June 25, 2016

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062516)

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.

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June 24, 2016

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062416)

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.

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Positivity: Parents Who Refused to Abort Baby with Brain Outside Skull Open up About Son’s Transformative Surgery — ‘You Can Feel His Will to Live’

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:50 am

From Sugarcreek, Ohio:

06/23/2016 AT 12:30 PM EDT

It’s been a month since 7-month-old Bentley Yoder underwent surgery to place his brain back into his cranium – and the strong baby who is currently in recovery has a future that is “as bright as his eyes,” according to his parents, Sierra and Dustin Yoder.

Bentley was born with a rare congenital disorder called encephalocele, in which a sac-like protrusion of the brain, covered by thin membranes, sits outside the skull. Doctors originally told Sierra and Dustin, who live in Sugarcreek, Ohio, that their son would not survive long after he was born.

“We were unimaginably shocked when we got the dire prognosis,” Sierra tells PEOPLE. “The specialist gave us no hope that he would ever live, breathe or thrive. It was gut-wrenching and nerve-wracking to think I was going to have our baby, just to say goodbye as soon as we got to say hello.”

She adds, “But he’s already proved he’s meant for big things. He continues to give the medical field a run for their money.”

Sierra and Dustin, both 25, were “heartbroken and confused” when doctors first told them about the condition during an ultrasound to reveal their baby’s gender.

“The doctor’s face grew pale and I could tell something was wrong,” explains Sierra. “They said it was a miracle he survived in-utero for 22 weeks.”

They didn’t expect their baby to live for more than a few hours after birth – and if he did, doctors predicted he would have little to no brain function.

“If by some chance he did survive, they said he would be a vegetable,” says the mother. “A vegetable with no feeling, no pain, no emotions…”

The couple, also parents to 3-year-old Beau, were told to consider abortion as an option after learning of his rare encephalocele condition, which has no known cause and can often lead to death.

“We decided we didn’t want him to suffer in a vegetable state so we chose to abort,” says Sierra. “The chances of him being okay were the same chances as winning the lottery, is how [doctors] explained it.”

But the night before the scheduled abortion, Sierra and Dustin couldn’t go through with it.

“My maternal instinct since his diagnosis had been telling me they were wrong about him,” says Sierra. “I’m 100 percent glad we [didn't go through with the abortion]. Bentley is an amazing little fighter.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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June 23, 2016

Positivity: The astonishing secret history of the Pope who fought Hitler

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 10:25 pm

From Washington:

Jun 23, 2016 / 03:06 am

Pope Pius XII’s secret support for the attempted overthrow of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler is the subject of a new book that draws on wartime documents and interviews with the American intelligence agent who wrote them.

“This book is the truth – as best I could establish it in a number of years of research – about the Pope’s secret operations in World War II,” historian Mark Riebling told CNA earlier this year.

“Its main premise is that Pius opted to resist Hitler with covert action instead of overt protest. As a result, he became involved in three separate plots by German dissidents to remove Hitler.”

“I thought this idea – that the Church engaged in secret operations during the bloodiest years in history, in the most controversial part of its recent history – was not just a footnote; it was something worth pursuing,” he said.

Riebling tells this story in his book “Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler,” published by Basic Books in September 2015.

In the late 1990s, debate over whether Pius XII did enough to counter the Nazis reached a high point with the publication of the deeply controversial book, “Hitler’s Pope,” by British journalist John Cornwell. The book was highly critical of Pius XII, charging that he was culpably silent – if not an accomplice – in the rise of Nazism.

“If you read the fiercest critics of the Nazi-era Church, the major ones all concede that Pius XII hated Hitler and worked secretly to overthrow him,” Riebling said. “Yet they say this in their books in just a clause, a sentence, or a paragraph. To me, this episode merited more curiosity.”

“If ‘Hitler’s Pope’ wanted to help rid the world of Hitler, what’s the story?”

Riebling said there were several sources of inspiration for the book. During his Catholic upbringing, he learned the long history of the Church: in its first centuries, Christianity was an underground organization. In post-Reformation England, the Jesuits were involved in clandestine work.

This history prompted him to ask how a historian would document it and find evidence.

