Saturday, April 29, 2006

Abortion Down Among the Young, Yet A Form of Birth Control for Older Women

The Senior Fellow of Concerned Women America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute is Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse. She is an eloquent speaker and a great writer who has, among other things, performed as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Her work at CWA has really been admirable. One of her latest articles is a brief primer on the current state of abortion in the U.S. It is a quuick but important read and I urge you to take a few minutes and check it out. Just click on the title of this post.

Cracking Down on Lobster Abuse in Italy

This story needs no additional commentary. The irony is too obvious -- as is the danger it reveals about the most absurd political correctness increasingly being enforced by law...

They might not be able to cuddle or play fetch like most cats and dogs, but an Italian restaurant has been fined over $860 for its display of lobsters on ice to attract customers, in an innovative application of an anti-cruelty law usually applied to household pets.
According to reports, a court in the northeastern city of Vicenza ruled the display was a form of abuse dooming the crustaceans to a slow death by suffocation.

"We're appealing," says Giuseppe Scalesia, who runs La Conchiglia D'Oro, or Golden Shell, restaurant along with his brother Camillo.
"They said that the lobsters, laying on the ice, suffer... They compared them in court to other animals, like cats and dogs."

According to the restaurateur, four years ago there were no specific guidelines on maintaining live lobsters, regulations which entered the law books only in 2004, Italian news agency ANSA reports...

Huge Charity Donation Isn't Newsworthy -- Only Because It's From Dick Cheney

John Reiners writing in today's edition of Hernando (Florida) Today...

Let Vice President Cheney unload a hail of buckshot - and it makes mainstream media headlines as a defining moment is his failed vice presidency.

Let him file his federal tax return and it is reported by CBS News that "Cheney tops Bush in the battle of the bucks."

Let him donate what was the largest amount of bucks in history to charity by any public servant, and you guessed it - nary a headline.

But then again it was a paltry $6.87 million, more than three-quarters of the reported income of the Cheneys.
Read this again: The Cheneys gave $6.87 million to charity in 2005.

A small story perhaps, but come on - doesn't a multimillion dollar contribution to charities by a vice president deserve special recognition? Frankly, I was astonished when I first read this and thought it was a typo because it was buried in a column that leads off with President Bush's tax return - which wasn't even newsworthy - just the typical annual report on the tax returns of the president and vice president.
As a matter of fact, the AP headline read "Cheney's income 10 times the Bushes'. And the L.A. Times reported: "Bush pays taxes, Cheney awaits refund,"

I could go on with other headlines, but you get the point. Not one headline in the mainstream media that Cheney gave $6.87 million to charity. The "refund" headline by the L.A. Times is laughable. The reason he's getting a refund is because he overpaid in estimating his taxes and had too much withheld.

Another paper spun the AP story by saying not only did Cheney make ten times as much as Bush, but "He is looking for a $1.9 million refund." What gall.
Another equally compelling headline would have been when a former vice president's tax return - Al Gore's - reported a paltry $367 in charitable contributions in 1997. Of course this item never made the headlines either - given the bias of the mainstream media...

For the full article, go here.

Friday, April 28, 2006

When Hollywood Went to War

I know there have been a few articles like this floating around the last couple of years but John McCaslin's was one of the best I'd seen. It's a keeper...

Hollywood is missing in action when it comes to fighting for America in recent conflicts, not the least being the war against terrorism.

We hereby challenge readers to name one modern American celebrity, apart from the late football star Pat Tillman, who served or fought for his or her country in the past 15 years.

"Even Hollywood . . . sent its best to wars prior to Vietnam," University of Dayton professor Larry Schweikart reminds us in his new book, "America's Victories," writing that professional actors were as "thoroughly represented" in the fighting military during World War II as any other group.

In fact, we read an amazing list of Hollywood men who tossed aside lucrative scripts for their country. Topping the list, albeit technically too old to serve, was Clark Gable, who enlisted as a private and ended up flying B-17s over Europe. Jimmy Stewart started as a "buck private peeling potatoes," the author notes.

Stewart's radioman was Walter Matthau, awarded six campaign stars. Charles Bronson was a tailgunner on B-29s; Gene Autry flew C-47s; Robert Conrad flew F4Us; Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry flew C-46s; Robert Altman flew B-24s; and Jack Palance crash-landed his B-17. (Let's see Tom Cruise try that when not leaping off Oprah Winfrey's sofa.)

The list of Hollywood's brave soldiers, sailors and Marines (several of whom died or were injured in battle) is extensive, among them: Humphrey Bogart (a World War I vet, he tried enlisting in World War II, but was too old), Jason Robards (Pearl Harbor), Henry Fonda (the South Pacific), George C. Scott (Europe), Glenn Ford (France), Brian Keith (Rabaul), Ernest Borgnine (where else, the South Pacific), Eddie Albert (Tarawa), and Navy buddies Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Kirk Douglas, Shecky Greene, Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Bob Barker, Jackie Cooper, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Cliff Robertson, Rod Steiger, Dennis Weaver and Robert Stack.

Also dressed for battle were James Arness (Marshal Dillon of "Gunsmoke" was wounded at Anzio), Alan Hale Jr., Victor Mature, Telly Savalas ("Kojak" earned a Purple Heart), Arthur Godfrey, Tyrone Power, Ed McMahon, Lee Marvin (survived fierce combat on Saipan), Don Adams, Sterling Hayden, John Russell (wounded and decorated for valor at Guadalcanal), James Whitmore, Rod Serling (wounded with his 11th Airborne Division), Jack Warden, Ted Knight (Ted Baxter of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show") cleared land mines and was awarded five Bronze stars, Burt Lancaster (North Africa and Italy), George Kennedy (served under Gen. George Patton in France), Art Carney (wounded invading Normandy), Burgess Meredith, Cameron Mitchell, Kevin McCarthy, Martin Balsam, Jackie Coogan, Dale Robertson, "Superman" George Reeves, Russell Johnson, Robert Preston, George Gobel, Gene Raymond, Karl Malden, Red Buttons, Robert Taylor and Charles Durning (the Tony Award winner earned three Purple Hearts as one of the few American POW survivors of the massacre at Malmedy, France.)

Lee Powell, the first silver screen "Lone Ranger," was killed invading Tinian. Also in uniform were Carl Reiner, John Agar, Jeff Chandler, Ossie Davis, Frank Gorshin, Werner Klemperer, Rick Jason (who starred for five seasons on TV's "Combat"), Charlton Heston, William Holden, Robert Montgomery, Desi Arnaz (first rejected for being a Cuban, he was injured as an infantryman), Norman Mailer (invaded the Philippines), Alex Haley, Louis L'Amour (Normandy) and Bob Keeshan of "Captain Kangaroo" fame...

Pro-Abortion Vandals Finally Charged

Dr. Sally Jacobsen, the pro-abortion English lit professor at Northern Kentucky University who led several of her students in destroying a pro-life display on the campus lawn has finally been charged with misdemeanors in the case. Six of the students have also been charged by Campbell County Attorney Justin Verst. Argues Verst: "The property was damaged... the crosses and the sign. They were thrown in the trash can. They were taken and vandalized. To me, it's pretty clear cut that's a crime."

The story (described in these Vital Signs Blog entries: 1 and 2) has received nationwide attention and it was feared the forces of political correctness would let these vandals skate away. But, thanks to Mr. Verst's action (and the facts that the vandalism was pictorially captured by the school newspaper and boasted of by the vandals themselves), at least a trial for the crimes has been deemed in order.

Jacobsen and the students were all charged with criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking, plus Jacobsen was given a third charge of criminal solicitation for inciting and leading the students in destroying the pro-life display. The theft charge is a class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail and a $500 fine while the criminal mischief and criminal solicitation charges are class B misdemeanors and could result in 90 days of jail and a $250 fine.

