August 14, 2018

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081418)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

August 13, 2018

Name That Party: Atlanta TV Report Only IDs Accused Murderer As Having Run For Congress ‘As a Democrat’ Last Year

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 1:16 pm

… the writeup involved only admits that a former congressional candidate now charged with murder and grand larceny was a Democrat a year ago, and even waits six paragraphs (and below the web ad) to reveal that tidbit (posted in full because of its brevity):

She ran on responsible gun regulation, now she’s accused of killing her campaign treasurer

ATLANTA – A former Georgia Congressional candidate has been charged with murder after her former campaign treasurer was found dead inside her apartment.

Kellie Collins, of Thomason, turned herself into the McDuffie County Sheriff’s Office just as authorities in Aiken County, South Carolina found the body of Curtis Cain, Collins’ former campaign treasurer.

Investigators said Cain did not show up for work on Tuesday, so deputies went to his home to check on him. That’s when they found him dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

The coroner said the body had been there for at least four days.

Authorities said Cain’s Subaru Legacy was also missing.

Collins has been charged with grand larceny in addition to murder.

In 2017, Collins ran as a Democrat against incumbent Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican, for Georgia’s 10th District. She ultimately dropped out of the race, citing personal reasons.

During the race, she touted her support for responsible gun regulation to protect the community.

I guess the online voter rolls must not have been available (that’s sarcasm, folks).

There’s no way a Republican gets this kind of kid-glove treatment.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081318)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Des Moines Police Say No Charges Likely in Fatal Shooting

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

From Des Moines, Iowa — another example of successful self-defense:

Aug. 12, 2018, at 3:42 p.m.

Des Moines authorities don’t expect to file any charges in connection with this weekend’s fatal shooting because the victim was violating a court protection order and assaulting a man.

Police said 32-year-old Joshua James Wheeler died after the Saturday night shooting. Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek says prosecutors determined the shooting was done in self-defense.

The shooting took place in the doorway of the home of a woman who is a former domestic partner of Wheeler’s.

Police said the incident started after the 25-year-old woman and a 27-year-old male friend of hers discovered that a tire on the man’s car had been slashed. Wheeler arrived and assaulted the man, who warned that he was carrying a gun. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 12, 2018

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081218)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: What’s driving the growth of Catholic churches in the Bible Belt?

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Charleston, South Carolina:

Aug 10, 2018 / 12:27 am

In the thick of the Bible Belt, the famously evangelical Protestant region in the southeastern United States, some Catholic Masses are filling to standing-room only.

Meanwhile, many Baptist, Methodist and Lutheran churches are struggling to keep enough people in the pews to justify opening their doors.

It has widely been reported that the U.S. as a whole is losing its religion, with Protestant mainline churches seeing the most decline over the past 15 years. But two key factors are contributing to Catholic growth throughout the south: a boom in the Hispanic population, and the southern migration of Catholic retirees and families from the Northeast.

St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Bluffton, along the southern coast of South Carolina, particularly illustrates this shift along the Bible Belt — the congregation grew by a massive 70 percent in just 10 years, and now claims 10,000 registered members. Even though South Carolina is gaining in population, the growth of this parish outpaces even that of the state, according to local newspapers.

“Sunday Masses are crowded as latecomers squeeze into pews or stand in the back of the church. Twelve Masses are held Friday evening through Sunday — two of which are in Spanish. And work is underway on a new parish life center for community events,” Kasia Kovacs reports in The Island Packet.

Hispanics made up about 40 percent of the Church in the United States in 2016, with especially large representation among youth and young adults: 50 percent of Catholics ages 14 to 29 are Hispanic; and 55 percent of Catholics under 14 are Hispanic. Though immigration rates from Hispanic countries have begun to slow in recent years, the percentage of Hispanic Catholics in the U.S. is expected to continue growing during the next decade.

At St. Gregory’s, Masses for major holidays like Christmas and Easter are said in both English and Spanish, and seminarians in the state are required to be fluent in Spanish before their ordination. The parish celebrates Las Posadas and other traditional Hispanic celebrations, and food trucks at parish events now feature empanadas and gorditas. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 11, 2018

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081118)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Nun in Mexico celebrates 75th anniversary of her first profession

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Guadalajara, Mexico:

Aug 9, 2018 / 03:01 pm

Sister Emma of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 97, celebrated last month her “diamond anniversary” of consecration to Christ.

