Wednesday, July 30, 2008


In light of all the recent goofiness in the Anglican Church, it was with wry glee that I was able to position this sign-holding volunteer thusly in famously liberal Evanston during our Face the Truth Tour a few weeks back:

Shortly afterward, a priestess—wearing a Roman collar and shorts—came out of the church and calmly asked if the sign could be moved off "our property". I responded in equally calm fashion, as I have many times before in this situation, that this was actually public property.

She then asked, "The street is public property?" This was odd, as I'd never before had anyone ask me whether a street was public property. Not to mention that our signholder and the sign were not in the street, as you can see.

I simply said that the street, the sidewalk, and the boulevard were all public property. Saying nothing in reply, she turned and walked away.

Our exchange prompted me to recall Oscar Wilde's quip:

"The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people, the Anglican Church will do."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I ♥ The Onion

'Time' Publishes Definitive Obama Puff Piece

According to the Time reporter, work on the profile was often harder than he had anticipated, with Obama at times dodging questions about whether or not he played a musical instrument, and about what Monopoly piece he thought best represented his candidacy and why.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Humanae Vitae at 40

I was going to try to say something new and insightful about Humanae Vitae, the 40th anniversary of which we commemorate today. But I'm not feeling poignant just now.

Instead, I'll take the lazy way out and link to this post, also on HV, which I wrote two years ago today.

Considering how much Paul VI has been pilloried for HV, it's interesting to note that he issued it on July 25, the feast of St. James—the first Apostle to be martyred.

I'd also encourage the reading of a smashingly good (and yea, insightful) essay in the current issue of First Things titled, "The Vindication of Humanae Vitae". Said essay is most notable for demonstrating that some of the clearest confirmations of Paul VI's predictions HV have come from secular circles.

Check thou it out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pro-Nursing Dad

I just posted this on the Catholic Dads Blog:

I was very happy to see an article in today's Chicago Tribune—on the front page, no less—about Henry Hale, a young dad whose newfound raison d'ĂȘtre is to do whatever he can to encourage breastfeeding.

This snippet gave me a chuckle:

Not long ago, he overheard two women in a store comparing formulas and he just couldn't help himself.

"Have you ever considered breast milk?" he asked.

Within moments, he launched into his monologue on mother's milk: how it reduces the risk of infection. And for nocturnal feedings, nursing releases hormones that make it easier to fall back asleep.

"One woman ended up dragging her friend over and saying, 'Girl, this man knows so much about breasts,' " he said.

For his finale, the proud father usually whips out a photo of his daughter.

I want to meet this guy, just so I can shake his hand.

Our Tax Dollars at Work

There's a humdinger of a piece of investigative reportage in Sunday's Chicago Tribune about a whole bunch of $20,000 grants sponsored by State Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) given to West Side after-school programs that, um, weren't after-school programs:

Powerful Senate Democrats quietly gave out the money to handpicked nonprofits, schools, businesses and churches. The lawmakers funneled the money through the Illinois State Board of Education, which rubber-stamped the choices.

But a Tribune investigation found that nearly half of the 48 groups that got money this past school year were running dubious programs, or declined to show how they spent the money. Only 11 of the grants went to established programs with a history of tutoring or mentoring school-age children...

The state board tried to tighten the grant process after the Tribune first raised questions about it two years ago. But lawmakers and education officials have continued to award the grants.

So, how bad is it?

The oversight remains so feeble, in fact, that education officials in three cases handed out money to programs where felons, one a convicted murderer, worked with children. The state contract bars such convicts from doing so.

Education officials also didn't heed red flags in the applications. One grantee promised to tutor on a "dailey bases," another to teach "fluenty in speaking." [emphasis added]

"Fluenty in speaking" ... reminds me of this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


From Stuff White People Like:

Being a truly advanced white person means being able to speak with authority about pretty much any field of conversation- especially politics. In order for white people to streamline the process of knowing everything, all human beings can be neatly filed into one of two categories: People I Agree With, and People Who are Just Like Adolf Hitler.

Comparing people to Hitler is an easy way for white people to get a strong point across to the less enlightened, or the insufficiently white...

This time-tested white-person maneuver may seem so awesomely useful to you that you are tempted to go out and try it right now. Not so fast. White people have spent the last 30 years perfecting this technique. There are cultural guidelines.

It’s also critical that you avoid the fatal mistake of getting creative and comparing people you don’t like to other evil dictators, such as Joseph Stalin or Fidel Castro. With few exceptions, white people are actually fond of almost any dictator not named Hitler, and your remark that “this is just like something Mao Zedong would do” will be met with blank stares and possible social alienation. This is because, with the exception of Hitler, oppressive dictators share a passion for many of the things white people love- such as universal health care, conspiracy theories, caring about poor people while being filthy rich, and cool hats.

