Friday, September 30, 2011

Today's Posts


Vital Signs in Russian?

With my Mom's needs taking so much time, I haven't been out of the country for almost three years. But that doesn't mean the international impact of Vital Signs Ministries wasn't going on apace.

For instance, take a quick look at this list of places:

Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation -- Tiraspol Republic of Moldova -- Moscow, Russian Federation -- Saanichton, British Columbia -- Minsk, Belarus -- Kiev, Ukraine -- Murmansk, Russian Federation -- Los Angeles, California -- Jalandhar, India -- Elektrostal, Russian Federation -- Birkirkara, Malta -- Kiev, Ukraine -- Moscow, Russian Federation -- Mariupol, Ukraine -- Minsk, Belarus -- Sharjah, United Arab Emirates -- Kiev, Ukraine -- London, United Kingdom -- Moscow, Russian Federation -- Nizhniy Novgorod, Russian Federation -- Angarsk, Russian Federation -- Lexington, South Carolina -- Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation -- Gomel,  Belarus -- Orenburg, Russian Federation -- Moscow, Russian Federation -- Barnaul, Russian Federation --

What do they have in common?

They are all places where inquiring minds have connected in the last two days to articles contained in Vital Signs Ministries' Russian-language site. And those represent only a few. Our numbers show well over 600 hits in the month of September alone. Great, huh?

Here's a few of the articles they're reading:

«Мои мысли – мои скакуны»
«Так что же происходит в момент зачатия и после?»
Ранние стадии развития человека
Размышленяя о вечности и морали
Что проку от страданий?
Библия о еще не рожденных детях
Вечные проблемы сторонника дела Божьего
Сила истины
День Святого Патрика
Доктринальное утверждение миссии
Ru-486 Очень Опасный Препарат

There's English language material at the site too with more articles (in both languages) being added all the time. Articles about abortion and the prenatal development of the child are our most popular but we present other pro-life material too plus sermons and Bible study helps.

So please keep this arena of Vital Signs Ministries in prayer, okay? Perhaps you might even consider mentioning this outreach to your church pastor or missions committee and asking if they'd like to be a part. And, of course, Vital Signs Ministries is always deeply grateful for individual donations. That's how we're able to keep the Russian-language site, the VSM site, Vital Signs Blog, the sidewalk counseling, "When Swing Was King," the actions against Planned Parenthood, the letter-writing nights, the education and discipleship programs, and everything else going. Your help is of tremendous value.


Women Turning Back to "Propriety" -- And Erica Jong Is Ticked

"We idealized open marriage; our daughters are back to idealizing monogamy. We were unable to extinguish the lust for propriety."

In 1973 Erica Jong's Fear of Flying propelled her into a highly visible role in the new feminist movement. Some even refer to Jong as a key champion of the sexual revolution but that's not accurate. The sexual revolution had been in full swing (no pun intended) for some years. Jong simply made use of the new interest in feminism from publishers and in so doing made a name (and a lot of money) for herself.

But at 69 Erica Jong is still very interested in sex -- as long as it's sex along feminist definitions. But when sexual expression begins to slip back into those manacles which for centuries hindered its "free flight" -- faithfulness, marriage, children -- then Ms. Jong is definitely not amused.

She expresses her frustrations in a New York Times Sunday Review article that is startlingly bitter. It is a sad piece, a petulant whine that the feminist revolution has fallen in on itself. It's supposed gains and victories turned out to be defeats. Younger women have seen what happened after the tsunamis of the sexual revolution and feminism crashed upon Western culture. They saw the effects of broken hearts and homes, of birth control pills, of no fault divorce, of abortion, of epidemics of STDs, of the coarsening of romance and social graces, and so on.

They decided to go a different way.

And Erica Jong, still blind to the real-world effects of feminism, can't stand it.

Thrilled to Death: The Euthanasia Coaster

We should be saddened, of course, but should we really be surprised that our culture, fixated as it is on entertainment, thrills and technology, and determined to shake off its traditions defending the sanctity of human life, desires to produce such a thing? Here's the story from Discovery News.

Want to enjoy the ride of your life along with the last ride of your life? That's what Julijonas Urbonas envisions with his Euthanasia Coaster.

The three-minute ride involves a long, slow, climb -- nearly a third of a mile long -- that lifts one up to a height of more than 1,600 feet, followed by a massive fall and seven strategically sized and placed loops. The final descent and series of loops take all of one minute. But the gravitational force -- 10 Gs -- from the spinning loops at 223 miles per hour in that single minute is lethal.

According to Urbonas, the "Euthanasia Coaster is a hypothetic euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely -- with elegance and euphoria -- take the life of a human being."...

Urbonas sees it as both an intellectual and artful departure from the world, one that isn't about the paperwork and medical issues of the current euthanasia system. The few places where voluntary euthanasia is legal include: Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington.

"There is no special ritual, nor is death given special meaning except that of the legal procedures and psychological preparation. It is like death is divorced from our cultural life…" Urbonas writes. "…But if it is already legal, why not to make it more meaningful?"

How do you turn a rollercoaster ride into a "meaningful" death? Urbonas has built in a long, slow trek to the top before the first fall. In fact, of the three-minute ride, two minutes are devoted to the climb. Urbonas writes: "…The rider has a few minutes to contemplate his decision and his life in retrospect. He would find enough time to adapt to the height and get through a series of imaginary fatal falls, while realizing that the objects on the ground are getting smaller…The slightest movement of the car would trigger intense heart-beating and goosebumps and most importantly it would test your decision. Therefore the very top of the tower is an ideal place to give the very last word."

And that's when the rider is required to make the ultimate life decision: choose to continue living or push the "FALL" button and die.

So how exactly does one physically die by rollercoaster? The science behind it is pretty simple: spin fast enough and hard enough and your brain won't get enough oxygen to keep functioning. The vertical rolls of the coaster would essentially create enough centrifugal force on the body that the blood rushes down in the body instead of up to the brain...

For now though, the Euthanasia Coaster remains at a 1:500 scale model. Urbonas doesn’t see it being built in full until "…the future where the politics of technologies are much less centralized and more creative, diversified and democratic."

Iran Still Plans on Executing Christian Pastor

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death penalty, again refused to convert to Islam to save his life.

Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for the crime of apostasy because he allegedly abandoned Islam for Christianity. As a pastor, Iranian clerics believe that Nadarkhani was preaching in order to convert Muslims.

Before his last hearing Wednesday, Nadarkhani had been given three previous chances to repent, and all three times he has refused. After his final refusal Wednesday, no verdict has been announced, but many expect that he could be put to death as soon as Friday...

There were rumors on Wednesday night that Nadarkhani's execution sentence was to be waived after the final trial, but contradicting reports indicate that the news was incorrect.

"We've had some reports that there has been a verbal announcement from the court in Iran that the sentence is annulled but we urge caution," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a religious group campaigning for Nadarkhani's release.

