Monday, June 26, 2006

Matters of life and death..and some good news

"Today's newspaper is tomorrow's toilet paper."

Not a line to be relished but there is some truth to it, particularly if you're referring to the scandal sheets that will never cease to be as long as we continue to lap them up (the one-liner is also a reassuring thought to bear in mind if you happen to be a celebrity who's the object of the day's malicious rumors).

However, headlines are not necessarily that disposable. And when the headlines are such as the ones below, they aren't likely to refer to rumors. Scandalous they may be and they may be fodder for scandal sheets, but these things are truly happening. This is one time wherein I wish headlines like the following were mere attention-grabbers which didn't really happen.

Nitschke plans NZ euthanasia workshops
Australian right-to-die advocate Dr Philip Nitschke plans to hold two euthanasia workshops in New Zealand in August after the government decided not to pursue legal action against him.

Woman forced to abort fetus at 7 months
A 25-year-old unmarried woman was seven months pregnant when staff members from the local government family planning office forcibly took her to a clinic to give her an abortion.

Feminist says child-rearing not worthy of time and talents of intelligent humans
Writing in the November 2005 edition of the American Prospect, Hirshman admitted that the real intention of the feminist movement was not “equality”, but to destroy what she calls “the unreconstructed family” of a husband and wife rearing children. She writes that the goal was to see as many women as possible abandoning family life for high-level professions and politics.

Morning-after pill spreading out of control in Spanish schools
According to a report in the Spanish daily “La Opinion de la Coruña”, the morning-after pill, approved for use in Spain for emergency only, has spread out of control in schools in the northern Spanish region of Galicia, with some young women taking the drug up to seven times a month.

Now for some tidbits that will make you smile...

Rock for Life will travel thousands of miles, meet thousands of teens on pro-life music tour
American Life League’s Rock for Life, the nation’s premiere pro-life youth organization, kicks off its summer concert tour today. The tour will include stops in 15 states across the country. “We are excited to get this tour on the road so that we can spread a message of hope and encouragement about the pro-life movement,” said Erik Whittington, director of Rock for Life. “This year’s trek will be our most ambitious yet as our crew will travel more than 20,000 miles across the United States, spreading the truth about abortion.

The tour schedule is here

Wash for Life: A fundraiser for Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Seven students from Thomas Aquinas College in Southern California are coordinating Wash For Life, a national car-wash fundraising campaign for local crisis pregnancy centers, to be carried out by youth groups on September 16, 2006. Hoping that thousands will join in the venture, Jon Tonkowich, who leads the campaign, plans to publicize the number of car washes and amount of money raised to show America that the youth of this generation are pro-life.

A diamond in the rough
A Staten Island wife has been reunited with her wedding ring thanks to her determined husband and a helpful sanitation worker.

When will they listen?

Medical journalist says reliance on condoms spreads HIV/AIDS

By Gudrun Schultz


“So far, there’s no good evidence that condoms will reverse population-wide epidemics like those in sub-Saharan Africa,” [Sue Ellin] Browder wrote. She offered evidence that dramatic increases in condom distribution in African nations paralleled an explosion in HIV/AIDS infection rates within the population.

Citing statistics from South Africa, Browder stated that condom distribution between 1994 and 1998 leaped to 198 million from 6 million, but death rates from HIV/AIDS in the years between 1997 and 2002 saw a massive 57 per cent increase.

Ms. Browder’s report echoes the warnings of multiple medical experts, among them Dr. Norman Hearst of the University of California, who raised the alarm on condom use as an AIDS preventative in 2004. Dr. Hearst presented statistics showing a marked correlation between increased condom sales in the African nations of Kenya, Botswana, and others, and a parallel increase in HIV rates by year.

Full story at LifeSite

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Urgent adoption need

From Mommy Life

Time is running out for James, a sweet little Chinese boy with Down syndrome on whose adoption hangs the fate of other such children in China.

Listen to this from the social worker handling his case:

China officials have not offered children with ds for adoption before because they do not believe people would want them, they put James up because many people advocated for him to be offered.

But, the officials have decided if he is not put on hold (basically meaning picked) in the next six days [by July 1], they will pull him back and he will remain institutionalized in China permanently. And - they will not allow any other children with down syndrome to be offered for adoption - period!

Adopting James will not only make a difference in HIS life, but in the lives of the many other children in China with DS who are left in orphanages and institutions their whole lives. He eeds a home so badly.

