Friday, May 25, 2012

Today's Posts

Dr. Tom Coburn's Cure for America's "Debt Disease"

For Chen Guangcheng's Family Still in China, Persecution Continues

Don't Miss These Three

Thank You, Democrats, for the Higher Airline Fees

This Just In...Barack Obama Is A Big Spending Liberal

Yet Another Botched Abortion? Attorney General Bruning, Where Are You?

"Flash Mob" Goes on 7-Eleven Stealing Spree, Assaults Clerk

Dr. Tom Coburn's Cure for America's "Debt Disease"

For Chen Guangcheng's Family Still in China, Persecution Continues

Here are excerpts from two important Wall Street Journal updates on the cause of human rights (well, make that the dramatic absence of human rights) in Communist China.

As blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng settles into life as a student in New York following a daring escape from home confinement and a six-day stay in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, a highly scrutinized legal battle over the fate of his nephew is heating up.

In the most recent development, Liu Fang, the wife of Mr. Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui, has written a letter to local authorities demanding that her husband be allowed to meet with the lawyers she has commissioned to represent him.

The letter comes a few days after Mr. Chen’s brother, Chen Gaungfu, escaped guards in the family’s home village near Linyi in Shandong province to consult with lawyers in Beijing about his son’s case.

Chen Kegui faces a charge of attempted murder for slashing local officials with a kitchen knife after the officials burst into the home of his father a few days after Chen Guangcheng escaped. Lawyers and family members argue Chen Kegui was acting in self-defense and say the attempted murder charge is wildly excessive...

(Josh Chin, "Fight Continues for Blind Activist’s Family")

The illegal harassment of Chen Guangcheng and the reign of Bo Xilai in Chongqing each in their own way signal the fundamental weakness of Chinese law and the extent to which it serves as a tool to maintain the Party’s control of Chinese society.

Chen, the blind self-educated “barefoot lawyer,” was a victim convicted in a sham trial, imprisoned for over 4 years, and subsequently illegally held under house arrest for two years and brutally beaten by security forces before he escaped.

By contrast, Bo, the “princeling” son of a revolutionary, was the perpetrator of brutality. After becoming Communist Party boss of the world’s largest municipality, he launched an organized crime crackdown described by the New York Times as “a security apparatus run amok: framing victims, extracting confessions through torture, extorting business empires and visiting retribution on the political rivals of Mr. Bo.”

In each case, the question is whether formal legal measures will eventually be used to punish alleged violations of law...

(Stanley Lubman, "Two Big Stories, One Conclusion: China Has No ‘Legal System’")

Don't Miss These Three

The line-up of conservative columnists over at Town Hall is a very good one. Yes, there are clunkers in the mix. But you'll find in Town Hall such gems as David Limbaugh, Cal Thomas,  Mona Charen, Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin, Oliver North, John Hawkins, Brent Bozell, Victor Davis Hanson, Chuck Norris, Rebecca Hagelin, and many more.

I heartily suggest signing up for the daily e-mail which will give you easy links to each daily column. And encourage your friends to do the same.

For examples, I offer just three of the articles I found particularly valuable this morning.

* "The ‘Gay Marriage’ Spin" by Rebecca Hagelin

...Traditional marriage proponents believe what they do because God—not pollsters-- decided the meaning of marriage. And the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow really doesn’t care what a GOP strategist thinks is the most popular stance. So it’s a faulty premise to suggest that it’s only a matter of time before all segments of society re-think their opposition to homosexual ‘marriage.’ Believers stand on principle: Marriage is the union of one man and one woman who become one flesh through their sexual complementarity and, by their love, create new human beings. Homosexual relationships- even when lengthy, warm, and steadfast - are simply not the same.

The real question is whether the GOP has the courage to stand on principle as well. Or whether, like President Obama, GOP “principle” will reveal itself as the weathervane of political expediency, turning with the wind in the direction of dollars, donors, and demagoguery.

* "Overreach by Unions in Wisconsin" by Linda Chavez

...It's still possible for the Democrats and unions to pull off a victory if they are more successful at voter turnout than the Republicans. Unions are more than willing to bend the rules when it comes to spending union dues to get out non-union voters. The state can expect a huge influx of out-of-state union staff to work on getting out the vote -- they're already there in big numbers.

And it's likely that the Democrats will revert to some old tried-and-true tactics to get unlikely voters to the polls. In 2000, some Democratic operatives handed out cigarettes to homeless people for voting. This year, both sides have been accused of offering people food in return for voting early in the recall election. And so-called "walking around money" -- actual cash surreptitiously passed to voters, which is illegal -- is a problem with a long history in politics...

* "The Unraveling Myth of Watergate" by Pat Buchanan

...According to Himmelman, not only did Bernstein try to breach the grand jury, he succeeded. One juror, a woman identified as "Z," had collaborated. Notes of Bernstein's interviews with Z were found in Bradlee's files. Writes Himmelman: "Carl and Bob, with Ben's explicit permission, lured a grand juror over the line of illegality ..."

This means that either Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee lied to Williams about breaching the grand jury, or the legendary lawyer lied to Sirica, or Sirica was told the truth but let it go, as all were engaged in the same noble cause -- bringing down Nixon.

Who was that grand juror? Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee know, but none is talking and no one is asking. The cover-up continues.

Had one of Nixon's men, with his approval, breached the secrecy of the Watergate grand jury, and lied abut it, that aide would have gone to prison and that would have been an article of impeachment. Conduct that sent Nixon men to the penitentiary got the Post's men a stern admonition. Welcome to Washington, circa 1972.

With the 40th anniversary of the break-in coming up this June, Himmelman's book, well-written and revelatory of the temper of that time, will receive a wider reading. As will Max Holland's "Leak: Why Mark Felt Became Deep Throat," out this spring and the definitive book on why J. Edgar Hoover's deputy betrayed his bureau and sought to destroy the honorable man who ran it, L. Patrick Gray.

With Bernstein's primary source spilling grand jury secrets, and Mark Felt leaking details of the FBI investigation to Woodward, both of the primary sources on which the Washington Post's Pulitzer depended were engaged in criminal misconduct.

At Kay Graham's Post, the end justified the means.

Thank You, Democrats, for the Higher Airline Fees

In honor of the Democrats "winning" one of the dumbest political victories of the year (namely, an increase in airline passenger fees which will now be passed on to one of the most ineffective and despised government agencies ever, the grope-happy TSA), I re-print one of Vital Signs' most popular posters.

This Just In...Barack Obama Is A Big Spending Liberal

There are some things that are so apparent that they’re not even worth mentioning. What goes up must come down. The earth is round. President Barack Obama is a big spender. But this week, some in the media and in the White House are denying one of these totally obvious truths. It shouldn’t be a big surprise which one it is...

Here's the straight skinny from The Heritage Foundation.

Yet Another Botched Abortion? Attorney General Bruning, Where Are You?

