Daily Archives: February 4, 2009

In favor of Vans

The folks at Vox Nova have previously taken issue with my characterization of them as Marxist, even though most of their members are pro-liberation theology, they have a picture of Marx on their banner, and their very name, “New Voice,” implies marxist progressivism, like there is a “new voice” in Catholicism as opposed to the “old voice,” which is outdated and pre-Vatican II, etc.

So, there’s a pretty heated voice over there right now against SUVs. The question of a van versus an SUV is not really addressed, that I can see, from skimming the 160+ posts.

Generally, if the question were “SUV vs. van,” I would argue that an SUV is a very impractical machine. It is mostly bulk and has little usable space.

However, it is amazing the dirty looks, horn honks, etc,. we’ve gotten since we’ve been using a handicapped equipped Chevy Express 3500.

Recently, I took the kids on an outing. Because of the size of the van, and because the van includes my electric wheelchair, I was able to do all sorts of stuff that would have required multiple trips in the past, or would have required my wife to be with me.
I was able to pile all four kids into the van, load the van with cardboard ,and drive to the recycling center (formerly one trip with no kids). Then we went to the college and dropped off some paperwork (using the electric wheelchair). Then we went to Earth Fare and bought a cartload of gluten free food. And here is where it got interesting.
We’re driving through downtown Columbia, towards EarthFare, and there’s a Prius in front of us. I think, “I bet they’re going to EarthFare.”
The Prius parks next to *another* Prius. Out comes one young woman. She shoots a nasty look as we drive by in our 1-ton 15 passenger-size van. Now, most experts say a Prius only gives major gas savings on the highway . In the city, it’s not much different then any high mileage traditional car (e.g., a hybrid Civic and a traditional Civic get about the same mileage on short trips). So she spent about 35 mpg just to drive herself to the grocery store in a vehicle that would not have allowed her to run very many errands. I don’t know how many groceries she bought, but probably wasn’t many.
We bought a whole cart full of groceries. *Then* we went to another store (Wal-Mart, I believe) to buy “regular” groceries . We bought *another* shopping cart full. Since I was using my wheelchari and not a “mart cart,” I was able to use a regular cart and fit more stuff. Actually, in some recent trips, I’ve pushed one cart iwth my wheelchair while Allie pushes the second cart.
So, we were able to fit a full load of groceries from two stores into one van on a single trip, when our minivan, with kids and stroller and wheelchair, would only fit a shopping cart full if everyone was buried to the neck in groceries.

Plus, experts also argue that a used vehicle is always preferable to a new vehicle because the environmental cost of building a new vehicle is equal to several years’ worth of gasoline mileage. Since it’s a 2000, I’ve saved those manufacturing costs, in theory, and I’ve also saved an old vehicle from going to scrap. Since it uses a 350 base engine, it should be theoretically possible, in a couple years, to replace its innards with those of a Yukon hybrid.

So, what is the more ecological approach?

“Liberal Republican” William Saletan, a columnist for Slate who frequently criticizes the Christian Right, has written a column about a woman in the United Kingdom who screened her embryos for the breast cancer gene. Using language that sounds like someone from the “Religious Right,” he criticizes the euphemisms employed to justify eugenics

“We now call such tests ‘preconception.’ This is the next step in our gradual devaluation of embryos,” Saletan reflected. Early embryos were termed “pre-embryos” to make it more acceptable to use them in scientific experiments, and now we change the meaning of the word conception.
“Don’t fret about the six eggs we fertilized, rejected, and flushed in selecting this baby. They were never really conceived. In fact, they weren’t embryos,” Saletan continued.
He then went on to point out that if the child had been conceived naturally she would have had a 50% chance of inheriting the defective gene. Then, if she did inherit the gene there would be a risk of breast cancer of 50% – 85%, and even then it could be detected and cured.
“Embryo screening is advancing from guaranteed, fatal childhood disease to potential, survivable adult diseases,” Saletan lamented.

The ZENIT article, iinked above, which summarizes Saletan’s comments also discusses plans for a prenatal test for autism, a Scottish center that will prescreen babies for diseases ranging from cancer to cystic fibrosis, and a possible prenatal paternity test so women can abort babies before men find out they’ve cheated.

The Jan. 3 edition of the Daily Mail featured an article by one Victoria Lambert, who expressed her deep regret for aborting a child who was diagnosed prenatally with Patau’s syndrome (trisomy 13). “Put simply: my decision and its consequences have tortured me for the past nine years.” Lambert said that, when she was finally able to carry a baby after several miscarriagse, she was so grateful that she refused all pre-screening tests.

British boy taken away from grandparents and given over to homosexual strangers

Directress of the UN’s WFP says food is there; it just needs to be distributed.

Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, says that the starvation of one in six people on earth “is not a problem of food availability. It is a problem of distribution – and of greed, discrimination, wars and other tragedies”.
She spoke at a Vatican press conference with Paul Josef Cardinal Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum“.

In an age characterised by a concern for wellbeing and physical health, “the Lenten Message seems to contradict social trends”, said Cardinal Cordes, yet “the body can become a tyrant” and “the desire for wellbeing and pleasure can reduce freedom and become unmanageable by the human will”.

Cardinal Cordes notes that many religions see fasting as a key to spirituality, but most religions approach it from a dualistic worldview: fasting is, for them, an escape of the soul from slavery to the flesh. While many saints might disagree, Cardinal Cordes denies that this is the point of Christian fasting, since Christ glorified the world.

Free Online NFP Manual from the Kippleys

John and Sheila Kippley have published, with a Nihil Obstat, an online book called Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach. The Kippleys are the authors of the Couple to Couple League’s The Art of Natural Family Planning, and Sheila Kippley is author of Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.

Spanish bishop attributes vocations crisis to lack of "radical commitment"

Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona, Spain, has said that the vocations crisis is due to a lack of “radical commitment” on the part of many religious orders.

“It seems like a contradiction, but unfortunately this is the way it is. A consecrated life in which one is not willing to live a radical commitment to Jesus Christ, with a fanatical love like that of St. Paul, is a life that is not very attractive or exciting to the young people of today. This is one of the reasons for the lack of vocations”

In other words, when a convent advertises, “We don’t wear habits any more, so you’ll hardly recognize us as nuns. We work regular jobs and make salaries,” that doesn’t really offer much incentive to sign up, when they can do all that stuff anyway.

Obama picks _Playboy_ lawyer for Deputy Attorney General

President Barack Obama, showing just how far left his social agenda is, has picked David Ogden, an attorney who has represented Playboy, Penthouse and the ACLU in numerous cases, as Deputy Attorney General. A group called Fidelis has compiled a c.v. of his anti-family record.
He filed an amicus brief on Planned Parenthood’s side in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In this amicus, he said that informed consent is unnecessary when abortion is “necessary . . . for genetic reasons”.
In abortion related cases, he has represented the National Education Association and the National Organization for Women. He has represented the American Psychological Association and the American Library Association in homosexuality-related cases.
He argues that “original intent” should not be a consideration in judicial rulings and that “compassion” is more important than “impartiality.”

Is this someone we should be entrusting with the prosecution of federal criminals? Is this someone who should be in a place to potentially prosecute Christians?

Contact your senator to express your views on this nomination.