Northern Kentucky University has also placed the tenured professor on permanent leave -- she has announced that she will retire at the end of the semester.

Through her lawyer, Jacobsen (who earlier had apoligized - well, kinda' apologized) is claiming now that she will plead "not guilty" since her vandalism doesn't really constitute any kind of crime. "The intent was just an expression of freedom of speech," the lawyer said. "She saw harm coming from it [the pro-life display], and she was just expressing her attitude towards the harm." This, of course, is how liberals view fee speech nowadays. It's free unless they don't like it.

Cal Thomas: "See Flight 93"

A strong endorsement of the new movie, Flight 93, in which the story is true, the heroes are real, and the message is full of faith, courage and patriotism.

Writes Cal Thomas -- ...Yes, the film is difficult to watch, but that should not be an excuse not to watch. Vivid pictures of the consequences of drug use, promiscuous sex, drinking and driving and other harmful behavior have long been used to cure apathy and to positively motivate. This film demonstrates the consequences of not being prepared and the wisdom of constant vigilance.

The show business publication Variety reported that studio tracking of "United 93" shows a high percentage of people are "definitely not interested" in seeing it, though by a slim margin, the picture is the top choice among males. It should be a top choice for everyone. "United 93" is a valuable weapon in our counterattack against terrorism. No American should miss it.

The Cure (for Rising Gas Prices) May be Much Worse than the Disease

Here is a much different spin than the ones you usually see regarding the increasing cost of gasoline. The article comes from TCS (Tecnology, Commerce Society) Daily.

...According to the Bureau of Economic Affairs (see chart here), American consumer spending on energy as a fraction of total personal consumption has declined considerably since 1980. Whereas 25 years ago, one in every ten consumer dollars was spent on energy, today it's one in every sixteen bucks. In other words, what it takes to heat and cool our homes and drive to and from our jobs and vacation destinations is relatively less costly than it once was.

This goes a long way to explaining why even while gas prices rise this summer, and while they will be higher than they were through the 1990s, people will still be driving more -- it's much more of a value than it was a generation ago...

...Of course, no one likes to pay higher prices at the pump. And our political class, in a bi-partisan tizzy, is threatening to do something -- raising taxes, cutting taxes, more regulation, less regulation. But the price mechanism, even when it acts in ways we don't like, is something we monkey with at our peril. It serves a critical function by sending information signals throughout an energy market that is global and highly competitive; these signals help determine where best to allocate capital to increase supplies. The last things needed at this point are political maneuvers that will distort and warp these signals.

The energy market is already badly and inefficiently regulated as it is, a mish-mash of tax breaks, government subsidies, taxes and regulations. Almost everything being proposed from President Bush to Sen. Dick Durbin on down -- subsidies to alternative fuel sources, changing CAFE standards, tax breaks as well as windfall profits taxes -- would make a bad regulatory situation much worse...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

$80,000,000 a Minute?

The staff writers over at the Family Research Council have a few disturbing facts to share with us --- and a few subsequent questions. Check it out.

Congress is spending $80 million a minute and there is no sign of them slowing down! Congress is currently working on a $100+ billion emergency spending bill for hurricane relief and the war on terror. I'll bet you didn't know that there's an "emergency" that requires Congress to spend $3 million for tourism in Kentucky or nearly $1 million for Dartmouth College. They're pretty far from a hurricane, but too close to the federal trough. President Bush--at last--is threatening a veto.

The Bush administration "strongly objects" to spend $700 million to relocate a "privately owned rail line that runs along the Mississippi Gulf Coast." That's Sen. Trent Lott's (R-MS) pet project. It just so happens it would also aid the casino industry in Mississippi. That's doubly offensive. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), chairman of the Republican Study Group, are both calling for the President to unsheathe his veto pen. I completely agree. Sen. Frist made his well-deserved reputation as a cardio-thoracic surgeon. He should wield his scalpel on this bloated spending bill. He now says he will support a veto--if necessary--to trim out-of-control federal spending. In my view, it's long overdue.

And, instead of trying to out-socialist the socialists, Republicans should give up their ill-considered investigation of oil industry executive salaries. If Congress really wants to help us at the gas pump, how about cutting the federal gasoline tax?

By the way, here's a few details of just what is hiding inside this "emergency spending" bill, courtesy of Tim Chapman's Town Hall column.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Why Are We Not Winning Wars?

It's an old game we're playing; namely, wishing, hoping and talking about how badly we want something but refusing, in fact, to do what's necessary to get it. Check out this article -- but notice how brief the story is and how little coverage the general's remarks received eleswhere in the MSM.

Americans spent as much on "plastic Santa Clauses and tinsel" and other holiday niceties last Christmas season as they do on their military for a year, the Army's top general said Wednesday.
Lamenting complaints by some about too much defense spending, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told reporters: "I just don't understand .... what's the problem?"

Schoomaker said the defense budget the Bush administration requested this year — nearly $440 billion, not including the costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan — is just over 3 percent of the nation's $13 trillion overall economy. During World War II, military expenditures accounted for more than one-third percent of the entire economy.

"Here's what is amazing to me ... What do you think we spent on plastic Santa Clauses and tinsel and all this stuff for Christmas last year?," Schoomaker asked during a meeting with reporters. "The answer is $438.5 billion, roughly equivalent to the defense budget..."

..."I mean I don't get it," he said. "We've got a lot to be thankful for in this country and we've got a lot to lose. And one of the first responsibilities of government is to defend the country. The Constitution says that."

Schoomaker was discussing his fears that it might take a fight to get enough money from Congress over the next two years to rebuild the Army's equipment and supplies warn down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wenyi Wang's Protest in Perspective

Mark Joseph has written a great column putting Wenyi Wang's shouting protest in perspective. Do read it in full but here's a teaser you can use to e-mail to your friends:

...Miss Wang's outburst may not be on par with a direct warning from the hand of God, but it was certainly in the finest tradition of speaking truth to power. The idea that she should be punished and spend six months in jail for breaking a law that punishes one who "intimidates, coerces, threatens or harasses a foreign official or an official guest or obstructs a foreign official in the performance of his duties" is ridiculous.

Rather, Miss Wang should be given a large book contract and given one of those Kennedy awards for political courage...

And, by the way, while you're e-mailing your friends, alerting them to this column, please urge them to send a letter to President Bush, asking him to do the right thing and publically intercede in Wenyi Wang's behalf. The President made a real bonehead play the other day when he apologized to China's President Hu Jintao for Miss Wang's protest. The very least Bush can do now is to apologize to Wenyi Wang and ask the courts to not only drop this prosecution but overturn the silly law underneath it.

Mailing Address:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers:
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

E-mail address:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

These Ain't Your Momma's Baby Dolls

"The Pussycat Dolls" are okay . . . if you are into porn chic and the continuing sexualization and defining of deviancy down of America. But is the burlesque show modelled after Vegas strippers (oops! I'm sorry--"exotice dancers") appropriate for your 6-year-old daughter?

No way!

But that's the plan of Hasbro. The toy company will market Pussycat Dolls modelled after the risque lingerie dance troop founded by Playboy centerfold Carmen Electra.

Incredibly, Hasbro intends to market the stripper dolls to six to nine year-old girls. "We looked at it as, let's not wait for the Pussycat Dolls to become big hits and we take the tail end of the value chain," the the company's marketing manager for marketing told The New York Times. This sickening new "child" product certainly gives new meaning to "tail" and "value." Does the doll come with lap dance lessons?...

Read the rest of Debbie Schlussel's commentary right here. But then come back to Vital Signs Blog in order to take down the following info so that you can let Hasbro know your opinion of their new dolls.

