Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Today's Posts

Rush Gets the Last Laugh in Baltimore

Desperate Dedication to Second-Trimester Abortions Endangers Mothers Too

Alliance Between Muslims and (Covert) Methodists Questioned

What if American Students Knew the Real Che Guevera?

Considering College? Certain Majors May Cost You More Than Others

Again, Florida Police Harass Christians

After Visiting Iraq, A Couple of Anti-War Journalists Are Reconsidering Their Views

Rush Gets the Last Laugh in Baltimore

The Radio Equalizer (veteran talk-show host, commentator and blogger, Brian Maloney) comments on the silly "mistake made by Baltimore's WBAL-AM, which foolishly purged Rush Limbaugh from its schedule just over a year ago. Outright handing the talk titan to 'BAL's competitor, the longtime market leader immediately began a ratings slide that shows no signs of easing up.

Instead of first place, where it previously resided, the station has fallen to sixth in new ratings released on Friday. From a 6.9 market share for listeners 12 and older a year ago, it has dropped to a 4.5. WCBM- AM, which happily accepted Rush's show, has climbed from 2.7 to 3.3 during the same period...."

Desperate Dedication to Second-Trimester Abortions Endangers Mothers Too

After the Supreme Court upheld the national ban on partial-birth abortions, some abortion businesses are so desperate to continue doing legal second-trimester abortions that they are willing to put women's health at risk by misusing a drug for heart conditions to do the abortions.

The partial-birth abortion ban made it clear that abortion practitioners can't mostly deliver an unborn child before doing the abortion and killing her.

To get around the ban, they are using the drug digoxin to kill the baby inside the mother's womb and then cause the mother to miscarry the dead baby's body.

Here's more on this story from LifeNews.com.

Alliance Between Muslims and (Covert) Methodists Questioned

Here's a press release from the Institute on Religion and Democracy that should be especially disturbing to United Methodists. Of course, if decisions of recent years by the United Methodist leadership on such matters as abortion, homosexuality, and the authority of Holy Scripture haven't already driven Methodists from the pews, this might not have much effect either.

Here's the press release...

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has announced a new partnership with British-based Muslim Aid, with which it hopes to spend up to $15 million on joint relief projects around the world.

Muslim Aid prominently advertises its Islamic mission, such as a major initiative helping needy Muslims fulfill their “Qurbani” obligation for animal sacrifices. “All Muslims are required to offer the sacrifice of a small animal such as a goat, or offer jointly with others the sacrifice of a larger animal such as a cow,” the Muslim Aid web site explains. “This act of sacrifice signifies the sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) was prepared to make when requested by God to sacrifice his son Ismail.” Last year, Muslim Aid spent over a million dollars on Qurbani programs in over 59 countries.

In contrast, UMCOR’s web site seems to contain no references to God, Jesus Christ or the Bible. UMCOR’s operating budget last year was nearly $90 million. Muslim Aid’s expenditures in 2005 were about $17 million.

Mark Tooley, IRD’s Director of UMAction commented:

"Muslim Aid will be working with a liberal Protestant agency that is quiet about its religious beliefs but which almost certainly shares the political perspective of Muslim Aid leaders and supporters."

"Muslim Aid is very open about the faith that motivates its relief and development work. UMCOR, in contrast, is largely silent about Jesus Christ and the Bible. No wonder there is so such easy agreement between them.
United Methodists and others might ponder why Muslim Aid freely professes its service to Allah, while UMCOR seems to prefer avoid mention of Jesus Christ."

What if American Students Knew the Real Che Guevera?

Mike Adams has an excellent Town Hall column here about the intellectual and moral bankruptcy displayed by journalists and students who continue to perpetrate a legacy of lies about Marxist terrorist, Che Guevera.

In his article, Adams lists a few of Che's most representative lines...ones that, were the media and academics doing their jobs properly, would be much more well-known than Che's snarling mug staring out from innumerable T-shirts. Below are just a couple:

"A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate."

"To execute a man we don't need proof of his guilt. We only need proof that it's necessary to execute him. It's that simple."

"If the nuclear missiles had remained we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City."

"Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial bowl."

"Don't shoot! I'm Che, I'm worth more to you alive than dead."

Again, check out Adams' whole column right here.

Considering College? Certain Majors May Cost You More Than Others

Jonathon Slater, writing a couple of days ago in the New York Times (registration required), had these observations about an alarming new trend in education.

Should an undergraduate studying business pay more than one studying psychology? Should a journalism degree cost more than one in literature? More and more public universities, confronting rising costs and lagging state support, have decided that the answers may be yes and yes.

Starting this fall, juniors and seniors pursuing an undergraduate major in the business school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will pay $500 more each semester than classmates. The University of Nebraska last year began charging engineering students a $40 premium for each hour of class credit.

And Arizona State University this fall will phase in for upperclassmen in the journalism school a $250 per semester charge above the basic $2,411 tuition for in-state students.

Such moves are being driven by the high salaries commanded by professors in certain fields, the expense of specialized equipment and the difficulties of getting state legislatures to approve general tuition increases, university officials say.

...Even as they embrace such pricing, many officials acknowledge they are queasy about a practice that appears to value one discipline over another or that could result in lower-income students clustering in less expensive fields.

...At the University of Kansas, which started charging different prices in the early 1990s, there are signs that the higher cost of majoring in certain subjects is affecting the choices of poorer students."

(Certain Degrees Now Cost More at Public Universities, The New York Times, July 28, 2007) --- (H/T World Congress of Families)

Again, Florida Police Harass Christians

Officials in Key Largo, Florida were apparently living by the old adage of "going the extra mile" (Matthew 5:41). In January, two Gideons were arrested for distributing Bibles on a public sidewalk outside a local elementary school. They were charged with trespassing. With the help of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which represented the men, the charges were dismissed a short time later.

