Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today's Posts

Congressman Mike Pence on the "Police State" of Communist China, Forced Abortion, the Olympics and More

UN (Citing CEDAW) Pressures Northern Ireland on Abortion

Liberal Religious Group to Run Obama Ads on Christian Radio

A Stern Warning Against Obama...From an Oscar Winner?

Obama: Drill for Oil? Naw, We Just Need to Put Air in Our Tires.

Will Edwards Scandal Ever Bubble Up to the General Press?

Congressman Mike Pence on the "Police State" of Communist China, Forced Abortion, the Olympics and More

"It is important that we speak truth to power. And with the 2008 Olympics in Beijing about to begin, it is important that the people of the United States be heard on our ideals as athletes from around the world and global media descend on China.

"It is important that we say as the late Tom Lantos, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a hearing last year, a few months before his death: 'China is a police state.'

"I personally believe that the selection of China as the site of the 2008 Olympic Games was a historic error. The Olympics is a symbol of the human spirit and in that regard, a symbol of human freedom, and this police state therefore is precisely the wrong venue for a celebration of human dignity and the human spirit.

"And so I commend my colleagues' support for H. Res. 1370. I am particularly grateful for the call on the government of the People's Republic of China to end the abuses of human rights, to release those imprisoned for political and religious expression, and also challenging China to honor its commitment to freedom of the press of foreign reporters.

"While there is much talk in the media today about the cloud of smog hanging over Beijing as these Games approach, let me say from my heart: the real cloud over the Beijing Olympics is the horror of forced abortion. Therefore I am especially grateful to Congressman Chris Smith for adding an important amendment to this resolution noting that: 'Whereas the Chinese government limits most women to having one child and strictly controls the reproductive lives of Chinese citizens by systematic means that include mandatory monitoring of women's reproductive cycles, mandatory sterilization and contraception, mandatory birth permits, coercive fines for failure to comply,' and the like. This legislation will call on the People's Republic of China to immediately end the practice of forced abortion...

Read more of Indiana's Mike Pence's bold remarks to the Congress here.

UN (Citing CEDAW) Pressures Northern Ireland on Abortion

For those skeptics who yet argue that CEDAW (the UN's Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) will not be used as leverage to promote abortion, here's news of how the UN is pressuring Northern Ireland to that very end -- and, yes, doing so under the specific terms of CEDAW.

Liberal Religious Group to Run Obama Ads on Christian Radio

In an effort to peel Catholics and evangelicals away from such issues as abortion and homosexual marriage, the Matthew 25 Network plans to run ads for Barack Obama this fall on Christian radio stations and in newspapers and magazines that appeal to Christians.

Among those involved in the Matthew 25 Network are leftist preacher and confidant of Bill Clinton, Tony Campolo, and Democrat Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, a former staff member for NARAL.

Here's more.

A Stern Warning Against Obama...From an Oscar Winner?

We, as parents, are well aware of the importance of our teachers who teach and program our children. We also know how important it is for our children to play with good-thinking children growing up.

Sen. Barack Obama has grown up with the teaching of very angry, militant white and black people: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers and Rev. Michael Pfleger. We cannot say we are not affected by teachers who are militant and angry. We know too well that we become like them, and Mr. Obama will run this country in their mindset.

The Democratic Party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way. It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wins the presidential election, then Messrs. Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers and Pfleger will gain power for their need to demoralize this country and help create a socialist America...

Those are the politically-incorrect opening paragraphs of a remarkably candid op/ed piece in the Washington Times. And no, they are not written by Karl Rove, or Ann Coulter, or Michael Savage, or any of the "usual suspects.

They come instead from Academy-Award winning actor and humanitarian (and father of Angelina Jolie), Jon Voight.

Obama: Drill for Oil? Naw, We Just Need to Put Air in Our Tires.

According to Barack Obama, the United States doesn't need to drill for oil. He insists Americans could do just as well by getting our cars tuned and keeping our tires inflated.

You think I'm kidding, right? You say, no one could be so dumb. Or, at least you're thinking that if a presidential contender was so silly as to make a bonehead statement like that, he would be hooted off the stage and the late night comedians would have punchlines for a week.

Well, welcome to Barack Obama's world -- a new, audaciously hopeful fantasy world where not only does he really say things like that...but then gets away with it in the bargain.

Here's the brief video clip.

Will Edwards Scandal Ever Bubble Up to the General Press?

Paul Mulshine, writing in New Jersey's Star-Ledger, is one of the mid-level MSM reporters who have finally begun to wonder about what John Edwards was doing at the Beverly Hills Hilton in the wee hours of the morning -- besides, that is, ducking the National Enquirer posse. Perhaps he's also thinking about the dwindling influence of the MSM as Americans get a better idea of just how arrogant, manipulative and biased they can be.

As a member in good standing of the mainstream media, I generally tend to be skeptical of those in the blogosphere who accuse us of liberal bias.

But they sure seem to have a point with this John Edwards story.

The Edwards story is all over the internet -- including the liberal-leaning Huffington Post -- and is making headlines in the European papers. But the American maintstream media are ignoring it even though, as stories go, it's one of the best so far this year...

A lot of my fellow right-wingers say this is a classic example of liberal media bias. Imagine if Mitt Romney, who is a Republican equivalent of Edwards, had been caught in a similar situation, they say. By the next morning the story would be on the front page of every paper. By the next evening, Leno and Letterman would be competing for the best polygamy punch line.

But this story has been ceded to the internet, where Slate's Mickey Kaus asks, "Will this be the first presidential-contender-level scandal to occur completely in the undernews, without ever being reported in the cautious, respectable MSM?"...

So it's time the major media picked up the story. It's not merely the stench of liberal bias that bothers me but the unfortunate reality that we in the MSM are giving up a good story to the internet. And if we in the major media continue to cede such stories to the internet, we won't be major much longer.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today's Posts

Sobriety Checkpoints: A Much-Needed Tactic in the War Against Drunk Driving

How "Green Mania" Controls Congress

Harry Reid: Liberal Autocrat, Obscurantist, Bully

Uh, Before You Get Too Excited About That New Alzheimer’s Breakthrough...

The MSM's Excuses for Ignoring the Edwards Sex Scandal -- And Why They Fall Apart

Sobriety Checkpoints: A Much-Needed Tactic in the War Against Drunk Driving

It seems the time has come for legislators to realize that ignition interlock devices can be used to save lives, health and property from drunk drivers. Several states have now passed legislation requiring the devices to be used for various categories of DUI offenders. That's terrific. Some drunks will be kept from killing somebody because of these laws.

But ignition interlocks are not enough.

As a lawyer who has defended scores of DUI criminals recently told me, "Denny, these guys will get around interlocks in all kinds of ways. They'll use second cars, vehicles of friends and family, even rental cars obtained by their girlfriends or their own fake IDs. No, keeping drunks off the road will take all kinds of measures."