From --

A botched abortion patient can be heard moaning in obvious distress during newly-obtained recordings of two 911 calls placed on Saturday, March 31, 2012. The calls originated from Abortion and Contraceptive Clinic of Nebraska, run by LeRoy Carhart in Bellevue, a suburb of Omaha.

The recordings and witness statements indicate that Carhart may be breaking the Nebraska ban on late-term abortions after 20 weeks.

The abortion worker who placed the initial call specifically asked that an ambulance be sent with “no lights or sirens.”

The recordings, obtained by Operation Rescue through an open records request, show that clinic workers were uncooperative and slow to give information about the patient’s condition to the emergency dispatcher…

A witness that was at the scene when the ambulance arrived stated, “I saw a woman, who looked like she was quite pregnant, clutching her stomach as she was put into the ambulance. She had a drape below her belly.”…

Police told witnesses to the incident that the woman was transported to the Bellevue Medical Center where she was treated.

Late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart was present at the time of the medical emergency in March, but did not participate in the 911 calls. He was involved in the 3rd trimester abortion death of a patient in 2005.

“Based on this incident, there is concern that Carhart may be violating the Nebraska ban on late-term abortions after 20 weeks when babies can feel pain,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.

“This is particularly troubling since the Nebraska Attorney General’s office is very aware that Carhart may be breaking the law. Operation Rescue has submitted several statements by former Carhart employees and supplied them with information from other confidential informants who have alleged violations ranging from billing fraud to missing drugs to falsifying ultrasound measurements for the purpose of evading the late-term abortion ban. Yet, all we have gotten from the supposedly pro-life Attorney General Jon Bruning is the ‘run-around’. The injury of this woman is directly Bruning’s responsibility because he had the opportunity to protect women from Carhart’s dangerous abortion practices, but did nothing.”

"Flash Mob" Goes on 7-Eleven Stealing Spree, Assaults Clerk

There was a time when kids went into 7-Eleven stores to buy candy bars and Slurpees, not steal them. Remember?

And the kids of that bygone era would have considered it unthinkable to terrorize and assault that 7-Eleven store employee.

But now? The culture of decadence, entitlement and lawlessness has produced a different kid of kid altogether.

Welcome to the brave new world. Welcome to anarchy.

And don't bother to call a cop.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today's Posts

A Marine Prayer

Democrats Want America to Get "LOST" At Sea

Other Must-Read Items for Today

A Marine Prayer

My friend and pro-life colleague Dick Wilson proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1956 through 1962 and has been a firm and enthusiastic supporter of the Corps ever since. One of the ways he has done this over the years was by volunteering with the Omaha detachment of the Marine Corps League. In this service, Dick takes time from his work (he's still doing woodworking and construction at age 75) to do color guard duty at the funerals of fellow Marines.

Not too long ago, while bemoaning yet again the vapid verses that so often adorn the funeral program (greeting card poems that lacked both theological backbone and a manly respect for the unique character of the Marine's service to his country), Dick decided to write something more relevant and meaningful.

I think you'll agree with me that he succeeded. Feel free to pass it around.

A Marine Prayer

Almighty God, Father of the fatherless, now take me home.

I was what others could not be.
I went where others feared to go and did what others failed to do.

I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, but gave hope, security and freedom to all.

I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear and experienced the warm comfort of Your love and protection through it all.

I have enjoyed the sweet taste of life, comrades, love of country, Your guiding hand and word.

I have cried, failed, pained, loved and hoped. I have lived times others would say were best forgotten. But, what we are in life echoes into eternity.

I humbly offer that with Your guidance I have done my duty and lived with the grateful pride of what I am - A United States Marine.

Deep sea and sod for now hold our bodies, but You, O Lord, guard our souls until that final day when all stand before You guilty, and for those who believe, receive the gift of forgiveness and Eternal Life.

Almighty God, Father of Love, through the precious blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray You now take me home. For You have proven to be "Always Faithful."

Semper Fidelis

Democrats Want America to Get "LOST" At Sea

Back in 1982, President Ronald Reagan decided not to sign a treaty known as "Law of the Sea" (LOST), a United Nations convention that would raid America's treasury for billions of dollars, then redistribute that wealth to the rest of the world by an international bureaucracy headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica. But today, the Obama Administration has revived that treaty, and tomorrow Senator John Kerry (D-MA) will hold hearings designed to illustrate its supposed benefits and generate support for its ratification. Without a doubt, Reagan's decision should stand, and LOST should remain relegated to the trash bin of history…

For more than 200 years before LOST was adopted in 1982 and for 30 years since then, the U.S. Navy has successfully protected America's maritime interests regardless of the fact that the United States has not signed on to the treaty. The United States' navigational rights and freedoms have been secure, and they are best guaranteed by a strong Navy.

LOST is not without consequences, either. One of the more nefarious and insidious of its provisions is Article 82, which requires the United States to forfeit royalties generated from oil and gas development on the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles - an area known as the "extended continental shelf." That money, which one estimate says could be worth many billions, if not trillions of dollars, would go to the International Seabed Authority, a new international bureaucracy created by the treaty and based in Jamaica. Heritage's Steven Groves explains that from there, America's money could be shipped to the Middle East, Africa, China, and even state sponsors of terror…

In addition to shipping America's money overseas to unsavory recipients, LOST could have other negative consequences, as well, by exposing U.S. industry and manufacturing to baseless international lawsuits. In fact, environmental activists and international legal academics are actively exploring the potential of using international litigation against the United States to advance their agendas…

If America truly wants to preserve its rights on the sea, then it needs to bolster the one tool that has guaranteed those rights throughout history -- a strong U.S. Navy. Unfortunately, under President Obama's watch, the United States is seeing its fleet diminished in size and ability. A lone piece of paper will not defend America's interests on the sea, and neither will transferring billions of dollars to an international authority in Jamaica for redistribution the world over…

(Mike Brownfield, "The Danger of Article 82 and Obama’s Latest Treaty" published at the Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell, May 22.)

Other Must-Read Items for Today

* Mary Ann Glendon has an informative column in the Wall Street Journal explaining why the Roman Catholic bishops are finally "getting it" about Obama's dire threat to religious liberty. If only evangelical leaders (including local pastors) would now join forces with them.

*  Under the Barack Obama presidency, the U.S. Treasury Department has given the People's Bank of China a direct computer link to its auction system. That's right; Communist China can now bypass Wall Street when buying U.S. government debt and go straight to the U.S. Treasury, in what is the Treasury's first-ever direct relationship with a foreign government. Here's the scary story from Reuters.

* And speaking of China, that country's Dalian Wanda Group announced yesterday that it had paid $2.6 billion to buy up AMC Entertainment thereby creating (along with its extensive real estate holdings, luxury hotels, etc.) the world's largest cinema chain.

