"For thus says the Lord: Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you..." Isaiah 66:12-13

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pro-Life Search - An Apology?

As I was away when the apology email came out, I have been delayed in writing about it. (I was in dial-up land, so I didn't check my email.) While others (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam and Mama Says) have already posted all or part of the email, I will post it again here so you won't have to click a link to see it.

Here is the entire email that I received:

We apologize for the lateness of this email, and for the dropped
responses and follow-up tasks that have affected some of you. I
(Joe Hanley) would like to accept personal responsibility for these
failures, and I can only tell you again that I'm sorry. Personal
issues got me very off track, and I did not communicate outwardly
or complete the follow-ups I promised you, I ask your forgiveness.
We will take care of your requests and communication right away
from this point on.

As you most likely realize even before receiving this note, PLS has
had a long interruption in our mission--and our communication--and
we'd like to use this email for three things:

1. First and foremost, apologize for some problems over the past

2. Next, update you on the PLS operation

3. Finally, and importantly as well, initiate effective follow-up to
any communication and requests you have back to us

Bad news before details... as many or you have already noticed, the
ProLifeSearch website is no more. Here's what happened:

Regarding our operations, it has taken us awhile to put some of the
pieces of ProLifeSearch back together again. . . including those
who purchased the books.

As many or you have already noticed, the ProLifeSearch website is
gone. We'll get to how that happened in a minute.

But first, regarding the books: When we took the orders for the
leather-bound books we divided the money received two ways. The
first went to the publisher to produce the books. The second part
went immediately to our pro-life charities.

We then began having trouble with our publisher. For one reason or
another they kept giving us excuses as to why the books weren't
ready yet. Days turned into weeks which turned into months. By
the time we demanded our money back for a job not completed, the
publisher was completely non-responsive. Since this publisher is
overseas, it will end up costing us more to sue the publisher for
performance than what we paid them.

So all of the money sent to the publisher is gone. The money not
sent to the publisher went to our pro-life charities and hopefully
did a great deal of good for Life.

Of course some of you would like refunds for the money you paid, as
you should. We do not feel right asking for the money back from
our charities, and the rest of the money is in the publisher's
pocket. So we (Jack and I) will personally pay those people back
who request a refund out of our own pockets. We just ask that you
have patience. We simply cannot afford to refund everyone at once.
As money becomes available, we will make good on our promise

Those people who have already requested refunds will receive checks
within one week. Anyone requesting a refund now or in the future
will receive that within 21 days of getting the request to us.

Some of you may feel a certain relief knowing that your money went
to help Life. If you do not wish to request a refund, you do not
have to do anything. If you do wish to get a refund, please email
us at plsrefunds@gmail.com or write us at 542 N. Ashbury Ave,
Bolingbrook, IL 60440.

Now the website itself: Sadly, the bottom line is that some of the
web developers we hired for this project left our employ and
changed all of the passwords to the site. This meant that for
months we could not access the site, change the site, or post any
new information on the site. It also meant that we could not
access our list of book purchasers to notify them of the problems
we were having.

As we tried to force the new passwords from these developers, the
URL -- http://www.prolifesearch.com -- expired, and it seems some rock and
roll site was all too ready to snatch it up because of all the
traffic we created over the past 2 years.

Legally, the site now belongs to that organization. We have tried,
but we cannot get it back.

The good news is that during our operation, through your support,
we were able to generate over $20,000 for Pro-life charities. Good
was done, and we accept responsibility (and apologize to all of
you) for a rocky wind-down to our efforts.

Of course, we also hope that we might have inspired others to come
up with their own ideas on how to blend every day activities and
our cause for Life so that those charities on the front line of the
fight have what they need to continue their good work each and
every day.

I am a little sad to have to say good-bye. But ProLifeSearch was
never about Jack and Joe. It was always about you. You are the
ones who made any good works we did possible. And for that I just
want to say Thank You.

Please go forth and continue to fight the good fight.

God bless you all,

Joe Hanley
Jack Manhire

ProLifeSearch.com, 542 N Ashbury Ave, Bolingbrook, IL 60440, USA

To unsubscribe or change subscriber options visit:


I have some thoughts about this email. I will explain more in a later post, but I do think that there are some problems with their, or rather Joe's, explanation of what happened. There are quite a few things in the email that conflict with what I was told by Patte, the former secretary, about what happened. Other things conflict with my own research.

For one, I don't think that the URL has expired yet. At least it hasn't according to GoDaddy, WhoIs. Click the link then enter the verification code to see what I mean. According to that site the domain name is still active and registered to Jack Manhire until September 16, 2007. It also says that there hasn't been an update since August 2006.