One of the most important of those measures, we agreed, is the use of sobriety checkpoints -- a simple, cost-effective and very successful tactic in the war against drunk driving. At such checkpoints police stop the vehicles in a determined sequence to check for possible impaired drivers. An inconvenience for most of us? To be sure. But it's more than worth it to save innocent citizens (and, for that matter, the drunks and hopheads themselves) from the various catastrophes resulting from the accidents impaired drivers invariably cause. This is why the Supreme Court ruled (Michigan v. Sitz) that sobriety checkpoints are clearly constitutional since the compelling state interest in saving lives trumps whatever inconvenience is involved.

And with proper support from law enforcement, media, churches, civic groups and businesses, the life-saving effect of sobriety checkpoints can be communicated to the general public, thus reducing that "inconvenience factor" dramatically.

Foremost in that educational campaign should be the fact that sobriety checkpoints not only pull over some drunk drivers in that particular event but, more important, they are an effective deterrent for the future. It's not just about immediate apprehension but about intensifying the fear of a DUI arrest. And that works. Several dependable studies have shown that sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-related crashes and fatalities by 20%. Wow.

So why, with this evidence that sobriety checkpoints are a key part in saving lives and reducing the number of devastating injuries created by DUI accidents, do 10 states still prohibit them? It can't be constitutional issues. That's been decided by the Supreme Court.

So it can only be due to 1) an irresponsible ignorance of what DUI creates. But then how can a state legislator honestly deny that he or she has already heard such frightening facts as:

* 15-18,000 people are killed annually in alcohol-related traffic crashes.
* That's about 40% of all traffic fatalities.
* On average, somebody is killed by a drunk driver every 39 minutes.

2) The only other reason legislators could fail to allow sobriety checkpoints? A heartless lack of concern for the physical wreckage and heartbreak being regularly caused by the dangerous criminals who drive drunk or stoned.

And yes, I add to this, the heartless concern displayed by lenient prosecutors and judges...and by newspaper editors and other journalists who seem ever eager to report the sordid details of DUI crashes but who do not bother with educating the public about basic steps required to seriously reduce the number of those tragedies.

Citizens of the states that do not allow sobriety checkpoints should be ashamed and alarmed enough to try and persuade their state congressmen and senators to redress this long overdue wrong. Those states are Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. (Note: you can use this page from the MADD web site to contact your representatives.)

And the rest of us? We too can contact our political representatives and ask them to pursue with ever greater diligence solutions to the calamities caused by drunk driving. And that includes a more frequent use of sobriety checkpoints.

How "Green Mania" Controls Congress

Let's face it. The average individual American has little or no clout with Congress and can be safely ignored. But it's a different story with groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy. When they speak, Congress listens. Unlike the average American, they are well organized, loaded with cash and well positioned to be a disobedient congressman's worse nightmare. Their political and economic success has been a near disaster for our nation...

Read the rest of Walter William's cogent analysis (and stern warnings) in his latest Town Hall column.

Harry Reid: Liberal Autocrat, Obscurantist, Bully

From the Family Research Council:

Of the nearly 890 Senate bills passed this session, you may be surprised to learn that there has been debate on only 50 of them. The others were approved by "unanimous consent" with little or no discussion. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is one of the many conservatives frustrated by the leadership's disregard for transparency. Repeatedly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided to ramrod legislation through the chamber without allowing any discourse between leaders. He attempted this--unsuccessfully--with a massive $11 billion spending bill last week. Mockingly called the "Coburn Omnibus" because it contained several programs and expenditures that the Oklahoma Senator opposed, Reid's bundle of fiscally irresponsible projects failed.

Unable to exact revenge on Coburn in the omnibus, liberals are now attacking the senator for his charitable work. The Ethics panel has launched an investigation on Coburn, who, as an obstetrician, delivers babies for free. As a member of Congress, Coburn can't receive payment for his work at Muskogee Regional Medical Center because of a "potential conflict of interest." Since Muskogee is now a private facility, the Ethics panel says it has new concerns. Coburn's office came out swinging. "...[P]arents don't choose to receive his services at a particular hospital because Dr. Coburn has somehow endorsed [it]... Has Sen. Leahy provided an improper endorsement to Warner Brothers for appearing in Batman?"

Is Sen. Reid foolish enough to publicly oppose volunteerism? He and his liberal attack dogs seem bent on tearing down the generous work of a citizen legislator. No doubt this would have been a non-issue if instead of delivering babies, Sen. Coburn had offered to abort them.

Uh, Before You Get Too Excited About That New Alzheimer’s Breakthrough...

There's joyful news reports all over the place today describing great news about a new Alzheimer’s drug. But, as you'll see in this Wall Street Journal report, when carefully examined the results of the study are not very impressive after all.

...The companies had already revealed data showing the drug, called bapineuzumab, helped people who were free of a form of a gene that’s a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. But patients with that form, called ApoE4, showed only a trend toward improvement — not a statistically significant one.

Now, in another tough year for Alzheimer’s drugs, the companies presented more detailed data today at a big Alzheimer’s conference. The results showed that none of the patients — with or without the genetic issue — saw more benefit from a higher dose of the drug than they did a lower dose...

WSJ reporter Sarah Rubenstein asked Ronald Petersen, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic who serves as the chairman of the medical and scientific advisory council of the Alzheimer’s Association, about the news. Responded Petersen, “I can’t tell if the compound’s efficacious or not at this point in time, but (Wyeth and Elan) learned some important information going forward about both the possible efficacy and safety.”

There are several interesting comments appended to the original story, one defending the enthusiasm over the new drug but several reflecting skepticism and even cynicism. For instance, an anonymous physician wrote in, "This will be JUST LIKE ARICEPT - a huge expense to taxpayers (ie. medicare part d) and patients (ie. copays etc.) for NO BENEFIT. Except this will be infinitely more expensive, because it ends in “mab” ie. monoclonal antibody. Any honest physician actually treating patients with dementia will attest to the total lack of efficacy of Aricept."

Most valuable in the comments section, however, was a note from David Hamilton with a link to a pretty compelling piece he had written for Pharma Industry hosted by BNET. Hamilton, by the way, wrote for the WSJ himself for a 14 years but now freelances. He most recently founded the LifeScience section of VentureBeat. Hamilton has covered many issues over his career but specializes in science and technology. He is a two-time winner of the Overseas Press Club award.

I suggest you take a look at Hamilton's review -- it's a quick read -- and you'll see that there are several important reasons to beware the hype about Bapineuzumab. Here are some excerpts:

In what is becoming a sadly common ritual, Wyeth and Elan are pressing forward with an expensive, large-scale “phase III” trial of a risky drug based on wishful thinking and shoddy statistical analysis...

Earlier today, Wyeth and Elan disclosed detailed results of the drug’s phase II trial, which found that bapineuzumab failed to improve cognitive function in a test of 234 Alzheimer’s patients after 18 months of treatment. You could be forgiven for not gleaning that from the companies’ joint press release, however, as Wyeth and Elan chose instead to highlight post-hoc analyses that purported to demonstrate the drug’s efficacy in a subset of patients who don’t have a gene variant called ApoE4, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s.

