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Michelangelo’s Pieta: Inspiration for LIFE

April 16, 2014 | By | No Comments

This Easter, as I’m preparing to travel to Rome for an international pro-life conference, I find myself drawn to the Pieta, perhaps Michelangelo’s most famous work, that is on display in the Vatican.

It occurs to me that in that extraordinary work, we can be inspired for life, and the potential that all of us born and unborn carry in us.

And you can’t always imagine, in those dark days, how brighter days lie ahead.

The anguished face of Mary, holding her son Jesus, crucified and dead, reminds us that motherhood does hold sorrow and difficult days. But Mary’s most difficult day was not the end of the story. It was not the only day of her motherhood. Easter is a celebration of life, of Jesus raised from the dead with a message that we have hope and a future. Mary’s love for her son, physical even spiritual, is mirrored in the passion that we can have for own children, no matter what comes.

And you can’t always imagine, in those dark days, how brighter days lie ahead.

Even the story of how the Pieta came to be inspires with life’s potential. Michelangelo came from a family of modest mean, of no real prominence, carving the Pieta at only 24. He received that commission from a French Cardinal known to live a very faithful life during dark days in Rome, who wanted to leave behind in that great city something of beauty, something inspired. He took a chance on a young unknown… but not he alone.

A man named Jacopo Galli guaranteed the wonder of the Pieta as he drew up the contract between the man of God and the unknown artist. Galli put his reputation on the line, for the hope of something great to come. And it did.

We in the pro-life movement share that message with the world that every life has potential; that taking a chance with hope is worth it. People’s extraordinary potential comes from inside, not bound by family of origin or circumstance, and not diminished by the realities of hard times and dark days.

I will have the great opportunity to visit the Pieta in the Vatican later this month, thankful that a few took a chance on a young man, believing he could be great. And thank you for supporting the work of Americans United for Life, where we believe the same of every child.

Family Policy Councils: The Real Grass Roots Needed for the Next Conservative President

January 9, 2007 | By | One Comment


Policy Review

November & December 1996In the mid-nineties, Charmaine wrote a column for Policy Review magazine. One of her articles reviewed the Family Policy Councils. The FPCs are state based non-profits considered faith-based, cultural and economic conservatives.

A conservative president usually needs Ohio to win. And the embrace of the Family Policy Councils.

These state-based organizations work somewhat with the Family Research Council in DC and Focus on the Family in Colorado.

Originally published in 1996; and even more important today.

State Groups That Fight for Mom and Dad

by Charmaine Crouse Yoest

Rudy Gonzalez, a “cowboy poet” with a handlebar mustache and a home-on-the-range accent, strummed his guitar, then launched into a joke. The crowd relaxed into laughter as he regaled them with tall tales and folk wisdom.

This is the Idaho Family Forum’s annual summer fundraiser, the Spud Bake, where this group of moms and dads marks the end of summer by eating baked potatoes. Lots of them. Followed by spud-shaped ice cream.

But cowboy poetry soon gave way to public policy. U.S. Senator Larry Craig rose to address the group, and the question-and-answer session that followed was brisk and well informed. The Idaho Family Forum (IFF) and its supporters are dedicated to changing cultural trends that are undermining the stability of families — from no-fault divorce to teen pregnancy to chronic welfare dependency.

Led by executive director Dennis Mansfield, a former businessman, the IFF is part of a growing national movement of independent, state-based policy organizations called Family Policy Councils (FPCs). There are now more than 30 such organizations across the country, loosely affiliated by shared goals, common strategies, and mutual support. In order to win the ears of lawmakers, the media, and academics, they prefer research over rallies and education over activism.

Continue reading at the jump


Thank you (foot)notes:

Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger served on the Board of Directors for The Family Foundation, a Family Policy Council in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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22 Dec



Rocky Balboa: Courage, Integrity, Faith, Victory The Movie

December 22, 2006 | By | 6 Comments



at the base of the steps Your Business Blogger was in Philly recently and wondered about the Rocky statue that was briefly at the top of the 72 steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Since September, the statue is now at the base of the steps.

So I decided to ask the man who might know, Sylvester Stallone.

Why? I asked him.

