Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BREAKING: Komen for the Cure abandons Planned Parenthood funding

NEW YORK, January 31, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The largest funder of breast cancer research in the nation has ended its controversial ties with Planned Parenthood. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has announced that it is shutting the door on funding the abortion giant after seven years of pressure from pro-life Americans.

Komen spokeswoman Leslie Aun explained that “the cutoff results from the charity’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations that are under investigation by local, state or federal authorities,” according to Fox News. Last year a U.S. House committee announced that it was investigating Planned Parenthood to determine whether the abortion organization handles criminal conduct properly, or has mishandled federal funding to pay for abortions.

Komen has removed a document on their website defending their funding of Planned Parenthood.  As well, a new statement on the site dated November 11, 2011 describes their policy not to fund research involving human embryonic stem cells.  The statement notes that Komen funds stem cell research only where the stem cells are “derived without creating a human embryo or destroying a human embryo.”

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards expressed shock, describing a phone call she received from Komen about their decision to AP.

“It was incredibly surprising. It wasn’t even a conversation — it was an announcement,” said Richards.

Pro-life leaders have pointed to the relationship between Komen and Planned Parenthood for years, including several U.S. bishops who have encouraged boycotts of Komen. In December, publishers behind a Bible edition intended to benefit Komen pulled the book from shelves in response to a backlash over the Planned Parenthood connection.

Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP), a project of the American Life League dedicated to shutting down Planned Parenthood, released a report on August 24 of last year detailing the $629,159 in funding various Komen affiliates contributed directly to Planned Parenthood affiliates across the US in 2009-2010, according to the 990 Forms Komen submitted to the IRS for those years.

“The continued, collective efforts of the pro-life movement have paid off,” said Bradley Mattes, Executive Director of the Life Issues Institute. “Our work to educate Komen donors to the reality that the organization has financially supported the nation’s largest chain of abortion mills has caused Komen to halt the financial hemorrhaging.  Evidently, Komen had to choose between political ideology and financial viability. They made a good choice.”

Pro-life activist had long highlighted the irony that Komen was funding the United States number one abortion provider, when numerous studies have pointed to a strong link between abortion and increased risk of breast cancer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Flipper's Greatest Flops: Starring Mitt Romney & Friends

h/t to Free Republic and Legal Insurrection

George Soros: There isn't a bit of Difference Between Romney And Obama

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich holds a photo given to him from the audience during a rally in Tampa, Florida January 30, 2012.

"Rage Against the Machine": Sarah Palin Urges Newt Vote in Florida

(Newsmax Wires) Sarah Palin is urging Florida voters to vote for Newt Gingrich on Tuesday in their state's Republican primary.

"Vote for Newt," Palin told Jeanine Pirro, host of the Fox News weekend program "Justice with Jeanine."

Palin made a passionate plea for Republican voters to reject Mitt Romney in Florida to keep the primary process going forward.

The former Alaska governor made it crystal clear that she favors former House Speaker Gingrich, suggesting that the Republican establishment in New York and Washington is trying to anoint former Massachusetts Gov. Romney the GOP nominee.

"And I say, you know, you’ve got to rage against the machine at this point in order to defend our republic and save what is good and secure and prosperous about our nation,” Palin said. “We need somebody who is engaged in sudden and relentless reform and is not afraid to shake up the establishment. So, if for no other reason, rage against the machine, vote for Newt, annoy a liberal, vote Newt, keep this vetting process going, keep the debate going.”

Here are key points Palin made on Fox:

  • "Ronald Reagan wasn't afraid to take on sitting members of his own party who were in office. He challenged a sitting Republican. He knew politics of personal destruction hurt the cause of conservatism. What we see today what happened there in Florida this past week — it's gone beyond the pale, gone beyond aggressive and fair campaigning against an opponent."
  • Rick Santorum pointed out that Romney “drew first blood, and at first, Newt Gingrich didn't respond — he wanted to take the high road . . . [Newt] announced his intention to take the high road, but when you're continually hit and bombarded with negative rewritten history about yourself and your record, you have to hit back. And that's what you saw Newt Gingrich engage in . . .”
  • “I've been the proponent of continuing this vetting process and aggressive debate. It should be fair though the healthy debate that our country the electorate will benefit from . . . We see these pundits and politicos and elites and the far away Washington, D.C., beltway telling the electorate that by Florida it's going to be all wrapped up and we'll have our nominee.”
  • “Well, look at the players in the establishment who are fighting so hard against [Newt]. They want to crucify him because he's tapped into that average everyday American tea party, grass-roots movement that has said enough is enough of the establishment that tries to run the show and tweak rules and laws and regulations for their own good and not for our nation's own good.”
  • “Both party machines and many in the media are trying to crucify Newt Gingrich for bucking the tide and bucking the establishment. That tells you something. I say you have got to rage against the machine at this point in order to defend our republic . . . Vote for Newt, annoy a liberal. Vote Newt. Keep this vetting process going.”
  •  “Which candidate is most passionate about the sudden and relentless reform that's needed? Which candidate understands that government is not the answer? Not on a state level — same when it comes to mandating what level of healthcare you must purchase? . . . I've appreciated again Newt Gingrich. His style in debates, his thinking, his way of explaining what he stands for, so I think that in a debate Newt Gingrich would clobber Barack Obama. That's one step closer to the voters being able to have a tool to make up their minds whether it should be Obama or the GOP nominee.”

Goo Goo Dolls - Iris

Mark Knopfler - Storybook Love

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mitt Romney and the White Horse Prophecy

http://aboutmittromney.com/i/george/GeorgeMittatWorldsFairMay181964.jpg(Salon) In 1962, when Mitt — as they decided to call him — was a sophomore in high school, his father, George W. Romney, was elected governor of Michigan.  Throughout the early 1960s, Mitt collected petition signatures, campaigned at his father’s side, attended strategy sessions with his father’s political advisors, and interned at his father’s office during all three of his gubernatorial terms.  He attended the 1964 Republican National Convention where his father led a challenge of moderates against the right-wing Barry Goldwater. Although he was fulfilling his spiritual obligation as a Mormon missionary in France in 1968 while his father was the front-running GOP presidential candidate, Mitt was kept apprised of the political developments back in the U.S.

