Thursday, May 31, 2007

My, My; The Des Moines Register Can Sure Get Snippy

Perhaps you read the Vital Signs Blog post from May 30th about missionary John Leonard deciding to return to Brazil after being shot and paralyzed. It was a remarkable story published by the Des Moines Register. I quoted a couple of paragraphs from the article, gave full credit and even complemented the quality of the story.

No matter.

The folks over at the Register didn't appreciate the attention given them by my modest little blog and so they were moved to take aggressive action. Here's the letter they sent my way today:

It has recently come to the attention of the Des Moines Register that you have improperly posted an article the rights to which are held by the Register. This article is regarding the missionary from Des Moines that was shot in Brazil. As copyright owner of that article, the Register has the exclusive right to its reproduction and distribution. We therefore ask that you immediately remove the posted article fromt [sic] your website and cease any and all further use of the material. Any continued posting or use will be considered willful copyright infringement.

Within 24 hour
[sic] of your receipt of this e-mail, you should reply to this message by confirming that 1) each and every posting of the Des Moines Register material has been taken down and 2) you will not engage in any futther [sic] unauthorized copying the Des Moines Register material.

If you do not take the steps outlined above, this matter will be turned over to our attorneys.

Thank you.

I have done what was asked of me. In fact, I've gone the extra mile by printing their letter here so that you could see the professionalism and reader-friendly character of the Des Moines Register for yourself.

The U.N.'s Ongoing Exportation of Coerced Abortion

While the United States under the Bush administration no longer funds the activities of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), that agency continues to fund population control programs including forced abortions in China. Many of the tactics used by the UNFPA in China are also now being exported to other nations like Indonesia and Vietnam.

Martha Kleder of Concerned Women for America interviews Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute who originally uncovered these horrific activities, as he discusses ways the citizens can be take action against this alarming, brutal campaign. Zip over to this page where you can listen to this important discussion.

Perhaps Red China Doesn't Own the Future

Guy Sorman, writing in City Journal, argues that the 21st Century will not belong to China after all. Read his convincing case right here.

The Left's Sinister Hatred of Religion

It isn't pleasant reading but the collection of "liberal" reactions to the death of Jerry Falwell (gathered by Don Feder) presents a clear picture of the dripping hatred the left has for orthodox Christians.

Look out, guys; the lions aren't our worst enemies.

Growing Number of Scientists "Converting" to Global Warming Skepticism

There is a quite remarkable (and quite unreported) shift taking place in the global warming debate as many scientists who once subscribed to the catastrophic, man-made global warming scenarios have recently reversed themselves and are now taking public stands against Al Gore, the United Nations and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global
warming. Check out this significant momentum shift in this revealing PDF document.

Sometimes O'Reilly is O'Right

Talk-show host Bill O'Reilly says Governor Kathleen Sebelius isn't fit to serve. O'Reilly made the comment during Wednesday's "The O'Reilly Factor" on the FOX News Channel.

The segment focused on Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller. O'Reilly has been one of Tiller's most outspoken critics, challenging his decision to provide women with late-term abortions

On Wednesday's show, O'Reilly criticized Sebelius for not signing a bill that would have required Tiller and other doctors who perform the procedure to give the state the specific medical reason for doing so. Sebelius vetoed the bill citing privacy concerns...

Scotland's Catholic Leader Takes Strong Stand Against Compromises with Abortion

From today's edition of the Daily Mail (U.K.) comes a very refreshing story. Here's an excerpt:

The leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics has launched a fierce attack on politicians who back abortion.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the country's most senior Catholic, is urging them to stop co-operating in what he calls an "unspeakable crime".
He also warned Catholic politicians of "the barrier such co-operation erects to receiving Holy Communion".

The cardinal also urged people to boycott politicians who do not speak out against the procedure, and calls on medical schools to change their teaching.
He added: "I urge politicians to have no truck with the evil trade of abortion. For those at Westminster this means finding means of overthrowing the legislation, which makes the killing possible. "For those at Holyrood that means refusing to allow our health services to participate in the wanton killing of the innocent."

The sermon, delivered at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, added: "The scale of the killing is beyond our grasp. In Scotland we kill the equivalent of a classroom full of school children every day...

Three cheers for Cardinal O'Brien! Indeed, if you'd like to send along your own cheer to the Cardinal, please do. Goodness knows, he will be hearing enough crying and catcalls from the other side. Contact Cardinal O'Brien at:

42 Greenhill Gardens
EH10 4BJ
Tel No: 0131 447 3337
Fax No: 0131 447 0816
E-mail address:

Rapid Responses

In the wake of my post of May 25 ("You Always Hurt the Ones You Love: The Campaign Against Dr. Dobson Is Counter-Productive") in which I disagreed with the signers of a public censure newspaper ad directed (primarily) at Dr. James Dobson, I have heard both from Dawn Andrews of Focus on the Family and from Judie Brown, the Director of American Life League, one of the signatories of the open letter.

Miss Andrews’ note, as might be expected, was quite pleasant and full of thanks. However, equally cordial and kind was the note from Judie even though we remain in disagreement about the open letter itself. Judie’s note gave further elaboration as to why she signed the letter and, in my lengthy response to her, I discussed further those points of her argument on which I disagree as well as those on which I fully concur. As a result, despite our differences on this single matter, our longstanding friendship remains strong. Indeed, our respect and appreciation remains as profound as ever for one of the pro-life movement’s most treasured heroines.

So, thanks to both Dawn and Judie for taking the time to contact us. May God keep us all moving towards the center of His will.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pop Culture, Evangelicalism and the "Kudzu Effect"

...Pop culture, including that which finds its way into the worship of God's people, can be like kudzu. It will overtake whatever it attaches to and transform it into itself, replacing what was a distinct substance with a pop form, and obscuring or completely eliminating the reality that lies beneath.

I hope this won't be the fate of worship in the American Church.

But if we continue clothing the substance of worship -- liturgy, music, preaching, and so on -- with pop forms, leaving behind the rich tradition and heritage of worship bequeathed by our forebears, ultimately, all we will be left with is a pop culture form of worship. All the rich substance of worship will be buried under the rhythm and beats, lights and multi-media props, skits and anecdotal sermonizing that is coming increasingly to characterize much contemporary worship....

Read the rest of T. M. Moore's excellent reflections on the dangers of pop culture "kudzuing" contemporary worship at The Point, the blog spun off from Prison Fellowship's Breakpoint site.

Selling Sex: The Consumers Are Getting Younger All The Time

Products such as Bratz dolls clad in leather mini-skirts [shown at right] abound on the market for girls under age 10. Teen magazines and television shows promote underdressed celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears as role models. A porn actress writes a best-selling autobiography, and pre-teen girls show up at her book signings.

Parents have long expressed concern that their daughters are being “sexualized” by merchandise and mass media.

Sex sells, and it is increasingly being used to market clothing, toys and entertainment to young girls.

