August 31, 2009
August 30, 2009
August 29, 2009
The celebrant, who strove to avoid masculine references to God in the liturgy (his verbal substitutions plainly clashing with the voices of others sticking to the approved texts), managed to forget the Mysterium Fidei during the Eucharistic Prayer, and later asked the congregation join him "in the words Our Father taught us."
The homily, which started well enough but steadily deteriorated, fell into various holes like (I'm quoting from memory): "the fruits of [Kennedy's] work in politics well-prepared him for God's kingdom" (Lord, I hope that's not what he really meant); and "Kennedy tied his faith to justice in the land" (good grief, justice? for millions of unborn babies in the land? was that the fruit of Teddy's faith?); and "we are confident that Kennedy has entered into the new dwelling of God" (maybe you are, Father).
The kid's intercessions came out as unabashed advertisements for Democratic Party policy goals.
Mercifully, all the major networks used a single video feed, and pretty obviouslysomebody got to somebody ahead of time and ordered "Don't, under any circumstances, show the Communion lines!", so we were spared wincing as this famous Catholic pro-abort or that approached the Eucharist.
And finally, whodathunkit?, President Obama's eulogy, though offered in violation of liturgical law, was actually the most palatable of what turned out to be threeeulogies offered in violation of liturgical law, the first, Teddy Jr.'s, being maudlin, but mostly coherent if at times inappropriately partisan, while the second, that of Rep. Pat Kennedy, was embarrassingly pathetic and even included a joke about "that damn Kennedy" from the sanctuary. Sigh.
But what, in the end, most struck me, through whole ceremony, was how oblivious all the participants seemed to be (again, with the sole exception of Obama, who at least made one veiled reference to Kennedy's "public faults", and who was the only speaker to offer a prayer for Teddy's soul), how oblivious, I say, all the participants were to Ted Kennedy's disgraceful and chronic failings to defend the natural right to life (e.g., abortion, embryonic stem cell research), his refusal to protect the natural institution of marriage lately under such attack, and his bad example on a host of other issues of importance to Catholics and to the country. While a funeral is no place to rehearse, say, a man's role in the death of a beautiful young woman, such events and conduct should have, I think, instilledsome restraint in the rush to proclaim the man's accomplishments. (As for those "accomplishments", well, if one is wedded to the idea of a gigantic state, then Teddy's accomplishments were admittedly many. But if you're not enamored of statism, one might say that the damage Teddy helped inflict on the nation was great.) Instead, one speaker after another gushed on and on about Ted.
The whole experience left me less hopeful about "dialogue" on life issues (not that I was very hopeful to begin with): we are, it seems clear, talking to people who haveno sense of the enormity of the crimes being committed daily against the innocent. None. None.
So, as I said, the best one can say about Ted Kennedy's Catholic funeral (to which, yes, he had a right, in accord with law) is, it could have been worse.
August 28, 2009
August 26, 2009
Dear Mr. Kiester:
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about health care reform. I appreciate hearing from you.
In adopting reforms to the system of providing health care in the United States, Congress and the President should take heed of the adage "First, do no harm". Many Americans, particularly the 160 million who benefit from employer provided health insurance are happy with their coverage, their chosen doctor and the coverage provided under their plan.
I believe that reform should not be paid for by taxing the benefits of those already covered. They should not force anyone to change plans or providers. Finally, expanded coverageto the uninsured should not add to the ballooning federal deficit.
That said there are problems with our existing system. I've talked with small business owners who have seen their insurance renewals denied because one employee became sick or was injured. Others have complained about sustained policy price increases or exclusions of existing medical problems. These types of complaints point towards the insurance reform I have been pushing for 20 years; to have the insurance industry play by the same rules as other industries in America. Insurance companies and Major League Baseball are the only two industries exempt from anti-trust laws. That means insurance companies can legally collude to raise prices and exclude individuals from coverage. I have introduced legislation, H.R. 1583, to repeal this exemption. The Consumer Federation of American estimates that repealing the anti-trust exemption could help lower healthcare premiums by 10 percent.