He also drew inspiration from the story of James Jesus Angleton, a famous U.S. intelligence officer who during World War II ran an operation to penetrate the Vatican for the Office of Strategic Services, the Central Intelligence Agency’s predecessor.

During research on his previous book, “Wedge: The Secret War between the FBI and CIA,” Riebling discovered wartime documents from Angleton’s Rome section of the Office of Strategic Services.

“There were at least ten documents implicating Pius XII and his closest advisers in not just one, but actually three plots to remove Hitler – stretching from 1939 to 1944. These were typed up by someone using a very distinct nickname.”

That nickname, “Rock,” belonged to Ray Rocca. Rocca served as Angleton’s deputy in Rome and for most of his later career. His career included responsibility for the Central Intelligence Agency’s records concerning the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

“So, here’s a guy who had been in the Vatican; who had been charged with penetrating the Vatican; and who knew a thing or two about assassination probes. I thought: here’s an interesting guy to get to know,” Riebling said. Rocca did not violate his oath of secrecy, but his interviews with Riebling are among the book’s sources. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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At AP, Assertions By Trump Only Have to Be ‘Widely Questioned’ to Be Considered Not Credible

Though their report covering Donald Trump’s Wednesday speech criticizing presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton’s record has undergone subsequent revisions, the coverage of that speech by the Associated Press’s Julie Pace and Jill Colvin has stuck with two common themes. One is that prospective Republican nominee Donald Trump has “struggled with the transition to a general election race, getting bogged down by self-created controversies.” The fact is that the “controversies,” especially the one over Trump supposedly claiming that President Barack Obama was, in media-speak, “involved” with the June 13 terrorist massacre of 49 in Orlando, Florida, are almost entirely press-invented creations and distortions of what Trump has actually said. It’s clear that New Media will have to work hard to sift through such garbage and expose the truth for 4-1/2 more months until Election Day.

The other AP theme which has survived frequent revisions is the idea that criticisms of Hillary Clinton, especially if made by Trump or other opponents, can be readily flicked away if they have been “widely questioned,” meaning in practice that a few Clinton acolytes can merely say that “these people are wrong,” and that’s the end of it. The double standard could hardly be more blatant.

(more…)

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062316)

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.

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June 22, 2016

Media Yawn As AG Lynch Admits: ‘I Do Not Know’ Where Omar Mateen’s Wife Is

Here’s a new item for the sarcasm-laden “Our country is in the very best of hands” stack of embarrassments Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds has been accumulating during the past several years. The headline at media aggregator Grabien.com is: “AG LYNCH ADMITS THE FBI HAS LOST TRACK OF OMAR MATEEN’S WIFE.”

If this admission had occurred during any non-leftist presidential administration, the establishment press would jump at the chance to publish and broadcast embarrassing law enforcement news such as this far and wide. But in this case, a review of stories at the Associated Press’s main national site, its Big Story site, and at the New York Times found no indication that the nation’s two primary establishment news gatekeepers have noted Attorney General Lynch’s Attorney General Lynch’s admission concerning Noor Salman, the wife of Orlando massacre terrorist Omar Mateen.

(more…)

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062216)

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

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Positivity: Who was Elizabeth of the Trinity? The story behind a new saint

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Jun 21, 2016 / 03:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has announced the canonization date of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite nun of the 20th century who will be formally recognzied as a saint October 16.

In March, the Pope had acknowledged a miracle worked through the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth, paving the way for her canonization.

“The Lord has chosen to answer her prayers for us…before she died, when she was suffering with Addison’s disease, she wrote that it would increase her joy in heaven if people ask for her help,” said Dr. Anthony Lilles, academic dean of St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.

Lilles earned his doctorate in spiritual theology at Rome’s Angelicum writing a dissertation on Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity.

“If her friends ask for her help it would increase her joy in heaven: so it increases Elizabeth’s joy when you ask her to pray for your needs,” he told CNA. “That’s the first reason (to have devotion to her): the Church has recognized the power of her intercession.”

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity was born in France in 1880, and grew up in Dijon close to the city’s Carmelite monastery. Lilles recounted that when one time when Bl. Elizabeth visited the monastery when she was 17, “the mother superior there said, ‘I just received this circular letter about the death of Therese of Lisieux, and I want you to read it.’ That circular letter would later become the Story of a Soul; in fact, what she was given was really the first edition of Story of a Soul.”

