George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
THURSDAY, January 30 and 31, 2013 "WILL
'THE REAGAN OF THE LEFT"'?, as
Charles Krauthammer persuasively proposes
in his most recent article - a MUST READ for anyone concerned
future of this country (in The Day Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, Opinion,
Indeed, this period on our national history can end up being as
consequential as was the division during the American Revolution, when
the colonists were Loyalists, and during the Civil War between North
South. This is not hyperbole. This is serious.
Perhaps the statement allegedly by Nikita Khrushchev made many years
ago will draw the
attention of some of the dreamy-eyed supporters of this obstinate
currently occupying the White House.
TUESDAY, January 29, 2013 I
haven't read the
book yet, but I'm not convinced. One thing I know: The Fathers of the
had a real problem with Sex, Sexuality and women from the very
Why, I don't know.
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Celibacy and the Priesthood
30 Questions and Answers
Why can’t priests marry? It’s a question people often ask and the
of celibacy has also been blamed as one of the causes of sexual abuse
A recently published translation of an Italian book addresses the topic
question and answer format, “Married Priests? Thirty Crucial Questions
Celibacy” (Ignatius Press). It is edited by Arturo Cattaneo, with
from a wide variety of scholars.
We are faced with a great educational challenge in explaining the
teaching on priestly celibacy, admitted Cardinal Mauro Piacenza,
prefect of the
Congregation for the Clergy.
He likened celibacy to marriage. The underlying logic of priestly
the same one we encounter in Christian matrimony: the total gift of
forever in love.
From the historical aspect the book noted that Christ chose celibacy
himself even though among the Jews this state of life was seen as a
humiliation. He did not generate children physically but loved his
brethren and shared a common life with them.
Jesus' way of communicating life was not through physical generation
spiritual. Therefore the celibacy of those who follow Jesus in the
must be understood in the perspective of this spiritual transmission of
One of the questions deals with the affirmation that celibacy did not
obligatory until the Middle Ages. For a start, the explanation noted,
considerable Biblical evidence, both in the Gospels and the letters of
of support for celibacy as a sign of witness.
While it is true that during the early centuries married men were
after their ordination they were expected to practice continence and
were single at ordination or those widowed after ordination were not
to marry once they were priests.
All deacons, priests and bishops, the explanation continued, had to
from sexual activity from the day of ordination. Nowhere in the Church
be proved that a married cleric legitimately begat children after his
Over time the Church realized that continence for married clerics was
problematic regarding the sacramentality of marriage and so during the
Ages this led to the decision of requiring priests to be single.
Why not allow married priests in order to attract more vocations? This,
book observed, is one of the most frequent arguments regarding
is no evidence, however, that requiring less of candidates to the
leads to increased numbers of them, the answer replied.
Experience proves the contrary instead: vocations to the priesthood
and multiply when the radical gospel message is welcomed consistently
The requirement of celibacy is not a dogma, another section of the book
admitted, but this does not mean it is a merely disciplinary measure.
means that the priest should be similar to Christ and live as he did.
Jesus regarded himself as the “Bridegroom” of the whole community of
The explanation referred to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:21-33)
the image of marriage for the union between Christ and the Church.
Is not celibacy unnatural and the cause of crises among priests? In the
to this question the author, in this case Manfred Lütz, a doctor
of medicine in
psychiatry, explained that the question is based on an erroneous
about all the people who are unmarried – are they all unnatural?
The celibate life only becomes unnatural when being single turns into
selfishness or narcissism, Lütz continued.
From his experience as a therapist Lütz said that crises among
clergy do not
come from celibacy, but rather from the drying up of the spiritual life.
A subsequent question also dealt with this theme of psychological
It was answered by André-Marie Jerumanis, a priest and physician.
Celibacy, he explained, is not harmful to equilibrium or maturity if we
into account that it is a free choice of a psychologically mature
A human being is not just a mere bundle of instincts. Instead, as a
have an intellect, a will and free choice, which makes possible
The more humanly and spiritually mature a person is, the more perfectly
practice continence at the psychological level, not as frustration but
perfect freedom exercised in self-control and in complete availability
personal mission, Jerumanis explained.
In another question Jerumanis dealt with the accusation that celibacy
causal factor in sexual abuse. It would be rash to come to this
affirmed, just as it would be rash to conclude that marital crises are
the requirement that marriage be indissoluble.
Another contributor noted that no one would blame the institution of
as being responsible for a parent sexually abusing their child. He also
observed that sexual abuse is just as prevalent in churches that have
clergy and that by far the largest number of cases of sexual abuse
the immediate family.
These explanations and the other questions and answers make this book a
valuable resource at a time of continued debate over celibacy.
MONDAY, January 28, 2013 "WE'VE
GOT TO STOP BEING THE STUPID PARTY". Where have you heard that before?
SATURDAY, January 26, 2013 In
1955 I was in
second year of medical school, riding three hours per weekday on the
subways. I was also playing between two and three gigs per
our dance band between September and June, and earning $15. per
evening...sometimes more for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Good money,
little sleep. And that summer I worked as a male nurse at
Hospital in the Bronx.
A good year.
THURSDAY, January 24, 2013 RR #1 Kurzweil
has written that THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR". Beware: for millions of
workers, THEIR SINGULARITY IS HERE.
human: Can smart machines do your job?
By PAUL WISEMAN, BERNARD
CONDON and JONATHAN FAHEY | Associated Press
– Fri, Jan 25, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) — Art Liscano knows he's an endangered
species in the job market: He's a meter reader in Fresno, Calif.
For 26 years, he's driven from house to house, checking how much
electricity Pacific Gas & Electric customers have used.
PG&E doesn't need many people like Liscano making rounds anymore.
Every day, the utility replaces 1,200 old-fashioned meters with digital
versions that can collect information without human help, generate more
accurate power bills, even send an alert if the power goes out.
can see why technology
is taking over," says Liscano, 66, who earns $67,000 a year. "We can
see the writing on the wall." His department employed 50 full-time
meter readers just six years ago. Now, it has six.
giant corporations to university libraries to start-up businesses,
employers are using rapidly improving technology to do tasks that humans
used to do. That means millions of workers are caught in a competition
they can't win against machines that keep getting more powerful,
cheaper and easier to use.
NOTE: Second in a three-part series on the loss of middle-class jobs in
the wake of the Great Recession, and the role of technology.
better understand the impact of technology on jobs, The Associated
Press analyzed employment data from 20 countries; and interviewed
experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, CEOs and workers who
are competing with smarter machines.
The AP found that almost all the jobs
disappearing are in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging
from $38,000 to $68,000. Jobs that form the backbone of the middle
class in developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia.
In the United States, half of the 7.5
million jobs lost during the Great Recession paid middle-class wages,
and the numbers are even more grim in the 17 European countries that
use the euro as their currency. A total of 7.6 million midpay jobs
disappeared in those countries from January 2008 through last June.
Those jobs are being replaced in many
cases by machines and software that can do the same work better and
"Everything that humans can do a machine
can do," says Moshe Vardi, a computer scientist at Rice University in
Houston. "Things are happening that look like science fiction."
Toyota are rolling out cars that can drive themselves. The Pentagon
deploys robots to find roadside explosives in Afghanistan and wages war
from the air with drone aircraft. North Carolina State University
this month introduced a high-tech library where robots — "bookBots" —
retrieve books when students request them, instead of humans. The
library's 1.5 million books are no longer displayed on shelves; they're
kept in 18,000 metal bins that require one-ninth the space.
advance of technology
is producing wondrous products and services that once were unthinkable.
But it's also taking a toll on people because they so easily can be
In the U.S., more than 1.1 million
secretaries vanished from the job market between 2000 and 2010, their
job security shattered by software that lets bosses field calls
themselves and arrange their own meetings and trips. Over the same
period, the number of telephone operators plunged by 64 percent, word
processors and typists by 63 percent, travel agents by 46 percent and
bookkeepers by 26 percent, according to Labor Department statistics.
is shaking up human resources departments across the continent.
"Nowadays, employees are expected to do a lot of what we used to think
of as HR from behind their own computer," says Ron van Baden, a
negotiator with the Dutch labor union federation FNV. "It used to be
that you could walk into the employee affairs office with a question
about your pension, or the terms of your contract. That's all gone and
of the 7.6 million middle-class jobs that vanished in Europe were the
victims of technology,
estimates economist Maarten Goos at Belgium's University of Leuven.
also create jobs? Of course. But at nowhere near the rate that it's
killing them off — at least for the foreseeable future.
Here's a look at three technological
factors reshaping the economies and job markets in developed countries:
At the heart of the biggest technological
changes today is what computer scientists call "Big Data." Computers
thrive on information, and they're feasting on an unprecedented amount
of it — from the Internet, from Twitter messages and other social media
sources, from the barcodes and sensors being slapped on everything from
boxes of Huggies diapers to stamping machines in car plants.
to a Harvard Business Review article by Andrew McAfee and Erik
Brynjolfsson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, more
information now crosses the Internet every second than the entire
Internet stored 20 years ago. Every hour, they note, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
collects 50 million filing cabinets' worth of information from its
dealings with customers.
human could make sense of so much data. But computers can. They can
sift through mountains of information and deliver valuable insights to
decision-makers in businesses and government agencies. For instance,
Wal-Mart's analysis of Twitter traffic helped convince it to increase
the amount of "Avengers" merchandise it offered when the superhero
movie came out last year and to introduce a private-label corn chip in
the American Southwest.
automated car can only drive by itself by tapping into Google's
vast collection of maps and using information pouring in from special
sensors to negotiate traffic.
"What's different to me is the raw amount
of data out there because of the Web, because of these devices, because
we're attaching sensors to things," says McAfee, principal research
scientist at MIT's Center for Digital Business and the co-author of
"Race Against the Machine."
"The fuel of science is data," he says.
"We have so much more of that rocket fuel."
far, public attention has focused on the potential threats to privacy
as companies use technology to gather clues about
their customers' buying habits and lifestyles.
"What is less visible," says software
entrepreneur Martin Ford, "is that organizations are collecting huge
amounts of data about their internal operations and about what their
employees are doing." The computers can use that information to "figure
out how to do a great many jobs" that humans do now.
Gary Mintchell, editor in chief of
Automation World, recalls starting work in manufacturing years ago as a
"grunge, white-collar worker." He'd walk around the factory floor with
a clipboard, recording information from machines, then go back to an
office and enter the data by hand onto a spreadsheet.
that grunge work is conducted by powerful "operations management"
software systems developed by businesses such as General Electric
Intelligent Platforms in Charlottesville, Va. These systems
continuously collect, analyze and summarize in digestible form
information about all aspects of factory operations —energy
consumption, labor costs, quality problems, customer orders.
And the guys wandering the factory floor
with clipboards? They're gone.
In the old days — say, five years ago —
businesses that had to track lots of information needed to install
servers in their offices and hire technical staff to run them. "Cloud
computing" has changed everything.
companies can store information on the Internet — perhaps through
Amazon Web Services or Google App Engine — and grab it
when they need it. And they don't need to hire experts to do it.
Cloud computing "is a catch-all term for
the ability to rent as much computer power as you need without having
to buy it, without having to know a lot about it," McAfee says. "It
really has opened up very high-powered computing to the masses."
businesses, which have no budget for a big technology department, are
especially eager to take advantage of the cheap computer power offered
in the cloud.
