Sunday, May 31, 2009

Statement on the Murder of George Tiller

Press release from Vital Signs Ministries regarding the murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller:

Denny Hartford, long time pro-life activist, the Director of Vital Signs Ministries and a co-founder of a local pregnancy care center, decried the disturbing news that Kansas abortionist George Tiller had been murdered Sunday morning. Hartford has himself participated in peaceful protests of Tiller's abortion business in Wichita.

"Having been involved with the pro-life community across the United States for three decades, I can testify that those who truly care about saving preborn babies from abortion also care about serving their parents and extended families, " Hartford said. "But as dedicated as we are about these goals, we are equally devoted to insuring that our activities (even those involving the protest of abortion) are peaceful, prayerful and compassionate."

"Such viciousness as that directed at George Tiller on Sunday is outrageous, unjust and deplorable. Genuine pro-life advocates seek, through prayer and education, to convert abortionists -- not to physically harm them. To act otherwise would be to severely damage our cause. The perpetrator of this cowardly murder has, without any moral warrant at all, taken vengeance into his own hands. I join with pro-life leaders around the nation in condemning this horrific act of senseless violence."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Today's Posts

And You Thought You Were A Free Moral Agent? It's All In Your Head.

Well, to be precise, in the parietal cortex of your brain.

For quite some time now, certain scientists and Darwinian social engineers have insisted that Man is merely a chemical mixture with his behavior (even his notions of self, free will and spirituality) actually determined by 1) the random interaction of biological forces within him and 2) the random effects of environment without.

Well, don't you know, there's a new study out from CNRS Cognitive Neuroscience Centre in Bron, France, which claims to have found exactly where our fantasy of free will is located; namely, the parietal cortex of the brain.

Of course, these fanciful theories are not taken seriously by anyone when it comes to real life. Everyone continues to exercise judgment (just as if it were a real thing) when they look at a menu, when they look in their wardrobe closet, when they look at one another in a singles bar. No, even the folks who keep inventing these fictions dare not try and actually live by them.

However, these theories (increasingly claimed as fact) are convenient as a tool to destroy the boundaries that Christianity established for Western culture. For the further we drive away the teaching of the Bible about Man, God, morality, and the afterlife, the more free we are to create our own rules and pursue our own ends.

Even it means denying our dignity; even it makes us constant hypocrites; even if it ends in spiritual death -- we will have no God rule over us.

50% of Men Arrested In Major Cities Test Positive for Drugs

For those of you libertarians who want to ease criminal penalties on drug use (if not legalize drug use altogether), would you please scan through these findings by the Office of National Drug Control Policy?

Half of the men arrested in 10 U.S. cities test positive for some type of illegal drug, a federal study found...

In 2008 researchers interviewed and obtained urine samples from 3,924 men arrested in 10 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Ore., Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug.

Marijuana is the most common drug in every city where testing was done except Atlanta, where cocaine is most prevalent, the study found.

Methamphetamine use is concentrated on the west coast where 35% of the men arrested in Sacramento and 15% of the men arrested in Portland tested positive for the drug.

Heroin use is highest, at 29%, among men arrested in Chicago, an increase from 20% in 2007. Heroin use among arrestees declined in Portland, from 12% in 2007 to 8% in 2008...

Which Head of State Is Snubbed in Obama/Sarkozy D-Day Observances? Subaltern Windsor, Service #230873 (aka Queen Elizabeth II)

On June 6, when the contingents led by U.S. President Obama and French President Sarkozy attend D-Day commemorations at Utah Beach and the town of Ste.-Mère-Église, there will be one person notably absent, the only head of state still alive who served in uniform during World War II -- Queen Elizabeth II.

And, at being left out of the service, the Queen is not amused.

I don't blame her.

As this story in the Daily Mail emphasizes, "The failure to invite the Queen - who is head of state of both Britain and Canada - will be seen as an insult to the memory of the 17,556 British and 5,316 Canadian troops who died to free France and are buried there. The figure does not include many airmen and sailors whose bodies were never found."

The Queen volunteered as Elizabeth Windsor, serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service as a truck driver and a mechanic. The photo above shows her changing a tire on a jeep.

Catholic Priest Caught in Scandalous Photos Becomes Anglican

Are we sure this isn't the plot for a Hollywood movie?

A very popular Roman Catholic priest down in Miami, one who gave "relationship advice" on television shows, church radio programs and newspaper columns, is caught on camera making out with a woman on the beach. But, instead of repenting of his folly, an admission comes forth that there was more than snuggling going on.

Fr. Alberto Cutié (no jokes, please) admits there had been sexual sin and he had broken his vow of celibacy. He was then relieved of his duties at St. Francis de Sales parish in Miami Beach.

But Fr. Cutié just couldn't stay out of the public eye. So, with cameras again blinking away, tongues twittering about him, and his woman at his side, Fr. Cutié staged a very dramatic public comeback to say:

1) It wasn't my fault. No, the real blame is on the Church's arcane requirement of a celibate priesthood.

2) I'm changing collars and becoming an Anglican priest instead. In fact, I'll be preaching this weekend.

3) I'm readily available to hit the talk show circuit. (Which he has since joined in earnest.)

George Clooney, call your agent.

By the way, this Reuters report clearly sides with Cutié but is most notable for its sneering conclusion. A much different slant (and with more information) is in this report from Catholic Online, excerpts of which I print below.

"This is truly a setback for ecumenical relations and cooperation between us," said the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Miami, who was visibly disappointed. Archbishop John Favalora indicated that he had no communication from the Episcopal Bishop, Leo Frade of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, who had earlier in the day received Alberto Cutié, and Ruhama Buni Canellis, the woman pictured in the photographs which catapulted this sad affair into the headlines, into the Episcopal Church.

This action by Cutie seems to have totally surprised his former Archbishop who said he had not spoken to Cutie since May 5th and was never informed by the dissident priest that he intended to marry. It also constitutes the formal renunciation of Cutie’s communion with the Catholic Church.

So the sad story of a formerly Catholic priest who broke his vows of celibacy and, after being caught by a photographer in a compromising position with his girlfriend made National and International news, has come to a schismatic and scandalous end. Cutie has formally left the Catholic Church, announced that he plans to marry the woman whom he had dated for two years, and has been accepted as a candidate for ordination into the Episcopal Church, all without his former Bishop ever even having been consulted...