“Elizabeth read it and she was inclined towards contemplative prayer; she was a very pious person who worked with troubled youth and catechized them, but when she read Story of a Soul she knew she needed to become a Carmelite: it was a lightning moment in her life, where everything kind of crystallized and she understood how to respond to what God was doing in her heart.”

Elizabeth then told her mother she wanted to enter the Carmel, but she replied that she couldn’t enter until she was 21, “which was good for the local Church,” Lilles explained, “because Elizabeth continued to work with troubled youth throughout that time, and do a lot of other good work in the city of Dijon before she entered.”

She entered the Carmel in Dijon in 1901, and died there in 1906 – at the age of 26 – from Addison’s disease.

Elizabeth wrote several works while there, the best-known of which is her prayer “O My God, Trinity Whom I Adore.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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June 21, 2016

Hillary ‘Wall Street $peeches’ Clinton Promises Non-Rigged Economy

The establishment press must not think that anyone should care about the millions of dollars Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary have “earned” making speeches, particularly to powerful banks and Wall Street firms, since he left the presidency in 2001 and after her time as Secretary of State ended in 2013.

That’s the only explanation as to why Mrs. Clinton could promise, as she did on Tuesday, that the economy won’t be rigged in favor of Wall Street if she is elected President, and then have a lapdog like MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt completely fail to touch on the deep and shameless hypocrisy in Mrs. Clinton’s statement. At least Hunt acknowledged that the economy, after 7-1/2 long years under President Barack Obama, “has been for many Americans slow to recover.” No kidding, Kasie. It would have been even better if Hunt had acknowledged that even the Federal Reserve, which has been predicting that decent economic growth would come around eventually every year since the recession officially ended, has thrown in the towel, predicting at least another 2-1/2 years of slow growth.

(more…)

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062116)

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.

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Positivity: New Zika vaccine provides hope for a real solution

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

At Catholic News Agency:

On 06.20.16

An announcement today that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved the first human trials of a Zika Virus vaccine is wonderful news for those facing the effects of the virus -and a reminder that medicine should seek to heal and protect, not get rid of those who are afflicted.

“We are proud to have attained the approval to initiate the first Zika vaccine study in human volunteer,” said Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President & CEO of the vaccine developer, Inovio, “the incidences of viral infection and medical conditions caused by the virus are expanding, not contracting. We plan to dose our first subjects in the next weeks and expect to report phase I interim results later this year.”

The news is a ray of hope in a nearly hemisphere-wide outbreak that only seems like it’s getting worse …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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June 20, 2016

Press Celebrates ‘Soda Tax’ Advocates’ Underhanded Passage Strategies

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:55 pm

The establishment press is thrilled over the City of Philadelphia’s enactment of a 1.5 cents-per-ounce “soda tax” last week. Monday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney signed the legislation which its City Council passed last week.

Especially unseemly is the virtual euphoria over how so-called “public health” advocates gained their long-sought foothold into using the tax system to dictate personal behavior over (eventually) any and all food and beverage products it doesn’t like. Instead of making the “we know better” nanny-state arguments which really form the foundation of their effort, the press is applauding Mayor Kenney for, in the words of New York Times reporter Margot Sanger-Katz, portraying “the soft drink industry as a tantalizing revenue source that could be tapped to fund popular city programs, including universal prekindergarten.”

(more…)

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As Obama Admin EDITS Orlando Transcript, This Is Indeed the Question of the Day

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:06 pm

Screen-Shot-2016-06-20-at-12.54.25-PM-600x285

Related: The Obama adminsitration’s Justice Department didn’t just redact part of the Omar Mateen transcripts. It also edited them

The Justice Department replaced references to ‘Allah’ with ‘God’ in an edited transcript of the 911 call Orlando jihadi Omar Mateen made during the Pulse night club attack.

During the call, Omar Mateen made an Islamic prayer in which he said:

Praise be to Allah, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of Allah [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.

In comparison, the edited DOJ transcript says:

Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.

“His very first words are the Bismillah (Arabic: بسم الله‎‎, ‘In the name of Allah’), the Islamic prayer,” commentator Pamela Geller revealed.

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Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062016)

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.

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