Thursday, August 31, 2006

Radio program

Ah, the Sexual Revolution

Democrats Losing the Religious Voters

Amy Sullivan is no conservative. And Slate is no conservative web site. Nevertheless, Ms. Sullivan's article appearing in Slate a couple of days ago dared to deliver some very bad news for Democrats. Specifically, she challenged the Party to realize the seriousness of their problems with religious voters.

But what can Democrats do?

It is very, very difficult to get voters to believe you're truly religious when yet you enthusiastically endorse abortion (even partial-birth abortion), homosexual marriage, euthanasia, no controls of indecency in the media or public square, no-fault divorce, the monopoly of government education, prohibition of religious displays, and so on.

But the failure of Republicans to show fruit of their own promises to religious voters is having an effect there too.

Here's the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins comments on the article...

...Miss Sullivan writes that two years ago half of all Democrats thought their party was "friendly to religion." Today, only 39.6 percent of identified Democrats agree.

Sullivan reports that the numbers of black Democrats who see their party as welcoming people of faith is down 14 percent since 2004. Ditto Catholic Democrats. Sixteen percent fewer Catholics agree with their own party's position on matters of faith in the Pew Poll, Miss Sullivan writes.

Should the GOP be crying "Hallelujah!" Not so fast. The Pew Poll shows that support for Republicans among Evangelical voters is also down--eight percent. Sullivan attributes that fall-off to "two years of broken promises." There have been too many broken promises. President Bush's support for Plan B is the most recent, most egregious example..

Taking Sides on the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment

Well, the following announcements aren't going to surprise anyone but they are still important to note...

1) The Humane Care Amendment that will be on the Nebraska ballot this November has just received the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee.


2) It is being opposed by Compassion & Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society. In fact, this radical euthanasia outfit is pledging to go all out to defeat the measure.

Now, the aim of the Humane Care Initiative is modest and circumscribed; namely, to protect Nebraska's most helpless citizens from being involuntary dehydrated or starved to death in Nebraska institutions. The amendment will only require food and water being given a patient if their absence would kill or gravely harm the person, and if the person can metabolize the water and nutrients, and if the person has NOT put into writing his or her personal directive or authorization to be cut off from hydration and nutrition.

But then reason, respect for the inherent sanctity of human life, and true compassion have never meant much to Derek Humphrey and his pals in the Hemlock Society.

Oh, No -- Not More Lying Photos!

Remember when the mainstream media maligned those obviously "doctored" photos that graced the covers of the National Enquirer and the National Star? Such irresponsible use of photos, argued the MSM, proved the outlandish bias, the lack of character and the paucity of good reporting in these rags.

But nowadays, with the large number of the MSM's own selective, staged and manipulated photos being "outed," the public is certainly right to begin believing there's not very much difference.

Today's story, following on the heels of all those "Reutersgate" pics and yesterday's revelation of CBS' slyly slimming Katie Couric, deals with textbooks and their remarkably crass pretense regarding the disabled.

Jeff Jacoby has the details.

Misplaced Outrage: Colorado Liberals Not Upset About Abortion Among Black Women, They're Only Mad Because a Republican Brought Up the Subject

Here's the story from the Denver Post about Republican candidate for Colorado governor, Bob Beauprez, being forced to apologize for (of all things) being appalled at the number of abortions performed on black women.

Beauprez told a radio audience, "I've seen numbers as high as 70 percent - maybe even more - in the African-American community. That, I think, is just appalling."

So how do Colorado liberals respond? Well, rather than deal with the fact; namely, the "appalling" rate of abortion among black women itself, they do what comes natural -- ignore the salient issues altogether and get angry at the person with the audacity to point out the obvious.

"I'm offended, and I'm sure others will be as well," said the Rev. Reginald Holmes, pastor of New Covenant Christian Church in Denver and former head of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance. "This is evidence of the supreme irresponsibility of the man," Holmes said. "He's a complete irresponsible buffoon. If he can prove those statistics, then I will apologize publicly."

Can it be true that a black leader (and a man of the cloth as well) is really offended only because Beauprez' statistic is wrong? Really? Well then, let's try 50% -- that's about the figure that even the pro-abortion Alan Gutmacher Institute admits is the national rate for abortions among blacks.

Reverend, shouldn't that reality be the focus of your moral offense? For the "supreme irresponsibility" is refusing to deal with the horrific tragedy of so many black babies ending up in the grisly maw of the abortion clinic.

Indeed, instead of trying to divert attention from the real issue here, it seems you should be thanking Mr. Beauprez for caring enough to be bothered...and for wanting to bring the appropriate resources to bear.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Arnold Signs Homosexual Bill

California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday signed a bill that will punish any entity or program that accepts any state assistance unless it accepts homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. It was the first of four bills aimed at the schools by homosexual activists.

“This isn't legitimate education; it's indoctrination on steroids,” said Jan LaRue, Concerned Women for America's chief counsel.

Penny Harrington, CWA of California’s legislative director, said the new law could be construed to bar tuition assistance to any student for use at a Christian school. “The tuition is so high at private schools that families need everything they can get to stay afloat,” Harrington said.

Sponsored by lesbian activist Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), SB 1441 says that “any program or activity” that “receives any financial assistance from the state” must give “full and equal access” to Californians without regard to “race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, color, or disability....”

...CWA’s LaRue warned that unless churches do more to oppose open assaults on traditional values, there will be more of the same.

“Pastors, do we hear your voices speaking out to save the next generation from being led into an immoral and unhealthy lifestyle? Some of you need to stop pretending that moral issues are only political,” LaRue said. “Stop hiding behind an illusory wall of separation between church and state and start speaking truth to government.”

Round the Web: Some of Today's Best Reads

Here's a quick-shot list of some of today's most important columns:

* Walter Williams on the continuing assault (by government) on private property rights. Scary stuff.

* Jill Stanek on perhaps the most irresponsible and dangerous decision ever made by the FDA; namely, the over-the-counter availability of so-called "emergency contraceptives."

* Debbie Schlussel dealing with the extremist Islamic Society of North America's (ISNA) choice of a woman to lead the group. ("Lipstick on Cancer.")

* John Stossel on the government school system and its arrogant power (even in the face of dismal failure in its primary goals).

* And Terrence Jeffrey giving a fascinating history of how the forward pass came to football -- as a safety measure!

Of Bias, Bamboozles and Bathrooms: Our Wacky Mainstream Media

Here's a quick reference to some of today's most interesting MSM frolics:

1) Katie Couric's "Putting Your Best Body Forward" story -- Has distorting reality through photo "enhancement" now become an indispensible MSM practice? (Story from the New York Post. Hat tip to the Drudge Report.)

2) CNN's "Oops. Isn't Anyone in the Control Booth?" story -- Miked-up CNN reporters "dishing the dirt" in the loo trump the President's speech. (Story from NewsBusters.)

3) The "MSM's Love of Reality Shows...Except in their News Division" story -- The coverage of illegal immigration bears but a faint resemblance to what's actually happening. (Story in Brent Bozell's Town Hall column.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chesterton & Lewis Quickly Reviewed

There's a new post over on The Book Den with a brief review of G.K. Chesterton's The Napoleon of Notting Hill and C.S. Lewis' The Pilgrim's Regress.

