January 16, 2019

Wednesday (Moderated) Open Thread (011619)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

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Positivity: Ohio Firefighter saves American flag from Vietnam veteran’s burning home

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Toledo, Ohio (HT Weasel Zippers):

January 13, 2019

As a Vietnam veteran’s home went up in flames, one firefighter thought quickly on his feet to preserve a patriotic symbol.

Allen Skomer, who is also a veteran, was working to extinguish the massive flames at the Toledo, Ohio, home on Friday around 1 a.m. when he spotted the flag’s colors flying between the house and a small adjoining structure alongside it.

“I was helping one of the rookies throw a stream in between those two structures, to keep that second structure from burning,” Skomer told WTOL. “That’s when I noticed the colors waving with the flames behind them.”

Immediately, Skomer sprang to action, grabbing the flag and carrying it carefully so it wouldn’t touch the ground before resting it on the bumper of his fire truck, a safe distance from the aggressive flames. At the time, he didn’t know the man whose home he was attempting to salvage was a veteran as well. His quick response, he said, was an easy one after his eight years with the United States military.

“I didn’t want to let it burn, so I went and grabbed it,” he said. “I’m an eight-year veteran of the Navy. It’s just a knee-jerk reaction. I didn’t want to see the colors go up. I would never knowingly let the flag go up in smoke or be desecrated in front of me if I can help it.”

It was lucky that Skomer chose to grab the flag when he did. Soon after, the roof of the Vietnam veteran’s house caved in, destroying the home and everything inside it. Firefighters were able to stop the adjoining structure from being completely burned down, but the American flag remains one of the only items to come out of the fire unscathed. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 15, 2019

Tuesday (Moderated) Open Thread (011519)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

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Positivity: Across the US, organizers prepare for pro-life marches

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Chicago:

Jan 11, 2019 / 03:29 am

Thousands of pro-life advocates will rally this month in major cities throughout the country, marking the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that mandated legal abortion in the U.S.

March for Life Chicago will take place on Jan. 13, drawing numerous pro-lifers from Illinois and surrounding states, including Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Missouri. The event is expected to gather more than 6,000 attendees.

The day will begin with an early morning rally for youth, Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, and brunch in support of the local pregnancy center, Aid for Women. In the afternoon, the procession and rally will occur at the Federal Plaza in Chicago.

Speakers will include Pat McCaskey, a co-owner of the Chicago Bears; Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago; Jeanne Mancini, president of the national March for Life; and Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation.

The theme of the event, “Unique From Day One,” emphasizes medical technology as affirming life beginning at conception. Dawn Fitzpatrick, president of the March for Life Chicago board of directors, said the pro-life message is a “synchronicity of science and faith when it comes to the uniqueness of each life.”

“Being pro-life is not in opposition to science. It’s quite the opposite in fact. Medical and technological advancements continue to reaffirm the science behind the pro-life cause – that life begins at fertilization, or day one, when egg meets sperm and a new, unique, human embryo is created,” she said.

Kevin Grillot, vice president of the March for Life Chicago, told CNA that through science, “we can see where life begins, and how beautiful is it that each person, from the moment of conception, their DNA distinguishes them…Every single person is unique and distinct and whole human being, starting from the moment of their conception.”

Bomberger, one of the speakers at this year’s event in Chicago, said that the pro-life issue is personal for him: he was conceived in rape. While abortions following rape account for just 1 percent of total abortions in the U.S., he said, they are often used to justify the other 99 percent.

“As someone who is written off as an exception, it is particularly special to me,” he told CNA of this year’s theme. “Pro-life is pro-science, it’s pro-woman, it’s pro-child, it’s pro-family. I think all those elements are so inextricable tied together with this theme – that you are not repeatable.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 14, 2019

Monday (Moderated) Open Thread (011419)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

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Positivity: Little Sisters back in court to defend HHS mandate exemption

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington — This is a positive, as the Sisters won’t stop fighting injustice:

The Little Sisters of the Poor are back in court this week, as two states are challenging their religious exemption from the HHS contraception mandate.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra have each filed lawsuits saying that the sisters should not receive a religious exemption from the mandate. Other states have joined onto these lawsuits as well.