The receiving Episcopal Bishop told the gathered Reporters: “This is the best place for Father Cutié. We welcome him and his fiancée. We are the Catholic Church. He has not abandoned the Catholic Church. He has left the Roman church...

Team Obama Scrambling to Get the Word Out to the Left -- Sotomayor Is With Us on Abortion!

The White House scrambled yesterday to assuage worries from liberal groups about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's scant record on abortion rights, delivering strong but vague assurances that the Supreme Court nominee agrees with President Obama's belief in constitutional protections for a woman's right to the procedure...

This brief Washington Post story is interesting in once again showing how utterly batty are politicians and journalists when it comes to abortion. Certainly, no one dares face the facts about abortion: its barbarity, its frequency, its inordinately high rates among black women, its severe effects upon women and, of course, its deadly finality.

But notice how these people eerily avoid even talking about the issue. Does anyone really believe that President Obama didn't ask Sonia Sotomayor about abortion, about Roe v Wade?

And, if he didn't -- why not? For crying out loud, Roe has been the most consequential, most controversial political act of the modern era, one that has been discussed thoroughly in every venue on earth -- except, we're supposed to believe, in the conversations between a president and a prospective judicial appointment.

C'mon, Mr. President; if you talked about abortion in that Oval Office discussion with Judge Sotomayor, let's hear what you had to say. Don't be sqeamish or coy. Give us the truth.

Because if you didn't talk about abortion -- if you relied on code words, winks and nudges to reach an understanding -- it was extremely irresponsible, silly and very hypocritical.

Bureaucrats Crack Down on Home Bible Study

America is rapidly becoming a nation where petty bureaucrats take our money and, quite literally, rule our lives. Amy Davis alerted me to this case in point.

"The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.'"

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and told them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars...

"If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly at home for poker night? What about people who meet for Tupperware parties? What about people who are meeting to watch baseball games on a regular basis and support the Chargers?" Broyles [Dean Broyles, attorney with The Western Center For Law & Policy] asked.

The story was broken by a television station in San Diego and on this 10 News web page you can also watch a video clip ("County Responds To Bible Study Controversy" on the right sidebar) with more details. Be sure to note that the bureaucrat never apologizes for the County Code Enforcement Officer's intrusive questions. She completely sidesteps both that matter and the citation leveled at the pastor.

Furthermore, despite her contention that people are free to do whatever they want in their own homes, it's clear from the county's action that that isn't the case at all. For instance, the bureaucrat insists that the government (through the county's niggling County Land Use and Environment Group) has the right to determine "land use" and then regulate it as they seem fit. Yes, she says that a Bible study is "probably in a very gray area" but that didn't stop her agency from its offensive behavior, its heavy-handed tactics and its outrageous order to the pastor to "stop religious assembly" at his house.

That sidebar video story suggests that the county "may be" backing up a bit. But the only evidence for that assumption is that the county is "allowing" (how beneficent of them!) the Bible studies to continue until the matter is settled.


The matter should be settled by an immediate withdrawal of the charges, a direct apology from county officials, and the changing of both the law (as well as the itching urge of bureaucrats to meddle) so that such unconstitutional absurdities do not occur in San Diego County again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today's Posts

So The Whole "President Thing" Was To Become a Car Dealer?

Double Standards, Denial of Conscience, and Extreme Prejudice Against Christians

This is a really disturbing story.

1) Disrespect in any form for the Koran is strictly forbidden with punishments quite severe. But burning Bibles is okay.

2) An American filmmaker's distorted hatchet job on evangelicals in the U.S. military is aided by the Pentagon. And that filmmaker then goes on to make a special version of his anti-Christian, anti-American film for Al Jazeerra.

3) ...[C]ultural and religious sensitivity is all one way. For the privilege of spending our blood and treasure in Muslim deserts, American soldiers are expected to abandon or deny their Christian teachings, crosses and Bibles.

We must remind the world that Islam is the one organized religion that repudiates freedom of religion -- that requires infidels to be sentenced to death. Those who convert from the Muslim faith continue to be killed in every Muslim nation in the world as is demanded in the Koran.

The one-way sensitivity clearly violates our soldier’s First Amendment rights. Most of our troops are Christians, and many would choose to share their good news faith even among Muslims. It is reprehensible to demoralize and alienate them while asking them to risk their lives for their country....

Sonia Sotomayor: Friend of Fish "And Other Aquatic Organisms"

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter, ruled in a 2007 case that power companies must protect “fish and other aquatic organisms” from being sucked into cooling vents regardless of the costs, saying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not allowed to use a cost-benefit analysis in measuring power companies’ compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.

The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling on April 1 of this year that a cost-benefit analysis was entirely appropriate when judging whether a power company was following the law...

"This case is about fish and other aquatic organisms," wrote Sotomayor. "The flow of water into these plants traps (or 'impinges') large aquatic organisms against grills or screens, which cover the intake structures, and draws (or 'entrains') small aquatic organisms into the cooling mechanism; the resulting impingement and entrainment from these operations kill or injure billions of aquatic organisms every year...."

Steve Milloy, a lawyer, author, and founder of, told that Sotomayor’s decision was pure politics, saying it reflected Judge Sotomayor’s “blind political allegiance” to radical environmentalists.

“This was ultimately a political job, where a narrow interpretation of the law is going to help or be consistent with her politics--that’s what she’s going to do,” said Milloy. “Where a more expansive view is going to help with her politics, she’s going to adopt that. She’s going to find a way to side with whatever her political views are, regardless of the law.”

(Matt Cover's CNS News report, May 27)

After Running from the Abortion Clinic, Young Father Runs For The Gold

When he made his move in the most important race of his young life, Anthony Luna's mind flashed to his 4-year-old son, whose conception seemingly ended his dreams of glory almost five years ago.

Luna wanted to win that race — the 800 meters at the Division II NCAA Indoor Championships on March 13 in Houston — for himself, for the Metro State program that gave him a second chance, but especially for little Anthony back home in Westminster.

