Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today's Posts

The Profane Politics of RU-486

It was another case of ideology trumping science and common sense when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the dangerous abortion drug RU-486 (aka Mifepristone) for general use.  I say dangerous in both the most obvious sense (preborn children are murdered by this powerful chemical) but also because of the alarming effects the drug has on expectant mothers.

The medical case detailing the damage done by the drug is quite clear, up to and including women’s deaths. Why then would the FDA act in contradiction to the facts? They did so because, like other government agencies, it had been taken captive by the radical left. “Progressive” ideology drives the government bureaucracies and the social service agencies nowadays as much as it does the media, the educational establishment, and the medical powers that be.  Consider just the following science-related issues: mainstreaming homosexuality and other sexual perversions, women in combat, embryonic stem cell experimentation and other genetic engineering which denies human exceptionalism, the various battlegrounds involving “reproductive freedom.” In all of these, well-established scientific truths are being ignored for the sake of serving a liberal ideology.

The approval of RU-486 is an illustration of the desire to have the cake of the sexual revolution and eat it too.  To do so, the social engineers of our post-Christian era are trying to eliminate anything (legal, moral, even biological!) that would govern sexual activity in any way. Among the targets? Modesty. Decency. Self-control. Marriage. Fidelity within the bonds of matrimony. Strictures against easy divorce. Pregnancy. Large families.

Into this headlong rush to destroy the Christian ethics of sexuality have come many players, including the practitioners and promoters of “junk science.” One of those was Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu, the discoverer of RU-486. Baulieu boasted that the drug was simple, inexpensive, and it avoided the widespread controversy revolving around surgical abortion. Indeed, Baulieu argued that his drug would soon make first trimester surgical abortion practically obsolete...

Read the rest of "The Profane Politics of RU-486" here at the Vital Signs Ministries web site.

O Tempora, O Mores!

Oh, the times; oh, the morals -- indeed!

* "Chicago public schools students get their sex education in the fifth grade as most do in the U.S., but CPS wants to change that, so the instruction begins at age 5." (Here's the story from WKEF-TV.)

* The Washington Post's Bob Woodward ripped into President Barack Obama on "Morning Joe" today, saying he's exhibiting a "kind of madness I haven't seen in a long time" for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns. "Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, 'Oh, by the way, I can't do this because of some budget document?'" Woodward said. (When the likes of Bob Woodward starts blasting Barack Obama, you know just how wacky the President's policies have become.)

* "Democrats complain about presence of debt clock on Capitol Hill."

* "Seniors are catching STDs at record rates; the number of 50, 60 and 70 year olds getting chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea doubled in the past decade."

* Abortionist Abolghassem M. Gohari has been given a minor fine and placed on probation for only a year by the Maryland Board of Physicians after the Board found Gohari guilty of illegal activities, substandard care, and verbal abuse of patients. Sadly typical -- both the bellicose, boorish behavior of the abortionist and the coddling treatment he's rewarded by medical officials who, obviously, don't give a rip for women's health.

* When Obama came into power over four years ago, I knew it was the opening volley of the destruction of much of what America holds dear. One of the first things he did was attack NASA. People may have forgotten the layoffs and changes in NASA. I haven’t. Obama has overseen the Islamization of NASA with instructions to run a Mohammedan outreach program. He cut the Constellation program, intended to develop new rockets to carry people into space and the space shuttle program was mothballed — with a special dissing of Texas because they bucked Obama’s EPA mandates. Stellar thuggery gone mad – space exploration, the Chicago way...(Don't miss the rest of Terresa Monroe-Hamilton's column, "NASA – Subjugated, 'Repurposed' and Sleeping With Our Enemies.")

* "Girl Scouts 'give thanks' for membership in worldwide pro-abortion organization."

* Let em out! That's right, Barack Obama has found a government operation that he actually wants to cut funds for -- keeping criminals locked up!

Obama Administration vs Marriage

President Obama has so many flip-flops in his policy positions that it’s hard to keep track. After running for President supporting traditional marriage, he “evolved” to support same-sex marriage—and now his Justice Department has officially urged the Supreme Court to overthrow the law of the land.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as one man and one woman for the purposes of federal law passed Congress with an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It is the subject of a court challenge that the Supreme Court will hear on March 27. Last Friday, the Obama Justice Department filed a brief with the high court stating the Administration’s position that DOMA is unconstitutional.

Normally, it is the Justice Department’s job to enforce the nation’s laws. But as Heritage’s Hans von Spakovsky has noted, Obama’s Administration is different...

Read the rest of "Obama Administration vs. the Law on Same-Sex Marriage" at the Foundry of the Heritage Foundation.

"There's No Such Thing as Gun Control, Only People Control."

This clip of Maryland's Dan Bongino, former Secret Service agent, needs no commentary at all. Just listen…and reflect.

Iran's Persecution of Christian Pastor Intensifies

An Iranian-born American pastor that was recently sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran for planting house churches across the country states that he is enduring “horrific pressures” to deny his Christian faith.

As previously reported, 32-year-old Saeed Abedini of Idaho was taken into custody last September while visiting his homeland of Iran as he had returned to spend time with his parents and to continue his charity work of building an orphanage. He has taken a number of trips to Iran since moving to America in 2005.

According to his wife, Naghmeh, who remains in the U.S. along with the couple’s two children, Abedini was apprehended just before he was about to board a plane to return to the states. He had taken a brief excursion to another country, and was stopped at the Turkey-Iran border upon his re-entry. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized Abedini’s passport, subjected him to interrogation and placed him on house arrest for several weeks.

On September 26th, officials arrested Abedini at his parents’ house and booked him at the notorious Evin prison, which is known for its brutal conditions. Last month, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly threatening the national security of Iran by planting house churches, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. The charges stem from activities that are approximately a decade old, when Abedini was involved in establishing scores of Christian churches across the country. It is estimated that he had a role in founding approximately 100 house churches, which yielded 2,000 members combined.

This week, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is fighting for Abedini’s release, provided the text of a letter that he wrote to his family from Evin prison.

“There are those who are enemies of the living Bible and do not want to hear,” Abedini said. “They are trying to put me under such horrific pressures (that are sometimes unbearable) so that they can show me that my faith is empty and not real. … They are only waiting for one thing … for me to deny Christ.”

He explained that he is being tortured by various “groups, the psychological warfare, a year of not seeing my family, physical violence, actions committed to humiliate me, insults, being mocked, being confronted with extremists in the prison who create another prison within the prison walls, and the death threats.”

Abedini said that the conditions are “so very difficult that my eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky.”

“This is post conviction,” commented Jordan Sekulow, the executive director of the ACLJ. “This is about life, and the message is you will be treated this way until you become a Muslim.”

“This is only second time we’ve heard from him, but this makes sense in light of how Christians are being treated in Iran,” he added. “He can’t communicate this message every day. It’s our job to get this important message out to everyone.”

