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Today is the day civilized folks celebrate the great Italian explorer who brought the One True Faith, the written word, and the wheel to the...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, June 02, 2006

Super Bowl XL Champion Steelers Update.



Steelers Visit the White House

In the give-and-take world of politics, President Geroge Bush completed a short pass to Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward, only to receive a football autographed by the entire Steelers team in return.

Bush welcomed the Steelers to the East Room of the White House Friday in honor of their 21-10 victory in Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5 in Detroit.

The event was moved indoors due to humid weather.

"You had a ring for every finger, now you have one for the thumb," the president said with the team lined up behind him.

Bush stood beside Steelers owner Dan Rooney, team president Art Rooney II, coach Bill Cowher and wide receiver Hines Ward.

The President shook hands with Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton, the former Texas standout who used to lift weights with Bush when he served as Texas governor.

The event also was attended by a host of state, county and city officials. "It sounds like some people have been drinking Iron City Beer here," the President said as he entered the room amid the familar chant, "Here we go Steelers."

Art Rooney II handed the president a No. 43 Steelers jersey, signifying his place as the nation's 43rd commander in chief.

The president also extended a warm welcome to outspoken Steelers linebacker Joey Porter, who made news when he said he had something to tell the president about his high taxes.

The president told Porter he had "a swagger," and Porter broke into a smile behind his gold-plated sunglasses.

Porter shook his head side to side when the president asked if he'd teach him his dance. (Thanks to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for the heads up.)

The Party of Blasphemy, Buggery, and 'Bortion's crackup continues apace...

...and get a load of who (or what) is playing shrink! (Surprise! It's the antique media! Like they know a lot about competing and winning. Just ask the latest folks the laid off.)

Fear of Failing
How can the Democrats win if the party is scared of its own shadow?
By Michael Hirsh of Newsweek

A good therapist, we know, can sometimes help a person who’s lost his confidence or mental balance. But what do you do when an entire party needs therapy?

You’d think the Republicans would be the ones in need of professional help. This is a party burdened with a president so unpopular he barely has a base to stand on—Bush seems to be bypassing the lame-duck stage and heading straight for dead duck—a Vietnam-scale quagmire in Iraq and a post-Katrina rot of incompetence and corruption that is infecting the very foundations of the presidency and the GOP’s control of Congress. Not surprisingly, the Republicans are at each others' throats over this loss of prestige and popularity. Neoconservatives and traditionalists are fighting bitterly over foreign policy. Moderates and conservatives are battling over immigration and deficits. And when the maverick John McCain declares his candidacy for 2008 sometime in the next year, the Republicans will be shrieking at each other in public over abortion and other social issues.

But at least the GOP is engaged in a war over real policy choices. It is an emotional debate, often a hysterical and ill-informed one, but it is a fight among adults who know what they believe in and who have the guts to battle for it. By contrast the Democrats, ostensibly the party poised to exploit this GOP civil war, don't seem to remember what it is like to behave as adults. They resemble nothing so much as ill-adjusted adolescents, afraid of their own shadows, much less the presidency. What are they afraid of? Themselves, essentially: their past, their own left, the populist rhetoric of their leaders (Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Howard Dean, Al Gore), the left-wing loony stigma represented by “Fahrenheit 9/11” filmmaker Michael Moore (every Dem’s favorite bugaboo). Above all they fear seeming and looking soft. They are all afflicted with varying degrees of megalophobia, a fear of assuming power. Even Dr. Melfi of “The Sopranos” wouldn’t take this case.

This psychological disability has been long in the making, of course. When it comes to national security, it has been eating at the heart of the Democratic Party since its biggest debacle, Vietnam, which destroyed the Dems' prideful self-image formed during World War II and the cold-war containment consensus. But never has this Democratic dysfunction been so apparent as now, the moment when the Dems should be striding confidently into the limelight to seize control of the national agenda. And none are more pathetically afflicted than those who purport to be the “new” Democrats, the “strong” ones, the ones who want to “resurrect” the gloried intestinal fortitude and moral fiber of FDR, Harry Truman and JFK.

The “strong” ones are actually the most timid. They are the ones who so fear that a leftie like Nancy Pelosi will become speaker of the House, they actually question whether it would be a good idea for the Dems to take control in 2006. They are the ones who think they can outhawk Bush on Iraq and promotion of democracy around the world, but they are mainly driven by a fear of criticizing the premises of his foreign policy, which is to say, his war on terror. While nitpicking and nattering over Bush’s “errors of execution,” they still embrace his fundamentals. In other words, they all continue to sound like unreconstructed John Kerrys, frightened of seeming soft. When they get together, this fear is virtually all they talk about. It is a fear that reeks from the party’s new draft platform for 2006, causing Leslie Gelb, the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, to crack to liberal hawk Peter Beinart recently: “If you have to say you’re tough, you’re not.”

Yep.

The champion of this “new” breed of Dem tough guys, of course, is Hillary Clinton, who every week, it seems, finds some new way of pandering to the right in her long, stealth march to the 2008 nomination. All in an apparent effort to escape her own shadow, her supposed liberal excesses from the early '90s.

He's right. Those National Socialists know how to throw their weight around.

One reason for the persistence of these Democratic phobias has been the party’s abysmal inability, a year and a half after the fact, to reckon with the real reason for Kerry’s loss in the 2004 campaign: once again, fear. Kerry’s campaign was driven by a fear of his shadow (his antiwar activism after Vietnam), of seeming too strident by attacking, even when he himself was being attacked (first by Karl Rove’s “senator flip-flop” campaign, then by the Swift Boat veterans). How else can one explain the inexplicable—the spectacle of a Silver Star winner made to look wimpy by two men who avoided combat? Simple: He was terrified of speaking out. His campaign even toned down the convention speech of that most mild-mannered of presidents, Jimmy Carter.

Here Mr. Hirsh hasn't a clue. Kerry did not dare repeat his Hate-America-First flapdoodle from the 1970's. Americans don't like the Vietnam War much, but they viscerally hate traitors. Kerry's handlers played it just about right and almost defeated an incumbent in time of war.

I hold no brief in this fight, being neither Democrat nor Republican. But here is a message to those few Democrats who retain their self-confidence and sanity (I’m not sure who you are, but there must be some): Come back from the shadows. If you can look past your fears, America’s entire national-security apparatus is out there making your case for you.

Talk to any responsible official or officer in the military, intelligence or diplomatic community. Most will tell you that Bush got most of the war on terror wrong (at least after the Taliban fell), that he invented a war of choice in Iraq and failed to finish the war of necessity against Al Qaeda. The toughest hombres in the country—not least some recently retired generals—are saying the “war president” has no clothes, that he has been, in effect, a disastrous war president. This is what I hear every week now as a reporter, from officials who identify themselves as Republican, Democrat or independent. It is what the facts, sadly, bear out: look at where the precipitous war in Iraq has brought us, and the new violence that is arising out of the unfinished business against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet the vast majority of Democratic leaders cannot bring themselves to say this—Hillary most prominently of all.

Sift through the wreckage of the neoconservative program that Bush adopted. Its central tenets—pre-emptive attacks on rogue regimes, unilateralist disdain for international legitimacy and institutions, the cavalier attitude that war and military solutions should be the primary, or default, approach to foreign problems—are all gone with the wind. What’s left? Effectively the foreign policy of pragmatic global leadership invented by such Democrats as FDR, Truman, JFK and Scoop Jackson, and largely endorsed by Republicans such as Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and, yes, even Ronald Reagan.

To oversimplify, its tenets are: Stand up for democracy and freedom, yes, but keep the international system on your side. Make use of the United Nations whenever you can, though not necessarily, bending it to your needs when possible. Create as many allies as you can. Listen. Accommodate. Be magnanimous. Above all, make sure you have more guys on your side than your adversaries have on theirs. It is the policy that Bush, chastened and weakened by Iraq, has followed on Libya and North Korea, and it is the policy he now appears to be pursuing on Iran, having agreed to talk to Tehran. And it is largely Democratic in origins and practice.

