Friday, December 30, 2011

Marriages dissolved, sexual relationships banned among FLDS faithful

(KSL) HILDALE — As the year comes to an end and the followers of Warren Jeffs await the apocalypse he has predicted, they're living under a challenging edict: they're forbidden to have sex until Jeffs is sprung from a Texas prison.

"He has predicted that the walls in the prison where he's at will fall and crumble," said Joni Holm, who has many relatives in the polygamous FLDS faith.

According to Holm, Fundamentalist LDS Church members also face their faith's most severe punishment, excommunication, if they conceive a child.

It's one of the strangest edicts in a season full of them. Jeffs has issued a stream of revelations, prophecies and orders to his congregation in the border community of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

Right now they have all been told that they are not to live as husband and wife. They can live in the same house, but they are not to have sexual relationships until Warren comes out and re-seals them.
–Joni Holm, relative of FLDS members

The recent edicts from Jeffs' prison cell seem to be having two contradictory effects: Many are leaving the FLDS faith in disgust, and those who stay are reported to be increasingly devoted to a man who is serving a lifetime sentence for raping underage girls.

According to numerous critics and outside observers, the imprisoned FLDS leader has sometimes acted through his brother Lyle and other times has spoken directly to his congregation over the phone from prison. He recently banned many of the things his followers enjoy: bicycles, ATVs, trampolines, even children's toys. But the sex edict reaches into the bedrooms of all his devoted followers.

According to Holm, Jeffs declared all existing marriages to be void.

"Right now they have all been told that they are not to live as husband and wife," Holm said. "They can live in the same house, but they are not to have sexual relationships until Warren comes out and 're-seals' them."

The sex ban was the last straw for Holm's brother-in-law. She said he left the FLDS fold three weeks ago after spending 39 years — his entire life — in the FLDS community.

Social service organizations are reporting a surge of people departing the FLDS group, although exact numbers are unavailable. Holm thinks about 100 members have left in recent weeks from the community of 10,000.

"They're leaving," Holm said. "Groups of them are coming out. We're getting families that are coming out now. It's only going to get worse."

She has helped such "refugees" for years, offering a place for them to live temporarily as they try to establish lives outside the FLDS community. Mike Leetham, coordinator of Utah's Safety Net organization, said there is currently a shortage of "host homes" for people trying to leave the group.

Holm said her brother-in-law confirmed reports that faithful members are meeting almost daily and being re-baptized. But they won't be considered married until Jeffs gets out of prison to personally "re-seal" them.

"Until then, they are not have any sexual relationships," Holm said. "It is now considered adultery."

If FLDS members have sex on the sly, any resulting children will be considered "sons of perdition," according to Holm's brother-in-law, and the parents will be instantly excommunicated.

The sex ban will be lifted only if Jeffs' latest prophecy comes true: an apocalypse that will bring down the prison walls and broil the human race.

"They believe that they'll still roam on the Earth," Holm said, "but the rest of us will be burned."

In recent weeks, FLDS members have reportedly faced intense, personal interviews with Lyle Jeffs to prove their loyalty and have been ordered to pay large financial assessments. Some members have been excommunicated. The process seems to be aimed at winnowing the FLDS down to Jeffs' most faithful followers.

Texas officials are investigating whether Jeffs violated his prison phone privileges by calling his congregation.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pets With Newt

Inspired by the many supporters and volunteers “with Newt” who bring their pets to our campaign rallies and events, we’ve launched “Pets with Newt”!

Are you a pet owner with Newt? Share a picture of you and your “pet with Newt” today...

Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” on Drinking Glasses

Dueling Jingle Bells

Virginia GOP to Require Loyalty Oath in Presidential Primary

The state Republican Party will require voters to sign a loyalty oath in order to participate in the March 6 presidential primary.

Anyone who wants to vote must sign a form at the polling place pledging to support the eventual Republican nominee for president. Anyone who refuses to sign the pledge will be barred from voting...

RealCatholicTV Phone Conversation: "Have you been suppressed?"

From RealCatholicTV's Facebook Page:
Actual transcript of a recent telephone conversation : "Have you been suppressed?" "Not to the best of my knowledge, but it's never happened to me before so I wouldn't know what it feels like."

This posting silence for the octave of Christmas or thereabouts was and is and remains a planned thing over the vacation (many of our staff are traveling to see their families, who they do not see very much over the year etc.)

We have not been suppressed. At least, I don't think so . . .

For now, feast your eyes upon this - Fr Eduard Perrone, priest of the Order of Melchizedek, scholar, gentleman, composer, confessor, model for all young men, speaks about the mind-bending awesomeness of the Mass at the CTH conference 2009.

New York Times: Southern Food is Undignified

By Todd Starne

(FOX News & Commentary) The New York Times has declared down home Southern cooking undignified in a story that heaped praise on a new generation of Southern chefs while denigrating fried chicken, Cracker Barrel restaurants and the Queen of Southern Food — Paula Deen.

The food snobs at the Times attacked Miss Paula in the second sentence of their lengthy diatribe – calling her a “so-called queen of Southern food, who cooks with canned fruit and Crisco.”

The Times bemoaned the “hayseed image” of Southern cooking while praising “a new generation of chefs who have pushed Southern cooking into the vanguard of world cuisine.”

Their headline proclaimed – “Vanquishing the Colonel – Farmers work with chefs to restore Southern cuisine’s dignity.”

You can read the entire story by clicking here.

“Today, purists believe, Southern cooking is too often represented by its worst elements: feedlot hams, cheap fried chicken and chains like Cracker Barrel,” the Times whined.

Perhaps The New York Times should consider first restoring its own dignity before launching a crusade against shrimp and grits.

It seems to me that the “so-called” queen of Southern cooking should fly up to New York City and take a cast iron skillet to the backside of the “so-called” newspaper that printed such nonsense.

But Miss Paula is a genteel Southern lady and would probably just shake her head and say, “Oh Lord, y’all.”

So as a proud son of the South, I believe it is my duty to defend the honor of our skillet fried chicken, our ham hocks and our sweet potato pies. Nobody speaks ill of butter and gets away with it.

For the record, I happen to have a Cracker Barrel rocking chair in my office at the Fox News Corner of the World – along with several copies of Paula Deen’s cookbooks. That being said – I’m really not quite sure why The New York Times felt compelled to launch a broadside against the traditional cuisine of the Southern states.

I’ll take a Cracker Barrel Meat Loaf sandwich and a slice of their Double Chocolate Fudge Coca Cola Cake any day of the week — over the slop they serve at those five-star New York City restaurants.

Does The Old Gray Lady really want to pick a food fight with Alabama or Mississippi? There’s a reason why the Magnolia State is the plumpest in the nation — it’s called banana pudding.

In New York City, they eat boiled animal tongues. In the South we use our tongues for licking our fingers.

Southerners eat buttermilk biscuits and sip frosty glasses of sweet tea. New Yorkers nosh bagels and drink seltzer water.

New Yorkers eat fermented soy and tuna tartar – while folks in Tennessee eat fried catfish – with tarter sauce.

