Wednesday, August 29, 2007

122 - 2!

***Scroll for Updates...Jill Stanek's slide show from last night's meeting added below...Additional Updates added 8/30, 12:06PM...see below***

Last night, an overflow crowd of pro-lifers jammed the City Council meeting in Aurora, IL to speak out against the Planned Parenthood Abortion Fortress scheduled to open there next month.

The Aurora Beacon article about the meeting is headlined: "Anti-abortion, abortion-rights activists pack City Council".

From this headline, you'd probably guess that the numbers of pro-life and pro-abortion activists present at the meeting were more or less equal, right?

Here's how the article opens:

AURORA -- Close to 200 people packed City Council chambers Tuesday night, spilled into the hallways and trailed down stairwells -- turning the usually staid meeting into a sometimes fiery exchange, shouting down one alderman and plowing through a three-minute speaking time rule.

With many railing against a Planned Parenthood women's health center set to open in three weeks, the second-floor meeting room was bursting at the seams with 124 people signed up to talk about the health center -- an item not on the City Council's agenda. [emphasis added]

What the article doesn't say is that of the 124 people who signed up to address the City Council:

2 were pro-abortion.

122 were pro-life.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Movie-Related E-mails from Pro-Aborts

In the past week, I've gotten two e-mails from pro-aborts related to movies.

The first one came last Thursday:

The Illinois Choice Action Team is looking for volunteers to help canvass movie night in Grant Park! We had a lot of fun doing it last year and so we would like to take part in the closing event for the summer. We will be gathering signatures for the REAL Act and passing out pro-choice materials. Come join the Party! The movie starts at 8:00, so we will canvass from 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. I checked the ten day weather forecast, and it looks like Tuesday will be a nice day and evening.

Date: 8/28/07 (Tuesday)
Time: 6:00 pm
Meetup: SE Corner of Adams and Michigan ave - Chicago
Contact: B...
Movie: Aug. 28: 8:01 p.m.
[Movie Title Omitted -JJ]
Hope to see you there!

Illinois Choice Action Team

Illinois Choice Action Team Is a Committed Group of Volunteers Advancing NARAL Pro-Choice America's Mission.

Guess what's playing tonight:

If These Walls Could Talk?

The Cider House Rules?

Vera Drake?

No, no, and no.

Give up? It's only, like, one of the most pro-family movies ever: The Sound of Music.

Good luck with your canvassing there, Team.

The other movie-related e-mail came today to my work e-mail address:

Dear Pro-Life Action League,

My name is [Name Withheld]; I work for an independent documentary production company in New York called Zohe FIlms. Our new documentary film, FLYING: CONFESSIONS OF A FREE WOMAN, will be playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago Sept 14-18. While I recognize that your organization's members may not agree with some of the subject matter of this film, we here are Zohe FIlms would like to encourage an audience of diverse opinions in order to encourage a rich discussion after the viewing. We hope to include the Pro-Life Action League community in our dialogue and we'd be happy to offer a few complimentary tickets to see the film! I would also be greatly appreciative of any advice you can offer me on how to create good buzz for our Chicago screenings.

Here's a brief description of the documentary:

"The film takes as a hypothesis that owning and controlling one's own sexuality is the center of a woman's power and self. It also hypothesizes that the inverse is true: if a woman does not control the emotional and sexual life of her own body, she cannot be fully empowered. With all the advances that women have made for themselves, patriarchal systems still exists across the globe. Rarely is a woman fully in control of her own body or her own fate. Often and in some cultures, the subjugation is overt—female genital mutilation, the veil, lack of access to abortion, dowry, and rape as a tool of warfare. Just as often it is insidious—social condemnation of women who take joy in their sexuality, harassment defended as "harmless" flirtation, legislation prohibiting sexual education in schools and the consequences of the subsequent lack of knowledge, the equation of "female" or "feminine" with weak, incompetent or emotionally volatile."

The New York Times described "Flying" as: "playful, sexy, tragic and contemplative" and an "addictive soap about sexuality and sisterhood".

For more information, please check out the website (and trailer) at

Please don't hesitate to contact me...

Thank you so much for your time.

[Name Withheld]

So lack of access to abortion is on a par with female genital mutilation and rape?


I think I'll have to decline the invitation to be part of the "dialogue" for a whole host of reasons -- not the least of which is that this movie sounds astonishingly unoriginal.

I'm reminded of something Chesterton said:

My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.

Something Mark Shea wrote a few months back also comes to mind:

Reminds me of when my old priest went, at the request of some local media, to see "The Last Temptation of Christ". The reporters, a herd of Independent Thinkers if ever there was one, clustered around him awaiting the fevered denunciations and cries of blasphemy after it was all over.

He told them he'd drifted off to sleep halfway through, it was so dull.

Heretics never seem to get that heresy is stupefyingly boring.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Massive Pro-Life Turnout in Aurora

Our rally in Aurora Saturday was huge.

The Chicago Tribune estimated a crowd of 1,000. The Aurora Beacon estimated 1,200. The actual number may have even been higher.

Watch the local FOX News station's coverage of the rally here.

Note Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area president Steve Trombley's comments during the news segment:

We want people to understand that 90% of what we do is about providing contraception and basic health care, both of which prevent the need for abortions. We believe that health center will do more in one day to prevent abortions than those protesters will do in a lifetime.

Ah, yes, because everybody knows that making contraception more widely available is the answer to preventing abortion, right?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Passing the Time by Experiencing the National Pastime the Way It Was Played in a Past Time

If you ask me, bringing together baseball and history results in the best combination since nuts and gum peanut butter and chocolate.

