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House votes to direct President to order U.S. forces to flee Iraq

by Lisa Graas on July 26, 2014

Nun: The sign of genocide in Iraq

Nun: The sign of genocide in Iraq

There is a genocide occurring in Iraq. Read the latest on that from Dignitatis Humanae Institute posted this morning on my blog here. See also “Nun: The Sign of Genocide.”

Barack Obama announced his plans in regard to military support versus ISIS in Iraq. Video below. (UPDATE: Video source at CNN.)

Meanwhile, the House has voted to direct President Obama to order our troops to flee Iraq. See the vote results here.

House resolution text: “Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove United States Armed Forces, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel, from Iraq.”

According to the Associated Press:

More than 800 U.S. forces are in Iraq. More than half are providing security for the embassy and U.S. personnel. American service members also are involved in improving U.S. intelligence, providing security cooperation and conducting assessments of Iraqi capabilities.

U.S. officials say the Sunni extremists who call themselves the Islamic State pose a significant threat to the American homeland. The group has expanded from its base in Syria and seized a series of towns and cities in Iraq in recent months.

A big “THANK YOU” to those who voted against the resolution, including Republican Congressman Tom Cotton who is running for Senate and was endorsed by Rick Santorum.

A big “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU THINKING?” to my own Congressman Brett Guthrie who voted for the House Resolution.

On Twitter, watch for the “Nun” symbol above as many are using it as their new profile pics to raise awareness about the genocide. A few of the many examples are linked below:

@RorateCaeli@kennethperrin / @roddreher@neuchrist@nahirbisso@QereKetiv /

 

Violence in Nigeria has ‘no boundaries’ now, archbishop says

by Lisa Graas on July 26, 2014

Nigeria_Archbishop+Kaigama

Archbishop Kaigama, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria

Rome, Italy, Jul 25, 2014 / 12:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In wake of two bombings this week in Nigeria, targeting both an Islamic scholar and a senior politician, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama has called for greater proactive efforts to identify all violent groups.

“The two separate bombings in Kaduna is a further indication that there is progression rather than retrogression of violence in the northern part of Nigeria,” Archbishop Kaigama said in comments made to CNA July 23.

“That the attacks were allegedly aimed at a prominent Islamic scholar and preacher, and a senior politician shows that the violence has no boundaries now.”

Archbishop Kaigama, head of Nigeria’s Jos archdiocese and spokesman for the country’s Catholic Bishops Conference, gave his comments following two June 23 bomb blasts in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna.

BBC News reports that the initial blast killed at least 25 people, and was reportedly aimed for moderate Islamic cleric Dahiru Bauchi, who escaped unscathed. Shortly afterward a second blast in the city could be heard not far away.

Bauchi had just concluded preaching in the nearby Murtala Muhammed square, and was driving through the area with his convoy when the bomb went off.

The blasts mark the latest in a wave of bombings shaking the country that are attributed to Islamic militant group Boko Haram, launched in 2009 with the hope of imposing sharia law on Nigeria.

Boko Haram has killed thousands in their attacks, which have targeted security forces, politicians, Christian minorities, and moderate Muslims in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north.

Another June 23 explosion attributed to Boko Haram at a public health college in Kano killed eight and wounded at least 20. In addition, the militant group continues to hold more than 200 young schoolgirls captive after kidnapping them from Chibok in April.

“Boko Haram is an unfortunate and sad development in Nigeria and it is the fruit of years of social and moral decay, negligence of the poor, corruption, bad governance, dirty politics, frustration of the youths,” Archbishop Kaigama stated.

However, he cautioned that there are also many other proactively violent groups that continue perpetuate the cycle by “hiding under the umbrella of Boko Haram.”

The archbishop made an appeal for authorities to proactively increase efforts to identify other groups who work alongside Boko Haram or use their activities as a shield in order to remain unseen.

Despite falling through on previous promises of action, the federal government’s resolve “to bring an end to the violence and the menacing activities of terrorists in the country” is appreciated, he said.

“President Goodluck Jonathan is genuinely very depressed about the recurrence of violence and the continued detention of the kidnapped Chibok girls,” he noted. “We are united with him in prayers as he explores all the possible options to bring an end to this regime of violence and the reckless taking of human lives.”

Archbishop Kaigama also voiced his hope that the current attacks do not signify an increase in violence ahead of the country’s 2015 political election.

“When you add political violence to religious violence, the result will be anarchy and doom,” he said, “which can only worsen the suffering of most Nigerians.”

Source: Catholic News Agency, published with permission.

The Islamic State Tightens Grip – Christians Flee

by Lisa Graas on July 26, 2014

isis-in-iraq

Rome, 26 July 2014 (Dignitatis Humanae Institute) – The world has watched with increasing dismay and horror as the remaining Iraqi Christian minorities have been forced out of their homes, most recently in Mosul and the surrounding area, in the latest wave of persecution and destruction rained down by the Islamic State formerly known as “ISIS”. Houses have been looted and robbed. Graves and shrines have been demolished. Crosses smashed and removed from churches.