"He's carried me to new heights," Luna said. "Without him, I wouldn't be the person I am, I wouldn't be as humble as I am, I wouldn't be as good on the track as I am. I'm more focused, and it's because I'm a father."

Slender and fluid, Luna surged for the last 200 meters and became an NCAA champion whose story of redemption and determination inspires everyone it touches.

He'd been a state champion at Ranum High School in 2004 and won a scholarship to Division II power Adams State, but got his girlfriend pregnant that summer. He took responsibility, turned down the scholarship to take care of his son and got a job as an apprentice electrician, his life on the track seemingly over.

But thanks to the second chance Metro State coach Pete Julian gave him, Luna became the school's first NCAA track champion, and this week he goes after his second title at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in San Angelo, Texas, with the finals Saturday.
[For the results, see the close of this post.]...

Luna and Stabile went to an abortion clinic after they found out she was pregnant but changed their minds when they got there.

"We realized this wasn't the right thing to do," Luna said. "At that moment it was like, 'We're going to (have the baby), it's time to tell our parents.' "

Luna and Stabile sat down with all four parents and broke the news. Their parents were supportive.

"We said, 'We will help you, we will back you up, as long as you do your part,' " said Luna's father, also named Anthony, who works nights in a landfill for Waste Management. "I think he got the message and he said, 'OK, I'm going to show you I can do it.' And he's done it."...

Read the rest of this story here in the Denver Post.

Oh yeah; how did he do last Saturday? Again from the Post:

Metro State's Anthony Luna earned his second national track and field title Saturday, winning the 800-meter run at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in San Angelo, Texas.

Luna finished in 1 minute, 49.26 seconds, edging runner-up Andrew Graham of Adams State by 0.50 of a second.

"He fell to the track on his knees and cried," Metro State coach Pete Julian said of Luna, who also won the NCAA indoor title in March at Houston...

The World's Worst Dictators

David Wallechinsky's list of this year's World's Worst Dictators stops at 20. But he concedes the list could be a lot longer.

"There are more than 70 countries ruled by dictators who exercise arbitrary authority over their citizens and who cannot be removed from power through legal means. These tyrants suppress the freedoms of speech and religion, and the right to a fair trial. Some also commit torture, execute opponents and starve their own people."

So who did Wallechinsky finally decide on?

1) Omar al-Bashir, Sudan

2) Kim Jong-il, North Korea (photo above right)

3) Sayyid Ali KhamEnei, Iran

4) Hu Jintao, China

5) King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia

6) Than Shwe, Burma (Myanmar)

7) Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe

8) Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan

9) Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya

10) Bashar al-Assad, Syria

11) Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea

12) King Mswati III, Swaziland

13) Isayas Afewerki, Eritrea

14) Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus

15) Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan

16) Choummaly Sayasone, Laos

17) Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia

18) Hosni Mubarak, Egypt

19) Paul Biya, Cameroon

20) Vladimir Putin, Russia

In the Name of Equality, Promote No One: Coulter Looks at Ricci v. DeStefano

Ann Coulter writes an insightful (and, of course, cleverly barbed) column about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's albatross case, Ricci v. DeStefano. Check it out here.

"Dealergate" -- Has Democrat Cronyism Gone So Far?

Bloggers on the Right side of the Blogosphere are up in arms over data suggesting that President Obama’s White House auto industry potentates are targeting for closure Chrysler dealers with records of contributing either to Republicans like John McCain or to other Democrats in the 2008 presidential primary.

Red State, American Thinker, Joey Smith and Reliapundit provide anecdotal and quantitative evidence that would appear to confirm a decided bias against dealers who donated to GOP causes or to anti-Obama Democrats...

If this data can be validated, it would appear to be further proof that the Obama administration is willing to step over any line to advance its agenda.

It bodes poorly for America and the rule of law.

(Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner column, May 27)

Naturally, the MSM have completely ignored the story. But here's a lot more indicating that the blogosphere certainly isn't making the same mistake.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Today's Posts

California Court Gives Marriage Backers A Good Word -- But Nothing Else.

The Right seems jubilant about the decision of the California Supreme Court which said that Proposition 8 does pass judicial scrutiny and is the now the law of the land.

But should conservatives be gleeful when thrown a bone? Should they be satisfied with hollow words and meaningless "moral victories" paternally given them by America's arrogant, non-elected jurists?

After all, besides the word itself, what have the promoters of "marriage" retained after the Court finished with the matter?

Note how Chief Justice Ronald George emphasized that the de facto rights of same-sex marriage are left untouched by the Court's ruling.

But George said California's domestic-partner law and portions of the 2008 ruling that survived Prop. 8 give same-sex couples "the same substantive core benefits" as heterosexual spouses. Those include "the constitutional right to enter into an officially recognized and protected family relationship," he said.

The "sole, albeit significant, exception," George said, is that "the designation of 'marriage' is ... now reserved for opposite-sex couples."

And here from the decision itself (notice the words I print in bold) -- Chief Justice Ronald George writing the the majority opinion: Proposition 8 "carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights (of equality and privacy), reserving the official designation of the term 'marriage' for the union of opposite-sex couples ... but leaving undisturbed all of the other extremely significant aspects of a same-sex couple's state constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship."

And from the concurrence by Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar: The majority opinion "avoids the daunting task of reconciling with our constitutional tradition a voter initiative clearly motivated at least in part by group bias."

Prop. 8 is a valid amendment because, "excepting the name, same-sex couples are entitled to enjoy all the rights of marriage, leaving the state with a continuing duty to "eliminate the remaining important differences between marriage and domestic partnership, both in substance and perception."

So again I ask, why are conservatives acting as if they really won something here?

The court is only saying (and it is remarkably open about it) that 1) the ruling allows all benefits of homosexual marriage to remain intact...except for the word "marriage." (And, oh yes; those homosexual couples who registered before the decision? Well, they're okay. They get the name as well as the game.)

And 2) the only reason the court caved in and decided not to grant homosexuals the magic word itself was because it would have precipitated a constitutional crisis.

Thus it is pragmatics and distorted semantics that have won the day, not the backers of true marriage...and not those who believe that "the will of the people" is any match nowadays for a few folks in black robes.

