Monday, December 04, 2006

Winter Survival
My house was hit again by a power outage. In July, it lasted 4 days. This time it was 39 hours.
I've found out that what you need to survive a power outage is really different in the winter than in the summer. In July, we worried about melting frozen food, so ice and freezer space in someone else's freezer were critical. We dealt with 100 degree temps, so staying cool was a problem. That load of laundry that hadn't made it to the dryer yet was a problem.

This time there was no shortage of ice. There was plenty of snow we could put in the coolers for our food. The worry this time was whether the pipes would freeze and how our cats would stand up to the cold. We found places to put them in case we had to abandon the house.
Since we are all-season campers, we are more prepared than most people. We have a catalytic converter that heats with propane and another propane heater than can run for short spells, though carbon monoxide poisoning is a problem with that type of heater. We have a propane cooking stove so we could get some hot food. We have thick sleeping bags that let us sleep comfortably.
We keep plenty of flashlights and candles on hand in a place where we know where they all are.
We put foam over the windows and kept the drapes shut to keep the heat inside. We shut off two rooms and farmed out the kids to friends who had power. We visited friends when it got dark until bed time. Luckily, the temperature got above freezing in the day time. It would have been much worse if it had been bitter cold.

We learned quite a bit about survival this weekend. We need to be even more prepared for all seasons until our utility company finally decides to spend the money to trim the trees that keep knocking down power lines. Grrrrrr!
Zogby International Poll Contemporary Catholic Trends
Support for U.S. Bishops leadership at highest level since sexual abuse scandal broke in 2002; nearly a third of American Catholics (62%) have done volunteer work in the past 12 months; more than half believe that most people can be trusted; 27% say they have at least 10 close friends.
As part of its ongoing project to track the views of American Catholics, Le Moyne College has released the findings of the latest Contemporary Catholic Trends (CCT) poll in conjunction with Zogby International. The survey included questions on trust, friendship, community involvement, and religious belief and practice. It also asked about Catholic approval of the performance of the pope, the U.S. bishops, and local pastors.
Since October 2001, CCT has tracked American Catholics’ assessment of how well the U.S. bishops are leading the American church. In fall of 2001 before news of the clergy abuse scandal broke the bishops enjoyed an approval rating of 83% with 43% strongly agreeing and 40% agreeing that they were doing a good job. Support is currently at its highest levels since news of the scandal. In the latest survey 71% of respondents strongly (29%) or somewhat agree (42%) that the bishops are doing a good job.
A large majority of American Catholics (88%) strongly agree (69%) or somewhat agree (19%) that the pastors of their parishes are doing a good job leading the local church. The CCT asked respondents if they felt it would be a “good idea if parishes were to choose their own priest from among available ordained priests.” Answers speak to the issue of democracy within local parishes, and 48% supported the idea. A strong majority, 65%, of those who never attend say they approve the idea. The 2001 Survey of American Catholic Priests by Dean R. Hoge and Jacqueline E. Wenger found only 22% of priests supporting such a plan, suggesting a point of contention between leaders and laity.
Friendship and Trust
Recent research has found that Americans have fewer friends than in times past, with up to 25% reporting that they have no one to confide in (2004 General Social Survey). The CCT study finds that Catholics do not perceive themselves as unconnected. Respondents were asked how many people they “consider close friends.” Only 4% report having no one they consider a close friend, and 1% reported only 1 such friend. Over a quarter of respondents (27%) say they consider 10 or more people close friends.
Diversity of Friendships
Of those who reported at least 1 close friend, 79% report having a non-Catholic friend. Among the 94% with multiple friends, 55% report having Protestant friends and 29% say they have Jewish friends. Catholics are least likely to have atheist friends (18%) and Muslim friends (8%). About 35% reported having friends from more than 1 non Catholic religious tradition.