Upon completion of his foreign mission, he immersed himself in the 1970 senatorial campaign of his mother, Lenore Romney, who was running against Phillip Hart in the Michigan general election. That same year, the Cougar Club — the all male, all white social club at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City (blacks were excluded from full membership in the Mormon church until 1978) — was humming with talk that its president, Mitt Romney, would become the first Mormon president of the United States. “If not Mitt, then who?” was the ubiquitous slogan within the elite organization. The pious world of BYU was expected to spawn the man who would lead the Mormons into the White House and fulfill the prophecies of the church’s founder, Joseph Smith Jr., which Romney has avidly sought to realize.

Romney avoids mentioning it, but Smith ran for president in 1844 as an independent commander in chief of an “army of God” advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government in favor of a Mormon-ruled theocracy. Challenging Democrat James Polk and Whig Henry Clay, Smith prophesied that if the U.S. Congress did not accede to his demands that “they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them.”  Smith viewed capturing the presidency as part of the mission of the church.  He had predicted the emergence of  “the one Mighty and Strong” — a leader who would “set in order the house of God” — and became the first of many prominent Mormon men to claim the mantle.

Smith’s insertion of religion into politics and his call for a “theodemocracy where God and people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteous matters” created a sensation and drew hostility from the outside world.  But his candidacy was cut short when he was shot to death by an anti-Mormon vigilante mob. Out of Smith’s national political ambitions grew what would become known in Mormon circles as the “White Horse Prophecy” — a belief ingrained in Mormon culture and passed down through generations by church leaders that the day would come when the U.S. Constitution would “hang like a thread as fine as a silk fiber” and the Mormon priesthood would save it...

A creed unlike any other in the United States, from its inception Mormonism encouraged material prosperity and abundance as a measure of holy worth, and its strict system of tithing 10 percent of individual wealth has made the church one of the world’s richest institutions.

A multibillion-dollar business empire that includes agribusiness, mining, insurance, electronic and print media, manufacturing, movie production, commercial real estate, defense contracting, retail stores and banking, the Mormon church has unprecedented economic and political power. Despite a solemn stricture against any act or tolerance of gambling, Mormons have been heavily invested and exceptionally influential in the Nevada gaming industry since the great expansion of modern Las Vegas in the 1950s.  Valued for their unquestioning loyalty to authority as well as general sobriety — they are prohibited from imbibing in alcohol, tobacco or coffee — Mormons have long been recruited into top positions in government agencies and multinational corporations. They are prominent in such institutions as the CIA, FBI and the national nuclear weapons laboratories, giving the church a sphere of influence unlike any other American religion in the top echelons of government.

Romney, like his father before him who voluntarily tithed an unparalleled 19 percent of his personal fortune, is among the church’s wealthiest members. And like his father, grandfather and great-grandfathers before him, Mitt Romney was groomed for a prominent position in the church, which he manifested first as a missionary, then as a bishop, and then as a stake president, becoming the highest-ranking Mormon leader in Boston — the equivalent of a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.. (continued)


Fr. Rutler: “What Happens When a Government Tries to Chain the Conscience?”

From The Cardinal Newman Society:

http://copiosa.org/images/Rutler.jpgFr. George Rutler was kind enough to share his latest parish bulletin concerning the recent HHS mandate with the Cardinal Newman Society.

He writes:

Our many fellow Catholics now enchained for the Faith of our Fathers in such places as China, Syria, and Egypt are, as Father Faber’s hymn says, “in heart and conscience free.” But what happens when a government tries to chain the conscience itself?

A few weeks ago, in a remarkably unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the attempt of the present Administration in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran  Church and School v. EEOC to restrict religious freedom. Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the Administration’s argument that the First Amendment does not guarantee the right of religious organization to choose its leaders, was an “extreme” infringement of the free exercise clause.

Undeterred, and menacingly on the cusp of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Department of Health and Human Services has issued an “interim final rule” which requires all private health plans, including those of  Catholic hospitals and schools, to include coverage of prescription contraceptives, female sterilization procedures, and abortion counseling.

For a while, various Catholic leaders had hoped that they might reach an understanding with the Administration, and some even felt more at peace with the president’s assurances. But “peace for our time” only lasts until Poland is invaded. Cardinal Mahony, whom no one would fault for intransigence, now says, “I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on the freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic Community can muster.” Our own archbishop said, “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

At the time of the last presidential election, some may have thought that I overstated things in finding parallels with the dystopian world described in Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World, in which Julian Felsenburgh makes eugenics “a sacred duty.”

Since our Lord did not humiliate the frightened apostles by saying “I told you so” when he rose from the dead, I shall not say “I told you so” to any who underestimated the plottings of social engineers whose audacity is only an audacity of despair.

Blessed John Henry Newman, in Discussions and  Arguments on Various Subjects, cited the prediction of an eighteenth-century Protestant bishop and scientist, Samuel Horsley:
“The Church of God on earth will be greatly reduced, as we may well imagine, in its apparent numbers, in the times of Antichrist, by the open desertion of the powers of the world. This desertion will begin in a professed indifference to any particular form of Christianity, under the pretense  of universal toleration; which toleration will proceed from no true spirit of charity and forbearance, but from a design to undermine Christianity, by multiplying and encouraging sectaries… For governments will pretend an indifference to all, and will give a protection in preference to none.”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Giuliani Knocks Romney, Praises Gingrich

From Newsmax via Free Republic:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3e/Rudy_Giuliani.jpg/220px-Rudy_Giuliani.jpgSpeaking on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani praised Newt Gingrich and criticised Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper.

“I’ve never seen a guy change his positions on so many things, so fast, on a dime, on everything,” Giuliani said about the former Massachusetts governor. “Pro-choice, pro-life. And pro-choice because somebody, a close friend, died, and he became pro-choice because this woman died of an abortion. Then he figures out there are embryos and he changes.

“Then he was pro-gun control,” Giuliani opined. “Fine. Then he becomes a lifetime member of the NRA. Then he was pro-cap-and-trade. Now he’s against cap-and-trade. He was pro-mandate for the whole country, then he becomes anti-mandate and he takes that page out of his book and republishes the book. I could go on and on...”

Herman Cain Endorses Newt Gingrich for President

(Newsmax) Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich for the GOP nomination late on Saturday – at the same time accepting a position as the former House Speaker’s tax reform chairman.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7142/6779472013_6eb220e4b3.jpgThe author of the now-famous 9-9-9 tax plan announced his endorsement in West Palm Beach, Florida, three days ahead of that state’s vital primary. The endorsement is a welcome boost for Gingrich, who has found himself having to defend himself against a vicious onslaught of attacks from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"It is time for conservatives and Republicans to refocus their attention on the ultimate mission of defeating President Obama," Cain said at the Palm Beach County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. "I believe Speaker Gingrich is the bold leader we need to accomplish this mission..."