The UN? Please. The Democrasses view the UN the way Quentin Tarantino sees whores with pretty feet.

But to get to the point where they can hark back to this simple program, and confidently embrace it without protesting too much about how tough they are, Democrats must first have the courage to strip bare the GOP’s failures. They must believe they're every bit as good on national security as their rivals. This courage is frankly not in evidence. Five and half years on we see the Republicans, as brazen and full of self-confidence as ever about their national-security credentials, and the Democrats, as timid and full of self-doubt as they ever have been over the same issue. Hence, the need for a good therapist, one with a very large office.

No one looks like a wimp when he or she tells the truth. And the public is crying, pleading for someone to tell the truth. The Democratic hawks seem to think that if they confront Bush over the fundamentals of his foreign policy, they will be forced to admit it was wrong to go into Iraq at the moment and in the way we did. And if they have to admit that, then they must back immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Nonsense. Most Americans now know, without being told, that American prestige is on the line in Iraq. And that any withdrawal will be slow and painful. This is now settled U.S. policy, and it will be followed by whoever the next president is, Democrat or Republican.

The country is desperate for adult leadership, for competence and authority—above all, for an honest reckoning with all that’s gone wrong. And the country isn’t getting it. Maybe that helps to explain the Al Gore revival (Oy vey! He's an adult? - F.G.) under way. Here, at least, was someone who can remember what adulthood was like—what it was like to hold power. Most of his Democratic colleagues appear to have forgotten.

A: American cultural imperialism makes immigrants forget their love of soccer.

Q: Why don't any of your neighbors care about the World Cup?

Right Wing Smile of the Day.

From The Jewish World Review: Dean reassures Dems: ‘we will find a way to mess this up’
By Andy Borowitz

DNC chief determined to uphold losing tradition

Amid a growing belief that there is no way the Democrats can blow the 2006 midterm elections, Democratic National Committee chief Howard Dean sought today to reassure the party faithful that the party was "doing everything in its power" to uphold its losing tradition.

At a top-level summit called "Defeat: 2006" being held in Boston, the former Vermont Governor gave a rousing speech to concerned Democrats, bringing his audience to his feet by vowing, "I can assure each and every one of you, we will find a way to screw this up."

With President Bush's approval rating below thirty percent and key Republican members of Congress the targets of ethics probes, many Democrats have been worried that their historic role as losers and sad sacks might come to an abrupt end this November, a fear Mr. Dean attempted to quell today.

"Folks, let's not forget, we're Democrats," Mr. Dean said. "If there's a way to lose, we will find it."

Carol Foyler, a longtime Democrat from Bethesda, Maryland who attended the summit, said that she had been worried that the Democrats might somehow pull out a victory in 2006, but added, "Just knowing that Howard Dean is in charge makes me feel much more confident about losing."

Elsewhere, after a study by the Georgetown School of Medicine said that millions of dollars are wasted on unnecessary medical tests, the American Medical Association said that there might be something wrong with the author of the study and he should come in for a checkup immediately.

No. Not Newsweek. They're all about the truth.

WCVB: Newsweek Rethinks 'Marriage Crunch'
It was a cover-story shocker 20 years ago, with statistics such as 40-year-old single women are more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to tie the knot. NewsCenter 5's Jim Boyd reported Tuesday that Newsweek is now rethinking "The Marriage Crunch." Two decades later, it seems that those statistics turned out to be too pessimistic.

Well, of course they were. All those loser guys who get divorced have to find some loser women with no self-esteem who will marry them.

Newsweek: Pop Culture Takes on the Marriage Crunch
NEWSWEEK's 1986 story on mature marriage has assumed a mythical spot in popular culture. Browse some of the examples below.

YES! YES! YES! DO IT! YOU KNOW HE GOT SCREWED IN 2000! HE DESERVES ANOTHER CHANCE TO MAKE AN ASS OUT OF HIMSELF BEFORE THE VOTERS!

Lawrence Journal-World: Gore may be better choice than Hitlery

As US Senator Hitlery Shickelgruber (N-NY) cruises toward likely re-election, she enjoys an almost inexhaustible supply of funds and weak, divided opposition. A big victory this fall, some supporters believe, is just step one toward a Clinton presidential restoration.

Back in the Dark Ages, kiddies, this was known as 'full employment'. We would dream about it while our socialist Econ profs laughed at us.

HispanicBusiness.com: US Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.6 Per Cent

The US economy added 75,000 new jobs in May and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 per cent, the Department of Labor reported Friday.

Hooray economy!

Now gimme some of that Group Think spin:

But job growth was lower than expected for a second straight month, indicating that the economy is slowing down and employers are hesitant to hire new workers.

The end of an era is upon us.

The Herald-Sun: 'Juan Valdez' Is Hanging Up His Poncho

Juan Valdez is retiring. Long live Juan Valdez! Colombia's coffee ambassador to the world, Carlos Sanchez, is finally quitting after four decades of playing the role of Juan Valdez. And the national federation of Colombian coffee producers is searching for a man to inherit his poncho -- as well as his trusty mule, Conchita.

To all the left-fascists who worship at the feet of endarkened Europe: Choke on this one!

How could there be racism in the former socialist paradise of eastern Germany?

And here's an extra special "Shame on you!" to my idiot Italian cousins who participate in this ignorant nonsense.

USA Today: Concerns raised over racism during Cup

Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where African-American sprinter
Jesse Owens famously won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in front of Adolf Hitler, will host six matches of the World Cup soccer finals, including the championship July 9. The stadium has been renovated with a stunning steel-and-glass roof and luxury suites, with one VIP lounge bearing Owens' name.

Despite the new look, the stadium might have a hard time escaping its history as a symbol of racial intolerance. Seventy years after what became known as the Nazi Olympics, increasingly menacing racism within Europe is a major story line for this edition of soccer's quadrennial showcase.

In Germany and several other European nations, crowds shower minority players with racial insults at times. Several of the U.S. team's African-American players who compete professionally in European leagues say they have been targets of discrimination and verbal and even physical abuse because of their race - on and off the field. There are concerns about how racial incidents might affect the World Cup in Germany, where the 32-team tournament begins June 9 and will be held in 12 cities.

An anti-racism group in Germany is so concerned that it has warned non-white World Cup visitors to avoid rural towns and villages outside Berlin, in the formerly communist eastern part of the country.

Boorish behavior by hooligans has long been a problem in European soccer, but anti-discrimination advocates say racial slurs and racially charged incidents are on the rise because of a confluence of factors. Among them: the increasing racial diversity of formerly all-white clubs, a growing resistance to immigration from African and Arab nations in several European countries, the tendency of race-related conflicts to grab headlines, and greater scrutiny of such incidents. In some areas, including rural eastern Germany, racial tension also appears to be fueled by a lack of economic opportunities for whites.

"It used to be violence, and violence is still a part of the picture at least in parts of Eastern Europe. But it's now about race," says Piara Powar, the director of Kick It Out, a London-based organization dedicated to fighting racism in soccer. Powar says fans realize they can cause a ruckus - and perhaps upset a key opposing player - with racial taunts.

Defender Oguchi Onyewu (oh-GOOCH-ee own-YAY-woo), an African-American who plays for the Belgian club Standard Lige, is expected to be one of the USA's breakout stars in this World Cup. At 6-4, 210 pounds, he's also the biggest player on the U.S. team, which begins play June 12 against the Czech Republic. But recently, Onyewu's size hasn't deterred rival club fans from launching racist attacks on him.

"I've been harassed while in a car, punched in face, heard monkey chants," Onyewu says matter-of-factly. Onyewu has played in France and Belgium the last four years but says this is the first season he has experienced such overt racism.

Onyewu, who is from Olney, Md., says in March he was leaving a rival team's game with a few friends when he was spotted by some fans of Club Brugge, a league opponent.

"They were shaking the car, they spit on the car, they were throwing food, kicking the car, punching the car, all that stuff," says Onyewu, who believes the incident was racially motivated. Part of the bumper of his Chrysler 300 was ripped off, he says. "I was too angry to be scared. My friends wouldn't let me get out of the car because they thought the fans would hurt me."

