Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today's Posts

Overcoming the Post-Christmas Blues

'Twas the day after Christmas 
and all through the house,
Mom was depressed and Dad felt like a louse.
The children were listless; 
they were having no fun.
'Cause Christmas was splendid 
but now it was done.

Sound familiar?  If so, then you're facing that common and most perennial of problems: the dreaded "post-holiday blues."  But hey; don't panic and don't despair. There are cures available.

Number one cure? Some post-holiday sadness is inevitable as in the case where loved ones who returned for Christmas have now had to fly back to Padukah, or wherever.  The tears in your eyes, which arise from looking at your empty dining room, are natural. There's not much for it except to be patient and to be grateful for the time you did have. Indeed, thanksgiving is a key part of this cure. Let the Lord know your appreciation for the blessing that family and friends have been in your life.  Enjoy the memories and look forward to God's using you to be a blessing to them in the future. Pray for peace in your soul; find comfort in the Scriptures and in Christian service; and resolve to do what you can to keep in frequent contact with those who are now absent from your side.

Cure number two is to celebrate all 12 Days of Christmas. In fact, Claire and I throw in yet another day in our celebration -- Epiphany. It is on that night that we host our last, and often our most significant, Christmas party. After work on the evenings of the 12 Days, we continue to have parties, play Christmas music and movies, write cards and letters, and make our "Santa runs" in which portions of Claire's cookies and my sausage and cornbread dressing show up in friends' homes all over town. It's great fun. It's a great way to make the Christmas season more about relationships than about stuff. And it's a terrific defense against post-holiday blues.

Cure number three, however, deals more specifically with those for whom Christmas wasn't all they had hoped for. In these cases, post-holiday blues are more a result of dashed hopes and/or misplaced affections.  The cure in this case centers on a fresh discovery of the full meaning of Christmas itself. Remember your Dickens? Getting on with the "business of mankind" through kindness, loyalty, and hope was the way the converted Ebenezer Scrooge learned to keep Christmas all year long. No post-holiday blues for him. Even better examples are the magi who were thrilled over a living King -- a holy Person, not a "holy day." You and I can thus overcome the post-holiday blues by engaging in the great quest those wise men did.  They recognized that it's not Christmas day that's most important, but rather one's Christmas duty.

So, please accept from Claire and me our heartiest wishes for a very merry and productive Christmas Day Three...and all those following.

Fires of Persecution Burn Against Christianity

Once again Muslim jihadists bombed Christmas services in several Nigerian churches. It's become a cruel tradition and, once again, the numbers of victims murdered testify to 1) the unjust barbarity of radical Islam, 2) the failure of Muslim governments to address the horrors, 3) the failure of the liberals running U.S. and European governments to present significant protests to these despicable crimes and 4) the irresponsibility of Western media to properly report on the violence. 

Meanwhile in Egypt, the heavy victory of the Islamists in recent elections may well spell the doom of Christians in that country. Christians lived in Egypt centuries before Islam came to be -- and though they represent but a very small percentage of the population, the new spirit of jihad that moves the Muslim world is determined to remove the Christians forever.

Fraser Nelson, in this frightening and sad story for the Telegraph, describes other examples of the persecuted church as he bemoans Great Britain's cowardly refusal to address the crisis. But what he writes is important reading for Americans too.

China's War on Women & Girls

The world must know!

For more on how to help Women's Rights Without Frontiers in their campaign to stop Communist China's brutal, coercive forced abortion policies, go to this website.

Obama's Abortion Zeal Trumps Concern for Sex Trafficking Victims

Question #1: Where does a performance rating of just 69 out of 100 merit an award of over two and a half million dollars?

Answer: Only in Washington, DC.

Question #2: When does a tiny organization without even a qualified financial officer receive a federal grant that will nearly triple its operating budget?

Answer: When the organization submits to the Obama administration’s political ideology and a more qualified grant applicant does not.

Question #3: According to the Obama administration, what one medical “service” trumps all others when caring for human trafficking victims?

Answer: Abortion.

Read more right here about Team Obama's outrageous dedication to abortion, an immoral zeal that tramples over reason, justice and compassion.

Obama Gives Christmas Gift to Gambling "Industry"

The latest gift of the Barack Obama administration to the forces of economic failure and social degradation? Without judge, jury or democratic vote to hinder the, Erich Holder's (choke) Justice Department has just decriminalized much of online gambling.

It ends up to be quite a Christmas gift to the scalawags who run what is laughingly called the gambling industry.

The Obama administration cleared the way for states to legalize Internet poker and certain other online betting in a switch that may help them reap billions in tax revenue and spur web-based gambling.

A Justice Department opinion dated September and made public on Friday reversed decades of previous policy that included civil and criminal charges against operators of some of the most popular online poker sites.

Until now, the department held that online gambling in all forms was illegal under the Wire Act of 1961, which bars wagers via telecommunications that cross state lines or international borders.

The new interpretation, by the department's Office of Legal Counsel, said the Wire Act applies only to bets on a "sporting event or contest," not to a state's use of the Internet to sell lottery tickets to adults within its borders or abroad.

"The United States Department of Justice has given the online gaming community a big, big present," said I. Nelson Rose, a gaming law expert at Whittier Law School who consults for governments and the industry.

The question at issue was whether proposals by Illinois and New York to use the Internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state adults violated the Wire Act.

But the department's conclusion would eliminate "almost every federal anti-gambling law that could apply to gaming that is legal under state laws," Rose wrote...

Here's more.

Of Unicorns and Class Warfare: Harry Reid Gets Fact-Checked

Democrat Harry Reid is -- there's just no way to avoid the word -- a liar. Indeed, there's no way to avoid other words that describe him either: demagogue, hypocrite, weasel.

Read through Paul Roderick Gregory's story in the business magazine, Forbes to find out some of Reid's latest shenanigans.

How can we take Congress seriously when the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, makes patently inaccurate, outrageous and bizarre claims on an important tax-policy issue without any heads being turned? I guess this is what we have come to expect of Congress. No wonder citizens with favorable opinions of Congress are as rare as unicorns, to borrow a phrase...

The millionaire’s tax is not about balancing the budget. It is about gaining political advantage through the use of envy and greed (two of the seven deadly sins).

Why would Harry Reid tell such whoppers, which are so easily disproved?

Ryan Streeter has hit the nail on the head. He writes that even bearded Occupy Wall Street misfits understand the difference between “earned” and “unearned” success. Those who earn success by creating value honestly are the true heroes in our economy. They should be lauded rather than targeted. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are heroes. Bernie Madoff and, now it seems, John Corzine are not, and everyone, irrespective of their political leanings, understands this.