However, the men were then notified that other charges were being filed--this time under a different statute which prohibits anyone from being within 500 feet of school property without permission. As ADF's statement suggests, "Does the state [believe] that its citizens will be safer if 'protected' from Bibles? In a country founded on religious freedom, the actions of the state are a disgrace." As were the actions of the local police, which allegedly mocked the Gideons after handcuffing them, saying, "Now you can pray to Jesus all the way to jail."

As it turns out, the officers shouldn't have been so quick to ridicule the prayers because they worked! Thanks to ADF, common sense prevailed in court and, for a second time, all charges against the Gideons were dropped. This victory for the Bible is an elementary reminder that we can still prevail when we are willing to take our stand in the face of growing intolerance and even outright hostility toward Christianity.
(Family Research Council)

And over here is the latest from the ADF web site itself.

The mocking of these Christians by Florida cops is reminiscent of the boorish behavior displayed by police in Sunrise, Florida, last summer. Such happenings are not only bad advertisements for the state; they're bad news for the culture.

But then, what should we expect? If judges don't respect the law, why should the police? And if Christianity is treated with disdain and derision by politicians, courts and popular media, it follows that even the cop on the beat will start following suit.

After Visiting Iraq, A Couple of Anti-War Journalists Are Reconsidering Their Views

It may be too little, too late (as is par for the MSM when it finally faces up to certain truths) but a couple of liberal journalists who have been sharply critical of the war in Iraq are singing a different tune after a recent visit to the area. And, more surprising still, the piece is printed in the New York Times. Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Today's Posts

"What Can We Learn from Francis Schaeffer?"

Surprise, Surprise. "Body Art" is a Turn-Off to Employers

The ACLU: Hype, Hypocrisy and an Ongoing Hatred of America

What's Behind the Mainstream Media's Yearning for Rudy Giuliani?

Sex Selection Abortions: The Injustice Leads to Yet More Injustice

Fossella Amendment Granting Asylum to Spouses of Forced Abortion Victims Passed by Congress

"What Can We Learn from Francis Schaeffer?"

South African scholar and Christian apologist Ranald Macaulay is the coordinator for the unique work of Christian Heritage based at The Round Church in Cambridge, England. He is a son-in-law to the acclaimed and highly-influential Presbyterian theologian, Francis Schaeffer, of whom he writes warmly and knowledgeably about in this message, "What Can We Learn from Francis Schaeffer?", delivered to the European Leadership Forum in Eger, Hungary.

As a fellow who has appreciated Schaeffer for some 37 years now...as one who has spoken a few times at the English L'Abri and been impressed with the work of Macauly and the team there...and as one who has been invigorated by the new ministry of Macauly, Ian Cooper and others there at Christian Heritage, I heartily recommend this article.

Surprise, Surprise. "Body Art" is a Turn-Off to Employers

High school students express dismay, she says, during interview-skills workshops she conducts, saying, "Why can't I express myself? Why can't they accept me the way I am?"

The ACLU: Hype, Hypocrisy and an Ongoing Hatred of America

For the past forty years the ACLU has used every legal machination to make the display of Christmas trees illegal if placed in a public institution or on property where there is even the remotest connection to a tax dollar. They’ve bludgeoned America with their claim that such displays violate the separation of church and state. The display of the Ten Commandments? Illegal, they say. Prayer in school? Prohibited, they charge. The mere mention of God at a graduation ceremony --- grounds for a law suit. The display of a Menorah -- the next morning the ACLU is at the court steps already litigating.

How strict are they in their interpretation of separation of church and state? In Pittsburgh they went so far as to demand that a municipal parking lot be off limits to those
parking there to visit a local Christmas display at a nearby church.

So when the University of Michigan decided to fund $25,000 worth of ritual foot-washers for Islamic students wishing to pray, one assumed the ACLU would yell foul. After all, it is a public institution, receiving federal and state taxes and using that money for a religious device whose purpose is to facilitate prayer. Not only did the ACLU not object but it also supported the expenditure as “reasonable,” something it can never bring itself to say when activities are for Judeo-Christian expression or symbols...

...Hard as it is to believe, there are people here -- an enemy within -- who hate this country. They are not nationalists but trans-nationalists. Ironically, they come from those who have prospered here and now believe they are better than the average Christian of Faith who is White. Their loyalties are not to America but a cosmopolitan, very secular set of beliefs. Historic America stands in the way they wish to go -- they want it gone and replaced with a totally different set of standards, which they will impose. Those harboring this pernicious mindset often gravitate to and find their natural home in the ACLU.

Most are wealthy and live and play segregated from minorities but champio
n any minority cause, no matter how odious and destructive, as a way to lessen the standing and comfort of the majority and its "corny" values. When looking at the cases and causes they select, most often it is that which will upset the average Joe’s apple cart. They love representing terrorists wishing to harm America, rarely loyal soldiers sacrificing to defend her. They remain immune, however, for most live a protected, gilded life.

ACLU lawyers specifically seek legal opportunities designed to upend that which we cherish and which makes us who we are: our traditions, habits, sexual discipline and our belief in parental rights and the integrity of the nuclear family. Repeatedly, they argue for the broadest allowance when it comes to supporting the "rights" of those wishing to challenge and undermine historic American norms but insist on the stingiest, most limiting parameters for those with traditional values. Case in point: They have spent years working to outlaw any form of prayer, even silent prayer, in schools when it involved a Judeo-Christian motif but are now utterly silent in a San Diego case (Carver Elementary Public School ) where the superintendent is granting a daily 15 minute prayer slot requested by Moslems that corresponds to that time of day when Moslems pray. It is an intellectual hypocrisy reflecting where their sentiments lie. They have chosen sides, and they are not on our side...

Please read this superb Human Events article in its entirety. It is written by Aryeh Spero, a New York City rabbi whose remarkable talents and energy have been showcased in radio, print and pulpit, well justifying one of his most familiar slogans, "We know what to say, we know how to say it, and we've got the guts to say it!" Rabbi Spero is also President of Caucus for America.

What's Behind the Mainstream Media's Yearning for Rudy Giuliani?