Hasbro Toys
1027 Newport Avenue, Pawtucket, RI, 02862-1059.
(401) 727-5318 or 401-431-TOYS (8697)

A World First: Adult Stem Cell Implant in Orthopaedic Patient

Instead of the constant (but consistently fraudulent) hype about the potential of embryonic stem cell research here is yet another example of how research dealing with adult stem cells has already resulted in practical medical treatments.

Spanish Socialists Go Ape -- Literally

Veteran journalist Robert Duncan writes from Spain about how the Socialist Party there is moving to guarantee "human rights" to monkeys. You can't make this stuff up, you know?

After changing the definition of marriage by passing same-sex “marriage” legislation last year, now the Spanish government is bent on changing the very definition of “human.” Once again, the Spanish Socialist government is showing where its true priorities are – and it’s not about Iraq, nor immigration, and it’s certainly not about helping families. Instead, the Socialists are in a bother about … monkeys.

Spain’s Socialists want monkeys “to be immediately included in the same category as people.” The party presented this week in Spain’s Parliament a project for simians to have “Human Rights.”
The Socialist argument is based on the calculation that men and monkeys have roughly 98 percent of their genes in common.

The Socialists want the initiative to be picked up by the United Nations. One wonders if the Socialists are also guilty of accepting banana kickbacks.

The Archbishop of Pamplona, Fernando Sebastian wryly noted, “Just to be progressive, one doesn’t have to be ridiculous.” Sebastian added, “monkeys should have monkey rights, because to do otherwise would be like asking taurine rights for humans.”
According to the Socialists, the classifying of monkeys as people would grant them “the moral and legal protection that currently only human beings have...”

Lukashenka and His Dangerous Friends

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is reporting several news items about Belarusian foreign policy that are as alarming as the injustice and ineffectiveness of their internal policies. Specifics?

1) Lukashenka recently told Iranian Commerce Minister Masud Mir-Kazemi that Belarus plans to expand its trade and economic cooperation with Iran. Belapan reported. Bilateral trade amounted to $38.4 million last year, with Belarus's exports totaling $35.6 million. Belarus supplies MAZ truck kits to an assembly plant in Iran and is in talks for opening a similar assembly facility for MTZ tractors. The country also supplies Iran with road-construction equipment and petrochemical products.

2) The first of the our S-300 surface-to-air missile systems that Russia has contracted to supply to Belarus arrived in Minsk on April 21st. The remaining three systems will be delivered until the end of this year. The systems, which will reportedly include 24 launchers, are expected to be used in a common air defense system currently created by Belarus and Russia to guard Belarus's western borders. Maltsau denied a report earlier this month by Jane's Intelligence Digest suggesting that Belarus may reexport S-300 missile systems to Iran.

3) Syarhey Sidorski met with Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the Revolution Palace in Havana on April 21, Belapan reported. Sidorski told journalists in Havana the previous day that Belarus had been invited to participate in a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement scheduled to take place in the Cuban capital this coming fall. Sidorski also noted that Belarus would like to actively develop economic relations with Cuba. Belarus exports mainly trucks and tractors to Cuba and imports raw sugar from there.

The world is becoming an uglier, more dangerous place every day -- and thugs like Lukashenka, Castro, Putin, Khamenei, and Ahmadinejad are all major components of that slide.

British Medical Leaders Choose Against Women's Health -- Not to Mention, Against Preborn Children

The British General Medical Council ruled that an abortion practitioner who nearly killed a woman in a botched abortion and was the subject of charges of sexual harassment from 35 women can practice medicine again if he undergoes retraining. He can keep his medical license if he can "regain and update his clinical skills" the panel ruled. The GMC will review Mr. Gbinigie's case again in nine months, when it will examine evidence of his retraining.

According to the BBC, Chairman Dr. Howard Freeman told him: "The panel notes that you have not undertaken any medical work since 2003 and is not satisfied that you would be safe to return at this time to unrestricted practice." The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists supported him returning to medicine. The GMC in January ruled he can keep practicing medicine but he was subject to earlier restrictions placed on him after the botched abortion. He has asked for the limits to be lifted.

Monday, April 24, 2006

And Now Cynthia McKinney Attacks Freedom of the Press

..."Well, you're a distraction because that seems to be all you want to talk about," McKinney responded. "But people here understand that my representation is much larger than any discrete incident."

McKinney then walked out on the interview. But she did not tell Starzyk that their conversation was over, nor did McKinney allow an audio technician to remove the wireless microphone attached to her for the interview.

While she was off camera, McKinney criticized a member of her staff, Coz Carson.
"Oh, crap! Now, you know what?" McKinney asked an unidentified aide. "They lied to Coz and Coz is a fool!"

Realizing that her microphone was still on, McKinney returned to the room where the interview was being conducted and, knowing that she was on camera, told Starzyk: "Anything that is captured by your audio, that is captured while I'm not seated in this chair, is off the record and is not permissible to be used. Is that understood?" McKinney said...

Dems Hoping to Exploit Still Further ESCR Disinformation

The New York Times published a story today gleefully suggesting that Democrats are going to push embryonic stem cell research in order to exploit what is already soft-headed thinking on the issue by Republicans. That strategy, of course, depends on the media and even the scientific community (both of whom should know better) continuing their wild distortion of the facts. Our job is a big one...but it can be done... by getting the real case about ESCR and the much better (on all accounts) alternative, adult stem cell use.

Pastors, we sure could use some assistance from you guys too!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Who Remembers the Etruscans?

Terry Herring sent over a tip to check out this article from AgapePress. It is written by Ed Vitagliano, Editor of the American Family Journal and is entitled Europe’s Chastisement: How the Abandonment of Christianity May Be Leading to Disaster. In the article, Mr. Vitagliano deals with Europe's increasing "birth dearth" crisis, the severe loss of family cohesion and values, the surrender to "Islamification", and more. In the process, the writer leans on some very good sources, among them Mark Steyn, Chuck Colson, Don Feder, Maria Burani, and World Magazine's Gene Edward Veith. Thanks, Terry; it is a good one.

Viacom: Scum, Sleaze and Now, Selective Censorship

Brent Bozell's column puts the spotlight on both the filth and the hypocrisy of entertainment giant Viacom. His is an important piece to read but difficult to take. Sure, one knows it's really nasty out there but every once in awhile, a report like this one gives you details you weren't aware of...and which you don't really want to be aware of!

If there's no repentance in their future, the folks behind Viacom and South Park are gonna' be in big, big trouble.

(Adult) Stem Cell Treatment May Get Jacki Walking Again

...“I knew there was a possibility before I had surgery, but I asked her after surgery if the doctor fixed it, and that’s when she told me that he fixed my back but I still was paralyzed,” she said.

“My mom said I didn’t talk for a long, long time. I just stared at the walls and I cried a lot. I think what was going through my head was that I would always need help and not be able to do hardly anything and that pretty much my life was over.”

But about a year later, Rabon’s pastor at First Baptist Church in Waverly, Ill., called the family to tell them he had just watched a special on PBS about a cutting-edge surgery that involved harvesting stem cells from a patient’s nose and transplanting them into the site of a spinal cord break...

Read the whole story from the Baptist Press right here.

Ohio State Drops Sexual Harassment Charge

The story isn't yet up on the ADF site but by clicking on the title of this post you can read David Limbaugh's take on the story. Also here is how the Family Research Council e-mail update described things ---

Common sense has broken out in Ohio--even on a college campus. Allegations of "sexual harassment" against Scott Savage have been dropped. He is the librarian at Ohio State University's Mansfield campus who recommended David Kupelian's Marketing of Evil as a balance to the wholly liberal reading selections offered by Savage's fellow committee members. Because he made this recommendation, Scott Savage initially faced complaints of sexual harassment from two faculty members.