Rocky Sly says, It’s better where it is — at the base of the steps. At the top was the completion — the end — but it’s not the completion that counts — it’s the journey. The Effort; The Passion.

Or, as Rocky says in the movie, The Beast trying to get out.

The step-climbing, the process, the journey, reminded me of Earl Nightingale’s definition of success: The progressive realization of a worthy goal.

Success on this side of eternity and finishing the fight, the race, for the other side of eternity. The passion and The Passion.

The new Rocky movie was about the beast, the fire in the gut getting out and lighting up the world.

The Completion and incidentally, The End.

Your Business Blogger and Charmaine were guests for a premier showing of the film in Your Nation’s Capital a few weeks ago. A must see. Blood and a beating and a victory…although not quite what you would think. And not quite a tie.

The pre-screening was at the Regal Theater on K Street in Georgetown, DC.

After the viewing, we were invited with a few dozen of our closest new best friends to meet Sylvester Stallone at the Four Seasons.

I made a little wager with Charmaine: when Rocky walked in, he’d get a standing O. Charmaine said O, no — it will be respectful silence.

As it happened, we were both right; both of us winning. (A nice way to end a marital debate, as well as a movie) When Sly walked in (with only three handlers, security out of sight) there was enthusiastic applause — but not standing and shouting as I would have thought, and I almost did, Charmaine enforcing a restraining order on my arm…

Sylvester Stallone at three score years and zero body fat and six Rocky movies (Rambo aside) strolled in wearing a comfortable-looking blue long sleeve shirt and blue jeans and funky shoes Charmaine could not ID. He sat at the head of a long conference table to talk about The Final Rocky Movie.

His Faith made him do it. And Jesus was in the details.

The music score kept up the motivation: A big score for a little man, he says.

The music alone is enough to have Rocky Top any opponent.


Rocky Balboa at the Top

Museum of Art, Phildephia

Totally But not without effort. Stallone says that he’s one of three Republicans in Hollywood — and that influences getting work — don’t let anyone say otherwise.

No wonder Sylvester Stallone was comfortable in Washington, DC: Congress now looks just like Hollywood…

Except Hollywood might have more conservatives than Congress.

Sly (we are on first names, natch) is a real professional at work, especially in how he worked the room. He is immediately likable. I’d vote for him. And see his movies.

(And he embodies the difference between liberals and conservatives:

Reagan was an Actor who became a Politician.

Clinton was a Politician who became an Actor.

Stallone is genuine. Authentic. Transparent.)

He spent some 40 minutes sharing his Faith and eternal values and how that made the movie moving. He loves Jesus and Liberals hate him. (Both Jesus and Rocky.)


The Diva and The Dude with

Art in Philadephia There is room all over Philly for all manner of “art” but not Rocky at the Top of the Museum of Art. The Rocky Statue is not considered art but only a “movie prop.”



A. Thomas Schomberg, 1982 Where marketing meets real life.

DAN GELSTON, AP Sports Writer, says in Stallone still packs punch with Rocky

Besides filming most of the movie in the city, mostly in Kensington and South Philadelphia, Stallone has made several trips the last few months. The Rocky Balboa statue returned in September to the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, not far from the steps where the fictitious hard-luck fighter made movie history. And Stallone promoted the movie at a Philadelphia Eagles game earlier this month, earning another boisterous reaction.

Not many movie characters are as synonymous with a city as Rocky and Philadelphia.


Rocky Balboa

Faith Based Resource Kit


free Also see Faith Based resources


Thank you (foot)notes:

Management training tips and for more on Philadelphia and business, see:

John Wanamaker, Half of my marketing budget is wasted…problem is…I don’t know which half.

Benjamin Franklin, A success story — read how Franklin got Benjamin’s.

John Kerry, Learn how swiss cheese cost him the election at Pat’s Steakhouse.

Clowns in Philly, What two groups of people should never be at a negotiation table?

Rocky Balboa is in theaters now. And be sure to stay to the very end — terrifc clips of common tourists running and boxing at the top of the steps. Required activity when visiting Philadelphia. Like eating at Pat’s.

