Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Friday, March 31, 2006

Cure for John Paul the Great?

Probably not....it will be declared "spontaneous" recovery.

But for a personal experience of a miraculous recovery from Hepatic failure, see LINK to my main blog...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Democracy and religion

Interesting discussion from a Filippine journalist...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Miracle Microbe: Serratia marcescens

Some Catholic bloggers were commenting on the Eucharistic host that turned to flesh/blood.

As expected, it was a combination of "mycelia" and bacteria.

Mycelia means yeast. Most women have had yeast infection...usually after a bout of antibiotics. When babies get it in their mouth, it is called thrush.
If you look (and most don't) the yeast infection looks like a layer of cottage cheese...

But in this case, the thick fleshy/cheesy layer was not pure white, like with yeast, nor the expected black from fungi. It was red.

Well, docs know about this germ: Serratia marcescens. It's a germ that is red, and was originally found when some poleta turned into flesh in Italy...

Now, Serratia is a pretty benign bug, and is an unusual color that makes it easy to identify...so docs use it to track how germs spread...

This notorious experiment, where the Army released it into the air off SanFrancisco in 1950, was done to track how an enemy could spread germs...

However, people with poor immune systems from illness, chemotherapy, infancy or HIV can get infected with it, and it can contaminate liquids used in hospitals.

So what we have is an amazing stream of coincidences...a host, which should have merely dissolved into the water, just happens to get contaminated with two common germs that grew together to make it appear that it was turning into blood.

So no "big" miracle.

Now, when I was in medical school, one of our popular professors said: You know, we docs usually aren't really very religious. But with all the things we see, most of us do believe there is a God behind the mysteries we see.

So, as a cynical scientific Doc, I would suggest that God just happened to "tweak" this, like the butterfly effect...the yeast "just happened" to be there, and the Serratia "just happened" to grow with the yeast, and more importantly, the usualy bacteria of decay "just happened" NOT to make the host disappear...all of which has caused us to again ponder on the meaning of the Eucharist...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Prayer work! bah humbug

LINK2
"San Francisco cardiologist Randolph Byrd, for example, conducted an experiment in which he asked born-again Christians to pray for 192 people hospitalized for heart problems, comparing them with 201 not targeted for prayer. No one knew which group they were in. He reported in 1988 that those who were prayed for needed fewer drugs and less help breathing."

This type of study is simply wrong.

Scientifically it is wrong.
Who is the "control group"...
ONE:
there is NO WAY to know which patients are being prayed for.

They assume patient X is prayed for, and Patient Y is not...

But maybe Patient Y has a pious grandmother who prayed for him?
Will God let him suffer because the wrong person prayed for him?
Did God agree to obey the rules of the experiment?

TWO: They assume God can be manipulated...
IF you pray, he does A. If you don't pray, he does B...
Give penicillin, germs die. Don't give penicillin, germs thrive...
No believer believes that God will grant all our prayers...that is magic, not piety.

Three: They assume that the "best" outcome is needing decreased pain medicine and getting well...

But maybe God doesn't agree...

This is the problem of pain, the problem of evil.
God often allows evil, but may not will it.
And he often brings greater good out of the evil than that which we can imagine.

If I hadn't developed benign tumors, I would probably have become a psychiatrist in Boston...as it was, I had to drop out...and ended up meeting my husband in my next job.

So if I hadn't been sick, I probably would be living in Boston rather than retired in the Philippines.

Stuff


Well, our stepson is holding a meeting to train people to run vacation bible schools...hope it makes money
Our granddaughter is graduating from preschool

And the big news is that our nephew will be buried tomorrow

Last night the prayer group from the local charismatics came over to pray with the family.
It is sad to see the wife and kids, and all his brothers and sisters mourning.
It is even worse because he was killed by "accident"...contract killers were after the owner of the cockfighting arena, and he was talking with the sons...who were also killed.

Our nephew lived long enough to be transferred to another hospital...and for the priest to give him last rites...which makes me feel better.

I'm enough of an American puritan to frown on cockfighting, but I remember Chesterton and Tolkien's hobbits, which remind us that the holiest are not the killjoys but those who are cheerful and generous.

And the fact that many of his fellow farmers have come to attend the long wake shows that he was well liked here.

Here he is in his jeep...we saw him out in the fields the other day, harvesting rice with his farmers...

Here usually the farmers or hired help cut the rice, and then the richer people bring in the thresher to separate the rice from the hay...

Later the rice is dried. You have to drive slowly, because the rice is spread out on the hot ground (and sometimes on a plastic sheet) to dry before bagging it.

body parts

another depressing story HERE

No commentary right now...maybe later.