...With Rudy, Republicans can redefine themselves as the party of what -- the much-married, sleeping-around, pro-gun control, gay-pandering, open-borders, personally-opposed-but-respect-a-woman's-right-to-choose? Wait a minute, the Democrats already occupy that terrain...

Don Feder, in his own funny, insightful, take-no-prisoners style, examines the MSM's aching desire for a more liberal Republican Party. It's a good read.

Sex Selection Abortions: The Injustice Leads to Yet More Injustice

Abortionists in Asia are using the less expensive ultrasound scans to assure the age-old preference for male offspring, creating massive problems from the resultant disparity in the respective numbers of the sexes.

For instance, while the natural sex ratio in India is about 105 boys per 100 girls, in some regions it is now up to 156 boys per 100 girls. A 2006 Lancet study estimated that up to 500,000 preborn girls were being aborted every year in India.

In Communist China, where a one-child policy is still brutally enforced, the national ratio is about 120 boys per 100 girls with many provinces being even more highly skewed. A January report in China Daily suggested that within less than 15 years, there will be 30 million more men than women of marriageable age, leading to widespread social crises.

Already, the skewed sex ratio has resulted in a rise in the kidnapping and trafficking of women, both within the country and internationally. Mail order bride services have mushroomed, which, for a fee of up to $2,400, import wives for Chinese men from other countries, especially Burma. Joseph D'Agostino, vice president for communications with the Virginia-based Population Research Institute (PRI), calls the one-child policy "a massive violation of human rights" which affects both women and men.

"When it comes to sex selective abortion, it's something that's leading to grave social problems—the extermination of tens of millions of girls," says D'Agostino. "And of course it's bad for the boys too because they're going to grow up and not be able to get married. It seems to be against everyone's interests except the very elite and the communist government that runs China, which has its own agenda and its own goals."

D'Agostino says Beijing has now become aware of the problems of sex selection, and recently introduced cash bonuses for families who have girls, but the gap in the boy/girl ratio is still widening. Meanwhile, the one-child policy will remain firmly in place for another 50 years, the goal being to reduce China's population from the present 1.2 billion to 600 million.

Because of the policy, pregnant women are subjected to harassment, financial penalties, and forced abortions and sterilization, often in the late stages of pregnancy. Chen Guangchen, a blind activist who has fought against the one-child policy, said last October that more than 120,000 women in Shandong province alone were at that time forced to undergo sterilizations and abortions. Forced abortion and sterilization is enforced in Tibet as well...

Read more of this story in The Epoch Times right here.

Fossella Amendment Granting Asylum to Spouses of Forced Abortion Victims Passed by Congress

From the Staten Island Advance comes this report of a possible check (at least, temporarily) of an atrocious 2nd Circuit Court decision:

The House yesterday approved an amendment offered by GOP Rep. Vito Fossella that would benefit Chinese political refugees who are affected by that country's forced sterilization policies.

The amendment, which passed on a voice vote, would block the U.S. Justice Department from enforcing last week's decision by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that narrowed the definition of a political refugee to only the individual who was forced to undergo an abortion or sterilization by the Chinese government.

The amendment was attached to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2008, which passed the House yesterday.

Under an 11-year-old policy, immigration courts in the United States have considered both the individual who had undergone the medical procedure and his/her spouse as refugees.
"It is clear that China's barbaric forced sterilization policy harms both the husband and wife," Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) said. "It is unfortunate the 2nd Circuit overturned a policy that provided safety and a new beginning to people who were brutalized by their native government." The amendment specifically prohibits the Justice Department from using funding in its 2008 budget to enforce the 2nd Circuit Court's ruling.

Fossella said the amendment would serve as a stop-gap to protect asylum seekers while legislation is drafted to amend the statute to explicitly state that spouses are eligible.
"This amendment recognizes the extreme physical and emotional trauma caused by China's policy of forced abortions and sterilizations on parents," Fossella said.

Fossella now must work to get the Senate to pass a similar amendment or to have it included in a Senate-House conference report on the overall bill.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Today's Posts

Following Up on the Smithsonian,Viacom, Lawrence Small Fiascos

Hailing the Burqini: Time Magazine's Outrageous Double Standard in Swimsuits

CNN "Documentary" Distorts and Smears Religious Values

"American Popular Culture Seems Determined to Obliterate Innocence"

What! Religion in Schools? I'm Outraged! Oh, It's Okay; It's Only Islam.

Racism is in the Eye of the Beholder: Reporters React to ABC's "Cavemen"

Arctic Expedition Isn't Russia's Only Cold War Move

Following Up on the Smithsonian, Viacom, Lawrence Small Fiascos

It was last winter that I posted an action-oriented entry here on Vital Signs Blog about the selling of the Smithsonian Institution to the highest bidder. It will be good to review that post in order to best evaluate the response I print below. It comes (better late than never) from Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson.

Dear Denny:

Thank you for contacting me earlier this year regarding the controversy surrounding the Smithsonian Institution and its former chief executive, Lawrence Small. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

As you know, the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents appointed Mr. Small as the Secretary on January 24, 2000. On
January 16, 2007, Acting Inspector General A. Sprightley Ryan reported to the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents Audit and Review Committee, reviewing Mr. Small's expenses during his tenure as Secretary. These findings detailed Mr. Small's unauthorized expenditures of $90,000 from 2000 to 2006, showed that his salary and compensation reached $916,000 in 2006, and stated that "some transactions might be considered lavish or extravagant." This report prompted some to ask for investigations into whether Mr. Small violated federal law. Amid the debate surrounding this report, Mr. Small submitted his resignation on March 27, 2007.

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, of which I am a member, held a hearing on June 26, 2007, to discuss Smithsonian Institution governance reform. I believe this hearing was productive in helping to identify the areas in which the Smithsonian and its Board of Regents can improve, while demonstrating their dedication toward making the necessary changes needed. Rest assured, should any legislation on this issue reach the full Senate, I will keep your thoughts in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me. A responsive government will only remain responsive with the input of concerned citizens, and I encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts and ideas.


