Friday, November 30, 2012

Jesse Tree Reflections: December 3 and 4

Before I post today's set of Jesse Tree reflections for Advent (coming this Sunday!  I know, right?), I just want to note that I've put a link-list in this blog's sidebar so you can easily go to each post (every post will have two days' worth of readings).  There's also a link to the post explaining what this is about, and a link to my sister-in-law's blog so you can follow her links to her symbol pages, both the "to be colored" set and the "pre-colored" set.

************
Dec. 3
Optional Reading: Genesis 6:11-22, 7:17-8:3, 9:8-17 (The Flood)
Symbol: Rainbow
Reflection:

“‘When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.’  God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.’” Gen 9:16-17

The people of the earth had fallen into wickedness and evil.  In the midst of this God called to Noah and asked him to build the ark, to bring his family and two of each of every living creature aboard, to obey Him and to be ready.  And then for forty days and forty nights the rain fell and the world flooded, and all who were not with Noah perished.

But God did not intend to wipe sinful humanity from the earth forever.  He established His covenant with Noah, and set a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His promise never to destroy the earth by a flood again.  God does not wish for us to perish in our sins, but to repent of them and follow Him.

Dec. 4
Optional Reading: Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-6 (The call of Abraham and God’s Promise)
Symbol: The Sky of Stars
Reflection:

“And He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’  Then  He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’  And he believed the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.’”  Gen 15:5-6

God called Abraham to leave his home and his people, and journey to a new land.  He promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation; and yet Abraham had no child of his own.  But God showed him the night sky, full of stars beyond counting, and promised him that his descendants would be this numerous.  Abraham’s faith in God’s promise is an example of how our trust in God should be.

Yet often we find ourselves in sin precisely because we don’t trust God to keep His promises, as Abraham did.  We think that we have to do everything for ourselves, and we start thinking that moral “shortcuts” must be allowed when so much depends on our own actions.  But this is wrong.  God is faithful, and keeps His promises; if we trust Him, we will never be tempted to the “shortcut” of sin.

************

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jesse Tree Reflections: December 1 and 2

As promised yesterday, I am beginning to post the Jesse Tree Reflections today (see what it's about here).

Before I post the two reflections for December 1 and December 2, I have something exiting to share: my wonderful sister-in-law is joining in this effort by making available symbols that match the ones on the list I've been using!

To go to a printable list of the first 12 symbols ready to print and color yourself, click here.

If you're like me and coloring makes you nervous, you can get a pre-colored set of the first 12 symbols here.

My sister-in-law will do a second sheet of symbols for the next 12 readings in the near future!

Here are the very brief, simple reflections; again, I've included suggested symbols and readings under the impression that to do so is fair use, especially since I don't know the origins of either the symbols (apart from them being the sort of thing you find with Jesse Trees) or the suggested readings (again, apart from them being among the many suitable readings for Advent).  All of the Scripture quotes I have used here come from the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition of the Bible.

************

Dec. 1
Optional Reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3 (Creation)
Symbol: Dove
Reflection:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”  Gen 1: 26

In the account of creation from the reading today, we learn three important things: one, that God made everything that exists in the universe; two, that everything God made was good as God Himself is good, and three, that God gave man dominion over all of His creation.  If man had not fallen, how different would the world be!  And yet, in the Exsultet at the Easter Vigil we hear: “O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”

Dec. 2
Optional Reading: Genesis 2:4-3:13 (The Fall)
Symbol: Forbidden Tree
Reflection:

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.”  Gen 3:6

How quickly man disobeyed God and lost His friendship!  Eve was tempted by three things: the world (that the fruit would make her wise), the flesh (that the tree was good for food) and the devil--the serpent who tempted her.  In choosing to give in to these temptations she and Adam turned away from God Who loved them for the sake of an illusion, and this Original Sin is reflected in us, especially when we, too, choose sin.



************

Just popping in...

...to say, "Whew!"

I wasn't sure I'd make it this year.  Of course, Book Four in the Tales of Telmaja series isn't exactly finished at 50,000 words, so I've got my work cut out for me through December.

Oh, and later on today or by tomorrow at the latest, I expect to share (look for the update to this post!) word of my youngest daughter's successful 50,000-word run.  Hatchick has participated in the two summer "Camp Nanowrimo" sessions AND this one, and when she validates her novel sometime in the next two days, she will have written a grand total of 150,000 words in Nanowrimo events this year alone.

And she's only 14, and could have set her word count goal lower than 50K.  But she's awesome. :)

UPDATE: She did it!  53,000 words and counting by validation time.  More than 150,000 total on three different books this year for Hatchick!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Something new for Advent

First of all: hooray for the world's best husband!  Thad not only cleaned up my keyboard last night--he brought me home a new one, too.  This one, in fact.  It's amazing, it was on sale, and it's washable.  Did I mention that it's washable?  As in, you can submerge it in water washable...

I'm loving this new keyboard.  Can you tell?  I think, given my inevitable habit of having beverages near my writing area, that I probably needed this thing years ago.

Now: yesterday what I had meant to post was something new that I want to do over Advent.  In years past I've done several different sorts of things, from sticking to my regular blogging to taking extended breaks to mixing up seasonal stuff with the more usual politics, religion and culture topics to combinations of any or all of those.

But this year, I had a different idea, and I want to share it with you now.

Every year our family does a Jesse Tree devotion over Advent.  Our Jesse Tree is a lovely felt tree with attachable symbols which was made by one of my sisters, who is now a Sister with the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word.  My sister gave Thad and me the tree along with a typewritten (yes, that long ago!) list of the order in which the symbols were to be attached along with the suggested Scripture reading for that day.

There was one tiny problem we experienced in using the tree: some nights the readings were of manageable length, and sometimes they were on the short side, but on some nights the readings were--well, not conducive to an evening family devotion, let's just say.  Such as the night that instructed the reader to read the whole book of Jonah out loud.  Or the night when several pages of the Old Testament were read in order to tell the whole story of Joseph--his brothers, the coat, the well, the Pharaoh, the dreams, well, you get it.

We did many things over the years to make this work for us, including summarizing the readings, substituting some "Children's Bible" versions of the longer stories, and so on.  But last year, having done these things for many years and also having older teens who were quite capable of reading the entire suggested readings quietly to themselves sometime during the day, I wanted to come up with something that would work for an after-dinner prayer time when Thad could join us, that would still incorporate the familiar tradition of our much-loved Jesse Tree.