Culture of death alert

According to a physician who defected from North Korea, Ri Kwang-choi, the communist state kills babies born with physical disabilities. Mr. Ri told members of the New Right Union that babies with disabilities were killed in infancy in hospitals or in homes and are quickly buried. That's why there are no disabled people in North Korea - with the possible exception of its leader, Kim Jong-il, whom some regard as brain dead.

This is hardly surprising news, because North Korea is a totalitarian country. What is truly astonishing is that this murder of the innocent occurs routinely in the formerly civilized country of the Netherlands.

The Sunday Times of London reported on March 5: "Each year in Holland at least 15 seriously ill babies, most of them with severe spina bifida or chromosomal abnormalities, are helped to die by doctors acting with the parents' consent. But only a fraction of those cases are reported to the authorities because of the doctors' fears of being charged with murder. Things are about to change, however, making it much easier for parents and doctors to end the suffering of an infant."

Ah yes, the operative phrase is always "the suffering of the victim," which makes it easy to rationalize killing the poor burdensome being.

According to the Times article, "A committee set up to regulate the practice will begin operating in the next few weeks, effectively making Holland, where adult euthanasia is legal, the first country in the world to allow 'baby euthanasia' as well."...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Osage Cathedral take two


Outside and Inside the church.

Kateri Shrine is on line

I have worked with many different American Indian tribes. Kateri is an inspiration to many of them, because she combined the mystical Indian spirituality with love of Christ.

This is the stained glass window from the last US place I worked in before retirement. It is in Northeast Oklahoma.

They are gradually building a Kateri Shrine out back of the church...the symbol is a cross with feathers. Feathers are associated with prayer.

The lower window is famous, since it shows many Indians who were alive at the time the church was built: They needed vatican permission to include live people in a window.

When Vatican II "renovations" started, some of the church decorations were removed, but when the priest started doing it, the tribal council came over and reminded the priest that they paid for the church, and it belonged to them, not him...so this jewel of architecture was saved for posterity.

In the midst of life comes death

I haven't been blogging as much as usual, because we have moved to our farm to get away from construction around our house...my stepson is building a "business meeting center" for his religious cult.

Oh well...

But yesterday we came back.

My husband's nephew was shot when some men invaded the local cockfighting pit to shoot the owner...they couldn't find the owner, but killed the bodyguards and two sons, and our nephew was talking with the sons; he and another bystander were shot.

Here cockfighting is a macho thing. A combination of friendship/fellowship, gambling, and talk with excitement that even the poorest can afford...if they don't gamble away their money...Men raise and train the cocks...you see these magnificent roosters in gardens of the rich and the poor, usually under a small enclosure. They are cared for and petted and trained, and then fought. The men bet on the outcome, and one can either get rich or poor if one bets wrong. Our nephew won a lot, and now he is dead.

They laid his body out at his house, and his wife is still in shock. The roosters are still outside crowing...as if saying yes but there is still life and hope.

One of the morning psalms is "come lyre and harp, come let us awake the dawn"...well, here dawn is greeted by the crowing of roosters...the sign of hope to all of us here below.

My grandson messaged me and asked if his cousin was a Christian...the answer is he was a Catholic. Like most local men, he only attends church now and then. But like most Filippinos, Christ and his mother is a member of the family, and there is a deep belief in fate, or God being in charge.

I told my nephew that gambling is not a sin for Catholics. Allowing farmers like my nephew to have some excitement in a hard working life is not a sin. And we believe that if he is not a perfect "christian" like my stepson, nevertheless Jesus will welcome him and after a spell cleaning up in Purgatory he will join his mom and brother and father, and of course Mama Mary, in heaven...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Prayers for family

One of our young relatives was killed. Prayers would be appreciated.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

China wants to legalize euthanasia

An adviser to China's parliament has proposed allowing doctors to "experiment" with euthanasia as a step towards legalising mercy killing nationwide, the official Xinhua news agency has reported.

A survey carried out in several areas of the country showed more than 80% of people supported euthanasia for those with incurable, painful illness, Zhao Gongmin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said....

These polls are frequently done to manipulate the law. You see, usually you have two choices: Suffering or death.
In medicine, there is a third choice: Pain medicine and decent nursing care.


Of course, China is athiestic and has a long tradition of suicide to get out of intolorable situations (for example, women in unhappy marriages).

"I think it is only a matter of time for euthanasia to become legal," Zhao said, speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the National People's Congress in Beijing.

"Therefore, we should allow some experiments on the local level for the purpose of accumulating experience."...

Nonsense. It is merely a way of normalizing killing. ANY doc knows how to kill. Give morphine, keep increasing. Usually in terminal care, we stop when the pain is gone. But you can keep going until the person is pain free and unconscious, then give simple potassium chloride IV. Big deal.

Zhao's point comes as the government has pledged to put massive new investment in its decaying rural health care system, which is leaving many millions with no access to money unable to afford medical treatment.