Onyewu says when his team played in April at a rival's stadium where fans sit near the field, he was punched in the face - during the game. "I was going to throw the ball in, and some fans started doing monkey chants and I made a gesture like, 'Whatever.' And a guy reached over and punched me in the mouth." Onyewu says the fan was suspended and fined.

"You just ignore it, because whenever you react, that provokes them to do it more," says Onyewu, 24. "I know it's not the majority, it's a minority of people. ... I can't tell you why it started or why it still exists. I just know it exists in Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain ... you name it."

More players of color in Europe

Increasing immigration has incited some of the racial tension across Europe, Powar says, citing the riots in the Paris suburbs last year that put a spotlight on immigrants' frustration at a lack of economic opportunity, especially for young people.

"We have a hysteria around immigration, fears that are being stoked up, particularly in southern Europe at the moment," says Powar, whose group is part of a network of organizations from 13 European countries called Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE).

Experts on the topic, as well as U.S. players, say racist behavior doesn't seem as taboo in Europe as it is in the USA. "It's crazy to think in this day and age that stuff still exists," says U.S. team captain Claudio Reyna, who has played in Germany, Scotland and England the last 10 seasons. "I've been around it and heard it and seen it. Many countries in Europe are many years behind with their tolerance towards racism. It's disappointing."

Due to time constraints, we now move to further action.

For the U.S. team's African-American players who grew up in what is largely a white, suburban sport at home, the blatant prejudice overseas has been eye opening.

"In America, we don't have that. No one is saying racial things at you," says U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who plays in the Dutch League for PSV Eindhoven. "It's pretty bad in Spain, some in Italy. That goes with the territory."

In a European Champions League qualifier against Red Star Belgrade in Serbia and Montenegro in 2004, Beasley was welcomed rudely. When he touched the ball, he says, the fans whistled, booed and made monkey noises. At road games in the Netherlands, Beasley says, he faces similar treatment at times, which puzzles him because many of his team's opponents also have players of color.

Cory Gibbs, a black defender who had to withdraw from the U.S. team last week because of a knee injury, says he faced discrimination while playing for St. Pauli in Germany in 2003 and 2004. "My experiences were when we played in the east part of Germany," he says. "It's more direct and blunt; it's out there. In the U.S., things aren't as direct."

Instant translation: Jesse Jackson has not been elected president, so Americans are just as racist. Only smarter about it.

BTW, isn't it interesting how the victim mindset has been so thoroughly inculcated in American blacks that they can't see how America is any different from imbeciles making monkey noises in their direction?

He says when he tried to enter restaurants in eastern Germany, he sometimes was told, "This is a private party. You're not welcomed."

Pope Benedict XVI weighs in:

Concerns over soccer racism have prompted action from political and religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI. An anti-racism message from the pope was read to fans before an exhibition game between Italy and Germany in March...

How does Big Soccer intend to fight back?

FIFA, soccer's world governing body, passed anti-racism legislation in March that will be enforced at the World Cup. Players, coaches and team officials at the tournament can be sanctioned for racial incidents. Fans, however, will not.

"We need to keep a very close eye on what happens at the World Cup," FIFA President Sepp Blatter said during a recent meeting with reporters. "If something happens on the (field), on the bench or somewhere directly connected to the match, we must and will react. But we can't control what happens in the stands. The fans will be spread out around the stadium ... we haven't set aside specific blocks. So we can't punish teams for incidents where we can't clearly apportion blame."

Players lining up before each game will hold banners condemning racism, and, beginning with the quarterfinals, team captains will read anti-racism messages before games. There will also be two anti-discrimination days during the event. The World Cup's slogan: "A Time to Make Friends."

German officials are concerned that neo-Nazis and other racist groups could try to disrupt the event, citing what they call a recent increase in violence against dark-skinned people. Two weeks ago, Uwe-Karsten Heye, formerly German chancellor Gerhard Schreder's spokesman and now head of an anti-racism group, warned World Cup visitors "with a different skin color" to avoid towns and villages outside Berlin and other rural parts of the former East Germany.

U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who plays for German club Borussia Mnchengladbach, says many taunts are aimed at getting opposing players angry and affecting their play. "You have to accept that it's going to happen," he says. "The truth is, it's going to happen to me."

However, he adds, racial taunts are "an issue for (Onyewu) and DaMarcus, who have experienced those situations. It's hard for me to talk to (African-American teammates) about a racist issue, but if somebody has experienced that, I can say to them, 'Hey, don't sweat it, man. You go play your game and use it as a sign of pride. Go score three goals. Go be Jesse Owens. That'll do more than anything else.' "

Mr. Keller has it exactly correct. Nobody who was paying attention gave a rat's ass about Nazi racial theories after Jesse Owens ran them into the dust.

Vanessa Williams, one of Fyodor's all-time faves. (Part One)

From the pages of The King Abdullah Gazette:













Could Jeffrey Maier grow up to be an Oriole?

Washington's other newspaper provides more evidence the universe is a weird and wonderful thing designed and created for our amusement and edification.

(For those of you who think I have gone soft on the hideous nightmare that Major League Baseball has become, this is a human interest story.)

This is a story about fate, a story about a curse -- if you care to believe in such things. It is a story about coming to grips with them, and maybe, just maybe, reversing them. It is a story about a 12-year-old boy in a black T-shirt who is now a polished 22-year-old man with a marketable talent. And it is a story about a beleaguered baseball team that may be preparing to take a wild stab at manipulating fate by confronting it head-on.

Jeffrey Maier, a future Baltimore Oriole? Oh, dear heaven. The blood of Orioles fandom boils at the very thought of the name, let alone the thought of such a traitorous alliance.

The story begins on Oct. 9, 1996, when Maier, then 12 years old and a rabid New York Yankees fan, reached over the wall at Yankee Stadium and altered the course of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, as well as the fates -- if you care to believe in such things -- of two franchises.

And the story ends, at least for now, with a phone call Orioles owner Peter Angelos received a few days ago. You'll never guess, the caller said, who is a pretty good college baseball player now, the all-time hits leader at Wesleyan (Conn.) University, an outfielder-third baseman with a decent chance of being drafted during next week's Major League Baseball amateur draft.

"Who?"

Jeffrey Maier. Yes, that Jeffrey Maier.

"You're kidding," Angelos said.

Nope.

There was a long pause, and one could imagine Angelos considering all that had transpired for -- but mostly, to -- the Orioles since the moment the young boy reached out with his glove.

For nearly 13 years now, Angelos has presided over a once-proud franchise whose fortunes never seemed to recover from that October night in the Bronx. The Orioles lost the game -- thanks to what still stands as one of the worst umpiring calls in history; while the play was ruled a home run, tying the game, replays showed Maier clearly interfered with the ball -- and lost the series. They returned to the playoffs in 1997, lost again, and since then have endured eight consecutive losing seasons, the longest such stretch in franchise history.

Citizen Angelos is a moron. The O's will never win anything with him in charge.

Jeff Maier, reaching to a catch a throw , seems to have caught the interest of Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who said, "You can say the Orioles are very seriously considering him," in baseball's amateur draft.The caller expected Angelos to react to the news of Maier's collegiate exploits and professional aspirations with disdain, perhaps with a string of profanities.

Instead, he said this: "To forgive is divine."

It was as if Angelos had suddenly grasped the enormity of what was now in front of him -- an extraordinary opportunity to alter fate and, in doing so, recast it to one's advantage.

The Orioles, during the Major League Baseball first-year player draft next Tuesday and Wednesday, have the power to select Jeff (as he now calls himself) Maier of Wesleyan University and see what happens.

According to Angelos, they just might.

"I wouldn't be at all opposed to [drafting Maier]. In fact, I'd say it's a very interesting development," Angelos said. "You can say the Orioles are very seriously considering him. I know this much: I was at that game, and he certainly did seem to be a heck of an outfielder. Sure, we'd take him. In fact, I like the idea more and more, the more I think about it."