Cain and Gingrich both come from the Atlanta area and have been friends for more than 20 years. The two men worked together in the early 1990s to help defeat Hillary Clinton’s plans for healthcare, and as House Speaker, Gingrich appointed Cain to the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform Commission – better known as the Kemp Commission.

Gingrich said he was “honored” to have Cain’s support and immediately announced that the former pizza mogul would co-chair his tax reform and economic growth advisory council.

“America’s challenges are too great for mere tinkering around the edges. Just like Herman, who ran his campaign based on big ideas, I am running on bold solutions that will boost job creation, cut bureaucratic red tape, and fundamentally transform Washington,” Gingrich said... (continued..)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mitt Romney: Jesus Will Reign in Missouri and Jerusalem

Mitt Romney believes that Jesus will reign in Missouri and Jerusalem.  Set to start at 15:33:

And on abortion, "the (LDS / Mormon) church does not say that a member of our church has to be opposed to allowing (abortion) choice in society.." - Mitt Romney

Sarah Palin: Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/27542_24718773587_7807_n.jpgWe have witnessed something very disturbing this week. The Republican establishment which fought Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and which continues to fight the grassroots Tea Party movement today has adopted the tactics of the left in using the media and the politics of personal destruction to attack an opponent.

We will look back on this week and realize that something changed. I have given numerous interviews wherein I espoused the benefits of thorough vetting during aggressive contested primary elections, but this week’s tactics aren’t what I meant. Those who claim allegiance to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment should stop and think about where we are today. Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, the fathers of the modern conservative movement, would be ashamed of us in this primary. Let me make clear that I have no problem with the routine rough and tumble of a heated campaign. As I said at the first Tea Party convention two years ago, I am in favor of contested primaries and healthy, pointed debate. They help focus candidates and the electorate. I have fought in tough and heated contested primaries myself. But what we have seen in Florida this week is beyond the pale. It was unprecedented in GOP primaries. I’ve seen it before – heck, I lived it before – but not in a GOP primary race.

I am sadly too familiar with these tactics because they were used against the GOP ticket in 2008. The left seeks to single someone out and destroy his or her record and reputation and family using the media as a channel to dump handpicked and half-baked campaign opposition research on the public. The difference in 2008 was that I was largely unknown to the American public, so they had no way of differentiating between the lies and the truth. All of it came at them at once as “facts” about me. But Newt Gingrich is known to us – both the good and the bad.

We know that Newt fought in the trenches during the Reagan Revolution. As Rush Limbaugh pointed out, Newt was among a handful of Republican Congressman who would regularly take to the House floor to defend Reagan at a time when conservatives didn’t have Fox News or talk radio or conservative blogs to give any balance to the liberal mainstream media. Newt actually came at Reagan’s administration “from the right” to remind Americans that freer markets and tougher national defense would win our future. But this week a few handpicked and selectively edited comments which Newt made during his 40-year career were used to claim that Newt was somehow anti-Reagan, and isn’t conservative enough to go against the accepted moderate in the primary race. (I know, it makes no sense, and the GOP establishment hopes you won’t stop and think about this nonsense. Mark Levin and others have shown the ridiculousness of this.) To add insult to injury, this “anti-Reagan” claim was made by a candidate who admitted to not even supporting or voting for Reagan. He actually was against the Reagan movement, donated to liberal candidates, and said he didn’t want to go back to the Reagan days. You can’t change history. We know that Newt Gingrich brought the Reagan Revolution into the 1990s. We know it because none other than Nancy Reagan herself announced this when she presented Newt with an award, telling us, “The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.” As Rush and others pointed out, if Nancy Reagan had ever thought that Newt was in any way an opponent of her beloved husband, she would never have even appeared on a stage with him, let alone presented him with an award and said such kind things about him. Nor would Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan, have chosen to endorse Newt in this primary race. There are no two greater keepers of the Reagan legacy than Nancy and Michael Reagan. What we saw with this ridiculous opposition dump on Newt was nothing short of Stanlin-esque re-writing of history. It was Alinsky tactics at their worst.

But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 that didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.
I spoke up before the South Carolina primary to urge voters there to keep this primary going because I have great concern about the GOP establishment trying to anoint a candidate without the blessing of the grassroots and all the needed energy and resources we as commonsense constitutional conservatives could bring to the general election in order to defeat President Obama. Now, I respect Governor Romney and his success. But there are serious concerns about his record and whether as a politician he consistently applied conservative principles and how this impacts the agenda moving forward. The questions need answers now. That is why this primary should not be rushed to an end. We need to vet this. Pundits in the Beltway are gleefully proclaiming that this primary race is over after Florida, despite 46 states still not having chimed in. Well, perhaps it’s possible that it will come to a speedy end in just four days; but with these questions left unanswered, it will not have come to a satisfactory conclusion. Without this necessary vetting process, the unanswered question of Governor Romney’s conservative bona fides and the unanswered and false attacks on Newt Gingrich will hang in the air to demoralize many in the electorate. The Tea Party grassroots will certainly feel disenfranchised and disenchanted with the perceived orchestrated outcome from self-proclaimed movers and shakers trying to sew this all up. And, trust me, during the general election, Governor Romney’s statements and record in the private sector will be relentlessly parsed over by the opposition in excruciating detail to frighten off swing voters. This is why we need a fair primary that is not prematurely cut short by the GOP establishment using Alinsky tactics to kneecap Governor Romney’s chief rival.

As I said in my speech in Iowa last September, the challenge of this election is not simply to replace President Obama. The real challenge is who and what we will replace him with. It’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country. We truly need sudden and relentless reform in Washington to defend our republic, though it’s becoming clearer that the old guard wants anything but that. That is why we should all be concerned by the tactics employed by the establishment this week. We will not save our country by becoming like the left. And I question whether the GOP establishment would ever employ the same harsh tactics they used on Newt against Obama. I didn’t see it in 2008. Many of these same characters sat on their thumbs in ‘08 and let Obama escape unvetted. Oddly, they’re now using every available microscope and endoscope – along with rewriting history – in attempts to character assassinate anyone challenging their chosen one in their own party’s primary. So, one must ask, who are they really running against?

- Sarah Palin

Take A Look Inside The Soviet Union's Gigantic Nuclear Equipped Ekranoplane

By Robert Johnson

(Business Insider) In the thick of the Cold War, the Soviet Union built an immense vessel to carry their troops across the seas and into Western Europe.