Abedini not only spoke of his own plight in Evin prison in his correspondence, however, but like the Apostle Paul, concluded his letter with a word of exhortation for the Body of Christ.

“This is my message for the church: Stay strong for His glory. He will come back soon! Be with God and give your best efforts for His kingdom.”

(Story written by Heather Clark for Christian News Network.)

What can you do? Pray for Saeed and his family. Urge others to pray for them and for the thousands of other Christians around the world who are also being persecuted for their loyalty to Jesus Christ.  And contact the temporal powers.

For instance, write your Senators and Congressmen asking them to step up the pressure on Iran to free Saeed. (Contact info right here.) Write new Secretary of State John Kerry with the same appeal. (Contact info below.) And go ahead and write Iran's diplomatic minister to the United States. Ask him to please inform his government of your simple appeal to demonstrate the spirit of both justice and mercy by immediately releasing Saeed Abedini.

U.S. Department of State
Attention: Secretary John Kerry
2201 C Street NW
Washington DC 20520
Phone: 1-202-647-4000

Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington, DC United States
c/o Embassy of Pakistan
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington D.C.20007
United States

ObamaCare: Keeping Americans Poor & Uninsured

Wow. This certainly isn't what the President promised, is it?

But alas, from the very beginning, ObamaCare has been the stuff of vaunted promises and propaganda, coercive politics, and very bad math.

And now that ObamaCare is ready to be actually implemented, the public is seeing just what horrendous damage it will wreak on health care, individual jobs, and the general economy.

Here's one example as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Here's a trend you'll be reading more about: part-time "job sharing," not only within firms but across different businesses.

It's already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we've heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King BKW +1.05% or Wendy's to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts.

Welcome to the strange new world of small-business hiring under ObamaCare.

The law requires firms with 50 or more "full-time equivalent workers" to offer health plans to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. (The law says "equivalent" because two 15 hour a week workers equal one full-time worker.) Employers that pass the 50-employee threshold and don't offer insurance face a $2,000 penalty for each uncovered worker beyond 30 employees. So by hiring the 50th worker, the firm pays a penalty on the previous 20 as well.

These employment cliffs are especially perverse economic incentives. Thousands of employers will face a $40,000 penalty if they dare expand and hire a 50th worker. The law is effectively a $2,000 tax on each additional hire after that, so to move to 60 workers costs $60,000…

The mandate to offer health insurance doesn't take effect until 2014, but the "measurement period" used by the feds to determine a firm's average number of full-time employees started last month. So the cutbacks and employment dodges are underway.

The savings from restricting hours worked can be enormous. If a company with 50 employees hires a new worker for $12 an hour for 29 hours a week, there is no health insurance requirement. But suppose that worker moves to 30 hours a week. This triggers the $2,000 federal penalty. So to get 50 more hours of work a year from that employee, the extra cost to the employer rises to about $52 an hour—the $12 salary and the ObamaCare tax of what works out to be $40 an hour.

Moving to 33 hours a week costs the employer about $10 an hour more in ObamaCare tax. Look for fewer 30-35 hour-a-week jobs. The law that was sold as a way to help business and workers is thus yanking a few more rungs from the ladder of economic upward mobility...

The timing of all this couldn't be worse. Involuntary part-time U.S. employment is already near a record high. The latest Department of Labor employment survey counts roughly eight million Americans who want a full-time job but are stuck in a part-time holding pattern. That number is down only 520,000 since January 2010 and it is 309,000 higher than last March. (See the nearby chart.) And now comes ObamaCare to increase the incentive for employers to hire only part-time workers.

Democrats who thought they were doing workers a favor by mandating health coverage can't seem to understand that it doesn't help workers to give them health care if they can't get a full-time job that pays the rest of their bills.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today's Posts

Big Government Is Like a Really, Really Bad Boyfriend

Why did Barack Obama dominate the single woman vote last November?

Writer, abstinence educator and Christian activist, Mary Beth Bonacci had an absolutely terrific column published at her Real Love Inc. website right after the election but I'm afraid I only recently discovered it. I'm certainly glad I found it though; it is definitely one of the most insightful, illuminating, and funny pieces I've read. Here's a bit...

...How did Obama crack the “single ladies” code?  How did he manage to become electoral catnip to literally millions of unmarried female voters?

We knew that the President was targeting single women in his campaign.  We saw it in the ominous-looking ads with the scary music warning us that the devious Mitt Romney would outlaw abortion and de-fund Planned Parenthood.  We saw it in the “war on women” narrative, the rise of Sandra Fluke and the “Sluts Vote” buttons at the Democratic National Convention.  And we saw it most clearly in the truly degrading Lena Dunham commercial equating voting for Barack Obama with losing one’s virginity.

I saw all of this and thought “This won’t work.  It can’t work.  I’m a single woman.  I know single women.  We’re smarter than this.”

Sadly, it appears that perhaps I wasn’t entirely correct.

It’s difficult to speculate on why millions of women chose to vote as they did.  But it would appear that some women did indeed believe that they need to “vote as if their lady parts depended on it”.  The promise of Obamacare’s free contraception and abortion, combined with non-specific threats about Mitt Romney “taking us back to the 1950’s” apparently scared quite a few of my sister single citizens.

I’ve seen fairly widespread speculation of a related, but deeper, reason for Obama’s big win among single women -- that not having spouses, we unmarried females are more likely than married women to view government as some sort of “surrogate husbands” to provide for our needs.  As a young, single attorney from Texas told exit pollsters, “I trust the government to take care of us.  I don’t trust the Republican Party to take care of people.”  That temptation becomes even greater for single mothers, who often feel even more financially vulnerable, and more likely to rely on government assistance.

I get it, I really do.

But here’s the thing.  As insecure as we single women may feel at times, I’m not willing to trade my freedom for security.  And that’s what I see happening here.

Many, many women trade freedom for security.  They marry wealthy men they don’t love.  They hook up with abusive men who temporarily prop up their sagging egos. They stick with bad boyfriends because they figure life with him is better than life alone.

I think Big Government -- under any administration -- is like a really, really bad boyfriend.

Sure, he’ll flatter you at first.  He’ll tell you how smart and beautiful you are.  He’ll buy you drinks, or contraceptives.  (Or, in the case of Big Government, he’ll make other people buy you contraceptives.)  He’ll encourage you to go out and live your dreams.  But then he’ll change.  He’ll start making decisions for you, start to dictate what is best for you.  How you life your faith, how you run your business, how you raise your kids -- before you know it, he’ll be trying to control every aspect of your life, and you’ll be seeking asylum somewhere safe…

(The entirety of Mary Beth's superb essay is right here. Don't miss it.) 

