Sunday, May 31, 2009

Madness

It seems that George Tiller, the infamous abortion doctor from Kansas, was shot and killed today while at church. Now we don't know who killed Tiller but I am sure it was some fanatic from the pro-life community who feels that the best way to be pro-life is to kill people. Listen, I am as pro-life as they get but this is madness. Whoever killed Tiller should spend the rest of his life rotting in jail.

I hate to be political about it, but this also hurts the pro-life movement. Once again, we will all be called fanatics and crazies and there will be widespread sympathy for abortion doctors.

When things like this happen I think of the late great Cardinal John O'Connor of New York. He once said, "Indeed, on this current occasion I have repeated publicly what I have said before and mean, with every fiber of my being: 'If anyone has an urge to kill an abortionist, kill me instead.' That's not a grandstand play. I am prepared to die if my death can save the life of another."

Summertime

The 2008-2009 academic year is quickly coming to a close. Final exams begin next week and wrap-up on June 15. We have a final faculty meeting, clean-up, and BBQ on the 16th and then we're done until August! Last year was the first summer I was home alone with Kevin and I really didn't have much of a plan. This summer, I want to make sure I use the time well.

So, this summer Kevin is going to begin taking swimming lessons and also go to a music class. He will also go to his daycare a few times so he is around other kids and so daddy can have a few hours free. I also plan on taking him to see his cousins more often as well as to see some of his friends in town.

As for me, I am taking a week-long class in July and I am teaching a week-long class in early August. In addition, I am attending a two-day conference in August at Boston College. Finally, I hope to do a lot of reading. My goals are to read:

  • "Champlain's Dream" by David Hackett Fischer (already started)
  • "Albion's Seed" by Fischer
  • "American Creation" by Joseph J. Ellis
  • "American Lion" by Jon Meacham

This is ambitious, I know, and I wonder if I will finish. I certainly want to get through the first two and I can always read the others as the school year begins. I have a ton more books I want to read so I think I will just keep plugging away. I also have to re-read a book I assigned for summer reading for my AP US Government class ("Showdown at Gucci Gulch) and I have to watch some movies.

It will be a very busy summer!

Strange feeling

Yesterday we all headed down to Uxbridge for a surprise 40th anniversary party for the in-laws of Lynn's sister, Tom and Ruth Lacouture. The party was at the new home of Amanda and Sean Matthews, Amanda being Tom and Ruth's daughter. The house is beautiful and if you want to see pictures, check out Sean's blog here.

I must say that I broke the tenth commandment and coveted my neighbor's house! They have everything I want in a house: a HUGE backyard, spacious house, and a furnished two-room basement. Sean even has an air hockey table in his Man Cave. Not only that, their property abuts a quarry and you can walk right through the woods and right to it. They actually own the property all the way down to the water.

After the party, we came home and Lynn and Kevin headed up to Hampton Beach. Lynn had made plans for some friends to meet up there today and Lynn decided she wanted to head up last night. I wasn't really up for going to the beach so I stayed behind. Lynn also spent Friday night at the beach as her parents are renting the cottage out this summer and a prospective renter was coming early Saturday to look at it. Lynn is handling all the arrangements for the rentals as we live closer and she is more adept at using Craig's List than her father. Plus, she's better looking and thus, a better salesperson!

So, it's been strange to have the bed all to myself for two straight nights and even more strange to wake up this morning with no child around! That hasn't happened in almost two years. When Kevin was first born, him and Lynn spent a few days at the beach while I was taking a class for my Masters degree. I must confess, however, that I don't mind enjoying a quiet Sunday morning. Lynn called me a little while ago and said Kevin woke up at 6am and I could hear him in the background and he sounded very cranky.

So, today I am going to mass at 11:30 and then I am going to clean the house. Our bedroom looks like a bomb went off in it and the floors and walls could use a good cleaning. Kevin has good aim so food and whatever else has gotten onto to the walls and floors and it's high time they got scrubbed.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Catholics on the Supreme Court

If Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed as a Justice on the Supreme Court, she will become the sixth Catholic on the High Court (out of nine). The Boston Globe did an article today saying that this is a sign of the nation's "religious tolerance."

I am willing to bet my entire paycheck for one year that if a Republican appointed the sixth Justice, there would be a complete uproar, not some insulting article on the growing intelligence and acceptability of the Catholic population.

Case in point. When President Bush nominated John Roberts and Samuel Alito, the media and liberals were all worked up about two Catholics being chosen. But, appoint a liberal Catholic and all of a sudden those concerns don't seem to matter anymore.

What do all these have in common?

Former U.S. Representative Marty Meehan has been the Chancellor of UMass Lowell since 2007. By all accounts he is doing a good job, has done a lot of fundraising, and has raised the profile of the school. However, he has also turned the school into a PR machine for himself (Case in point: the Chancellor Martin T. Meehan Educational Excellence Endowment Fund, that name is so long and absurd that it sounds like something out of the Simpsons).

Anyway, since 2007 the following people have been Commencement speakers at UMass Lowell:

2007: Rep. John Lewis
2008: Sen. John Kerry
2009: Former Rep. Harold Ford

What is the common denominator with these three? They are all Democrats. Now, Meehan also served in Congress with a number of Republicans, particularly Newt Gingrich. Why doesn't he ask some of those folks to speak? If I were a student, parent, or alum, I'd be getting pretty annoyed that the university gives a platform year after year to politicos from the left.

Taming his enemies

I hate his views but I do admire President Obama's political skills. He is a master of getting people to agree with him and his appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court were brilliant (from a political point of view). Clinton and her husband are now completely disarmed and cannot criticize Obama or go after him. Plus, Obama has instituted a legion of special envoys that take away a lot of Clinton's power. Dick Morris offers his thoughts on this here.