As an expatriated Southerner living in Brooklyn, I’ve come to realize that this quest to redefine Southern cuisine has taken root in the Big Apple. Chefs who couldn’t succeed in Dixie have moved north to ply their trade. It’s a movement called, “New Southern Cuisine.”

To be fair, I decided to visit one of those so-called “New Southern Cuisine” restaurants the other day. To their credit, they served sweet tea. But that’s about the only southern thing in the building.

The first item on the menu was “Black-eyed Pea Hummus.”

I threw up a little inside my mouth.

 The waiter brought my iced tea and suggested I try something they called “Arugula Smear.”

I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to eat it or wipe it.

I paid for my sweet tea, went home and whipped up a batch of Miss Paula’s macaroni and cheese. And as I sat down at my table, I prayed this prayer:

“Dear Jesus, thank you for butter. Amen.”

So let this column be a warning to my fellow Southerners. Take up your cast iron skillets and prepare to defend our kitchens from the Yankee invaders. And let our rally cry be heard from the beaches of Biloxi to the mountains of Gatlinburg – the only good chicken is a fried chicken.

So praise the Lord and pass the biscuits.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prayers for Judith Anne

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 5:14:58 PM by Chantillie

(If I've posted this to the wrong area, Please feel free to move this!)

Judith Anne was admitted to the hospital the day after Christmas having suffered a serious stroke....

(Admins: I was uncertain where to post this to, and apologize if I've placed it wrong~ Please, feel free to move this to where it needs to be)
I have not met any of you, but I am Judith Anne's daughter, Annie- I knew of some of you from the many times she talked with me about discussions here, friends, and some very feisty debates~ I KNOW she would want me to let you guys know whats happened in the past few days-

The morning after Christmas, mom my had a pretty bad headache. She's had issues with allergies off and on, so nothing was thought of it and she decided to lay down and take a nap. She woke about an hour later with out the use of the left side of her body- I called the ambulance and she was brought to the E.R.

Information has been back and forth during the past 36 hours on exactly what her condition was. However, at the last consult with her doctor, things have worsened to an extent that there is no longer a "getting better."

Her first stroke affected the right middle portion of her brain, as well as caused her to have a heart attack.

Both arteries in her neck are completely blocked. The first CT (when she arrived at the hosp.) compared to the CT done today showed considerable expansion of damage along with an additional stroke affecting the left side of her brain. Her heart is only working at about 20%. There are additional factors that is simply too much to get into now, but needless to say we are going to follow her standing wishes in the request of no outstanding measures to keep her body alive as well as a DNR. At this point, there is no way to stop the progression of damage, and she is not waking nor responding in any fashion to outside stimuli. We're hoping for a few days more just so family can come down and have their chance to say goodbyes~ Prayers are desperately appreciated! in all honesty, at this point I don't know what to do....Gods hand is over us, and He IS with us! A priest was able to go in yesterday afternoon to offer the anointing of the sick as well as administer last rights (again, something she felt strongly about if there were ever a chance she would be in a possible life threatening situation)~

I hate to be passing on such sad news, but I knew she would want you guys to know~

1 posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 5:15:04 PM by Chantillie

These Stone Walls at Year’s End: Father Gordon MacRae's Hits and Misses for 2011

By Father Gordon J. MacRae an Advent post, “Down the Nights and Down the Days,” I described the challenges we face to offer Mass in a prison cell, and I described the obstacles we had to overcome in another post, “The Sacrifice of the Mass.”

The new translation has itself been a challenge, and I stumble here and there. I used to be able to pray the entire Roman Canon by memory at Mass. Now I have to consult the Roman Missal for every word and phrase. But it’s beautifully written, and a far more faithful translation of the Latin Mass. It is worth the effort to learn the new translation.

I read a recent criticism of the translation in a letter to the editor in a recent issue of Our Sunday Visitor. The letter writer found the new translation to be “pompous” and failing to reflect our “intimacy with God in familiar terms.” I could not disagree more. Perhaps prison has helped me reflect on the nature of my relationship with God. I speak to my friends as equals. I speak to God as my Savior, my Redeemer, my Hope and my reason for not giving up. Restoring some reverence to that dialogue is a very good thing. Not all agree, but I feel I owe a little deference to the Church on this one.  I sometimes miss the old and familiar, but only because it’s old and familiar, not because it’s correct....

...My biggest hit of 2011 goes to Suzanne, Charlene, and Leo. They are my digital eyes and ears and hands, and without them TSW could not exist and function. But you, our readers, are also a “Hit.” I apologize that when you write letters, I cannot always write back in a timely manner.  Many of you sent cards at Christmas, but I had none to send back to you. I want you to know that your cards are posted on my wall. No, not my Facebook wall, my cell wall. You have transformed these stone walls into a vivid display of good tidings, and I thank you.

One of my Scotish countrymen, the great poet, Robert Burns, began a collection of 100 songs in 1792 that he entitled, Select Collection of Original Scotish Airs. One song in this collection was “Auld Lang Syne,” which, if you can shed enough of the Scotish accent, is actually entitled “Old Long Since.” It’s a song celebrating “The Good Old Days,” which every generation forgets are the ones we are in now. I’m not sure how the song became a tradition on New Year’s Eve, but it’s a reminder never to forget home, family, and the friends who walk with us along the way. Here it is:
“Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of Auld Lang Syne?
For Auld Lang Syne, my dear,
For Auld Lang Syne;
We’ll take a cup o’kindness yet
For Auld Lang Syne.
And here’s a hand, my trusty friend,
And gives a hand o’thine;
We’ll take a cup o’kindness yet
For Auld Lang Syne.”

Cheetah the chimp from 1930s Tarzan flicks dies

PALM HARBOR, Florida (AP) — Cheetah, the chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the early 1930s, has died at age 80 a Florida animal sanctuary said.

The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor announced that Cheetah died Dec. 24 of kidney failure.

Sanctuary outreach director Debbie Cobb on Wednesday told The Tampa Tribune that Cheetah was outgoing, loved finger painting and liked to see people laugh. She said he seemed to be tuned into human feelings.

Based on the works of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Tarzan stories, which have spawned scores of books and films over the years, chronicle the adventures of a man who was raised by apes in Africa.

Cheetah was the comic relief in the Tarzan films, which starred American Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller. Cobb said Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller's estate sometime around 1960.

Cobb said Cheetah wasn't a troublemaker. Still, sanctuary volunteer Ron Priest said that when the chimp didn't like what was going on, he would throw feces.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War


(The New York Times) LAST year, Christmas was the biggest single day for e-book sales by HarperCollins. And indications are that this year’s Christmas Day total will be even higher, given the extremely strong sales of e-readers like the Kindle and the Nook. Amazon announced on Dec. 15 that it had sold one million of its Kindles in each of the three previous weeks.

But we can also guess that the number of visitors to the e-book sections of public libraries’ Web sites is about to set a record, too.

And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones.

Borrowing a printed book from the library imposes an inconvenience upon its patrons. “You have to walk or drive to the library, then walk or drive back to return it,” says Maja Thomas, a senior vice president of the Hachettte Book Group, in charge of its digital division.

