Monday, December 31, 2007

Today's Posts

Chemical Abortionist On The Loose

Did NOW Ignore the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto Because She Opposed Abortion?

Abortion Client Violently Injures Elderly Man While Police Grievously Ignore Their Duty

Adult Stem Cells Used to Repair Breast Defects

Huge Crowds Rally for Pro-Life, Pro-Family Values in Spain; Media Ignores Event

Most Nebraska Legislators Positive to Pre-emptive Ban on Abortion

He of the Long Nose? Mitt Romney's Troubling Exaggerations

General Petraeus, What's Your Assessment of Iraq Today?

Chemical Abortionist On The Loose

Remember the case of Manishkumar Patel, the 34-year-old Wisconsin businessman who was charged with seven felonies including attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child after spiking his pregnant girlfriend's drink with an abortion pill which caused her to have two miscarriages?

Well, it seems the scoundrel has skipped out on his $750,000 bond and is on the lam, perhaps already out of the country.

Did NOW Ignore the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto Because She Opposed Abortion?

Last Friday in NRO's "Best of the Web" feature, James Taranto observed the inexplicable failure of the National Organization for Women to respond in any way to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. In today's column he follows that matter a bit farther:

...But it's not that NOW doesn't remember the dead. A reader calls our attention to a statement on the organizations Web site titled "NOW Mourns Loss of Feminist Leader Judith Meuli." We hadn't heard of her, but it turns out she created "a line of feminist jewelry" and also donated a bundle to NOW:

Judith Meuli, 69, died at her home in California after a long battle against cancer. Meuli, a woman of many talents, edited the National NOW publication "Do it NOW" for many years with her partner Toni Carabillo (who died in 1997), was president of Los Angeles NOW, created with Carabillo a line of feminist jewelry that raised money for NOW and the Equal Rights Amendment campaign, and co-authored with Carabillo and June Bundy Csida "The Feminist Chronicles," a detailed history of the modern women's movement.

Several readers also called our attention to a remembrance of Bhutto:

Bhutto was a member of an international pro-life women's movement that understood abortion causes medical, mental health and other problems for women.

When Bhutto was the prime minister of Pakistan, she helped lead a delegation to the 1994 Cairo population conference that confronted abortion advocates looking to make abortion an international right.

"I dream . . . of a world where we can commit our social resources to the development of human life and not to its destruction," she told the United Nations panel at the time.

No wonder NOW isn't interested in Bhutto. A real feminist is one who is interested in feminine things like jewelry and abortion.

Abortion Client Violently Injures Elderly Man While Police Grievously Ignore Their Duty

It is all too infuriating, sad...and common, this matter of police officers stubbornly siding with abortionists against peaceful pro-life advocates. Here is a case from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in which a 69-year old sidewalk counselor was viciously attacked by an abortion client, resulting in the victim's multiple trauma, internal bleeding, and compression fractures of four vertebrae and two ribs. Before doctors were able to stop the bleeding in his head, the man was very near death.

So what happened when police responded to the scene of this violent assault?

...Ed was taken away in an ambulance and three police officers arrived to investigate. They went into the clinic, where the assailant was waiting. After a few moments, the assailant and his companion left the clinic freely, got into their car and drove away.

Shocked, Mr. McTernan shouted to the police: “What are you doing? That’s him! That’s the assailant!”

One cop replied: “It is none of your business!”

Mr. McTernan: “I am making it my business, Ed Snell is my good friend!”

The officer then threatened to arrest Mr. McTernan for interfering with a criminal investigation. Mr. Mcternan replied: “Go ahead and arrest me, I am not afraid. I want to know why the assailant walked away from this scene where an elderly man was left unconscious. We have excellent attorneys and we will sue you if you do not do your job.”

She angrily responded: “Don’t threaten me or I will arrest you!” She then returned to the police car and drove away. At the time this article was written, the Harrisburg Police Department had not returned a phone call requesting a statement on the incident...

Eventually, after the extreme extent of the victim's injuries were known, the police issued an arrest warrant for the thug who attacked the sidewalk counselor.

But there has been no disciplinary action taken against the bumbling, biased police officers involved and no media coverage of the brutal attack.

And, one more thing --"When asked on the phone about the vicious attack, the receptionist at Hillcrest Abortion Clinic refused to give a recorded statement and angrily shouted: “He got what he deserved! He earned what he got!” She then hung up the phone."