It is not uncommon for rural people with serious illnesses to kill themselves, often to avoid burdening their families with expensive medical bills.

Bull, of course.
China has a demographic problem. Traditionally, wives/daughters take care of the elderly.There is a girl shortage thanks to abortion. And, of course, thanks to the "one child" policy, China's population is rapidly aging...similar to Europe's demographic time bomb with one exception: In Europe, the elderly are wealthy. In China, many, especially in rural areas, are not.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Writer Walker Percy wrote a novel The Thantos syndrome, where euthanasia was legal, and the specialists were going overseas to work in famine camps...

God help us.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Charity

In my last post, I almost said: Instead of complaining and listening to your newspaper, get off your tushie and volunteer.

Ah, that is another story.

Many assume the answer of all social problems is big government...Combine this with number one and you have Bush didn't do this or that, never mind that no one could do these things.

I have worked for both state and federal US governments. It's called bureaucracy. Red tape. Things have to be done according to a set way or you lose your job. So things are delayed.

This means it is the small NGO's and faith based groups have an advantage. They are great ways to show one's Christianity in action.

One beautiful point of Catholicism and charity is that we have our own bureaurocracy. It is called catholic charities. Lots of nuns and professionals to do our charitable work. We do it well.

But one problem with this is that we see "charity" and deeds of mercy/charity as ONLY those done by these groups, and too often we promote "doing charitable deeds" as merely volunteering for the local homeless shelter or to give money to the professionals...

Two problems result:
One is that "good deeds" takes the place of personal repentance and prayer.
Two is that good deeds are no longer part of our life, but something outside our everyday experience.

Alas, we no longer hear sermons praising an promoting everyday charity...our professionals don't consider small things as good deeds.

For example. I once worked on an Indian reservation, and we had a priest give a sermon about the importance of charity...Telling us that we needed to volunteer our time at the nearby city's homeless shelter.

And I looked around me. My son volunteered to play and supervise basketball at the local Catholic school. The lady in the next pew was raising 5 grandchildren since her daughter was deeply into the drug culture..And at least a half dozen had taken in relatives who had no place to go...The man there was raising a grandchild. That girl is a single mother who refused an abortion and staying with her aunt til the baby comes and she can return to college. That one was studying to be a deacon. That lady was dying of cancer, and praying for all of us, while her husband was caring for her, and the neighbors would come over to help him with the cooking and cleaning.

The point is that none of this was counted as charity. Giving food to the hungry was working at the food bank, not a mother cooking a well balanced meal day after day or a neighbor taking warm food to her aunt down the street. Giving shelter to the homeless was donating a couple bucks to the homeless shelter, not taking in your pregnant niece.

One of my favorite stories of Mother Teresa was in a local paper when she visited Philadelphia to give a talk to a Eucharistic Congress.

A taxi driver asked mother: Is there anything I can do?

He thought she'd say: "Join the St.Vincent DePaul society of your parish". or maybe "Give me a donation" or even "volunteer to work at my house of the dying in Calcutta".

Instead, she told him: "Smile at your wife".

Ah, we come to the crux of the matter.
It is easy to volunteer. Doing a good deed is a mitzva: a blessing that blesses him who gives and him who takes.

But the hard love is that of everyday life.

In Medjugorje, we were told: First, find peace in yourself. You do this with prayer and dedication to God and repentance.
Then you spread peace in your family.
Then in your town.
Then in your country.
Then in the world.

I spent 35 years working as a doc in some of the cruddiest places in the world and the USA. But now God has told me NO.
Guess He recognized that I was getting more and more into work instead of what really matters.
I need to learn to pray, and find peace.
There is.. a time to work and a time to pray...

The kindness of strangers take two

Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.

Come let us mock at the wise;
With all those calendars whereon
They fixed old aching eyes,
They never saw how seasons run,
And now but gape at the sun.

Come let us mock at the good
That fancied goodness might be gay,
And sick of solitude
Might proclaim a holiday:
Wind shrieked - and where are they?

Mock mockers after that
That would not lift a hand maybe
To help good, wise or great
To bar that foul storm out, for we
Traffic in mockery.
---Yeats: 1919

There is a problem in getting our opinions from the media.

Catholicism must be based not on political ideology: our politics should be parallel to and inspired by our faith and our insights in prayer.
Unless our selfhood is grounded in our own experience it is useless.

I again am commentin on a previous link. this one:
"Mr. Crawford and most of his compatriots in fact sound like a bunch of louts: vulgar, contemptuous of the Iraqi people and their culture, an obscene caricature of the worst aspects of America in its decline..."

Alas, such stupidity can only be said by one who knows no youth and noone in the National Guard...

Sorry, but I'm still angry. I spent 10 years in the National Guard and got my knowledge of the Guard in war and peace from experience, not from a book crafted to fit into the niche of nihilism.