Ben Nelson

U.S. Senator

Thank you, Senator Nelson. However, let me make a couple of quick points here:

1) I do appreciate the Senator's news that a hearing was finally held by the Committee but I would have liked a couple of details about what happened there. For instance, were new restrictions put in place regarding corruption and excessive spending? Given the Senate's own record on corruption and excessive spending, I'm a bit skeptical.

2) The Senator doesn't mention the Viacom deal at all.

3) I'm pleased that Lawrence Small is no longer in charge of the Smithsonian but what about punishment and restitution? There are a whole lot of people watching television from prison cells for stealing an awful lot less than did Mr. Small.

And 4) Republican Senator and Ben Nelson's fellow Nebraskan, Chuck Hagel, also sits on the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and thus also received my letter about Lawrence Small. I've yet to hear from him.

Hailing the Burqini: Time Magazine's Outrageous Double Standard in Swimsuits

It's amazing how supposedly liberal and feminist publications that enjoy roasting conservative Christians will turn around and honor Islamic traditions as the latest rage. Witness Time's promotional coverage this week of the "Burqini," the head-to-toe women's swimsuit.

If this was a Pat Robertson idea, they'd be bowled over laughing.

But it's Islamic, so it's surprisingly chic.

The front page of the Life section, in the July 30 edition, promoted the story by Laura Fitzpatrick: "The Burqini swimsuits allow women, Muslim or not, to choose comfort over conformity." Obeying Islamic dictates of modesty is not conformity? On a 90-degree day, a head-to-toe suit is the definition of comfort? On page 50, the story's headline touted, "The New Swimsuit Issue: Modest beachwear for Muslim women is taking off with secular swimmers too."

(Source: Media Research Center)

CNN "Documentary" Distorts and Smears Religious Values

...Starting August 21, CNN plans to air a three-night, six-hour documentary in prime time called God's Warriors. The special, hosted by chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, will purportedly discuss "the impact of religious fundamentalism as a powerful political force around the world."

CNN says the documentary will feature what it calls "patriot pastors who seek to change American culture through the ballot box," "parents who reject science education in conflict with their religious principles," and Muslim "suicide martyrs who are revered as iconic heroes."

Knight, director of the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute (CMI), says any series that equates "conscience-based resistance to liberal programs" with Islamic extremists is a blatant attempt to equate Christianity with Islam and to say "a pox on both their houses -- they're all bad."

"It looks very much like what the media had been up to all along, which is to push a secular viewpoint and to tar all religious believers with the same brush," says Knight -- and that includes resorting to "vilifying Christians" using any method they are able, he adds.

"They never seem to get around to explaining that the only reason there's a free press in America is because it was founded by Christians who believed in freedom of conscience," says the CMI director. "They instead paint the picture of all religion threatening fundamental civil liberties."...

"American Popular Culture Seems Determined to Obliterate Innocence"

Wendy Shalit is loathed by a certain kind of feminist. When as a twentysomething college graduate she published her first book, A Return to Modesty, she was scorned by The Nation's Katha Pollitt as a "twit," a "professional virgin" who should be given the task of designing "new spandex chadors for female Olympians." Others were less civil.

Shalit, who had raised eyebrows even while at Williams College for opposing co-ed bathrooms in student dorms, has now probably put herself even further beyond the pale by marrying young, giving birth to a son, and looking radiantly happy on the jacket cover of her new book, Girls Gone Mild.

Her skepticism about the bacchanal we call modern sex is undiminished. The book opens with a discussion of Bratz dolls (sold by MGA Entertainment), apparently aimed at ages "four-plus." "Bratz Babyz makes a 'Babyz Nite Out' doll garbed in fishnet stockings, a hot-pink micromini, and a black leather belt . . . . the baby also sports a tummy-flaunting black tank paired with a hot-pink cap. 'These Babyz demand to be lookin' good on the street, at the beach, or chillin' in the crib.'" Another of the dolls wears heavy red lipstick and bright toenail polish to match red panties. One is almost reduced to sputtering.

For the slightly older set, the "tweens" (girls between 9 and 12), Target markets thong underwear. Apparently you can find "Care Bear" thongs at some retailers and "push-up" bras at Kohl's for the first-time bra purchaser.

American popular culture seems determined to obliterate innocence...

Read the rest of Mona Charen's fine column here.

What! Religion in Schools? I'm Outraged! Oh, It's Okay; It's Only Islam.

The issue is preferential treatment, displaying an aggressive and uninterrupted disdain for Christianity while accommodating (even promoting) other religions. In this case, it's Islam.

The University of Michigan at Dearborn is planning to build foot baths for Muslim students who wash their feet before prayer. An elementary school in San Diego created an extra recess period for Muslim pupils to pray. At George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Muslim students using a "meditation space" laid out Muslim prayer rugs and separated men and women in accordance with their Islamic beliefs.

Critics see a double standard and an organized attempt to push public conformance with Islamic law.
"What (school officials) are doing … is to give Muslim students religious benefits that they do not give any other religion right now," says Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Law Center, an advocacy group for Christians.

But then, the USA Today report goes on to assure the reader that Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State isn't really too bothered by this unfairness. Ditto for the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU's take? "Overt religious symbols like crucifixes are not legal, but whether Muslim foot baths and prayer rugs fall into that category is not clear." Of course not. Lynn and the ACLU only get in a dither when it is Christianity that is being tolerated.

Racism is in the Eye of the Beholder: Reporters React to ABC's "Cavemen"

James Taranto's "Best of the Web" column gives us the following observation of how peculiarly astute are MSM reporters:

"The producers of ABC's new 'Cavemen' said Wednesday the comedy is much more than the insurance company commercials that inspired it, but isn't designed to be an ambitious allegory about race," the Associated Press reports from Beverly Hills, Calif.

Huh? If "Cavemen" is not "an ambitious allegory about race," why would it even occur to the producers to deny that is what it is? We checked the photos from the show on the Internet Movie Database, and all of the characters appear to be paleolithoids of pallor. Whose idea was it that there was some sort of racial overtone here?

