Friday, August 31, 2012

The Fantasyland Called Obamanation

When I first started this blog six months ago, one of the first columns I posted was about an artist named Jon McNaughton. He had just completed a painting called "One Nation Under Socialism," and it was very thought provoking and politically provocative. He sold that original painting to Sean Hannity, the Fox News host. Here is what that first painting that I wrote about looks like.

Now McNaughton has finished another even more provocative piece. It is unique because it is interactive. You can go to his website and interact with the painting, which contains more than 60 symbolic images representing ways that Barack Obama has failed as the President of the United States over the last four years. He calls it "Obamanation," and this is what the painting itself looks like.

What is brilliant about the painting and the website is that you can roll your cursor over the painting and it will reveal the meaning of that particular symbol. Many of them are as plain as the nose on your face, but some are more subtle and may not be as apparent until you read his explanation. Some have more than one meaning. I want to embed the You Tube video here also, so you can hear McNaughton himself explain the painting.

I cannot express how brilliant this painting and the symbols are. How anyone can see this painting, interact with it and read the artists' astute observations, and still vote for Obama is beyond me. I know that there are some who will do just that. They have dismissed the "signs" for the last four years, so I am not naive enough to think that they will have a change of heart now. But if they really still have hope that Obama can solve the nations problems at this point, then they are living in a fantasy world of their own.

I am grateful that there are artists with thefortitude to spread the message of the destruction that Mr. Obama has done and will continue to do if we do not stop him. McNaughton's paintings are for sale here. I hope he sells millions.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

President Romney!

And now, the next President of the United States -- Mitt Romney!

We are ready for real change. This country cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama.

The pitiful Code Pink women are trying to disrupt this monumental event. They are desperate. They are hopeless in their own meaningless lives. They cannot love anyone else because they do not love themselves. They are undermining their own message. They are turning people to the conservative cause. I feel a sense of pity for these little children who are seeking attention. They need to feel like their lives have meaning because Obama has brought them so far down that they are unable to see any future, any light of hope.

I am grateful that C-Span's cameras did not turn to the disruptions to gratify the silly protesters. We will see them tomorrow in shots from media that are as desperate as they are to continue with the stagnant status quo.

I am rooting for you, Mitt. You can succeed in this land where dreams do come true. I am impressed with tonight's line-up of speakers, and I am fired up and ready to go out there and work for the future of America, to move us in the RIGHT direction.

"President Obama promised to slow the rise of the ocean and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family."

"Under my administration Mr Putin will see a little less flexibility and a little more backbone."

Our future begins tonight!!!!!!!

Marco Rubio Gets His Time in the Spotlight!

Wow! Marco Rubio has to follow Clint Eastwood! Clint is a comedian -- he missed his calling!

But Rubio is no straight man. He is also a man of humor and a man who loves this country. He is destined to a future that is greater than where he is now also. I see him and Paul Ryan on a ticket together in the future.

He is rocking the house!

He Made My Day! So far...

Derek Parra has me in tears. What a patriotic man. I am proud that he represented our country and is on OUR side. I am thrilled to see Scott Hamilton there in the midst of the athletes.

Mystery guest arriving now. Reports are is Clint Eastwood. We will see.

It's he!!

George Clooney at the RNC?

Hey! Is that George Clooney singing at the RNC?????

Oh, nooooo! It's an even better looking and smarter and talented man -- Taylor Hicks!

The Olympic athletes are on stage right now preparing to speak. I know that the DNC planners are on the phone right now calling around to scrounge up some athletes for the DNC next week. You mark my words. They WILL parade out athletes of their own to counter the athletes supporting Romney/Ryan.

Mammoth Cave

I came across this video, and although I do not endorse the presenter, David Rives, or his ministries, I was excited to see Mammoth Cave featured. It is an extraordinary place and well worth a visit if you are ever in south-central Kentucky. It's not that far from Nashville either. The magnificent caverns and mysterious tunnels do indeed reflect the glory and beauty of God's creation!

Code Pinko Shows Its True Colors

So two days ago, on Tuesday of this week, the group known as Code Pink posted a You Tube video of some of their members singing a song about taking their vaginas to the Republican National Convention. The only reason I post it here is so that anyone who views it can be disgusted (as any sane person is) at the infantile behavior of these "women." Their organization started off as an anti-war group, but has devolved into a bunch of ... well, "sluts," whose message has become so senseless that I cannot comprehend what they claim to want. Making an obscene spectacle of themselves is all they are achieving.

When I first saw this video, I wanted to say "Your mothers must be proud of you." Then I realized the mothers are right there in the video dancing along with the self-absorbed Pinkies." These women are doing such a disservice to women in this country. They want to paint us all with the same brush that created them and make us all look like them -- a bunch of histrionic, self-absorbed narcissists pretending to be vaginas. <shaking my head>

Obviously one member of Code Pink took this song's message to heart. Last night she infiltrated the convention and rudely disrupted the speech of Vice-Presidential nominee Paul Ryan. I was watching on C-Span, and saw the woman only fleetingly. Luckily she was escorted away quickly, and the crowd chanted "USA" to successfully drown her out. But in the video of her despicable behavior you can see that she is holding a banner that almost certainly says "It's my vagina," which has become the battle cry of these hate-filled immoral women. Naturally, we can presume they are saving their real attack for tonight when Mitt Romney accepts the nomination. No worries. They will only accomplish one thing: harming the Democrats with their shenanigans. And that's a good thing.

I guess I should try to understand these women. But that would require me to first believe. And I do not believe anythig about them or what they espouse. They only serve to strengthen the case for liberal women to go back to the kitchen, where they can put on their pink aprons and pop their birth control pills. And they should shut and lock their doors behind them so we don't have to hear them sing about their vaginas. Please.

Must We Understand Before We Believe?

During the month of August, the Popes traditionally spend time at the summer papal residence, Castel Gandolfo, outside the city of Rome. It is kind of like the U.S. Presidents' Camp David retreat. The Pope continues with his duties while he is away, and on Sunday Pope Benedict gave a homily on the Bread of Life discourse that was the Gospel. I have previously commented on this Gospel and its meaning with regard to those who did not believe what Jesus said about the bread being His body.