Hilliard's Beer in Seattle, founded in
October 2011, bought software from the German company SAP that allows
it to use cloud computing to track sales and inventory and to produce
the reports that federal regulators require.
automates a lot of the stuff that we do," owner Ryan Hilliard
says. "I know what it takes to run a server. I didn't want to hire an
And the brewery keeps finding new ways to
use the beefed-up computing power. For example, it's now tracking what
happens to the kegs it delivers to restaurants and retrieving them
sooner for reuse. "Kegs are a pretty big expense for a small brewery,"
Automated Insights in Durham, N.C., draws
on the computing power of the cloud to produce automated sports
stories, such as customized weekly summaries for fantasy football
leagues. "We're able to create over 1,000 pieces of content per second
at a very cost-effective rate," says founder Robbie Allen. He says his
startup would not have been possible without cloud computing.
Though many are still working out the
kinks, software is making machines and devices smarter every year. They
can learn your habits, recognize your voice, do the things that travel
agents, secretaries and interpreters have traditionally done.
has unveiled a system that can translate what you say into Mandarin and
play it back — in your voice. The Google Now personal assistant
can tell you if there's a traffic jam on your regular route home and
suggest an alternative. Talk to Apple's Siri and she can reschedule an
appointment. IBM's Watson supercomputer can field an awkwardly worded
question, figure out what you're trying to ask, retrieve the answer and
spit it out fast enough to beat human champions on the TV quiz show
"Jeopardy!" Computers with that much brainpower increasingly will
invade traditional office work.
Besides becoming more powerful and
creative, machines and their software are becoming easier to use. That
has made consumers increasingly comfortable relying on them to transact
business. As well as eliminated jobs of bank tellers, ticket agents and
who used to say "Let me talk to a person. I don't want to deal with
this machine" are now using check-in kiosks at airports and
self-checkout lanes at supermarkets and drugstores, says Jeff Connally,
CEO of CMIT Solutions, a technology consultancy.
most important change in technology, he says, is "the
profound simplification of the user interface."
Four years ago, the Darien, Conn., public
library bought self-service check-out machines from 3M Co. Now, with
customers scanning books themselves, the library is processing more
books than ever while shaving 15 percent from staff hours by using
fewer part-time workers.
So machines are getting smarter and
people are more comfortable using them. Those factors, combined with
the financial pressures of the Great Recession, have led companies and
government agencies to cut jobs the past five years, yet continue to
operate just as well.
How is that happening?
—Reduced aid from Indiana's state
government and other budget problems forced the Gary, Ind., public
school system last year to cut its annual transportation budget in
half, to $5 million. The school district responded by using
sophisticated software to draw up new, more efficient bus routes. And
it cut 80 of 160 drivers.
the Great Recession struck, the Seattle police department didn't have
money to replace retiring officers. So it turned to technology —
a new software system that lets police officers file crime-scene
reports from laptops in their patrol cars.
The software was nothing fancy, just a
collection of forms and pull-down menus, but the impact was huge. The
shift from paper eliminated the need for two dozen transcribers and
filing staff at police headquarters, and freed desk-bound officers to
return to the streets.
"A sergeant used to read them, sign them,
an officer would photocopy them and another drive them to
headquarters," says Dick Reed, an assistant chief overseeing
technology. "Think of the time, think of the salary. You're paying an
officer to make photocopies."
Thanks to the software, the department
has been able to maintain the number of cops on the street at 600.
The software, from Versaterm, a Canadian
company, is being used by police in dozens of cities, including Denver,
Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas.
—In South Korea, Standard Chartered is
expanding "smart banking" branches that employ a staff of three,
compared with an average of about eight in traditional branches. The
bank has closed a dozen full-service branches, replacing them with the
smart branches, and expects to have 30 more by the end of this year.
Customers do most of their banking on computer screens, and can connect
with Standard Chartered specialists elsewhere by video-conference if
they need help.
Comerica, a bank based in Dallas, is
using new video-conferencing equipment that lets cash-management
experts make pitches to potential corporate clients from their desks.
Those experts, based in Livonia, Mich., used to board planes and visit
prospects in person. Now, they get Comerica colleagues in various
cities to pay visits to local companies and conference them in.
for delivering (high quality) video over a public Internet connection
was unavailable 12 or 18 months ago," says Paul Obermeyer, Comerica's
chief information officer. "Now, we're able to generate more revenue
with the same employee base."
The networking equipment also allows
video to be delivered to smart phones, so the experts can make pitches
on the run, too.
—The British-Australian mining giant Rio
Tinto announced plans last year to invest $518 million in the world's
first long-haul, heavy-duty driverless train system at its Pilbara iron
ore mines in Western Australia. The automated trains are expected to
start running next year. The trains are part of what Rio Tinto calls
its "Mine of the Future" program, which includes 150 driverless trucks
and automated drills.
many technologically savvy startups, Dirk Vander Kooij's
furniture-making company in the Netherlands needs only a skeleton crew
— four people. The hard work at the Eindhoven-based company is carried
out by an old industrial robot that Vander Kooij fashioned into a 3D
printer. Using plastic recycled from old refrigerators, the machine
"prints" furniture — ranging in price from a $300 chair to a $3,000
lamp — the way an ordinary printer uses ink to print documents. Many
analysts expect 3D printing to revolutionize manufacturing, allowing
small firms like Vander Kooij's to make niche products without hiring
driverless car and the Pentagon's drone aircraft are raising the
specter of highways and skies filled with cars and planes that can get
around by themselves.
"A pilotless airliner is going to come;
it's just a question of when," James Albaugh, retired CEO of Boeing
Commercial Airlines, said in 2011, according to IEEE Spectrum magazine.
"You'll see it in freighters first, over water probably, landing very
close to the shore."
Unmanned trains already have arrived. The
United Arab Emirates introduced the world's longest automated rail
system — 32 miles — in Dubai in 2009.
And the trains on several Japanese rail
lines run by themselves. Tokyo's Yurikamome Line, which skirts Tokyo
Bay, is completely automated. The line — named for the black-headed sea
gull that is Tokyo's official bird — employs only about 60 employees at
its 16 stations. "Certainly, using the automated systems does reduce
the number of staff we need," says Katsuya Hagane, the manager in
charge of operations at New Transit Yurikamome.
Driverless cars will have a revolutionary
impact on traffic one day — and the job market. In the United States
alone, 3.1 million people drive trucks for a living, 573,000 drive
buses, 342,000 drive taxis or limousines. All those jobs will be
threatened by automated vehicles.
companies and gas and electric utilities are using technology to
reduce their payrolls. Since 2007, for instance, telecommunications
giant Verizon has increased its annual revenue 19 percent — while
employing 17 percent fewer workers. The smaller work force partly
reflects the shift toward cellphones and away from landlines, which
require considerably more maintenance. But even the landlines need less
human attention because Verizon is rapidly replacing old-fashioned
copper lines with lower-maintenance, fiber-optic cables.
Verizon also makes it easier for
customers to deal with problems themselves without calling a repairman.
From their homes, consumers can open Verizon's In-home Agent software
on their computers. The system can determine why a cable TV box isn't
working or why the Internet connection is down — and fix the problem in
minutes. The program has been downloaded more than 2 million times,
And then there are the meter readers like
PG&E's Liscano. Their future looks grim.
Southern California Edison finished its
digital meter installation program late last year. All but 20,000 of
its 5.3 million customers have their power usage beamed directly to the
Nearly all of the 972 meter readers in
Southern California Edison's territory accepted retirement packages or
were transferred within the company, says Pat Lavin of the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. But 92 workers are
being laid off this month.
to keep it from happening would have been like the Teamsters in the
early 1900s trying to stop the combustion engine," Lavin says. "You
can't stand in the way of technology."
Will smart machines create a world without work?
interactive that accompanies the Great Reset series explores job growth
in recent economic recoveries and includes an in-depth video analysis:
Condon and Jonathan Fahey reported from New York. AP Business Writers
Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington, Youkyung Lee in Seoul, Toby
Sterling in Amsterdam and Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo contributed to
this report. You can reach the writers on Twitter at
www.twitter.com/BernardFCondon and www.twitter.com/PaulWisemanAP.
NOTE: Second in a three-part series on the loss of middle-class jobs in
the wake of the Great Recession, and the role of technology.
THE STRENGTH OF THE SEXUAL DRIVE, PROCREATION AND BIOLOGIC VARIATIONS:
A FEW QUESTIONS.
senior comes out as ‘LGBT’ while accepting award
out as LGBT is rarely easy, which makes Jacob
Rudolph's story all the more impressive. When the high school
student in Parsippany, N.J., came out, he did so in front of the entire
school. His classmates responded with a standing ovation.
the presentation of senior class awards, Rudolph was given the Class
Actor award, an irony not lost on him. "Sure I've been in a few plays
and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day
of my life," Rudolph said. "You see, I've been acting as someone I'm
Most of you see me every day.
You see me acting the part of "straight" Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT.
Unlike millions of other LGBT teens who have had to act every day to
avoid verbal harassment and physical violence, I'm not going to do it
anymore. It's time to end the hate in our society and accept the people
for who they are regardless of their sex, race, orientation, or
whatever else may be holding back love and friendship. So take me,
leave me, or move me out of the way. Because I am what I am, and that's
how I'm going to act from now on.
Footage of Rodolph's speech and its
positive reception was uploaded to the Web by his father, who noted on
the video that it "took more guts to do than anything I've ever
attempted in my life."
Rudolph spoke with NJ.com
about his speech and the aftermath. "The more leaders who pop up in the
LGBT community, the more it inspires others. It just becomes a whole
domino effect," he said.
"It felt like this immense weight was
gone," he added. "I'd been carrying it around with me for years. It
affected me academically, emotionally, socially. It's like my life is
now before and after. I think that explanation is what made this whole
process make sense."
The reactions have been across-the-board
positive, including on Twitter.
Anthony G. Watson tweeted, "#Jacob #Rudolph Gay New Jersey Teen, Comes
Out During School Award Ceremony! We are all very proud of you!"
Rudolph wrote, "I don't think I'm related to Jacob Rudolph (not this
one, anyway)...but I'm still proud of him."
another supporter wrote, "Things That Make Me Smile: Teenager Jacob
Rudolph comes out to his parents, teachers, and his whole class..."
PROTECTING OUR KIDS AND OURSELVES. While the cretins, the egg-heads and
the tin men are bloviating about how to protect our children and
ourselves from a literally crazy and immoral world out there, rational
people are taking action. :And more and more individuals and
communities are opting for this type of action. Meanwhile, don't hold
your breath waiting for necessary changes in how we deal with the
mentally ill - for their sake and for society's sake.
"Fixation" is it? "What difference at this point does it make", she
says. Well, it makes A LOT OF DIFFERENCE when your government and your
elected representatives lie to you. And Lie they did, again and again
in the Benghazi affair. See the book written in 2010 by Judge Andrew P.
Napolitano entitled "Lies The Government Told You".(Thomas Nelson
Press). And and what happened to "Freedom of the Press?" They lie too,
when they decide to back one group or another...as they have done in
recent years and as they did during the Kennedy years. There are three
kinds of liars: LIARS, DAMNED LIARS...AND THE GOVERNMENT. And it does
matter, Madam Clinton!
