Can you name the Vice President of the United States? How about the two U.S. Senators in your state? All members of Congress (or at least your own district’s representative)? Governor? If you’re reading this, chances are good that you can easily answer these questions because you’re at least a little interested in politics.
How about your Mayor? Any or all city council members? School board members? County Auditor? Unfortunately, this is where many Americans start to fail the test. Admittedly, I would have failed the test a couple of years ago. Like many Americans, I voted for local elections based upon name recognition, party affiliation, or whether or not I’d received a flyer or received a knock on my door. I spoke to a woman the other day who said she voted for whoever had a sign in her next-door neighbor’s yard because “that lady keeps up with this stuff.”
Every American should keep up with this stuff. It’s THAT important.
When I started flirting with the idea of leaving the GOP last year, I explored several third parties. I sat on conference calls with leaders of one party, had an audience with the chair of another, and spoke directly to three third-party Presidential candidates. Invariably, the discussions were discouraging. It wasn’t that they didn’t have good ideas. It was that only one party could answer an important question: “What are you guys doing to win local elections?”
They were all sinking time, money, and energy into getting their Presidential candidate on ballots, but only one party was actively running in local elections. They made it clear that they weren’t actually giving much support to local candidates, but at least a few people were willing to use their party’s name a registration to run for office. I tracked back to see how many elections they’d won over the years. 13, including two in 2016. How could a party that was sinking all of their resources into a futile Presidential race think it was okay to put next to zero effort into local elections?
This is why I helped form the Federalist Party.
Local elections ARE important. They don’t get the press coverage. The people who win these offices can’t bomb Syria or impose tariffs on Canada. On the other hand, they make decisions that directly affect our lives. They choose the way many of our children receive their education. They set guidelines to either encourage or discourage business growth. Some bring communities together. Others divide communities further apart. It’s imperative that we all start paying closer attention to the races and leaders that live next door. That’s not to say the people in DC are not important, but they receive too much emphasis compared to the politicians in our own backyards.
As a party, we intend to focus on local elections from two perspectives. First, we want to identify principled candidates and win local races. Then, we want to localize decision-making as much as possible for the nation. There is currently way too much influence coming from DC in areas they’re simply not qualified or empowered to addressed.
There are areas in which the federal government should hold the power. These have been clearly enumerated. It’s time to return the rest of the power of government where it belongs: states, counties, cities, communities, and most importantly to individual Americans.
Summary: That Air you’re breathing will cost you your life.
Plot: Bill the Doctor and Nardole find themselves on a space station in an era where the company that makes your live support suit charges you by the breath for the air you breathe in the suit. The only problem is that the suits seem to be killing the people wearing them, so cut off from the TARDIS the crew has a choice, die from lack of oxygen or risk being murdered by your life support system.
Writing: Yet another “evils of capitalism” my God that’s been played to death but hitting the concept of leaving cost benefit analysis of life is a great pro-life message that is lost. There are several excellent twists to the story that are worthwhile and the interaction of the characters on the station works very well. The addition of Nardole to the story, particularly his early interactions with the Doctor are great but I think Bill gets a little short shifted by writer Jamie Mathieson in this episode. Or to put it another way, I think it was a well written story but I think it could have used a tad more polish or perhaps a 2nd part as there was more here than they had time to develop.
Acting: The more I see Matt Lucas the more I think of Frank DeKova from F-Troop who managed to steal every scene he was in during that series. To be able to constantly do that with an actor as good as Capaldi is a real feat. I’m presuming he will be leaving with Capaldi and that’s going to be a loss. Pearl Mackie is certainly growing in the role and I think she made the material better but I think other than in spots she was undersold by the script. The supporting cast for the episode deserves a thumbs up as they made the episode better.
Memorable Moments: Fluid links, rescued a racist, fighting a spreadsheet, fined for dying
Doctor Who Flashbacks: Biil’s reaction to Dar Ren vs Sarah Jane’s Reaction to Alpha Centuri (The Monster of Peladon 3rd Doctor) Having to pay for Oxygen harkens to the Sun Makers (4th Doctor) “21 hours a week of unproductivity you will have to do without sleep until the debt is paid.