I want to highlight a couple of excerpts from Pope Benedict's homily. It may look like a long quote below, but I have condensed it like a can of Campbell's soup -- I took out the water and left you with the solid parts. This homily speaks to the growing assertion among many Catholics that the Church may need to lose some of her members in order to be strengthened. (You can listen to the homily or read the entire transcript at this link.) I have italicized certain phrases, so read those slowly as you absorb the Pope's (and St. Augustine's) words.
Dear brothers and sisters!
     In the past few Sundays we have meditated on the “Bread of Life” discourse ... John ... reports that “from that time many of His disciples drew back and no longer went about with Him.” Why? Because they did not believe the words of Jesus when He said: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever” ... This revelation ... remained incomprehensible to them, because they understood it in a material sense, while in these words was foretold the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, in which He would give Himself for the salvation of the world: the new presence in the Holy Eucharist.
     Seeing that many of His disciples were leaving, Jesus addressed the Apostles, saying: “Will you also go away?” As in other cases, it is Peter who replied on behalf of the Twelve: “Lord, to whom shall we go?" ... On this passage we have a beautiful commentary of St. Augustine ... “Do you see how Peter, by the grace of God, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has understood? Why did he understand? Because he believed. You have the words of eternal life. You give us eternal life by offering your risen body and your blood, your very self. And we have believed and understood. He does not say we have understood and then we believed, but we believed and then we understood. We have believed in order to be able to understand; if, in fact, we wanted to understand before believing, we would not be able either to understand or to believe. What have we believed and what have we understood? That You are the Christ, the Son of God, that is, that You are that very eternal life, and that You give in Your flesh and blood only that which You are.”  ...
     Finally, Jesus knew that even among the twelve apostles there was one that did not believe: Judas. Judas could have left, as many of the disciples did; indeed, he would have left if he were honest. Instead he remained with Jesus. He did not remain because of faith, or because of love, but with the secret intention of taking vengeance on the Master. Why? Because Judas felt betrayed by Jesus, and decided that he in turn would betray Him. Judas was a Zealot, and wanted a triumphant Messiah, who would lead a revolt against the Romans. Jesus had disappointed those expectations. The problem is that Judas did not go away, and his most serious fault was falsehood, which is the mark of the devil.
I am a huge fan of St. Augustine, whose memorial we just celebrated on August 28. He was born in 354 A.D., only four decades after Christianity was recognized by Constantine (313 A.D.).  A number of years ago I wrote a paper in one of my Church history classes in which I examined the extensive collection of Augustine's homilies throughout his lifetime and showed how they related to the context of what was going on in the world and in his own life at that time in history. He was an amazing theologian, which explains why he is a Doctor of the Church and probably the most influential of the early Church Fathers.

[UPDATE: There is a movie about St Augustine that is trying to get enough support for a release in the U.S. It is called Restless Heart in tribute to a quote from Augustine's autobiography Confessions. I memorized it--in Latin-- for one of my history exams many years ago. He said, "Fe cisti nos ad te Dominum, et inquietam est cor nostrum donec in te requiescat." "You have made us for Yourself, Lord, and restless are our hearts until in You they rest."]

This homily of Pope Benedict comes at a time when many Catholics are seeking too hard to understand before they are willing to believe. Is the Pope calling for "blind faith"? Not at all. But what he is saying is that if you want to understand (to see), you must first believe. But belief is only likely when the one seeking to believe trusts the source from which the knowledge flows. So, if the seeker does not believe that the leaders of the Church are speaking the truth, then they are not likely to believe. And without belief, understanding will not come. I do not have to understand the hypostatic union between the three Persons in the Holy Spirit in order to believe in this tenet of Christianity. I do not have to understand the concepts of accidents and substance in order to believe in the Real Presence. But because I believe, the understanding that I am able to come to (with my limited comprehension of philosophy) reinforces my beliefs.

I was heartened this morning to see a story relating that there are some Catholics in Boston who have called upon the Cardinal there to distance himself and the archdiocese from a multi-millionaire who has given and continues to give millions of dollars to Barack Obama's re-election campaign. "Lay Catholic leaders in Boston are calling on the Archdiocese to end its relationship with a Catholic magnate who has emerged as a top supporter of the Obama re-election effort, and who has close ties with an HHS mandate architect and the abortion industry." It probably will not have any impact since the man gives a lot of money to the Church there also. But at least the story is being told and the issues are being raised.

My prayer today is that, when it comes to the teachings of the Church, we stop trying to understand them before we believe them. May we have the courage and the trust to accept that the Holy Spirit is at work in the Church, and that we must believe what the Spirit teaches in order to understand. Otherwise, if we chose not to believe, we will find ourselves having to choose between walking away or staying to dance with the devil.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Liberal Hatred Knows No Limits

Last night I posted an entry about Mia Love, the amazing young politician from Utah who wowed the crowd at the Republican National Convention with her patriotic speech. Naturally, the haters on the left could not stand it that a lovely, patriotic, black female Republican was speaking the truth and denouncing their hateful ways. So what did some of these leftist haters do? They went to the Wikipedia entry on Mia and called her a "whore" and an "Aunt Tom."  They called her a "House Nigger and a "dirty worthless whore." Rather than a love-hate attitude, these despicable leftists have a hate-Love attitude.

It's no wonder we are seeing this hate-mongering coming from liberals when you read what has been coming out from Hollywood celebrities and Democrat politicians lately. People like Ellen Barkin and Samuel L Jackson and Cher and Roseanne Barr and Jean Smart and Maxine Waters and other no-name-libs-who-think-they're-funny have given license to others to mimic them as they go off on hate-filled rants against conservatives. And don't get me started on the left-wing media personalities like the despicable Chris Matthews.

And we wonder why there is no bi-partisanship in this country any longer. I am nauseated by the left's hatred. I will never sacrifice my values or my beliefs to "get along" with those who spew vile hatred to pump up their own images. I am beginning to think seriously that dividing the country is the only solution.

Our only hope for saving the Union is getting rid of Obama in November. Even then, the hatred between liberals and conservatives has grown so much and so deep in the last four years that we may be irreconcilable. We may be failing the test that Benjamin Franklin predicted in 1787, when asked by a woman what form of government the Constitutional Convention had come up with. Franklin replied, "A republic, Madam if you can keep it."

I pray it's not too late and that we have not lost the Republic.

Amazing Births: Antidotes to Abortion

A few days ago a story came out about a woman who gave birth to her own grandson. The headlines were meant to sound astonishing, but in this age of surrogacy it is really not that extraordinary. In fact, I thought the story was rather sweet. That's not to say I condone in vitro fertilization, which I don't. But the folks involved evidently do not have the same beliefs as I do. The kind of funny rhetorical question that this begs, naturally, is whether Angel is both mother and sister to Madden. Let's leave that question to the ethicists to debate.

