Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday's Posts

Another New Medical Treatment Thanks to "Adult" Stem Cells

Father of Scientific Climatology: Global Warming A "Bunch of Hooey"

Muslim Persecution of Other Religions Increasing in Turkey

The Good News from Iraq? It Goes Unreported by an Agenda-Driven MSM

Understanding "McConnell vs Federal Election Commission"

A Most Surprising Development: Kansas Abortionist Charged

Another New Medical Treatment Thanks to "Adult" Stem Cells

The Guardian (U.K.) has a revealing report about yet another dramatic medical breakthrough using so-called "adult" stem cells; that is, human stem cells that are obtained without resorting to killing developing human beings. In this case, the treatment involved is for kids with Type 1 diabetes and the helpful stem cells are acquired from blood saved from their umbilical cords.

Also, for more understanding of what's up with the stem cell controversy, I encourage you to check out this recent (and brief) op-ed piece by Lois Anderson and this web page which more specifically explains cord cell banks.

Father of Scientific Climatology: Global Warming A "Bunch of Hooey"

Reid Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, considers global warming a bunch of hooey.

The UW-Madison professor emeritus, who stands against the scientific consensus on this issue, is referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it.

There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the "Little Ice Age," he said in an interview this week.
"However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said. . . .

Humans are polluting the air and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but the effect is tiny, Bryson said.
"It's like there is an elephant charging in and you worry about the fact that there is a fly sitting on its head. It's just a total misplacement of emphasis," he said. "It really isn't science because there's no really good scientific evidence."

Just because almost all of the scientific community believes in man-made global warming proves absolutely nothing, Bryson said. "Consensus doesn't prove anything, in science or anywhere else, except in democracy, maybe." . . .

So, if global warming isn't such a burning issue, why are thousands of scientists so concerned about it?
"Why are so many thousands not concerned about it?" Bryson shot back. "There is a lot of money to be made in this," he added. "If you want to be an eminent scientist you have to have a lot of grad students and a lot of grants. You can't get grants unless you say, 'Oh global warming, yes, yes, carbon dioxide.'"...

Here's the rest of this enlightening article from the Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin).

Muslim Persecution of Other Religions Increasing in Turkey

Religious minorities face increasing threats of physical violence in Turkey. Indeed, violent assaults against religious minority leaders (including murder) have been increasing dramatically...and with no end in sight.

A highly influential source of the persecution seems to be an over-the-top intolerance of non-Muslim minorities promoted by the Turkish media. And local observers are convinced that unless this incitement is stopped soon, the numbers of murder victims will continue to climb. Politicians have made no serious attempt to tackle this serious threat to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. And the upcoming elections do not present much hope for change.

Here is a discussion of this tragic state of affairs in Turkey, ostensibly an ally of the United States.

U.S. State Department -- when will you begin to effectively require basic standards of freedom and human rights of those countries that take so much of our military and financial aid?

If you'd like to ask that question of our government, please use this contact page (for e-correspondence) or go the old-fashioned route by writing or calling the U.S. State Department at:

2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Please do so today. Use the article I link to for details to put in your letter/call/e-mail, or remind the agency of this Condoleezza Rice quotation from this spring: "We are recommitting ourselves to help new democracies deliver on their people's aspirations for a better life. We are recommitting ourselves to stand with those courageous men and women who struggle for their freedom and their rights. And we are recommitting ourselves to call every government to account that still treats the basic rights of its citizens as options rather than, in President Bush's words, the non-negotiable demands of human dignity."

Or simply use the basic question I ask above and mention a couple of the worst offenders: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan.

Let's do what we can to urge our government to actively, boldly, uncompromisingly work to secure human least before we hand out the goodies.

The Good News from Iraq? It Goes Unreported by an Agenda-Driven MSM

...If things continue to go as they began this week on Operation Arrowhead Ripper, there will be major successes against Al Qaeda and their affiliates in Baqubah and Diyala province. In Al Anbar, the Marines and their Sunni allies will continue the process of building new police stations and bringing security to neighborhoods once dominated by Al Qaeda. And in Maysan province, Iranian-supported Shiite militias will continue to get rolled up by U.S. and British Special Operations units. But little of that -- other than the inevitable casualty figures -- will be worthy of being called "news" by the potentates of the press.

Instead of good news from the war zone -- the masters of our media have decided to feed us a steady diet of bad news from a different battlefield -- Washington. And to do so, they have had to scrape the bottom of every political barrel they can find...

Here's the rest of this important Oliver North column.

Understanding "McConnell vs Federal Election Commission"

Here is a very good, very penetrating analysis of this week's Supreme Court decision scaling back the McCain-Feingold's prohibitions of free speech. It comes, by way of a Newt Gingrich suggestion, from the Political Law Advisory group at McKenna, Long & Aldridge.

A Most Surprising Development: Kansas Abortionist Charged

The crimes of which the Democrat Attorney General is charging George Tiller (shown at right) are only misdemeanors and none, of course, connect to the butchery of abortion itself. And we may well see nothing more than a slap on the wrist from the courts. Nevertheless, given Tiller's national notoriety and the political history involved, this is a surprising (and welcome) development.

There are several reports around the web today but I think these two by LifeNews and Jill Stanek are concise, judicious and therefore quite helpful.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today's Posts

Feminist Follies Come to Wimbledon

Another Sex-Selection Abortionist Arrested in India. It's Not Nearly Enough.

Reflections On Islam by George Jonas

Religious Pretense Among the Democrat Presidential Contenders

The Dems Latest Attacks on Free Speech

Congress Lurches, Stumbles and the Left

Feminist Follies Come to Wimbledon

...We have it on the authority of Hillary Clinton that women playing at the Wimbledon tournament will finally receive their due this year: “Wimbledon agreed to pay their women tennis champions the same amount of prize money as their male champions. It only took 123 years for them to do the right thing,” Mrs. Clinton recently exulted.