Elie Essa Kas Hanna, DHI analyst on Human Dignity and Religious Freedom, said: “Iraqi Christians are the original residents of Mesopotamia – descendants of the ancient Babylonians, Chaldeans, Assyrians and a large number of Arabs tribes: Mudar, Rabia and Tay etc. Christianity has been present in Iraq since the First Century AD, when most of the population of Mesopotamia converted to Christianity, though leaving others to continue in their traditional beliefs in Judaism, Manichaeism and Parsee. Today, 2,000 years later, the descendants of these original Christians are being driven out as though guests in a home whose welcome they have overstayed – ironically by a religion that didn’t even appear on the scene for another five centuries.”

DHI Chairman Luca Volontè added: “The whole situation is clearly out of all control. There is tension between the government and the opposition forces, as well as the tension that still exists between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is in this space of uncertainty and mistrust that the Islamic State has moved deftly to occupy a large part of Iraqi territory that is now almost two-thirds the size of the Great Britain.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool, who launched the DHI-affiliated Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity in the Palace of Westminster, and one of the British Parliament’s most respected authorities on religious persecution around the world, said: “In 2003, the Christian presence in Iraq was 1.5 million. After the end of the Second Gulf War, the Christian presence was reduced to 400,000 people – and most of these lived in the north. Now a staggering 90% of those Christians who remained have now fled from Mosul to surrounding areas, especially onto the plains of the Biblical city of Nineveh, on the border of the Kurdistan region.”

Lord Alton illustrated the current situation with a recent example: “The DHI notes with alarm the destruction of the Biblical Tomb of Jonah – which dates from the 8th Century BC – smashed by sledgehammer blows which have echoed around the world. We can only hope that last week’s rumour of the similar destruction of the tomb of the Prophet Daniel turns out to be false.”

Indicating the difficulty regarding the authentication of reports that are emerging from the Islamic State, Lord Alton added: “Also unverified, the UN and the BBC have reported that ISIS forces in Mosul have ordered all girls and women to undergo female genital mutilation. This is an outrage. More than 130 million girls and women have already been subjected to this barbaric practice worldwide – and it has to stop. In the Islamic State today we see a historically recurring meme sadly replaying itself: an orgy of destruction of culture and heritage sooner or later leads to attacks on human beings, their freedom and dignity.”

Volontè concluded: “The DHI believes that Iraqi Christians are a vital part of Iraqi society, and that they have an irreplaceable role to play in rebuilding together – with other citizens of goodwill – a future for their country. The DHI appeals to the international community to do everything possible to come to the aid of the few Christians left in Iraq. We add our prayers to those of His Holiness Pope Francis, who follows the suffering of Christians in Iraq with great closeness.”

population before 2003 32.200.000
population after 2013 29.000.000
Shia 26.000.000
Sunni 2.000.000
Others 1.000.000
Christians before 2003 1,500,000
Christians after 2003 400,000
Christians after Isis 2014 100,000 – 200,000

Source: Central Statistical Organisation, Ministry of Planning, Republic of Iraq

Article Source: Dignitatis Humanae Institute, published with permission.

‘Islamic State’ blows up Tomb of Jonah

by Lisa Graas on July 25, 2014

isis-tomb-of-jonah

Tears this morning among Jews and Christians as the “Islamic State” (a.k.a. ISIS) blows up the Tomb of Jonah.

CNN:

If you blink during the video, you might miss the moment Jonah’s tomb in Mosul, Iraq, explodes.
The first few frames show the revered shrine towering over its landscape. There’s a sudden burst of dust, fire and smoke.

Then, nothing.

CNN could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the video, which was posted to YouTube.

The holy site is thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale or fish in both the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions.

Militants belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, planted explosives around the tomb and detonated the explosion remotely Thursday, civil defense officials there told CNN.

Video here. Before they blew it up, they went through the interior with a sledge hammer. That video, from which I have taken the screen shot above, is here.

I am most sad that people are so hateful.

Top Ten Reasons ‘Modern Family’ Actor Eric Stonestreet Refused a Photo with Rick Santorum

by Lisa Graas on July 25, 2014

My family with Rick Santorum. Left to right: Lisa Graas, Jesse Graas, Rick Santorum, Bethany Graas, Teresa Graas

My family with Rick Santorum. Left to right: Lisa Graas, Jesse Graas, Rick Santorum, Bethany Graas, Teresa Graas

Today in Santorum, left-wingers are having a field day talking about ‘Modern Family’ “star” Eric Stonestreet and his reported refusal to take a picture with Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum is my friend. I had no idea until I read these articles that this had occurred. I do not dispute that it did occur because Rick Santorum is a very warm and loving person who treats everyone with respect. It is no surprise to me that he approached Stonestreet and asked if they could have their picture taken together. It also does not surprise me that Stonestreet refused. Why? Because he is a left-winger. It also does not surprise me that left-wingers are glorying on blogs today in Stonestreet’s refusal. If you have read a recent trending article, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist, you will see, too.