Respondents were asked if they believed “that most people can be trusted, or that you can't be too careful in dealing with people.” Fifty-one percent felt most people can be trusted, while 44% believed “you can’t be too careful.” The 2004 General Social Survey found that 36% of Americans said most people can be trusted. Asked about those who live in their own neighborhoods, 57% of CCT respondents said they could be trusted “a lot,” while about 12% said they could be trusted only “a little” or “not at all.” Less than a quarter of respondents, 24%, said that they trust the media to report the news fairly most or all of the time. About 20% said the media can never or almost never be trusted.
Volunteering and Charity
The Fall 2006 CCT survey contained a series of questions about volunteering and charitable giving. Over half of the respondents, 62%, said they had done volunteer work in the previous 12 months. The typical volunteer reported spending about 5 hours a month serving their community. Thirty-one percent said that most or all of that volunteer work was done in conjunction with a religious organization. When it comes to charity, 79% reported giving money to an organization, not including their parish, in the last year. Half of the respondents gave less than $300, while half gave more than $300.
Un-churched Catholics and Social Issues
Following a trend common among many religious groups, 20% of respondents who were born Catholic report that there was a time in their life when they left the Church. Overall, 10% of the respondents report that they do not attend Mass during a typical month. These non-attending Catholics differed from attending Catholics regarding a series of social issues. For example, a meaningful divide can be seen regarding the question of whether or not Catholic priests should be allowed to marry. Overall, 64% of respondents believe priests should be allowed to marry, but the proportion rises to 81% among the non-attendees. Regarding artificial birth control, 15% of those who never attend oppose its use, while 36% of those who attend at least occasionally oppose artificial birth control (opposition is highest among those who attend weekly or more, 43%).
Overall, Catholics are evenly split when asked if “all abortions should be illegal” (50% believe all abortions should be illegal, while 49% disagree and about 1% of respondents are undecided). Among those who never attend Mass, however, only 30% believe all abortions should be illegal. The divide regarding abortion is between those who attend every week or more and those who attend less than weekly. Fully 60% of those who attend mass weekly or more believe all abortions should be illegal.
Regarding capital punishment, a slight minority of Catholics (48%) say that the death penalty should be illegal, suggesting that the Church’s capital punishment teaching is largely disregarded. However, opinions differ by frequency of Mass attendance, with those who attend weekly or more the most likely to oppose capital punishment (53%).
Opposition to abortion and the death penalty are each elements of the “consistent life ethic” advanced by the U.S. Bishops, but only 29% of respondents reported such a combination of attitudes. The consistent life combination was most common among those who attend weekly or more (37%), while only 18% of those who attend less often endorsed both positions.
Financially Happy
A final note, 65% of respondents say that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their current financial situation.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Granite City Abortion Clinic Part Of Rape Investigation
Police in Arkansas say a Granite City abortion clinic is part of a rape investigation involving a juvenile. Jeffery Cheshier, 41, is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl. Officers say he then forced the victim to have an abortion in Granite City.
Police in Bryant, Ark., say Cheshier began assaulting the juvenile last year. In October, he was arrested and charged with rape. The victim told police Cheshier had gotten her pregnant and forced her to have an abortion.
According to records obtained by Bryant police, the abortion was performed at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City. Angela Michael frequently protests outside the clinic and police used a photo she took of Cheshier's car to prove he was there in March.
In Illinois, juveniles do not need parental consent for an abortion. When we asked the Madison County State's Attorney's Office if clinics are required to notify police when a juvenile has an abortion, we were referred to the Hope Clinic who told us such notification is not mandatory.