Linda Sirois, Angel Hebert and (grand)baby Madden

The Sirois-Hebert story is one of life -- loving a child so much that you will do what it takes to bring that life into the world. Sadly, the controversy over the last month from Missouri brought on by candidate Akin's misguided comments about "legitimate rape" has brought the abortion issue front and center yet again. The Democrats are trying to make it the front and center issue in order to renew their assertion that Republicans are engaged in a war on women. What is so amusing about that is that I am a woman, and I am not at war with myself, so how can there be any logic to that premise whatsoever. But then, logic has never been a strong point for Democrats.

As a result of the Akin debacle, Missouri has become the center of the conversation on abortion.Yesterday the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced the launch of a $150,000 television ad campaign across Missouri highlighting President Obama's extreme record on abortion and featuring abortion survivor Melissa Ohden. It is a powerful message, and it needs to be played in all the swing states.

Another young abortion survivor also shares her story. Her name is Claire Culwell, and she was a twin in her mother's womb. Her story in her own words is also powerful and moving.

I did not start off this posting with the intent of focusing on abortion. Rather, I wanted to highlight LIFE. The Sirois-Hebert story was part of my inspiration. You know how it is when you start reading stories, and click after click leads you to variations on the theme. Linda Sirois does was 49 when she gave birth to her grandson. Although that may seem old, it is far from a record. This story about a woman who was age 72 when she gave birth is truly astonishing.
World's oldest mother Rajo Devi Lohan, 72 delivered a girl child named Naveen on November 28, 2008 by C-section with the help of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment at a Hisar fertility centre. The septuagenarian parents said they were facing social stigma for being childless for 55 years.

I'm sure my own mother is cringing as she watches that video. She gave birth 13 times, so she knows how taxing childbirth can be on the body. Mom, if you're reading this, kudos to you!

Naturally, when I heard about the oldest woman to give birth, I wondered about the youngest mother. I did not have to look far, as there was a story a few months ago about a 9-year old Chinese girl that gave birth. That is not only astonishing, it is outrageous. But there is an even more incredible story that has been documented about a FIVE year-old girl named Lina Medina who gave birth. This is not a recent story, but rather one that occurred in 1939.

Apparently Lina had her second child in 1972, around age 38. Her first son died in 1979 at age 40. Lina herself is 78 years old today. I continue to wonder where how these people handled this situation throughout their lives. There are still many unanswered questions, and apparently they will remain that way.

I have never given birth to a child, so I cannot speak to that experience. But I have two stepdaughters whom I love without limit. I also have helped facilitate some two dozen adoptions over the years, so I know that the love of parents for their child(ren) is immeasurable.

The bottom line for this particular post is that I have a prayer. My prayer is that more women who do not want the child they are carrying will choose life and adoption rather than death and abortion. For this I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Keynote

Chris Christie!!!

His love for his mother shines through. Here are some lines from his speech.

"We have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.... Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular... than to take on the really important issues."

"It is time to do what's tough to make America great again."

"Tonight we're gonna choose respect over love."

"We are the sons and daughters of immigrants . . .We are the United States of America."

"Real leaders don't follow polls. Real leaders change polls."

"I want my children to live in a second American century of those willing to work hard to reach their dreams...."

'"We have never been victims of history, we have always been masters of our own." 

Mitt and Ann Romney are there listening also.

The Next First Lady

Ann Romney is speaking now.

I don't think she is as polished as some would wish. That is endearing though. She is speaking very quickly, and it seems she is really trying to go after the women's vote. Maybe it is overboard -- women are not the be-all-and-end-all of this country. I just hope the people who helped her write her speech did not over do it on the side of patronizing women. Men could be turned off by what she is saying...

Ann tells about getting married at a young age, and she says they lived in a basement apartment. "We ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish," she says. It was tough as he went to business school and law school at the same time ... They now have "five sons and eighteen beautiful grandkids."

I love when she says, "I'm still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance."

And she quotes the Scripture passage, "Give and it shall be given unto you."

Ann rocked it!!!!

Another Amazing Republican Woman!

I am listening to Gov. Nikki Haley right now, and she is another amazing Republican woman. As Governor of South Carolina, and the daughter of Indian immigrants, she appreciates the greatness of America. We need to listen to young American leaders who know what a great country we live in. Her support for voter identification flaws was thwarted by Obama and his minions.We have to stand up to the bully government!

Go Nikki, and God Bless America!

Am I Love?

I am watching the Republican National Convention, and so far I am extremely impressed with one particular presenter: Mia Love.

What an amazing young woman. She's 36 years old, a mom, a MAYOR, and a Mormon from Utah. What a contradiction. What an enigma. What a Republican woman! She is running for Congress, and I predict she will take the seat in November. She is the future of the Republican party. Mia is the future of America.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Barack Zelig Gump

On Saturday, August 25, we lost a giant of a man -- Neil Armstrong. I was but an eight-year old child when Armstrong took that first historical step onto the surface of the moon, on July 20, 1969.

Honestly I cannot recall the first lunar walk from memory, nor the impact it had on my life at the time. It would have been the summer prior to my starting third grade, so I undoubtedly was more engrossed in Barbie dolls, jump ropes, clackers, or dirt clod fights that day. But I do recall that the event was a sensation amongst the adults in my life.

Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was a few months older than my father (November 12, 1930-January 22, 1995). That he achieved the historic feat of walking on the moon at the age of 38, just a few weeks shy of his 39th birthday, is amazing also. My youngest brother just turned 39 last week, so that is a tender young age if you ask me!

In 1969 my father, alongside my mother, was working hard, primarily as a farmer, to provide for and raise their first eight children. To me as an eight-year-old child, what my dad did to support our family was as epic in my life as what Armstrong contributed to the world. Although he never traveled in outer space, my dad's passing in 1995 has left a space as large as the Milky Way in my heart. To help fill that void and keep his memory alive, when someone dies, I like to picture my dad in Heaven greeting them as they come through the pearly gates. I am sure Daddy had a lot of questions for Mr. Armstrong when they met on Saturday.

If there was one thing that saddened me besides the thought that America lost a pioneer on Saturday, it has to be the response from the President to the sad news of Armstrong's passing. Now, I will say that the family of Armstrong, when asked how best to honor him, did respond as follows: "For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink." What a wonderfully simple but meaningful tribute.

What saddened me was that, in response to the announcement of Armstrong's death, Obama chose to post a picture of himself looking up at the moon on a social media website. Why was this inappropriate, in light of the family's request? Mostly because the photo was not even taken after Armstrong's death! It was recycled from the White House Flick'r account from April of this year when Obama was in Colorado. It had nothing to do with Neil Armstrong. Rather, it was all about Obama being seen and seeming relevant.

Yes, the president couldn't even be bothered to actually go outside the night that Armstrong died and take a real picture of himself reflecting on Neil Armstrong. He dug up an old one and posted it instead. It's like he is Forest Gump, inserting himself into the events of 42 years ago when Americans watched proudly as Armstrong and his fellow crewmen made history.