Full Disclosure: 2 movie tickets were provided at no charge, no popcorn and no request for a favorable review. I did attempt to sell out. The PR team didn’t bite.

See Movie Review: Rocky Balboa.


RottenTomatoes has more.

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Carnival of Christmas is up at Adam's Blog

December 21, 2006 | By | One Comment

Adam and Andrea are hosting a timely Carnival. See: The Carnival of Christmas II Official Announcement.

Use the Blog Carnival submission form.


The Nativity Story



Thank you (foot)notes:

And see Christmas Alliance 2006 by Random Yak

And be sure to watch The Nativity Story this Christmas Season.

Merry Christmas

December 19, 2006 | By | One Comment


Merry Christmas to you and yours,

from Your Business Blogger, Charmaine and the Penta-Posse

If you would like to be added to our good-guy Christmas Card list please email us.

Read about London’s John Calcott Horsley and the business of the first Christmas card at the jump. And the original meaning of “merry.”

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Seattle Christmas Trees Are Back: Watch Charmaine's Interview on ABC

December 12, 2006 | By | No Comments


Charmaine on ABC News Charmaine appeared on ABC News last night. She was interviewed on the “Christmas Wars” where Seattle airport removed Christmas Trees.

Even the airport Santa Clause was concerned.

And now, airport management, has re-installed the trees.

Watch the video here.

And please be sure to vote for Reasoned Audacity for Best Business Blog!

We will be in your debt.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Stop the ACLU has more.

The Personal and the Polis: The Intersection of Individualism, the Family and the State (Part 3 of 3)

December 12, 2006 | By | No Comments


Gozzoli’s Augustine III. The Christian Individual: Augustine

As has been often noted, the problem for Platonic and Aristotelian political theory is that they venerated a social hierarchy with a foundation firmly established on inequality and misogyny. The family could be relegated to meaninglessness because the individuals involved in the institution were consigned to irrelevancy in the classical teleology. In Schochet’s formulation, the family served as the “rudimentary form of association,” but this did not confer value on it – the family was not a “building-block” of society, rather it was the raw material. Since the state was formed by a rudimentary, natural coalition of families, the family and the state were in one sense equivalent. But this was an equivalence much like the relationship between logs and a fire: the logs are used to provide the material for the fire, but they are then consumed in the generation of the heat and the flames.

The rise and spread of Christianity challenged, and ultimately overthrew, this paradigm. With Jesus Christ’s teaching that men and women, slaves and free people are all equal before God, the individual was no longer dispensable. Elshtain argues that Christianity directly challenged Aristotle:

Christianity defied [Aristotle’s] rigid categorical separation of human beings by declaring that the potentia of every single human being was as great as any other and equal in God’s eyes. . . One reason the figure of Jesus remains important to political thought is his insistence that the realm of necessity. . . is not a despised forum for human endeavor. . .


Thank you (foot)notes:

This work was originally published by Charmaine at the University of Virginia.

And be sure to vote for Reasoned Audacity for Best Business Blog.

Also see Part 1

Part 2

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04 Dec



The Personal and the Polis: The Intersection of Individualism, the Family and the State (Part 2 of 3)

December 4, 2006 | By | 2 Comments


Plato and Aristotle by RaphaelII. Classical Political Theory: Plato and Aristotle

While as moderns we tend to congratulate ourselves on having discovered gender equality, and imagine the past to be a wasteland of misogyny and hierarchical patriarchalism, the really radical explorer of equality was one of the earliest political theorists, Plato himself. (It should be noted, however, that this was a theoretical exploration that extended only to elite men and women.) When he constructed his model utopian Republic, Plato envisioned a society marked by a strict equality between men and women, at least among the leadership philosopher and guardian classes. Shorthand descriptions of his schema usually refer to “philosopher-kings,” but Plato himself was careful to underscore that his template for leadership was gender-neutral. After Socrates finished describing the education necessary to produce the leaders of the kallipolis, Glaucon comments: “Socrates, you’ve produced ruling men that are completely fine.” To which Socrates responds: “And ruling women, too, Glaucon, for you musn’t think that what I’ve said applies any more to men than it does to women who are born with the appropriate natures.”