And print copies don’t last forever; eventually, the ones that are much in demand will have to be replaced. “Selling one copy that could be lent out an infinite number of times with no friction is not a sustainable business model for us,” Ms. Thomas says. Hachette stopped making its e-books available to libraries in 2009...

Ave Maria - Jewel

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Yule log VIDEO: 24 hours of the Christmas holiday Yule log

100,000 Wanted to Facebook "Like" Newt Gingrich Onto Virginia Ballot

Posted on Saturday, December 24, 2011 9:49:29 PM by Jim Robinson

I just started a new facebook page as a place for grassroots conservatives to urge Virginia to allow the leading Republican contender for the presidency onto the Virginia ballot. Gingrich is the Republican leader nationwide and in Virginia! It's absolutely ludicrous, if not criminal, for Virginia to deny the conservative base and tea party favorite a spot on the ballot while they promote their elite ruling class RINO!

Do not allow Virginia to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of conservative grassroots voters who would mark their ballots for Newt Gingrich! Adding insult to injury, they don't even allow write-ins on their ballots!
It truly is a one man election (disregarding the Ron Paul nutcake). You can vote for anyone you wish in Virginia as long as his name is Mitt Romney.

We need to write or call the Republican Party of Virginia to register our outrage and if you are a facebook user, please visit and "Like" the "Newt Gingrich on Virginia Ballot" page.

Thank you all very much, and Merry Christmas!!

Michael Voris : Archdiocese of Detroit Refuses to Meet With Him

by John-Henry Westen

DETROIT, Michigan, December 23, 2011 ( - For many years faithful Catholics have wished that bishops would take strong action to correct the myriad of Catholic persons and entities who, while claiming to be Catholic, act against the faith, especially regarding issues of Catholic morality.

Catholic pro-abortion politicians, Catholic hospitals that perform clandestine abortions and sterilizations; Catholic universities that constantly violate the faith in many ways, Catholic newspapers and magazines that have been challenging Church teachings and authority for years, all come to mind.  Now, today, news broke that the Archdiocese of Detroit has called on someone to stop using the name ‘Catholic’ - but it’s not someone who is fighting against the morals or faith of the Catholic Church at all.  It is in fact an individual who has devoted the last several years to vigorously defending and promoting authentic Catholic principles – Michael Voris, known best for his hosting of The Vortex on the website

In a press release issued December 15 and signed by Communications officer Joe Kohn, the Archdiocese of Detroit states: “The Archdiocese has informed Mr. Voris and Real Catholic TV,, that it does not regard them as being authorized to use the word ‘Catholic’ to identify or promote their public activities.”

Of note there are prominent ‘Catholic’ entities and even Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit directly flouting Church teaching without a comparable reprimand from the Archdiocese.  One such entity is a group of priests of the Archdiocese who are publicly in favor of women’s ordination to the priesthood and against the Church’s teaching prohibiting contraception.  The group is called “Elephants in the living room.”

There is however an interesting twist to this story.  Michael Voris, while he may be the star of RealCatholicTV’s programming, is not the owner of the website.  The owner is Marc Brammer who lives in South Bend Indiana in the diocese of Bishop Kevin Rhoades.

Brammer told LifeSiteNews, “I own I contracted with Michael Voris to produce video content for that website and I pay him for it.  It is a business relationship between me and Michael. If all of a sudden now there’s this tussle over the use of the word ‘Catholic’ I’ll deal with it through competent ecclesial authority.”

Brammer noted that he had received a letter from the Archdiocese of Detroit acknowledging him as the owner of the website.  He responded to that letter with a request for a meeting with the Archdiocese.  He received no response. Brammer has not been asked by his bishop, Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades to cease using the word Catholic.

A LifeSiteNews request for an interview with the Archdiocese of Detroit was not returned, and the voice message noted that the office was on holiday till after Christmas.

The press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit notes, “The Church encourages the Christian faithful to promote or sustain a variety of apostolic undertakings but, nevertheless, prohibits any such undertaking from claiming the name Catholic without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.”

The release adds, “For some time, the Archdiocese of Detroit has been in communication with Mr. Michael Voris and his media partner at Real Catholic TV regarding their prominent use of the word ‘Catholic’ in identifying and promoting their public activities disseminated from the enterprise’s production facility in Ferndale, Michigan.”

Voris says that communication was only one way – directives from the Archdiocese and refusal to meet with Voris or Brammer to discuss the matter.  Voris told LifeSiteNews that he has requested a meeting with Archdiocesan officials seven times to discuss the matter, but each time he has been ignored or rebuffed.

According to its minutes, Elephants in the living room (the group of priests which publicly holds positions counter to Catholic teachings on women priests and contraception), met with Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron on February 1, 2011.

Voris notes that his conflict with the Archdiocese of Detroit has more to do with its staffers than with the Archbishop.  Previous to his work for RealCatholicTV, Voris launched St. Michael’s Media and had various offers to air programs he produced, talks he was to give and television shows he was to be featured on canceled through the efforts of staff at the Archdiocese.  “They have waged a quiet war since the very first time we set foot into the public realm,” he said.

In response to the press release demand from the Archdiocese of Detroit, Voris told LifeSiteNews, “I don’t have ownership over the name of the organization. It’s not my organization.  The headquarters are outside of the diocese.” He concluded, “It’s the wrong person, and the wrong outfit asking the wrong person the wrong question.”

Brammer is to give a formal response to the Archdiocese after Christmas which will be aired on RealCatholicTV.


Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports

Contact Information:

Archbishop Allen Vigneron
Chancery Building, Archdiocese of Detroit
1234 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 237-5800
Fax: (313) 237-4644

Friday, December 23, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra

Do You Hear What I Hear? - Bing Crosby

The Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby

Little Drummer Boy - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Christmas Auld Lang Syne - Bobby Darin

Let it Snow! - Dean Martin

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Enya

I Saw Three Ships - Sting

Cupcake Deemed 'Security Threat,' Confiscated By TSA

TSA: Frosting Too 'Gel-Like,' Posed Risk

(WCVB)  BOSTON -- A Peabody woman says a cupcake she tried to take on a flight with her sparked a potential security threat this week.

Rebecca Hains says she was going through security at the airport in Las Vegas when a TSA agent pulled her aside and said the cupcake frosting was “gel-like” enough to constitute a security risk. said she was able to pass through Logan International Airport security with two cupcakes, but she was stopped on the way back when she tried to return with one of them."In general, cakes and pies are allowed in carry-on luggage," said TSA spokesperson James Fotenos, adding they were looking into why this cupcake was confiscated.

Hains said she had received the cupcakes as a gift and after eating one on the trip out west, decided to save the other for the flight back.Hains contacted the cupcake company, Wicked Good Cupcakes of Cohasset, which said it will ship her a new batch free of charge.