There have been some interesting reflections on Obama's poor response. The best one was from Mike Flynn on, who wrote in part:
Obama took to his tumblr page to offer a tribute to Neil Armstrong. The words--two sentences--are fine in a generic politician way. But, Obama being Obama, he injected himself into the tribute. He included a photo, not of Armstrong or the iconic step onto the lunar surface, but of himself, gazing up at the moon.

Obama is a literary construct. It's as if Zelig jumped off the movie screen and took up residence in the Oval Office. He puts himself in the frame of historical events, even if he has only the smallest cameo. He let Democrats in Congress construct the stimulus package, as well as his signature legislation, Obamacare. He comes on the scene just in time for the photo-op, after others have done the heavy lifting.

Neil Armstrong did the heavy lifting. Even a tribute to his death is just another photo-op for Obama.
Now, I was born the same year as Barack Obama, so that means we were about the same age when Armstrong walked on the moon. Obama would have been a couple of weeks shy of age 8, and was known as Barry Soetoro and was living in Indonesia in 1969. Undoubtedly, Obama, like me, would not remember much about the event either. Indeed, he has let it be known as an adult that he does not believe in American exceptionalism, so such a historical feat would not have been significant to him. He lived most of his young life around radically left people who likely would have said, "The Soviets were first in space, so get off your high horse, Mr. Armstrong."

One of those radical leftists whom Obama knows is Bill Ayers. Remember him? He is the same anti-American oaf who, while Neil Armstrong was training for the moon-landing mission and actually walking on the moon in 1969, was bombing the Pentagon and the Capitol and other buildings in protest. Ayers was on the FBI's most wanted list for a time.

Of course, Mr. Obama has been confronted about knowing Bill Ayers, and this is how he responded in one interview:
This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George (Stephanopoulos).

Obama deflected the question about his relationship with Ayers by trying to make it sound like him being eight years old when Ayers conducted his terrorist activities somehow exonerates him from his associations with Ayers as an adult.

Ayers trampling the American flag.
We now know that the relationship between Obama and Ayers was much more substantial than Ayers being "just a guy in the same neighborhood" as Obama. Obama launched his political career in Ayers' living room, served closely on two socialist-leaning corporate boards with him, and engaged him to write his biographies when there was nothing substantial to write about.

Obama and I were eight years old when Bill Ayers bombed places and injured innocent people. We were eight years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. As an adult, I now recognize, appreciate and treasure the effect that the latter event has had on my life and mankind. I suspect Obama does the same with the former.

 Post Script: I have to go find the movie Zelig and watch it now.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's readings at Mass were chock full of meaning. The First Reading from Joshua chapter 24 was when he told the leaders of all the tribes of Israel to choose whom they would serve. Here is a section:
2 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `Your fathers lived of old beyond the Euphra'tes, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.
15 And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Then the second reading was from  Ephesians:
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church;

We actually had this reading at our wedding. I completely trust my husband not to abuse the deference and respect that I give him. Some people were confused when they heard it at the wedding, but I was determined to let everyone know how much I love and trust him because of our faith in God.

The Gospel today was the final in the Bread of Life discourse that we have been reading the last several Sundays. It is from John 6:

60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
67 Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"
68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;
69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

The First Reading and the Gospel are similar in their messages. The followers of Joshua and Jesus are being asked if they still want to follow the Lord. The respective messages they were hearing were difficult, and many had chosen to leave rather than follow the path to holiness. The priest at Mass this morning masterfully likened this to our day and age, and he pointed out that the Second Reading, which is sandwiched in between the First Reading and the Gospel, presents just such a dilemma for many Catholics today. They have to choose and ask themselves -- Do I trust God and believe the Good News about marriage and the relationship between husband and wife? Or do I give in to the demands of secular society and endorse other versions of marriage?

We are bombarded these days with the message that same sexes should be allowed to marry. Notorious Catholic politicians and leaders are endorsing the notion. Does that make it right? Is this a teaching of the Gospel that should "evolve" with what society wants to see happen? No. Marriage is a sacrament, an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. So any Catholic who publicly endorses gay marriage is defying the teaching of the Church. It is as simple as that. Christ gave us the sacrament of marriage. The belief in the Sacraments is fundamental. It is up to us to safeguard what He gave us.

Those who find this message too difficult will have to make a choice. If they cannot live by the teachings of Christ, then it may be best that they go.

The same is true of the Eucharist, as the Gospel today tells us. It is the command of Jesus that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood that many could not accept in His day. If we cannot accept the Real Presence of Christ as a matter of faith, then we cannot be His followers.

It is ironic that this was the Gospel today because when it came time for Communion, an old lady who had been sitting in the second row was one of the first to go up to receive the Eucharist. (This parish we started going to is much more conservative than the one of which we are currently members.) When the priest put the Host into her hand, the woman started to walk away without consuming it. The priest stepped down from the step, put his hand on her shoulder and stopped her. I could not hear what he whispered to her, but it was clear she was planning to take the Host with her and not consume it. He shook his head no, took it back from her, and then she made like she was going to argue with him. In fact, she raised her hand, and for a brief second I thought she was going to hit him. Then she turned to the young altar boy and pleaded her case. He looked confused and at a loss. The priest then told her gently but firmly to sit down. I saw the words form on his lips. It all took about 20 seconds, but it was noticeable to the people closest to that Communion station in our section. The lady turned, walked rather slowly up the aisle and left the body of the church.

After Mass we saw the lady standing outside church, around to the side, as if she was waiting for a ride. She looked Vietnamese or Chinese, so I do not know if she spoke English. Hopefully someone explained to her that there is a way to take the Eucharist to someone who cannot attend Mass in person -- if that was what she was doing.

I was very glad to see the priest step down to protect the integrity of the physical form of the Eucharist. At our old church the priests would not have done that, for fear of making the woman feel bad. That's one reason we have found a new parish to attend. So far I like what I have seen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

2016: Will Obama Destroy America?

Last night we went to see the movie I have been waiting for-- 2016: Obama's America. My initial reaction was "Wow." Not "Wow!" but "Wow." That's not to say I did not like the movie. On the contrary. It was so profound that it continues to send chills through me. I even had dreams last night that had a basis in the movie.

What this movie did for me is reinforce that we are living in dangerous times. I have never thought that before about any time in our history that I have been alive. But it has become visceral in the last year. It is more than an aura or a feeling or a sense. It is REAL. The movie brings that to life for me, and does what I have been unable to do until now -- it makes sense of the last four years.