To put it bluntly, this is magical thinking on a truly impressive scale...

Hamilton then gives four specific criticisms of the study, four points to remember when evaluating the news story about this "breakthrough."

* Prospective measures of success are the only accurate way to judge trial results. Honest clinical trials require researchers to specify in advance what they’re looking for — and by that measure, the bapineuzumab trial was a failure.

* Post-hoc subgroup analyses amount to lying with statistics. By contrast, a post-hoc analysis involves mining the trial data in order to identify some group of patients who appeared to benefit from the drug. It’s tantamount to moving the finish line after the race is over — or, as FDA’s Richard Pazdur memorably put it, firing an arrow into the wall and then drawing a target around it.

* Such subgroup analyses rarely hold up under further study. Or, as the old computer-science saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

* Drug companies will do and say almost anything to boost the promise of a potential blockbuster. Wyeth and Elan don’t expect data from the phase III trial in patients without the ApoE4 gene variant until 2010. A lot can happen in that time, including the possibility that the FDA will once again warm to the idea of approving drugs based on marginal evidence. It’s like the old joke in which a prisoner staves off execution by promising to teach the king’s horse to sing within a year, reasoning: “A year is a long time. The king might die. The horse might die. I might die. And maybe the horse will learn to sing.”...

Hamilton concludes his report with this warning, "Whenever companies start talking up after-the-fact subgroup results, it’s time to hold onto your wallet."

The MSM's Excuses for Ignoring the Edwards Sex Scandal -- And Why They Fall Apart

Why does the MSM stubbornly continue to ignore the Edwards sex scandal? links this morning to a detailed analysis by Hilel Aron of all the excuses the MSM could be using -- and why they just won't fly. Very interesting stuff.

And, of course, one is bound to wonder, "If the press corps is so irresponsible, so inefficient and so biased towards Democrats in this instance, just what other news are they distorting or covering up?"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today's Posts

Having Babies Via Government-Run "Conveyor Belt"

What Christian Worth His Salt Buys Into Barack Obama's Schmooze? Well, Count Rick Warren As One.

McDonald's: Your "Formerly Family-Friendly" Burger Joint

What Will the Next President Do to the Supreme Court?

We Are the Leftists of the NEA! And We Have Your Kids!

Having Babies Via Government-Run "Conveyor Belt"

Wesley J. Smith over at Secondhand Smoke draws our attention to this Telegraph (U.K.) article with its sad and scary report of Britain's maternity services. It is not only another glaring example of how miserable government controlled health care can get but also of the decreasing value a secular society puts upon human life.

Here's the opening paragraphs of the Telegraph story:

The Healthcare Commission report – the most detailed ever undertaken – has exposed a grim picture of women giving birth in units where there are not enough toilets or showers and women are rushed through so fast that more than one mother gives birth in each bed every day.

Consultants are not present on the wards enough of the time, midwives and doctors do not get on with each other and severe staff shortages mean women are left alone during the birth, the report found.

The investigation into every aspect of antenatal, labour, birth and postnatal care, was prompted after high death rates among new mothers were found in successive hospitals.

What Christian Worth His Salt Buys Into Barack Obama's Schmooze? Well, Count Rick Warren As One.

The American Spectator's David Bass weighs in on the Barack Obama schmooze campaign aimed at America's evangelicals, It's what I'm nominating as the must-read of the day.

...Granted, Obama's attempted coup of the evangelical right is hardly a universal success. He continues to tick off conservative mainstays like James Dobson, who can see past the senator's rock star persona and occasional biblical references to his liberal core. But others are not so wise.

Rick Warren, for example.

The purpose-driven pastor is hosting a two-hour forum August 16 for both Obama and McCain. According to a Saddleback Church press release, topics of the day will include "poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights."

What a lineup. Obama will have yet another opportunity to espouse his Marxism-couched-in-religion talking points, and Warren a chance to solidify his role as the "new evangelical," concerned more with global warming than abortion (it's only the slaughter of 47 million cellular globs, after all).

Warren says he's organizing the event to bring light instead of heat to the political process, but what's the real message the world-famous pastor is sending to evangelicals, many of whom respect him as a legitimate, Bible-believing minister of the gospel? It's that Obama may be liberal on abortion and marriage redefinition, but he's still a great guy. Maybe you should even vote for him.

The rub is that some evangelicals will buy the line, and Obama is a master at delivering it...

The facts, however, are oh-so-clear about Obama's extremism on abortion, homosexual marriage, experimentation which destroys human life, and many other crucial moral issues. Where then do guys like Warren find the gall to soft-pedal them...or ignore them altogether? Bass continues --

So, what would "common ground" on abortion look like in Obama's administration? He answered that question later in the speech. "The first thing I'd do as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act," he said, referring to legislation that would wipe out all state and federal abortion restrictions, even the partial-birth abortion ban supported by the vast majority of Americans.

Way to reach out, Barack.

Later, he showed again his magnanimous olive branch to conservatives by pledging to gut federal abstinence education programs and indicating that sex education for kindergarteners "is the right thing to do." After a pause, he qualified the statement with the terms "age-appropriate" and "science-based" (I wonder if Obama thinks those terms apply to Planned Parenthood's explicit website for teens, crammed with how to's on an assortment of sex acts?).

Such examples show Obama's duplicity. He tries to snooker evangelicals into believing he's a different kind of candidate, but when it comes to actual policy, he's just as liberal as the next guy. Even more so.

To some evangelicals, though, it won't matter. He talks a good talk, and that's enough for them. Warren, for one, is doing his part to give Obama a platform. It's part of a strategy that might work, given the current state of Christianity in America. Obama might be the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever nominated, but that's all right because he's a smooth talker...

Here's the whole article.

McDonald's: Your "Formerly Family-Friendly" Burger Joint

Matt Barber comes out swinging in this World Net Daily article about McDonald's restaurants:

I'm always mystified when allegedly intelligent, bottom-line-obsessed corporate types abandon the fiscally secure milieu of political neutrality and take sides, officially, on deeply polarizing, socio-cultural issues of the day.

That's exactly what the formerly family-friendly McDonald's Corporation recently did. In an apparent effort to pierce the hyper-demanding good graces of the radical homosexual lobby, these clowns (pun intended) have thrown the vast majority of potential Mickey D's customers, worldwide, under the bus. Because of this colossal corporate blunder, the hamburger giant is now facing an embarrassing and ever-growing international boycott...

Here's the rest.

What Will the Next President Do to the Supreme Court?

Stuart Taylor Jr., the writer of the National Journal's latest cover story, used to report on the Supreme Court for the New York Times. He is now an author, a Contributing Editor at Newsweek, a regular columnist for National Journal, and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. He is a Harvard Law School grad who once worked in the profession for the D.C. firm of William, Cutler and Pickering.