Hillary has long been an outspoken advocate of equal pay for equal work. So does this news from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club represent a breakthrough for the cause of female equality?

This year the winner of the men’s and women’s singles competitions will each cart home close to $1.4 million in prize money. But one thing hasn’t changed – the number of sets needed to win. Men will play best of five sets, while women only play best of three.

For years the Women’s Tennis Association has been trying to bring women’s earnings on a par with men’s. But in all that time they never proposed to increase the women’s matches to five sets. That offer would have settled the dispute years ago, and would have saved Maria Sharapova the need to threaten a bra-burning.

The truth is, women’s tennis is beset by a volley of woes that include lack of star power, overcrowded schedules, non-stop injuries, faltering ticket sales, and limp TV advertising...

The rest of this informative, well-argued piece by Carey Roberts is here.

Another Sex-Selection Abortionist Arrested in India. It's Not Nearly Enough.

Even this news report refers to the abortionist as a "quack" but only because he doesn't have a medical license. Truth be told, all abortionists should be considered "quacks" for engaging in such heinous crimes against their patients.

Hippocrates, where are you when we need you?

The news story is an alarming one with gory details about burnt bodies, unearthed skulls and an ultrasound machine used to determine which unborn kids were girls. But the most horrible detail of the story is how rare such arrests are (sex-selection abortions are supposedly illegal in India) despite the terrible fact that an Indo-Canadian study published in the Lancet medical journal last year claimed that 10 million Indian girls may have been aborted over two decades.

There are obviously "quacks" posing as politicians, judges and cops too.

Reflections On Islam by George Jonas

Glenn Penner, the Chief Executive Officer of Voice of the Martyrs and one of the contributors to its superb web site, writes the following about George Jonas' book, Reflections on Islam:

Whether Islam is a religion of peace or if Islam is different from Islamism is really rather irrelevant, as George Jonas has said repeatedly in his essays in the National Post. Essentially all terrorism in the world today is done in the name of Islam by Muslims. To repeatedly moan that such terrorists are not real Muslims is increasingly unconvincing and misleading. It is true that the face of terror and religious violence is not the only face of Islam. But it is one of them. Islam is not a united faith. To change metaphors, Islam is a house with many rooms and a number of them are occupied by those who believe that offensive violence is a legitimate tool in the service of Allah. Even moderates will admit that Islam is going through a difficult transition in recent years; for some, the transition is one that would take it back to its violent past if they are successful.

There are the voices who will sanely speak to this reality? They are, admittedly, few. George Jonas, whom I mentioned earlier, is one of them. Over the weekend, I finished reading his latest book, Reflections on Islam (Key Porter Books, 2007). Jonas is a columnist with the National Post and the CanWest News Service and one of the finest writers in Canada in my opinion. Reflections on Islam is a collection of his essays on Islam written between early 2001 and late 2006. Many of them I had read when they were first published and found them helpful then just as I still do. His arguments and opinions reflect an uncommon common sense that has been almost wholly lacking since 9/11.

George Jonas, by the way, is a Hungarian-born author, journalist, and playwright living in Canada. His books have been bestsellers and his writing for stage and feature film has been equally successful.

Religious Pretense Among the Democrat Presidential Contenders

There's always humor in the essays of Don Feder, but the humor is used in the service of very serious exhortations. His latest is no exception. It is a compelling satire of the Democrats' new interest in religion -- an interest quite pragmatic, laughably shallow, and anything but the old time religion they hope to pry American voters away from.

Below is the opening salvos from Feder's column. I think they'll motivate you to zip on over and read the rest right here.

With the predictability of a John McCain temper tantrum (or a John Edwards $200-haircut), every two year the Democrats announce that they're going to fight like hell for the religious vote - a vow duly reported by the media in the hushed tones of revelation.

Thus, a story on the recent CNN Democratic presidential forum began with the following observation: "After barring their souls in a live television confessional, top Democratic White House hopefuls have put Republicans on notice that religious voters are up for grabs."

At the forum, sponsored by Jim (Hugo-Chavez-Is-My- Shepard) Wallis and his Sojourners collective, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all did passable impressions of Billy Graham. (Al Gore was off worshipping a tree and praying to the Earth Goddess to smite fossil fuels.)

Hillary confessed that but for her faith, she might not have pulled through the dark night of the soul when she learned that her hubby (notorious for his sexual escapades) was doing some Biblical knowing with a White House intern.

"I am my brother's keeper," Obama proclaimed, adding in gender-correct fashion, "I am my sister's keeper." Given enough time, the Illinois Senator, who's nominated himself for sainthood, probably would have gotten around to his aunts and uncles, second-cousins once removed and every Democratic primary voter in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Edwards expressed his absolute conviction that "The hand of God today is in every step of what happens with me and every human being that exists on this planet." God is my hair-stylist? God is my booking agent? Edwards recently received $50,000 for telling a college audience how to fight poverty. A good thing for him that the poor will always be with us...

The Dems Latest Attacks on Free Speech

Less than a month before the Democrats rode their tsunami-like wave into power, the leftwing radio company, Air America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This should tell you something about the market for liberal talk radio. Rather than compete for audience share, liberals have screamed for government enforced equality.

Enter the Fairness Doctrine.

Issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1949 and repealed in 1985, the Fairness Doctrine ordered broadcasters to give equal time to both sides of controversial issue. Rather than risk enforcement actions and wade through bureaucratic red tape, many broadcasters opted to air non-controversial material, which essentially killed healthy debate and discussion. To preempt liberals from resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) has introduced the "Broadcaster Freedom Act." The bill strips the FCC of its authority to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine, effectively codifying the status quo and protecting free speech.