The religious, born in 1921 Yahualica in the Mexican state of Jalisco, celebrated July 19 the 75th anniversary of her profession in the Congregation of the Servants of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Poor.

The congregation noted that the milestone marks for Sister Emma “75 years of living united to the Divine Spouse and of jubilant dedication to our most needy brothers, especially the sick and the elderly.”

Sister Emma entered the congregation Dec. 4, 1940. She made her first profession July 16, 1943, and made her final vows six years later.

She now lives in the congregation’s community at Most Holy Trinity Hospital in Guadalajara.

The congregation said that in the witness of Sister Emma’s life “we can see our charism radically lived out, because she has known and has experienced being loved and indwelt by the Triune God and so has discovered the presence of God in the people she lives with and has served and loved as living temples of the Most Holy Trinity.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 10, 2018

How the U.S. Saved the 2018 World Economy — Thanks to America’s Oil Producers and Donald Trump’s Proactive Steps

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:10 am

NOTE: This column was drafted but not posted in late July, as it was being considered for publication by another website. That site will not be publishing it, so I have posted it with up-to-date info and links below.


So far this summer, the once widely predicted precipitous spike in gas prices, which could send economies throughout the world reeling, has not materialized.

America’s oil producers and President Donald Trump deserve a large share of the credit for this. Naturally, they aren’t getting it.

Of course, one can never rule serious price increases out. But if we had believed the U.S. press’s spring dispatches, it should already have happened, and it hasn’t.

In early May, a photo caption seen at Newsweek predicted that President Trump’s withdrawal from the farce known as “the Iran nuclear deal” and the reimposition of related sanctions meant that “gas prices are likely to surge.” CNBC expected prices “to keep rising.”

In full historical context, the media’s recent concerns about higher gas prices have been almost comical.

The same people hyperventilating over the prospect of average U.S. gas prices hitting $3 or slightly more per gallon were telling us in 2012 that $4 gas was “not a big drag.” Going back further, we had commentators in 2008 regaling us about the marvelous benefits we would see if gas prices were to hit $8 a gallon. Nobel prize-winning physicist Steven Chu agreed — before pretending to backtrack in the name of becoming Barack Obama’s energy secretary.

That said, there have been more than the usual reasons for concern about worldwide oil supplies and potential price spikes. Though the anti-Trump press has focused primarily on Iran, there were, and still are, far more serious problems in Venezuela.

Despite having the world’s largest proven oil reserves, production has fallen disastrously in de facto dictator Nicolas Maduro’s Bolivarian socialist nightmare. Inflation, which is currently over 46,000 percent and is projected to hit 1,000,000 percent by the end of the year — those are not misprints — has made formerly prosperous oil workers’ salaries virtually worthless.

The implosion of Venezuela’s oil industry represents the final stage of that nation’s economic disintegration:

What was once the backbone of Latin America’s most prosperous nation is now a constellation of rundown projects, shuttered infrastructure and empty stillness.

… The value of a salary has collapsed.

… Venezuela’s oil company, PDVSA … can barely stay afloat, forced to import light crude from the United States to dilute the heavy oil it drills in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s production … (has fallen by) approximately 1 million barrels per day in the last two years, according to figures from OPEC and Standard & Poor’s.

These numbers translate into a concrete jungle in the countryside around Punta de Mata, where most oil wells are not in operation.

The narrative follows a common pattern. A mechanical part breaks down, but there are no replacements so the oil well falls into disuse. Once a well is exhausted, no new wells are drilled. If an accident requires a well to be shut, it is not reopened.

The linked story predictably failed to mention “socialism,” or even Maduro’s name. Last week, even Maduro admitted that “The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours.” He’s right about the failure, but the responsibility rests entirely with him and predecessor Hugo Chavez.

Meanwhile, as his people starve, Maduro continues to ship subsidized oil to Cuba.