Of course, white people aren't alone here.

I'm reminded of the Colombian hostage rescue earlier this month, during which some of the country's security forces posing as FARC rebels wore Che Guevara T-shirts as part of their elaborate ruse.

This, in turn, prompted me to recall this satire thereof:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tour Recap

I've been spending the morning and expect to spend the rest of the day slogging through emails, but for now I just wanted to say that our Face the Truth Tour last week went great.

We had the best showings we've seen in years. At three sites in particular—including one where it rained almost the entire time—we had enough volunteers to hold all 84 of our large signs.

We handed out so much literature we nearly ran out halfway through the Tour and had to have another 10,000 copies printed.

Most police we dealt with were very cooperative, with but a few exceptions, just like last year.

We returned to Libertyville, where the infamous "Libertyville Abortion Demonstration" video was filmed three years ago (and which was referred to in an Anna Quindlen Newsweek column last year) and got footage for a long overdue video response.

Most importantly, though, countless hearts were changed, and in some cases, scheduled abortions were cancelled.

We hope to have a full report on this year's Tour on the Pro-Life Action League site soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Facing the Truth

I won't be blogging tomorrow or all next week, as I'll be helping to coordinate the Chicago Area Face the Truth Tour, sponsored by my employer, the Pro-Life Action League.

If you're anywhere near Chicago, join us! If not, please say some prayers for us—and, even more importantly, pray that the hearts of many will be changed by seeing the ugly reality of abortion.

I can't tell you how many times during a Face the Truth day we've heard from people comments along the lines of, "I never knew what abortion was until I saw these pictures..."

One such reaction that sticks out in my mind was from a kid no more than 16 years old, who saw our display in downtown Chicago a few years ago with a group of friends:

Him: "Man, that's what an abortion looks like?!"

Me: Yeah, it is.

Him: (With genuine astonishment) "Damn!"

Other times, people really wish we would just go away. (Like the guy who got arrested for assaulting me on last year's Tour.)

After several years of experience showing graphic abortion pictures out on the streets, we've gotten used to hearing complaints. A while ago, we posted a FAQ-type page on the PLAL site's Face the Truth section that answers the most common objections we hear:

  • What if children see these graphic abortion pictures?

  • What effect do these pictures have on a woman who has had an abortion?

  • Doesn't the public display of graphic abortion pictures make the pro-life movement look extreme?

  • Doesn't it dishonor the unborn babies in these pictures to show them out on the street?

Our answers are here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Like turning a TV on and off with a remote control"

Somehow I missed this article when it first came out in January.

I just found it this morning linked to the latest email from Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards, who sang the praises of "new research" that "shows us just how far the tools of prevention and family planning have come":

Radio-controlled sperm 'tap' turns off vasectomies

A radio-controlled contraceptive implant that could control the flow of sperm from a man's testicles is being developed by scientists in Australia.

"It will be like turning a TV on and off with a remote control," added team founder Derek Abbott, "except that the remote will probably be locked away in your local doctor's office to safeguard against accidental pregnancy or potential misuse of the device."

To secure the device against accidental activation, the device works in a similar way to a car's remote key-fob. Each valve responds only to a radio-frequency signal with a unique code.

Gee, I don't see how that could lead to any problems.

Oh, wait:

One potential problem, however, is that after a while the valve may clog with protein and remain shut, rendering the man permanently infertile.

One wonders if the newfangled gadgetry carries it with the same increased risk of dementia—among others—as vasectomy does.

Baloney Man

From the creators of "Teen Girl Squad", behold Baloney Man.

I'm not sure I entirely get it, but then again, I'm not sure there's all that much to get.

It's funny, though.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Margaret Sanger, Mike Wallace, and Birth Control (and Philip Morris)

Check out this eye-opening interview of Planned Parenthood founder (and Barack Obama's heroine) Margaret Sanger conducted by Mike Wallace in 1957.

Here's an excerpt:

WALLACE: What are your religious beliefs, Mrs. Sanger? Do you believe in God in the sense of a Divine Being -- who rewards or punishes people after death?

SANGER: Well, I have a different attitude about--the divine--I feel that we have divinity within us, and the more we express the good part of our lives, the more the divine within us expresses itself.I suppose I would call myself an Episcopalian by religion and there's a--many other, if you travel around the world you get quite a bit of the feeling of all--all religions--have so much alike in the divine part of our own being. And I suppose you just couldn't just put that into a book or you couldn't put it to a phrase or a sentence.