So I wrote some very simple, very non-professional, very basic reflections on each day's readings for us to read in the evenings as we placed each day's symbol on the Jesse Tree.  We always kept the option open of reading the day's Scripture reading out loud together at that time, too, but on busy December evenings when the reading of the day was a good twenty or thirty-minute session (or longer--no, really!), we could still talk about the Scripture theme for the day and add the reflection to our evening prayers.

Now, I know that just about every Jesse Tree is different, and the reflections I wrote to go with this particular set of symbols might not be a perfect match for your own family's devotions--if the Jesse Tree is something you do during Advent.  But I'd really like to take a step away from the more secular themes this time of year, and sharing these Jesse Tree reflections with you seemed like a good way to do it.

Starting tomorrow, then, I will begin posting the reflections I wrote.  I'm starting early because I think more people might enjoy these reflections if they're available ahead of the actual first day of Advent.  Here are a few things I want to get out of the way up front, though:

1.  I don't know the source of my sister's original list of suggested symbols and Scripture readings.  I believe that posting those along with my reflections would constitute fair use in any case, as I don't think that mere lists of this type can be copyrighted, given the many iterations of Jesse Tree symbols and readings that are out there.  However, if these materials are subject to copyright and the original copyright holder contacts me, I'll either remove those portions of my posts or attribute them to the copyright holder, whichever the copyright holder prefers.

2.  I am sharing these in the awareness that I'm just an average lay Catholic woman with no special training.  If anybody sees any glaring errors in what I wrote, please let me know; my intent is always to think along with the Church, not against her, so I'll fix anything that's problematic.  Just tell me.

3.  These brief reflections are what they are, but if for some reason you like them and want to use them at home, at church, with parish or church groups, or in some other reasonable way, please do so.  My only stipulation is that nobody ever gets charged in connection with them (e.g., don't turn them into an e-book or something and try to sell it, 'cause I'd be annoyed, and if you actually sold any I'd be shocked as well).

4. The reflections, like our original Jesse Tree devotions, are dated from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25.  Since Advent always starts on a different day each year, this seems to be the best way.  This year, of course, Advent starts Dec. 2---so I plan on doing the Dec. 1 reading either as "First Sunday of Advent Eve" or else just do both readings on Dec. 2.   Do what works--but, yes, I do know that the first day of Advent isn't Dec. 1 this year (or most years, come to think of it).

I think that's all you need to know--see you tomorrow for the first set!  Oh, and I may post more than one here or there, because I don't usually remember to blog on weekends and I don't want to fall too far behind. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Most ironic post ever

I had something planned to post today.  Something new, something for Advent that I hope you'll enjoy.

But I can't post it.

I can barely type--though if I hit the sticky letters hard enough I can sort of make them work.

What, you ask, did I spill on my keyboard?

A cup of tea.

Remind me again what this stupid blog is called?

Back tomorrow.  I hhhhhhhope.  (Yep, the "h" is the worst-stuck key--ow did you guess?)  :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Prayers for a grieving family

Yesterday I had a few minutes of free time, so I checked in with the blogs in my Google reader feed, expecting to see a few posts here and there about everyone's Thanksgivings, plus political rants, humor, and the like.

Instead, I read this terribly sad post from Alisha de Freitas, who wrote this about spending time with her sister recently:
We made our way into my church a couple of minutes after noon. We headed down front. This was a special All Souls Mass, two weeks after it was supposed to be held, postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. All total, there was five of us in attendance. My pastor, Father Ros, asked us each to do a reading. We both said yes. As he stepped away to begin mass, she studied her assigned passage earnestly.

"So how do you like that? Your first time here and he's got you working! Don't worry, we follow everything on the paper, and it's very similar in order to Catholic masses," I said quietly.

When her time came, she walked up the stairs and stopped and did a quick genuflect at the Communion table. I smiled. Fast learner. She read from Psalm 130:


Out of the depths have I called to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

If you, LORD, were to note what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand?

For there is forgiveness with you; therefore you shall be feared. 

 I wait for the LORD; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope.

 
Towards the end of the service, Father Ros read through the pages long list of the Faithful Departed. Name after name after name.

I looked up at him, wearing purple vestments, the one I saw all through Lent. Purple is solemn. Purple is royal. Purple is my favorite color.

I looked over at Jos. She was holding Zoe and frowning. The names were many.

"It's sad," I whispered to her.
Alisha's sister Joscelyne died suddenly in her sleep just a couple of days after attending that service with Alisha. 


Please hold Alisha and her family, especially Joscelyn's husband and two children, close to your hearts this week in prayer.


Eternal rest grant unto your servant Joscelyne, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving blog break

I'm taking a blog break this week to get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Look for something a little different over Advent...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Something to think about

I'm still seeing articles about the "Greed Thursday" phenomenon of starting so-called "Black Friday" sales so early on Thanksgiving that retail workers no longer get to celebrate the holiday with their families.

Here's something I want you to ponder.

Target pays its employees time-and-a-half to work some holiday hours. Typical Target hourly pay is between $8 and $14 an hour, according to this website.  Being paid time and a half on 8 to 14 dollars an hour still isn't much money, especially when it means being forced to give up a family holiday.

The CEO of Target, Gregg Steinhafel, received twenty four million dollars ($24,000,000) last year (2011) in compensation.  That was a significant increase over his 2010 compensation of around 13 million dollars.  Even if we assumed that he works 80 to 100-hour workweeks and a full 52 weeks of work every year, at that pay rate, he's making between almost $5,000 to almost $6,000 an hour (if my math is right; if it's not, I'll fix it--just let me know).

And I bet he doesn't have to skip Thanksgiving to do it.