Things will get worse, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which “predicts that oil production could fall to 1m barrels per day (bpd) this year, and again to 700,000 by December 2019.” (The linked UK Guardian article also didn’t mention “socialism.”) That projected 2019 figure would represent a 75 percent production decline in just five years.

Fortunately for the rest of the world, America’s energy producers have thus far made up for Venezuela’s production losses, as well as those seen in Libya and several other countries. Estimated U.S. output during the four weeks which ended on July 27 averaged 10.95 million barrels per day. That’s almost 24 percent, or 2.15 million barrels, greater than the 8.8 million produced daily during 2016′s final week.

As a result, total worldwide production of liquid fuels has kept up with increased demand.

Trump and his administration have influenced these results in three ways:

  • U.S. energy policy has moved away from Obama’s fossil fuel-hostile regime.
  • Trump’s repudiation of the incurably broken Iran deal in May led Saudi Arabia to increase its production almost immediately to make up for the potential effect of sanctions.
  • In late June, concerned that U.S. production alone might still not cover other countries’ lost output, Trump struck an “impromptu agreement” with the Saudis “to add more supply to increasingly tight oil markets.” The Saudis appear to be keeping that promise.

What might have happened if U.S. oil producers and Team Trump hadn’t come through as they have? Given oil’s price inelasticity, tighter supplies could easily have taken us back to the bad old days of triple-digit barrel prices.

The struggling economies in the Eurozone and elsewhere, which can ill afford a serious energy disruption, should be grateful that, for now, America’s oil industry and Trump have proactively and successfully headed off what could have become a serious worldwide problem.

A Hillary Clinton administration, and an Environmental Protection Agency armed with a mandate to impede fossil-fuel production, would almost certainly not have achieved the same results.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081018)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Argentina Senate rejects bill to legalize abortion

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

From Buenos Aires:

Aug 9, 2018 / 10:08 am

Concluding a 16-hour legislative session in the early hours of August 9, the Argentina Senate rejected a bill to legalize first-trimester abortion.

Pro-life advocates welcomed the results of the vote.

“Argentina has embraced life despite huge international pressure to give up existing legislation protecting life and freedom of conscience,” said Neydy Casillas, senior counsel for ADF International.

The vote against the bill was 38-31, with two senators abstaining and one absent.

The legislation, which narrowly passed the House of Representatives in June, sought to allow abortion on-demand up to 14 weeks gestation, and through the ninth month of pregnancy on the grounds of rape, if doctors deem the mother’s life or health to be endangered, or if the baby receives a diagnosis of non-viability.

It would have allowed minors under 16 to get an abortion without having to inform their parents, and would have prohibited conscientious objection by healthcare institutions.

With the result, the bill is dead for this legislative year, although it could be reintroduced in a congressional debate in 2019.

The current law in Argentina prohibits abortion, except when the mother’s life or health is determined to be in danger, or in cases of rape.

Senator Silvia Elías de Pérez was one the final presenters against the abortion bill during the legislative debate.

She stressed that legalizing abortion would mean “establishing a new discrimination between those who are wanted and those who are not.”

Rather than abandoning desperate women to abortion, she said, the state should accompany those in difficult pregnancies. “To legalize abortion is really to admit plainly and simply the failure of the State.”

The senator also charged that during the months of public discussion surrounding the bill, “those of us who profess the Catholic faith have been reviled as has never before happened in Argentina.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 9, 2018

Positivity: New L.A. STEM school inspired by JPII

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 12:24 pm

From Los Angeles:

Aug 8, 2018 / 03:12 pm

John Paul II taught often that science and religion follow complementary paths toward the same goal- truth.

A new high school in Los Angeles- the St. John Paul II STEM Academy- aims to help students find truth – by teaching faith, and, at the same time, teaching the methods and principles of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Burbank school, which plans to begin with 60 freshman in August 2019, is an initiative of the Department of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The archdiocese says the school will offer daily prayer and regular Mass to students, while, at the same time, providing science and technology classes, along with internships and apprenticeships at local businesses.

STEM courses- those in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math- will be single-gender, according to the archdiocese, while the rest of the school’s course offerings will be co-educational. The school will focus on preparing students for careers especially in media arts and trade technologies, according to the archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles says the creation of the new school is a sign of a growing Catholic population in the region, and increased interest in Catholic education.