Abortionist's "Emergency" Number Links to His Horse Gear Business

On February 7, 29-yr-old Jennifer Morbelli died at a hospital near Leroy Carhart’s mill following Carhart’s abortion of her 33-wk-old baby, Madison Leigh.

A few days later came the revelation that among illegally dumped biohazardous waste, syringes, meds, and private patient information gleaned by pro-lifers from Carhart’s trash between August 2011 and May 2012 were Carhart’s instruction to patients not to go to the emergency room if experiencing complications but instead to call one of three staff numbers:

It turns out the number to “Mary,” Carhart’s wife, is the same number as the 24-hour hotline number to Carhart’s horse equipment business.

(Jill Stanek post)

Hey, Look at Michelle at the Oscars...Not at What Barack Is Doing to the Republic.

Michelle Obama's appearance at the Oscars, like all the rest of the First Couple's glitzy and glamorous doings, are eagerly lapped up by America's fawning press. Therefore, even if Michelle's typically self-centered intrusion (it's all about us, darling) seemed awkward and over-the-top partisan (can you imagine the outcry had Ronald Reagan or Laura Bush ever shown up at the soiree?), the media is dominated today by caressing coverage of Lady O and her silver gown.

So why do they do it? Why do the press and the White House engage in such grandstand plays?

To keep the American public from thinking about "inconvenient" things like these:

* During Barack Obama's years in office, real federal spending has increased $2,437 per household.

* Retailers are preparing for a triple whammy as the restoration of the payroll tax, surging gas prices, and stagnant employment and wages take a bite out of consumers’ disposable income, leaving them with less cash to spend on clothing, groceries, and eating out. As a result, more than three years after the recession officially ended, American consumers might be preparing to downshift again, if only slightly, with low-income consumers hit the hardest…

* Obama's lies about the sequester are being noted -- even by Bob Woodward!

* Transparency? Forget about it. -- Barack Obama's former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has admitted that he had been ordered to never acknowledge the existence of the drone program. He went further to say that  the Obama administration’s denial of the program “undermines people’s confidence overall in the decisions that their government makes.” (Now he tells us.)

* Regarding what Democrat economics produces. Well, actually, what it fails to produce. -- Confiscatory taxes are causing businesses to run away from Democrat-controlled states. Here's just one case in point.

* ObamaCare fallout -- Whether you're employed and insured, elderly and on Medicare, or poor and covered by Medicaid, the Florida Medical Association says there's a growing shortage of doctors — especially specialists — available to provide you with medical care...

* The story out of Florida about a massive vote fraud scheme.

* Racial healing? Louis Farrakhan -- "All you gangbangers, we know you love to shoot, but you're killing yourselves. All your weapons are illegal and you're using them like savages." But Farrakhan said gangbangers are "natural soldiers" and could be taught "the science of war" to become protectors of the Nation of Islam's assets in the future.

By the way, not all journalists were wowed by Lady O's appearance. Here's Christian Toto's take from over at Breitbart and check out Jennifer Rubin's Washington Post column here.

Uncovered: An Ugly Bag of Democrat Dirty Tricks.

In those rare cases when Republicans are able to overcome such evils as vote fraud and  the overwhelming unfairness of the liberal media and be elected to political office -- as was the case with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and others -- what strategy do Democrats suggest to regain power?

How about...

* “Crippling their leaders.”

* “Eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”

* “Private investigators and investigative reporting, especially in the executive branch.”

* “Pressure McCrory at every public event.”

* “Slam him when he contradicts his promises.”

* A "staff of video trackers that follow targets" every move.

The above statements were taken directly from a document written by Blueprint North Carolina, a partnership of progressive advocacy and policy groups based in Raleigh, and then distributed to the various groups -- and, it seems, to such Democrat politicians as House Minority Leader Larry Hall.

Blueprint North Carolina is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It boasts on its website that it is “strictly prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office…All Blueprint activities will be strictly non-partisan…Blueprint activities will not be coordinated with any candidate, political party or other partisan entity.”

Oh, really?

The non-partisan pose is in stark contradiction to the nasty, vindictive and clearly one-sided perspective that the memo takes. No wonder then that Blueprint North Carolina posted this message right before it: “It is CONFIDENTIAL to Blueprint, so please be careful – share with your boards and appropriate staff but not the whole world.”


Friday, February 22, 2013

Today's Posts

Another Goodbye to a "When Swing Was King" Friend

Howard Hendricks Goes Home

This is What Passes for "Informed Consent" at Notorious Abortionist's Business

Defend Your Right of Conscience & Freedom of Religion

Communist China Increases Persecution of Christians

Late-Term Abortionist Quits, Encouragement Needed

If a Democrat Falls in the Forest, Can a Journalist Hear It?

Another Goodbye to a "When Swing Was King" Friend

I had been speaking for awhile to Herbert, a World War II veteran who had done his share of jungle fighting in the island battles of the Pacific theater.  Next in the line going out the door was Helen.  “I was an Army nurse in the Pacific,” she told me with a smile of pride.  Then she nodded towards Herbert as he ambled down the hall with a walker.  “It was our job to take care of those boys and do our best to see they made it back home.”

I was touched at how she included this elderly gentleman, nearing 90 if not even older, as one of "those boys.”  She well knew that her efforts all those decades ago had helped make possible innumerable miracles for so many lives – miracles that would otherwise have been lost in the loneliness of those military hospitals so far away from home.

That incident occurred a couple of years ago. It was the first time that we met Helen but she quickly became one of our most enthusiastic fans of “When Swing Was King.” She never missed a show…nor did she ever miss a chance to express her gratitude for us bringing along the music, conversation and memories.  We really enjoyed her friendship. 

But last month we noticed she had an ugly bruise on her face.  It was the result of a fall she had taken – a fall she had no memory of.  Still, she was her usual chipper self, tapping her fingers and feet to the music of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, and the rest.  And thanking us profusely for providing her and the others with "the very best program they have here!"

It was the last time we saw her.  We were told that, after that fall, Helen's health had deteriorated rapidly and she passed away just a couple of days before our next visit.

Thank you for your service, Helen, to our country and to “those boys.”  And thanks so much for sharing your warm friendship with Claire and me. We will miss you very much.

Howard Hendricks Goes Home

One of America's most effective teachers of the Bible, theology, and the practical arts of teaching itself died this week. Howard Hendricks, a veritable pillar of Dallas Theological Seminary (in its best years) and a extremely popular educator whose books and lectures greatly influenced three generations of laymen as well, has been ushered into the presence of his Savior.

I am but one of those who greatly appreciated and was helped by Dr. Hendricks. I only heard him in person once but his published lectures, the deep effect he had on friends of mine who were his DTS students, and a few of his his books (especially Teaching to Change Lives, Heaven Help the Home, and Mastering Teaching) were deeply influential on me.

I read through several articles about Hendrick's passing but the most valuable were from DTS Magazine, Denny Burk, Christian Post, and the Baptist Press.