Conservative Columnists on the Sotamayor Nomination

* Stuart Taylor in National Journal -- ...So accustomed have we become to identity politics that it barely causes a ripple when a highly touted Supreme Court candidate, who sits on the federal Appeals Court in New York, has seriously suggested that Latina women like her make better judges than white males.

Indeed, unless Sotomayor believes that Latina women also make better judges than Latino men, and also better than African-American men and women, her basic proposition seems to be that white males (with some exceptions, she noted) are inferior to all other groups in the qualities that make for a good jurist.

Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority...

* David Limbaugh -- True to form, President Barack Obama -- in his remarks introducing his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor -- said he was doing one thing while doing the exact opposite. He articulated his criteria for the optimal nominee yet chose someone who falls squarely outside those criteria -- as best we can tell.

But what's all the fuss? A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little conservative minds. Obama's mesmerized audiences are not supposed to pay attention to the meaning and context of his words, only to their aesthetic appeal and to the tonal qualities and modulation in his voice.

Obama said a Supreme Court nominee's two most important qualities are her rigorous intellect and mastery of the law and her recognition of the limits of the judicial role -- that a judge's job is to interpret law, not to make it.

Then came the "but," the exception that imperceptibly swallowed the rule. He quoted former Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying, "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience." In other words: "Forget what I just said about how judges should interpret, not make, the law. I want my judges to have empathy. And don't tell anyone, but when I say 'empathy,' that's code for bending the law to achieve the results I want based on the selective empathy I have for certain victimized groups." ...

* Ken Blackwell -- Judge Sonia Sotomayor... is one of only three federal appellate judges in America to issue a court opinion saying that the Second Amendment does not apply to states. The case was Maloney v. Cuomo, and it came down this past January.

That means if Chicago, or even the state of Illinois or New York, wants to ban you from owning any guns at all, even in your own house, that’s okay with her. According to Judge Sotomayor, if your state or city bans all guns the way Washington, D.C. did, that’s okay under the Constitution...

* Michelle Malkin -- Since when did securing a Supreme Court seat become a high hurdles contest? The White House and Democrats have turned Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination into a personal Olympic event. Pay no attention to her jurisprudence. She grew up in a Bronx public housing project. She was diagnosed with childhood diabetes at 8. Her father died a year later.

And, oh, by the way, did you hear that she was poor?

It's a "compelling personal story," as we heard 20,956 times on Tuesday. Sotomayor's a "real" person. Why, she even read Nancy Drew as a young girl, President Obama told us. She's "faced down barriers, overcome the odds and lived out the American dream that brought her parents here so long ago," Obama said.

If Sotomayor were auditioning to be Oprah Winfrey's fill-in host, I'd understand the over-the-top hyping of her life narrative. But isn't anybody on Sotomayor's side the least bit embarrassed by all this liberal condescension?

Republicans are not allowed to mention Sotomayor's ethnicity lest they be branded bigots, but every Democrat on cable television harped on her multicultural "diversity" and "obstacle"-climbing. Obama made sure to roll his r's when noting that her parents came from Puerrrrto Rrrrico...

* Jonah Goldberg -- Obama says law and precedent should determine rulings in "95 percent of the cases." But in the really hard and important cases, justices should go with their heart. "In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy."

Now, keep in mind that 5 percent of Supreme Court cases isn't everything, but it's nearly 100 percent of what we argue about as a country. For the hard cases Americans care most about, Obama says empathy should rule.

So, what's wrong with empathy?

Well, nothing. Empathy is a fine thing, and all decent people should employ it, including Supreme Court justices.

But Obama has something specific in mind when he talks about empathy. He wants the justice's oath to in effect be rewritten. Judges must administer justice with respect to persons, they must be partial to the poor, and so on.

I don't think this is open to much debate. When Obama voted against Chief Justice John Roberts' confirmation, he said that Roberts didn't have the "heart" to vote the right way in those 5 percent of cases. Rather than Roberts the Cruel, Obama explained, "we need somebody who's got the heart -- the empathy -- to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old -- and that's the criteria by which I'll be selecting my judges." Cue Sotomayor the Empathic.

The reasoning here is a riot of dubious assumptions. Obama and Sotomayor both assume that a firsthand understanding of the plight of the poor or the African-American or the gay or the old will automatically result in justices voting a certain (liberal) way. "I would hope," Sotomayor said in 2001, "that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." This is not only deeply offensive, it is also nonsense on stilts. Clarence Thomas understands what it is like to be poor and black better than any justice who has ever sat on the bench. How's that working out for liberals?...

The Liberals Hate Him...But Dick Cheney Is On A Roll

* From the Telegraph -- Forget Christian Bale in Terminator Salvation - the new leader of the resistance is Dick Cheney. The former vice president, who this time has been sent from the past to save the future rather than the other way round, has had an astonishing week. He's dominated much of the news with his barnstorming defence of the previous administration's counter-terrorism strategy, and completely overshadowed President Obama's weak-kneed and exceedingly dull speech at the National Archives. He's even been getting a big boost in the polls even though he's not running for any kind of office. According to CNN, Cheney's up eight points since he left government, not bad for a figure the Left continues to demonize as the Antichrist.

* From the Washington Times -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney's sweeping indictment of administration policy changes on the handling of terrorism-suspect detainees has thrown President Obama on the defensive and scored points for the vice president and his party, according to pollsters and political analysts.

While Mr. Cheney has come under increasing fire from Democrats for charging that Mr. Obama's policies have made the country more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks, polls show a majority of Americans side with him on using aggressive interrogation methods on high value al Qaeda prisoners and are against moving them from the detention facility at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to maximum-security facilities in the U.S.

* From Brent Bozell -- Dick Cheney clearly drives the liberal media nuts. As much as they'd like to bask in the glow of the new and glorious Obama Era, they simply cannot achieve that requisite state of nirvana with Cheney around. They spent eight long years packaging Cheney as some evil and deadly combination of Darth Vader and the Ebola virus. Now they can add to the descriptors a new title: Count Dracula. The man refuses to die.

That's why every speech he makes draws a ferocious chorus of media boos of outrage at the idea he would dare to think he has freedom to speak in the first place. CNN's Anderson Cooper was so flustered over Cheney's latest speech at the American Enterprise Institute that he asked Cheney's daughter Elizabeth: "If a Democrat was doing this in a Republican administration, wouldn't be the Republicans be saying, this is traitorous?"