Check it out.

The Nebraska Humane Care Amendment: Part 5

Here is the next in the series of a detailed FAQ statement provided by the organizers of the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment. This amendment, which will be on the ballot this fall, is designed to put some brakes to the ever-increasing euthanasia movement, especially the use of "futile care" doctrines which disguise the dehumanization of the sick

Parts One, Two, Three and Four can be found simply by clicking on these links. There will yet be a couple more of these installments to come. You might also want to read these recent Vital Signs Blog posts which are related to the issue: "When God Is Ready" ---
"Scary Developments from the U.N." -- and "The Eagerness of Euthanasia."

But now, the next in the series of the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment FAQ...

What has the Catholic Church said on this subject of basic food and water care?

Pope John Paul II, in his Papal Allocution of March 20, 2004, said that even the sick person in a so-called “vegetative” state awaiting recovery or a natural end,

…still has the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.), and to the prevention of complications related to his confinement to bed. He also has the right to appropriate rehabilitative care and to be monitored for clinical signs of eventual recovery. I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.

The obligation to provide the "normal care due to the sick in such cases" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Iura et Bona, p. IV) includes, in fact, the use of nutrition and hydration (cf. Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Dans le Cadre, 2, 4, 4; Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, Charter of Health Care Workers, n. 120). The evaluation of probabilities, founded on waning hopes for recovery … cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration. Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission.

In this regard, I recall what I wrote in the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, making it clear that "by euthanasia in the true and proper sense must be understood an action or omission which by its very nature and intention brings about death, with the purpose of eliminating all pain"; such an act is always "a serious violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person" (n. 65).

Still, don’t some Catholic theologians, professors, “bioethicists” and health care executives take issue with the Pope’s teaching authority above?

Of course; there are always dissenters. But if the Pope is Catholic and speaks authoritatively for the Church, contrary/schismatic voices appear to be overreaching on claims to represent Roman Catholicism. According to Pope Pius XII, "[I]f the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians." (Humani Generis, August 12, 1950, para. 20).

What do other religious and human rights leaders have to say?

· “Human beings are made in the image of God and are, therefore, of inestimable worth. God has given people the highest dignity of all creation. Such human dignity prohibits euthanasia, that is actively causing a person's death.” (National Association of Evangelicals, 1994).

· Children and adults with significant disabilities have been especially vulnerable to violations of their fundamental rights, including the denial of access to life-sustaining care and treatment, such as routine medical treatment and food and fluids…. Absent clear and convincing evidence of the desires of people with disabilities to decline life-sustaining care or treatment, such care and treatment should not be withheld or withdrawn unless death is genuinely imminent and the care or treatment is objectively futile and would only prolong the dying process….When doubt exists as to whether to provide life-sustaining care and treatment a presumption must always be made in favor of providing such care and treatment. (Statement of Common Principles on Life-Sustaining Care and Treatment of People with Disabilities, endorsed by the American Association of People with Disabilities, plus 37 other disability-rights organizations).

· There is a growing need "to counteract a false understanding of compassion in our culture which claims that terminating the lives of those who are weak and helpless is a compassionate act". (The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, 1992)

· WHEREAS, the right to food and water is a basic human right; and WHEREAS, the past few years have seen highly publicized legal battles seeking to remove restrictions on starvation and dehydration of people with cognitive disabilities; and WHEREAS, numerous states have enacted statutes removing restrictions on the starvation and dehydration of people with cognitive disabilities; and WHEREAS, many hospitals have enacted "futility" policies that enable medical providers to overrule the wishes of individuals with disabilities and their families when the medical professionals devalue the life of the person in question; and WHEREAS, twenty-five national disability groups have adopted a position, in response to the Terri Schiavo case in Florida, opposing nonvoluntary starvation and dehydration; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, NCIL supports legislation that restores and maintains restrictions on surrogate decisions for withholding of food and water via tube. Specifically, legislation should only allow for withholding of food and water in the presence of "clear and convincing evidence" of the person's wishes or when the person's medical condition renders them incapable of digesting or absorbing the nutrition and hydration so that its provision would not contribute to sustaining the person's life. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that centers for independent living in each state are encouraged to advocate for legislation and other public policies to establish or restore constitutional restrictions on the starvation and dehydration of people with cognitive disabilities. (National Council on Independent Living, 7/14/05)

· “Jewish tradition holds the preservation of human life as one of its supreme moral values. It takes precedence over virtually all other moral values. Nevertheless, Judaism -- acutely linked to the reality of the human condition - realizes there are circumstances in which a person might long for death. Even with this appreciation of our human reality, Jewish Law does not reduce the mandate that we preserve life, even under the most challenging conditions. Judaism does not support “physician assisted suicide” nor does it support the withdrawal of life support from critically ill persons, as we recognize that even those who suffer the most severe physical and mental disabilities bear the Divine Image. (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, 3/21/05)

· "Death from dehydration and starvation is a brutal and gruesome form of death. The tongue and lips crack and bleed. The eyes recede into their orbits. The skin becomes so sensitive it peels off upon firm contact. The lining of the nose can crack and bleed. Dried brain cells can cause convulsions. There is nothing necessarily dignified about dying from the slow and torturous process of being starved to death." (Family Research Council, March 22, 2005)

What College Freshmen Don't Know: The 2006 Version

Beloit College has released its latest “Mindset List,” to help academics understand what freshmen know — and what they don’t have a clue about. Reading through the list is a big help (though a bit daunting) for old geezers like me but, whatever your age, I think you'll find it very interesting.

A few teasers from the list?

1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
24. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.
30. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing. religious organizations in the U.S.
37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
55. They have always had access to their own credit cards.
63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.

"Why Radical Muslims Hate You"

Rusty Wright has published an excellent essay on the Probe Mnistries web site. It is one to print off and take a few minutes to carefully read.

Is This Court Ruling a Bad Omen for the IRS?

...Tax protesters have long argued that the 16th Amendment did not grant the federal government the power to tax every single receipt that it deems to be income. Yet in practice, that is what the Internal Revenue Service does.

The problem is that the very concept of income itself has never been defined in the tax law. It is pretty much whatever the IRS says it is...

But is it possible that this unjust system could be changed?

Bruce Bartlett examines a federal appeals court decision that could just shake things up for the IRS and its seemingly endless power grabs.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Law Prof Rick Duncan Takes On the Morning After Pill on National Public Radio

This afternoon an e-mail came in from Rick Duncan, one of our pro-life heroes who is also a good friend. Rick is an ace law professor at the University of Nebraska Law School and, by the way, was the fellow responsible for getting me into the blogosphere.

Denny, I was on NPR today (with Sen. Patty Murray) talking about "Plan B" the morning after pill. Your blog helped me prepare....

The NPR program Rick refers to here is Talk of the Town and in his arguments against the Morning After Pill, Rick must take on not only Patty Murphy but also the NPR representatives on the program. Murphy, a Democrat from the state of Washington, is one of two Senators who strong-armed this FDA decision. The other was Hillary Clinton.

But though the deck was stacked in favor of the Morning After Pill, Rick does a terrific job in defining when life begins and in presenting both the unreported dangers of the drug and the political implications of the FDA being coerced by left-wing politicians.