As Peggy Noonan wrote of Hollywood:The Clooney generation in Hollywood is not writing and directing movies about life as if they've experienced it, with all its mysteries and complexity and variety. In an odd way they haven't experienced life; they've experienced media. Their films seem more an elaboration and meditation on media than an elaboration and meditation on life...Most Americans aren't leading media, they're leading lives. It would be nice to see a new respect in Hollywood for the lives they live.

So do we hear this?.

these units helped.....LINK
LINK2
LINK3
LINK4

What about these people?
Yup. They helped too.

We have heroes all around us. Yet unless you watch "storm Stories" you wouldn't know about any of them.

How many of you have read THIS
or these:

Biloxi
Lutheran Youth

Gulfport
Baptists and the US Navy

How about Louisiana?

Let's see.
The Methodists are there
so are the Mennonites
The Lutherans and the Garden city community college students are there
So are lots of different Baptists
Students from York College
So are the Presbyterians
and the Jews
LINK2
LINK3even mentions the catholics
Catholiclink4

This article lists recent churchgroups helping out in Mississippi...including many mainstream Christian groups such as already mentioned: But also Mormons and Muslims helping out..."
More than 10,000 religious people across the country have poured through the stricken Mississippi Gulf Coast in an unprecedented volunteer effort."

And this article mentions Pagans from the Burning man festival..."Burners without Borders"...

On CNNI and the press show all sorts of stories of "slow cleanup"...without context.

To give an idea of the scope of cleaup: from an insurance newspaper:
Hurricane Katrina created an estimated 60.3 million cubic yards of debris in Louisiana, 25 times as much as the ruins of the World Trade Center and enough to fill the Superdome more than 13 times. Of that, only 32 million cubic yards, or a bit more than half, has been removed...Katrina's toll on Mississippi was staggering: $125 billion in estimated damage, 231 dead and more than 65,000 houses destroyed. More than 33,000 families in Mississippi are living in FEMA trailers, with thousands on a waiting list.
-------------------------------------
maybe we need to search out the positive stories.

I almost wrote: But maybe we also need to get off our tushies and get to work...but that is going to be discussed in my next essay.






Thursday, March 09, 2006

Killing babies

LINK2

When we read about abortion, euthanasia, and now infanticide, it's always a soap opera where the reader thinks: Oh my, killing is the only compassionate way to respond...

Of course, the dirty little secret is that most of these suffering babies have untreated meningomyelocoel...which IS treatable...but never mind. If the press bothered to look, they could find adults with meningomyelocoel who could give the other side...and even in the other cases, palliative care and loving a child can make it's life worthwhile.

I knew a devout Mormon mother who adopted and raised a child with a degenerative neurological disease...the docs said it would die in 3 months, and when I knew them the child was 15 months. Yes, heartbreaking for the mother, whose religious faith kept her going..(and a little practical and spiritual help from the LDS church)...and as for the child, he was loved...and did not suffer, merely deteriorated (think more sleepy)...a useless life for those who see money and productivity as the highest goal of life...

The point is: Euthanasia is NOT necessary...but like other agendas, it is being pushed by the MSM and agenda oriented medical journals like the New England Journal of Medicine...

Back in the late 1980's, the NEJM kept publishing articles on euthanasia, most pro death and mostly by the same small group of authors...and all of them claimed that euthanasia in the Netherlands was "well regulated...so that no abuse could occur"...

Well, at the time I was working at a job that required us to document for regulation...when you did so, the data should be fairly accurate...so that if two people noted the same occurance, these reports should agree most of the time...(indeed, if the number were too perfect, it meant someone was cooking the data).

Well, at that time the spin was that Dutch euthanasia was "regulated" because the courts stipulated that the doctors would not be prosecuted if they reported their intentions to the police before the death occured, there had to be two physicians who agreed, and the person involved not only had to agree, but be voluntary...so if these facts were true, scientifically you could say that euthanasia was regulated.

However, various articles agreed that most cases were not reported, that "estimates" of the numbers involved varied from 600 (the medical society) to 20 000 (the pro death organizations)...and there was a pesky doc in the Netherlands who collected articles from Dutch newspapers about cases that did not fit the criteria: Where people were euthanized against their will, for example...

So after every article, I wrote to the NEJM:
Regulation requires documentation and oversight.
If the rules were followed, we would have exact numbers. However, various reports from reputable journals note "estimates" vary so greatly as to suggest not only is no proper reporting or regulation is occuring, but that authorities are not bothering to try to do any sort of regulation...As for no "abuse", there are many cases reported in the Dutch press, and cited in the Hastings Center report...

After six or eight almost idenitcal letters, the Lancet published an article which, if you ignored the MSM and optimistic wording, showed everything that I had suggested...