WEDNESDAY, January 23, 2013 RR #1 "Who
knew?" Well, now we know. Will it take another 9/11 or worse for this
administration to realize and own up to the world we in America live in?
Al-Qaida carves out own country
RUKMINI CALLIMACHI | Associated Press – Tue, Jan 15, 2013.
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Deep inside caves,
in remote desert bases, in the escarpments and cliff faces of northern Mali,
Islamic extremist fighters have been burrowing into the earth, erecting
a formidable set of defenses to protect what has essentially become al-Qaida's
have used the bulldozers, earth movers and Caterpillar machines left
behind by fleeing construction crews to dig what residents and local
officials describe as an elaborate network of tunnels, trenches, shafts
and ramparts. In just one case, inside a cave large enough to drive
trucks into, they have stored up to 100 drums of gasoline, guaranteeing
their fuel supply in the face of a foreign intervention, according to
that intervention is here. On Friday, France deployed 550 troops and
launched air strikes against the Islamists in northern Mali, starting
battle in what is currently the biggest territory in the world held by
al-Qaida and its allies. But the fighting has been harder than
expected, and the extremists boast it will be worse than the decade-old
struggle in Afghanistan.
"Al-Qaida never owned Afghanistan," said
former United Nations diplomat Robert Fowler, a Canadian kidnapped and
held for 130 days by al-Qaida's local chapter, whose fighters now
control the main cities in the north. "They do own northern Mali."
Al-Qaida's affiliate in Africa — al-Qaida
in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM— has been a shadowy presence for years
in the forests and deserts of Mali, a country hobbled by poverty and a
relentless cycle of hunger. Last year the terror syndicate and its
allies took advantage of political instability in Mali to push out of
their hiding place and into the towns, taking over an enormous
territory larger than France or Texas — and almost exactly the size of
The catalyst for the Islamic fighters was
a military coup nine months ago by disgruntled soldiers, which
transformed Mali from a once-stable nation to the failed state it is
today. The fall of the nation's democratically elected government at
the hands of junior officers destroyed the military's
command-and-control structure, creating the vacuum which allowed a mix
of rebel groups to move in.
After the international community debated
for months over what to do, the United Nations Security Council called
for a military intervention on condition that an exhaustive list of
pre-emptive measures be taken, starting with training the Malian
military. All that changed in a matter of hours last week, when French
intelligence services spotted two rebel convoys heading south toward
the towns of Segou and Mopti. Had either town fallen, many feared the
Islamists would advance toward the capital, Bamako.
Over the weekend, Britain authorized
sending several transport planes to bring in French troops. Other
African nations have authorized sending troops, and the U.S. has
pledged communications and logistical support.
The area under the rule of the Islamist
fighters is mostly desert and sparsely populated, but analysts say that
due to its size and the hostile nature of the terrain, rooting out the
extremists here could prove even more difficult than it did in
Afghanistan. Mali's former president has acknowledged, diplomatic
cables show, that the country cannot patrol a frontier twice the length
of the border between the United States and Mexico.
AQIM operates not just in Mali, but in a
corridor along much of the northern Sahel. This 7,000-kilometer
(4,300-mile) long ribbon of land runs across the widest part of Africa,
and includes sections of Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, Libya, Burkina
Faso and Chad.
"One could come up with a conceivable
containment strategy for the Swat Valley," said Africa expert Peter
Pham, an adviser to the U.S. military's African command center,
referring to the region of Pakistan where Taliban fighters once
dominated. "There's no containment strategy for the Sahel, which runs
from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea."
The Islamists in northern Mali had been
preparing for battle long before the French announcement, according to
elected officials and residents in Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao, including a
day laborer hired by al-Qaida's local chapter to clear rocks and debris
for one of their defenses. They spoke on condition of anonymity out of
fear for their safety at the hands of the Islamists, who have
previously accused those who speak to reporters of espionage.
The al-Qaida affiliate, which became part
of the terror network in 2006, is one of three Islamist groups in
northern Mali. The others are the Movement for the Unity and Jihad in
West Africa, or MUJAO, based in Gao, and Ansar Dine, based in Kidal.
Analysts agree that there is considerable overlap among the groups, and
that all three can be considered sympathizers, even extensions, of
The Islamic fighters have stolen
equipment from construction companies, including more than $11 million
worth from a French company called SOGEA-SATOM, according to Elie
Arama, who works with the European Development Fund. The company had
been contracted to build a European Union-financed highway in the north
between Timbuktu and the village of Goma Coura. An employee of
SOGEA-SATOM in Bamako declined to comment.
The official from Kidal said his
constituents have reported seeing Islamic fighters with construction
equipment riding in convoys behind 4-by-4 trucks draped with their
signature black flag. His contacts among the fighters, including
friends from secondary school, have told him they have created two
bases, around 200 to 300 kilometers (120 and 180 miles) north of Kidal,
in the austere, rocky desert.
The first base is occupied by al-Qaida's
local fighters in the hills of Teghergharte, a region the official
compared to Afghanistan's Tora Bora.
"The Islamists have dug tunnels, made
roads, they've brought in generators, and solar panels in order to have
electricity," he said. "They live inside the rocks."
Still further north, near Boghassa, is
the second base, created by fighters from Ansar Dine. They, too, have
used seized explosives, bulldozers and sledgehammers to make passages
in the hills, he said.
In addition to creating defenses, the
fighters are amassing supplies, experts said. A local who was taken by
Islamists into a cave in the region of Kidal described an enormous
room, where several cars were parked. Along the walls, he counted up to
100 barrels of gasoline, according to the man's testimony to New
York-based Human Rights Watch.
In the regional capital of Gao, a young
man told The Associated Press that he and several others were offered
10,000 francs a day by al-Qaida's local commanders (around $20), a rate
several times the normal wage, to clear rocks and debris, and dig
trenches. The youth said he saw Caterpillars and earth movers inside an
Islamist camp at a former Malian military base 7 kilometers (4 miles)
The fighters are piling mountains of sand
from the ground along the dirt roads to force cars onto the pavement,
where they have checkpoints everywhere, he said. In addition, they are
modifying their all-terrain vehicles to mount them with arms.
"On the backs of their cars, it looks
like they are mounting pipes," he said, describing a shape he thinks
might be a rocket or missile launcher. "They are preparing themselves.
Everyone is scared."
A university student from Gao confirmed
seeing the modified cars. He said he also saw deep holes dug on the
sides of the highway, possibly to give protection to fighters shooting
at cars, along with cement barriers with small holes for guns.
In Gao, residents routinely see Moktar
Belmoktar, the one-eyed emir of the al-Qaida-linked cell that grabbed
Fowler in 2008. Belmoktar, a native Algerian, traveled to Afghanistan
in the 1980s and trained in Osama bin Laden's camp in Jalalabad,
according to research by the Jamestown Foundation. His lieutenant Oumar
Ould Hamaha, whom Fowler identified as one of his captors, brushed off
questions about the tunnels and caves but said the fighters are
"We consider this land our land. It's an
Islamic territory," he said, reached by telephone in an undisclosed
He added that the Islamists have
recruited new fighters, including from Western countries.
In December, two U.S. citizens from
Alabama were arrested on terrorism charges, accused of planning to fly
to Morocco and travel by land to Mali to wage jihad, or holy war. Two
French nationals have also been detained on suspicion of trying to
travel to northern Mali to join the Islamists. Hamaha himself said he
spent a month in France preaching his fundamentalist version of Islam
in Parisian mosques after receiving a visa for all European Union
countries in 2001.
Hamaha indicated the Islamists have
inherited stores of Russian-made arms from former Malian army bases, as
well as from the arsenal of toppled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, a
claim that military experts have confirmed.
Those weapons include the SA-7 and SA-2
surface-to-air missiles, according to Hamaha, which can shoot down
aircrafts. His claim could not be verified, but Rudolph Atallah, the
former counterterrorism director for Africa in the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, said it makes sense.
"Gadhafi bought everything under the
sun," said Atallah, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, who
has traveled extensively to Mali on defense missions. "His weapons
depots were packed with all kinds of stuff, so it's plausible that AQIM
now has surface-to-air missiles."
Depending on the model, these missiles
can range far enough to bring down planes used by ill-equipped African
air forces, he said. However, they will be far less effective against
the forces of the West, with their better equipment.
Another factor in the success of military
intervention will be the reaction of the people, who, unlike in
Afghanistan, have little history of extremism. Malians have long
practiced a moderate form of Islam, where women do not wear burqas and
few practice the strict form of the religion. The Islamists are
imposing a far more severe form of Islam on the towns of the north,
carrying out amputations in public squares, flogging women for not
covering up and destroying world heritage sites.
The Islamists' recent advances draw on
al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb's near decade of experience in Mali's
northern desert, where Fowler and his fellow U.N. colleague were held
captive for four months in 2008, an experience he recounts in his
recent book, "A Season in Hell."
Originally from Algeria, the fighters
fled across the border into Mali in 2003, after kidnapping 32 European
tourists. Over the next decade, they used the country's vast northern
desert to hold French, Spanish, Swiss, German, British, Austrian,
Italian and Canadian hostages, raising an estimated $89 million in
ransom payments, according to Stratfor, a global intelligence company.
During this time, they also established
relationships with local clans, nurturing the ties that now protect
them. Several commanders have taken local wives, and Hamaha, whose
family is from Kidal, confirmed that Belmoktar is married to his niece.
Fowler described being driven for days by
jihadists who knew Mali's featureless terrain by heart, navigating
valleys of identical dunes with nothing more than the direction of the
sun as their map. He saw them drive up to a thorn tree in the middle of
nowhere to find barrels of diesel fuel. Elsewhere, he saw them dig a
pit in the sand and bury a bag of boots, marking the spot on a GPS for
In his four-month-long captivity, Fowler
never saw his captors refill at a gas station, or shop in a market. Yet
they never ran out of gas. And although their diet was meager, they
never ran out of food, a testament to the extensive supply network
which they set up and are now refining and expanding.
Among the many challenges an invading
army will face is the inhospitable terrain, Fowler said, which is so
hot that at times "it was difficult to draw breath." A cable published
by WikiLeaks from the U.S. Embassy in Bamako described how even the
Malian troops deployed in the north before the coup could only work
from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m., and spent the sunlight hours in the shade of
Yet Fowler said he saw al-Qaida fighters
chant Quranic verses under the Sahara sun for hours, just one sign of
their deep, ideological commitment.
have never seen a more focused group of young men," said Fowler, who
now lives in Ottawa, Canada. "No one is sneaking off for R&R. They
have left their wives and children behind. They believe they are on
their way to paradise."
Press writer Baba Ahmed contributed to this report from Bamako and
Callimachi can be reached at www.twitter.com/rcallimachi
Ahmed can be reached at www.twitter.com/Babahmed1
RR #2 The
arrogance of this group in the White House may be starting to bear
This is not a far-fetched idea or outcome.
published Jan 16, 2013 in The Day Executive
order abuse: Grounds for impeachment
Peter Wilson Groton
During the course of his first term, President Obama was confronted
with many near hysterical claims concerning his eligibility and
qualifications. The Internet today abounds with citizen-proposed
articles of impeachment that the House of Representatives could
potentially take up. Most of these spurious articles lack legs and
carry the not-so faint odor of political revenge.