It's just something to think about.  Especially as we make our plans for this season's Christmas shopping.  I know that for me, while I'll still buy grocery items and toiletries at Target (it's one of the only grocery stores in my area), I'm not spending a dime of my Christmas shopping money there this year.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Clear principles and muddled thinking (in which I apologize for yesterday, among other things)

I want to start this post by apologizing for the extremely muddled thinking going on in yesterday's post; I blame late night noveling, excess caffeine, allergies, and Benadryl (tm).  In that order. :)

No, seriously, I do know that simply delivering an extremely pre-viable child in a dangerous situation isn't a moral option.  There has to be an underlying pathology of the uterus itself; the classic example is removing a cancerous uterus that unfortunately also removes the pre-viable baby.  Where I erred in yesterday's post was not pondering and describing exactly what others were saying about the condition of the uterus should it be badly infected by infected amniotic fluid, infected placental tissue, etc. and also--if I may be totally honest--in thinking in my muddle-headed way that 17 weeks was closer to viability than it actually is.  I've made this mistake before; the record for survival is held by a baby born at 21 weeks and 5 days gestation, but I always think survival has happened earlier than that until I go check the records.  Could a woman in a potentially fatal crisis situation whose unborn baby was at least 20 weeks gestation attempt delivery with a full neonatal intensive care team on standby in the hopes of making medical history, or would such an attempt be morally invalid?  That is the sort of thing a well-trained Catholic moral theologian would have to answer, but it's clear that 17 weeks is much farther away from the record survival age to make the attempt in any serious way at this time with today's medical technology.  But can a doctor remove badly infected amniotic fluid and placental tissue which is actively killing the mother knowing that his action will have the side-effect of making it necessary to remove from the uterus a baby who cannot survive outside of it?  That is the situation that might--I stress that word--be able to be discussed from a double-effect standpoint.  Whether or not it would be morally possible to make that call is something I'm not prepared to state definitively, but I will say that it would seem to be within the realm of a morally valid, though tragic, option; I would appreciate any knowledgeable person weighing in on that, by the way, as I would like to learn more about this.

But, again, the problem in the case of Savita was not that nobody wanted to discuss difficult moral options; it is that a real possibility of medical negligence exists.  I think we'll find out more eventually about this specific case.

With that, though, I'd like to discuss something I've been pondering in regard not only to this case, but to the underlying principles.

I think that most practicing Catholics, when we discuss what may or may not morally be done in these extreme situations, really do want to form our minds according to Church teaching.  We're not looking for loopholes or "outs" that will let us tiptoe right up to the line of abortion.  That's because the guiding principle here is "Save both the mother and the baby, and take heroic action to do so if necessary and possible," not "How can we get away with abortion without calling it that?"

Unlike the internet discussions of torture among Catholics, then, the principle "Save them both," remains the clear guiding principle.  When the topic is torture, "Treat prisoners humanely" should be the guiding principle, but it often isn't.  I think we can see a difference; with all the speculation on Catholic blogs about what could have or should have been done to save Savita, I have not seen any sincere Catholic saying or even hinting that the Church should just accept abortion in hard cases; but Catholics regularly seem to say or to hint that waterboarding or enhanced interrogation should stay on the table in the hard cases--the ticking time bomb scenarios, and so on.

The danger of stepping away from the clear principle is that we start looking for justifications to do evil instead of the best ways to do good.  If Savita's health care workers at that Catholic hospital had been committed to the principle of saving both the mother and the baby even if heroic measures were necessary, I doubt we'd even be having these conversations right now.  Instead, though, it seems (again, if the news stories are accurate, which as some have pointed out is a pretty big "if") as though poor and even possibly negligent care of both the mother and the baby is what led to the tragic outcome.

I would caution those commenting on this story to avoid one thing, and that is playing into the hands of the pro-abortion stereotype out there which accuses Catholics of being deeply misogynistic and not caring what happens to a pregnant woman--in other words, having a bias toward saving the baby at the expense of the mother, or of promoting the idea that some pregnancies are fatal and we should just accept that as God's will.  Sure, life itself is fatal, and none of us are getting out of it alive; but that doesn't mean that we should stop treating diseases or no longer fight to save lives in emergencies ranging from car crashes to fires to trauma to various forms of sickness.  I can't imagine anybody saying, "Well, sometimes a car crash will be fatal, so maybe we should just accept the possibility of a fatal car crash as the risk of driving instead of working to avoid crashes and rushing crash victims to hospitals, etc." and yet I've heard people take a similarly dismissive attitude about pregnancy and especially those pregnancies made riskier by diseases or infections.  What we should do, if we really want to follow Catholic principles, is work to promote greater understanding of pregnancy and how to recognize early warning signs of risks; encourage better prenatal care across the board; aid pregnant women in the task of effectively communicating their symptoms and health concerns with their doctors; support doctors who are trying to come up with new and better ways to treat women in high-risk pregnancies or crisis situations; and support medical interventions designed to save the lives of both mother and child, including, perhaps, a future possibility of delivering a 17-week fetus and placing him or her immediately in some sort of high-tech incubator that will actually allow him or her to continue to grow and develop in those situations where no other option is possible.

And part of that, for us Catholics especially, would be a more realistic understanding of the benefits of natural family planning and the abandonment of a fatalistic attitude about pregnancy and childbirth which fails to treat women with their proper measure of inherent dignity.  But I think that that is a post for another day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Woman dies of medical malpractice; Catholic Church blamed

A reader asked me yesterday to comment on the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, the Indian woman living in Ireland who died of septicemia following a miscarriage.  I wrote back and said that I intended to hold off on commenting until I'd seen a realistic discussion of the medical issues; the brief news articles I had read simply didn't make much sense.

But the blogger at The Thirsty Gargoyle has the scoop:
Obviously this is horrible, sickening, and tragic. 

I hope those investigations get to the bottom of what happened. I'd hope too, that appropriate action be taken if anyone claimed that the hospital couldn't help Savita as it would be against the law for it to do so, especially on the spurious grounds that, as was supposedly said, 'this is a Catholic country'. And if the hospital's negligence veered into the realms of the criminal, then I really hope there are suitable consequences.