"It's been known that verbal announcements have been directly contradicted by later written statements. We are still calling for international pressure to be kept up."
(International Business Times)

Prayers (fervent and frequent) remain in order.

No Surprise in Obama's Confession

Fresh from the "Some Things Never Change" Department:

“I did not love every class I took. I wasn’t always paying attention the way I should have,” Obama said. “I remember when I was in 8th grade I had to take a class called ethics. Now, ethics is about right and wrong, but if you’d ask me what my favorite subject was back in 8th grade, it was basketball. I don’t think ethics would have made it on the list.” (Barack Obama talking to high school students yesterday.)

"Fast & Furious" -- Will Obama's Outrageous Gun-Running Scheme Bring Him Down?

This "Fast & Furious" thing is flat out unbelievable.

I mean, really, look at what it involves: 1) the U.S. government instructing American gun dealers to engage in criminal activity, 2) that illegal activity being the sales of thousands of assault weapons to known drug dealers involved in the Mexican cartels, 3) keeping this outrageous program secret from the Mexican government, 4) an ongoing pattern of clumsy stonewalling, lies and cover ups by the Obama administration, and 5) an American media that doesn't see in this whole dangerous, despicable mess a news story!

But despite the criminal actions of Team Obama and, for that matter, the criminal negligence of the press, "Fast & Furious" is breaking into the light. And to get an effective review (detailed, insightful and carefully timelined) of the matter, I think you'll find Frank Miniter's article in Forbes magazine superb.

It's entitled "'Fast And Furious' Just Might Be President Obama's Watergate." And you'll find it right here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today's Posts

Margaret Thatcher & Lech Walesa: A Longing for Liberty

Here's a 4 and1/2 minute clip which you'll be moved by all day long.

Obama Administration's Attempt to End VOA Broadcasts to China Fails

Reggie Littlejohn, the President of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, passed along to her Facebook friends a piece of good news last night; namely, that the Senate Committee on Appropriations has rejected the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ proposal to end Voice of America (VOA) radio and TV broadcasts to China.

That's an important victory for the cause of liberty in China as well as the reputation of the United States as a defender and promoter of freedom and the right to know for people overwhelmed by totalitarian governments.  The BBG had earlier canceled broadcasts to Russia (Putin's recent moves there prove what a shameful and counter-productive move that was now.) and figured by pushing Congress again, it could end broadcasts to China altogether and reduce shortwave and medium wave transmissions to Russia, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.

Obviously Barack Obama's bureaucrats do not share Ronald Reagan's ideal of America as a shining city on the hill. No, they seem to reject American exceptionalism completely. How terribly sad for the United States. And for repressed (but freedom-loving) people all over the globe.

But Congress bit back this time. They protected the VOA broadcasts to China and even delivered an unprecedented bipartisan rebuke to the BBG for it's arrogance and lack of transparency.

This won't be the last battle with the BBG. And it shows how deeply the current administration feels about hiding freedom's light under a bushel.

Again, here's more of the story including a partial list of the human rights organizations who pushed Congress into taking the firm stand they did.

Pastor on Iran's Death Row Spared? Yet Justice Cries Out Still.

Kathryn Jean Lopez passes along information from the American Center for Law and Justice:

We have just received a report from our source in Iran that a judge has agreed to overturn Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s death penalty sentence. However, at this time, ACLJ representatives have not received official notice from the court and are working to confirm this report. By no means does this mean that Pastor Youcef will be set free without some additional punishment, potentially a long jail sentence or worse.

Paul Marshall reacts:

Great if true. My best guess is that they’ll avoid death penalty because of international opprobrium — i.e. us, and others like us, but will go for a heavy sentence that will be less stark than death. From their view, that deflects much of the criticism.We need to continue pushing.

Lopez asks, "Secretary Clinton? President Obama? Anybody in this administration?"

Legalized Abortion Denied; Personhood Amendment Upheld in Baja

On Monday I posted here several items relating to the escalating horrors of violence in Mexico.

But, thanks to Mexican Supreme Court Justice Pardo Rebolledo and three others, at least the escalation of lethal violence that liberals were aiming at aimed at preborn children was turned back.

The Supreme Court of Mexico ruled on Wednesday to uphold the state constitutional personhood amendment of Baja California. A similar decision in the San Luis Potosi case is expected. The Court’s most recent appointee, Justice Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo, sided with three members of the Court to reject an Action for Unconstitutionality submitted against the measures. Pardo Rebolledo was appointed last February and had yet to rule in an abortion case. His vote ensures that the Court will not reach the supermajority necessary to overturn the amendment.

“Pardo Rebolledo, as well as Justices Salvador Aguirre, Margarita Luna, and Guillermo Ortiz have our gratitude,” said Personhood USA Legal Analyst Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D. “Thousands of Mexican girls and boys will, one day, be able to thank them personally for defending their very right to exist.”

No, It's Not Saturday Night Live -- It's the News

* Uncle Obama 

Barack Obama's drunk-driving, illegal immigrant uncle giggles through his court appearance before going back to work at...a liquor store. Although there is a longstanding deportation order for Onyango Obama, he remains as free as a bird.

* The Fast & Furious Scandal

The Obama administration knowingly sold guns to Mexican drug dealers who used them to murder hundreds (including two American agents). And when the jig was up, Justice Department head Eric Holder has been guilty of stonewalling, hiding evidence, lying to Congressional investigators. Yet the media refuses to cover the story. Here's the latest from the New York Post.

* More Mammogram Lies from Planned Parenthood

To fight back against conservatives who wanted to stop taxpayers from funding Planned Parenthood, the mega-abortion corporation's leaders made a bold claim about its centers providing life-saving medical treatment like mammograms. But they don't. And Live Action and others not only verified the lie, they posted into cyberspace the tapes of Planned Parenthood officers throughout the country admitting that they did not provide mammograms. But California Democrat Barbara Boxer, Planned Parenthood's chief water carrier in the U.S. Senate, refuses to acknowledge the now clearly established truth. And so she's still lying up a storm about Planned Parenthood's mammograms. And what's even more disgusting, Boxer is lying to help out an organization that kills preborn boys and girls.

* A New Green Scandal for Democrats

"It’s as if Solyndra never happened. The Obama Administration is giving $737 million to a Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve. PCG is an investment partner with SolarReserve. Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law happens to be the number two man at PCG."

* Obama's Attack on Pharmaceuticals 

The chief spokesman for pharmaceutical manufacturers says President Obama has stuck two thorns in the industry’s side at a time marked by uncertainty as lawmakers contemplate cutting health care programs and battles over the new health care law wind their way through the courts...

“It’s absolutely wrongheaded,” Mr. Castellani said. “It drives the opposite effect that the president stated he wants to reach.”

