Let's call this what it is: A new bull market in stocks has emerged from the ashes of the financial meltdown and the deep recession that followed.
And it's signaling the onset of economic recovery. Free-market capitalism is more durable, resilient and self-correcting than its detractors would have us believe.
This is not just a summer rally — although a 12% market rise since July 10 is absolutely splendid. There's a lot more going on here.
Over the last five months, since March 9, the broad-based S&P 500 is up 46%. If I'm not mistaken, a 20% rally that is not quickly reversed constitutes a bull market. We are more than double that, and there will be no total reversal.
Consequently, I want to change the agenda. This is much grander than what most commentators are describing. This is a new bull.
With positive, beat-the-street earnings coming from all corners of the economy, the current rally is based on solid fundamentals...Rest of Story
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Democratic-controlled House went along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates' plans to kill the over-budget F-22 fighter jet, but has rejected his efforts to cut off several other big ticket items....Full storyI believe this vote is a big mistake and agree with the Investor's Business Daily which argued in support of continued production of the F-22 after the Senate voted to cut funding for the aircraft:
...Keeping the F-22 production lines open would be a real stimulus saving real jobs. Lockheed Martin, the main contractor, says 25,000 people are directly employed in building the plane, and another 70,000 have indirect links, particularly in Georgia, Texas and California. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., a supporter of the program, says there are 1,000 suppliers in 44 states. That's wasteful?
Speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago last Friday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates repeated his assertion that "the F-22 is clearly a capability we do need — a niche, silver-bullet solution for one or two potential scenarios — specifically the defeat of a highly advanced enemy fighter fleet."
But the "F-22, to be blunt, does not make much sense anyplace else in the spectrum of conflict," he added.
Air dominance is not a "niche scenario," and while we're lucky the Taliban does not have an Air Force, other potential opponents do. It would prove quite useful over the skies of North Korea, if necessary, or in thwarting a Chinese threat in the Taiwan Straits. Gates forgets that it was high-tech "Cold War" weapons such as the stealthy F-111A that shattered Saddam Hussein's air defenses and infrastructure and controlled the skies during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael M. Dunn, chief executive of the Air Force Association, notes that in last year's conflict in Georgia, the Raptor was the only aircraft in our inventory that could have penetrated the defended airspace and had a chance of surviving.
The F-22 Raptor is also perhaps the only plane that could evade the sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system Russia has contracted to sell Iran. Russia's S-300 system is "one of the most lethal, if not the most lethal, all-altitude area defense" systems, according to the International Strategy and Assessment Service, a Virginia-based think tank...Full editorial
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The routine is getting a bit old, and the complaints are a bit odd given the fact that he himself is dramatically increasing the deficit he inherited.
I can think of no better response to his complaint than a video I came across the other day at The Anchoress. Here it is:
Homeschooled and raised in a devoutly religious home, Tebow 's strong beliefs and his actions (including overseas mission work) are inspiring changes to the beliefs and behaviors of his teammates and even to his head coach, Urban Meyer.
Plus, he created quite a buzz recently when, in response to a reporter's question, he admitted that he was "saving himself " for marriage.
What a wonderful example for young people.
Read more at The Deacon's Bench here.
is on a roll. Question is, how long will it last?
The politically savvy defense secretary scored big legislative wins when the Senate voted convincingly to end production of the high-priced F-22 jet fighter and killed an aircraft engine project that he says isn't needed.
Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration, is on a campaign to change the way the does business. In his sights are unnecessary or financially troubled weapons that siphon money away from the troops and gear required for irregular wars now being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Yet getting Capitol Hill to go along with further deep cuts to big-ticket programs remains a huge challenge as lawmakers claw to protect the jobs these projects create in their states and districts. Others have serious disagreements with the Obama administration's strategic choices...Full story
While I disagree withe the defense secretary on the need for the F-22 Fighter plane (see my previous post on the subject here), I will reserve judgment on his other proposals.
What bothers me about this is not the headline of my post (taken from the title of the AP article), but rather that I have not seen any equivalent headlines for any of the other 14 cabinet departments.