Reid, in his clumsy way, is trying to portray Republicans as the party of dishonest millionaires, who have not earned their wealth, have not created jobs, detract rather than create value, and refuse to pay their fair share. Such class warfare will be the anchor of the Democrat election playbook.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Recap...So Far

Merry Christmas to you all. Tonight Claire and I are enjoying a pretty rare experience for us in this season; namely, spending a quiet evening at home. Tomorrow things will kick into high gear again but tonight we are taking it easy. I'll write this review, finish up preparations for tomorrow's sermon and then later we will watch a DVD of highlights from Andy Williams Christmas TV shows.

It's been quite a Christmas season for us already. We got started early by being in Branson the first week of November where, among other Christmasy things, we attended a play called "A Christmas Snow," went to the Christmas concert of the Lennon Sisters, and enjoyed the lovely Christmas lights and decorations that were all around town. We celebrated our 40th anniversary there and had two long and very pleasant visits with my Aunt Farris and some of my Ellsworth cousins. We plan on going back again next November (if not before) and hope that we could make it a family reunion.

During the rest of November, we found a few times to listen to Christmas music and our annual Autumn Getaway with our book club down in Nebraska City was full of Christmas too. But once December came round, we really hit our stride. We put together a couple of Christmas-themed jigsaw puzzles, started planning our parties and "Santa runs," and Claire re-did our home's interior. Its regular look (quite lovely in its own right) was transformed once again into a Christmas wonderland. Ribbons, wreaths, nativity sets, lights, the two big Christmas trees, the Christmas throws and pillows, the Saint Nicholas artifacts, the poinsettias, the snow globes, the holly, the reindeer, the framed puzzles, the posters from the Georgetown Christmas Festival, the candles...I could go on. Claire always does a splendid job in making our house the most Christmasy place south of the North Pole. It is, for many of our guests, literally breathtaking to walk around in here.

Outside we are much more restrained but there are lights on the pine tree, wreaths on each of the silver maples and another on the garage, and the nativity set is in the yard. And speaking of restraint, we haven't had quite as many Christmas dinner parties as some years. For Christmas 2011 we have hosted only 6 dinner parties, three luncheons, and Claire's Christmas tea for the girls in her family. But we still have 4 more dinner parties to go. And besides those, we have two luncheons and a whole lot of "Santa runs." And, of course, we don't worry about anything being outdated because we celebrate all 12 Days of Christmas -- and Epiphany too!

It would be convenient if we could just take off all of December in order to fit Christmas in (!) but alas, we can't do that. So all of our activities have to be fitted in amid our hectic Vital Signs Ministries duties. But there is some crossover as in putting a Christmas spin on our quarterly Governing Board meeting or in selecting Christmas topics for December's sermons, adult Sunday school class and other speaking engagements.

But the most important way in which we incorporated Christmas into Vital Signs work was in making the December edition of "When Swing Was King" into a Christmas program. It was big band and classic crooners as usual and the places we showed it were the same nursing homes and assisted living facilities but the Christmas version is definitely different. More visually stunning. More emotional. And more popular than any edition we do. The repertoire includes festive favorites like Duke Ellington's "Jingle Bells," Woody Herman's "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town,' and Judy Garland's "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" as well as some of the most profound carols: "Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem" by Frank Sinatra, "Silent Night" by the Glen Miller Orchestra, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Perry Como and "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful" by the Guy Lombardo Orchestra.

We presented it 16 times! And number 17 will be tomorrow morning in the Sunday school hour at Faith Bible Church. (9-10, if you're interested.)

Other Christmasy activities for us? Singing Christmas carols with friends at the abortion clinic (spiritual warfare as we "join the triumph of the skies")...Attending "Holiday Under Glass" at the Joslyn Art Museum which featured lunch and performances by different choirs from Central High School...Watching Christmas movies...Reading Christmas poetry and stories...Having breakfast at the Boy's Town cafeteria and browsing through their gift shop...Adding a bit of Christmas flavor to our December book club meeting...And a little (very little, actually) Christmas shopping.

And then there's tomorrow. Christmas Day One will start with the "When Swing Was King" presentation at church followed by my fourth and last sermon in a Christmas series. We will then return home to prepare Christmas supper by 6 o'clock for Claire, myself and 17 guests. On the menu will be ham, fried chicken, bourmassa (an African meat dish), sweet potato casserole, corn with red peppers, green bean casserole, molded jello with apples, panettone (Italian Christmas bread), pineapple & cottage cheese fluff, and for dessert, a variety of Claire's Christmas cookies and ice cream with plenty of toppings to make sundaes. After the meal there will be hot drinks, some African Christmas music provided by our guests, and warm-hearted conversation into the night.

And then what? Well, like I said earlier, we will still have plenty of Christmas packed into our calendar even though we will also be back at work on Monday. And we certainly will be praying that all of you have a wonderful Christmas too -- Day One and beyond.

Much love to all...

Denny & Claire

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today's Posts

Celebrate Christmas. Celebrate Life.

Barack Obama: I Can't Stand Laziness or Cruelty

The Stink of Our Irresponsible Congress

Dems Plead Guilty to Vote Fraud Charges

Scheels Presents the Presidents

Saudi Arabia Is Teaching Their High Schoolers What!

12 Days of Winter -- The Government School Version

Celebrate Christmas. Celebrate Life.

Barack Obama: I Can't Stand Laziness or Cruelty

When asked by Barbara Walters, "What's the trait you most deplore in yourself, and the trait you most deplore in others?," here's what Barack Obama came up with.

"Laziness. Nothing frustrates me more than when people aren't doing their jobs. The thing actually that I most dislike is cruelty. I can't stand cruel people. And if I see people doing something mean to somebody else, just to make themselves feel important it really gets me mad. But, with myself, since I tend not to be a mean person, you know, if I get lazy, then I get mad at myself."

"When people aren't doing their jobs?" Uh, about those vacations, golf games, basketball sessions, the refusal to meet with Congressmen, the gala parties, the endless fundraising dinners -- and the general incompetence that has marked Barack Obama's years in the White House? He can't abide laziness? For crying out loud, laziness and Barack Obama are old and dear friends.

"The thing actually that I most dislike is cruelty." This from a man who aggressively defends, even promotes abortion? This from the fellow who insists that taxpayers pay for abortion and even denies citizens the rights of conscience to refrain from participating in abortion?

Is he so clueless that he doesn't really know what happens to the babies that are cut up, sucked out, crushed, and poisoned by the abortionists he strives so hard to protect?

Of course he knows; he just hopes his self-aggrandizing lies will keep you from realizing what he really is. For here again, cruelty is an old pal to Barack Obama, going at least as far back as when he voted for infanticide by voting against Illinois' Born Alive Child Protection Act.

Go ahead and read the rest of this cloying interview if you want -- but be prepared. For instance, you might want to have a little bag beside you for when the retching starts..

The Stink of Our Irresponsible Congress

Given the billions of dollars in new spending and tax cuts Congress approved Friday morning, it is surprising just how few lawmakers had a hand in the final denouement.