So I wrote and insisted: I understand why you don't publish my letters, but why don't you bother to print a retraction of the statement in these six or eight articles?
And the editor answered: These articles are OPINION pieces, and do not require proof that their statements are proven.

So much for science...and it is something to remember the next time you read an "opinion" article in the NEJM...

Oh: An afterward.

We did a "headup" to Cardinal Law about this. I was a nobody, but three of us wrote an article for one journal, and the other two were a bioethicist from Tufts and a bioethicist from Harvard. (I was the token Catholic).

Three months later we got a letter smoothly saying they could not do anything, but that the Boston Catholic newspaper the Pilot would have an article on euthanasia...

My friends laughed bitterly and said: He doesn't want to make waves.

And indeed, the letter was one of those "MEGO *" bland letters that really didn't provide any insight into the growing threat of adult euthanasia...nor did it mention that Harvard was planning a "bioethics" meeting at the time to discuss "end of life care" that included all the usual suspects ...

Law just didn't want to make waves...which is why I laughed bitterly when his moral leadership failed in other matters...Oh, he's a good man...just prudent...

Well anyway, both in Massachusetts and in Detroit, where kavorkian caused a similar milquetoast opposition by the bishop, it was the evangelicals who stopped the medical societies from supporting euthanasia initiatives in the legislature...

-------------
*MEGO= my eyes glaze over

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The 13 year old raped girl who might have a defective baby

In my previous post, I started to write I always advise against abortion, and often spend hours counselling and arranging care and social services for women with problem pregnancies.

But two posts down, I note that the college girls don't even see me, they abort...and that some women almost diabolically reject any advice.

But the pro aborts always argue: What about the 13 year old raped girl expecting a defective baby...there are always exceptions....

Well, about half of the 13 year olds I diagnosed actually carried the child to term...even though I counseled and did referrals to a prolife social worker.

But once I referred to a secular psyciatrist who I knew would recommend termination.

This was 30 years ago, when abortion was newly legal in our state.

The story started on New Year's morning, when we were all called to the ER for a stabbing...
One woman had been stabbed to death during an argument, and the police brought in the body, and arrested the perpetrator, who was drunk and incoherent...but when they went back to find evidence, they found another lady stabbed and critical in the bathroom that no one had noticed...We revived and flew this second lady out for surgery, but she had been in hypovolemic shock for so long she ended up with brain damage in our nursing home.

Three months later, I saw the child of the dead woman in the Emergency room with a Tegretol overdose...we treated her, and she lived...but afterward, we found she was 8 weeks pregnant...
hence the overdose.

The child at the time was living with her grandfather...mom had been killed, but mom was a hopeless alcoholic, so like many families, she was taken in and raised by her grandparents...but grandmom had died the year before...so granddad supported her...but her main emotional support was from her aunt...the one now in the nursing home with severe brain damage...

Now, by definition, any 13 year old who is pregnant was raped...we never did find the dad...

But mom had epilepsy, which automatically increases the defect rate. And tegretol even in normal doses has a small but definite malformation rate...and the girl had been drinking and smoking and taking who knows what since her aunt was stabbed and mom died...

So we referred her to a secular inpatient psychiatric center for evaluation, and advised the grandfather that they would probably advise abortion...

And they did. But mom refused, and granddad refused.

So six months later, she had a beautiful, normal baby boy...

And every time she brought him to baby clinic, she showed me the child, smiled, and said: See, he's okay. And you wanted me to kill him...

So much for abortion...

But, you know, even if he had been retarded or handicapped, the family, despite the dysfunction, would have tried to care for him...

Which is why I prefered to work with poor people rather than with an HMO...those who are imperfect tend to accept the good and bad in life...including their imperfect children.

Medpundit on parental notification

"These are not women, they are children and we need to protect them with all of our resources.

"Precisely. Which is why the New York Times study should be embraced by both sides of the abortion debate, rather than disparaging it as partisan. The pro-abortion side can stop painting notification laws as dangerous to the health of children by denying them abortion services - clearly they aren't. And the anti-abortion side can rest easy in the knowledge that the laws will continue to be on the books. If the Times hadn't run its own statistical study, then Dr. Joyce's study would have been the one to make headlines. Instead of "Consent Laws Make No Difference," but "Consent Laws Result in More Late Term Abortions." That headline may still run, but the most important thing about parental notification laws is not their ability to stop abortion. It's the important role they play in protecting the health of children by requiring parental awareness of an invasive medical procedure. "

So Medpundit sees the same thing I see....and noted in my previous post...I am prolife, but as a doctor, I work with all types of patients. I do not preach, since it is not my part. I advise, which is something else. I nearly always advise against abortion...but there was one time that I nudged a girl toward abortion, and I will write that story in my next post...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Parental notification

Teenagers are different. They are big and seem mature, but often they are little children and scared. And they have a lot of health problems, which they see their fmaily doc or pediatrician to talk about. Usually we don't tell the parents about this, and sometimes this includes prescribing them birth control.

