP founder Barbara Blaine and anti-Catholic author Jason Berry both pleaded for leniency for Dr. Taylor citing that his “problem” does not undo or overshadow all the good he has done. We might keep this in mind as SNAP leaders now vilify Bishop Robert Finn, charged with a misdemeanor for not reporting a priest fast enough when the priest was allegedly discovered with child pornography.

        The crusade against accused priests that Dr. Steve Taylor was on has many of the elements of classic reaction formation, a concept first proposed by the father of modern psychiatry, Sigmund Freud. His descriptions of human ego defense mechanisms and hysteria included this entirely unconscious phenomenon which he described as an attempt to cover up something unacceptable in oneself by adopting a stance in opposition to it. It is the formation of a reaction to an encounter with self. When something disdained is discovered there, defense mechanisms like reaction formation can develop into an elaborate ruse in which the thing feared in oneself becomes the thing attacked in others... (continued)

        Crystal Cathedral board prefers Catholic offer

        By AMY TAXIN, Associated Press

        SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries announced Thursday that its preferred buyer for the megachurch's campus is the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

        The announcement came just before a bankruptcy court hearing at which a judge was expected to decide between competing offers from the diocese and Chapman University.

        The Catholic diocese wants the property for a cathedral of its own, while the university would use it to expand educational programs.

        A board statement said it preferred terms of the $57.5 million Catholic bid for the Orange County cathedral, longtime home of the "Hour of Power" broadcast.

        U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert N. Kwan has said he believes the bids from Chapman University and the diocese are both feasible options, and asked the Crystal Cathedral's board to state its preferred buyer at Thursday's hearing. The board previously favored the university's bid, which was raised Wednesday to $59 million.

        Some Crystal Cathedral members fear their church will dwindle if the 40-acre grounds are sold to the diocese and they must move to a new location. They noted that congregants emptied their pockets to help build the elaborate building and many planned to be buried in the nearby cemetery.

        Others fear the broadcast that funds 70 percent of the church's revenue will lose viewers if moved to a different, less striking setting.

        "That's our church — the Crystal Cathedral. We bought and paid for it," said Bob Canfield, a 73-year-old general contractor who joined the church five years ago. "We feel like we've been raped of our ministry..."

        Outrageous Oversight - Government Seizes Church's Ability to Handle Legal Matters

        Today's stories -
        - Outrageous Oversight
        - Bathroom Bill of Rights
        - New Year Ordinariate
        - Chilling Chaplaincy
        - Bah Humbug

        Vatican takes legal action against clothing company over Pope ad

        By David Kerr The Vatican will take legal action against Italian clothing company Benetton to prevent the circulation of an ad featuring Pope Benedict XVI kissing a Muslim imam.

        The move on Nov. 17 comes a day after Benetton hastily withdrew the image from a new advertising campaign following protests from both religions.  

        “The Secretariat of State has authorized its lawyers to initiate actions, in Italy and elsewhere, to prevent the circulation, via the mass media and in other ways, of a photomontage used in a Benetton advertising campaign in which the Holy Father appears in a way considered to be harmful, not only to the dignity of the Pope and the Catholic Church, but also to the sensibility of believers,” read the Vatican's Nov. 17 statement.

        The image was used as part of a new advertising campaign by Benetton titled “UNHATE” which was launched yesterday at a press conference in Paris. It was immediately followed by the unveiling of a new poster campaign at various locations around the globe.

        The posters feature various religious and political leaders kissing each other on the mouth including a mock-up of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, the Imam of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo. 

        A large banner bearing the image was unfurled from a bridge over the River Tiber in Rome. Within a few hours, however, the image had been withdrawn.

        “We are so sorry that the use of the image of the Pope and the Imam has so offended the sensibilities of the faithful in this way,” said a spokesman for Benetton Nov. 16. “In confirmation of our feelings we have decided, with immediate effect, to withdraw this image from every publication.”

        The Islamic religious authorities in Rome are also threatening to take legal action against Benetton for defamation.

        “It is a serious lack of respect for the Pope, an affront to the feelings of the faithful and an evident demonstration of how, in the field of advertising, the most elemental rules of respect for others can be broken in order to attract attention by provocation,” said Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. Nov. 16.

        Other posters include U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao and the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

        Benetton is an Italian based fashion company with around 6000 stores in 120 countries. Their main clothing brand, the United Colors of Benetton, has become known in recent decades for the shock value of their publicity stunts.

