Saturday, February 11, 2017


We Persisted

The results of the elections last November, which left Republicans in charge of both congressional chambers and the White House, were encouraging for long-time members of the pro-life movement.

Back on January 24 the House of Representatives took a significant step by easily passing HR7, which eliminated the requirement that the Hyde Amendment be renewed annually in appropriations legislation.

To a large extent, of course, that ban was always something of a political fig leaf, since the more than $500 million in Federal funding Planned Parenthood receives annually
is fungible. Despite its assortment of accounting gimmicks, no one doubts that Federal money is used to fund Planned Parenthood's abortion services, and always has been.
The logical next step, then, must be to end that Federal funding altogether.

A consortium of pro-life groups is sponsoring "Protest Planned Parenthood" rallies
in more than 200 cities across the country today, to urge Congress to make good on campaign promises to defund the organization.

I have followed American politics for too long to assume that achieving any political goal, no matter how sensible or popular, can be taken for granted just because the circumstances seem to favor it at a given time. The pro-life movement's belief
in pursuing its ends through the established political process is on the brink of being vindicated, though, and I pray that today's events will convince Congress to do what
it should have done decades ago...

"How long before we find out for sure?"

Hard to say, but the sentiment in favor of defunding seems to be reaching critical mass on Capitol Hill...

Feast Day

Statue in the grotto at Massabielle

Today we celebrate the feast day
of Our Lady of Lourdes, a title given
to the Blessed Virgin Mary in honor of a series of Marian apparitions which took place near Lourdes, France beginning on February 11, 1858.

Having been raised Catholic of course
I have known the story of Bernadette Soubirous almost all of my life. The excellent 1943 film version of her story is one of my all-time favorite movies, and in 1999 I directed a production of the stage adaptation.

During that production a rosary containing water from the Lourdes spring was on stage during every rehearsal and performance, and today I will pray a special rosary to honor the feast day.

Our Lady of Lourdes is the patron of all who suffer from grievous illnesses, and I ask for her intercession often on behalf of those whom I love...

"But not for yourself?"

If you knew Bernadette's story, you wouldn't have to ask...

When Curmudgeons Retire

From the indispensable comic strip Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, which you should read every day, as I do (even though Wiley is a squishy liberal).

Until Next Time...

One of the most difficult things for me to explain to my students was the fact that there was a time when The Monkees were a bigger deal in American popular music than The Beatles, but I was there when it happened.

The made-for-television pop quartet hit the airwaves on September 12, 1966 just as my 8th grade year was getting started. The TV show quickly became must-see TV for most of the kids I knew, and the group's first album was released less than a month later. By November 12 they were at the top of the Billboard 200 and it would be 31 consecutive weeks before another artist held that spot.

On February 11, 1967 their second album More of the Monkees shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart just a week after its release.
It displaced the group's eponymous debut album, which had held that spot for the previous thirteen weeks.

More of the Monkees held on to the No. 1 spot for an additional eighteen weeks. Like its predecessor, it wound up receiving five RIAA platinum certifications. For a brief, shining moment The Monkees were bigger than The Beatles.

Sales of their sophomore album were driven in large part by the popularity of their second consecutive Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit single, "I'm a Believer." Their cover of the Neil Diamond-penned song spent seven weeks in that spot, and was the band's first song to hit No. 1 outside of the U.S. and Canada. It hit the top spot in eight other countries, and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Today's send-off is the 2006 remastered version included on the album's Deluxe Edition released on the original's 40th Anniversary, from the band's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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