He is certainly not in the conservative camp but Taylor's writings are substantially more honest and insightful than most of what is produced by the mainstream media. And that's why particular attention should be drawn to his NJ article, an analysis of what will likely happen to the Supreme Court (and thus, the nation) depending on who wins the November election.

Writes Taylor of Obama, "The presumptive Democratic nominee exudes determination to move the Court sharply to the left if he gets the chance...

"The conservative nightmare (and liberal dream) is an Obama Court requiring taxpayers to fund essentially unlimited abortion rights throughout pregnancy; ordering all 50 states to bless gay marriage; expanding and perpetuating the use of racial preferences far beyond the 25-year phaseout suggested by the justices five years ago; prohibiting tuition vouchers for religious schools; stripping "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance; banning the death penalty; striking down the new federal wiretap law; expanding judicial oversight of military detentions, CIA interrogations, and perhaps other operations worldwide; opening the floodgates to big-dollar lawsuits against business; eroding property rights; and perhaps creating new constitutional rights to physician-assisted suicide, human cloning, and massive government welfare and medical care programs...."

Taylor suggests that the competing visions may not turn out as extreme as either political party fears (or hopes) and much of the remaining article explains his reasoning. Along the way, Taylor also examines several other relevant matters; i.e., recent Court history, the struggle over appointments, the huge importance of Senate leverage, the pressure to expand the Court's diversity, the battles of ideology over the federal District and Appeals courts, and more.

It's an enlightening, thought-provoking article.

We Are the Leftists of the NEA! And We Have Your Kids!

Yes, I know that you've read before about the radically liberal positions taken by the National Education Association (many of which are completely unrelated to education), but I urge you to review them again by reading this alarming Phyllis Schlafly column.

There's not much commentary in it, just a litany of the resolutions passed at the NEA's national conference earlier this month. From statehood for the District of Columbia to government-run health care; from gun control to global warming mania; from abortion on demand to "the feminist boondoggle called the Women's Educational Equity Act" -- the NEA's positions are way, way left of the American people. So too are the numerous resolutions they passed which promote all planks of the homosexual agenda.

And, of course, there were the regular resolutions declaring the NEA's strident, totalitarian opposition to vouchers, tuition tax credits, parental option plans, home schools, and anything else that might make for competition or, for that matter) even oversight of what the NEA is doing with their coerced membership dues.

And these are the people in charge of America's kids!

Get a broader look at this horror story in Phyllis Schlafly's column right here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Today's Posts

What's Falling Off at Lambeth (Besides Orthodox Christianity, That Is)

The New Francis Schaeffer Bio

Of Batman, The Press, The Incredibles, and Other Urgent Matters

Crackdown on Christians in Belarus

MRI Reveals Misdiagnosis; Baby's Life Saved

What's Falling Off at Lambeth (Besides Orthodox Christianity, That Is)

For those interested in the battles underway for the soul of the Anglican Church (and those battles, of course, are but a part of culture wars that envelop us all), here's David Virtue's ongoing reports of the event. Those reports are detailed, insightful and cover even the very important "unofficial" activities. And they're all viewed from Virtue's own enduring commitment to orthodoxy.

The New Francis Schaeffer Bio

Steve West has an interesting review here of Colin Duriez' new biography of Francis Schaeffer, one interesting enough (and by a trusted source) to cause me to already order the book. Here's an excerpt:

...What it is is the best biographical treatment of the man and his mission that has ever been written --- scholarly, without being pedantic or lifeless; sufficiently nuanced, without chasing every thread of the man’s life and work; sympathetic, and yet not avoiding the truth about the man’s weaknesses and struggles. If you want to feel what animated Francis and Edith Schaeffer, to be caught up in the emotion of what they felt, read Edith’s Tapestry and L’Abri. (Set aside sufficient time for their combined 906 pages, however!) But this is the biography for most to read, as it is concise [208 pages] and yet comprehensive enough not to miss any important detail of their story...

Colin Duriez, by the way, is an Englishman who has written extensively on the Inklings (The C. S. Lewis Handbook, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship, The Inklings Handbook, Tolkien And The Lord Of The Rings: A Guide To Middle-earth et al) as well as other books including AD 33: The Year That Changed the World and The Poetic Bible. Duriez won the Clyde S. Kilby Award in 1994 for his work.

Of Batman, The Press, The Incredibles, and Other Urgent Matters

Digging into the mountain of e-mail last night unearthed a very encouraging note from a friend and fellow Chestertonian, James Woodruff. I print a portion of it below, followed by my response.

I was thinking of seeing The Dark Knight over the weekend. It has an impressive cast, and
I'd read one review that spoke of the movie's moral clarity. The advertisements I'd seen had led me to expect some high-speed mayhem (of a comic book-y kind) and some explosions, but nothing worse. Having read your posts, however, (1 & 2) I've decided to forgo it. There are some unwatched movies in my Preston Sturges set and my Marx Brothers set, so I'll enjoy a double-feature at home. Or if I find I'm in the mood for something with super-heroes, I'll put on The Incredibles (a favorite of mine. I'd be interested to know what you think of it -- if you've seen it, that is).

I read newspapers; I read journals of opinion (of a variety of viewpoints); I watch news channels -- none exclusively. NOWHERE had I heard of the John Edwards story until I read your blog just now. Maybe it was reported somewhere and fell through the cracks of my reading and viewing, but I suspect the reason for my ignorance is the appalling under-reporting of a story discreditable to a liberal Democrat.

So thanks to your blog, I'm wiser (or at least better informed) on at least two topics. Thank you! And thanks for adding me to your email list.

Regards to Claire and the Omaha Chestertonians.


What an encouraging note! Thank you so much.

In some ways, blogging is similar to those 16 years I did on radio, especially in the challenge of effectively communicating though having to do it in private. Preaching, teaching and conversation provides an audience to smile, nod or perhaps, throw projectiles. But sitting at a keyboard, alone and limited by a tedious one-finger typing technique, is really tough. At least in radio I had my pal Tom Sharman around as the sound engineer to say, "Yeah, that'll work" or "That seems a bit confusing, wanna' try it again?"

Therefore, feedback of any kind is always helpful and much welcomed. And that goes double for such heartening words as yours.

Again, thanks a bunch.

Oh, by the way, Claire and I join you in appreciating The Incredibles. A great flick: funny, insightful and surprisingly bold in presenting its values. And how inventive. Hollywood can still produce quality when it wants to: Bella and WALL-E come to mind as well.

Denny & Claire

Crackdown on Christians in Belarus

Felix Corley summarizes for Forum 18 the latest acts of persecution by Belarusian authorities against religious believers:

Officials have tried to stop three different Protestant communities in Grodno Region, north-western Belarus, from conducting peaceful religious activity, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. In the small town of Svisloch, a planned open-air baptism has been banned, despite the attempts of Pentecostals to negotiate with the authorities. Bishop Fyodor Tsvor told Forum 18 that "they just don't want to allow it."