His nomination of Sotomayor was just as smart because it puts Republicans in the tough position of opposing a woman and an Hispanic, the largest growing ethnic group in the country. Now, this of course did not stop the Democrats for going after Clarence Thomas in 1991 but they controlled the Congress at the time, the Republicans are in tough shape right now and cannot afford to lose any friends.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tells us what we want to hear

You got to give Gov. Deval Patrick and his team credit, they're very slick. They recently set-up a website for residents to prioritize their needs and wants from state government. They give you a list of initiatives like "affordable housing" and "top quality health care for elderly" and ask you to rank your level of concern.

At the end, they ask you how you would be willing to pay for all those services and list a number of taxes. I said "no" to every one and in the comment box I told them to make cuts to the budget.

This is obviously a ploy to get people to think about all the services they feel are necessary and then feel bad about the price tag. They guilt you into asking for a tax increase.

Yet, Patrick still employs his neighbor, the MBTA retirees get free health care, and state hacks get raises and sweet pensions.

Nice try Deval.

Grilling the hacks

With BBQ season in full swing, David Bernstein of the uber-liberal Boston Phoenix grills the hell out of our inept and embarrassing state "leaders." He essentially takes them to task for promising all these reforms and changes to state government and delivering absolutely nothing.

Read it here but below is a taste:

Perhaps the biggest mystery, though, is how Governor Patrick managed to be the one to lose the public trust, in the midst of all this cowardice and inaction by the legislature.

That's a rhetorical question, of course: Patrick's list of roast-worthy faux pas and missteps this year are legend. Apparently, the way Patrick celebrates the "season of reform" is by rewarding friends with plum jobs and unearned raises.

At least Patrick has offered something like real pension reform — unlike the legislature, whose reform would begin taking effect in a quarter-century (seriously), as the Globe's Scot Lehigh has explained. Everyone currently employed by the state is grandfathered in. It's a fairness thing: there are officeholders who would never have gone to all the trouble of calling in favors to get these jobs if they had known they would have to actually work 20 years to get their pensions.
The legislature is also resisting Patrick on the mammoth transportation-reform effort, thanks to Patrick's inspired selection of James Aloisi, the Don Rickles of intergovernmental relations, to alienate everyone in his path.

Aloisi recently demonstrated his credentials for heading a major reform effort: after thoroughly examining the many contributing factors in the Easter-weekend turnpike disaster, his department reported that the blame lay, conveniently enough, 100 percent with former Turnpike director Alan "Lights Out" LeBovidge — the one guy Aloisi's already sacked.

Not that blaming your former employee is anything unusual in the Beacon Hill sport of evading culpability.

High Hack Holidays

When I was a student at Boston College High School, I never had to go to school on March 17. Growing up in Middlesex County, I had never heard of Evacuation Day which just so happens to also fall on the Feast of St. Patrick. I currently teach with a fellow BC High grad and this year he came up to me on March 17 and wished me a happy Evacuation Day. He said I would be the only one to understand that!

You see, in Suffolk County, there are two holidays that are observed that no one else in the world does - Evacuation Day (to commemorate when the British were driven out of Boston in 1776) and June 17, Bunker Hill Day (to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775).

Now, it is obvious why March 17 is a holiday. Bunker Hill Day may be a bit harder to figure out but think about it - it gives the hacks a holiday in a month in which there are none.

This year the State Senate proposed eliminating these holidays in order to save taxpayers from paying holiday time, time and a half, etc. to all the hacks in Suffolk County. Sen. Jack Hart, a hack of epic proportions from South Boston, fought this with the same gusto as as if the Senate was considering banning Irish people from Boston. He said, "If we eliminate these holidays today in Suffolk County, then what's next? Do we eliminate maybe Presidents Day? Do we eliminate July Fourth? Why don't we get rid of Thanksgiving? Why don't we think about getting rid of Christmas?"

What a bozo.

Now, as a History teacher I appreciate the historical nature of these days. I actually got engaged at Dorchester Heights, where George Washington forced the British out of Boston. But, to defend it as a holiday on the same level as Christmas and Thanksgiving is to insult everyone's intelligence.

Getting crazy

You may have heard that a Catholic priest from Miami, Father Albert Cutie, was photographed recently kissing and being very intimate with a woman on a beach. He was subsequently removed from active ministry and placed on leave.

Now, it has come out that Cutie has left the Catholic Church and become an Episcopalian (along with his now fiance). He did this without even telling his archbishop.

I have no problem if someone falls in love and leaves the priesthood, it happens. But, Cutie did this out of the blue and without telling anyone. It seems very tacky.

See full coverage here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Race over law?

My mother and her siblings grew up very poor in a poor section of Cambridge. Her brother John graduated from the most rigorous high school in Massachusetts (Boston College High School) at the age of 16 and was offered a chance to attend Boston College. But, he instead went to work full-time to help support his family. He spent most of his adult life as a public servant working for the IRS and has always been a decent, hard working person.

So, why didn't President Obama appoint him to the Supreme Court? I ask because it seems that all Obama is looking for is a person with a nice story who cam "empathize" with regular folks. Michelle Malkin picks up on this and destroys Obama and potential Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor here.

Here is a sample:

The selective elevation of hardship-as-primary qualification demeans the entire judiciary. If personal turmoil makes one “incredibly qualified to pass judgment on some of the most important cases in our country,” let’s put reality-show couple Jon and Kate Gosselin on the bench. Millions of viewers tune in to watch their “compelling personal story” of life with eight children on television. It’s a “richly, uniquely American experience” of facing obstacles and overcoming the odds. Get them robes and gavels, stat.