Oddities: I think the cost benefit solution by the Doctor was excellent.
Pet Peeves: I didn’t buy the “oh the spacesuit is damaged so it won’t kill her properly” business. I think that was a very weak dodge.
Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts
The Doctor: So, how does space kill you? I’m glad you asked. The main problem is pressure. There isn’t any. So, don’t hold your breath or your lungs will explode. Blood vessels rupture. Exposed areas swell. Fun fact! The boiling temperature of water is much lower in a vacuum. Which means that your sweat and your saliva will boil, as will the fluid around your eyes. You won’t notice any of this because fifteen seconds in, you’ve passed out as oxygen bubbles formed in your blood. And ninety seconds in, you’re dead. Any questions? ( A student raises her hand.) Yes?
Student: What’s this got to do with crop rotation?
The Doctor: Er, I dunno. But space is great, isn’t it?
The Doctor: Oh, look, Bill, it’s Nardole. What a lovely surprise. I thought I sent you to Birmingham for a packet of crisps.
Nardone: Yeah, I saw through your cunning ruse.
The Doctor: Yes, well, if you will go thinking for yourself. What do you want?
Nardone: I was given strict instructions to keep you at the university.
The Doctor: Who by?
The Doctor: Well, you’re not doing a very good job, are you? I’ll overlook it this once.
The Doctor: What killed the crew of this station?
Life Support Suit: I am unaware of any recent deaths.
The Doctor: What about the oxygen? Where did it all go?
Life Support Suit: There has never been any oxygen in this station.
Nardole: Oh, listen to that. Still saucy after all these years.
The Doctor: Explain.
Life Support Suit: Oxygen is available for personal use only, at competitive prices.
Ivan: They’re nearly through!
The Doctor: Open up. Let’s send them a message. Let’s teach them a lesson they will never forget. If they take our lives, we take their station and every penny they will ever make from it. Die well! It’s the finish line! It’s winning!
Abby: Open it.
Nardone: Doctor! Doctor
The Doctor: What?
Nardone: It’s Bill.
The Doctor: (sotto) Of course it’s Bill. Fate and me, we have a thing. (normal) Hello, suits. Our deaths will be brave and brilliant and unafraid. But above all, suits, our deaths will be expensive! Check your readings. We die, your precious station dies. The whole thing will blow. The company will make the biggest loss in its history. A moment ago, we were too expensive to live. Now we’re more expensive dead. Welcome to the rest of your lives.
Final Verdict: 4 stars but just barely. An above avg episode despite its weaknesses.
Ranking of Season: 2nd of 5 The first episode of the season not better than the previous one.
Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: n/a This is to my memory the longest steak that a Doctor has had of a 3rd season not having a top 10 episodes in it.
1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
4th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
5th. The Girl who Died
6th. The Witch’s Familiar
7th. Hell Bent
8th. Mummy on the Orient Express
9th. Face the Raven
10th. Into the Dalek
My local Sunday paper had an above-the-fold headline the other day: “Obamacare rate could see big spike in NH next year.” This refers only to my state, where an unidentified government official leaked to the press a document projecting an average Obamacare-exchange premium rate increase of 44%.
The headline could easily have said “another spike.” Obamacare-linked price hikes are old news. Still, I’m glad this wound up on the front page. That indicates that at least one assignment editor doesn’t take big increases for granted.
The story said that the document was stamped Confidential and Draft Only and Not for Distribution. I wish I knew who leaked it so I could deliver my personal thanks. I don’t like being surprised during enrollment season. The principal factor in the projected increase, according to the news report (I haven’t read the actual document), is Medicaid expansion. Without that, the projected increase is closer to 17%.
I don’t want my neighbors covered by Medicaid expansion to get sicker or forgo mental health care or substance abuse treatment. What irks me is that anyone in government or media could be surprised or distressed that expansion actually leads to cost increases and distortions in how health care is provided.