Equipped with nuclear warheads and able to blast across the sea at 340 mph, the Lun-class Ekranoplane; part plane, part boat, and part hovercraft — is a Ground Effect Vehicle (GEV).

A GEV takes advantage of an aeronautical effect that allows it to lift off with an immense amount of weight, but limits its flight to 16 feet above the waves. Its altitude can never be greater than the length of the wings.

Think of a large seabird, like a pelican, cruising inches from the water and not needing to flap its wings.
The only complete Ekranoplane now sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

While there is talk of refitting the Lun-class and getting the GEV back in the fleet, it's now rusting away, and was spotted by aviation blogger Igor113 who posted these pictures to his blog.








PRAYER REQUEST: Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro

From Father John Zuhlsdorf:
A long-time acquaintance, Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, needs your prayers.  He is ill with cancer.  He underwent a surgical procedure recently and, as I understand, it didn’t go so well.

Msgr. Barreiro has been in the trenches promoting the Extraordinary Form for very long time.  He is also heading up Human Life International’s office in Rome.  Great credentials, those.

Mark Levin comes to Gingrich’s defense

Newt ramps up rhetoric


http://assets.mediaspanonline.com/prod/7602559/012712newt1_w300.jpg(The Daily Commercial) Newt Gingrich lashed out Mitt Romney in Mount Dora Thursday, saying the former Massachusetts governor is guilty of lies, desperation and hypocrisy that should make "every American angry."

Speaking at the Lakeside Inn before a crowd of about 1,000, the former House speaker said Romney is being fueled by Washington lobbyists and special interest money, as evident by all of the negative advertising hitting the airwaves in Florida.

"I am running for president to represent you, not to represent the Washington lobbyists, not to represent Goldman Sachs, not to represent the people who have been ruining this country," Gingrich said. "And I need your help."

Accompanied by his wife Callista, the North Lake Tea Party-endorsed candidate received cheers as he vowed to shake up the Washington establishment.

"Remember, the Republican establishment is just as much as the Democratic establishment, and they are just as determined to stop us," Gingrich said.

"This is a campaign, for the very nature of the Republican party and the very opportunity for citizen conservatism, to defeat the power of money and to prove that people matter more than Wall Street and that people matter more than all the big companies that are throwing the cash under one man's (ads) that are false."


The volume of attack ads airing in the Sunshine State are similar to those that badly hurt Gingrich in Iowa.
"We were drowned in a sea of mud in Iowa," he said. "Mud paid for with special-interests money, money paid for by lobbyists in Washington and a candidate who was willing to say anything and do anything because he is so desperate to be president that he doesn't think that the truth matters.

"But, I'm here as a citizen. I frankly don't care what the Washington establishment thinks of me, because I intend to change them."

Gingrich has sharpened his criticism on his opponent after tax returns showed Romney held investments in Cayman Islands, the government-backed mortgage company Freddie Mac, and other entities.

"He owns a Goldman Sachs subsidiary, which is foreclosing on Floridians," Gingrich said.

Acknowledging a man in the crowd wearing a "I really miss Reagan" T-shirt, Gingrich said he felt the same way and shared with the crowd his close ties with the former president.

"Michael Reagan has endorsed me," Gingrich said of the son of President Ronald Reagan. "In 1995, at the Goldwater Institute, Nancy Reagan said that Ronald Reagan's torch had been passed to me as speaker of the House and that I was carrying the values he believed in."

Gingrich talked about his opponent's flip-flopping.

"During that entire period, Mitt Romney was a money-making Independent," Gingrich said. "He had no interest in politics; he wasn't involved in helping save the country."

He added that in 1992, Romney gave money to the Democrats running for Congress, and voted in the Democratic presidential primary for Paul Tsongas, "the most liberal candidate."

"This is a man (Romney) who questions my credentials as a Reagan aide?" Gingrich said. "This is the kind of gall they have to think we're so stupid and we're so timid? That we'll let somebody who voted for Paul Tsongas. In 1994, (Tsongas) was running to the U.S. Senate to the left of Teddy Kennedy. Do you know how hard it is to run to the left of Teddy Kennedy?"

Gingrich stressed his overall mission is to beat President Obama, and to focus on economic growth and job creation. He told the crowd he was involved in creating jobs with Reagan in the 1980s, during a period of "16 million jobs, lower taxes, less regulation."

The Republican contender noted for his strong debate skills, questions his opponent's ability to debate President Obama.

"I don't think Gov. Romney could last in a debate with Barack Obama," Gingrich said. "We need a solid conservative who can stand there and look straight in the eyes of the president and say 'Mr. President, you are wrong and your policies are fake."

Several in audience responded by chanting in unison: "Taxed enough already."

"I promise you," Gingrich added, "I am going to fight every day to the end until we win this nomination."

The Associated Press contributed material to this report.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Father Altier's Fundamentals of Catholicism - 23 Hours of Audio

Father Robert Altier

From www.fatheraltier.excerptsofinri.com

MP3 Files


McDonald’s is forced to stop using ‘pink slime’ in its burger recipe

TV chef was disgusted to discover ammonium hydroxide was being used by McDonald's to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for burgers

'Why would any sensible human being want to put ammonia-filled meat into their children's mouths? asked Jamie Oliver

McDonald's denies its hand had been forced by TV campaign

By Jill Reilly
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/01/26/article-2092127-025431DB0000044D-920_306x423.jpg(Mail Online) After years of trying to break America, Jamie Oliver has finally made his mark by persuading one of the biggest U.S fast food chains in the world to change their burger recipe.

McDonald's have altered the ingredients after the Naked Chef forced them to remove a processed food type that he labelled 'pink slime'.

The food activist was shocked when he learned that ammonium hydroxide was being used by McDonald's to convert fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for its burgers in the USA.

The filler product made headlines after he denounced it on his show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

'Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold at the cheapest form for dogs and after this process we can give it to humans' said the TV chef.

Jamie showed American audiences the raw 'pink slime' produced in the ammonium hydroxide process used by producers named Beef Products Inc (BPI).

'Pink slime' has never been used in McDonald's beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries.

Now after months of campaigning on his hit US television show McDonald's have admitted defeat and the fast food giant has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

US Department of Agriculture microbiologist Geral Zirnstein agreed with Jamie that ammonium hydroxide agent should be banned.... (continued)

New questions, challenges confront Episcopal-turned-Catholic leader

Father Jeffrey N. Steenson gives the homily during Mass Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore Jan. 22. (CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Father Jeffrey N. Steenson is finding that there are a lot of new roads to travel and new questions to resolve since his Jan. 1 appointment as head of the Houston-based Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter for former Anglicans who want to become Catholics.