In these days of political correctness the mere charge of sexual harassment or hate speech can jeopardize a career. That's why Scott Savage's lawyer David French says his client may sue his accusers. French, who works with our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), says it's "absurd" to suggest that merely recommending a conservative book for freshmen to read is threatening anyone. French says Savage, a devout Quaker, is considering litigation because of "damage done to his career and reputation." He has already filed a formal complaint with the university of false accusation by the two liberal profs.

We're happy for Scott Savage, but we know this case is not over yet. This case also demonstrates that when we push back against campus bullies, we can often force them to back down. Once again, we applaud the effort of our allies at ADF for their courage and skill.

Shame on Bush: U.S. President Apologizes for Chinese Protester

No, President Bush; Hu Jintao is not OK!

...CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports the woman was a protester with the Falun Gong movement, a group that says it is persecuted in China for its religious beliefs. She yelled at President Bush, "Stop him from killing. Stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong."

Wilder said Hu was gracious in accepting Mr. Bush's apology. The two leaders moved on in their talks and it was not mentioned again in several hours of meetings. Hu and Mr. Bush sat next to each other at an elaborate luncheon, a departure from traditional protocol, which would have them at different tables...

...She shouted in Chinese and in heavily accented English: "President Bush, stop him from killing" and "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong."

Mr. Bush, standing next to Hu, leaned over and whispered to him,"
You're OK," indicating the Chinese leader should proceed with his opening remarks. Hu, who had paused briefly when the shouting began, resumed speaking.

The protester was waving a banner with the red and yellow colors used by Falun Gong, a banned religious movement in China. She kept shouting for several minutes before Secret Service agents were able to make their way to her position at the top of the camera stand. They led her off the stand.

A photographer who was standing next to the protester tried momentarily to quiet her by putting his hand in front of her mouth.

"It's hugely embarrassing," said Derek Mitchell, a former Asia adviser at the Pentagon and now an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

China "must know that this Bush administration is good at controlling crowds for themselves, and the fact that they couldn't control this is going to play to their worst fears and suspicions about the United States, into mistrust about American intentions toward China."

What is actually the cause for embarassment here is that China's atrocious accumulation of human rights abuses is seemingly no big deal to President Bush and to almost all of the U.S. Congress.

"You're OK," indeed! This is shameful and it certainly makes Bush's remarks about human rights and "exporting democracy" in other parts of the world ring very hollow.

Furthermore, the Western press must also be blamed for their part in ignoring China's record of repression, incarceration and torture of innocents, forced abortion and mutilation, dire actions taken against free republics, including the United States, etc.

Note even in this article how the reporter frames the issue. The protester from Falun Gong "says it is peresecuted." Well, is it or isn't it? The facts are abundantly clear and readily available so why does the CBS News reporter so obviously duck what should be a central part of the news story?

And the photographer who tried to physically cover Wenyi Wang's mouth? Could there be a more graphic, more memorable metaphor for the way the press has collaborated in the coverup of China's injustice?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dallas Theological Seminary Weighs in On Da Vinci Code -- Audio and Video

Just click on the title of this post to see a panel of three DTS professors discussing various elements of the Dan Brown book, the upcoming film, and some key refutations of the bad theology therein. The participants are: Dr. Mark Bailey, president and professor of Bible Exposition of Dallas Seminary; Dr. Jeff Bingham, chair and professor of Theological Studies; and Dr. Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament Studies and professor of Spiritual Development and Culture.

Federal Judge Rules Against Christian Club

From Christian Wire Service -- A federal judge has ruled that the University of California’s Hastings Law School can deny official recognition and funding to a Christian student club that requires its members and leadership to sign a statement of faith. The law school denied funding to the club because the statement of faith violated the school’s anti-discrimination policy.

The club argued that the law school, in denying official recognition and funding, had violated its free speech, free exercise, free association, due process, and equal protection rights.

The court rejected the club’s claim that it could not comply with the nondiscrimination policy without abandoning its Christian mission, the very reason for the club’s existence. Judge Jeffrey S. White found instead that the club did “not demonstrate how admitting [as members] [unrepentant and/or practicing] lesbian, gay, bisexual, or nonorthodox Christian students would impair its mission.”

American Family Association Center for Law & Policy senior trial attorney, Brian Fahling, said a “particularly troubling aspect of the court’s ruling was the judge’s astonishing assertion that there was no evidence that the Christian mission of the club would be impaired by the admission of voting members who were practicing homosexuals or members of different faiths.”

Fahling noted, “the club allowed anyone to attend meetings and to participate in club sponsored events; but to preserve the distinctly Christian mission and character of the club, it was necessary that members and leadership actually be Christians. Yet the court effectively said, ‘I know better than you, or two millennia of Christian teaching, about what your faith requires.’”

Fahling thought it is likely that the club will appeal the district court’s decision.

While Hu Jintao Smiles for the U.S. Cameras, Chris Smith Tells the Truth About Red China

Here's one of Washington's boldest champions of human rights, the Honorable Chris Smith, again condemning the horrific conditions inside Communist China. This National Review article that makes an effective complement to his opening statement of yesterday's Congressional hearing.

Of Pork, Boondoggles and Republican Hypocrisy

I hope Tim Chapman's Town Hall column today will be an eye-opener to those Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who are yet unmoved to anger by the "new G.O.P." and its addiction to government spending. With few exceptions, the modern Republican Party is as deeply entrenched in wasteful expenditures (with the resultant escalation of taxation) as are the Democrats.

And here's a bonus feature highlighting just one example of extra-Congressional boondoggling. It comes from The Waste Basket, a weekly bulletin of government waste that you'll find as a feature of the Taxpayers for Common Sense website. Here's an excerpt:

Every year, Uncle Sam pays contractors $320 billion to assist with government activities. These contractors purchase or produce everything from computers and highway infrastructure to hand soap and office supplies, making the federal government dependant on their expertise. Trouble is, while the amount of money private companies receive from the government skyrockets, the number of eyes watching how they spend our money is getting smaller and less effective.

The FBI’s effort to build the Trilogy case-management system is a perfect example. This project has already sucked down $537 million worth of taxpayer dollars, and failed to do anything that will help the FBI enhance its investigative capabilities. This week, the FBI announced it would spend an additional $425 million to finish a different case management system, the “Sentinel.”

A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the lack of oversight turned this project into what could be a new hit television show “Contractors Gone Wild...”

ADF Takes on Ohio State

From a Family Research Council update -- Three professors at the Ohio State University at Mansfield have filed a "sexual harassment" complaint against librarian Scott Savage. His offense? Savage had dared to suggest freshmen might balance their reading by studying David Kupelian's The Marketing of Evil, which the professors deem to be "anti-gay." It seems Mr. Savage is a member of a committee that recommends books to incoming students. Other members had suggested liberal works such as those by Jimmy Carter, Maria Shriver, and evolution advocate Richard Dawkins, while recommending no conservative books. Mr. Savage's simple effort to balance the scales now has him under investigation.

Here is the left's hypocrisy on parade. They pose as champions of civil liberties, but are eager not only to suppress ideas they disagree with, but actively to punish those who dare to express them. Fortunately, our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) are taking up Mr. Savage's cause.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Chris Smith Stands Strong Against China's "Abysmal" Human Rights Abuses

Clicking on the title of this post will take you to the full text of Congressman Chris Smith's bold introduction to today's hearing but at least here is the opening...

Statement by Hon. Christopher H. Smith

HEARING: "Human Rights in China"

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations

April 19, 2006

The Subcommittee will come to order, and good morning to everyone. Today's hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations will examine China's human rights record, especially such areas as China's censorship of the internet, implementation of the right of Chinese citizens to worship freely, protection of minority rights, compliance with international labor standards, China's barbaric practice of organ harvesting, and the destructive effects on Chinese society - especially on women - of its government's coercive one-child policy.