But is society selling these girls short? What are the long-term implications of teaching a child that she must look and behave like a sexual object to be fashionable or popular?...

This National Catholic Register article goes on to discuss the answers to these questions as given by recent studies done by the American Psychological Association as well as comments from the Population Research Institute's Joseph D’Agostino, John Paul II’s 1994 Letter to Families and his 1981 Apostolic Exhortation, “Familiaris Consortio,” and others.

Missionary 's Dedication Undaunted by Assassination Attempt Or Resultant Paralysis

Actually, the inspiring story about John Leonard that was originally posted here had to be removed because of the...let's say, protective feelings of the Des Moines Register.

In fact, here is the rather ugly (and sloppily written) missive that came my way from the paper just a couple of days after it was posted...a story, by the way, that gave full credit to the Register and provided compliments on the quality of the story:

It has recently come to the attention of the Des Moines Register that you have improperly posted an article the rights to which are held by the Register. This article is regarding the missionary from Des Moines that was shot in Brazil. As copyright owner of that article, the Register has the exclusive right to its reproduction and distribution. We therefore ask that you immediately remove the posted article fromt [sic] your website and cease any and all further use of the material. Any continued posting or use will be considered willful copyright infringement.

Within 24 hour
[sic] of your receipt of this e-mail, you should reply to this message by confirming that 1) each and every posting of the Des Moines Register material has been taken down and 2) you will not engage in any futther [sic] unauthorized copying the Des Moines Register material.

If you do not take the steps outlined above, this matter will be turned over to our attorneys.

So, by all means, forget about reading the the Des Moines Register's story about John Leonard. In fact, their attitude might turn you off from reading anything from them again. Therefore, if you want to find out a lot more about the Leonard's, keep track of John's progress, and perhaps even make a donation to Baptist Mid-Missions designated to get the Leonard's back to Brazil at this blog site run by Doug Porter.

Free Trade, Fair Trade and the Double Thank-You

Is the common "double thank-you" routine a profound symbol of the merits of free trade? John Stossel thinks so and his down-home logic makes for a refreshing economics lesson in this Town Hall column.

Global Warming? Not According to the Data.

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris in a brief article in the Canada Free Press argue that new findings indicate today's greenhouse gas levels are not unusual. Thus, the preoccupation of liberal politicians and the mainstream media with global warming is based on...well, let's just say, something other than good science.

"Stopping climate change" may be all the rage with celebrities and environmental lobbyists, but fortunately for the rest of us, the scare's scientific foundation is rapidly disintegrating.

One of the fundamental pillars of the hypothesis that humanity is causing dangerous climate change is the belief that levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the greenhouse gas of concern in countries such as Canada, have been rising steadily since the start of the industrial revolution. But what if CO2 levels have not increased? How could our emissions of this otherwise benign gas then have anything to do with the past century's modest warming?

While Antarctic ice core records supposedly 'prove' a significant increase in CO2 in this period, there are serious problems with this data. Besides the fact that ice bubbles take about 80 years to form and so cannot give a single year accurate measure, the continual freezing, refreezing and pressurization of ice columns may greatly alter the original composition of the air trapped in the bubbles. Nevertheless, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and many others have accepted as meaningful the ice core results that indicate a pre-industrial CO2 level of 280 parts per million (ppm), in comparison with today's 385 ppm.

The most accurate way to determine the atmosphere's average CO2 content is to simply conduct a direct chemical analysis at many different places and times. Fortunately, there are more than 90,000 direct measurements by chemical methods between 1857 and 1957. However, in what appears to be a case of 'cherry-picking' data to fit a pre-determined conclusion, only the lower level CO2 data were included when the pre-industrial average was calculated (see below graph where data used in the averaging is highlighted). This is the average that was used to supposedly 'validate' the long term ice core records on which Al Gore and others depend...

In a related item, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has given us one of those ridiculous statements that had it been uttered by George Bush would have provided Letterman, Leno and Saturday Night Live with their opening jokes. After leading a much-publicized congressional delegation to Greenland, Pelosi explained that they saw "firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality."

But as Dr. E. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance comments, "Climate change is a reality" is about as significant as "water is wet." Climate change has been happening throughout geologic history. What's more, whatever Pelosi saw going on in Greenland is no evidence of global warming, because temperatures in Greenland have not risen significantly in the last several decades, and the total ice mass on Greenland has grown slightly rather than shrinking slightly.

David Limbaugh looks at Pelosi's trip also and his warnings about the increasingly coercive attitudes of the global warming folks are important to heed.

FRC: An Invaluable Pro-Life, Pro-Family Resource

I've encouraged you in the past to sign up for the Family Research Council's free e-mail updates that are of terrific help to Christian activists. Here are excerpts from a couple of their latest to show you what I mean:

* Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has announced his intent to reform American health care. Obama promises that his plan would create insurance for the estimated 45 million Americans who currently go without. In Iowa, Obama claimed that his plan would save the average customer about $2,500 a year. "My plan begins by covering every American. If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums will be less," he said. Obama's plan also calls for the creation of a National Health Insurance Exchange to monitor private sector companies that provide the coverage. When pressed about the cost of such a proposal, Obama was vague but admitted that it would be "high." "To help pay for this," he responded, "we will ask all but the smallest businesses who don't make a meaningful contribution to the health coverage of their workers to do so to support this plan. And we also will repeal the temporary Bush tax cut...," including, apparently, its pro-family features..

* Since January, House leaders have tried at least twice to fund the morning-after pill in legislation. Considering the latest research on the drug, pro-lifers are increasingly grateful that those efforts failed. Although liberals insist that Plan B simply prevents conception, new data shows the drug does more. According to the latest Journal of Fertility and Sterility, the morning-after pill can cause a woman to abort. This week, Drs. Rafael Mikolajczyk and Joseph Stanford released their findings after analyzing multiple studies. As a result of the morning-after pill, "the developing baby cannot implant into the mother's uterus and complete the rest of the growth... process that leads to birth." According to the study, pills like Plan B "work to make the uterus inhospitable to life," causing tiny human beings to die. The doctors also concluded that, depending on when it is used, the morning-after pill is only 8%-49% effective. Their findings are incredibly damaging to proponents of Plan B, particularly those who argued that it would reduce the number of abortions in America. How can a drug decrease the abortion rate if it contributes to it? As Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) renew the fight to subsidize mass quantities of Plan B in legislation like S. 1075, join us in reminding them that taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for chemical abortions.

* As the deadline looms on renewing a key federal abstinence funding program called Title V, another questionable study is poised for release in the American Journal of Sociology on the "benign" effects of teen sex. The article suggests that having sex at age 15 or older doesn't have harmful emotional consequences after all. Of course, this assertion runs counter to decades of research which demonstrates that teens who engage in premarital sex experience increased depression and decreased self-worth. However, the left is willing to use even flawed studies as ammunition in their war to slash Title V funding...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Will the Real Planned Parenthood Stand Up?