There were only a few things in the movie that were news to me. One was that Lolo Soetoro was a pro-government Indonesian, and that Obama's mother left him because of that. She was an avowed Communist like Obama's father, and she wanted Soetoro to join the rebels in Indonesia, not the pro-Western-world faction that he supported. Another piece I was unaware of was that he had a professor in college (at Columbia, I think it was) named Unger, who was also an avowed Communist whom Obama was close to. I knew about the other Communist figures in his life, but not Unger.

What D'Souza's movie did for me was to bring all of the pieces of a puzzle together into a coherent picture. Moreover, it gave meaning to the picture by connecting the dots. Clearly Obama's disdain for America stems from his history of growing up around people who believe(d) America is a colonialist power that needs to be brought to its knees. Clearly, he is working to do just that. And he is surrounded with enablers who are still willingly under his spell. The only thing standing in his/their way is WE the people, who have been able to elect Congressmen and Senators who can still deflect his agenda. He still finds ways around it though, as he has with immigration and healthcare and other items on his destructive agenda. He issues Executive orders to do indirectly what he cannot do directly. The only way to stop him is to vote him out in November.

Please, God, let people see this movie and wake up to the America that 2016 will be if we do not take a different path in November. Please let us defeat Obama. Amen. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Fight to Save Buckyballs from Nanny State

I remember as a kid playing with a toy called "clackers." They were made of two balls of solid glass (actually acrylic, but they looked like glass to us kids) with a string about 24 to 30" long having each end embedded in one of the glass balls. A metal ring was affixed to the middle of the string. Holding the ring so that the balls hung down on the string, you would slowly lift and lower your hand at the wrist until the balls bumped and bounced off each other in a steady rhythm. When the time was right (determining the right time was what made you good at the game), you would raise and lower your hand that was holding the ring until the balls moved up an down in 180 degree arcs, hitting each other at the top and bottom of the pendulum-like swing such that their momentum and your pivoting hand sustained them in motion for as long as possible.

Naturally, the noise these balls made when hitting each other was loud and annoying, so Mom would make us go outside to use them. I owned more than one pair of clackers (purchased with my weed-pulling money) over time since the balls would chip away and sometimes come off the string. My wrist stayed bruised because if the balls missed each other, they invariably wrapped around your wrist until your wrist bones stopped them.

Then in 1971 (I now know), the Food and Drug Administration warned that the balls on clackers could chip, fracture or break and that the strings could fray and break, sending the projectile balls into one's eyes or into other nearby objects or persons. We kids knew this could happen from first-hand experience. It wasn't long until the noisy toys in their original form were gone from the retail market. You can now find them only at flea markets or on E-bay, when someone dares to part with the historical items.

Why the Food and Drug Administration was involved is not clear since clackers (unlike crackers) were not intended to be eaten as a food nor as a drug. No doubt clackers were one of the products that compelled the government to create the Consumer Protection Safety Commission a year after the FDA warning, in 1972.

Nanny State to Ban Buckyballs

Now here we are, 40 years after the CPSC was initiated, and they are trying to "protect us" by banning another of my favorite toys - Buckyballs. Although Buckyballs, like clackers, were not intended to be eaten, apparently some people do just that. So the CPSC is suing to stop their sale and to issue a recall. According to a USA Today story from July 26, 2012:
Some major retailers, including Amazon, Brookstone and Urban Outfitters, have agreed to stop selling these and similar products at CPSC's request. Children who swallow the tiny magnetic balls can require surgery when they become stuck in their intestines.
Dozens of children have needed surgery to remove the tiny magnets in Buckyballs as well as those sold by competitors of its maker, Maxfield & Oberton. At least 12 of the ingestions involved Buckyballs.
There is no explanation as to how most of the children who ate the Buckyballs got them in the first place. One incident that has been described involved a 12 year-old girl who took two Buckyballs that a friend brought to school and put them on her tongue to pretend it was pierced. I guess she then decided to swallow. Not a good idea. Two surgeries later she was Bucky Ball free.

It does not seem to matter to the CPSC that there are clear warnings on the packages that Buckyballs come in. Nor do the adults who gave the children a desk toy to play with in the first place seem to share some responsibility.

But the owner of Buckyballs is fighting back. The "Save our balls" campaign is in full force. I am doing my part with my YouTube video, which you can see below or at this YouTube link.

In the end, there are many other products that are more hazardous than Buckyballs. "Geekmom" on suggests that these seven things be banned next:
1. Balloons
2. Everything with wheels
3. Electrical outlets
4. Doors
5. Laptop batteries
6. Lego toys
7. The Sun

Buckyballs. Get them before they are forever gone from the marketplace.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cartoon Parody

The LA Times, leftist rag that it is, has this cartoon posted from August 20, 2012.

What I think he meant to say was this.

Edited by a Spanish octogenarian with good intent and common sense.

Restoring Great Catholic Artwork

Here is a kinda funny story, albeit not so much to the local community in which it happened. It involves a well-meaning woman in her 80s in a village in Spain who attempted a "repair job on a one-of-a-kind 19th century fresco by the Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez" that had become aged and/or weathered.

Now, as background, some readers will recall that a few decades ago the Sistine Chapel was restored after nearly five hundred years of collecting dust and grime. Here is how one website that documented the restoration summarizes the project:
In the year 1506, the famous Italian Renaissance [painter] Michelangelo Buonarroti was approached by Pope Julius the Second and offered the commission to the paint the Pope's private chapel, the Sistine Chapel. For four years, 1508 through 1512, Michelangelo worked on 65 foot scaffolding, painting what would eventually become the greatest work of art in the Western world. When it was revealed, the world was inspired and shocked. Nearly five hundred years after it's completion, the ceiling was once again forced into the spotlight.
In 1980, the Vatican announced it's plans to launch a massive cleaning and restoration project on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling frescoes. This intensive civic project cost the Vatican millions of dollars and twelve years. The results were phenomenal. The ceiling was revealed as a vibrantly vivid and passionate work of art. There were those, however, that felt the ceiling's restoration and cleaning had ruined the frescoes. Those that felt that way still protest today. The conservation project launched by the Vatican remains a hot debate topic in the art world to this day.

Whatever one may think of the restoration in terms of its historical and artistic values, the before and after pictures prove that the restoration project achieved what it set out to do. The result was a spectacular explosion of colors that had long since lost their vivacity, as these up-close pictures show.

Now back to our story. As an 80-year-old art lover (presumably, since she undertook the restoration project), the elderly woman (whose identity has not been revealed) probably knew of the Sistine Chapel restoration project that had captured the attention of the world in the 1980s-early '90s. She must have thought, "I can do that" ("Yo puedo hacer eso" in Spanish). And she undertook, without permission, to restore the fresco called Ecce Homo, Behold the Man.

