Bobby Schindler has endorsed Mike Huckabee

Terri Schiavo's brother Bobby Schindler has endorsed Mike Huckabee for president and his support could help the former Arkansas governor receive more votes today in Florida. Schindler has been an outspoken advocate of the disabled and his family's foundation has helped patients like Terri get appropriate medical treatment.

Schindler says he supports Huckabee for his views on the sanctity of life.
"I am pleased to announce my personal support of Governor Mike Huckabee’s candidacy for President of the United States," Schindler said, adding that the endorsement didn't represent the foundation.

"Governor Huckabee has a long and distinguished record of championing the rights of the unborn and vulnerable in our nation," Schindler added, according to a statement LifeNews.com obtained.

"His commitment to the cause of life makes him uniquely qualified to lead our nation through the moral and ethical quagmire that has resulted from 35 years of disrespect for innocent human life," Schindler added.

"I am confident that Governor Huckabee recognizes all life as having value and dignity and, as President, will not only fight to defend the lives of the unborn, but will fight with just as much passion to protect those who, like my sister Terri Schiavo, live with cognitive disabilities," Schindler concluded.

Terri was killed on March 31, 2005 when her former husband won a protracted legal battle against the Schindler family for the right to disconnect her feeding tube.

UPMC doctor sentenced for child porn

A previous president of the medical staff at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Southside was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday for possessing child pornography.
Dr. Marcelo B. Corpuz Jr., 63, of Oakdale, pleaded guilty to sharing child pornography videos over the Internet.

A federal search warrant served on the cardiologist's home on May 29 revealed 54 such videos on the hard drive of his computer.

In addition to the prison term, Dr. Corpuz was ordered to serve five years supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine.

While working at UPMC Southside, he also served as chair of the department of medicine.

Story

RU-486 MAKER ACCUSED OF TAINTED LEUKEMIA DRUGS

Some were paralyzed by the contaminated drugs.

NY Times

WOMAN THREATENED WITH $10 MILLION FINE OVER EBAY SALES

Because she isn’t licensed to auction in Pennsylvania. From the story: Some Pennsylvania officials now acknowledge that Pletz, with her heart-tugging story, was not the best person with whom to make a legal point. The 33-year-old opened her Internet business in 2004 so she could stay home with her 6-month-old daughter, Julia, who was diagnosed with a hypothalamic hamartoma brain tumor.

Philadelphia Inquirer

KANSAS JUDGE TELLS TILLER TO TURN OVER FILES

This could be HUGE!!! DR. GEORGE TILLER faces 19 misdemeanor counts stemming from late-term abortions. He should face 19 murder counts if you ask me. The late-term abortionist could face additional charges.

From the story: Tiller has reported aborting more than 2,600 viable fetuses in the last decade at his clinic, Women's Health Care Services, which draws patients from across the country. Under Kansas law, aborting a viable fetus is legal only if two doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy could kill the woman or cause "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the woman's mental as well as physical health must be taken into account.

LA Times

AHMADINEJAD: ACCEPT ISRAEL'S 'IMMINENT COLLAPSE'

He insists we “Accept that the life of Zionists will sooner or later come to an end."

Ahh, sooner or later everyone's life comes to end you idiot. President Yabadabadoo just wants to speed things up.

Gee, where have I heard this before???

Haaretz

SENATE TO VOTE ON BIGGER STIMULUS PACKAGE

Story notes “The legislation would pump $193 billion into the economy over the next two years. The House measure would inject $161 billion.” (Boston Globe)

Unlike the House, the Senate chose to not include illegal aliens. (FOX News)

More on the economy. (Hoover)

DEMOCRATS SEE RACIAL DIVIDE BETWEEN HILLARY/OBAMA

Obama gets the black vote, Hillary gets the Hispanic vote. (Gallup)

Meanwhile, Nader is lurking. (USA Today)

And ABC News is going after Hillary because she “remained silent” as Wal-Mart “waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.” For six years, she was a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors. (ABC News)

A past Clinton defender attacks Hillary’s character. (WSJ)

MCCAIN/ROMNEY DEBATE

The story claims they “angrily fought for conservative support.” (USA Today)

Transcript. (CNN)
Some reaction. (CNN)

Not helping McCain, the liberal and tough to read Susan Estrich is impressed by him. (FOX News) Novak said McCain “might well consider providing "straight talk" about Samuel Alito and promising to veto any tax increase by a Democratic Congress.” (Townhall)

From the Wall Street Journal: When Mr. McCain took the stage in Sun City, the applause was polite. When he finished, he got a standing ovation. He has been at this game a long time, and his ability to sense and ride the emotional flow of an audience is astonishing. (WSJ)

Poconos casino owner indicted

Hours after Poconos casino owner Louis A. DeNaples was charged with four counts of perjury yesterday, the state Gaming Control Board indefinitely suspended his slots license and ordered him not to set foot on his property, the Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County. Read More

Pope says some science shatters human dignity

Pope Benedict said on Thursday that embryonic stem cell research, artificial insemination and the prospect of human cloning had "shattered" human dignity.

In an address to members of the Vatican department on doctrinal matters, Benedict said the Church had a duty to defend the "great values at stake" in the field of bioethics.

He said this included total respect for the human being as a person "from conception until natural death," and respect for the natural transmission of life through sexual intercourse.

Practices like freezing embryos, suppression of embryos in multiple pregnancies, embryonic stem cell research, the prospect of human cloning and artificial insemination outside the body had "shattered the barriers meant to protect human dignity", he said.

"When human beings in the weakest and most defenseless state of their existence are selected, abandoned, killed or used as pure 'biological material,' how can one deny that they are being treated not as 'someone' but as 'something,'" he said.

Such practices "questioned the very concept of the dignity of man," he said in the speech to the department known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Full Story

When Did the County’s 2007 Deficit Appear?

When Allegheny County received a $22.4 million payment from the State’s Tourism and Economic Development Fund in the afternoon of December 31, 2007, the County Executive claimed that most of the money was needed to plug a large hole in the 2007 budget—a deficit he argues Council had been thoroughly informed about. But if there was a large 2007 deficit looming, why is there no record of it being discussed in either Council meetings or Budget and Finance Committee meetings? Moreover, why had Council not been alerted that the County’s Fund Balance reserve might have to be used to fill the budget gap? Transferring funds from the reserve should require Council approval. Continue

Denver Abortion Clinic Builder Issued Warning

From the story: A company building a major abortion business structure in Denver has been warned by a national paving coalition to break off work on the project, or else "my fear for you is that we are the first of hundreds of companies that will begin collaborating against The Weitz Co."

The warning comes from a vice president for the coalition of 1-800-ASPHALT, which reports having contractors in 44 states from New York to California, and has contracts for millions of dollars in asphalt and site work.

It is the potential picketing of subcontractors and customers that has Jamie Scott, the 1-800-ASPHALT vice president, worried. And in a letter to several Weitz executives he expressed his concern.

"I strongly urge you to reconsider building this abortion clinic. I believe that what you are doing is morally wrong but let's put aside the moral argument for one moment. It has been made clear to you by Mr. Duffy and countless other pro-life leaders that if you do not pull out of this project by Jan. 31st, they are prepared to begin the long grind of protesting your business offices, work sites, and homes for as long as Planned Parenthood is doing business in the building you are preparing for them. Now from a business standpoint, I have one question to ask of you. Is the money you are making off of this abortion clinic enough? Is it enough to justify what could be 10, 20, even 30 years of protests at your business sites? Is it enough to justify having these people protesting your home on every major holiday? Is it enough to justify having the Weitz company name and even your own names linked forever with child killing? And this is only what the pro-life groups are prepared to do," he said. Read more..