Tom McClusky's article for The American Spectator is today's must-read. McClusky, by the way, serves as vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council.

How much have you spent this year on the abortion-oriented services of Planned Parenthood? This question may seem too personal, or out of line with your religious beliefs. But the truth is that if you pay taxes, you support Planned Parenthood.

As the media runs stories of candidates getting into trouble for donating to Planned Parenthood, it's noteworthy to mention how much the controversial organization receives on the public dole. In 2005 Planned Parenthood got $272 million in our taxes, twice the money it made from its 255,000 surgical abortions. Since 1987, Planned Parenthood has taken in $3.2 billion in taxpayer funds for its deadly agenda. So, since 1973 Planned Parenthood has aborted 3.8 million babies with the help of over 3.9 billion tax dollars.

But the buck doesn't stop there. A number of companies also donate large amounts of money to the pro-abortion organization including Walt Disney Co., Bank of America, Johnson and Johnson, Cole, Levi Strauss, Nationwide Insurance, Prudential, Unilever, Wachovia and Whole Foods. Between taxpayer dollars, corporate monies and other donations, Planned Parenthood had over $882 million in total revenue in 2005.

Many supporters of Planned Parenthood seem to be embarrassed about the organization's best known service -- abortion. Proponents argue that the money goes to other services, usually emphasizing adoption work. However, according to the most recent figures, Planned Parenthood did 264,943 abortions in 2005, an increase of over 100,000 from the year before (those abortions generated an estimated $99 million profit for Planned Parenthood.) In contrast, adoption referrals by Planned Parenthood have been steadily decreasing from 1,774 customers in 2003 to 1,414 in 2004 (the last years figures were known). In other words, for every 180 abortions Planned Parenthood did, they offered one adoption referral...

Don't stop now! The rest of this exceptional expose' is right here.

New Tests Suggest Adult Stem Cells Can Produce Insulin for Type I Diabetes

Cord Blood America, Inc...the umbilical cord blood stem cell preservation company focused on bringing the life saving potential of stem cells to families nationwide and internationally, today saluted researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston who announced, in Science Daily, that they have engineered adult stem cells from human umbilical cord blood to produce insulin.

This fundamental discovery could help cure type I diabetes by allowing people to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas, the Texas researchers said. The paper announcing the work after nearly four years of research said this is "the first demonstration that human umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells can be engineered" to synthesize insulin. The researchers said umbilical cord blood was used because it is an especially rich source of fresh stem cells...

Read the rest of this Forbes article here.

The Optimism of An Old Abortion War Horse

Martha Burk, speaking at the National Press Club last week, gave a spirited and extravagantly optimistic review of the feminist movement (though, truth be told, Burk prefers the term "womanism" to "feminism.") You'll remember Burk for her challenging the male-only membership policy at the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters golf tournament, when she was the chairwoman of the National Council of Woman's Organizations.

I print here an excerpt from the news story about Ms. Burk's appearance:

...A question about abortion soon followed, and she was asked why, with so many other notable issues, such as health care and pay equity, abortion was always at the top of most debates.

"If you can't control your body, you can't control any other part of your life," Burk said. "We're constantly pushed into a corner to keep what we have."

Burk said women's priorities are different than men's and that "not sending children to Iraq and daughters to the back alley" are at the top of her list.

Burk's talk also included her advice to Republican men that they abandon the losing issues of "guns, gays and abortion." Recent political developments, she argued, proved that these were no longer of interest to voters. And of the fact that Burk's type of "womanism" remains unattractive to many, many women, she merely quipped, "I think it's a shame that there are women who still don't get it, and it is our job to make sure they do."

Cannes Abortion Film Misses the Mark

The low-budget film "4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days," a film dealing with the difficulties of obtaining illegal abortions in Communist Romania, won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. And the laudatory statements have begun in earnest...but not just for the movie but also for the "brave endurance" of abortionists and abortion supporters. However, here's a relevant take on the film and its subject that you're not going to find broadcast in the mainstream media (MSM). It comes from Steven Ertelt and

Destroying Unborn Babies Because They Have Disabilities Is Wrong...But Destroying Other Unborn Babies Is Okay?

A nurse says about a child with diabetes, "Too bad they didn't catch that before birth," implying, of course, that a successful prenatal screening would have resulted in an abortion -- end of problem. This is just one example of the cultural schizophrenia caused by legalized abortion. We are taught to respect, value and care for disabled people but, at the same time, taught that such disabilities make people "mistakes" that should be erased whenever possible.

Here is a brief Q&A article exploring this double standard. It features Marsha Saxton, a University of California, Berkeley lecturer and one of the authors of the landmark feminist health book, Our Bodies, Ourselves. Saxton argues against the "select and destroy" attitude inherent in most prenatal testing but yet supports "abortion rights" in general. Can she not see the inconsistency and hypocrisy of her position, a position that says killing preborn children because they have disabilities is wrong, but killing preborn children because they are merely inconvenient, expensive or otherwise unwanted is right?

Here's the article as printed in California Catholic Daily.

Friday, May 25, 2007

You Always Hurt the Ones You Love: The Campaign Against Dr. Dobson Is Counter-Productive

There are a few pro-life leaders who have characterized last month's SCOTUS ruling against partial-birth abortion as a mere illusion, a hollow victory that actually works against the cause. I disagree with that view. For while it is true that I am on record (in this blog, in many private conversations, in public speeches, and in TV interviews) as saying that the Court's decision is an extremely limited one and should certainly not be taken as a diversion to the millions of preborn babies being killed by curettes, suction machines and poisonous chemicals, I nevertheless rejoiced in the Supreme Court's ruling.


1) The dramatic reality was that the Court, for the first time since Roe, placed any restriction at all upon abortion. That understandably is a source of hope that the unlimited abortion ethos of Roe might actually be checked; 2) There is also potential for more substantial change in the way the Court will view a preborn baby's right to life as suggested by certain passages of William Kennedy's argument; 3) Anything in the news that motivates Americans to look more closely at the facts about fetal development and the barbarism of abortion techniques is to be applauded, especially the huge publicity surrounding the SCOTUS decision; and 4) Anything that gets abortion enthusiasts so doggone alarmed and angry and out of control in their public demeanor is also a plus for the pro-life movement.

However, to some pro-life persons, including people I like and respect (especially American Life League's Judie Brown), the views I've stated above are completely unacceptable. Such beliefs are, in their opinion, not only evidence of flawed reasoning and cock-eyed optimism, but of moral cowardice and irresponsibility...attitudes for which one should publicly repent.

These are the issues behind the full page rebuke of Dr. James Dobson in a Colorado Springs newspaper by these guys -- an event that is the international buzz today on the net and in several MSM newspapers. And running through most of these news stories and commentaries is an obvious glee over the pro-life movements' disarray and distraction.