This is just too rich...

Dear Donna Reed: WWII Letters Saved in a Shoebox

It was July 1944, and America was at war. From bases and battlefields in Europe and on Pacific islands, soldiers, sailors and airmen were sending streams of letters to their favorite actresses in Hollywood, asking for pinup photos and commenting on life on the front lines.

Almost all of that mail, which studios usually answered with a glossy shot showing the star in a saucy pose, has been lost. But the actress Donna Reed, later famous for her roles as Mary Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the middle-class housewife Donna Stone on “The Donna Reed Show” and who won an Oscar for “From Here to Eternity,” saved some of the correspondence. After nearly 65 years in a shoebox inside an old trunk long stored in the garage of her home in Beverly Hills, Calif., the letters have at last been read and made public by the actress’s children...

In case you missed this touching Memorial Day weekend story from the New York Times, here it is.

Your Wednesday Tea Break

1) This life-affirming poem by GK Chesterton:

A Ballade of Suicide

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours—on the wall—
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"
The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay—
My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall—
I see a little cloud all pink and grey—
Perhaps the rector's mother will not call— I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way—
I never read the works of Juvenal—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing-day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,
Rationalists are growing rational—
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
So secret that the very sky seems small—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.


Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall,
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

2) The four "editions" (ten nifty quotations each) of Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Sherlock Holmes! which appeared early on (2005) over at The Book Den.
Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four

And 3) Three instrumental classics from the 1960's. They are, in order, Love Is Blue by Paul Mauriat and orchestra; Classical Gas by Mason Williams; and from the very beginning of that rich musical decade, Walk, Don't Run by the Ventures.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today's Posts

Reflections from a Working Memorial Day

Our Memorial Day began early and somberly. For not knowing whether the abortion mill down in Bellevue would be open or not, Claire and I drove down there with our banners to do sidewalk counseling if necessary. The place wasn't open and so we prayed, waited around a while and then prayed again before heading for home.

Once back I started watering the lawn and cleaning the garage. Then a late breakfast and Claire and I got back to the day's chores which eventually included finishing the garage job, digging out two new "flower islands" in the lawn, cutting down and digging out 4 dwarf pines that had never developed properly, repacking 6 boxes of books to go into overhead storage, applying a chemical weed killer under the deck, hand watering the newly planted flowers, and doing some planning for the other lawn care projects we've got going this week.

We finished off around 5 with a drive over to the Sonic (our local Zesto was closed) for an ice cream and then, a couple of hours later, a hot dog/Italian sausage dinner while watching a Buster Keaton classic, The General.

Throughout the day we were, of course, thinking of loved ones gone and of those who have served our nation through military service. Claire had refreshed the flowers on her mother's and father's grave last Friday when she was in Lincoln and my mind flashed often yesterday to my father's grave in Golden, Colorado.

And during these reflections, we couldn't help but mourn not only the absence of our own loved ones and the dead among our nation's heroic soldiers and sailors -- but also the passing from the modern scene of the moral idealism that most of these Americans embraced. For the virtues they stood for (freedom, justice, a strong work ethic, decency, personal responsibility and religious values) are being routinely mocked and marginalized by the arrogant secularists now running the show.

But, no matter what these difficult days bring, we still can cherish our memories; we can still hold onto those American ideals that observances like Memorial Day stimulates; and we can still work with courage, hope, faith and even good humor to restore those ideals to the prominence of former days.

Dum tempus habemus, operemur bonum.

Pest Controller Faces 4 Criminal Counts

From the "Can It Become Any More Absurd? Department" comes this astounding item.

The owner of a New Jersey pest control company has been charged with animal cruelty after a squirrel was found dead in a rooftop trap.

The Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals charged Kathleen Buck, owner of Critter Ridder, on Friday.

Chief Buddy Amato says a professional complex hired Critter Ridder to help get rid of the squirrel. He says a trap was set Wednesday for the animal, and no one returned to check on it.
Amato says the squirrel was found "cooked to death on the hot roof" Thursday afternoon.

Buck faces four counts of animal cruelty, including one that cites her for not providing the squirrel with adequate food, water and shelter.
She calls the situation a "misunderstanding," and says customers usually call when an animal is caught.

Congress' Action on Credit Cards May Cause More Problems Than It Solved -- A Lot More.

It looks like it may be time for us to to cut up that credit card of ours.

What's up?

For those Americans who think the new credit card legislation is going to be a big help, they need to think again. For as the credit card companies shift tactics, even consumers who were in no credit card trouble at all will almost certainly encounter other practices that will bite.

These practices may effect even card users like Claire and I who pay off the bill every month to avoid any interest whatsoever. You too? Then be sure and read carefully the bold print in the excerpt below.

From Yahoo Finance:

It's being touted as a big win for consumers — but the new credit card legislation that President Obama signed into law Friday hardly means that cardholders can start swiping that plastic worry-free.

In fact, as the new rules kick in (most will go into effect nine months after the president signs the bill, while others will kick in as early as 90 days afterward) and banks start curtailing the abusive practices this legislation reins in, other practices will likely emerge that can hurt consumers just as badly. “The pendulum may have swung in the wrong direction”, says Dennis Moroney, research director and senior analyst for TowerGroup, a research and advisory-services firm focused exclusively on the financial-services industry. “The banks now have to respond to these changes.”

The new law prohibits over-limit fees (unless the cardholder agrees to allow transactions that exceed their limits). To make up for that lost revenue, banks will likely introduce other fees. “You will see a re-emergence of fees for all kinds of other services,” says Robert McKinley, founder of, which provides industry research and analysis. Among the fees cardholders should watch out for: fees for rewards programs and possibly even fees for checking your balance, he says.

Also, expect annual fees to make a comeback, says Moroney. In the 1980s, annual fees were standard, but were dropped as competition among card issuers heated up. Moroney predicts that some issuers will slap annual fees on all their credit cards, while others will tie the fee to spending thresholds, so that only big spenders get a free ride...