Pennsylvania takes on online auctions

Mary Jo Pletz was really, really good at eBay. But now the former stay-at-home mother and gonzo Internet retailer fears a maximum $10 million fine for selling 10,000 toys, antiques, videos, sports memorabilia, books, tools and infant clothes on eBay without an auctioneer's license. Read More

Rendell's pick for judge draws Republicans' ire

Gov. Rendell yesterday nominated former Commonwealth Court Judge James Gardner Colins to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, prompting swift criticism from Senate Republicans who must confirm him. Read More

Lent May Help Catholics During Economic Downturn

As Catholics prepare to enter the Lenten season, choosing to make financial sacrifices for religious reasons may help those concerned about the economic downturn, according to Michele Dillon, professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008. The Lenten season marks 40 days prior to Easter Sunday and is a time of reflection on the life of Jesus Christ. Those who observe Lent often give up something as an act of penance and fast periodically during the season.

“With the downturn in the economy and the general air of recession, individuals and families who feel they need to cut back on certain purchases might use Lent as a timely opportunity to make the sacrifices they feel necessary. Making economic sacrifices in the context of Lent with its emphasis on personal sacrifice for religious reasons might make some people feel a bit more upbeat about down-sizing some of their consumption habits,” Dillon says.

According to Dillon, Lent is still relevant to today’s Catholics, but has not been as salient in their lives in the last few decades as it has been in the past.

“Nonetheless, it is an important liturgical and cultural marker, reminding Catholics to take stock of their lives, and in this era of self-indulgence, to practice an element of self-denial by sacrificing some of their cherished everyday consumption habits,” Dillon says.

“It is also a good opportunity for Catholics to commit to new habits -- to helping others, to renewing their faith through spiritual reading, etc. Lent provides a good pause amidst hectic schedules and a reminder to individuals to review and reassess their larger values and priorities,” she says.

According to Dillon, many American church-going Catholics take Lent quite seriously. “Even those who would call themselves non-churchgoing ‘cultural Catholics’ are nudged by the date in the calendar (Shrove Tuesday/Ash Wednesday) to at least think about practicing a little bit of self-denial,” she says.

Dillon has written extensively on Catholicism in the United States and elsewhere, and has been especially interested in the institutional and cultural processes that enable Catholics who selectively disagree with aspects of Catholic teaching to remain loyal to Catholicism. She also has examined the political engagement of the Catholic Church, and of other churches and activist organizations in public moral debates in different western countries. She is the author of “Catholic Identity: Balancing Reason, Faith, and Power.”

COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY TO HOST SEX SHOW

Because, the president explained, “My views and the views of others in the community about the worth or offensiveness of the program can provide no basis for censoring it.” Wow! That must be one wild campus. By that definition, nothing is off limits.

Daily Press

INTEREST RATE CUT EXPECTED TODAY

From the story: Financial markets see a three-in-four chance the Fed lowers benchmark overnight rates by a steep half-percentage point, with at least a quarter-point trim a certainty, as the Fed seeks to counter the risk of a U.S. recession.

Reuters

CONGRESS GIVES THEMSELVES RAISES

From the op-ed: While the median income of US families has increased by around $11,000 since 1998, the income of their representatives in Washington has increased by more than $30,000. Considering that the latter work for the former, the imbalance between them is striking.

Boston Globe

HILLARY WINS IN FLORIDA, AWARDED NO DELEGATES

If not penalized, Florida would have given her 185. (AP)

Meanwhile, Hillary picked up the endorsement of the wacky Maxine Waters. According to this story, that actually means something. (Boston Globe)

GOODBYE RUDY, HELLO JOHNNY

From CBS News: McCain received substantial support from independents, seculars, pro-choice voters, and those Republicans dissatisfied with the Bush administration. Voters' economic concerns also helped propel him to a win. Mitt Romney came in a close second, winning the conservative Republican vote, including the votes of religious conservatives. (CBS News)

From the Washington Post: McCain enjoys assets that many party strategists said Tuesday night will make him difficult to stop in his bid to win the nomination that eluded him eight years ago. He can effectively close out the race against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in next week's 21-state GOP showdown. "It gives him real momentum going into Super Tuesday," said Matthew Dowd, who was chief strategist for President Bush's reelection campaign in 2004. "Florida really is the steppingstone." (Washington Post)

Breakdown of the vote. McCain got over half the Hispanic voters. (USA Today)

Another story notes “Registered Independents and Democrats were not allowed to vote, but McCain still won.” (RealClearPolitics)

Giuliani is expected to quit the race and endorse McCain. (FOX News)

Last month I sat in a production meeting and we discussed coverage of the campaigns. I made my prediction back then and I stand by it. I predict Huckabee vs. Obama and Obama wins. I really, really, really would like to be wrong on this one.

Talking Down the Economy

Finally, a refreshing breeze of economic sanity…..

From John Lott: A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. But we haven’t even seen one quarter of negative growth. In fact, the last two quarters have shown nothing short of phenomenal growth. During the third quarter of last year, GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.9 percent, twice the normal growth rate. The second quarter last year saw a growth of 3.8 percent. The new numbers for the very end of last year will be released on Jan. 30, but they are unlikely to show negative growth.

Court Says States Cannot Prohibit 'Choose Life'

(WND) Advocates for the unborn in Arizona are celebrating a court opinion that concluded the state was not allowed to censor a "Choose Life" message from a program that allows special interest groups to obtain license plates with their slogans, an issue that has been resolved similarly in other states.

Unbound

Catholic lay teacher, Neil Lozano, has written a book called Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance from Evil Spirits . I highly recommend it.

Lozano provides a sound, mature, non-hysterical approach to dealing with the slavery that the Evil One imposes on each of us. Let me be blunt: this book is not some type of "wacko" book in which people shout at and abuse others to get demons out. Read it and judge for yourself.

Why do I recommend Lozano's work?
1. His approach is mature, balanced, sane, and consistent with the Catholic faith
2. Our culture, including many Catholics, acts and talks as if the Evil One does not exist at all
3. The long-term entanglements of very serious sin--especially in the sexual area--have skyrocketed in a culture that continually deceives us into thinking that sexual sin and addiction are harmless and even healthy.
4. Lozano reminds us that there is a simple but powerful way to become unbound from the deceptions of Satan. That simple way is to invoke the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives. Too often, we see patterns of anger, slander, detraction, excessive criticism, denial, promiscuity, addiction to pornography, addiction to alcohol and drugs, inability to demonstrate non-possessive love and affection and form appropriate, respectful friendships, pride, perfectionism, and other evils that persist over time and which are often accepted as inevitable. They are not inevitable.

Many of us have had a great upbringing and have emerged fundamentally healthy in the way we relate to others. Many others have, in contrast, been deeply traumatized in their upbringing. Those of us fortunate to have had good parents still need to be unbound from the deceptions that the culture has pushed on us; and, of course, no upbringing, however healthy, is perfect or fully free from deception.

Those with more dysfunctional and traumatic experiences as children and young persons even more urgently need to be unbound from the slavery of evil. Lozano offers a sound way to begin to take back the freedom for which Christ has set us free.

Order this book today.

House rejects proposal to eliminate school property tax

State Rep. Sam Rohrer failed overwhelmingly today in his bid to radically reshape Pennsylvania's system of funding public education.

The House voted down, by a margin of 148-47, a proposal by the Berks County Republican to eliminate the current $10 billion in school property taxes and replace it with a higher personal income tax and by extending the 6 percent sales tax to many more professional services and products that are now exempt.

Mr. Rohrer argued, unsuccessfully, that Pennsylvania homeowners want a complete elimination of property taxes, not a partial reduction of several hundred dollars that will be done by using slots revenue and perhaps a modest increase in either sales or income taxes.

Story

2008 Catholic Blog Awards Coming Soon!

Nominations for the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards will open this year at 12:00 Noon CST on Friday, February 15, 2008 and close on Friday, Febrauary 29, 2008 at 12:00 Noon CST. Voting will begin on Monday, March 3, 2008 at 12:00 Noon CST and end on Monday, March 17, 2008 at Noon.