McCaskill’s assertion that “overcoming incredible odds” is “new to the courts” is ridiculous. Is she arguing that Thurgood Marshall, Felix Frankfurter, and Sandra Day O’Connor faced lower hurdles than Sotomayor? And how about Clarence Thomas, a descendant of slaves, grew up in abject poverty in the South without a father. The object lesson, of course, is that not all compelling personal stories are equal. Thomas’s crime, of course, was embracing the wrong ideology. So his incredible set of odds and obstacles don’t count in left-wing eyes.

New ambassdor

Tonight, President Obama named a number of his nominees for ambassadorships. One of them was the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, one Dr. Miguel Diaz. Diaz, a native of Cuba, is currently a Theology professor at St. John's University in Minnesota.

Of course I know nothing about Diaz but he donated $1,000 to Obama's campaign and some group called Catholics United is "thrilled" by the nomination. A quick look at Catholics United's website tells me that Dr. Diaz is from the left bank. Catholics United praised the appointment of Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, called for an end to "abortion politics," and touted a poll that said overturning Roe v. Wade would have a "minimal effect" on abortions.

Yep, he will fit in perfectly with Pope Benedict.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More on Sotomayor

One more reason to be concerned about potential Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In 2005 she joked around saying:

"The Court of Appeals is where policy is made and I know this is on tape and I could never say that. We don't make law, I know."

Now, Ms. Sotomayor is much more smarter than I but even I know the Constitution states: Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

See below:

Empathy over law

The big news of the day is that President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. I can't say I know much about her other than what I have read today but Scott Lehigh of the Boston Globe, a liberal's liberal, does seem concerned about Sotomayor's assertion that at times "empathy" should at times trump "impartial justice."

Furthermore, in a speech in 2001, Sotomayor said that "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Hmmmmmmmmm

Monday, May 25, 2009

Eating their young

While the national Republican party is imploding, here in Massachusetts it is the state Democratic party that is full of infighting and palace intrigue.

The governor, Senate president, and Speaker of the House do not get along and are publicly attacking each other in the press. Hell, even Bill Weld got along with Billy Bulger and Charlie Flaherty!

Anyway, you know things are bad when the liberal blog Blue Mass Group is calling for new leadership in the legislature. See it here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lovely day

God is looking down on us because Kevin's doctor's office was open today for emergency visits. His doctor is at Harvard Vanguard and they have offices throughout the state and on Sundays you usually have to go to Somerville if you need to see a doctor. But, today the Chelmsford office was open so we went at 11:30 to see about his eye.

The doctor agreed with us that Kevin got bit by a bug. His eye was actually more swollen and more shut when we got there but the doctor didn't seem too concerned. She suggested we give him liquid claritin in the morning and benadryl at night if necessary.

After the doctors, we headed south to Middleboro for Lynn's niece's birthday party. Kevin had a blast running around their huge yard, jumping on the trampoline, and dipping his legs in the pool. Their dog, a Jack Russell Terrier named Oliver, seemed to like Kevin as he kept on running after him and playing with him. It was funny, I'd be sitting in a chair and from the corner I'd see Kevin running like hell screaming with the dog at his heels!

Needless to say, Kevin was filthy after playing outside all day and Lynn gave him a bath before we left. He somehow stayed awake the whole way home but fell asleep after we put him to bed. Thankfully his eye is looking much better and is almost back to normal. But, the doctor said it will go up and down and will be more puffy and closed after he wakes up.

Tomorrow we're going to watch the Dracut Memorial Day parade and then head to Salem, NH to visit a friend of mine and his wife. Should end up to be a very pleasant weekend.

Did you know?

Not only can MBTA employees retire after 23 years of service, they get FREE health care when they retire.

Yup, you're going to pay more in sales taxes later this year while guys in their 40's get free health insurance.

They're trying

There are more Republicans living in some Midwestern homes than there are in the Massachusetts Legislature. Massachusetts Republican is almost an oxymoron and the party is almost on the endangered species list. But, that doesn't mean the party doesn't try.

With Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo trying to tax us to death, the Republicans have come up with sensible reform proposals. Of course, many went down in flames. And what did the Democrats pass instead? A 25% sales tax increase.

According to the Republican blog Scaling the Hill, the following cost saving measures were passed or rejected by the Senate (number 7 burns my arse and I disagree with number 3):

1.) Repeal anti-privatization Pacheco Law (estimated savings: $150-$300 million) – Rejected 11-28

2.) Increase the cost ceiling on projects not subject to the Pacheco Law from $200,000 to $2 million – Approved 24-15

3.) Repeal the Film Tax Incentive ($110 million) – Further amended by Senator Downing to require a study, Approved 33-6

4.) Eliminate the Lottery advertising account ($2 million) – Rejected 12-27

5.) Require Medicaid recipients to enroll in managed care plans ($150 million) – Rejected on voice vote

6.) Prescription medication waste reduction ($75 million) – Approved on voice vote

7.) One-year wage increase and hiring freeze for all state agencies and departments ($140 million) - Rejected 9-28

8.) Require agency reports to be distributed solely through electronic means ($10 million) – Rejected on voice vote

9.) Expedite sale of surplus state lands ($25 million) – Rejected 6-33

10.) Extend pension liability funding schedule by three years ($300 million) – Rejected on voice vote

11.) Eliminate prescription drug mandate from Commonwealth Care ($10 million) – Rejected on voice vote

12.) Private sponsorship of state facilities and assets ($25 million) – Rejected on voice vote

13.) Repeal combined reporting for corporate taxes ($50 million) – Rejected 5-34

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bug bite

Kevin and I were outside playing this morning alongside 5 trillion bugs. He also took a header and I later noticed some swelling around his temple area. After he woke up from his nap, he looked like he went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson as his left eye was slightly closed and very swollen and puffy. I am not sure if it happened because of the bugs or his fall but there is a big bug bite around his temple so that is my assumption. We gave Kevin some benadryl before he went to bed so hopefully he will be OK.