“Apparently we're a tasty, terrorist threat. I guess we were also amazed at what can pass through security in one airport, but not in another,” said Brian Vilagie of Wicked Good Cupcakes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fr. Kenneth Smits' Skullduggery on the New Translation of the Roman Missal

From Carol at The Tenth Crusade:

Grab yourself a nice glass of wine, put your feet up on the couch. You've going to really love this former seminary professor skullduggery new translations of the Roman Missal. It's even better than NoNoMen's It's Looming Like a Root Canal.
As a former professor of liturgy at St. Francis Seminary who trained many of the priests of Milwaukee Archdiocese, I deplore the English translation of the Roman Missal that has been foisted upon American Catholics.

By a very slavish translation of Latin, these texts have brought us as close as possible to the way Romans prayed between 500 and 1000 A.D., together with the social and cultural baggage of that time. The spiritual universe of those Roman times is there, along with an almost groveling approach to God and an overriding preoccupation with getting to heaven, rather than the Gospel emphasis upon discipleship, loving our neighbor and service...

Romney says no to Gingrich debate

BETHLEHEM, N.H. (AP) - Mitt Romney is telling The Associated Press that he won't agree to debate Newt Gingrich one on one.

The former Massachusetts governor says in an AP interview that he's not declining his rival's debate challenge because he's afraid to square off against Gingrich, as the former House speaker has implied. Rather, Romney says he doesn't want to define the contest as a "two-man race." And he says that debating Gingrich alone would be disrespectful to other candidates.

Romney also is continuing to distance himself from the Washington standoff over the payroll tax-cut extension.

He suggests it's not the place of presidential candidates to weigh in. And he says that doing so would simply complicate the situation - not help it, making an implied reference to John McCain shutting down his campaign in fall 2008 during the Wall Street bailout crisis...

Romney Says He Will Continue Obama's Policy of Having Homosexuals in Military

( – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, says he has no plans to reverse the Obama administration’s repeal of the ban on homosexuals serving in the U.S. military

In an editorial meeting in early November with the Des Moines Register, which endorsed him for the Iowa caucuses pending on Jan. 3, Romney was asked, “How do you feel about gays serving openly in the military?”

Romney said, “That’s already occurred. I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage.”

The reporter followed up, “But you’re comfortable with it?”

Romney answered, “I was not comfortable with making the change during a period of conflict, by virtue of the complicating features of a new program in the middle of two wars going on. But those wars are winding down, and moving to that direction at this stage no longer presents that problem.”

In October 2010, the Republican leadership in both the House and Senate said they would oppose any attempt by President Barack Obama and the Democrats to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The policy had been in place since 1993 and prohibited homosexuals from serving openly in the U.S. military.

Despite strong opposition from congressional Republicans, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010” passed in the then-Democrat controlled House (and Senate) and was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 22, 2010.

When Obama signed the repeal three days before Christmas, he said, “You know, I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day. And I want to thank all of you, especially the people on this stage, but each and every one of you who have been working so hard on this, members of my staff who worked so hard on this.  I couldn’t be prouder.”

As has reported, America’s first president, George Washignton, as the leader of the Continental Army, approved the dismissal of a soldier for “attempting to commit sodomy” with “abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes,” on Mar. 10, 1778.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Apocalyptic Prophecies of Hildegard of Bingen, the Next Doctor of the Church

By Brian Kopp

(The Gregorian Rite) Earlier this fall, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Venerable Elena Aiello, bringing to light her little known prophecies, which have strong parallels to those of both Our Lady of Akita as well as statements Pope JPII and Cardinal Ratzinger made in the past regarding the Third Secret of Fatima. (See this earlier blog post for a summary of the parallels: For fourth anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Pope draws attention to little known prophecies of Venerable Elena Aiello)

Now, Pope Benedict XVI is drawing attention to St. Hildegard of Bingen, by declaring her a Doctor of the Church.

In addition to her many accomplishments, St. Hildegard is also known for a number of apocalyptic prophecies:

"The time is coming when princes and peoples will reject the authority of the Pope. Some countries will prefer their own Church rulers to the Pope. The German Empire will be divided.  Church property will be secularised. Priests will be persecuted. After the birth of Antichrist heretics will preach their false doctrines undisturbed, resulting in Christians having doubts about their holy Catholic faith."

At that period when antichrist shall be born, there will be many wars and right order shall be destroyed on earth. Heresy will be rampant and the heretics will preach their errors openly without restraint. Even among Christians doubt and scepticism will be entertained concerning the beliefs of Catholicism

"Toward the end of the world, mankind will be purified through sufferings. This will be true especially of the clergy, who will be robbed of all property. When the clergy has adopted a simple manner of living, conditions will improve.

At this time as a punishment for their sins Christians especially will attempt armed resistance to those who at that time are persecuting them, sensing no concern for the death of their bodies.

"A powerful wind will rise in the North carrying heavy fog and the densest dust by divine command and it will fill their throats and eyes so they will cease their savagery and be stricken with great fear.

Then within the Christian people the Holy Godhead will accomplish signs and wonders as if accomplished them at the time of Moses with the pillar of cloud and as Michael the archangel did when he fought the heathen for the sake of the Christians. Because of Michael's help Gods faithful children will march under his protection. They will decimate their foes and achieve victory through Gods power As a result of this a large number of heathens will join Christians in true faith and they will  say   The God of the Christians is true God because such wondrous works have been accomplished among the Christians .

After that there will be so few men left that seven women will fight for one man, that they will say to the man: "Marry me to take the disgrace from me." For in those days it will be a disgrace for a woman to be without child, as it was by the Jews in the Old Testament.

"Before the Comet comes, many nations, the good excepted, will be scoured with want and famine. The great nation in the ocean that is inhabited by people of different tribes and descent by an earthquake, storm and tidal waves will be devastated.  It will be divided, and in great part submerged. That nation will also have many misfortunes at sea, and lose its colonies in the east through a Tiger and a Lion.

 The Comet by its tremendous pressure, will force much out of the ocean and flood many countries, causing much want and many plagues. [After the] great Comet, the great nation will be devastated by earthquakes, storms, and great waves of water, causing much want and plagues. The ocean will also flood many other countries, so that all coastal cities will live in fear, with many destroyed. All sea coast cities will be fearful and many of them will be destroyed by tidal waves, and most living creatures will be killed and even those who escape will die from a horrible disease.

For in none of these cities does a person live according to the laws of God. "Peace will return to Europe when the white flower again takes possession of the throne of France.

(See  for the White Flower)     

During this time of peace the people will be forbidden to carry weapons and iron will be used solely for making agricultural implements and tools. Also during this period the soil will be very productive and many Jews, heathens and heretics will join the Church.

"Peace will return when the Lily ascends the Throne again.  The land will be very productive . During this time weapons will be forbidden. Iron will only be used for agricultural tools. In this period the land will be very productive. Jews, heathen and heretics will join the church.