* Was it from the schoolyard of his youth or from CNN where he was a bigwig executive for a long time, that Bob Furnad learned such nasty tricks as leaving dog feces in his neighbor's mailbox? It's hard to say. At any rate, Furnad's escalation of a quarrel with his neighbors was caught on videotape and he was busted by the cops.

* The trend of"homosexual chic" continues in super-hero comic books.

* A gang of 20 young blacks, dressed in in hoodies and armed with knives and clubs, stormed a London pub and killed a 25-year old white man who was watching a football match on TV. They also stabbed and critically injured his father who had thrown his body over his son in a vain attempt to protect him.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Today's Posts

Men Have Forgotten God

More than half a century ago while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.'

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.'

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Templeton Lecture, May 10, 1983. (Among many other fine selections of Solzhenitsyn's work, this address can be found in The Solzhenitsyn Reader edited by Edward E. Ericson Jr. and Daniel J. Mahoney.)

The President May Lie…But the Numbers Don't

* Real median household income is down $4300 since Obama took office.

* The country has had the longest streak of +8% unemployment since the Depression under Obama: 39 months and counting.

* U.S. home ownership is at a decade long low. So is the number of Americans who say their home is worth more than they paid for it. Home prices are the lowest they've been since 2002.

* Going into this election cycle, Barack Obama had raised more money from Wall Street than any President in history. He has also raised more money from Wall Street than all of the GOP presidential contenders combined in this election cycle.

* Barack Obama's budget was defeated 414-0 in the House and 99-0 in the Senate.

* When Barack Obama took office, gas was $1.95 per gallon. Today gas is $3.72 per gallon.

* America lost its AAA credit rating (which it had held since 1917) on Obama's watch despite the fact that Timothy Geithner publicly said there was "no risk" of that happening.

* Barack Obama added more to the debt in just 38 months than George Bush did in two full terms as President.

Want a few more? Then zip over and read through John Hawkins' eye-opening (and blood-boiling) Town Hall article, "15 Facts That Even Obama's Biggest Supporters Should Be Able To Admit Are True."

Mark Steyn on Obama, Warren and the Trendiness of Racial Politics

Mark Steyn is a treasure, one of the brightest, boldest and best-writing cultural observers on the planet. The latest from his syndicated column is but the latest example of why you should have his website on your bookmark list.

...It turns out that the earliest recorded example of Birtherism is from the president's own literary agent, way back in 1991, in the official bio of her exciting new author:

"Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."...

When it comes to conspiracies, I'm an Occam's Razor man. The more obvious explanation of the variable first line in the eternally shifting sands of Obama's biography is that, rather than pretending to have been born in Hawaii, he's spent much of his life pretending to have been born in Kenya.

After all, if your first book is an exploration of racial identity and has the working title "Journeys In Black And White," being born in Hawaii doesn't really help. It's entirely irrelevant to the twin pillars of contemporary black grievance – American slavery and European imperialism. To 99.99 percent of people, Hawaii is a luxury vacation destination and nothing else.

Whereas Kenya puts you at the heart of what, in an otherwise notably orderly decolonization process by the British, was a bitter and violent struggle against the white man's rule. Cool! The composite chicks dig it, and the literary agents.

And where's the harm in it? Everybody does it – at least in the circles in which Obama hangs. At Harvard Law School, where young Barack was "the first African-American president of The Harvard Law Review," there's no end of famous firsts: As The Fordham Law Review reported, "Harvard Law School hired its first woman of color, Elizabeth Warren, in 1995." There is no evidence that Mrs. Warren, now the Democrats' Senate candidate, is anything other than 100 percent white. She walks like a white, quacks like a white, looks whiter than white. She's the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out. But she "self-identified" as Cherokee, so that makes her a "woman of color." Why, back in 1984 she submitted some of her favorite dishes to the "Pow Wow Chow" cookbook, a "compilation of recipes passed down through the Five Tribes families."

The recipes from "Elizabeth Warren – Cherokee" include a crab dish with tomato mayonnaise. Mrs. Warren's fictional Cherokee ancestors in Oklahoma were renowned for their ability to spear the fast-moving Oklahoma crab. It's in the state song: "Ooooooklahoma! Where the crabs come sweepin' down the plain." But then the white man came, and now the Oklahoma crab is extinct, and at the Cherokee clambakes they have to make do with Mrs. Warren's traditional Five Tribes recipe for Cherokee Lime Pie….

America Protects Animals Much Better Than Human Babies

Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, sponsor of HR 3803, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, takes a moment to underscore the irony, the irrationality and the sheer cruelty of America's abortion mentality.

The criminal code of the District of Columbia, Section 22-1001, prohibits cruelty to animals…..

This statute explicitly covers “all living and sentient creatures, human beings excepted,” if a prosecutor can prove “serious bodily injury,” or if a prosecutor can prove “to an animal or indifference to animal life, that a single offense can be punished by up to five years in prison or a fine not to exceed $25,000 or both.”

A serious bodily injury includes among other things the infliction of  “extreme physical pain or mutilation or broken bones or severe lacerations.”

Now I heard your vivid description of the D&E abortion method, which I’m told is the most frequent method used for abortion after 20 weeks, and it seems clear that it follows this description of mutilating, breaking bones, lacerating, and worse, and we’ve heard very convincing evidence pain that it would inflict “extreme physical pain.

Now that fits all the criteria. I find it tremendous – I don’t even want to use the word irony – just a break from human compassion, that while we would do the right thing and prevent those things from happening… to animals, but not to human babies.

(Thanks to Jill Stanek & Live Action for the text of the Congressman's remarks.)

The Swirling Myths of "Brain Death"

Pastoral Care Workers are accustomed to believe what doctors tell them concerning the patients. They innocently trust that these same doctors will do the best they can for the patients in terms of adequate medical care designed to treat the patients. Unfortunately, this may not be the case when the patient is a potential donor and then declared "brain dead."

Dr. Paul Byrne, a longtime friend and pro-life colleague, just happens to be one of the world's foremost experts in the controversies surrounding "brain death." Dr. Byrne is currently the Director of Neonatology and Director of Pediatrics at St. Charles Mercy Hospital in Oregon, Ohio and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics University of Toledo College of Medicine. He is a past-President of the Catholic Medical Association (USA) and author and producer of the film "Continuum of Life" and author of the books "Life, Life Support and Death," "Beyond Brain Death," and "Brain Death Is Not Death."

The quotation above is from an article from Renew America from last February. Though beginning as a warning to Catholic pastoral care workers, you'll soon see how it serves as a primer on "brain death" issues which can benefit us all. Check it out.

MSM Star Slaps Obama for Being Paternalistic, Out of Touch

You think the White House was pleased to read this article this weekend? And from Campbell Brown no less, a former CNN and NBC news anchor? To make matters even worse, Brown's article was published in one of the most read publications in America, the New York Times Sunday Review.