In order to nominate blogs or to vote for the Catholic Blog Awards you must create an account. If anyone thinks PowerBlog is worty of nomination :) you may proceed here http://www.catholicblogawards.com/
NOTE: YOU CAN NOT NOMINATE BEFORE 2/15

Fr. James Wehner Interview

Many of your requested the chance to hear the Fr. Jim Wehener interview again. After some technical battles it is now available. The audio is not the best but it is what it is.

This is the recorded interview with Fr. James Wehner, Rector of St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA from the John & Stephanie show on 101.5 WORD FM om 1/24/08

Rendell tied to disputed developer

When Hillary Clinton attacked Barack Obama for his ties to a Chicago real-estate developer facing trial on federal corruption charges, the spotlight revealed far-ranging political connections, including one with Gov. Ed Rendell, a strong Clinton backer. Read More

State House tackles property taxes

State House members last night debated a radical change in the way public schools are funded in Pennsylvania -- completely eliminating the $10 billion raised annually in school property taxes and replacing that, over four years, with a higher personal income tax rate and sales taxes on many professional services that aren't now taxed. Read More

CELEBRITIES PICKING UP “FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME”

From the story: …possibly at work here is the mystifying American notion that a British accent connotes more intelligence and culture than a standard American accent — even the working-class accents that might make the British themselves try to sound like Russell Crowe.

"Somehow a British accent conveys some sort of higher status," so adopting one can make the insecure feel better, especially performers, Min says. "They change their hair, they change their shoes, and if you're a celebrity of a certain type, you might change the way you speak."

Oh bloody hell, they've all gone loopy!


USA Today

STATES LOOKING FOR SNEAKY WAYS TO INCREASE TAXES

Without admitting they’re raising taxes states are doing just that. It's like changing the definition of what is a cigarette so they can tax a small cigar.

AP

SENATE STIMULUS PACKAGE BRINGS MORE CONTROVERSY

Story begins: The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday unveiled a rival plan to stimulate the economy, offering a $500 check to virtually every American - including low-income seniors and rich financiers - in a direct challenge to the bipartisan deal reached last week by President Bush and House leaders. (Boston Globe)

From Thomas Sowell: A bipartisan intervention is virtually guaranteed to be a grab bag of inconsistent policies thrown together in order to get the votes of people with contradictory ideas of what ought to be done. (RealClearPolitics)

Meanwhile, another rate cut could be coming. (ABC News)

TALK SHOW HOSTS NOT THRILLED WITH MCCAIN

AP story quotes Hewitt and Medved. (Townhall)

McCain leads in California and New York as voters like his experience. (Gallup)

George Will compared McCain’s politics to that of the Clintons. (Townhall)

Not that these things work these days… but the latest polls from Florida show McCain and Romney in a virtual tie. (RealClearPolitics)

Personally, I'm not sold on anyone yet. I might end up voting for Pedro.

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: KENNEDY BETRAYED US

For backing Obama over Hillary. They issued this fun statement: “Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton." (CNN)

Now there’s video of Al Sharpton telling Bill Clinton “to just be quiet…there’s a time to shut up and I think that time has come.” (The View) Ironic he says this on a talk show....

Anti-Catholic Book Returns as Required Reading

As the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., began its spring semester yesterday, The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) again called upon its president to drop the freshman requirement to read a lurid and anti-Catholic book, The Handmaid’s Tale.

The sexually graphic novel, written by Margaret Atwood in 1985, was selected to be the Common Text in introductory English courses this year, both in the fall and now in the spring semesters.

“Not only is the book vulgar and obscene,” wrote CNS President Patrick J. Reilly in a letter yesterday to Father Dease, “but it endorses a political-social feminist agenda that contradicts Catholic teaching and implicitly ridicules the Catholic Church. It is very disappointing that a Catholic university would honor this book for required reading and extensive campus-wide attention.”

Reilly had earlier expressed the CNS concerns in a December 18 letter to college president Father Dennis Dease but has not received a response.

“Many alumni and parents of current students also have asked for the removal of this book, but to no avail,” Reilly wrote yesterday. “It would be appropriate that today on the feast day of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the patron of the university, that you would exercise leadership and stop this scandal created by the English department.”

CNS has urged that the Common Text Program be thoroughly reviewed. Previous selections have raised similar questions about their value on a Catholic campus. If a Catholic university is to require all freshmen to read one work, it should choose one of the hundreds of classics in the Catholic intellectual tradition.

SOTU: End the Earmarks!

I watched the final Bush SOTU address last night. It was nothing spectacular. However one thing did catch my attention.

Last Night, President George Bush Pledged To Rein In Pork Barrel Spending By Cutting Earmarks In Half:

President Bush Pledged To Veto Any Spending Bill That Does Not Cut Earmark Spending In Half. he said he will use his veto pen and administrative powers to try to rein in the proliferation of earmarks, the projects inserted by lawmakers into annual spending bills and totaling roughly $17 billion in the last budget. Bush warned he would veto any spending bill that does not cut in half the number and cost of earmarks from the year before. He also said he will sign an executive order requiring agencies to ignore any earmark not included in the language of legislation. Well, AMEN!

President Bush: "The people's trust in their government is undermined by congressional earmarks."

Yet Hillary as president would toss gas on the fire.

Sen. Clinton Has Requested At Least $530 Million In Earmarks In Three Of The Twelve Annual Appropriations Bills. "A review of the first three appropriations conference reports finished by Senate and House negotiators shows that Clinton has successfully requested at least $530 million worth of projects." (Alexander Bolton, "Clinton Tops 2008 Rivals, Gets $530M In Earmarks," The Hill, 11/9/07)

Sen. Clinton Had More Earmarks In The 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill Than All But One Democrat, Totaling $148 Million. "In the fiscal 2008 defense-spending bill alone, Clinton successfully attached 26 earmarks worth $148 million, which was the most of any Democrat except Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, who is now chairman of the Armed Services Committee." (Kevin Hassett, Op-Ed, "Hillary Clinton Reigns As Queen Of Federal Pork," Bloomberg News, 10/8/07)

Sen. Clinton's Pet Projects Have "Questionable Public Value," Such As Earmarking Nearly Half-A-Million Dollars In Taxpayer Money For The Seneca Knitting Mill And The Buffalo Urban Arts Center.

Sen. Clinton Has Refused To Make Her Earmark Information Public, Unlike Other Democrat Presidential Candidates. Only Barack Obama has voluntarily made his earmark information publicly available. The others are covering their tracks. ... The Clinton campaign refused to respond at all to requests that she identify her earmarks.

And Sen. Clinton Attempted To Secure $1 Million In Funds For A Campaign Contributor's Woodstock Museum! I'm serious... The Senate Appropriations Committee Approved A Request From Sen. Clinton And Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) For $1 Million For A Woodstock Concert Museum.

A million bucks for a museum honoring a drug induced 3 day celebration of rebellion. Yeah, there was some cool music but it's not worth a million dollars.

The million-dollar earmark was included in a Senate education spending bill that came out of committee on June 21. The Project's Primary Backer, Alan Gerry, Contributed At Least $18,600 To Sen. Clinton Since 2005. On June 26, the Gerrys and two of their children who sit on the foundation's board made $20,000 in contributions to the Schumer-led Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. On June 30, the couple made $9,200 in contributions to Clinton's presidential campaign -- the maximum allowed by law.


The Senate-Passed Prohibition On Funds For The Woodstock Museum Was Stripped In The Conference Report. "The conference report on the bill removes the prohibition on funds for the 'hippie' museum passed by the Senate but does not actually authorize the $1 million. A phone call from Schumer to the Health and Human Services Department could restore the funding. But Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, who led the unexpectedly successful floor fight against the earmark, thinks Schumer will not defy the will of the Senate. Sen. Hillary Clinton, Schumer's fellow Democrat from New York and co-sponsor of the Woodstock earmark, has given no such assurance to Coburn." (Robert Novak, Op-Ed, "Musharraf And Bhutto Turn To Sen. Biden Before Talking To Bush," Chicago Sun-Times, 11/11/07)

If Hillary becomes president, be ready to have her spend your money how she sees fit.