Still scratching our head, we returned to the AP dispatch and made our way to the fifth paragraph:

[Mike] Schiff and fellow producers responded to reporters' questions about the series, many of them focusing on parallels between the cavemen and black stereotypes and the pitfalls of turning an ad into a series.

Aha! So reporters saw "cavemen," thought "black people," and started asking questions based on their own stereotypes.

Don't they teach racial sensitivity in journalism school out in California?

Arctic Expedition Isn't Russia's Only Cold War Move

Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to rattle his sabre, letting the world know that the Russian bear of yesteryear remains very much with us. And that means an uglier, more corrupt and more dangerous world.

Among the recent items to go into the "Russia watch" category are:

* Just a couple of days ago, Putin, a former KGB head himself, addressed a group of fellow military and intelligence officers, telling them that Russia must strengthen both its military and espionage capacities in response to the planned U.S. missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. He also expressed the fear (fear long being a Russian social staple) that the U. S. might move to deploy troops in Eastern Europe.

* Radio Free Europe is reporting that "Britain and the United States recently reported increases in Russian espionage activity to Cold War levels." Putin has increasingly played the role of a tough-talking defender of the Motherland in recent months (talk that The Economist describes as "neurotic bluster." However, Putin follows an old script for Russian dictators in always suggesting that Russia is merely an innocent, injured victim before announcing one of their own aggressive political or military maneuvers. Russia is never the reason for the tension; rather, she is only defending herself from the mean-spirited provocation of the United States.

* Putin added in his remarks to the officers that an "all-round strengthening of our military forces is one of our indisputable priorities" even as he reminded them of his recent withdrawal of Russian compliance to the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe.

* On July 25, the weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta published "No Longer Ashamed Of Our Country," an article that boldly favors Russia's suspension of the CFE Treaty. Retired Major General Aleksandr Vladimirov (a leading military commentator known for parroting the hardball attitudes of his bosses) was cited in the piece as saying, "We need to show everyone that the era of humiliation and collapse associated with [the 1990s] is gone and won't come back. We should not join any dubious alliances or comply with treaties of dubious origin. Our task, and our right, is to follow our security strategy precisely. I hope that a program for such a strategy [to cover the period] up to 2050 will soon be adopted by our state and military leadership."

* A Russian research ship which began an expedition from Murmansk to the Barents Sea earlier this week will lay claim to the North Pole. State Duma deputy and famous explorer Artur Chilingarov of the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party [shown at left] is leading the expedition. Chilingarov said recently on state-run television, "The Arctic is Russian. We must prove the North Pole is an extension of the Russian coastal shelf." Of course, the Arctic Sea bed is believed to be rich in mineral wealth. Under international law, Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Denmark control an economic zone within 320 kilometers of their continental shelf, but the exact size of that shelf is disputed by Russia. They want a lot more.

* In a related story, Belarus stole another page from the totalitarian history of Mother Russia by dealing with a planned opposition protest in Minsk by simply directing its KGB to arrest more than 60 of the rally's leaders before the event even occurred! Alyaksandr Milinkevich, leader of the opposition Movement for Freedom, told journalists that the arrests and unlawful detentions have been going on for 5 days.

(Sources: Radio Free Europe, The Economist, Barents Observer, BBC, and others. Generally, the latest and soundest coverage of such matters is RFE.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Free Speech: As Canada Goes...

As the U.S. considers adopting more stringent "hate crimes" laws, our Canadian neighbors are reaping the consequences of their government's stifling "hate speech" code. In yet another case of attempted censorship, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has threatened a conservative website with criminal charges for editorializing on the Islamic opposition to homosexuality. The investigation, based on a single complaint by a private citizen, is yet another example of how the law has been twisted in a campaign to bully Canadians into silence.

One of the site's content providers, Connie Wilkins, said that the Commission is making it "a crime to offend someone." While the action seems extreme, it's eerily similar to the message that U.S. Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent last month in a letter to the Commerce Department, urging a federal hunt for "hate crimes" in the telecommunications industry. If Dingell gets his way, this wave of intolerance threatens to make its way across the Canadian border into the U.S.
(Family Research Council).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today's Posts

National Debt Out of Control? It's Worse Than You Can Imagine.

Court Rules Two Lesbians and Sperm Donor Are Co-Parents

Ward Churchill Finally Fired

Planned Parenthood Supports the Destruction of Morality, Families, and Preborn Children. So Who Supports Planned Parenthood?

Elizabeth Edwards' "Tangerine Moment"

National Debt Out of Control? It's Worse Than You Can Imagine.

...It may be safe to say that everyone today has learned to live with the established public debt amount of $8.6 trillion. This number comes from adding up the current deficits piling up year after year from the current budget line items...

...$650 billion to Health and Human Services...$550 billion to the Defense Department… $385 billion to pay the interest on the public's debt...almost $100 billion to the Department of Agriculture...and on and on and on it goes.

It's obviously out of control.

But it's also shockingly understated.

See, to fund our bloated government, Washington collects taxes and then borrows $450 billion every year to make up the difference. That means on top of our tax dollars that our government burns through, it also puts another $1.2 million on the national credit card…every single day.

That's the damage just if you accept the current numbers, issued by the bureaucrats doing all that spending. But the real numbers are much worse than Washington is willing to reveal. How much worse?

Try $76.62 trillion.

I know, $8.6 trillion is already a tough number to wrap your head around. Are there even that many grains of sand on every beach in America? I don't know. But if you started tossing a dollar per second on a bonfire right now, you wouldn't hit $8.6 trillion for another 272,523 years.

How about $76.62 trillion? It would take you 2.42 million years. Yet Washington managed to pull it off in less than 150 years, roughly how long it's been since our government first dipped into the red. It hasn't looked back since...

From author Addison Wiggin (quoted in Summit Ministries Journal, June 2007)

Court Rules Two Lesbians and Sperm Donor Are Co-Parents

"Sometimes when the earth shudders it doesn't make a sound. That's what happened in Harrisburg, Pa., recently.

