Talk, talk, talk, talk, bicker, bicker, bicker

I can’t wait until the election is over.

It’s gotten to the point where I hesitate to go on Facebook, and I’ve been avoiding Twitter.

I know plenty of people who have sworn off social media entirely. I don’t know if that’s helping; it’s certainly not helping those of us who are still there are who are seeing proportionately MORE political stuff, because the folks who don’t want the political stuff aren’t there posting other stuff.

In her Conquering Twitter in Ten Minutes a Day handbook, Katharine Grubb observes,

Facebook is like having a big meal at Applebee’s with your buddies from high school, your college roommates and your parents. Twitter is like going to a sold-out professional football game in Gillette Stadium and having a conversation with the people next to you, while yelling at the guy on the other side cheering for the other team (4).

I’ve always enjoyed social media, and I use it for my job. But right now it’s become a chore. Facebook isn’t like a big meal at Applebee’s right now. It’s more like a bar brawl. I expect chairs to fly through windows any minute.

I’ve maintained that this election is going to be won through the media. Not social media. I still believe that.

But if you are still on social media, would you please do something besides bicker?

rock-island

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Exercise Your Freedom…While You Still Have Some

Whatever it takes to preach a homily that connects the Gospel of the day to the crisis of abortion and the Fortnight for Freedom, Deacon T at our parish has it. And then some.

fortnight-4-freedom-270x140-no-border-animatedOur parish is blessed to have three deacons whose faith very obviously animates and guides them, who are not afraid to keep it real and who speak simply from their own experience. Each deacon, of course, has different stories, different strengths, different gifts that benefit our parish.

Deacon T is an attorney who is well-read, well-informed and well-spoken. He is not afraid to discuss difficult topics from the pulpit.

He made me think of Pope Francis when he began his homily by stating that he didn’t have all his notes because his computer printer had broken–and that he was sure Satan was behind that technical difficulty. (But guess what, Satan–Deacon T managed without those notes, because the force of grace will always prevail.)

Deacon T spoke very plainly about the leading cause of death in our country. It is not car accidents, cancer or heart attacks. It is abortion, which kills more people each year than the “top 2 causes of death” put together. He had the numbers to prove it. He spoke about how our tax dollars pay for this–and how it is absolutely against what we as Catholics believe. He spoke about how, if we are to follow Jesus as he called us to do in this Sunday’s Gospel, we need to take action to prevent government actions like the HHS mandate that rob us of the freedom to live as we believe. He spoke about the tragedy of millions upon millions of lives lost, and how we do not know how those lives would have touched others.

If you didn’t hear about the Fortnight for Freedom at Mass this weekend or last, you can learn all about it here. I encourage you to pray, listen, ask questions, learn and find a way to get involved. It is our right and our responsibility to protect our freedom to live our beliefs and to defend the lives of the most vulnerable. If we do not protect our freedom, we will surely lose it. And too many lives have already been lost.

Electioneering

It’s all politics, all the time around here tonight. TheDad lives for this stuff and is even ignoring an upcoming nor’easter in favor of election returns. Little Brother’s school had a mock election today among grades 4 and up, so he’s interested in watching the elections as well (though I suspect he wants to stay up late so he can play Minecraft with the news in the background.

And Middle Sister asked what channel would have the elections (pretty much everything but ESPN, kid) because she’s taking US History 2 this year and her teacher expects the class to pay attention to this. Along with a real-life civics lesson, she’s also getting a geography challenge; her teacher gave the kids unmarked outline maps and wants them to label the states according to the results.

He’ll get no argument from me, but my older two kids missed the geography boat in their early educations. I insisted that Big Brother sign up for a geography class in high school and he later conceded that he’d learned a lot of important information.

When Middle Sister complained that she didn’t know which states were which, I informed her that she’d be selecting Geography as her first-choice elective next year, and if she didn’t, I wouldn’t sign her course-selection card. There was loud protesting, but I’m not giving in, even though Grandma stuck up for Middle Sister and said that it’s not important to know where the states are. (Thanks for that.)