When I listen to President Obama speak to and about women, he sometimes sounds too paternalistic for my taste. In numerous appearances over the years — most recently at the Barnard graduation — he has made reference to how women are smarter than men. It’s all so tired, the kind of fake praise showered upon those one views as easy to impress…

According to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, about 53.6 percent of men and women under the age of 25 who hold bachelor’s degrees were jobless or underemployed last year, the most in at least 11 years. According to the Pew Research Center, if we broaden the age group to 18- to 29-year-olds, an estimated 37 percent are unemployed or out of the work force, the highest share in more than three decades…

The women I know who are struggling in this economy couldn’t be further from the fictional character of Julia, presented in Mr. Obama’s Web ad, “The Life of Julia,” a silly and embarrassing caricature based on the assumption that women look to government at every meaningful phase of their lives for help…

I have always admired President Obama and I agree with him on some issues, like abortion rights. But the promise of his campaign four years ago has given way to something else — a failure to connect with tens of millions of Americans, many of them women, who feel economic opportunity is gone and are losing hope. In an effort to win them back, Mr. Obama is trying too hard. He’s employing a tone that can come across as grating and even condescending. He really ought to drop it. Most women don’t want to be patted on the head or treated as wards of the state. They simply want to be given a chance to succeed based on their talent and skills...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Today's Posts

Michael J. Fox: "Answer Probably Not Coming from Embryonic Stem Cells"

Popular actor Michael J. Fox has been one of the most aggressive, most visible and most influential advocates for embryonic stem cell research. And he still insists that such experimentation, even though it requires human embryos to be killed, go forward.

But even Michael J. Fox cannot miss the fact that the grand promises made by the proponents of ESCR (including himself) just haven't and, quite probably, never will come true.

In this ABC story, Fox desperately tries to cover for ESCR but fails to list a single example of how the research has led to positive outcomes through actual medical treatments. He'd love to do that but they just don't exist. And ultimately, Fox admits it and suggests that hope must come from other avenues.

"There have been some issues with stem cells, some problems along the way,” said Fox. “It’s not so much that [ESCR has] diminished in its prospects for  breakthroughs as much as it’s the other avenues of research have grown and multiplied and become as much or more promising. So, an answer may come from stem cell research but it’s more than likely to come from another area.”

It's sad that Fox doesn't give up altogether on these unproductive, immoral and wickedly expensive pursuits -- wickedly expensive in that they continue to steal resources from adult stem cell research. For it is the work with "adult" stem cells that is not only showing enormous potential but which has already produced medical treatments that have helped thousands of patients.

So I send a thank-you this morning to Michael J. Fox for telling Diane Sawyer (and thus the American people) that embryonic stem cell research isn't coming through on its vaunted promises. But I now urge him to go all the way; namely, to recognize that ESCR is a dead end (in more ways than one) and turn his promotion efforts and the monies gathered by his foundation to further medical treatments developed through adult stem cell research.

Come on, Michael. Start backing a winner.

Fear & Flexibility: Obama Faces Putin

For Planned Parenthood and the UN, "Population Control" Trumps Human Rights

As events unfold in the gripping saga of Chen Guangcheng’s desperate bid to flee Chinese oppressors, trolls for the Chinese government have posted comments on websites that, unwittingly, remind us why he is persecuted: Chen dared to expose the brutal reality of China’s population control program.

This ought to unnerve groups like UNFPA, the U.N. population agency, and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).  Both helped implement China’s one-child policy.

Yet they appear unfazed.  Their top priority right now is pressuring countries to adopt population policies at Rio+20, a U.N. global summit in Brazil in June.  They intend to get world leaders to deal with “population dynamics” and achieve “sustainable development” by agreeing to reduce the number of human beings through reproductive services like abortion.

Chen’s case is a timely warning of what this can mean.

China’s central government sets national population targets and expects local officials to meet them.  Chen revealed that local officials, whose careers hinge on attaining goals, forcibly abort women and terrify their families.

Chen’s transgression was insisting that national officials hold local officials accountable.  For that, he’s been jailed, beaten, and imprisoned in his home.  His family members are under house arrest.

The message is clear: population control takes precedence over human rights...

Read the rest of Wendy Wright's important article here at

Note to Libertarians: Drugs Endanger Us All

Here's a point that "conservative" libertarians fail to appreciate; that is, mind-altering drugs endanger a whole lot more than just the druggie.
More than 60 percent of males arrested last year for crimes – felonies and misdemeanors – tested positive for drug use, according to a White House study of arrest data from 10 large cities. For some cities, that surpassed 80 percent...

"Decades of research and experience show us crime and drug use are linked and too often underlying substance use disorders are the driving force of criminal activity taking place in our communities,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy. “While the criminal justice system will always serve a vital role in protecting public safety, we cannot simply arrest our way out of the drug problem,” Kerlikowske continued. “Instead, we must also support evidence-based program and policies that work to break the vicious cycle of drug use in crime, reduce recidivism, and make our communities healthier and safer.”

The most commonly detected drug, by the way, was marijuana.

Did a Spy Drone Almost Bring Down an Passenger Plane?

Those UFOs that have taken to the skies recently ("spy" drones put up by the FBI and other agencies) have alarmed a lot of people. Concerns about privacy, civil liberties, government expense and so on have been cited by Americans worrying about what this new development might involve.

Well, you can add another group of folks that are going to be worrying a great deal about the new Nanny State gadgetry. And that group is airline travelers.

Here's an instance of a drone flying at over 8,000 feet almost bringing down a passenger plane over Denver.

Good grief. As if the government didn't hassle you enough in the airports through its groping TSA agents, it looks like it may now become a bother even when you're in the air!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Today's Posts

A Beautiful Day, A Day of Important Things

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in eastern Nebraska and beautifully eventful too.

First of all, Quint Coppi, Carol Moran, Don Kohls, Claire and myself had an intense time of prayer outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mill in the morning. We noticed again how responsive (in a positive way) are the people driving along 93rd Street and how that had changed since we first started coming here. I guess, prayer, friendly waves, and winsome signs with smiling babies and simple appeals (i.e."Mom, We Care About You & Your Baby") change people's minds about what abortion protesters are all about.

Yes, there are a few pro-lifers (not affiliated with us) who sometimes show up with graphic abortion signs. And, as you might imagine, that creates a much different mood. Yesterday, for instance, the pastor of the church up the street (the same pastor who graciously allows pro-lifers to park in the church lot and who has enthusiastically approved the pro-life pregnancy center putting a sign on their property) told us of how problematic the graphic signs can be. In addition to the usual complaints one would expect, the proximity of the people with the graphic signs to the church itself (they sometimes stand right on the corner of 93rd and Maple) has produced several disconcerting phone calls to the church -- some mistakenly thinking that the protesters are targeting the church rather than the Planned Parenthood two blocks away.

We have always believed that the graphic signs (while perfectly legitimate in some settings) are generally counter-productive to sidewalk counseling. After all, we're trying to be as appealing as possible. We're trying to get clients to come talk to us, to let us steer them to places where they can get safe, free and spiritually enriching help.