I know that international adoptions are costly, but a donor has generously agreed to fund his adoption.

If you, or anyone you know has room in your/their heart/home for this cute little guy, his contact information is below. Please pass this along to any ds list you are apart of!

More information at A Helping Hand

Remember, funding for this adoption has been promised, so money is not an obstacle.

Great to be 8

It's nice to read about things like this. From Phil of A family runs through it :

Today my son turns eight years old.

This past year saw some big changes for him. He learned to ride a two-wheeled bike. He started reading chapter books, graduating from Dr. Seuss to Hardy Boys and Boxcar Children. He took on a lot more personal responsibility, such as brushing his teeth without us asking and picking out his own clothes. This past year he also started getting an allowance. Along with that, he opened his first savings account. One of the biggest changes of the past year is that he began to understand that learning and doing new things is a reward in itself.

No matter what the changes, I'm very proud of him. I'm proud that people say he's a nice boy, especially the girls in his class who are not yet attracted to the "bad boys"... I'm proud that he holds the door open for kindergarteners, and that he always remembers to say "Thank you" when older kids hold the door for him... I'm proud of him for having a wide variety of interests, from Star Wars to Hot Wheels to gardening to fishing... I'm proud of him when he teaches his little sister games, like Stratego and Monopoly. She doesn't always get it, but he keeps trying in the face of frustration... Most of all, I'm just proud that he is learning and growing and having fun, just like he's supposed to be doing. He may get a little silly sometimes. Well, make that a LOT silly sometimes, but when is he ever going to have another chance to be a silly 8-year-old boy?

Read the rest at A family runs through it

Friday, June 23, 2006

This is a job for...

I've always been partial to Superman, and it's got nothing to do with the cape or the boots. For me, he is simply the epitome of what a superhero should be.

Notwithstanding the latest Superman movie, here's an interesting article about the "superhero superleague, " which includes Professor X, Daredevil, Spidey (of course) and classics such as Wonder Woman and Batman -- among others.

Superheroes: The power list

Great Scott! The caped crusader is back on screen this summer - and he's in better shape than ever. But what of Clark Kent's comic book contemporaries? Adrian Turpin turns his X-ray vision on the superhero superleague

Read this super article at The Independent

When words get in the way

One thing I admire about the prime movers of the anti-birth cause ("pro-choice" is a misnomer so I'm using the term "anti-birth" as it describes the position they take more accurately, as pointed out by a commenter over at Generations for Life in one discussion) is their creativity when it comes to coming up with attractive language. They know how to use words and phrases that are likely to elicit compassion and will give their agenda a noble quality -- never mind if those words actually get in the way of communicating the truth. "Perfumed language" is how Wesley J. Smith calls it.

Advocates for assisted suicide know that when their agenda is described accurately and descriptively--they lose. So, they are ever about the task of trying to come up with new gooey euphemisms to describe assisted suicide--to be, if you will, the sugar that helps the hemlock go down.

The assisted suicide legalization bill has been amended to use even more perfumed language than before to describe assisted suicide. The bill used to authorize terminally ill adults to "make a request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner."

But, apparently even that boilerplate of assisted suicide bills is too graphic. The bill now reads,"...make a request for medication prescribed pursuant to this bill to provide comfort with an assurance of peaceful dying if suffering becomes unbearable." Of course, unbearable suffering isn't defined so the term is rendered meaningless and becomes whatever the suicidal patient deemed it to be.

Read the whole thing at Second Hand Smoke

Monkeying around in flamenco land

I can just imagine life wherein the Spaniards would have to get used to enjoying their paella in restaurants, with monkeys dining at the next table -- all because the hairy creatures are entitled to the same rights as all other Spanish citizens.

I can also imagine the poor Spaniards having to wait in line at the travel agency much longer because it's peak season for chimps to be renewing their passports.

Will human patients be sharing semi-private rooms with King Kong's descendants in Madrid hospitals in a year or two? Will refusal to do so result in a lawsuit? Will orangutans cry "discrimination!!"?

Is Spain on its way, aping a "Planet of the Apes" way of life?


Drive to give 'human' rights to apes leaves Spanish divided
By David Rennie
(Filed: 10/06/2006)

Spain could soon become the first country in the world to give chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and other great apes some of the fundamental rights granted to human beings under a law being proposed by members of the ruling Socialist coalition.