We went out for dinner tonight and Kevin got a cup of water with dinner. It was a plastic cup so he took it with him to the car and he got water all over his shirt. After dinner we went to the local dairy farm to get some milk and we ran into some friends of ours. Between Kevin's soaked shirt and the swollen eye, I am surprised they didn't call DSS on us!

Saturday, lazy Saturday

We always seem to be running around or working late so we decided to do nothing today. I worked late three nights in a row and hadn't seen Kevin since Tuesday! So, we all slept in (well, 8am which is pretty late these days) and bummed around in the morning. I took Kevin outside around 11:30 for about 45 minutes and after a lunch, he took a nap.

Tomorrow we're heading to Lynn's sister's house in Middleboro for a birthday party and then heading to Salem, NH to visit my friend Bill Champion. I've known Bill since kindergarten and he and his wife just moved back to the area after living in North Carolina for a number of years. I've yet to see their house and they've never met Kevin so we'll kill two birds on Monday! Plus, it will be good to see him.

I did a ton of school work last week so I would not have anything to do this weekend. I am all up to date and I was actually able to leave school shortly after the bell yesterday which NEVER happens.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Heading to the prom

OK, I admit it. I never went to my high school prom. I did ask a girl with whom I worked at Shaw's but she bailed on me a few weeks before the dance. Truthfully, I was somewhat relieved as I am not one for dances and didn't really want to go anyway. So, instead I worked that day at Shaw's from 5am-5pm and went home and went to sleep!

Tonight, then, I will be going to my first ever prom. My school's junior/senior prom is tonight and faculty are always invited. I didn't go the past two years because I didn't really teach the juniors or seniors but by now I have taught enough years to know the upperclassmen well.

"Forever virgins"

In today's super sexed-up society, there are women who voluntarily give up sex for the sake of God. Women can profess themselves as "consecrated virgins" in the Catholic Church and it is a quasi state of religious life.

The Boston Globe Magazine for this Sunday has a wonderful article on some of the 13 consecrated virgins currently living in the Archdiocese of Boston. The article is very fair and positive and is a wonderful look at women who are truly counter cultural.

See it here.

Told you so

To all of those who voted last November to keep the state income tax, Howie Carr says, "I TOLD YOU SO."

See here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Way to go Miscamble

When I was in the seminary at Notre Dame, the rector was Father Bill Miscamble, C.S.C., an affable chap from Australia. He was also a History professor at Notre Dame.

Father Miscamble now finds himself on the outside looking in at Notre Dame. He is no longer the rector of Moreau Seminary but he still teaches History at the university. He is very concerned about the path in which Notre Dame is going and tried very hard to convince his confrere, Father John Jenkins, to rescind the honor that was eventually given to Presiden Obama on Sunday.

While the Commencement was going on, Father Miscamble was speaking to an alternative group on campus. You can see his entire talk here but I have posted below a piece. Take special note of the final paragraph below:

By honoring President Obama, the Notre Dame Administration has let the students and their parents down. And it has betrayed the loyal and faith-filled alumni who rely on Notre Dame to stand firm on matters of fundamental Catholic teaching – and so to affirm the sanctity of life.

The honor extended to Barack Obama says very loudly that support for practically unlimited access to abortion – and approval for the destruction of embryonic life to harvest stem cells – are not major problems for those charged with leading Notre Dame.They seem easily trumped by other issues, and by the opportunity to welcome the president to our campus. Bishop John D’Arcy, the great bishop of this diocese who so loves Notre Dame, said it well – Notre Dame chose “prestige over truth.” How embarrassing for an institution dedicated to the pursuit of truth to settle for temporary attention over eternal honor.

Friends, just ask yourselves whether anyone – regardless of their other accomplishments– would be honored here at ND if they held racist or anti-Semitic sentiments. They would not – and rightly so! Yet Notre Dame honors at this Commencement a politician who readily proclaims his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and who is clearly the most radically pro-abortion president in this great nation’s history.

Lowering the volume but still whispering

Most people are praising President Obama for his speech Sunday at Notre Dame. They say that he is calling for a new kind of politics, one in which we talk to those with whom we disagree and stop lampooning those on the other side. See Scott Lehigh's take here.

Well, I do agree with him but he is being disingenuous. Obama is calling for people to talk, dialogue, etc. on abortion but he will still appoint a pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice (and other judges), he will not rescind his Executive Order overturning the Mexico City policy, he will never sign (originally said "veto", my mistake) a bill that restricts abortion, etc.

So, while he will play nice in the sandbox, he will still be knifing us in the back.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Taxachusetts is back

Without a wiff of reform on the books, the Massachusetts Senate tonight voted for an 25% increase in the state sales tax (5%-6.25%).

So, while you're paying more for purchases, the following continues:
  • MBTA workers can still retire after 23 years
  • Pensioners can collect a full year of a pension even if they work just one day in that year
  • Deval Patrick's neighbor is keeping his $100K + hack job
  • Government employees can "retire" from one job, collect a pension, and get another state job and add to their pension
  • The state is forbidden from contracting with private firms (Pacheco Law)
  • There is no hiring or salary freeze at the state

Need I go on?