Like yesterday...when we persuaded a Planned Parenthood client to go to EPS, the pro-life pregnancy center just a few doors down the street.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Later that morning, Claire and I were able to get some yard work in, including laying bricks in the trench on the south side, laying decorative flat rock on the border along the backyard north side, and mowing the lawn. Next it was on to to a presentation of "When Swing Was King" in a nursing home in Fort Calhoun. We had fewer residents than usual but we were pleased to entertain 10 of them as well as a couple of visitors from Kansas and several family members of our pro-life colleague (and Ft. Calhoun resident) Hattie Conradson. Hattie brought along her mom, her mother-in-law, another elderly family member, and a granddaughter. We had a swell time visiting with the ladies before the program and, as always, they enjoyed the program immensely. Watching Hattie's mom smile throughout the program, hearing the residents' laughter at some of my commentary about the musicians, and seeing everyone sway and sing along with these great songs was really sweet. And when they all joined in with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly to sing Cole Porter's "True Love" -- well, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

Our day's last stop was an early evening volunteer appreciation party at Brookstone Assisted Living Center. We sat with Mary, one of "When Swing Was King's" biggest fans when we present it there. Mary was a librarian back in the day and we had a wonderful time talking about books. She thought our book club, the Notting Hill Napoleons, was the grandest thing. "Is there any way you could take that around the whole country?" she asked. "Wouldn't that be the best thing? Oh my, to start people reading books and talking about them -- just like you do with the music from the old times. Oh, you two do such important things!"

Thanks, Mary. We think so and we're deeply grateful to God for being able to do the things we do. But, when one's service is directed towards God, everyone has that same opportunity. To take our work (whatever it involves) and present it to the Lord as a part of our grateful, joyful worship makes life exciting, fulfilling and a delight to those alongside us.

And yesterday was one of those days we really felt that truth especially powerfully.  So thank You, Lord. In more ways than one, it was a beautiful...and important day.

Claire, The Lawn & Other Things Which Bite Into Blogging

Blogging has been light these last couple of weeks because, in addition to keeping up our other Vital Signs activities (including this month's 12 presentations of "When Swing Was King"), I've had a couple of issues to deal with -- one concerning the health of my lawn and the other dealing with the health...of my wife.

Taking the most important matter first, it turns out that Claire was probably misdiagnosed when she was told (by several doctors) that she was suffering from acid reflux. In fact, after many terribly expensive tests and being given some very strong drugs, Claire's condition wasn't improving. So, Claire pursued her own research and began to push back against the system, insisting on being scheduled for a simple test of her gall bladder (a $150 test, by the way) which revealed -- you guessed it -- she has gall stones which are probably the source of her pain and nausea. She sees her sister's doctor in Lincoln on Monday with surgery probably in her near future.

The second matter that has stolen into my blogging time is a seasonal thing; namely, it's spring and for us that usually means some intensive hours out in the lawn. In other years, this has involved flowers and bushes but our garden areas are now pretty healthy (and abundant) with perennials: columbines, roses, clematis, various ground cover, evergreens, azaleas, burning bushes, lilacs, spiraea, lilium, beard-tongue, Burberry bushes, and our huge Hardy Pampas grasses. Yes, Claire does plant a few vegetables and several kinds of annual flowers into pots -- a half dozen big pots on the deck, another half dozen big pots on the sunny south side, and a barrel out in the backyard. But that doesn't take a whole lot of time.

No, this year, the bulk of our labor has gone into improving our existing borders and the creation of altogether new ones. That has meant trenching around fences, clearing away weeds and unwanted grass, and the utilization of rocks, bricks, and mulch to establish a really lovely look as well as making mowing the lawn easier and more efficient. This has required a gang of trips to Menard's and local nurseries, as well as three trips to fill up the Oldsmobile with "discount rocks" (10 cents a pound) and "antique paving stones" (17 cents a pound) from what's become my new favorite store, The Rock Place out in Elkhorn.

We've been busy -- our aching bodies are proof -- but we still have a bit of work ahead of us. There's some extra applications of seed, fertilizer, and lime to go on the lawn (in addition to our regular summer applications), a few more places where I'm laying stones, and then some pretty heavy work on the public access area behind our back fence. We've planted bushes there in years past and they're coming along terrific. And there's also been a tree planted back there (by the birds, Lord bless 'em) which I've pruned a bit but gratefully left in place. However, there's a section we filled once with daisies which has now grown over with grass and weeds and sneaky traps left by the rabbits to keep me out of there.

But the rabbits, I'm afraid, must give way on this particular front. After all, haven't I already given them swell cover with the evergreen bushes? Anyhow, a few days ago, I waded in with a cutter and mowed down the grass then sprayed on Roundup to keep things dead for awhile. This afternoon, I'll clean it up more, circle the tree with some protection, lay stones for a little travel area for my neighbor's use, and then cover the whole area with mulch and decorative stone.

And so by next week, I think I'll be able to resume a normal blogging schedule -- a prospect that has my almost 61-year old back really pleased.

And Claire's prospects? We know that you rejoice with us that she's feeling much better than she was a few weeks ago and that she's quite upbeat about the possibility of a surer, simpler way out of the mess she was in. We will, of course, keep you updated.

Just What Is "When Swing Was King"

A missionary friend of mine wrote the other day, "Would you tell me more about the ministry When Swing Was King.  I have no idea what that is.  Does it have anything to do with dancing?  I was converted out of the dancing world, and would like to know what this is and how you use it for the Kingdom.  What do your presentations consist of?  Perhaps it is just the name that confuses me."

Here's my answer:

"When Swing Was King" is now our primary ministry to nursing home and assisted living residents. Throughout our 30 years of Vital Signs Ministries we have had various outreaches that we called "Mercy Ministries." For 20 years of that time, that meant monthly team visits to Mercy Care Center here in Omaha. We visited, played games, brought kids for entertainment, brought pets, did all kinds of crafts, came in costumes, made treats, did sing-alongs, etc. Out of that outreach grew an adopt-a-grandparent program to help individual families better develop ongoing friendships with the residents. It was a very effective way of winning the right to be heard and the staff there let us get away with a lot of "religious" activity because they liked us, we were very faithful (we were the only group that visited every month), and we did things that the residents enjoyed being a part of.

Well, Mercy Care closed. So we next went to another nursing home. But because our team had dwindled to a handful, the facility kept putting restrictions on our activities, and more and more time was being needed in caring for my Mom, we put things on hold. Except for individual visits with certain seniors that Claire and I were doing, our Mercy Ministries was in jeopardy of passing away.

And then -- "When Swing Was King."

We initially conceived it as a one-time event to entertain my Mom and some of her friends at Life Care Center where she was then living. (This was in July of 2010.) But even before we were finished putting together the first program, we had a feeling this might go beyond that single presentation.

And, boy howdy, has it ever.