Yet, in the few short weeks since his re-election, we have seen a
clearer picture of the dark side of the president's progressive agenda:
namely the attack on the First and Second Amendments enshrined in the
Constitution's Bill of Rights. He is determined by force of law to
require religious institutions to distribute abortion-inducing drugs
and contraceptives in violation of their most central beliefs. And
using the Newtown tragedy as a catalyst, he now obviously intends to
launch an assault upon - perhaps even a "confiscation" of - the Second
Amendment by issuing a series of executive orders, a process which
circumvents the law and that he has successfully employed elsewhere.
His obvious contempt for our most cherished first two amendments should
be the primary focus of any legitimate impeachment inquiry.
It's Nothing to Sneeze At: The Flu is
Here and Building Momentum
some practical advice from the Red Cross for every individual and
family. Their first recommendation? Get your flu shot now if you
If you haven't yet received a flu shot,
get one right away. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for
everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important
step in protecting someone against flu viruses. In addition to getting
vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps people can take to help
prevent the spread of the flu virus. Parents can also practice these
things with their kids to help keep them well:
Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or
sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t
available, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands.
Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap
and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home if sick.
Signs of the Flu:
How does someone know they have the flu?
The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches,
headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy
nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children).
If someone in the household does come
down with the flu, the Red Cross wants everyone to know the best way to
care for them:
Designate one person as the caregiver and have the other
members avoid close contact with that person so they won’t become sick.
Make sure the person stays at home and rests until 24 hours after
the fever is gone.
a sick room for the person if possible. If there is more than one sick
person, they can share the sick room if needed. If there is more than
one bathroom, designate one for those who are sick to use. Give each
sick person their own drinking glass, washcloth and towel.
the following either in the sick room or near the person: tissues, a
trash can lined with a plastic trash bag, alcohol-based hand rub, a
cooler or pitcher with ice and drinks, a thermometer and a cup with
straw or squeeze bottle to help with drinking. A humidifier will
provide extra moisture, making it easier for the sick person to
breathe. Sick people should wear a facemask, if available, when they
leave the sick room or are around others.
Give plenty of
liquids (water and other clear liquids) at the first sign of flu and
continue throughout the illness. People with the flu need to drink
extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated.
Treat fever and
cough with medicines that can be purchased at the store. Remember, when
children are ill they should never be given aspirin or products
containing aspirin - especially with the flu.
If the person
gets very sick, is pregnant or has a medical condition (like asthma)
that puts them at higher risk of flu complications, call their doctor.
They may need to be examined and might need antiviral medicine to treat
Keep everyone’s personal items separate. All household
members should avoid sharing pens, papers, clothes, towels, sheets,
blankets, food or eating utensils unless cleaned between uses.
doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables,
bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are
commonly touched around the home or workplace.
Wash everyone’s dishes in the dishwasher or by hand using very
hot water and soap.
everyone’s clothes in a standard washing machine. Use detergent and
very hot water, tumble dry on a hot dryer setting and wash hands after
handling dirty laundry.
Wear disposable gloves when in contact with or cleaning up body
When to Call a Doctor or Healthcare
If someone thinks they have the flu,
their health-care provider should be consulted. Seek medical care
immediately if the person develops any of the following symptoms:
Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
Confusion or sudden dizziness.
Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or
Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and
Not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to
be held or not interacting (children).
Fever with a rash (children).
No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than
TUESDAY, January 22, 2013
good reminder of
who and what we are.
The world seen from Rome News
Address to Cor Unum The
Christian vision of man is, in fact, a great 'yes' to the dignity of
is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday when
in audience participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical
offer you my welcome with affection and joy on the occasion of the
assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. I thank the president,
Robert Sarah, for his words and I address my cordial greeting to each
you, extending it to all those who do charitable work in the Church.
With the recent
motu proprio Intima Ecclesiae natura I wished to emphasize the
meaning of your activity. Your witness can open the doors of faith to
people who seek Christ's love. Thus, in this Year of Faith the theme
the New Ethics and Christian Anthropology, which you are taking up,
the close connection between love and truth, or, if you will, between
charity. The whole Christian ethos receives its meaning from faith as a
with the love of Christ, which offers a new horizon and impresses a
direction on life (cf. Deus caritas est, 1). Christina love finds its
form in faith. Meeting God and experiencing his love, we
learn no longer to live for ourselves but for him and, with him, for
from this dynamic relationship between faith and charity, I would
like to reflect on a point that I would call the prophetic dimension
instills in charity. The believer's adherence to the Gospel impresses
charity its typically Christian form and constitutes it as a principle
discernment. The Christian, especially those who work in charitable
organizations, must let himself be oriented by principles of faith
which we adopt God's perspective, we accept his plan for us (cf. Deus
est, 1). This new way of looking at the world and man offered by faith
furnishes the correct criterion for the evaluation of expressions of
the present context.
every age, when man did not try to follow this plan, he was victim of
cultural temptations that ended up making him a slave. In recent
ideologies that praised the cult of the nation, the race, of the social
showed themselves to be nothing but idolatry; and the same can be said
unbridled capitalism with its cult of profit, which has led to crisis,
inequality and misery. There is a growing consensus today about the
dignity of the human being and the reciprocal and interdependent
toward man; and this is to the benefit of true civilization, the
of love. On the other hand, unfortunately, there are also shadows in
that obscure God's plan. I am referring above all to a tragic
reduction that re-proposes ancient material hedonism, to which is added
technological prometheism. From the marriage of a materialistic vision
and great technological development there emerges an anthropology t hat
is at bottom atheistic. It presupposes that man is reduced to
functions, the mind to the brain, human history to a destiny of
self-realization. All of this prescinds from God, from the properly
dimension and from a horizon beyond this world. In the perspective of a
deprived of his soul and of a personal relation with the Creator, that
technologically possible becomes morally legitimate, every experiment
acceptable, every political demographic acceptable, every form of
justified. The danger most to be feared in this current of thought is
absolutization of man: man wants to be ab-solutus, absolved of every
of every natural constitution. He pretends to be independent and thinks
his happiness lies solely in the affirmation of self. Man calls his
question … From now on there is only the abstract human being, who
himself what his nature is to be (Speech to the Roman Curia, De cember
21, 2012). This is a radical negation of man's creatureliness and
condition, which leads to a tragic solitude.
faith and healthy Christian discernment bring us therefore to pay
attention to this problematic ethical situation and to the mentality
supposes. Just collaboration with international organizations in the
development and in human promotion must not make us close our eyes to
dangerous ideologies, and the Pastors of the Church – which is the
ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) – have a duty to warn both
Catholics and every person of good will and right reason about these
deviations. This is a harmful deviation for man even if it is waved
intentions as a banner of presumed progress, or of presumed rights, or
presumed humanism. In the face of these anthropological reductions,
what is the
task of every Christian – and especially your task – involved in
work, and so in direct relations with many social protagonists? We
must exercise a critical vigilance and, sometime s,
refuse money and collaboration that would, directly or indirectly,
actions and projects that run contrary to a Christian anthropology.
positively speaking, the Church is always committed to the promotion of
according to God's plan, man in his integral dignity, with respect for
twofold vertical and horizontal dimension. The actions of ecclesial
organizations are also oriented in this direction. The Christian vision
is, in fact, a great yes to the dignity of the person called to
communion with God, a filial communion, humble and confident. The human
is neither an individual subsisting in himself nor an anonymous element
collective. He is rather a singular and unrepeatable person
ordered to relationship and sociality. For this reason the Church
great yes to the dignity and beauty of marriage as an expression of a
and fecund alliance between man and woman, and says no to such phi losophies
as the philosophy of gender. The Church is guided by the fact that
the reciprocity between man and woman is the expression of the beauty
nature willed by the Creator.
friends, I thank you for your commitment on behalf of man, in fidelity
his true dignity. In the face of these challenges of our times, we know
the answer is the encounter with Christ. In him man can fully realize
personal good and the common good. I encourage you to continue in your
with a joyful and generous spirit as I bestow upon you the Apostolic
Benediction from my heart.
by Joseph G. Trabbic]
Video: Our pro-abortion President
unwittingly makes the pro-life
RR #3 [Therese] had a
very similar experience as an OR nurse...and never forgot it.
The world seen from Rome News
Prelate Remembers Personal Experience With Abortion
Aquila Releases 1st Pastoral Letter as Nation Marks Roe vs Wade
Samuel Aquila, the new archbishop of Denver, released a pastoral
letter today, as the United States marks the 40th anniversary of the
decision legalizing abortion. In the letter, his first since arriving
Denver, the 62-year-old prelate recalls his own personal experience
went to college in 1968 with the idea of becoming a doctor, like my
the archbishop begins.
recounts how his first three years of college were spent working as a
hospital orderly: At that time, some states had approved abortion laws
wasn't even aware of. Because of those laws, when I was in college I
the results of two abortions.
first was in a surgical unit. I walked into an outer room and in the
unattended, was the body of small unborn child who had been aborted. I
being stunned. I remember thinking that I had to baptize that child.
second abortion was more shocking. A young woman came into the
room screaming. She explained that she had had an abortion already.
doctor sent her home, he told her she would pass the remains naturally.
bleeding as the doctor, her boyfriend, the nurse and I placed her on a
held a basin as the doctor retrieved a tiny arm, a tiny leg and then
of the broken body of a tiny unborn child. I was shocked. I was
the mother and child, for the doctor and the nurse. None of us would
participated in such a thing were it not an emergency. I witnessed a
being destroyed by violence.
Aquila said the memories of those events haunt him. In the abortions
I witnessed, powerful people made decisions that ended the lives of
powerless, children. Through lies and manipulation, children were seen
witnessed the death of two small people who never had the chance to
breath, the prelate wrote. I can never forget that. And I have never
same. My faith was weak at the time. But I knew by reason, and by what
that a human life was destroyed.
Denver archbishop said there is a responsibility to work and pray
ceasing for the end of abortion.
abortion for 40 years has coarsened us, Archbishop Aquila warned.
We've learned to see people as problems and objects. [...] Today we
recognize that 40 years of sanctioned killing has given the culture of
firm footing and foundation in our nation.
prelate stated that Christians bear some responsibility for our
shame, because some have supported pro-choice positions or failed to
minds or win hearts.
failed to convince the culture that all life has dignity. In the
of unspeakable evil, we’ve done too little, for too long, with tragic
he said. Today is a day to repent. But with repentance comes resolve to
anew. The 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is a day to commit to a
life. Today the Lord is calling us to stand up.
letter goes on to explain the Church's teaching on the dignity of human
life, as the pastor urges the faithful to be prepared to defend this
the clear teaching of the Church, many Catholics, and especially
Catholic politicians, maintain that their personal opposition to
should not affect their participation in civic life. These arguments
unreasonable, and disingenuous. No one, especially a person in public
is exempt from the duty to defend the common good. And the first and
indispensable condition for the common good is respect for the right to
Archbishop Aquila wrote.
said that at the base of arguments that recognize abortion as immoral
support its legal protection is relativism and cowardice.
political leaders who claim that they can separate the truths of faith
from their political lives are choosing to separate themselves from
Christ, and from the communion of the Catholic Church, the prelate
the contrary, Catholic political leaders who truly understand the
the Church and who use their creativity and initiative to develop new
creative ways to end the legal protection for abortion deserve the
support of the Church, and of the lay faithful. All of us must put our
and effort into ending the legal protection for abortion. It is, and
the primary political objective of American Catholics -- it is
imagine any political issue with the same significance as the
killing of children.
prelate said that legal efforts are important but that law follows
and when we live in a culture that respects the dignity of all human
will follow suit.
culture of life, quite simply, is one which joyfully receives and
the divine gift of life. A culture of life recognizes human dignity not
academic or theological concept, but as an animating principle—as a
the activity of the family and the community. A culture of life
especially the life of the family. It supports and celebrates the
the disabled, the unborn, and the aged. A culture of life seeks to live
gratitude for the gift of life God has given us, he said.
the archbishop called for charity in the family.
charity of the culture of life also supports works of mercy,
social justice and support. Families impacted by the culture of death
broken. Supporting adoption, marriage, responsible programs of social
and healthcare, and responsible immigration policy all speak to a
embraces and supports the dignity of life, the letter notes.