Steinbrenner learned the lesson and Angelos hasn't yet: Let the baseball people do their jobs.

Grown Up

In the lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center on the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., Jeff Maier appears in a white T-shirt, black workout shorts and sneakers.

He looks disarmingly the same as he did when he was 12 -- only hairier. On this day, he sports a scruffy goatee, longish sideburns and a few days' worth of stubble.

His face was famous back then, as The Play -- the swing of Yankees rookie Derek Jeter (Maier's idol), the retreat of Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco to the right field wall, the glove of Maier reaching over the wall to swat the ball away, the mayhem that followed as the Orioles argued it should have been ruled fan interference -- was shown over and over on television. His exploits on the baseball diamond at Wesleyan have earned him another round of publicity, especially after he broke the school record for hits, finishing his career with 189, along with a .375 average.

"I guess it's an interesting story that I'm no longer 12, and that I've done something for myself, both scholastically and athletically," said Maier, who graduated last month with a degree in government and economics. "And I'm proud of what I've done. If anything, I've tried to get out of the shadow of what happened when I was 12, and in a way I've been able to use this attention to showcase what I am now and what I've done with my life since then."

Scouts and draft experts say there is a 50-50 chance Maier, who bats left-handed but throws right-handed, could be selected during next week's draft, which runs for 50 rounds. If not, he also could be signed as an undrafted free agent.

Maier finished his career at Wesleyan with 189 hits and a .375 batting average. "I guess it's an interesting story that I'm no longer 12, and that I've done something for myself, both scholastically and athletically," he said.(Bob Child)One National League executive whose team has scouted Maier said the knocks against him are his size (he is 5 feet 11, 190 pounds), his speed (he underwent surgery to repair a torn knee ligament last summer), his power (only seven career homers in college) and the level of competition he has faced. Wesleyan, a Division III school, has not had a player drafted since 1965 and has not produced a major leaguer since Lester "Red" Lanning made six pitching appearances for the 1916 Philadelphia A's.

"Life has a funny way of working things out," said veteran Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams, who won the Maier game in the 11th inning with a home run. "There are a lot of players in the major leagues today who were overlooked. There are a lot of intangibles you have to take into consideration -- heart and demeanor and perseverance."

The obvious story line here would be for Maier to get drafted by the Yankees, the team he grew up rooting for in Old Tappan, N.J., and the franchise that went on to win four World Series titles in five years while Maier was confronting life as a teenager.

"What would be really amazing," said pitcher Andy Pettitte, who started Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series for the Yankees, and who now pitches for the Houston Astros, "would be if he made it to the majors [with the Yankees] while Jeter was still playing, and they could be teammates."

However, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said the team would not waste a pick on Maier just for the novelty of it. "Only if we saw him as a viable, potential major leaguer," he said, without divulging whether they do or don't. Asked about the Yankees' interest in Maier, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer said only, "We've scouted him."

On Thursday, Maier was scheduled to take part in a pre-draft workout, along with several dozen other prospects, for the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

"Anyone who grew up a Yankees fan," Maier said, "would certainly love an opportunity to play for the hometown team."

Imagining Maier in the Orioles' organization is another thing entirely, and not something the team's fans would easily embrace.

"Some people are still very bitter towards him," said Tony Pente, who operates the Orioles fan Web site, http://orioleshangout.com/ . "I hate to say it, but for some people, there's almost a hatred of him -- to this day."

Although the lingering outrage of Orioles fans is more accurately directed at Richie Garcia -- the right field umpire who blew the call that night -- through the years Maier has become a symbol of the Orioles' futility.

"You can't blame Jeffrey Maier for all the bad [management] decisions that led to eight straight losing seasons," Pente said. "But if you believe in fate, you could see [the Maier] play as the beginning of it spiraling downwards."

Fans are not the only ones still bitter about the Maier play.

"I could still be in Baltimore if that didn't happen," said Davey Johnson, the Orioles' manager at the time, whose departure from the organization at the end of the 1997 season came under disputed circumstances -- he says he was fired; Angelos claims he resigned.

"It was a real big game, and we were going to win it," Johnson said. "It changed a lot of things. It got me fired -- not immediately, but it got me fired. I didn't win [it all]. I won a little bit, but not enough."

Pitcher Scott Erickson, who started the game for the Orioles and was in line to get the win before Armando Benitez served up the fateful pitch in the eighth inning to Jeter, said he hopes Maier makes it to the major leagues, "just so I can drill him -- I'd like to get one shot at him."

That, my friends, is baseball.

As fate would have it, Erickson is now a member of the Yankees, having signed there in February and been called up last month. On his first night in a Yankees uniform, he found himself sitting in the bullpen next to closer Mariano Rivera, the winning pitcher in the Maier game following two scoreless innings of relief.

"Rivera claimed [the ball] would've hit the wall and probably gone for a double" if Maier had not touched it, Erickson said. "But everyone knows it would've been an out. Tarasco was right under it. I told [Rivera] he's insane."

'My Ballplayer Instincts'

If all you knew of Maier was The Play, you could still draw some decent conclusions about him as a player. Here's what the scouting report might say:

"Has good instincts, gets excellent reads on the ball." (Maier shot out of his seat above the right field wall at the crack of the bat and hustled to the exact spot on the rail where the ball would end up.)

"Has excellent agility and coordination." (To get to that spot, he had to run down a short flight of steps that ran from the first row of seats down to the railing, while keeping his eye on the ball.)

"Has very poor hands." (He did, after all, drop the ball.)

Asked to describe the play for approximately the eight millionth time in his life, Maier happily obliged, as if wondering what took his questioner so long.

"The ballplayer in me just took over," he said. "I always had a knack for the ball, whether in soccer or baseball or whatever. Part of it is just being aware of the situation. Being 12, I had never seen a ball hit that high before. But I was able to get to the spot. I had a pretty good idea of where it was going.

"It's what every kid wants to do at a ballgame -- catch a ball. It was my ballplayer instincts. I saw a ball in the air, and I was going to go get it."

It being New York, there would need to be a news conference, and the network morning shows would need to line young Jeffrey up for the following morning. He made appearances on "Good Morning America" and "Regis & Kathie Lee." The New York Daily News gave the family free tickets to Game 2 -- this time right behind the Yankees' dugout, as opposed to way out in right field -- in exchange for letting the newspaper document the day.

"My mom used to always say it was a foreshadowing -- that I was destined to do something big," Maier said. "I just look at it as . . . I have a very aggressive personality. When there's something I want, I usually go out and get it.

"But I do think everything happens for a reason."

What could that reason be? Could it be that Maier was destined to be drafted by the Orioles, to make the major leagues a few years later and lead the Orioles to the World Series, so many years after helping keep them out of one? Perhaps, if you believe in that sort of thing.

"It would be ironic, for sure," Maier said. "Those [Orioles] fans might give me a hard time at first. But if I was playing well, eventually they'd have to start cheering for me."

Maier posed on the set of ABC's "Good Morning America" on Oct. 10, 1996, the day after he deflected a ball hit by the Yankees' Derek Jeter in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series that was ruled a home run.Cal Ripken, the legendary Orioles shortstop who went 2 for 5 in the Maier game, now owns the Aberdeen IronBirds, a Class A affiliate of the Orioles that, in all likelihood, would be one of the stops in Maier's minor league career if the organization drafted him.

"I don't blame the kid," Ripken said. "It was a reaction. It was not premeditated. Why harbor any resentment? If the Orioles draft him, great. I'd look at it as, 'Here's a kid trying to fulfill a dream.' "

To this point, Maier's interactions with Orioles fandom, and the Baltimore region as a whole, have been limited, for the most part, to some angry letters with Maryland postmarks that, according to Maier, "basically condemned me to hell."

He was recruited after high school by Johns Hopkins University. "But I was like, 'I can't do that,' " he said. "It would've been nuts for me to go down there."