On April 30, a state Superior Court panel ruled that a child can have three legal parents. The case, Jacob v. Shultz-Jacob, involved two lesbians who were the legal co-parents of two children conceived with sperm donated by a friend. The panel held that the sperm donor and both women were all liable for child support.

...The case follows a similar decision handed down by a provincial court in Ontario in January. In what appeared to be the first such ruling in any Western nation, the court ruled that a boy can legally have three parents. In that case the biological mother and father had parental rights and wished for the biological mother's lesbian partner, who functions as the boy's second mother, to have such rights as well.

The idea of assigning children three legal parents is not limited to North America. In 2005, expert commissions in Australia and New Zealand proposed that sperm or egg donors be allowed to "opt in" as a child's third parent. That same year, scientists in Britain received state permission to create an embryo from the DNA of three adults, raising the real possibility that they all could be granted equal legal claims to the child if the embryo developed to term.

...Fortunate children have many people who love them as much as their parents do. But in the best interests of children, no court should break open the rule of two when assigning legal parenthood."

Elizabeth Marquardt writing in the opinion section of the The New York Times (registration required) of July 16, 2007. ("When 3 Really Is a Crowd")

Ward Churchill Finally Fired

Also after the board made its decision, Brown and Board Chair Patricia Hayes spoke with the media. "It's been a long hard day," said Hayes. "Not an easy decision for the board."

Hmm. Let's see now. Ward Churchill, the infamous, self-proclaimed Native American professor (who turned out to be just your run of the mill anti-American professor), has also been proven to be a most pompous rogue. He is a windbag; a traitor to his country; a plagiarist; a lazy and lousy academic; an alarmingly brazen hypocrite; and an outright liar.

So why didn't Colorado University fire this blowhard long before this? And why was it so doggone agonizing for Ms. Hayes and her colleagues when they finally got around to it?

It's for this kind of education system that our property taxes keep going through the roof?

Oh yes; there was a particularly delicious moment in the proceedings when a bunch of young Churchill supporters showed up at the University wearing T-shirts with his perfectly ironic slogan: "It's not about scholarship. It's about politics."

That is about as accurate a summation of Ward Churchill's sad career as you'll ever find.

Planned Parenthood Supports the Destruction of Morality, Families, and Preborn Children. So Who Supports Planned Parenthood?

Life Decisions International (LDI) will soon release a revised edition of The Boycott List, which identifies corporations that are boycott targets due to their support of Planned Parenthood, the world's leading abortion-advocacy group.

"As a direct result of the commitment, action and prayers of pro-family people, at least 153 corporations have stopped funding Planned Parenthood," said LDI President Douglas R. Scott, Jr. It is estimated that the boyc
ott has cost Planned Parenthood more than $35 million since the Corporate Funding Project (CFP) began some 15 years ago. "This should be a testament to those who believe it is impossible to change corporate philanthropic behavior."

Corporations appearing on The Boycott List for the first time are Allstate (insurance), CCA Global (Carpet One, Flooring America, Flooring Canada, Flooring One, Lighting One, etc.), Chevron (fuel/energy; Xpress Lube, Texaco), Comcast (cable television, Internet, etc.), DuPont (chemicals), eBay (online marketplace; PayPal), Four Seasons Hotels (Regent Hotels), GlaxoSmithKline (over-the-counter medication, prescription drugs, etc.), Marriott (Courtyard Hotels, Fairfield Inn, Grand Residences, Horizons Hotels, JW Marriott Hotels, Renaissance Hotels & Inns, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites), OSI Restaurant Partners (Outback Steakhouse, etc.), Sears (Kmart), Sonic (drive-in restaurants), and Wawa (convenience stores), among

Corporations continuing as boycott targets from the previously released Boycott List are Basics Office Products, Adobe (software), Wachovia (finance), Nike (shoes/apparel, etc.), Time Warner (Cinemax, HBO, AOL, etc.), Bank of America, CIGNA (insurance), Walt Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Lost Arrow (Patagonia, etc.), Wells Fargo, Whole Foods Market, and Nationwide (insurance), among others.

The new Boycott List includes a revised and significantly expanded "Dishonorable Mention" section, which identifies charitable organizations that are associated with Planned Parenthood and/or its agenda. Among the groups new to this section is the Audubon Society, Alzheimer's Association, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), American Diabetes Association, Council of Churches (including Church World Service, and CROP Hunger Walks), Glaucoma Research Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), National Education Association (NEA), National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Save the Children, and the Sierra Club, among others...

Elizabeth Edwards' "Tangerine Moment"

In the face of the immense and horrifying global warming crisis that threatens to destroy us all (any day now), Elizabeth Edwards will...ahem...no longer eat tangerines.

That oughta' help.

Edwards was in South Carolina campaigning for her husband's hopes to win the Democrat nomination for President when she made this unusual pledge.

"We've been moving back to 'buy local,'" Mrs. Edwards said, outlining a trade policy that "acknowledges the carbon footprint" of transporting fruit. "I live in North Carolina. I'll probably never eat a tangerine again," she said, speaking of a time when the fruit is [sic] reaches the price that it "needs" to be.

That last clause refers to the belief held by many environmentalists that raising the prices of transported goods can somehow "pay for" the damage to the planet from the carbon emissions of trucks, planes, trains, barges and just about anything else that isn't horse-drawn.

One wonders, of course, how Mrs. Edwards will follow up her strange promise. No more raisins, rainbow trout or Milk Duds? Is she going to be slaughtering her own chickens and pigs? And what of her husband's hair care products? Are they all produced in her home town and require just a boy on a bicycle to drop them off at the house? Indeed, what of the role of transport in virtually all other consumer goods and services in our complex and oh-so-global economy?

And then there's personal travel for such things as business, vacations and booking around the country trying to get your husband into the White House.