In an interview with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, Mr. Castellani criticized the administration for policies he thinks will hinder medical advancement, outlined recent negotiations with the Food and Drug Administration and touched on his hopes for the congressional supercommittee charged with reaching a deficit-reduction agreement this fall...

Washington Post: Ben Nelson "Rests Easier" with Prospect of Jon Bruning's Candidacy

If you're still thinking that Jon Bruning is the best Republican chance to beat Ben Nelson, you might want to think a bit more carefully. For Bruning's star has faded quite a bit with revelations of his extreme liberal past, his needlessly offensive comparison of welfare recipients to "scavenging raccoons," the purchase of property with business executives whose case he intervened in as attorney general, and other questionable actions and gaffes. It's gone so far that the Washington Post believes that even though Ben Nelson's Senate seat was figured a definite loss last year at this time, the prospect of facing Bruning is making Nelson rest a little easier nowadays. 

I warned last February that Bruning wouldn't be the strongest candidate and suggested instead Don Stenberg. Stories like this one make me more convinced than ever.

Our Lazy, Lying and Lewdly Spending Congress

Republican Senator from Oklahoma Dr. Tom Coburn blows the whistle (yet again) on the criminal irresponsibility of the U.S. Congress. Be sure your blood pressure meds are up to par before reading this one -- and then raise someone else's ire by passing it along. Indeed, make sure that among those that receive it are YOUR Congressmen and Senators.

Seven months ago, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office released a landmark report identifying at least $200 billion in wasteful, duplicative, and fraudulent government programs.  At a time when we’re bankrupt as a nation – our debt now exceeds the size of our GDP and we have no way to finance our long-term liabilities – the report was a treasure map of easy-to-find savings.

At its release, Republicans and Democrats both pledged to use the unbiased report to identify and pass real savings on to taxpayers.  The report raised questions all sides saw as important.  For instance, why do we have 47 ineffective job training programs instead of one that works?  Why do have 20 agencies operating 56 financial literacy programs when the federal government has no credibility or authority to teach financial literacy?  And, on the national security front, why do we have at least five departments, eight agencies and more than two dozen presidential appointees overseeing $6.48 billion related to bioterrorism when no one has a plan?

Senate Majority Leader Reid said the report, “[S]hows all kinds of redundancies and overlapping.  Those are places we can cut money.  Let's do it.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi agreed. “Again, we all agree we have to get rid of waste, fraud, abuse, duplication, obsolescence, and the rest,” Pelosi said.  “The GAO has given us a blueprint for that, and we subscribe to that.  We all agree that we must reduce the deficit, and the fiscal commission has given us a road map for that.  We can agree or disagree with some of it; but the fact is it gives us a blueprint for how to go forward, and we should take heed of that.”

Yet, in the last seven months, Congress has failed to send a single cut identified by GAO to the president’s desk.  Even worse, instead of cutting the spending identified by GAO, the Senate Appropriations Committee is now proposing to slash funding for GAO itself...

At a time when we are running a $15 trillion debt and are borrowing $4.5 billion a day to keep government open and our military deployed, every agency needs to tighten its belt.  Yet, the Appropriations Committee proposal looks like mismanagement at best and pay back at worse.

The fact is while GAO has stepped up its efforts to meet congressional demands, the oversight conducted by Congress itself has declined dramatically.  Congressional committees held 318 fewer hearings in the 111th Congress than in the 110th Congress.  During the height of the earmark era, the number of earmark requests outnumbered oversight hearings by a factor of 1,000 to 1.  Finally, Congress has not passed a budget in more than two years – 878 days – and is governing by continuing resolutions and omnibus spending bills...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today's Posts

When Prisons Are Nicer Than Nursing Homes

My sister Sherry sent along a provocative comparison that is worthy of careful reflection. And those reflections (if at all rational and moral) will then move us to prayerfully work to change things around. Check it out.

Why not place America's elderly in prisons. There they'll get a shower a day, video surveillance in case of problems, three meals a day, access to a library, big screen computers and televisions, a gym, ongoing social and educational opportunities and comprehensive health care. All for free. And then place criminals in our some of America's nursing homes. Put them in the nursing homes (and there's plenty of them) that serve up cold, tasteless meals in a gloomy atmosphere. Places where the lights go off at 8, where residents get one bath a week, where they share a small room with another resident or two. And where they pay $3500, $4500 and up for the "privileges." It's pretty sad that in America we often treat imprisoned criminals better than we treat our elderly and infirm.

Every "When Swing Was King" Is A Special One

Yesterday's presentation of "When Swing Was King" was a wonderful one. Yes, we say that about almost every one of them but it's very important that Claire and I continue to perceive (and appreciate) the unique blessing that every program represents. The residents of the nursing homes and assisted living centers love listening to the big band music watching the photo progression. They enjoy the commentary as I share interesting items about the bandleaders, singers, certain photographs and the times. They are also grateful for the chance to tell their stories to people who genuinely are interested.

And they love the memories that "When Swing Was King" recalls for them. Even the bittersweet ones.

It didn't look like we were going to have much of a crowd yesterday afternoon at the assisted living center we were visiting. It was only our third time at this place. At 5 minutes before the program was scheduled to start, there were only 2 ladies sitting in the theater. The activities director was apologizing and explaining how difficult it was for her to get residents to come to an afternoon program. She suggested the possibility of us coming in the evening. "We can sometimes get 40 people at an evening function," she said. "And even if we could have you here once, then the residents would see how wonderful the program is. Then they'd be fans and we could get him here even in the afternoon!"

Not a bad idea. But one that might not be necessary, after all. Because by the time we were into the second song the two ladies had been joined by nearly 30 more people!  And the laughter and excited recognitions during the program; the people sprightly singing along; the smiles, thank-yous and sharing of stories afterward were every bit as sweet as the places to which we've become old friends.

So yes, indeed. Yesterday's presentation of "When Swing Was King" was a wonderful one.

(By the way, yesterday's presentation was our 98th! Pretty impressive for a program that started out just a year ago July...a program that was initially conceived as a one time show for my Mom's nursing home!)

The Epiphany of St. Mugg

From the Foreword of Malcolm Muggeridge's Jesus Rediscovered (Fontana Books, 1969):

It was while I was in the Holy Land for the purpose of making three B.B.C. television programmes on the New Testament that a curious, almost magical, certainty seized me about Jesus' birth, ministry and Crucifixion...I became aware that there really had been a man, Jesus, who was also God - I was conscious of his presence. He really had spoken those sublime words - I heard them. He really had died on a cross and risen from the dead. Otherwise, how was it possible for me to meet him, as I did?...

The words Jesus spoke are living words, as relevant today as when they were first spoken; the light he shone continues to shine as brightly as ever. Thus he is alive, as for instance Socrates - who also chose to lay down his life for truth's sake - isn't...

The Cross is where history and life, legend and reality, time and eternity, intersect...