The throne of the last catholic Empire will crumble and the sceptre will fall out of the hand of him who sits on the throne. The Great Monarch by this time will be a very old man. All justice will cease and will be trodden under foot. The latter times will be more evil and corrupt in the eyes of God. Children of God will be persecuted by the most hateful means in the eyes of God. Almost immediately after the death of the Monarch comes antichrist        

 (Note: This in my opinion is the peace promised by Fatima - Richard Salbato)


When the great ruler (the Great Monarch who is to rule Europe after the collapse of Communism) exterminates the Turks almost entirely, one of the remaining Mohammadans will be converted, become a priest bishop and cardinal, and when the new pope is elected (immediately before Antichrist) this cardinal will kill the pope before he is crowned, through jealousy, wishing to be pope himself; then when the other cardinals elect the next pope, 

(Note by Richard Salbato - this will be the last pope on earth - Peter the Second)

this cardinal will proclaim himself Anti-pope, and two-thirds of the Christians will go with him.  He, as well as Anti-christ, are descendants of the tribe of Dan... (continued)


Monday, December 19, 2011

Pope visits Rome jail, decries overcrowding

ROME | Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:31am EST
(Reuters) - Pope Benedict brought tears to the eyes of hardened criminals Sunday, telling them in a visit to one of Italy's toughest prisons that overcrowding was a "double sentence" and whatever their offence, it could not erase their dignity.

His Christmas visit to Rebibbia prison on the outskirts of Rome took place two days after Italy's new government announced extraordinary measures to improve prison conditions.

The 84-year-old pope appeared in good form, reading an address to inmates and delivering unscripted answers to their questions for about half an hour. He greeted a number of them personally in the prison's church.

"I know that overcrowding and degradation in prison can make detention even more bitter," he told representatives of several hundred inmates of the prison, which has 500 more inmates than the 1,240 it was built to hold.

"Prisoners are human beings who are worthy, despite their crime, of being treated with respect and dignity," he said.

He said overcrowding and poor conditions were tantamount to serving "a double sentence" and that authorities should do everything possible to improve the situation.

New Justice Minister Paola Severino, who attended the meeting, announced on Friday a decree that would ease overcrowding by allowing many prisoners to serve the last 18 months of their sentences under house arrest.

Italy has some 68,000 inmates, 24,000 more than normal capacity, among the worst rates of overcrowding in Europe.


"I know that you live in a very difficult situation that often, instead of helping to renew your friendship with God and humanity, makes the situation worse," he told a prisoner named Rocco who asked him if politicians knew what prisoners endure.

He heard one African, Omar, speak of "our suffering and that of our families." Another African, Okai, asked: "Does God listen only to the rich?"

An Italian inmate named Federico complained that inmates who are HIV positive are looked at "ferociously."

The pope told him: "People speak ferociously even against the pope, but nonetheless we have to move on."
One prisoner read "The prayer from behind bars" which he had composed.

Alberto, an Italian inmate, told the pope he felt he was a new man who had paid his debt to society. He wanted to know why he could not go home to his 2-month-old daughter. He showed the pope a picture of the girl, named Gaia, and her mother.

Tears welled up in Alberto's eyes when the pope told him: "I am happy that you consider youself a new man and that you have a splendid daughter ... I pray and hope that you can soon embrace your daughter and wife and form a splendid family."

Severino, the justice minister, acknowledged in her address to the pope that he was visiting "a place of profound suffering" and that statistics could not do justice to the "terrible conditions of persons who keep their experiences, sufferings in their hearts."

There have been calls in Italy for the government to proclaim a general amnesty for those jailed for minor crimes and the pope heard the prisoners' views on this.

As he left the complex, they chanted "amnesty, amnesty, amnesty."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Glory Be To God For Dappled Things

 Vermilion Fly Catcher

I love all God’s creatures!  Well, possibly with the exception of spiders and feral hogs; although I must admit that the little piglets are cute.

I love birds.  Every winter for the past five years it has been a source of delight for me that a lone Vermillion Fly-Catcher has returned to Rancho Milagro and taken up residence by the duck pond where he/she darts skyward to snare an insect repeatedly throughout the day. He is beautiful to see and fascinating to watch his aerial aerobatics.

I started the duck pond in 1997.  It is small, about 50 feet in diameter.  Water trickles into it by gravity flow from my well water storage tank; just enough flow to compensate for evaporation.  I built a fence around it to keep animals out, but, of course, the fence does not prevent owls and hawks from predation.

I started with four pair of Mallard ducklings I ordered from a hatchery.  Over the course of that first year one by one winged predators took their toll.  Finally I was left with only one male duck.  He hung around for several months and then one day he disappeared and I assumed that a hawk or an owl had taken him also.

But I was wrong!  He was gone about a month and then one day he reappeared with a wild female companion.  The pair seemed happily in permanent residence on the pond.  And then one day the male disappeared.  I can only assume that an owl or a hawk took him.  Then, even more amazing, the wild female remained on the pond even without a mate.

After a month of expecting the wild female to fly away I decided to buy her a mate.  I located a man who had ducks and I bought a domesticated male Mallard and introduced him to the pond.

I am happy to report that they produced eleven little ducklings and now there are 13 Mallards.  In addition, from time to time Teel, Black-bellied Mexican Whistling ducks and Coot drop in for a visit and stay for weeks at a time.

GLORY be to God for dappled things—

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

-  Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89).  Poems.  1918.

Pied Beauty

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The day the tea party embraces Mitt Romney is the day the tea party accepts defeat

Mitt Romney at a fund-raiser for the abortion provider Planned Parenthood

Posted on Saturday, December 17, 2011 2:08:08 PM by Jim Robinson

First there was the Reagan Revolution, then Newt's Republican Revolution, and now the Tea Party Revolution.

In each successive revolution, the lovers of liberty threw off a bit more of the yoke of the oppressive ruling class to reestablish some vital part of our God given liberty and freedom., small government, big defense Ronald Reagan set and accomplished the goal of bringing down the socialist Soviet Union as a threat to the world and reestablished free America as the dominate superpower. He rescued America from the hapless Jimmy Carter who had dragged the nation down into to the depths of despair. Reagan taught us that our best years were indeed yet to come. He reinvigorated our economy by reducing government regulations and taxes and created a free market environment ripe for capitalism to flourish. A lover of life and freedom, he fought off the socialists and merchants of doom and death at every turn and sparked the beginning of the decades long Reagan Economy. He was a champion of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and he delivered us from evil.

Pro-life, small government, big defense Reaganite, Newt Gingrich, set and accomplished the major goal of wresting the congressional majority away from the socialist Democrats who had held it for forty years. His conservative Republican Revolution cut the taxes, cut the spending, cut the deficit, cut unemployment, blocked President Clinton's progressive agenda, blocked HillaryCare, reformed welfare, defended life, and balanced the budget four years running, ensuring that the Reagan Economy flourished and stretched throughout his term and beyond.

Mitt Romney set goals of protecting and sustaining abortion as safe and legal in America. He sought to be more radical than Ted Kennedy in respects to "gay rights." He swore to defend Massachusetts' strict gun-control laws that "kept us safe" and promised not to chip away at them. He set and accomplished the goal of bringing big government healthcare solutions to his state and mandating that all formerly free citizens must purchase a government approved product or suffer a tax penalty. He loves mandates against the people.

He stated that he was an independent during Reagan-Bush and he was not returning to Reagan-Bush. And he didn't. Instead, he delivered taxpayer funded abortion, gay marriage, gun-control, socialized healthcare, busted budgets, ruined economy, liberal activist judges and a destroyed Republican label.