Imagine my glee, then, when I read this article about the growing nationwide popularity of vintage baseball teams:

For members of the year-old vintage baseball team, it's about playing like it's 1858 -- when the sport was two words, "base ball," and the lightweight uniforms and protective mitts of today had not been invented.

Vintage baseball is part sport, part historical re-enactment for the amateur teams popping up all over the United States. Many, including the [Lockport, IL] Sleepers, are named after actual teams from back in the day, when games were both gentlemanly competition and social events to bring neighboring towns together.

I defy anyone to say vintage baseball isn't cool.

Why We Need the Theology of the Body

When I read articles like this one ("Albania's sworn 'virgins': Women give up sex to live as men"), I realize for the 985371983725913275th time how badly our world needs the Theology of the Body.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Best. Church Picnic. Ever.

Despite a weekend rainfall total approaching biblical proportions that moved nearly all activities into the basement, yesterday's church picnic at St. John Cantius Parish was the best one I've ever attended, for one reason and one reason only:

They served Hacker-Pschorr beer.

Need I say more?

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Ever Controversial Issue (Although I Really Can't Understand Why) of Graphic Abortion Pictures

Working in the pro-life movement, I've come across many arguments for why the judicious use of graphic abortion pictures is essential to our mission. Some of these arguments are well presented and cogent; others less so.

A few years ago, my co-worker Eric Scheidler (with a little help from me -- and I do mean "little", as he definitely did the lion's share of the work) overhauled the section of our website that deals with graphic pictures. In so doing, he added an "Answering Common Objections" page that, in all humility, I think, offers some of the best explanations out there.

This afternoon at 5:00 (US CDT), Eric will be on Relevant Radio's Drew Mariani Show talking about this very subject. You can listen online, or, if you miss the live broadcast, you can also hear it in the audio archives on Relevant Radio's site.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

All We're Asking for Is a Miracle

If you live anywhere near Aurora, Illinois, please join us for our 40-Day Prayer Vigil outside the site of the ginormous built-under-the-radar Abortion Fortress Planned Parenthood is planning to open there next month.

The response to the Vigil -- now in Day 7 -- has been overwhelming, with literally hundreds of people having already committed to come to the site and spend some time in prayer.

As my co-worker Eric Scheidler said in an article on the Pro-Life Action League website, "This is the most powerful grassroots pro-life effort I've ever seen. We can scarcely keep track of the prayer pledges coming in. The people of Aurora and their neighbors in nearby towns do not want an abortion clinic here. Period."

Even so, we still need many more prayer volunteers to fill time slots at the site. If you live nearby and you're interested in taking part, you can get more information and sign up at the new Families Against Planned Parenthood website.

It goes without saying, of course, that prayers from afar are most welcome, too.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

"Pork Greases Budget Deal"

So proclaims the headline of an article in today's Chicago Tribune about matters fiscal here in the soviet of Illinois.

Wouldn't it be nice if once -- just once -- we could read a headilne that proclaims, "No Pork in Budget Deal"?

Now that would be news.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sean P. Dailey Has His Work Cut Out for Him

He describes his new blog, The Blue Boar, as:

"[a] blog devoted to G.K. Chesterton, our Lady, home brewing, inns, Distributism, good literature, the lost art of Catholic drinking, and other crucial elements of Catholic culture".

He's set quite a high bar for himself with a description that sounds that cool. Here's hoping the varied content remains equally cool.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Slogging through the dozens of spam messages in my inbox on Friday, I came across one with this subject line:

"Cell Phones Help Minneapolis Bridge Collapse"

No, it wasn't sent by some neo-Luddite conspiracy theorist; rather, it was sent by some business technology news outfit.

The headline in the message text itself was more clear:

"Mobile Phones Help Minneapolis Rescue Efforts for Bridge Collapse"

Ah, I see.

Now, I can't help but wonder: Was the wording of the subject line accidental, due to the human capacity for poor proofreading, or intentional, given a spammer's capacity to write attention-getting subject lines that will prompt the reader to want to read more?

I'm normally inclined to guess that incompetence is the answer, but in this case, I'd have to guess the latter.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Day After

Around 7:30 last night, I checked our answering machine and heard a cryptic message from my dad -- his voice audibly shaken -- about 35W, but he wanted to assure us that he and the rest of our extended family were present and accounted for.

At that point, I had no idea what was going on.

The next message was from Jocelyn's sister, who called to see if we had heard about the 35W bridge collapse.

God help us.

The house where I grew up in northeast Minneapolis -- and where my parents still live -- is less than three miles from the site of the 35W bridge disaster.

I've driven across that bridge hundreds of times. So have countless family members and friends.

My dad's driven across it thousands of times -- including twice a day, every day, for twenty years -- until he retired from his job exactly two months ago yesterday.

I don't know what else to say, other than that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

Since I don't know what to say, I offer James Lileks' words:

I’ve driven across this bridge every few days for thirty years. There are bridges, and there are bridges; this one had the most magnificent view of downtown available, and it’s a miracle I never rear-ended anyone while gawking at the skyline, the old Stone Bridge, the Mississippi. You always felt proud to be here when you crossed that bridge, pleased to live in such a beautiful place. Didn’t matter if it was summer twilight or hard cold winter noon - Minneapolis always seemed to be standing at attention, posing for a formal portrait . We’ll have that view again – but it’ll take a generation before it’s no longer tinged with regret and remembrance.