All told, with such momentous issues at stake, only a dozen lawmakers were present for the action, which happened in an amazing 2½ minutes of total floor time...

[T]he GOP's leaders broke their own pledge to give all members three days to read legislation before putting bills on the floor for action.

The bill passed and signed into law Friday didn't even exist until 10:30 Friday morning when it was officially introduced — half an hour after the Senate had deemed it to have passed.

Dems Plead Guilty to Vote Fraud Charges

A total of four Democratic officials and political operatives have now pleaded guilty to voter fraud-related felony charges in an alleged scheme to steal a New York election.

The latest guilty pleas expose the ease with which political insiders can apparently manipulate the electoral system and throw an election their way, by the forging of signatures of unsuspecting voters that are then cast as real votes.

The phrase they use is: 'making sure they vote the right way.'...

Former Troy Democratic City Clerk William McInerney, Democratic Councilman John Brown, and Democratic political operatives Anthony Renna and Anthony DeFiglio have entered guilty pleas in the case, in which numerous signatures were allegedly forged on absentee ballots in the 2009 Working Families Party primary, the political party that was associated with the now-defunct community group, ACORN...

"They did steal an election," claimed Bob Mirch, the pugnacious former Republican Majority Leader of the Rensselaer County legislature, who first discovered the alleged fraud and started the investigation. For his efforts in trying to expose what happened, Mirch says he was voted out of office after serving 16 years and was replaced by a Democrat.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," he said about voter fraud. "This case in Troy shows that the political insiders had this scheme down pat. Two years ago the public didn't believe me, but they know it now."

The case in Troy echoes a similar election fraud investigation that is now ongoing in Indiana.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak, in South Bend, is currently investigating allegations that numerous signatures on 2008 Democratic Presidential primary petitions for then candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, were faked. There are claims that so many signatures were fraudulent, that the Obama campaign may not have actually obtained enough legitimate signatures to have legally qualified for the ballot. And just like the New York voters in Troy who told Fox News that they never signed absentee ballots, voters in South Bend and Mishawaka told us that their signatures were forged too.

Scheels Presents the Presidents

Claire and I had to (shudder) go Christmas shopping yesterday. We were looking for a particular sports-oriented gift and so we decided on Scheels, the place that has been so efficient and reasonably priced when I need my bike tuned up. As we approached the south entrance, we decided we had found yet another reason to like the store for erected there were life-sized statues of four great American Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and...Ronald Reagan!

Claire took a couple of photos and then called the store to complement them. She talked to Michelle at the store here in Omaha who told her the statues have been up since summer. Their plan is to erect the statues at all the Scheels stores but since the Omaha store is one of the biggest, they got the first ones. It seems that the president of Scheels feels very strongly about wanting to honor these heroic American leaders in this way.

Very cool, don't you think?

Then give Scheels a call or write them a quick note and tell them so. And drop by and have your picture taken with four of America's greatest heroes.

Scheels at Village Pointe
17202 Davenport St.
Omaha, NE 68118
(402) 289-5666
National office:
Steve Scheels (CEO)
4550 15th Avenue S
Fargo, ND 58103-8959

Saudi Arabia Is Teaching Their High Schoolers What!

From our "friend and close ally" Saudi Arabia comes a textbook for high school kids that show how to cut off a thief's hand and foot. Homosexuals are to be killed and women treated as the weak and irresponsible 3rd class creatures they are. And then there's the textbook for 9th graders explaining how imperative it is that Jews be annihilated. “The hour (of judgment) will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them...There is a Jew behind me come and kill him.”

These textbooks are not old stuff either. They are quite recent publications which clearly represent a broken promise by the Saudi government that they would rid textbooks of jihadist language.

“This is where terrorism starts, in the education system.” Ali Al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, told Fox News. Al-Ahmed, a Saudi national, said the textbooks, made and paid for by the Saudi government, were smuggled out of the kingdom through confidential sources...Al-Ahmed say the textbooks are both a Saudi and an American problem. “If you teach 6 million children in these important years of their lives, if you install that in their brain, no wonder we have so many Saudi suicide bombers.”

The books were obtained by the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, D.C. and translations of their content were provided to Fox News.

In Atlanta earlier this month, the Saudi minister responsible for the textbooks talked about the importance of education for woman. Asked by Fox News about the textbooks, Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Al-Saud said, “I always say to people, please come. Come, try to see us. But come without a preconceived idea. ... Especially when you want to raise the future, no one is going to introduce violence. Violence is absolutely against - I think this is, I don't know who put in those ideas.”

When Fox News offered to show the quotes to the minister, he said, “there are many quotes” and walked away.

Fox News also asked the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C., for comment on the textbooks and the translations, but there was no immediate response.

12 Days of Winter -- The Government School Version

Here's an interesting take on the secularized (and coercive) program of the government schools. It's funny -- but the point it makes is as serious as can be.

The clip, by the way, comes from Las Vegas' premier conservative talk show hostess, Heidi Harris.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today's Posts

It's a "No Go" To Wichita

Blogging is light today because I've got to get together some things for Russian translation, round up some materials for Nebraskans Against Planned Parenthood, write some thank-you notes and Christmas cards (no, I'm not late -- we celebrate all 12 Days of Christmas around here) and take Claire to lunch at Dolce.

We had hoped to be on the road early this morning heading for Wichita, Kansas where my sister Sherry, her husband John and their family live. My brother Ric and his wife managed to get from Denver to Wichita last night (before the big storm) and we were going to surprise them all by driving in today. Because of obligations here (a Saturday morning breakfast in Lincoln, church duties and a big dinner party on Sunday), we were only going to have one day there but we figured it would be a nice surprise anyhow.

But alas, the weather, the fact that Sherry was still working today, and then these other things I need to get done today conspired against the trip. So here we are, disappointed at not having at least a little time with family and yet, I must admit, a little relieved from having to spend 6 or 7 hours on snowy roads.

But the Dolce lunch should help...as will the Christmas music which I'll work in this afternoon and the Christmas fire I'll build tonight.

Merry Christmas.

Another Take on the 12 Days of Christmas

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  December 26

Dearest Bill:
I went to the door today and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift! I couldn't have been more surprised.
With deepest Love and Devotion,

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  December 27

Dearest Bill:
Today the postman brought your most wonderful gift. Just imagine - two turtle doves! I'm delighted at your very sweet gift. They are just adorable. I will have to get a cage for them.
With deepest Love,

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  December 28

Dearest Bill:
Oh! Your third gift arrived! You really went too far, I think. I don't deserve such generosity - three French hens. They are just lovely, but I must protest - you've been way too kind.

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  December 29

Dearest Bill:
Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now, really, they're quite nice, but now I have 10 birds and nowhere to put any more....so please, no more birds!! But, thanks.