Full story at

Pills, chills and 'thinking ill'

Since 1997, when the US first allowed TV ads that tout the latest drugs, Americans have had to watch a parade of ailments they knew little about. Selling sickness is now a multibillion-dollar business. Some critics joke that drug companies may soon sell a pill for the mass hypochondria their ads seem to create.

Some in the medical community are pushing back against the selling of drugs to treat mild conditions that are rarely serious or the attempts to recategorize common aspects of life, such as shyness, as medical conditions. By doing so, drugmakers can expand or even create markets for their products. Sometimes they even invent new conditions, such as "pre-hypertension," and then offer a drug for it.

"There's a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they're sick," concludes an article in the April 13 edition of BMJ, a British medical journal, titled "Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering."

Read Parading ailments to sell pills

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You go, dads!

Late by a few days for Father's Day, but then we don't really need a special occasion to appreciate the good things that wonderful men are doing, right?

Here are three items I've bookmarked the past week but have had no time to comment on. I find the 'She has a name' campaign and the Pussycat Dolls pullout both steps in the right direction. The third item -- an interesting article from -- a thought-provoking read.

"She Has A Name," an ad created by The Defenders, advances the first offensive in the battle against sexual exploitation of children by the sex industry and its buyers. The ad, calling on men to join The Defenders, airs nation-wide beginning Friday, June 16th. The ad specifically challenges men to be defenders and protectors of children, not abusers. Alyn Waller of Philadelphia concludes the ad stating, "Real men defend women and children no matter whose daughters they are."

Read "She has a name campaign launched on Father's day"

Plans for a line of dolls based on pop group "The Pussycat Dolls" have been shelved after a successful protest campaign by Dads & Daughters. The Pussycat Dolls is a six woman music group that performs highly eroticized dance routines and songs and helped launch a sexual cabaret show in Los Angeles. Despite lyrical content like "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me?" toy maker Hasbro planned on launching a line that would be marketed to girls as young as six.

Joe Kelly, president of Dads & Daughters responded, "We asked Hasbro executives to imagine encouraging their own six-year-old daughters and granddaughters to engage in developmentally unhealthy behavior. It appears that they did that, and then made the right decision for their families, our families, and the company."

Read "Fathers to the rescue"

Oh, man

In the film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's violent novel, Fight Club, character Tyler Durden points to his generation of young men as the "middle children of history." Played by actor Brad Pitt, Durden represents the absolute collapse of masculinity into raw violence. This character joins his friends in seeking personal release and ecstasy through violent fights that send the participants regularly to the emergency room. In a haunting comment, Durden remarks: "We are a generation of men raised by women." Is this our future?

Reporting in the Dec. 11, 2005 edition of The New York Times, Warren St. John describes the emergence of a new phenomenon — "Neanderthal TV."

Full article at Boundless webzine

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Lots of pro-life action in Illinois...

First, there's the summer 2006 Face the Truth Tour of the Pro-Life Action League, which includes in its itinerary Libertyville, Rockford, Barrington, Chicago and other places that I'm not familiar with (I haven't even set foot on American soil yet). Check out the itinerary and other information.

Then, there's a new pro-life radio show on Salem's AM Radio, 1160, WYLL, Chicago, which first hit the airwaves last June 17. From Jill Stanek:

Beginning this Saturday, June 17, at 4:30 p.m. CST, I will host a new, half-hour pro-life radio show called Pro-Life Pulse on Salem Broadcasting's WYLL, 1160 AM, in Chicago.

The show can be heard life via the Internet and will cover current events through news coverage, interviews, and commentary.

Tune in!

The major sponsor of the show is WomanCare Services of Berwyn, Illinois.

Also featured during the program will be pro-life educational commercials by Right to Life of Will County and Illinois Right to Life.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Mark this date!

Pro-Life Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will be awarding the winners of the 1st Pro-Life Film-Making Contest on June 30, 2006. This event – to be held at the Fr. James Reuter Theater, St. Paul University in Quezon City, from 1:30-4:30 pm – will also include a forum on film production by film and communication experts, who also served as judges at the contest dubbed “Life, Camera, Action!”

More details at Pro-Life Philippines

Something old, something new...

I've noticed that more pictures and features of brides, bridal gowns and everything to do with weddings, have been finding their way onto newspaper pages recently. Then I remembered a while ago -- it's June. Hence, the "June bride" theme.

The concept of the June bride is basically a western one, though it is much adopted even in the Philippines. I assumed that American and European brides like the idea of tying the knot upon the entry of summer. In my country, June is the start of the typhoon season, which is far from the ideal weather for such an important occasion. December to February, on the other hand, have been the peak months for business, according to wedding coordinators and suppliers.