Ken Burns speaks

One of my favorite filmakers, Ken Burns, was the Commencement speaker at Boston College yesterday. You can see articles about the speech here and here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Prominence over Truth

In today's Globe, former editor Matthew Sorin (who now teaches at Notre Dame) writes about today's speech by President Obama at Notre Dame. Sorin begins by doing what all Catholics who want to justify their wayward ways do - invoking Saint John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech in Houston in which he called for a strict separation of Church and State. Kennedy, of course, simply wanted to get elected president and if that meant devaluing his faith, then so be it. I for one feel that he already devalued his faith by his consistent violation of the sixth commandment (that's "You shall not commit adultery" if you didn't know) but that's just me.

Anyway, Sorin incredulously says that the bishops who have criticized Obama's honor may "damage" the school's academic reputation. Yep, you damn bishops who are standing up for what is right should shut up because we want people to come to our school! Sorin says that if Father John Jenkins were fired (which is doubtful), people who already harbor suspicions about a Catholic school would be even more suspicious.

Well, if I recall Harvard pretty much ran President Larry Summers out of town in 2006 because he refused to bow to feminist orthodoxy. But, do people say Harvard is backwards? Nope, Summers was public enemy #1 to liberals and they clinked their champagne glasses when he quit.

Anyway, it seems to be that Sorin wants Notre Dame to choose prestige over standing up for what's right. But, if the person who was being honored by someone on the right who harbored unpopular views (i.e. George Wallace) then Sorin et al would be calling for a boycott and for Notre Dame to stand up for the truth. But, when it's abortion it's no big deal, simply ignore the bishops.

Deflecting

I was switching through the channels today and came upon ABC's "This Week" with the very impartial newsman (aka former Clinton advisor) George Stephanopoulos. He had some woman named Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of the Pinko rag "The Nation", on and she was discussing President Obama's speech at Notre Dame.

Heuvel called the Catholic bishops "hypocrites" for not criticizing President George W. Bush when he spoke at Notre Dame's commencement in 2001. She mentioned the Iraq War and the fact that he "presided" over a number of capital punishments as governor of Texas as examples of Bush's record on life.

Hmmmm, now as luck would have it I was at Bush's Notre Dame speech because my sister graduated from Notre Dame that year. I seem to recall that was in May of 2001. Tell me, Ms. Heuvel, when did the Iraq War begin? Hell, when was September 11?

Also, you say then Governor Bush "presided" over capital punishments. Well, last I checked it was the Judicial Branch that meted out capital punishment. And, Wikipedia's entry on "Capital Punishment in Texas" mentions the word "governor" once and that is in a photo caption of the Governor's Mansion. Other than being governor, how did Bush "preside" over those capital punishments?

Good work Notre Dame

The other day, an 80 year old Catholic priest was arrested on the campus of Notre Dame protesting President Obama's honorary degree at today's commencement. As he was being arrested, he was singing "Immaculate Mary." He also said, "How can a Catholic priest be arrested for protesting the killing of the unborn?" (or something along those lines).

Great PR, Notre Dame. See the video below:

Same old song and dance

Two uber-liberal state senators penned an opinion piece in today's Boston Globe calling for an increase in the state's income tax. Sens. Jamie Elbridge (Acton) and Sonia Chang-Diaz (Boston) said that "Increasing the income tax is the one tool we have that could help close the enormous budget gap we face without overburdening those who can least afford to pay."

Listen, I am not anti-tax, I know that you need cold hard cash to run schools, pave roads, operate libraries, etc. What drives me up a wall, however, is that a good portion of tax dollars goes to hacks, inflated pensions, and no-show workers. Today's Lowell Sun ran a great article on "double dippers", people who are retired from the state and earn a pension but go back to work for a government agency part-time to pad their pensions.

Coincidentally, Howie Carr's column today highlights State Sen. Kenneth Donnelly of Arlington who is collecting a $51,187 pension as a former firefighter and will soon add his $61,440 Senate salary (which I am sure will increase dramatically by the time he retires, again) to his already fat pension.

So, Sens. Eldrige and Chang-Diaz, before you ask us for a tax increase, take a look at your colleague in the Senate and all the other freakin hacks the state "employs." You got a hell of a nerve preaching to us about paying "$7 extra a week" when the state is chock full of layabouts, double dippers, and welfare recipients driving state cars.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back for another season

Jacob over at Food Network Addict is reporting that "Dinner Impossible" is coming back for another season. You may recall that Robert Irvine, the host, was fired for embellishing his resume and was replaced by Iron Chef Michael Symon. Symon did OK but the show wasn't the same and I bet the ratings plummeted. So, Food Network brought Irvine back for another 6 episodes and he must have done well because they have ordered another new season.

I love this show, it's one of the only shows on Food Network that I really watch. I also like "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and of course "Barefoot Contessa." I am pumped they're bringing Irvine back for more.

Am I getting old?

In all my four years of college, I think I went to bed before midnight one time - and that is because I was sick. Whenever I went home for the summer, I would roam the house until 2 or 3 in the morning because I could not fall asleep and was used to being up and about with tons of people around.

Now, I am almost at the opposite end. I now actually like going to bed early! I enjoy laying in bed and listening to talk radio as I drift off. Lynn doesn't really allow me to have the radio on if she is in bed too so I always try to go to bed long before she does.

The funniest thing, though, is that I can usually stay up late during the week, sometimes until midnight or so. But on weekends, I am pretty beat by 9 or 9:30. Last night, for example, I went to bed at 8:45 and last Saturday night at 9:15.

Never thought I'd be one of those "early to bed" people!