The former Episcopal bishop of the Rio Grande, who was ordained a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, N.M., in February 2009, was to be installed in his new post Feb. 12. Also in February, a class of about 40 former Episcopal priests will begin an intensive, Internet-based course of studies to become Catholic priests within the ordinariate.

Father Steenson and his wife, Debra, have three grown children and a grandson. Because he is married, he will not be ordained a bishop, but he will become a full voting member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

He spoke to Catholic News Service during a busy day Jan. 22 at Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore, where he celebrated Mass, received a group of parishioners into the Catholic Church, performed a baptism and led an evensong service.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the ordinariate and yourself in the next months or years?

A: We have to create a set of norms to govern it -- I'm not a canon lawyer, but the canon lawyers call it particular law. None of that exists yet so that's what we've been working overtime on for the last month, just to try and create that. So there's the practical question of getting the legal and business structure set up, and I've noticed that there are so many questions about the ordinariate -- about what it is, what its mission is -- that it's easy for people to misunderstand or draw wrong conclusions. Like, the Episcopalians shouldn't think we're sheep stealing because we could never contact an Episcopalian directly. The Catholic Church wonders, "Will you fit in or will you just be a separate entity?" So we have to show that we're going to keep our patrimony, our identity intact but we're a fully functioning part of the Catholic Church and we have deep respect for the ecumenical protocols whenever there are these awkward situations coming up. So I would say this is very, very difficult. (Laughs) God is really going to have to watch over us in all this.

Q: Are there special challenges to governing a church jurisdiction that covers so large a geographical area?

A: I'm sure there are going to be many, and it's primarily going to be for the clergy to be able to build relationships with each other. We're going to be virtual in so many respects. We're going to really depend on technology to keep communication open. Our formation program for the clergy is going to be run via a really high-tech Internet system that will allow real-time, two-way communications, which I'm told has never been attempted before in any kind of a theological exercise. So that will be hard, and I'm concerned that a small group -- I mean, this church (Mount Calvary) is not going to have any problems -- but a small group that is out in the middle of nowhere doesn't feel isolated and forgotten. So we will have to work really hard on that.

Q: It seems to me that there would be something to learn from the Eastern Catholic jurisdictions in the United States on that. Have you been contacted with them about how they ...

A: I've talked to some of them. I've listened to many of the stories that have been told about their difficulties over the years. But in a way the Catholic Church today is in such a different place than it was in the early part of the 20th century. I've felt only a great sense of welcome from the Catholic bishops. And I hope -- I don't know how to put it, because I don't know enough about the history of Eastern Catholicism to be able to speak very knowledgably about it -- but I don't want to see us living too separated of an existence from the Latin rite. For good theological and historical reasons too because that's where we came from. Whereas the Eastern-rite Catholics, they have a ritual identity that goes way, way, way back. And for Anglicans, I mean we're specifically not a ritual church; we're not recognized as a separate rite but we're part of the regular Roman rite using our Anglican patrimony.

Q: Has the formation of the ordinariate given a new impetus or prompted a renewed interest in joining the Catholic Church among new groups of Episcopalians?

A: Oh yes, there has been. Probably maybe 30 extra priests have contacted us at some level. It's not an easy journey, even the ordinariate, because the priest really has to be willing to make the journey to the Catholic Church and not just escape from his own. So it requires commitment and a lot of prayer to think through and a lot of sacrifices have to be made. And it's very hard to start all over again. So I do expect that it will grow, but my goal has been that as we form these guys they will be able to stand equally with their Latin Catholic counterparts, that they'll be as well formed and be able to function in the priesthood at the same level.

Q: Why is the ordinariate needed when individual Episcopalians and even married Episcopal priests have been able to join the Catholic Church through other routes for years?

A: When the apostolic constitution was published, there was an explanation written by (Jesuit) Father (Gianfranco) Ghirlanda, who's the canon lawyer at the Gregorian University, that's kind of the official commentary on it. And he answered that question by saying that the reason for the ordinariate is to guarantee the existence of the liturgical identity and patrimony. So whereas in the pastoral provision for an individual converting, they just kind of merge into the local Catholic culture, we're expected to keep this patrimony, these traditions alive, because the pope said there is something precious about them that is worthy to be shared with the rest of the Catholic Church. So Father Ghirlanda said the ordinariate is to guarantee the freedom to keep this liturgy alive. I mean liturgy in the broadest sense of the word -- the music, all that constitutes the Anglican tradition.

Q: Why is the process different for groups of Anglicans than for individuals who want to become Catholic?

A: Of course if it is an individual layperson they go through RCIA in their own parish. If it is an individual clergy person or priest, they would go through the pastoral provision which is administered by Bishop Kevin Vann in Fort Worth. And that will continue. The pastoral provision basically uses the same program of priestly formation that exists for the seminaries, only it's kind of tailored to an individual, so it's whatever Father So and So needs in order to do it. The way that has worked up to now is that the faculty of the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Seton Hall have provided the formation. They kind of evaluate where candidates are and tell them what they need. But for the ordinariate we'll be doing that on our own this spring and practically speaking the process is accelerated. ... It starts at the beginning of February and it goes into May, so it's basically one semester of intense work. Some people can't believe that that's possible, that you can make a priest that fast, but the Vatican has approved this process and asked for it to be expedited in this way because the assumption is that the clergymen coming in have already received pastoral, spiritual and human formation through their Anglican training, and we're just trying to address the differences in the intellectual formation, in the theology. So the formation program for the priests is essentially a comparative reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church -- where does it differ from the Anglican theological tradition -- and to address those differences.

Q: Some people have said it's not really fair, because married Catholic priests can't come back. How would you respond to that?

A: It's kind of easy actually. That would be to compare apples and oranges. When we became priests in the Anglican Church, we became priests in an ecclesial tradition that permitted married clergy. So the Holy See is simply recognizing that and allowing us ... it's an ancient principle from the early church. Whatever stage of life you are in when you come into the ministry, that's where you stay. So if a man came as a celibate, he would be required to maintain that discipline. If one came as a married man, he would be expected to be a good husband. And if he should ever be widowed, then he would embrace the discipline of celibacy. It's not a new rule, it's basically the old Eastern discipline about married clergy. So, I don't want it to sound critical, but for those Catholic priests who left to get married and then want to come back again, that's a whole totally different question for them. And I don't think it is comparable to what the ordinariate is about.