Aquila observed that a true culture of life is infectious.
joy which comes from living in gratitude for the gift of life -- and
treating all life as gift -- effects change, he said. When Christians
live with real regard for human dignity, our nation will awaken to the
of abortion, and she will begin to change.
MONDAY, January 21, 2013 Rev.
King Day - And The Presidential
I really don't mean to be negative. I just think that we should learn
History, if we are to progress as a society. The Black community,
especially their "leaders", made several serious errors since the
late 1960's in trying properly to promote their rightful place in
society. They allowed their family life to be distorted by
single parent-child out of wedlock-approach to "independence". They
supported and practiced the abomination of abortion while failing to
that was the new slavery. They embraced the Democratic Party that
teachers' unions to guarantee the destruction of the public school
which they were totally dependent. There are clear lessons in all of
lessons for the future if our Black brethren wish to progress,
Meanwhile, although not having supported or voted for him, I wish only
fortune for President Obama - for the sake of the nation. I only
that we did not witness today another page from "Don Quixote", his
"Quest", and an "impossible dream".
of character' quote inspires debate
By JESSE WASHINGTON |
Associated Press – Sun, Jan 20, 2013
"I have a dream that my four little children will one
day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of
their skin but by the content of their character."
sentence spoken by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been
quoted countless times as expressing one of America's bedrock values, its
language almost sounding like a constitutional amendment on equality.
today, 50 years after King shared this vision during his most famous
speech, there is considerable disagreement over what it means.
quote is used to support opposing views on politics, affirmative action
and programs intended to help the disadvantaged. Just as the words of
the nation's founders are parsed for modern meanings on guns and
abortion, so are King's words used in debates over the proper place of
race in America.
As we mark the King holiday, what might
he ask of us in a time when both the president and a disproportionate
number of people in poverty are black? Would King have wanted us to
completely ignore race in a "color-blind" society? To consider race as
one of many factors about a person? And how do we discern character?
For at least two of King's children, the
future envisioned by the father has yet to arrive.
don't think we can ignore race," says Martin Luther King III.
"What my father is asking is to create
the climate where every American can realize his or her dreams," he
says. "Now what does that mean when you have 50 million people living
doubts her father would seek to ignore differences.
"When he talked about the beloved
community, he talked about everyone bringing their gifts, their
talents, their cultural experiences," she says. "We live in a society
where we may have differences, of course, but we learn to celebrate
The meaning of King's monumental quote is
more complex today than in 1963 because "the unconscious signals have
changed," says the historian Taylor Branch, author of the acclaimed
trilogy "America in the King Years."
Fifty years ago, bigotry was widely
accepted. Today, Branch says, even though prejudice is widely
denounced, many people unconsciously pre-judge others.
"Unfortunately race in American history
has been one area in which Americans kid themselves and pretend to be
fair-minded when they really are not," says Branch, whose new book is
"The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement."
Branch believes that today, King would
ask people of all backgrounds — not just whites — to deepen their
patriotism by leaving their comfort zones, reaching across barriers and
learning about different people.
"To remember that we all have to stretch
ourselves to build the ties that bind a democracy, which really is the
source of our strength," Branch says.
says her father is asking us "to get to a place — we're obviously not
there — but to get to a place where the first thing that we utilize as
a measurement is not someone's external designation, but it really is
trying to look beyond that into the substance of a person in making
certain decisions, to rid ourselves of those kinds of prejudices and
biases that we often bring to decisions that we make."
That takes a lot of "psychological work,"
she says, adding, "He's really challenging us."
For many conservatives, the modern
meaning of King's quote is clear: Special consideration for one racial
or ethnic group is a violation of the dream.
quote is like the Declaration of Independence, says Roger Clegg,
president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think
tank that studies race and ethnicity. In years past, he says, America may
have needed to grow into the words, but today they must be obeyed to
"The Declaration of Independence says all
men are created equal," Clegg says. "Nobody thinks it doesn't really
mean what it says because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. King gave a
brilliant and moving quotation, and I think it says we should not be
treating people differently on the basis of skin color."
Many others agree. King's quote has
become a staple of conservative belief that "judged by the color of
their skin" includes things such as unique appeals to certain voter
groups, reserving government contracts for Hispanic-owned businesses,
seeking more non-white corporate executives, or admitting black
students to college with lower test scores.
the latest issue of the Weekly Standard magazine, the quote appears in
the lead of a book review titled "The Price Was High: Affirmative Action
and the Betrayal of a Colorblind Society."
race as a factor in affirmative action keeps the
wounds of slavery and Jim Crow "sore and festering. It encourages
beneficiaries to rely on ethnicity rather than self-improvement to get
ahead," wrote the author, George Leef.
Last week, the RightWingNews.com blog
included "The idea that everyone should be judged by the content of
their character, not the color of their skin" in a list of "25 People,
Places and Things Liberals Love to Hate."
feel they have embraced that quote completely. They are the embodiment
of that quote but get no credit for doing it," says the author of the
article, John Hawkins. "Liberals like the idea of the quote because
it's the most famous thing Martin Luther King said, but
they left the principles behind the quote behind a long time ago."
October, after black actress Stacey Dash was attacked for switching her
support from President Barack Obama to Mitt Romney, she said she chose
Romney "not by the color of his skin but the content of his character."
Clegg acknowledges that it can be
difficult today for some people to resist jumping to conclusions based
on skin color.
He says past discrimination resulted in
fewer opportunities for African-Americans, which increased poverty,
unemployment, and other social pathologies in the black community.
"Then white people say, what did we tell you, that's the way these
people are," Clegg says. "It's wrong, people shouldn't do it, but it's
going to happen."
Yet as we discipline ourselves not to
pre-judge African-Americans, Clegg says, we cannot forget that King
asked us to judge character. That means taking actions such as reducing
the high rate of black children born to unmarried parents and placing
more value on education, he says.
"I don't think King would neglect the
'content of their character' side today," he says.
"You have to break the vicious cycle from
both ends. People have to do their best not to use stereotypes, but at
the same time, people have to not live up to them."
Some doubt we will ever be able to ignore
what a person looks like.
"To ignore color is to ignore reality,"
says Lewis Baldwin, an Alabama native who marched in the civil rights
movement and now teaches courses on King at Vanderbilt University.
"Dr. King understood that we all see we
are different. You accept color differences, affirm them, celebrate
them, but don't allow them to become a barrier to human community,"
said Baldwin, author of a new King book, "In A Single Garment of
Destiny: A Global Vision of Justice."
Yet Martin Luther King
III believes that one day we will be able to live every word of
his father's dream.
"I think my father's vision was that we
should at some point have a colorblind society," he says. "He always
was challenging us to be the best nation we could be."
Washington covers race and ethnicity for The Associated Press. He is
reachable at http://www.twitter.com/jessewashington or
Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.
SUNDAY, January 20, 2013 RR #1 NOW
THAT'S A LEADER
AND LEADERSHIP. AND A GOOD MAN.
published Jan 20, 2013 in The Day Malloy
criticizes gaming industry, gun makers
By CHARLES J. LEWIS Hearst
mayors, governor blasts opposition to reducing firearms violence Washington -
Hundreds of U.S. mayors gave a rousing ovation Saturday to Connecticut
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy after he blasted the entertainment industry for
helping "de-stigmatize" violence at a time when American society is
uncertain how to deal with mental health issues. Speaking
with the fervor born of the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary
School in Newtown, Conn., Malloy told the winter meeting of the U.S.
Conference of Mayors that the nation should remove the stigma from
mental health issues. "If
we spent as much time and energy on de-stigmatizing mental health
treatment as we do in the proliferation of these video games that
de-stigmatize violence, we as a society would make great gains," Malloy
the mayor of Stamford for 14 years and former trustee of the U.S.
Conference of Mayors, received an enthusiastic reception from the group
that has a long history of urging tougher gun restrictions. Referring
to that part of his career, Malloy told the group that he appreciated
"the opportunity to come home again" and then proceeded to lacerate the
entertainment industry and gun manufacturers for opposing steps to
reduce gun violence. He
urged universal background checks for gun buyers and limits on assault
weapons and the size of ammunition magazines. There's
no reason to allow anyone to buy a gun without a background check, he
there is a reason," he continued. "People make money. And in making
that money, they think they have an interest that is superior to the
interest that we have in our own children, in our own cities."
Referring to gun manufacturers and retailers, Malloy said their focus
on profits leads them "to do everything in their power to block wider
use of background checks that might lead to the disqualification of
potential gun buyers.'' From
that point of view, "the loss of potential purchasers is greater than
the value of your grandchildren - and that is wrong! And it has to be
addressed. And we can't stop until it happens. ... The American people
understand this is not a fair tradeoff." Speaking
without notes, Malloy evoked gasps from the audience when he said on
"the day that Newtown happened, there were games available that
actually allowed people to go into a school in the game and "shoot 'em
do we do that?" he continued. "When we're willing to de-stigmatize
violence and willing to bring it home to your living room or your den
and put it on a 50-inch screen" and play the video game that gives you
points "when you hit someone with your semiautomatic and more points
depending on how many times you hit someone with your semiautomatic,
where is the social value in that? Is this the kind of thing we want to
be involved in as a nation?" The
shootings in Newtown were "life changing for all of us in so many
ways," Malloy said, as he described the heroic efforts of staffers at
Sandy Hook Elementary School to defend their young students. In
his plea for expanded mental health access, Malloy said that "many of
us at some time in our lives need treatment in the mental health
arena," citing depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse. "And
the vast percentage of people recover - and yet we continue to
stigmatize mental health treatment," he said, as he urged steps to
improve access to mental health treatment. He
blamed the National Rifle Association for pressuring Congress to block
a federal study of gun violence and to stall on approving a permanent
director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal
agency that regulates guns. "And
the industry that produces these (violent video) games is refusing to
pay for a study of the long-term impact of those" games. Separately,
Malloy said in an interview that he spent "an hour and 15 minutes"
Friday evening with Vice President Joe Biden to review the
administration's push for more gun restrictions. He
said gun manufacturers "are afraid to step out in front" in the gun
controversy because "they are fearful of a boycott, that they would be
punished in the marketplace" for supporting any gun restrictions. Malloy
scoffed at speculation that he had talked with Biden about a possible
post in the Obama administration. "I
like my job," he said. "I have no interest in moving to Washington - or
to Rome or Paris or Ireland." He
praised Biden for doing "an exceptional job" in reaching out to the
Newtown community, though he noted that the families of some victims
don't want their private grieving to be interrupted. He
noted that Biden had lost his wife and 1-year-old daughter in a traffic
accident in 1972, a tragedy that he said nourished Biden's "great
personal empathy." Malloy
said he was planning to attend a reception at the vice president's
official mansion and be in the audience on Monday when President Obama
is inaugurated for a second term.