The injustice and barbaric violence of abortion breeds more of the same. The rest of this story can be found at the web site of the The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property right here.

Adult Stem Cells Used to Repair Breast Defects

For the first time, doctors have used stem cells from liposuctioned fat to fix breast defects in women who have had cancerous lumps removed.

The approach is still experimental, but holds promise for millions of women left with cratered areas and breasts that look very different from each other after cancer surgery. It also might be a way to augment healthy breasts without using artificial implants. So far, it has only been tested on about two dozen women in a study in Japan. But doctors in the United States say it has great potential.

"This is a pretty exciting topic right now in plastic surgery," said Dr. Karol Gutowski of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "There are people all over the country working on this."...

The rest of this story from Associated Press Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione is here.

Huge Crowds Rally for Pro-Life, Pro-Family Values in Spain; Media Ignores Event

Though ignored by most journalists in Europe and America, there are a few sources which carried news about this dramatic and very significant event. The one printed below, for instance, comes from the Gulf Times of Qatar.

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in central Madrid yesterday on behalf of “the Christian family”, in the first such demonstration organised by the city’s archbishopric. Families pushing strollers, clerics and other believers packed the city’s Plaza de Colon by midmorning, where a parade of speakers defended “Christian family values”. That included Pope Benedict XVI, who briefly addressed the crowd in Spanish from the Vatican during his traditional Sunday Angelus blessing. His image carried on a giant screen erected at the square, Benedict greeted the Spaniards and said it was “worth it to work for the family and for the human being”.

Since coming to power in 2004 – and replacing the staunchly pro-Christian Popular Party – the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has enacted a series of measures that have displeased conservative Catholics. Among them: legalising gay marriage and making it easier for Spaniards to divorce. But facing elections in March and opposition from the Church, Zapatero said on Friday that he would not modify the country’s abortion laws as he had earlier promised.

While arguing he had not organised a political demonstration against Zapatero’s government, Madrid’s archbishop, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, warned of the dangers of a fragmenting family. “In a society where the number of divorces has exploded to almost exceed the number of marriages ... a particularly serious situation has been created that forces us to make a public pronouncement,” he told Spain’s ABC daily in an interview published yesterday.

But the centre-left El Pais newspaper suggested the archbishop’s stance reflected only the views of the “theocons” in the Church, not the country’s entire Roman Catholic community. “The most conservative sectors of the Church have isolated the more moderate ones to increase their power during the Socialist legislature,” the newspaper wrote.

Most Nebraska Legislators Positive to Pre-emptive Ban on Abortion

The majority of Nebraska lawmakers who responded to an Associated Press pre-session survey say they would support an effort to pre-emptively ban abortion in the event that the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is overturned.

Some states have adopted or proposed so-called "trigger laws" -- either automatically banning abortion, or protecting it -- if the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to have an abortion were overturned.

Asked in the annual AP survey whether they would support such a law, 21 Nebraska state senators said they would back a trigger law banning abortion...

Six lawmakers said they would not support such a law, and three -- Sens. Bill Avery of Lincoln Ray Janssen of Nickerson, Lowen Kruse of Omaha -- indicated they would support a trigger law protecting abortion...

Twelve lawmakers declined to participate in the survey.

He of the Long Nose? Mitt Romney's Troubling Exaggerations

Being caught in lies has ended more than one politician's hopes for higher office. Will that be the case with Governor Mitt Romney? Associated Press reporter Glen Johnson writes about Romney's "candor gap" in this Yahoo News story:

As a presidential contender, Mitt Romney has the looks, the money and the campaign machine. He also has something of a candor gap.

When confronted with questions that might conflict with his message of the day or political record, the Republican candidate has shown a tendency to bob and weave or simply dismiss history. He has done so all year, providing an easy target for his opponents...

Romney started the year with a similar example of candor deficiency.

On Jan. 8, when he staged a "National Call Day" to kickoff his campaign, he called a news conference to herald his unprecedented one-day take of $6.5 million. When the multimillionaire was asked whether he might spend his own money on his campaign, Romney said that scenario "would be akin to a nightmare," since he was relying on popular support for his campaign. He added that he reserved the right to donate, though.

In reality, Romney had already donated to his political committee at the time of the question. A campaign finance report he released in mid-April revealed he contributed a $2.35 million check by the time of his "nightmare" comment, starting the prior October.

He has gone on to loan a total of $17.35 million to his committee, although the total could be more. His next report won't be made public until the end of January.