Q: As the only married member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, what do you hope to bring to the discussions at national bishops' meetings and in the committees to which you are appointed?

A: (Laughs) I can't even imagine. Well I was taught, in my days in the Episcopal House of Bishops, in those early days you were taught to be there, to be square and to keep your mouth shut. And I think I will have a lot to learn and I don't anticipate doing much talking. But a lot of relationship building, I think. I've been to two meetings of the bishops now and it's amazing to me that a business meeting is a business meeting, no matter what communion it's in. So some of it is pretty tedious. I think one of the differences I see, though, is that the unity that exists among the Catholic bishops is far greater than what I see among the Episcopal bishops. I was quite taken by that, you felt that there was just a greater consensus on important things. Plus the USCCB has (Cardinal-designate Timothy M.) Dolan -- I have never seen a man run a meeting so effectively as him. I'm astonished by how good he is. I've never seen anything like it, at any level.

Q: Are there any particular issues that you plan to bring to the attention of the bishops because of your unique role?

A: What we're going to need from the Catholic bishops is their cooperation and help with a lot of the practicalities, such as insurance, health insurance, all those things that we can't (do alone). It's impossible to actually go out and create a national health plan for the clergy. So in many of the practicalities, we hope that we can partner with the local dioceses. I also would like to see the men, the priests of the ordinariate, spend a lot of time with their counterparts in the Latin dioceses in terms of clergy meetings and gatherings, priests' conferences. My goal -- I don't know if it is going to be possible -- would be to see every priest in the ordinariate also have faculties in the local diocese. I know that is a grand goal to have. Because when Cardinal (William J.) Levada opened this up, that first press conference he had, ... he used the word "integration," not "absorption," because the idea is not to just be absorbed and lose your identity but to deeply integrate with the local diocese and so I would guess in terms of my relationships with the bishops, it's going to be aimed in that direction. And I want the men, my priests to have, one of the great joys of the priesthood is the fellowship with other priests. One of the surpassing joys of the priesthood is the life you get to share with other priests. And I don't want them to miss out on that.

Q: Have you had an opportunity to meet the Holy Father? Will you be participating in the "ad limina" visits to Rome by the U.S. bishops this year?

A: Sometime in the next five years I am going to do one. I have met the Holy Father but not as Pope Benedict. I met him as Cardinal Ratzinger in 1993 and I actually read a paper for him on this subject, receiving Anglicans. So I haven't met him since then. Since I've been a Catholic, I went to many papal things during that year. I met Cardinal (Tarcisio) Bertone, that was my principal high contact, and Cardinal Levada of course, but I haven't met the Holy Father as Holy Father. I can't wait.

Q: If you had the opportunity, what would you say to the Holy Father?

A: Thank you, first of all. This wouldn't have happened without him. This was not an idea that developed in one of the dicasteries of the Curia. This came right from the top and he had to convince a lot of people. So I feel that Pope Benedict put himself out on the line on this, and I want to be sure we don't let the Holy Father's words fall to the ground. I want him to be proud of us and see that we are making a fruitful contribution to the church.

And the other thing I'd like to do if I could see him is to thank him for his Christology book that he wrote. It's sort of a life-changer for me -- "Jesus of Nazareth" 1 and 2. I'm a utility infielder at the seminary, in other words they throw me classes to teach when no one else can do it and last year I was given Christology. So the seminarians and I just read Pope Benedict, and it was an astonishing experience to do that. I think we all walked away from that experience in something of an awe for Benedict as a theologian. I'd like to thank him for that too. As a theologian I would say that in "Jesus of Nazareth" part 2, his chapter on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is probably the most extraordinary piece of theology of our time. It's astonishingly adventuresome. I mean, he opens up doors that, I don't know, it just took my breath away. That's probably more than your readers would be interested in, but I would vote that chapter on Gethsemane as one of the most amazing pieces of theology done in our time.

Q: Two of your sons have special needs.

A: Yes, our two boys have Asperger's syndrome. They're adults now. One of them lives with us; he's employed by Walgreens, which has a phenomenal program for disabled adults. I'm amazed at Walgreens. That's Eric. And our other son, John, lives in Seattle, on his own, and he's a software engineer for Amazon.com. And we hold him up in prayer, more than once a day, to have our little boy out there on his own. ... We moved him out in July, so about half a year now. He loves his work there. He talks about Uncle Jeff, you know, the head of Amazon. He's been a very good employer. And then our daughter Kristina, she's a pediatric doctor in Traverse City, Mich., with her husband and our grandson, Peter. We're very proud of him.

None of our children has come into the Catholic Church yet. All of them are very, very interested and I think the boys will come in relatively soon. ... Our children are all very strong Christians. Eric I think belongs to every young adult group in Houston, from Catholic to Baptist. He gets his social outreach through that; he's welcomed by Christian groups.

Q: In light of the March for Life tomorrow, I know there are a lot of challenges with special-needs kids but also a lot of gifts that you get from them. I was wondering if you could talk about that a little bit.

A: I remember when we got the diagnosis on Eric that he was autistic. It was obviously a pretty life-changing experience for us. And it was a Catholic nun, my first patristics teacher, she just appeared on the doorstep in Oxford -- Sister Agnes Cunningham, her name is, an amazing woman, she's the first woman president of the Catholic Theological Society of America -- and we were so down in the dumps about it and she walked in the door and said how God had chosen us for something special. And it was a total 180-degree attitude readjustment moment for us. And for parents that have special-needs kids, it's obviously very painful and difficult, but God never asks us to do something without giving us even more blessings. I just think if people offer up these challenges to God, they'll be astonished at what comes back.

Fr. Pavone permitted to attend March for Life: Interview on latest developments

WASHINGTON, January 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Many pro-lifers at the March for Life this year caught a glimpse of one prominent pro-life leader they might not have been expected to see.

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life was sighted leading a crowd of post-abortive witnesses with Silent No More through the freezing rain on Capitol Hill Monday, and met with LifeSiteNews.com the following day to give an update on his situation with his Ordinary, Bishop Patrick Zurek of the Diocese of Amarillo.

Bishops Zurek’s abrupt statement ordering Pavone to suspend his active ministry outside the diocese, citing unspecified questions surrounding Priest for Life’s financial integrity, shook the pro-life movement in September.

Pavone told LSN that the matter “has been placed in the hands of Rome” to help clear up confusion between the two parties, including exactly what the suspension order entails. Pavone said that Bishop Zurek has clarified that the priest is “not in prison” and is free to travel.