I hope no one’s surprised when the resulting premium increases for my non-Medicaid neighbors leads to changes in their behavior, such as dropping insurance altogether.
Last year’s price spike finally pushed me over the edge and out of the market. In the government’s view, I am uninsured, having opted for a healthshare program that Obamacare benignly tolerates. My husband has retained a conventional policy, and we’re keeping records to see how our costs compare over time.
Ideal? No. My costs are pretty much under my control, right up to the time I’m badly injured or develop a serious medical condition. I would then be at the mercy of my fellow sharers and of the bean-counters in my healthcare providers’ offices. Further, I am waiting uneasily for the Obamacare fans to amend the law so that healthshare programs are no longer penalty-free. Frankly, I think that kind of amendment is likely to come much sooner than any Republican health-insurance reform.
Medicaid is permanently expanded. I believe that. So will there be any health insurance “fixes” this year that would head off a 44% average increase in premiums on my state’s exchange next year? I don’t see how, no matter who’s in the White House. I’m pessimistic about the financial aspect of government health insurance because I’ve seen over the past five years that elected officials can’t even get the little things right.
By “little,” I don’t mean unimportant. I’m thinking of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. That’s the government policy that treats being a woman as a pre-existing condition by calling women’s contraceptives “preventive” care. Business owners who offer health insurance to employees, and who have moral objections to coerced involvement in their employees’ birth control decisions, have had to go to court to escape the mandate.
President Trump’s recent religious-liberty order was tightly limited and it did not undo the mandate. The Little Sisters of the Poor will benefit from his order, because he’s taken a personal interest in their case. Dozens of other mandate challengers are still making their way through the courts, with only these words from the President’s order to comfort them along the way: [cabinet departments] “shall consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate.”
In five years, regardless of the party in power, Congress has failed to repeal the mandate. A Republican president has managed only to tell his people to “consider issuing amended regulations.” The Supreme Court has had the chance to throw out the mandate as a religious liberty violation, and it has not done so.
I can’t trust them to fix even one small but critical aspect of health care policy. I sure can’t trust them to fix the whole thing. Bring on the spikes.
New York’s Puerto Rican Day parade continues to lose sponsors after NY City Council Speaker Melissa Viverito named unrepentant terrorist Oscar López Rivera a “National Freedom Hero” who will be honored at the June 11th parade.
First Goya Foods, the parade’s largest sponsor throughout its 60-year history, pulled its $200,000.
the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, and the other police unions representing the NYPD senior ranks.
NYPD commissioner James O’Neill, while acknowledging he would likely be at the parade overseeing thousands of cops stationed there, refused to march in honor of a terrorist.
Jet Blue, AT&T, and the New York Yankees won’t be there, either,
The Yankees’ boycott particularly stings. Bronx Bombers who have graced the parade include Puerto Rican native Bernie Williams.
“The New York Yankees are not participating in this year’s Puerto Rican Day parade,” the team said in a statement.
Instead, both Jet Blue and the Yankees will continue their scholarship programs helping “Puerto Rican students in both New York and Puerto Rico” by totally bypassing the parade organizers.
Gov. Cuomo is still waffling on whether he’ll attend the parade.
Univision continues to sponsor terrorism, never mind that
it wasn’t the belief in independence that got López Rivera locked up; it was the six pounds of dynamite and four blasting caps found in López Rivera’s apartment.
The network is set to air an exclusive interview on Sunday’s edition of Al Punto where U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez compares López Rivera to George Washington.
Viverito has dug in her heels and last Monday held a “rally to defend the parade,” conflating the parade with the terrorist. Seth Baron reports (emphasis added),
When a reporter asked her why López Rivera had dynamite, blasting caps, and bomb-making diagrams in his apartment when he was arrested, Mark-Viverito said, “in regard to the specifics of that situation you are talking about, I don’t know everything that was presented in the court proceedings.”