Over the years, I have held more than 25 hearings on human rights abuses in China. While China's economy has proved somewhat, the human rights situation remains abysmal. So-called econom
ic reform has utterly failed to result in the protection of freedom of speech, expression, or assembly. This week's visit of President Hu Jintao of China to the United States provides the U.S. Congress and people an opportunity to bring to the attention of U.S. policy makers and the world community the terrible human rights situation as it exists in China today. It will also help provide the vital context for any relationship we should have with China. And it will, I hope convey our unshakeable resolve and commitment to press Beijing for serious, measurable and durable reform. The people of China deserve no less. It is our moral duty to stand with the oppressed, not with the oppressor.

State Department human rights reports and the consistent reporting from very reputable NGOs indicate that Chinese government repression of its citizens continues. In fact, the current Chinese regime is one of the very worst violators of human rights i
n the world, and continues to commit egregious crimes against its own citizens daily. At a rough count, the most recent State Department Human Rights Report for China ran to about 45,000 words. Before it even gets down to details, the report lists 22 major rights problems. Few if any nations can even begin to match this unseemly record, from the systematic denial of political freedom and use of torture to interference in the most private matters of family and conscience.

1. Denial of the right to change the government

2. Physical abuse resulting in deaths in custody

3. Torture and coerced confessions of prisoners

4. Harassment, detention, and imprisonment of those perceived as threatening to party and government authority

5. Arbitrary arrest and detention, including nonjudicial administrative detention, reeducation-through-labor, psychiatric detention, and extended or incommunicado pretrial detention

6. A politically controlled judiciary and a lack of due process in certain cases, especially those involving dissidents

7. Detention of political prisoners, including those convicted of dis
closing state secrets and subversion, those convicted under the now-abolished crime of counterrevolution, and those jailed in connection with the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations

8. House arrest and other nonjudicially approved surveillance and detention of dissidents

9. Monitoring of citizens' mail, telephone and electronic communications

10. Use of a coercive birth limitation policy, in some cases resulting in forced
abortion and sterilization

11. Increased restrictions on freedom of speech and the press; closure of newspapers and journals; banning of politically sensitive books, periodicals, and films; and jamming of some broadcast signals

12. Restrictions on the freedom of assembly, including detention and abuse of demonstrators and petitioners

13. Restrictions on religious freedom, control of religious groups, and harassment and detention of unregistered religious groups

14. Restrictions on the freedom of travel, especially for politically sensitive and underground religious figures

15. Forcible repatriation of North Koreans and inadequate protection of many refugees

16. Severe government corruption

17. Increased scrutiny, harassment and restrictions on independent domestic and foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO) operations

18. Trafficking in women and children

19. Societal discrimination against women, minorities, and persons with disabilities

20. Cultural and religious repression of minorities in Tibetan areas and Muslim areas of Xinjiang

21. Restriction of labor rights, including freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, and worker health and safety forced labor, including prison labor)...

Important Free Speech Decision Breaks Buffer Zone Around Abortion Mill

Here's the AP story as reported on ABC-TV's Channel 28 news page:

WEST PALM BEACH - A city law requiring abortion protesters to obey a 20-foot buffer zone violates free-speech rights, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks ruled April 11 that the ordinance is too strict and issued a preliminary injunction, ordering the parties into mediation.

"Freedom of speech is rarely an issue when everyone agrees," Middlebrooks wrote. "Perhaps more than at any other place and any other time, in cases such as this, speech guaranteed by the First Amendment must be protected."
A related law prohibiting "unnecessary noise" and "amplified sound" within 100 feet of such facilities can be enforced, Middlebrooks said. The law was passed in October.

"The ordinance was designed to suppress the speech of pro-life demonstrations," said Michael DePrimo, an attorney for three women who regularly protest outside the Presidential Women's Center and had challenged the law in federal court.
DePrimo said the city could be liable for attorneys' fees, which amount to about $40,000 so far.

"Unless my lawyer tells me the fat lady has sung, it's not over," Mayor Lois Frankel said. Clinic director Reis said she hopes a new law can be adopted. "Needless to say, we're disappointed," she said. "We will continue to do whatever we can do to ensure a safe environment for our patients with dignity."

More Repression in Communist Belarus

Life goes on as normal in Belarus:

1) The government is denying "Nasha Niva", an independent weekly permission to have a legally registered address in Minsk, which will almost certainly force the cessation one of Belarus's very few surviving independent newspapers. The authorities say the punishment is justified because of a 10-day jail sentence imposed on "Nasha Niva" Editor-in-Chief Andrey Dynko during the antigovernment protests in Minsk in March. Dynko's response? The action is a "legal absurdity" based only on the officials' fear of any opposition voice whatsoever.

"Nasha Niva" is the first regular Belarusian-language newspaper, which was published in Vilnius in 1906-15 and resumed publication there in 1991. In 1996, "Nasha Niva" moved its office to Minsk. Like most Belarusian opposition-minded newspapers, "Nasha Niva" was denied the possibility to be disseminated in 2006 through the state-run network of kiosks and the state postal service.

2) Uladzimir Katsora, head of one of the regional campaign offices of Alyaksandr Milinkevich (one of the brave Belarusians to run as an opposition candidate to corrupt dictator Alexander Lukashenka in the March 19 presidential election) has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for applying for permission from the city of Homel to conduct a peaceful, orderly and, according to national and city statutes, completely legal demonstration. Katsora was arrested and found guilty of organizing an unsanctioned demonstration. That's right; the arrest and sentencing was for something that had not happened!

"Katsora has filed an application with the Homel City Executive Committee for permission to stage a demonstration in the city on April 25 on the 20th anniversary of the Chornobyl accident," said Yury Zakharanka, Katsora's colleague. "Although the demonstration is yet to be staged and the city authorities have not yet announced its decision on the application, he has already been convicted."

Pro-Abort Professor and Vandal Finally Apologizes -- Set to Retire

The Northern Kentucky University professor who encouraged her students to vandalize a pro-life display -- and then led them in trashing it -- has apologized. Dr. Sally Jacobson, a tenured 27-year British literature professor, issued her apology just days after saying she saw nothing wrong what she did.
[Jacobson is shown here at left in less controversial days.]

"I deeply regret my impulsive action in dismantling that display," Jacobson said late Tuesday. "It was a mistake of judgment for me to invite my students to participate in that action." Jacobson told WKRC-TV in a taped interview that she hoped her actions did not damage the reputation of the college. "I really love NKU and care very much about my students and don't want them to be harmed," she said. "At this point, I really want the university to be able to defuse the firestorm of attention around this."

NKU has suspended Jacobson and she will officially retire at the end of the school year. WKRC reports that other professors have taken over her classes for the remainder of the semester...

By the way, we're told that police are still investigating the matter despite her confession, her bragging of her action to reporters and many others, and her being caught in the act by new photographers. Hmmm. Officers Toody and Muldoon must be on the case.)

"Soft Christianity" -- Barna Continues to Challenge Religious Optimism

...To some observers, the recent barrage of faith-affirming statistics seems to clash with these measures of limited commitment to faith. George Barna, who conducted the study, felt that the numbers are consistent with the wealth of data on spirituality he has analyzed over the past quarter century.

“These figures emphasize how soft people’s commitment to God is,” Barna explained. “Americans are willing to expend some energy in religious activities such as attending church and reading the Bible, and they are willing to throw some money in the offering basket. Because of such activities, they convince themselves that they are people of genuine faith. But when it comes time to truly establishing their priorities and making a tangible commitment to knowing and loving God, and to allowing Him to change their character and lifestyle, most people stop short. We want to be ‘spiritual’ and we want to have God’s favor, but we’re not sure we want Him taking control of our lives and messing with the image and outcomes we’ve worked so hard to produce..."