One thing all too common that we find out is a girl is pregnant. Some of these are picked up at routine screening, but usually they tell their mom they need to see the doctor or they are sent by their moms to the doctor for various things, often "ovarian cysts"; you see, the moms are suspicious (and often phone us telling they are suspicious) and since we routinely screen for last period, and if there is a question, do a pregnancy test, we pick it up.

This leads to a family conference...and discussion of many options...and often referral to a social worker who can explain how to get on welfare, etc. etc. and we arrange prenatal care by the local obstetrician.

The reason that you notify the parents is to have the parents support the girl emotionally if she aborts, and essentially raise the kid until mom finished school if she decides to keep it.

I live in a rural area. The parents usually shrug and say, well we'll help you care for the baby until you are older...

But other times, the upright pillers of society can't stand the stimga and force the girl to abort her child...others can't be bothered raising grandchildren, and bluntly say so...

And sometimes the parents decide the girl is too young, and arrange an abortion for her sake...

But other times, the girl goes elsewhere for advice... once in awhile, these teens panic for fear of telling their parents, and are diagnosed by the school nurse or guidance counseler, who are often feminists and pro aborts...and these "helpful" people arrange an abortion for them...

And some go to Planned parenthood for free tests....Planned parenthood clinics vary. Most clinics are not abortuaries and are good places for teens to get birth control (it's cheaper, for one, and a female nurse does the pap), and when a teen is diagnosed as pregnant, the better clinics actually counsel them the pros and cons, and encourage them to tell their parents...

So the "parental consent" laws are good, no matter what the outcome...
And when the girls grow up, they can blame their parents for the abortion, so the guilt of killing their baby is less...

The real problem is the college aged girls. They have no parents to help, often the boyfriends run away, and their friends all push abortion as "the only way"...noone more coercive in persuading someone to have an abortion as a girl who has had a couple for convenience, and tries to assuage her conscience by "helping" others to do the same...

These are the true diabolical aspects of abortion that need prayer...

You see, most abortions are done in sorrow, as a last resort...

But there is another type: where the mother coldly looks at you and says no matter what I WILL NOT BEAR THIS CHILD...and the hatred and evil makes one's hair stand on end...

But even these respond to prayer...

I once had a girl who came and had a positive pregnancy test...she was one of these women, who just would NOT have the child, even though her grandmother, a Catholic, offered to raise the child...so she went to planned parenthood, and they refered her...but she got busy, and by the time she was at the abortion clinic, she was over 20 weeks...

I didn't know this story until much later.

You see, she had the baby, and indeed lived with grandmom who babysat...and she came in to have a lump checked, and it was Hodgkins' disease...

Perhaps, in ten years after chemotherapy and surgery, and she is cured, she might try another pregnancy...but chances are that this child was the only one she will ever have...

And when I checked with grandmom, she described how she prayed and prayed the rosary when the girl had the appointment with the abortion clinic...and the girl never did get around to going there...despite several appointments.

So do not underestimate prayer.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Kindness of Strangers

This rant is about heroism.

In case you are wondering what got the bee in my bonnet on the below posts, well it was a Catholic back to the land and simplicity website. I usually don't agree with them, but I love their anti materialism approach that counters the "God loves you, and if you follow our rules (and buy our book for 12.95) you will be successful" Christianity that I have to live with.

So anyway, I ran across a post saying:

The book, The Last True Story I Will Ever Tell, is by one John Crawford, a young man who joined the Florida National Guard to pay for his college tuition and ended up in an extended tour of war-torn Iraq. The book is a heartbreaker, but not in the way that I had expected.

Mr. Crawford and most of his compatriots in fact sound like a bunch of louts: vulgar, contemptuous of the Iraqi people and their culture, an obscene caricature of the worst aspects of America in its decline...

I suppose some would commend him for the naked honesty he exhibits in telling his sordid tales, but I see no virtue in this: nowhere does Mr Crawford show any sign of awareness that anyone might find his self-portrait repulsive.

Well, first of all, he didn't join the NG to find tuition...he spent three years in the military, and usually you have to do some years afterward in either reserve or NG components to fulfill your enlistment. And he wasn't merely "military". He was airborne, which is voluntary.

Second, books are written to sell...so one suspects his was skewered to fill the niche for nihilistic anti war book of louts (which is why he was on NPR and Jon Stewart instead of Chief Wiggles...). so rather than "awareness that anyone might find (it) repulsive...I suggest that his editor suggested to the author to write it that way to sell books.

third: "the worst aspects of America in it's decline"?