That's just one thing that seems "fishy" about the apology email. For a few others, read the first comment on the Mama Says post. The commenter, Elaine, is right on in her concerns.

I think that we should all ask for the refund. If anyone actually gets one, leave a comment here and let me know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Home, home from the Grange...

Just one of the many swine we saw this weekend.

The girls and I returned home today from visiting my family and friends in central PA. It was a great time, especially since I planned the trip to coincide with the annual Grange Fair. The fair and encampment has been going on for 132 years now. There are tons of exhibits ranging from produce to quilts to photography to 4-H projects. People also bring livestock - sheep, goats, pigs, chicken, horses, and rabbits - to show and sometimes to sell. Judging takes place throughout the week so by the end you can see who has the Best Dairy Goat or the Best Vegetable Freak (a real category for veggies that are oddly shaped - sorry I didn't take a picture).

The Senior Dairy Cattle Showmanship competition.

There is a concert every night with smaller concerts or shows throughout the day. Area businesses set up booths to display their wares and area restaurants sell food. There are crafters in abundance, like the woman from whom my mom bought a plastic bag holder. I really found it pretty amusing that the woman felt it necessary to place the bag holder (a tube shaped open-ended fabric bag with elastic around each end meant for holding and storing plastic grocery bags) in a plastic bag for my mom to carry it home. She could have advertised it as "free with purchase, a plastic bag to start your collection."

Walking on the midway.

There are also carnival style rides, games and concessions. They have actually increased the number of rides since the last time that I was there, so now there are two ride areas at different ends of the fairgrounds. Unfortunately, with two little ones in tow, I wasn't really able to amuse myself by making myself ill on all the spinning, twirling, inverting contraptions. However, there were a few more tame rides which Maria enjoyed very much.

Fast car = Fun.

We went to the fair on Saturday and Monday, but we still didn't see as much as I would have liked. Maria had a great time looking at the animals, especially the rabbits and the goats. She was especially happy when one of the goats licked her a hand. (Nope, didn't get a picture of that either.) She also enjoyed playing "the duck game," and winning fun prizes, like the "trumpet" and spiky ball in the picture above. I also had a good time playing skee ball with Amelia in the front carrier trying to grab the ball from my hand.

Two "kids" eye to eye.

Last night we stay pretty late so that I could see Jamie O'Neal in concert. Unfortunately, she was late getting there, so the concert started at 8:30 instead of 8. Then, there were possibly drunk people sitting behind me talking loudly and making crude jokes. (I was very glad that Maria was with my mom or she would have picked up some "interesting" new words from these people.) Then there was the overly friendly man in front of me who kept playing with Amelia's hands and feet. I should have told him no, but I'm such a wimp when it comes to stuff like that, so after awhile I just said something about her needing sleep and turned her around in the front pack so he couldn't reach her arms and legs anymore. Even with all that, I still enjoyed the concert. I left after the first set to find Mom and Maria, so we could get the girls home and to bed. All in all it was a great, but exhausting trip.

Maria collapses on the floor after coming back to Grammy and Pappy's after an evening at the fair. Notice that she is still clutching her " 'nother balloon", her third one of the fair - she let the air out of the first, and accidently released the second into the air. This one she wasn't going to let go of.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On a Lighter Note...

Here are some pictures of Amelia "helping" with the groceries.

Prayer Request

My friend's brother was in a bad motorcycle accident. He had multiple broken bones, but thankfully no permanent neurological damage.

Please pray for his recovery, and for his wife and daughter who saw the accident happen in front of them.

Update on Prolife Search

I received an email and a phone call from Dr. Rice. He will be trying to contact Jack and Joe and "get the refunds moving."

Hopefully, this will the their attention.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Info on ProLife Search...

I decided to create a post with links to other sources of information about ProLife Search.

Here's some old stuff:
Jack Manhire's blogger profile. This has links to all the blogs that he created dealing with PLS and the Essential Catholic Classics.

Mortgage Market Dominator by Jack: here.

From the ProLife Search Blog several posts mentioning the board of advisors for PLS: here and here.

New(er) Stuff:
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam had two posts, one with a rather lengthy comment thread. New Post. Older Post (with comments).

Catholic Answers Forum.
(You need to register to reply to the discussion, but anyone can view it.)

phatmass phorum. (Again register to add replies) - Two threads, here and here.

Steve Ray's Blog. The post is old, but the comments are new.