In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville distinguished democracy from socialism very succinctly when he said, "Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it... Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

If the left wants equal time to express its views on the radio or television, they have the liberty to do so by starting their own programs and shows. In fact, in the larger media world including broadcast TV, public broadcasting, and print, the left predominates. The challenge for them is getting people to listen. To seek parity in talk radio by restraining the freedom of others is neither free, nor equal, nor fair.

(An excerpt from Tony Perkin's Washington Update published online by the Family Research Council. Sign up for your own e-mail update of this excellent service right here.)

Congress Lurches, Stumbles and the Left

Comments from Bob Novak's always valuable Evans-Novak Political Report:

When President Bush took office in 2001 after a close election, pundits -- most of them coming from a center-left background -- immediately accused him of going too far to the right when he began enacting his agenda. The same cries were heard when Republicans began control of Congress in 1995. Congress was misreading its mandate, they said, and moving too far to the right.

No one is giving this Congress similar treatment, but they should. This Congress has misread its mandate, and its leaders are moving much too far to the left. Congress' record-low 14 percent approval rating is significant, and much of the disaffection comes from the political center.

After being elected in order to do something about Iraq and to stem corruption, the Democratic Congress has shown itself corrupt like its predecessor, and it has also capitulated to the President on Iraq. The recent earmark saga, in which Democrats attempted to adopt rules even more opaque than the Republicans before them, comes together with the indictment of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) and an endless stream of new accusations against Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) for using his position as an appropriations "cardinal" to build a base of political money and power in Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, Democrats pursue an agenda hostile to business, which is likely to diminish value for nearly 100 million small shareholders, and supportive of much larger government. The hearings on the Securities and Exchange Commission called by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) have as their aim the expansion of shareholder lawsuits against corporate management. This could seriously hurt the tiny portfolio of the average small stock owner saving for retirement. Likewise, plans to raise taxes on hedge fund managers will definitely affect the price of equities, slamming small investors. Democratic plans to raise taxes on private equity will keep small investors out of that market, or else it will slam them with increased costs, which will be passed along.

Plans to punish oil companies and discourage new oil and natural gas drilling will result in higher gas prices that persist for a longer duration. Mandates for a variety of alternative energy sources will result in higher electricity prices. The failed union card-check rules would have been devastating for many businesses. Democrats hope to help union bosses regain influence by cutting the Labor Department funds used to enforce disclosure of how unions use membership dues by 20 percent.

Also on tap are plans that would put 71 percent of all children on government medical care... and a plan to regulate talk radio in order to purge or diminish the influence of conservative hosts.

Republicans should have little difficulty making the argument that this is not what the American people sought to do when they threw them out in 2006. Republicans remain on their heels at the moment, but passage of some serious left-wing legislation may be just the thing to scare voters and breathe some life into GOP 2008 congressional campaigns...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Today's Posts

Why Do We Settle For Inferior Goods?

The Ninnys Are In...Well, the Republican Ones Anyhow

This Just In: Journalists Lean Left

Convicted Murderers Getting Sex-Change Operations: Your Tax Dollars At Work

Why Is Bruning Running Against Hagel?

Why Do We Settle For Inferior Goods?

Not everyone buys into the prevailing entertainment philosophy among American Christians that approves of...say, books, TV shows or feature films only because they are somewhat "better" than other offerings. This argument suggests, for instance, that we applaud Hollywood whenever it makes a movie that is kinda' decent, that doesn't offend as much as the normal stuff the industry produces.

It's a "holiness by comparison" philosophy but one that is terribly flawed at the outset because the standard of comparison is a negative one. In this view, one determines his practical standards not by the timeless teachings of Scripture ("whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute," Philippians 4:8) but rather by the practices of the decadent culture which surrounds him. I watch this TV program (despite its "limited" profanity, immorality and godlessness) and think myself okay in the righteousness department because, after all, I'm not watching the TV programs that are much worse. You know how it works.

But again, it is a holiness philosophy that is quite upside down.

Why settle for the inferior when the excellent remains at hand? Why must we slavishly accept whatever schlock Hollywood gives us when there are options that yet strive for the ideal? Must our passions for novelty and diversion and excitement and escapism always land us in the lap of producers, publishers and network executives that have no honor for traditional values, let alone love for God?

No, we still have choices -- classic works that are full of imagination, adventure, romance, inspiration and humor without being debased by modernity's sins. We do not need to settle for the inferior.

But the first steps toward a biblical reform of our entertainment habits and philosophy involve a rejection by Western Christians of their intellectual laziness and their sad indifference to the Bible's exhortations about holiness. We must submit to Christ's lordship over all of life, including what we wear, how we spend their money, and how we direct their minds. We must get over being patsies for the paltry, not to mention the perverse and instead joyfully pursue the right, the lovely and the honorable.

It is in this light that I appreciated James Dobson's mildly contrarian comments on the new film, Evan Almighty, which he believed important enough to publish on the Focus on the Family website, even though his "Plugged In" reviewers gave the film a hearty endorsement.

The Ninnys Are In...Well, the Republican Ones Anyhow

Jon Sanders announces the Republican nominees for the increasingly infamous Nagin/Nifong Award for Inconceivable Incompetence in the Line of Duty.

And it's no surprise that it's the new immigration bill that earned these folks their shot. Check it out right here.

This Just In: Journalists Lean Left

Bill Dedman, investigative reporter for, published a story today that documents, through Federal Election Commission records, the political contributions of 144 journalists from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign. The facts show: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes while only 17 journalists gave to Republicans; another 2 gave to both parties.

In response to the report, MRC President Brent Bozell issued the following statement:

“This story re-confirms what we’ve been documenting for years—that most of America’s newsrooms are infested with liberals and that this mindset, in countless ways, spills over into the news coverage, producing liberally biased news stories on a variety of issues: Iraq, taxes, immigration, government, culture, the arts. You name it.