Frozen embryos have no right to life: Irish court
DUBLIN (Reuters) - A woman lost her fight to have a child without the consent of her estranged husband on Wednesday when an Irish judge ruled frozen embryos did not enjoy the same constitutional right to life as those carried in the womb.
Justice Brian McGovern said most agreed frozen embryos resulting from infertility treatment deserved special respect but ruled "the right to life of the unborn" in the Irish constitution did not extend to them.
"I have come to the conclusion that the three frozen embryos are not 'unborn'," the judge said in a landmark High Court ruling complicated by the fact that existing legislation does not define "unborn".
"There has been no evidence ... to establish that it was ever in the mind of the people voting on the Eight Amendment to the Constitution that 'unborn' meant anything other than a fetus or child within the womb," McGovern added.
The judgment means spare embryos frozen after successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2002 will not be returned to the mother.

Adult Stem cells help dogs with dystrophy
Missouri voters should have read this article before they voted Nov 7.
In promising new research, stem cells worked remarkably well at easing symptoms of muscular dystrophy in dogs, an experiment that experts call a significant step toward treating people. "It's a great breakthrough for all of us working on stem cells for muscular dystrophy," said researcher Johnny Huard of the University of Pittsburgh, who wasn't involved in the work.

DNA from Neanderthal leg shows distant split
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers have sequenced DNA from the leg bone of a Neanderthal man who died 38,000 years ago and said on Wednesday it shows the Neanderthals are truly distant relatives of modern humans who interbred rarely, if at all, with our own immediate ancestors.
They estimate that modern humans and Neanderthals split from a common ancestor at least 370,000 years ago, and possibly 500,000 years ago, although we share 99.95 percent of our DNA.
"We see no evidence of mixing 40,000, 30,000 years ago in Europe. We don't exclude it, but see no evidence," Edward Rubin of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California, who led one study, told reporters.
This conflicts with some evidence from other researchers, including a team who said earlier this month that humans may have inherited a brain gene from Neanderthals.

Woman Wins Religious Discrimination Case
SAVANNAH, Mo. (AP) -- Three years after she was fired for refusing to work on Sundays, Connie Rehm has won back her job on the staff of this small town's public library, and her employers have received a costly education in employment rights law.
A federal jury found in her favor after a three-day trial in May, and last month she was reinstated on a judge's order to the staff assistant job she had held for 12 years before her religious practice and the library's adoption of Sunday hours collided in 2003.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Missourians vote NO on constitutional Amendment 2

On November 7, Missouri voters will decide if the State of Missouri will give constitutional protection to the cloning of human beings for research purposes while providing the biotech industry the unchecked authority and funding to conduct these unproven and unethical experiments.
Missourians Against Human Cloning is a coalition of Missouri citizens and organizations established to provide Missouri voters with the truth about this amendment to our state constitution. We are confident that when Missourians understand the truth about this initiative and its ramifications, they will oppose it wholeheartedly.
Please join our growing coalition. Stand-up and speak-out against government funded human cloning being enshrined in the Missouri Constitution.

I sure hope this thing does not pass.

Boy or girl? Sex selection by embryo screening
Many U.S. Couples Seek Embryo Screening
Boy or girl? Almost half of U.S. fertility clinics that offer embryo screening say they allow couples to choose the sex of their child, the most extensive survey of the practice suggests.
Sex selection without any medical reason to warrant it was performed in about 9 percent of all embryo screenings last year, the survey found.

Sounds like Brave New World is coming true.

Skeleton Sheds Light on Ape-Man Species

NEW YORK (AP) - In a discovery sure to fuel an old debate about our evolutionary history, scientists have found a remarkably complete skeleton of a 3-year-old female from the ape-man species represented by "Lucy."
The remains found in Africa are 3.3 million years old, making this the oldest known skeleton of such a youthful human ancestor."It's a pretty unbelievable discovery... It's sensational," said Will Harcourt-Smith, a researcher at the American Museum of Natural History in New York who wasn't involved in the find. "It provides you with a wealth of information."
For one thing, it gives new evidence for a contentious feud about whether this species, which walked upright, also climbed and moved through trees easily.