Romney was and is demonstrably per record an anti-Reagan, pro-big government, pro-abortion, pro-gay agenda, pro-gun-control, anti-liberty, pro-socialist healthcare, mandate-loving, liberal judge appointing, budget busting progressive.

He is without a doubt the exact opposite of Reagan, Gingrich, the Reagan Revolution, the Republican Revolution and the Tea Party Revolution.

If the Tea Party now embraces Romney, it will have accepted defeat and surrendered to the ruling class.

There is a reason why the elite establishment GOPers are pushing the anti-Reagan Romney and rejecting the pro-life, Reaganite Newt Gingrich. And I guarantee you, it's not in the best interest of the Tea Party or the Liberty we seek.

Not on my watch!! No Romney, no way!!

Rebellion is brewing!!

2012 Iowa GOP Caucus

Unexplained shower of apples falls from sky over town

By Eric Pfeiffer News) More than 100 apples mysteriously rained down upon a small British town on Monday night. The still-unexplained apple shower left 20 yards of city streets and car windshields covered in the cascading fruit just after the daily rush hour.

The news immediately brought up comparisons to biblical tales of raining frogs and whether such reported freaks of nature actually occurred. In this instance, no one has officially confirmed when, how or if the apple storm truly took place as described.

However, Jim Dale, senior meteorologist from the British Weather Services, told the London Telegraph: "The weather we have at the moment is very volatile and we probably have more to come. Essentially these events are caused when a vortex of air, kind of like a mini tornado, lifts things off the ground rising up into the atmosphere until the air around it causes them to fall to earth again."

Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright, a physicist at the Cavendish Laboratory, based at Cambridge University, told the BBC, "Cars and houses have been swept up by tornadoes, so apples are well within the realms of possibility. A tornado which has swept through an orchard will be strong enough to 'suck up' small objects like a vacuum [cleaner]. These small objects would then be deposited back to earth as 'rain' when the whirlwind loses its energy."

Nevertheless, witnesses report that the weather in Coundon in Coventry was reported to be stable and calm at the time of the alleged apple shower. Coventry residents have offered several competing explanations for the event, including a passing plane, roving teenage pranksters--and, yes, witches.

But regardless of the ultimate explanation, the apple storm is no stranger other confirmed, highly unusual forms of precipitation. The BBC offers a roster of pertinent examples:
Frog falls were recorded in Llanddewi, Powys, in 1996 and two years later in Croydon, south London. In 2000, hundreds of dead silver sprats fell out of the sky during a rainstorm in the seaside resort of Great Yarmouth.
There have also been maggot downpours--in Acapulco in 1967 and during a yachting event at the 1976 Olympic Games.
On the sliding scale of inconveniences, an apple storm seems more palatable than maggots. Though, depending on the state of the apples, it's possible that some areas could have experienced both brands of offbeat precipitation at once.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Investigation concludes on alleged Fulton Sheen miracle

By Michelle Bauman

.- A Dec. 11 Mass in Peoria, Ill. marked the official conclusion of an investigation tribunal into an alleged miracle that many attribute to the intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Since Sept. 7, the tribunal has looked into the alleged miraculous healing of James Fulton Engstrom – a one-year-old born without a pulse last year – whose parents credit his survival to the late archbishop. 

The Mass, open to members of the public, was held at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, where Archbishop Sheen was as an altar server when he as a boy.

Official tribunal documents were sealed at the Mass by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria and Monsignor Stanley Deptula. Msgr. Deptula is the executive director of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, which is the official promoter of the archbishop’s cause for sainthood.

The documents will now be shipped to the Vatican for consideration.

If the alleged miracle is approved by the Pope, U.S. Catholics could witness the first ever beatification on American soil in the Diocese of Peoria, said the foundation.

On Sept. 16, 2010, Bonnie Engstrom and her husband Travis prayed fervently to Archbishop Sheen after she delivered a stillborn son.

The baby, whom they named James Fulton after the archbishop, had no pulse for 61 minutes after he was born.

As doctors prepared to declare the time of death, however, his heart started beating. Although the physicians predicted serious medical problems, James Fulton is now a happy, healthy one-year-old.

In addition to serving as an auxiliary bishop of New York and bishop of Rochester, Archbishop Sheen was best known for his weekly radio broadcast, “The Catholic Hour,” and his later weekly television program, “Life is Worth Living.”

The archbishop died in 1979 and his cause for sainthood was opened in 2002.

A second approved miracle will be necessary before Archbishop Sheen – currently called a Servant of God – will be declared a saint.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photos reveal the secrets of snowflakes' shapes


By Chelsea Whyte, contributor

(New Scientist) Did you know that snowflakes grow? They all start as a hexagonal crystal of ice and then spread out, forming delicate arms and enchantingly intricate patterns.

It's long been known that different temperatures influence the patterns of ice crystal growth. Near -2 °C, they grow into small, flat discs. At -5 °C, they form slender columns and needles. Near -15 °C, the thinnest, largest flakes, like the one pictured, emerge. At temperatures below -30 °C, they make columns once again.
So what makes snowflakes like this one grow so large and flat? In his recent study, Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht found instability in their growth that leads to what he calls a "sharpening effect".

As the snow crystal develops at -15 °C, a small ridge builds up at the edge and then spreads out toward the moist air in a sharp blade. Because the corners of the hexagon stick out farther than the centre, they collect moisture and grow faster.

"As soon as the ledge gets a little bit sharper, then it grows faster, and if it grows faster, then it gets sharper still, creating a positive feedback effect," Libbrecht says.

This is just the first step in snowflake science. Libbrecht says he still doesn't know exactly why different temperatures lead to sharpening on different faces of snow crystals, resulting in columns, discs, and plates.
h/t to S. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Norwegian butter supplies dip, prices spike, during high-fat diet mania

(BoingBoing) Norway's supplies of rich creamery butter have bottomed out as a result of a national high-fat diet mania. I assume the diet is also low-carb but I'm not sure -- the article says that the butter shortage is causing trouble for families planning to do traditional (high-carb) Christmas baking. Perhaps the low-carbers caused the run on butter, and everyone else is feeling the pain?
Butter is now selling on Norway’s top auction website, with a 250-gram piece starting at around $13, roughly four times its normal price.
Just weeks before Norwegians will be expecting to eat plenty of buttery traditional biscuits and other homemade Christmas treats made with love and the liberal inclusion of dairy products, residents of the world’s second-richest per-capita country can’t even hope for help from a friendly neighbour who is rolling in butter.
Top dairy producer Denmark lies just across a narrow sea channel, but its stores of creamy butter will be kept out of the country by the high import duties of Norway, the only Nordic nation that does not belong to the European Union.
Norway needs butter now (via Making Light)
h/t to S

'Holiday' Out, 'Winter Celebration' In at University of Minnesota

By Joe Mazan

(KSTP) Many of us are getting into the spirit of the season, but in the workplace you may have to contain that spirit.

The University of Minnesota sent employees its seasonal celebration guidelines for office activities.