Let's just say there is a reason that amateurs should not attempt a project of this nature. The story itself is worth a read, as it has some humorous parts to it. The British version even has some additional details. But the picture of the woman's restoration attempt truly is worth a thousand words in this instance.

(Left) Before; (Middle) During ; (Right) After

Bless her heart, she tried. No one can dispute that. But I have to ask: Is Jesus sticking his tongue out in her final version?

As the news reports explain, an attempt will be made to restore the restoration to its pre-restoration status. And as of now, no charges are being filed against the octogenarian.

However, the part of the story that has yet to be revealed is that the woman has previously attempted to restore several other pieces of art by some other famous Spanish painters. The before and after photos of her previous repair jobs are below.

El Greco's painting of St. John the Baptist was transformed to show the saint
after bathing in the Jordan River on a sunny day.
El Greco's Veronica and the Shroud was transformed
to show how well Tide laundry detergent works.

Goya's The Duchess of Abrantes was transformed into a monstrous woman with an extra eye on her cheek.

After further research, the third potential restoration attempt was dismissed when it was shown that The Duchess of Abrantes remained intact, and what was thought to be a restoration attempt by the octogenarian was in truth a Portrait of Marie-Therese Walter with a Garland, by Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Most Popular Phenomena Are for the Birds - Angry Birds

I am always late coming to popular things. I was never popular in high school until my senior year, after I won my county's Junior Miss pageant. "Fame" faded pretty fast. In 1990, I did not care to see the highly touted movie Dances With Wolves, even after it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. When it was re-released after the Oscars, it was the only movie playing at the $2 theater one weekend. So, I gave in and went to see it. Four times. It is now my favorite movie of all time.

Kevin Costner as Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, joined by Two Socks
More recently I ignored the Hunger Games series until I thought I should find out what my two stepdaughters were reading. I read all three books in the trilogy, finishing the last when I was in Haiti. I am a fan of Suzanne Collins now. I even took Hubby to see the movie when it came to the local draft house, waiting until then so that no teens would be around to disturb the peace.

It is probably not a surprise that reportedly addictive video and Internet games like Farmville (I think that is what it is called on Facebook) do not pique my interest whatsoever. I refuse to even learn about the one called "Words with Friends" after hearing the story of Alec Baldwin getting kicked off an airplane for refusing to cease and desist playing the game when a flight attendant told him repeatedly to stop.

What is a bit of a surprise is that I somehow downloaded Angry Birds onto my Kindle Fire a couple of months ago. It sat unopened on my carousel until this past weekend. Now, to back track  for a moment, let me explain that I sort of knew what the game was about when I downloaded it. Last December I was dumbfounded while Christmas shopping when I saw grapefruit-sized stuffed animals--purportedly in the shape of birds--of red, yellow, and blue color, that were flying off the shelves (not literally) at Walmart. I asked my then 12-year-old what they were, and she explained they were from a video game called Angry Birds. "What do they do?" I asked, trying to act like I cared. "They kill pigs," she responded. "And they make weird noises." So we bought one each for her two cousins as Christmas gifts.

So back to my Kindle and Saturday night. I usually read a book or scan the web before going to sleep at night, but out of curiosity that night I opened the Angry Birds game while I was laying in bed. Hubby was next to me, absorbed in a Nats baseball game or some other sporting event on TV. As I started trying out the game, I began to catch on. It involved mathematical calculations, timing, and persistence.

That's when it happened. Hubby saw the game. After watching me for 30 seconds, he said, "Let me try." That was all she wrote. Over the next hour I think I got 10 minutes total playing time. I didn't really mind. It was cute to watch Hubby play the Angry Birds game. He was pretty good at it, in fact, moving up through the levels. Around midnight I suggested we turn off the lights. By 12:30 we did.

Sunday night I ventured to pull out the Kindle again. I got in about 8 minutes of play time on Angry Birds before turning it over to my drooling husband. Monday night was down to 6 minutes for me. Then came last night. After 3 nights of playing, we finally figured out that the blue bird will break into 3 if you touch the screen after launching them. I had seen the triplication happen on occasion, but I did not know what prompted it to happen. I must have touched the screen on accident. Then last night I watched the little pop-up explanation. What a break-through -- literally! Three bluebirds can break through more easily than one lonely little birdie. It was so funny watching Hubby play the game that I had to snap a couple of pictures.

Ready, aim, fire!

Looking good! Can you get all the pigs?

Oh, no. The dreaded "Level Failed" message. Just one more time...

Then, as luck would have it, this morning I stumbled across the perfect video, which perfectly encapsulates what has happened over the last four nights. I wasn't looking for the video, but it popped up this morning at the end of a birthday card/video that my sister sent to my baby brother, who turned 39 today. (Happy Birthday, Baby Brother!) I have highlighted Tim Hawkins in a previous column, so I was delighted that he has addressed the Angry Bird phenomenon.

So what does Angry Birds have to do with being an informed Catholic voter? As I read about the game, I was struck by the fact that the day before I first began playing it, an MSNBC co-host had made a despicable accusation that Mitt Romney's use of the words "angry" and "anger" was the "niggerization" of Mr. Obama's campaign. What? I know! Mr. Toure has since apologized, but only after he got a LOT of flack from both sides.... Okay, at least the Right gave him a hard time.

I can make this observation. When you play angry birds, you see the blue and red birds first. Then the yellow one comes into the fray. And then the BLACK bird. And he EXPLODES when you touch the screen. Hmmmm. Something to think about. I wonder if Barack Obama plays Angry Birds. Or am I a racist for wondering?

The Hope and The Change

Another movie is about to be released nationwide on DVD by Citizens United. It will debut at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.

Here is a summary: "The surprising personal journeys of 40 Democrats and Independents from across America who supported Obama in 2008." Here is the trailer.

Available NOW on DVD. You can order a copy at

 My copy is in the mail!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Catholics for Obama

Having examined the national chairpersons for the Romney campaign's "Catholics for Romney," let's turn to the "Catholics for Obama" team. I spent considerable time looking up the co-chairs -- and there are a lot of them, mind you. As I looked at the Obama website, I did so with the intention of ascertaining what credentials each of these co-chairs brings to the table. It seems to me that you would want people with a very outward and immediately recognizable Catholic identity. Try as I might, I could not figure out why some of these people were chosen. That is, I think the ultimate decision to include some of them was not so much because they are Catholic but because of some other appeal. Let's take a look at each member named on the Obama website in order of appearance.