I'm looking forward to meeting you, Dr. Hendricks.

This is What Passes for "Informed Consent" at Notorious Abortionist's Business

Jill Stanek has posted a one-page sheet that late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart (a media darling though a brutal and buffoonish character) hands out to his…uh…patients. Carhart's amateurish rendering of what purports to be "informed consent" would be comical were it not so sinister and tragic.

Stanek's article is an important one, particularly as it reveals just how cheap, how shoddy, and how perfidious are abortionists. Though the rhetoric is all about choice and women's health, the general reality of the abortion industry is immoral, unskilled, and uncaring people exploiting women for profit.

Jill concludes her article with this, "Comparing Carhart’s abortion induction protocol to my experience with a hospital’s labor induction protocol for mothers carrying babies the same gestational age (including mothers of younger babies who had died) leaves me shocked. How Third World this man is. Do abortion proponents really stand by this standard of “informed” consent?"

Defend Your Right of Conscience & Freedom of Religion

Attention doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and others working as licensed medical professionals --

As some of you know, there has been principled, efficient action performed in Nebraska this past year to strengthen protection for health care providers in Nebraska. Well, the 2013 legislative session brings a new sponsor, a new hearing and, therefore, a wonderful new opportunity to move this effort forward.

We are greatly encouraged to pass along the good news that the Nebraska Medical Association has passed a resolution (nearly unanimous) supporting the policy of conscience protection. That's good. But it's not the end.

The pro-life, pro-freedom political activists here in Nebraska that have worked on this very important project are suggesting three important ways that YOU can make an impact -- a big impact -- to provide stronger legal protection of conscience rights for licensed health care providers.

1) Written testimony.
This can be a letter of support on your letterhead given to Suzanne Gage (State Director, Americans United for Life) or Greg Schleppenbach (Nebraska Catholic Conference, Pro-life Director) which will be delivered the day of the hearing to the Judiciary Committee and submitted as testimony.

2) Personal testimony.
This would be a huge help! The public hearing for LB 564, the Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act, is scheduled for March 1 in the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. The public hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Judiciary Room 1113 on the ground level of the State Capitol Building and LB564 is the first bill to be heard.

3) Participating in a press conference with other medical professionals in the Capitol Rotunda (March 1st at noon).

If you have any questions about the process or are interested in testifying, please contact Suzanne Gage (402-730-1057) or Greg Schleppenbach (402-477-7517).

You are welcome to pass this along to your colleagues who might desire to help protect against what we all know has been a zealous and concerted attack on the rights of freedom and conscience.

Thank you so much.

Communist China Increases Persecution of Christians

Is Communist China continuing to persecute Christians?

You know, that country that owns so much of America's debt...

That country that has stolen so much American technology...

That country that is a willing home to slave labor and shoddy merchandise...

That country that has a brutal population control policy that includes forced abortions...

That country which forcibly took over Hong Kong and is increasingly threatening to do the same to Taiwan and the rest of the Orient...

That cruel, arrogant, country that has been passionately antagonistic to the cause of freedom (and, in particular, to the United States) and yet that has been praised to the skies by Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton...

Is this country continuing to persecute Christians?

Yes. In fact, the persecution of the church is actually increasing.

Here's more.

After reading the story linked above, I suggest a letter, call or e-mail to the United States' new Secretary of State, John Kerry. Tell him what you believe; remind him of a few of these facts that have been so "inconvenient" to his predecessor in the job; and ask him to please begin to make human rights (including in Communist China) a priority of his tenure.

Contact info:

U.S. Department of State
Attention: Secretary John Kerry
2201 C Street NW
Washington DC 20520

Phone: 1-202-647-4000

And a E-mail form is here.

Late-Term Abortionist Quits, Encouragement Needed

Abby Johnson [a former Planned Parenthood staffer who left the grisly business and started blowing the whistle on the abortion industry through speeches and the remarkable book, Unplanned] recently shared an email from an anonymous former abortionist. She made her living doing partial-birth abortions but recently had a change of heart and made the decision to leave the abortion industry. Although the woman has walked away from the abortion business, she is now suffering with severe grief and regret.

Brad Mattes, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute, responded by saying, “It is time for pro-lifers to step up and act in love offering prayers and encouragement. We should be rallying around this person at this crucial time.”

How can you join in providing some of that appropriate encouragement with a personal e-mail? Check out the rest of Brad's message right here.

Here's the note I sent along:

I just learned through Brad's Facebook page of your decision to stop performing abortions. From the depths of my heart, I thank you. Your decision, as you may already understand, involved many prayers. Most of those prayers are from Christians throughout the world who are praying for breakthroughs, for babies to be saved, for people involved in abortion decisions to choose life, and for the conversion of abortion providers. But I have no doubt that some of the prayers were more specific; that is, there were evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians who were praying quite pointedly for you.

As they learn of your decision, those prayers will multiply even more. You do indeed have friends and supporters.

Brad's message mentioned that you are struggling a bit with guilt and grief. That is understandable and, to a degree, completely appropriate. Nevertheless, please understand that the grace of God has been extended to every person through the cross of Christ. Jesus paid the debt of sin completely -- all sin, everyone's sin. And salvation, redemption and a complete cleansing of the soul comes through simple faith in Christ's loving sacrifice. For those who trust in His atoning death, they are promised that God will remember their sin no more, that their sin is as far as the east is from the west, that their sin is buried in the deepest sea, that our sins (though scarlet) have been washed whiter than snow -- you get the idea.

Christians are sinners who have been forgiven because they accepted Christ's glorious gift; namely, Himself.

I will be praying that the richness of God's love would be manifest in your life. And that you will embrace the completeness of the salvation He offers. For therein is peace, joy and victory.


Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries
Teaching Pastor, Faith Bible Church

If a Democrat Falls in the Forest, Can a Journalist Hear It?

He's a prominent political figure who, until recently, figured to have a very promising future on the national stage. In addition, he's the son of one of America's most famous civil rights leaders. But then he got caught -- an ugly sex scandal, drugs, lies to public officials, and spending hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars on things like fur coats and memorabilia from the careers of Michael Jackson and Bruce Lee.

So when the indictments finally came down on Chicago's Democrat Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., why was there hardly any news coverage? Like no mention whatsoever on the Sunday news shows? And even in the cases where it was mentioned (i.e., 18 seconds on Good Morning America), why was there no mention of Jackson's party affiliation or the loutish extravagance of his illegal spending sprees?

Had Jackson been a Republican or had he any personal connections to a conservative leader, do you think the media might have been a lot more interested in covering the story?

You know the answer.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Today's Posts

As the Snow Falls

In anticipation of today's snowstorm, the activities director of Life Care Center called and asked if we could reschedule our "When Swing Was King" presentation. We were supposed to be there this afternoon -- beginning the show two hours after the storm is supposed to hit.