Excellent job, Rick. And thanks too for the encouraging e-mail.

Federal Appeals Court Allows Oklahoma Parental Notification Law

From the AP -- A federal appeals court on Friday refused to delay a new Oklahoma law requiring that parents be notified at least 48 hours in advance before a minor can receive an abortion.

Nova Health Systems, the parent group of Tulsa’s Reproductive Services clinic, had sought an injunction preventing enforcement of the law while Nova pursued a legal challenge.

A three-judge panel of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request, saying Nova hadn’t shown it was likely to win the lawsuit.

Nova had filed a lawsuit in Tulsa, Okla., federal court challenging the law minutes after Gov. Brad Henry signed it on May 20. Nova argued the law was faulty because it did not establish procedures and deadlines for state courts to rule on minors’ attempts to bypass the parental-notification requirement...

...The appeals panel said the Oklahoma law’s requirement for quick judicial review of a minor’s request to bypass the law ‘‘likely complies with the Supreme Court’s mandate for ’sufficient expedition.’ ’’ Teresa Collett, who represented the state in arguments before the appeals court, said the Oklahoma law’s bypass provision was modeled after one in Minnesota that the U.S. Supreme Court has approved.

Behind the Scenes with a Leftist Ideologue (Who Just Happens to Be a Federal Judge)

You've, of course, read the headlines about District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's decision to strike down our national security monitoring practices. But did the MSM stories underneath those headlines tell you all of the story? You know they didn't.

However, Bob Novak in this Town Hall column does give you a few...and they're anything but trivial. For instance, don't you think the media should have mentioned that Taylor is one of the most activist liberal judges in the nation, one with a reputation for shoddy thinking but coercive designs? Or what about the fact that her former husband (whose congressional office she ran until 1971) ended up in prison for taking kickbacks?

And don't you think one of the network news anchors might have mentioned (after the conservative blog, Judicial Watch, first uncovered the fact) that Judge Taylor was responsible for contributions to an organization that was a plaintiff in the case she decided? Good grief!

You know, Jimmy Carter is blamed for a whole lot of our nation's ills...and rightfully so. But, amid that long list, you should certainly make room for his decision to appoint Anna Diggs Taylor to the bench. It certainly belongs.

And do read Bob Novak's column. It is an exasperating but very revealing look at the modern day Democrat Party -- and it's primary ally, the compliant liberal press.

Embryonic Stem Cell Company Makes Millions After Hyped-Up Claims

Ain't America grand?

You create a press release making extravagant claims about your company's service. Those claims aren't really true. In fact, your own report (if people bothered to actually read it) shows the flaws in your story. Nevertheless, the investors line up around the block to buy your bogus baloney. And you make millions.

This is better than those real estate schemes touted on late night TV.

Here's the details from LifeNews of this tragi-comic affair.

Post 9/11 Religious Faith Same As Before

Remember the days following the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks? Remember how those days were marked by prayers, expressions of religious faith, a return to church, and promises to increase the priorty of spiritual values? Well, I'm afraid that the relevant word here is "days" because long before months or even weeks could come round, America's "foxhole faith" had evaporated.

Now, as we near the 5th anniversary of those events, The Barna Group has published a new survey that proves this sad point. The study dealt with information gleaned from nine national surveys and involving more than 8,600 adults. The interviews were taken both before the attacks and at regular intervals since then.

The study shows that despite an intense surge in religious activity and expression in the weeks immediately following 9/11 the faith of Americans is virtually indistinguishable today compared to pre-attack conditions. Barna’s tracking surveys looked at 19 dimensions of spirituality and beliefs. Remarkably, none of those 19 indicators are statistically different from the summer before the attacks!

Here's the rest of the story from The Barna Group.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

ACT Embryonic Stem Cell Research: "Breakthrough" or "Break Up"?

As mentioned in an earlier post here, the highly-publicized claim earlier this week by Advanced Cell Technology that they had found a new method of obtaining embryonic stem cells for research without destroying any human embryos didn't seem reasonable to many pro-life scientists. Well, as more information comes in about ACT and their experiments, the initial skepticism seems very well founded. For instance, within the finer print of the research paper is the revelation that all 16 of the human embryos Advanced Cell Technology "utilized" did, in fact, die.

Some breakthrough.

Here is Steve Ertelt's story on the matter (with comments from Wesley J. Smith) over at LifeNews.

"When God Is Ready For Her, God Will Take Her, Not Anyone Else"

From Carrollton, Texas comes yet another story of how overly eager are the euthanasia advocates within the hospital and nursing care systems. It is therefore yet another frightening example of why a "firebreak" law is needed like the Humane Care Amendment that will be on the Nebraska ballot this November. Take a look...the report below is an excerpt from the coverage given the case by the Dallas/Ft.Worth NBC station.

A North Texas woman is waging a battle for her mother's life and she said the outcome could affect all Texans as a medical investigation uncovers a little-known law that could take away a patient's right to live.

"She is more than my mom. She is my best friend," daughter Lacresia Webster said.

Lacresia Webster's mother, Ruthie Webster, is in a coma at Regency Hospital in Carrollton.

"She walked into the dialysis center and she rolled out on a stretcher and her heart just stopped," Webster said.
Four months later, Ruthie Webster's family is battling doctors and a little-known Texas law from pulling the plug. "I find it hard to believe this is a law, because you're basically saying if this person is a burden to someone, let's just kill them, and that's unacceptable," Lacresia Webster said.

But that is what a 1999 state statute allows. A doctor and a hospital ethics committee can overrule living wills and the wishes of family members.

In a letter to the Websters, the hospital said dialysis treatments should be stopped because doctors have seen no positive change in Ruthie Webster's condition and believe the condition is futile.
Family members said that goes against their mother's wishes. "She told her children in no uncertain terms, 'Do everything you can if something like this happens,'" lawyer Allen Reaves said...

Again, the rest of the story, including a video report, is right here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Education Not Among the NEA's Priorities -- But Homosexuality Is

Here's some "Back to School" reading for you. It is a Town Hall column from Alan Sears, the former federal prosecutor who also worked in the departments of Justice and Interior during the Reagan Administration. The column deals with the National Educational Association's ongoing entrapment by the Left's pet projects (i.e. homosexual marriage), leaving it weak and uncaring regarding America's crumbling school systems.

Sears, by the way, is now the president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund.

And You Thought Slavery Was A Thing of the Past?

It will take some time to read through the various articles at this special BBC site but I urge you to bookmark it and then, every few days, read through one or two of the columns on 21st Century slavery. It is certainly heartbreaking reading but these evils must be honestly faced -- and then humbly prayed about and bravely fought.

Wal-Mart Joins the Homosexual Lobby

The Family Research Council is reporting that Wal-Mart has recently entered into a new relationship with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. As if Wal-Mart wasn't having enough problems with its image nowadays, the huge chain is now further endangering its reputation with the regular Americans who buy their wares.

The FRC explains that Wal-Mart "has never discriminated against homosexuals who want to purchase their products at low prices. Nor has it discriminated in hiring against homosexuals. But that is not enough. The activists demand that Wal-Mart grovel. They demand that Wal-Mart take sides in the great cultural clash over marriage. This is an affront to the millions of traditional families that patronize Wal-Mart. I wouldn't be surprised if this causes a rollback in Wal-Mart's customer base."