The thing is, assuming that the reporting is accurate, and given the Irish Times' recent record on life issues, it may not be, this doesn't make sense. As far as I can see, Galway University Hospital would have been fully within its legal rights to have induced a preterm delivery -- or foetal evacuation -- in an attempt to save both mother and child. Indeed, not merely would it have been within its rights to do so, doing so would have been normal medical practice. 
This is exactly the sort of thing that Dr Berry Kiely talked about back on what was an uncommonly good Vincent Browne show back in the Spring -- you induce a preterm delivery, thus saving the mother, and you do everything you can to try to save the child. You almost certainly fail, but you try. [...]
Update: It's been pointed out to me that according to the reports, Savita was admitted to hospital with a miscarriage underway, her cervix being open from Sunday, but that antibiotics were only brought into play on Tuesday night, a full two days later; it's as though she spent two days there with an open wound. Again, I'm no doctor and would appreciate if someone could clarify this, but given that this was a case of death from infection,  it seems to me to have been utterly egregious medical negligence from the start, and nothing whatsoever to do with the law, medical guidelines, or religious principles.
I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here are the important points:

1. It is not against either Irish law or Catholic teaching to deliver an extremely pre-term baby provided that the usual principle of double effect is in play; that is, the death of the baby is accepted as a result of the early delivery [please see bracketed comment below for clarification] but not desired for its own sake, and the intent is to save the mother, though any efforts that can be made to save the child once he or she is delivered should be taken.  But a delivery of this sort is, quite simply, not an abortion.  There is no benefit to be gained by directly and intentionally killing the child first and then delivering his or her corpse; the mother's life can be saved by delivering a live child, even if no baby has ever survived being born at seventeen weeks and the best care will probably not change that fact. (See Update 1 and 3 below.)  [I'm adding a note here: after thinking and reading more about this, what I mean is this: the early delivery itself can't be the only action being taken, but the action being taken to save the life of the mother has the unintended side effect of early delivery: that is, removal of infected placenta and amniotic fluid etc., removal of a cancerous or infected uterus, or something similar which also results in the removal of the baby.  An early delivery of a living baby from a healthy uterus is only a moral option if the baby has reached viability.  Right now, the earliest a child has survived outside the womb is just over 22 weeks.  But in this particular case the important fact is that it was the infection, not the baby, that was a danger to the mother.]

2. In fact, a surgical abortion at seventeen weeks gestation could quite possibly have exacerbated the already-existing infection, since the source of the infection was presumably due to the fully-dilated cervix and the leaking amniotic fluid.  The most common surgical method of abortion at 17 weeks is the dilation and evacuation method; the cervix is dilated, and the fetus is dismembered via forceps with the arms and legs cut off and removed first, followed by the head and torso which are separated from each other.  Since Savita was already fully dilated the method would still have required the insertion of forceps into her presumably infected cervix and the dismemberment and removal of her fetus; the risk of further infection from inadvertent remains left in the uterus would, I think, require great caution in the reassembly of the pieces of the dead fetus to ensure that nothing had been left behind.  Again, compared to simply inducing labor and having Savita deliver a whole and intact child who would almost certainly die soon afterward, the D&E procedure seems like an unnecessary risk.

3.  Someone pointed out to me that in the United States it is standard procedure not to allow a pregnant woman who is leaking amniotic fluid to go more than a certain number of hours before inducing labor precisely because of the risk of infection; that Savita presented at the hospital with the symptoms, not of a standard miscarriage, but of preterm labor seems to be the case from the reports.  Even if the hospital attempted to stop the preterm labor (which may or may not have been a possible response--the medical details are unclear), it seems extremely odd that it was not standard procedure for them to administer antibiotics immediately since she was fully dilated and had been leaking amniotic fluid for an undetermined amount of time.  But the real issue here, as the Thirsty Gargoyle highlights above, is this: she was admitted to the hospital Sunday night and was not given antibiotics until Tuesday. If the doctor in charge or the hospital is now attempting to blame the Catholic Church and Irish law for this woman's presumably (on the information that has been made public) preventable death, then the doctor and the hospital would appear to be in full "CYA" mode, and instead of dragging the red herring of Ireland's pro-life laws and the Catholic Church's teachings across the trail, they should be exposed and held accountable for this apparently grotesque failure to practice medicine according to accepted standards of care.

The bottom line here is this: barring some startling new information or revelations regarding this case, it would seem from the available information that what killed Savita Halappanavar was not at all respect for unborn human life, but gross disrespect for both her life and the life of her child, manifested in substandard medical care.  Again, I'm going only by the available information, but if that information is at all accurate, then abortion would not have done a thing for Savita, especially if she was still denied proper recourse to basic antibiotics until far too late in the game.  Perhaps we will learn more, but no matter what we learn, I am certain that a typical D&E abortion would have been extremely painful under the circumstances (presuming an infected cervix), would have added to the risk of infection, and would, given the inexplicable lack of antibiotic treatment, not in any way have changed the outcome of this tragic case.

UPDATE 1: A commenter links to this interesting post, which claims that the Church has always taught that the delivery of pre-viable children is indeed an abortion and is forbidden.  I am a little unclear about this; for instance, removal of the section of a fallopian tube containing an ectopic pregnancy is permitted, and the use of certain medical treatments such as cancer treatments which are known to cause fetal death are also permitted, and neither of these things is considered abortion even if it is known that the death of the unborn child will be the result of the medical action.  Yet when I was sharing the points the Thirsty Gargoyle made I do remember being mildly surprised by the use of the principle of double effect here--still, I summed up the points made in Thirsty Gargyole's post to which I had linked, which was my intention.  This is one of those circumstances where I think the opinion of a Catholic moral theologian might be much more valuable than that of a mere lay blogger (me, that is).  I can see both sides of this argument, and if the Church has ruled definitively on the question and someone can share that, I'll be glad to link to it.

UPDATE 2:  You know, the more I think about this case, the stranger it seems to me.  Savita came to the hospital that Sunday night with a fully dilated cervix and was leaking amniotic fluid.  Was this a miscarriage where the baby was indeed actively dying, or was this preterm labor/PPROM that the hospital failed to address adequately?

UPDATE 3: The evacuation of an infected placenta which will result in the death of a child is briefly mentioned here (link via Thirsty Gargoyle's article).  I apologize for the inexact language I used before which made it sound like delivery of a baby known to be pre-viable was the option being discussed; it is the necessity of removing the infected placenta and any remaining infected amniotic fluid to save the mother's life which is the option being discussed, with the simultaneous but unavoidable removal of the pre-viable baby as the secondary and undesired effect.  I had thought that there might be some discussion of removing a pre-viable child who was somehow close enough to viability for a heroic effort to save the child to be made, even if the possibility of success was infinitesimal; I'm still not sure if such a possibility might exist in some cases, but since no known child has yet survived delivery before 22 weeks I think it's safe to assume that 17 weeks would be too far away from that marker for a realistic attempt to save the baby to be made.  (At least for now; medical technology may eventually make such an early survival possible, via "artificial womb" technology or some such thing.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another review of The Telmaj!