In the nearby town of Mosty, a Pentecostal pastor was fined nine months' minimum wages for leading a small unregistered church. The court verdict notes as evidence of wrongdoing that "at meetings they read the Gospel, discuss questions of religious faith, sing songs and conduct religious rites."

In Grodno itself, Baptist pastor Yuri Kravchuk was summoned by the senior state regional religious affairs official, Igor Popov, who told him that his leadership of a worship service in a private home violated the Administrative Code. His case has now been sent to the city's Oktyabr District Court. All three communities point out that the state's actions violate the Belarusian Constitution.

Read his extended report right here.

MRI Reveals Misdiagnosis; Baby's Life Saved

Here's a story from Singapore that illustrates both the increasing impact of technology in treating preborn children (a MRI scan that saved a child's life by correcting a misdiagnosis) and yet the decreasing value of human life itself (the parents' desire to abort the baby when they believed him to be handicapped).

Sadly, the marvelous advances of medical technology and scientific knowledge we have seen in recent years cannot make up for the "devolution" in bioethics that has occurred.

Indeed, if society denies the inherent dignity and value of all human lives and instead begins to discriminate due to utilitarian concerns, costs, comfortability, degrees of "wantedness," and so on, even to the point of terminating kids whose problems we refuse to bother with, then those very advances in technology and knowledge that could save lives and dramatically improve our health, fitness and quality of life become used in the service of abortion, euthanasia, lethal embryonic experimentation, genetic manipulation, and other grossly unnatural and immoral activity.

Once the heart goes bad, the hands (and all the nifty tools they use) go bad too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today's Posts

With Friends Like This: Severe Religious Intolerance from America's "Ally"

Labour Party Loses a Sure Thing; Anti-Life Legislation a Key Issue in the Contest

Yet Another Obama Flip/Flop: Let's Go To the Video Tapes

What's Wrong with This Picture? An Abortion Enthusiast to Become UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?

Nebraska's Ben Nelson Apparently Undecided About Cutting Government Funding for Planned Parenthood

Drilling for Votes

With Friends Like This: Severe Religious Intolerance from America's "Ally"

Anne Applebaum, a weekly columnist for the Washington Post, knows a bit about freedom issues around the world. After all, she has served as a correspondent for The Economist in Warsaw; was foreign editor and then deputy editor of the Spectator magazine in London; and she won the Charles Douglas-Home Memorial Trust award for journalism in the ex-Soviet Union. Applebaum is also the author of Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe and the Pulitzer Prize winner for non-fiction in 2004, Gulag: A History.

Therefore, when she perused the latest publication of the Hudson Institutes' Center for Religious Freedom, the 91-page Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance, she knew she had found an important and alarming study.

Here is a portion of her subsequent op/ed column:

Because they are so clearly designed for the convenience of large testing companies, I had always assumed that multiple-choice exams, the bane of any fourth-grader's existence, were a quintessentially American phenomenon. But apparently I was wrong. According to a report last week by the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, it seems that the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education finds them useful, too.

Here, for example, is a multiple-choice question from a recent edition of a Saudi fourth-grade textbook, "Monotheism and Jurisprudence," in a section that attempts to teach children to distinguish between "true" and "false" belief in God:

Q. "Is belief true in the following instances:

(a) A man prays but hates those who are virtuous.

(b) A man professes that there is no deity other than God but loves the unbelievers.

(c) A man worships God alone, loves the believers, and hates the unbelievers."

The correct answer, of course, is (c): According to the Wahhabi imams who wrote this textbook, it isn't enough to simply worship God or just to love other believers; it is important to hate unbelievers, too. By the same token, (b) is wrong as well: Even a man who worships God cannot be said to have "true belief" if he also loves unbelievers.

"Unbelievers," in this context, are Christians and Jews. In fact, any child who attends Saudi schools until ninth grade will eventually be taught outright that "Jews and Christians are enemies of believers." They will also be taught that Jews conspire to "gain sole control over the world," that the Christian crusades never ended, and that on Judgment Day "the rocks or the trees" will call out to Muslims to kill Jews.

These passages, it should be noted, are from new, "revised" Saudi textbooks, designed to be less harsh on the infidels. After an analysis of earlier textbooks caused an outcry in 2006, American diplomats approached their Saudi counterparts about modifying the more
disturbing passages, and the Saudis agreed to conduct a "comprehensive revision . . . to weed out disparaging remarks toward religious groups."

The promised revision -- hailed at the time as a great diplomatic success -- was supposed to be finished by the beginning of the 2008-09 school year and was accompanied by a Saudi public relations campaign. Among other things, the Saudis sponsored an interfaith dialogue this week, one that all participants hailed as a great breakthrough -- despite the fact that the meetings took place in Spain, apparently because it would be too embarrassing for Saudi Arabia to host Christian and Jewish religious leaders on its own soil. But now the beginning of the 2008-09 school year is nearly upon us, the only textbook revisions have been superficial and the most disturbing part of the books' message -- that faithful Muslims should hate Jews and Christians -- remains...

Labour Party Loses a Sure Thing; Anti-Life Legislation a Key Issue in the Contest

In a most interesting (and hopeful) development, one of the Labour Party's "safest seats" was just lost in a by-election to John Mason, an accountant/councilor who represents the Scottish National Party, in a contest where Parliament's atrocious embryo experimentation bill was a major issue.

Mason, a member of Easterhouse Baptist Church who describes his faith as being very important to him, opposes abortion on demand and so-called “social abortion” and is “extremely uncomfortable” with the unnatural and lethal experimentation to be performed on human embryos if Parliament's bill holds up.

The Christian Institute reports, "The Glasgow East constituency – which was one of Labour’s safest seats in the UK – has large numbers of Roman Catholics. Ahead of the vote, Roman Catholic Bishops strongly criticised the Government’s embryos Bill as 'monstrous' and a violation of 'moral law'. The embryos Bill was not the only issue during the by-election, but it played a significant role in the campaign."

Yet Another Obama Flip/Flop: Let's Go To the Video Tapes

The guys over at Power Line have the following comments plus two video links featuring Barack Obama (one for his flip, the other for his flop) which dramatically prove their points.

Maybe there is another explanation for Barack Obama's trouble with the truth, but I'm not sure what it would be. He did it again today, loosing a palpable falsehood on NBC. Not that it's a surprise; Obama coming out with a whopper has become pretty much a daily occurrence. Here is Obama being interviewed by Brian Williams. Williams asks him about the surge, and whether it hasn't been a success. Obama claims that "even at the time of the debate," everyone knew that "of course it's going to have an impact." (Power Line then inserts the first video clip here.)

Actually, though, that's the exact opposite of what Obama said at the time of the debate on the surge. He predicted that the surge would worsen, not improve, the level of violence in Iraq. (You got it. Here's where they put the second clip.)

Someone needs to tell Obama about YouTube. Someone also needs to tell him that, in the words of the old adage -- nowhere near cool enough, perhaps, for a "rock star" -- honesty is the best policy.