“The people controlling the content of the news and feeding it to the public are mostly ardent liberals who are spinning their stories with one hand and writing checks for the DNC and with the other hand. It is a liberal media culture and they cannot be trusted to give Americans a fair presentation of news and the issues...

Here's the rest of this story from Media Research Center.

Convicted Murderers Getting Sex-Change Operations: Your Tax Dollars At Work

...No, this is not the title to a Jerry Springer show episode. It's the basis of federal litigation that has been going on for ten years...[And] Apparently, there is a growing trend of prisoners suing for sex-change operations...

Read the rest of Peter Gentala's post over on Arizona Policy Blog. It has the link to the original CNN story if you're looking for more info.

Why Is Bruning Running Against Hagel?

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning talks with Patrick Ruffini about the decision to run against Senator Chuck Hagel:

...I don't take this lightly. I don't like the idea of a primary fight. But I'm not the one that left the Republican Party. I'm right where I was at the beginning of this thing. Hagel is the one who has turned hard left. And not just on the big issues. He voted with the Democrats on Iraq, which is just very frustrating. He's voting with a mixed coalition that includes the President on immigration, which I think is a very bad bill.

But even though I disagree with the President, I'm not going to call for his impeachment on that. I think it's a bad bill. If I was in the Senate I would go down the street and say "Mr. President, I disagree with this bill, and I can't support it." But I wouldn't demagogue the issue, and it's kind of embarrassing when someone talks of impeachment. And he voted for this silly resolution of no confidence against Attorney General Gonzales.

Hagel is just gone, in terms of everything. You'll find that even on the little votes now, Hagel will stick it to his own party. That kind of disloyalty doesn't go unnoticed. The other Republican Senators are very frustrated with him...

As are many Nebraska voters.

Here is the Patrick Ruffini column exploring this extremely interesting situation. And here is yet more information about the candidacy of Mr. Bruning from his Senate campaign website.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's a Start: SCOTUS Decision Is a Victory for Free Speech

Here's a good review of the Supreme Court's decision jettisoning at least part of that horrible McCain-Feingold law. It is written by Sandy Froman.

I've Got You Under My Skin: A Few Things You Don't Know About The Tattoo Craze

The World Congress of Families passes along a few insightful tidbits about Western culture's new fascination for tattoos. The first two come from a Natasha Singer story in the June 17 New York Times and the third from a 2002 article in Pediatrics Magazine by Sean T. Carroll et al.

1) "A report by the Food and Drug Administration estimated that as many as 45 million Americans have tattoos. The report based the number on the finding by a Harris Interactive Poll in 2003 that 16 percent of all adults and 36 percent of people 25 to 29 had at least one tattoo. The poll also found that 17 percent of tattooed Americans regretted it."

2) "Dr. Tattoff is part of a growing industry catering to people who may not have thought about the implications of 'forever' the first time around.

Removing tattoos is costly, uncomfortable and time-consuming, but the affinity for body art is so strong that some people say they do it to clear space to tattoo all over again.

Many dermatologists specialize in laser tattoo removal, and some laser hair-removal centers are adding services. In California, there are removal centers like Dr. Tattoff, Tat2BeGone and Tattoo MD.

Most of Dr. Tattoff's clients are women ages 25 to 35, said James Morel, the chief executive of the company, which has given more than 13,000 tattoo laser treatments since opening here in 2004. 'Maybe women are getting more tattoos than they used to,' Mr. Morel said, 'or maybe they just have a higher level of tattoo regret than men.'"

3) Teens who have their bodies tattooed or pierced are especially likely to reject those principles of sexual restraint that have traditionally protected marriage and family life. What is more, teens with tattoos and body piercings are often engaged in illicit drug use, frequently manifest disordered eating behaviors, and are all too often at risk for suicide.

The evidence linking tattoos and body piercings (other than in the ear lobes) to problematic adolescent behavior appears in an article recently published in Pediatrics by a team of researchers from the Rochester School of Medicine and the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Survey data collected from 484 adolescent patients at the Naval Medical Center revealed what the researchers characterize as "clear differences" separating teens with tattoos and body piercings from those without. These differences indicate a much higher prevalence of "risk-taking behaviors" among those with tattoos and body piercings than among those without. This risk-taking often shreds traditional standards of chastity or continence: "adolescents with at least 1 T[attoo]/P[iercing] were more sexually active and at greater risk sexually than adolescents without T/P" (p< .001 for both tattoos and for body piercings and for both males and females). This risk-taking also translates into significantly elevated rates of "gateway drug use" (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana), hard drug use (cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, and Ecstasy), disordered eating behavior, and suicide for both tattoos and body piercings. (In contrasting adolescents with at least one tattoo or body piercing with peers without, the researchers calculate the following scores of statistical significance: for gateway drug use, p< .001; for hard drug use, p< .001; for disordered eating behavior, p = .003; for suicide, p = .028.)

Given the troubling findings of this survey, it comes as no good news that "Ten to 13% of adolescents age 12 to 18 [now] have tattoos" and that "body piercing at locations other than the ear lobes ... also is ... increasing in frequency and acceptance.

Episcopalian Leaders Turn to Extortion Tactics to Keep Conservative Congregations in Line

Episcopal Church leaders meeting in Parsippany, N.J. this past week tightened the noose around orthodox dioceses necks saying that any attempt by them to leave The Episcopal Church with their properties will be met with lawsuits from the national church.

The Council passed Resolution NAC023, reminding dioceses that they are required to "accede" to the Constitution and Canons, and declaring that any diocesan action that removes that accession from its constitution is "null and void." That declaration, the resolution said, means that their constitutions "shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed."

The Episcopal Church Welcome Mat has been pulled out from underneath orthodox dioceses that may wish to move away from a church they believe is fundamentally heretical in faith and morals...