The school recommends using "winter celebration" as terminology instead of "holiday party." Also they say to keep decorations, music, and food general, not specific to any religion.

The University says the policy mirrors federal guidelines.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

N. Korea warns against Christmas lights near border

South Korean Christians sing a hymn in front of a Christmas tree on top of the Aegibong Peak Observatory just south of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in Gimpo, west of Seoul December 21, 2010. North Korea warned South Korea on Sunday of "unexpected consequences" if Seoul displays Christmas lights this year near the tense border, and vowed to retaliate for what it called propaganda attempts. 

South Korean Christians sing a hymn in front of a Christmas tree on top of the Aegibong Peak Observatory just south of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in Gimpo, west of Seoul December 21, 2010. North Korea warned South Korea on Sunday of "unexpected consequences" if Seoul displays Christmas lights this year near the tense border, and vowed to retaliate for what it called propaganda attempts.

Agence France-Presse - SEOUL — North Korea warned South Korea on Sunday of "unexpected consequences" if Seoul displays Christmas lights near the tense border, and vowed to retaliate for what it called propaganda attempts.

The South's defence ministry said earlier it was considering a request by a Seoul church group to put up Christmas lights on a steel tower atop a military-controlled hill near the border.

The North's official website— Uriminzokkiri— called the plan "a mean attempt for psychological warfare" against the communist state and threatened to retaliate immediately when the lights are switched on.

The 155-metre hill in the South, about three kilometres from the border, is within range of North Korean gunfire.

"The enemy warmongers . . . should be aware that they should be held responsible entirely for any unexpected consequences that may be caused by their scheme," it said.

"This issue . . . is not something to be ignored quietly," it said.

The two Koreas in 2004 reached a deal to halt official-level cross-border propaganda and the South stopped its annual Christmas illumination ceremony.

But Seoul resumed the ceremony last December amid high military tensions with Pyongyang.

Cross-border ties have been icy since the South accused the North of torpedoing its warship with the loss of 46 lives in March 2010.

Pyongyang angrily denied involvement but went on to shell a border island in November 2010 that left four South Koreans dead and sparked fears of war.

The North had accused the South of displaying Christmas lights to spread Christianity among its people and soldiers. The North's constitution provides for religious freedom, but the U.S. State Department says this does not in practice exist.

Female priests push Catholic boundaries*417/2women1211.jpg

Minnesota is home to a small movement of women (not) celebrating mass despite Vatican prohibition.

By Rose French

(Star Tribune) Dressed in a priestly white robe and green stole, Monique Venne lifted communion bread before an altar -- defying centuries of Catholic Church law.

Despite promises of excommunication from the Vatican, she and six other women in Minnesota say they are legitimate, ordained Catholic priests, fit to celebrate the mass. They trace their status through a line of ordained women bishops back to anonymous male bishops in Europe.

"We love the church, but we see this great wrong," said Venne, 54, who cofounded Compassion of Christ Church, a Minneapolis congregation that just celebrated its first anniversary. "Not allowing women to be at the altar is a denigration of their dignity. We want the church to be the best it can be. If one leaves, one cannot effect change. So we're pushing boundaries."

Minnesota has emerged as a hotbed for the growing movement to ordain women as priests, with the highest per-capita number of female Catholic priests in the nation, according to the organization Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Women priests are working in the Twin Cities, Red Wing, Winona, Clear Lake and soon St. Cloud. The group claims about 70 women priests in the United States and more than 100 worldwide.

Several Protestant denominations have allowed women to be ordained ministers for decades. But the Catholic Church views an all-male priesthood as unchangeable, "based on the example of Jesus, who, even though he had revered relationships with women who were his disciples, chose only men to be his apostles," said Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

"Women who claim to have been ordained Catholic priests in fact have no relationship to the Catholic Church because their ordination is not valid," he said.

Dozens of congregations

An increasing number of Catholics disagree with the church on this. In a poll last year by the New York Times and CBS, 59 percent of U.S. Catholics favored letting women become priests, with 33 percent opposed.

That's encouraging news for Roman Catholic Womenpriests, founded nearly nine years ago in Europe. It began after seven women were ordained aboard a ship on the Danube River by three male bishops. The group claims their ordinations are valid because they conform within the bounds of "apostolic succession."
"I do believe we are connecting through the original church, which started with the apostles," said Regina Nicolosi, 69, of Red Wing, who became bishop for Womenpriests' Midwest region in 2009.

Dozens of U.S. congregations are being led by women priests, a movement many Catholics view as a means to solving the church's problem of declining numbers of male priests. Roman Catholic Womenpriests is the first group to claim "apostolic succession," said Marian Ronan, associate professor at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif.

The church sees that as a threat to its authority, Ronan said.

The Vatican issued a pronouncement in 2008 that women who sought ordination and bishops who ordained them would be excommunicated. Last year, the Vatican also labeled female ordination a delictum gravius, or grave crime...

Gingrich defends lead at Republican debate
Reuters Pictures

By Jason Clayworth (AFP)

DES MOINES, Iowa — White House hopeful Newt Gingrich took the gloves off Saturday as he defended his frontrunner status in a feisty debate among the narrowing field of Republican presidential contenders.

Faced with a barrage of attacks on his conservative credentials, history of adultery and controversial remarks calling Palestinians an "invented" people, the former House speaker played tough and kept his cool as he stood his ground.

Slammed by his rivals for "stirring up trouble," Gingrich insisted that "the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story," adding: "These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools."
"I think sometimes it is helpful to have a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth," Gingrich said. "Just as it was when (Ronald) Reagan went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire."

Gingrich was also not afraid to launch a biting personal attack after main rival Mitt Romney called him a "career politician" and Washington insider who does not know what it takes to fix the sputtering US economy.
"I spent my life in the private sector. I understand how the economy works," Romney said before ridiculing Gingrich for supporting mining missions on the moon and changing child labor laws so kids can work as janitors at school.

Gingrich shot back at the former Massachusetts governor: "Let's be candid. The only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to (former senator) Teddy Kennedy in 1994."

Romney suffered a self-inflicted blow later in the debate when he challenged Texas Governor Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet over what Romney wrote about health care.

President Barack Obama's Democrats were quick to fire a salvo at the multi-millionaire, noting that $10,000 is more than four months' pay for most Americans and enough to cover more than a year's worth of mortgage payments on a typical home.

"He's going to own that $10,000 bet line. Nothing else he has said in this debate matters," tweeted Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

The debate comes just three weeks before Iowa holds the party's first nominating event on January 3 to pick who will challenge Obama in November 2012....

Mitt Romney Challenges Rick Perry To $10,000 Bet At Iowa Debate

(Huffington Post) Mitt Romney is tired of hearing about the change made to his book that touts Massachusetts' CommonWealth Care as a "model for the nation." But Rick Perry keeps bringing it up. So Romney proposed a $10,000 wager -- perhaps unprecedented in presidential debates, although we'll wait for Gingrich to provide the historical background.

Sadly, Perry didn't want to take the bet, so we never got to learn what the terms were exactly. Instead, Romney quoted from the chapter in which he said that every state should have the opportunity to make its own health care plan.