To read the full article from The Barna Group, go right here.

Family Factors Huge in Avoiding Teenage Drinking

Sure, this is one of those studies in which academics spend a lot of time, money and energy simply to present findings that should be common sense. But common sense isn't all that common anymore and teen drinking continues to wreak terrible havoc including (but not limited to) increased crime and pregnancy rates and, of course, the crippling, killing effects of alcohol-impaired drivers.

Therefore anything that can motivate and assist adults in curbing teen drinking needs always to be trumpeted loud and clear. So here, from the World Congress of Families, is a summation of this study.

Most parents of teenagers know that a problem confined to college campuses a generation ago haunts high school communities today: alcohol use. Yet a study of sophomores in Icelandic secondary schools suggests that the increase of divorce, the lack of parental involvement with their teens, and the decline of church attendance have each strengthened the appeal of the bottle to teenagers.

Parsing data from the 2000 European School Survey on Alcohol and Other Drugs, which obtained responses from 89 percent of all tenth graders in Iceland, three Icelandic and one American sociologist measured both individual and school factors related to alcohol use among teens. In both bivariate and multivariate statistical tests, including what the researchers describe as their "best fitting model," teens living in households without a father, without a mother, or with a stepparent were more likely to drink (all three household arrangements at both test levels were statistically significant). Also statistically significant across the board: Teens were less likely to drink if they reported that their parents knew of their evening whereabouts and if teens reported that they were emotionally close to at least one parent.

Teens also were less likely to drink if they reported that they regularly attended public worship and expressed confidence in getting "support from God" when in need (p< .001 for both variables). While individual parental religiosity did not yield significant correlations with teen drinking in the multivariate tests, among teens that attended schools where parents were more religious, females drank significantly less than did males (p< .05).

For parents anxious about teen vulnerability to drinking, these findings confirm that staying out of the divorce court and taking the family to church each week are powerful tools to keep their teenagers out of trouble.

(Source: Thoroddur Bjarnason et al., "Familial and Religious Influences on Adolescent Alcohol Use: A Multi-Level Study of Students and School Communities," Social Forces 84 [September 2005]: 375-390.)

Monday, April 17, 2006

New Addition to British School? A Happiness Course

When modernism has destroyed the family, drowned the spiritual influences of the Church, and dropped the moral influences of great art and literature, where can you go to find any sense of peace and purpose? Well, for the latter, there's the Nanny State but for the former, we have had to rely on consumer goods, sexual titillation and, of course, the pharmaceutical companies with their various potions to give us "the high life." But now it looks like educators, bless their hearts, are coming to make their contribution too. Coming to a school near you -- Happiness 101.

Outspoken Christian Aaron Baddeley Wins His First PGA Title

Bob Gillespie, writing for South Carolina's state newspaper, described yesterday's big PGA Tour win in the following words:

HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Standing on Harbour Town Golf Links’ 18th green late Sunday afternoon, waiting to attempt the biggest putt of his professional golf career, Aaron Baddeley kept repeating the same mantra inside his head.

The source of his inspiration was a favorite Bible verse, 2 Timothy 1:7. The crucial words from that passage, he said, are “power, love and a strong mind.”
Those words, Baddeley said, calmed his spirit and gave him peace.

“Then I said to myself, ‘This is for you, Jesus,’ and knocked (the winning putt) in,” he said.

And just like that, Baddeley not only won the Verizon Heritage for his first PGA Tour title after four winless years, but completed an image makeover almost as long in coming...

...His clutch 7-footer for par to finish 15-under, a shot ahead of gritty Jim Furyk, came at the end of a taut, daylong, one-on-one duel. No one else got closer than a shot. Vaughn Taylor and Billy Mayfair finished two shots back at 13-under, and Jerry Kelly and former USC player Brett Quigley were at 11-under.

It was a breakthrough day for Baddeley, but he said his journey to the winner’s circle was much longer in the making. “An amazing week,” he said. “It’s a win; it’s a relief. But it’s a dream, a goal that’s been reached. So it’s very satisfying.”

Start with his 5-under 66 on Saturday — the first anniversary of his marriage — which vaulted him into a tie for the lead with Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and winner of 10 PGA Tour titles.

Then there was a 7:30 a.m. Easter Sunday service, held at that same 18th green, where the 25-year-old gave testimony about how his Christian faith helped him confront his self doubt. Afterward, Baddeley and his wife, Richelle, “power-walked” for an hour in Sea Pines Resort to clear his mind for the task ahead. “He’s worked so hard,” said Richelle, who met Baddeley in Scottsdale, Ariz., where they now live. “We knew (winning) would come. And 10 hours (after the 18th-hole service), here we are holding the trophy.”

His faith, Baddeley said, has helped him deal with pressures since he was 13. As a young golf star growing up in Australia, “I struggled for three or four years, didn’t live up to my expectations and (those) of other people,” he said. “It was frustrating at times and hard at times, but I really felt my relationship with the Lord helped get me through that.”

It wasn’t always a smooth passage. Three years ago Baddeley was best known in the U.S. for a TV commercial for MacGregor golf clubs in which the then-shaggy-haired player drove a convertible with three young women waving their arms in the air and chanting his nickname, “Badds!” His portrayal as a womanizing “bad boy” was one Baddeley regrets fostering. “I felt funny going along with that,” he said. “In hindsight I wish I had never done it, but hindsight is 20-20.”

Sunday, that image was as dead as Baddeley’s other reputation: as a player with more style than substance, one who hadn’t won despite a pair of runner-up finishes...

Gilliespie's is a good story. But if you'd like the "Badds story," click the title of this post to go to Aaron Baddeley's own web site to see just how bold is his testimony for Jesus Christ, complete with his conversion account, daily Scripture readings, an explanation of his Bible study technique (SOAPS), and more. Congratulations, Badds!

Attacking Christianity Is Part of Australian Primary School Project

Kevin Donnelly writes a penetrating op-ed piece for the Australian about "educational practices" that are all-too-common throughout the West. Here are a few excerpts from his article:

...One of the scenes shows a medieval village where a heretic is about to be burned. Close by is a religious figure holding a cross incorporating the figure of Jesus; after clicking on the cross it changes into what appears to be a witch's broom. Whether intended or not, the implication is that Catholicism equates with witchcraft and superstition. In the same scene, several religious figures are shown looking at the figure tied to the stake. On clicking on the head-piece of what appears to be a senior member of the church, it changes into a dunce's cap.

That students are expected to see the church as the villain is confirmed when they click on the word "heretic" inscribed above the victim's head. It changes to "heroine" and there is no doubt where the allegiance lies of those responsible for the material.

The most unsettling thing about the Jacaranda book's treatment of Christianity is that it illustrates, once again, how left-wing thought police have succeeded in their long march through the education system. Forget Woodstock, Vietnam moratoriums and flower power; the cultural revolution of the '70s and '80s was also about the way education was identified as a critical instrument to overturn the status quo...

...Even science teaching has fallen victim to cultural relativism. Instead of recognising the primacy of western science, the South Australian curriculum argues that different versions of science are simply socio-cultural constructs.

The consequences of the long march are clear to see. Students leave school culturally illiterate, with a fragmented view of the world. Worse still, given the politics of envy and the spiritual emptiness of postmodernism, many students also leave school ethically challenged and morally adrift.

(Note -- Surfing around a little netted the discovery of another excellent op-ed piece by Kevin Donnelly in which he deals again with the SOSE Alive 2 school curriculum but several other examples of the West's new zest for religious bigotry as well. It too was first published in the Australian but the easiest spot to find it is right here. By the way, Donnelly is a former English and History teacher who then took a position in the Australian government. He now is an author and the Executive Director of Education Strategies, a Melbourne-based consulting group.)