Based on Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist, here are ten reasons Eric Stonestreet refused a photo with Rick Santorum.

10. Huffiness – “The disconnect between leftists’ announced value of championing the poor and the leftist practice of expressing snobbery for them stung me.”

Stonestreet’s refusal was snobbish. “Snob - a person who strives to associate with those of higher social status and who behaves condescendingly to others.”

9. Selective Outrage – “I was a graduate student. Female genital mutilation came up in class. I stated, without ornamentation, that it is wrong. A fellow graduate student, one who was fully funded and is now a comfortably tenured professor, sneered at me. ‘You are so intolerant. Clitoredectomy is just another culture’s rite of passage. You Catholics have confirmation.’ [...] The left’s selective outrage convinced me that much canonical, left-wing feminism is not so much support for women, as it is a protest against Western, heterosexual men. It’s an ‘I hate’ phenomenon, rather than an ‘I love’ phenomenon.”

The important thing for Stonestreet was not to respectfully acknowledge Santorum’s gesture of kindness because he is a fellow human being who deserves respect as such, but rather to disrespect him and spread hatred for him as is occurring today in the left-wing blogosphere. The Left will turn a blind eye to any good or to any evil in order to spread such hatred. So it was that Stonestreet turned a blind eye to Santorum’s respect for him and turned the whole situation into a reminder to other left-wingers that they need to hate Rick Santorum.

8. “It’s the thought that counts” – “My favorite bumper sticker in ultra-liberal Berkeley, California: ‘Think Globally; Screw up Locally.’ In other words, ‘Love Humanity but Hate People.’”

Stonestreet and the left-wing blogs having a feeding frenzy today over his story would likely tell you that they love humanity.

7. “Leftists hate my people.” [Working people] – “Leftists freely label poor whites as ‘redneck,’ ‘white trash,’ ‘trailer trash,’ and ‘hillbilly.’ At the same time that leftists toss around these racist and classist slurs, they are so sanctimonious they forbid anyone to pronounce the N word when reading Mark Twain aloud. President Bill Clinton’s advisor James Carville succinctly summed up leftist contempt for poor whites in his memorable quote, ‘Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.’

Rick Santorum represents working people. That is expressed most clearly in 2012 polling results and in his new book Blue Collar Conservatives. Sanctimonious behavior toward him is typical of left-wing denigration of working people.

6. “I believe in God.” – “Read Marx and discover a mythology that is irreconcilable with any other narrative, including the Bible. Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition. You will discover an alternate vocabulary in which Jesus is a ‘dead Jew on a stick’ or a ‘zombie’ and any belief is an arbitrary sham, the equivalent of a recently invented ‘flying spaghetti monster.’ You will discover historical revisionism that posits Nazism as a Christian denomination. You will discover a rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western Civilization and American concepts of individual rights and law. You will discover a nihilist void, the kind of vacuum of meaning that nature abhors and that, all too often, history fills with the worst totalitarian nightmares, the rough beast that slouches toward Bethlehem.”

Rick Santorum is certainly a believer in God. That is something to be demonized by the Left. If Stonestreet had acknowledged that Rick Santorum was just doing what Christians do in showing personal respect, he might have returned Santorum’s gesture in kind, but to acknowledge that would be to acknowledge that Christians aren’t really what the Marxists claim they are. So, he refused the gesture.

5 & 4) Straw men and “In order to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs.” – “It astounds me now to reflect on it, but never, in all my years of leftist activism, did I ever hear anyone articulate accurately the position of anyone to our right. In fact, I did not even know those positions when I was a leftist.” [...] ‘Truth is that which serves the party.’ The capital-R revolution was such a good, it could eliminate all that was bad, that manipulating facts was not even a venial sin; it was a good. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. One of those eggs was objective truth.”

I know Rick Santorum. He is my friend. He was being kind and respectful in offering to have his picture taken with Stonestreet. The “straw man” here is that Rick Santorum is ostensibly a bad person. He’s not. The “egg” that is broken is the objective truth about Rick Santorum.

2 & 3) It doesn’t work. Other approaches work better. – “My students do know — because they have been taught this — that America is run by all-powerful racists who will never let them win. My students know — because they have been drilled in this — that the only way they can get ahead is to locate and cultivate those few white liberals who will pity them and scatter crumbs on their supplicant, bowed heads and into their outstretched palms. My students have learned to focus on the worst thing that ever happened to them, assume that it happened because America is unjust, and to recite that story, dirge-like, to whomever is in charge, from the welfare board to college professors, and to await receipt of largesse. [...] After I realized that our approaches don’t work, I started reading about other approaches. I had another Aha! moment while listening to a two minute twenty-three second YouTube video of Milton Friedman responding to Phil Donahue’s castigation of greed. The only rational response to Friedman is ‘My God, he’s right.’”