Big Brother said he’d pass on watching election returns at college, because he figured that watching these in a public place could get tense. Besides, he’s got stage crew.

And I’ve got a couple of interesting books and a bowl of Halloween candy to occupy my attention. I voted, and there’s nothing I can do about this now.

Fat Police

This morning, Little Brother and I went grocery shopping. Everything went well for the first 3/4 of the trip. We got nectarines, cucumbers, melon, bananas, celery, Cheerios, peanut butter, cookies (I had a coupon) and EVOO. Then we got to the dairy aisle, and that’s where things got ugly.

I reached for a gallon of milk, the kind with the red top that screams, “Full fat!” at the casual observer, and my skinny 10-year-old took me to task.

It’s got to be the propaganda that’s behind it. First of all, the kid doesn’t even drink milk–hasn’t in more than 8 years. I am the main consumer of that weekly gallon of milk, and I like my milk whole, thankyouverymuch. But boy, was I in trouble. “Why don’t you buy 2%, Mom?”

“Because I don’t like 2%. I like Real Milk.” We went along this way for a while, as I wheeled the cart along and picked up a pound of Real Butter and 18 Real Eggs and then headed toward the Coffee Nirvana section, where I once again bemoaned the fact that ShopRite never has quarts of light cream anymore.

“Half-and-half is just as good, Mom,” said my young Food Policeman.

“No, believe me, half-and-half is not just as good,” I sighed as I placed a quart of half-and-half in the cart sadly.

“Mom, I agree with that governor of New York about this,” he commented. (I think he meant “mayor,” but whatever. I was arguing for my Real Milk, not accuracy regarding government officials.)

Kid, I’m all for healthy, which is why I bought nectarines, cucumbers, melon, bananas, celery, Cheerios and peanut butter, and also the EVOO. But when it comes to dairy, I’m a full-fat kind of girl. And no one, not any governor or mayor or president or surgeon general or doctor on TV is going to tell me not to have my nice big glass of milk with dinner every night.

Real milk. With the red top. Ice cold. It’s the only way. I’m willing to sit down with the Fat Police over a cold one and discuss this, and I will not back down.

I Do Not Like This, Uncle-Sam-I-Am

There was a blood-donation drive at our parish today, and Middle Sister wanted to donate. She’s 16, and that’s old enough if she brings along a parent to sign a permission slip. So I took her over there, filled out the form, and sat with her while she read the packet of information and disclaimers that she was handed.

Finally her name was called and we went over to the desk where the nurse was taking medical histories. First Middle Sister had to produce an ID with her date of birth. A school ID wasn’t going to do it, and I reminded her that she had her driver’s permit in her handbag. Then the nurse told me that I wasn’t allowed to be there. Citing “privacy issues,” she said that while my daughter gave her medical history, I couldn’t be present. I could, however, stand next to the table where they would take the blood out of her arm. That is, if I weren’t so squeamish about things like that. (I’ll drive you to the ER if you don’t make me look at the wound.)

So I had to go sit on the other side of the room while my underage daughter gave her medical history. She is not old enough to get an Advil from the school nurse if she has a migraine without parental permission, let alone donate blood or get her ears pierced (or any other body part). I accompany her to medical appointments. But I AM NOT ALLOWED to listen to my minor child give her medical history.

Can you tell I’m not a fan of this policy? My daughter wasn’t asking me to please go away. She didn’t seem to care one way or the other, which is comforting to me. If the patient doesn’t care that a parent is there during the medical history, why is it a problem for the nurse?

I was only able to find a small amount of information regarding confidentiality on the Red Cross website:

The Red Cross maintains the confidentiality of information we obtain about a donor and will release a donor’s confidential information to his or her parents only with the donor’s consent.

Is this all part of HIPAA, or is this something new? Regardless, I don’t like it. Not one bit. If she is young enough to require my signature before she can give blood, she is young enough that I can still listen to her medical history.

And after all that, her iron was JUST shy of the benchmark required for blood donation. So this was all for nothing.