It is most certainly a problem we didn't ugly, unjustified and counter-productive action. Disagreement we can tolerate. Discussion we should encourage. But going public in such a startling, expensive and castigating way is bound to create major problems of pain, distrust, defensiveness, confusion, anger, choosing of sides, disarrangement of duties, and more...let alone the opportunities it creates for mayhem by the real agents of the culture of death.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Can the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? Let's Go to the Video Tape.

Wow! Here is an incredible example of how modern computer technologies are providing dramatic new opportunities to communicate important truths. In this case, a powerfully persuasive 3-minute video explains scientific facts that Vital Signs Ministries has been trumpeting for 25 years now; namely that the so-called contraceptive pill sometimes works as an abortifacient.

Check out this terrific video and then pass it on.

My sincere thanks to the team that developed the piece: Rich Seng, Tom Lerner, Zoe Asta and Nell Andrzejewski.

Homosexual Agenda Stalls in Nebraska with Defeat of LB 475

The Nebraska Family Council has passed on this important message:

The debate on LB 475, (Introduced by Sen. Ernie Chambers) came to a sudden end last night. After hours of debate Senators killed the bill. Senator Phil Erdman of Bayard introduced a motion to indefinitely postpone the debate on the bill. We held our breath and prayed as the vote was taken. With the narrowest of margins the motion was successful. Which means this bill is done for the rest of the session.

If this bill had passed it would have prohibited discrimination based upon sexual orientation or marital status in employment. When a law protects a behavior it endorses that behavior. Such a law would create confusion in the minds of children as to appropriate sexual moral behavior.

Senators received countless contacts from individuals. Your calls and prayers did make a difference!

Senator Tony Fulton said:“We each have at our disposal two great weapons; the force of our voice and the force of our heart. Many, many voices spoke and persuaded senators through phone calls, emails and letters on LB 475. Most importantly, many hearts were heard in prayer as I’m certain our Lord sharpened the minds of senators during debate on LB 475. Please, please let everyone who reads this; know they make an enormous difference. I am there and I see it for myself. Be active with heart and voice!!!”

Senator Mark Christensen said: “Thank everyone who prayed and contacted state senators. The contacts from individuals who opposed this bill did so in an honorable and professional manner. I was so thankful for the prayer support and the sense of God’s presence as the bill was debated, we needed His wisdom and strength. Thank everyone for their willingness to pray and do their part to see this bill defeated.”

Thanks again for your prayers and contacts to State Senators. Together we made a difference!

In gratitude,

NFC Team: Al, Linda, Karen, Nancy and Mike

Earmarks, Coverups & Hypocrisy: Bob Novak Discusses Latest Democrat Shenanigans

Earmark Envy: Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), a hero of the anti-war movement because of his strident anti-war rhetoric, has embarrassed his party once again with his classical modus operandi of favor-trading and pork-barrel politics.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) accused Murtha of threatening him with the loss of all future earmarks for his district. Murtha became upset with Rogers when the latter attempted to strip out a Murtha earmark (a duplicative government program in his district) from a spending bill by using a motion to recommit.

Rogers responded by bringing a privileged resolution to the House floor that would have reprimanded Murtha, and Democrats responded by tabling it in a 219-189 vote.
Murtha voted to prevent his own reprimand. Only two Democrats, left-wing anti-earmark crusader Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and moderate Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), voted against tabling Rogers' motion -- effectively a vote against Murtha. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Murtha's geographical neighbor in Southwest Pennsylvania, was the only Republican voting to save Murtha from censure.

Thirteen members voted "present" -- including eight members of the House Ethics Committee who abstained because Murtha's case could at some point come before their committee.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), a member of the ethics committee but also Murtha's colleague in his state's congressional delegation, voted to table anyway. The remaining member of the Ethics Committee -- Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-Ohio) -- did not vote.

The whole episode embarrasses a congressional majority that campaigned and won a majority partly on an anti-corruption message. That nearly all Democrats voted (some grudgingly) for what effectively amounts to a cover-up of unethical behavior is a black mark. Freshman members are already receiving a public relations beating for voting on Murtha's side.

This Murtha affair -- actually the latest of several -- reinforces the notion we have long propounded, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a grave error in judgment when she supported Murtha against Rep. Steny Hoyer in the race for majority leader following the November elections. Pelosi has publicly stated she does not believe Rogers' accusations, but Murtha has not denied anything.

The latest Murtha incident also stands as an affirmation of the corrupt practice of distributing congressional earmarks. That an Appropriations subcommittee chairman such as Murtha would wield such threats is a clear example of government corruption that is legal because of the power of congressional earmarking.

Prior to Murtha's bluster, Democrats had suffered a much smaller setback in keeping the lid on public exposure of earmarks. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) was forced to pull from her House website a press release boasting about an $8.7 million earmark attached to the supplemental appropriations bill. She had to cover it up because Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said (and maintains still) that the bill containing her earmark did not contain any earmarks...

Birds of a Feather: Dictators of Iran and Belarus Pledge Mutual Support

From the update services of Radio Free Europe comes this report from Jan Maksymiuk:

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told journalists at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Mahmud Ahmadinejad on May 22 that Minsk has asked Tehran to help Belarus reduce its energy dependence on Russia, Belapan reported. "We talked about this honestly and have asked the Iranian side to help solve this problem," Lukashenka said at the news conference in Minsk.

Lukashenka also said that Belarusian companies will receive "special treatment" in Iran in exchange for similar treatment of Iranian companies in Belarus. Ahmadinejad told journalists that the stances of the two countries on international and regional problems "coincide." "We've reached a perfect mutual understanding and will assist and support each other at the international and regional levels," he added.

Working to Keep U.S. Military Free from Abortion

Want some good news about how the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus still packs a punch...even though fighting against the abortion enthusiasts in the Democrat majority? Then read Jill Stanek's latest column. Here's a teaser:

It appears liberals will not only concede placing a time line for troop withdrawal from Iraq in the emergency defense spending bill, they will also concede loosening military abortion policy. One news report called the former "a significant concession to Bush and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill." The latter is equally significant.

Remarkably, despite a Democrat majority in the House, missing from the defense appropriations bill will be an amendment to fund military abortions overseas.

What makes this remarkable is this will be the first year since 1996 liberals have not attempted to add this provision...

The entirety of Jill's article is right here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Book Den Alert!

You might find a quick trip over to The Book Den of interest -- and a little fun too. Recent posts there include one linking you to Travis Kavulla's review of Indoctrination U, David Horowitz's newest book about the stifling political correctness in our nation's universities; a fascinating study of the broken relationship between C.S. Lewis and his father; and, in the fun category, the launching of a new literary caption contest that will show up over there now and then.

That's The Book Den, my literature-oriented blog, located right here.

All the Racists Are Republicans Suggests George Stephanopoulos

Volume 20 of this year's Notable Quotables, including the one referred to in the title of this post, is now available from the Media Research Center. As I've said before, you really should bookmark the MRC website and avail yourself of their ever-vigilant service as conservatism's wily watchdog on the mainstream media.