The new legislation requires card companies to give consumers at least 21 days to pay their bills. But it doesn't require them to offer a grace period, which isn't the same as the cardholder’s due date — though the two usually coincide, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. While the due date designates the day by which a payment must be received for the cardholder to avoid a late-payment fee, the grace period is the time during which the cardholder isn’t charged interest.

McKinley says card issuers may get rid of grace periods altogether, so that cardholders who pay their balances off each month will start paying interest immediately after making a purchase. “The industry has for many years wanted to get rid of the grace period on convenience users,” he says.

What consumers should do: The only way to avoid interest charges if this happens is to stop using credit cards altogether, says Wu...

American Prisons: Recruiting and Training Ground for Islamic Terrorists

"Amid all the shocking details in the disrupted plot to bomb Bronx synagogues and fire missiles at American military aircraft, one component of the case should come as no surprise - three of the alleged culprits converted to radical Islam in prison.

Radical Islamists have targeted prison populations for recruitment for years.."

This piece published in the New York Post will take you less than 2 minutes to read -- but the impact will, I guarantee it, last a lot longer.

And keep in mind too that prison authorities all over the country have cracked down hard on Christian activities in our prison system: forcing evangelicals out of chaplain positions, removing Christian books from libraries, and curtailing the wonderfully effective programs of Prison Fellowship and Good News Prison Ministries.

Where has common sense gone in this crazy bureaucracy?

Invoking the Illuminati?

So you were interested to find out what boffo billionaires Bill Gates, George Soros, David Rockefeller Jr, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey were discussing in their secret meeting last week?

John Harlow at the Sunday Times (U.K.) says the key topic was overpopulation.

Of course. For it is historically typical that an aristocrats' dream of a new world order requires the exclusion of peoples from "the great unwashed." But these aristocrats have the money and power to really make it happen.

Who would have thought it? It turns out that those conspiracy theories we once dismissed as being too wild may, when compared to the open intentions of the so-called Good Club, end up being...too timid.

You Guessed It. Obama's Pick for Supreme Court Is Liberal Reconstructionist with a Chip on her Shoulder.

Sonia Sotomayor certainly won't be bothered with stare decisis, let alone with that outdated white document, the U. S. Constitution. Says the divorced Sotamayor, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”


“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, [jurists'] gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”


She has also approved of (and quoted for effect) law professors who said that “to judge is an exercise of power” and that “there is no objective stance but only a series of perspectives.”

And, as you can see and hear for yourself in the video clip below, "The Court of Appeals is where policy is made." (Hat tip to Verum Serum.)

For those of us who believe a judge's job is to simply interpret the Constitution and that he or she shouldn't be legislating from the bench, it looks like we're in for a rough time with this one.

And one more item. Here is a portrait of Sotamayor that comes from the decidedly liberal Jeffrey Rosen in the (again) decidedly liberal New Republic -- and yet which isn't very flattering to Obama's selection. Check it out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Today's Posts

Planned Parenthood Has a Friend in Phoenix Prosecutor

When it comes to the holocaust of abortion, there's plenty of blame to go around, starting with the thugs who murder the children for profit; the media who have so grossly distorted (if not ignored altogether) the facts of the matter; the judges who shoved the heinous, unnatural "rights" of abortion into the Constitution; the politicians who callously let the killing go on unabated; the preachers who refuse to sacrifice their own comfort to their duty to preach the Word and lead their flocks against such barbaric bloodletting; and, of course, the parents of the children who are sacrificed.

But also in the ranks of those most responsible are the prosecutors who ignore the laws that do exist in order to let abortion crimes go without any interference at all.

Such is the case with County Attorney Andrew Thomas down in Phoenix who has decided not to pursue Planned Parenthood's criminal behavior in covering up statutory rape.

Here's the story from LifeNews.

Which Scandal Does the MSM Ignore? ACORN Fraud or Barney Frank's Lying?

The answer, of course, is both.

Matthew Vadum explains in this fine American Spectator article.

Flights of Fancy: Evolution and the "Chemicalization"of God

A good friend and pro-life colleague of ours is a teacher who knows well the pressures brought to bear on school employees to toe the line on political correctness. This is nowhere more evident than in matters of religion, whether it involves the distortion/muzzling of one religion (Christianity) or the mindless acceptance/promotion of other religions (pantheism, Darwinism, secular humanism.)

God bless him for standing firm in the fray.

Of course, it's not just in the government schools that there's a passion to marginalize Christianity. And from this same friend came news of one of NPR's latest campaigns, "The Science of Spirituality" in which religion is reduced to merely physiological factors. God doesn't really exist. There is no divine revelation, no spirit, no authentic conscience -- it's all chemicals, baby.

Secular academics have even mapped out those areas of the brain where these notions come from. Clever blokes, huh? Uh huh; clever like a clod for as the Bible says of such arrogant rebels, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'"

Boy's Town: Still Inspiring (And Fulfilling) Dreams

Listen to Demarco's story right here.

Are Obama's Slips Showing?

Yes, the mainstream media are still head over heels in their crush with Barack Obama. But signs of disappointment, displeasure and even disgust are showing up. And not just in the headquarters of the EIB.

* This report (from MSNBC, no less) contrasts Obama's warm reception at Notre Dame with the frustrations over Obama's policies expressed by several diners at an Elkart, Indiana restaurant.

* This John Feehery column, which made it onto the CNN web page, casts a skeptical eye on Obama's universal health care scheme and suggests the President is in danger of a serious misstep here.

* Supporters of Israel are beginning to see just how divergent is Obama's campaign rhetoric from his performance -- and they're anything but pleased. Israel Harel writes in Haaretz of Obama's upcoming speech and other items,

The speech on a vision of peace for the Middle East, slated for June 4, will not be given at the White House, not even at a joint session of Congress. Only by delivering the speech in Cairo, intentionally skipping a visit to Jerusalem (and even to Tel Aviv!), will the spirit of peace alight on the lips of the American messiah.

Obama has little knowledge of the history, ideology and psychology of the Arab opposition to the Jewish state's existence. But he has a strategy: to thaw relations with Islam. It is clear what will be demanded in return...