This doesn't shake my faith. God is still in charge of creation, even if it took longer than 6 days.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Roe v. Wade': The divided states of America
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two hours after South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed an abortion ban last month, NARAL Pro-Choice America blasted an e-mail to its supporters: "Is your state next?"The South Dakota legislation and the abortion rights group's warning are early skirmishes in a battle over what states would do if the landmark Roe v. Wade decision were overturned — though both sides concede that may never happen.
If it does, a fight that for three decades has focused on nine members of the Supreme Court would be waged instead among more than 7,000 legislators in 50 state capitals.
"Now is the time to get moving on this in Ohio," says Tom Brinkman, a state legislator who has introduced a bill to ban almost all abortions. Meanwhile, Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is braced. "Our supporters feel the fight is coming back to the states," she says.
What would states do?
Ultimately, that would depend on factors ranging from who was governor to where public opinion stood. Even so, there are clues from what state legislatures have chosen to do already and what they're considering doing next.

Missouri would be a state that would be in the most pro-life category.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Tiller the Killer - Lock Him Up!
The infamous Tiller the Killer may have to do jail time for this.

Abortion Practitioner Who Killed Girl in Failed Abortion Hits Pro-Lifer With Car
Wichita, KS ( -- A Kansas late-term abortion practitioner who killed a 19 year-old girl in a botched abortion last year has allegedly run over a pro-life person with his car who was praying outside his abortion business. George Tiller, who may soon find himself subject to a grand jury investigation, apparently struck the protester with his vehicle yesterday.

Unfortunately, this means the show will go on. Spreading lies, that is.
Judge Rules in Favor of 'Da Vinci' Writer LONDON (AP) -- A judge ruled Friday that best-selling author Dan Brown did not steal ideas from a nonfiction book, ending the suspense about whether the novelist committed copyright infringement in his thriller "The Da Vinci Code."
High Court judge Peter Smith rejected a copyright-infringement claim by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," who claimed that Brown's blockbuster "appropriated the architecture" of their 1982 book. In the United States, the book is titled, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail."
A film based on Brown's book and starring Tom Hanks opens May 19.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Boston -- We have a problem!

The Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities said Friday it would stop providing adoption services because of a state law allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children. Eight members of Catholic Charities board later stepped down in protest of the bishops' stance. The 42-member board had voted unanimously in December to continue considering gay households for adoptions.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Pope envisions greater role for women in the Church
Vatican, Mar. 03 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) believes that women should hold more positions of responsibility within the Catholic Church, although they cannot be ordained as priests.
"The Church owes a great debt of thanks to women," the Holy Father told priests of the Rome diocese during a 2-hour meeting on March 2. He cited the immense contributions made by women, mentioning St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Hildegard, and Mother Teresa. Women should have "real and deep participation in the government of the Church," he said.

Wal-Mart Decides to Carry Plan B Pill
Officials of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Friday the company will reverse its earlier policy and stock emergency contraception pills in all of its pharmacies effective March 20, saying the giant retailer could not justify being the country's only major pharmacy chain not to carry the morning-after pill.

Scant Drop Seen in Abortion Rate if Parents Are Told
For all the passions they generate, laws that require minors to notify their parents or get permission to have an abortion do not appear to have produced the sharp drop in teenage abortion rates that some advocates hoped for, an analysis by The New York Times shows.
....But providers interviewed in 10 states with parental involvement laws all said that of the minors who came into their clinics, parents were more often the ones pushing for an abortion, even against the wishes of their daughters.
"I see far more parents trying to pressure their daughters to have one," said Jane Bovard, owner of the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, N.D., a state where a minor needs consent from both parents. "As a parent myself, I can understand. But I say to parents, 'You force her to have this abortion, and I can tell you that within the next six months she's going to be pregnant again.' "

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Missouri Court Upholds 24-Hour Abortion Wait
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the state's 24-hour waiting period for abortions, a decision that turns the focus of the legal battle to federal court.
The unanimous ruling Tuesday by Missouri's highest court focused on whether the 2003 law ran contrary to the state constitution. The judges rejected arguments that it was overly vague and deprived people of liberty and privacy rights.