But come to think of it, no matter what season one's wedding ceremony is held on, what follows will always be the same thing: married life. And that's what brides and grooms are supposedly preparing for. Ask Mr. and Mrs. Wittke, who had their wedding 70 years ago.

In wedding season, a seasoned union
Seventy years ago this week, a young bride in a peau de soie gown walked down the long aisle of a church in St. Paul, Minn., and exchanged vows with the groom she first met when she was 16. After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their 80 guests gathered at her parents' house for a simple reception of ice cream, cake, and candies.

"That was it," recalls the long-ago bride, Jean Wittke. "Nobody had sit-down dinners then."

But last Saturday Mrs. Wittke and her husband, Lloyd, did have a sit-down dinner to celebrate another joyous occasion - their 70th wedding anniversary. Surrounded by 30 friends and family members, including their two daughters, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, they basked in the glow of richly deserved tributes.

Full story at The Christian Science Monitor

Domestic disputes away from home

Decision to stop recruitment of Filipina maids

Hundreds of Filipina domestic helpers working with Jordanian families are
being physically and sexually abused, and spend months or years without
being paid

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Human rights groups on Wednesday welcomed a decision by the government of the Philippines to stop sending domestic helpers to Jordan, saying such a step would highlight the abuse Philipinos and other nationals are subjected to at the hands of Jordanian families that employ them.

"These types of measures will positively contribute to providing protection to domestic helpers who suffer due to lack of proper legislations that could protect them," said Assem Rababah, President of the Adaleh Centre for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS) in Amman, Jordan.

Full story at Spero News

How even our fashion choices have repercussions

No introduction necessary. As always, a worthy read from Feminine Genius:

We affect others by our choices

This young father, Eric Johnson, who has a six year old daughter, has encountered a problem in the least likely place, the parish pews around him on Sunday:

It's tough to do that when many older girls dress like trollops at Mass. We can shield our kids from "inappropriate" entertainment, and gently guide them toward good behavior, but we do have to go to church every Sunday. Now that the weather is warm, clothing standards completely fall apart.

What he finds odd is that these aren't necessarily irreverent girls:

The most recent painful incident of this kind was a few weeks ago, when our parish had its spring carnival. At the Mass right before it started, there were plenty of people dressed down for the event. A couple of teenage girls were sitting two rows in front of me and my older three kids. One of the girls had on very short shorts, and at one point during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I glanced up and saw that they didn't entirely cover her rear end.

Now, I know this girl and her family: she lives around the corner and babysits our kids. Her sister also babysits sometimes, her brother comes over occasionally and plays with my boys, and her mom is a family friend. But I didn't really need to see her butt crack (or anyone else's).

The bizarre thing is that she's a nice kid. During the Mass, she and her friend were completely reverent and prayerful. We were all sitting in the balcony, which has no kneelers, and they knelt the whole time on the hard floor. There weren't any adults making them behave, either -- they genuinely wanted to act correctly.

An enormous part of this is the simple fact that fashions today are what we reserved for red light districts before the 1970's. Kids have no idea that we associate "baby doll" tops, lace in certain areas, and pelvic bones with solicitation -- it's just "what everyone wears!"

What I find appalling is that youngsters have a fetish for underwear. Colours, labels, styles, and name brands are all broadcast visibly by both boys and girls. It's so de rigeur -- and yet virtually boring, even to them. The proverbial envelope has been pushed, and nothing shocks -- so to go around in pyjamas or with underwear advertised is the last vestige of ho-hum trendiness. As the slippery slope nears its logical end, there's little left to push. And yet, as Eric notes, their bored choices are sowing toxic seeds to eager young wannabes:

Once again, this shows the fallacy of our age's individualistic ethos, which is the idea that "I can do what I want, and it won't affect you." The way we dress and act has a profound affect on other people, especially impressionable young ones. What we do with our bodies speaks much louder than any words we say, and I wish more parents were mindful of that.

Saint Maria Goretti, Saint Dominic Savio, intercede for our youth!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Newborns contribute to science w/o getting killed

For five years now, newborns have been donating umbilical cord blood (rich in stem cells) -- facilitated, of course, by a doctor, and with the permission of the babies' moms. No human lives (embryos, in particular) are killed or even harmed in any way in the process.