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  December 30

Dearest Bill:
What a surprise! Another present....and not a bird this time! Wow! Today the postman delivered five golden rings, one for each finger. You're just too extravagant, but I love it! Frankly, all those birds squawking were beginning to get on my nerves, but the rings are wonderful...and so quiet!!
All my love.

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  December 31

Dear Bill:
When I opened the door there were actually six geese a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are huge! Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining. The police came by with a formal complaint, and I can't sleep through all the racket. I guess I have my own noise-makers for the New Year's Eve celebration tonight. Please stop. NO MORE BIRDS!!

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  January 1

Happy New Year...to some people. It hasn't been so happy with me. What's with you and those dumb birds? Seven swans a-swimming. What kind of practical joke is this? There's bird tracks, feathers, and guana all over the house and they never stop squawking. I could not sleep all night and I'm a nervous wreck. You have gone too far, bird brain. STOP SENDING BIRDS! NO MORE BIRDS!! GOT IT?

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  January 2

I think I prefer the birds over this. What am I going to do with eight maids a-milking? It's not enough with all those birds and eight maids a-milking, but they had to bring their cows! Have you ever smelled a yard full of cow patties? Their piles are all over the lawn, and I can't move in my own house. Leave me alone. NO MORE OF YOUR "GIFTS".

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  January 3

Hey, Vacuum-for-a-brain:
What are you? Some kind of freak? Now there's nine ladies dancing...right in the smelly you-know-what and tracking it all over my house. The way they've been bickering with the milk maids, I hesitate to even call them ladies. You'll get yours, buddy.

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA
January 4

You rotten piece of humanity, if human you are!: What's with the ten lords a-leaping? I have threatened to break their legs so that they can never leap again. All 23 of the birds are dead. They've been trampled to death by the leapers, the dancers, and the cows. At least, I don't have to worry about them any more. The City Commissioner has subpoenaed me to give cause why my house shouldn't be condemned. I'm filing a complaint to the police about you!
Signed --One who really means it!

Miss Sara Truelove
Somewhere, USA  January 5

Listen, brainless:
Now there's eleven pipers piping. And they never stop piping...except when they're chasing those maids or dancing girls. The cows are getting very upset and are sounding worse than the birds ever did. What am I going to do? There is a petition going around to evict me from the neigborhood. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten, vicious swine.
Your sworn enemy,

Law Officesof Sue, Pillage, and Plunder
1313 Grunge St
Somewhere, USA  January 6

Dear Sir:
This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve drummers drumming which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Sara Truelove. The damage, of course, was total. She was found beating her head against the wall to the beat of the twelve drums. If you should attempt to reach Miss Truelove at Happy Glen Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter please find attached a warrant for your arrest.
Law Firm of Sue, Pillage, and Plunder

When You're In Medical Trouble, ObamaCare Is Not Your Friend.

A neurologist is called to the hospital in the middle of the night to treat an elderly patient who arrives with a brain aneurysm. The normal procedure would be immediate surgery to relieve the pressure on the brain.

Time is of the essence. Then, however, the surgeon realizes that the patient has insurance through one of the new government exchanges set up under ObamaCare and rethinks his treatment plan. The only prescribed treatment for which he will be reimbursed for this “unit” is “comfort care.”

This scenario was presented recently during a call to The Mark Levin Show on the topic of rationing health care...

The caller to The Mark Levin Show (who identified himself as a brain surgeon) had recently attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. where the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) presented its proposal for treating neurological patients under various scenarios. The caller made two very important points. First, he noted that HHS used the term “units” when speaking about patients. Second, he provided the example above which demonstrated that the standard “treatment” for a 70-year-old patient who arrives in an emergency room for a brain aneurysm is “comfort care” unless more comprehensive care is authorized by a medical review board. The verbally-engineered HHS proposal makes it much easier to limit or refuse treatment to elderly persons under the guise of “comfort” to “units.” The doctor noted that when he gets a call to treat a brain aneurysm in the middle of the night, he is not going to wait for a medical board from an insurance organization to review his decision; rather, he will do what is right to save a life—something that will no longer be the standard of care...

Here's more from Bob Laird at LifeNews.com.

Does Ron Paul Sit On a One-Legged Stool?

I have several friends and pro-life colleagues (most of them young) who are extremely keen on Ron Paul. They see in Congressman Paul a principled Constitutionalist and all-round nice guy. But the majority of my friends think of Ron Paul the way that Matt Barber, writer and vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, does.

Don’t get me wrong. I personally like Mr. Paul. He’s that affable - if not a little “zany” - uncle who has the whole family on edge at Thanksgiving. “Oh boy; what’s Uncle Ronny gonna say next?”

Still, you wouldn’t give Uncle Ronny the carving knife for the turkey, much less the keys to the Oval Office.

Mr. Paul is many things, but conservative is not one of them. He’s a died-in-the-wool libertarian. That’s one part conservative, two parts anarchist.

Ronald Reagan often spoke of a “three-legged stool” that undergirds true conservatism. The legs are represented by strong free-market economic principles, a strong national defense and strong social values. For the stool to remain upright, it must be supported by all three legs. If you snap off even one leg, the stool collapses under its own weight.

Mr. Paul is relatively conservative from an economic standpoint, but in true libertarian form, has snapped off the legs of national defense and social values...

My Ron Paul friends will dismiss Barber's criticism as simplistic, even a bit sneering. I'll give them that. However, most conservatives will feel that Barber's punches to Paul's isolationist and libertarian positions are above the belt. And I suspect they'll believe those punches land awfully hard.

With most conservatives fully persuaded of the wisdom of Ronald Reagan's three-legged stool philosophy (even allowing for a possible upset win in Iowa), Ron Paul simply will not win the nomination. Even some of those Ron Paul friends of mine admit (in private) that he can never win. Yet, moved by conscience and philosophic idealism, they continue to give money, knock on doors, work the phones, and otherwise campaign for the guy they love and trust.

But me? I can't help but wonder what better chances genuine conservatives like Michelle Bachmann or Rick Santorum would have had if those Christian supporters of Ron Paul had recognized political realities and swung support their way.

But because they wouldn't make that move, I'm deeply afraid the Republicans will end up sending Mitt Romney against Barack Obama. And that, even if Romney can manage a win, will in no way be what's best for our nation, the Church or the world.

A Spirit of Lawlessness Is Conquering America

If I started to post here the parts of Victor Davis Hanson's essay that I thought were really important for you to read -- the parts that would prompt weeping and gnashing of teeth and, I hope, prayer and a new resolve to fight back against the forces of chaos -- I would be printing the whole thing.