Me Monk. Me Meander.

Some more information:

Board of Advisers:
I found a partial? list of the board of advisers for PLS (see links above). Fr. John J. Blum is not at the parish linked on the blog post. I think that this is his current parish. I will be trying to contact him in the next few days.

I also found a link for Dr. Charles Rice's contact information. I may also try to contact him.

I did not find anything yet for Edward J. Adams, Jr.

All of these people were affiliated with the organization in some way in January of 2006. I don't know if they are still in contact with Jack or Joe, and I don't know if they know anything about the PLS site disappearing or the Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality. I am only putting up this information as it may help us to get in touch with Jack or Joe and get this situation resolved.

Internet Crime Complaint Center:
An anonymous commenter at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam suggested that anyone who ordered the books should report Jack and Joe to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

At this point, I also believe this to be the best course of action.

If I find anything more I will post it.

Also, if anyone actually gets a refund, is able to get in touch with Jack or Joe, or had any other interesting info post a comment here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Essential Classics: A Way to Get a Refund?

As I said in my last post, I have been in contact with Patte, the former secretary for ProLife Search. She too has not been able to contact Jack Manhire or Joe Hanley for several months. (She does not live in the same state as they do.)

She does not have access to the funds to refund anyone's money. However she has suggested that anyone who ordered the books should be able to dispute the charges with their credit card company. She is happy to communicate with the credit card companies to vouch for the fact that the books were never received.

Anyone wishing to try this route can get in touch with Patte via email at gradwell_cottage - at - zitomedia - dot - net.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What happened to the Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality?

Okay, so I've been rather reluctant to post on this because I wanted to gather as many facts as possible first.

Way, way back in November of last year, I ordered some books online called the
Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality. It looked like a great collection of books, and although I already owned some of them I thought that they would make great gifts. The group selling them, ProLife Search was publishing these books as a way to raise funds for various pro-life organizations, which they had listed on their website. The group was founded by Jack Manhire and Joe Hanley, both lawyers from Chicago.

At first things seems to be going well. I paid for and received the e-books, and pre-paid for the leather-bound copies which were to be printed in January. Then I forgot about it all until March. I emailed PLS at that time and got response that there had been a printing problem, but that the books should be arriving in a few weeks.

Then I forgot about the books again, until May. I emailed PLS again, and received response from their secretary saying that there was a printing problem, which would most likely not be resolved and that I should try to get my money back from my credit card company.

I was not satisfied with that answer and after a little searching, found an email address for Jack Manhire. I emailed him and received no response. I also emailed the Couple to Couple League to see if they had received any money from ProLife Search. I was told that CCL's records were unclear as to whether or not they had received funds; they may have or may have only been contacted by PLS regarding possible contributions to be made.

At this time I went on the blog for the "Hardbound Classics," which at the time was linked from the PLS homepage. I left a comment on the most recent posting there in hopes that Jack would respond, or that others looking for answers would contact me. Jack did not respond to this comment.

Around this time I located this site, for Tax Defenders, a company founded by Joe Hanley. I sent an email to the general contact email account, asking for a response from Joe Hanley. Finally, I received a response.

Here is the actual wording of the email:

"I'm very sorry for the long delay, but we are still working on either getting a refund from the Chinese printer or on getting the books. I am glad to give you a refund if you would like, please just let me know. "

Joe had responded using this email account: jrhanley@thetaxdefenders.com

The Tax Defenders site also contained a phone number for the business and an address.

This is the contact information as it is listed on the site now:

The Tax Defenders
200 W. Adams
Suite 2610
Chicago, IL 60606


(The address had changed since the day I first found the site)

After emailing Joe back and asking how to get a refund I got this response:

I will send you a check. Where would you like to receive that? Also, yes, of course on anyone else who is wanting a refund, have them email me.

We will update the site and w/ email but have been putting off hoping for a resolution."

On May 27th, I sent him my address and how much I paid for the books. That same day I received this response from Joe:

"I will do that. Got your note "around the horn" that I was not responding to you because it took me a full day to get to your email. Please be advised that it might take me 48 hours to send your check out.

Please understand it may take me hours or even days to respond to your email and contact me directly with any issues you have that concern me in the future."

This was the last contact that I had with Joe Hanley.

On June 8 I responded to his email explaining that the most direct way I had of contacting him was though email. I also explained that it had been two weeks and I still had not received my refund.

After this I went on vacation hoping to find something waiting for me when I came back. I really wanted a check to appear and all the hassle to be over. No luck. To this day I still have not received anything from Joe, not an email and certainly not a refund. I even called his work number on Friday and left a message. No response yet.