Just for clarity’s sake: the FALN claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings, including the one at Fraunces Tavern that killed four people and injured 50. At his trial, Lopez Rivera refused to participate in his defense on the grounds that he was a combatant in an anti-colonial war against the United States and thus a prisoner of war; he demanded to be tried by an international tribunal. He was tried in open court and convicted of “seditious conspiracy, use of force to commit robbery, interstate transportation of firearms and ammunition to aid in the commission of a felony, and interstate transportation of stolen vehicles.” López Rivera refuses to take responsibility for the consequences of his acts, nor has he renounced violence, conceding only that other means are “more effective.” When asked about the surviving family of his victims, he told an interviewer in 2011, “If you don’t respect me, why should I reciprocate? I wasn’t there to tell them, ‘Hey, listen, I’m sorry.’ That’s not me.”
I do not exaggerate when I say that López Rivera set his apartment as a bomb-making facility.
Lopez-Rivera had been in federal prison since 1981, serving a 55-year sentence which was extended an additional 15 years following two failed attempts to escape, where
he conspired with others inside and outside his prison to kill his way to freedom, attempting to procure grenades, rifles, plastic explosives, bulletproof vests, blasting caps, and armor-piercing bullets.
No word on whether Obama will attend the parade.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes in U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.
British Police have named Saman Abedi as the Terrorist suicide bomber caused the mass murder of Children in England after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester and it’s reported that another person has been detained in connection to the attack.
As I watch the usual suspects are sounding the same, the phrases “Lone Wolf”, Islamophobia , love vs hate, and doing all it can to take the Islam out of the latest example of Islamic Terror.
Of course England has done its part to purge the Islam from Islamic Terror, by banning Pam Geller who today noted about the attacker in Manchester:
Just like the neighbors of San Bernadino jihad mass murderers, neighbors noticed strange goings-on at the house of the jihadis, but didn’t alert authorities for fear of being labeled racist-islamophobic-anti-Muslim-bigots.
and Robert Spencer who wrote this on Manchester:
UK: Manchester jihad mass murderer known to authorities but “not thought to pose immediate threat”
They thought wrong. Why? Because they don’t have the first foggiest clue about what motivates these people, and what their goals are. So how can they possibly evaluate who is an “immediate threat” and who isn’t? They have to discount so much evidence that someone may be an “immediate threat” because to acknowledge the importance of that evidence would be “Islamophobic,” they’re left with nothing to go on.
While their exclusion from England, Ironically promulgated by the current prime minister Theresa May when she was home secretary, along with others like Michael Savage has drawn the approval of many media and cultural elites has been effective in preventing people from hearing their warning concerning Islamic Terror has been less than effective at preventing people from being killed by it.
Mark Steyn notes the contrast in tactics and results in England vs elsewhere
Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam. France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism. Yet the subject of immigration has been all but entirely absent from the current UK election campaign. Thirty years ago, in the interests of stopping IRA terrorism, the British state was not above preventing the internal movement within its borders of unconvicted, uncharged, unarrested Republican sympathizers seeking to take a ferry from Belfast to Liverpool. Today it declares it can do nothing to prevent the movement of large numbers of the Muslim world from thousands of miles away to the heart of the United Kingdom. It’s just a fact of life – like being blown up when you go to a pop concert.
But while Britian’s current tactics might not be generating fear in the hearts of potential terrorists as evidenced by this announcement:
British police arrested someone in connection with last night’s attack. Now they have intelligence that a second attack may be impending, pushing the terror threat level to “critical” for the first time in 10 years. How big is this cell?
The practical effect of raising the threat level is that the British military will be deployed to support the police in guarding “key sites” around the country. That’s not going to make libertarians happy, but luckily for Theresa May there aren’t many of those left in the UK.
it has successfully put the fear of being considered “Islamophobic” in the minds and hearts of the potential victims of said terror.
Alas what I wrote in 2011 continues to remain true:
Pam and those who warn of Radical Islam are Fiver calling for help for those caught in a snare. Her detractors are Cowslip the head of the snared warren. To oppose radical Islam requires a courage they don’t have and to openly admit appeasement acknowledges a cowardice they can’t bear. Much easier to not talk about it and preserve their illusion of dignity.