Earlier this year, a Wesleyan classmate from outside of Baltimore, a film major, made an eight-minute movie as her senior thesis titled "I Hate Jeffrey Maier." The movie is about an Orioles fan who winds up attending the same college as Maier, and who confronts his own repressed anger over The Play -- and Maier himself makes a cameo at the end.

How cool is that?

"At the end [of the film], I do apologize," Maier said. "I just say, 'I'm sorry. I was just a kid trying to get a ball.' "

If the Orioles do in fact draft Maier, there would not be much time for folks to wrap their minds around that staggering notion. The Bluefield Orioles, the organization's rookie league affiliate in Bluefield, W.Va., and a draftee's presumed first assignment, begin their season on June 24.

That would leave everyone less than three weeks to prepare for a sight out of a sick nightmare, or a lovely dream: Jeff Maier, all grown up and hell-bent on making the majors, down from the stands and out on the diamond, a single word visible across his chest: "Orioles."

America's Fattest Fascist is being sued for a cool $85 million.

Alas, there is no justice in this world and Sergeant Damon doesn't have much of a chance of winning. What are the odds this case will be heard by Reagan appointees (with consciences) every step of the way?

Anyway, good luck to you Sergeant Damon, and thank you for your service to our nation.

Roto-Reuters: Michael Moore sued by Iraq war veteran

A U.S. war veteran who lost both arms in Iraq has sued Oscar-winning director Michael Moore for $85 million, saying television clips were used without his permission in the anti-war documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" and gave a false impression that he opposed the war.

Sgt. Peter Damon, 33, a supporter of President George W. Bush and the Iraq war, claims Moore misused the footage to portray him "in a false light" and as "disagreeing with the president about the war effort and as disagreeing with the war effort itself."

"It was kind of almost like the enemy was using me for propaganda. What soldier wants to be involved in that?" Damon told CBS's local television news affiliate. "I didn't lose my arms over there to come back and be used as ammunition against my commander-in-chief."

In a suit that also names Miramax Films Corp. and several other film companies, Damon says Moore never sought his consent for using segments of an NBC Nightly News interview with Damon while he was in hospital.

According to the complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston and obtained by Reuters on Thursday, Damon is seeking damages for "loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation."
Damon said he felt betrayed by the filmmaker, whose "Fahrenheit 9/11" won the top prize at the Cannes film festival and was the highest-grossing documentary ever at nearly $120 million.

Damon lost his right arm near the shoulder and his left arm above the wrist when a tire on a Black Hawk helicopter exploded while he and two other soldiers were servicing the aircraft on the ground in Iraq. His left arm later had to be amputated at the elbow. One of Damon's colleagues was killed.

Michael Moore's film production company was not immediately available for comment.

WIFE ALSO SEEKING DAMAGES

"Fahrenheit 9/11" shows Damon lying on a hospital gurney at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, saying he feels like he has hands that were being "crushed in a vice." He adds: "But they (pain-killers) do a lot to help it," he said. "And they take a lot of the edge off of it."

NBC had originally used the clip for a story about medical treatment being received by veterans.

In "Fahrenheit 9/11," the footage of Damon follows a statement by Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, who says of the Bush administration: "You know they say they're not leaving any veterans behind, but they're leaving all kinds of veterans behind."

"The work creates a substantially fictionalized and falsified implication as a wounded serviceman who was left behind," the complaint said.
Damon was "supported, financially and emotionally, by the active assistance of the president, the United States and his family, friends, acquaintances and community," it added.

Damon has learned to use his artificial arms with the help of military personnel. Veterans groups have helped to build his family a home in Middleboro, Massachusetts.

In an interview in front of his house, Damon told local CBS television: "The original idea was supposed to be something positive about the treatment we were receiving ... not something to be used in a story talking about veterans being left behind because as you can see behind me I'm the last person who can say I am being left behind," he said, gesturing to his home.

Damon is seeking $75 million in damages, while his wife is seeking another $10 million due to "mental distress and anguish" suffered by her husband because of the film. He said he would donate the money to veteran's groups.

Justice has been served, but keep this guy away from Wendy's chili.

Ananova: Vandal fingered himself as suspect

A vandal who knocked over headstones in a US cemetery left police a small but important clue - his finger.

Police found the finger end stuck between two toppled gravestones in the cemetery in Fleming, New York state.

Officers, who say a total of 53 headstones were knocked over, later arrested a man missing a finger.

He has been charged with criminal mischief, criminal trespass and cemetery desecration, reports 13WHAM-TV.

Headline of the Day.

ABC 13: Alleged cattle thief tries to squeeze seven calves in Dodge Neon

OGDENSBURG, NY - A man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing seven calves from a Canton farmer, sheriff's deputies said.

Victor R. Gardner, 22, is accused of squeezing seven of the young cattle into the back seat and trunk of a 2000 Dodge Neon. He is charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree grand larceny.

Gardner had the help of an accomplice when he allegedly drove the calves to a barn in DeKalb, St. Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies said.

Two of the calves were sold, the rest are missing and presumed dead.

Gardner, who has a history of burglaries, is being held in St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

The authorities are more clever than we think.

WRIC: Oregon store owner claims underage decoy was scantily dressed

HAUSER, Ore. Can the way a customer is dressed cause a store clerk to break the law? That's what a store owner in Oregon is claiming after being fined because one of his clerks sold beer to an underage decoy.

David Cardwell tells the state liquor control commission the woman was dressed in "very provocative clothing" that's "more suited for the bedroom."

The clerk says he was distracted and didn't see the "Minor until 2007" stamped on the woman's driver's license.

A liquor control agent says the decoy was wearing a tank top. He says the clerk simply wasn't paying attention.

There are tank tops and then there are little frilly thingees that kinda look like tank tops but are much more interesting.

Cardwell says he'll close his store for a week rather than pay the 13-hundred dollar fine, insisting the clerk was properly trained.

Is there a lesson to be learned from this, boys? You bet. If a hot babe flirts with you while trying to buy beer from you, she's lying.

Religion of Peace and Love and Brotherhood Update.

A self-styled military leader who can't even fire a gun urges mohammedans to slaughter each other mercilessly. Hey Dan "Multimillionaire" Brown, have I got a book idea for you!

AP: Al-Zarqawi urges Sunnis to take on Shiites

The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq urged Sunnis to confront Shiites and ignore calls for reconciliation in a new audiotape posted Friday on the Web, saying Shiite militias are killing and raping the Sunni Arab minority.

The tape was a four-hour sermon by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi against Shiites, denouncing their top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as an "atheist," and saying the community had collaborated with invaders throughout Iraq's history.

"Oh Sunni people, wake up, pay attention and prepare to confront the poisons of the Shiite snakes who are afflicting you with all agonies since the invasion of Iraq until our day. Forget about those advocating the end of sectarianism and calling for national unity," al-Zarqawi said.

Due to time constraints, we now move to further goat rapist evangelization.

"The Badr Brigades and Mahdi Army are storming the houses of Sunnis under the pretext of searching for the mujahedeen, and even if they didn't find any, they kill men and arrest women, put them in prison and rape them and steal everything from the houses of the Sunnis," he said.

Can I get an amen for fratricide?

Much of Friday's tape was aimed at rallying Sunnis — who make up the majority of Muslims in the Arab world but are a minority in Iraq — against Shiites across the Mideast and Iran, which many Sunni Iraqis deeply mistrust for its influence with the Shiite parties that now dominate Iraq's government.

"There is no difference between Shiites of Iran and the Shiites in the rest of the Arab world either in Iraq, Lebanon. their beliefs are the same .. their hatred of Sunnis is the same," he said, adding, "The roots of Jews and the Shiites are the same."

Wow. The ultimate goat rapist insult.

"Anyone calling for reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites is either a man who knows the truth but is betraying his religion and his nation ... or a man who is ignorant and should be taught," he said.

He said Shiite leaders in Iran and Lebanon — including the Hezbollah guerrilla movement — only pretend to confront Israel and the United States. He mocked Iranian President Hungadunga for "screaming and calling for wiping Israel from the map," but doing nothing, referring to anti-Israeli comments earlier this year.