RR #2 MORE
ON THE GUN
A good exposition of the state of the Union on this issue...and further
evidence of need for the two Constitutional Amendments that I have been
espousing for years.
BUT WHERE IS THE DISCUSSION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH?
published Jan 20, 2013 in The Day Obama has
altered the gun discussion
A week ago we wrote in expectation of what gun reforms President
Obama would propose after receiving the task force report from Vice
President Biden. To his credit, the president did not disappoint. In
the wake of the massacre at the Newtown Elementary School, where a
mentally ill gunman used a semiautomatic assault rifle outfitted with a
large capacity bullet magazine to murder 20 children and six educators,
President Obama has successfully altered the discussion about firearms.
This in and of itself was no easy achievement. Elected leaders have
long seen as politically too dangerous proposing federal policies that
would control the distribution of guns in this country and ban
military-style weapons capable of rapid killing. The powerful gun
advocacy group, the National Rifle Association, pads the campaign
coffers of many a politician. Republicans who would dare consider any
restrictions on access to guns invite primary challenges, while
Democrats in rural districts well know that Republican opponents stand
ready to exploit any hint of softness on Second Amendment issues. And
if any politician should forget their vulnerability, the NRA will be
happy to remind them.
But having won a second term, and sensing that public disgust and
outrage over what happened here in Connecticut has changed the
political dynamics, President Obama uncharacteristically eschewed
caution and moved quickly to push gun reform.
The president will almost certainly not obtain all the objectives he
outlined last Wednesday, at least not in the short term. The NRA is too
powerful and the gun culture so ingrained in American traditions that
major change will not come quickly. But some reform can happen and,
over the longer haul, perhaps significant reform.
Congressional approval of President Obama's proposal to expand and
improve background checks before an individual can obtain a firearm
appears obtainable. Surveys show a majority of the public supporting
thorough and universal background checks to try to prevent unstable
individuals and former criminals from getting access to weapons. The
NRA, after all, often refers to protecting the right of "law-abiding
citizens" to own guns.
Yet the NRA has in the past stood in the way of closing massive
loopholes in the current background check policies. About 40 percent of
gun sales, done by private sellers and often at gun shows, now require
no background checks. Anyone seeking to purchase a gun should have to
undergo a meticulous background check using comprehensive federal and
state databases and improved access to mental health records.
Congress may also be ready to approve a ban on the possession or
transfer of armor-piercing bullets. Why should anyone but soldiers in
combat possess those?
Consensus may be obtainable, as well, on the president's proposal to
more aggressively crackdown on and severely punish those who use their
successful background checks to obtain and transfer weapons.
Finally, we can see no reason Senate Republicans can justify
continuing to block confirmation of a director of the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Until 2006 the president had
the authority to install a director, but under pressure from the NRA,
Congress changed the law to require Senate approval. And because of NRA
distrust of the ATF, the Senate has approved no nominee since, with
five acting directors since that time. The ATF, critical to enforcing
gun regulations, is in need of a permanent leader.
As sensible as they are, President Obama's call to renew and tighten
the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons that expired in 2004, and his
request to prohibit the sale of magazines that allow the firing of more
than 10 bullets without reloading, are unlikely to win approval, or
even get to a vote.
But if that is the outcome, so be it. At least now we have a debate.
And the next time such a weapon outfitted with a 30- or 100-round
magazine is used to mow down innocents, and we all know it will happen,
the demand for change will grow louder.
SATURDAY, January 19, 2013 RR #1 ARE
MODERATE MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD?
Or is that an oxymoron? As I have been expressing for a long
only way the world will avoid WW lll between the Muslim world and the
the world is if moderate Muslims bring the radical fundamentalist
heel. And that may require a Civil War on a global scale within
Islam. "IS ANYBODY THERE? DOES ANYBODY CARE?" Or
are "moderate Muslims" really closet fundamentalists enjoying the
carnage going on through the world at the hands of their
terrorists? A warning: America is now led by a combination of appeasers and
individuals who have not figured out how to address the terrorist
exotic places far away. But just let another episode like 9/11 or
occur - anywhere in the Western world - and all that will change
Meanwhile, let us recognize that Sharia Law is the product of political
secular Islam and is in no way related to the Religion of Islam.
it must have No Standing or role in American jurisprudence. The
Sharia Law are totally incompatible with our American
they have no claim to protection under our Freedom of Religion. All
Americans: PLEASE TAKE NOTE!
GUN VIOLENCE...AND OUR TIMID "LEADERS".
Shortly after the tragedy at Newtown, Ct., I offered my views on what
be done in this section. I also predicted a lack of leadership
one of the most important issues that must be addressed: how we deal
mental health and illness.
No surprise. Great emphasis on guns...and great circumspection
mental health - except generically to throw more money at it.
Well, more courageous leaders are speaking out. See two articles
appeared recently in the WSJ Saturday,Sunday, Jan. 12-13, 2013:
"The Tragedy of Mental Health Law",
by Lloyd Sederer, Opinion pA13;
"Hickenlooper's Gun Control",
course, there are other actions that must be
taken, like universal background checks for all gun and ammunition
and restricting the private availability of "assault weapons" to
"A well regulated Militia..." Meanwhile, the NRA is doing its
members and the problem no good by their obstructive attitude of "Just
'No'". Let's see whether our President will be suitably
in his actual proposals to Congress, which is the proper approach to
challenge, instead of promulgating executive decrees.
ANOTHER SHOE FALLING FROM THIS CENTIPEDE CALLED
Once again, with feeling: ObamaCare is financially unsustainable.
Furthermore, it will severely and perhaps mortally affect the private
market, on which we all depend for our health care insurance
our health. See two articles in the January 14, 2013 edition of
Stickier Shock", by Merrill Matthews and Mark E. Litow, Opinion
"Obama's Health Spending 'Problem'",
rest assured: there will be more of these
factual expositions. The next three or four years will be years
turmoil for the Health Care Industry, for its "providers" and for
their patients. If we all survive that, then the law of supply
- and common sense - will once again prevail..............
GS TUESDAY through
FRIDAY, January 15 through 18, 2013 What
we vitally need: constitutional amendments regarding Federal term
regarding election financing; and regarding the Electoral College.
a grass-roots movement. Only that can give this a chance of happening.
Throw the bums out: 75
percent back Congress term limits
By Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News | The Ticket – Fri, Jan 18, 2013
voters sent a majority of incumbent members of Congress back to
Washington in November 2012. But a new Gallup poll finds that 75
percent of Americans support imposing term limits on lawmakers in D.C.
percent would vote against a law limiting the number of terms
representatives and senators can serve.
maybe no surprise at a time when Congress is less popular than, oh,
say, colonoscopies. But Gallup writes that its findings recall similar
polls from 1994 and 1996, when between two-thirds and three-quarters of
respondents said they favored a constitutional amendment setting term
opinion polls have also found that Americans generally have a good
opinion of their representative—and a bad one of other lawmakers.
about the Electoral College? Do away with it, 63 percent of Americans
say, according to Gallup. That’s down from 80 percent in 1968.
margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
MONDAY, January 14, 2013 RR #1
Periodically, I simply refer the reader to
elucidate well problems facing all of us.
This is one of those times.
"Gone With The Wind: Without
Storage Technology, Wind and Solar Power are a Waste.", by Lee
Hebert, in The Day Sunday, Jan 13, 2013, Perspective, pC1.
Three articles in the New England
Journal of Medicine, Jan. e, 2013, all relating to health care issues:
a) "Shared Decision Making to Improve Care and
b) "Religious Freedom and Women's Health - The Litigation on
c) "The Bystander Effect in Medical Care".
"Obama Will Seek Citizenship Path
In One Fast Push". in NYTimes Sunday, Jan 13, 2013, pA1.
These are worth your time and attention.
And now for a BONUS: A MOVIE RECOMMENDATION, always my
given the usually execrable selections offered in any given
GS RR #2
BARACK AND A
In my offering in this section dated Jan. 2-5, 2013, I shared my
with the recent public attitude and snide comments of the only
Now comes a stinging article by Frank Bruni in the NYTimes Sunday, Jan
entitled "Democrats Behaving Badly" (Sunday Review p3). In it
he criticizes Obama...and savages that aging bantam pugilist, Harry
Right on target, regarding them and also regarding the Republican Party
time. A good read...especially since the author agrees with me.
SUNDAY, January 13, 2013 GOOD
ADVICE, WITH ONE
ADDITION: DON'T USE ENTERIC COATED ASPIRIN.
ALSO, THE FOLLOWING DESERVES EMPHASIS: BE AWARE THAT YOU MAY HAVE OBSTRUCTIVE
SLEEP APNEA. LOOK IT UP. AND CHECK WITH YOUR
IS AFFECTING PEOPLE IN EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS, IS EASY TO DIAGNOSE AND
TREAT...AND CAN BE FATAL IF MISSED.
Mayo Clinic Aspirin
Virend Somers, is a Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic,
is lead author of the report in the July 29, 2008 issue of
Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
heart attacks occur in the day, generally
6 A.M. and noon. Having one during the night, when
heart should be most at rest, means
something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues
been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is
If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day,
it at night.
reason: Aspirin has a 24-hour "half-life";
if most heart attacks happen in the
hours of the morning, the
would be strongest in your system.
lasts a really long time in your medicine chest
years, (when it gets old, it smells like vinegar).
that we can do to help ourselves - nice to know.
is making crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on the tongue.
work much faster than the tablets.
keep Aspirin by your bedside? It's about Heart Attacks -
are other symptoms of a heart attack, besides the
on the left arm. One must also be aware of an intense
on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating;
these symptoms may also occur less frequently.
There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.
majority of people (about 60%) who had
heart attack during their sleep did not wake up.
if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from
that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth
swallow them with a bit of water.
Phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by.
Say "heart attack!"
Say that you have taken 2 Aspirins.
Take a seat on a chair or sofa
the front door, and wait for their arrival and
NOT LIE DOWN!
SATURDAY, January 12, 2013 RR #1
RR #2 YES,
I KNOW: YOU'VE
HEARD THIS ADVICE BEFORE.
But the current column by Charles Krauthammer, is in my opinion MUST
READING. "What The Selection Of Chuck Hagel Means", in The Day Saturday
12, 2013, pA6.
If our daily increasing national debt and the possibility of
"default" by this nation (unconstitutional), are rightly considered
very serious, the prospective changes in our national defense posture
role in the world would be downright subversive. And Russia, the
Iran, Hamas, China, fundamentalist Islamic terrorists throughout the
even our allies... would..get the message and act
FRIDAY, January 11, 2013 RR #1
FOR AN UPDATE
FOR MY SECTION ENTITLED "PUBLIC EDUCATION POLITICS":
See the editorial in the WSJ Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, pA16, entitled:
"Where Failure Is A Virtue". To repeat: If physicians during the last 40 years practiced
way "educators" practiced "education", we would be in jail.
RR #2 WHAT
AND THE OTHER CASUALTY CONTINUES TO BE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, VICTIMS OF
AFTERMATH EQUAL TO THAT OF THE CIVIL WAR.
