Thursday, February 23, 2006

In the News!

My adoptive home state is in the news usual, for something I wouldn't be inclined to brag about. Here's the lead from an item in today's International Herald Tribune "Americas" section:

PIERRE, South Dakota South Dakota lawmakers have voted to outlaw nearly all abortions, setting up the first direct legal attack on Roe v. Wade by a state in 14 years.

It goes on to say:

After more than an hour of fierce and emotional debate, the senators Wednesday rejected exceptions for incest or rape or for the health of a mother and voted, 23-12, to outlaw all abortions, except those to save a mother's life.
They also rejected an effort to allow South Dakotans to decide the question in a referendum and an effort to prevent state tax dollars from financing what is certain to be a long and expensive court battle.

Now, read that again. The "compassionate" conservatives in the statehouse don't care if pregnancy threatens a woman's (or girl's) health. They don't care if she is pregnant thanks to a rapist or incestuous sexual predator. (It wouldn't surprise me at all if at least some of them don't think it's "her own fault" for "leading on" her attacker.)

Nor do they care what the voters of their state think.

It strikes me as odd that they are so concerned with "protecting" the unborn while displaying such callous disregard for those who are already here: the girls and women who would be affected by this legislation. To say nothing of kids in school, for whom there never seems to be enough money...despite there apparently being plenty of money to fight a "test case" in the courts.

Don't get me wrong: Abortion is a terrible thing all the way around. Lives are lost, lives are scarred. Nobody wins.

But why is it that no one seems interested in trying to do something about the cause of abortions--the circumstances that some women find themselves in in which this physically, emotionally, psychically deadly option seems their only choice? Why can't the "concerned" folks in the legislature, or those marching in front of "abortion mills," find enough compassion in their hearts to worry about the women involved?

And make no mistake: This legislation, if passed, will not prevent abortions in this state. Just legal ones. And, again, where's the compassion? Where's the heart?

Of course, this is the same legislature that, earlier this term, decided that the working poor of this state didn't deserve a bump in the minimum wage, so I guess I shouldn't be at all surprised. In fact, I'm not: It's been obvious for some time that there are a couple of grandstanders in the capitol who enjoy seeing their names in the news and who are more than happy to carry that notoriety to the national arena.

It's just too bad that people will have to suffer so that they can get their headlines. And that taxpayers will have to foot the bill.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reading ads for fun and profit.

Well, this is different. I have for quite a few years now subscribed to, belonged to, been a part of—not sure what the right term is—an operation called MyPoints. (I think it was called BonusMail or something back when I signed on in the Dark Ages.) Anyway, it's a pretty slick deal: basically, they e-mail you advertising. You click on the "Get Points" link that takes you to the advertiser's web site, and you earn a few points (usually 5 or 10); more if you buy what the advertiser's selling (the exact number depends on the offer). You can also get points by logging on at MyPoints and shopping via their links. Eventually you can spend your points on a pretty wide variety of stuff—a year or so ago I "cashed in" for a bunch of gift cards from Target, Suncoast, and I forget what all.

Of course, as with any "points" system, you need a lot of points before you can start buying stuff—most $10 gift cards seem to cost 1400 points, so you can see that you'll have to read a lot of 5-point messages before you get very far; but responding to even one or two of the offers can really rack up points fast. I've bought some things at Office Depot, for instance, via MyPoints mail: they have a nice "staggered" system where larger purchases earn more points. Makes a difference.

So what? Well, in my MyPoints e-mail this morning comes this tip:

My tip for members:
Have a blog? Want to earn 25 Points? Blog about MyPoints ... the good stuff, of course, like your favorite way to earn Points or how you spent your Points. Send us a link by February 23, 2006, to to be considered. Offer good for first 500 qualified responses.

Odds are good that I won't be among the first 500, but what the hey: I've talked up the service to people before with no benefit to myself (I do see they now have a refer-a-friend program that I haven't investigated), so why not now? And you never know: When I was in junior high I won a whole case of Mountain Dew in a radio call-in contest. Too bad Mountain Dew was and is the one soda I really dislike…

Monday, February 20, 2006

Monsignor Mac redux

A longer obit for my late friend, Msgr. John McEneany:

Msgr. John McEneaney
(December 12, 1917 - February 16, 2006)

Msgr. John J. McEneaney, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, died February 16, 2006, at Avera McKennan Hospital. He was 88.

John McEneaney was born on December 12, 1917, in Lawrence, MA. He was educated at Holy Cross University and St. John’s Seminary before being ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1943. He came to South Dakota on an 18-month loan in 1946, and stayed. He was formally incardinated in the Diocese of Sioux Falls in 1949. He served at parishes in Aberdeen, Clark, Garretson, Hartford, Huntimer, Brookings, and Huron. He served as rector of St. Joseph Cathedral for 10 years, and as pastor of Christ the King, Sioux Falls for another 10.

He was named Vicar General of the diocese in 1976, a position he held for three bishops until 1994. He was named a prelate in 1965, and in 1995, a Protonotary Apostolic. Over the years he served as a member of the priest council, finance council, Priest Retirement Committee and currently was a member of the board of the Catholic Foundation for Eastern South Dakota. He served as president of the National Liturgical Conference from 1965-1967. He conducted Liturgy and Worship workshops for several dioceses around the country and for military chaplains. He was active in ecumenical affairs, including a long running local television program with other ecumenical-minded leaders called “The Open Door.” He received a variety of honors and awards in his lifetime, and was a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

His “retirement” came in 1994 but his days were filled with more personal ministry including his daily hospital visits, substantial correspondence and weekend parish coverage. As recently as 2003 he served as sacramental minister for St. Edward, Worthing for several months. His entire ministry was rooted in his love of God. At his Golden Jubilee homily he said, “What a joy and privilege is has been for me to be ordained to the priesthood. For a priest is empowered by the Sacrament of Holy Orders to proclaim the infinite riches of Christ, in word, in sacrament and in loving deed.”

He is survived by his sister, Mary Elizabeth Wilkinson, many nieces, nephews, cousins, brother priests, and countless friends.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 1: 00pm Tuesday, February 21, at St. Joseph Cathedral. Burial will follow at St. Michael Cemetery. Visitation begins at 2:00pm Monday, at St. Joseph Cathedral. A Scripture Service and Rosary will be held at 7:00 on Monday evening, also at the Cathedral. Visitation will then continue and will be ongoing to the time of the celebration of Mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Msgr. John J. McEneaney Endowment Fund at the Catholic Foundation for Eastern South Dakota.