The Apostolic Journey

Pope Benedict XVI will be making his first papal vist to the U.S. in April and you will find complete coverage right here. I'm proud to announce a partnership with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to bring you information.

The pope will arrive in Washington on the afternoon of April 15. His visit to Washington will include, on April 16, a morning meeting with President George Bush at the White House and an evening meeting with the bishops of the United States at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Thursday’s itinerary includes Mass at the new Nationals Park, the first non-baseball event for the stadium, an address to the heads of all U.S. Catholic colleges and heads of diocesan education departments at The Catholic University of America, and an interreligious prayer service at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center.

On Friday, April 18, the pope will go to New York, to address the United Nations and to attend an evening prayer service with Christian leaders at St. Joseph Church on E. 87th Street in the Yorkville section of Manhattan.

Saturday’s program includes Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with priests, deacons and religious men and women from throughout the country, and a trip to St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, where the pope will meet with young people with disabilities and then preside over a rally and prayer service with seminarians and other young people.

Sunday morning, April 20, the pope will visit Ground Zero, before an afternoon Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Stay Tuned As PowerBlog! Covers The U.S. Papal Vist April 15-17, 2008 - Washington, D.C. April 18-20, 2008 - New York, New York

We Don’t Need No Stinkin' Constitution!

Part I

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Rendell told KDKA radio's Marty Griffin last week that there would be "selective enforcement" of Allegheny County's new 10 percent tax on "poured" alcoholic drinks. Big hotels and restaurants will be targeted; neighborhood bars and small restaurants won't be, he said.

"You look the other way, sir?" asked Mr. Griffin.

"You can say that," said the governor.

So, Ed Rendell, all by his lonesome, has amended the Pennsylvania Constitution's uniform taxation clause? And what part of his constitutional oath of office does Rendell not understand? Is it the part about supporting, obeying and defending the state charter? Or is it the part about discharging his duties with "fidelity"?

Part II

Philadelphia Enquirer: [Philadelphia] Mayor Nutter said he would enforce new city gun-control laws even without state authorization to do so - setting up a possible legal and political showdown between the state and the new mayor. The PA Supreme Court has banned such city ordinances.

State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.), whose bill to give the municipalities the ability to make their own gun laws was defeated in the House Judiciary Committee last year, said, "My position has always been that the city should have the authority to make its own gun policy, and I will try to do all I can do to get the city that authority."

A respectful reminder to Mayor Nutter: In order to enact city gun policies, Articel 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution would need to be re-written.

Jerry Bowyer on Gov. Ed Rendell

Former WORD FM show host Jerry Bowyer had a piece published over the weekend in the Wall Journal where he considers the Rendell "Extreme Makeover".

I never had high hopes for Rendell. I've heard far too many horror stories from his Philadelphia days. I would have loved to have been wrong.

Bowyer sites his own disappointment with the Rendell tax hikes, spending expansion, and environmental policy.

It's clear that Rendell (and others) will tell you what you want to hear to get elected. It is the actions that reveal the true person.

Check out Jerry's Op-Ed here

House to vote on property tax relief

The state House plans to vote this week on two important bills intended to bring a sizable amount of property tax relief -- probably several hundred dollars a year -- to Pennsylvania homeowners. Read More

Turnpike bankrolls PennDOT again

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has gotten another cash infusion from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, part of a unique "public-public partnership" created by the state Legislature last summer to raise more money for roads, bridges and transit. Read More

Sky's the limit for tolls under state transportation funding

Contrary to what some policymakers believed, the state transportation funding bill approved in July puts no limits on tolls set by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Read More

Lawmakers accomplish little reform

They were elected to the House and Senate on a tidal wave of voter disgust over the ill-starred governmental pay raise law of 2005. Read More

State of The Union 2008

Tonight, at 9:00 p.m. (EST), President Bush will make the last State of the Union address of his presidency. As in past years, the president will use the address to the nation to lay out his plans for the upcoming year.

U.S. economy likely to be a big focus: Considering the huge day-to-day fluctuations in the stock market, the subprime lending crisis, high oil and energy costs, and the generally pessimistic views about the economy among the American public, President Bush will probably spend a good deal of his speech reassuring the nation that, while the economy is going through a temporary rough patch, it is still structurally sound. And, with an apparent agreement in place between the White House and Congress on an economic stimulus package, President Bush will likely talk about the help that is on the way from the government for those facing tough times.

His speech is also expected to urge Congress to complete work on an economic stimulus package, which includes tax rebates and incentives for businesses to invest in facilities and equipment.

Other subjects: Other likely subjects include the war in Iraq, health care, and opening up foreign markets for U.S. products and services.

Radio Waves

ABC STATIONS FACE POSSIBLE $1.4 MILLION FINE OVER NUDITY
The FCC has not issued an indecency fine against a radio station in more than a year as it fights a legal battle to keep its power to sanction stations. But in what may be a signal it's back to levying fines, it's gone after 52 TV stations for a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue." Insiders say there are dozens of pending radio indecency cases at the FCC.

Clear Channel becomes "Cheap Channel"
The Clear Channel Radio chief John Hogan has issued a memo detailing a spending freeze. It quickly spread through the company and beyond. It's a move that may be duplicated by other operators facing a similar first quarter conundrum of lower than expected revenues. Clear Channel is putting a freeze on any new advertising, promotions or research - plus no vacant positions will be filled.

The FCC announced last week that they had approved the buyout of Clear Channel Communications by Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners for $20 billion. According to Reuters CC will divest 42 stations in the top 100 US Markets under this agreement. No word on whether any of Clear Channel's Pittsburgh properties will be sold. CC owns WDVE, WXDX, WWSW, WKST, WPGB and WBGG

Terry Hazlett of the Observer-Reporter writes: "You may have noticed 3WS has lengthened the shifts of its disc jockeys --- Sherri Van Dyke and Mike Fraser are now covering the 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. hours, although it's not clear if all of those hours are live broadcasts. Unfortunately, that's indicative of radio's cost-cutting trends across the country. Fewer disc jockeys over longer periods of time may save a little money, but it certainly doesn't help with maintaining a high-energy level."

"Without virtually any promotion, B-94 (WBZW) took an almost two-point leap in the ratings after switching from 'The Man Station' to a top 40 format". "That 'cheep-cheep' you hear is CBS Radio, which three months into the format change, still hasn't hired a mid-day or overnight disc jockey, and didn't have a morning team in place until mid-January."

IRAN WARNS U.N. OF “SERIOUS CONSEQUENCE” IF SANCTIONS COME

Story also notes “Russia has completed delivering fuel for Iran's first nuclear power plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr.”

AFP

TED KENNEDY BACKS OBAMA

If that's not a red flag!

Story claims “to send a powerful signal of where the legendary Massachusetts Democrat sees the party going -- and who he thinks is best to lead it.” (Boston Globe)

Also joining Kennedy – the man who called Bill Clinton the “first black president.” (ABC News)

HILLARY SMASHED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

By more than 28 points. (NY Times)

Reuters/Zogby had Obama with a 13 point lead going into the weekend. Mason-Dixon had it at 8. (RealClearPolitics)

Some are blaming the disaster on Bill. (NY Times)

From Frank Rich: For the Republicans, that means not just a double dose of the one steroid, Clinton hatred, that might yet restore their party’s unity but also two fat targets. (NY Times)

ROMNEY – MCCAIN IN TIGHT FLORIDA RACE

Zobgy has McCain up slightly due to Florida governor’s endorsement of the Arizona senator. (Zogby)

Meanwhile, Giuliani slips further behind in Florida. (Washington Times)

Chicago Church Giving Sanctuary to Another Illegal Alien

From the story: Leaders of a Chicago church where an illegal immigrant from Mexico took sanctuary for a year before being deported say they plan to house another immigration activist who is set on defying a deportation order. Read more...