No, Mrs. Edwards' "tangerine moment" simply represents another of the illogical, unworkable, and hypocritical examples of trying to be "greener than thou" that are cropping up all over the place. And perhaps as people see what egoism and sheer goofiness marks this new "green consumerism" -- as well as the lack of scientific validity behind the global warming scare itself -- political discourse about practical, responsible environmentalism can make a comeback.

Oh, by the way, Mrs. Edwards' husband, a bit more politically astute than Elizabeth, quickly realized how dumb it was to start offending all the voters who work in food transport, let alone the voters who still want to drink orange juice or eat shrimp or suck on Tootsie Roll Pops.

Asked about her comment immediately after the event, John Edwards avoided the question twice, then said he isn't sure. "Would I add to the price of food?" he asked. "I'd have to think about that."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Today's Posts

When Tyrants Fill The Vacuum: What John Kerry Won't Remember

Planned Parenthood "Connections" Harshly Divide G.O.P. Rivals

They Just Can't Help It: More Examples of Journalistic Lying

The Hypocrisy and Ineffectiveness of "Green Consumerism"

Quackery Then & Now: Thoughts on Dr. Kellogg, Al Gore and Other Snake Oil Salesmen

Good News from Iraq Ignored by Democrats and the MSM Both

When Tyrants Fill The Vacuum: What John Kerry Won't Remember

John Kerry, when asked recently by the Chicago Tribune about the horrors which ocurred in Vietnam and Cambodia when the U.S. withdrew its troops in 1973 (and in 1975 even cut off all aid to the South Vietnamese government), calmly denied they ever happened!

"We heard that argument over and over again about the bloodbath that would engulf the entire Southeast Asia, and it didn't happen," Kerry said.

But, especially relevant to a nation whose Democrat leaders are demanding a similar total withdrawl from Iraq, it is a good thing to look again at the historical record. James Taranto does in today's Wall Street Journal Online.

In 2001, California's Orange County Register published an investigation of communist re-education camps in postwar Vietnam:

To corroborate the experiences of refugees now living in Orange County, the Register interviewed dozens of former inmates and their families, both in the United States and Vietnam; analyzed hundreds of pages of documents, including testimony from more than 800 individuals sent to jail; and interviewed Southeast Asian scholars. The review found:

* An estimated 1 million people were imprisoned without formal charges or trials.

* 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's re-education camps, according to published academic studies in the United States and Europe.

* Thousands were abused or tortured: their hands and legs shackled in painful positions for months, their skin slashed by bamboo canes studded with thorns, their veins injected with poisonous chemicals, their spirits broken with stories about relatives being killed.

* Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, according to the U.S. Department of State, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years.

* At least 150 re-education prisons were built after Saigon fell 26 years ago.

* One in three South Vietnamese families had a relative in a re-education camp.

According to John Kerry, "it didn't happen."

Things were even worse in Cambodia, as the Christian Science Monitor reported in 2005:

When the Khmer Rouge victoriously entered Phnom Penh 30 years ago, many people greeted the rebels with a cautious optimism, weary from five years of civil war that had torn apart their lives and killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians. . .

During the nearly four years following that day--April 17, 1975--Cambodia was radically transformed. . . .

Everyday freedoms were abolished. Buddhism and other forms of religious worship were banned. Money, markets, and media disappeared. Travel, public gatherings, and communication were restricted. Contact with the outside world vanished. And the state set out to control what people ate and did each day, whom they married, how they spoke, what they thought, and who would live and die. "To keep you is no gain," the Khmer Rouge warned, "To destroy you is no loss."

In the end, more than 1.7 million of Cambodia's 8 million inhabitants perished from disease, starvation, overwork, or outright execution in a notorious genocide.

But don't worry. According to John Kerry, "it didn't happen."

Last week, as we noted, Kerry's colleague Barack Obama opined that genocide in Iraq would be preferable to America's continued presence there. But John Kerry has shown the way. If genocide, or some lesser horror, does occur in the wake of a U.S. retreat, Obama can simply assert: "It didn't happen."

Prominent Democratic officeholders are willing to deny or countenance crimes against humanity in order to justify a popular political position. Doesn't this shock the conscience of Democrats?

As a relevant action step in the crying need to remind our Congressmen and Senators of what happens when tyrants are given a vacuum to fill with bloodshed, I encourage you to send along this post or some of the salient points it includes to those who can yet keep these things from happening in Iraq. Use this page for contact info.

Planned Parenthood "Connections" Harshly Divide G.O.P. Rivals

Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Tom Tancredo [photo at left] are ticked off at the Sam Brownback campaign for using their Planned Parenthood "connections" in an Iowa telephone campaign.

"Mitt Romney is telling Iowans he is firmly pro-life. Nothing could be further from the truth," said the Brownback campaign's phone message. The message goes on to attack the former Massachusetts governor's wife, warning, "His wife, Ann, has contributed money to Planned Parenthood."

Romney's people are outraged and demanding apologies...but they haven't successfully explained why the nation's #1 abortion organization did, in fact, receive contributions from Mrs. Romney.

Tancredo's case is different for there the Colorado Congressman's record is not only staunchly pro-life but so, it seems, is his history of charitable donations. However, Brownback's campaign is pointing to the fact that Tancredo has received campaign contributions from someone who has also given to Planned Parenthood.

"Say no to Tom Tancredo and his Planned Parenthood friend and help end abortion in America," the caller says, according to a script confirmed by Brownback's campaign.

Tancredo said Brownback, a Kansas senator, is a longtime friend who "is well aware of my lifelong commitment to the unborn." "I call on Senator Brownback to cease with the maliciously misleading push calls intended to harm me and apologize," Tancredo said in a statement.

Brownback's campaign stood by both calls.
"We stand by the accuracy of our statement that Mrs. Romney financially supported Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the world," said spokesman John Rankin. Rankin also said Tancredo "says he is committed to being pro-life but has accepted thousands of dollars from the founder of a major Planned Parenthood network."