Are you gonna take that from a Jordanian heretic, Hungadunga? What are you, a mohammedan or a mouse?

A tree grows in Egypt, although it is threatened by a bunch of thugs carrying chainsaws and herbicides.

Chicago Tribune: Egyptian Man Keeps Blogging From His Cell

CAIRO, Egypt -- Even from his cell in an Egyptian prison, Alaa Abdel-Fattah is blogging -- scribbling messages on slips of paper that make their way to the Internet and spread around the world.

The 24-year-old Abdel-Fattah's blog, which he does with his wife Manal Hassan, has become one of the most popular pro-democracy voices in Egypt. He has continued writing despite being arrested in early May during a street demonstration in Cairo -- part of a crackdown on reform activists by Egyptian security forces.

"We covered the walls of our cell with graffiti of our names and slogans and Web site addresses," Abdel-Fattah wrote one time, referring to himself and fellow imprisoned activists. "We chanted and sang and the mood was great."

But another posting was very different. "I'm sitting here terrified they'll move me to a worse cell or cut off my visits. What should I tell you -- that the day will come for them (the regime)? I'm afraid our grandchildren won't see that day, much less us."

The duo call their blog Manalaa, a combination of their first names. Young, secular and anti-authoritarian, they link the blogosphere with a democracy movement demanding reform from President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power longer than they have been alive.

Their blog, launched two years ago and written in a mixture of English and Arabic, is an Internet rallying point for activists in a nation where state-run media predominate and give little voice to reformers.

It posts announcements of planned demonstrations, political commentary, even photos -- with names -- of plainclothes security agents notorious for beating protesters. In March, the couple used their blog to organize a sit-in, where more than 100 protesters slept in a downtown Cairo square.

Equally vital is the technical support -- including Web hosting -- the blog gives fellow bloggers in the growing political movement on the Internet. Manalaa collects posts from more than 1,000 Egyptian blogs, allowing users to scan the entire Egyptian blogosphere on a single page.

The number of political blogs feeding Manalaa has doubled each month for the past year, Hassan said.

"It's a revolution on the Web in Egypt -- they're civilian journalists with no censorship," said Salma Abdel-Fattah, 20, a childhood friend of Alaa's who is not related to him.

"Instead of opening sites like Al-Jazeera or the BBC, we open Manalaa's blog to see what's going on," said Abdel-Fattah, whose boyfriend, Ahmed El-Droubi, was arrested with Alaa.

ACK! Sabres lose!

Congratulations to the Buffalo Sabres and their fans for one heck of a season.

AP: Hurricanes rally past Sabres in 3rd period
The Carolina Hurricanes rallied from one goal down in the third period to defeat the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday 4-2.

As for Carolina...

LET'S GO OILERS!

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, early martyrs from Rome. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading for the Feast of St. Marcellinus and St. Peter is
2 Corinthians 6:4-10.
Today's Responsorial Psalm is
Psalms 124:2-3, 4-5, 7-8.
Today's Gospel reading is
John 17:11-19.


Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today


Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.


St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.


Prayer to St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


Prayer To Saint Michael The Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank You today for the gift of my life, and for the lives of all my brothers and sisters. I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion, yet I rejoice that you have conquered death by the resurrection of Your Son. I am ready to do my part to end abortion. Today I commit myself never to be silent, never to be passive, and never to be forgetful of the unborn. I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement, and never stop defending life until all my brothers and sisters are protected and our nation once again becomes a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Prayer For Vocations

Send forth your Spirit, Lord, into the hearts of your faithful people, that we may be conscious of our vocation to holiness and sevice to others. Grant that many of us may dedicate ourselves to You through the priesthood and the religious life.We pray especially for the needs of our own parish and diocese. Grant that we may always have sufficient good and holy priests, and dedicated Sisters to serve our commumities.We pray, too, for religious orders; that generous men may join them to become zealous missionaries in preaching the Gospel in word and action, especially to the poor and abandoned.We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

LET'S GO BUFFALO! LET'S GO BUFFALO!

Good luck to the Sabres tonight in Game 7!

Sadly, Jay McKee is out with an infected cut on his leg


Sabres, WNY happily share a common fate
For an instant it looked as though Brian Campbell might lose it. For the briefest moment it appeared a tear might roll from the corner of his eye.


Ruff aims to burst bubbles
Somebody's lying.

The Buffalo Sabres were incensed when informed the Carolina Hurricanes had brought champagne into HSBC Arena on Tuesday night to celebrate the Eastern Conference championship they could have clinched with a Game Six victory.

The Hurricanes denied any such thing.

The Theology of the Body: 117. Responsible Parenthood

In his general audience of 1 August 1984, the Holy Father continued his analysis of Humanae Vitae in light of Gaudium et Spes, underlining the principle that, while responsible parenthood follows the dictates of conscience, conscience must conform to the "objective moral order instituted by God."


Responsible Parenthood

On Wednesday morning, 1 August, at the general audience in St Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II continued his analysis of Paul VI's "Humanae Vitae" and the Conciliar document "Gaudium et Spes", in the context of his theme, responsible parenthood. Following is our translation of the Holy Father's address.


1. For today we have chosen the theme of responsible parenthood in the light of Gaudium et Spes and of Humanae Vitae. In treating of the subject, the Council document limits itself to recalling the basic premises. However, the papal document goes further, giving a more concrete content to these premises.

The Council text reads as follows: "When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, it is not enough to take only the good intention and the evaluation of motives into account; the objective criteria must be used, criteria drawn from the nature of the human person and human action, criteria which respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; all this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is seriously practiced" (GS 51).

The Council adds: "In questions of birth regulation, the sons of the Church, faithful to these principles, are forbidden to use methods disapproved of by the teaching authority of the Church" (GS 51).

Ruled by conscience

2. Before the passage quoted, the Council teaches that married couples "shall fulfill their role with a sense of human and Christian responsibility, and the formation of correct judgments through docile respect for God." (GS 50). This involves "common reflection and effort; it also involves a consideration of their own good and the good of their children, already born or yet to come, an ability to read the signs of the times and of their own situation on the material and spiritual level, and finally, an estimation of the good of the family, of society and of the Church." (GS 50).

At this point words of particular importance follow, to determine with greater precision the moral character of responsible parenthood. We read: "It is the married couple themselves who must in the last analysis arrive at these judgments before God" (GS 50).

And it continues: "Married people should realize that in their behaviour they may not simply follow their own fancy but must be ruled by conscience—and conscience ought to be conformed to the law of God in the light of the teaching authority of the Church, which is the authentic interpreter of divine law. For the divine law throws light on the meaning of married love, protects it and leads it to truly human fulfilment" (GS 50).

3. The Council document, in limiting itself to recalling the necessary premises for responsible parenthood, has set them out in a completely unambiguous manner, clarifying the constitutive elements of such parenthood, that is, the mature judgment of the personal conscience in relationship to the divine law, authentically interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church.

True conjugal love

4. Basing itself on the same premises, Humanae Vitae goes further and offers concrete indications. This is seen, first of all, in the way of defining responsible parenthood (cf. HV 10). Paul VI seeks to clarify this concept by considering its various aspects and excluding beforehand its reduction to one of the "partial aspects, as is done by those who speak exclusively of birth control." From the very beginning, Paul VI is guided in his reasoning by an integral concept of man (cf. HV 7) and of conjugal love (cf. HV 8, 9).

Under different aspects

5. One can speak of responsibility in the exercise of the function of parenthood under different aspects. Thus he writes: "In relation to the biological processes involved, responsible parenthood is to be understood as the knowledge and observance of their specific functions. Human intelligence discovers in the faculty of procreating life, the biological laws which involve human personality" (HV 10). If, on the other hand, we examine "the innate drives and emotions of man, responsible parenthood expresses the domination which reason and will must exert over them" (HV 10).

Taking for granted the above-mentioned interpersonal aspects and adding to them the "economic and social conditions," those are considered "to exercise responsible parenthood who prudently and generously decide to have a large family, or who, for serious reasons and with due respect to the moral law, choose to have no more children for the time being or even for an indeterminate period" (HV 10).