"Our people love you guys and the 'When Swing Was King' program so much that we don't want to chance missing you. I know that you have a lot going on but I'm hoping we can find another time this month for you to come."

We did.

So today we are chilling out (no pun intended) as we await this school-stopping storm. They're suggesting perhaps a foot of snow with hard winds that could disrupt power. That's okay. We're ready. We are stocked up on groceries, batteries, blankets, and gasoline for the snow blower. We have plenty of firewood stacked on the deck.

And, of course, we have books.

England's Lesson for America? Beware a National Health System.

If Progressive Politics Is "All About the Kids," Why Are the Kids in Such Dire Trouble?

Wow. Don't miss this article by author, translator and Professor of English at Providence College, Anthony Esolen.

And did I already say, wow?

In Philadelphia, about half of all students in ninth grade will graduate from high school. The dropout rate is especially high among black and Hispanic boys. President Obama’s answer to this problem is typical of the left: compulsion. Make dropping out illegal. In other words, force boys who are learning nothing to remain where they are learning nothing, to help make sure that nobody else learns anything, either. If they drop out anyway, turn them into criminals to be rounded up.

All this would cost a great deal of money, which Philadelphia does not have. And even if you could compel the boy, seething with resentment and contempt, to occupy a desk in a dreary schoolroom, you cannot compel him to learn...

Why the animus against the Boy Scouts? Because Copernicus was wrong. The world does not revolve around the sun. The world revolves around the predilections of upper- and middle-class feminists and their satellites.

The Boy Scouts retain the commonsense notion that it is not wise to bring boys into close quarters with men who are sexually attracted to boys, regardless of whether they act on those attractions. They retain the commonsense notion that if it were widely known that such men were scoutmasters, the boys would check out. They retain the commonsense notion that boys need fathers, who will teach them to be good men, ready to be fathers of their own families.

But the Philadelphia city council does not care about such things, because, when called upon to choose between their sexual antinomianism and the welfare of boys—many of whom only a group like the Boy Scouts can save from gangs—they will choose their preferred form of lawlessness every time, without regard for the common good...

Is America Going the Way of Greece & Rome?

From Victor Davis Hanson's article, "Why Do Societies Give Up?" posted at Right Wing News.

...One recurring theme seems consistent in Athenian literature on the eve of the city’s takeover by Macedon: social squabbling over slicing up a shrinking pie. Athenian speeches from that era make frequent reference to lawsuits over property and inheritance, evading taxes, and fudging eligibility for the dole. After the end of the Roman Republic, reactionary Latin literature — from the likes of Juvenal, Petronius, Suetonius, Tacitus — pointed to “bread and circuses,” as well as excessive wealth, corruption and top-heavy government.

For Gibbon and later French scholars, “Byzantine” became a pejorative description of a top-heavy Greek bureaucracy that could not tax enough vanishing producers to sustain a growing number of bureaucrats. In antiquity, inflating the currency by turning out cheap bronze coins was often the favored way to pay off public debts, while the law became fluid to address popular demands rather than to protect time-honored justice...

By any historical marker, the future of Americans has never been brighter. The United States has it all: undreamed new finds of natural gas and oil, the world’s pre-eminent food production, continual technological wizardly, strong demographic growth, a superb military and constitutional stability.

Yet we don’t talk confidently about capitalizing and expanding on our natural and inherited wealth. Instead, Americans bicker over entitlement spoils as the nation continues to pile up trillion-dollar-plus deficits. Enforced equality rather than liberty is the new national creed. The medicine of cutting back on government goodies seems far worse than the disease of borrowing trillions from the unborn to pay for them...

History has shown that a government’s redistribution of shrinking wealth, in preference to a private sector’s creation of new sources of it, can prove more destructive than even the most deadly enemy.

Dreary, Depressing and Dangerous -- That's Not the Weather, That's the News!

* America's Alarming Birth Dearth
Jonathan Fast reports for the Wall Street Journal -- For more than three decades, Chinese women have been subjected to their country's brutal one-child policy. Those who try to have more children have been subjected to fines and forced abortions. Their houses have been razed and their husbands fired from their jobs. As a result, Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women—a good proxy for the middle class—have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves.

Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the fiscal cliff, the sequestration cliff and the entitlement cliff. Those are all just symptoms. What America really faces is a demographic cliff: The root cause of most of our problems is our declining fertility rate...

* Surprise for Obama Voters, ObamaCare Ain't Cheap
The Internal Revenue Service has laid it out -- under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 a year.

* Gas Prices Soar, Obama Indifferent
Gas prices are moving up another 20 to 50 cents a gallon…after already soaring in winter months that do not usually see such increases. We're very close to an all time high. And you can imagine how deep that will hurt an already critical economy. But Obama yet refuses to allow drilling for domestic sources of oil even as he fights even harder against the Keystone pipeline. Does this guy actually want America to go bust?

 * Obama Ignores Congress, Sends Millions of Dollars to Countries That Use Kids as Soldiers
ABC News reports -- Tens of millions of dollars of U.S. military financing will continue to flow to Yemen and three other countries that recruit and use child soldiers, despite a 2008 U.S. law designed to restrict U.S. taxpayer funding of foreign militaries that enlist children to fight in war.

The White House issued a memorandum Tuesday evening to allow military funding to Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Chad, three of the six countries on the State Department's list of foreign governments that recruit and use child soldiers in state-backed armed forces and militias.

Human rights advocates say the presidential waivers, issued for a second year in a row, undermine the intentions of Congress...

* John Kerry Makes First Speech as Sec. of State
And a key theme of that speech is…uh, climate change? Good grief. Oh, yeah, the speech also made the claim that the greatest challenge to U.S. foreign policy is not emerging China or Middle East instability. It's Congress. And this, remember, is the far-left (though dull and incompetent) radical that Nebraska's Republican Senators Deb Fischer and Mike Johanns voted for. Thanks a lot, guys.

* Vote Fraud -- And This Is Just One Case Out of So Many
Melowese Richardson is the Ohio poll worker who admitted to casting two votes in November for President Obama. Now, Ohio officials are investigating if she voted in the names of four other people as well and cast a total of six ballots in the 2012 election, according to Fox News. The investigation is part of a wider one into a number of cases of alleged voter fraud in Hamilton County, Ohio.

* Going Postal
The U.S. Postal Service is broke and woefully broken in efficiency. Case in point -- they lost $13 billion last year alone. But rather than concentrating on cutting waste, trimming union perks, and improving service in order to compete with UPS, Fed Ex and other private companies who are eating their lunch, the USPS has decided to…wait for it…give America T-shirts and tote bags. No kidding. Branding their new line of clothes and accessories "Rain Heat & Snow," the Postal Service claims they will certainly move into "the cutting edge of functional fashion."

