October 5, 2017

Update … (Updated Oct. 10)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 5:06 pm

UPDATE, Oct. 10: It looks like the next week is going to to see a gradual transition to a normal level of activity — we hope, but storm clouds still loom. Will know more on October 18.
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October 16, 2017

Positivity: Coal Miner Sings National Anthem Before Going Underground

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:40 am

From Mammoth, West Virginia:

Excerpt:

A West Virginia coal miner is going viral for his powerful rendition of the national anthem.

Shane Wriston posted on Facebook a video of his fellow miner Josh Stowers singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for his coworkers before they headed underground for the day.

“There is no kneeling in this bath house,” Wriston wrote on Facebook. “We have daily safety meeting before every shift before these guys go underground, and we appreciate Josh volunteering to sing after the meeting.”

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Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101617)

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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October 15, 2017

AP and Others in Media Ignore Illegality of Now-Halted Obamacare Subsidy Payments

There’s a lot of competition for this dubious distinction, but the media’s treatment of President Donald Trump’s decision to end certain Obamacare subsidy payments to insurance companies is perhaps the most blatant example of comprehensive bias on a single topic seen during the past week. Apparently, the press realizes that acknowledging how Trump’s justification for ending the subsidies is so airtight on a legal and constitutional basis would force them to admit that the Obama administration’s payment of those subsidies for several years was illegal — and we can’t have that. The worst offender in this regard was the Associated Press.

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Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101517)

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: Pope John XXIII a testimony to ‘the strength of goodness’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 11, 2017 / 03:18 am

The life of Pope John XXIII shows the saint’s deep spiritual nature, as well as his great kindness towards others, said a cardinal who knew him well.

“If in John Paul II the key word is courage of the faith, in John XXIII the key word is the strength of goodness,” Cardinal Comastri told CNA.

Cardinal Comastri is the President of the Fabric of Saint Peter, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, and Vicar General for the Vatican City State. He worked alongside both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II for many years as a member of the Roman Curia.

Recounting the day when John XXIII was elected Pope, the cardinal recalled that when the new pontiff appeared on the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to greet the crowds, he could hear their voices but could not see them due to the brightness of the lights.

The cardinal said that “He gave a blessing but when he returned to the doorway he said: ‘I heard the voices but I couldn’t see anyone.’”

“It was a lesson for me, if I want to see the faces of my brothers, I have to turn off the lights of my pride.”

“Right away it was a wise reading of the fact of how John XXIII was,” Cardinal Comastri noted, emphasizing that the new Supreme Pontiff “immediately… communicated with acts of kindness.”

Giving an example to illustrate this point, the cardinal brought to mind a conversation that John XXIII had with his secretary, Msgr. Loris Capovilla, a few days before his first Christmas as Pope in 1958.

During the conversation, the cardinal continued, the Pope told Msgr. Capovilla “Listen, Fr. Loris, my mother taught me that for the holidays we must not only go to Mass, but we must also do works of mercy.”

When the secretary asked what he wanted to do, John XXIII replied that “The day of Christmas I will go to the children in Bambino Gesu hospital. And December 26, I’m going to visit the prisoners of the Regina Coeli prison.”

Noting that it was the first time a Pope had traveled to the hospital, Cardinal Comastri explained that there was “great excitement” and that when he arrived, “the children all jumped from their beds to go and meet the Pope and the Pope greeted them all good-naturedly as Jesus with the children.”

However, seeing that there was one child who remained in his bed, the cardinal revealed that the Pope “was the one to approach the child,” who, when he sensed someone close, stretched out and touched the pontiff, asking, “Are you the Pope?”

When John XXIII replied with a “yes,” Cardinal Comastri recalled that the child told him “I am happy but I can’t see you because I am blind,” to which the Pope responded by “lowering his eyes” and calling the child by his name, saying “Carmine, we are all a little blind; we pray to the Lord to give us the sight of the heart to recognize ourselves as brothers.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 14, 2017

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101417)

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: Six years ago, this Catholic college was the first to sue over the HHS mandate

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

From Charlotte, North Carolina:

Oct 11, 2017 / 03:59 pm

It has been six years since Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic liberal arts school near Charlotte, North Carolina, filed the first lawsuit challenging the federal contraception mandate.

“It’s hard to believe it’s gone on for this long,” college president William Thierfelder told CNA Oct. 9.

Last week, the Trump administration announced revisions to the HHS mandate, a regulation introduced by the Obama administration that required employers to fund employee health care plans covering contraception, sterilization, and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

The revisions considerably expand exemptions for religious groups and others with moral or ethical objections to the demands of the mandate.

Thierfelder said he is grateful that the current administration has acknowledged the original mandate as violating the right to religious freedom and is taking action to correct it.
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October 13, 2017

Chicago-Cook County Soda Tax Repeal Brings Out Tired, Dishonest ‘Big Soda’ Label

On Wednesday, “the Cook County, Illinois Board of Commissioners repealed the penny-an-ounce levy on sweetened beverages it passed last November.” The inflammatory “Big Soda” label appears frequently in press coverage of this reversal of what the government-always-knows-best crowd had thought was a major nanny-state victory, and reflects the fact that many in the media are quite unhappy with this turn of events.

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101317)

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: Iowa district judge praised for upholding three-day wait for abortions

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

From Des Moines, Iowa:

Oct 12, 2017 / 02:23 pm

An Iowa judge upheld the state’s three-day waiting period for abortions last week, drawing praise from local pro-life organizations such as the Iowa Catholic Conference, who called the ruling a “positive move.”