What's Wrong with This Picture? An Abortion Enthusiast to Become UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?

Fresh from the "You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department comes word that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to name as the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights a woman who has throughout her career absolutely and vociferously denied human rights to unborn human children!

As LifeSiteNews reports, "Navanethem 'Navi' Pillay of South Africa is a founding member of the international non-governmental organization Equality Now, a group that has spearheaded campaigns for abortion access in Poland and Nepal. Pillay remains on the board of the organization which receives major funding from pro-abortion foundations, including George Soros' Open Society Institute and the Ford Foundation."

Furthermore, Pillay also supports the "Yogyakarta Principles," which insist that homosexual activities represent natural and binding human rights, including same-sex "marriage," adoption by homosexual couples and state-funded sex change operations.

Nebraska's Ben Nelson Apparently Undecided About Cutting Government Funding for Planned Parenthood

Claire responded to yesterday's Vital Signs post about the federal government's ongoing support of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest surgical and chemical abortionist by sending a quick e-mail expressing her opinions to Nebraska's delegation in Washington, D.C.

It wasn't the first time we have contacted them on this matter, of course, and so you would think that their records would be timely and efficient enough that they wouldn't send back to us the same old insipid replies. Right?

Wrong! Never underestimate a politician's capacity for careless, self-centered double-talk. As an example, here's the reply from Democrat Ben Nelson:

Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:56 PM
Subject: Responding to your message
Dear Claire:

Thank you for contacting me with your opposition to federal funding for Planned Parenthood. I appreciate hearing from you.

It is my understanding that Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services. As part of this effort, provided services include pregnancy testing; gynecological care; HIV testing; prenatal care; and, as you mentioned, abortion and abortion referrals.

Federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions, but Planned Parenthood does receive federal monies for providing Medicaid care through Title X family planning grants. Legislation introduced by Senator David Vitter, the Title X Family Planning Act (S. 351), would eliminate this funding by amending the Public Health Service Act to prohibit federal family planning funds from being awarded to any grantees who perform abortions where a woman's life is not in danger. S. 351 is currently being considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. While I am not a member of this panel, rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind should this bill come before the full Senate for a vote.

Thank you again for contacting me with your comments. The legislative process will only work with the input of concerned citizens, and I encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Ben Nelson

Good grief.

Claire quickly wrote back:

Dear Senator Nelson,

I understand that Planned Parenthood performs the other services you mentioned but a huge amount of the organization's money is the profits from surgical abortion. And so the monies given to them from our tax dollars not only helps to keep their rents paid, their lights on, and their directors handsomely paid, but they also keep the abortionists paid and the deadly abortion machines operating.

So what if federal law prohibits PP from using the taxpayers' coerced financial "gifts" for abortion? The organization DOES perform abortions in the same facilities and with the same staff! On paper the functions may be artificially separated but, in reality, the federal government is aiding and abetting in Planned Parenthood's horrific brutality of killing unborn babies! The surest way to prevent this -- cut off ALL government funding to them! And soon!

What's left to decide? Just do the right thing.

Thank you.

Mrs. Claire Hartford

Drilling for Votes

Promoting a responsible energy policy, particularly drilling for our own oil instead of depending on foreign supplies, is a winning political issue. And that's good news for John McCain. Here's a Washington Times story on a new poll showing McCain gaining significant ground in Colorado.

"We'd gotten into this mind-set that 2008 would be a good year for the Democrats," said Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli. "What this shows is that issues still matter."...

"The results show increased support for additional drilling, which McCain supports and Obama opposes," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in Hamden, Conn., which conducted the survey with the Wall Street Journal and

"Roughly one in 10 voters say they have changed their minds and now favor drilling because of the jump in energy prices," he said. "They support Obama, but with voters saying that the energy issue is now more important to their presidential vote than is the war in Iraq, this group represents an opportunity for the Republican."...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today's Posts

Yet Another Way the Federal Government Promotes Planned Parenthood

Letting McDonald's Know (With Courtesy and Grace) Why You're Avoiding the Golden Arches

Cops Murdered; Women Terrorized by Knives; A Pencil Jammed in Someone's Head -- That's Entertainment?

More on the Girls Scouts' Embrace of New Age Nuttiness

Quick! The Planet Is Doomed Unless We Create New Taxes!

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...About Both the John Edwards Scandal and Why the MSM Is Refusing to Mention It

Yet Another Way the Federal Government Promotes Planned Parenthood

Dawn Eden has a not-to-be-missed post over on The Dawn Patrol about the promotion of Planned Parenthood (and Planned Parenthood's evil attitudes) on the web site of the USDA's Women, Infants and Children program.

Visit the USDA's WIC Learning Center, the official Web site for the U.S. government's Women, Infants and Children program, and you will find a link to the home page of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

That's because a hefty chunk of the $5 billion in taxpayer funds for the program designed to help feed and provide health care for low-income pregnant women, new moms, and young children go to Margaret Sanger's organization.

Considering that some 61 percent of WIC recipients are nonwhites, the government's efforts to steer them towards Planned Parenthood dovetails neatly with the nation' No. 1 abortion provider's efforts to prevent births in the black and Latino communities.

Granted, the federal money that pays Planned Parenthood to serve WIC clients technically does not go towards abortions. But any money given to Planned Parenthood by the federal government keeps the organization's lights on and its paychecks coming, enabling it to spend its $115 million surplus on expanding its abortion business. And does anyone doubt that Planned Parenthood will attempt to impress upon a pregnant WIC client that it can make her un-pregnant if she wishes? Especially when the client walking into its clinic is greeted with posters like this...

Want to see those posters and learn what other federal government websites link to Planned Parenthood? Then zip on over to Dawn's post right here.

And then zip on over to this page where you'll find the contact information needed to ask your Senators and Congressmen to get on the stick and get Planned Parenthood links off our tax-supported web sites!

Letting McDonald's Know (With Courtesy and Grace) Why You're Avoiding the Golden Arches

A friend in Pennsylvania, Jesse Bagwell, sends news about the ongoing efforts to persuade McDonald's to "cease and desist" from their recent promotions of homosexual activism. Most worrisome to Christians and other pro-family organizations (the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, Liberty Council, and others) has been the McDonald’s Corporation joining and contributing thousands of dollars to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, a homosexual activist organization that, among other things, demands the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Vital Signs Blog moved on this story when alerted to it by Rick Pearcey over at Pro-Existence. In fact, we may have coined the term "McBoycott" in our subsequent posts of April 8 and May 9. (This June 25 post is also relevant.) And therefore, we're pleased to pass along news of the campaign and, especially, opportunities for principled protest of McDonald's current policy like the one Jesse alerted us to. Thanks, Jesse.

Be forewarned though. The comments section of the McDonald's blog that the Liberty Council urges you to utilize will only appear on that web site if McDonald's "approves" it. It's quite likely then that none of the complaints will make it into cyberspace. But that doesn't at all mean that the McDonald's Corporation itself won't get the message. So send your note along anyway.