By the way, why are some people insisting on embryonic stem cell research again? For lack of other means to obtain stem cells, is it?


Foundation continues pursuit of ethical stem cell use
Priscilla Greear, Staff writer

Published: May 18, 2006

TUCKER—Call it God’s natural gift to scientists of regenerative medicine. And in that context, the Babies for Life Foundation can be considered a divine instrument of distribution. This highly unique foundation collects donations of this “diamond” mine of stem cell–rich umbilical cord blood, linking new mothers, researchers and patients in need.

For the past five years Dr. Gerry Sotomayor of BFL has collected umbilical cord blood from newborns, sending it to cord blood public registries to help patients worldwide with the 65 diseases now successfully treated with umbilical cord adult stem cells—not to mention the at least 97 diseases that can be treated or cured by the various types of adult stem cells found throughout the body.

Full story at The Georgia Bulletin

Monday, June 12, 2006

It's all in the family

This is indeed one instance wherein I fervently hope for the full impact of "When the U.S. sneezes, the whole world catches a cold."

"The union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring and important human institution. For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that marriage is critical to the well-being of families. And because families pass along values and shape character, marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure."

Read the full text or watch the video of U.S. President George W. Bush's remarks regarding the Marriage Protection Amendment, given June 5, 2006, on the White House website


June 12: Philippine Independence Day

Bits of history regarding the revolution and interesting trivia here

A little about The Katipunan Newspaper ("Kalayaan"), first released in March 1896, can be found here

This page contains information about the heroes of the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1898

Down but not out

Down syndrome: the positives
Parents, researcher challenge perceptions

Ben Allard hit his dad's underhand pitch solidly and began circling imaginary bases in his Franklin backyard. A 7-year-old with Down syndrome, Ben crossed home plate and celebrated by bear-hugging his younger brother Max . Looking on, the boys' parents, Mike and Beth Allard, shared a smile.

Today, the Allards can't imagine life without Ben, a warm-hearted boy who loves hockey and high-fives. But when doctors told them during pregnancy their child would be born with the genetic disorder, they say their physicians described a life scarcely worth living.

"The way they told you, it was like they were telling you your son was in a car accident," said Beth Allard. "And we had to decide whether to take him off life support."

For parents who have received a Down syndrome diagnosis during pregnancy or at delivery, the Allards' story is probably familiar . Brian Skotko , a joint-degree student at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Medical School, last year published two research papers that concluded physicians often relay the news in an overwhelmingly negative way, focusing on the limitations and hardships a child with Down syndrome may face.

Of the 1,250 parents of children with Down syndrome surveyed in Skotko's work, many reported that doctors used insensitive or offensive language in communicating the diagnosis. Many said they were advised to put their baby up for adoption or were scolded for not having prenatal testing to identify the condition.

Skotko, who has a sister with Down syndrome, said that while most parents are understandably shocked by a Down syndrome diagnosis, they need to know that individuals with Down syndrome are increasingly living independent lives.

"Too often, the potential of children with Down syndrome isn't conveyed," Skotko said. "Parents are rarely being told that people with Down Syndrome can live rich, full lives."

Full story at

Can't do without Cute Overload

I just realized that hardly are there any images of cute people in Cute Overload. Most of the pictures feature only animals, while I've seen a few with pups, kittens or rabbits accompanied by a cute kid or the owner's hand or something like that.

Still, it's a site I've learned to enjoy. It's a welcome reprieve in the middle of a stressful day.

By the way, there are more photos at the "More! More! More!" links on the left side of the site.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A first in the Polish capital

I was kind of surprised when I heard that the recent March for Life and Family held in Poland was the first ever in that country. But then it's wonderful to hear that one finally took place and that it's being planned to be an annual activity. So how did the June 4 event go? Here's a report from Joanna who's part of the organizing committee:

Poland's first National March for Life and Family gathers over 2000, mostly youth and families

Warsaw, June 6, 2006: Over 2,000 mostly young people, many families with children, some elderly and disabled, marched last Sunday through the capital of Poland in a joyful affirmation of judeo-christian values and every person’s right to life from conception to natural death.

Marching to the sounds of band music, the participants of the Sunday rally carried signs saying “Right to life for everyone,” “Stop abortion,” “Marriage only between a man and a woman,” “I’m Pro-Life” and chanted “Hey, hey, hey, the family is ok!” Several well known personalities from the world of culture and politics joined the march with their families. Representatives of the U.S. TFP were also present on the march.