Heading north

My friend and seminarian Andrew Nelson is home this week from the seminary but he is soon heading out to Crieghton University's Institute for Priestly Formation in Nebraska for the summer. From what I have heard, you cannot speak for the first nine days! Good luck with that one Andrew.

Anyway, before he heads west, his parents are having a little get together today at their house in Brookfield, NH. Lynn, Kevin, and I are going to head up around noon. I love going up there because it is so rural and quiet and their house is very Norman Rockwellesque. The weather looks nice so far so hopefully it's a good day.

Even liberals are against him

What's interesting about the reaction to President Obama's speech at Notre Dame is that some liberal Catholics are opposed to it as well. Last week I read that Father James Field, the pastor of Incarnation Parish in Melrose is opposed to Obama receiving an honorary degree as it Father Austin Fleming, the pastor of Holy Family Parish in Concord. Father Field wrote about his opposition in last week's bulletin and Father Fleming has been blogging about it at his blog A Concord Pastor Comments. Interestingly, last week's bulletin for Incarnation is not available on the parish website.

And this week, Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, PA wrote a letter condemning Notre Dame. He called it "a day of shame and blemish for the Catholic record and reputation of Notre Dame University. Its relationship to the Catholic hierarchy and to the fundamental principles of the Church has been fractured and will take new leadership to rebuild."

We're winning

One the eve of President Obama's speech at Notre Dame, a new poll has come out that shows 51% of Americans are pro-life. Gallup, which took the poll, said this was the first time more people called themselves pro-life than pro-choice (aka pro-abortion).

You can see the poll questions, etc. here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Give it up

When you hear the word Crusader do you get all in a tizzy? Do you fear Muslim wrath? Do you run for the PC Hills?

Well, Eastern Nazarene College of Quincy says yes to all those questions and feels the word Crusader represents "religious intolerance and violence."

Where will it end??

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Only you be green

Oprah Winfrey (whose appeal I will never understand) preaches to all of us that we need to be more environmentally friendly, and green, etc, etc, etc. I think she was recently voted the "greenest celebrity." Now I actually agree with her as I am an avid recycler and run a recycling program at my school. But, Oprah likes to say she's green but how does that jive with what she said today during her Commencement Address at Duke:

“It’s great to have a nice home. It’s great to have nice homes! It’s great to have a nice home that just escaped the fire in Santa Barbara,” she told the students. “It’s great to have a private jet. Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn’t great is lying to you.”

Hmmm, tell me, Oprah, how green is it to have multiple homes (presumably spacious mansions which require a lot of electricity and maintenance) and to be flying around in a private jet? Wouldn't it be more eco-friendly to have one modest home and to fly commercial?

Nope, liberals preach to us but do something else...as usual.

Going after Benedict...again

Let me just preface this by saying I am very pro-Israel and do not have an anti-Semitic bone in my body. I teach scripture and teach a great deal on the history of the Jewish people, their plight, etc. I don't want anyone to accuse me of being anti-Israel as I consider myself a spiritual descendant of the Jewish people and greatly admire their strength and determination.

Pope Benedict XVI was born in Germany in 1927, just before Adolf Hitler's rise to power. By the time he was a pre-teen, World War II had begun. When the pope was 12, all German youths were required to join Hitler's Youth and about 10-20% refused and were sent to camps or went into hiding (or killed).

By the time the war was ending, Benedict was 18 and had escaped from the Hitler Youth and was actually caught by Allied forces but let go. Benedict never wanted to join the Hitler Youth and his family had to always move because his father was very critical of the Nazis. The New York Times actually did a a very balanced article on Benedict's Hitler Youth involvement back in 2005. You can read it here.

This week the pope spoke at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust (Shoah) memorial in Israel. Some Jewish leaders feel that because Benedict is German and the pope, he needed to be more apologetic and contrite about the role of Germany and the Church during the Holocaust. Some called his speech "cold" and "restrained."

First, Benedict was a teenager when the Holocaust was taking place. He HAD to serve in the Hitler Youth and the military. If you know anyone who stood up to Adolf Hitler and his henchmen, send them my way. But, you can't because they're all dead. How could once expect a teenager to speak up to the greatest source of evil in world history?

Second, it has been well documented that the Catholic Church did do a lot to help Jews during World War II. Now, was the Church always perfect when it came to relations with the Jews? No. But, the Church was not complicit in the Holocaust and did what it could. But, if the pope has to apologize every time he speaks of the Holocaust, why not the President of the United States? Franklin Roosevelt knew about the Holocaust in the late 1930's but the Concentration Camps were not liberated until 1944/1945.

Anyway, the constant bashing of Pope Benedict vis a vis the Holocaust is getting old. Pope John Paul II apologized for harsh treatment of Jewish people in 2000 and Benedict himself visited Auschwitz in 2006 and spoke powerfully of the horror of that place.

No one is saying we should forget the Holocaust but to continue to cast Benedict and the Church as co-conspirators is intellectually dishonest and distracts from those who truly did the evil.

Vaca Deval

The Globe has taken a look at Gov. Deval Patrick's public schedule and found that last year he took the equivalent of 6 weeks vacation away from the State House. Now I am sure he is still working even he's out of the office or in the Berkshires but I never mind seeing the Globe embarrass Patrick!

See the story here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The reason Sundays were made...

We all had a fantastic Mother's Day but it didn't start off too nicely. Lynn, Kevin, and I went to the 10am mass at our parish, Saint Francis, and then headed to Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Kevin must have been hungry because he was a bear shortly after we got there. We sat down to eat but he was too excited to run around so we went back out. But, all he wanted to do was push his carriage and he was going all over the place. He cried and cried and cried but we put him back in his carriage and he eventually settled down and we got to eat.