The President said he would scrub the budget for unnecessary items and cut them. Why does he seem to be focusing on cutting the defense budget, while proposing massive increases for the rest of the federal budget?
Another quote from the article:
...The grounding of the $65 billion F-22 program that played out last week was aided by special circumstances, according to defense policy analysts.
The Obama White House used substantial political capital to stop F-22 production at 187 aircraft, threatening to veto any legislation that included money for more new planes. It's unlikely such an effort will often be repeated given the stuttering economy, health care reform and other serious challenges the administration needs Capitol Hill's help with...
We are throwing around trillions, yet the President burns valuable political capital to save a few billion a year by cutting funding for the most advanced fighter plane the world has known (not to mention the 95,000 critical defense industrial base jobs that are at stake)?
Can anyone explain this to me?
If you haven't seen it, it is worth a look.
This video was produce by the Population Research Institute. The companion website for the video is found here.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Mark Steyn, writing over at The Corner, reflects on how the recent comments by Rep. John Conyers demonstrate the need for limited government:
Representative John Conyers can't see why lawmakers should read the laws they make. What's the point? They wouldn't understand 'em anyway:
“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.
“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”
As Betsy Newmark comments:
At least some representative's aides somewhere have read some part of the bill so that should be enough, right? Who says that when you're rejiggering over one-sixth of the US economy and incurring massive future debt that you need to know what it is you're voting on.
Thousand-page bills, unread and indeed unwritten at the time of passage, are the death of representative government. They also provide a clue as to why, in a country this large, national government should be minimal and constrained. Even if you doubled or trebled the size of the legislature, the Conyers conundrum would still hold: No individual can read these bills and understand what he's voting on. That's why the bulk of these responsibilities should be left to states and subsidiary jurisdictions, which can legislate on such matters at readable length and in comprehensible language.
As for optimum bill size, the 1773 Tea Act, which provoked the Boston Tea Party, was 2,263 words. That sounds about right.
Well-said by Steyn!
For my previous post on the subject and video of Rep. Conyers comments, click here.
Many Americans bought the sales pitch, despite his decades-long association with Jeremiah Wright, who he considered to be a spiritual mentor.
Now, many are surprised at how quickly he threw the Cambridge police under the bus last week, when he did not even have the facts (which he admitted at the time of his comment).
One of my favorite columnists, Thomas Sowell, argues that no one should be surprised. Obama's record does not reflect that of a "post-racial" politician.
From National Review Online:
Many people hoped that the election of a black President of the United States would mark our entering a “post-racial” era, when we could finally put some ugly aspects of our history behind us.
That was quite understandable. But it takes two to tango. Those of us who want to see racism on its way out need to realize that others benefit greatly from crying racism. They benefit politically, financially, and socially.
Barack Obama has been allied with such people for decades. He found it expedient to appeal to a wider electorate as a post-racial candidate, just as he has found it expedient to say a lot of other popular things — about campaign finance, about transparency in government, about not rushing legislation through Congress without having it first posted on the Internet long enough to be studied — all of which turned to be the direct opposite of what he has actually done after getting elected.
Those who were shocked at President Obama’s cheap shot at the Cambridge police for being “stupid” in arresting Henry Louis Gates must have been among those who let their wishes prevail over the obvious implications of Obama’s 20 years of association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who can believe that Obama did not understand what the racist rants of Jeremiah Wright meant can believe anything.
With race — as with campaign finance, transparency, and the rest — Barack Obama knows what the public wants to hear, and that is what he has said. But his policies as president have been the opposite of his rhetoric, with race as with other issues.
As a state senator in Illinois, Obama pushed the “racial profiling” issue, so it is hardly surprising that he jumped to the conclusion that a policeman was engaging in racial profiling, when in fact the cop was investigating a report received from a neighbor that someone seemed to be breaking into the house that Professor Gates was renting in Cambridge.
For those who are interested in facts — and these obviously do not include President Obama — there has been a serious study of racial profiling in a book titled Are Cops Racist? by Heather Mac Donald. Her analysis of the data shows how this issue has long been distorted beyond recognition by politics.