“The Little Sisters are looking forward to a final victory in this case, so they can put this whole lawsuit behind them. It’s been a long fight,” Becket Fund for Religious Liberty senior counsel Lori Windham told CNA. The Becket Fund is representing the Little Sisters in these cases.

Oral arguments were heard on Thursday in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The judge said that she would make a decision by Monday.

On Friday, oral arguments will be heard in the case State of California v. HHS, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Windham, who was present for oral arguments, told CNA that while the judge had issued an injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s protections of the Little Sisters of the Poor, she did have tough questions for the state.

“She asked Pennsylvania why it was wrong for the Trump Administration to issue this rule protecting the Little Sisters and others, but wasn’t wrong for the Obama Administration to issue a series of rules to create the mandate in the first place,” Windham explained. She said that the state’s lawyers attempted to explain why this was different, and then tried to steer away from that particular topic.

The Little Sisters were one of several hundred plaintiffs to file suit against the Obama-era HHS Contraception Mandate, which would have required them to offer free-of-charge contraceptive coverage to their employees through their insurance plan. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 13, 2019

Sunday (Moderated) Open Thread (011319)

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January 12, 2019

Saturday (Moderated) Open Thread (011219)

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Positivity: Charlotte, NC Man With A Gun And A German Shepard Helps Catch Suspect During Police Chase

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Charlotte, North Carolina (video at link; HT Weasel Zippers):

January 8, 2019 at 7:30 PM EST – Updated January 9 at 1:53 PM

A Charlotte man is being considered a hero after he helped police catch a man that was on the run for a stolen car. CMPD sent out K-9s and helicopters to help with the chase, but everything pretty much ended when the suspect ran up against the homeowner who had a concealed license.

This happened along Manning Drive.

Not one scratch is on Stewart McKibben. He says he’s had years of training to learn how to defend himself, but never thought he’d ever have to use it.
It was the kind of police chase that you typically see on TV according to McKibben.

“Police presence from the front … police coming from everywhere. We had a fire truck and an ambulance parked in front of our house,” he said.

Stuart believes he may have watched a little bit too much TV growing up because when one of the suspects, who was involved in the chase, ran through Stuart’s backyard to he sort of got into character.

“I said, ‘Freeze, you’re under arrest,’ and that from watching Live TV and a multitude of other shows. At the moment, I did not know what to really say, but that is what came out of my mouth. For the moment it seemed to work,” McKibben said.

Before police were able to take it from there, the suspect begged McKibben not to release his German Shepard on him.

“It was funny for me to think that someone was more afraid of a dog than having a fire arm pointing at them,” said McKibben.

Stuart says he’s happy he didn’t have to hurt the suspect, but would have done what was necessary if it came down to it. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 11, 2019

Friday (Moderated) Open Thread (011119)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

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Positivity: This ‘pilgrim grandmother’ walked 570 miles to pray for families

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Mexico City:

Dec 29, 2018 / 04:00 pm

Emma Morosini has been called the “pilgrim grandmother.” Earlier this year, at the age of 94, she earned that nickname by concluding a 570-mile walking pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Her 40-day pilgrimage took Morosini from Monterrey, in northeastern Mexico, to Mexico City, where she prayed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, before the tilma of Saint Juan Diego.

Morosini, a native of Italy who for more than 25 years has made pilgrimages to shrines around the world, arrived the afternoon of May 12 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, to pray for families, young people, and “world peace.”

The “pilgrim grandmother” has visited shrines in Portugal, Spain, Poland, Israel, Brazil and Argentina.

During this pilgrimage, Morosini began walking each day at 6:30 am, carrying a small suitcase and an umbrella, and wearing a reflective vest as a safety precaution.

For food, Morosini carried milk, juice, bread, and water, receiving along the way some donations of fruits and vegetables.

At various points on her way she was accompanied by medical and civil defense personnel or by Mexico’s Federal Police. She was often housed by municipal authorities along her route.