The Horror of Sudan: Why Doesn't the Media Tell This Story?

Remember the comprehensive (if biased) press coverage on Egypt and Libya? Why then is the media so glaringly absent in telling the story of the Islamist thugs who rule Sudan and the horrible violence they are pouring out upon their own citizens in the Nuba Mountains, Darfur and other regions? Murders. Forced famine. Bombing from the air.

Why the orchestrated silence from the press?

Virgina Congressman Frank Wolf, long a champion of human rights (including the sanctiry of life itself), is asking that question in an effective way; namely, by convening public hearings in Washington.

But he needs our involvement too.

...The high level of frustration among members of Congress was evident even as Congressman Wolf, the co-chair of the commission and a long-time advocate for the beleaguered Sudanese people, described the hearing as one of the best ones he has ever been to on Sudan (and he has been to many). Wolf admitted that he was still pessimistic about conditions in Sudan “until Bashir is taken to The Hague and tried.” He declared, as he had done at a previous hearing in August, that “until there is regime change, and Bashir is no longer in power, we will not see change in Sudan.”

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), co-founder and co-chair of the Sudan Caucus, also contrasted the situation in Sudan with the “Arab Spring.” “We are perfectly happy to shoot missiles at Gadhafi for threatening to hurt his people, but we are doing nothing about a government that has been killing its people for years!” he exclaimed. “None of us really understands why we are not doing more,” Capuano added.

As the hearing came to a close, Congressman Wolf searched the packed hearing room, demanding of the crowd, “How many of you are from the media?” He counted as five hands went up around the room in the Cannon House Office Building. “Of you five, are any of you from Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, or NBC?” he questioned further. Silence.

Wolf lamented that no one in the media had asked any of the Republican presidential hopefuls about Sudan in any of the debates, and since only answers to questions and no opening statements were permitted, it was hard to gauge whether or not there was any interest on the part of the GOP candidates. The congressman said he intended to send the testimonies from the hearing to the five major networks and urge them to air the views of the candidates on this important issue. Perhaps he should send copies to each of the candidates’ campaigns, as well, and seek a direct response.

Increased media coverage from all quarters would help build pressure for change in Sudan as it did for the “Arab Spring.” But the mainstream media that reported breathlessly each protest in Tahrir Square and each NATO air strike to aid Libyan “rebels” has been mostly silent about Sudan’s fight for freedom. It’s up to the rest of us to keep up the pressure.

Let's get on the ball here. E-mails and calls are very much in order to our own Congressmen and Senators, the G.O.P. candidates and the President, and members of the media? The message is a simple one -- Why the immoral silence on the Sudanese suffering?

Green Goofiness: EPA Needs $21 Billion for 230,00 New Bureaucrats

The Environmental Protection Agency has said new greenhouse gas regulations, as proposed, may be “absurd” in application and “impossible to administer” by its self-imposed 2016 deadline. But the agency is still asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion — to attempt to implement the rules...

The EPA aims to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act, even though the law doesn’t give the EPA explicit power to do so...

The proposed regulations would set greenhouse gas emission thresholds above which businesses must file for an EPA permit and complete extra paperwork in order to continue operating. If the EPA wins its court battle and fully rolls out the greenhouse gas regulations, the number of businesses forced into this regulatory regime would grow tremendously — from approximately 14,000 now to as many as 6.1 million.

These new regulatory efforts are not likely to succeed, the EPA admits, but it has decided to move forward regardless. ..

Web Stalking: Facebook Gets Caught...Yet Again

Facebook has admitted that it has been watching the web pages its members visit – even when they have logged out. In its latest privacy blunder, the social networking site was forced to confirm that it has been constantly tracking its 750 million users, even when they are using other sites...

Most would assume that Facebook stops monitoring them after they leave its site, but technology bloggers discovered this was not the case. In fact, data has been regularly sent back to the social network’s servers – data that could be worth billions when creating 'targeted' advertising based on the sites users visit...

Mr Cubrilovic wrote: "Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit. The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate (web) browser for Facebook interactions. This is not what "logout" is supposed to mean."

The admission is the latest in a series of privacy blunders from Facebook, which has a record of only correcting such matters when they are brought to light by other people...

On technology blog CNET, however, users were outraged at what was going on.

One wrote: ‘Who the hell do these people think they are? ‘Trust us?’ Why? Why should we trust a company that spies on us without our knowledge and consent?’

Another added: ‘Holy wow.... they've just lept way past Google on the creepy meter’.

According to U.S. reports Facebook has recently set up its own Political Action Committee, an American term for a lobbying outfit to get its views heard on Capitol Hill...

(Daniel Bates, Daily Mail, September 28)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Today's Posts

Big Pro-Life Weekend in Omaha

Join us please for:

1) A prayer vigil outside the northwest Planned Parenthood, two blocks north of Maple on 93rd Street. The prayer vigil is from 9:15-10:00. You can park in the lot of Hope Church which is just off the northwest corner of 93rd and Maple. Joining us for prayers there will be Rita Diller of Stop Planned Parenthood.

2) Immediately after the prayer meeting, Rita Diller will address pro-lifers at Hope Church. Here are details from an earlier Vital Signs post:

Rita Diller is the National Director of American Life League's Stop Planned Parenthood project.

As National Director, Rita is responsible for leading American Life League's effort against Planned Parenthood in the United States. She is the managing editor of the STOPP Report and is responsible for overseeing research on Planned Parenthood and supplying detailed information about PP to pro-lifers all across the country.

Rita serves as a consultant to many groups and shares with those fighting Planned Parenthood the successful techniques that have been developed across the country.

Rita has more than 26 years experience across the spectrum of pro-life work, including 12 years as Respect Life Director for the Diocese of Amarillo, working closely with Bishop John Yanta. While in Amarillo, she trained volunteers and established weekly prayer vigils at PP centers; challenged PP at every turn -- in the media, on the streets, at their meetings, fundraisers, educational events, in community organizations, before the city council; and educated their supporters and the community at large about the PP agenda.

At the end of the 12 year campaign to expose Planned Parenthood in the Amarillo area, 19 PP facilities had shut down and the remaining two disaffiliated from the Planned Parenthood Federation...

Rita will be with us as we conduct a prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood abortion mill in northwest Omaha (2 blocks north of Maple on 93rd Street) on Saturday, October 1st from 9:15 to 10 AM. After the prayer vigil, Rita will join us at Hope Church (93 and Maple -- where we suggest you park for the prayer vigil as well) for a presentation about ways the Omaha Christian community can best oppose the nefarious and deadly doings of Planned Parenthood.