Indeed, the FRC is asking Christians to express their displeasure to Wal-Mart officials by making a copy of this nifty flyer and calmly dropping it off at the Customer Service Desk at your nearest Wal-Mart. It's a great idea. I would also encourage you to spread the word by making other copies of the flyer to pass around. Why not ask your pastor if you can post one at your church too?

Attempting the End Run Around the Abortion Clinic

The disinformation campaign for the Morning After Pill is in full swing with virtually no one in the MSM admitting the scientific facts about the drug's abortifacient properties and it's severe dangers to women. What else is new? Therefore, like with so many other issues, the light must be shown from the alternative media...and then, using that information, from you and I.

Here are a couple of the best articles...

This one by Susan Wills over at NRO was written a couple of weeks ago (before the FDA's bonehead decision to allow over-the-counter sales of the drug) but her analysis of the issue remains in force. Below is her introduction with the rest of her column detailing the facts behind these three assertions.

...Here’s what science tells us:

First, studies — many conducted by proponents of emergency contraception (EC) — show that widespread access to EC does not reduce rates of unintended pregnancy or abortion.

Second, repeated use of Plan B is not as safe as advertised.

Third, Plan B has at least four different modes of action, two of which are post-fertilization effects (acting on the newly created embryo). Depending on when in a woman’s fertility cycle sexual activity occurs and Plan B is taken, ECs can end the life of a developing human being...

Over here is a position paper (of sorts) developed by CareNet to help their pregnancy center counselors answer questions about the Morning After Pill. It is a very helpful article as is this response to the FDA's actions by the Christian Medical Association.

And finally, let me drop in this simple but penetrating observation about the MAP from pro-life heroine Dawn Eden over at her blog, the Dawn Patrol...

A table on Planned Parenthood's own Web site shows that it takes as many as 40 ordinary oral contraceptive pills — all of which require a prescription — to equal the hormones in Plan B, which is now available to women as young as 18 without a prescription.

Some "victory for women's health."

So, riddle me this: Why do oral contraceptives still require a prescription, seeing as they're so safe that you can take 40 times the prescribed amount anytime you want?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Top Ten Best (and Worst) TV Advertisers

The Parents Television Council has just announced its lists for the "2006 Ten Best (and Ten Worst) Advertisers" according to the frequency of the respective company's sponsorship of "wholesome, family-oriented television shows" and, vice-versa, of those TV programs concentrating on sleazier themes and language.

A very brief story about the lists can be found at the Parents Television Council site but over here at the Baptist Press News, there's a fuller report. And the lists themselves? They're re-printed below.

The Ten Best Advertisers:

1. Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.

2. The Campbell Soup Company

3. The Walt Disney Company

4. Ford Motor Company

5. Cingular Wireless

6. Altria Group
[Parent company of Kraft Foods, Post Cereals, Jell-O desserts, Maxwell House coffees, Oscar Mayer foods, Miracle Whip, DiGiorno, Stove Top Stuffing, Crystal Light drink mixes, Kool-Aid, Cool Whip, Minute Rice, Shake ‘n Bake, Country Time drink mixes, Altoids]

7. DreamWorks

8. Schering-Plough Corp.
[Products include: Claritin, Dr. Scholls, Nasonex]

9. Darden Restaurants, Inc.
[Parent company of Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones BBQ]

10. Sears Holdings Corp.

The Ten Worst Advertisers:

1. General Motors Corp.

2. Toyota Motor Corp.

3. Volkswagen

4. DaimlerChrysler

5. Target Corp.

6. GlaxoSmithKline
[Products include: Zyban, Valtrex, Flonase, Imitrex]

7. Nissan Motors

8. American Express Inc.

9. Apple Computers Inc.

10. Circuit City Stores

The Faults of Freakanomics: Legal Abortion INCREASES Crime Rates

Generations for Life, the youth outreach of Joe and Ann Scheidler's Pro-Life Action League, is an excitingly effective ministry on many fronts. Among them is an exceptional pro-life blog maintained by Annie Casselman, John Jansen and Eric Scheidler. I've cited their blog before but, just in case you've missed it, I encourage you to give 'em a visit.

And, as an extra incentive to do so, you'll find today an interesting item there about a former University of Chicago economist taking issue with last year's book Freakanomics and its wacky (but widely reported) contention that legal abortion greatly reduced the crime rate. Check it out.

A Breakthrough in the Embryonic Stem Cell Controversy?

All over the web in the wee hours of this morning (as it will be later today in the MSM newspapers and TV outlets) is the news of a Nature article signaling the end of the embryonic stem cell controversy. Here's just one example.

But it might take a little time to sort through what is science, what is hype and what is the media's limited understanding in this matter. For instance, this story (via the L.A. Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer) suggests that the questions and the connected moral controversies are far from over even if all the claims of the Massachusetts scientists prove accurate.

Pro-life bioethicist Wesley Smith, over at his blog Secondhand Smoke, agrees.

Hillary on Time -- Again!

Hillary Rodham Clinton is featured in a flattering black-and-white photo on the cover of Time magazine this week - the 10th cover story for Hillary Clinton since she appeared on the national scene hitched to Bill Clinton's wagon in 1992. That's got to be a record of sorts...

Time treats Hillary Clinton like she was America's Princess Diana, someone we're all supposed to root for because she never got that storybook marriage with the Prince of Arkansas. There'a big problem with the metaphor, however. For all her hatred of land mines, Lady Di never aspired - craved? -- to rule England with an iron fist.

Hillary's long-held desire for the presidency, visible all the way back in the "two-for-one special" co-president talk of 1992, is never portrayed by Time as unseemly ambition. Her ambition is natural. She's a Clinton...

The above are just a couple of excerpts from L. Brent Bozell's penetrating column. You can read the rest of it (and it's a good one) on this page of the Media Research Center website.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Three Reasons the "Morning After Pill" Is a Bad Idea

The Family Policy Network has produced an excellent "policy paper" on the Morning After Pill which explains the 3 key reasons the drug's distribution should be opposed. You'll find that article here.

Do the Math: Birth Rates Benefit Conservative Movement

Republicans and conservatives can expect to fare better than Democrats and liberals long-term, according to a Syracuse University professor. Arthur Brooks, who teaches at the college's Maxwell School of Public Affairs, says the reason is simply arithmetic showing the conservatives will have significantly more babies.

The phenomenon could have a significant impact on the abortion debate and on election battles across the country.

Brooks says the political climate will change significantly in the next 15-20 years because conservatives, who are typically more pro-life, are having more children than liberals, who mostly back abortion.

"Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result," Brooks writes in an op-ed in the Wall St. Journal on Tuesday.

Brooks points to the 2004 General Social Survey showing that, on average, every group of 100 liberals has approximately 147 children while a typical group of 100 conservatives has 208 kids.
Brooks calls that a "fertility gap" and says the difference is about 41 percent...

Read the rest of this LifeNews story here.