So I'll not take the space, trusting you instead to go on over and read VDH's column in NRO, "A Vandalized Valley." It is one of the most frightening, yet motivating, pieces I've read in quite awhile.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today's Posts

Christmas On the Go (and Book Den Notes)

We're on the go again today what with blogging, sidewalk counseling at the abortion clinic, this afternoon's presentation of the Christmas edition of "When Swing Was King" at Mercy Villa (that makes16 this month) and preparations for hosting another Christmas dinner party this evening.

But, despite the hectic schedule, I managed to drop in a few brief posts over at The Book Den that you might find of interest. They are: 1) Comparing Christmas Stories to the Real Thing, 2) The Surprising Dakota Christmas, and 3) Andy Willams Talks About His TV Christmas Shows.

See you later.

And a reminder, there will be a special showing of the Christmas edition of "When Swing Was King" (just like we present it at the nursing homes and assisted living centers) during the Sunday school hour (9-10 AM) at Faith Bible Church. We'd love to have you.

Welfare System on Aisle 4

Sure, she cites an awful lot of anecdotal evidence but this young woman's testimonies about the unfairness, inefficiency and generational tragedy of America's welfare system also happens to agree with the best empirical studies -- and with all the anecdotal evidence you could share too.

In other words, it's a fair cop.

Read Christine Rousselle's "My Time at Walmart: Why We Need Serious Welfare Reform" here at The College Conservative.

Obama vs Reagan: How Do They Really Compare?

Back on December 13, I linked visitors to a nifty column from David Limbaugh about Barack Obama's grandiose (and laughable) statements on 60 Minutes about just how great a President he has been. I just re-read that Limbaugh column and invite you to do so as well.

But then add to the mix this illuminating column from John Hinderaker over at Power Line. In that article, Hinderaker concentrates solely on comparing Obama's "achievements" with those of Ronald Reagan.

So Obama thinks his record so far–nearly three years, not just two–stacks up favorably against any president with the “possible exceptions” of Lyndon Johnson, FDR, and Abraham Lincoln. 

The man is simply delusional. 

This is a game one could play for a long time, but let’s just compare President Obama’s record in his first three years (almost) in office with that of Ronald Reagan over the same time. Reagan inherited a worse crisis than Obama: interest rates and inflation at unprecedented levels; our national defenses in a state of near collapse, with the Soviet Union advancing aggressively around the world; recession, high unemployment and a stratospheric cost of living. His solutions to these problems, of course, were quite different from Obama’s approach. 

Let’s compare how they did...

And Hinderaker then does just that. Don't miss it. In fact, don't allow your friends to miss it. This is definitely a pass-around article.

Has the Tide Turned on Abortion Opinion?

I’ve thought for a long time that the pro-life position will be the default position in the future. I fully believe that 100 years from now, the vast majority of people will consider abortion morally wrong -- modern technology has made it too hard to deny the dignity of human life within the womb. The only question was when the shift would finally happen, when society would finally stop clinging to the antiquated, unscientific ideas about unborn children.

Jennifer Fulwiler believes that the tipping point (toward a recognition of the preborn child's full humanity) has already come. Read the column right here to hear her reasoning.

The "Concrete Realities" of Christmas

It's going to take a little while to read but I sincerely urge you to find time (somewhere in the 12 Days of Christmas) to read Rick Pearcey's profound and provocative essay, "Christmas Spirit in Space and Time." It's solid and inspiring theology. It's insightful cultural commentary. And it's a spirited call to living life to its fullest in Jesus Christ.

I copied the essay and printed it off so I could read it more comfortably back in my library. For it's a piece that you don't want to skim through. It really is that good.

And Sometimes, the Abortionist Kills the Mother Too

In every abortion, a precious, innocent baby is killed. No matter how Planned Parenthood or anyone else tries to spin it, redefine it or ignore it, that's exactly what happens -- a boy or girl who is safe and warm in one moment is cruelly murdered by a blade, a vacuum machine or a poisonous chemical in the next moment.

No, there's no way around the cold, brutal fact. In every abortion, a precious, innocent baby is killed.

And sometimes, the mother dies too.

Here are a couple of examples. The first case involves a 42-year old woman who died after an abortion was performed on her at one of the Marie Stopes international abortion businesses in Croydon, Australia. Health authorities were quick to insist that the abortion clinic was "not operating outside the Australian state’s health and safety laws." However, the abortionist/owner of this same abortion center has twice been found guilty of "professional misconduct" for illegal abortion procedures and another of the on-site abortion staffers here is currently on trial for purposefully infecting more than 50 women with hepatitis C.

It certainly makes one wonder how just what the authorities would consider an unhealthy abortion clinic!

The second case is about how the death of Semika Shaw in the “House of Horrors” that abortionist Kermit Gosnell ran in Philadelphia has prompted even a pro-choice state representative to vote for a Pennsylvania bill which would tighten restrictions on abortion. State Rep. Margo Davidson said that she was voting in favor of the legislation as a way to honor the memory of Semika Shaw -- her cousin.

Alas, I must repeat. In every abortion, a precious, innocent baby is killed.

And sometimes, the mother dies too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today's Posts

Give the Persecuted Church a Christmas Gift

Along with prayers for the persecuted Church and engaging in advocacy efforts in their behalf, you can also utilize the projects created by such groups as Voice of the Martyrs to provide direct assistance. For instance, you can help Christians in North Africa by supporting Voice of the Martyr's 2011 Christmas Care project.

For a gift of $25, you can sponsor a Christmas Care Pack for a North African child who lives in an area where Christians are persecuted. Each pack includes items such as clothing, toiletries and school supplies as well as a gospel storybook to help encourage children in their faith.

Each pack contains:
* New set of clothing
* Toiletries, including soap, toothpaste and toothbrush
* School supplies, including a notebook, pens and crayons
* Treats, vitamins and a toy
* Christian books and coloring books

You can also help North African evangelists spread the gospel throughout the region by sponsoring a Village Outreach Pack. Your gift of $75 will provide church leaders with a small library of gospel materials. We will distribute 3,000 packs to pastors and evangelists, who will use them to learn more about preaching sermons, teaching others and studying the Bible. These materials will help them share the gospel more effectively with those around them.

Each Village Outreach Pack includes:
* DVD player* Christian DVDs*
* Tracts
* Bibles
* Christian literature

To help out, just follow this link.

Leftist "Evangelicals" Change the Meaning of "Pro-Life"

Those so-called evangelical Christians on the far left have stooped to one of the meanest of all frauds; namely, trying to sell pro-abortion zealots like Democrat Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin (both with 100% pro-abortion voting records in the 110th Congress) as pro-life.

Madness? Of course. But the end justifies the means. So neither reason or honesty matters to these unprincipled cads.

The justification for the redefinition of being pro-life (a definition that the liberal religionists carefully hide) is that abortion promoters Stabenow, Levin et al support the EPA’s proposed limits on mercury emissions from power plants. Huh? Prohibiting mercury emissions while allowing the brutal and unjust deaths of preborn boys and girls (indeed, while demanding that taxpayers pay for such immoral barbarism!) is being pro-life nowadays?