Cops Murdered; Women Terrorized by Knives; A Pencil Jammed in Someone's Head -- That's Entertainment?

David N. Bass seems to have liked the new film Batman: The Dark Knight. However, in this column in the American Spectator, he does emphasize what many reviewers are refusing to candidly acknowledge; namely, the film's ecstatic use of violence, terror (rather than simple tension), sadism and blood-dripping gore.

Here's a few of Bass' remarks:

...A gangster gets a pencil jammed in his skull. A main character's face catches on fire, leaving a charred hunk of flesh. Multiple cops get dispatched via shotgun and handgun, and a few courtesy of the sadistic Joker and his collection of cutlery. Nary a scene goes by where somebody doesn't have a gun to his head or knife to his jugular. Even Batman himself, viewed by kids the world over as a staunch defender of truth and justice, shrugs off the shining knight mantle and breaks a few legs (literally) to get the information he wants.

Simply put, this is not your granddaddy's comic book.

That's why I was surprised to see so many kids in the theatre. And when I say kids, I mean kids -- three or four year-olds, little pups who still can't tie their shoes. By the end of the film's first hour (during which the Joker racks up quite a few kills), I had to wonder why these parents hadn't escorted their children out, maybe to see Pixar's Wall-E on the neighboring screen.

Then I realized the kids were there because the moviemakers wanted them there, and the parents were only too willing to oblige. Following in the turbid tradition of advertising violent movies to youth, the toy stores are full of Dark Knight paraphernalia, much of it recommended for children as young as two. Families walk right into the marketing trap, buying the toys and tickets without bothering to check the content of the film.

That's tragic...

It's not child abuse to tell your kids they can't see that movie about the psychopathic clown who likes to knife people. No, kids are not resilient. Yes, they are impressionable. They'll remember that nightmarish man with the caked-on makeup long after The Dark Knight is reduced to the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.

Maybe parents should think about that before buying tickets.

And I would add that many more reviewers, particularly the Christian ones who have soft-peddled the unreasonably extreme violence of Batman: The Dark Knight, should think about what they've encouraged people to see.

And, unlike others who are worried about the impact of such a violent movie, I'm not talking about kids alone. As you might remember from this post earlier in the week (one which seemed to attract a lot of attention), I'm also concerned about the sinister, conscience-dulling effects that violent, amoral schlock has on adults.

More on the Girls Scouts' Embrace of New Age Nuttiness

Last Friday I linked you to an important World Net Daily column by Jane Chastain dealing with the weird New Age activities being embraced by, of all groups, the Girl Scouts of America. It was a pretty alarming article -- and not just if you happen to have a daughter or granddaughter involved in the organization but if you're simply concerned about how these cultic doctrines can twist a young person's soul.

Well, here's Jane Chastain's follow up column about how the Girl Scouts are brazenly maintaining their connections with the Ashland Institute (its focus being Transitional Awareness) and the Oxford Leadership Academy.

Chastain points out that the Ashland Institute is led by Michael Cecil, the former leader of the Emissaries of Divine Light, a cult founded by his dad. Although Michael has officially left the EDL, he still accepts most of his father's views. And he recently described to a newspaper how he "devotes his energies to teaching chanting, meditation, dialogue, 'attunement,' community building, aligning the world with the planetary system and assisting a large men's organization called The Mankind Project."

Apparently, Mr. Cecil wasn't finding enough fellas interested in attuning, chanting, or aligning with the planetary system. (They're too caught up in working, mowing the lawn, watching baseball -- that kind of thing.) So, Cecil is turning instead to attuning the minds of impressionable young girls. A gallant move.

And let's not forget the Oxford Leadership Academy. Chastain explains that its leader is one Brian Bacon, a practitioner and teacher of the Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga who is also a proud "senior member" of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, a cult which has, for its 70 years, emphasized mediumship and channeling.

According to a web site run by former members of the group, the cult's foundation "is the idea that God incarnated into their founder to teach them alone, thus making them the elite souls of the world. They also believe that they are the future deity princesses of Heaven, that the world is about to end and that world history repeats identically every 5,000 years."

"The BKWSU have beliefs that are unique to them in every way. Notably this includes the deeply held and dominant notion that world history repeats identically every five thousand years. They refer to it as ‘the Cycle’. In essence, they say that every 5,000 years God comes and purifies the world which is impure and corrupt, through the efforts of His ‘special, long lost and now found children’. The result is a new Golden Aged world in which all those ‘special’ souls will live as deities. According to the amount of effort those special souls made, they will become the kings and queens of Heaven. This usually means the BKWSU seniors."

"In order to transition from this old, impure world to the new, golden aged world the world as we know it must be destroyed. A key element of BKWSU belief is that the world is about to end. Over the next 5,000 years the world becomes impure and corrupt as it descends through the Silver, Copper and Iron Ages. (These ages are common to Hinduism, but Hindus neither mention 5,000 years or identical repetition.) At the end of the 5,000 years, God Shiva comes again, and the same special souls will join Him again, exactly as they did in the previous cycle. This is predestiny taken to the extreme. The very dangerous implication here is that if a member fails, they fail forever. This is the concept that killed Ranjana."

And this goofiness is what the Girl Scouts want to buy into?

Chastain's column adds, "Management leadership, peace of mind and values education is the stock in trade of the Brahma Kumaris practitioner, and Bacon is no exception. He got his foot in the door with the Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council when leadership began contemplating their navels in search of "self."

Bacon told the Arizona Business Gazette that he made the connection with Cactus-Pine "after experiencing too many adults in leadership positions unable to make fundamental changes." The paper said, "He was looking for young people to counsel. … It's about how to lead others from that place within." Ahhhhhhh!"

Ahhhhhhh indeed. And yipes!

It certainly seems that since the Girl Scouts have abandoned their historic religious values (i.e. exchanging their vows for moral relativism, deciding that the word "God" was not necessary in the Scout's pledge, getting involved with nefarious groups like Planned Parenthood, etc.), the Scouts' leadership is looking for new gods to serve, even if those gods are to be discovered within one's own mind. Or in the predestiny of a Hindu god who remakes the world every 5,000 years.

As I mentioned in last week's post, "be sure to remember these spooky things the next time cookie-selling season and, for that matter, the coercive United Way drive comes round." Well, add to those admonitions a suggestion to write to the Girl Scouts and politely tell them what you think of this dramatic shift in their values. Let them know that until there is a frank and complete apology for these cultic connections and a bold move back to their traditional perspectives that you cannot support them. Indeed, explain to them that you will enroll your daughters in wholesome organizations like American Heritage Girls Legacy Clubs (see also this 2005 Vital Signs post) and that you will suggest to your friends to do the same.

Quick! The Planet Is Doomed Unless We Create New Taxes!

...Think about it.

Our politicians ask us to believe humanity is facing Armageddon from man-made global warming. That is, imminent, world-wide, climate catastrophe that will scorch the Earth, kill and displace hundreds of millions of people, drown cities and cause massive starvation and disease.