* Longer Waits at the Airport
The travel industry is warning that airport security line wait times could stretch to three hours after mandatory funding cuts kick in March 1. Top congressional aides and the U.S. Travel Association [say] that under the looming budget sequester, an hour will be added to security waits at the nation's largest and busiest airports due to necessary Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Custom and Border Protection furloughs required to meet the funding cuts. And once travelers pop out of those security lines they will likely face even longer waits since cuts in Federal Aviation Administration staff will result in reduced air traffic control and longer delays.

* D.C. Adultery
Pete Domenici, who served 30 years as the Democrat Senator from New Mexico and is now 80 years old, has admitted to fathering a child by the daughter of his Senate colleague Pete Laxalt over 34 years ago. Domenici would have been in his mid-forties when he fathered the child. Michelle Laxalt, 22 years than Domenici, is now one of Washington's most influential lobbyists.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today's Posts

Vital Signs Through the Years

Freaked Out Over Global Warming? Consider These Questions.

Love Hurts: STD Epidemic Continues to Escalate

Diligence! Our Hard Workin' President Is Off for 3rd Vacation in 2 Months.

The Liar in Chief?

Presidential Posters (That You Won't See in USA Today)

Wednesday Tea Break (Valentine's Day)

Vital Signs Through the Years

Yesterday afternoon Claire and I were interviewed by two charming and impressive young women from Omaha Christian Academy who are engaged in a project dealing with the pro-life movement. We had figured they needed 8 or 10 minutes with us (a couple of facts, a couple of quotes) but we ended up spending 90 minutes in very pleasant conversation there in the school cafeteria.

Their interest was widespread. They wanted to know about the origins of Vital Signs Ministries, about our personal lives, our motivations, our various activities. They wanted stories about sidewalk counseling, about travel, about our friends, about civil disobedience, about the CPC, about our service in the nursing homes, about the spiritual values we bring to the battle...and more.

Also, we realized quickly on that the interview had become more than just an academic exercise. The girls were deeply interested, asked relevant questions, expressed genuine compassion as we told certain stories and, when we finally said we had to get going, the girls came around the table and gave Claire a big hug and thanked us enthusiastically for our ministry over the last 30 years.

It was a nice experience for Claire and I because I'm afraid that we rarely stop and take a look back. But when we do, we are always encouraged that our work has indeed made a difference. And so we are grateful to Brandy and Erin for the opportunity not only to share things with them...but a chance for Claire and I to again appreciate the work the Lord has performed in this ministry.

By the way, amid all of the review of Vital Signs, we also challenged the girls to make their project a foundation for ongoing pro-life ministry at the school. Specifically, we encouraged them to start planting seeds of information, inspiration and organization to get a strong Omaha Christian Academy presence at the next Life Chain in Omaha and the Walk for Life in Lincoln. Wouldn't that be terrific!

Freaked Out Over Global Warming? Consider These Questions.

* In 2005 the UN said there would be 50 million climate refugees because of rising sea levels and other effects of global warming by 2010. Where are they?

* There has been 0.6 Celsius global warming since 1950. There are 5-7 times more polar bears today than there were in 1950. In what meaningful sense, then, are polar bears a species at imminent threat of extinction caused by global warming?

* CO2 concentration has risen by 10% in the past 23 years, but the RSS satellite global lower-troposphere temperature-anomaly record shows warming over that period that is statistically indistinguishable from zero. How come?

* If Australia’s carbon tax were adopted worldwide, and if it worked every bit as well as its inventors had intended, it would cost $317 trillion to abate the one-sixth of a Celsius degree of warming that is predicted for the current decade. That is $45,000 per head of the global population over the period, or 59% of global GDP? Compared with the 1.23%-of-GDP cost of paying to abate the damage from 1/6 C of warming the day after tomorrow, is it worth spending 59% of GDP today?

These are just a few of the "10 killer questions" Lord Christopher Monckton is asking of climate extremists. Read the rest in this post from the blog of the Science & Public Policy Institute.

Love Hurts: STD Epidemic Continues to Escalate

Memo to post-modern culture: Maybe the Bible's teachings about modesty, self-control, sexual activity being a pleasurable and fruitful experience for married heterosexual couples, marital fidelity, and so on weren't so stuffy, irrelevant and out-dated after all.

Here's the latest report from the Daily Mail:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released data Wednesday revealing that 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are diagnosed each year nationwide, costing some $16 billion in taxpayer funds.

Half of the 20 million new infections affect people ages 15 to 24 - who only make up a quarter of the population,l according to the statistics.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) tops the list as the most common infection followed by chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B, HIV and trichomoniasis…

STIs take a big health and economic toll on men and women in the United States, especially our youth,' CDC epidemiologist Catherine Lindsay told NBC News.

Much of the $16 billion in annual healthcare costs that go to STI's is spent on patients with HIV/AIDS, who require lifetime care.

But less serious infections aren't always less expensive.

Diseases like Chlamydia can lead to complications, especially if they are not treated, which can end up costing patients thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Diligence! Our Hard Workin' President Is Off for 3rd Vacation in 2 Months.

Yesterday's items included a brief report I wrote about the vast difference between the work ethic Barack Obama applauds of himself in speeches vs the real record. (Read it here -- Obama's "I Won't Rest" Promise Revisited.)

Well, it didn't take long for that column to be outdated. Here's Keith Koffler from White House Dossier with the latest:

Taxpayers will be sending President Obama on his second vacation of the year when he departs Friday aboard Air Force One for a Presidents’ Day Weekend excursion to West Palm Beach, Florida.

Without apparent irony, Obama has decided to jet to a well-trod stomping ground of the rich just days after presenting himself to the nation in his State of the Union speech as the guardian of the middle class...

While unemployment stands at nearly eight percent, Obama is taking his second vacation of 2013. The year is only six weeks old.

Obama initially traveled to Hawaii in late December. He returned after a several days to work on a fiscal cliff deal, and then went back for several more days in early January after signing a bill. So this will also be the third time in less than two months that taxpayers have footed the bill for a round-trip Obama vacation…

The Liar in Chief?

* The National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) has released its line-by-line study of the President’s State of the Union Address and found that if the proposals he offered during the speech were enacted, taxpayers would experience a $83.4 billion federal spending increase.

* It is difficult to say with certainty which of the many whoppers President Obama told tonight took the most crust to utter, but my money is going on this assertion, made a few minutes into the speech: “Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” I know “Orwellian” has now become rather hackneyed, but there is simply no other adjective that better describes this statement. It is not merely a lie. It is the precise opposite of the truth. It is just as absurd as “war is peace” or “freedom is slavery.”

* The president's proposed Energy Security Fund will stifle the private energy sector boom and provide permanent funding for future Solyndras and electric cars that nobody wants. And what about that pipeline, sir?

A nonexistent crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and in justifying his proposal for a cap-and-tax scheme, President Obama claimed in his State Of The Union that "the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15." He was lying...