Pam and those like her bring up uncomfortable truths and for that they will be forever hated.
Or to put it another way. The end of Islamic Terror will be in sight when we love our children more than we fear being called “Islamophobic”.
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I had a lot of trouble concentrating today, as anyone who follows my Facebook and Twitter feeds already knows. I got up at around two this morning, having “slept” for a few hours—more of a fitful opening and closing of my eyes.
The problem? I have been applying for jobs like crazy for the past few months and the only feedback I received was an “Unfortunately” letter from Trader Joe’s. You’d think that it would be easy to get a job in the present environment—especially for a veteran who can write, think a little bit, and pass a drug test, but it isn’t. I haven’t been looking for a jackpot; just something I can use to keep from scratching, scraping, and begging my readers to help me with. By the way, fans of baldilocks are some of the most wonderful and generous people in existence.
So, as I said, I expressed my frustrations on my accounts and received an avalanche of great ideas, leads, links and at least one solid opportunity.
I’ve kept some information to myself and to personal friends, but I want to let it out here and now. The only reason I’ve remained in California since the loss of my house in December 2014, is to be near my church. Otherwise I’d be in New Mexico near my parents and most of the rest of my family. I love my people dearly (here’s a gratuitous link to one of the writers among that number), but God comes first and when I put Him first, He provides. I’m human and my faith wavers, but it does not fail because I’ve asked Him to help me with it. It’s an ongoing endeavor.
I love to write; here, at baldilocks, and wherever. One of my wonderful friends even gave me an opportunity—a different one than the one mentioned above–to get a well-compensated position as a technical writer. However, it’s necessary to consider that job in the context of why I remained in California. Would I have time for my church? What about time to write in-depth pieces for DaTechGuy and for baldilocks? Unlikely. No doubt, I will have more difficult decisions to make, should the job be offered.
But today, I have faith, just enough for today. Tomorrow, will be time enough for tomorrow’s faith. And so on.
(Thank to FW, CF, and JVS)
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.
Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!
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It goes without saying that the recruitment sector is driven by demand. From one year to the next, there are patterns and changes regarding numbers of jobs and types of jobs available. As one job type becomes obsolete, new jobs appear, and technology has played a big part in these changes. Many traditional jobs are no longer required because the tasks that the role covered are now automated or dealt with in a different way. For example, customer service advisers have in parts been replaced by technology like online chat, and jobs that involved manual tasks processing bank transactions have also been affected by technology.
So, what this means is that there is more requirement for roles that support technology. Therefore, people with technology skills have a greater opportunity to capitalize on the fact that there is a shortage of people to fill all of the current jobs in the technology sector. Relevant skills are a must, and because technology is always adapting, it’s hard to keep up to date.
According to Forbes, the top paying tech jobs in 2017 are:
While it is great to work a job with a big paycheck, it is even better to work a job you love and get paid well for it. If the jobs listed above sound redundant to you, there are loads more that pay well, and that are pretty cool.
One of the coolest jobs around has got to be developing video games. For many gamers, it is absolutely the ultimate, dream job. However, this sector is challenging to get into due to the competition surrounding it.
There are also design based jobs that sit under the technology sector, such as designing online learning; gamification is an example of this. More and more businesses are looking to have their training conducted online to save the resources used for face-to-face training. Online learning is becoming massively popular and not just for businesses. People can learn pretty much anything online these days – from video tutorials on how to fix a leaking tap to practicing for your driving theory test. Check this site out to see how online learning is helping people to pass their theory test.
Technology is going to create many more jobs in the future, and if you are thinking of re-training or you’re picking a course to study, it may be worthwhile thinking about roles in the technology sector that appeal to you. Qualifications in a technology related subject are in high demand, and it could give you opportunities that you might not find in other sectors.
From web developing to cyber security, have a look at some of the great technology jobs that are currently available to see if your dream job is out there.
The media myths surrounding the Vietnam War continue to shape U.S. policy in Asia and throughout the world.