The organizing committee, Fundacja Pro and Stowarzyszenie Kultury Chrześcijańskiej im. Ks. Piotra Skargi says the turnout was a success, considering the fact that this was the first event of this kind organized by the new generation of pro-life and pro-family groups.

Also, the hostile attitude of some mainstream liberal media, such as the notoriously anti-family “Gazeta Wyborcza”, which not only misinformed the public prior to the event, but also ran an extremely biased and disproportionately small article after the march, played a part in discouraging the public from supporting the idea of the march.

Many mainstream media chose to ignore the event altogether, although they normally pay an undeserved amount of attention to low attendance, radical leftist gay pride events, even those featuring pro-pedophilia speakers, such as German homosexual activist Volker Beck.

The Warsaw March for Life and Family ended in a festive atmosphere with a concert featuring several groups, including “Jeremiah’s Sisters” - a family band that provided the march with its theme song, “Family”.

Some participants joined the rally to show their support to Lukasz Wrobel - a member of the organizing committee, student and pro-life activist persecuted in court for organizing a legal pro-life exhibition. Lukasz has been sued by leftist political activists and sentenced on two different occasions for 40 hours of social work and a fine of 2000 PLN (the equivalent of an average month’s salary).

The organizing committee are planning on making the March for Life and Family an annual event.

Abortion in Poland is legal up to 12 weeks of gestation when the pregnancy is a result of a crime, up to 20-24 weeks when the baby is diagnosed with genetic imperfection or disability, or when the mother’s life or health is in danger. Official statistics report about 150-200 of such cases a year. Homosexual unions are not legal but the attack on life and family by leftist radicals, feminists and the gay movement is well underway.

Walking down the (supermarket) aisle

Excerpt from "It pays to be aware of supermarket marketing ploys"

Supermarkets have conducted extensive research on consumers and their shopping habits, and they know how to get you to fill your cart and empty your wallet.

Another trick some retailers employ is stocking more expensive items at eye level and on the right. Because we read from left to right, our eyes naturally scan store shelves from left to right. The eye stops on the more expensive items on the right, making shoppers more likely to purchase them. Retailers also locate commonly purchased items, such as milk and eggs, at the back of the store so that shoppers have to walk through the entire store to get to the items they came in for.

Read the whole thing at Spero News

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Life-saving links

This one is from The Dawn Patrol. I'm posting it as is.

What amazing, wonderful news!


Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Linking to Life

Guest Post by Anonymous

Today she's a healthy little baby girl.

But last November, when she was this . . .

. . . she was a hair's breadth away from being aborted. Her fate hung by the thinnest of threads for months to come.

A diverse group of bloggers, led by the S.I.C.L.E. Cell, raised over $15,000 from generous donors to support the mother in her difficult and courageous decision to choose life.

One day that little girl may read this post -- and realize that she owes her existence to love and links. Heartfelt thanks go out to to all of you who made this wonderful result possible and turned a certain tragedy into a triumph of life.

The 'license' for choosing life

This isn't fresh news (published on LifeNews in April) but it's great news just the same. So read all about these courageous men!

After Choose Life license plates were approved in Florida in August 2000, businessman Dennis Brown decided to place a Choose Life plate on each of the 55 vehicles owned by his company, AAA Electrical Contractors, Inc.

Brown said, “I am the type of guy who sends out Christmas cards, not Season's Greetings.”

Brown says the plates have not cost him business—instead, they've increased it: “I decided if I lost business over the plate, it was probably business I didn't need, but my business has actually grown and I give God all the credit.”

Plumbing company president Bob Billa made a similar commitment to the Choose Life license plate, placing it on his plumbing trucks.

Full story at LifeNews

Sunday, June 04, 2006

News flash!

Through a couple of links, I stumbled on the news just a few minutes ago about the very first national March for Life and Family in Poland. And it's happening today!

All family-friendly individuals and organizations and invited to participate in the initiative organized by two pro-family NGOs, Fundacja Pro together with Stowarzyszenie Kultury Chrześcijańskiej im. Ks. Piotra Skargi (Polish branch of TFP). For more details, go to the event's website.

There's hope after all

I'm posting some light and entertaining reads first because the last of my posts for today is not exactly what most would relish dwelling on during the weekend. They're updates about life issues, some of them not good at all. In fact, some are downright disgusting and, for me, quite exasperating. It's safe to conclude that fighting to normalize perversion is what some people are out to accomplish. Good thing that despite such moves, many aren't fooled and continue the efforts to uphold authentic truth, good and beauty in society.