Presidential Posters (That You Won't See in USA Today)

Wednesday Tea Break (Valentine's Day)

Claire and I like music -- a lot of music. Yet there are only four songs in the nearly 42 years of our romance that we've designated as "our song." So for today's love-themed holiday, I present clips of those four: "In My Life" by the Beatles, "For You" by John Denver, "The Way You Look Tonight" by Fred Astaire and"Moonlight Becomes You" by Bing Crosby. I hope you like them too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Today's Posts

Obama: These 29 New Govt Programs Won't Cost a Dime

President Obama promised 29 new government programs in his State of the Union Address and yet had the gall to say that "Nothing I’m proposing should increase the deficit by a single dime."


Some believe Barack Obama lives in a socialist-themed dream world where reality never invades. Some think Barack Obama truly believes that his rhetoric and vaunted promises will somehow create "ex nihilo" the Republic he so desperately wants remade in his image. 

But others think Barack Obama is merely an irresponsible narcissist whose lies just keep wilder because the liberal, lapdog press so cheerfully helps him along.

But whatever you think, this guy is getting America in deeper trouble by the day.

"Out of the Pew" Christianity

The Bible couldn't be clearer in instructing Christians of their obligations to shine light into dark places, to raise the standards of truth and justice in the public square, to correct those in moral error (indeed, to pointedly rebuke the ruthless and wicked), and so on.

And yet the American Church, so desirous of being comfortable and popular, regularly neglects these obligations. Preachers refuse to address controversial topics. Laymen are loathe to share teachings of the Faith if it might offend political-correctness. And such overt public activism as picketing an abortion mill, testifying before a city council or state government meeting, or participating in a March for Life -- well, that kind of stuff is way beyond the pale for the "couch-comfortable" (or even "pew-comfortable") Christian.

Oh yes; Christians can do an awful lot of whining (to each other) about the world going to hell in a hand basket, but they can't be bothered to actually do anything about it.

Thankfully, not all Christians are that way. And I'm blessed and honored indeed to have many friends that do engage the culture in behalf of Christ's teachings of holiness, justice and mercy. These friends faithfully shine the light in many arenas: at home, in church, in their neighborhoods, in the workplace, at school, before government officials, and in principled, peaceful public testimonies.

And they do so as an integral part of their worship of Jesus Christ, in the same pursuit of His calling that bids them pray, give, evangelize, and teach.

And oh, by the way, these light-bearing Christians also write letters, make phone calls, and send e-mails too. Which leads me into the next post...

Want to Do a Good Deed? Write a Letter.

Below are a few of the letters I wrote the other night at a special letter-writing party held at Faith Bible Church. It was the same kind of event that Vital Signs Ministries has sponsored throughout our 30 years of service. I post these sample letters here (along with contact information) in high hopes that it will stimulate a few of you to follow suit.

1) The Military Religious Freedom Act

Dear Senator -----------,

Would you please join on as a co-sponsor of (and otherwise actively support) S. 3526, the Military Religious Freedom Act?  This bill, of course, is not merely a matter of defending the biblical standards regarding marriage but of religious freedom too.  Thank you.

(The chief aim of this bill is to protect military chaplains who cannot in good conscience perform same-sex "wedding" ceremonies." I sent the letter to Senator Deb Fischer, 825 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510.)

2) Defunding Planned Parenthood

Dear Senator ---------,

Would you please redouble your efforts to eliminate government funding of Planned Parenthood? For crying out loud, it’s a multi-million dollar business that kills preborn boys and girls, zealously promotes and enables promiscuity and, in a dozen other ways, contributes to the decadence of American culture.  So why, when the nation is broke, do we scrape up $350 million from the taxpayers every year to give to this sinister group?

As you know, defunding the abortion profiteers at Planned Parenthood is a priority with your pro-life constituency so please make sure it remains a priority of your statesmanship as well.  Thank you.

(This letter was sent to Senator Mike Johanns, 404 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510.)

3) The Boy Scouts being pressured to allow homosexual leaders

Dear Boy Scouts,

Please do not cave in to the irrational demands of political-correctness by allowing homosexual leaders in your organization.  It will not only signal the end of the Boy Scouts’ noble defense of biblical standards regarding sexuality, it will almost certainly signal the end of the Boy Scouts as well. After all, large numbers of those who have supported the organization (Catholics, Southern Baptists, other evangelical groups, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and so many others) will certainly stop that support if you make compromises in this important area.

Please continue your stand for the moral traditions that have ennobled the Boy Scouts of America since its beginnings -- traditions, by the way, that have also stood Western civilization in good stead as well!

4) Nebraska LB 300. 

(The Womens' Right to Know: 4-D Ultrasound Bill)

Dear Senator ----------,

Please join as a co-sponsor and active supporter of LB 300.  It is common sense legislation that safeguards women’s health, insures a woman’s right to know, and promotes the legitimate interest of the state in protecting human life.  Thank you so much.

(Nebraska citizens, you can find the appropriate mailing address and other contact information right here.)

5) Thanks to Hobby Lobby

Dear Mr. Green,

This note represents yet another voice of thanks for your principled and courageous defense of religious freedom and for the legitimate interest of citizens to remain free from entanglements they cannot, in good conscience, accept.  We are deeply grateful for your efforts. Also, we are diligently praying for your success in the courts and for God’s richest blessing on your business, your reputation and your employees.


(This letter was sent to David Green CEO, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., 7707 SW 44th Street, Oklahoma City OK, 73179.)

6) Carol Wright Company Goes "Over the Top Inappropriate"

To Whom It May Concern,

It has come to my attention that you have begun to include salacious, sex-themed articles in your formerly family catalog, a catalog that frequently reaches homes where it was not solicited.  This is not only a tasteless and morally irresponsible move; it is one that is certainly going to cost your company business.  You have already lost ours.  Plus I am passing along the news of your actions to family, friends, readers of my blog, and the church I pastor.  Please reconsider your action and make a public announcement soon that you have reversed this policy.

(This letter was sent to Carol Wright Gifts, PO Box 7823, Edison NJ, 08818-7823)

JM Wasn't the First Mother to Be Killed in a Carhart Abortion Operation

Last week, late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart killed a woman in a failed abortion at 33 weeks. The death of Jennifer Morbelli isn’t the first time Carhart killed a woman in a botched abortion.

Christin A. Gilbert, who was 19, died after a third-trimester abortion on January 13, 2005. After the botched abortion, Gilbert was rushed into the Wesley Medical Center ER in Wichita, Kansas. Gilbert suffered complications during her abortion that were not fully diagnosed, an autopsy concluded.

Cheryl Sullenger, of Operation Rescue, explained that Tiller sent Gilbert, who had Down Syndrome, to a local hotel after the abortion “even though her condition was worsening” following the botched abortion…

Here's the rest of that important story.