If you hadn't realized before this that the Evangelical Environmental Network and its fellow travelers in the religious left are a bunch of remarkably irreligious weasels, this egregious act of fraud should convince you.

Oh yes, one other note -- even the EPA admits that the new mercury emission levels (if ever enacted) would not yield measurable benefits to public health.

Democrats Don't Believe in Unicorns -- Or In Job Creation Either

In the middle of delivering another tedious class-warfare sermon on Capitol Hill last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV, current net worth $3.4 million) made the rather startling assertion that millionaires who create jobs are “like unicorns – they’re impossible to find and don’t exist.”

Professor Reid went on to deliver the advanced economic theory that “only a tiny fraction of people making more than a million dollars, probably less than one percent, are actually small business owners, and only a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction is a traditional job creator.”

Got that?  Only a tiny fraction of small businesses owned by people who make more than a million dollars create jobs in a traditional sense.  The rest of the small businesses owned by people with Harry Reid’s net worth are staffed by ghosts, robots, colonies of super-intelligent ants, and the like.  You probably didn’t make it halfway through that video before you were shouting the names of rich entrepreneurs who created thousands of jobs at the screen.  Don’t bother: Harry Reid can’t hear you, and he wouldn’t hear you even if he was standing in the room with you.

So… if rich people opening businesses aren’t creating jobs in the private sector, then who is?  For the answer, we turn to an even greater economic genius, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, current net worth $35.5 million.)  Yesterday she repeated a theory she made famous some years ago, and which has become one of the bedrock principles of the Obama Administration: jobs are created by people who don’t have jobs, through the magic of unemployment insurance, whose extension will create 600,000 jobs.  Why, that’s even better job creation than ObamaCare!  And you know how right she was about ObamaCare!

It’s the return of Trickle-Up Economics, an article of nearly religious faith on the Left these days, despite the rather stunning volume of evidence that it doesn’t work.  Cast a flurry of government dollars across the deserving poor, and their rush to spend Big Government’s largesse will cause businesses to pop up all over the place and begin hiring.

Obviously liberals are in love with this fantasy, because it means Big Government gets to exercise ever-greater control over the private sector.  Taxpayer money is seized and spent, while liberals get to posture as the selfless champions of the little guy.  The fact that it doesn’t work is a feature, not a bug, because it creates ever greater demand for that compassionate welfare spending.  Dependent constituencies are the lifeblood of collectivist politics...

I think John Hayward's Human Events article, "Your Christmas Present From The Democrats" may just be the read of the day. Go finish reading it right here.

Teaching Church Kids While Shacking Up? A Religious Rights Legal Win.

As the director of a church preschool, S.H. knew she had moral obligations. Nevertheless, it was learned that she had a live-in partner and she refused to marry the fellow or change her behavior. So, quite naturally, she was fired from her job.

Did the woman repent? Did she slink off in shame? Did she shrug the whole thing off and conclude it was a fair cop?

No. S.H. is a thoroughly modern woman. She brought a lawsuit against the church.

But here's the unexpected end to the story. The gal lost her case! And now comes word that she lost her appeal too!

“[S.H.] knew she was to serve as a Christian role model to the students and their parents, both in and out of school,” wrote the court. “Henry’s employment was terminated for religious reasons for which the church and school are exempt under title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”

Imagine, a modern court (in this case, the Fourth District Court of Appeals) deciding for religious rights. We can't assume this will begin a trend, of course. But any victory, even an anomaly like this one, is a cause for some thanksgiving.

Just Why Does Handel's "Messiah" Continue to Inspire?

Our good friend Quint Coppi absolutely loves listening to Handel's "Messiah." Indeed, when Christmas comes round, it constantly blasts out of his CD players both at home and on the road. His enthusiasm moved Claire and I to go and take in a performance of the piece at the Holland Center a couple of years ago and we finally understood Quint's passion for the music...and the texts.

I passed on to Quint last night a book about Christmas carols that had a fascinating chapter about Handel and this great work. And now this morning I'll pass along to him another nice piece on the "Messiah" from the Bellingham Herald. 

But I mention it here on Vital Signs Blog so you can take a peek too.

Washington Is Spending My Money On What!

These are our tax dollars at, uh...work?

Doctor (and Oklahoma Senator) Tom Coburn has released “Wastebook 2011” containing 100 examples of the mind-numbing government spending that is wasting American tax money. 

Writes Sen. Coburn, "Over the past 12 months, Washington politicians argued, debated and lamented about how to reign in the federal government‘s out of control spending. All the while, Washington was on a shopping binge, spending money we do not have on things we do not need, like the $6.9 billion worth of examples provided in this report. The result: Instead of cutting wasteful spending, nearly $2.5 billion was added each day in 2011 to our national debt,1 which now exceeds $15 trillion."

Here are just a few of those examples:

* "Despite a federal budget crisis, taxpayers will be cutting checks this year to both political parties that could 'help pay for the stages, confetti, balloons, food, and booze' for their political conventions.The funds that are used to cover the conventions come from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF). This year each political party will receive a $17.7 million check that will pay a sizable portion of the convention costs. The PECF money will be distributed to each of the political convention committee‘s bank accounts.."

* "In 2009, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) undertook a four-year, $90 million effort to spur hiring and sales among Pakistani businesses. Two years later, the USAID Inspector General found no measurable increases in sales and employment."

* "An International House of Pancakes (IHOP) franchise was built with financial assistance courtesy of Uncle Sam. It was intended to help an underserved community... The new IHOP is not located in an underserved community but a popular Washington D.C.neighborhood. The neighborhood is Columbia Heights, which has become a local shopping hot spot..."

* "The federal government sent an average of $120 million in retirement and disability payments to
deceased former federal employees every year for at least the past five years."

* "America‘s national debt recently surpassed $15 trillion, much of which it borrowed from a variety of foreign countries. China, whose U.S. debt holdings exceed $1.1 trillion, is at the top of that list. So taxpayers might be shocked to learn that each year the United States provides millions in aid to China.In 2011, the U.S. government spent nearly $18 million on foreign aid programs to its biggest sovereign lender.This included $2.5 million for social services and about $4.4 million for programs to improve China‘s environment.  In fact, China can better afford to fund these programs than the United States at this point."

I'm afraid that this infuriating list just goes on an on. So please pass the word -- we need to get these free-spending knuckleheads out of office ASAP.

Christmas Song Revised In "Honor" Of President Obama

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today's Posts

The Vacation President Takes Off Again

Remember how Ronald Reagan (despite his great love for his California ranch) spent every Christmas in Washington, D.C. in order that his Secret Service detail could spend the holidays with their families? Well, no altruistic sentiments are gonna' get in the way of Barack Obama's pleasure -- no way, baby.