So, put your feet up as you read this amusing (and positive) essay by a very observant grandma:

A lesson from a teenager: Maybe the next generation really is OK
It was a classic case of older-generation hand-wringing and worry over nothing

By Penelope S. Duffy

I have grown children and a 3-year-old grandson. My contact with teenagers consists mostly of conversations that include "Is that for here or to go?"

Usually, the exchange goes something like this. Me, slowly and with emphasis: "I'd like a 16-ounce, sugar-free, skim milk vanilla latte, to go."

They say, "Will this be for here or to go?"

I say, "To go."

They say, "What size do you want?"

I say, "Sixteen ounces, the middle size."

They say, "Do you want whole milk or 2 percent?" I say, "Skim milk."

They say, "OK, a 16-ounce skim milk latte. Do you want flavoring?"

I say, "Sugar-free vanilla."

They sigh and say, "So, a 16-ounce, skim milk vanilla latte?" I say, "Yes."

They say, "For here or to go?"

I say to myself, "The future of the world rests on people with no attention span."

I see teenagers lined up for the film version of a classic novel or bestseller. I hear them say, "I tried to read the book, but it was, like, so not the movie."

And I think to myself, "The fate of the world rests with people who have no imagination."

Read the whole thing at The Christian Science Monitor

Happy feet?

Nobody can dwell on and write about footwear in quite the same way as Manolo the blogger does. He elevates feet and footwear to a whole different level, and his is a perspective that explores the many different attitudes, intricacies, practical considerations and every other element concerning footwear, elements which I didn't even know were worth pondering. He even opens up to me (albeit unwittingly, of course) new sociological perspectives in the course of my taking in his colorful essays!

So, yesterday I passed by Rustan's and as I glanced at the display window, I spotted the very items that Manolo had blogged about just days before that and which became the subject of my intense consideration after reading.


I thought at first he meant "croc-skin" so I couldn't understand what was so hideous about footwear in crocodile skin, which was his unmistakable sentiment, as was many of the blog's loyal commenters.

When I saw the photo of the rubber footwear, I was confused all the more. Croc-skin in rubber?

Then I realized, "Crocs" is a brand name, heehee! And it's a hit in some quarters while being scoffed at for various reasons (some of them sensible) in others.

Have you owned a pair of Crocs-style shoes? I bought a cheap pair of rubber Crocs-resembling clogs about 7, 8 years ago at the Greenhills flea market -- brown ones, with holes on the sides. I think I wore them a total of 3 times (once during a downpour) before wholeheartedly giving them away, and Manolo succinctly illustrates the reason for my decision to do so when he says, "the Manolo he has it on good authority, from those who have worn the Crocs and repented, that these plastic not-so-super-fantastic shoes cause the unnatural sweating of the feets, sweating that would leave the elderly mother smelling like the anteroom of the Turkish bath."

Believe me when I say that you'll have a swell time, as always, as you read Manolo's piece on the not-so-superfantastic-shoes that are pictured above). And, you'll be spared from making an uninformed choice at the shoe department, just in case you're contemplating on getting a pair for yourself. In fairness, some comments do point out the upside of the footwear.

Hope you get a kick (and practical advice, too) out of reading these.

What's going on in Europe and the Americas?

Pedophilia party launched in the Netherlands

Abortion doctor embraces 'emotionally satisfying career'

Ecuador Constitutional Court unanimously approves prohibition on morning-after pill

Homosexual men allowed to foster young boys despite abuse evidence convicted of sexual abuse

Scottish schools to instruct children how to engage in 'safe' homosexual sex

Study finds docs who assist suicides suffer 'substantial' psychological effects

Batwoman hero returns as lesbian

Friday, June 02, 2006

Of blood types and Pop-Tarts

Surgeon gave his own blood as heart boy lay dying on table
From James Bone in New York

A TOP New York surgeon saved a poor Salvadorean boy by donating his own rare B-negative blood during a heart operation.

Dr Samuel Weinstein interrupted the operation to give a pint of his own blood when the local hospital ran out during a mercy mission in El Salvador for the charity Heart Care International. After eating a snack and drinking some water, he continued the surgery as the eight-year-old patient received a transfusion of his blood.

Full story at The Times Online

The search for truth

"What is the first business of philosophy? To part with
self-conceit. ...It is impossible for anyone to begin to
learn what he thinks he already knows."