My colleague Ryan Grim quips: "How many people have you met who casually make $10,000 bets?" It's pretty "1 percent," if you ask me.

To put the amount in perspective, according to a tweet from West Wing Report, "The $10K bet Romney offered to make represents three months pay for most Americans."

Conservatives didn't hold back on jokes directed at the wealthy Romney. Jonah Goldberg of the National Review tweeted that "Romney promises that his butler will 'personally deliver' $10,000 check if he loses," which was quickly retweeted by RedState's Erick Erickson.

Jonathan Martin, who covers the GOP race for Politico, also pounced. "Who among us doesn't wager $10K at a time?" he tweeted.

Romney's $10,000 bet highlights personal wealth

STEVE PEOPLES, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — He could have bet a beer. Or maybe a steak dinner.
But during a heated dispute with Rick Perry during Saturday night's debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Mitt Romney extended his right hand and asked the Texas governor if he'd wager $10,000 to settle a dispute over his healthcare record. The rich bet instantly provided Romney's opponents with new ammunition for their charge that he's out of touch with middle-class America.

"I'm just saying, you're for individual mandates, my friend," Perry said to Romney.

"You've raised that before, Rick, and you're simply wrong," Romney responded, extending his hand toward Perry. "Rick, I'll tell you what: 10,000 bucks?"

Perry laughed it off: "I'm not in the betting business."

It was an exchange that spanned less than a minute. But it's one that likely won't soon be forgotten.

Democrats and Romney's Republican challengers pounced almost immediately.

"I want to know if he has $10,000 in his pocket," Newt Gingrich's spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said after the debate.

Romney's personal wealth and privileged background have long been viewed a potential political vulnerability.

He's the son of a former governor and made a fortune leading a venture capital company in Massachusetts.

Romney disclosed earlier in the year that his personal wealth is estimated at between $190 million and $250 million.

But as a presidential candidate in recent months, he's made a point of courting middle-class America.

"I didn't grow up poor. And if somebody is looking for someone who's grown up with that background, I'm not the person," Romney said during the debate, noting that his father was poor at one point in his life. "They made sure we had jobs when we were growing up. They made sure we didn't spend money foolishly."

That did little to stop the Democratic National Committee from using the $10,000 bet to fuel an immediate political attack. In a statement, the DNC said $10,000 is almost three times more than what an average family spends on groceries in a year and more than a year's worth of mortgage payments for the typical American home purchased today.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Orthodox submarine: In nukes we trust

RIA Novosti / Aleksey Kudenko
RIA Novosti / Aleksey Kudenko

(TV-Novosti) The Russian nuclear submarine Aleksandr Nevsky will be fitted with its own Orthodox chapel after the vessel finishes its sea trials. It has become the second nuke-carrying sub equipped with a sanctuary in addition to ballistic missiles.

­The military chapel will allow sailors to attend religious services right on board during the sub’s long missions.
It was donated to the vessel’s crew by the Omophor Fund (omophorion), which brings together both able-bodied and war-wounded veterans who spent their lives serving their motherland and who are continuing that service in the field of social and church charity.

It is the sixth military chapel to be donated by the fund. The other five were installed on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy cruiser Pyotr Veliky, Russian Navy sail training ship Kruzenshtern, guided missile cruiser Moskva, and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine K-433 Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets.

The fund organizers said that their initiative was inspired by an episode in 1903, when St. Elizabeth Romanova of Russia donated several Orthodox military chapels to the Russian fleet.

The church was consecrated in the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in the name of blessed Alexander Nevsky on September 15.

Construction on the Alexander Nevsky began in March 2004 and it was launched in December 2010. Its sea trials began on October 24 in the White Sea. After the trials, the sub will return to port, where the chapel will finally be installed.

The development of clergy activities in the Russian army has support from the highest level. Some 240 clergy and nine priest positions have appeared in the Russian army in 2011, and by the end of the year the military is expected to fill all the vacancies with representatives from all official religions.

A full-scale military priesthood existed in Russia from the 18th century until the beginning of the Soviet era. In 2009, President Dmitry Medvedev supported a project to restore the military priesthood to Russia.

Catholic News Roundup 12-09

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pope Paul Sets Tone of Unity as Council Resumes

(St. Petersburg Times) Vatican City - Pope Paul VI assured the non-Catholic Christian world yesterday that it is his purpose to clear away every obstacle blocking Christian unity.  He called upon his own bishops to spell out for him their share in the church's supreme authority, a move that could ease the task of unity.

Opening the third and perhaps decisive session of the Vatican Ecumenical Council, the pontiff made a point of speaking directly to non-Catholic observers present.

"We wish to assure you once more of our purpose and hope to be able to one day to remove every obstacle, every misunderstanding, every hesitancy that still prevents us from feeling fully 'of one heart and one soul' in Christ, in His church (Acts. 4,32)," the Pope said.

- AP Wirephoto
Paul VI Drinks Wine As He Takes Communion
"FOR OUR PART, we shall do all that the possibilities allow to this end."

The Pope's address set the tone for the meeting of 2,500 Catholic prelates from around the world.

Christian unity and the sharing of the church government with the bishops appeared interlocking. Non-Catholic Christians balk at the supreme authority placed in the Pope.

The upshot of the deliberations of the prelates may be some kind of group to advise the Pope.  Speaking to his bishops, the Pope said:

"THE HOUR HAS sounded in history when the church... must say of herself what Christ intended and willed her to be, and what the age-long meditation of the fathers, pontiffs and doctors  in their wisdom has explored with piety.  The church must give a definition of herself and bring out from her true conciousness the doctrine which the Holy Spirit teaches her."

He called the sharing of papal-episcopal authority "the weightiest and most delicate" of the problems facing the council.

The Pope made it plain that shared authority would not lessen papal primacy.

He said centralization of authority in the Vatican is a necessity for unity of the church but he added that centralization "will surely be always tempered and balanced by an alert and timely delegation both of authority and facilities for local pastors."

HE SAID popes as possessors of full power over the church have the duty of heading the episcopate.

"Nevertheless," he added, "our position in no way defrauds you, our brother bishops, of your due authority.  On the contrary, we are among the first to respect that sacred authority."

The council session in St. Peter's Basilica got under way with a Mass of Concelebration - a rarity that symbolized shared authority.

The Pope participated in this ceremony with 24 bishops, all of whom prayed together at the consecration of the host - the heart of the Mass - and partook of the same consecrated wafer and wine.

THE MEETING opened under a hot glare of television arc lights and in the heat James Francis Cardinal McIntyre of Los Angeles collapsed.

He was taken by ambulance to a Rome hospital where doctors said the 78-year-old American cardinal showed no heart difficulty and needed a few days of rest and medical testing.  Cardinal McIntyre flew to Rome Sunday night.  The doctors said too little sleep and too much heat felled him.

The Rev. Oscar Cullman, Protestant theologian of Paris and Basle, also fainted and was treated at the Basilica first aid station.  He resumed his place later among more than 60 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox observers invited to witness the council.

     - September 15, 1964