Stonestreet was cooperating in the narrative that Rick Santorum is a “hater.” Faced with the reality that Rick Santorum is not even remotely a “hater,” Stonestreet opted to close his mind. The closed mind, unfortunately, also closes off people you might otherwise have a friendly relationship with. Does Stonestreet have any friends who agree with Rick Santorum? How could he if he closes his mind to them? Hence, socialism doesn’t work for humanity. It requires you to see people who disagree with it as a problem to be rejected.

1. Hate - “I experienced powerful cognitive dissonance when I recognized the hate. The rightest of my right-wing acquaintances — I had no right-wing friends — expressed nothing like this. My right-wing acquaintances talked about loving: God, their family, their community. I’m not saying that the right-wingers I knew were better people; I don’t know that they were. I’m speaking here, merely, about language. [...] I do have right-wing friends now and they do get angry and they do express that anger. But when I encounter unhinged, stratospheric vituperation, when I encounter detailed revenge fantasies in scatological and sadistic language, I know I’ve stumbled upon a left-wing website.”

Rick Santorum is a kind person who was being respectful to and welcoming of Eric Stonestreet as a human being made in the image of a loving God who has dignity as such. Eric Stonestreet, on the other hand, hates Rick Santorum.

A final note: I don’t watch television, partly because of content such as what I find in the description of “Modern Family,” which Stonestreet is a part of. The difference between conservatives and progressives seems to be that, in general, conservatives hate certain behaviors but never human beings. Progressives are, however, willing to hate other human beings who do not agree with them and they are quick to accuse conservatives of that very thing. In my mind, this story of Stonestreet and Santorum is a prime example of how that plays out in real life situations. Another example is that people who are rightfully upset that our southern border is not secure and that the law is being broken thousands of times each day on the border because of that are called “racists.” Another example is that people who hate the act of abortion are called “anti-woman,” even though the pro-life movement itself is majority female. The Left drives hatred and resentment whereas the Right drives opposition to the bad ideas being thrust upon us. The more people understand the basics of human dignity, the less hatred and resentment there will be in America.

 

 

 

 

Fifty States, Fifty Headlines and Aretha

by Lisa Graas on July 25, 2014

Aretha…Gospel…and more than fifty Headlines.

Alabama -

Accused Auburn mass shooter Desmonte Leonard had sex with Montgomery corrections officer, chief deputy says. Caught on camera.

Sixth grader to sing at Braves game. “I am so excited about singing the national anthem at the Braves game,” Ella Kate said.

Pics from the Gospel Music Hall Grand Opening, in Piedmont.

Alaska -

Wasilla ATV petition collects 2,000 signatures. Petitioners want no ban on ATVs within city limits.

 Governor Parnell signs six bills. Bi-partisanship?

Bed tax proposed. Tourists, take note.

Arizona -

Cave Creek citizen takes on town council. Public money being used to “fuel discontent?”

Two Valley apartment properties sold for $75.45M. Previous owner? JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York.

Where did Flagstaff’s porcupines go? “The Great Extermination.”

Arkansas -

Lockdown at Little Rock’s Air Force Base. “Mistaken Identity.”

Arkansas Liquor Fight. Should the entire state be wet?

A bumble bee landed on a sunflower. Hey, it’s summer in Magnolia, Arkansas.

California -

“Travis: A Soldier’s Story.” Gary Sinise and friends, photo gallery.

Chico business owner spots his stolen property on TV. What a surprise.

Photos illustrate stark difference in Isabella Lake water levels. Drought pics.

Waiting for the judgment. Surfers sue private beach owner to open access.

Here is where violent crime is surging in L.A. Biggest increase? Van Nuys.

Colorado -

Former restaurant owner sues lender over $1 million in interest. Greed?

Public liquidation for Delta timber mill. “Economic and industry challenges.”

Historic bomber brings education, experience and honor to Loveland. “They build 3,970 B-29s and this is the only flying one left.”

Connecticut -

Justina Pelletier to ‘sparkle’ at upcoming homecoming celebration. Awesome.

Delaware -

Out of the attic: Sketch of abandoned Newark Train Station. Apparently, 1984 was a long time ago.

Florida -

Daytona Beach officials seeking churches’ help with kids. Time to step up to the plate.

Junior anglers fish for big kingfish. Photos.

Georgia -

Pigs and Peaches BBQ Fest coming up. Ya hungry?

The governor wants thousands more truck drivers. Good for business?