-- Epictetus (c. 100 A.D.)

Men of character

I've seen a copy of The Compleat Woman, a book penned by Filipino etiquette expert Conchitina Bernardo. It was published in the 1990s and covers extensively different areas of social graces.

The Compleat Gentleman by Brad Miner (Spence Publishing, 2004), however, goes much deeper into the subject, beyond manners and manly fashion. From a book review by Fr. John McCloskey:

Miner goes about his examination of the gentleman by considering various aspects of this term and its history. He sees its origin in early feudal medieval times, in the knight who wages war on horseback in heavy armor, in service to his feudal lord, when not competing in tournaments. Very early, the institution of knighthood became allied with Catholicism and with the idealization of women called "courtly love." The knight, though brutal in warfare, must be virtuous in his personal behavior, particularly to women, children and the poor.

In the Renaissance, the idea of the gentleman developed in the courts of kings and noblemen. There have always been two senses of the word: the fine man of high birth and the fine man of high character. The latter sense has always been the most important. To nearly everyone, it also meant a standard of conduct, "a standard, to which the best born did not always rise and which even the humblest might sometimes display." Castiglione's Courtier, written in the early 1500s, became the textbook for this new approach. The gentleman became more intellectually serious. He is "urbane" and elaborately civil. He will not only have knowledge, but "knowledge integrated: of refinement, sophistication, elegance, courtesy… plus suavity."

Miner tells us his book is "about an ideal. No man behaves as a compleat gentleman all the time, but the best men never cease yearning to." He says the aristocracy of gentlemen "is, in fact, a brotherhood of virtue." Miner makes clear that the virtue he prizes above all is courage.

Read the whole thing at McCloskey's Perspectives

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Confusing signs of the times

So where do we go in? Maybe through the exit...

A fine example of mind-boggling realities

For sure, Batman and friends won't get lost

Let's hope the emergency is not THAT urgent

High fidelity

Excerpts from "Whatever happened to fidelity?" over at Beverly LaHaye Institute:

Fidelity, along with its antonym infidelity, is an old-fashioned word. In this era of “me-first” individualism, the significance of fidelity is often minimized. But the realities behind fidelity are integral to our interactions –– our negative responses to a broken promise or other violations of trust are as innate and reflexive as blinking the rain out of our eyes. No one has to teach us to be upset or offended when someone “lets us down.”

Fidelity also counts within our own selves. Break a promise you make to yourself and the damage is as real as when you renege on a commitment to a loved one.

We all have an innate desire for love, but love without fidelity is meaningless. No one has to teach us this truth; we know it intuitively and it figures in our decisions as to whom we want to know and be known by, in every sense of the word.

What has happened in the last 40 or 50 years to our regard for fidelity and honor? Why have these virtues become so neglected when the betrayal of trust is such a devastating injury?

In part, fidelity has been displaced by phony lip service about being nonjudgmental. Why has this latter virtue – which so many people talk about but few actually practice – become so elevated? Perhaps because not being judgmental seems, on the surface, to be so much less difficult than it actually is; on the other hand, it doesn’t take long to learn that keeping your promises is sometimes going to be an expensive, thankless proposition.

Call it Gresham’s Law of Virtues: pick the virtue that costs you the least.

Read more at Beverly LaHaye Institute

Generous celebrities

Martial arts star dishes it out (cash) with the best of them

Jackie Chan has made himself world-famous with his lead roles in such
action films as "Shanghai Noon" and "Rush Hour." Now, in the manner of
others in the entertainment industry, he's also earning a reputation
for opening his wallet to charity, giving recently to tsunami-relief
efforts and for homeless services in Los Angeles. Forbes magazine has
named the actor to its list of the 10 most generous celebrities. Those
people (in alphabetical order) and the focus of their charitable

Bono, DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa)
Sandra Bullock, American Red Cross
Nicolas Cage, hurricane Katrina relief, Chrysalis (homeless charity)
Jackie Chan, Chrysalis, tsunami relief, Jackie Chan Foundation for
Hong Kong youth
Celine Dion, hurricane Katrina relief, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis
Angelina Jolie, UN Refugee Agency
Paul McCartney, Adopt-A-Minefield, tsunami relief
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Special Olympics, After-School All-Stars,
Nelson Mandela's children's fund
Steven Spielberg, Righteous Persons Foundation, Survivors of Shoah
Visual History Foundation
Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey Foundation, Oprah's Angel Network

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