Indeed, comparing Reagan's attitude to that of the most vacation happy occupants the White House has ever seen (Don't they like the place?) is a very dramatic contrast.  Just look at this latest jaunt -- a $4,000,000 vacation that looks like it will be their most expensive of all.

And that takes some doing.

America, please remember this next November. Remember how Barack and Michelle Obama have decried the wealthy as greedy, uncaring despots -- even as the Obamas live more lavishly (on your money!) than the Sun King himself.

Need an Honest Obama Yard Sign?

John Hawkins has more suggestions for Obama campaign signs right here.

Have We Become Too Stupid to Survive?

Mark Steyn's recent NRO column, "Merry War on Christmas" should not be missed. Here's a teaser:

Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions — the sacred performance of the annual ACLU lawsuit over the presence of an insufficiently secular “holiday” tree; the ritual provocations of the atheist displays licensed by pitifully appeasing municipalities to sit between the menorah and the giant Frosty the Snowman; the familiar strains of every hack columnist’s “war on Christmas” column rolling off the keyboard as easily as Richard Clayderman playing “Winter Wonderland”...

When an explicitly Catholic institution thinks that the meaning of Christmas is “tenderness for the past, vapid generalities for the present, evasive abstractions for the future,” it’s pretty much over...

The crisis afflicting the West is not primarily one of unsustainable debt and spending. These are mere symptoms of a deeper identity crisis. It is not necessary to be a believing Christian to be unnerved by the ease and speed with which we have cast off our inheritance and trampled it into the dust. When American municipalities are proudly displaying the execution of skeleton Santas and giant Satans on public property, it may just be a heartening exercise of the First Amendment, it may be a trivial example of the narcissism of moral frivolity. Or it could be a sign that eventually societies become too stupid to survive.

Vital Signs -- On the Road to Christmas

A few Vital Signs Ministries notes --

* Last week's quarterly Board meeting went well. We aren't in the greatest shape financially (who is?) but we were all still quite encouraged by the impact of Vital Signs Ministries this past year. Examples? The traffic on Vital Signs Blog is doing unexpectedly well (over 130,00 page loads); the development of our Russian-language web site is increasing in speed and quality; we are continuing our prayer and sidewalk counseling services; we've been able to be of service to the new coalition of which we are a part, Nebraskans Against Planned Parenthood; and the success of "When Swing Was King" has been phenomenal.

* Speaking of "When Swing Was King," you still have a few opportunities to experience the Christmas version. We will be presenting it this afternoon at 2:30 at Skyline nursing home (the west section), then tomorrow at 3:00 at Walnut Grove, then Wednesday at 1:00 at Mercy Villa, and finally on Christmas morning at Faith Bible Church during their Sunday school hour from 9 to 10. That would make a nice Christmas treat for those of you going to services on Saturday night or later on Sunday morning. Indeed, you would be more than welcome to joins us for Sunday morning services at 10:30 where I'll be preaching.

* The December LifeSharer letter is up from Vital Signs Ministries. In it you'll find a quick update on our recent work as well as a commentary about Christmas gifts. Interesting stuff.

Yes, Virginia; There's Still a War on Christmas

Unelected bureaucrats working in the Congressional franking office have laid down the law -- Congressmen cannot send along a "Merry Christmas" or any other holiday sentiment in their official mailings.

In an memo sent directly from the selectively intolerant Grinches of the franking commission to Congressional offices, it was decreed:

You may make reference to the season as a whole using language along the lines of 'Have a safe and happy holiday season.' It may only be incidental to the piece rather than the primary purpose of the communication."

In pursuing the matter, the Washington Examiner's Mark Tapscot contacted the franking office and had it confirmed. Members of Congress indeed cannot wish constituents "Merry Christmas" in any official mailing. "An "incidental use of the phrase Happy Holidays is permissible but Merry Christmas is not."

This action is, of course, just one in a continuing series of actions in which unelected judges and bureaucrats force their mean-spirited, small-minded, secularist convictions on the rest of us.

And for more on the subject, please don't miss Mark Steyn's recent column, "Merry War on Christmas."

Communist China: Too Many Turning to God

Should we be expecting new waves of religious persecution in Communist China? As if persecution of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and others hasn't been ongoing already.

In a recent public statement, Zhu Weiqun, one of the country's top party officials explained that increasing religious belief, especially in Christianity, is threatening Communist China's national health. Therefore, greater pains must be taken to root it out and eradicate it. You see, China requires its party members (which includes all government workers) to be atheists and top officials are getting ticked off that so many in the ranks are turning towards God.

"Voices have appeared within the party calling for an end to the ban on religion, arguing in favor of the benefits of religion for party members and even claiming the ban on religion for party members is unconstitutional," Zhu said. "In fact, our party's principled stance regarding forbidding members from believing in religion has not changed one iota."

Komen for the Cure "Gifted" Planned Parenthood Over 1/2 Million Dollars Last Year

New figures directly from the Komen for the Cure foundation show 18 affiliates of the breast cancer charity gave a total of more than $569,000 to the Planned Parenthood abortion business in 2010.

The donations will certainly prompt the continued boycott of the Komen breast cancer group by millions of pro-life Americans who find it disingenuous that the women’s organization would partner with an abortion business when abortions are linked to an increase in breast cancer and when Planned Parenthood has been proven to mislead the public by falsely claiming it performs mammograms.

The new figures come from an American Life League study of Susan G. Komen affiliates’ federal forms 990 and they show 18 Komen affiliates gave $569,159 to Planned Parenthood in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available...

Komen affiliates in Austin, Texas; Central New Mexico; El Paso, Texas; Greater Amarillo, Texas; Los Angeles County, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Salt Lake City, Utah stopped giving to the abortion business while affiliates in Dallas County, Texas; Denver, Colorado; North Carolina Triad; North Carolina Triangle; and Puget Sound, Washington all began new relationships with Planned Parenthood...

Rita Diller, the director of ALL’s STOP Planned Parenthood International program, said she is also disappointed that the list of Komen affiliates giving money to Planned Parenthood includes several highly-populated urban areas where numerous alternatives to Planned Parenthood are readily available.

“To say that there is no other alternative in such areas for women to receive breast cancer screening and care is preposterous,” she said.

Another problem for pro-life advocates is the fact that Planned Parenthood is reducing the number of breast cancer screenings while increasing its abortions.  According to the 2008 Annual Report from Planned Parenthood, breast cancer services decreased by 4% and abortion procedures increased by 6%.

The Komen spokesman confirmed last year that Komen affiliates contributed about $3.3 million to the abortion business from 2004-2009. That and the longtime ties between Komen and Planned Parenthood have resulted in some backlash from the pro-life community. The Komen annual report reveals Komen brought in almost $22 million less, or 6% less, in 2009 than it made in 2008. That could be a result of the difficult economic times or may also come as a result of pro-life advocates increasingly boycotting Komen...