Please plan on joining us at the abortion facility for prayer that morning and then for coffee, donuts and an engaging, practical presentation on pro-life activism from Rita Diller. It would be great to have an idea of how many are planning to attend, so please zip us an e-mail at

And then 3) Sunday is Life Chain. And while it is a sad fact that most churches in the Omaha area have fumbled away this splendid opportunity to create a winsome pro-life witness to our city, not everyone has given up on the ministry of Life Chain. So, if you do not have a church presence at the Life Chain, come join Claire and I and our friends from Faith Bible Church and many others in standing on the corners of 72nd and Dodge. 2 o'clock to 3 o'clock is the time.

We hope to see you at all three events!

Wake Me When the Obama Nightmare Is Over

Here's a few items from today's news to keep you shuddering (whether through fear, anger or moral angst) throughout the day.

1) 20,000 Portable Missiles Have Gone, Uh...Missing

U.S. officials had once thought there was little chance that terrorists could get their hands on many of the portable surface-to-air missiles that can bring down a commercial jet liner.

But now that calculation is out the window, with officials at a recent secret White House meeting reporting that thousands of them have gone missing in Libya...

The nightmare has been made real with the discovery in Libya that an estimated 20,000 portable, heat-seeking missiles have gone missing from unguarded Army weapons warehouses...

(ABC News, this morning.)

2) Coca-Cola Prefers China, Brazil Business Atmosphere to America's Hostility

Coca-Cola now sees the US becoming a less friendly business environment than China, its chief executive has revealed, citing political gridlock and an antiquated tax structure as reasons its home market has become less competitive.

Muhtar Kent, Coke’s chief executive, said “in many respects” it was easier doing business in China, which he likened to a well-managed company. “You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other,” he told the Financial Times.

Mr Kent also pointed to Brazil as an example of an emerging economy that is making itself attractive to investment in ways that the US once did.

“They’re learning very fast, these countries,” he said. “In the west, we’re forgetting what really worked 20 years ago. In China and other markets around the world, you see the kind of attention to detail about how business works and how business creates employment.”

(Alan Rappeport in the Financial Times this morning. Here's the whole story.

3) Who Really Cares for the Poor? Obama's Jobs Bill Would Strangle Charities

A little-noticed provision in President Obama’s new $447 billion jobs bill seeks to limit tax deduction for charitable giving at 28 cents for every dollar donated, causing big waves along the front lines of those serving in rescue missions and crisis shelters across the country.

The provision in the bill will not only limit the generosity of private donors who give to rescue missions, but it will also hamper the ability of rescue missions to raise private dollars that pay for badly needed services for the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted, these mission groups fear.

“This is a time to increase incentives for all Americans to give; it’s not a time to experiment with disincentives,” John Ashmen, president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM), told The Christian Post Friday...

(Christian Post, this morning.)

How You Doing With Those Facebook Changes?

A Facebook friend explained this morning why everyone's "traffic" is dropping. It seems that with the changes Facebook made recently, it is extremely important that friends "like," "share" or "comment" on your friend's posts. If you don't, those posts will likely be edited off your home page and you'll never see them.

Here at Vital Signs Blog we've seen that. Our posts that we upload onto Facebook simply aren't showing up for many people. So, be sure to "like" the posts of the friends you want to continue seeing. If not, it's probably bye bye.

Of course, Facebook is to blame for these frustrations but they don't really care. As long as their revenue continues to soar, they're happy. And make no mistake, Facebook is making a lot of money off of you. This is true even for those Facebook loyalists who are okay with whatever confusing, infuriating changes the company makes -- because they believe it's a free service.

It ain't.

"The more FB pushes the sharing and following and being followed, the more the paid ads and information about each user gets distributed. So that gives the advertisers more 'hits' for their dollar. It's about money. It's not free for users -- - we pay by giving up privacy to advertisers and others who are buying, and keeping, info about us."

An exaggeration, you think? AP's USA Today story thinks not. "The company is expected to bring in $3.8 billion in worldwide advertising revenue this year and $5.8 billion in 2012, according to research firm eMarketer. The more time people spend on its site or share and the more information they share about themselves, the better companies can target their ads."


Reading through Facebook forums, I've seen that the overwhelming (and I do mean, overwhelming!) response to the new changes is angry confusion and the increased conviction that FB seems to be competing with Netflix in ticking people off. And since arrogance drives people away as much as does unwanted interference, people are dropping out in droves.

I'm pretty close to doing so too. But I'll stick a bit longer by trying to squeeze what effectiveness I can out of the snarly thing.

For instance, in addition to doing what I suggested in the first paragraph (liking everything I see from friends that I want to keep contact with), I've created a list labeled "All List" and then gone through and checked every single one of my FB friends that I consider important reading. It takes a little time but then, instead of being satisfied with what FB tells you are your "top stories," you just hit your "All List" and, like the old days, you're able to read all of your friends' posts as they come in. I think it works anyhow. Try it.

Is the Christian Obligated to Promote the Welfare State?

People often talk about what our "nation" could or should do, when they are actually talking about having the federal government do it. Even Stephen Colbert has a schtick about how "we" cannot be a Christian nation unless the federal government "helps" the poor.

Thus: accusations that people who think the federal government has no authority to help the poor (and it doesn't--read the Constitution) cannot be real Christians because Jesus commanded "us" to help the poor. Since when is the federal government "the nation" or "us"? It is nothing of the kind. It is one particular institution, established by the American People for particular purposes. The American People existed prior to the federal government, as did the States, as did the Christian religion, as did Jesus.

The "General Welfare" clause is most often cited as though it were a warrant for Congress to do "whatever seems like a good idea." It is the opposite. It is a reiteration of one of the limits on the power of Congress. I.e., the "General Welfare" clause means that Congress's powers are limited to enacting laws and appropriations that benefit everyone. "General Welfare" OUTLAWS -- rather than authorizes -- Individual Welfare and Corporate Welfare.

"Nothing above the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State" is sentiment not to be found in the Constitution or in the heart of any true American. But it is found in the hearts of those who seek to destroy private charity, private education, and private enterprise, and make the central government omnipotent.

(Excellent insights from Fr. Vince Fitzpatrick, a pro-life colleague and old friend)

Odyssey Marine Finds Biggest Undersea Treasure in History

When the SS Gairsoppa was torpedoed by a German U-boat 70 years ago, it took its huge silver cargo to a watery grave. US divers are working to recover what may be the biggest shipwreck haul ever, valued at some $210 million.

Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration on Monday confirmed the identity and location of the Gairsoppa, and cited official documents indicating the British ship was carrying some 219 tons of silver when it sank in 1941 in the North Atlantic some 300 miles off the Irish coast.

Valued then at 600,000 pounds, the silver today is worth about $210 million, which would make it history's largest recovery of precious metals lost at sea, Odyssey said...

The Gairsoppa came to rest nearly 15,400 feet (4,700 meters) below the surface, where for decades it was lost to the world. A previous effort to locate the shipwreck failed.

Odyssey found it relatively quickly, and insists the depth of the site won't prevent a full cargo recovery.