“At the Department of Catholic Schools, we have a vision of growth that is based on the demographic reality of an increasing Catholic population in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,” Dr. Kevin Baxter, senior director and superintendent of Catholic schools, said in Aug. 7 press release.

St. John Paul II STEM Academy, Baxter added, “it is a great indicator that our vision is one of building and opening and not closure and consolidation.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080918)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 12:00 pm

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

August 8, 2018

Trump’s Shaky ’5-for-5′ Is Really ’4 For Sure’

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 pm

Candidates supported by Donald Trump had tentatively victorious nights on Tuesday.

The Democrat in OH-12 apparently won’t concede, but the 1,700-vote margin held by Republican Troy Balderson is overwhelmingly unlikely to go the other way with the remaining provisional ballots.

The Kansas governor’s primary race, on the other hand, really is too close to call. The Trump-favored Kris Kobach holds a narrow 191-vote lead over incumbent GOP Governor Jeff Colyer, who succeeded Sam Brownback several months ago when Brownback took a job with the Trump administration as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

Trump can credibly claim partial credit for two other GOP candidate victories in Michigan, and one in Missouri.

Much is being made of the enthusiasm gap in Dem vs. GOP turnout in Ohio. That’s usually the danger for the perceived incumbent’s party or seat-defending party in special elections. The enthusiasm gap should narrow significantly in November.

One the downside, Missouri voters rejected a right-to-work law its legislature passed earlier this year by a more than 20-point margin. Those who rejected it surely don’t think so, but that’s bad news for Missouri’s rank and file workers and for the state’s competitiveness compared to other Midwestern states.

It’s important to note Tom Zawistowski’s trenchant emailed observations about why the OH-12 race was so close — AND why Balderson survived:

My Fellow Patriots,

First, do you think Troy Balderson would have had ANY chance to win last night if YOU had not done your Duty???!!!

Second, Troy Balderson is owned by Pat Tiberi and John Kasich both big time “Never Trumpers”. They, stupidly, spent $4 million on a campaign talking about “opioids” and being “above politics” and staying away from the President’s achievements, which resulted in what should have been an easy 10%+ win becoming a very close race. Bottom line, if you don’t do your Duty Tuesday and Trump doesn’t come on Saturday, they lose!!! Here is the lesson that “establishment” Republicans refuse to learn – running to the middle doesn’t work!!! Running to the Right and toward Trump does work.

Third, I am sure you heard comments on TV and radio before the election where Kasich said that Troy Balderson told him that he had not invited Trump to campaign on his behalf! Gee that was brilliant. So, who invited Trump? My guess would be RNC Co-Chair Bob Paduchik, who actually lives in the District, and saw this disaster of a campaign blowing up a key Congressional seat and he intervened to bring Trump in on Saturday. Thanks Bob for saving us from another Kasich caused disaster. We will see in the general if they learned their lesson – but I doubt it.


Positivity: Knights of Columbus pledge support for persecuted Christians

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:30 pm

From Baltimore, Maryland:

Aug 7, 2018 / 04:00 pm

Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pledged the fraternal organization’s continued efforts to aid and rebuild persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East, during his Aug. 7 address at the 2018 Knights of Columbus convention in Baltimore, Maryland.

Anderson also unveiled a new pilgrim icon, “Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians,” created for the Knights by Italian artist Fabrizio Diomedi. The icon will travel from parish-to-parish across the country to raise awareness, show solidarity, and inspire support for persecuted Christians.

In his opening remarks at the convention, taking place August 7-9, Anderson said that he hopes that this “pilgrim icon program” will “focus the eyes of our Church on the sacrifice of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Anderson’s remarks highlighted the pivotal role that the Knights of Columbus have played in supporting Christians in the Middle East, where they have committed more than $20 million since 2014 to provide “food, shelter, and clothing to our neighbors who lost everything in Iraq and Syria because they refused to give up their love of Christ.”

“It is clear that without the support of the Knights of Columbus, Christianity might have died in Iraq,” said Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, in a video shown during Anderson’s speech. The Chaldean archbishop’s community was driven from their historic home in the Nineveh Plains by repeated attacks from the Islamic State starting in 2014.