The Notable Quotables especially are always good for a few laughs, a few tears, and a frustration-venting scream or two. Again, here is the aforementioned current collection.

Aha! The New York Times Discovers Pro-Lifers Care About Women

For many years, the political struggle over abortion was often framed as a starkly binary choice: the interest of the woman, advocated by supporters of abortion rights, versus the interest of the fetus, advocated by opponents of abortion.

But last month’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act marked a milestone for a different argument advanced by anti-abortion leaders, one they are increasingly making in state legislatures around the country. They say that abortion, as a rule, is not in the best interest of the w
oman; that women are often misled or ill-informed about its risks to their own physical or emotional health; and that the interests of the pregnant woman and the fetus are, in fact, the same....

Of course, this "different argument" (i.e., loving the Mom as well as her baby) isn't different at all. The pro-life movement has always emphasized the crucial need to reach out in compassion and practical assistance to the parents of the preborn baby.

However, every once in awhile, the journalists of the New York Times open a window to the real world, see what has been there forever and think they just made a startling discovery. This "new" pro-life tactic is just one of those "aha moments" for the Times.

Help Save Federal Assistance to Abstinence-Only Education Program

As reported by the Family Research Council, Congressional stupidity (already running quite high, thank you) is about to reach a new level by denying a $50 million renewal of the critical abstinence-only sex education funding -- this while slyly squirreling away into the war supplemental bill such "pork barrel" projects as $74 million for peanut storage, $24 million for sugar beets, and $13 million for sheep breeding.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), an outspoken critic of abstinence programs, showed unusual compassion for the nation's taxpayers, saying, "American[s]... have already paid more than $1 billion for [abstinence] programs [in the last 11 years]." Yet where is this same concern when the government spends over a quarter of a billion dollars each year in Title X funds for groups like Planned Parenthood, which promote teen promiscuity, birth control without parental consent, and--when that fails--abortion?

More importantly, what have Americans received for the government's hefty investment in so-called "comprehensive" liberal sex education programs, other than a culture of rampant disease, poverty, and out-of-wedlock births?

As Congress considers slashing funds for Title V programs that address these problems, FRC hosted a breakfast this morning with Reps. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) for Abstinence Day on the Hill. Hundreds of students, abstinence educators, and groups like FRC flooded congressional offices as part of the fight to reauthorize Title V funding so that the "save sex" message can build on its proven success.

To protect these programs from extinction, we need your help.

Contact your representatives and tell them that $50 million is a modest price to pay for programs that can dramatically reduce the rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. If Congress can defend a $100 million earmark for citrus fruit, surely it can justify spending half that for children whose futures will be brighter and healthier because of these valuable programs.

The Animal Rights Movement Is Going Ape...Literally

Charlton Heston never imagined this!

Earlier this month (May 8th) I alerted you to this bizarre story about the Association Against Animal Factories, a Vienna animal rights group, pursuing a declaration of personhood for a chimpanzee. The news story I linked you to told quite a bit about the insanity of the latest animal rights activities but this article by the esteemed pro-life advocate, Laura Echevarria, reveals yet more of this weird but very dangerous trend, including the goals of the Great Ape Project. Check it out.

President Bush: Russia Needs to Seek A "Better Way" To Democracy

Patrick Moore from Radio Free Europe reports --

U.S. President George W. Bush said in an interview with Reuters in Washington on May 21 that his "message to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is there's a better way forward" toward democracy than what Russia is currently doing. Bush added that Putin "thinks they've got a democracy emerging there in Russia. Obviously there's a lot of suspicion [abroad] about that, and I look forward to continuing to talk to him as to why he thinks his country is on the path to democracy. It looks like at times it's not to me."

Bush said that he would also tell Putin that "your interests lie in the West, and we ought to be working together in a collaborative way."

Bush noted that "people in [the Russian] government harbor suspicions about our intention [regarding missile defense], and I was trying to allay those suspicions [by sending several top U.S. officials to Moscow recently].

But there is a lot of tension with Russia, particularly with Europe now, that Russia is using her energy and denying market access to different countries, for example, [to] Polish meat [exports]" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 27, and May 15 and 21, 2007). Bush added that he still is close to Putin personally but described U.S.-Russian relations as "complex." Speaking at the May 9 Victory Day ceremonies, Putin compared the United States to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. Russian state-run television subsequently commented that "the victory once again will be ours."

Britain's "The Economist" noted on May 18 that Russian "hatred of America gives cover for growing authoritarianism, nationalism, and concentration of
money and power in the hands of former and present members of the security services."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Quietness of Worship

Worship in the modern church is almost always associated with music, movement and a multitude of people. But the Scripture's teaching about worship presents a much different picture.

So, if you're in the mood to consider worship without a "worship leader," without a rock band on stage, something that is quiet and truly directed at hearing what God has to say, then please be my guest and read this engaging article by G. Christian Weiss over at the Back to the Bible website.

That Old Time Religion...Ain't: The Newest Barna Research

...It is not unusual to spot minor ebbs and flows in what adults believe. However, the 2007 study of the nation’s core beliefs found that five out of six theological perspectives have shifted in recent years away from traditional biblical views. This includes perspectives about three spiritual figures: God, Jesus, and Satan.

Most Americans still embrace a traditional view of God, but they are less likely than ever to do so. Currently two-thirds of Americans believe that God is best described as the all-powerful, all-knowing perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today (66%). However, this proportion is lower than it was a year ago (71%) and represents the lowest percentage in more than twenty years of similar surveys.

Few adults possess orthodox views about Jesus and the Devil. Currently, just one-third of Americans strongly disagree that Jesus sinned (37%) and just one-quarter strongly reject the idea that Satan is not a real spiritual being (24%). Each of these beliefs is lower than last year and among the lowest points in nearly two decades of tracking these views...

...David Kinnaman, who directed the study, indicated that "most Americans do not have strong and clear beliefs, largely because they do not possess a coherent biblical worldview. That is, they lack a consistent and holistic understanding of their faith. Millions of Americans say they are personally committed to Jesus Christ, but they believe he sinned while on earth. Many believers claim to trust what the Bible teaches, but they reject the notion of a real spiritual adversary or they feel that faith-sharing activities are optional. Millions feel personally committed to God, but they are renegotiating the definition of that deity.

"In fact, one reason why beliefs fluctuate is that most Americans’ hold few convictions about their faith. For instance, even among those who disagree with orthodox views, many do so while hedging their bets. Most Americans have one foot in the biblical camp, and one foot outside it. They say they are committed, but to what? They are spiritually active, but to what end? The spiritual profile of American Christianity is not unlike a lukewarm church that the Bible warns about."