Ho-Hum. Another Democrat Fund-Raising Scandal

The facts are clear. Even though the reporter calls the campaign contributions "questionable", there is no question about it. They were illegal contributions, money given that was more than the law allows. But, not to worry -- no heads will roll; no stink will be raised; no shining light from the MSM will rout out the miscreants. After all, it's not like it was Republicans who were caught!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

No Fetal Pain Claim Made by Planned Parenthood Pal

It turns out that the researcher who recently made waves by claiming unborn kids are incapable of feeling pain (see the Vital Signs Blog post from a few days ago) is not as much of an independent mind as the reporters suggested. Stuart Derbyshire, a University of Birmingham lecturer not in biology, not in neurology, not in physiology, but in in psychology has, in fact, played the consultant to Planned Parenthood affiliates in Virginia and Wisconsin as well as the Pro-Choice Forum back in England. Those are a few quite relevant connections dug up by Forbes magazine but, of course, carefully omitted in the wire stories of the other day.

Beware the Proliferation of "Junk Science"

Robert L. Park, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland at College Park and the director of public information for the American Physical Society, is the author of Voodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness to Fraud (Oxford University Press, 2002). For the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dr. Park has written a very readable, very helpful article that gives a few nuggets from his book. It is entitled "The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science" and I highly recommend it to you.

Israel Will Be Annihilated, Says Iran's Head Thug

The president of Iran again lashed out at Israel on Friday and said it was "heading toward annihilation," just days after Tehran raised fears about its nuclear activities by saying it successfully enriched uranium for the first time.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "permanent threat" to the Middle East that will "soon" be liberated. He also appeared to again question whether the Holocaust really happened.

"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm..."

And these folks now have nuclear weapons? The time for intervention here is already overdue.

Pope Benedict XVI: Good Friday Prayers Confront the World's Evil Fashions

Here's a Times' (U.K.) story with a surprisingly clear and uncluttered perspective...

...In a series of Good Friday meditations that he will lead in Rome, the Pope will say that society is in the grip of a kind of “anti-Genesis” described as “a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family”. He will pray for society to be cleansed of the “filth” that surrounds it and be restored to purity, freed from “decadent narcissism”.

Particular condemnation is reserved for scientific advances in the field of genetic manipulation. Warning against the move to “modify the very grammar of life as planned and willed by God”, the Pope will lead prayers against “insane, risky and dangerous” ventures in attempting “to take God’s place without being God”...

...While some will regard their emphasis on sin and the dark side of human nature as retrograde, others will welcome them as a sign of the strong and conservative leadership that Pope Benedict XVI was elected to provide. All Roman Catholic churches and many others, including Anglican churches in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, celebrate a liturgy around the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday...

The 14 stations begin with Jesus’s condemnation to death, take Christians through meditations of the “Way of the Cross” and the Crucifixion and end with the laying of Jesus’s body in the tomb. The Pope wrote the meditations himself for last year’s Way of the Cross in Rome. But today’s Catholic prayers, published in Italian this week and in English on the Zenit website yesterday, go further than most in their thorough denunciation of contemporary culture.

At the Third Station of the Cross, where Jesus falls for the first time, Archbishop Comastri has written: “Lord, we have lost our sense of sin. Today a slick campaign of propaganda is spreading an inane apologia of evil, a senseless cult of Satan, a mindless desire for transgression, a dishonest and frivolous freedom, exalting impulsiveness, immorality and selfishness as if they were new heights of sophistication....”

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ohio State Political Correctness Goes to New Extreme

This is one of those stories you find absolutely unbelievable...until you pause and remember all of the other unbelievable acts of injustice, intolerance and moral rot that you know are all-too-real. This one deals with a university librarian (Ohio State) who is being investigated for sexual harassment because -- get ready -- he suggested 4 conservative titles be included in a freshman reading program.

Uh, Kyle-- Wrong Place, Wrong Time

You think these brothers might want to get a grip on where and when to hit the gas? From the AP story...

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was ticketed for reckless driving in a Richmond suburb Wednesday night. The misdemeanor charge carries up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine and a driver's license suspension, said Sgt. Don Lambert, with Henrico County police. The charge also calls for a mandatory court appearance; Busch will appear in Henrico County General District Court on May 23...

...Busch's older brother and NASCAR star, Kurt, had his own legal problems because of a traffic incident last year.
Kurt Busch was sat down by Rousch for the final two races last year and authorities ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service after he became belligerent with Phoenix area police during a 2005 traffic stop. He was charged with reckless driving.

On Fetal Pain Story, Only Pro-Abort "Expert" Gets the Headline

Even this strongly slanted story admits that there are "experts" who contend that the human fetus can feel pain. But only the "expert" who claims there's no such thing gets the star billing in the headline. But, there's no bias here, right?

For some scientifically sound research into this matter, check out this NRLC article. It is only one of many that is around, but it is an excellent one.

Education By Example: Professor Leads Students in Vandalism of Pro-Life Display

A college professor at Northern Kentucky University encouraged her students to vandalize a pro-life display members of the campus Right to Life group set up to oppose abortion. Not content with urging students to trash the memorial, Dr. Sally Jacobsen participated in the vandalism and was caught on camera by reporters from the student newspaper.

Members of the Northern Right to Life, the campus pro-life group, set up hundreds of crosses on a campus lawn to memorialize the babies who have died from abortion since Roe v. Wade.

After Dr. Jacobson and NKU students destroyed the display, members of the group decided to put new crosses up in their place and camp out overnight on Thursday to make sure they weren't vandalized again.
The student group also told The Northerner student newspaper it plans to press charges with local police. has the whole sad story right here.

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

In one of today's Town Hall columns, Tony Snow, does an excellent job of stating the basic case for the physical resurrection of Jesus and also for the ramifications that miracle creates for mankind. It's a very good read.

However, Tony wrongly attributes the survey that started his meditations to the Standard of London. Now there might be such a publication (even though I can't find it around) but the survey he refers to must, in fact, be one I'd just read a few hours earlier over at the Spectator of London. Registration is required to get into the site -- it's free and relatively quick -- but, after reading Tony's very good column, I thought you might be interested in some of the answers of that survey. The Spectator's survey actually consisted of one simple question: ‘Do you believe that Jesus physically rose from the dead?’ Here are a few of the responses:

Taki Theodoracopulos, the conservative writer, critic and bon vivant

I like to believe it. No, I do believe it, and I believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. I was brought up as a very strict Greek Orthodox. I don’t think about it much. I don’t intellectualise it. I am very pagan that way.

The Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Thursday. Archbishop’s assistant: ‘He’s very busy but I’ll see what I can do.’
Friday. Archbishop’s assistant: ‘I’m afraid we don’t take part in compare-and-contrast surveys.’

The Spectator: ‘But we’re not comparing or contrasting anything. Please at least a
sk him.’
Monday. The Spectator: ‘Any luck with the Archbishop?’

Archbishop’s assistant: ‘Archbishop Rowan said to put him firmly in the “yes” camp. What were the follow-up questions?’

The Spectator: ‘No follow-up questions. Just the one about the Resurrection.’

Tuesday. Another assistant: ‘I’m afraid there won’t be a [further] quote from the Archbishop.

Keith Ward, Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London, and emeritus student of Christ Church, Oxford

I am certain the apostles had visionary experiences of Jesus after his death. I think these were genuine. But though Jesus appeared in physical form, his mode of existence after death was not in physical space-time as we know it.

Edward Stourton, reporter, broadcaster and author
Yes. I am pretty liberal in most Catholic matters, but I am old-fashioned about the Resurrection, because if it’s not true, what’s the point? Actually, it’s a non-controversial belief. If God intervenes in human history, there is absolutely nothing peculiar about his raising his son from the dead.