Here's the rest of Steven Ertelt's story in LifeNews.com.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Today's Posts

You Gotta' Have Heroes

My library is a special place to me, in large part, because it is a place where my heroes dwell.  You remember heroes, don't you?  Those men and women who bravely fought for great causes, sacrificed for lofty ideals, and otherwise broke the bonds of compromising commonality to achieve noble aims.  In addition to my faith in Jesus Christ and my dependence on the Holy Spirit...in addition to my zeal to study the Bible and learn well its revelations and precepts, I've joyously accepted the gifts God has given me in mortal heroes also. And I've cherished the inspiration that those heroes have brought me throughout my life -- heroes whose character and deeds of physical and moral valor compel me to dream bigger, reach further, and relish more the adventures of life.

My library truly resounds with the presence of these mortal heroes and, after decades of acquaintance with them behind me, I still relish my every encounter with them. The apostle Paul, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Christopher Columbus, Ronald Reagan, Ulysses S. Grant, St. Patrick, G.K. Chesterton, Thor Heyerdahl, Francis Schaeffer, Edith Cavell, William Carey, C.S. Lewis, Audie Murphy, Joni Eareckson-Tada, Malcolm Muggeridge, Teddy Roosevelt, Paul Tournier, Florence Nightingale, Dietrich Bonhoeffer  – the list goes on.

Even the fictional heroes that lived first in my library (but now also in my heart) are motivating friends. Sherlock Holmes, Sydney Carton, the Count of Monte Cristo, Richard Hannay, Robinson Crusoe, D'Artagnan and the Musketeers, Mr. Pickwick, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Frodo and Sam, and so many others. The Lord uses even them to provide me with stimulation and guidance.

Heroes, quite literally, surround me in my library as they look down upon me from photos and artwork on the walls. Ronald Reagan is there as is Winston Churchill. Joshua Chamberlain at Gettysburg. Lawrence of Arabia and Ulysses S. Grant. Iconographic pictures of Saint Nicholas and Saint George. And rightfully joining these are heroes who are even closer to me, many photos of Claire and of my late father and mother, Alva and Ionia Hartford.

Heroes have shaped my life in ways too numerous and deep to ever fully realize. They have called me outside of my narrow self-interests and emboldened me to embrace the adventurous opportunities life provides for character, integrity, courage, and religious faith.

Where would I be without heroes?

Claire Reviews New Rosati Book, Wait No More

Among our most respected and long-term friends are John & Kelly Rosati, Christian pro-life colleagues who we have known since their time in Nebraska -- before John's service in the Air Force and Kelly's service for Focus on the Family took them to Hawaii, Wisconsin, Hawaii again and Colorado. They are a very impressive couple: smart, caring, and visionary.

John & Kelly's new book, Wait No More: One Family's Amazing Adoption Journey, was a project they were asked to write by Kelly's Focus on the Family colleagues. It was a labor of love about an even greater labor of love; namely, raising a family of adopted children. I'm almost sure you will find the book as interesting and inspiring as I did. In fact, like me, you'll feel like giving the Rosatis (Mom, Dad and all four kids) a big hug after reading it.

Wait No More isn't a sugar-coated book. It is an honest but love-filled account of the difficulties involved in responsibly raising a family. There are special challenges that the now multi-racial Rosati family have faced because their children were once orphans in the foster care system and the kids had some really tough starts in life. But if there are special challenges, there are also special blessings for Christians who embrace adoption -- blessings now and in the world to come.

I appreciated very much how Kelly & John sought God’s direction in all the decisions they had to make. And how they move forward, one day at a time, in continued dependence on His power and grace. There are tears in reading Wait No More. There is laughter. But most of all, there is love.

The book also tells of Kelly's ministry with Focus on the Family and the Wait No More project. You'll find that program really inventive, compassionate and stirring. It is a program in which couples are being challenged (then equipped) to handle the awesome ministry opportunity represented by adoption.

I loved reading the book and it only increased the already strong affection and respect we have for John & Kelly. And even those of you who don't know the Rosatis yet will get to know them...and love them...by reading Wait No More. You too will share in the blessing of their faithfulness.

Check out this short video clip to hear a teaser from John & Kelly themselves.

Wait No More: One Family's Amazing Adoption Journey can be purchased from Amazon or, better still, from Focus on the Family itself. 

Obama Administration's Foreign Policy Priority? Promote LGBT Rights.

The Barack Obama administration which has been so irresponsibly silent on human rights abuses around the world, especially the persecution of Christians, has decided that there's one group that deserves their strong protection. Indeed, make that promotion. And who is that group? Sexual deviants.

Lord have mercy, you just can't make this stuff up.

Here's a review from C-FAM of the U.S. State Department's new directive:

All federal agencies dealing with U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance must now promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. This new priority puts U.S. foreign policy on a collision course with religious freedom.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced President Obama’s sweeping directive to UN diplomats in Geneva last week. Along with the full-force of the U.S. government, a Global Equality Fund will equip foreign LGBT groups to agitate within countries.

 Every federal agency engaged overseas, and “other agencies as the President may designate,” is directed to “combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad,” assist LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, leverage aid to advance LGBT nondiscrimination, respond swiftly to abuses of LGBT persons abroad, enlist international organizations “in the fight,” and report on progress.

A State Department official said, “We are not just having people . . . whose full-time job it is to occupy ourselves with concerns of human rights, but also people whose daily grind is, most of the time, spent on different things.”

This elevates LGBT above every other people group, including those persecuted for religious beliefs, promoting democracy and human rights, ethnic minorities, and women.

Asked by the Friday Fax if any other minority has this status, the State Department did not respond.

By one account, only nine countries do not discriminate in some way against LGBT individuals, such as donating blood or “higher age of consent laws.”

Obama’s directive comes as Nigeria debates a bill to protect marriage. The Catholic Medical Association of Nigeria denounced  “the coordinated ferocity” by foreign governments and international groups “browbeating” legislators to adopt laws that are premised on “dubious science and ethical mischief.”...

Tina Ramirez of the Washington DC–based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told the Friday Fax, "The Administration is sticking its head in the sand when it comes to the conflict between gay rights and religious freedom. The failure of either the President or the Secretary of State to articulate how the international LGBT rights initiative will interact with religious conscientious objection is a recipe for conflict between the two. No one disagrees with Secretary Clinton's truism that religious freedom doesn't protect religiously-motivated violence against anyone. But the real issue, that neither the President nor Secretary Clinton talked about, is what happens when the LGBT initiative conflicts with sincere conscientious objection. Religious liberty is a fundamental human right protected in the United States Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and countless other human rights instruments; the Administration seems to be treating it as an afterthought."