“We are very pleased by the decision, because we think to allow women to have a reflection time before an abortion means that some of them will take that time to at least think about the decision that they are making,” stated Tom Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference, in an interview with CNA.

“Some of those women will decide in favor of life, so we were very pleased to see the judge’s decision and hope it will stand up if there are further appeals,” Chapman continued.

The act, which was passed last spring, requires a mandatory 72-hour waiting period and two consultations with doctors before receiving an abortion. It would also require the option of viewing an ultrasound and educational materials about risks associated with the procedure.

In May, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa sued against the Iowa Act, calling it a “malicious, politically motivated, anti-woman legislation.”

Judge Jeffrey Farrell of the Polk County District Court ruled against the petitioners Oct. 2, saying the law “complies with the constitutional standard” and did not place “undue burden” on women seeking abortion.

“The evidence at trial focused on the hardships women face when dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, but the public’s interest in potential life is an interest that cannot be denied under law. Both of these interests are important,” stated Farrell.

Following the court’s ruling, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a notice that they will appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Farrell’s ruling states the act will go into effect after 30 days, unless the Iowa Supreme Court grants a stay or an injunction.

Iowa is not the only state to enforce waiting periods before abortions – 27 other states have similar postponement requirements, and have been met with similar controversy. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 12, 2017

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101217)

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: Robert George reflects on Trump admin’s latest religious liberty moves

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

From Washington:

Oct 9, 2017 / 03:59 pm

Two sets of announcements by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services issued Friday both promise to broaden religious freedom protections in the United States.

The first announcement, by the HHS department, broadens the religious freedom exemptions to the department’s contraception mandate, which has been facing federal lawsuits from conscientious objectors since its introduction in 2011.

The second announcement was a memo issued by the Department of Justice, in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained 20 legal principles all government agencies should consider when dealing with religious freedom concerns.

Neither announcement will automatically resolve religious freedom cases currently within the court system.

In an Oct. 6 interview with CNA, Robert George, a professor of constitutional law at Princeton University and visiting professor at Harvard University, explained the implications of these two announcements for religious freedom supporters throughout the country.

Can you walk us through an overview of what the new HHS mandate adjustment and Department of Justice rules mean for religious freedom?

I think this is a big day for religious freedom. I see much greater value in the guidance that has been issued today than in the executive order on religious freedom from a few months ago, which I was very disappointed in. I felt that order was essentially meaningless. [Ed. note: On May 4, 2017, the White House issued the “Presidential Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.]

The guidance given today is, I think, genuine, and I think it is very likely to make a positive difference.

The administration goes clearly on the record and instructs all relevant agencies of the government that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies even where a religious entity seeks an exemption from a requirement that the entity confer benefits on third parties. This is a big point in dispute between the two sides in the debate over religious freedom. The administration comes down squarely in favor of what I believe is the correct view. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 11, 2017

Matthew Dowd Falsely Claims Trump Travel Ban ‘Does Nothing on Security’

Tuesday, after over eight months of lower-court legal maneuvering, the Supreme Court “dismissed a major challenge to President Trump’s travel ban on majority-Muslim countries … because it has been replaced by a new version, sending the controversy back to the starting block.” Perhaps the weakest argument by someone in the media against what the Supreme Court ultimately did — that Trump’s related order “does nothing on security” — was made in a Sunday tweet by Matthew Dowd, someone who should know better.

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101117)

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: Priest who secretly ministered under Soviet rule moves closer to sainthood

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From :

Oct 10, 2017 / 04:02 pm

On Monday Pope Francis advanced eight causes for sainthood, including a Capuchin priest who ministered underground across the Soviet Union for nearly 40 years.

Fr. Serafin Kaszuba, OFM Cap., was born June 17, 1910 in Zamarstynów, near Lviv, in what was then part of Austria-Hungary. Pope Francis recognized his heroic virtues Oct. 9, meaning the priest can now be referred to as “Venerable.”

Born Alojzy Kazimierz, Fr. Serafin entered the Capuchin novitiate in Poland at the age of 18. He made perpetual vows in 1932, and was ordained a priest the following year. He studied at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

In 1940 he began ministering in Lviv and Volhynia, which was occupied by the Soviet Union. The region was later occupied by Nazi Germany, until Soviet forces returned in 1944.

During the ethnic cleansing of Poles in Volhynia by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army during World War II he refused to leave his parishioners, moving from one village to another as the settlements were razed. He escaped attacks on his rectory.

Under the Soviet government he was able to legally register in 1945 as a priest in Rivne, in what is now Ukraine. He centered his ministry in Volhynia, while also travelling to the Latvian and Lithuanian territories of the Soviet Union.

In 1958 Soviet authorities stripped him of the right to publicly perform priestly functions, and he began ministering secretly in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Estonia. In 1963 he went to Kazakhstan, where the Soviets had deported tens of thousands of Poles. He continued to minister in secret, while publicly working at a bookbinders’.

He was arrested in 1966 and sentenced to prison, but he escaped the following year and continued working as a priest in Kazakhstan.

Suffering from tuberculosis and progressing deafness, Fr. Serafin was able to return to Poland, then a Soviet satellite state, for hospital treatment in 1968. He had lung surgery in Wroclaw, and returned to Kazakhstan in June 1970.

The priest then ministered primarily in Kazakhstan and Ukraine until his Sept. 20, 1977 death, while reciting the breviary, in Lviv. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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