Christopher Howse, author and arts critic for the Telegraph

Yes. He rose bodily, so you won’t find any bones around. I don’t suppose many people would take ‘physically’ to mean ‘naturally’. The point was rather that, unlike the revivification of the mythical phoenix, Jesus’ resurrection was not just a wonderful thing but was completely above any natural power to perform. Jesus Christ dies and takes up his own life, in union with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Resurrection demonstrates that Jesus has told the truth and has the ability to keep his promises. Otherwise we are all sunk.
(By the way, I posted earlier today a Christopher Howse book review on the Da Vinci Code over at The Book Den.)

Sir Cliff Richard, pop music pioneer

Yes. For me the validity of the Christian faith stands or falls by the Resurrection. If it didn’t happen, then all we’ve got is a code of ethics. Good ones certainly, but we need more than ethics to change lives.

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist

No. People believe in the Resurrection not because of good evidence (there isn’t any) but because, if the Resurrection is not true, Christianity becomes null and void, and their life, they think, meaningless. From this it is grotesquely false logic to conclude that therefore the Resurrection must be true. The alternative — that their religion is indeed null and void — may be unpleasant for Christians to contemplate, but there is no law that says the truth has to be pleasant. And nature does not owe us a meaningful life. It is up to us to make it so.

Charles Moore, the former Editor (23 years) of the Telegraph

Yes: he overcame death, body and soul. However, this is a statement of belief, not science. If archaeologists could prove (which they won’t) that they had found the bones of Jesus in Jerusalem, Christianity would still be true. This sounds like a contradictory statement, but I do not think it is.

Paul Johnson, acclaimed historian and author

I believe Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday and later appeared to St Peter, the other apostles and over 500 of the brethren, as recorded in St Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. This triumph over death is an adumbration of our own entrance into eternal life.

"If Only Roosevelt Would Have Told Stalin, 'No.'"

Oliver North comments on Romanian history, the Allies cave-in to Josef Stalin, and the prospect of an Iran armed with nuclear bombs. Just click on the title of this post to read Col. North's revealing column.

Switzerland Joins EU Visa Ban on Belarusian Officials

A couple of days ago Switzerland imposed a travel ban on thirty-one Belarusian officials including President Lukashenka. The move came just two days after the European Union made the same decision. Though not a member of the EU, Switzerland's move was (like the EU's) in reaction to the rigged presidential elections in Belarus last month as well as Lukashenka's ongoing failure to respect basic freedoms of Belarus citizens.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Who's the Best Candidates for a Near-Death Experience?

I like tripping over to Live every once in a while, mainly to see what kind of "junk science" stories are being taken seriously by these folks. Today I found the usual stuff: a scare piece predicting the demise of one quarter of the world's animal species in 45 years; another emphasizing that global warming is going to endanger igloos (no kidding); and some simulated pictures designed to illustrate how fish first started hunting prey on land. Regarding the latter, I think Gary Larson had better illustrations in his Far Side cartoons but I'll let that pass.

Anyhow, my favorite "junk science" story today from this site is the one about a study trying to help determine who is a likely candidate for a "near death" experience and who (by default, I guess) is more likely to pop off without such warnings. The key, by the way, is in one's REM sleep patterns.

Of course, the important point to be made in this context is that every one of us is an excellent candidate for the sure-death experience. No way around it. As the Bible says, "It is appointed unto man once to die and then comes the judgment." So, rather than worrying too much about seeing a bright light in some near-death vision, it only makes sense to first guarantee that you'll see the Light of the World before you when the real thing comes along.

And that is easily done. Jesus Christ paid the penalty of our sins through His sacrificial death on Golgotha's cross. He did it willingly because He loves us so. And His forgiveness with its truimphant reward of life in His heaven after our death is offered to all. Jesus said," He who believes in Me will never die."

Near-death experiences? Who knows and who cares. But escaping the forever curse of spiritual death by trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior? That is the matter to make sure of!

The Issue Really Changes When Its Your Own Unborn Child

It all depends on your perspective.

In this very interesting story from (now, don't giggle) Lost Budgie Blog, we learn how a very liberal TV program from Canada has begun broadcasting the most delightful pro-life news reports. The reason? The host is pregnant! Thus, viewers are learning neat stuff about the humanity of the preborn child including videos of the 3D ultrasound showing the host's child moving around her soft, safe world. Very cool.

It is an example of how technology has dramatically helped shift public attitudes about abortion. The lines "It's not really a baby" or "It's just a bunch of parasite tissue" no longer are tossed around in the debate...except perhaps by Planned Parenthood folks. But thinking people who are honest and at least a little warmhearted are finding that such things as the "windows to the womb" provided by ultrasound, the remarkable developments in fetal surgery, the ever-increasing ability of doctors to bring even extremely premature babies to healthy outcomes, and so on, have changed forever the argument in favor of the baby -- and, albeit too, in favor of those who have for decades stood in the babies' defense.

Nice post, LBB!

Yet Another Abortionist In Trouble

Abortion will always be an extremely dangerous and dirty business - no matter how clean the facilities, how conscientious the employees, or how competent the doctor. But, of course, it is for the very reason that abortion is such a dangerous and dirty business, that it attracts the absolute worst the medical profession has to offer.

Here then is but another example of an abortionist having his license yanked...but only after being given several previous chances to go on hurting women by the Virginia Medical Board AND after South Carolina had revoked his license.

Just imagine what it would be like if abortionists had to undergo the accountability that other physicians experience.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Moving Against Greed and the Culture of Consumerism

...In order for us to effectively move against the illusion of overpopulation AND against the terrible needs facing the world's populations, we must confront the god whom we most worship in the West. The god of materialism. As a philosophy, materialism is much more than the acquisition of goods; it is a way of life that distracts you from the needs of others. Materialism, with its dedication to comfort and pleasure, distracts the Westener from focusing in on the most immediate targets of ministry for others. Indeed, materialism, in its concentrated attention to things, actually devalues human beings.

The consumer culture that has been established in Western Europe and the U.S. and which we are now exporting into lesser developed nations devalues the individual by its concentrated attention to advertising, consumerism, emphasis on gadgetry, artificially heightened dependence on toys, etc. So when a woman tells you in front of an abortion clinic that she cannot afford another child and yet she has driven in with a new car and is dressed in finery and jewelry, one should ask, "What has happened here?" People have been devalued by things - in this case, devalued in the greatest extreme. Luxuries have become necessities to such a degree that we won't even consider even the sacredness of human life to be a priority over things.

Materialism breeds greed. In the old Westerns that I watched while growing up, there was often a scene where the bandits are figuring out how to divide their booty from the stage robbery or whatever. You remember the scene. There's always one of the guys that looks at the weakest member of the party as he wonders if he can do away with him in the night. And what do his partners say? "Hey, that will be more for the rest of us! That will be one more share that goes to us!"

This very attitude is a key plank in the platform of many of the population controllers but, worse yet, it becomes an unconscious motivation for the rest of us. Whatever rhetoric is used to assage our consciences, we intuitively understand that sharing goods or space or time with others costs us! So, rather than bear the costs of others, we end up being protective of our "share of the stuff."

In Southeast Asia, a traditional monkey trap consists simply of putting a date or some nut other treat inside a coconut. The monkey reaches in the coconut, grabs the date, and he's caught because the size of his fist inside the coconut is larger than the hole in which he inserted his open hand. The goofy little thing will not let go of the treat even to pull his hand out. He keeps his hand gripping his reward even though it means his capture and doom. This is exactly what is happening to the Western World. Our greed blinds us to the needs of others, and endangers the future security and peace of all...

(An excerpt from "Population Problems", an address delivered by Denny Hartford at a Vital Signs Ministries "Frontier Issues" conference.)