I filed a complaint on with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance using the address for PLS that I found at the bottom of the emails they sent and a phone number that I had found on an old press release.

Here is the address and phone number that I used:

ProLife Search
542 N. Ashbury Ave.
Bolingbrook, IL 60440


(I believe that the phone number it not active anymore, and I really don't know about the address either.)

I got confirmation from the BBB that the complaint was filed, but I don't know if anyone at ProLife Search actually received it.

Shortly after I filed the complaint (I filed around June 28), the ProLife Search site stopped working. For a long time it didn't come up at all, and now it redirects to a site for a band.

After the site went down, someone else who pre-ordered the books let me know that she was receiving emails from Jack about other "great" stuff. The first was about Christian MySpace. The first part of this link is www.askataxattorney.net. So I checked that out. It redirected me to this, a site for TaxAid.net. It doesn't say anything about Jack on the site, but there is an email address listed under "contact us." This email may or may not be read by Jack; I really don't know, maybe someone could check it out.

In any case I emailed Jack at the address on the bulk mail asking about the Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality, and viola! got myself added to their mailings. (I did have to confirm that I wanted to be added to the mailing list, so it wasn't totally automatic) No response from Jack. The next couple of emails from Jack, or really the automated email generator, were about homeschooling resources. The most recent of these was sent on August 9.

I have been in contact with others who have not received the books. Several of these people have also tried to contact Joe Hanley or Jack Manhire and have either not received responses or were promised a refund which they never received. I have also been in contact with their volunteer secretary. I have actually spoken with her on the phone several times. She has not spoken with either of the men in months. They do not return her phone calls or emails.

She gave me
Joe Hanley's cell phone number. I will not post it here. If anyone would like to try and contact him, email me and I will give it to you.

(Joe gave the secretary permisson to give out his cell number to anyone who wanted a refund. I have not yet tried to contact him, as I just received the number on Friday, so I don't know if it actually is still a valid number.)

I am hoping that by posting all of this information we may get the attention of Jack and Joe. I don't care about money. I just want an explanation of what happened. All the information listed above I found doing various Google searches. If we all start trying to contact the men then maybe this whole thing will be resolved.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

'Light-hearted' degradation.

While skimming through Parents magazine recently, I came across an ad for method cleaning products which got be mad enough to send an email to complain. The ad features the naked legs of a man and woman, intertwined in a sexual manner as they are lying on the floor. The rest of their bodies are obscured by a wall, but you can see part of the woman's derrière. The title of the ad is "make floor love, not floor war." After the title follows a paragraph describing how method cleaning products have no harmful chemicals, so you can "do the mommy-daddy dance right on the floor" without fear of harsh chemicals irritating you. It ends with, "now, doin' the nasty is anything but."

I was so appalled to find this imagery and this wording in a magazine for parents, where any kid could get to it, that I tracked down some contact info. I have to admit that I was shocked to get a response. (Honestly, I wasn't sure if my email would make it through office anti-smut filters, as I had to use the words sex and sexuality so many times.) I was not shocked however by the type of response that I received. It was the typical, 'shrug, sorry we offended you, but we thought it was for the best.'

Here's my favorite quote from their response:

"With the ad itself, the copy was meant to be fun, light-hearted and
fresh. If we have offended you through the images and/or wording, our
deepest apologies; however, in this situation, we felt it best to
demonstrate the point through a sort of humorous analogy rather than a
black-and-white explanation." (emphasis mine)

I don't know about you, but I don't find the use of sex to sell a product "light-hearted." Nor is it "light-hearted" to use slang terms for sexual relations. It is degradation, pure and simple. Sex is far too important to be taken lightly.

Note also relativism in action. We apologize for the offense, but "we felt it best." Note also that she used the word felt as opposed to thought. This is relativism at it's best... no need to use reason, just do what feels good.

Even though I see ads all the time that annoy or anger me, this was the first time that I felt moved to write to complain. The response I received did not give me good feelings about the effectiveness of my complaining. However, I may still try it again, if for nothing else than to have some interesting nonsense to blog about.

If you would like to complain about the ad, even if you haven't seen it, here's all the info you need:

August 2007 Parents Magazine, Method cleaning products, "Make floor love, not floor war" campaign.

Complain to: Nancy Alcott-Lie (nice name, huh?) - nancy@methodhome.com

Or send a letter:

637 Commercial Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

If you write or email, leave a comment and let me know how they responded to you.