Here's the key elements: 1) 13 big band songs played by the original artists in each volume. 2) A couple of hundred photos playing simultaneously on a screen through a Power Point program. These photos generally are taken from the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. 3) A commentary that I do which includes introductions, interesting (and brief) tidbits about the musicians and/or songs, and every once in awhile a piece of trivia related to what they're seeing on the screen right then.

4) Personal visits before and after the presentation. This has opened doors to prayers, sharing our faith, other visits, gifts, introducing them to friends, etc. 5) Friendships with activity directors and other staff. 6) A winsome witness for Christ as people understand why we do this ministry. 7) We do it completely free of charge.

8) Beginning in 2012 we pared down our schedule so that we are going to the same 11 facilities every month. This emphasizes the relational element while freeing us to get our other pro-life work done. 9) The program is beloved by the residents who are hearing the music of their youth -- and having someone show interest in, awareness of, and even a measure of expertise about things they know and love. 10) The program is beloved by staff because it gives residents a lovely trip down memory lane but one that stimulates their mind visually, aurally, intellectually and relationally.

11) We currently have 17 different volumes. 12) And we love doing it! 13) And after tomorrow's presentation, we will have now presented "When Swing Was King" 185 times!

President EgO

Just when you thought you'd seen the depths of egoism capable of Barack Obama, he manages to astound you all over again. For me, I thought the nadir was Obama's reference to America's military "fighting in his behalf" (and I still think that's a show-stopper), but he does push the envelope again with this one; namely, a rewriting of the presidential histories on the White House website so that they end up praising Obama!

Many of President Obama’s fervent devotees are young enough not to have much memory of the political world before the arrival of The One. Coincidentally, Obama himself feels the same way—and the White House’s official website reflects that.

The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford).

Seth Mendel has a few examples in this report for Contentions.

Snapshots from the Nanny State

Good golly, Miss Molly; what a state we have gotten ourselves into.

* Government in a Hole

Back in Washington, D.C. where socialist ideology, egoism and sheer incompetence have created a gargantuan mess, the Democrats refuse (for the third year in a row) to obey the law and pass a budget. And though Team Obama has certainly helped make this muddle worse, we must recognize that the whole Democrat party is to blame. Thank you, Senator Reid, Congresswoman Pelosi and company.

So do keep this in mind during the coming election season -- no matter what the Democrats tell you in their political ads, they are (at their very core) about coercive tactics, diminishing personal freedoms, irresponsible spending, gross inefficiency in such huge areas as welfare and education (which creates yet more  dependence on government money), and an off-the-edge social liberalism which trashes marriage, orthodox religious values, personal conscience, and the sanctity of human life.

* Crime Is Taking A Bite Out of Us

The police and judiciary in America are increasingly targeting such criminals as kids who run lemonade stands and home repair dads who fail to get government permits. Yet they can't seem to get a handle on sex trafficking, violent crime, politically-correct illegalities like those created by the Occupy protesters, voter fraud, copper thieves, and all those thugs, rapists and drunk-drivers that zip through the "justice system" and repeat their crimes over and over again. For crying out loud, even the Capitol Hill police can't put a stop to the rash of burglaries inside the U.S. Congress!

* Reverse Racism

That the media attention given to the tragic Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman affair has proven too big, too sloppy and too unfair is finally becoming known. But that doesn't change anything. The media doesn't apologize. The media doesn't correct its mistakes. And the media certainly doesn't provide coverage of incidents that present a politically-incorrect storyline such as racially-motivated attacks on white people by black youths.

And what can we say to the outpouring of hate upon 16-year old Torika Watters? Miss Watters, a young beauty mixed European/Fijian descent, was chosen last month to represent Fiji in the Miss World contest. But it turns out that many considered that Miss Watters didn't "look Fijian enough" and they demanded in hundreds of abusive, hate-filled e-mails that she be stripped of her title.

In a culture that glorifies only certain racial identifications and makes others a source of guilt, true unity, understanding and respect will be sorely wanting.

* Academic Diversity -- Hardly

American educators are constantly preening about academic freedom, diversity and tolerance -- while refusing permission for Christian organizations to meet on campus, outlawing even student-led Bible studies or prayer meetings, firing teachers who teach anything but the "progressive line" on evolution or climate change, prohibiting employees from wearing crosses or placing Bibles on their desk, and even stifling conversations about religion unless, of course, the religion being espoused is Zen, Navaho or goddess-related.

And this just in (though it is but the latest example of a long-standing trend), according to a new survey of graduation ceremonies at the top 100 schools, the liberal tilt "has gone off the charts with the ratio of liberal-to-conservative commencement speakers reaching 7-1, an all-time high."

* Red China's Purchase of American Bank Produces Silence

"U.S. lawmakers have been unusually silent about federal regulators' decision to allow a Chinese bank to take over 13 bank branches in New York and California, suggesting that they think American banks have much to gain. Members of both parties usually relish the chance to bash China on everything from government subsidies to the yuan's exchange rate. Yet Wednesday's decision by the Federal Reserve to certify a Chinese bank acquisition for the first time was met by near-universal silence."

I find both the purchase of the bank and the silence of American lawmakers ominous.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Today's Posts

Human Rights? The Left Have Given Them Up.

Who Is Really Waging a War on Women?

MSM Task: Investigate Romney's Past But Ignore Obama's Completely

Just What Nasty Things Are In YOUR Reusable Grocery Bag?

Red China Buys a U.S. Bank

Out of Injustice, A New Church Grows

A Feminist's Most Dangerous Enemy? A Housewife.

Human Rights? The Left Have Given Them Up.

It's a question that keeps coming up: Is it just everyone's imagination or has the human-rights agenda been demoted by Barack Obama?

The unflattering word often associated with Mr. Obama and human rights is "ambivalence." When Iranian students took to the streets in 2009, enduring beatings from security men, the president's muted reaction was noted. So too with the Arab Spring and when Libyans revolted against Moammar Gadhafi. Yes, the administration responded in time but, again, with "ambivalence."

Now comes a human-rights advocate from central casting: the blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who showed up unannounced on Uncle Sam's Beijing doorstep. The U.S. government appeared displeased with Mr. Chen's ill-timed decision to go over the wall.

Liberals and Democrats who work on human-rights issues won't like to hear this, but with the Obama presidency, human rights has completed its passage away from the political left, across the center and into its home mainly on the right—among neoconservatives and evangelical Christian activists.

Conservatives didn't capture the issue. The left gave it away...

This is today's must-read. So go on over to the Wall Street Journal and finish Daniel Henninger's "The Great Human-Rights Reversal."

Who Is Really Waging a War on Women?

Is this Kansas City abortion mill breaking the law? There's all kinds of reasons to think so but the authorities refuse to do even the most basic and preliminary of investigations.

But doesn't that scream out the immorality, the injustice and the cruelty of post-Christian America?