The plan being considered in the House would focus on a few key factors. First and most importantly, it would make sure that every American has comprehensive health insurance that they know they cannot lose even if they lose their job or get sick. It would stop insurance companies from denying coverage to people based on preexisting condition. It would guarantee coverage to all Americans with a minimum package of benefits. For the millions of people who have insurance through their employer nothing will change. For Individuals and small businesses that do not have or cannot afford to provide insurance, they would be able to get affordable insurance by choosing from a "health insurance exchange". This exchange would give them a wide array of insurance plans to choose from, including, if they so choose, a public option. They can choose the plan and level of benefits they want. If they want to pay extra for a premium plan, they can. If they want just the basic package, they can choose that as well. The idea of an exchange is to pool risk, meaning the premiums paid for the plans in the exchange are put into one big pot which will lower premiums for everyone. Furthermore, there would be limited subsidies for lower income families and individuals to make sure everyone can afford coverage.
The insurance industry wants it both ways. They complain about the prospect of a public plan option as "unfair competition" while at the same time they are fighting tooth and nail to retain the antitrust exemptions so they don't have to truly compete with one another. They don't want reform. They want profits. As a result they and their allies are doing their best to frighten the public about what the health reform proposal currently being written inCongress will or will not do.
Opponents say that the bill would lead to fewer choices for Americans to choose their plan or doctor. The truth is the proposals being considered in the House will increase choice by giving people the ability to choose from an array of private and public health insurance options. Most importantly, if you like the doctor or plan that you have now, you can keep it. The bill will simply give people more choices, especially since one of the critical reforms is taking away the insurance industry's ability to deny coverage and care.
Some have warned that the bill would "ration care". The bill would actually take medical decisions away from insurance companies and put them in the hands of doctors, nurses and patients. No longer will insurance companies, whose primary goal is profits, dictate what care patients receive.
Some people warn of the "Canadian System" of people waiting in line to receive care and having to come to America to get a needed procedure. This is a bogus argument because the plans being considered in Congress today are nothing like the Canadian or European systems. What we are considering is an American system, based on choice and savings.
Simply put, we must do something soon or we face a health insurance crisis. The 47 million Americans in our country today lack health insurance get their health care in the most expensive way imaginable; by waiting until it's too late and going to an emergency room. The cost of this care is then passed on to the rest of us who have health insurance at the rate of over $100 billion a year in increased premiums and higher taxes. If we don't act now, the cost an employer-sponsored family health insurance plan will reach $24,000 by 2016 forcing most American households to spend 45% of their income on health insurance. This is unacceptable to me.
To be clear, I fully support the idea that people who are happy with their health insurance should be able to keep what they have. However, the cost of not doing anything is too great for all of us.
Rep. Peter DeFazio
Fourth District, OREGON
August 25, 2009
- Main Entry: 1nor·mal
- Pronunciation: \ˈnȯr-məl\
- Function: adjective
- Etymology: Latin normalis, from norma
- Date: circa 1696
1 : perpendicular; especially : perpendicular to a tangent at a point of tangency
2 a : according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle b : conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern
3 : occurring naturally <normal immunity>
4 a : of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development b : free from mental disorder :sane
5 a of a solution : having a concentration of one gram equivalent of solute per liter b : containing neither basic hydroxyl nor acid hydrogen <normal silver phosphate> c : not associated <normal molecules> d :having a straight-chain structure <normal butyl alcohol>
6 of a subgroup : having the property that every coset produced by operating on the left by a given element is equal to the coset produced by operating on the right by the same element
7 : relating to, involving, or being a normal curve or normal distribution <normal approximation to the binomial distribution>
8 of a matrix : having the property of commutativity under multiplication by the transpose of the matrix each of whose elements is a conjugate complex number with respect to the corresponding element of the given matrix
August 24, 2009
August 23, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 21, 2009
August 20, 2009
August 19, 2009
August 18, 2009
August 17, 2009
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