More on this childish, desperate bully tactic here in David Virtue's well-written essay.

Dr. John Barrasso of Wyoming Joins the U.S. Senate

Vice President Dick Cheney, a former Wyoming congressman, administered the oath of office to incoming Senator Dr. John Barrasso earlier today. Barrasso fills the vacancy left in the Senate when Craig Thomas died June 4th.

Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon, has created hopes that he will continue in the pro-life tradition of Senator Thomas. A Right to Life of Wyoming spokesman said, "Whether it was abortion or bioethics issues, Senator Thomas was someone we could always rely on to vote pro-life and we will ask Senator Barrasso to do the same."

Barrasso has said repeatedly that he is pro-life and he was the key sponsor of the Laci and Conner Peterson bill that Right to Life of Wyoming strongly supported in the last session of the legislature.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Today's Posts

Global Warming Hysteria Creating a Major Threat to Freedom

Dark Skies Ahead for the Elderly

U.K. Abortions Even Higher Than Reported

Smog Advisories Up...Though Smog Itself Is Down

Cameron Diaz Apologizes for "Communist Chic" Fashion Statement

How Present Scientific Knowledge Makes Darwinism Laughable

Global Warming Hysteria Creating a Major Threat to Freedom

Vaclav Klaus, the former professor of economics who is now the President of the Czech Republic, wrote a bold, enlightening piece last week for the Financial Times about the extreme perils to democracy, the prosperity of a market economy, and even individual liberty posed by...the scare-mongers in the global warming scam.

It is an excellent piece, one to copy and pass around to friends and family who are undoubtedly affected by the constant media drumbeat about global warming. Below is an excerpt but please do click on over and read the whole piece. You'll be glad you did.

We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough – irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent – for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.

In the past year, Al Gore’s so-called “documentary” film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain’s – more or less Tony Blair’s – Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.

The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: “the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda”. I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the “established” truth, although a lot of people – including top-class scientists – see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence...

Dark Skies Ahead for the Elderly

...America's elderly are facing a "perfect storm" of societal pressures that will compound these problems. First, our culture has adopted a "disposable-man" ethic that rates people on a sliding "quality of life" scale to determine whether they are worthy of life. Those who rate poorly on this scale, including the unborn, the handicapped, and the aged, frequently find themselves at significant risk of attacks on their dignity.

Second, as noted by Leon Kass and Eric Cohen, demographic changes are leading to the graying of America and a "mass geriatric society". Because Baby Boomers have fewer children than previous generations, as the Boomers retire there will soon be a huge population of elderly people in need of long term care, with few young people to take care of them. Third, elderly men and women are increasingly being seen as economic burdens who consume more than they produce. With entitlement expenditures rising and revenues falling, who will be willing to sacrifice for the long term care needs of an ever burgeoning elderly population?...

Today's must-read Town Hall column is this provocative, challenging one from Ken Connor.

U.K. Abortions Even Higher Than Reported

Stuart Cunliffe, one of the principals behind IMAGE, the fine and effective U.K. pro-life ministry that we have been involved with for more than 15 years now, sent along this comment about last week's post, Teen Abortions On The Increase in U.K. The "Promiscuity Platoon" Respond As Usual.


The all-time high abortion figure of 193,700 for Great Britain you quote in your blog was actually the number of abortions on England and Wales residents. Add the number of abortions carried out in on non-residents (for instance people who come from the Republic of Ireland, where abortion is illegal, and the few from the rest of Europe where restrictions are tighter) and the figure for abortions carried out in England and Wales was 201,173. Add the 13,081 abortions carried out in Scotland, and the correct total for abortions in the United Kingdom was 214,254.

The rest of the item was great.

Smog Advisories Up...Though Smog Itself Is Down

Smog advisories are up dramatically from years past, at least for our neighbors to the north. So that must certainly indicate that smog is dramatically up too, right? Wrong. Check out Ross McKitrick's article in Canada's Financial Post right here.

Cameron Diaz Apologizes for "Communist Chic" Fashion Statement

While touring the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru's Andes on Friday, actress Cameron Diaz touted an olive green bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People" printed in Chinese, one of the most famous (and tragically ironic) political slogans of Chinese Communist thug Mao Zedong.

The bag is just one example of the "Communist chic" fashions sold in trendy fashion spots like Paris, Hollywood and Beijing (where Ms. Diaz purchased hers), but there are some parts of the world where such clueless indifference to the horrific crimes of Communism is not appreciated. And certainly Peru is just such a place where the pain is still acute from the Maoist Shining Path insurgency that conducted a campaign in the 1980s and early 1990s of kidnappings, bombings, assassinations, massacres, and other terrorism that left nearly 70,000 people dead.

Ms. Diaz has apologized for carrying her bag around there. That's good. But what is better is that this story (headlined around the world) may bring to light some facts about what Maoist slogans, Che Guevera T-shirts, and other "Communist chic" fashion really glorify.

How Present Scientific Knowledge Makes Darwinism Laughable

...According to Richard Milton, who wrote Shattering The Myths of Darwinism, the chances of forming protein and self-replicating DNA randomly are as likely as 'winning the state lottery by finding the winning ticket in the street, and then continuing to win the lottery every week for a thousand years by finding the winning ticket in the street each time' (in other terms, one chance in 10 to the 65th power).

The human body develops from an ovum the size of a dot, yet this speck of biological material contains vast encyclopedias of information — huge dictionaries defining every molecule and convoluted recipes to make every chemical moiety, or component. Conception sets in motion domino-like changes in this speck so that it becomes a human being — a multitrillion cell organism with 200 different kinds of cells that make five million different proteins...