Here's the story from Operation Rescue of a convicted drug dealer who lied to get his medical license, whose license was eventually suspended because of other crimes, and yet who is still allowed by the Kansas police, health officials and Attorney General to run a shoddy and illegal abortion clinic in which women (not to mention their preborn sons and daughters) are in regular danger.

And the press and the Democrats still maintain that it's conservatives who are waging a "war on women"? Sigh.

MSM Task: Investigate Romney's Past But Ignore Obama's Completely

While the Washington Post has been diligently digging into relatively innocent high school pranks by Mitt Romney, they’ve spent the last few years diligently ignoring President Obama’s far more controversial high school days.

Obama, by all accounts, was a habitual drug user in high school. He tried cocaine, he admits in Dreams From My Father; he “tried drugs enthusiastically.” The Chicago Tribune reported back in 2007 that Obama thanked the “Choom Gang” in his high school yearbook; “chooming” was Hawaiian slang for smoking pot. The Honolulu Advertiser reported that Obama’s senior portrait “prominently displayed … A package of ‘Zig-Zag’ rolling papers and a matchbook.” One of Obama’s close friends was arrested for drug possession during high school.

In his memoir, Obama talked about routinely getting high. “Junkie. Pothead,” he wrote...

During his high school years, Obama hung out with communist radical Frank Marshall Davis; in 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that during his high school days, “he felt the first stirrings of anger toward whites. He says he also delved into black nationalism.” He was “offended or even enraged when white classmates adopted black street slang or revealed their underlying consciousness of his race by going out of their way to tell him how much they admired a black musician or athlete.”

This activity is certainly more reflective of Obama’s ideological history than Mitt Romney’s pranks on teachers and fellow students. And as for the drug use – well, that seems just a bit more serious than walking a teacher into a door or cutting a student’s hair. But leave it to the Post to ignore or downplay all of that in favor of continuing stories about Romney’s dog, his high school hijinks, and whatever other nonsense they can use to protect President Obama from his own incompetence.

(Ben Shapiro, Breitbart News)

Just What Nasty Things Are In YOUR Reusable Grocery Bag?

Like a lot of folks, when grocery stores began offering reusable tote bags, I bought three or four. However, I almost immediately had second thoughts about the purchase. For instance, I remembered the advice from the cooking shows about not letting the produce or the red meat even touch the surface on which raw chicken had been placed. I thought too of how we wash the vegetables because we know how easily they pick up bugs and other ugly things from storage and travel.

So why should I place my groceries in tote bags that will undoubtedly hang on to traces of things I put in last week or longer -- things that have the opportunity to go bad on a microscopic level?

We decided to check out a few websites that might give us answers and, sure enough, we found that health officials were not very keen on the reusable grocery bag idea. Why?

Just ask the members of this Oregon girl's soccer team.

Red China Buys a U.S. Bank

The U.S. government  has recently signed off Communist China's takeover of a U.S. bank. And doesn't that make you feel warm all over?

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Red China's biggest bank has been given clearance by the Federal Reserve to but the majority stake in the American subsidiary of Bank of East Asia. ICBC is paying $140 million to buy the controlling interest in the bank. And I do mean controlling in 80% of the bank's worth. 

There are currently a few branches of Chinese banks in the U.S. (Chicago, New York and L.A.) but this is the first time for a takeover of a U.S. bank by a Chinese state-controlled company.

Wanna' bet it won't be the last?

After all, the response of ICBC Chairman Jiang Jianqing does suggest this is only the opening salvo. "This unprecedented acquisition of a controlling stake in a U.S. commercial bank by a mainland bank," he said, "is strategically significant."

I guess so.

Out of Injustice, A New Church Grows

Cherie Harder, the President of the Trinity Forum, writes about an agonizing injustice engineered by a cabal of liberal churchmen (who proved themselves anything but liberal when it came to other people's stuff) and secular judges. It's a maddening example of how a church-state union is politically-correct after long as that partnership works against orthodox Christianity.

But Cherie's letter is ultimately hopeful too. For she describes a church of remarkable resiliency and spirit and conviction. And in that, there is a model for us all.

This Sunday is the last that I and thousands of other parishioners will worship at the Sanctuary of The Falls Church in Virginia. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that despite the fact that The Falls Church is older than the Episcopal diocese, and that over 90 percent of the church parishioners voted to leave the Episcopal diocese, the Falls Church – and six other Anglican churches --would be required to turn over its buildings, facilities, and financial assets to the Episcopal Church.

While the court ruling still seems unreal, the language is stark and its execution imminent. In short order, the deed to the sanctuary will be signed over to the Episcopal diocese, and the church property and most of the financial assets – from computers to communion silver, and including tithes given by parishioners earmarked for non-diocese ministries – will be transferred to their ownership. After this Sunday, the congregation will meet in various school gymnasiums – a few weeks at a middle school, followed by a month at a high school – as the schools are able to accommodate, and until a more permanent home can be found.

In such times, it is natural, even predictable, for tempers to grow short, fingers to be pointed, support to dwindle, and staff to polish up their resumes. And so, it seems that something quite unnatural, even supernatural, is afoot: our soon-to-be-homeless church continues to grow (and give), an opinionated congregation has developed remarkable unity and mutual support, and in the midst of loss, there is a palpable anticipation of and excitement for where God may lead.

This is not to say that the legal battles waged have not been draining, distracting, and demoralizing. Years ago, our Rector, John Yates, spent almost a year negotiating a separation protocol with the then-Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia – only to see the national Episcopal leadership step in and tell the Episcopal Diocese to walk away from the negotiating table and sue the churches. The lawsuits that ensued have taken years and cost millions. The personal cost to much of our church leadership has been significant and ongoing. Our vestry spends many evenings and weekends away from their families at the church in prayer and deliberation. The way forward has often been opaque. And the loss – of property, ministry, and relationships – has been heart-rending.

Yet in the midst of loss, there have been grace notes. An out of state antiques dealer showed up at the church unexpectedly to donate a full array of communion silver. Several nearby churches from various denominations – Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian – have offered the congregation space for the youth and outreach ministries of The Falls Church.

It has also been a lesson, at least to this parishioner, in faithful leadership. If leadership lessons are best transmitted through example, our congregation has been schooled by a Rector and vestry that have met confusion with prayer, opposition with courage, attacks with humility, setbacks with grace, and uncertainty with faith. There is an undeniable intensification of the fervency of prayer and worship, reflecting a keenly felt need for divine guidance, wisdom, and charity. The events of the last few years have demonstrated that leaders do not always get to choose the terrain on which a battle is fought, may not have a clear view of all options before having to decide, and the outcome may not be what they hoped. But ultimately, we are not called to success, but to faithfulness, and to engage the challenges before us not perfectly, but prayerfully, humbly, wisely and well.


Cherie Harder
President, The Trinity Forum

A Feminist's Most Dangerous Enemy? A Housewife.