As I recently wandered through Vietnam, particularly the area near the DMZ, or the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam, I couldn’t help but think how media narratives had changed the course of the war and Vietnam’s history. Here are some important facts that must be understood.
First, the 1968 Tet Offensive was a huge military defeat for the Communists.
Second, CBS anchor Walter Cronkite had little to do with the decisions to wind down U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Third, the “napalm girl”—a memorable photograph during the war–had nothing to do with U.S. forces.
Finally, after more than 40 years of Communist rule, the people of Vietnam are not better off.
Vietnam veteran James Willbanks, a noted military historian, provides an interesting analysis of the Tet Offensive, particularly in Hue, the former royal capital of Vietnam.
Tet, the lunar New Year began on Jan. 31, 1968, when Communist forces attacked multiple locales, including Hue, which was geographically situated in South Vietnam but close to the border with North Vietnam. By the time the battle of Hue ended a month later, more than 40 percent of the buildings were damaged and more than 100,000 people were homeless. More important, the North Vietnamese had lost the battle but had executed nearly 3,000 people with ties to the South Vietnamese government. For more background, see http://www.historynet.com/tet-what-really-happened-at-hue.htm
All told, the Tet Offensive was a massive failure for the Communists. The change from guerrilla tactics to frontal assaults against the U.S. and South Vietnamese military, resulted in only minimal gains. Moreover, the Communists lost nearly a quarter of its battle-ready troops.
What happened, however, was an onslaught of news reports and photos that showed, among other things, the U.S. embassy in Saigon under assault. It made little difference that the Marines had successfully fought back, and the U.S. military recaptured all the territory and more.
The Communists were described as despondent because of the failure of Tet. But the PR started to roll in that the Communists had effectively taken the battle to the Americans and the South Vietnamese Army. Then the so-called “Cronkite moment” happened. CBS anchor Cronkite said during a news broadcast on February 27, 1968, that “we have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds.” He added, “We are mired in a stalemate that could only be ended by negotiation, not victory.”
As my friend and colleague, W. Joseph Campbell, notes in his excellent book, “Getting It Wrong,” Cronkite had little influence on Johnson’s thinking. “In the days and weeks after the Cronkite program, Johnson was adamant in defending his Vietnam policy. On multiple occasions during that time, the president in effect brushed aside Cronkite’s downbeat assessment and sought to rally support for the war effort. At a time when Cronkite’s views should have been most potent, the president remained openly and tenaciously hawkish on the war.” For more, see https://mediamythalert.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/after-cronkite-moment-lbj-doubled-down-on-viet-policy/
But the Communists had won the PR battle–often based on media myths–as Americans turned against the war, and LBJ’s confidantes followed the public’s view.
Campbell also makes short shrift of the claim that the U.S. military was responsible for the “napalm girl” attack. Associated Press photographer Nick Ut took one of the most memorable photographs of the Vietnam War — the image of a 9-year-old girl screaming in terror as she fled from a misdirected napalm attack. The AP said the famous photo, taken June 8, 1972, “communicated the horrors of the Vietnam War in a way words could never describe, helping to end one of the most divisive wars in American history.”
But the plane was from the South Vietnam military and flown by a South Vietnamese pilot.
By referring to “American planes” in an article, The New York Times insinuated that U.S. forces were responsible for the napalm attack that preceded Ut’s photograph, Campbell writes. He tried to get DaTimes to correct the information but got nowhere. For more, see https://mediamythalert.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/40-years-on-the-napalm-girl-photo-and-its-associated-errors/
Some excellent reporting occurred during the Vietnam War, but what seems to stick in the American psyche about Tet, Cronkite and the napalm photo are mostly wrong—media myths like many we see today.
Finally, Vietnam is a mess. When your currency is valued at 22,000 dong to the dollar, you’ve got problems. People openly complain about the lack of full-time jobs except in the government. In 2011, Nguyen Phu Trong was appointed secretary general of the Communist Party. He served as the party’s chief ideologue before. That doesn’t bode well for solving the problems of the country.