The racial-profiling issue is a great vote-getter. And if it polarizes the society, that is a price that politicians are willing to pay in order to get votes. Academics who run black-studies departments, as Prof. Henry Louis Gates does, likewise have a vested interest in racial paranoia.
For “community organizers” as well, racial resentments are a stock in trade. President Obama’s background as a community organizer has received far too little attention, though it should have been a high-alert warning that this was no post-racial figure.
What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.
To think that someone who has spent years promoting grievance and polarization was going to bring us all together as president is a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.
Barack Obama’s past and his present tell the same story. His appointment of an attorney general who called America “a nation of cowards” for not dialoguing about race was a foretaste of what to expect from Eric Holder.
The way Attorney General Holder has refused to prosecute young black thugs who gathered at a voting site with menacing clubs, in blatant violation of federal laws against intimidating voters, speaks louder than any words from him or his president.
President Obama’s first nominee to the Supreme Court is, like Obama himself, someone with a background of years of affiliation with an organization dedicated to promoting racial resentments and a sense of racial entitlement.
An 18th-century philosopher said, “When I speak I put on a mask. When I act I am forced to take it off.” Barack Obama’s mask slipped for a moment last week but he quickly recovered, with the help of the media. But we should never forget what we saw.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Despite the negative attention ND has received recently, there is a lot of good happening on campus as well (although more at the grassroots level than upper administration). There are many student groups on campus fighting the good fight, and there are some solid faculty remaining on the staff. I am particularly encouraged by the new pro-life initiative, the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life (information on this exciting initiative can be found here).
Now is not the time to give up on Notre Dame. A lot of awareness and momentum was created this past Spring regarding the problems at Notre Dame. Let us keep the pressure on and not let the momentum built in the spring fade away!!!
Also, I have created a Facebook group, "Pro-Life Alumni and Friends of the University of Notre Dame." If you are on Facebook, please join the group to show your support! Join here.
Here, in a video I originally found on Drudge Report, John Conyers (D,Mich) dismisses the idea of reading the Health Care bill:
To me, all this is simply more evidence of the need for limited government.
If the government has become so big, so unwieldy,, so complicated, that Members of Congress do not have the time to read, nor the ability to understand, the bills they are voting on, then it is time to shrink the government.
She argues that President Obama has misread the nation's mood which has changed significantly after the economic meltdown. I agree. However, I would also add that during the campaign he never was forced to define "Change." People were able to transpose onto him whatever change they were seeking. Now that he is finally defining "change," many do not like what they see.
This is big, what’s happening. President Obama appears to have misstepped on a major initiative and defining issue. He has misjudged the nation’s mood, which itself is news: He rose from nothing to everything with the help of his fine-tuned antennae. Resistance to the Democratic health-care plans is in the air, showing up more now on YouTube than in the polls, but it will be in the polls soon enough. The president, in short, may be facing a real loss. This will be interesting in a number of ways and for a number of reasons, among them that we’ve never seen him publicly defeated before, because he hasn’t been. So we may be entering new territory, with new struggles shaped by new dynamics.
His news conference the other night was bad. He was filibustery and spinny and gave long and largely unfollowable answers that seemed aimed at limiting the number of questions asked and running out the clock. You don’t do that when you’re fully confident. Far more seriously, he didn’t seem to be telling the truth. We need to create a new national health-care program in order to cut down on government spending? Who would believe that? Would anybody?...Continued
...Recruiting has been so heavy that many local offices have already reached their goals for the 2009 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and are working toward 2010. The Army has yet to establish a recruiting goal for 2010.
Through June, the Army had enlisted 48,565 for active duty, 4 percent above its goal.
Army officials say the economy, with unemployment nationally at 9.7 percent, has had an impact on recruiting.
Also, the military is becoming increasingly popular. A Gallup poll in June showed the public's confidence in the military is near the high rating it enjoyed after the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Full Story.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Natural Family Planning Week ends appropriately today on the 41st anniversary of Humanae Vitae (On Human Life), the prophetic encyclical of Paul VI which reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to artificial contraception.
...Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives...
...It is a love which is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.
Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.
Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare"....