As the year has progressed, there have been more examples, not just of artsy language, but of ignorance of or embellishments about his personal and political history.

In April, Romney said, "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," only to have aides reveal he had gone hunting only twice at the bookends of his life: once, during a summer visit to an Idaho ranch as a 15-year-old, and again, in 2006, when he participated in a big-donor excursion to a Georgia game preserve on behalf of the Republican Governors Association.

A subsequent check with state officials revealed no hunting license for Romney in any of the three states where he has homes, and Romney himself later confirmed he did not own any guns. The ones in his house, which he had mentioned publicly, were owned by his son Josh.

More recently, Romney told a national television audience on Dec. 16 that he had been endorsed by the NRA while running for governor in 2002.

A day after his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney told reporters that he had checked with the gun-rights group "and they said, 'Well, we didn't give you the official endorsement,' but they phone-banked members ... in Massachusetts, encouraging them to support my candidacy, so it was, if you will, a support phone bank, which is not an official endorsement."

The hunting gaffe in particular has provided easy shots for other candidates. "I don't go around saying I was lifelong golfer because I once rode in a golf cart when I was eight years old," Huckabee said, adding that, "You are not going to hear me making up stuff about my biography."

General Petraeus, What's Your Assessment of Iraq Today?

From Ralph Peters' New York Post column:

Gen. David Petraeus evokes the late Warren Zevon's line, "I'll sleep when I'm dead": His idea of downtime on Christmas Day was to answer a series of questions from The Post - after spending 11 hours out visiting our troops.

Relentless in his pursuit of our enemies and tireless in his pursuit of enduring results for Iraq, Petraeus is on track to become America's most successful four-star general since 1945.

Question: As a remarkable year draws to a close, what's your assessment of Iraq today?

A: "Our troopers and our Iraqi partners have wrested control of many of the sanctuaries from al Qaeda in Iraq and disrupted extremist networks throughout the country. Since the 'surge of offensives' began in June, attacks and civilian deaths have decreased by 60 percent.

"Our own losses have fallen substantially, as well - although each loss is a tough reminder of the cost of what's been achieved.

"Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces are making an increasing impact on the battlefield. In the last year, they've not only added over 100,000 new soldiers and police, they've also gained in capability. The Iraqis now have well over 100 combat battalions solidly in the fight - sustaining losses at a rate two to three times our own.

"In 2008, the Iraqis will add some 30 additional battalions to help compensate for our reduction of about one-quarter of our own combat forces by the end of July.

"In some areas of Iraq today, the atmosphere resembles the spring of 2003, with many communities feeling 'liberated' once again - this time from al Qaeda and other extremist elements.

"That said, we should all be clear that what has been achieved could be reversed - the progress in many areas remains tenuous and the campaign to establish sustainable security is far from over. Al Qaeda, associated insurgent groups and militia extremists remain lethal. Nobody here is doing victory dances in the end zone."...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Today's Posts

Divorcées Exhaust the Planet's Resources Faster: Will Environmentalists Start Campaigning for Marriage?

Why Bother About Studying the Bible or Confronting the Cults? I've Got a Big Church Anyhow!

Adult Stem Cells Successfully Fighting Rare Leukemia

How Foreign Laws Are Being Used to Undermine Americans' Freedom of Speech

Pat Sajak Spins the Wheel on Global Warming

Why Is the West Paying Billions to Those Who Would Destroy Israel?

Divorcées Exhaust the Planet's Resources Faster: Will Environmentalists Start Campaigning for Marriage?

The inimitable Theodore Dalrymple comments on a new form of "Separation Anxiety" over at City Journal.

A small item in the British Medical Journal recently caught my eye. It was a brief digest of a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the environmental impact of divorce. Researchers from Michigan found that people in divorced households spent 46 and 56 percent more on electricity and water, respectively, than did people in married households. This outcome is not all that surprising: marriage involves (among many other things, of course) economies of scale.

One of the interesting questions that this little piece of research poses is whether the environmentalist lobby will now throw itself behind the cause of family values. Will it, for example, push for the tightening of divorce laws, and for financial penalties—in the form, say, of higher taxes—to be imposed on those who insist upon divorcing, and therefore upon using 46 percent more electricity and 52 percent more water per person than married couples who stay together? Will environmentalists march down the streets with banners reading SAVE THE PLANET: STAY WITH THE HUSBAND YOU HATE?