Where To Go for News of Religious Persecution

Police in Belarus disrupt, harass and eventually arrest Christians enjoying a camp meeting...In Uzebekistan, new penalties including jail time are pronounced for talking about one's faith...Chinese officials continue their campaign of severe persecution of unlicensed churches...A Christian orphanage in Sri Lanka is threatened...

The sad list of crimes against the freedoms of religion, assembly, speech and conscience (and the above are just a few of those being reported in the last few days) just keep multiplying in our world.

But how does one best stay abreast of at least some of these important injustices? How can believers find relevant information to fuel their prayers and their advocacy efforts?

There are several excellent organizations and news services whose central concern is the persecuted Church. The ones I list below are those I most regularly consult:

Forum 18

Christian Freedom International

Christian Monitor

Christian Solidarity

International Christian Concern

Voice of the Martyrs

May God grant each of these His abundant blessings. May He use them to help win freedom and justice for those now under fire from intolerant governments and groups. And may He increase their effectiveness in mobilizing believers around the world (like you and I) to pray and act more diligently in behalf of the persecuted.

Traipsing Into Evolution

Here's a program note you may be interested in -- this Saturday evening, August 26th, from 7 to 9 Eastern Standard Time, C-Span's Book TV will air a discussion of Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision. This book covers the court case which challenged the Dover, Pennsylvania school board's decision to make students aware of the theory of intelligent design. The judge in the case ruled that the board's policy violated the Constitution because intelligent design amounts to little more than a religious theory.

In the program, two of the the book's four authors (John West and Casey Luskin) respond to Judge John Jones's obscurantist decision. Dr. John G. West is the chairman of the political science department at Seattle Pacific University and Casey Luskin is an attorney and program officer for public policy and legal affairs at the Discovery Institute. They contend that the theory of intelligent design is based on science not religion, and that proponents of intelligent design want to challenge the teaching of evolution on scientific grounds not religious ones.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Are You Ready for Some Football? Read These Stories and You May Not Be!

With football season nearing its first official kickoffs, it is an appropriate time to consider how even this entertaining sport has become tainted with our culture's deplorable decadence.

Here are two stories which, if the MSM were truly concerned about fairness, we would be reading an awful lot about. But, as things are, we must look to more principled "watchmen on the walls." In these two cases, that means going to the lovely and irrepressible Debbie Schlussel.

The first story lets the reader know that "bad boy" ballplayers like Keyshawn Johnson andTerrell Owens are pikers compared to others who have (literally) gotten away with murder.

And the second is Debbie's keen examination of Bryant Gumbel's latest incident of reverse-racism (which, of course, is just plain racism anyhow).

Has the Media No Shame? BBC Photographer Puts Child in Harm's Way for a More Dramatic Shot

The bias against Israel and in favor of Hezbollah terrorists as reflected by many MSM photographers (to the point of staging and even "doctoring" photos) continues apace. Note the picture on the right with the little boy standing beside an unexploded bomb...a position that at least the poor kid considered dangerous but which he was forced into by photographers wanting a dramatic shot!

Read the rest of this story at the NewsBusters blog.

You Can't Hide "Big Ears" -- Government Earmark Spending Featured at New Site

Earlier this month I posted links to news stories (along with some of my own comments) pertaining to Senator Dr. Tom Coburn's proposed "sunshine" bill; more specifically, S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. You can refresh your memory of that entry by re-reading it here.

Well, now along comes a terrific new service inspired by the organizations, Sunlight Foundation, and Citizens Against Government Waste and implemented by the Examiner news chain that publishes at least some of those government spending projects state by state. The database used relates to earmarks in the Labor-HHS appropriations. That's right - you can go see the projects and the money spent on them yourself and then, I hope, use that knowledge to persuade your Congressional delegation to start turning the taps off. Here's the site.

Already groups like The Heritage Foundation, National Taxpayers Union and Club for Growth blog are linking to this database, one which has been obtained from a congressional source and has been checked and double-checked. I urge you to check it out, even bookmark it but, by all means, use it to help bring government spending under control.

(For the heads-up to this site, I thank Kathryn over at the Suitable for Mixed Company Annex who passed along the story from Betsy's Page.)

Western Civilization Nearing the Precipice

This column by Thomas Sowell is not a comforting read but it is certainly a very important one. He writes with a dire warning to the West about the unprecedented threat to Western societies posed by the envious, hateful fanatics of Hezbollah, North Korea, Hamas, the government of Iran, and others.

It is a warning that should shake our political representatives to bold and immediate action against these vengeful enemies. It should also shake the rest of us to fervent prayers, to preparations for the difficult struggle ahead, and to a more profound resolve to put our hopes for peace and security in a place beyond this poor planet.

Scary Developments from the United Nations Disabilities Convention

From the World Congress of Families comes this disturbing update...

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities raises grave concerns, according to Allan Carlson, organizer of the World Congress of Families and president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.
“Ironically, what is being billed as a treaty to protect disability rights may actually be used to deny those rights, including the most fundamental human right -- the right to life,” Carlson charged.

The Convention, which opened in New York last Monday (August 14) and runs until August 25, is drafting this human rights treaty, which could force governments to change their domestic laws. Formally representing The Howard Center at this UN Session is Lauren Vander Heyden.

Carlson observed: “The treaty’s danger lies in its ambiguous language. For instance, the International Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N. in 1948, speaks of the ‘worth’ as well as the ‘dignity’ of the individual. By contrast, the Disability Treaty speaks only of their ‘dignity,’ but not their ‘worth.’ Since euthanasia advocates use the expression ‘death with dignity,’ there’s a reasonable fear that a convention intended to secure their rights actually could lead to the killing of the disabled.”
“With active euthanasia sanctioned in a number of countries, including the Netherlands, this concern is far from hypothetical,” Carlson cautioned.

Qatar introduced language that would protect the disabled from denial of life-sustaining food and water, as well as essential medical care. But that language has yet to be included in the draft document.

The draft also recognizes a right of persons with disabilities to “reproductive health services,” without defining the term. Said Carlson: “Proponents of abortion use the term to mean unhindered access to abortion. If that’s what it means here, as it well may, the disabled – whose own existence is threatened – are being given the right to end the lives of others.”

Nicaragua has led a group of 23 nations (including the US) that have objected to including “sexual and reproductive health services” in the document. If the draft isn’t changed, it would be the first time an international treaty has recognized such a right.

Finally, the draft document says those with disabilities have an unqualified right to “experience sexuality” and “have intimate sexual relations.”
“What does this mean?” Carlson asked. “In marriage or outside of marriage? Is there any age limitation? Does this establish a right to homosexual as well as heterosexual relations? For families, these undefined terms could be ticking time bombs.”

The World Congress of Families urges delegates to the UN Convention on Disabilities to address these matters in a way that truly protects the rights of the disabled and other human beings. If not, the treaty must be rejected.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Birth Control Pill -- Does It Really Cause Abortions?

One of the most important alarms that Vital Signs Ministries has sounded over the years is the news that birth-control pills do, in fact, have abortifacient properties. The science is quite clear on the subject. And, of course then, the stakes in our efforts to let the public know the lethal dangers involved with BCPs couldn't be higher.

The first official brochure of the Omaha Christian Action Council (our former name) dealt with this specific threat. It was first printed in the mid-1980's and it remains a valuable resource today. It is brief. It is direct. is right here.