Dwija at the "House Unseen" blog has posted an awesome book review of The Telmaj, written by her young daughter:
The Telmaj is a story that takes place in outer space. It starts with Smijj, the main character, who since childhood has been able to go places just thinking about them, nearly being caught stealing a valuable statue. He works his way out of that situation easy enough.

His whole future is decided by choosing to eat lunch in a restaurant filled with old people.  Mar, an elderly lady inside, asks him to carry her tray for her. He is asked to help with her and her crew’s work being intergalactic mail carriers. 
And I'm especially grateful to Dwija for her suggestion that those of you who are doing some online Christmas shopping might consider buying a copy of The Telmaj for those 8 to 14-year-old readers on your list!  

For those who have already read The Telmaj, I hope to have some good news about the sequel soon!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No Greed Thursday

This just makes me sick:
Retailers are hoping to get holiday-shoppers into their stores right after they finish their Thanksgiving turkey, but some store employees are pushing back.

Target (TGT), Toys R Us, Wal-Mart (WMT), Sears (SHLD) and Gap (GPS) are among the retailers that will throw open their doors to deal-hungry consumers on Thanksgiving Day. Target is planning to open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, while Wal-Mart and Toys R Us will be open at 8 p.m. [...]

Not all employees are thrilled about having to come to work on the holiday.

Casey St. Clair, a Target employee in California, has started an online petition asking the retail giant to save Thanksgiving from Black Friday creep.The petition had reached 178,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

She told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Monday "In the almost six years since I've been there, I've seen the opening creep back every year."

St. Clair said on Thanksgiving, "retail is not a necessary service that needs to be open."
Jennifer Ann, another Target employee, also has a petition calling on Target to save Thanksgiving for employees. “Family has always been important to me and Thanksgiving is all about family,” she wrote. “I love seeing family that we haven't seen in years and spending time with each other on the only day when we can all get together. Last year, it became clear to me that for some large retailers, this holiday isn't about family or being grateful at all.”

In a statement, Target said its "opening time was carefully evaluated with the expectations of our guests and the needs of our business and team in mind." 
Translation: shut up, wage slaves, and ditch the family Thanksgiving to come Thursday night to sell made-in-China "holiday" crap to the masses, so we can keep paying our CEO more than twenty million dollars a year in salary and other compensation.

I have a better idea.

I hereby declare, with my complete and total lack of authority as an ordinary citizen of the United States of America, that Thanksgiving Day shall henceforth and forthwith be known as "No Greed Thursday."  I encourage all citizens of the United States to join me in boycotting all "Greed Thursday" prequels to the Black Friday lunacy by which our greedy retail corporations dangle fake bargains as the "carrot" to get consumers into stores, where they will be beaten with the "stick" of wildly inflated prices, lack of availability of advertised sale goods, and continued enslavement to the manufacturing practices of third world countries complete with those nations' disregard for human rights--a disregard our retailers, in forcing their employees to work on holidays, can so far only dream of.

I asked my youngest daughter to make a simple "No Greed Thursday" image that I could put in my blog sidebar; here it is, and you may also feel free to use it in any non-commercial way (or make your own version if you like):

Let's send corporate America a message: don't mess with Thanksgiving.  You've already co-opted many holidays that used to be non-commercial; we're not letting you have this one--not without a fight.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Health care and charity

According to Reuters (thanks to a reader who reminded me recently to check their articles) Wal-Mart employees are about to see their health care costs rise--sending more of them into government health care programs:
Nov 12 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc's U.S. employees will pay between 8 and 36 percent more in premiums for its medical coverage in 2013, prompting some of the 1.4 million workers at the nation's largest private employer to say they will forego coverage altogether.

In mailings sent to employees for its recently completed open-enrollment period, Wal-Mart noted that its rates would increase because healthcare costs continue to rise. [...]


More than half of Wal-Mart's U.S. employees sign up for its healthcare plans, which cover 1.1 million people, including dependents. Store workers across the country are offered the same plans as executives back at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

"Over the past few years we've all seen the cost of health care continue to rise nationwide, and 2013 is no different," Wal-Mart said in a statement. "As a result, we are adjusting rates for some of our health care plan choices. We are doing our best to keep health care costs as low as possible for our associates."

Barbara Andridge, who works at the Walmart in Placerville, California, decided to drop out of a Wal-Mart plan provided for the retailer by a health management organization - when she found out that the cost was set to nearly double to $60 a month. The Wal-Mart HMO plans can be more expensive than Wal-Mart's own.

"Sixty dollars isn't a lot to some people but when I have to think about buying winter clothes for my kids or sending my daughter to college I have to think of what is best for my children," she said. "Hopefully I'm making the right decision."

Andridge, who makes $12.05 an hour and said her husband was laid off this year, knows that she would have had to pay the same $60 monthly premium no matter how many hours she worked.
"Living paycheck to paycheck, I made the decision to swallow my pride and go and get county health," she said in reference to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid health care program.

At least the Wal-Mart employees in my local area may have a better option than Medicaid:

A grassroots effort to provide volunteer medical care to uninsured Tarrant County residents hit its first-year goal of enrolling 100 patients, and organizers say they hope to expand the program in its second year.

Project Access Tarrant County connected 110 people to a growing network of volunteer providers, including physicians, hospitals and specialty clinics, according to the Tarrant County Medical Society.

“We think it’s only going to ... get better,” said Brian Swift, executive vice president of the medical society. “The reaction from the medical community has been great and we’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t work.”

The medical society and Catholic Charities Fort Worth launched Project Access last year to promote better care and save taxpayer dollars by diverting indigent people away from expensive emergency services. Ideally, patients will get medical conditions treated quickly, allowing them to get back to work and get employer-paid health insurance plans. More than 20 percent of patients who got help have retained jobs or increased their work hours because of it, officials said.

The program is for people who meet income requirements and do not already get benefits from Medicare, Medicaid and JPS Connection, the county’s indigent health-care program. About a quarter of Tarrant County residents are believed to be uninsured.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/11/08/4396563/uninsured-patients-benefit-from.html#storylink=cpy

Read more about this great program here.