"We were fortunate to find the shipwreck sitting upright, with the holds open and easily accessible," Odyssey chief executive Greg Stemm said...

The find highlights the influential role that modern technology has come to play in the business of finding shipwrecks, with vastly improved sonar equipment, global positioning systems and advanced deepwater robots that scour the world's oceans for booty...

"The majority of the world's ocean floor has not yet been explored," said Odyssey president Mark Gordon. "We know more about the surface of the moon than we know about the deepest parts of the oceans. It's exciting to be working at depths like these and to be among the pioneers of deep ocean exploration in this unexplored frontier."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Genuine Science vs "Prejudiced Guesses"

"This is not the way science is done, it is the way products are sold."

The hugely popular author of techno-thrillers, the late Michael Crichton sold well over a hundred million books all over the world including The Andromeda Strain, Coma, Jurassic Park, The Great Train Robbery, Congo, Looker, State of Fear, Airframe and Rising Sun. Not bad for a Harvard-educated physician.

In this particular speech given in 2003, Dr. Crichton presents a bold and persuasive case against political beliefs being packaged as science. Here is just one passage to give you a feel for his argument.

I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

Take note of Crichton's description of "poli-scientists" Carl Sagan and Paul Erlich promoting the "nuclear winter" scare. Both of these fellows were also strong advocates (despite overwhelming empirical evidence) of anti-natal programs across the globe they described as "population control."

Biased guesses are like lies. And whether they are dressed up in statistics, twisted logic, or scientific jargon, they only remain what they are -- lies driven by ideological purposes.

And This is Modern Mexico

* The editor of a Mexican newspaper was found dead, her body decapitated and with a note next to it, officials said. Maria Elizabeth Macias Castro, 39, was the editor in chief of the newspaper, Primera Hora. Her body was found Saturday morning, according to the attorney general's office in the northern Tamaulipas state. A message "attributed to a criminal group" was found next to her, the office said...

* Police found a woman's decapitated body in a Mexican border city on Saturday, alongside a handwritten sign saying she was killed in retaliation for her postings on a social networking site. The gruesome killing may be the third so far this month in which people in Nuevo Laredo were killed by a drug cartel for what they said on the internet...

* The scene was shocking. Masked gunmen blocked a busy road in the once-quiet port city of Veracruz, abandoning two trucks with 35 bodies inside, near a big shopping center. It was Tuesday at 5 p.m., broad daylight. People on the streets watched the corpses being left at an underpass. Some of the victims had their hands tied and showed signs of having been tortured. The picture could have been extracted from a horror movie.

According to Veracruz state Attorney General, Reynaldo Escobar, 23 of the victims were men and 12 were women. “We have never seen a situation like this before,” said Escobar. His words resounded across the country: Mexico is becoming the country of “never befores.”

* Mexican authorities discovered 11 more bodies in the coastal state of Veracruz on Thursday, days after 35 bodies were found on a busy road in the same area, the state-run Notimex news agency reported...On Thursday, Mexico´s attorney general said the killing of the 35 people stemmed from a drug-dealing dispute...

* The message is delivered by a phone call to the office of one school, a sheaf of photocopied papers dropped off at another, a banner hung outside a third. The demand is the same: teachers have until Oct. 1 to start handing over half of their pay. If they do not, they risk their lives.

Extortion is a booming industry in Mexico, with reported cases having almost tripled since 2004. To some analysts, it is an unintended consequence of the government’s strategy in the drug war: as the large cartels splinter, armies of street-level thugs schooled in threats and violence have brought their skills to new enterprises...

Barack Obama: The Great Divider

Bob Garrett comments, "Our current president is doing more to divide our country than any I have known or learned about."

I responded, "Spot on, Bob. And I fear that the divisions are deliberate. Jimmy Carter divided our nation too but I believe it was due to his general incompetence. But though he is also quite incompetent in the office, Barack Obama's efforts to divide us show a sinister purpose.

For when it comes to abortion, marriage, rights of conscience and religion, American exceptionalism, economics, central planning and control, even the rule of law, Obama is not a public servant, he is a thoroughly committed secular socialist, one who is willing to use propaganda, dirty tricks and various forms of coercion to remake America in his image."

Lord, help us. Qickly.

A Sad and Sordid Partnership: Planned Parenthood & The Girl Scouts

As a young mother and a new Christian (but a person who was once a director of a Planned Parenthood facility), Abby Johnson knows a lot of reasons why you shouldn't support (in any way) organizations that partner with the mega-abortion corporation.

And one of the reasons is that Planned Parenthood produces "educational materials" targeted to girls 8-16 years of age that contain this:

“Sex can feel great and can be really fun! Many people think sex is just about vaginal or anal intercourse… But, there are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex. Sex can include kissing, touching, licking, tickling, sucking, and cuddling. Some people like to have aggressive sex, while others like to have soft and slow sex with their partners. There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!”

“Improve your sex life by getting to know your own body. Play with yourself! Masturbation is a great way to find out more about your body and what you find sexually stimulating. Don’t stop there: find out how your partner’s body works, what makes them feel good and what gives them pleasure. Talking with your partner about what you each like and what feels good is the best way to have great sex.”

Would you like your young girls to get that message? Would you like any young girls to get that message?

If not, then you'd better beware Planned Parenthood's long-standing partnership with the Girl Scouts.

Abby Johnson writes,

I am a parent of a small child.  I would never want her to see such filth.  But the Girl Scouts promotes this agenda.  Any money that is given to the Girl Scouts goes to their national office…this includes money for uniforms, badges, cookies, annual dues, etc.  That money is then, in part, used to associate with Planned Parenthood.  No one can say that “their troupe” does not give money to Planned Parenthood.

If you are a member of the Girl Scouts organization and you pay dues and you sell cookies and you have uniforms with badges, then you are in association with Planned Parenthood.  Period.  How could anyone who says they are pro-life cooperate with such evil?  How could anyone who is against abortion contribute in ANY part to the killing of children…especially if they KNOW that their money is going toward such activity.

Scripture is clear.  We must NOT cooperate with evil in any way.  We MUST cleanse our churches and our Christian faith of such evil.  We CAN work to educate others about Girl Scouts without being active participants…just like we do with Planned Parenthood.  I no longer work at Planned Parenthood, but I feel like God is using me to inform people about the dangers of the organization.  People who have been involved with Girl Scouts can do the same…and live with a clean conscience.

For more details on the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood, check out this Vital Signs post, "Why I Don't Buy Girl Scout Cookies. (And Why You Shouldn't Either."). It has additional links which will fill you in on the whole story.

Consumer Choices Do Make a Difference

From Ann Hovanec comes an item that is well worth passing on. It's not original to her and, from the way it came across my e-mail, it looks like the regular kind of cute-funny-interesting tidbits that we all find frequently in our inbox. But this one was different.