Kinnaman, the president of the research firm, suggested that the shift away from biblical perspectives is like moving the foundation of a building. "We are likely to see more significant alterations to the spiritual landscape, since what a person believes dictates a great deal about their behavior and allegiance. To give purpose to the spiritual lifestyle of Americans, there are few tasks more important than helping Americans develop a biblical view of life. Otherwise, millions of people, including many within the youngest generations, will conclude the Christian faith does not represent deep, consistent truths about the spiritual and natural world."...

George Barna's stuff is always well-researched and relevant. Read the whole article here.

And Nary a Thank You: Dissing America's Generosity

...Since the Israel-Jordan peace treaty was penned on October 26, 1994, American taxpayers have supported Jordan's 6 million people — half of whom are Palestinian Arabs — to the tune of $350 million a year, a total of $4.5 billion to date. Still, Jordanian public opinion is fiercely hostile to America.

Since Egypt and Israel signed on the dotted line on March 26, 1979, Israel has received some $80 billion, and Egypt has collected $60 billion, acc
ording to congressional statistics. If American spending on Egypt is far from over, so are the insults heaped on it daily in the Egyptian press.

Even the quarrelsome Palestinian Arabs who routinely burn American flags have received well over $20 billion in food and humanitarian aid from Uncle Sam.

Whether it is money well spent is arguable. What is certain is that America, while Europe and the Arab countries watched, has done more than its share as a Middle East peacemaker...

Youssef M. Ibrahim (left) has penned a provocative piece about America's amazing generosity to the Middle East (and before that, to Europe), a generosity that has gone without recognition...let alone a thank you note. Read the article in the online edition of Jewish World Review right here.

Republican Governor Signs Law Requiring Hospitals to Dispense Abortifacient Drugs

The Republican Governor of Connecticut, M. Jodi Rell, has just signed a bill into law that requires hospitals to offer "emergency contraception" to rape victims. The Catholic hospitals in the state have been fighting this alarming legislation because the "EC" drug involved has been proven to cause abortions.

Certainly, the Connecticut's government's gross abuse of power here represents a grievous act of injustice, one that flies in the face of the historic respect for human life as well as America's cherished record for freedom of religion and conscience.

The culture of death takes the next steps in tempting a holy God.

The Mindset of the Merciless: Aspiring Abortionists Speak Out

Fourth-year medical student Megan Lederer recently helped deliver a premature baby at barely six months gestation. The newborn was tiny, unimaginably fragile, but she survived.

Caught up in the moment, Lederer didn't think about the implication for her chosen career. Later, though, she wondered: Could I have aborted that pregnancy?

She could have, she decided. She would have felt an obligation.

Lederer, 30, can't relate to the images that drew an older generation of physicians into abortion work. She can barely picture it when they talk about life before legal abortion: the blood-spattered apartments, the women racked with infection from stabbing sticks into their wombs.

But she and other young doctors-in-training have found their own motivation to enter a field that they know will put them at risk of isolation, harassment and hatred. For them, doing abortions is an act of defiance — a way of pushing back against mounting restrictions on a right they've taken for granted all their lives.

"It's like when your big brother says you can't do something," Lederer said. "That just makes you want to do it even more."...

Get it? It's not about justice. It's not about compassion. It's not about a woman's health or medical ethics or providing the best care to all patients. It's about a bellicose, barbaric lust for power.

Read the rest of this appalling LA Times "news story" here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

How To Outlaw Christianity: Timely Warnings from Chuck Norris

A couple of not-to-be-missed reads are these (Column One and Column Two) detailing the steps required to outlaw Christianity in America. They are well-written, well-argued articles covering the relevant issues of initial marginalization, the usurpation of constitutionally granted church authority by ultra-liberal politicians and activist judges, the use of educational establishments and technology to propagandize the young, and more.

Very good stuff.

Oh yes, the author of these insightful columns is a handsome fellow you just might recognize.

It Takes a Village...And The Village Wants Your Kid Early!

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is proposing a $10 billion federal program aimed at providing voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-old children in America....

Here's the rest of this A. P. story.

There He Goes Again: The Remarkably Inept Jimmy Carter Lashes Out

Even though he was a monumental failure as president of the United States, Jimmy Carter just can't resist giving grades to his successors and critiquing U.S. policy, two areas in which he should be disqualified from commenting...

Check out Paul Beston's article in the American Spectator.

The Evolution of Evangelicalism

This slanted piece in the International Herald Tribune describes the "enlightenment" of America's younger evangelicals on such matters as the environment, homosexuality, and the "liberal Christianity" practiced by such politicians as Barack Obama.

For the most part, the article goes where one would guess. However, it does close with a very interesting note concerning abortion...

...There are other signs of attitude changes among younger evangelicals. Recent surveys conducted by the Barna Group show that younger "born again" Christians are more accepting of homosexuality than older ones and are less resistant to affording gays equal rights. But on abortion, they remain almost as conservative as their parents — more fodder for both political parties to weigh as they consider the future.

Starbucks: Coffee, Tea and Far Left Philosophy

Before you drop in to your neighborhood Starbucks for that $3.75 cup of joe, read this column by Matt Barber.

...I know… it’s difficult to believe that a company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, would labor under such a leftist bent, but sadly, such is the case. Again, that’s the company’s prerogative. But come on guys. How about some open mindedness – a little balance?

Concerned Women for America (CWA) pulled the lid off Starbucks leftist corporate ideology a couple of years ago and stirred up controversy by pointing out that Starbucks had sponsored multiple “gay pride” events and had given monetary support to ultra-liberal abortion provider Planned Parenthood. For a while, the company seemed to back off a bit with the liberal activism, but they now appear to be warming things up again...

Other issues that might make you think twice about a visit to the ubiquitous mega-corporation that is Starbucks are the company's exorbitant product markups, their very poor record regarding free trade, and the ongoing matter of underpaying their employees.

The best alternative? Save a couple of bucks -- as well as your conscience -- and brew your own!

The Suicide of the West: Mugabe's Genocide Rewarded by the U.N.

...I first saw Robert Mugabe in the flesh at a UN Earth Summit in Johannesburg in 2002. His arrival on the podium was preceded by US defence secretary Colin Powell, who was booed and jeered, and by Tony Blair, who met with similar indignities. Mugabe, on the other hand, was greeted by a tumultuous standing ovation. I wrote it off as a passing fad. At the time, black power fanatics were still pumped up over Mugabe’s ethnic cleansing of white farmers, and one assumed their enthusiasm would wear off once the consequences of Mugabe’s folly manifested themselves.

Not so. By 2004, Zimbabwe’s economy was in freefall and his subjects were growing hungry, but Mugabe was more popular than ever. No, not in Zimbabwe. His fans were black people elsewhere. He received standing ovations in many African capitals, and at President Mbeki’s 2004 swearing-in ceremony. By then, it was clear that his ‘fast-track land-reform programme’ had not significantly reversed his unpopularity at home, and he had already taken to bludgeoning black opponents and rigging elections in order to stay in power. His black supporters didn’t care. Mugabe was giving the whites hell. Mugabe was therefore a hero. ‘Mugabe is speaking for black people worldwide,’ wrote the Johannesburg commentator Harry Mashabela.