“He’s asked me to only exercise ministry in the Amarillo diocese. Part of what we’re asking from Rome is to help clarify exactly what the expectations are, because there is a lot of confusion here as to what I am and am not allowed to do,” he said. Pavone noted that he continues to seek a mediator that would be agreeable to both parties.

The priest, who oversees the national Silent No More Awareness campaign as well as the post-abortive ministry Rachel’s Vineyard, emphasized that both he and Priests for Life have been “fully cooperative” with the bishop’s requests thus far, including the transfer of all requested paperwork, and that no charges have been leveled against himself or his organization.

Zurek told his brother bishops last year that he was suspending Fr. Pavone’s ministry outside the diocese based on “the result of deep concerns regarding his stewardship of the finances” of Priests for Life. Pavone obeyed the order to return to Amarillo and where he took up residence at a convent and announced that he had begun the process of appealing the decision to the Vatican.

Pavone said he expected feedback from Rome “relatively soon” to assist both parties advance the mission of the Church and the pro-life cause. “We’re all on the same page when it comes to that,” he said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Newt Gingrich Super PAC: Meet the Men Who Gave us ObamaCare

From Allah Pundit via Free Republic:

"Philip Klein calls it the best anti-RomneyCare ad of the cycle. I agree. And thanks to the largesse of Newt’s billionaire buddy Sheldon Adelson, this one’s going on the air in Florida with a $6 million ad buy — so huge that WaPo political blogger Aaron Blake calls it “game-changing.” In fact, despite Newt’s post-South Carolina windfall of campaign cash, it sounds like his Super PAC will be doing the heavy organizational lifting from now on..."

Vote Newt Song

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Abortion safer than giving birth: study (unless you're a baby!)


(Reuters Health) - Getting a legal abortion is much safer than giving birth, suggests a new U.S. study published Monday.

Researchers found that women were about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth to a live baby than to die from complications of an abortion.

Experts say the findings, though not unexpected, contradict some state laws that suggest abortions are high-risk procedures.

The message is that getting an abortion and giving birth are both safe, said Dr. Anne Davis, who studies obstetrics and gynecology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and wasn't involved in the new study.

"We wouldn't tell people, 'Don't have a baby because it's safer to have an abortion' -- that's ridiculous," she told Reuters Health. "We're trying to help women who are having all reproductive experiences know what to expect."
An induced abortion -- like any other medical procedure -- requires getting informed consent from the woman, said Dr. Bryna Harwood, an ob-gyn from the University of Illinois in Chicago who also didn't participate in the new research.

That means women understand and acknowledge the risks of their different options.

What makes it complicated, Harwood added, is when the law interferes and requires doctors to state information that isn't always balanced or medically sound -- usually exaggerating the risk of abortion...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Romney ducks Gingrich at Ham House


By Cameron Joseph  

(The Hill)   GREENVILLE, S.C. — Mitt Romney made a quick, early stop at Tommy’s Ham House on Saturday morning, moving up his appearance to avoid overlapping with Newt Gingrich.

The two had accidentally double-booked the popular restaurant at 10:45 a.m. — Gingrich had called ahead to let the restaurant know he was coming, while Romney initially had not...

“I have a question — where’s Mitt? I thought he was going to stay and maybe we’d have a little debate here this morning,” he said as the crowd cheered and a few supporters made clucking chicken noises....

Speaker Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary

Friday, January 20, 2012

Michael Reagan Endorses Newt Gingrich

By Brian Bolduc

http://www.newt.org/sites/newt.org/files/images/michaelreagan.jpg(National Review) Michael Reagan, son of the 40th president, released this statement today in support of Newt Gingrich:

I am endorsing Newt Gingrich for President and here’s why:

Newt understands that we must reject and fundamentally change the course that Barack Obama has set for America.

Newt is our only chance in 2012 to contrast a Reagan conservative with Obama’s European’ styled socialism.

Newt exemplifies the conservative principles my father championed.

Strong national defense, lower taxes and smaller government.

In the 90’s Newt’s leadership brought us the Contract with America which changed Washington.

I’m confident Newt can do it again.

We cannot afford a candidate backed by the same Washington insiders who repeatedly tried to undermine my father and the Reagan revolution.

It’s time to choose.

Do we go forward with bold ideas or continue with failed policies?

So I ask my fellow Republicans and conservatives to join me in supporting Newt Gingrich for president.

Governor Rick Perry Endorses Newt Gingrich

CIA's Facebook Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs

Newt Destroys John King, Media Over Ex-Wife Question To Thunderous Standing Ovation

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Newt owns Juan Williams for race-baiting question

Sunday, January 15, 2012

'I'll sue Church of England if it bars me from being bishop,' says gay dean

By Jonathan Petre

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/01/14/article-2086720-0A5415AD000005DC-729_233x423.jpg(Mail Online) A controversial gay dean has threatened to take the Church of  England to court after he was blocked from becoming a bishop.

The Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, has instructed an eminent employment lawyer to complain to Church officials after being rejected for the role of Bishop of Southwark.

Sources say the dean, one of the most contentious figures in the Church, believes he could sue officials under the Equality Act 2010, which bans discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. Such a case could create a damaging new rift within the CoE.

Dr John was at the centre of a storm in 2003 when forced to step down as Bishop of Reading by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams after it became known that he was in a gay, though celibate, relationship. The furore fuelled a bitter civil war within the Anglican Church that has dominated Dr Williams’s decade in office.

The dean was again a cause of infighting in 2010 when he was a candidate for Bishop of Southwark. A respected theologian and former canon at Southwark Cathedral, he had strong backing from senior Church liberals and it was said even David Cameron was supportive. 

But the Crown Nominations Commission, whose members are responsible for selecting bishops and include Dr Williams, appointed another candidate. Dr John was said to be furious and his supporters’ anger was stoked by a memo by another member of the commission, the late Dean of Southwark Colin Slee, claiming Dr Williams was one of those who tried to ‘wreck’ Dr John’s chances. 

Challenge: Gay dean Dr Jeffrey John has said he will take action against the Church
Challenge: Gay dean Dr Jeffrey John has said he will take action against the Church

Dr John has instructed Alison Downie, partner and head of employment at London lawyers Goodman Derrick, to write to the Commission to suggest it risks breaching gay equality laws if it is blocking the dean over his homosexuality.

Ms Downie previously acted for a gay youth worker who successfully sued the Church in 2008 after the Bishop of Hereford Anthony Priddis refused him a job.