For myself, I doubt it. Yet these figures, if true, are certainly suggestive. The fact that there will be no demonstrations against environmentally destructive divorcees, who probably emit as much extra carbon dioxide as the average SUV, suggests that the desire to save the planet is not nearly as powerful as the desire to destroy a way of life.

Why Bother About Studying the Bible or Confronting the Cults? I've Got a Big Church Anyhow!

Here's how bad it has become in the comfort-driven, seeker-friendly movement of American evangelicalism...a movement where the basics of biblical doctrine have been traded in for church growth, ambitious egos, religion as entertainment, a cowardly preference for vagueness and naivety over simple Bible study, and a greater desire for the world's approval than of God's.

...Joel Osteen is pastor of Houston's Lakewood Church, which -- according to Outreach Magazine -- hosts approximately 47,000 people each weekend in a renovated former NBA arena. Two days before Christmas, the best-selling author made an appearance on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace, where he was asked about the role of religion in politics. More specifically, Osteen was asked about the Mormon faith, and whether a Mormon could be classified as "a true Christian."

"In my mind they are," Osteen said. "Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his Savior, and that's what I believe. I'm not the one to judge the little details of [Romney's religion], so I believe [Mormons are Christians] and Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me and I don't think anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like."

When asked about specifics of the Mormon faith, such as the gold tablets allegedly found by Joseph Smith with the so-called "new revelation" from God, and the belief that humans can become gods, Osteen said he did not know enough about the religion's beliefs to comment.

"I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it," the Houston pastor responded. "But from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his Savior, to me that's a common bond."

Adult Stem Cells Successfully Fighting Rare Leukemia

Sam Cook's latest column for The News-Press (Southwest Florida) carried this good news story involving yet another medical intervention using stem cells derived from cord blood.

Caleb Robert Whan, the cancer-stricken kid with bounce-back ability like his fantasy superhero Spider-Man, is making a record recovery. “He needs to stay free of infections and fevers for 100 days,’’ says Rob Whan of his son. “He is coming along real good. He has a runny nose, but the doctor has him on a kick-butt antibiotic to fight it.’’

Caleb, 3, was diagnosed with acute lympoblastic leukemia in August. A week later, doctors also found hypodiploidy mutation, which means leukemia cells have a chromosome mutation that resists conventional chemotherapy.
You can count on both hands the number of acute lympoblastic leukemia with hypodiploidy cases each year.

Facing a 20 percent chance of survival without an umbilical cord stem cell, Duke University doctors performed stem cell rescue Nov. 20. Caleb’s prognosis since the surgery has been good:

• Normally, cells take 14 to 21 days to engraft. Caleb’s white cells took root in 12 days.

• Normally, the patient spends 45 days recovering after surgery. Caleb was released after 21 days Dec. 11...

How Foreign Laws Are Being Used to Undermine Americans' Freedom of Speech

Jed Babbin, the editor of Human Events who served as an Air Force JAG and a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush's administration, has written In the Words of our Enemies; Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States; and Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think. And among his many articles for leading publications is this latest one, a sharp and troubling review of how Muslims and multiculturalists are successfully waging war on free speech.

But not only have the enemies of freedom already won much of the field in Great Britain and Canada, they are now using the British and Canadian courts to stifle our First Amendment freedoms right here!

It's a very important read.

Pat Sajak Spins the Wheel on Global Warming

Pat Sajak's personable, witty ways have made him one of America's favorites and, lucky for us all, he invests those same qualities in his social commentary. A keen example of this is his collection of ten simple but penetrating questions that would bring the alarms over man-made global warming...well, back down to earth. Check it out; copy it down; and pass it on.

The subject of man-made global warming is almost impossible to discuss without a descent into virulent name-calling (especially on the Internet, where anonymity breeds a special kind of vicious reaction to almost any social or political question), but I’ll try anyway. I consider myself to be relatively well-read on the matter, and I’ve still come down on the skeptical side, because there are aspects of the issue that don’t make a lot of sense to me. Though I confess to have written none-too-reverentially on the subject, I want to try to put all that aside and ask ten serious questions to which I have been unable to find definitive answers...

Why Is the West Paying Billions to Those Who Would Destroy Israel?

Diana West examines the "hows, whys and what happens" regarding the latest payments from the West to the terrorist supporters of the Palestinian Authority.

Christmas came early to the Palestinian Authority when the "international community" decided not only to meet PA President Mahmoud Abbas' request for $5.6 billion in aid, but to throw in almost $2 billion more. Why? Did the PA end its terrorist ways? Stop state-sanctioned incitement against Israel and the West? Change Fatah's charter (forget about Hamas) calling for Israel's destruction?