Obama has tossed a lot of balls into the air, maybe too many. Even a magician like him cannot catch them all. The last ball, the especially heavy one of the Obama plan, might land on his foot, but also on the feet of everyone in the region, who will pay the price imposed on them by the person who wants (by force) to change the order of things. That will also be the case if he does not set aside his disconnected initiatives and quickly connect to reality in other places in the world, as well as at home...

* Obama's dramatically slashed defense budget has been very frightening to many -- and rightfully so.Though willing to soar into the ether on other spending goals, the President's irresponsible cuts in defense show a remarkably naive view of the will (and, increasingly, the means) of Iran and North Korea, let alone other enemies of the U.S. to endanger her. Here's Rowan Scarborough with a few details.

* Why did President Obama go out of his way to make a speech which would counteract one given by former Vice-President Dick Cheney? It was a dumb move, one which neccessarily gave added weight to what Cheney had to say. Obama's speech turned out (via his teleprompter, of course) to be flat and unproductive. Cheney's has everybody stirring. Toby Harnden at the Telegraph has a lot more in his article, "The 10 Punches Dick Cheney Landed on Barack Obama's Jaw."

Modernism Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

Victor Davis Hanson gives a few examples of how his own life has been troubled by the ineptitude, irresponsibility and even criminal fraud that has accompanied the modern technical revolution.

We have all experienced such vexing problems but Hanson deals with these matters philosophically -- he's not one to merely kick over the nightstand in frustration -- and therefore helps the rest of us better understand what is going on. And what is at stake.

During the last 20 years, science and a growing economy gave Americans the most sophisticated and leisured lifestyles in history. We inexpensively call or e-mail anywhere in the world. With online shopping and banking, Americans acquire and spend electronically - without seeing those with whom we do business. Taxes are filed over the Internet, and stocks are bought and sold daily online.

But with such ease and reliance on computers comes ever-increasing vulnerability. Brilliant engineers may have designed our laptops, cell phones, online commerce and 1-800 call lines. But someone still has to answer the phone, enter data into computers and assist customers who fall through the electronic cracks. And such human audit of the growing power of computerized commerce requires more, not less, educated workers than ever before..

Too many of us are growing more illiterate - reading less and watching television more. A conservative estimate of the national high-school dropout rate is 20 percent. Even for those who graduate, too often a therapeutic curriculum emphasizing self-esteem; race, class, and gender issues; and drug, alcohol and sex education has crowded out language, science and math.

A highly complex society, staffed by those who are unable to read well and compute at basic levels, can be terrifying. One mathematically inept transcriber or an American receptionist who cannot speak fluent English can do the public a lot of damage.

Their mistakes can get embedded into complex computers - the force multipliers of human error - whose functions they do not fully understand, which in turn automatically begin sending out mistaken notices, bills and payments.

To rectify these mistakes, the exasperated consumer dials in to a computer bank, pushes various buttons, is put on hold and, with luck, eventually finds a living, breathing real person - in India. (That said, Indian fixers often prove to be better educated and speak more precise English than their American counterparts.)...

...Modern life is becoming not so modern at all for the rest of us. The more sophisticated the chain of our culture becomes, the more it is rendered vulnerable to a single weak link of the ever-more unsophisticated - costing us time, money and peace of mind.

Unless our schools return to an emphasis on language and mathematics, and then hire better auditors of our electronic world, it will not matter how many innovative thinkers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet that America produces.

Just a few poorly educated cogs in our vast electronic wheel can easily undo their work, making our glorious postmodern life once again premodern.

The Car of Obama's Dreams

There are a few things you may not know about those Euro-type cars that President Obama has decided are best for Americans (and, believe it, this guy means to have his way in almost every area of your lives).

For instance, Steve Siler and Mike Dushane, writing in Car and Driver, say that the President's "mandate of 35.5 mpg by 2016 is like fighting obesity by outlawing large clothing."

And they've got more to say too.

That thud you just heard was the “other shoe” dropping in Washington, D.C.: the Obama administration has used the turmoil in the auto industry as an opportunity to nudge—okay, force—the industry into a new, more environmentally sensitive direction, thus making good on its promise to impose stricter Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and tailpipe emissions standards across the automobile industry...

There's another force at play here, however, as both Chrysler and GM, recipients of massive government bailout loans, are in no position to voice dissent. Whether they think these policies are sound or not is moot; they will toe the Obama party line because he's their de facto boss. Ford knows it will have to ask for Obama's help if the economy doesn't improve soon, so it is also going along with the hype. Honda and Toyota have been tooting their green horns for years, so they can't very well be the voices of dissent on this issue. Put bluntly, the government is ramming this down the throats of the car companies.

Senator after senator cites as evidence for the attainability of these standards the vehicles sold in Europe. But car for car, European vehicles aren't meaningfully more efficient. Take the Ford Focus sedan, a car that's comparably sized here and in Europe (although not the same vehicle). In the U.S., the base Focus sedan costs $15,000, has 140 hp, and is rated at 28 mpg combined by the EPA. The base Focus sedan available in Germany costs $20,000 (plus 19-percent tax!), has only 79 hp, and would be rated by the EPA at approximately 30 mpg combined if they were to test it. (Our estimate is based on standard differentials between U.S. and E.U. test numbers.) Paying an extra $5000, Europeans sacrifice 44 percent of their horsepower and gain less than 10 percent in fuel economy.

So why is Europe's fleet so much more efficient overall? The cars people buy there are much smaller. The Focus is one of the tinier mass-market cars sold in the U.S. today, but it's considered a reasonably sized family vehicle in Europe. The average European consumer buys a car a few sizes smaller than a Focus. (This is mainly due to space constraints in cities and smaller roads. If Europeans drove the long distances we do, they likely would drive Hummers, too.) And about half of Europeans buy diesels, which consume around 30-percent less fuel.

Car companies have an extensive menu of options to meet the aggressive targets, but each has a high price tag. Diesel engines fired the efficiency revolution in Europe, but tough new particulate emissions laws mean thousands of dollars in extra costs for diesels, which are naturally dirty and require NASA-level catalytic technology to meet current U.S. standards. Hybrid technology works, but economy increases are closer to 30 percent (not the 35 percent needed) and the systems cost $4000 to $10,000, depending on the size of the vehicle. GM won't even talk about the cost of the extended-range electric powertrain in its Volt, but industry sources quote a $10,000 premium per vehicle—and that's for a small car (costs generally increase proportionally with size). Lightweight materials can help a few percent, but they are already in widespread use and further implementation would yield diminishing returns and massive cost...