Mariette Ulrich has a clever and hopeful essay here at Mercator about how dangerous to the feminist ideology are productive stay-at-home moms. Here are a few teasers.

* If the disparagement of motherhood (especially the full-time variety) is a socio-political creed, then feminism is its prophet and the Democratic party, despite its avowals to the contrary, its church-home base.

* Heritage Foundation’s Jennifer Marshal believes that Mrs Clinton’s remark was consistent with comments made by feminist matriarch Betty Friedan in her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique: "I am convinced there is something about the housewife state itself that is dangerous," wrote Friedan, describing the homemaker as consigned to "a comfortable concentration camp”. Who knew that wiping noses, driving kids to soccer, dusting the furniture, and catching up on the school day over a plate of freshly baked brownies constituted living dangerously?

* Bruni remembers how his own mother was vexed by the feminist notion that full-time motherhood somehow meant "turning your back" on your college education: ‘“I haven’t turned my back on my education,” she continued, adding that she used it daily “to make my home the center of learning it should be.” And there, perhaps, we hit on the chief danger posed by traditional motherhood: if moms and dads are influencing their children, there is less chance they’ll succumb to the Dem-fem worldview…

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Today's Posts

The Outrage of the Day

I'm considering making this a new feature of Vital Signs Blog. The problem, however, is that in post-modern America, there's so doggone many of them every day that it would be difficult to select the most grievous.

But at least I'll try and give you some of the possibilities. Here, for instance, are today's 5 entries for Outrage of the Day.

 1) Barack Obama finally finds the political courage (well, he was pretty much forced into it by Joe Biden's gaffe) to admit what he has already worked for; namely, a belief in homosexuals being able to enjoy all the legal benefits of marriage. But in his TV interview where he "outs" his evolving position, he informs the American public that the U.S. military is out in harm's way "fighting on his behalf!"

Here's part of Elliot Abrams response from The Weekly Standard -- But Mr. Obama actually did bare his soul unintentionally today (perhaps the Biden disease is catching) with his astonishing characterization of American fighting men and women, whom he referred to as “those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf.” Really?

Most Americans thought they were fighting for the country, not on Barack Obama’s behalf.  Slip of the tongue, to be sure, but can one think of another president who’d have made it?  They are fighting under his command, under his orders, to be sure, but this particular locution is offensive and solipsistic...

2) Though not very surprising, the mega-abortion conglomerate which is Planned Parenthood seems to be A-Okay with even sex-selection abortions!

3) Not only has Iran continued its violent persecution of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani despite worldwide attention to their cruelty and injustice. An Iranian court has now condemned Nadarkhani's lawyer to nine years in prison with a prohibition of practicing law or teaching for ten years. Why? For defending Pastor Nadarkhani and others who have been deprived of basic religious and civil rights in Iran.

4) The mainstream media, including the Washington Post, has absolutely refused to investigate Barack Obama's past including the highly mysterious and controversial matters of his childhood, his college records, and the numerous inventions in his biographies. Yet the Post was more than eager to create a story about Mitt Romney's "troubling incidents" against homosexuals while Romney was in prep school. The story is based on a few liberals recalling Romney taking part in a single (not plural) incident in which a kid's hair got clipped. But the definite implication of the Post writer is that the incident was prompted not by the kid's goofy look but by his homosexuality. Are a kid's high school antics fair game for a news story when the kid grows up to run for President of the United States? They may well be. But let's have some tiny semblance of balance, okay?

And Number 5? Take a look at this clip dealing with how illegal immigrants are bilking the IRS and getting tax money from your pockets to give to their families who live in other nations!

Nebraska Pro-Life Leaders Sticking Together

As I've stated before (here and here), I have been concerned that the controversy over Nebraska's LB 599 might have a lingering effect on the unity of our pro-life community. From the pages of this blog and in private conversations, I have urged pro-life advocates (both those who supported 599 and those who opposed it) to recognize that there was moral reasoning behind the convictions of people on both sides. And therefore, the impugning of one another's motives was wrong. So was the use of labeling, pejoratives or threats of retribution.

I've been encouraged by the responses of the leaders with which I've spoken for they too are committed to maintain the high degree of unity, respect and cooperation that have been hallmarks of Nebraska pro-lifers. And, yes, the leaders I've spoken with represent both sides of 599…including state senator Tony Fulton and the Executive Director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, Jim Cunningham. 

I'm also encouraged (though not at all surprised) after reading a recent letter from the NCC's Pro-Life Director, Greg Schleppenbach. After explaining the reasons why he (and the NCC strongly) supported LB 599, Greg concludes his letter ("A Clash of Two Goods") with these paragraphs.

...This was an extraordinarily contentious and challenging debate for the Legislature given this clash between two goods.  It was also more challenging for my office and some other pro-life groups given that we were on opposite sides of LB 599 with some senators who are usually the pro-life movement’s strongest allies.  For reasons my office and the Nebraska Catholic Conference articulated on our website, we disagree with, and are disappointed by, these senators’ votes against LB 599.

Nonetheless, I recognize that it would be unusual for like-minded individuals to never disagree on a public policy matter, especially where there is a clash of two goods.  Consequently, this debate over LB 599 punctuated the importance, particularly in the legislative arena where opponents on one issue can be allies on another, to disagree with charity.

Well said, Greg. 

Candidate Erica Fish Wants to Support Children, Including the Preborn

There's an interesting (and very important) election coming up in south Omaha with Erica Fish vying against Sara Howard and Vernon Joseph for the opportunity to represent District 9 in the Nebraska Unicameral.

Democrat Sara Howard (a young lawyer who seeks to fill the Unicameral position her mother has held for several years) has declared on the VIP questionnaire that she is pro-abortion; she is against the Defense of Marriage Act; and she doesn't believe voter fraud is a serious problem in our state.

But she does like the idea of developing "clean energy technologies like wind power."

Vernon Joseph is also in the race. He is a Republican whose legislative priorities include improving the foster care system and community involvement. He supports DOMA and promises to support laws which "reduce the number of abortions in the state."

The third person in the race in District 9 is Erica Fish, a wife and mother who has an impressive record as a foster family advocate. She is the only candidate in the race who was endorsed by the pro-life PACS -- both Nebraska Right to Life and Nebraskans United for Life. Erica supports school choice and, as the step-daughter of Nebraska State Senator from Imperial, Mark Christensen, she has a valuable understanding of rural and agricultural issues that is rare for an Omaha-based politician.

Erica believes that her convictions and her life experiences would make her a most helpful advocate in the Nebraska legislature for foster care issues, child welfare reform, government efficiency, and the sanctity of life. "I am running to be a voice for the voiceless," she says, "and that especially includes the unborn."

For more information on these candidates -- indeed, for more information on just about any Nebraska election issue, candidate, judge -- I urge you most enthusiastically to utilize the online format of the non-partisan and amazingly comprehensive Voters Information Packet. You'll find it right here.