Claire and I heartily believe in the power of consumer integrity; that is, in making Jesus Christ Lord over our economics as well as other areas of our lives. Therefore, we avoid goods made in China because of their use of slave labor and their brutal one-child-only policies. We boycott goods and services provided by companies that give to Planned Parenthood and other viallanous causes. Indeed, we write letters and engage in other types of protest to try and persuade companies to do the right thing.

And so we think the message in the piece below deserves careful consideration by everyone. Thanks, Ann.

This probably sounds crazy, but just yesterday I was in Wal Mart looking for a wastebasket. I found some made in China for $6.99. I didn't want to pay that much so I asked the lady if they had any others. She took me to another department and they had some at $2.50 made in USA. They are just as good.

Same as a kitchen rug I needed. I had to look, but I found  some made in the USA and they were $3.00 cheaper.  We are being brain washed that everything that comes from China and Mexico is cheaper. Not so. That is also why I don't buy cards at  Hallmark anymore. They are made in China and are expensive. I buy them at Dollar Tree....50 cents each and made in USA.

A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very  much, a billion of them would.  With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American . . .

Good idea . . .. One light bulb at a time . . ..

I was in Lowe's the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at  the hose attachments... They were all made in China. The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it  I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA. Start looking ...

In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy  or do affects someone else - even their job. So, after reading this email, I think this lady is on the right track..  Let's get behind her!

My grandson likes Hershey's candy.  I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more. My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico... Now I have  switched to Crest.  You have to read the labels on everything....

This past weekend I was at Kroger . .. . I needed 60W light  bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets. I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand  I normally buy was an off-brand labeled, " Everyday Value ." I picked up both  types of bulbs and compared the stats they were the same except for the price. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and  the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA in a company in Cleveland, Ohio.

So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use  every day that are made right here...

So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets. Yep, you  guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada. The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!

My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you  shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!

If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your  address book so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies!

How Much Would You Trust Phil Mickelson?

It's no secret (1, 2, 3) that because of his demeanor on the course, his unparalleled affability and kindness to fans, and his dedication to family, our favorite golfer is Phil Mickelson.

But would even I trust Phil in this situation?

Barack Obama Creating a "National Conflict Between Church & State"

I print below excerpts from New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan's letter to Barack Obama, a letter that politely but profoundly warns the President of the dangers his attack on marriage poses for law, society and the Church.

Dear Mr. President:

I write with a growing sense of urgency about recent actions taken by your Administration that both escalate the threat to marriage and imperil the religious freedom of those who promote and defend marriage. This past spring the Justice Department announced that it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, a decision strongly opposed by the Catholic Bishops of the United States and many others. Now the Justice Department has shifted from not defending DOMA—which is problem enough, given the duty of the executive branch to enforce even laws it disfavors—to actively attacking DOMA's constitutionality...

The Catholic Bishops stand ready to affirm every positive measure taken by you and your Administration to strengthen marriage and the family. We cannot be silent, however, when federal steps harmful to marriage, the laws defending it, and religious freedom continue apace. Attached you will find an analysis prepared by my staff detailing the various executive activities of late that warrant our increasing apprehension.

[I]t is particularly upsetting, Mr. President, when your Administration, through the various court documents, pronouncements and policies identified in the attached analysis, attributes to those who support DOMA a motivation rooted in prejudice and bias. It is especially wrong and unfair to equate opposition to redefining marriage with either intentional or willfully ignorant racial discrimination, as your Administration insists on doing.

We as Bishops of the Catholic Church recognize the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals, including those with same-sex attraction, and we reject all hatred and unjust treatment against any person. Our profound regard for marriage as the complementary and fruitful union of a man and a woman does not negate our concern for the well-being of all people but reinforces it. While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the common good what marriage between husband and wife provides. The law should reflect this reality.

Mr. President, I respectfully urge you to push the reset button on your Administration's approach to DOMA. Our federal government should not be presuming ill intent or moral blindness on the part of the overwhelming majority of its citizens, millions of whom have gone to the polls to directly support DOMAs in their states and have thereby endorsed marriage as the union of man and woman. Nor should a policy disagreement over the meaning of marriage be treated by federal officials as a federal offense—but this will happen if the Justice Department's latest constitutional theory prevails in court. The Administration's failure to change course on this matter will, as the attached analysis indicates, precipitate a national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions and to the detriment of both institutions...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today's Posts


The Secret War Against Hitler

The following was posted at The Book Den in April 2007 but a chance remark at a "When Swing Was King" presentation yesterday reminded me of the column. I think it remains as solid and relevant a book recommendation today as then. So, here is an excerpt of that column.

Claire and I had been watching re-runs on PBS of the popular British TV reality show "Spy" and we got a big kick out of it. Indeed, it was a kick forceful enough to land me in the Northwest branch of the Omaha Public library where I checked out several non-fiction titles dealing with modern espionage. Those included Denis Collins' Spying: The Secret History of History written with the resources of Washington, D.C.’s new International Spy Museum and Espionage: The Greatest Spy Operations of the 20th Century by Ernest Volkman. But, by far, the most engaging and satisfying work I picked up was Bill Casey’s intriguing history,  The Secret War Against Hitler, a detailed description of the Allied espionage efforts directed against Germany during World War II.

The Secret War Against Hitler made for riveting, inspiring and sometimes maddening reading – maddening because it showed what dire effects upon military strategy can be wreaked by politicians (and sometimes by misled, egoistic and headstrong military leaders themselves).

Indeed, Casey points out several instances of how the success of Allied military efforts against the Nazi war machine was dramatically mitigated because of poor intelligence at the beginning of the war due to governments being so ill-prepared, and then later by grossly selfish motives by such men as Stalin and de Gaulle, and devastating mistakes made by blundering bureaucrats, political leaders, and even the military elite. Therefore, what could have been achieved by the inspiring bravery and skill of our fighting men was severely limited by tragic decisions at the top, making World War II longer and more terrible than was necessary. In addition, the post-war political and cultural scene could have been tremendously more just and safe and connected to the motivations that compelled our soldiers and sailors in the first place.

So, as captivating as Casey’s information is, The Secret War Against Hitler will not always be easy, enjoyable reading.

But infuriating as some of the events in the book can make you, be assured that The Secret War Against Hitler is throughout an excellent and important read. Within its pages you’ll learn about the critical roles played by code-breakers, double agents, an indispensably powerful "paper army," and many superbly deceptive strategies developed by the Allied intelligence corps.

You’ll also see how close the contest was at several junctures, how FDR’s insistence on Germany’s “unconditional surrender” was such a disaster, how Hitler catastrophically misread Allied intentions, how small party and even individual heroism (as in the sabotage success against the Nazi’s atomic bomb hopes) helped save Europe, and much more.