If a church makes a conservative political statement from the pulpit, they are threatened with the revocation of their tax-exempt status. But purposely harboring an illegal alien and defing a deportation order – nothing!

Feds want back $15 million from Pa. student loan agency

The federal government is asking Pennsylvania's student-loan agency to repay as much as $15 million that officials say it received in excess loan subsidies over a two-year period.
The U.S. Education Department outlined its request today in a letter to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The department's inspector general released an audit in November saying PHEAA was overpaid $35 million in federal subsidies over a three-year period. But department officials say they didn't accept all of the audit's findings.

PHEAA spokesman Keith New says the agency has been negotiating with the department over how much money, if any, it should repay the government. The negotiations are part of a separate federal program review of the subsidy payments.

Story

Polamalu won't play in Pro Bowl

Safety Troy Polamalu has pulled out of the Pro Bowl, leaving the Steelers with three players for the Feb. 10 NFL all-star game in Honolulu.

Polamalu, who finished the season with a sprained knee, is the second Steelers player to withdraw from the Pro Bowl. Willie Parker, whose leg was broken in the 15th game of the season, was replaced by Jacksonville's Fred Taylor.

Safety Antoine Bethea of Indianapolis will replace Polamalu.

Fumo rips PHEAA audit as political

State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, who serves on the board of Pennsylvania's student-loan agency, yesterday criticized an ongoing state audit of the agency's spending practices, alleging that it was politically motivated. Read More

Episcopal Church Urged to Table Disciplining Bishop

A leading Episcopal conservative is urging the national church to halt the process of disciplining Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, who is currently moving toward disaffiliation.

"In brief, I would urge TEC (The Episcopal Church) and other Anglican bishops to pray for and take action so that this process pauses indefinitely," the Rev. Ephraim Radner said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Episcopal Church's three senior bishops stopped short of banning Duncan from his religious duties last week when the presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, sought to inhibit him. Duncan was, however, certified as having "abandoned the Communion of this Church" and Episcopal bishops are expected to vote on a final decision later this year.

The charge essentially means that the bishop has effectively left the church. But will the church leave the bishop?

Duncan has been leading the Pittsburgh diocese toward a split with The Episcopal Church over its liberal view on Scripture and homosexuality. He has expressed little hope that the national church would get back in line with Anglican tradition and is currently planning to form a separate orthodox Anglican body in the United States with other conservative bishops.

I have spent some time with Bishop Duncan in the past. We meet in Washington, DC and I had a discussion about this issue with him. I have the utmost respect for Bishop Duncan. He is bravely fighting for truth in the remnant of a church that despises it. He has done everything according to the Bible and it is sad that those who claim authority over him, now stand against him and in essence against the Word of God.

While Bishop Duncan may very well end up a bishop without a church, I pray Pittsburgh Bishop Zubik will continue to stand by his side and maybe one day, welcome him into the Catholic faith.

Protestant Head, Pope Unite

Representatives of the two largest Christian bodies in the world will come together Friday evening in Rome to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and close the worldwide event.

General secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia of the World Council of Churches – which represents some 560 million Protestant Christians – will meet with Pope Benedict XVI – head of the more than 1-billion-member Roman Catholic Church – for a private meeting and later for an ecumenical Vespers service at the Roman basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

Pope Benedict XVI will preside at the ecumenical service where Kobia will bring greetings on behalf of the fellowship of 347 churches constituting the WCC. The service concludes the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated Jan. 18-25 in the northern hemisphere. In the global south, churches favor the days around Pentecost to observe the Christian unity week.

The Roman Catholic Church has been part of the ecumenical event from nearly its inception.
In 1909, the Roman Catholic Pope at the time, Pius X, was approached about joining the event and ended up giving his official blessing to the effort. In 1916, Pope Benedict XV encouraged its observance throughout the Roman Catholic Church.

Next year makes the passing of 100 years since that first meeting. Isn't it time that we finish the bridge?

Story

Governor Needs a Reality Check on Jobs Pronouncements

Pennsylvania’s monthly source of information about the Commonwealth’s job situation, the Department of Labor and Industry press release, grows ever more fanciful. The January edition, (which reports on the December figures) states, ‘...although Pennsylvania continues to outperform the national economy, his (the Governor’s) concerns about the outlook for 2008 are growing.’ Continue

HOUSE PASSES STIMULUS PACKAGE

From the story: Individual taxpayers would get up to $600 in rebates, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child under the agreement. In a key concession to Democrats, 35 million families who make at least $3,000 but don't pay taxes would get $300 rebates.

However, (You knew that was coming) keep an eye on the Senate as some Dems will attempt to attach spending to to the deal. Only in a liberal mind does that compute. (FOX News)

From the Wall Street Journal: We doubt it'll help the economy much, if at all, but then the real point of this exercise is to stimulate voters into absolving the political class of any blame for a recession. (WSJ)

My 2 cents: Look folks, I'll take a refund of my money any day. Having said that, I don't buy the recession panic. It does not add up. If you want to scare people into a recession, they might be on the right track, but a few days of Wall Street panic and people buying homes they can't afford is nothing new. We need to make tax cuts permanent and cut taxes on business. I'd prefer they let us keep more of our money instead of tossing us a bone when someone decides we are not spending enough.

NY TIMES ENDORSES MCCAIN

Can a candidate reject an endorsement? As McCain attempts to convince he is a conservative, this can’t help. The left-wing newspaper begins the story “We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president.” The story defines bad as anything conservative. (NY Times)

The paper chose Hillary on the Democratic side, with a completely different feel – claiming “The early primaries produced two powerful main contenders.” (NY Times) I actually tip to the left when I pick this paper up!

REPUBLICANS DEBATE ECONOMY

Story notes “The candidates also repeatedly criticized possible Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying she and her party would increase taxes and government spending.” (USA Today)

Quotes from the debate. (Houston Chronicle)

I Can Laugh

Catholics often are the butt of jokes. Remember Father Guido Sarducci? He was funny. In that spirit, I offer the following. Come on and laugh with me.

The Pleasures and Perils of Fermentation

Andy Crouch joined us on the show this week. He has a very interesting perspective on Alcohol and the bible.

By Andy Crouch

What would you say to 1500 students at a Christian college, sitting in their biweekly required chapel service, as the guest speaker at the beginning of “Alcohol Awareness Week”? Here’s what I said—after two Scripture readings from Genesis 9 (Noah’s episode of drunkenness a few narrative moments after getting off the Ark) and John 2 (Jesus’ first sign at the wedding at Cana). As with all talks, it falls short of my standards for writing, but it still seems worth sharing. Cheers.

I have this feeling that I’ve been given a nearly impossible speaking assignment. Shane Claiborne was here on Tuesday, and I’m just not nearly as interesting as Shane. Shane lives in radical community in one of Philadelphia’s grittiest neighborhoods; I live in a cozy little suburb of Philadelphia with two kids in a lovely single-family home. I do not have nor have I ever had dreadlocks. I do not have a cool East Tennessee accent. And I do not make my own clothes. We may all be in for a boring time. Plus I’m here as part of Alcohol Awareness Week, and surely there is nothing so truly deadly as a speaker you’ve never met trying to make you “aware” of “alcohol.”

The only things I have going for me—the only things we have going for us—are these two crazy stories from the pages of Scripture. Two stories that give us two very different pictures of what alcohol means for people who want to be biblical people, who want to follow this story all the way to its surprise ending.

click for more of this article

Duquesne professor a top contender for state court vacancy

Duquesne University law professor Ken Gormley and Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Scanlon are among those being considered for interim appointments to the state Supreme and Superior courts. Read More

Deal or No Deal

We have a deal! Well, a tentative one at least.

Democratic and Republican congressional leaders reached a tentative deal on tax rebates of $300 to $1,200 per family and business tax cuts to jolt the slumping economy.