It is understood there has been a lengthy correspondence between Ms Downie and Church lawyers in an attempt to resolve the dispute. No legal action has been launched but it is thought Dr John has not ruled out the possibility, although one source said Dr John suggested he would drop his legal threat if he felt he would not be ruled out for future posts.

Church lawyers published new guidelines last summer which said that under the Equality Act, candidates cannot be barred from senior Church posts because they are gay as long as they do not have sex. The guidance added that candidates could be blocked if they were regarded as divisive because their views or behaviour had angered  a significant number of their flock.

Ms Downie refused to comment last night.  A Church spokesman also refused to comment.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Complete Civil War submarine unveiled for first time


By Harriet McLeod

NORTH CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Confederate Civil War vessel H.L. Hunley, the world's first successful combat submarine when it sank a Union ship in 1864, was unveiled in full and unobstructed for the first time on Thursday, capping a decade of careful preservation.

"No one alive has ever seen the Hunley complete. We're going to see it today," said engineer John King as a crane at a Charleston conservation laboratory slowly lifted a massive steel truss covering the top of the submarine.

About 20 engineers and scientists applauded as they caught the first glimpse of the intact 42-foot-long narrow iron cylinder, which was raised from the ocean floor near Charleston more than a decade ago. The public will see the same view but in a water tank to keep it from rusting.

"It's like looking at the sub for the first time. It's like the end of a long night," said Paul Mardikian, senior conservator since 1999 of the project to raise, excavate and conserve the Hunley.

In the summer of 2000, an expedition led by adventurer Clive Cussler raised the Hunley and delivered it to the conservatory on Charleston's old Navy base, where it sat in a 90,000-gallon tank of fresh water to leech salt out of its iron hull.

On weekdays, scientists drain the tank and work on the sub. On weekends, tourists who before this week could only see an obstructed view of the vessel in the water tank, now will be able to see it unimpeded.

Considered the Confederacy's stealth weapon, the Hunley sank the Union warship Housatonic in winter 1864, and then disappeared with all eight Confederate sailors inside.

The narrow, top-secret "torpedo fish," built in Mobile, Alabama by Horace Hunley from cast iron and wrought iron with a hand-cranked propeller, arrived in Charleston in 1863 while the city was under siege by Union troops and ships.


In the ensuing few months, it sank twice after sea trial accidents, killing 13 crew members including Horace Hunley, who was steering.

"There are historical references that the bodies of one crew had to be cut into pieces to remove them from the submarine," Mardikian told Reuters. "There was forensic evidence when they found the bones (between 1993 and 2004 in a Confederate graveyard beneath a football stadium in Charleston) that that was true."

The Confederate Navy hauled the sub up twice, recovered the bodies of the crew, and planned a winter attack.

On the night of February 17, 1864, its captain and seven crew left Sullivan's Island near Charleston, and hand-powered the sub to the Union warship four miles offshore. From a metal spar on its bow, the Hunley planted a 135-pound torpedo in the hull of the ship, which burned and sank.

Some historians say that the submarine showed a mission-accomplished lantern signal from its hatch to troops back on shore before it disappeared.

Mardikian has the lantern, which archaeologists found in the submarine more than a century later, in his laboratory.

Scientists removed 10 tons of sediment from the submarine, along with the bones, skulls and even brain matter of the crew members, Mardikian told Reuters. They also found fabric and sailors' personal belongings.

Facial reconstructions were made of each member of the third and final crew. They are displayed along with other artifacts in a museum near the submarine. In a nearby vault is a bent gold coin that archaeologists also found in the submarine. It was carried by the sub's captain, Lieutenant George Dixon, for good luck after it stopped a bullet from entering his leg during the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.

"The submarine was a perfect time capsule of everything inside," said Ben Rennison, one of three maritime archaeologists on the project.

The Hunley Project is a partnership among the South Carolina Hunley Commission, Clemson University Restoration Institute, the Naval Historical Center and the nonprofit Friends of the Hunley. The nonprofit group raised and spent $22 million on the project through 2010, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

The next phase of the project will be to remove corrosion on the iron hull and reveal the submarine's skin, preserve it with chemicals, and eventually display it in open air, Mardikian said.

Scientists have found the vessel to be a more sophisticated feat of engineering than historians had thought, said Michael Drews, director of Clemson's Warren Lasch Conservation Center.

"It has the ballast tanks fore and aft, the dive planes were counterbalanced, the propeller was shrouded," Drews said. "It's just got all of the elements that the modern submarines have, updated."

There were previous submarines, Drews said, but the Hunley, designed to sail in the open ocean and built for warfare, was cutting-edge technology at the time.

"Dixon's mission was to attack and sink an enemy ship and he did," Drews said. "At that particular time, the mindset of naval warfare was, basically, big ships sink little ships. Little ships do not sink big ships. And the Hunley turned that upside down."

(Editing by Greg McCune)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Priest Holes

From Christine at Laudem Gloriae:
Under the reign of "Good Queen Bess", a law was passed prohibiting the celebration of Mass, on pain of extradition. On a second offense, the guilty priest would be sentenced to a year in prison, and on the third offense, jailed for life. In some cases, the offending priest would be put to death, usually by hanging, drawing, and quartering. Another law was passed that punished with death any Catholic who should convert a Protestant.

It was during this time that the Jesuit priest and martyr Nicholas Owen was called on to design and build priest holes in all the great Catholic manses in England. He spent the greater part of his life doing so.
With incomparable skill, he knew how to conduct priests to a place of safety along subterranean passages, to hide them between walls and bury them in impenetrable recesses, and to entangle them in labyrinths and a thousand windings. But what was much more difficult of accomplishment, he so disguised the entrances to these as to make them most unlike what they really were. Moreover, he kept these places so close a secret with himself that he would never disclose to another the place of concealment of any Catholic. He alone was both their architect and their builder, working at them with inexhaustible industry and labour, for generally the thickest walls had to be broken into and large stones excavated, requiring stronger arms than were attached to a body so diminutive as to give him the nickname of 'Little John,' and by this his skill many priests were preserved from the prey of persecutors. Nor is it easy to find anyone who had not often been indebted for his life to Owen's hiding-places.
--Fr. Tanner, Vita et Mors

Fr. Owen was caught and tortured on the rack. Asked to reveal all the hiding places he had built, he refused, and died in the midst of his torments.

Some of the following were built by Fr. Owen, while others' origins are unknown.

A false fireplace leads into the attic...