You know, I'm a grandmother...And MY mother reports that HER grandmother used to call Benny Goodman "katzemusik" and say it was of the devil and all the young folks who danced to that vulgar music were going to hell.

I hope John Crawford- like certain other modern memoirists- is embellishing his story. And I hope he and his soldier buddies are an aberration. But given the crudeness of American culture- especially American youth culture- this is probably a naive hope.If even a sizeable minority of our troops are behaving in the manner that Mr Crawford describes it is evident to me that Al Queda need not recruit in Iraq: the Americans are doing a fine job on their own.

Ah, now we come to the crux of it. It's about Evilbushy...When you have "Bushderangementsyndrome" TM no soldier can be noble, the ordinary frustrations of war (did the author ever read MASH or Catch 22?) are due to the evil Neocons...

But what about the "crudeness of American youth culture"?

Well, I suspect he is not talking about the kids in his local church group, but what he see on MTV. THIS culture is not a culture of American youth, it is the culture of corporations.
They see the crude, the nihilistic, the debasing, and they try to sell it.
So we have rap, an enthusiastic poetry, selling murder, and hip hop, exuberance in life and dance, selling misgyny...

YES FINALLY, something I agree with the writer...

You see, the music don't have to be evil. The gatekeepers could either find less controversial artists to mold and give contracts to, or if the artists are truly obscene, do what they are supposed to do: Editing is NOT censoring.

You know, most youth don't listen to the lyrics, and a large percentage of music sold is Christian pop music...but never mind...

So, if you want to condemn "evil youth culture as promoted by middle aged rich entertainment industry run by conglomerates", I will agree wholeheartedly with you.

You want to condemn "youth culture", meaning youth and their music and their way of understating their good deeds and heroism by using vulgarity, humor, and irony, then no, I don't agree.
Take the book discussed: there is a part where he describes how he saved the life of an Iraqi boy...(from the Amazon review)...

Crawford cared little for the mission and less for the Iraqis. "Mostly we were guarding gas stations and running patrols," he explains. As for Iraqi civilians, "I didn't give a shit what happened to any of them," he confesses after inadvertently saving an Iraqi boy from a mob beating. "

Right. Now what does that remind me of?

"Man!" cried Pippin, .."Man! Indeed not. I am a hobbit, and no more valiant than I am a man, save perhaps now and again by necessity."...
"Many a doer of great deeds might say no more" said Ingold...


So perhaps the problem is not the evil lies of the evil neocons, as the writer of the blog suggests, but that we live in a world where heroism is ignored and scorned,..and, alas, we have no Ingold to point out the heroic deed under the humor and vulgarity...

Oh yes.

The link is NOT to the blog..(you can find the link on my regular blog if you want to know whom I'm Fisking)

The link is to the Popular mechanics article on the heroes of Hurricane Katrina...the 100 000 rescuers..the National Guard troops, the Coast Guard, the Navy, the police, the firemen, the dept of fish and wildlife, and a lot of ordinary, vulgar men....you see, We DO have heroism in our midst...

You chose to do evil

"Oscar has gone very serious this year," Grove said of the nominees. "In the past, the Oscars were only about great filmmaking and entertainment, but now its about passing on an important message..."

Stephen Zak sees it differently:

"In the post-9/11 world, some among us -- particularly in Hollywood -- have taken to treating evil with proper sensitivity. Interviewed about Syriana, which stars and is executive produced by Best-Supporting-Actor nominee George Clooney, director and Best-Original-Screenplay nominee Stephen Gaghan says of Osama bin Laden and his fellow thugs: "I was just curious. Why are these people so angry?"


A strangely impassive, but sensitive, response to barbarity and murder. While many in Tinseltown are quick to paint the United States as sinister, when characterizing our enemies, more nuance is apparently in order. "It's not black and white," says Clooney. "It's complex."

Searching equally for "complexity" is Best-Director nominee Steven Spielberg, who says of Best-Picture-nominated Munich, about the Israeli response to the murders of eleven of its athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics: "I just wanted to put empathy in every direction, because the situation is not cut and dried."

Best-Adapted-Screenplay nominee Tony Kushner adds that "you can't approach this situation with a notion of simple right or wrong." No simple right or wrong either for Hany Abu-Assad, director of the Best-Foreign-Language-Film nominee Paradise Now, which sympathetically portrays a suicide bomber who murders Jews. What motivates such people, he explains, is "the feeling of impotency, literally and figuratively. It's human nature."

Human nature? I don't know anyone who hasn't felt powerless. But I know none who, as a result, was compelled -- even tempted -- to walk into an ice cream parlor filled with mothers and children, strapped with a bomb packed with rat poison and nails. "Human nature" cannot explain this...