Hungry and calm, we finally got to walk around and see all the animals. After a couple of hours, we left and met up with my parents, Lynn's parents, and my uncle John at Castle Island in South Boston. We all found a shady area and just chatted and ran after Kevin. As luck would have it, Lynn's friend Jen, her husband Marty, their son Pete, and their dog Barley were there so they hung around as well.

After Castle Island we headed to my parent's house in Melrose for dinner and just got back home a little while ago. It was a great day...and I got about 11 hours of sleep the night before! I fell asleep around 9:15 last night and got up today around 8am. Nice.

Construction at Dracut Politics

In addition to this blog, you may know that I also have a blog devoted to Dracut politics and government. I have considered buying the domain name dracutpolitics.com and just have my blog redirect to that site. I was on the radio yesterday and when the host Warren Shaw read my blog name it was a mouth full so I decided to buy the domain yesterday. I bought it from Godaddy.com but I later realized I could have bought it from Google and it would have synced up to my blog right away. Instead, it is going to take a day or so.

So, if you go to my Dracut Politics blog right now it is not coming up. Hopefully this will be resolved today or tomorrow.

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Lynn's second mother's day...well, third if you count when she was pregnant. Last year we went to Franklin Park Zoo in Boston for Mother's Day and we're keeping that tradition alive again this year. Afterwards we're going to visit her mother in West Roxbury and then head to my parent's house in Melrose.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Jeopardy Politics

I LOVE Jeopardy and actually saw a taping of it when I was in California in 1992. But, I've noticed as of late that Jeopardy has been making political commentary in his questions (well, answers).

Last night a category was states and one of the questions asked about the home state of a "conservative" Congressman and home to some NASCAR track. My question is why would they even put the label conservative in front of the representative's name? It is irrelevant and they would never label someone a liberal.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rhode Island...our only hope

Gay "marriage" is now legal in 4 out of the 6 New England states. The only holdouts are New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The New Hampshire Legislature passed legislation legalizing gay "marriage" but Gov. John Lynch has not taken action yet. He has stated in the past that he feels marriage should be between a man and a woman but I bet he is being pressured big time on this.

That leaves Rhode Island as the only state that refuses to go along on the gay bandwagon. The good news is that there is no appetite for gay "marriage" in the state with the Speaker of the House, Senate President, and governor all opposed.

It's funny, I once considered moving to New Hampshire to escape the crazy lefties in Massachusetts but now that state has been completely hijacked by Massachusetts people and New Hampshire is now as blue. I never knew Rhode Island was the last safe haven! Looks like Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson were on to something!

Back on CAP

Your humble blogger will be on WCAP 980 AM tomorrow morning from 6:30-7:30/8:00 to discuss the recent Dracut town elections.

If you don't live in the Lowell area, you can listen on-line by clicking here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Couldn't happen to a nice guy

Looks like Manny Ramirez is out for 50 games for using steriods. Manny being Manny!

Poor Specter

Poor Arlen Specter. He thought he was being so cute switching parties but now he has not only lost his seniority in the Senate but he may even lose the Democratic Primary next year.

Granted, the primary is over a year away but Specter is now persona non grata in Republican circles and Democrats don't seem eager to go out of their way to help him out. The Washington Post has the story here but I have posted some excerpts below:

For Pennsylvania voters -- especially Democratic primary voters -- this triptych of recent events is likely to be deeply troubling.

"His actions over this past week have done nothing to curry favors with either party," said Penny Lee, a former senior adviser to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and now a Democratic consultant. "He needs to show some willingness to be a Democrat."
Another Democratic strategist who follows Senate races closely was more blunt about the damage Specter has done to himself over the last week. "Do you think that any right-minded local Democratic elected official is going to stick his neck out for Arlen?" the source asked rhetorically. "Or any member of the Democratic Senate caucus?"

Even those Democrats who believe that Specter has done himself no real long-term electoral harm with his actions over the past week don't exactly give him rave reviews. "The pride swallowing can't be easy but he had no choice if he wants to get reelected, and he was honest about that," said one senior Democratic strategist.

Despite all of that criticism, Specter still has a number of things going for him heading into next year -- most importantly the support of an exceedingly popular president who commands massive loyalty particularly among the Democratic base and a campaign war chest bulging with nearly $7 million.

And, average voters are not likely to be following every jot and tittle of the Specter saga -- especially so far from an election. Still, insiders are paying very close attention and, if Specter's stumbles over the past week encourage Rep. Joe Sestak to run in the primary, then the damage will have been done.

What once looked like a huge coup for the White House -- and from a governing standpoint remains one assuming Al Franken eventually wins in Minnesota -- has quickly morphed into a gigantic political headache that almost no one saw coming.


Boston Yankees

Jon Keller makes a great comparison of the failed New Yankees Stadium to the hacks on Beacon Hill. See it all below:

It's 10:30pm Tuesday night and I'm at my desk watching the Red Sox shred the lifeless carcass of the New York Yankees as the soggy remnants of the crowd boo every Yankee miscue.

That's a lot of booing.

Don Orsillo just said: "Gee, this place is dead." He might as well be talking about another grotesquely over-priced, mismanaged baby-boomer construct, Massachusetts state government.

Like new Yankee Stadium, the Massachusetts budget and debt load underwrites all the latest luxuries - a spiffy new underground highway through downtown, heavily-subsidized universal health-care coverage, comfy pensions for scores of public workers. Like new Yankee Stadium, the product on the field is the result of highly questionable decision-making; for the baseball club, it's overrated free agents who can't get it done; for the state, crumbling infrastructure, overly-generous public-employee contracts, and revenue estimates based on quicksand.