        In 1991, the company ran a poster campaign featuring a young priest in black cassock about to kiss a nun. Catholic groups subsequently failed in legal attempts to have the image removed from over 1300 billboard sites across the United States.  

        Other images used in recent years by Benetton have included a young man dying from AIDS, a bloodied newborn baby with uncut umbilical cord, a colorful mix of condoms, the blood stained uniform of a dead Bosnian soldier and pictures of inmates on death row.

        Wednesday, November 16, 2011

        Toast sandwich is UK's 'cheapest meal'

        (BBC) Britain's 'cheapest' lunchtime meal was unveiled by scientists on Wednesday - the toast sandwich.

        The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is reviving the mid-Victorian dish, which, unsurprisingly, consists of two slices of bread around a slice of toast.

        The society is so confident in the repast, it will offer £200 to anyone who can create a cheaper alternative.
        The meal, costing 7.5 pence, was first promoted by Victorian food writer Mrs Beeton.

        It is taken from Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management which became a best-seller after its appearance 150 years ago next month...

        British Dietetic Association spokeswoman Melissa Little said there were ways to make the toast sandwich much better for not that much more money. Little said: "You can add an egg for 8p, it's not much and it would give you some protein and keep you fuller for longer - and it would make it taste much better.

        "Half a can of sardines for 19p would provide good fats, you would get some fish, and again make you feel fuller for longer.

        "Even adding some vegetables, such as cucumbers or carrots - would give you some more nutrients."

        She suggested the exercise did highlight that people are struggling to pay for grocery bills and looking for alternatives.

        The more people talk about making healthy meals for less money, the better informed people would be, she said.

        The first instalment of of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management was published in 1861.

        It sold over 60,000 copies in its first year of publication and nearly two million by 1868.

        As well as recipes the book contained advice on household management, childcare, etiquette, entertaining and the employment of servants.

        Facebook Privacy: Site Confirms It Tracks You After You Leave


        In recent weeks, Facebook has been wrangling with the Federal Trade Commission over whether the social media website is violating users' privacy by making public too much of their personal information.

        Far more quietly, another debate is brewing over a different side of online privacy: what Facebook is learning about those who visit its website.

        Facebook officials are now acknowledging that the social media giant has been able to create a running log of the web pages that each of its 800 million or so members has visited during the previous 90 days. Facebook also keeps close track of where millions more non-members of the social network go on the Web, after they visit a Facebook web page for any reason.

        To do this, the company relies on tracking cookie technologies similar to the controversial systems used by Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo and others in the online advertising industry, says Arturo Bejar, Facebook's engineering director...

        Tuesday, November 15, 2011

        "Premakes" Ghost Busters (1954)

        Poll: Gingrich scores best vs. Obama among voters today — Newt Gingrich is the strongest Republican candidate when matched head to head against Democratic President Barack Obama, according to a McClatchy-Marist Poll released Tuesday.

        The former speaker of the House of Representatives is neck and neck with the incumbent president, back just 2 percentage points among registered voters. Obama leads 47 percent to 45 percent.

        Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is next closest, trailing Obama by 4 percentage points. In that matchup, Obama leads 48 percent to 44 percent.

        Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is the third best bet for the Republicans right now, 8 points back from Obama. No other Republican is within single digits of Obama. The survey has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
        The poll, coming as Gingrich has surged within the Republican field, could boost Gingrich's argument that he would be the party's best voice to debate Obama in the general election.

        "He runs better," said Lee Miringoff, director of Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the national survey. "It's a closer race with him than with Romney or the others..."

        'Iron Lady' trailer

        A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

        John Cho and Kal Penn star in a scene from the movie "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.)
        Posted: 11/4/2011 NEW YORK (CNS) - Viewers of faith beware: In its largely vain pursuit of laughs, the comedy sequel "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" (Warner Bros.) stoops not only to sexual excess but to anti-Catholic animus and even blasphemy.

        The result -- as written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson -- is a consistently vulgar, intermittently loathsome insult to the holiday.

        The plot -- such as it is -- begins with reformed pothead Harold (John Cho) and unrepentant stoner Kumar (Kal Penn) accidentally burning down the former's family Christmas tree. Since the now-married Harold's intimidating Hispanic father-in-law (Danny Trejo) is a devotee of all things Yule -- and grew the destroyed stately fir himself -- this sets off a frenzied but rambling quest for a replacement.