Polly Baca

  She is a former Colorado state senator and a minority. There is no mention on the Obama website that she is Catholic. It is reported elsewhere that she told Obama to stay away in 2010 when she was running for re-election. I looked at her Wikipedia page, which anyone is free to edit (including Ms. Baca), but there is no mention of "Catholic" whatsoever (as of this date). Indeed, in an article about her being honored for her work with Israel, there is no mention ofher being Catholic. The Archdiocese of Denver website lists her as a member of its review board, but you are not required to be Catholic to serve on such a board. (I was a bishop’s delegate to a review board for several years, so I know this to be true.) Lastly, even on which contans a lengthy biography of Ms. Baca, there is no mention of her as a Catholic. Rather, it identifies her more with Chicanas than her faith.

The Hon. Elizabeth Frawley Bagley

Bagley is "Honorable" because she was an ambassador to Portugal under Clinton. Her profile on teh Obama website never mentions the word "Catholic." Neither does her biography on Wikipedia. We learn that Elizabeth Frawley Bagley was born July 13, 1952 in Elmira, New York, and that she is an attorney specializing in trade and international law, a diplomat, and a major Democratic party donor and fundraiser. Here is some more interesting stuff from her Wiki bio:

Her late husband, Smith W. Bagley (1935–2010) was an heir to the R.J. Reynolds tobacco fortune and a vice chairman of finance for the Democratic National Committee, and the Bagleys were regarded as "two of the heaviest financial hitters in the [Democratic] party." Closely associated with the Clintons since Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, Ambassador Bagley was a "bundler" during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign who became a "HillRaiser" by raising more than $100,000, and the Bagleys contributed over $1,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Ambassador Bagley was also "part of the national finance team for the Obama campaign, having personally raised about $350,000" as of August 2008. Together the Bagleys "raised the maximum $600,000 for President Obama's inauguration events" in 2009.

Bagley was reportedly a key player in securing the Catholic vote for Obama in the 2008 election. Here is an expose claiming Frawley-Bagley "manipulated the Catholic vote" as the board chair of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

Rep. Xavier Becerra

As a Representative, he has his own official government webpage. But instead of wading through all of that, I went again to the website that anyone can edit themselves, Wikipedia. His entry there has one mention of “Catholic” – in the box to the right where it says “Religion.” On his personal website, there are pictures of him campaigning for Boxer and Brown, his fellow Californians. I suppose his credential for being on Obama’s team is that he has a 71% liberal voting record.

Nicholas Cafardi  

From Pennsylvania, Cafardi is a lawyer and a canon lawyer. So he does have sufficient mention on the Obama website of his work with Catholic organizations. What is not mentioned is that in 2008, he was asked to resign from board of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, because of his controversial support of Obama. He is a writer for the National Catholic Reporter, a liberal publication that reports on the Catholic world. Cafardi recently wrote an article saying Obama is more pro-life than Romney and alleging that Romney profited from abortions through Bain Capital. There has been plenty of de-bunking of this ridiculous suggestion. It would seem that Cafardi wrote his own biography on the Duquesne website, as he calls himself “one of the foremost lay canon lawyers in the United States.” Although I do not know him personally, I know scores of canonists, and they do not hold this same high opinion of him.

 Kathy Dahlkemper

Dahlkemper’s Wiki-bio mentions Catholic only as her religion, but does mention that she is on the diocesan marriage preparation committee with her husband. Dahlkemper was a 1-term (two years) congresswoman from Pennsylvania from 2009-2011. This ad against her in 2010 slammed her for voting for Obamacare, and as a result she lost her seat in the 2012 election that saw Republicans gain a majority in the House. “Dahlkemper supported the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, an anti-abortion amendment to America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 (HR 3962), but later voted in favor of Affordable Health Care Act despite the Stupak-Pitts Amendment not being included.” Dahlkemper asserted “I wouldn't have voted for Obamacare if I'd known about the HHS Rule.” I guess she took Nancy Pelosi seriously when she said they had to pass the bill to see what's in it.

 Rep. Rosa DeLauro

She is a House member from Connecticut. The only mention of her being Catholic on Wikipedia is to say she is Catholic. She is also noted to be one of the most Liberal members of the House and a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. DeLauro has faced criticism from the Roman Catholic Church, of which she is a member, over her support for abortion rights. DeLauro has voted in favor of measures that expand the availability of abortion services. She also pushed a bill to give free diapers to poor women with babies and supported a soda pop tax.

Sen. Dick Durbin

He is a liberal Senator from Illinois. I will not spend time writing about him. If you don't know why he is on this team, then I cannot explain it to you!

Miguel Foster

There is no picture of Foster on the Obama website, so I cannot distinguish him from Adam when I Google his name. All it says on the Obama website for him is: “Miguel Foster serves as the director of the Civil and Human Rights Department of the United Auto Workers.” As a result, I can find that he is on the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. He is obviously a union supporter and is on the board of the Michigan AFL-CIO. He also appears on a list of “Coalition members” on a website called People Before Banks, which states: “We are a coalition of labor, faith and neighborhood groups who are fed up with the unfair foreclosures scarring our communities.” No other details are available about Mr. Foster. I think he is from Michigan., but I guess if I cannot identify him, it is hard to say he is not a good Catholic! Who is John Galt?

Thomas Groome

Groome is an Irish-born, laicized Catholic priest. He teaches at Boston College. To say the least, Groome is a controversial figure who has written controversial opinions on Catholic teaching. His works have even led to scandal in Scotland. There is something out there about Groome wanting his good name restored. You can watch this You Tube broadcast of Groome and see him for yourself. Professor Groome is also the primary author of various religion textbook series from W.H. Sadlier, most recently the “Coming to Faith” series. Some have criticized the series over the years as lacking in doctrinal substance and being too “fluffy” with the focus on love and peace.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur

According to her Wikibio, Kaptur has been in Congress since 1983, almost 30 years. “Catholic” is listed as her religion and that is its only mention in her biography. Kaptur beat Dennis Kucinich for the Democratic nomination earlier this year, a race that came about because Ohio lost two Congressional seats. She will run against Joe the Plumber in the November election for that northern Ohio Congressional seat. Her biography on the Obama website says: “Congresswoman Kaptur is a parishioner at Little Flower Roman Catholic Church and a graduate of St. Ursula Academy, where she received the distinguished alumnae award in 1995.” If that’s all it takes--graduate from a Catholic institution and be a member of a parish--I would be qualified to be a co-chair! Except I suppose you also have to want Obama to win. Scratch that.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy

So it appears Obama is continuing to tap the 1%. What are Victoria Kennedy’s credentials as a Catholic, other than being Ted Kennedy’s second wife and widow? Maybe it is that she was invited and then disinvited to speak at a Catholic college earlier this year. I think whoever invited her in the first place should probably be terminated for not properly vetting her, but is sympathy for a humiliated woman (albeit a Kennedy) enough of a reason to vote for a man who is destroying our country? I can see no credentials other than Mrs. Kennedy was married to Ted Kennedy, and she wrote a preface for a booklet in 2008 called A Catholic Case for Obama. I hope that means there is a very small pool from which to choose. I suspect it is because she played an active role in helping pass Obamacare in 2010.