On Artificial Contraception:
...Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection...
It would be an understatement to say the encyclical was controversial when it was released.
Pope Paul was ridiculed by many. Proponents of artificial contraception argued that widespread use of contraception would strengthen and solidify family life by easing the burden of unwanted children, would dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the need for abortion, and would liberate women so they could become equal partners to men.
However, looking out at the cultural wreckage and family dysfunction of our society, Pope Paul has been proven right in the end. He predicted widespread use of artificial contraception would lead to:
1. "...Increased marital infidelity..."
2. "...General lowering of moral standards.."
3. "...a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and... reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires..."
Can anyone deny that all these predictions have come true?
What have been the "fruits" of artificial contraception?
- Half of marriages end in divorce
- almost half of today's babies are born out of wedlock
- 50 million abortions have been procured in the US alone over the last 30 years
- The spread of sexual disease is rampant
- "hooking up" and "friends with benefits" have replaced romance and courtship
- a popular culture rooted in the debasement, objectification, and sexual exploitation of women (have you looked at the magazines in the checkout line lately)?
This cultural wreckage is the real legacy of the widespread use of artificial contraception.
Yet, the proponents artificial birth control ridicule abstinence and argue that even more birth control is the solution to all these problems.
But, under their approach, what does a young person today have to look forward to?
- Having to "protect" themselves from their partner? How did we get to a point where we have to "protect" ourselves during an act that is supposed to be beautiful and intimate?
- Having their hearts broken over and over? And all the cynicism that results?
- As a young man, being told by society that the value and measure of a man is in the sexual conquest of women.
- As a young woman, being told by society that the value and measure of a woman is in her physical appearance, immodestly displayed.
- Having to grapple with lifelong sexual diseases (including possibility of infertility)?
- Taking an act that is meant to be beautiful, special, and UNIQUE to one's relationship with one's spouse, and turning it into something common and casual that is shared with many?
- Being in a position where one of life's greatest joys, the conception of a child, is feared and viewed as a catastrophe?
- "Living together" without commitment which studies have shown decreases their prospects for a successful marriage later on?
Why would anyone wish this lifestyle on their children?
Note: You may also be interested in my previous post explaining why Pope Benedict was right when he said recently that condoms are not the answer to the AIDS crisis in Africa.
Humane Vitae - Full text is here.
My previous posts for Natural Family Planning Week:
Dr. Janet Smith's Contraception, Why Not the most persuasive presentation of the Church's teaching on artificial contraception I have come across. Contraception, Why Not? is available for FREE here in CD format. I highly recommend it.
An interview with Harvard Professor Edward Green:
According to Harvard professor Edward Green, Benedict XVI tells the truth about fighting the plague of the millennium in Africa: fidelity and abstinence promotion are better weapons than preservatives.Rest of Interview (Unfortunately this interview is no longer posted on-line; A similar interview with Dr. Green can be found HERE)
During his latest visit to Africa pope Benedict XVI told the journalists: “Condom distribution is not the solution to Aids, on the contrary they worsen it”. An editorial comment of The Lancet retorted that the Pope's comment was “outrageous and wildly inaccurate”. Based on your experience about the issue, is the Pope right or wrong?
As I have said in the Washington Post and elsewhere, the Pope is basically right – about Africa. It will be easiest if we confine our discussion to Africa, because that’s where the Pope was en route to and that is the place he was talking about. There’s no evidence at all that condoms have worked as a public health intervention intended to reduce HIV infections, at the “level of population.” This is a bit difficult to understand. It may well make sense for an individual to use condoms every time, or as often as possible, and he may well decrease his chances of catching HIV. But we are talking about programs, large efforts that either work or fail at the level of countries, or, as we say in public health, level of population. Major articles published in Science, The Lancet, British Medical Journal, and even Studies in Family Planning have reported this finding since 2004. I first wrote about putting emphasis on fidelity instead off condoms, in the book AIDS in Africa, in 1988.
Condoms fail because people do not use them consistently, because they are not used once people get to know someone, and because they provide a false sense of security, allowing people to take greater risks then they would take if condoms were not used at all. They also divert resources from interventions that work better, such as promoting faithfulness.