Now, it's only a matter of time before Catholic Charities is forced to shut down, being that it's an organization run by the evil anti-gay "marriage" bigots in the Catholic Church.  But I'm sure that the grassroots programs like these will do just fine without the help and financing of evil bigoted Catholics, so there's nothing to worry about, right?


Friday, November 9, 2012

Where I'm coming from

I've been asked in recent days why I'm so bitter about the gay "marriage" stuff, why my tone in writing about this gets so bleak and depressing.  So I thought I'd use this opportunity to share a little bit about where I'm coming from.

I'm coming from ancestors who, according to family stories, fled France in the late 1780s, when being a faithful Catholic in France might cost you your head.  Literally.

I'm coming from ancestors whose families left Ireland in the face of religious persecution and the grinding poverty that comes when the people who hate you the most make all the laws about where and how you can work the land, and what other jobs you can legitimately hold.

I'm coming from ancestors who came from Wales, where being Catholic wasn't exactly a ticket to fame or fortune, either.  Especially after the Reformation.

I'm coming from long lines of people who came here because of the glimmer of hope they saw distantly reflected from Lady Liberty's torch, and the promise that here they could live and work and bring their faith into the public square along with them instead of having to hide it six days out of seven for fear of persecution.

And it wasn't easy.

It wasn't easy to be torn away from homes and families they'd never see again.  It wasn't easy to get here and see signs on workplaces that said "No Irish need apply," or hear about the loyalty oaths that kept Catholics from holding public office, or witness the battle to close Catholic schools and force all children to attend public ones instead--not when the promise of religious freedom was what had drawn them here in the first place.  It wasn't easy to fight for generations so they wouldn't be treated like second-class citizens.

Somehow, my ancestors prevailed, and enough of them kept the faith so that I, here in 2012, have no problem stating that I fully accept every teaching of the Catholic Church and strive to worship God faithfully not only at Mass on Sunday but in every aspect and every facet of my life.  That I fail at times is the human condition, but that I even want to keep trying is a testament to the faith my ancestors preserved like a priceless jewel through every hardship, every danger, and even through the threat of death.

But now the shadows of the past are looming large over Catholics in America again, and the battle to redefine marriage has become the weapon of choice for those who would really prefer it if Catholics went back to their little Catholic ghettos and didn't mix much with the "real" Americans, or expect to be able to hold certain public offices (anything pertaining to marriage, for instance) or jobs (anything where you have to sign a "diversity statement" that is actually a denial of your faith) or own businesses (anything where you have to maintain the fiction that two men or two women are a "marriage") or run adoption agencies or charities where they will be forced to repeat the lie that it is bigoted and hateful to claim that marriage is one man and one woman or that children need a mother and a father...

...and pointing any of this out at all is "uncivil," or so I'm told.

Gay activists like to talk about acts of violence and murder committed against homosexual people in their discussions of these issues.  I have never condoned any such acts, and never will; no matter how greatly I disagree with the lifestyles and values of those who engage in same-sex acts, I could not ever turn a blind eye to attacks or murders.  How could I, when my own Catholic people knew what it was like to be targeted, attacked, and even killed for their religious beliefs? 

But it is undoubtedly true that hatred for Catholics has never been eradicated in America.  The most fundamentalist evangelical and the most rabid atheist share this in common: they both hate Catholics.  And open hatred of Catholics is becoming ever more visible in society; I have, myself, seen apparently sane Internet commenters go off the deep end and say that Catholics deserved to be murdered for our beliefs, especially on marriage and human sexuality--I've even read outright calls for such killings, and shockingly graphic language employed as to the best way to carry this sort of thing out.

Does that, alone, mean that Catholics are about to face open religious persecution again in America?  Of course not--but the climate for widespread social approval of marginalizing Catholics who won't water down their Church's teachings or their own expression and belief in those teachings is growing, and may soon come to fruition.  To shrug and accept all of this with a blase and lackadaisical attitude would be, for me, a betrayal of the blood of my ancestors which now runs in my veins.  The things they did, the things they suffered, the things they tried to escape and that they had to endure to reach these shores in the hopes of living openly as Catholics rise up in my imagination as a reproach, should I back away from this fight before it is over.

That's where I'm coming from, and why I see this fight about forcing religious people to abandon a more than 2,000 year old understanding of the nature and purpose of marriage as the opening salvo in what may be the kind of war that leaves my descendents homeless, and hoping for some other distant shore to welcome them when they can no longer live both as Catholics and as Americans.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

And now Washington...

From news reports I'm seeing, it looks like Washington State has become the next state to declare that all Catholics are bigots by imposing the ridiculous legal fiction known as gay "marriage" on the people of Washington.

Frankly, I'm not surprised.  I lived in Washington State.  I attended what was at that time the worst, most heretical, most rabidly feminist, most pro-contraception and abortion, least Catholic school in the nation there.  It was while I was at that school, in fact, that my parents came to their senses and realized that the mission of all diocesan Catholic schools in America is to turn all of their students into ex-Catholics and lifelong Democrats, a mission in which they are still, apparently, succeeding wildly.

And because I lived in Washington State, I can also say that the Seattle area is the most hateful place I've ever lived--if you're a child out with your relatively large family, that is.  From being screamed at as "breeders" to lectured about overpopulation to being told we were ruining the planet, my parents put up with a lot from the anti-family forces that thrive in and around Seattle.

Maybe it's changed since then.  I don't know.  I'd have to ask Mark Shea.  But if it's even remotely like it used to be, the question isn't why Washington State approved gay "marriage," but why they didn't take steps to ban what they consider "breeder marriage" while they were at it, and require all couples to get parenting licenses before they could have the state government approve their request to have exactly one child.

Again, no comments on these posts.  Send me an email if your blistering hate is too strong to keep to yourself (emails agreeing with me are also always welcome, and have been lifting my spirits today).