During a 2015 pilgrimage in Argentina, when she was 91, Morosini told reporters that she was praying for “peace in the world, for young people, for all these families that are divided. Many are separated, some live together but aren’t spouses, or they don’t have children. It’s very sad.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 10, 2019

Positivity: The Lebanese saint who unites Christians and Muslims

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 1:30 pm

From Annaya, Lebanon:

Lebanon, Jan 10, 2019 / 03:16 am

St. Charbel Makhlouf is known in Lebanon for the miraculous healings of those who visit his tomb to seek his intercession – both Christians and Muslims.

“St. Charbel has no geographic or confessional limits. Nothing is impossible for [his intercession] and when people ask [for something], he answers,” Fr. Louis Matar, coordinator of the Shrine of St. Charbel in Annaya, Lebanon, told CNA.

Speaking in Arabic with the help of an interpreter, Mater said the shrine, which encompasses the monastery where the Maronite Catholic priest, monk, and hermit lived for nearly 20 years, receives around 4 million visitors a year, including both Christians and Muslims.

Matar, who is responsible for archiving the thousands of medically-verified healings attributed to the intercession of the Maronite priest-monk, said that many miraculous cures have been obtained by Muslims.

Since 1950, the year the monastery began to formally record the miraculous healings, they have archived more than 29,000 miracles, Matar said. Prior to 1950, miracles were verified only through the witness of a priest. Now, with more advanced medical technology available, alleged miracles require medical documents demonstrating the person’s initial illness and later, their unexplainable good health.

One of the miracles documented by Matar at the end of December, when he spoke to CNA, was that of a 45-year-old Italian woman. Suffering from a neurological disease, she was hospitalized after it was discovered she had tried to commit suicide by consuming acid.

In the hospital, the doctors discovered that the damage to her esophagus and intestines was so extensive, “the last way possible to cure her was believing in God and praying,” Matar commented.

The woman’s parents began to pray, inviting others to pray with them. A religious sister of the Maronite rite heard about the prayer request and gave them holy oil from St. Charbel. After they spread the oil on the suffering woman’s stomach, chest, and head, she was cured.

This was just one of seven miracles archived in December, Matar said, calling each one “a phenomenon.”

“St. Charbel is a tool to reach God,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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Thursday (Moderated) Open Thread (011019)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

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January 9, 2019

Wednesday (Moderated) Open Thread (010919)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

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Positivity: Trump Overhauled The Way We Prevent Wildfires

Filed under: Environment,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

Yes, this move two weeks ago is a positive one, as it will prevent some wildfires and enable others to be more easily contained, saving property and likely saving lives (HT Weasel Zippers):

7:22 AM 12/24/2018

President Trump issued an executive order allowing agencies to do more to prevent massive wildfires.

The order came one day after Trump signed GOP-backed wildfire legislation.

Wildfires have burned more than 8.5 million acres this year.

President Donald Trump moved forward with policies aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfires while the media breathlessly covered the government funding battle.

Trump issued an executive order Friday to allow for active management of forest and rangelands, including thinning and removing debris from millions of acres of federal lands.

The order also calls on federal officials to streamline regulations and permitting processes to allow the harvest of at least 3.8 billion board feet from U.S. Forest Service lands and 600 million board feet from Bureau of Land Management lands.

That represents a massive increase in timber sales from federal lands. For example, loggers harvested 2.9 billion board feet from Forest Service lands in 2017, according to federal figures. But even Trump’s increased allowance for loggers is still about one-quarter of what was harvested in 1973.

Trump also asked federal officials to do more to maintain roads into hard-to-reach areas where fires can spread.

Western Republicans welcomed Trump’s order. GOP lawmakers said that a change in policies was sorely needed after the devastating 2018 wildfire season, which saw more than 8.5 million acres burned.

“While litigation activists thwarted forest management reforms, the Senate also failed to pass legislation to help minimize forest fires,” Utah GOP Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said in a statement.

“As a result, parts of the West were left in ashes. We cannot ignore these systemic issues any longer,” Bishop said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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