Then in the 1990's, we made an important addition to the available literature on the subject by printing an interview I conducted with Dr. Thomas Hilgers and Larry Frieders. It was entitled, The New Abortionists" and you can also find that over at the Vital Signs Ministries web site on this page.

We have, from our very beginning in 1982, taken opposition to the so-called birth control pill as a very important responsibility. After all, our mission includes promoting the protection of all preborn children, no matter if the danger comes from curettes, chemicals, or anything else. So, we have written about the issue regularly; it has been explained from the pulpits at my speaking engagements; it was frequently presented on the "Vital Signs" radio programs; and we have held two specific "Frontier Issues" conferences covering the matter.

Also, we enthusiastically distribute free copies of what is the most thorough piece on the subject, Randy Alcorn's very impressive work, Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?

Of course, the abortifacient properties of the birth-control pill have been the topic of several other excellent articles too and we want to continue to bring those to your attention. Therefore, I'm pleased to recommend this well-researched, authoritative but very sensitive article written by Dr. William F. Colliton, Jr. (M.D., FACOG), a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University Medical Center. The article is posted on the web site of the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Please check it out.

Where Is the "Political Home" for the Christian?

What is the "values-oriented voter" to do? One political party scorns and slaps him outright while the other speaks to him kindly but never takes his views seriously.

Ken Connor explores this question in this fine column over at the Christian Post.

Corporate Dollars Funding the Left, Not the Right

A report issued recently by the Capital Research Center in Washington punctures illusions that tend to associate big corporations with right-wing or conservative causes. The report depicts a reality that is exactly the opposite.

CRC researchers examined contributions made in 2004 by the foundations of the nation's top 100 corporations to nonprofit organizations. The result: corporate contributions to left-leaning groups totaled $59 million and to right-leaning organizations $4 million.

That's about 14.5 corporate dollars going to the left for each dollar going to the right.

Read the rest of Star Parker's article here.

What Makes a Terrorist?

Writing in City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple has presented a detailed and very illuminating critique of John Updike's novel, Terrorist. It is a most worthwhile essay.

I've also posted a brief commentary on Dalrymple's article over on The Book Den.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Eagerness of Euthanasia

Physician-assisted suicide.

"Checkbook euthanasia."

"Cost containment" that becomes, in fact, "care containment."

These are just a few of the phrases relevant to the unraveling of our culture's historic respect for the sanctity of life. There are many others used -- "futile care"... "death with dignity"... "prolonging the dying process"... "quality of life"... and so on. Such phrases have helped the euthanasia lobby win great ground in their battle against those Judeo-Christian virtues that have protected life even in its weakest, most vulnerable conditions.

But now, armed with a handful of these innocent-sounding phrases and their air of authority, the powers that be in the medical professions are moving even farther, suggesting to troubled families who are dealing with a very ill loved one that oxygen, food, water and antibiotics are somehow invasive enemies which must be eliminated.

Instead of protecting life, the system is being manipulated to insuring that sick people do not, well...bother us very much.

This is why I support the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment, the explanations of which I've been posting here at the Vital Signs Blog. Those installments published (so far, there's a couple more coming) can be found by clicking on these links: one, two, three and four.

To illustrate these issues with a dramatic personal example, I suggest you read the experience of Pamela Winnick as she described it in this Wall Street Journal article.

The Dream of an Islamic "Theocracy" Comes Ever Closer to Reality

Will the West wake up in time?

Read Oliver North's compelling Town Hall column. You may decide it is important and eloquent enough to forward it to friends, family and your Congressional delegation. I have.

Babies "Made to Order"

The world's first human embryo bank has been launched offering 'bespoke babies' for infertile couples.

For around £5,000 couples can buy ready-made embryos matched to their specific requirements - even down to choosing what eye and hair colour they would like their child to have.

In each case the embryos are made from eggs and sperm from two donors who have never even met. The moment of conception occurs in the laboratory and is determined by the genetic combination the clinic thinks will best meet the needs of the paying couples on its books...

Ethical campaigners last night condemned the move as the "absolute commercialisation of human life." They said it was heart-breaking that babies are now being treated as the equivalent of a supermarket "special offer".

Read the rest of this Daily Mail (U.K.) story here.

The Developing Threat of Russia

The Russian bear may go to his cave, but he does not hibernate. He remains very much awake and continues his course of malevolent mischief.

Here are just a couple of "incidental" items to remind you that our former Cold War enemy remains very hot when it comes to aggressive actions against the West.

Item 1) The killing of a Japanese fisherman and the confiscation of a Japanese boat and its crew by Russian border guards.

Mitsuhiro Morita, 25, from the far-northern town of Nemuro, was shot through the head as he was hunting for crabs in the Habomai islets, which are claimed by Japan but occupied by Russia. The killing reflects the arrogant (and now deadly) behavior of Russia towards their disputed claims over the Kurile Islands and the waters around them. Even if the claims were valid, why was lethal force used against the fishermen who had strayed into the area?

The Russians, in characteristic fashion, are denying any wrongdoing and, in fact, have used very harsh language in blaming the Japanese government. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on August 16 (the very day the killing occurred, thus before a thorough investigation had taken place) that the Japanese authorities bear responsibility. "It is clear that responsibility for this incident rests fully and completely with those who were directly guilty, and also with those representatives of the Japanese authorities who connive in poaching by Japanese fishermen in Russian territorial waters."

Perhaps related to the Russian belligerence is that they were to begin "naval exercises" in the waters just off the Kamchatka Peninsula on the following day, an affair involving 20 Russian vessels. Did the spirit of war games boil over prematurely...and criminally, resulting in an innocent fisherman’s death? Whatever the motive, the haughty way the Russians have reacted is very unsettling. (Here are a couple of news stories dealing with the problem: a story from the Times (U.K.) and an account from Radio Free Europe.)

Item 2) Russia's ongoing service as "weaponer" to terrorists.

Not only must the West face the fact that Russia remains "bad-tempered" and presumptive. It must also deal with Russia's penchant for arming the enemies of civilization. This is evidenced in the Russian weapon caches found in Iraq, the known contracts that have sent Russian arms to Iran and Syria, and now (as this AP story relates) in the missiles being used by Islamofascists of Hezbollah against Israel.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Liberal Clergy Throw a Pity Party

In Rapid City, South Dakota, a few liberal church leaders got together for a little pity party. Their whine? People expect them to take some kind of stand on moral issues like abortion and homosexuality. Or, to be more honest, people expect them to take stands that are closer to what the Bible obviously teaches rather than the whimpering, poorly argued liberal positions they've already taken.

Rev. Bruce Herrboldt, pastor of South Park United Church of Christ in Rapid City, claims "the religious 'middle ground' is increasingly marginalized and silenced by the polarizing effects of issues like abortion and same-sex marriage in the Christian community."

"That's where my anger starts growing," said Herrboldt. "I'm required more and more often to be 'either/or' on issues. For most of us, the genius of our democracy is getting lost. The grand middle that allows for there to be extreme views is getting smaller. It's like sitting on a knife edge these days."

Poor thing.