From this it follows that the concept of responsible parenthood contains the disposition not merely to avoid a further birth but also to increase the family in accordance with the criteria of prudence. In this light in which the question of responsible parenthood must be examined and decided, there is always of paramount importance "the objective moral order instituted by God, the order of which a right conscience is the true interpreter" (HV 10).

6. The commitment to responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, "keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society" (HV 10). One cannot therefore speak of acting arbitrarily. On the contrary the married couple "must act in conformity with God's creative intention" (HV 10). Beginning with this principle the encyclical bases its reasoning on the "intimate structure of the conjugal act" and on "the inseparable connection of the two significances of the conjugal act" (cf. HV 12), as was already stated. The relative principle of conjugal morality is, therefore, fidelity to the divine plan manifested in the "intimate structure of the conjugal act" and in the "inseparable connection of the two significances of the conjugal act."

Just in case there are any Pittsburgh Pirates fans out there...

...Is it just me, or does Lanny Frattare sound more like Bob Prince every day?

Halle Berry wears her X-Men suit at home to titillate beau!

Here's an object lesson for you, kiddies. If she was poor, she would be described as having poor self esteem and maybe even body image problems. But since she is a rich Hollyweird celebrity, our moral and intellectual superiors in the antique media tell us she's fun in the sack.

Hollywood beauty Halle Berry has revealed how she tantalises her hunky beau by wearing her X-Men suit at home.

Halle, who plays hero mutant Storm in the blockbuster films, dresses in the tight rubber costume for romps with model Gabriel Aubry.

She told US chat host Conan O'Brien she often takes home the "kinky" gear after filming.

"Yeah, I wear it sometimes. You gotta keep your life spiced up. Storm never has sex in the movies - but Storm has a lotta sex at my house," she was quoted by The Sun, as saying.

Twice-wed Halle met Canadian Gabriel on the set of a Versace advertisement last November.

Criminal Democrass Update.

From Drudge:

Even though it's perfectly legal and a part of his job,

Reid Says He Won't Accept Free Tickets...


ABC POLL: 86% say FBI should be allowed to search Congress member's office...

Shakara Ledard Part Two.

From the pages of The King Abdullah Gazette:











From The Those Pesky Russians And Those Whacky Canadians Department:

Orlando Sentinel: Tee time for galaxy's longest golf shot delayed

Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov won't be hitting history's longest golf shot outside the international space station this week, NASA officials said Tuesday. The event will be postponed from a Thursday spacewalk, tentatively to November.

The publicity stunt is part of a financial deal between Russia's Federal Space Agency and a Canadian golf-equipment company. Video footage of a cosmonaut's swing at a gold-plated golf ball will be used in a commercial to promote the company's products and commemorate the 35th anniversary of Alan Shepard's golf shot on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.

With golf no longer on the agenda, Vinogradov and American crewmate Jeff Williams will exit the station at about 6:40 p.m. Thursday for their planned 5 1/2-hour spacewalk. The primary task is to install a new valve for the oxygen-generation system. The pair also will retrieve experiments and attach a new television camera.

Shakara Ledard Part One.

From the pages of The King Abdullah Gazette:





























Shakara is best known as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, but she has been known to act a bit.

It Takes A Village To Staff A Gestapo Unit Update.



Buffalo News: Clinton thrashes Bush & Co.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, (N-NY) with husband and former President Bill Clinton smiling from the sidelines, urged the Democratic Party faithful Wednesday to stand up against a Republican administration that has "left people to fend for themselves."

As opposed to being her serfs, depending on her hysterical whims for our very survival. Oh, yes! That is so much more humane!

I'll take my chances, Citizen Shickelgruber.

Congrats to Steve Czaban, the least reprehensible sports talk host on the radio.

Today is Steve's birthday and yesterday he hit his first hole-in-one.

Hooray Czabe!

That liberté, égalité, and fraternité nonsense only takes you so far.

UPI: Rapper on trial for insulting France

MELUN, France, May 30 -- A French rapper is on trial in suburban Paris on a charge of distributing obscene material to minors for his online video that prosecutors say insults France.

Zaire native Richard Makela, who uses the stage name Monsieur R, has sparked debate about freedom of speech with his video for "FranSSe," a song from his 2005 album, "Politikment Incorrekt," The Times of London reported Tuesday.

Among other things, the video available via the Internet depicts a nude woman writhing against the French flag and includes explicit lyrics about urinating on French historical figures and urges listeners/viewers to insult France.

Conservative Member of Parliament Daniel Mach brought the private prosecution against Makela, 30, who could face thousands of dollars in fines as well as three years in prison if convicted.

Defense attorney Dominique Tricaud told The Times his client was entitled to his freedom of speech and predicted the trial would end in acquittal.

The Evans-Novak Political Report for May 31, 2006

Behold the stupid losers of the Repansycan Party! They've had it pretty good since the early 1980's, but time and power have corrupted them. Most of them accentuate the Pansy and have abandoned the Republic.

Congress:

Immigration: A proposed immigration compromise by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) was met with derision by anti-immigration Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who accused Pence of taking an "immigration U-Turn."

Pence's plan would require illegal aliens to self-deport before applying for a guest-worker program, and it would enact almost all of the border security bill passed by the House earlier this year. Pence's phones were ringing off the hook after Tancredo directed supporters to call him.

Importantly, though, a subtle change in the debate has taken place. Supporters of looser immigration standards have succeeded in separating the concept of "amnesty" from the concept of a "guest-worker" program. Increasingly, House conservatives are warming up to the idea of a guest-worker program that does not include a path to citizenship -- much like Pence's plan. This could slightly alleviate the damage immigration does to Republicans in November. But there is still very little chance that any bill will pass both houses and be signed into law this year.


Congressional Raid: Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-Ill.) irate response to the FBI's raid on Rep. Jefferson's office was surprising to many of his fellow Republicans, but it comes in the context of Hastert's constant frustration in dealing with the White House. Bush's shoddy treatment of former CIA Director Porter Goss, formerly a Republican congressman from Florida, has escalated the bad feelings between the two branches.

Jefferson allegedly took cash bribes, and the investigation is beginning to wall in the man many in Louisiana's political class refer to as "Dollar Bill."

Members of the House and Senate are genuinely divided. Support for and opposition to the raid did not fall along partisan lines -- Hastert and Minority Leader Pelosi both expressed outrage, whereas left-wing Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joined Rep. Butch Otter (R-Idaho) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) in supporting the FBI action.

Jefferson has refused to step down from the House Ways and Means Committee, despite Pelosi's requests.


Governor 2006:

Alabama: Once believed to be a goner, Gov. Bob Riley (R) will crush former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) in the Republican primary. What support he lost with his attempted tax increase in 2003 he managed to gain back with his able handling of the destruction wrought upon his state by Hurricane Katrina.

Many Alabama conservatives admire Moore as the "Ten Commandments" judge, but some have noticed his close alignment with the trial lawyer lobby in the state. Moore entered the race with a serious chance, but he is poised to lose on Tuesday. Likely Riley.

On the Democratic side, the contest for the nomination has been even more lively. Moderate former Gov. Don Siegelman (D), now embroiled in a corruption trial, is nonetheless remaining in the race against liberal Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley (D). Siegelman's campaign has been rather pitiful, but his orations from outside the courtroom where he is being tried for racketeering have been at least interesting.

A witness from the toll-bridge industry testified last week to an extortion scheme by the former governor during his time in office. This and earlier testimony from a lobbyist have already hurt Siegelman's performance in public polls, as Baxley inches toward the 50 percent threshold she needs to avoid a June 27 runoff. She will probably win outright. Likely Baxley.

California: State Treasurer Phil Angelides (D) is betting his long political career on a ballot proposition, not yet on the ballot, that would impose a new tax on oil produced in the state. The gamble is that coming out against Big Oil will offset the dangers of the proposal, which would almost certainly hit the pocketbooks of ordinary Californians and can be accurately characterized as a gas-tax hike.