Like new Yankee Stadium, Massachusetts has run afoul of a basic business principle -- you can't survive if you drive away your key customer base. The greedhead boomer Steinbrenner offspring didn't anticipate that both high-rollers and core middle-class fans would balk at exorbitant ticket prices, even in a nifty new palace. A generation of Massachusetts politicians and planners have presided over the steady exodus of working-class taxpayers, and the coming round of jacked-up taxes won't stop the bleeding.

Seven-three Sox heading into the bottom of the ninth, in front of obscenely-empty stands. Pathetic. But it kind of feels like home.

Goodbye Alan

So Massachusetts Turnpike Chair Alan LeBovidge has resigned. This is the same guy who shut off the purple lights on the Zakim Bridge and who cut the number of toll collectors working on Easter Sunday as a way to get people to buy Fast Lane transponders.

Good riddance to yet another failed hack. Now if only Transporation Secretary James Aloisi would follow...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Liberals are beginning to get it...

Frank Rich of the New York Times is a miserable old liberal who works for a miserable old liberal rag. But, even he things the fawning coverage of President Obama by the media is over the top. Titled "Enough with the 100 Days Already", Rich's column today takes the media to task for its "hagiographers" and faux news stories about Bo the dog. He also thinks the decline of the Republican Party is a bad thing as Obama needs a check on his "sporadic bursts of overconfidence and triumphalist stagecraft."

He also gives Obama a good history lesson. After being re-elected in 1936, Franklin Roosevelt got too cocky and tried to pack the Supreme Court with New Deal sympathizers. This, coupled with a depression within a depression in 1937, hurt FDR.

You can see it all here but below is the lead:

BELIEVE it or not, there are Americans who have a “very negative” opinion of Barack Obama (13 percent, in the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll). Some are even angry at him (10 percent, New York Times/CBS News). As the First 100 Days hoopla started to jump the shark last week, I tried, as an experiment in empathy, to see the world through their eyes.

It was difficult at first, but an interview with the official White House photographer, Pete Souza, on CNN, pushed me over the edge. Souza was showing all those beguiling behind-the-scenes pictures that, though government issued, were more or less passed off as journalism by virtually every news outlet in the land.

Inevitably we got to The Dog. “I want to show this picture because I find this to be a fascinating picture,” said the CNN anchor John King, who found almost every picture fascinating. “The president running down the hall with his new jogging partner there, Bo.” What, he asked Souza, is it like “to add this to the diversity of your work at the White House?”

I’ll leave the photographer’s answer to your imagination. But for a second, anyway, I could imagine what it’s like to be among the Limbaugh-Cheney deadenders who loathe Obama. Those who feel the whole world is against them. Those who think the press corps is in the tank. Those so sickened by the fawning that they’d throw a brick through the television screen if the Bush-Cheney economy had left them with enough money to buy a new set.

Still alive

Sorry for the lack of postings this week. Yesterday was election day in Dracut and I spent the evening covering the returns for my blog Dracut Politics. Plus, I went back to work yesterday so I've been getting back into that routine.

There is a lot to talk about with the Boston Globe facing closure, Michael Savage's banishment from England, the Obama/Media love affair, pension scams, etc. I have a good column to write about tonight but I will have more tomorrow. It's getting late and I was dragging today so I want to hit the hay.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bring on the Magic

Phew, that was too close



Pleasant morning

My aunt Fran died a little over a month ago and today her family had her month's mind mass. The mass was the daily 8am mass at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Wakefield, the same church Fran worshipped at for decades and from which she was buried last month. Her husband Bill had driven up from Florida to be there and to begin his summer stay up north. Her got into Wakefield around 3:30 this morning after driving for 24 hours. My parents and sister were also there as were a few of my cousins and a smattering of aunts and uncles.

After the mass, we all went to my cousin Bill's house in Melrose for pastries and coffee. His wife Judy made amazing banana bread with chocolate chips which everyone loved. My father kept the coffee flowing and we all had a nice morning. I was the last to leave as I hung out with Billy for a while. We were talking about how we miss the old days - when our family would get together for huge holidays and other gatherings. A bunch of us used to get together every Sunday and head to our cousin's house in Derry and spend the afternoon and early evening there playing sports, watching football, whatever. I guess as you get older, people move on and things change. Oh well.

Tonight Lynn, Kevin, and I are going to a Cinco de Mayo party at one of Lynn's co-worker's houses in Tewksbury. I have one more day of vacation and then back to work on Monday. The good news is that summer vacation is about 6 weeks away!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Nice timing

Every year, Notre Dame holds a Eucharistic Procession around campus. It started five years ago and has become very popular with students and locals. This year's procession was last Sunday and today a story about it was splashed all over the Notre Dame website. It just so happens that the Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows are meeting today under the cloud of the President Obama visit.

Coincidence? I think not.

What if?

Can you imagine if during this recession, Laura Bush walked around in fancy clothes or $500 sneakers? The media would crucify her for being insensitive to the folks who can barely afford groceries, let alone $500 sneakers. We would hear sob stories of old women who say they have to make choices between food and medicine and kids who have to forgo luxuries like meat.

But, Michelle Obama? She wears $500 sneakers ($540 to be exact) and Yahoo tells us that they are a "sneaky splurge." The New York Daily News actually did an article on the sneakers and said they were "only" $540.

What liberal media?

No word on Globe

Midnight today was the deadline for Boston Globe unions to come up with $20 million in concessions or the New York Times said it would shut the paper down. There is no word as to what is going on and the usual media blogs are pretty quiet. Stay tuned.