The fact, of course, is that there is no "middle ground" when it comes to Holy Scripture. You either believe it and obey or you reject it and go your own way. In such areas as abortion and homosexuality, the lack of a "middle ground" is particularly obvious. You can't divide a preborn baby and please all sides. Nor can you compromise on homosexual activity - one either condones it or criticizes it. Rev. Herrboldt's wimpy protest of "either/or" choices is not remotely justified. Heck; it's not even grown up.

But Rev. Herrboldt's whining aside, his actions prove he doesn't want compromise anyhow. Nor does he even want honest dialogue. Note, for instance, that he serves in a denomination that has staked out very clear positions on legalized abortion: they're definitely and outspokenly for it. And the seminar he organized here was so slanted, it had no hope of ever standing up straight.

The speakers were all pro-abortion (provided by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and from the Network for Spiritual Progressives, neither group of which is anything close to a "middle ground" on these issues) and steps were taken to keep opposing views from being presented even by attendees. As the news story presents it..."The Rev. Marc Stewart, a Rapid City member of Pastors for Moral Choices, said invitations to the seminar were targeted to area churches where the issue of abortion is unsettled, open or divisive...The seminar was not open to the public or to the media."

So, no; I'm afraid that Rev. Herrboldt's little "in-house party" was not about a sincere search for God's views on abortion and other divisive issues nor was it even about finding ways in which to profitably discuss these matters with opponents. It was simply the same kind of whining session that liberal clergy are becoming known for. For once they've jettisoned the revelation of Christianity...once they've established a pattern of surrender to a decadent culture rather than submission to a holy, personal God, they've given up any chance of moral authority.

And so the liberal churches are, to use Rev, Herrboldt's word, "marginalized" as their congregations dwindle and their influence in the culture disintegrates.

After all, people look to religion for answers to life's problems. They desire strength, moral authority and solid truth. What they're not looking for is the illogical, cowardly ways of the ethereal "middle ground."

Conservative Primary Victories Overlooked by Media

One of the topics discussed in this week's Novak-Evans Political Report is the media's under-reporting of the dramatic gains made by the Right in last week's primary elections. Here's a lengthy (but well worth the time) sample:

...After last Tuesday's primaries, the media paid much attention to the defeat of incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) by liberal, anti-war insurgent Ned Lamont (D). Yet relatively little attention was paid to the defeat of moderate freshman Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.) by conservative former State Rep. Tim Walberg (R).

President Bush's closest political lieutenants were not happy about Schwarz's loss. Bush backed him and contributed to his re-election effort with automated phone calls, even though Schwarz had opposed the President on key issues such as stem-cell research, the environment and population control. In the end, though, Schwarz was probably too liberal for the district. He won in 2004 over a crowded field full of conservatives, and it made him a target for the Club for Growth.

Walberg's victory for a House nomination, of course, should carry less weight than a Senate seat. But it is also part of a much larger trend that promises to make the GOP caucus in the House more conservative after the 2006 election, whether or not they hold on to their majority. Even before Schwarz's downfall, several primaries had shaken out in a way that ensures that sitting and exiting congressmen will be replaced by more conservative lawmakers.

The trend began with primary victories by conservatives in several key open-seat races.

* State Sen. Jim Jordan (R) is now a lock to replace Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio).

* State Sen. Adrian Smith (R) will likely replace Rep. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.).

* State Rep. Bill Sali (R) will probably replace Rep. Butch Otter (R-Idaho).

* State Sen. Doug Lamborn (R) will replace Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.), whose falling out with House GOP leadership has reduced his profile this year.

* Conservative State Rep. David Davis (R) will easily win in November and replace the quiet Rep. Bill Jenkins (R-Tenn.).

The same is true of Walberg. Despite worries privately expressed by Bush advisors about keeping the seat, Walberg will have an easy time winning in November over organic farmer Sharon Marie Renier (D), whose campaign reports a current negative cash balance of $1,209.

In each case, a staunch conservative bomb-thrower defeated moderate primary opponents to win the nomination. Each of the above has at least a very strong chance replace an exiting incumbent who is less outspoken and at least a bit less conservative -- in some cases much less conservative.

In other cases, the general election outcome is far less certain, but the nominees are still more conservative and more outspoken than the members they hope to replace.

State Sen. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of the fiercest conservative advocates in her state's legislature, won her party's endorsement to replace the less outspoken Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.).

State Sen. Ray Meier (R-N.Y.) faces a tough race, but he is at least slightly favored to replace liberal Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.).

Only in two cases has a more moderate candidate replaced a more conservative member. One such winner is Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), who won a special election to succeed disgraced Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) after the latter's conviction on bribery charges. The other came in Tuesday night's Nevada primary, won (as we predicted) by Dean Heller (R).

Moreover, some of the House's few moderate and liberal Republicans figure prominently among those most likely to lose their seats to Democrats. Moderate-liberal Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) is considered to be in grave danger, and moderate Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) in slightly less danger. Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) is facing her toughest race yet. The seat of retiring moderate Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) has a great chance of going Democratic.

One lesson is that Republican voters are disappointed in the failure of Republican leadership in Washington to deliver on key domestic issues important to the right. Conservatives grumble that the administration has used so much political capital on the Iraq War that it has been powerless to advance other priorities -- spending reductions, earmark reform, and social issues such as marriage protection, entitlement reform and tax reduction, to name a few examples. A more conservative Congress will be needed to deliver on ANWR drilling and a host of other issues dear to conservatives.

Also significant is the number of current and former state legislators on the list of conservatives. This is the culmination of a long-term effort to build a more serious farm team of identifiable conservatives on the state level. This has been the baby of several activist groups on the right, including Americans for Tax Reform, whose "no-tax" pledge has become something like a seal of approval. All of the conservative hopefuls listed above are pledge-signers. With the clear identification of a conservative "team," it is easy for a group like the Club for Growth to swoop in and fund a serious, conservative candidate who can actually win.

This is a large phenomenon, so again, the lack of media attention is curious. One explanation recently offered is the tendency of the major news organs to engage in "Democratic strategizing" as they analyze political races. The right or wrong of this is irrelevant to us -- the phenomenon is noteworthy because it is real and it actually could be affecting the political landscape...

If you'd like to get in on the insightful reports provided by Bob Novak and his team, click on this link to find out how.

"Just Making Stuff Up" -- The MSM Serves Hezbollah

In this brief article, Michelle Malkin describes how the MSM's credibility problems go way beyond Reutersgate and the other exposed examples of 'fauxtography." The ambulance story in itself is well worth your time.

And while we're on this subject, Marvin Olasky's most recent column is also an important read. You'll find it right here.

The Spending Addiction of American Politicians

These are tough days for political satirists. Any satire about government boondoggles is soon upstaged by an actual government program that's more inane than anything comedians could invent. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed a compassionate piece of legislation called the Supplemental Terrorist Relief Act. It was to give low-interest loans to small businesses disrupted by the attacks, allowing them to rebuild. The loans were supposed to help hotels, retailers, and small service businesses in lower Manhattan.

But, as usual, the government passed your money out everywhere. Terrorist Relief Act loans went to Dunkin' Donuts shops in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Vermont, and Ohio. The manager of the Essex Junction, Vt., Dunkin' Donuts defended his loan, saying 9/11 affected his business. "Instead of getting probably a large coffee and a couple of doughnuts," Tony Silva said, his customers got "a small coffee and a doughnut..."