(Geoffrey Simmons, What Darwin Didn't Know: A Doctor Dissects the Theory of Evolution)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Confucius Say: Crack Down on Christianity in China

In recent years, Confucianism has been making a steady comeback in China. After decades of effort to destroy the ideology and its institutions, even the Communist party-state has "endorsed" Confucian ideas and drawn on them in its political slogans. Chinese people also seem to have a growing interest in applying Confucius' teachings to resolve social problems.

Not only have the political and social aspects of Confucianism been resurrected, some have also called for Confucianism to become an established religion that would rival non-Chinese religions, notably Christianity. Although a fully-fledged return of Confucianism as the state religion is unlikely, the state could adopt aspects of Confucian doctrine. This could slow the emergence of freedom of thought, conscience and belief in China.

For more on this phenomena, here is a series of brief reports from Forum 18.

The Unintended Tragedies of Legalized Abortion

...From the beginning of the abortion debate, those favoring abortion have pointed to the social costs of "unwanted" children who simply won't get the attention of "wanted" ones. But there is a trade-off that has long been neglected. Abortion may eliminate "unwanted" children, but it increases out-of-wedlock births and single parenthood. Unfortunately, the social consequences of illegitimacy dominated.

Children born after liberalized abortion rules have suffered a series of problems from problems at school to more crime. The saddest fact is that it is the most vulnerable in society, poor blacks, who have suffered the most from these changes.

Liberalized abortion might have made life easier for many, but like sex itself sometimes, it has had many unintended consequences.

To read the entirety of this well-argued John R. Lott Jr. column in the Wall Street Journal Online, just go here.

Once More to the Left, And Again to the Left, And Repeat to the Left...

David Limbaugh comments here about the ever left-lurching Democrat Party.

...If -- and this is a big "if" -- Republicans eventually get their house in order on immigration and other major issues, they might be able to capitalize on the extreme left's stranglehold on the Democratic Party.

The far left is not only calling the shots, it is boasting about it, and at this stage, the competing candidates don't dare step out of line, much less fight back against the extremists. For now, they are just doing as they are told...

Southern Baptists Vote For Balanced, Credible Approach to Global Warming

Southern Baptists approved a resolution on global warming that questions the prevailing scientific belief that humans are largely to blame for the phenomenon and also warns that increased regulation of greenhouse gases will hurt the poor.

The global warming debate has split evangelical Christians, with some not only pressing the issue but arguing humans bear most of the responsibility for the problem because of greenhouse gas emissions. Other evangelicals say talking about the issue at all diminishes their influence over more traditional culture war issues such as abortion, gay marriage and judicial appointments.

The SBC resolution, approved Wednesday near the end of the denomination's annual meeting, acknowledges a rise in global temperatures. But it rejects government-mandated limits on carbon-dioxide and other emissions as "very dangerous" because they might not make much difference and could lead to "major economic hardships" worldwide...

Here's the rest of this report from the International Herald Tribune. But as you read it, please note this observation from E. Calvin Beisner, the National Spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation. Writes Dr. Beisner, "Notice how the media frequently refer to the Evangelical Climate Initiative as signed by 86 evangelical leaders but ignore the facts that its signers lacked relevant expertise and that the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance's (now Cornwall Alliance's) "Call to Truth" was signed by far more leaders, including scores with relevant expertise in science and economics? This is how the media spin the news."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Meditating on Heroes

The next edition of the new Caption Game is up over on The Book Den and it's a bit more serious than the first. That's because the subject of the quotations is "hero" and the accompanying photos illustrate just a few of mine: Neil Armstrong, Edith Cavell, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Thor Heyerdahl, Audie Murphy, Harriet Tubman, and missionary William Carey.

Check it out and select your favorite hero quotation right here.

Another Russian Hit? Safranov Murder Still Unsolved.

Reuben F. Johnson, writing for The Weekly Standard, describes yet another Russian murder mystery that is going not only unsolved...but tragically unreported as well.

Truth is stranger than fiction--or so the saying goes. Nothing illustrates this more than the intersection of arms salesmen, government spokesmen, press reporting and a series of mysterious events leading up to the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.

In the first week of March, Ivan Safranov, a retired Russian colonel and correspondent for the last decade at the Moscow newspaper Kommersant,
[pictured at top right] was found dead outside of his apartment building. Questions raised about several aspects of his death still remain unanswered.

Safranov lived on the third floor of his building, but he had for some reason fallen from the fifth floor. He was fully clothed and wearing an overcoat, as if he had just returned from a trip to the market. A bag of mandarins was found scattered on the ground near his body. When he landed on the ground he had hit headfirst, which one tends not to do unless they are already unconscious at the time of their fall. Needless to say, if he was unconscious he could not have jumped from the window of the fifth floor without having been “assisted” in the process.

Not surprisingly, the Russian prosecutors assigned to the case wanted to rule his death a suicide, despite all of the evidence to the contrary...

The rest of the article is here and the story from Kommersant about Safranov's death is here.

Euthanasia Won't Stop with the Dying

...If physician-assisted suicide was adopted in Canada, we know from experience that it will not be reserved for only the terminally ill, regardless of safeguards that are put in place. Euthanasia and assisted suicide will extend from the terminally ill to the chronically ill, to the handicapped, then the disabled.

Advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide will promise narrow, tight guidelines. You know - the usual rhetoric about six months to live, intractable and uncontrollable pain, consecutive requests by the patient to a panel of doctors or some similar regulative process.

Don't be duped. Guidelines failed with abortion. Remember that tight narrow guidelines surrounded abortion acceptance. In 1969, Canada's justice minister, John Turner, stood in the House of Commons and assured a reluctant Parliament that:

"The (abortion) bill has rejected the eugenic, sociological or criminal offence reasons. The bill limits the possibility of therapeutic abortion to these circumstances: It is to be performed by a medical practitioner who is supported by a therapeutic abortion committee of medical practitioners in a certified or approved hospital, and the abortion is to be performed only where the health or life of the mother is in danger."