Hawaii -

Quarter of Hawaii’s population now on Medicaid. “The target is for all Hawaii residents to have health insurance.” – DHS

Woman who was beaten up for defending autistic boy heads up anti-bullying campaign. Payback?

Idaho -

Blogger advocates for state to follow constitution in convention center expansion. Sounds reasonable.

Illinois -

Patriot Guard escort veteran McCray home. Honor.

Obamacare editorial cartoon. Affordable?

Indiana -

Holiday World takes flight with $22M Thunderbird wing coaster. My kids will be happy.

LGBTQ community is confused. They think traditional marriage is “hard on the kids.” Hmmm. Yea, they’re confused.

Pit bull saves deaf boy from fire. Hero pet.

Iowa -

Forty people arrested for shoplifting in one community, in one five-day period. Crackdown.

Kansas -

Former priest Shawn Ratigan’s 50-year sentence for child pornography upheld. Guilty plea.

Kansas AG sides with anti-Obamacare ruling. Priorities.

Kentucky -

Laser tag and a “lawn mower demolition derby.” Summer in Kentucky.

UK backs out of Rupp Arena renovation. Too many dollar signs.

Bluegrass Army Depot to blow obsolete explosives up on Fridays and Saturdays. Boom.

Louisiana -

Diocese’s lease complicates plans for Lourdes property. “It’s complicated.”

Maine -

Caribou residents intrigued by secession effort. Wherein 80% of a town may “secede” from the other 20%.

Maryland -

Number living below poverty line in Montgomery County doubles. “It feels like every dollar I make, I owe two more.”

Massachusetts -

Plum Beach residents complain of “unacceptable conditions.” Their beach dumpster overfloweth. Photo of overflowing dumpster here.

Jon Bon Jovi gives love a good name. Humanitarian.

Michigan -

Recipe for summer tortellini salad. I would totally eat that.

Former Christian radio host signs plea deal in child porn case. 15 years mandatory minumum.

Detroit water contracts to be rebid after City Council finds red flags. “Face-off.”

Minnesota -

Water carnival makes a big splash. “It went perfect.”

Mississippi -

Big band music comes back to Vicksburg. Ritz on the River.

New Biloxi Seafood Museum is ‘story of a place.‘ Katrina comeback story.

Missouri -

Diving for evidence. Some cops work underwater.

Lee’s Summit teen completes mammoth trek across Spain. “Siesta. That was a killer.”

Montana -

Montana wheat nears harvest in good shape, but with declining prices. Tight times.

Nebraska -

The Changing Atmosphere of Wine and Whisky. Evolution.

Nevada -

The Return of Liberace. No, not a resurrection. A museum.

Groundwater loss in the Southwest called ‘shocking’. Not enough snow?

New Hampshire -

A quest for knowledge in the great outdoors. A.K.A. “Camp.”

Call for grocery store boycott. Market Basket workers want to pick the CEO.

New Jersey -

Surviving a nuclear apocalypse at the Jersey Shore. History.

New Mexico -

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range. Public comment welcome for 60 days.

New York -

Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corp. Will youth trade in guns for stethoscopes?

Hartsville to celebrate 170 years Aug. 3 during Old Home Day. Happy Anniversary.

Local Cyclists, Planners Envision Bike-Share Program Geared to Ithaca. Growing tradition.

North Carolina -

Young farming couple feeds community. “Protecting our heritage.”

North Dakota -

Olympic gold medalist shares story of overcoming abuse. “We were prisoners in a way.”

Ohio -

Ohio State University fires marching band director for ‘sexualized’ culture. Vulgarity on parade.

Museum to sponsor county barn quilt tour. Growing in popularity.

Oklahoma -

One Jew’s Open Letter to the World. Canaries in the coal mine.

New Chief Of Artillery At Sill To Drive Momentum Worldwide. “Set the standard.”

Leads pour in after church fire. Burglaries, too.

Oregon -

Trail camera gets new photos of OR-7′s wolf pups. Two hiding in a log.

Pennsylvania -

Female victim ID’d in fatal Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital shooting. “Hospital horror.”

Southern York County wedding venue targets those with love of history. “Character.”

Racing icon Richard Petty to appear in Wright Township for donation. VROOM.

Rhode Island -

Adrift in the Ocean State. Homeless in Rhode Island.

South Carolina -

The Vegetable Bin is closing. Lettuce pray.

Sitting S.C. Senators Looking Solid. Blowout?

South Dakota -

5 walk-in fishing spots in the Black Hills. Escape.

Tennessee -

‘Sermon on the Mount’ uses horse — lesson on trust, God. “Healthier perspective of life.”

Texas -

Texas misspelled “Texas” on the footer of every player bio in its media guide. Oops.

Dominique Morales an ‘excellent’ tourist. “My favorite part was when we went to the Statue of Liberty…”

Utah -

Oil sands protests to continue after arrests. “When people bring their kids onto an active industrial site, that’s kind of a dumb thing to do.”