All of this means that the anticipated $1300 price increase per vehicle quoted by the Obama administration is absurd. Only if consumers trade down a few vehicle sizes and pay $1300 can the targets be met...

Cost cutting at Car and Driver means we no longer have unlimited access to the Psychic Friends Network, so we can't predict the future. There are a few ways this can play out. If gas prices go up significantly (naturally or with massive taxes)—or if the Obama administration introduces massive tax credits for new vehicle purchases—consumers might actually want to buy the vehicles that have been mandated. But if that doesn't happen, we'll be able to tell you about some great places to buy bigger, more comfortable, more powerful, and safer used cars and trucks.

And on that safety matter?

Robert Grady (a former trustee of the Environmental Defense Fund, a senior White House aide in drafting the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, and a key player in developing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Environmental Action Plan during his 2003 campaign) points out over at the Wall Street Journal that Obama's plan will result in substantially less safe vehicles and, ironically, in greater health hazards from air pollution!

Check it out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's Posts

Nebraska Ultrasound Bill Passes Latest Hurdle

Here's good news on Nebraska's Ultrasound bill which we've kept you informed about. The update comes from Nebraska Right to Life.

LB 675, the Mother's Right to See Her Unborn Child Ultrasound bill, passed from second stage debate (Select File) on the legislative floor to Final Reading on a 38 to 6 vote on Wednesday, May 20th. The bill passed from first round (General File) to Select on May 14th. A handful of opponents to LB 675 kept the debate going for five hours on General File and four hours on Select by throwing up several amendments. The intent and substance of LB 675 remains intact even with some tinkering on the floor. The crux of the bill is that the abortion facility doing ultrasound must perform the ultrasound one hour prior to the abortion and display the ultrasound screen so the mother can choose to look at the image, or not look at the image.

The displaying of the screen aspect of the bill is what has Planned Parenthood upset as they say currently they "offer" the mother the "option to view" her ultrasound. With the display screen being turned towards her she can truly choose to avail herself of that information or to not avail herself of it. But at least she has the opportunity to view the screen which typically is off to her side, near her shoulder.

Here is the final vote to move LB 675 to Final Reading and passage: The Final Reading vote should come in the last week of the session, next week. Special thanks are due to Senator Tony Fulton, LD #29, the introducer of the bill and floor debate leader. Senator Beau McCoy, the prioritizer of the bill, was unable to be present due to a death in his family.

YES: Adams, Ashford, Carlson, Christensen, Coash, Cornett, Dierks, Fischer, Flood, Friend, Fulton, Gay, Giese, Gloor, Hadley, Hansen, Harms, Heidemann, Janssen, Karpisek, Langemeier, Lathrop, Lautenbaugh, Mello, Nelson, Nordquist, Pahls, Pankonin, Pirsch, Price, Rogert, Schilz, Stuthman, Sullivan, Utter, Wallman, White, Wightman

NO: Campbell, Council, Haar, Howard, McGill, Nantkes

PRESENT, NOT VOTING: Avery, Cook, Louden

ABSENT: Dubas, McCoy

Will America's "Improved Dialogue with Islam" Include the Matter of Persecuted Christians?

Doug Bandow has an excellent article (Interfaith Dialogue: The Great Unmentionable) over at The American Spectator that is well-directed and full of facts. I print just a bit of it below.

President Barack Obama has called for an improved dialogue with Islam and is planning a major speech in Egypt. He is not alone in his efforts to reach out. Pope Benedict recently visited Jordan, where he acknowledged "the burden of our common history so often marked by misunderstanding."

Certainly all faiths would benefit from greater understanding. Yet no conversation will have any meaning if it does not address Islam's brutal reality: the consistent persecution of Christians, Jews, and members of other minority faiths...

Nevertheless, past Western dialogue with Islam has consistently missed the elephant in the room: Pervasive religious persecution.

Who persecutes religious minorities around the world? Communist and former communist states are big offenders: China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea. There's a motley mixed group, including India, Sri Lanka, and Burma. Then there are Islamic states.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released its latest report. Of 13 states named Countries of Particular Concern, seven have overwhelming Muslim majorities: Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Two, Eritrea and Nigeria, have narrow Muslims majorities. Of 11 countries on the Commission's Watch List, six have majority Islamic populations: Afghanistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Somalia, Tajikistan, and Turkey. Of three countries being "closely monitored," two, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan, are majority Muslim. That is 17 of 27.

International Christian Concern publishes a "Hall of Shame" naming the ten worst persecutors. Six of them -- Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia -- have Muslim majorities.

In fact, it is unusual to find an Islamic nation where religious minorities are not discriminated against, both legally and socially. One of the best predictors that a government persecutes, or fails to protect religious minorities from persecution, is that the majority faith is Islam.

Obviously, there is a range within the Islamic world. Some of persecutors, such as Eritrea and the Central Asian countries, for instance, seem driven more by ideology than theology. Moreover, not all Islamic states imprison or kill dissenters. But even the good isn't very good...

Obviously the president cannot center U.S. foreign policy on the issue of religious liberty. But the freedoms of conscience and of religious faith are basic human rights, the promotion of which is an important objective of American policy. Moreover, no genuine dialogue with the Islamic world can overlook the Muslim record on religious persecution. If Islamic governments expect the Western states "to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs," then the former need to do so as well. And that means protecting the liberty of those who believe and worship differently in their own countries.

By all means, let's encourage dialogue with Muslim nations. But let's put all issues on the table, including religious persecution.

Two Not To Be Missed From Randy Alcorn

There's always plenty of educational and inspiring articles to read through over at Eternal Perspective Ministries and Randy Alcorn's Blog. I go there often and heartily encourage you to do the same.

Let me cite just a couple from recent days that really shouldn't be missed. The first is a brief but invaluable challenge, Speak the Truth in Love.

And the second is 50 Ways To Help Unborn Babies and Their Mothers, a terrific list that has been revised and expanded since its original appearance in Randy's superb book, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.