Congressional officials close to the negotiations said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio reached agreement in principle.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two wanted key members of their parties to sign off on the accord before any announcement.

Pelosi agreed to drop increases in food stamp and unemployment benefits in exchange for gaining rebates of at least $300 for almost everyone earning a paycheck, including low-income earners who make too little to pay income taxes.

Families with children would receive an additional $300 per child, subject to an overall cap of perhaps $1,200. Rebates would go to people earning below a certain income cap, likely individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples with incomes of $150,000 or less.

Developing

SUICIDE BOMBER TRIPS DOWN STAIRS, BLOWS HIMSELF UP

That's what I call a "God Smack"

Also from the story: It was the second such incident in two days, with another man killing himself and three others on Tuesday when his bomb-filled waistcoat exploded as he was putting it on in the southern town of Lashkar Gah.

News

ESPN REPORTER DISCIPLINED FOR ANTI-CHRISTIAN SPEW

Two ESPN stories in one day and none of them have to do with sports.

Dana Jacobson suspended only one week for an amazingly inappropriate rant. (Sun Times)
On January 11, Jacobson was speaking at a celebrity roast in Atlantic City, N.J., when she unleashed a profane tirade, saying, "F--- Notre Dame," "F--- Touchdown Jesus" and finally "F--- Jesus."

At first, they did nothing, prompting outcry. (Catholic League)

Meanwhile, another ESPN reporter called Giuliani a dictator. This anti-Christian bias of the networks is becoming commonplace. Actress Kathy Griffin used her appearance on the Emmy Awards program to tell Jesus to "suck it," responding to athletes who thank Jesus when they achieve certain levels. No action was taken against Griffin. Don't forget, conservative hating Keith Olbermann also rose to fame at ESPN. (Wikipedia)

BILL: HILLARY WILL LOSE SOUTH CAROLINA BECAUSE SHE’S WHITE

As I said weeks ago, Race & Gender are and will continue to be a factor. Lest you forget it, Bill Clinton reminds us as he indicated voting based on race or gender is a good thing. Nobody asked “What if you vote white or male?” (AP)

Meanwhile, Edwards struggles even in his home state. (USA Today)

OBAMA DEFENDS CONTROVERSIAL AMERICA HATING PASTOR

I wrote a piece on this on Monday. You can find it here

This story notes of Obama’s church: “The church’s leader, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is retiring in a month, but his sermons and frequent denunciations of “white America” along with his support of black separatist Louis Farrakhan have forced Obama to answer for his pastor.”

Later: “Wright was quoted saying that, as president, Bill Clinton had done for black people what he had done to Monica Lewinsky. In a 2006 radio sermon attributed to him and now being circulated on the Internet, Wright lists what he says are America’s evils: its role as the No. 1 killer in the world, its imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, its support for Israel without regard for Palestinians, its radiation experiments on citizens, its creation of the AIDS crisis and its refusal to help blacks in this country. In the sermon, Wright says America is selfish, self-centered, arrogant and ignorant. “In light of all these facts,” he says, “God has got to be sick of this s***.”

While admitting he sometimes disagrees with his pastor, Obama insisted “People who are familiar with the black church tradition know that Reverend Wright’s considered one of the greatest preachers in the country.”

He also made this odd statement: “I’ve seen this country’s judgment clouded by fear — fear of terrorists, fear of immigrants, fear of folks who don’t look like us.” (FOX News)

The original story, with audio. (Beliefnet)

This is not just about politics. This is about core beliefs and values.

Former Pittsburgh Sportscaster Gets 51 Months For Child Porn

Former ESPN Sports WEAE-A (ESPN RADIO 1250) in Pittsburgh weekend anchor John Duffy has been sentenced to 51 months in prison on a single count of possession of child pornography.

He will also serve five years of supervised release after completing his prison term. Duffy was indicted last July after a raid raid found pornographic videos and pictures on his computer; he pleaded guilty in October.

Clergy Bless City's New Planned Parenthood Clinic

From the story: To commemorate Tuesday's 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that affirmed a woman's right to an abortion, clergy blessed [Schenectady’s] new Planned Parenthood clinic in a ceremony dubbed "On Sacred Ground."

"Today is more than about the building and about bricks and mortar," Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Linda Scharf said. "It's a blessing to demonstrate the support of the clergy." Read more…

Cheney To Appear At PA Republican State Committee

Vice President Dick Cheney will be the headline fundraiser at the PA Republican State Committee meeting in Harrisburg on Friday, February 8th.

On February 9th, the PA Republican State Committee will make their candidate endorsements for this year’s primary election. But good luck finding out if your county’s State Committee members represented your values, or if they even bothered to show up. Individual attendance and roll call votes are not released by the Republican State Committee.

Fr. Jim Wehner on the show

Fr. Jim Wehner will joined us live in studio for an hour to take questions and calls. Thanks to everyone who tuned in!

Father James A. Wehner was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1995. After ordination, he served as secretary to then Bishop Donald Wuerl and completed doctoral studies in Rome . Father Wehner is the rector of Saint Paul Seminary, director of the diaconate program, and director of the department for evangelization. In 2004, he assisted a group of prominent lay men who co-founded The Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh (CMF). Today, Father Wehner serves on their board and acts as the diocesan liaison.


John Morganelli opens race for state attorney general

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli kicked off his campaign for state attorney general today, and the key word in his speech was "tough.''


He vowed to be tough on crime, tough on public corruption, tough on unsafe foreign products that come into Pennsylvania, tough on the current "Bonusgate'' investigation of state employees, tough on criminal gangs that makes streets unsafe and, most of all, tough on the current attorney general, Tom Corbett, who is seeking re-election.


Mr. Morganelli, who is the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate for attorney general, criticized Mr. Corbett for not appointing an independent prosecutor to find out if any of the $3.6 million in bonuses given out in 2005-06 to legislative employees was a reward for political campaign work, which would be illegal. Most of Mr. Corbett's investigation has focused on House Democrats, though no charges have been brought yet.

More

Vatican official says pope does not want to abandon liturgical reform

Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of launching a liturgical "return to the past" but would like to recover some important elements that have been lost or forgotten in recent decades, the Vatican's liturgist said.

Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, made the comments in an interview Jan. 19 with Vatican Radio. He was asked about fears that the pope wants to abandon the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.

On Jan. 13 the pope celebrated a Mass in the Sistine Chapel using the original main altar, which meant he faced away from the people during parts of the liturgy. Since Vatican II, Mass usually is celebrated facing the people.

Msgr. Marini said the change in direction reflected the special artistic circumstances of the Sistine Chapel and was not out of line with Vatican II reforms.

In general, Msgr. Marini said, the orientation of every celebration of Mass is toward "the Lord, the savior who was crucified and rose from the dead." This should be the interior orientation of the faithful and the exterior celebration as well, he said.

CNS

Rendell says he'll fight re-election of opponents of health care plan

Gov. Ed Rendell vowed Tuesday to target for defeat Republican lawmakers who oppose his proposals for expanding health insurance and are seeking re-election. Read More

I'm Fine with God...It's Christians I Can't Stand

Have you ever looking in the mirror and asked "Who the heck is that?"

I'm Fine with God...It's Christians I Can't Stand: Getting Past the Religious Garbage in the Search for Spiritual Truth is kind like doing just that.

It's a honest (and often funny) look at evangelical Christians and where things go wrong. If you want some insight as to how Christians push people away from God check out this wonderful book.




Rendell-Clinton 2008

Salena Zito - Tribune-Review Political Reporter brings us this news:

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the former Democratic National Committee chair during the Bush-Gore Florida recount in 2004, will throw his political weight behind Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton today.

Primary Colors 08’ Blog

March for Life Recap

Although the temperatures hovered around freezing and winds continued to whip through Washington, pro-lifers came by the thousands, undeterred by the weather, to participate in the 35th annual March for Life.