Vermont -

Eating Wild-Caught Fish Can be Healthy for You and the Environment. Safe. Fun. Eco-Friendly. Tasty.

Virginia -

Event honors Secretariat’s kin. Homage.

Grandmother gives 21-year-old a birthday gift to remember. No fear.

Washington -

JBLM National Guard crews fly into thick of Central Washington wildfires. Scorched earth.

West Virginia -

Wedding kicks off MountainFest. “Sunshine, bikes, beer, friends and rock ’n roll.”

Members of Wharton-Barrett fire department facing felony charges. Forged training documents?

Wisconsin -

Columbia County Fair’s swine show ‘terminal’ because of disease concerns. “That’s why you don’t get attached to them.”

Wyoming -

Museum is one man’s life passion. History.

Republican campaign signs slashed, stolen, vandalized. Tolerance.

Fifty States, Fifty Headlines and Aretha

by Lisa Graas on July 25, 2014

Aretha…Gospel…and more than fifty Headlines.

Alabama -

Accused Auburn mass shooter Desmonte Leonard had sex with Montgomery corrections officer, chief deputy says. Caught on camera.

Sixth grader to sing at Braves game. “I am so excited about singing the national anthem at the Braves game,” Ella Kate said.

Pics from the Gospel Music Hall Grand Opening, in Piedmont.

Alaska -

Wasilla ATV petition collects 2,000 signatures. Petitioners want no ban on ATVs within city limits.

 Governor Parnell signs six bills. Bi-partisanship?

Bed tax proposed. Tourists, take note.

Arizona -

Cave Creek citizen takes on town council. Public money being used to “fuel discontent?”

Two Valley apartment properties sold for $75.45M. Previous owner? JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York.

Where did Flagstaff’s porcupines go? “The Great Extermination.”

Arkansas -

Lockdown at Little Rock’s Air Force Base. “Mistaken Identity.”

Arkansas Liquor Fight. Should the entire state be wet?

A bumble bee landed on a sunflower. Hey, it’s summer in Magnolia, Arkansas.

California -

“Travis: A Soldier’s Story.” Gary Sinise and friends, photo gallery.

Chico business owner spots his stolen property on TV. What a surprise.

Photos illustrate stark difference in Isabella Lake water levels. Drought pics.

Waiting for the judgment. Surfers sue private beach owner to open access.

Here is where violent crime is surging in L.A. Biggest increase? Van Nuys.

Colorado -

Former restaurant owner sues lender over $1 million in interest. Greed?

Public liquidation for Delta timber mill. “Economic and industry challenges.”

Historic bomber brings education, experience and honor to Loveland. “They build 3,970 B-29s and this is the only flying one left.”

Connecticut -

Justina Pelletier to ‘sparkle’ at upcoming homecoming celebration. Awesome.

Delaware -

Out of the attic: Sketch of abandoned Newark Train Station. Apparently, 1984 was a long time ago.

Florida -

Daytona Beach officials seeking churches’ help with kids. Time to step up to the plate.

Junior anglers fish for big kingfish. Photos.

Georgia -

Pigs and Peaches BBQ Fest coming up. Ya hungry?

The governor wants thousands more truck drivers. Good for business?

Hawaii -

Quarter of Hawaii’s population now on Medicaid. “The target is for all Hawaii residents to have health insurance.” – DHS

Woman who was beaten up for defending autistic boy heads up anti-bullying campaign. Payback?

Idaho -

Blogger advocates for state to follow constitution in convention center expansion. Sounds reasonable.

Illinois -

Patriot Guard escort veteran McCray home. Honor.

Obamacare editorial cartoon. Affordable?

Indiana -

Holiday World takes flight with $22M Thunderbird wing coaster. My kids will be happy.

LGBTQ community is confused. They think traditional marriage is “hard on the kids.” Hmmm. Yea, they’re confused.

Pit bull saves deaf boy from fire. Hero pet.

Iowa -

Forty people arrested for shoplifting in one community, in one five-day period. Crackdown.

Kansas -

Former priest Shawn Ratigan’s 50-year sentence for child pornography upheld. Guilty plea.

Kansas AG sides with anti-Obamacare ruling. Priorities.

Kentucky -

Laser tag and a “lawn mower demolition derby.” Summer in Kentucky.

UK backs out of Rupp Arena renovation. Too many dollar signs.

Bluegrass Army Depot to blow obsolete explosives up on Fridays and Saturdays. Boom.

Louisiana -

Diocese’s lease complicates plans for Lourdes property. “It’s complicated.”

Maine -

Caribou residents intrigued by secession effort. Wherein 80% of a town may “secede” from the other 20%.

Maryland -

Number living below poverty line in Montgomery County doubles. “It feels like every dollar I make, I owe two more.”