The calls for civility are always one-sided

Yesterday, I put myself in an extended "time-out" re: the comment boxes at Rod Dreher's blog.  The issue was gay "marriage," and the supporters of gay "marriage" lost no time doing the following two things:

1. Bashing anybody who is opposed to gay "marriage" as a wicked evil nasty rotten bigot and hater who just can't see how PRECIOUS it is for two men to have a wedding ceremony, call each other "husband," and pay a third-world woman to manufacture an intentionally motherless baby for them to raise, and

2. Demanding civility in speech and manner from all the wicked evil nasty rotten bigots and haters who have (everybody knows) simply been brainwashed by the evil Catholic Church into thinking that there was ever anything good for any society ever about defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman that was ordered toward creating the best and most stable environment in which to raise one's own biological children, provided God chose to bless them with children.  Because it is the DUTY of the religious bigots and haters to say nice, sweet, irenic, loving things as we get pushed to the wall and told how evil we are and how hard they're going to work to get our children to reject our hateful Catholic beliefs and religion.

I put myself in time out for two reasons; one, I was losing it (hey, I'm human too, and though I know my opponents in these arguments don't think so I can even get hurt on occasion), and two, I was starting to ask myself: why the Hell do I pray for these idiots every day, and some of them specifically by name on Sundays at Mass, when they so obviously hate God and have no desire whatsoever to be with Him--except for the ones who insist He's a fairy tale and will be chagrined when they find out otherwise? 

Since that is a terribly unhealthy and dangerous place for a Christian to go, I decided to absent myself from Rod's comment boxes until at least next year, if I can even go back then.  I'll still read what he writes; as I told him, his posts always make me think--but his commenters are starting to make me think four-letter words, and then I have to go back to Confession.

Having said all of that, I honestly think that what my opponents on this gay "marriage" debate really, really, really don't get is this: the calls for civility are always one-sided.  The gay rights supporters can say, over and over again, that everybody knows opposition to gay "marriage" is just hate and bigotry, and that you are a hater and a bigot if you don't clap at the idea of a couple of lesbians using IVF to manufacture kids and then having each one's biological child implanted in the other's womb, and that society is one day going to laugh at people who thought marriage had anything at all to do with the natural family, and that even saying things like "the natural family" is hate and bigotry that must be eradicated from polite society, and that if Catholics start being forced to sign corporate diversity statements that deny their faith in order to keep their jobs, well, they deserve it for being bigots and haters...

People who absolutely faint if I say that I think that homosexual sex acts are intrinsically disordered and that two men or two women do not make a "marriage" think it's the apex of civility to call me a bigot and a hater, over and over again.  They demand civility from me, but have never shown me or people like me the slightest bit of it.  A commenter at Rod's could essentially say that straight marriages are meaningless "baby-manufactory" arrangements compared to the loving and beautiful partnerships of gay "marriage," and nobody thought that was crossing any lines.

So let's be honest: when the pro-gay "marriage" crowd screams that the other side must show them civility, what they're really saying is: "Shut up."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Conservatism didn't lose, because conservatism was never up for election

I've been reading some of the post-election punditry, and even though I wasn't that surprised at Obama's win and did not support Romney personally, I can't help but be depressed at the usual spin.

Every time a Republican loses, conservatives, especially social conservatives, are told that it's our fault.  If we would just shut up about man-woman marriage, if we would just celebrate the sexual revolution and hold parades to shower the local deviants with free contraception, if we would sponsor a line of greeting cards with messages like "Congratulations on shredding that unwanted fetus!  I'm so happy that you got rid of it!" etc., we would see Republicans win the presidency again.  It's stupid, but it's ubiquitous stupidity.

Did conservatives lose out because voters in three leftist states redefined marriage to include same-sex pairings?  Frankly, it's surprising that in those cesspools of reeking degeneracy conservatives were able to put up any kind of a fight at all.  Did conservatives lose because in a sound-bite era somebody mouthed off about rape in a way that sounded insensitive?  No; exit polls indicated that voters chose the Democrat because they want more free government goodies.  They may not have said so in so many words, but that's what it amounted to, because the Democrat harpy got votes from pro-lifers, too; abortion's not as important, you see, as making other people pay for your stuff.

Did a conservative lose the presidential race?  No, because calling Mitt Romney a conservative is like calling two men or two women a "marriage;" you can say it all you want, but it's still patently ridiculous.  If Mitt Romney was ever the best or brightest hope of American conservatives, then American conservatism is dead, and might as well be laid to rest.  But Mitt Romney was not selling conservatism on the campaign trail; he was selling liberalism-lite, and on pretty much the same terms as his opponent.  To put it bluntly, we were not arguing about which man might be virtuous; we had already established that they are both willing to sell their virtue, and were only haggling over the price.  Only the price was hidden in plain sight in much the same way the price of a cell phone contract is; Americans chose what they thought was the "free" phone, and will be unpleasantly surprised when the $20 trillion price tag is added on a monthly basis to the bill.

Conservatism didn't lose last night, because conservatism wasn't even up for election this time around.  In an America where Uncle Sam is everybody's sugar-daddy and any discussion of the value of a traditional family of a mother and a father and their children is marred by cries of "Bigot!  Hater!" by those who think that a better model for America is the single mom who has children with men she's not committed enough to to marry, or the same-sex couples and their manufactured child they bought from a reproductive prostitute, or just about anything except the hateful model of mom and dad and their children, conservatism doesn't even make it on the ballot.

But I think that someday American conservatism will make a comeback.  It will happen a long time from now, when those of easy virtue have gotten all their free birth control and subsidized abortion and have thus failed to reproduce themselves, and America, like many European nations, replaces her native population with people from other countries who still have enough respect for personal responsibility to value faith, family, and hard work, and to seek to encourage those values at the highest levels.

Bye, Maine and Maryland!

So, voters in Maine and Maryland have legally defined all practicing Roman Catholics as bigots and haters in their states.

I had ancestors from Maine, but they had the good sense to get out.  I have relatives in Maryland, but I haven't seen them in years and don't plan to visit their state again, in keeping with my policy of spending absolutely no money in states that have legally defined me as a bigot and/or a hater.

Comments are closed on this one; sorry, but I'm not in the mood to deal with the whining gay narcissists who fill my comboxes with filth when I post on their wicked sodommarriage stupidity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No matter who wins...

Soon, the 2012 election will be over, and I think that Americans are truly united in being glad that at least the incessant political ads will be DONE.  I'm not even talking about the national election ads; I'm talking about the things you find tied to your doorknob and in your mailbox, and the calls from local candidates which are actually being made by robots.  Any political candidate who ran against those things would easily win, provided he figured out a way to get his message out that didn't involve that stuff.  It's a puzzlement.