If he survives the primary against Comptroller Steve Westly, Angelides may or may not be hurt by this pro-tax endorsement. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is by no means certain to oppose the oil tax.

On the other hand, Angelides has resorted to supporting the oil-tax increase only in order to stave off Westly's charges that Angelides has taken money from oil companies and is therefore corrupted. That includes California-based Chevron, a major donor to Californians Against Higher Taxes, which is fighting the oil-tax initiative. By supporting the tax, Angelides can say he is not in the embrace of Big Oil. This is why he gathered prominent environmentalists in Santa Monica last Wednesday and, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, declared he was striking a blow for the environment by taxing oil.

In fact, the oil-tax initiative just pits Big Oil against Silicon Valley, for whom the initiative is a sweetheart deal. Oil-tax revenues -- six percent on California's significant oil production (12 percent of domestic production) -- are supposed to go to fund alternative fuel types, in which certain barons of Silicon Valley are heavily invested.

It can only hurt the economy to punish oil companies in some kind of populist frenzy. And by pursuing them, Angelides has set himself up for a roundhouse punch. If Westly attacks him for trying to hike taxes on motorists, he gets him on both sides. Westly has been cautiously avoiding the oil-tax issue so far, but he has been pounding Angelides as a tax-hiker.

The race, between two very ideologically similar politicians, will be a squeaker. Leaning Westly.

Iowa: With Rep. Jim Nussle (R) lacking opposition for the GOP nomination, the whole game is on the Democratic side.

Former Rep. Mike Blouin and former Secretary of State Chet Culver lead a field of four. Blouin's odd stand on abortion -- "pro-life but pro-choice in practice" -- has basically alienated everyone who cares about the issue. Leaning Culver.


Senate 2006:


Montana: This one is basically a toss-up, but the late momentum in the race for the Democratic nod is with state Sen. Jon Tester (D). Tester has come from about 20 points behind to even up with State Auditor John Morrison (D). For good or ill, Morrison has not been able to shake off a month-long scandal surrounding an affair he had in 1998 and its effect on his office's task of investigating the woman's fiancè. Given that the winner faces the embattled Sen. Conrad Burns (R), ethics are sure to be a big issue in the general election, and that doesn't help Morrison's case for making him the nominee.

Although Morrison begins with better numbers against Burns, Tester would probably be the better general election candidate. A farmer, he can go toe-to-toe with Burns's folksy image. Still, Burns has so much money that he may be able to flood television stations with positive ads straight through Election Day in order to rehabilitate his image.

This one will be very close. Either Democratic candidate will be short of money upon winning the primary. Tester would be especially so, but out-of-state money will pour in for either one. Leaning Tester.

Burns will stomp his primary opponent, Bob Keenan (R), with a convincing victory. Keenan has not run a very active campaign, thinking of himself more or less as a placeholder in case Burns is indicted in connection with the Abramoff scandal. Likely Burns.

New Jersey: State Sen. Tom Kean, Jr. (R) will easily defeat his conservative primary opponent, John Ginty. Kean puts a fresh young face on the same old moderate Republicanism that has hasn't worked in getting Republicans elected here statewide in a decade. But no one has presented proof that anything else will work.

It doesn't help that the last Republican elected statewide -- former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) -- has since done her best to sow discord and division in the state and national party. But Kean begins the race in a good position mostly because of the high unfavorables of the incumbent, appointed Sen. Bob Menendez (D). Likely Kean.


House 2006:

California-11: Here is another primary, like the 6th District of Illinois, in which national Democrats are at odds with a local party as to who will be the nominee. Steve Filson (D) and 2004 nominee Jerry McNerney (D) are running for the Democratic nomination to take on incumbent Rep. Richard Pombo (R), who is perceived as weak. Pombo's constituents have been under constant attack from outside environmental groups' making automated phone calls against him.

McNerney, who ran against the Republican in 2004, has the endorsement of the California Democratic Party and the backing of several big unions, including the California Labor Federation and the California State Council of the SEIU.

Filson, the better-funded candidate, has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC's newly announced "Red-to-Blue" campaign to help strong Democratic candidates could add not only to Filson's funds but also to the structure and strength of his overall campaign. The DCCC prefers Filson to an old loser, but things aren't working out as the DCCC would like. Leaning McNerney.

Pombo will crush his primary opponent, former Rep. Pete McCloskey (R). Likely Pombo.

California-50: This district faces both a primary and a special election on the same day. The result will be perceived as an indicator of things to come this November, regardless of whether it is an accurate assessment of a single congressional race.

Can such an assessment be accurate? Maybe. A host of local issues are at play in the race between Brian Bilbray (R) and Francine Busby (D).

Republicans picked perhaps the weakest nominee in their crowded primary. Moreover, whereas Democrats have been deprived of their "culture of corruption" message nationally by the ethical problems of Representatives Jefferson and Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), this does not apply in a district whose former congressman is now headed to federal prison after a guilty plea for bribery.

Bilbray, a former lobbyist, is not the ideal candidate in this situation. Moreover, he is too moderate for many of the district's conservative voters.
The district is 3-to-2 Republican in registration, but the above explains why Busby has done so well so far. She is tied or leading in the public polls available, and in the waning days of the campaign she was raising more money as well (although Bilbray is receiving plenty in party expenditures). Busby benefits from the contested gubernatorial primary, as well as the presence of a third-party challenger whose sole issue is immigration.

It is worth noting that if Busby wins the special election, Bilbray may drop out of the November general election and allow party officials to pick another nominee -- probably Eric Roach (R), the second-place finisher in the April 11 primary.

This race is going to be extremely close. Republicans are very worried about this seat, which they can't afford to lose. A Busby victory puts the Democrats within 14 seats of a House majority -- to say nothing of the message the media will take from it. We expect the GOP to dodge the bullet, but it is by no means a sure thing. Leaning Bilbray.


California-51: Rep. Bob Filner (D) should prevail over an unexpectedly spirited primary challenge from Assemblyman Juan Vargas (D). Filner is nervous enough that he is attacking Vargas for his ties to the insurance industry.

Vargas held Filner to 55 percent when he ran against him in 1996. The district is more Hispanic now, but it no longer includes the Hispanic areas of San Diego that are familiar with Vargas. Leaning Filner.

Iowa-1: The Republican primary to replace Rep. Nussle is a toss-up. The frontrunner, however, appears to be Mike Whalen, a prominent businessman who owns several restaurants and hotels in northeast Iowa and enjoys high name recognition.

However, it is Republican Brian Kennedy, former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, and State Rep. Bill Dix are also very much in the contest. Leaning Whalen.

Liberal Bruce Braley is expected to win the Democratic nomination over Bill Gluba and Rick Dickinson. He may be putting himself too far to the left as he positions himself for the general election. This is a Democratic district, but many of the Democrats here are social conservatives. Likely Braley.

Mississippi-2: Chuck Espy (D) never raised the amounts of money he really needed to knock off incumbent Rep. Bennie Thompson (D). Espy's last-minute television ads will at least guarantee him a reasonable showing, but he enters the final week with only $5,000 cash on hand, to nearly $600,000 for Thompson. As of May 17, Thompson had doubled him up in spending. Likely Thompson.

New Jersey-13: Democrats Albio Sires and Joseph Vas are vying to replace now-Sen. Menendez in this heavily Democratic district.

This election for a vacant seat is almost more complicated than the California special and primary election for the Cunningham seat. Voters here will make their choice in two primaries -- one to fill the last two months of Menendez's unexpired term (November and December), and the other to represent the district in the 110th Congress. But Sires is the only candidate running for both offices. Vas is running in the primary for the permanent nod, but not the two-month stint. Another Democratic candidate is running against Sires for the two-month stint and not the next Congress.

The confusion is probably inconsequential, however. Sires, the former speaker of the State Assembly and a town mayor, has the backing of the important party bosses, including Menendez, and he has out-raised Vas comfortably. He should win both primaries on Tuesday by a sound margin, and then take over the seat in November after the general election. Likely Sires.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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