In your books and articles you emphasize that the ABC approach in Africa works. At first sight it doesn't sound possible, since Abstinence, Partners sexual fidelity and Condom are three very different things. What's the right dosing of the three?
Abstinence and fidelity are different from condom use. They avoid the risk of infection altogether (assuming mutual fidelity). This approach is also known as risk avoidance. Condom use introduces risk; it not a form of risk avoidance, but rather risk reduction. Consistent condom use is only 80-85% protective when practiced consistently, although under real-life conditions, such as those most of us live in, condom use is much less protective. We actually knew condoms were not very effective for HIV prevention, from our experience with family planning, before the advent of AIDS.
Part of the genius of Uganda’s original ABC program is that it addressed the immediate or “proximate” causes of HIV infection, namely avoiding the risk of infection, reducing the risk of infection, or decreasing the efficiency of infection. It separates these basics from all the other things that might or might not be involved (such as poverty, gender inequality, human rights, stigma, etc).
What are the most important things about Aids and Africa that the outside world, and especially journalists, seem not to understand?
That we cannot have complete Sexual Freedom and effective prevention at the same time; that Africa is different from the rest of the world (because condoms do work quite well in some types of epidemics); and that sexual behavior must change in basic ways for HIV infection rates to decline (except that there is an epidemic curve effect, that will temporarily make infection rates go down for a period, after those at highest risk of infection have died off faster than new cohorts enter the sexually active years).
Why, in your opinion, did international organizations and governments react so harshly to the Pope's words? Do they really believe that condoms are tool N.1 for Aids prevention, or are they influenced by some vested interests they have, and that we suspect but can't see?
They reacted as they did for a number of reasons, starting with the deep-rooted belief that condoms work much better than they actually do. We cannot really blame journalists for being ignorant of the evidence, especially when leading experts keep saying that condoms are the number one weapon we have against AIDS. And yes, people including scientists are influenced by vested interests (most American money for AIDS prevention goes through family planning or reproductive health organizations.) A factor usually overlooked is the ideology of sexual liberation. Those of us who work in AIDS don’t realize how much the values and ideology of sexual freedom and liberation influence our thinking. It helps explain why until very recently, faith-based organizations were largely excluded from AIDS prevention even though FBOs run many of the hospitals, clinics and schools in Africa. It also explains the strong emotional reactions we see when the AIDS establishment is challenged...
Bishop David Ricken invites members of the Green Bay Diocese to an informative evening about Wyoming Catholic College, a liberal arts college in Lander, Wyo., that he co-founded in 2006.
The Aug. 1 event will begin with vespers at 6:30 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral. Immediately following vespers, a presentation will be given in Bishop Wycislo Center.
Wyoming Catholic College (WCC) is one of 20 U.S. Catholic colleges (out of 230) named "authentically Catholic" by the Cardinal Newman Society. Bishop Ricken will be joined by two other college co-founders: Fr. Robert Cook, college president, and Dr. Robert Carlson, academic dean.
Their talk, "Faith, Reason, and Wyoming Catholic College" will cover the background of the college and its philosophical vision; the meaning of a true liberal arts education; and future plans for the college.
Parents who have college-bound children - and anyone else wishing to learn more about this institution of Catholic higher education - are encouraged to attend.
Friday, July 24, 2009
...Students come to college and take two years of courses that often have no coherent plan behind them. This is the legacy of a decision Harvard made many decades ago. Just let students decide what to take in the first two years. The plan proved attractive to many administrators and faculty members because it is flexible and very easy to service. Robert Hutchins, former dean of the Yale Law School and then president of the University of Chicago, fought hard for a different vision of higher education. He believed that you could identify a core of the best that has been thought and said and written and that you could give students a powerful and edifying experience learning the great books and the great ideas. It was out of his vision that the famous series of volumes published for many years by the Encyclopedia Brittanica company was born. While he prevailed for a time at his own school, for the most part, this rigorous version of the liberal arts was lost to history. It was something the great universities used to do...Excerpt 2:
...If we study the great books, the great ideas, then we have understanding when we talk about things like liberty, equality, freedom, responsibility, and accountability. Without understanding, we simply walk around like dolls with strings in our side that we pull out and say, “Freedom is good. Equality is good. Responsibility is good.” Fine, we can say it. But do we know what we are talking about?...Excerpt 3:
...I think the best of higher education is a hybrid. The ideal training for a young person living in a free society, I believe, consists of a strong foundation in the liberal arts and professional training. The student learns how to think, how to value the important things in life, and what it means to be free. And the student also learns how to do something good and productive professionally. Accounting is a brilliant example. How great is it to train an accountant who loves the truth, understands the rights and freedoms so hard won by those who went before us, and is a darn good accountant? I want to hire that accountant!!!...