Once the bill became law, it did not limit abortion to certain circumstances; it allowed abortions in any circumstance. Abortions became so widespread under Canada's abortion law that by 1982, abortions outnumbered live births in Toronto.

Either Toronto had the unhealthiest women on the planet or the law was being flouted. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada overthrew the abortion law. Now there are no restrictions on abortion.

Why should we think it would be any different with euthanasia and assisted suicide? If history is any indicator, euthanasia and assisted suicide will not be confined to the terminally ill in the last few days of life...

This is a fine column written by Mark Pickup for Western Catholic Reporter, Canada's largest circulation religion weekly. Read the rest of it right here.

U.N. Gives A Pass to Human Rights Abusers in Cuba and Belarus

From Radio Free Europe comes this disappointing news:

The Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council on June 18 voted to eliminate the positions of its rapporteurs on human-rights observance in Belarus and Cuba in a move opposed by the United States, international news agencies reported. Russia reportedly led demands for an end to the mandate of the human-rights rapporteur for Belarus.

The decision came as a compromise necessary for setting out new rules and procedures for the UN body, which was formed a year ago to replace the UN Human Rights Commission. The compromise allows the council to censure human-rights abusers with a simple majority of member states.

The council
kept nine countries on the list for continued scrutiny of human rights, including North Korea, Cambodia, and Sudan. "Given the poor human rights conditions in Belarus and Cuba, the council's decision to reduce its focus on those countries is impossible to justify," Peggy Hicks, a director at Human Rights Watch, commented later the same day. "The UN General Assembly has condemned Belarus's shameful record, and rejected its candidacy for the council. Why is the council itself applying a different standard?"

Please Pass the Potatoes, Dad...Dad? Where's Dad?

Each night, in the United States, more than 50 million children eat dinner without their fathers. Given this grim statistic, it seems appropriate to wonder what difference a father makes anyway. Or, put differently, does dining with Dad matter, or is a father at the dinner table like a kidney or a lung - nice to have but not essential for living?

We might start by looking at the scientific studies that measure a child's well-being by his parents' presence at the dinner table. The most famous - the one cited repeatedly by newspaper columnists and talk-show hosts - is a report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University that concludes that "the more often teens have dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs." A spokesman on the center's Web site declares: "Parents, there's something you can do to protect your kids from drugs and alcohol. Combine ground beef with egg, tomato sauce, breadcrumbs and spices. Bake in an oven-safe pan at 350 for 50 minutes. Serve hot.

...In missing the family dinner, we fathers are missing a large portion of our children's lives, the part they are living right now. Without dinner as a touchstone, it is so much easier to let the rest of the day slip away as well. How soon before our children are grown and out of the house, the family table a forgotten memory? How soon before they do not miss us at all? They may recover just fine, but we may not.

(Cameron Stracher writing in The New York Times, June 17) (Hat tip: World Congress of Families, Family Update Online)

Syncretism of the Silliest Sort: A Female Episcopalian/Muslim Priest

An Episcopal priest in Washington state recently announced that she is both a Christian and a Muslim. The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding of Seattle made her profession of faith in Islam in March 2006. Episcopal Church Center employees told the Seattle Times that a person of dual faiths can serve as Episcopal clergy at the diocesan bishop’s discretion. The Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, bishop of the Diocese of Olympia, reportedly accepts Redding’s dual faiths; consequently, she remains a priest in good standing within the diocese.

Ralph Webb, the Director of the Institute on Religion and Democracy comments on this revolting (and goofy) development in this detailed press release.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dance With Me!

He introduced more hit songs in movies than any singer. He has been rated in the Top Five Hollywood Actors of All Time. Balanchine and Nureyev argued that he was the greatest dancer of the twentieth century.


Not a bad career for a fellow whose initial RKO Pictures screen test was dismissed with these infamous words: "Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance a little."

The feisty yet fastidious fellow, of course, was Fred Astaire.

And yes, though Vital Signs Blog is normally concerned with the clash of cultural values and you'll read posts dealing with those important matters even in today's least occasionally it's oh-so-nice to remember pleasanter days, days when Roy rode the range, when Ratty and Mole paddled in the river, and when Fred and Ginger danced their way into our hearts.

Well, here's Mark Steyn (another fellow that appreciates the need, now and then, for a change of pace) writing about the unique character and talent of Fred Astaire. So, before you get back to the business of the day, why not brew up a cup and take five with this terrific article.

Southern Baptist Mega-Church Chooses Female Pastor

This past Sunday, a bit over a 6th of the Southern Baptist congregation showing up for the vote elected Julie Pennington-Russell, a married mother of two, to become the senior pastor of their Atlanta-area megachurch.

Said Pennington-Russell, she is "for anything that brings people together rather than divides them." And, "Sometimes I think you have to choose to set some of the divisiveness aside and lean into the worthy part of the event."

Umm...This means you "sometimes choose to set aside" the very clear and timeless teachings of Scripture. For only then can you "lean into" the politically-correct, pop culture, feminization of the modern American church.

Here's the story from Christian Post.

And here is an example of Pastor Pennington-Russell's preaching in which you'll read this illuminating paragraph, one that shows how she mystically "boils down" Christianity to remove such restrictive little bits as doctrine, rules (including, of course Scriptural rules relating to the qualifications of elders in Christ's Church), creeds, and confessions.

...See, if you take Christianity and cook it down to the essence—boil away all of the peripheral concerns—you find that one thing remains. What remains is not a doctrine, is not a set of rules, is not a creed, not a confession. You boil the Christian faith down to the essence, and what remains is a face, and it's the face of absolute, unambiguous, undiluted love. And if we're wise, we'll take the advice of the writer of Hebrews and fix our eyes on that face—the face of Jesus, the Christ...