One assumed this accounted for the Mbeki administration’s reluctance to criticise Mugabe in public. We were told that the situation in Zimbabwe was delicate, and that ‘quiet diplomacy’ offered the best shot at staving off anarchy. For a while this seemed plausible, but in time it became clear that quiet diplomacy was mostly a cover for covert support. When Western members of the Commonwealth moved to expel Mugabe, South Africa helped block them. South Africa also thwarted attempts to place his atrocities on the agenda at the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Committee. Meanwhile, the rape of Zimbabwe gained momentum, and Mugabe’s popularity swelled to rock-star proportions. Last year, the cocky little psychopath informed an audience of African-American New Yorkers that his rule had created ‘an unprecedented era of peace and tranquillity’ back home. They gave him a standing ovation.

One understands the wounds of history, but even so one believed there would come a day when Mugabe’s militant fans realised their behaviour was restoring the reputation of Ian Smith, who prophesised that Rhodesia would be ‘buggered’ if the black took over. By the beginning of this year, Smith was utterly vindicated. Eight out of ten Zimbabweans were jobless, and those who had work were screwed anyway, because inflation was 2,200 per cent and they couldn’t afford anything. Hospitals and schools were collapsing, factories closing. Millions were facing starvation. In a report for the Sunday Times four months ago R.W. Johnson interviewed a game ranger who said Zimbabwe’s hyenas were developing a taste for human flesh, the result of scavenging on corpses ‘cast into collective pits like cattle’. He concluded that Mugabe’s misrule had resulted in as many as two million deaths — twice as many as perished in the Rwandan genocide — and that ‘the number is now heading into regions previously explored only by Stalin, Mao and Adolf Eichmann.’

It was against this backdrop that the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development met to elect a new leader last Friday. The chair of this body rotates between regions; this year it fell to Africa to make an appointment, and African countries were bent on installing Mugabe’s man. Western diplomats initially thought this was some sort of joke, but as the day passed, it emerged that Africans were indeed of the opinion that a body dedicated to fostering development could credibly be chaired by a murderous regime that had reduced a once-thriving nation to absolute penury. The West was dumbfounded. ‘Beyond parody,’ said an Australian newspaper columnist. ‘Appalling,’ said his Prime Minister, John Howard. ‘Preposterous,’ said the American human rights lobby Freedom House. But Africans wangled support from Latin America and their motion was carried...

This Spectator (U.K.) article by Rian Malan will undoubtedly infuriate you. I certainly hope so anyway and, I'm sure, Mr. Malan desires the same end. Why? To underscore once again the irrational "death wish" of Western civilization and to prompt people like you and I to oppose the injustice, the violence and the threat to moral sanity represented by thugs like Mugabe and, yes, the type of dutiful dupes Malan describes in this edgy, excellent piece.

Protecting and Promoting the Truth About the Family: The Warsaw Declaration

For all of you who followed the highlights of the World Congress of Families IV in Warsaw, Poland, as we posted them here on Vital Signs Blog, I'm sure you will want to read through the Warsaw Declaration drawn up and voted on at the conclusion of that momentous event.

It is a stirring document, especially when you remember that it was developed by dedicated, principled people who are working hard to make the Declaration's various planks a reality.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The New Insistence on Godlessness as a Democrat Credential

...Whatever else can be said about the left, godlessness is its cardinal trait. So much so that even the most unobtrusive and innocent tokens of religious expression unfailingly draw its ire. The Ten Commandments in a courthouse, ‘one nation under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘merry Christmas' in a greeting are like a red cape before a raging bull. The left is more than just atheistic; it is rabidly so.

But this is a very precarious state to be in and something that a very wise book expressly cautions against. There we learn that those who turn on God will be afflicted with ‘madness, blindness and confusion of mind.'

Only this can explain how apparently intelligent people can approve of driving a pair of scissors through the skull of an unborn baby, think it normal for two men to say ‘I do,' or believe that bovine flatulence will push up ocean tides...

Read the entirety of Vasko Kohlmayer's American Thinker article (a very good one, by the way,) right here.

Greater Freedom of Religion Sought by Belarusians

Geraldine Fagan gives this summary of a more detailed report for Forum 18 News Service:

Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants in Belarus have joined together to launch a nationwide campaign to gather signatures calling for a change to the country's restrictive Religion Law, Forum 18 News Service notes. The organisers state that "the Law violates the rights of all people, even atheists." Petitions to change the law require at least 50,000 signatures to be considered by the Constitutional Court.

As of this evening (16 May), more than 10,000 Belarusian citizens had signed the petition challenging state violations of freedom of thought, conscience and belief. The campaign organisers affirm that the rights to life, free speech and freedom of belief are inalienable, stating that "because we have them from birth, they are given to us by God and not the government. Since the government does not give us these rights, they have no right to take them away."

After one Minsk-based Orthodox priest joined the campaign, the Belarusian Orthodox Church issued a statement rejecting all connection with the petition and calling on Orthodox Christians not to take part.

Memorial Day Commemorations with a John Edwards Twist

Today's must-read Town Hall column is Lorie Byrd's piece on John Edwards, the New York Times, and the shameless anti-Americanism that plagues the modern Democrat Party.

Tony Blair to Become Catholic?

With Tony Blair's outrageously anti-Catholic actions as Prime Minister (especially in his championing of abortion, euthanasia and the homosexual agenda), this move looks very much like a hypocritical and superficial act of convenience.

But, of course, religion without content is the order of the day.

U.K. Government Changes Its Mind: Genetic "Mix and Match" Schemes Given OK

Here's the Guardian (U.K.) story detailing the British government's remarkable reversal regarding the creation of "hybrid" embryonic beings for the purposes (for now) of experimentation. Dropping the ban on such schemes they had established (just last December!), the government has now given permission for scientists to pursue three ways of making their own version of life: 1) designing a chimeric embryo by injecting cells from an animal into a human embryo; 2) creating a transgenic embryo through injecting animal DNA into a human embryo; and 3) making a cytoplasmic hybrid by transferring the nuclei of human cells into animal eggs from which most all the genetic material has been removed.

Stephen King, eat your heart out.

The modern attitude of scientists disregards God, moral absolutes, and the sanctity of human life. Indeed, modern scientists refuse to acknowledge any moral limits whatsoever. "If we can do it, we will do it!"

But as Francis Schaeffer suggested, "He is there and He is not silent." The Bible puts it even more dramatically, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7) Remember the Tower of Babel? The flood?

Thus, the scientists who want to genetically "mix and match" animals with humans for experimentation do so at the extreme peril of their own souls. But God's displeasure is also targeted at the politicians who sanction such Frankensteinian horrors, the businessmen who encourage them and the society at large who allows them to continue without principled protest.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Left's Deliberate Ignorance

Why has the MSM ignored such a captivating story as that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

You know the answer, but I still recommend you read this exceptional Front Page column by David Forsmark. And then get your own copy of Ali's Infidel and plan on joining us when we discuss it at the next Vital Signs Ministries' Book It! meeting.