Quite untraditional - just the thing I am supposed to dislike.
So, why did I find myself smiling and filled with happiness by the end?
From Food for the Poor:
Living in the United States, it’s hard to imagine that anyone in the world would ever have to live in a garbage dump.
But the reality is that right now — as you are reading this — young children in developing nations are being raised in a garbage dump. Their poverty-stricken parents have no alternative: the entire family must scour the dump daily in search of items that will help them survive...Continued
As I noted in a previous post, this week is National Natural Family Planning Week.
The Family Life Office of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina has a Facebook page which provides a nice overview of the benefits of Natural Family Planning:
Fertility Appreciation: empowers couples to see their fertility as a gift and not as a disease to be treated.
NFP accurately identify their days of fertility and infertility either to achieve or to avoid pregnancy.
NFP affirms the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, enables and encourages responsible parenthood, promotes openness to life, and celebrates the gift of children. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving nature of marriage, NFP enriches the bond between husband and wife.
NFP is natural based upon the couple's own knowledge of their naturally occurring cyclic phases of fertility and infertility. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. Natural Family Planning is not contraception; it is true family planning.
NFP promotes shared responsibility and loving cooperation between husband and wife.
NFP is a holistic approach to planning a family NOT a contraceptive
NFP enhances one’s expression of love within the marital vocation developing a balance of the spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative/communicative and emotional dimensions of the couple’s sexual life together.
NFP is proven effective- The effectiveness of NFP is over 99% in avoiding pregnancy when the instructions are properly taught by a qualified teacher and then correctly applied. The method is also highly effective to achieve pregnancy when couples identify and use the days of fertility. In addition, it is an essential aid in the evaluation and treatment of those couples who are experiencing infertility.
Advantages of NFP:
• medically safe
• highly reliable
• morally acceptable
• easy to learn
• fairly inexpensive
• highly versatile
• used at any stage of a woman's reproductive life
• precisely identifies days of fertility and infertility
• aid for couples who are having difficulty in achieving pregnancy
For more NFP info. and resources, check my previous post here.
Note: Contraception, Why Not by Dr. Janet Smith is the most persuasive presentation of the Church's teaching on artificial contraception I have come across. Contraception, Why Not? is available for FREE here in CD format. I highly recommend it.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This week marked the 100th anniversary of the Great White Fleet of Theodore Roosevelt.
Former Naval Secretary marks the occasion by arguing the importance of a strong navy.
THEODORE Roosevelt's favorite Latin quote was Si vis pacem, para bellum -- if you wish for peace, prepare for war. With that thought in mind, President Roosevelt on Dec. 16, 1907, stood aboard the presidential yacht Mayflower and watched the Great White Fleet depart from Hampton Roads, Va.
At 400-yard intervals, 16 gleaming white battleships with gilded bows, with numerous destroyers and escorts, passed before the commander-in-chief. Over the next 14 months, the Fleet's 14,000 sailors and Marines would travel some 43,000 miles and make 20 port calls on six continents. This was an unprecedented and totally unexpected feat of maritime prowess by the young Republic -- stunning to domestic and international imaginations.
America had arrived as a world power -- and TR wanted the world to know it.
With his unique political and strategic talents, Roosevelt knew that diplomatic and economic power were impossible without naval power. Here was the epitome of his favorite saying "Speak softly and carry a big stick ...