Obama Is a Failing, Unpopular President. So Why Are Republicans Still So Afraid of Opposing Him?

Look at the numbers below. Even with the mainstream press working day and night to sell the Barack Obama agenda (as well as dutifully covering up his "progressive" dismantling of the Republic), Obama is the least respected President in modern history.  So tell me, why are Republicans so timorous -- no, make that terror stricken -- to oppose him? 

Obama's "I Won't Rest" Promise Revisited

At a GM plant in Warren, Ohio on September 15, 2009, Barack Obama boldly promised the employees, "But I want you all to know, I will not rest until anybody who's looking for a job can find one -- and I'm not talking about just any job, but good jobs that give every American decent wages and decent benefits and a fair shot at the American Dream."

That promise drew enthusiastic applause and shouts of hurrah -- well, from the adoring press corps anyhow.

Obama went on in subsequent speeches to make the same pledge. "I will not rest until every American who wants a job has a job. A good job."

He won't rest, huh? How's that promise worked out?

Well,  President Obama has had 83 vacation days overall and at least 57 vacation days since that much-heralded pledge. That's quite a lot of rest, don't you think?

And, of course, those vacation days don't include the President's restful hours spent in lavish parties, being entertained by Hollywood celebrities at the White House, and zipping around Air Force One to those innumerable shindigs where extremely rich people give him adulation, cash, and shout-outs to move even faster in the remaking of the Republic.

Oh yes…one other pertinent point. Since Mr. Obama's promise, the numbers of unemployed have not decreased at all. Indeed, they have increased. Just as have the numbers of Americans receiving food stamps, the number of Americans who have dropped under the poverty level, the number of businesses that have closed, the numbers comprising our atrocious national debt, and so on.

And that folks, is the "rest" of that story.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Today's Posts

When Swing Was King "Turns" 21

Well, not exactly.

But 21 is the number of different "When Swing Was King" presentations now completed. And every one is ready with music, photographs and entertaining trivia to take travelers on a sentimental journey back to the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

The completion of the 21st edition of "When Swing Was King" means a couple of important things. 1) With just two more editions to create, Claire and I will then have two whole years worth of monthly shows. That's two years of terrific entertainment for the residents of the 13 nursing homes and assisted living facilities we visit every month without having to repeat (except for the Christmas edition) any of them. Beautiful.

And 2) with the completion of those editions, I will have several more hours each month to spend on something else. That will be very nice. We've figured that the previous "When Swing Was King" editions have taken anywhere from 18-26 hours to create.  Each. And even more when you toss in the search for and editing of the photos. Being free from this duty every month will be great.

Anyhow, let me go ahead and let you know the songs, bands and singers that are a part of "When Swing Was King" Number 21. It's an impressive lineup.

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra -- "Sunrise Serenade" (1939)

2) Kay Kyser Orchestra -- "Playmates" (1940)

3) Duke Ellington Orchestra -- "Chelsea Bridge" (1941)

4)  Harry James Orchestra (Vocals by Helen Forrest) --
"I Had the Craziest Dream" (1942)

5) Artie Shaw Orchestra -- "Blue Skies" (1936)

6) Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
(Vocals by Frank Sinatra, Connie Haines, & the Pied Pipers) --
"Oh, Look At Me Now" (1941)

7) Gene Kelly -- "Singin' In The Rain" (1952)

8) Chick Webb Orchestra -- "Strictly Jive" (1937)

9) Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (Vocals by Helen O'Connell) --
"I'm Stepping Out with a Memory Tonight" (1940)

10) Benny Goodman Orchestra -- "Here's Love In Your Eyes" (1936)

11) The Mills Brothers -- "Glow Worm" (1952)

12) Ethel Merman -- "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954)

As always, we have the WSWK schedule up on the Vital Signs Ministries website and we would be delighted whenever you'd like to come along and join the party.

Little Church, Big Impact

In the swirl of decadence, injustice and false religion which marks modern America, what can one small, relatively poor church congregation from the inner city do? 

Well, they could hide in the sanctuary and hope the bad guys won't bother them if they're quiet and manageable. Or they could close up shop and let their folks slide into entertaining modern churches where the definition of "missional" emphasizes cultural compatibility.

Or...they could emulate the model of Faith Bible Church on the near south side of Omaha. For though this congregation is small (40-70 in a Sunday morning service) and is representative of a wide variety of backgrounds, levels of Christian maturity, education and life experiences, etc.,  this is a congregation which takes the Bible quite seriously -- studying it, applying it personally, and promoting it in the general culture.

Thus you'll find in Faith Bible Church high-level expository teaching of the Word of God from the pulpit and in Sunday school classes, in the AWANA club for neighborhood youth, and in Bible studies held in homes, the church gym and a nearby high-rise apartment building.

You'll also see outreach efforts from the people at Faith Bible Church which involve several types of mercy ministries to people in the neighborhood, summer barbecues and block parties, a weekly open gym night, Good News clubs for kids, summer camp, film events, Christmas caroling, visitation in nursing homes, and the generous sharing of their building and resources with a Hispanic church.

And, for a church located in a poor section of Omaha and with a congregation of very limited means, the financial situation is wonderfully healthy. It is notable that the church doesn't pay salary and benefits for a full-time pastor. Instead they utilize the services of an older Christian who, though experienced and dependable as a Bible teacher, fills the pulpit as a perennial guest speaker. (And stability isn't a concern either; he's done so for more than 5 years.) This practical agreement, along with the fact that the building is paid for, helps free church funds for other important things like a generous support of mission activities here in the U.S. and in several other countries.

Another testimony of the congregation's commitment to live out their Christian faith in the public square is the participation of a remarkable percentage in events like the annual Walk for Life in Lincoln, neighborhood cleanups, petition signings, visitation in nursing homes, the annual Life Chain, and quarterly letter-writing parties.

Principled, prayerful, persistent, and practical -- Faith Bible Church may be just a little church but the job it is doing in living out Christ's kingdom is very big indeed. And yes, you're cordially invited to join us in our adventure.

Postscript: One of those quarterly letter-writing meetings occurred at Faith Bible Church just last night. While the Spanish-speaking church was using the gym and the main kitchen for a celebration dinner (3 years since its founding), about 17 people from FBC took Sunday school space in the basement to spend 90 minutes writing letters. The targets included church missionaries, persecuted Christians, the Military Religious Freedom Act, the Boy Scouts, de-funding Planned Parenthood, Nebraska LB 300 (a 4-D ultrasound right to know bill), thanks to Hobby Lobby, protests to the Carol Wright company for including sex-themed articles in unsolicited "family" catalogs, Russia's ban on American adoptions, Valentine's Day cards for nursing home residents, etc.

By the end of the evening, those Faith Bible Church letter-writers had penned almost 50 Valentine's Day cards and over 70 letters! Like I said -- little church, big impact.