(the film Capote shows him trying to understand and humanize two brutal killers)

But the true explanation -- as Smith's own feelings of remorse attest -- was not hard to discern.

He did what he did because he chose to.

No external circumstance forced him to kill four innocents in their beds.

Like the Gaza killers and like Abu-Assad's murderous protagonist, he exercised free will, thereby demonstrating, apparently even to himself, that there are indeed monsters among us.

There is a fine line between offering forgiveness and redemption for those who deliberately commit evil, and admiring them and giving them a "get out of jail free" card while making their actions morally equivalent to those who protect the innocent..

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Guys at Katrina have a new blog

I know that st blogs has a lot of self righteous pacifists who have never shot a gun or been threatened with death or been in a war...

The link is to one that tell of humanitarian missions by the US Armed forces...(Like the 600 Marines who just dug out bodies in Leyte...)

My answer to intellectual pacifists is that it is indeed right to turn the other cheek, but in the parable of the good shepherd, the GOOD shepherd risks his life to save the sheep from the wolves.

And, as one Marine put it: There are sheep, there are wolves, and there are shepherds, and I'm the shepherd...

I know a lot of shephers...not only those in the military. There are police, firemen, EMT's docs and nurse, and many of our first responders are shepherds too...I know nurses and docs who were hurt when their helicopter crashed...police who were shot...firemen who died responding to car accidents...doctors who gave CPR to patients with active TB...or caught polio from their patients...Army reseverve/national Guard personnel who died in training accidents, or who left family behind for crises from the Cuban missle crisis to Iraq to Afghanistan to Katrina to the Tsunami...

They too are sheperds.

And there are a lot of predators out there, and I thank God every night that there are people risking their lives for others.

As for Iraq: before you wail about the evils we have done, remember there are over 300 mass graves in Iraq--and that doesn't include the million Iranians killed in a war started by Sadam.
Have you seen THESE reported in your papers? You should have read about them in the 1980's and 1990's...but probably didn't. WHY NOT? Don't you read all the human rights webpages? Or do you pick and chose, so you only read the reports about the human rights abuse by America so you can use them to bash the US, while ignoring the much more serious massacres elsewhere?

Christians care for everyone; people who claim they are liberal only care about politically correct poor people..

I'm older than most bloggers. My husband is a World War II vet....so let me say this: Do you lament Hiroshima (40,000 killed) but ignore Manila (100 000 civilians killed for revenge by departing Japanese soldiers) the millions of Chinese tortured and killed during the Japanese occupation, and ignoring the alternat.\ive (1 million US troops dead in the invasion and 7 million or more Japanese civilians killed or committing suicide...remember in Saipan, thousands of civilians committed suicide).

War is hell...

And a true pacifist is not what I see in the anti war (bush hating) blogs.

You want a pacifist? Try Archbishop Romero. He treated all with charity.

Try reading about LeChambon, the village who under the guidance of a pacifistic Christian pastor hid a couple hundred Jews...
The Nazi's came in and held a meeting. At the end, the speaker said: Long live Hitler...no one said anything. Then a teenager stood up and said: Long Live Jesus Christ, and everyone echoed back :Long live Jesus.
Ironically, LeChambon had many German soldiers recuperating in their hotels...and they treated these soldiers well too...
So when these German soldiers started suspecting the Jews, the charity of the villagers had already changed their hearts, so they didn't bother to report their suspicions...


That's pacifism, it takes guts. It is not self righteous. It loves all sides, but is not a patsie.
It prays for conversion, and it might even require that one die without defending oneself.

But you know, when I was in Africa, one pacifistic British mission was attacked...and God rest their souls.

We remembered what happened in the Congo in the early 1960's, so our nuns took Birth control pills, and we decided not to buy guns: we had no families, we had the right to be pacifists.

But this group was from a pacifist church...and the ministers, unlike other missionaries, didn't bother to send their wives or children away because, after all, all the Africans "loved" them....well, I say if they wanted to risk their lives, either because they naively disbelieved in evil, or because they had a martyr complex (or maybe, like us, because they had a job to do) then fine.

But they knew that there had been raids on nearby missions, so why the hell didn't they send out their wives, or at least their 13 year old daughter.

Dr. Sanity has a post on denial of the reality of evil HERE...

This psychological defense mechanism protects us temporarily from:

-Knowledge (things we don’t want to know)
-Insight or awareness that threatens our self-esteem; or our mental or physical health; or our security (things we don't want to think about)
-Unacceptable feelings (things we don’t want to feel)

The last six months I was in Africa, 36 of my friends or acquaintences were killed. None were carrying guns.
That's when I decided that maybe my pacifistic friends were wrong, and that there was a time and place for self defense and just wars.

You see, I didn't mind if I were shot, but I couldn't see letting others be killed so I could feel superior and holy...