A personal note: As the only American on board a trip to the DMZ, I tried to counter the propaganda of the guide, a committed Communist, about the information she was providing. But the other members of the tour–Brits, Canadians, French and Vietnamese–had already embraced the myths even though most of them were in their 20s and 30s.
Moreover, I had a wonderful time seeing the historic sites of Hue and Hoi An, a lovely town south of Danang, in central Vietnam. I met many courteous and friendly people during my visit. The attitude toward me as an American was mostly curiosity and certainly not condemnation. I stopped by a Catholic church—the religion that remains that of an estimated 20 percent of the population–and the members greeted me with enthusiasm. I wish the people, not the government, well.
Two years ago in July after over 50 years I left St. Anthony Di Padua Parish in Fitchburg Massachusetts for a different parish. This was not lightly done, my parents were married there, I and all my brothers and sisters were baptized there, we all went to the parish school, we all received our first communion there, I was married there, my sons went to the school and I am a charter member of the Knights of Columbus council there and I retain that membership along with membership of the Madonna Della Cava society at that parish.
Last night I attended a meeting of the Madonna Della Cava society to plan this years festival and at the meeting found out that hot on the heels of the news that our Parish School was dropping grades 4-8 and replacing them with preschool, St. Anthony’s was about to get their 4th pastor since 2014. In short, the turmoil that caused me to leave the parish continues unabated.
I wrote about the causes of these nonsensical self inflicted wounds in June of 2015 but rather than rehash the past it it time to answer the only question on the floor that matters: What can be done to end it?
I have heard various secular suggestions about fundraising and attempt to attract people and while I have no objection to these plans nor would I discourage any of them I think we are forgetting that the root of of why people join a church.
It’s not secular, there are plenty of secular clubs with active social calendars and many private schools with excellent programs to educate the young.
No the solution is spiritual, it’s a matter of faith, people join a parish to deepen their faith and grow close to Christ and send their kids to a Catholic school to increase their faith and provide a moral center. St. Anthony’s wants to attract faithful Catholics back to the parish they need a solution based on faith because the battle that is being lost in the parish is a spiritual one and unless that spiritual enemy is checked they are lost. What’s needed is a spiritual plan of action!
Fortunately Jesus provides one in scripture:
When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.” Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured.
Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.” (Emphasis Mine)
So prayer and fasting is the answer, but what prayer and what fasting?
Lucky for us Catholics there is an obvious choice for a prayer to counter the works of the Devil, the Rosary. Furthermore there is an obvious decade to offer provided to us by St. John Paul II the 3rd Luminous mystery The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven. For what is the function of a Catholic Church or a Catholic School but to proclaim the Kingdom to those who attend?
As for fasting there is another obvious choice provided via one of the parish patriots the Madonna Della Cava. There is a traditional devotion usually done at age 13 where one make a vow to abstain from meat on Wednesday’s for life in honor of the Madonna Della Cava. It’s been practiced in my family dating back to at least the 19th century. My mother took the vow at age 13 (1937) and kept it through her life, Both of my sons took the vow at 13 and while I was decades late to join I am in my 13th year of this weekly fast from meat in honor of La Madonna Della Cava.
So for those looking to do something about the state of affairs at St. Anthony’s Parish I humbly offer the following suggestions in the form of a Vow to Our Lady.
Both of these vows should be made for the intention of St. Anthony’s Parish that God may bless it and preserve it.
These would be individual vows for parishioners to make, they could be declared publicly or made privately as for a public collective effort I would suggest that at the end of every mass celebrated at the Parish the following prayer be offered:
Oh God of mercy, as we reach out to those seeking you, send your Holy Spirit on this parish to renew us in faith. Help us to spread the good news of the Gospel by loving words and caring deeds so that those who have drifted away may be drawn to your church and follow the way of your son Jesus, who is the Way the Truth and the Light. We make our prayer through Jesus our Lord. Amen.
A Catholic Church and a Catholic School should be all about the power of faith in God and the necessity of prayer to him. I submit and suggest this is an excellent opportunity to actively follow the path Christ himself as suggested and have faith in that path.
We just have to have the will to do so.