Anyway, we'll soon know who has prevailed in this election.  Because I've been in dark places on election days before, places where the result of the presidential election left me stunned, angry, upset, frustrated, and in general needing sacramental Confession by the time the night was over if only because of the swearing I was doing at my TV, I'd like to invite any reader prayerfully to consider saying with me the following things:
  1. No matter who wins this election, I will not get mad at God or think He has abandoned our nation.
  2. No matter who wins this election, I will not get mad at my neighbor and call him evil.
  3. No matter who wins this election, I will not call the candidate I opposed names or be hateful toward him.  I will pray for him.
  4. No matter who wins this election, I will not call the candidate I supported a hero or the savior of our country.  I will pray for him.
  5. No matter who wins this election, I will not forget that Christ is King.
  6. No matter who wins this election, I will not forget the Bible's admonition that we should not put our trust in princes. (Psalm 146)
  7. No matter who wins this election, I will remember that the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor is worth more than a hundred years, or a hundred times a hundred years, of the presidency.
  8. No matter who wins this election, I will not be tempted either to despair or to complacency.
  9. No matter who wins this election, I will pray my usual daily prayers tomorrow.
  10. No matter who wins this election, I will trust in Divine Providence in all things relating to my life and to the lives of my family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen.
God bless America, and God bless each of you this day!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The eve of the election

So, tomorrow is Election Day 2012, and depending on your point of view, this election is the most momentous and important election since the last most momentous and important election of your lifetime, or else it's the first momentous and important election for which you are old enough to vote, or it's the final free election before America is just over and slides into dust and decay...

...or it's just a presidential election, pretty much like all the other ones you've ever seen.

One thing is sure: whoever wins, America will not be over.  If and when the United States of America reaches such a miserable and pathetic pass that a single bad president can end our nation's sovereignty and force us into some sort of militant, enslaved age reminiscent of dystopian fiction, it will also be far too late for the fiction of free elections to be upheld with a straight face.  So--take heart!  If your candidate wins, you can breathe a sigh of relief for the next four years, and if he doesn't, you shouldn't awaken each day for the next four years listening for the sound of helicopters, drones, and jackboots.  It's going to be okay.

And now: over to you!  What are your concerns tonight?  Do they have anything to do with the election?  Mine don't--you see, some of my girls are doing NaNoWriMo too, and  my youngest daughter already has 9,841 words written, which is, at this moment, 3,034 more than I have written.  So if I don't quit reading political blogs and start writing fiction I'm going to have to admit that she's totally pwning me on this.

How about you?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The curious silence of the American journalist

I don't usually post on the weekends, and I don't usually post something just to tell you to go and read the whole thing elsewhere.  I'm doing both tonight.

Two days ago, the Las Vegas Review-Journal broke the editorial and media near-silence surrounding the Benghazi attacks, and pointed a finger of blame directly at the Obama administration:
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in a well-planned military assault on their diplomatic mission in Benghazi seven weeks ago, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So why are details surfacing, piecemeal, only now?

The Obama administration sat by doing nothing for seven hours that night, ignoring calls to dispatch help from our bases in Italy, less than two hours away. It has spent the past seven weeks stretching the story out, engaging in misdirection and deception involving supposed indigenous outrage over an obscure anti-Muslim video, confident that with the aid of a docile press corps this infamous climax to four years of misguided foreign policy can be swept under the rug, at least until after Tuesday's election.

Charles Woods, father of former Navy SEAL and Henderson resident Tyrone Woods, 41, says his son died slumped over his machine gun after he and fellow ex-SEAL Glen Doherty - not the two locals who were the only bodyguards Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration would authorize - held off the enemy for seven hours.

The Obama administration was warned. They received an embassy cable June 25 expressing concern over rising Islamic extremism in Benghazi, noting the black flag of al-Qaida "has been spotted several times flying over government buildings and training facilities." The Obama administration removed a well-armed, 16-member security detail from Libya in August, The Wall Street Journal reported last month, replacing it with a couple of locals. Mr. Stevens sent a cable Aug. 2 requesting 11 additional body guards, noting "Host nation security support is lacking and cannot be depended on," reports Peter Ferrara at Forbes.com. But these requests were denied, officials testified before the House Oversight Committee earlier this month.

Based on documents released by the committee, on the day of the attack the Pentagon dispatched a drone with a video camera so everyone in Washington could see what was happening in real time. The drone documented no crowds protesting any video. But around 4 p.m. Washington received an email from the Benghazi mission saying it was under a military-style attack. The White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA were able to watch the live video feed. An email sent later that day reported "Ansar al-Sharia claims responsibility for Benghazi attack."
Do, do go and read the whole thing here.

Now tell me: if this were a Republican administration, would this courageous bit of journalism have happened only in a Las Vegas newspaper?  Wouldn't the New York Times be carrying even more scathing denunciations of the administration's actions that night and for the weeks following?  Wouldn't this editorial have been picked up by blogs and news feeds so that it was at the top of most Internet news services' lists of most-read pieces? Wouldn't the president be dogged on the campaign trail by outspoken journalists demanding the truth about Benghazi?  Wouldn't some bright reporter manage to film him or herself asking the potent question, "Mr. President, about the Benghazi attacks, what did you know, and when did you know it?"

I know that journalism standards are in free-fall (well, just read wire news stories and puzzle your way through the grammar).  I know that the image of a free press is eroding in a day and age when everybody knows that there is simply no diversity of thought in America's newsrooms, no matter how much diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation etc. there might be.  But this is disgraceful.  The American news media have proven by their curious silence in the face of one of the most shocking and outrageous news stories of the present day that they are not merely partisan; they are owned.  They are the pampered and beribboned lapdogs of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and will remain so as long as the occupant is someone of whom they approve with the whole hearts and the closed minds of sycophantic suck-ups and obsequious Obamaphiles for whom the president can do no wrong, not even when, in a less than optimal scene unfolding in screaming chaos half the world away, Americans died because no orders were given to come to their aid.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It may be a bit quiet around here...

And this is why:
Just letting my readers know that I'm participating again in National Novel Writing Month!  I'm Red Cardigan there, too.

I will be writing Book Four in the Tales of Telmaja series this November!  

I've posted more here, and will be updating my writing progress there throughout the month.  :)