And what's their solution? It's to impose another tax on us or create another stock market, which is all a "cap and trade" system is.

Try not to laugh. Or cry...

Lorrie Goldstein, writing in the Toronto Sun, describes how the politicians are exploiting global warming (never mind the increasing scientific evidence against it) to expand governments' power over our lives, to further limit individual freedom, and to "make governments, energy corporations and stock market speculators richer than they already are, at our expense."

A good read.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...About Both the John Edwards Scandal and Why the MSM Is Refusing to Mention It

And the interest isn't mere salaciousness. This isn't an actor or a rock star that we're talking about, but a man who is still being talked about as a possible vice-presidential candidate.

So why isn't the media even asking John Edwards about it? The double standard at play within the MSM as they pursue (even invent) negative stories about conservatives while defending, justifying or ignoring altogether negative stories about liberals just continues to become more irresponsibly absurd.

Below are a couple of excerpts from DBKP's interview with the editor of the tabloid which uncovered and then stayed with the John Edwards matter.

How did the supermarket checkout staple, The National Enquirer, scoop the combined forces of CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, Time Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times and the rest of the mainstream press in the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter Love Child affair?

“Inquiring minds want to know.”

After an hour-long interview with David Perel, Editor-in-Chief of the National Enquirer, we can now say with certainty: it was easy. The steadfast “cone of silence” placed on the story by the Mainstream Media (MSM) made it easy for anyone willing to do the legwork to grab the story from a decidedly-uninterested “respectable” press...

Mondo: It’s been over ten months since the Enquirer broke the Edwards scandal; seven-plus months since the December story that named Rielle Hunter as the “other woman” and showed her visibly pregnant. What was the Enquirer doing in the last seven months that the major press organizations could have been doing, but didn’t, that allowed you scoop them?

DP: We stayed on the story. We did it the old-fashioned way, with lots of legwork. We did what the major news organizations used to do: we knocked on doors, ran down leads and talked to people...

Mondo: Have you ever seen a more blatant–what we’ve called it–”media blackout” of any story the Enquirer has broken than the Edwards affair?

DP: No. Amazing, simply amazing. It wasn’t a total blackout, but very nearly...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Today's Posts

Old Ideas Are New Again: America's "Conversation About Race"

Whose to Blame for the Crisis? The Democrats' Disastrous Dismantling of the Bush Energy Plan

Have Our Leaders Lost Their Minds?

Is the "Cat Out of the Bag" in John Edwards' Scandal Story

Another Oops Moment for Denver's Democrat Mayor

Old Ideas Are New Again: America's "Conversation About Race"

The changes in both tone and direction of America's "conversation about race" didn't originate in Bill Cosby's now-infamous speech to the NAACP in 2004. Those changes had been underway for some time with the dramatic cultural changes brought by the civil rights movement and by the emergence of such leaders as Thomas Sowell, J.C. Watts, Alan Keyes, Walter Williams, Clarence Thomas, Ken Blackwell, and many others who looked at issues from a bold new perspective.

But Cosby's speech certainly lit the burners on the national media's attention to this new approach, one that emphasized honesty, responsibility, morality and genuine pride over victimization and blame. Thus promoted, the conversation expanded and became more intense. And because of the new ideas (many of them old ideas breaking back into respectability; recall Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Martin Luther King), there are fresh reasons for hope that even the most entrenched problems of poverty, education failures, and family destruction can find practical solutions.

True, we're just getting started.

But neither are we standing still anymore.

Myron Magnet, author of The Dream and the Nightmare: The Sixties’ Legacy to the Underclass and a City Journal editor-at-large, has a terrificly engaging and ultimately encouraging article in the Summer edition of the magazine entitled, "The Great African-American Awakening." I recommend it heartily.

Much of Magnet's article is very insightful readings into Bill Cosby's and Alvin Poussaint's book from 2007, Come On People; Juan Williams's Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America—and What We Can Do About It written the year before; and a book defending the staus quo attitudes ("the old victimology with a twenty-first-century twist") written by Georgetown's Michael Eric Dyson, Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?

It is a spirited examination Magnet conducts and one that's pretty ugly to follow, detailing as it does some of the horrific conditions facing black Americans. Primary among these are parenting failures (absentee fathers, one-parent families, "no-parent families," 2/3 of America's foster children being black, abuse of both verbal and corporal punishment), but Magnet also presents alarming details about the lack of education, violence, "a culture of imprisonment," sexual immorality, the degradation of gangsta' rap music, and more.

But despite these sad and difficult problems, Magnet's belief that the new perspectives of prominent black leaders like Cosby and Williams (both anything but traditional conservatives) bodes well for the black community and for the nation.

It's a great read and you can get it either at your magazine stand (if it's an enlightened one) or you can subscribe directly and get the thrill out of reading stimulating, top-notch cultural commentary in a hard copy! That's right, Virginia; there are still real magazines out there, magazines that you can hold in your hands, take with you on the train or to the coffee shop, and everything.

And City Journal is one of the very best.

Of course, if you are content with reading off a screen, you can use the link above!

Whose to Blame for the Crisis? The Democrats' Disastrous Dismantling of the Bush Energy Plan

...A New York Times headline from August 20, 2003, sums it up: "Ambitious Bush Plan Is Undone by Energy Politics."

That's an understatement. Instead, Democrats ridiculed Vice President Cheney for meeting with oil industry representatives to craft U.S. energy policy — and for insisting on finding more oil.

They had no plan themselves, mind you — apart from massively expensive global warming initiatives that would force Americans to lower their standard of living to Third World levels by spending as much as $800 billion a year to cool Earth.

Yet, if Bush's plan had been put in place in 2001, we'd have replaced millions of barrels of oil, billions of tons of coal and untold trillions of acre feet of natural gas with clean, safe nuclear power.

We'd be pumping millions of barrels more of oil, creating thousands of American jobs, cutting prices and saving literally hundreds of billions of dollars every year —money that today goes to line the pockets of the Saudi royal family, Venezuelan petrotyrant Hugo Chavez, Libyan leader-for-life Muammar Qadhafi and Vladimir Putin's Russia.

When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, and oil was $50 a barrel and corn $2 a bushel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised an energy plan. We're still waiting for it. Today, crude oil is $134 and corn is $6.50.

It's pretty clear who's to blame: Congress. In fact, House and Senate Democrats have obstructed any progress in America's fight to regain some semblance of energy independence.

"Now is the time for Congress to move and get something done," President Bush said all the way back in August 2003. He's still waiting, and so are we...

The entirety of this brilliant June 16 editorial from Investor's Business Daily is reprinted by Smart Green USA right here.

Have Our Leaders Lost Their Minds?

That's the extremely pointed (but eminently pertinent) question asked by Newt Gingrich in this Human Events essay. In it he deals with Israel's and America's recent forays into the most irrational and dangerous appeasement policies.