        Along the journey that follows, a secondary character is revealed to have a rendezvous with a teenage virgin named Mary who ardently longs to be deflowered on Christmas Eve. Similarly, when the titular duo concocts a plot to steal a church's evergreen, their imagined scenario involves pornographic images of lesbian nuns as well as pedophile priests chasing choirboys. Another fantasy is set in heaven where a playboy version of Jesus appears, accompanied by two topless angels.

        That's not to mention the attempt to mine amusement from repeated incidents where a toddler is inadvertently made high on a variety of narcotics or the claymation sequence that exploits 3-D in a manner the fertility gods of pagan antiquity might have envied.

        The general tastelessness on display, but more particularly the assault on Catholic sensibilities, make it sobering to reflect that Penn left his job as an associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement to be involved in this misbegotten mess.

        Anything less engaging than the defamatory interludes and overall "nothing sacred" outlook of his latest project would be difficult to imagine.

        The film contains sacrilegious humor, graphic nonmarital and aberrant sexual activity, full nudity, a benign view of drug use, about a half-dozen instances of profanity and pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

        Monday, November 14, 2011

        Newt... Newt!

        By Rich Galen  Hall) I have mentioned to you before that when it comes to making political predictions I am exactly 50-50. I am wrong exactly as often as I am correct, thus you can't make any money betting on what I say, nor betting against me.

        As a case in point let me direct your attention to MULLINGS from May 20, 2011, in which I wrote:
        In the week or so since Newt formally announced that he was a candidate for President, his campaign has gone from sputtering to on the rocks.

        I, like just about everyone else inside the Beltway, declared has candidacy over and his quest for the Presidency dead.

        Yeah. Well…

        In a poll released late last week Mitt Romney was leading Republican candidates with 23%; but Newt Gingrich was right on his heels at 19% (just outside the margin of error which was 3.5% among registered voters in the poll).

        Herman Cain may be succumbing to both political gravity and the grave nature of the charges against him and was at 17 percent in this poll.

        Ron Paul was steady at 10 percent, Rick Perry led the back of the pack with 8%, Michele Bachman was at 5%, John Huntsman and Rick Santorum cemented their status as the wingmen on the debate stage by coming in with one percent each.

        Back to Newt.

        Here his theory:

        The two candidates who are stable in their numbers are Romney (with a ceiling of about 25 percent of GOP voters) and Ron Paul (who will stay between six and 10 percent).

        That leaves about 65 percent of Republican voters looking for a home. Cain will continue to drift downward (my words, not Newt's); Santorum, Huntsman, and Bachman are, and will continue to be minor players.

        So, Newt's thinking goes, he doesn't need to beat Romney - he needs to consolidate the non-Romney vote and he's the only one who can do that.

        He puts his chances of winning the nomination (this was Friday, prior to the CBS debate) at 50-50 and if he wins the nomination he is absolutely convinced he will beat Obama.

        Looking back four years it is easy to see why Newt feels this is a very fluid situation. According to this week in 2007 Rudy Giuliani was sitting atop the GOP field at 30%. Behind him - well behind him were Fred Thompson (16% and John McCain 15%). Romney was just behind them at 12%, Mike Huckabee was at 9 and Ron Paul was at 4 percent.

        The Iowa results just six weeks later Giuliani got the support of only three percent of the caucus-goers (although he had announced he would not campaign there) and Mike Huckabee won with 34 percent.
        On the other side of the aisle at this point in the proceeding four years ago Hillary Clinton had an insurmountable lead over Barack Obama of 48 - 21. John Edwards was third with 12 percent.

        On caucus night, Obama won with 38 percent of the votes, Edwards and Clinton tied with about 30 percent each.

        Note Obama's percentage. It strengthens Newt's argument.

        Sixty-two percent of Iowa voters wanted someone other than Barack Obama four years ago. The only reason he won was because Hillary and Edwards almost precisely split 60 percent of the votes.

        If Newt can avoid splitting the votes of Conservatives in Iowa, he might well win there on January 3.

        Because I am not a complete novice, I also wrote this as part of that same May 20 MULLINGS:
        Can he recover? Of course he can. One of Newt's strongest points has been his ability to ride out a rough patch and emerge to drive down the highway at full speed.
        As Bette Davis once almost said, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride!"