They Just Can't Help It: More Examples of Journalistic Lying

Jennifer Hunter is married to Chicago Sun-Times publisher John Cruickshank, which explains why Ms. Hunter writes a column for the Chicago Sun-Times. Here is why she should not.

On July 16, Ms. Hunter wrote a column which began: "After watching the top five Democratic candidates for president speak before a trial lawyers' group Sunday, attorney Jim Ronca of Philadelphia, a staunch Republican, became certain of one thing: He is not going to vote for a Republican in the 2008 presidential election."

A suspicious reader checked out Mr. Ronca's political contributions. Mr. Ronca had made 14 since 1994 -- 12 to Democrats. The Democratic candidates received $7,000; the GOP candidates $750.

Mr. Ronca's contribution record was posted on several Web sites, whose readers flooded Ms. Hunter with demands for a correction.

If Ms. Hunter had fessed up, I wouldn't be writing about her. But she responded by attacking Web loggers for doing the research she should have done, and blaming her error on her editor...

More from this Jack Kelly report here.

The Hypocrisy and Ineffectiveness of "Green Consumerism"

George Monbiot, himself a liberal political writer and environmental activist, nevertheless uses this edition of his weekly Guardian (U.K.) column to throw some cold water on what has become an overheated "green chic" consumerism.

...There is an inherent conflict between the aspirational lifestyle journalism that makes readers feel better about themselves and sells country kitchens, and the central demand of environmentalism - that we should consume less. "None of these changes represents a sacrifice," Goldsmith tells us. "Being more conscientious isn't about giving up things." But it is if, like her, you own more than one home when others have none. Uncomfortable as this is for both the media and its advertisers, giving things up is an essential component of going green. A section on ethical shopping in Goldsmith's book advises us to buy organic, buy seasonal, buy local, buy sustainable, buy recycled. But it says nothing about buying less.

Green consumerism is becoming a pox on the planet. If it merely swapped the damaging goods we buy for less damaging ones, I would champion it. But two parallel markets are developing - one for unethical products and one for ethical products, and the expansion of the second does little to hinder the growth of the first. I am now drowning in a tide of ecojunk. Over the past six months, our coat pegs have become clogged with organic cotton bags, which - filled with packets of ginseng tea and jojoba oil bath salts - are now the obligatory gift at every environmental event. I have several lifetimes' supply of ballpoint pens made with recycled paper and about half a dozen miniature solar chargers for gadgets that I do not possess.

Last week the Telegraph told its readers not to abandon the fight to save the planet. "There is still hope, and the middle classes, with their composters and eco-gadgets, will be leading the way." It made some helpful suggestions, such as a "hydrogen-powered model racing car", which, for £74.99, comes with a solar panel, an electrolyser and a fuel cell. God knows what rare metals and energy-intensive processes were used to manufacture it. In the name of environmental consciousness, we have simply created new opportunities for surplus capital.

Ethical shopping is in danger of becoming another signifier of social status. I have met people who have bought solar panels and wind turbines before they have insulated their lofts, partly because they love gadgets but partly, I suspect, because everyone can then see how conscientious and how rich they are. We are often told that buying such products encourages us to think more widely about environmental challenges, but it is just as likely to be depoliticising. Green consumerism is another form of atomisation - a substitute for collective action. No political challenge can be met by shopping.

The middle classes rebrand their lives, congratulate themselves on going green, and carry on buying and flying as much as before. It is easy to picture a situation in which the whole world religiously buys green products and its carbon emissions continue to soar...

Here's the rest of this interesting article.

Quackery Then & Now: Thoughts on Dr. Kellogg, Al Gore and Other Snake Oil Salesmen

Jay Homnick has a very funny piece about the similarities between old school quackery (like Dr. John Kellogg) and the new (Al Gore and his global warming groupies). Check it out at the American Spectator here.

Watching Albert Arnold Gore Jr., Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., and their fellow juniors consistently duck the tough questions about the scientific shortcomings of their elaborate phantasm of global warming, carbon footprints, hybrid automobiles, fluorescent light bulbs, greenhouse gases, toxic emissions, shrinking icecaps, melting glaciers, homeless polar bears and boring documentaries, it suddenly hit me: if it ducks like a quack, it must be a quack.

The venerable American institution of quackery -- quack science, quack medicine, quack theories of anatomy and digestion -- seems to be revenant today. It is back in all its glory, now adorned with the sophisticated mantle of modern presentation. You may not realize it while reading Earth in the Balance or watching An Inconvenient Truth, but you are getting the updated flavor of the snake oil salesmen and castor oil prescribers and witch hazel appliers described in Huckleberry Finn...

Good News from Iraq Ignored by Democrats and the MSM Both

Very good news is coming out of Iraq. Not surprisingly, this hasn't caused a change of heart among the Democratic leadership. It hasn't even given them pause. One wonders if they are capable of hearing such news anymore...

David Limbaugh's column is today's "must-read" from Town Hall. He cites several reasons for renewed optimism about the course of the Iraqi war. But then he also reminds us that none of these good news items means anything at all to the determined drumbeat of defeat played by the Democrats and their compliant pals in the press.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Today's Posts

What's a Few More Lies? Fixing the Blame for Al Gore's "Live Earth" Failure

Do You Read Eternal Perspective Ministries' Quarterly Newsletters? You Should!

More Islamic "Honor Killings" Unearthed

"Ending Down Syndrome Pregnancies Bears All the Marks of a Pogrom"

Turkey's Election Brings Islamic AK to Power

How the "Emergent Church" Endangers the Free World

What's a Few More Lies? Fixing the Blame for Al Gore's "Live Earth" Failure

Now it's official. Global warming alarmism has indeed "jumped the shark", as revealed by the dismal failure of the Live Earth concerts to galvanize the general public. In particular, the puny turnout in Washington, DC, where Gore himself personally showed up, has proved an acute embarrassment.

But although Al Gore's Live Earth concerts have failed in the ratings, he appears to have partially succeeded at doing what does best: shifting blame for his woes to his political opponents and getting the media to go along...

Here's John Berlau's revealing story from The American Thinker.