Oh, Those Bumbling, Stumbling But Ever Rumbling Democrats!

...According to the Gallup Poll, the Democratic Congress's approval rating has declined from 37% to 33% in mid-April, thence to 29% in mid-May. That rating places the Democrats below the approval rating of the hellish President George W. Bush, and at least he has invested some of his political capital in large things, for instance Social Security reform and two wars. The Democratic leaders have achieved nothing other than raising a cloud of gloom over Capitol Hill...

Read the rest of R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s fine American Spectator article right here.

Tacky to the Max: Charles Gibson Refuses to Lead Newscast with Falwell's Death

After word arrived Tuesday afternoon that Jerry Falwell had suffered a fatal heart attack, Charlie Gibson was determined not to lead his newscast with the preacher's death.

"It lends importance to a figure whose legacy contained a lot of positives and a lot of negatives," says the ABC anchor, who was once a reporter in Falwell's home base of Lynchburg, Va. "It venerates the subject to an extent that I didn't think belonged there. He was a controversial figure."...

Adult Stem Cell Treatments Putting Race Horses Back on the Track

This Reuters story describes how adult stem cell research has already paid big winnings in treating race horses.

...Stem cell therapy may be controversial in human medicine but in the world of horse racing it is becoming the odds-on favourite for tackling tendon damage, which accounts for one in three racecourse injuries.

Soon the same technology could be applied to humans...

...Each procedure costs the owner an average of 1,600 to 1,700 pounds but is potentially a good investment if it gets a valuable animal back on the racetrack.

Owners and trainers are reluctant to advertise the injury records of their horses but Mountford said 10 horses in Britain's Cheltenham Festival last month and one runner in the Grand National had undergone the treatment.

Racehorse owners, of course, are used to a gamble and have been happy to take a punt on a technology that promises to fix animals worth thousands, if not millions, of dollars. VetCell has already treated horses throughout Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, Japan, South Africa and Australia....

Investigating the USAID's Depopulation Designs

The "Map of Shame" created by the Population Research Institute is an extremely helpful resource for those interested in praying about, publicizing and otherwise acting against the aggressive depopulation efforts funded by the United States Agency for International Development. It is true that many of the USAID programs involve honest development efforts, but many other programs are carefully tied into depopulation schemes that use immoral sex education, chemical abortion drugs, and so on.

PRI's "Map of Shame" allows you to quickly and easily find the most current information about a specific country's Total Fertility Rate per woman, the USAID’s projects there, and more.

College of St. Mary's Does the Right Thing...Finally

Well, well, well...Omaha's kinda' Catholic College of St. Mary's has rescinded the invitation to Roberta Wilhelm to serve as this year's commencement speaker. This came about after a strong (and growing) protest because Wilhelm represents an organization (Girls Inc.) that advocates abortion rights, something that Catholic institutions are supposed to be against.

I'm pleased that this post on Vital Signs Blog, entered in the midst of our activities in Warsaw last week, contributed to the College's decision.

Sister Maryanne Stevens, St. Mary's president, told the Omaha World-Herald that the reason for her change of mind was,"I decided it had the potential to mar our graduation ceremonies that are truly celebratory events for our students and families."

Note that the "it" of Sister's sentence means the protest, not the heterodoxy of Ms. Wilhelm or the terribly foolish (and quite possibly immoral decision) on the College's part in inviting Wilhelm in the first place. Too bad.

Still, I'm pleased, of course, that the invitation was rescinded.

My thanks to Fr. Damien Cook's eloquent complaint against St. Mary's and to everyone who registered their disappointment of the College's irresponsible plans to have a pro-abortion commencement speaker. Speaking up can indeed make a difference.

The new speaker, by the way, is Norita Cooney, Vice President of the Sisters of Mercy's Omaha Regional Community.

From Villain to Vicar?

Will former New Jersey governor and outed homosexual James E. McGreevey's next career be in the Episcopal priesthood? Here are a few choice excerpts from the Washington Times story that ponders that question:

...Some see an inspiring tale of redemption in the former governor's new vocation; others see him as something akin to a bad rash that won't go away.

"He needs a lobotomy, not a collar," said Tom Balasia, who was waiting for a haircut in the same barbershop that used to trim Mr. McGreevey's locks when he was mayor of Woodbridge. "He's a liar who's hiding behind the cloth. He should be ashamed to show his face."...

...Word of his plans came the same week as his estranged wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, hit the talk-show circuit to promote her book, "Silent Partner," about their life together and subsequent breakup. Their ongoing divorce has become so nasty that a judge scol
ded the two to use common sense and remember that their daughter, now 5, will someday read what they are saying about each other.

Mrs. McGreevey did not respond to requests for comment left at her office and through her book publicist. But she issued a statement to WABC (Channel 7), a sister company of her publisher, terming Mr. McGreevey's seminary plans "the most absurd thing I've ever heard."
"He needs to be in the spotlight," she said. "I am astounded by his arrogance."

Mr. McGreevey stepped down in 2004, claiming he had an affair with Golan Cipel, whom he appointed as homeland security adviser, and that Mr. Cipel threatened to sue him. Mr. Cipel denies having an affair with Mr. McGreevey, claiming he was sexually harassed by the ex-governor.

Many in his former hometown see Mr. McGreevey as a cunning political operative, even now. They note he got married and had a child knowing he was homosexual, resigned before Mr. Cipel could accuse him of wrongdoing, wrote a tell-all book just as he and his wife were hashing out divorce terms, and joined a new religion and the seminary the week his wife's side of the story came out in her book.

"He was deceitful, he lied
, and if he thinks he's redeeming himself now, I'm not so sure," said resident Ken Zelenakas. "Please, get him out of the papers. There's more important things to write about than Jim McGreevey."

A close friend of the former governor, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, insists Mr. McGreevey had long been interested in becoming a priest or religious member.

"It's always been on his mind," said Mr. Lesniak, who attends prayer meetings with the ex-governor. "It's been a natural progression since he acknowledged who he truly is."...

...The pulpit isn't the only wooden lectern in Mr. McGreevey's future; he also holds forth in the classroom where he teaches at Kean University (named after the family of another famous New Jersey governor), earning $17,500 as "executive in residence."

He conducts guest lectures in the school's Executive Master's of Business Administration program. So far, he has taught a class on law and ethics, and another on management and lea
dership. The head of the state's Republican Party likened Mr. McGreevey teaching an ethics class to "Doctor Kevorkian teaching health maintenance."...

In a related note, Dina Matos McGreevey's side of this sordid story has been told in her book, Silent Partner, out just this week. Here are a couple of reviews of that book. This one comes from ABC News and this one from the New York Daily News.