Thank you (foot)notes:

This work was originally published by Charmaine at the University of Virginia.

And be sure to vote for Reasoned Audacity for Best Business Blog.

Also see Part 1

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27 Nov



The Nativity Story. One family. One journey. One child who would change the world forever

November 27, 2006 | By | 7 Comments

Your Business Blogger and Charmaine and the Penta-Posse were honored to attend a private screening of The Nativity Story Saturday morning before last, in Northern Virginia. This is an unpaid review. We even bought our own popcorn.

(Multi-plex Theaters: the movies are a front; The real money is in the concession stands.)


The Nativity Story

Pope Benedict XVI turned down an invitation to attend the premiere on Sunday, November 26th, even though nativity_joseph_mary_jesus.png

Joseph and Mary and

baby Jesus it was screened in his backyard, The Vatican. The Nativity Story is a (true) story about an unmarried pregnant woman. The Catholic Church frowns on such conditions.

You would have thought that the Pope would have granted an indulgence for this one exception, this one out-of-wedlock birth.

Maybe just this one. Mary’s. The Pope should have watched The Nativity Story.

For the Baby Jesus: Prophet, Prince and King.

I don’t blame him, though, for being leary of a Hollywood interpretation of the Savior’s birth. Given their track-record. But they played it straight, remained faithful to the original script, and have made a movie well worth seeing.

The movie opens on December 1st. Even though the Pope didn’t see it; you should. Go see it this weekend and let us know what you think.

Charmaine didn’t care for the Deep Space 9/Gabriel the archangel character. Too much a-blending of science fiction and theology. Not that Godless liberals could tell the difference.

The film gets its PG rating for the violence. Which really wasn’t all that bad for our times, or for the turn of the last millennium. The movie opens with Roman soldiers drawing their short swords to chop up all the baby boys under two. No blood, no gore was depicted. (The Dude, pre-teen, was mildly disappointed.) But the scene was terrifying enough. Your women-folk will cry.

However, no actual babies or animals were harmed in the making of the film. Only in real life.


The Three Wise Men


Herod, right and his son. Really Bad Guys.

One of my favorite parts was where Herod’s tax collectors would extract interest and penalties totaling one-third of a man’s estate. Crucifixion compels compliance.


However, we haven’t seen a 1/3 tax rate since, well, Christ was born.

Goodness, tax collectors nowadays take 45% of our income each year.

Maybe the Romans were more civilized than we are today.

When you go to the movie, do get there on time, it starts fast with little credit rolling at the beginning.

And as Keith Appell from Creative Response Concepts says, “Prepare to be entertained.”

My hero of the movie, and on this side of eternity, would be Joseph. His actions taking care of Mary, make him a better man than most. Especially for the shame he’d have to endure.

The other (anti) hero would be Herod, for keeping taxes low.

The Nativity, The Birth changed the world. The movie could change your life.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Publicity for the private screening was ably handled by Creative Response Concepts who invited Your Business Blogger, Kith and Kin to attend the screening for New Line Cinema.

For Cinephiles by a Cinephile has analysis and links.

UPDATE: Drudge reports The Nativity Story booted out of Chicago public festival.

By DON BABWIN, CHICAGO (AP) – A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film “The Nativity Story” might offend non-Christians.

New Line Cinema, which said it was dropped, had planned to play a loop of the new film on televisions at the event. The decision had both the studio and a prominent Christian group shaking their heads.

“The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ,” said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association, a group of more than 11,000 churches of various denominations. “It’s tantamount to celebrating Lincoln’s birthday without talking about Abraham Lincoln.”

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Charmaine Debates the Values Voter with Anderson Cooper on CNN

November 10, 2006 | By | One Comment


Anderson Cooper Who won? Who lost? Really lost?

Charmaine will be debating the impact of the value voters and cultural conservatives on this week’s election.

On Anderson Cooper 360 tonight live. Hit time is 10:20pm EST on CNN.

Tonight’s Show,

Left, right and righteous. A “360°” special on what’s next for Christian conservatives. Are they moving away from the GOP? Tune in tonight at 10 p.m. ET.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Check out Cooper’s blog.

Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt.

More on Anderson Cooper 360 at the jump.

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