Boycott Burnout?

This afternoon I was listening to my favorite radio show, The Catholics Next Door, on Sirius XM (totally worth the price of the subscription just for this show, by the way!)  Hosts Greg and Jennifer Willits were discussing boycotts.  I wish they’d allotted more time to this issue.

That topic has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  For about the past 20 years, my family has participated in the Life Decisions International boycott of companies that support Planned Parenthood.  That means no Levi’s, no Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, no Texaco gas–among so many other things.

And then there’s the Dump Starbucks Campaign, triggered by their announcement that same-sex marriage is core to who they are and what they value as a company.  More recently, Target announced that proceeds from a line of Pride T-shirts would fund the Family Equality Council.

Now, I don’t get Starbucks much; I don’t like their coffee.  If I want a $4 fancy coffee, I’ll go to Panera and get my latte there.  But Target is right around the corner and it’s my go-to store for a lot of things, replacing Wal-Mart, which is farther away and which has boycott issues of its own regarding labor issues, Chinese suppliers and more.

Maybe I’m just wimping out because this is hitting too close to home.  But it’s starting to feel like I won’t have anywhere to shop if I support all these boycotts.

Do they do any good?  Do the companies really care if I (not a big spender anyway) spend what I do spend someplace else?  Does anybody care?  After all, the American Cancer Society has been linked to support of Planned Parenthood, yet my parish still participates in the local Relay for Life.

So, am I lazy?  Tired?  Wimpy?  Is the devil on my back?  Or do I need to find another way to make a difference?

Don’t Treat Me Like a Fool

It’s necessary to get political sometimes.

Usually that’s something I leave to TheDad, because he’s all into that sort of thing, and I figure that one politically-obsessed person in the household is enough.  I back off–to balance things out.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t notice.  And it doesn’t mean I don’t take action when action is necessary.

This is one of those times.

I listened to President Obama’s self-congratulatory tone as he announced an “accommodation” to the HHS policy that would leave Catholic hospitals, universities and other institutions no choice but to offer health plans providing contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization procedures, all of which directly violate Catholic moral teaching.

I listened, and I realized that this “accommodation” makes things worse than it did before.  In the guise of making it LOOK like the Catholic employer would get to opt out, this plan requires that all insurance plans provide these, um, “services.”

We all know that there’s no free lunch.  We know that somebody’s going to have to pay for it.  Ultimately, everybody’s going to have to pay for it, because health-care costs will go up in order to pay for it, and that cost will be absorbed by employees.

Who knew that the President of the United States would borrow an argument more age-appropriate for his own children:  “Everybody does it.”  99% of American women, he says, have used birth control during their reproductive years.

If that number is even true (and I haven’t seen any proof that it is), that doesn’t make it any less wrong.

With all due respect, Mr. Obama, would you buy that “everybody does it” line if your daughter used it on you?  Or would you answer, as parents have done for decades, “if everyone was jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do the same?”

If “everybody” decided to stop paying income taxes, you wouldn’t think that “everybody does it” is a very good argument, now would you?

Don’t treat me like a fool, Mr. President.  I can see what you’re up to, and frankly, it terrifies me.

Jimmy Akin has an excellent analysis at the National Catholic Register.  Read the whole thing, and follow the “take action” link at the bottom.

Rocco Palmo has more on the American bishops’ take on this “accommodation.”

EVEN MORE:  Here’s what the economists think.

To Obama, it seems pregnancy = prison

So our President has taken the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade to affirm his commitment to “choice,” which was supposed to prevent the type of horror that happened for years in Philadelphia. “Safe and legal,” that’s what it was all about, right? Yeah, that worked well in Philly.

Here’s part of his statement (read the whole thing here):

On this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

Nice. Basically, our President believes that men and women should have equal opportunity to walk away from the responsibility of the life that results from the choices they make. He seems to view unplanned pregnancies as nothing but inconveniences that rob women of their dreams. Note that he’s not bothering to challenge “baby daddies” to step up and take care of their progeny. Why do that, when it’s easier to walk away from your responsibility and make abortion easy to come by, presenting it as the only solution to a crisis pregnancy–or even just an “inconvenient” one.