Mississippi House committee votes to ban most abortions

JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi House committee voted Tuesday to ban most abortions in the state - an unexpected move that left abortion opponents grappling to stake out a position on a proposal that could prompt a lengthy court battle

Embryos are human beings, Pope insists
Vatican, Feb. 27 ( - Human embryos deserve the same protection as all other human beings, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) told an audience of scholars on February 27.
"The love of God does not distinguish between the newly-conceived infant still in its mother's womb, the baby, the youth, the grown adult or the elderly, because in each of them He sees the sign of His own image and likeness," the Holy Father said. He was speaking to participants in a conference on the human embryo, organized by the Pontifical Academy for Life.

There has been a lot of good news on the pro-life front the last couple days. I guess it is motivated because Sam Alito is now a Supreme Court judge. When the court was so liberal, it seemed useless to pass pro-life legislation. Now there is reason for hope that Roe v. Wade can be overturned. I sense a lot more good news is on the way. Perhaps this is only the beginning. It is time to be optimistic again.

Ash Wednesday
So another Lent begins. What will I do different this year? How do I get closer to the Lord? Ordinary folks make New Year's resolutions. Catholics make Lenten resolutions. Hopefully, I will keep these better than I do New Year's resolutions.
I am taking a Paul VI Institute class on Liturgy and Sacraments. Since I am enjoying the class, does it count for a Lenten resolution? I guess Lenten resolutions can be something I enjoy, unlike the time when I gave up chocolate for Lent. That is one I can't keep anyway, so I won't do that again. At least I know I better do the work for my class or I won't get a good grade.

St. Joseph's Radio
St. Joseph's Radio is moving from California to Florissant, MO, which is pretty near where I live. I met the director yesterday. I am very excited to find out all the ways this ministry will operated in this area. They will be located at the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine, which is a very historic site for evangelization. I think I will be able to help this ministry and learn new skills at the same time. This ministry has a national audience, which blows my mind with the possibilities for serving God!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Supreme Court Backs Abortion Protesters
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.
The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 ruling by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.


I hope the folks suing Dan Brown win. I have friends whose faith has been damaged by "The Da Vinci Code". I don't know how anyone could fall for this, but they have.

Lawyer: 'Da Vinci' Ideas Are General LONDON — A lawyer for the publisher of the "The Da Vinci Code" argued in court Tuesday that ideas which two writers claim were stolen for Dan Brown's blockbuster novel are so general they are not protected by copyright.,2933,186297,00.html

I am interested in a Family mission project. Perhaps there is a project my family can do in the St. Louis area for a week this summer. We have 3 teens, ages 17, 16 & 14. Is there some way we could help the poor?
I was also toying with the idea of distributing literature about the Missouri cloning initiative door-to-door. I would like to promote the Catholic objection to this bill.
I wonder if other families with teens would be interested in doing this with us.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year!
For Christmas, I got some video editing software. I've made my first movie and slide show. I was surprised how easy it was to do after I got the hang of it.
I created a movie about my ancestors. I put photos of them, maps of where they immigrated from, background music, and video of my mom talking about them. I did a voice over, added transitions, titles, and lots of cool stuff.
The DVD slide show I did has 7 chapters with buttons on a menu with background music. I think that is going to be useful. I want to do something cool with all the digital photos I have.
The hard part was rotating the photos to vertical in Photo Shop Elements. There were a ton of photos to do. I'm doing this for a neighbor just to learn how to do it.
I would love to start a business making custom movies and slide shows. I'm planning to teach my teens how to do it, since it is not hard at all. Maybe they'll end up doing something more constructive than playing video games on my computer.
The kids started back to school today, so the fun of the holidays is over. It is hard work getting kids to be responsible for homework, getting out the door on time, and getting to bed on time. So school is hard on parents as well as kids. So it is back to the grind until June.