AS MY TOO GENEROUS WIFE / PAL WOULD SAY: "MAY THOSE WHO WERE OUR
NATION'S LEADERS DURING THAT TIME HAVE A PERMANENT CASE OF JOCK-ITCH -
Wall (Something you
may not have known)
think the VietnamMemorial
Wall is something
this country got right. Read on . . .
history most people
will never know. Interesting
Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall
are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added
names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and
within each date the names are alphabetized. It
to believe it is
36 years since the last casualties.
first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed
by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His
name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard
B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
were just 19 years old.
largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old. 12soldiers
on the Wall
were 17 years old.
soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam..
soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam..
sets of brothers are on the Wall.
one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . 8
Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them
are on the Wall.
Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There
West Virginians on the Wall.
Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school
basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058)
had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments,
they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National
Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families,
the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps.
Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood
friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth,
Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played
ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam . In
a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy
on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination.
Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom
was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance
most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245deaths.
most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415casualties
most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that
War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of
those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created.
We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they
were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. Thereare
no noble wars, just
RR #3 Perhaps
this "Peculiar Institution"
will not also require a Civil War and another 100 years to be dissolved.
The world seen from Rome
Huge Majority of Americans Want Abortion Restrictions
Favor Limits; Number Up From Last Year
40 years of legalized abortion in the United States, a huge majority of
Americans (83%) favor restricting abortion to specific circumstances.
Knights of Columbus-Marist poll conducted last month shows that the
number of Americans favoring restrictions to abortion has increased
four percentage points in the last year (79% to 83%).
the 83% who support significant restrictions on abortion, 10% believe
abortion should never be permitted; 12% believe abortion should be
allowed only to save the life of the mother; 34% would restrict
abortion only to cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the
mother; and 27% would limit abortion to – at most –
the first three months of pregnancy.
11% would allow abortion at any time, while 6% would allow it during
the first six months of pregnancy.
four decades of legalized abortion in this country, Americans have had
ample time to understand that abortion has terrible consequences, said
Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “They
understand abortion’s true legacy – a child loses
life, and parents lose a child. And after witnessing the effects of
abortion for the past 40 years, Americans are not legally or morally
comfortable with that legacy. It is time for our country to chart a new
course on this issue – a course that protects both the mother
and the child.”
survey also found that nearly six in 10 Americans (58%) believe
abortion is “morally wrong.” And 84% of Americans
say laws can protect both mothers and unborn children.
newly released survey is the latest in a series of polls commissioned
by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by The Marist Institute for
Public Opinion. This KofC-Marist Poll data was gathered via a telephone
survey of 1,246 adults residing in the continental United States and
has a margin of error of ±2.8 percentage points. Data were
THURSDAY, January 10, 2013 See
my Rapid Response
offering dated December 31, 2013 for more insight in this matter.
CAREFUL WHAT YOU
People Who Live to 100 Have in Common
Emily Brandon Fri,
Jan 11, 2013
growing number of Americans are living to age 100. Nationwide, the
centenarian population has grown 65.8 percent over the past three
decades, from 32,194 people who were age 100 or older in 1980 to 53,364
centenarians in 2010, according to new Census Bureau data. In contrast,
the total population has increased 36.3 percent over the same time
in the United States are considerably different from the overall
population. Here's a look at some of the characteristics of people who
live to age 100:
is overwhelmingly women who live to age 100. In 2010, 82.8 percent of
centenarians were female. For every 100 females age 100 or older, there
are only 20.7 males the same age. Females also make up 61.9 percent of
those in their 80s and 72.2 percent of people in their 90s. "We know
that women are more social than men. Other studies have found that
staying socially connected predicts greater life expectancy," says Gary
Small, a professor on aging and director of the UCLA Longevity Center
in Los Angeles, who is not affiliated with the Census Bureau report.
"If you are social, it may reduce stress levels because you can talk
about your feelings and things that stress you out and it seems to help
many people. If you need a ride to the doctor or you fall, they can
take you to the hospital or help you find the best doctor."
Surprising Clues You'll Live to 100
are considerably less diverse than the overall U.S. population. In
2010, some 82.5 percent of centenarians were white, versus 72.4 percent
of the total population. Black or African Americans were unique in that
their proportion of the centenarian population (12.2 percent) is about
the same as their percentage of the total population (12.6 percent).
Asians made up 2.5 percent of the centenarian population, while they
make up 4.8 percent of the total population. And Hispanics represent
5.8 percent of centenarians, but 16.3 percent of the population.
over a third of both female and male centenarians lived alone in their
own home in 2010, but the majority of the oldest citizens live with
others. "As people get older, things in life happen—like you might
become a widow or you might have a disability, and because of those
circumstances, living arrangements often change," says Amy Symens
Smith, chief of the age and special populations branch at the Census
Bureau. Centenarian females (35.2 percent) were more likely to live in
a nursing home than males the same age (18.2 percent). Centenarian
males are the most likely to be living with others in a household (43.5
percent), compared to just 28.5 percent of centenarian females.
large majority of the oldest U.S. citizens live in urban areas. "As age
increases, the percentage living in urban areas also increases," says
Smith. Some 85.7 percent of centenarians lived in urban areas in 2010,
compared with 84.2 percent of those in their 90s, 81.5 percent of those
in their 80s, and 76.6 percent of those in their 70s. "Living in the
city, you have a lot more mental stimulation and the symphony and
better doctors and hospitals and more social networking," says Small.
"There are more resources, and there is better transportation."
in the Northeast or Midwest
with the largest populations generally have the most centenarians.
California has the largest number of centenarians (5,921), followed by
New York (4,605), Florida (4,090), and Texas (2,917). Alaska has the
fewest residents age 100 and older (40). Wyoming (72), Vermont (133),
and Delaware (146) are also among the states with the fewest
Northeast and Midwest have proportions of centenarians that are higher
than the national average of 1.73 per 10,000 people, while the West and
South have below-average proportions of centenarians. "There's a lot of
stuff going on in local areas, including access to medical care, diet,
exercise, the culture, risk-taking, and more smoking," says Linda
Waite, a sociology professor and director of the Center on Aging at the
University of Chicago. "People in the Northeast tend to be more highly
educated, and education is associated with a longer life expectancy."
North Dakota is the only state with more than 3 centenarians for every
10,000 people in the state. Other states where centenarians make up a
relatively large portion of the population include South Dakota, Iowa,
and Nebraska. Three western states have less than one centenarian for
every 10,000 people: Alaska, Utah, and Nevada.
proportion of centenarians in the United States is smaller than that of
many other developed countries. For example, for every 10,000 people,
there are 1.92 centenarians in Sweden, 1.95 in the United Kingdom, and
2.70 in France. And Japan has 3.43 centenarians per 10,000 people,
beating even our longest-lived state, North Dakota.
WEDNESDAY, January 9, 2013 WATCH
This is only the beginning for financially untenable ObamaCare and for
naive State disciples.
published Jan 8, 2013 in The Day Hospitals
bracing for loss of millions in state funding
By Judy Benson Day Staff Writer L&M, Backus say impact
will be big Reductions in
hospital services, staffing and new programs are all possibilities in
the weeks ahead as Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and The William W.
Backus Hospital figure out how to cope with sudden multi-million-dollar
reductions in expected state revenue. "A cut
of this magnitude is going to have a major impact on our ability to
serve as the region's safety net and reinvest in programs and services
for the community," said Backus spokesman Shawn Mawhiney, referring to
a $3.8 million cut in state revenues to the Norwich hospital. In
New London, L&M is facing a $2.8 million loss of expected state
revenue, funds it had included in the budget for its current fiscal
year. Both Backus and L&M will have to absorb the cuts by June 30,
the close of the current state fiscal year. "The
potential here is devastating," said Mike O'Farrell, spokesman for
L&M, which in November averted a potential budget crisis with
cost-cutting moves and layoffs of 22 employees to close a $3.2 million
budget gap. "We can't absorb this without having services or people
affected. Everything's on the table." As
part of a state budget deficit reduction measure, the state legislature
on Dec. 19 approved $103.7 million in cuts to payments to the state's
30 hospitals. The funds were reimbursements for care the nonprofit
hospitals are required to provide to uninsured and underinsured
patients, as well as to partially compensate for the difference between
the amount reimbursed by Medicaid and the actual cost of care for
Medicaid recipients. The cut to hospitals was the largest portion of
$252.3 million in budget reductions lawmakers approved to close a state
budget gap. A previous set of cuts announced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
in November reduced state spending by an additional $170 million. "We're
somewhat stunned," said Stephen Frayne, senior vice president of the
Connecticut Hospital Association. "This is an enormous sum of money.
It's 10 percent of all the funding we get from the state." Hospitals,
he said, "will continue to take care of everybody that comes through
the door," but will have to take some painful steps to keep their
budgets sound. "The
hospitals are going to do what they need to do to try to maintain
fiscal health by modifying services and eliminating positions," he
said. "They have an obligation to maintain financial stability." While
hospitals figure out how to deal with the revenue cut, the hospital
association will lobby lawmakers and Malloy's office to reduce or
rescind the cut once the legislature convenes this week, Frayne said. In
approving the cut to hospitals, lawmakers argued that the loss would be
offset by an increase in Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals that
occurred after a change in the state program for low-income adults in
the higher reimbursement, there is still a gap between Medicaid
reimbursement rates and the actual cost of care, O'Farrell said. "Every
time we see a Medicaid patient, we're losing money, and we're seeing
more and more," he said, adding that since 2008, the percentage of
L&M patients covered by Medicaid has increased from about 13
percent to about 17 percent. O'Farrell
said L&M continues to move forward with its major projects
including the new Dana-Farber cancer center under construction in
Waterford and the pending purchase of The Westerly Hospital. The $34.5
million cancer center is being funded with donations raised
specifically for that project, and the $69 million Westerly Hospital
purchase will be funded by loans and managed under a different
financial structure from the operating budget for L&M, he said. "Those
investments have the ability to strengthen us long term," O'Farrell
state hospital association's Frayne said he believes hospitals are
being asked to bear an unfairly high proportion of the deficit
reduction package - about 30 percent - when state funding to hospitals
only constitutes 5 percent of the entire state budget. He added that
the cut seems particularly unfair in light of the $380 million in new
revenues to the state generated by a tax on hospital patients enacted
18 months ago. A tax of 3.8 percent is added to bills for outpatients
bills and 5.5 percent on inpatient bills.
TUESDAY, January 8, 2013
Party seems as divided, angry as ever
By By STEVE
PEOPLES | Associated Press – Sat, Jan 5, 2013
BOSTON (AP) — The
Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever.
the highest levels of the House GOP leadership. Long-standing
tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans
their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party
threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure
raised taxes on the nation's highest earners.
"People are mad as
hell. I'm right there with them," Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party
Express, said late last week, declaring that she has "no confidence"
in the party her members typically support. Her remarks came after GOP
lawmakers agreed to higher taxes but no broad spending cuts as part of
to avert the "fiscal cliff."
"Anybody that voted 'yes' in the House
should be concerned" about
primary challenges in 2014, she said.
At the same time, one
GOP's most popular voices,
Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, blasted his party's "toxic internal
politics" after House Republicans initially declined to approve
relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy. He said it was "disgusting to
watch" their actions and he faulted the GOP's most powerful elected
House Speaker John Boehner,
The GOP's internal struggles to
what it wants to be were painfully exposed after Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama on Nov.