...This dramatic show of naval power had its desired effect. The fleet's arrival in Japan led directly to the Root-Takahira Agreement recognizing the balance of power in the Pacific to TR's satisfaction. The visit to Australia and New Zealand launched a century-long partnership with the US and the event is still commemorated there.
Visits to China, Manila and Ceylon were all national events with huge crowds. The visits to Egypt and Turkey signaled TR's recognition of building relations with the Islamic world, and are also remembered there today. Visits to Peru, Chile and Mexico had a resounding effect in Latin America......Congress and President Obama should review this history. Our fleet today has shrunk from 600 to 270 and is heading for 150. We have cut carriers from Reagan's 15 to Obama's 10.
But we can't argue with geography: The seas still cover 70 percent of the world, and our vital trade and allies are far more global than in TR's day. With this shrinking fleet, we can no longer deter piracy and guarantee freedom of the seas.
It is indeed wise to talk with our enemies, but we must understand that successful diplomacy is the shadow cast by power, especially naval power.
Iran, North Korea and other disturbers of the peace must be made to understand that our genuine wish for peaceful solutions is underwritten by the real naval power to, in TR's words "smite our enemies down" if they pursue hostilities.
John Lehman was secretary of the Navy in the Reagan adminis tration and a member of the 9/11 Commission. Full article: New York Post
I second Secretary Lehman's concern.
You never know when the Navy will be needed. Just ask Captain Phillips who was rescued from the Somali Pirates. A US Naval vessel on patrol in the area was able to respond quickly. When North Korea was acting up US Naval vessels (with anti-missile capability) in the region were ready to respond if needed.
Profiles of individual American war heroes has been noticeably absent from mainstream media coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have cynical suspicions as to why this has been the case, but I will keep them to myself.
I am delighted, however, to find that Investors Business Daily has been periodically profiling these modern day heroes.
Yesterday's profile is the story of 1st Lt. Travis Manion, USMC, who was killed in an ambush by enemy snipers in Iraq while drawing fire upon himself so fellow Marines who were wounded could be rescued.
His story is here.
IBD's War Hero web page has links to all the profiles they have compiled. You can find it here.
(Photo: Associated Press)
An avid fan of the Chicago White Sox since 1977, I have never witnessed a "Perfect" game.
Congratulations to Mark Buerhle on pitching only the second perfect game in White Sox history. The first was in 1922!!
Addendum: ESPN has a nice profile of Buehrle here.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
With President Obama about to take to the national TV airwaves to push his health care plan, I figured I would offer an alternate proposal.
First, does our health care system need reform? Yes.
While I do not believe health insurance to be a "right," I do believe that a nation as prosperous as ours cannot have 10's of millions of people either uninsured (or without ready access to adequate and affordable health care) and still consider its system to just or tolerable.
That said, any attempts to reform the health care system must be careful not to destroy the good in an attempt to correct the bad. This is exactly what the President's proposed health care overhaul would do (See my previous post).
I do not believe a government administered plan is the solution.
Rather, the government should find a way to facilitate universal, affordable coverage by leveraging the free market and preserving individual liberty on the part of patients, providers, and insurers
My solution in very general terms:
I would propose health insurance be addressed at the state level and handled the way state college savings plans (529 plans) are administered.
1. Health insurance would be purchased directly by individuals (removing employers as middle men -- having insurance attached to employment makes no sense to me) picking from plans offered by private insurance companies competing against each other.
2. This approach could use open competition or perhaps a limited number of companies could be chosen to serve the state, as is done in the 529 College Plan Program. The state would decide.
3. Companies would not be able to turn away customers for prior conditions or any other reasons.
4. Coverage would be required by law at some designated minimal level, as is done with car insurance.
5. Finally, the poor would be responsible to pay reasonable deductibles and would receive tax credits and/or subsidies to help offset the costs of purchasing a policy. (this one would be tricky to figure out)
6. Medicaid would be eliminated, with funding redirected to offset the costs of #5.
This plan would keep free-market efficiencies in place, would be regulated by the state government to prevent abuses, would expand coverage to everyone, and, most important, for Catholics would satisfy the requirements of subsidiarity.