Bill Casey, as many of you will remember, was the director of the CIA under President Ronald Reagan. But Casey’s introduction to intelligence service was in the OSS back in 1943 when he started as a senior clerk in Washington. He ended the war, however, as one of the key leaders in American military intelligence. His work brought this treasured note from the OSS' famous founder, "Wild Bill" Donovan:

It has been the policy of the OSS never to hesitate to assign major responsibility to young men who have what it takes. This policy has been, in my opinion, one of our primary sources of strength. I have been vindicated by the outstanding performances of many, but by none more than your own. You took up one of the heaviest loads which any of us had to carry at a time when the going was roughest, and you delivered brilliantly, forcefully and in good time.

Signed: William J. Donovan, Major-General

The Secret War Against Hitler is truly an outstanding book and written by one of the 20th Century's most interesting and accomplished American patriots. I recommend it (even to eclectic readers of my ilk) without reserve.

(Note too that The Secret War Against Hitler is available in audio form as well.)

The President in a Playpen

"A Frivolously Destructive Presidency." That's not only the title of George Neumayr's latest American Spectator article; it is the most precise phrase I've seen yet to describe the tenure of Barack Obama.

It is a very perceptive, persuasive piece which I recommend you pass on to others. Here's a couple of teasers:

Obama's presidency lurches from fad to fad -- from gays in the military to "green jobs" to the "Buffett rule." Hyped as a profound presidency, it has turned out to be an embarrassingly frivolous one. Sober historians of the future, not cowed by political correctness, will no doubt look back and say that Obama fiddled while America burned, indulging his sophomoric socialism, environmentalism, and social engineering at a time of terrorism and economic crisis...

Obama's half-baked Marxist musings with Joe the Plumber remain his deepest thoughts on the purpose of taxation. He still feels entitled to seize wealth and "spread" it around. When he says that the rich aren't paying their "fair share," all he is saying is that their money belongs to the government automatically for redistribution. But that's just theft masquerading as taxation. The true principle of taxation is not the redistribution of wealth but the financing of legitimate government activity, and under that principle the rich are paying more than their fair share, as they carry a disproportionate amount of those costs. Republicans should resist the Buffett rule not just because it will inhibit job creation and consumption but because it is a bald act of theft...

Woman Who Strangled Her Newborn Baby Gets Off; Judge Refers to Acceptance of Abortion

For those who still believe there is no connection between abortion and infanticide, I urge you to be rational and consider the scientific facts of embryology. I urge you also to employ common sense in tracking the cheapening of human life since abortion was legalized, paying particular attention to the dramatic escalation in the last four decades of suicide, street violence, euthanasia and abortion itself.

And then I'd urge you to read this gruesome story of a young Canadian woman who strangled her newborn child and tossed his body over the fence into a neighbor's yard. The woman was initially given a life sentence in prison for the despicable crime. But that trial (like a previous one in which she was also convicted) was overturned on appeal. And now, in the third trial, a judge is letting her go without ever serving a day in jail.

Pay close attention to the fact that the judge's rationale for giving the woman a pass for killing her newborn son included the legality of and social acceptance of abortion.

But part of the ruling that also has pro-life advocates troubled is Judge Veit’s decision that Canada’s acceptance of legalized abortion entitled Effert to kill her child. Judge Veit ruled, according to multiple media reports, that because Canada allows abortions it reflects how “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.”

“Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother...I am of the view that those actions, along with the action of throwing her baby’s body over her back fence, are painful evidence of Ms. Effert’s irrational behavior as a result of her disturbed mind...In summary, this is a classic infanticide case – the killing of a newborn or a justborn after a hidden pregnancy by a mother who was alone and unsupported.”

City Government Desperate to Shut Down Home Bible Study

Here's yet another Nanny State alert, one demonstrating how the liberal establishment not only dislikes family values and parental involvement (see post below) but also Christianity. Indeed, they are so bothered by Christianity that they continue to use frivolous regulations, fines and other bureaucratic harassment against practicing Christians -- including, as in this case, a couple who are having an orderly, quiet and unobtrusive Bible study in their own home.

Here's the story from the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles but be sure to watch the TV news video that's placed there as well.

Face the Facts: Government Schools Are At War With Parent Values

This just in...when it comes to parental involvement, public schools are increasingly arrogant, coercive and downright unfriendly.

Of course, this isn't really news at all. Everyone knows this trend is going way over the top -- the trend of government schools demanding more money from taxpayers while, at the same time, doing everything they can to keep taxpayers from having any oversight of what educators then do with those funds.

Whether it involves curriculum decisions ("No, Mrs. Gilhooly, we don't care what you believe. Your daughter is going to be taught evolution, sex education according to progressive ideals, pantheism, socialism, and the illusion of American exceptionalism here.") or other issues (peer pressure, school lunch choices, immodest attire, even physical safety), educators are convinced that they know what's best.

And they'll use whatever means at their disposal, including lawsuits, fines and police interference to get their way.

Here's two examples from this morning's Drudge Report. The first concerns a mother who rightfully acted to protect her 10-year old from bullies and the indifferent bus driver who was letting it her kid get beat up. Her actions drew a police call, a banning from school property and even a prohibition from going to the bus stop to pick up her child!

And the second? Here's an excerpt from the Fox News Story, "Texas School Punishes Boy for Opposing Homosexuality." 

Holly Pope said she was “absolutely stunned” when she received a telephone call from an assistant principal at Western Hills High School informing her that her son, Dakota Ary, had been sent to in-school suspension.

“Dakota is a very well-grounded 14-year-old,” she told Fox News Radio noting that her son is an honors student, plays on the football team and is active in his church youth group. “He’s been in church his whole life and he’s been taught to stand up for what he believes.”

And that’s what got him in trouble.

Dakota was in a German class at the high school when the conversation shifted to religion and homosexuality in Germany. At some point during the conversation, he turned to a friend and said that he was a Christian and “being a homosexual is wrong.”

“It wasn’t directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me,” Dakota told Fox. “I guess [the teacher] heard me. He started yelling. He told me he was going to write me an infraction and send me to the office.”

Dakota was sentenced to one day in-school suspension – and two days of full suspension. His mother was flabbergasted, noting that her son had a spotless record, was an honor student, volunteered at his church and played on the school football team...

Krause called the incident “mind blowing” and said the teacher had frequently brought homosexuality into ninth grade classroom discussions.

“There has been a history with this teacher in the class regarding homosexual topics,” Krause said. “The teacher had posted a picture of two men kissing on a wall that offended some of the students.”

Krause said the picture was posted on the teacher’s “world wall.”

“He told the students this is happening all over the world and you need to accept the fact that homosexuality is just part of our culture now,” Krause said.

The school district would not comment on why a teacher was discussing homosexuality in a ninth grade German class.

Guys, stories like this break into even the liberal mainstream media every week with hundreds of other educator outrages occurring behind the scenes. So tell me, why are your kids still in government schools? Why are their minds still being shaped by officials who care next to nothing about your values?