WALLACE: Do you believe in sin -- When I say believe I don't mean believe in committing sin do you believe there is such a thing as a sin?

SANGER: I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world--that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they're born. That to me is the greatest sin -- that people can -- can commit..

WALLACE: But sin in the ordinary sense that we regard it -- do you believe or do you not believe.

SANGER: What-what would they be?

WALLACE: Do you believe infidelity is a sin?

SANGER: Well, I'm not going to specify what I think is a sin. I stated what I think is the worst sin.

WALLACE: Yes, but then you asked me to say what--and I said what and ah--you refuse to answer me?

SANGER: I don't know about infidelity, that has many personalities to it--and what a person's own belief is--you can't, I couldn't generalize on any of those things as being sins.

WALLACE: Murder is a sin...

SANGER: Well, I naturally think murder, whether it's a sin or not, is a terrible act.

Watch it here. Read the full transcript here.

[HT: Mark Shea via Dawn Eden via Kathy Schmugge]

Monday, July 7, 2008

Some People Have Way Too Much Time on Their Hands

Case in point #5625109812352:

Via Wikipedia, a comprehensive list of problems solved by MacGyver.

(Although I have to admit, this is kind of cool.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

If You're Going to Get Fleeced, You Might As Well Enjoy It

For the past several weeks, construction crews have been tearing up and subsequently repaving the street in front of Haus Jansen. The upshot is that the street is now very flat, and therefore a very agreeable surface for driving—and, even more so, biking (which I've recently resumed doing fairly regularly to get to and from work, what with high gas prices and all).

Our four-year old Cecilia offered her terse observation on the new street: "It's so black."

Quite right, she is.

I also had to chuckle to myself, as her comment reminded me of this scene from This Is Spinal Tap:

Less than a block away from Haus Jansen, where said road improvement project commences (as well as a mile and a half north, where it ends), is a sign that says this:

The first thing you likely noticed about this sign is that it says, "Road Improvement Project".

The second thing, though, that you likely noticed about this sign is that it says, "Todd H. Stroger".

Todd (I ♥ Nepotism) Stroger, as the sign indicates, is the president of the Cook Crook County Board of Commissioners.

The first time I saw this sign, a couple of thoughts ran through my head. First, I wondered how many palms were greased in order to secure this particular project.

Now, my attitude on public works project like these is this: If you're going to get fleeced, you might as well enjoy it.

As of Tuesday, Cook Crook County has the highest sales tax in the country. Our local property taxes are also #@&?!% high too.

That said, we know we pay through the nose. So, any time my family and I can reap the benefits of our egregiously high taxes, I'm personally happy.

So while I'm glad we have a freshly paved street, there are countless other streets countywide I've traversed that are a heckuva lot worse than ours used to be. Hence my musing as to how much graft/patronage/sweetheart deals were involved in this particular project.

Second, seeing this sign reminded me of something that perhaps most folks who grew up in and around Chicago simply take for granted. To wit, the ubiquitous appearance of names of elected office bigwigs on publicly financed signage.

I began to notice this when I first moved to Chicago in 1996 and saw "Mayor Daley's X Project" or "Mayor Daley's Y Task Force" or "Mayor Daley's Z Special Event" signs all over the place. (Although I must admit I've never seen a sign for "Mayor Daley's Rat-Infested Public Housing Complexes".)

That's strange, I thought.

Little did I know that's just the way things are done around here.

We Agree on One Thing

This observer at Chicago Indymedia and I can at least agree on one thing: Chicago isn't cut out to host the 2016 Olympics.

Writing about this past Sunday's "Pride Parade" in Boystown, we read:

A stalled parade vehicle and a rain storm stopped the entire parade for about an hour as the tightly packed crowd flooded into the streets in futile attempts to find a dry place to wait out the storm. It was beginning to look like "The City that Works," which is bidding to host the 2016 Olympics, couldn't even handle a parade, much less an international sports extravaganza.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Utter Stupidity

Those who favor banning books like Huck Finn must be gleeful at this news:

Some bureaucrats at the Wilmette Park District are so aghast at the language in a planned production of the musical Ragtime that they've cancelled the show.

I'm not sure what upsets me more: that, or the fact that the ninnies actually tried to get permission to change the script.

Now, the only experience I have as an actor was in high school and community theater productions, but even a one-time amateur like me knows you simply Can't. Do. That.

(Interestingly enough, the same is true of the liturgical rubrics. Just as a priest has no right to change the prayers at Mass, so too an actor or director has no right to change the words of a play.)

I wonder how often the company that owns Ragtime's rights receives such transparently stupid requests.