Although many young people at today's march were not born when Roe v. Wade was handed down, to quote one teenager, they are all "survivors" of it. These children have grown up in an abortion-on-demand society and witnessed the devastation it inflicts on women, the family, and millions of their peers whom they will never have the opportunity to meet. In the face of 35 years of pro-abortion propaganda and indoctrination, young Americans are embracing a culture of life with renewed intensity.

The advent of ultrasound has provided an unanswerable rebuttal to the pro-choice argument that the beginning of human life is mere opinion. As a result (as the political establishment can testify) abortion as an issue in 2008 is not losing traction but gaining it.

Although pro-lifers are hailing a decline in abortion, the widespread use of RU-486 is arousing fresh concern. According to an article in the Washington Post, abortions by RU-486, the chemical alternative to surgical abortion, have risen 22 percent a year and are now responsible for 14 percent of the total abortions performed in the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

In spite of the outcry from both medical and conservative groups, all of which caution that the drug seriously endangers women's health, more than 840,000 U.S. women have been persuaded to use RU-486 as part of a broader political agenda that is claiming women and children as its victims. There are at least 1,000 documented reports of side-effects from taking RU-486, ranging from infection and hemorrhaging to ectopic pregnancies and even death, yet more than half of abortion traders are now offering RU-486 as an option.

RU-486 has compromised women's safety and the integrity of the FDA's drug approval process.

Obama buys three times as much radio

The Democratic presidential contender had the most ads last week with 2,376 spots - more than three times as much as the next candidate, Ron Paul. According to Media Monitors, Hillary Clinton came in third, followed by Mitt Romney - who spent heavily in Nevada. Leading into the South Carolina primary, John McCain moved from 10th biggest spender to sixth while Mike Huckabee ranked ninth.

ESPN ANALYST GOES ON ANTI-CHRISTIAN RANT

Called a “Notre Dame rant” in the headline, this story never tells you what Dana Jacobson said. (Chicago Tribune)

But this blog does. (Bloggernews)

THOUSANDS MARCH TO PROTEST ROE V. WADE

President Bush said “Thirty-five years ago today the United States Supreme Court declared and decided that under the law an unborn child is not considered a person, but we know many things about the unborn. Babies can now survive outside the mother's womb at younger and younger ages. And the fingers and toes and beating hearts that we can see on an unborn child's ultrasound come with something that we cannot see: a soul."

OVERSEAS MARKETS REACT TO FED CUT

“Most Asian markets rebounded Wednesday, reversing their recent gut-wrenching plunge as investors welcomed a hefty, surprise interest rate cut overnight by the U.S. Federal Reserve to shore up the sagging American economy.” (USA Today)

But stocks expected to drop in the U.S. today. (CNN)

WSJ: OBAMA GETTING A LESSON ON THE CLINTONS

From the story: Now he knows how the rest of us feel. The Illinois Senator is still a young man, but not so young as to have missed the 1990s. He nonetheless seems to be awakening slowly to what everyone else already knows about the Clintons, which is that they will say and do whatever they "gotta" say or do to win. Listen closely to Mr. Obama, and you can almost hear the echoes of Bob Dole at the end of the 1996 campaign asking, "Where's the outrage?"

WSJ

HAMAS DESTROYS GAZA WALL, THOUSAND HEAD INTO EGYPT

From the story: The destruction continued as Palestinians used a bulldozer to tear down a section of low concrete wall topped with barbed wire to allow easier access for cars. By late morning, Palestinians across Gaza were trying to reach the border, pushing to board buses, piling into the backs of pickup trucks. However, shops on the Egyptian side had sold most of their wares. Mohammed Abu Ghazel, 29, said he had crossed the border three times. He bought cigarettes worth $53 in Egypt and sold them for five times that in Gaza.

CBS News

"March for Life" or "March for Women’s Lives"?

With the tremendous support over the years for the March for Life efforts, it is no coincidence that the organizers of the counterpart march, which promotes abortion, wanted a similar sounding name to play off of this success. The misnamed “March for Women’s Lives” does just that.

For those of us who are members in the Presbyterian Church (USA) - the PC (USA) has sponsored, promoted and officially participated in one of these marches, but has not sponsored, promoted, officially participated, or even referenced the other. Can you guess which one?

Did the PC (USA) support or oppose legislation to ban partial birth abortions? What about support or opposition regarding parental consent legislation or the Unborn Victims of Violence Act?

Unfortunately, the PC (USA)’s lobbying efforts on each one of these issues matches the lobbying efforts of Planned Parenthood.

In more moves than a contortionist can muster, our denomination tries to accommodate all positions on abortion. However, the lobbying efforts of PC (USA) have been exclusively pro-choice.

This Saturday, the Beaver-Butler Presbytery will be considering an overture which will require the PC (USA) to either equally promote both sides of this issue, or promote neither side at all. This is a first reading, which means that it will either be accepted or rejected for consideration. Should it be accepted for consideration, the actual amendment and approval process will occur at the next scheduled Beaver-Butler Presbytery meeting on April 1st.

Bishop Zubik among thousands at D.C. prayer vigil

The largest annual Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception isn't Easter or Christmas, but the Mass that kicks off the all-night prayer vigil before the today's March for Life Rally, which protests the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion.

Bishop David Zubik, who hadn't attended for about 25 years prior to becoming bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh in September, was overwhelmed last night at the overflowing crowd more than 8,000 people, most of them young. Teens and college students sat in the aisles and in every available nook and cranny of the immense church. Hundreds would sleep on the floor in the crypt church below, and others in buildings that the adjoining Catholic University of America made available. Nearly 100 busloads of people were known to be coming to Washington from Southwestern Pennsylvania, although many would not arrive until after the sunrise today.
The bishop was astounded both at how much the crowd had grown in 25 years, and how young most of those present were. In all likelihood, half of them hadn't been born when he last attended. According to organizers, many of the teens had fasted all day as part of their prayer to end abortion -- which kept the volunteer medical staff tending to some who passed out in the crowded church.

"This is such a proclamation of people's conviction of how sacred life is," said Bishop Zubik. He had attended as a newly ordained priest, but duties in Catholic schools soon kept him home. When he joined the diocesan administration in the 1980s, he stayed back to help keep the diocese running while the bishop attended the vigil and march. When he became bishop of Green Bay, Wis., in 2003 he participated in right to life events there, but it was too far to travel to the nation's capital. Now that he has returned as bishop of his hometown diocese, he is finally free to attend.

More

Rendell's budget counts on economic growth

With the economy in a tailspin, Gov. Ed Rendell is predicting his toughest budget season since his first year in office. Read More

Bill had a Dream

Fred's Out: Thompson Drops out of Race


Well my pick has been scratched from the race. Fred Thompson has tossed in the towel and is no longer in the race for President.


Add me to the undecided list!

Richard Land Comments on 'Roe v. Wade'

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, made the following statement regarding tomorrow's anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion that effectively legalized abortion:

"America has reached a gruesome milestone the pro- life movement hoped and prayed fervently would never arrive--35 years of the wholesale slaughter of our nation's unborn children ushered in by the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. We grieve over the killing of at least 50 million unborn children and the devastating wounds inflicted on uncounted women and men who have chosen abortion during that time.

"Southern Baptists are overwhelmingly opposed to the abortion regime imposed by the imperious Supreme Court decision in Roe. The Bible tells us life begins at the moment of conception and that children are a gift from God. Yet millions of our fellow citizens have become like the prodigal son, taking the precious treasure of unborn human lives and wasting them on the riotous living of self-absorption. Instead of honoring the God who gave them these gifts of life, they are sacrificing their unborn children to the pagan gods of material well-being, social convention, and career advancement.