John Stossel explores the wild, wacky and wasteful ways of American government spending in this exasperating column.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Embryonic Stem Cell Frauds You Don't Hear About

The cry for more and more embryonic stem cell research goes on -- even amid the inefficiency, the descration of human life, and the clear evidence that adult stem cell research is the path of medical progress.

This illogical demand for embryonic stem cell research (and its funding by governments) also ignores the "stem cell swindle;" that is, the distortion of research findings, the manipulation of data, and the outright lies that are used to project a positive version of ESCR to the public.

And I'm not just talking about Hwang Woo-suk.

Indeed, an issue rarely spoken of in the controversy is what Dr. Stephen Barrett calls "the shady side" of ESCR therapy. Dr. Barrett, an author and consumer advocate who serves (among other things) as the Vice-President of the National Council Against Health Fraud, is himself a proponent of ESCR research. Nevertheless, this article by Barrett is a bold expose' of those companies who are claiming to already have developed therapies deriving from embryonic stem cells.

Among the companies Barrett investigates in his article is Medra, Inc., an outfit which I first discovered in a prominent ad at the top of the web page of Stem Cell Science, a supposedly mainstream and respectable web site which compiles news stories on ESCR. Clicking on the Medra ad brought me to a very slick advertising video used to bolster its Fetal Stem Cell Therapy, "a painless procedure, which takes place in approximately one hour, with no negative side effects" and which yields "remarkable physical and psychological improvements."


Dr. Barrett's research shows a different side of Medra:

...The chief American commercializer of embryonic stem cell therapy is William C. Rader, M.D., a psychiatrist in Malibu, California, who used to run Rader Institute clinics that specialized in treating eating disorders. For $25,000 (wired in advance), Rader will arrange for treatment at his Dominican Republic clinic.

In the past, he has also done business under the names Mediquest Ltd., Czech Foundation, and Dulcinea Institute, Ltd. A message posted to the Yahoo StemCells group indicates that before he opened his own clinic (in 1997 in the Bahamas), Rader escorted patients to the Ukraine clinic...

...Rader also claims that by "strengthening the immune system, fetal cells offer prevention from acquiring multiple diseases, including cancer, where the fetal cells actually form an anti-cancer barrier which becomes another anti-aging factor." [13] In order to substantiate such claims, thousands of people would have to be followed in a controlled trial that lasted many years. Stem cell technology has not existed long enough for any such study to have been done.

Medra, Inc.'s "Factsheet" identifies Rader as medical director and "Prof. Albert Scheller, M.D., Ph.D." as "chief scientific investigator." Searching Medline, I found no publications one by either of them that are relevant to the claims they make for Medra's treatment...

Barrett closes his article (one you should read through in its entirety) with this warning...

Although stem cell therapy has a few practical applications and considerable promise, there is no reason to believe that EmCell, Medra, the Brain Cell Therapeutic Clinic, Vita Nova, or the Beijing Xishan Institute for Neuroregeneration and Functional Recovery are providing it as a legitimate service. Their theories and methods are simplistic; their treatments may have adverse effects; they offer no credible outcome data; and their promises go far beyond what is now possible...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"Web Sites That Changed the World"

In a very interesting article, The Guardian (U.K.) has published an annotated list of the 15 web sites it believes to have most "changed the world." The paragraphs of description are full of provocative information but, knowing that some of you may not bother to go over and read them, I'll go ahead and give up the list itself.

















Private Property Rights Lose to Government Greed: The Aftermath of Kelo

Remember the Kelo v City of New London ruling, the 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision from last year that opened the barn door for government bodies to confiscate private and transfer it to another private party for development? Yes, the proprty must be paid for, but the owner is not allowed to set the price he wants. Is that fair? And what if he just doesn't want to sell -- period?

Tough luck.

But, hey -- wasn't Kelo a hugely unpopular decision? And weren't politicians from both parties quickly promising to eliminate this bold new threat to private proprty rights? So, wouldn't towns and cities behave themselves and forego applying the power that had been handed to them?


Like an episode of Supermarket Sweep, the only thing that mattered for many "town fathers" was how much they could scoop up before the buzzer rang.

`...What happened after Kelo was an explosion at every level,'' said Dana Berliner, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, an Arlington, Virginia, advocacy group that plans to represent Riviera Beach property owners challenging the redevelopment plan. ``In some states there's a sense that at some point the law is going to change. They'd better get as many projects started, property acquired, before that happens...''

...The Institute for Justice says it has identified almost 5,800 instances in which agencies at least threatened to seize properties for transfer to other private parties in the year following the Kelo decision. That's up from an average of about 2,000 annually in the five preceding years, according to the group's figures...

The above paragraphs in itilacs are from an unsettling article written by Greg Stohr for It's an important read and you can check it out right here.

Installment #4: Nebraska Humane Care Amendment

Here's the next in the series I've been printing here at Vital Signs Blog of the FAQ document provided by the organizers of the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment. Parts One, Two and Three can be found simply by clicking on these links. The rest, of course, will be forthcoming in future posts.

So, would the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment prevent so-called “assisted suicide”?

It would prevent involuntary “assisted suicide” by means of dehydration/starvation.

It emphatically does NOT support, but neither does it address, Kevorkian-style poisoning (or death by any other means) with competent consent of a person seeking death.

Would the Humane Care Amendment cause Terri Schiavo-type spectacles in Nebraska?

No, it would prevent them: The Schiavo episode –feuding family members, troubling court rulings, protesters, TV cameras, politicians, Congressional intervention, etc. – came about because Florida law was silent on the basic, minimum standard of providing food and water to those who have left no record of their wishes to the contrary. When the Florida trial judge accepted Michael Schiavo’s allegation about his wife’s unrecorded wishes for her own hydration/nutrition, it triggered a heartbreaking war between Terri’s parents (who believed Terri wanted to live) and her husband (who claimed she wanted to die).

On the one hand, Terri’s parents contended that Michael had abandoned their daughter and was living with another woman, that he had abused and neglected Terri for years, and that he was seeking to inherit a large amount of settlement money established for Terri’s ongoing care and physical therapy.

On the other, Michael as legal guardian convinced the court he knew Terri’s will. To prevent such clashes, the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment establishes ground rules: If you truly want to authorize some business or person to dehydrate/starve you by withdrawing fluids and nourishment under specific medical circumstances, put it in writing. Otherwise, Nebraska’s humane care standard guarantees you and your loved ones the basics of food and water.

Could the disputants in the Terri Schiavo case potentially agree on the components of the Nebraska Humane Care Amendment?

Maybe. Michael Schiavo has called for Americans everywhere to establish health care advance directives so their wishes are fully known, recorded and honored – something the Nebraska HCA provides for. Those who opposed him – ranging from liberals like Ralph Nader, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff, and disability rights activists all the way to conservatives like George and Jeb Bush, pro-lifers, priests, rabbis and ministers -- were appalled at Terri Schiavo’s slow dehydration/starvation death. The Nebraska HCA would preclude such events, except as the express personal authorization of the person most affected is honored by the institution with the duty of care.