Massachusetts -

Plum Beach residents complain of “unacceptable conditions.” Their beach dumpster overfloweth. Photo of overflowing dumpster here.

Jon Bon Jovi gives love a good name. Humanitarian.

Michigan -

Recipe for summer tortellini salad. I would totally eat that.

Former Christian radio host signs plea deal in child porn case. 15 years mandatory minumum.

Detroit water contracts to be rebid after City Council finds red flags. “Face-off.”

Minnesota -

Water carnival makes a big splash. “It went perfect.”

Mississippi -

Big band music comes back to Vicksburg. Ritz on the River.

New Biloxi Seafood Museum is ‘story of a place.‘ Katrina comeback story.

Missouri -

Diving for evidence. Some cops work underwater.

Lee’s Summit teen completes mammoth trek across Spain. “Siesta. That was a killer.”

Montana -

Montana wheat nears harvest in good shape, but with declining prices. Tight times.

Nebraska -

The Changing Atmosphere of Wine and Whisky. Evolution.

Nevada -

The Return of Liberace. No, not a resurrection. A museum.

Groundwater loss in the Southwest called ‘shocking’. Not enough snow?

New Hampshire -

A quest for knowledge in the great outdoors. A.K.A. “Camp.”

Call for grocery store boycott. Market Basket workers want to pick the CEO.

New Jersey -

Surviving a nuclear apocalypse at the Jersey Shore. History.

New Mexico -

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range. Public comment welcome for 60 days.

New York -

Bed-Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corp. Will youth trade in guns for stethoscopes?

Hartsville to celebrate 170 years Aug. 3 during Old Home Day. Happy Anniversary.

Local Cyclists, Planners Envision Bike-Share Program Geared to Ithaca. Growing tradition.

North Carolina -

Young farming couple feeds community. “Protecting our heritage.”

North Dakota -

Olympic gold medalist shares story of overcoming abuse. “We were prisoners in a way.”

Ohio -

Ohio State University fires marching band director for ‘sexualized’ culture. Vulgarity on parade.

Museum to sponsor county barn quilt tour. Growing in popularity.

Oklahoma -

One Jew’s Open Letter to the World. Canaries in the coal mine.

New Chief Of Artillery At Sill To Drive Momentum Worldwide. “Set the standard.”

Leads pour in after church fire. Burglaries, too.

Oregon -

Trail camera gets new photos of OR-7′s wolf pups. Two hiding in a log.

Pennsylvania -

Female victim ID’d in fatal Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital shooting. “Hospital horror.”

Southern York County wedding venue targets those with love of history. “Character.”

Racing icon Richard Petty to appear in Wright Township for donation. VROOM.

Rhode Island -

Adrift in the Ocean State. Homeless in Rhode Island.

South Carolina -

The Vegetable Bin is closing. Lettuce pray.

Sitting S.C. Senators Looking Solid. Blowout?

South Dakota -

5 walk-in fishing spots in the Black Hills. Escape.

Tennessee -

‘Sermon on the Mount’ uses horse — lesson on trust, God. “Healthier perspective of life.”

Texas -

Texas misspelled “Texas” on the footer of every player bio in its media guide. Oops.

Dominique Morales an ‘excellent’ tourist. “My favorite part was when we went to the Statue of Liberty…”

Utah -

Oil sands protests to continue after arrests. “When people bring their kids onto an active industrial site, that’s kind of a dumb thing to do.”

Vermont -

Eating Wild-Caught Fish Can be Healthy for You and the Environment. Safe. Fun. Eco-Friendly. Tasty.

Virginia -

Event honors Secretariat’s kin. Homage.

Grandmother gives 21-year-old a birthday gift to remember. No fear.

Washington -

JBLM National Guard crews fly into thick of Central Washington wildfires. Scorched earth.

West Virginia -

Wedding kicks off MountainFest. “Sunshine, bikes, beer, friends and rock ’n roll.”

Members of Wharton-Barrett fire department facing felony charges. Forged training documents?

Wisconsin -

Columbia County Fair’s swine show ‘terminal’ because of disease concerns. “That’s why you don’t get attached to them.”

Wyoming -

Museum is one man’s life passion. History.

Republican campaign signs slashed, stolen, vandalized. Tolerance.

Slate: Only Orthodox Catholics know what an anus is for

by Lisa Graas on July 24, 2014

According to Mark Joseph Stern at Slate, orthodox Catholics are the only people these days who know that the anus is for expelling bowel movements and not for having things thrust into it.

We’ve heard this primitivist, coitus-fixated argument before, of course; anti-gay crusader Robert P. George memorably deployed it to a similarly disturbing effect. The problem with this logic, aside from reducing the marriage bond to an act of genital penetration, is that it surely finds no support outside of orthodox Catholic circles. Very few married couples view penile-vaginal intercourse as the core of their relationship, the physical, spiritual, emotional connection without which their entire marriage would be a sham. Marriage is, and has always been, about so much more than just sex. Yet Webb and his ilk continue to insist that vaginal intercourse is the true basis of any marriage, the font from which all other forms of affection and commitment must spring.