The Ironic Environmentalists

Little Brother and I spent most of yesterday at the Philadelphia Zoo with a bunch of friends. In total, 6 kids (4 of them 6 and under), 4 moms, 2 vehicles, 1 wagon, and lots of head-counting. Ask me how many animals I saw. I could probably count them on one hand.

It seemed, for a while, that the zoo has toned down its “animals good, humans bad” take on things. I remember taking the Big Kids there when they were younger, long before Little Brother came along, and seeing a sign that stated “This animal is endangered due to human overpopulation.”

Yesterday, though, we went to the move on display in the bird exhibit. It was a cute combo of animation and real photography that taught about migratory birds. And there was a lot of very good information in there. The main “character” was an oriole who came from the Philadelphia area, so you had the local link; other featured birds were certain shore birds that frequent Cape May in the middle of their 10,000-mile migration pattern.

However, this lesson in geography, navigation, endurance and instinct didn’t come without its own environmentally-correct message. A crane teaching the little oriole about what he’d need to do and where he’d need to go was telling him about these shore birds and how their commute was so much worse than his would be. She mentioned that the birds stopped in Cape May, NJ to “fuel up” on the eggs laid by horseshoe crabs. Unfortunately, she told him, there are fewer horseshoe crabs to lay eggs to feed these migrating shore birds. So she was going to head to Washington, D.C. to protest. Exactly what she’d protest was unclear, but the point was made. If humans can fix it, it must have been humans’ fault to begin with.

(Does it not occur to the maker of this movie that maybe all these birds are eating so many horseshoe-crab eggs that there are not enough eggs to hatch into new horseshoe crabs?)

When the short movie was finally over, these directions appeared on the movie screen: “Please migrate to the left as you leave the theater.”

“Nice double entendre,” I commented to my neighbor.

Here’s the thing: animals and plants have been going extinct for as long as there are animals and plants. If they can’t adapt to changes in their environment, they don’t survive. It’s as simple as that. (Yes, I’ve read Darwin.) Why do environmentalists who decry human intervention in other environmental matters (such as they do in the whole “global warming” thing) insist that humans intervene to “save” a species that is clearly not adapting to the world around it?

“Please migrate to the left as you leave the theater.”

We Don’t Want Any

…nanny state, that is.

I’m getting tired of the government’s efforts to protect people from their own stupidity.

Michelle discusses a California law that removes toys from the Happy Meals. Because the TOY is what causes child obesity. Uh huh. Who knew toys had that many calories?

And here in New Jersey, they’ve passed a law that few people want–one that makes young drivers a target for police profiling as well as criminals who prey on young people–in a misguided effort to keep inexperienced drivers from hurting too many people.

My son already has a “Cinderella” license, as a first-year driver. He has to be in by midnight. Now, Kyleigh’s Law will require him, until he’s had his license for one year or turns 21 (whichever comes first), to be in by 11. He will also be allowed ONE passenger in the car, unless a parent is present, at which point he can have as many people as he has seat belts in the car. This means he can’t have both his siblings in the car at once. So much for his ability to pick them up at school if I’d need him to! Sorry, not allowed! He’s got to show that he’s a new driver by displaying a special sticker on his license plates, stickers that we have to pay extra for AND make a special trip to get. These same stickers will identify him as a new driver to police, and as a teenager to criminals and predators. This is especially disturbing to any parents with daughters!

This law is supposed to help discourage behind-the-wheel cell-phone use as well. Now I realize that teens are heavy phone users, but sit near a traffic light sometime and see just how many adults are on their phones while they’re driving. Check those soccer moms leaving the athletic fields and texting dinner plans behind the wheel. Bet there’s no limit to how many kids they can have in the car while they use their phones. After all, they’re over 21.

What’s next? No listening to the radio while driving? No refereeing squabbling kids? No eating McDonald’s french fries? (Wait, I forgot, that’s probably already against the law.)