Pennington-Russell, by the way, embraces "a big tent philosophy" and has served the liberal Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Also, Pennington-Russell was one of the main speakers for the New Baptist Covenant meeting last winter organized by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to create more of a network of liberal Baptists to work against the influence of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Religion of Perpetual Outrage

This Michelle Malkin column reports the clear and ever-increasing dangers of Muslim intolerance, dangers that continue to go unreported by the MSM and unchallenged by the political powers of Western civilization. Here is just part of her compelling piece:

In Pakistan, dutiful followers of the jihadi guide have found a new pretext this week for an anti-Western bonfire party: the knighting of author Salman Rushdie in Britain. Muslim groups are burning Queen Elizabeth and Rushdie in effigy. The Union Jack is in flames. The Religion of Perpetual Outrage strikes again.

It's not just some obscure spokesman for a "tiny minority" objecting to Rushdie's knighthood and leading the renewed calls for Rushdie's death and Britain's submission. Pakis
tan's religious affairs minister, Mohammed ljaz ul-Haq, bellowed: "If someone blows himself up he will consider himself justified. How can we fight terrorism when those who commit blasphemy are rewarded by the West?" He says he was misunderstood, but the message is as loud and clear as the inscriptions on the infamous placards British Muslims waved around during last year's conflagration over the Danish cartoons:

"Behead all those who insult Islam. Slay those who insult Islam. Butcher those who mock Islam."

Pakistan's parliamentarian affairs minister Sher Afgan Khan Niazi piled on: "I demand the British government immediately withdraw the title as it is creating religious hatred." On Monday, Pakistan's Parliament passed a unanimous resolution "deploring the honor as an open insult to the feelings of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims." Mufti Muhammad Basheer-u-Din, Grand Mufti of Kashmir, didn't mince words: "Because of his blasphemy, Salman Rushdie remains an apostate and aggressor on Islam and punishment for such offences is death." Lord Ahmed, the first British Muslim member of the House of Lords, blamed Rushdie for violence past and violence to come:

"This man not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people who were killed around the world. . . . Forgiving and forgetting is one thing, but honouring the man who has blood on his hands, sort of, because of what he did, I think is going a bit too far."

Sort of?!

Yes, you see, it's always the fault of the accused insulter. Never the fault of the sword-wielders, fatwa-issuers, fire-setters and blood-lusters.

It's always the fault of the Western "extremists." Never the fault of the "moderate" followers of jihad...

The rest of Malkin's column is here. And I also encourage you to follow it up by reading this perceptive piece, "Journey Into Islam," by her Town Hall colleague Tony Blankley.

Planned Parenthood Doesn't Like This Missouri Legislation At All

A bill on Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt’s desk would prohibit public school districts from working with groups that provide abortion services or referrals.

Part of House Bill 1055, sponsored by Rep. Therese Sander, R-Moberly, allows school districts to continue to teach abstinence-based sex education but effectively kicks out Planned Parenthood, said Kellie Rohrbaugh, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri.
“If we were in area public schools, we would be asked to leave,” she said.

The legislation also would keep community action groups and local health departments out of schools if they make abortion referrals, she said...

...The Joplin, Carl Junction, Carthage and Neosho districts contract with LifeChoices Medical Clinic and Resource Center in Joplin to offer Virtuous Reality, an abstinence-based program, to middle-school and high-school students.

“This is not just a ‘just say no’ program,” said Shannon Wendt, a program director at LifeChoices. “It teaches assertiveness skills, risk avoidance and relationship skills.”

Area youth ministers are hired as instructors to teach the LifeChoices curriculum in some schools, but Webb City Superintendent Ron Lankford said the instructors stay on topic and don’t bring religious teaching into the classroom.

“For many parents, it’s a comforting characteristic that they frequently hire youth ministers,” he said. “But they don’t proselytize. The people who come in do a great job and stick with the curriculum.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Centers for Disease Control Want More Tax Money for This Stuff?

Senator Tom Coburn, the ranking member of the Minority Office of the Federal Financial Management Subcommittee, has a report he'd love to see publicized, a 115-page oversight report that details how the Centers for Disease Control has flipped out...with your money!

The report, “CDC Off Center," also makes recommendations about how it might get back on track.

Of course, most Americans would decry the $10 billion budget already given this year to this bloated, dramatically ineffective government agency, let alone approve another billion its Director Julie Gerberding is demanding Congress fork over. But what would the reaction be if those citizens knew the CDC's waste included such things as:

* $45 million for conferences, including those featuring prostitutes, protests, and beach parties;
* $30,000 employee saunas in a new $200,000 fitness center that also includes mood-enhancing lightshows and $3,500 worth of zero-gravity chairs;
* HIV/AIDS prevention funds spent on a transgender beauty pageant;
* $250,000 spent so two former employees could help build staff morale;
* $5.1 million on “audio visual integration” in the new Thomas R. Harkin communications and visitor center, including a giant 70-foot-wide by 25-foot-tall video wall of plasma screen TVs showcasing agency vignettes;
* A new Hawaii office opening soon, announcement made by Senator from Hawaii who oversees agency’s funding;
* $128,000 in CDC bioterrorism funds spent by L.A. County on trinkets such as letter openers, whistles, magnets, mouse pads, flashlights, pens, and travel toothbrushes;
and, of course,
* $5 billion spent over seven years on HIV/AIDS prevention funding, and yet the U.S. still sees 40,000 new cases each year, with no decrease in infection rates for over a decade.

Here's a quick review of "CDC Off Center" and here is a link to the whole report itself. I'd suggest you follow up your reading with a few letters or calls to your Congressmen, Senators and the President. Perhaps even drop a few of these spending items in a letter to your local newspaper. We too can emulate Tom Coburn and blow some whistles!