6, but they
have exploded in recent days. The fallout could extend well beyond the
ability to win policy battles on Capitol Hill. It could hamper
they examine how to regroup and attract new voters after a
To a greater degree
Democrats, the Republican Party
struggled with internal divisions for the past few years. But these
clashes have seemed especially public and vicious.
"It's disappointing to see infighting in
the party," said Ryan
Williams, a Republican operative and former Romney aide. "It doesn't
us look like we're in a position to challenge the president and hold
accountable to the promises he made."
What's largely causing the dissension? A
lack of a clear GOP leader with a
single vision for the party.
consistent standard-bearer since President George W. Bush left office
with the nation on the edge of a financial collapse. His departure,
widespread economic concerns, gave rise to a tea party movement that
the GOP's conservative
energy. The tea party is credited with broad Republican gains in the
congressional elections, but it's also blamed for the rising tension
the pragmatic and ideological wings of the party — discord that festers
It was much the same for Democrats in the
late 1980s before Bill Clinton emerged
to win the White House and shift his party to the political center.
2012 presidential nominee Romney never
fully captured the hearts of his
party's most passionate voters. But his tenure atop the party was
since Election Day, he's disappeared from the political world.
Those Republican leaders who remain
engaged — Christie, Boehner, Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Republican National
Chairman Reince Priebus — are showing little sign of coming together.
Those on the GOP's deep bench of potential
presidential contenders, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin
Paul Ryan, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have begun staking out
sometimes conflicting ideas for the party.
Over the short term at least, the party's
divisions probably will continue
to be exposed.
Obama has outlined a second-term agenda
focused on immigration and gun
control; those are issues that would test Republican solidarity even in
times. Deep splits already exist between Republican pragmatists and the
conservative base, who oppose any restrictions on guns or allowances
It's unclear whether
can exploit the GOP
whether the Republican dysfunction will hamper him. With Boehner unable
control his fractured caucus, the White House is left wondering how to
with the House on any divisive issue.
Fiscal issues aren't going away, with
lawmakers were agree on a broad
deficit-reduction package. The federal government reached its borrowing
last week, so Congress has about two months or three months to raise
ceiling or risk a default on federal debt. Massive defense and domestic
spending cuts are set to take effect in late February. By late March,
current spending plan will end, raising the possibility of a government
Frustrated conservative activists and GOP
insiders hope that the continued
focus on fiscal matters will help unite the factions as the party
deep spending cuts. That fight also may highlight Democratic divisions
the party's liberal wing vehemently opposes any changes to Social
"Whenever you lose the White House, the
party's going to have ups and
downs," said Republican strategist Ron Kaufman. "My guess is when the
spending issues come up again, the Democrats' warts will start to show
The GOP's fissures go beyond
issues. They also are geographical.
Once a strong voice in the party,
moderate Republicans across the Northeast
are nearly extinct. Many of those who remain were frustrated in recent
when Boehner temporarily blocked a vote on a disaster relief bill.
Rep. Peter King,
said campaign donors in the Northeast who give the GOP after the slight "should
their head examined."
Boehner, who just won a second term as
speaker, quickly scheduled a vote on
a narrower measure for Friday after the new Congress convened, and it
out a $9.7 billion measure to help pay flood insurance claims.
are trying to be hopeful about the GOP's
path ahead, and liken the current situation to party's struggles after
2008 election. At the time, some pundits questioned the viability of the Republican Party. But it
back two years later, thanks largely to the tea party.
"If we have learned
anything from the fiscal cliff fiasco, conservatives discovered we need
stand firm, and stand together, on our principles from beginning to
said Republican strategist Alice Stewart. "It's frustrating to see the GOP drop the ball and turn a
true compromise into total surrender. The Democrats succeeded in their
of divide and conquer."
Press writers Ken Thomas and Ben
Feller in Washington contributed to this report.
MONDAY, January 7, 2013 NEITHER
NOR WHAT'S WRONG...BUT PERHAPS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EVANGELIZATION.
Perhaps I have been too dismissive when calling Atheists
"certifiable" or "crazy", with only partial tongue-in-cheek.
Published in the NYTimes Sunday, Jan 6, SRp7, is a long article
by self-proclaimed atheist Susan Jacoby entitled The Blessings of
Atheism". Offered consciously or otherwise as an "APOLOGIA
PRO VITA SUA", it seems to base at least some atheists' position
a disappointment with...and even anger toward...a supposed God who
terrible things to beset good people. And it rejects the "free
will" argument that believing persons usually use to explain this
In this piece, well worth reading in its entirety, Ms. Jacoby makes two
important points regarding the value of atheism: 1) "We do want our
fellow citizens to respect our deeply held conviction that the absence
afterlife lends a greater, not a lesser, moral importance to our
earth"; 2) regarding terrible events like Newtown, "Whether
you are religious or non-religious, may you find solace in the
the suffering is ours, but that those we love suffer no more."
Not conclusive regarding whether there is a God and an after-life -
which is of
a gift of Faith. But impressive.
SUNDAY, January 6, 2013 ...and
physicians and the other health care professions have a bright future -
surviving the decline and fall of ObamaCare in the nest few years.
published Jan 6, 2013 in The Day Will retiring
baby boomers bring an economic bust?
By FRANCO ORDONEZ and CASEY
CONLEY McClatchy Newspapers Many see burgeoning market
rather than burdensome generation Washington
- With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age, fears are
mounting of the economic impact if they follow the pattern of previous
generations by curbing spending and draining Social Security and
Medicare benefits. But the
78 million boomers - born from 1946 to 1964 - have always broken the
mold in terms of setting trends, and some investors and business and
community leaders see their retirement as no different. They see an
unprecedented, multi-billion-dollar opportunity to offer new products
and services to an active demographic group that's expected to live
longer than previous generations. When
Elizabeth Reighard started her fitness training business in Myrtle
Beach, S.C., four years ago, most of her students were in their
mid-30s. But now her client list is made up mainly of boomers, such as
Mary Smith, 58, who hired Reighard to help her "keep up with the
demand for fitness trainers such as Reighard is expected to jump 24
percent in the next decade, largely because of baby boomers who want to
stay healthy longer, according to the Department of Labor's
Occupational Outlook Handbook released in March. "I'm
seeing it more and more. Seniors know they have to be in better shape
to have less aches and pains," said Reighard, who's also a boomer.
"Yeah, we're getting older, but our bodies feel good. I look in the
mirror and I might look 51, but I feel 25." The
Census Bureau projects that Americans 65 and older will make up 19
percent of the population by 2030. On
the labor front, the health care industry is the most obvious
benefactor of a longer-living active community. Demand for home health
aides is expected to grow 70 percent in the next decade, according to
the Department of Labor. Demand
also will be high in less obvious fields, such as for architects, who
will be called on to build senior-friendly communities; financial
advisers to help boomers plan their retirements; recreation workers,
who will lead boomer-tailored excursions; and job trainers, who will
teach the new workers called on to replace retirees. "It's
only in Washington that 100 million people are viewed as an
unaffordable cost and financial burden," said Jody Holtzman, a senior
vice president at AARP. "In the private sector, 100 million people are
called a market and an opportunity." Boomers
are expected to work longer and they've never followed in the footsteps
of previous generations, said Matt Thornhill, an author of "Boomer
Consumer," a book that examines marketing to the baby boomer generation. Boomers
have broken the mold during each stage of their lives, Thornhill said.
When they were hungry babies and busy parents needed practical ways to
feed them, Gerber put strained peas in a jar and became a
billion-dollar company. The parents of boomers moved their families out
to the suburbs and bought fancy homes stocked with modern appliances.
Much of it was paid for with credit cards, which previously didn't
became the generation of consumption and personal gratification,"
Thornhill said. "Boomers are not going to spend at all like the prior
generations did at 65. They're going to spend at boomer levels. And
there's millions more of them." Jeet
Singh, who helped develop e-commerce software used by online retailers
such as Best Buy and J. Crew, said retirees hadn't been treated with
respect in terms of offering them well-designed high-quality products
that meet their needs without announcing their ages. "You
just can't fight the numbers," said Singh, a co-founder of Redstar
Ventures and previously Art Technology Group. "All these people are out
there. They have needs. Whether it's what they eat, what they buy,
where they shop, how they vacation. And I'm not even talking about
health care, which is in itself a massive market." Sam
Farber created Oxo Good Grips in 1990 when he noticed that his wife had
trouble holding kitchen tools because of arthritis, according to the
company's history. Farber saw a business opportunity in creating more
comfortable cooking tools. Oxo now makes more than 850 products that
appeal across generations. Holtzman
of AARP likes to share that story when he's trying to inspire new
entrepreneurs. He's met with hundreds of venture capitalists,
encouraging them to ask one additional question when entrepreneurs
approach them seeking startup money: "What's your 50-plus plan?" "The
one question a startup doesn't want to get from its board of directors
is this one: 'Why did you leave money on the table by ignoring a market
of 100 million people with $3.5 trillion to spend?'" he said.
SATURDAY, January 2 through 5, 2013 WE
SHOULD ALL HONOR
THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES.
But in recent weeks, I have felt that that Presidency has been
this President. I actually felt a twinge of sadness as I heard
Barack Obama's snide comments ridiculing his opposite numbers and
in general during the supposed "negotiations". It was a
Now come two articles that articulate the reason. This President
"Me" person, a divider rather than a uniter. My way, or the
highway. And, as noted in the Noonan offering: "This, however, is true: The great presidents are always in the end
uniters, not dividers. They keep it together and keep it
people remember them fondly for that."
See " There's No 'I' In 'Kumbaya'", by Peggy Noonan, WSJ Sat.
- Sun., Jan 5-6, 2013, pA15.
See also: "The President Who Wants It All", by Fred Barnes,
WSJ Thursday, Jan 3, 2013, pA13.
Whether in the rarefied atmosphere of Washington politics or in
business relationships, the frequently forgotten fact is: There is only
There is no such thing as "Win-Lose".
TUESDAY, January 1, 2013 THE
INHERIT THE WIND.
Throughout the political campaigns of 2012, while a host of Republican
were savaging each other, and also after Mitt Romney stumbled across
line, I stated many times in this section that this election was
Republicans' to lose - and that they were quite up to the
also offered what they should be aiming for...instead of their
approach against Latinos in general, "women", homosexuals, anyone who
attacked the Wall Street Las Vegas strip-mining criminals, and anyone
sufficiently Fundamentalist in their religious beliefs.
Well, they didn't do that. And they lost. Not that
contrast to liberal Democratic crazies, don't have the better of the
about how to treat this country in its current critical
But they simply failed to re-calibrate their sights for the heavy
windage of a
And the recent Kabuki Dance offered by the House Republicans has been
reflection of these realities. WAKE UP, Republicans. You
better field position in this battle. But you need troops:
religious and family-oriented Latinos who should be natural
rational women rather than immoral females, citizens who clearly see
Wall Street as a den of thieves requiring a clean-out...and even
homosexuals...after you bone up on relevant scientific research of the
The battle certainly continues and must be fought and won. But
now is the
time for a strategic withdrawal, a re-organization and revised battle
plan. And then" ATTACK. Or do none of these things and
continue to be ridiculed by our President and by the likes of Harry
Nancy Pelosi. YOUR