"Fortunately, the pro-life movement is making significant progress in the battle for hearts and minds. In spite of having virtually all of the nation's elites and virtually all of the secular, opinion-making sectors of our society adamantly opposed to it, the pro-life movement has risen to a place where significantly more than two-thirds of Americans are opposed to most of the reasons that women give for having an abortion. The country is moving strongly in a pro-life direction, and we have every reason to believe that trend will continue.

"We must be vigilant to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to offer the Gospel of Jesus and ministries of mercy to women in need. We pray that one day soon Roe will be overturned and that ultimately every unborn child in America will be protected legally and welcomed expectantly."

Catholics Criticize 'Call for Civility'

A group of 96 influential Catholics issued a petition today that explicitly criticizes a statement released last November that calls for greater "civility" among Catholics in political discourse.



The signers of the new statement believe the November statement would have the effect of silencing the pro-life movement and silencing criticism of pro-abortion Catholic politicians.



Most of the signers of the new statement are influential actors in the public-square, public policy, or academia. Among the 96 signers are university professors, think-tank scholars, journalists, authors, doctors, lawyers and others. They include such Catholic luminaries as Templeton Prize winner Michael Novak, authors Robert Royal and Peter Kreeft, columnist Russell Shaw and many others.



Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), and one of the organizers of the statement released today said, "Rather than giving pro-abortion Catholic politicians a pass, we should vote them out of office and encourage them to repent."



Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute said, "Too often these days civility is defined as giving in to the way the media define the issue under debate, whereas honesty demands insisting upon a different way of looking on things, even when this attempt is treated as a nuisance."



William Saunders of the Family Research Council said, "I signed this statement because, as the Church teaches, abortion is the most important issue in the world; it is not an issue like others, it is not one on which reasonable people can disagree. We cannot let calls for civility toward pro-abortion Catholic politicians obscure our fundamental obligation to oppose abortion."



The new statement called A Catholic Response to the "Call for Civility" says in part:
"All men and women of good will value civility, but civility is not the highest -- or the only -- civic virtue. Rather, justice is. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in Deus Caritas Est, "Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics."



The statement goes on to say, "If Catholic politicians advocated segregation or -- even worse -- slavery, would there be a call for civility towards them? If Catholic politicians said the poor are poor because of their bad behavior and we are not obliged to help them in any way, wouldn't we say they are heartless and even un-Christian? Some ask for civility now for one reason, abortion."



"The lack of public civility comes not from pro-lifers but from those Catholic politicians who support the right to kill innocent life in the womb and those who support defining man-woman marriage out of existence. But, some want to treat these politicians differently because they agree with them on important but purely prudential questions like health care, and the minimum wage."



The statement concludes:
"Though not all of its signers intend it, we believe the effect of the "Call for Civility" would be to silence the pro-life and pro-family movements. We oppose this effort root and branch."
"In short, we will feel free even strongly to condemn the public policy positions of Catholic politicians who support abortion, embryo-destructive research, and homosexual marriage. They stand against the teachings of the Church and in favor of morally repugnant practices that are counter to the common good and that should be unwelcome in a just or even polite society."



To read the entire Statement and view the list of signatories go to one of the following websites:
Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM)
Cardinal Newman Society
Crossroads Pro-Life
Fidelis

Ask Powerball : Abortion & Excommunication

I received a question that I think many people may wonder about. As much attention is focused on the pro-life battle, I've invited Rev. James Wehner, Rector at Saint Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA to respond to this question.

The question is about someone who has had an abortion, and went to confession and told the sin. Will that person be excommunicated even though they have gone to confession?

Dear Anonymous:

The sacrament of penance absolutely extends and manifests in a most definitive way the mercy and forgiveness of God. This is the Good News – that we are able to personally experience God’s mercy.The sacrament brings about this personal experience.

Excommunication results when one does not seek forgiveness and therefore removes
oneself from the communion of the Church. In earlier days, it was true that only bishops could forgive the sin of abortion. Today the “faculty” to forgive the sin of abortion is granted to all priests.In short, if one celebrates the sacrament of penance in a true spirit of seeking forgiveness, that sin is forgiven.

Now, not to muddy the waters but there is the final recompense of “justice” that is sought at the immediate judgment that occurs after death. Sins are forgiven but the judgment of God in determining the “purification” of an individual occurs. Here we understand that God gives us the opportunity to “purge” ourselves of all dispositions that would prevent us from really enjoying the glory of God.

Purgatory is given to those – even with sins forgiven – where conversion and purification is needed.

Thanks,
Fr. Jim

I want to thank Fr. Jim for taking the time to answer this important question. There are many false assumptions out there and it is always best to ask. Fr. Jim will join us on the radio show this Thursday (1/24) at 5pm for an entire hour.

If you have questions you would like to ask, please tune in or email those questions to me.

MANY YOUNG ARE ACTIVE PRO-LIFERS

Story notes “Young people are responding with passion.” (LA Times)



Another story claims of RU-486 “Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, a pill that has largely faded from the rancorous public debate over abortion has slowly and quietly begun to transform the experience of ending a pregnancy in the United States.” (Washington Post)

Blog for Life

While abortion has been legal in the United States for 35 years and remains legal and available throughout pregnancy for any reason, public recognition of the negative impact of abortion on women is increasing, and more pro-life laws are in effect than ever before.

"Abortion-on-demand has been imposed on our nation because the courts and others have accepted -- and even advanced -- at least two pervasive myths: that abortion is 'good' for women and that the interests of women and their unborn children are necessarily in opposition," says Americans United for Life (AUL) Vice President & Legal Director Denise Burke. "To restore a culture that respects and values human life, we first have to counter these myths with facts."

"In the 35 years that abortion has been legal in the United States, much information has accumulated demonstrating that abortion hurts women in devastating ways," states AUL Staff Counsel Mailee Smith.

The five most well-documented medical risks from abortion are: (1) a heightened risk of pre-term birth in future pregnancy, (2) an increased incidence of alcohol and drug abuse, (3) an increased risk of suicide, (4) a heightened risk of placenta previa in future pregnancies, and (5) the loss of protective effect against breast cancer from a first full-term pregnancy.

Smith adds, "These risks are in addition to the significant risks inherent in the procedure itself and the substandard health and safety conditions that exist in many abortion clinics around the nation."

"Until all the pieces are in place to make the overruling of Roe a realistic possibility and until the truth has replaced misinformation about abortion," says Burke, "laws that put fences around the abortion license and highlight the negative impact of abortion on women are imperative."
Prudent and effective regulations to reduce abortion and limit its negative impact include rigorous informed consent, parental involvement for minors seeking abortions, limitations on public funding for abortion, minimum health and safety standards for abortion clinics, and many others.

"Abortion simply does not promote the psychological or physical health of women," declares AUL Staff Counsel Maggie Datiles. "Once the scope of the negative impact of abortion on women is fully understood, support for most or all abortions will erode and a renewed culture of life will be within our grasp."

About Defending Life 2008
AUL's annual publication, Defending Life 2008: Proven Strategies for a Pro-Life America, is the definitive legal guide to abortion, bioethics, and the end of life. Cutting through the murky cloud of media chatter and controversy, Defending Life 2008 provides clear, thoroughly researched, and accurate information and is available to anyone who wants to understand key pro-life issues and utilize proven legal strategies to address them.


About Americans United for Life
Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which every human being is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971. The Wall Street Journal has profiled AUL, and PBS's Frontline program chronicled AUL's successful efforts in Mississippi.

Website: http://www.aul.org/

Planned Parenthood to Push 'Pro-Abortion' Candidates

(CNSNews.com) - The Planned Parenthood Federation of America reportedly plans to spend $10 million in a major effort to elect pro-abortion-rights candidates to Congress and the White House in November, the Wall Street Journal reported. Read more..

Meanwhile, about $300 million (about one third of Planned Parenthood’s total income) comes from our tax dollars.

When an attempt was made to defund Planned Parenthood in the Pennsylvania House, State Representative Tangretti, who claims to be pro-life and has the endorsement of the PA Pro-Life Federation, argued against the motion. We need real pro-life candidates!