In the article by Stephen Webb, which Stern is referring to, Webb begins by saying:

Analogies are rhetorical devices that require careful scrutiny.

Stern’s response is not careful scrutiny. It is true that marriage is about “so much more than just sex,” but the realities and consequences of sex are the state’s only interest in marriage. The state has no interest in “love and commitment,” hence the state allows divorce. Not only does the state allow divorce, it allows it for any reason whatsoever, or for no reason. If the state should be interested in love and commitment, then divorce should be allowed only in very rare circumstances. Civil divorce has devalued marriage to the point that the state is no longer interested in “love and commitment,” at all.

Though civil marriage is no longer about “love and commitment,” it continues to be both a matter of public health and a matter of the rights of children born from the union of man and woman. As a matter of public health, it’s important to discuss body parts. Orthodox Catholics are not generally averse to discussing all the body parts in public, hence orthodox Catholics can be see making the arguments from a public health perspective. It has been well-documented that putting things into your anus, even if those things are made of flesh, is not healthy behavior. It is conducive, rather, to the spread of disease. Some of us take issue with elevating the spread of disease to a sacred institution in civil law. Meanwhile, the “gay rights” movement has friends in the “war on women” movement which treats pregnancy as a disease.  For objecting to these things, we are called backward. So be it. The truth is the truth. Sodomy is conducive to disease. Pregnancy is not.

There is yet another reason for civil law to uphold marriage between one man and one woman, and that has to do with pregnancy. The “gay rights” movement does not treat children as biological parents treat children. This should be obvious since no two men can have biological children together and no two women can have biological children together. If you accept the idea that the love and care for children by their biological parents is the “same” as the love and care they receive from two non-biological parents, in the context of civil law, then you have forfeited the reasoning for the state to seek to keep children together with their biological parents. That reasoning is simply erased from the law. It becomes the state’s decision alone where to place children, even your biological children, because the state no longer assumes that they are better off with you unless proven otherwise by an abuse situation. You are placing both your parental rights and your children’s rights into the hands of the state to decide, arbitrarily, who should “parent” your children.

Would the state remove children from “backward” orthodox Catholic families and place them with same-sex couples? Maybe and maybe not, but certainly, if “gay marriage” Is the law, the state would have no legal reasoning to avoid doing that. Think about it. If the state currently does not take those kids away from their biological parents because the state assumes that kids are better off with their biological parents, barring abuse or neglect, then the state will take those kids away if that reasoning is removed, even if there is no abuse or neglect, because they can.

It’s not just about the anus, though that is an important public health issue. It’s about the children that are born when a man and a woman have sexual relations. It’s about keeping biological families together.

 

 

 

‘When you feel the assaults of passion and anger’

by Lisa Graas on July 24, 2014

paulofthecross2

Words to remember, from St. Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists.

“When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to be silent as Jesus was silent in the midst of His ignominies and sufferings. O holy silence, rich in great virtues! O holy silence, which is a key of gold, keeping in safety the great treasure of holy virtues!”

Silence can be very helpful.

 

Rebecca Hamilton compares ‘demagoguery’ on the border issue to porn

by Lisa Graas on July 24, 2014

whatever

Rebecca Hamilton is comparing demands for a secure border to “demagoguery” and “porn.” I knew she was upset about this, so I knew immediately where she was going with it even before she explained her analogy.

As I explained here, it is important to uphold the rule of law. The rule of law not being upheld in Central America is ultimately the reason for the border crisis, though certainly the bishops’ language which indicates a moral obligation to defect to America is a factor, as is the president’s message that young people crossing illegally should receive amnesty. People get emotional that the rule of law is not being upheld, and when people are emotional in politics, you’re bound to see some hyperbole. You might even see calls for violence, though I haven’t seen any.

I am seeing people who don’t care so much about the gaping hole in the border demonizing people who are upset about that by accusing them of demonization.

I grow weary.

Let me say the same thing in another way. If you think people are demonizing people, demonizing those people doesn’t help your argument, especially when 80% of the public agrees with their premise.

This is akin to calling people “bigot” for defending true marriage. If that is your argument, you don’t have an argument.

I love Rebecca Hamilton. She’s one of my favorite Catholic bloggers. I can let it slide. You should, too. Still, I had to say something. Cardinal Maradiaga did the same thing. The USCCB blog has compared the border security crowd to people who dropped napalm on innocents in Vietnam. With all due respect, you aren’t convincing anyone. You’re only pouring gasoline on the fire when you demonize people whose positions are appalling to you because you think they’re demonizing people. It doesn’t add up.

 

 

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