Victoria Kovari

Kovari is the female Barack Obama, as she is said to be a “community practitioner and social activist” in Detroit. She has said in an article that Catholic Church should stay out of the birth control issue. I guess that’s why she is on the Obama team. She is a former Interim President and National Field Director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which is “bathhouse of public and heretical Catholic dissent.” She is almost as qualified as Ms. Kaptur since, according to the Obama website, she is a member and currently serves on the Parish Council of Gesu Catholic Church in Detroit. She did not graduate from a Catholic school, apparently.

 Gov. Martin O’Malley

O’Malley is the governor of Maryland. All you need to know about him is he supported and signed into law the gay marriage law in Maryland. He’s qualified to be on Obama’s team.

Jim Oberstar

According to the Obama website, Oberstar served as a United States representative from Minnesota from 1975 until 2011. Minnesota, home of Al Franken. Enough said – qualified. In his Wikibio, the only mention of Catholic is in as his religion. We learn that he went to Georgetown. Another tick for the qualified-to-be-on-Obama’s-team box. Oberstar was another victim of the Tea Party in 2010 after serving 36 years in Congress. The Wreck of the Jim Oberstar is a piece that is not flattering to Representative Oberstar.

Lawrence Parks

Mr. Parks was tough to pin down. There is no Wikipedia page for him. When I Googled him I kept getting entries for parks in Lawrence, Kansas. Parks is employed by FHL Bank, San Francisco, as Senior Vice President for External and Legislative Affairs. He also has a law degree. He has given testimony in Congress. He worked for Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, who died during Clinton administration.

Sr. Jamie T. Phelps

No complaints on this member of the team. She has a record of devoting her life to Catholic causes. She is an Adrian Dominican Sister. Sister Jamie is a member of the Board of the National Black Catholic Congress. I have not read anything to detract from Sister Jamie’s stature as a dedicated vowed religious. Her ministerial experience is summarized: “In her almost 50 years she has devoted to public church ministry, Sr. Jamie has served the church and the community as an educator, social worker, community organizer, pastoral minister, consultant, lecturer, liturgist, spiritual director, preacher, retreat director, administrator, scholar, theologian, and author.”

Fred Rotondaro

Rotondaro is a senior fellow at the liberal thinktank Center for American Progress. He serves as Chair of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, another liberal organization that cloaks itself in the Catholic moniker. Rotondaro blogs for the Huffington Post. Among his postings is “Catholic Bishops Support Republicans,” another one entitled “Have Catholic Bishops Turned Their Backs on the Working Class and the Poor?”, and another titled “Catholic Bishops Trying to Find Relevance in Health Insurance Debate”. Rotondaro spends a lot of time arguing on Twitter about the GOP, especially against fellow Catholic Paul Ryan.

Rep. Tim Ryan

This selection is quite a mystery to me. This Congressman Ryan is no kin to the aforementioned Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. Tim is age 39 (b. 1973) and single. His Wikibio makes no mention of him being Catholic. Even under “Religion” it says “Christian” instead of Catholic. He is called the “meditative Congressman” and he practices Buddhist “mindfulness” which is “one of the seven factors on the path to enlightenment.” His appeal to Obama must be that he is from Ohio, a battleground state that Obama must win. But Catholics there are pretty smart, so I doubt they will mistake a Buddhist for a Catholic!

Stephen Schneck

Probably more than anyone else, this Obama team member’s views illustrate the deep and growing divide between factions of Catholics over their conflicting positions on social teaching. Like several others on the team, he is a Board member of Catholics in Alliance and is Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at CUA, my alma mater. At least this co-chair has some experience actually arguing on the issues that are at stake in this election. Here is an analysis of Ryan vs. Schneck on the budget . And you can read a contrast between Schneck’s liberal, condescending view of Tea Party members with that of Father Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute. And to see an oral debate where Schneck takes a beating, and gets caught up in “Distributive Justice” and “Preference the Poor,” watch this appearance on the O’Reilly Factor from 5/12/12.  Lastly, you can read Mr. Schneck’s obsession with the liberal view of Catholic social teaching in this article called “A taxing problem: How can the nation help the poor?” (Wednesday, June 13, 2012).

John Sweeney

Here we have another mystery team member. Sweeney's Wiki bio makes no mention at all of him being Catholic. He is a former President of the ultra-liberal SEIU. His bio tells a story of how he became President of the AFL-CIO, and it takes up two screens worth on the Wikipedia page. The piece reads like a mob story, describing the bitter battle over the presidency and how Sweeney made it to the top. He is identified as a founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. And he gave a speech in 2009 on the need to control the rising cost of health care. Other than that, the mention of him receiving the Medal of Freedom from Obama is the only other nexus between them.

Mark Tuohey III
Lastly, due to the alphabet only, is anotherlawyer from D.C., Mark Tuohey III. His qualifications from what I can glean are that he went to Jesuit schools, he worked on Bobby Kennedy’s campaign in 1968, and he was a “Washingtonian of the Year” in 2005. A little probing reveals Mr. Tuohey was involved in the investigation of Vince Foster and Whitewater during the Clinton administration. And, he helped bring major league baseball back to Washington – Obama ALMOST gets my husband’s vote for that one! The Nats are in first place at present and hopefully headed to a pennant!

So, we see several union bosses, some Hispanics, some African-Americans, some Caucasians, some lawyers, some Congresspeople, some socialites, and a few who even have theology credentials. Are there any midwesterners? Oh yes, Colorado. Hmmm, mostly Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other eastern locales are represented. I am anxious to see their state chairpersons when they roll them out. 

Now that we have met the two national teams--Catholics for Romney and Catholics for Obama, I will point out there are some articles already out there praising and criticizing the choices. One fairly even-handed contrast between the two “Catholics-for” groups comes from Seattle. One notes that, contrary to 2008, there will (can) be no pro-life plank in Obama platform this time around.

I am sure there will be more to write about in the coming weeks as these national teams of leaders begin to work their magic on the Catholic populace. Wait, I can't say that since magic is not a Catholic tenet.

My bet is on the Catholics for Romney to make an early mark on the race. Any takers?