"Wherefore We must interrupt a silence which it would be criminal to prolong, that We may point out...as they really are, men who are badly disguised." Pope St. Pius X, September 8, 1907, Pascendi Dominici Gregis

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Your Country Can Be Beautiful Again

As I think about the social chaos being reinforced by the recent decision by a few people in the United States in robes to twist Western language and culture, my mind wanders for a place where I can begin to make a change. Somewhere I can start-over from a fundamental base. No matter what Satan throws in our path, we can choose what it means to us. Is the beginning of the end? Or is a last desperate gasp of a rotting culture?

Nowhere perhaps is this more true right now than in Ukraine. What is that fundamental base? It's all that's left when you have lost everything else. Many Ukrainians may be feeling that they have lost everything, their government, their economy, their peace, their livelihood, their security. These things may be true. But you have yourself. And you have your determination of what to make of the future. This is true of those even on the verge of death? What will you die for? What have you lived for? For yourself? Your country? Or something you can never lose, your God?

Is Russia invading? Pray that she will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart. Is NATO invading? Pray for the rebirth of Catholicism in the West.

May your faith strengthen you. And as you think of the future, think of the conversion that war can bring. This is a chance for every Ukrainian to ask himself what do I want to live for? You realize how precious life can be, the less you have of it. May you choose God, may there be a rebirth of faith, and may you go on to build the most peaceful and prosperous country in Europe and the world. It is time to turn to the eternal source of all that is good. Rebuild Ukraine. But rebuild yourself, your family, your church first. And you will notice in no time that your peace and prosperity have returned.

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;

Let him turn to the Lord for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways,
says the Lord.

As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down
And do not return there till they have watered the earth making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats,

So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it,
says the Lord Almighty.


Between Jobs? No Health Insurance?

Apparently the authors of the bill actually through at least one item ahead of time...

Please see http://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act/Individuals-and-Families/Questions-and-Answers-on-the-Individual-Shared-Responsibility-Provision for confirmation of the following quote:
  • The exemptions for individuals who lacked access to affordable coverage, had a short coverage gap, experienced certain hardships, had income below their filing threshold, or who were not lawfully present in the United States may be claimed only as part of filing a federal income tax return.
You will claim or report coverage exemptions on Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, and file it with your Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ. These forms can all be prepared and filed electronically.
See question 25 for more information on Form 8965.
22. What qualifies as a short coverage gap?
In general, a gap in coverage that lasts less than three months qualifies as a short coverage gap. If an individual has more than one short coverage gap during a year, the short coverage gap exemption only applies to the first gap.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Third Coast L.A.

                It still astonishes me that I could have grown up so near to the Rio Grande Valley, but that I would have to move further away, spending four years in Austin, three months in D.C., and one month in LA to actually fully appreciate what was so near for so long and yet under-appreciated.
I am always told, both by people in a position to actually know and those who parrot the supposedly better informed, that LA, Austin and DC are the places to be, and the Valley is next to nothing.  Yet, given the choice of where to locate for the long term, I’d pick the valley.  If you know me, you already know why I think DC is next to nothing.  LA is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there:  Too many “liberals,” not enough guns.  Like so WAY totally superficial.  Pretty buildings, pretty faces, empty minds and hearts.  (Nowhere is perfect; there are still reasons to like it: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,903069,00.html?iid=chix-del )

Austin, despite being the California-liberal enclave of Texas, is the best of the three in terms of actual substance, but it lacks some of the other things LA has: the palm trees, the citrus groves, the beach, the fertile soil, frost-free temperatures, and it’s somewhat further from Mexico.  And it doesn’t really have that relish for life that you see in places where you can stick virtually anything in the ground and it’ll grow.  Because we’re on the wrong side of the US (western sides of continents tend to possess milder climates), there’s really only one place in Texas that falls in this category, the Rio Grande Valley.

Besides, LA and DC make great terrorist targets.  The world will end before anyone decides to avenge Abu Ghraib in McAllen.  (Where?)

Despite its relative lack of notoriety, the Valley’s combined current population actually surpasses that of Austin.  It doesn’t have Sixth Street, but it does have South Padre.  And it, along with our great state (http://www.themonitor.com/articles/percent_22378___article.html/unemployment_state.html ), continues to grow at an astounding rate (http://www.valleymorningstar.com/articles/economy_25866___article.html/ ).

Unlike LA, it seems the Valley’s culminating era lies in the future, which means it is a place yet to be made.  This can be inspiring to those who do not like to take what they are given but prefer to forge their own way.  LA has in the past been called, “100 communities in search of a city.”  That’s not as true for LA today as it is for the Valley, with no defining major center of population.  There’s McAllen and Brownsville, roughly of equal size, and a number of 50,000ish and 25,000ish (in terms of pop.) cities, but they are so regularly dispersed as to make one wonder whether they should each be taken as their own city or considered as a whole.   I have a feeling, though, that one day this valley too will find its city.

Spanish is far more commonly spoken in the Valley than in the other cities of comparison.  This I prefer, as I am attempted to teach myself the language.  This proximity to Mexico, in terms of culture, language, and geography, is ideal from my point of view, because I think that America’s is not the future to be betting on.  Demographics are often destiny, and on this count Mexico defeats the stale-liberal-interventionist cultural tendencies of the United States hands down.  If things get bad here and Texas doesn’t wise up, I want an out, even if it’s just a chance to run straight to a Mexican airport and take the next flight to Chile (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Chile ).

The RGV can certainly speak for itself, as the following pictures making comparisons to Cali can attest, so I won’t let my comments run on.  But when I recall the little and negative (poverty, drugs, “Mexico” - like those are all inherently bad things) attention the Valley usually gets, I am often reminded of a phenomenon familiar to all those younger people told that “if they want to get anywhere in life, they have to stay in school.”  Sometimes I feel like this is repeated more often to children who attend school than any real knowledge.  If school really is so great, it would be self-evident, children would want to be there, and you wouldn’t have to be constantly threatening them with utter-ruin to keep them there.  The fact that kids must constantly be told how great school is and how terrible the alternatives are points to the school system’s utter and apparent bankruptcy.  So it is to a certain extent with America’s great cities, that came to prominence in a long-past era of laissez-faire.  DC, LA, et al, to a great extent live off their reputations; they are mere shells of their former selves, weighed down by the stagnation of excessive unliberal and unprogressive policies.  If you’re looking for the future in the U.S., I’d look elsewhere.  To ignore one of the fastest growing, economically dynamic areas in our country because it doesn’t fit the typical modern American mold is utter fallacy.  And like the world’s future considered at large, it will look a lot less American than you suspect.

LA on the left; RVG on the right.