Alas, no, no and no...

We never, ever discuss the Islamic context of "Arab-Israeli" conflicts. But how else can we hope to understand them? Jihad ideology inspires the Arab struggle against Israel. It also explains it. As the only non-Muslim country amid Middle Eastern Dar-al Islam, as the only "dhimmi" nation to reclaim its land once conquered by Islam, Israel's very existence is a religious offense to the "umma," or Islamic community. In this same context, what we call "foreign aid" to the PA may be understood as a form of "jizya," the protection money paid to Muslims by non-Muslims.

But the non-Muslim world prefers not to think like that. We avert our collective eye from the goals of jihad, from the history and teachings of Islam. Instead, we see ourselves as villains -- Israel for its existence, and Israel's supporters for, well, their support for Israel's existence.

In so doing, we create a sinkhole of Western guilt and responsibility for suffering Muslims, in this case in the PA. They suffer not as a consequence of their religio-political bloodlust to destroy the Jews in Israel (the nearest infidels), but because there are Jews in Israel. In other words, it's everyone else's fault but their own. Islam -- particularly, jihadist ideology -- is not to blame. Throw more money down the hole...

The rest of this astute analysis is here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Today's Posts

Tater Tots Too Hot: Idaho Fire Station Catches Fire

President Bush Caves in To Congressional Blackmail/Pork Barrel Spending

Mark Steyn on Benazir Bhutto

Fund-Raising Begins for Bay Area Cord Blood Bank

New Adult Stem Cell Trials Encouraging to Israeli Scientists and Patients Alike

Hollywood Superstar Sued for Sexual Harassment...Again

Disturbing the Peace: Standard Operating Procedure for Liberals

Tater Tots Too Hot: Idaho Fire Station Catches Fire

In the latest installment of "Life Happenings Tailor-Made to be Sermon Illustrations," here's news of an Idaho fire station catching fire:

The safety system intended to prevent fires in Boise fire stations failed at Station 8 because it appears firefighters simply forgot to use it, city officials said.

Boise firefighters at Station 8, 4422 Overland Road, left for a medical call on Christmas Eve only to return to a fire in the station's kitchen that started when a pan of tater tots were left on a hot burner.
The heat from the burner melted the pan and caught some of the cabinets on fire, Assistant Fire Chief Dave Hanneman said...

President Bush Caves in To Congressional Blackmail/Pork Barrel Spending

President Bush, still voicing concern about special-project spending by Congress, yesterday signed a $555 billion bill that funds the Iraq war well into 2008 and keeps government agencies running through September.

Mr. Bush signed the massive spending bill as he flew on Air Force One to his Texas ranch to see in the new year. His signature on the legislation caps a long-running fight with the Democrat-led Congress.

"I am disappointed in the way the Congress compiled this legislation, including abandoning the goal I set early this year to reduce the number and cost of earmarks by half," he said. "Instead, the Congress dropped into the bill nearly 9,800 earmarks that total more than $10 billion. These projects are not funded through a merit-based process and provide a vehicle for wasteful government spending."

"There is still more to be done to rein in government spending," he said. "In February, I will submit my budget proposal for fiscal year 2009, which will once again restrain spending, keep taxes low, and continue us on a path towards a balanced budget. I look forward to working with the Congress in the coming year to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely."

A Bush spokesman, Scott Stanzel, told reporters en route to Texas earlier that the president remained concerned about "Congress' addiction to earmarks."...

Here's the rest of this Washington Times story.

Mark Steyn on Benazir Bhutto

Mark Steyn has some important reflections on Benazir Bhutto in NRO's Corner today.

Fund-Raising Begins for Bay Area Cord Blood Bank

Rick DelVecchio, writing for Catholic Online, describes an exciting development in San Francisco:

St. Cecilia Elementary School students holding red kites they made in memory of Joanne Pang, a St. Cecilia fourth-grader who died of leukemia in 2003 at the age of 9, gathered on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to mark the opening of a $2.5 million fund-raising drive for the first umbilical cord blood bank in the Bay Area.

The Northern California Umbilical Cord Blood Bank will provide stem cells for transplantation into cancer patients as an alternative to bone-marrow transplants, which are in limited supply and are painful for donors and patients. Dr. Jordan Wilbur, a pediatric oncologist, said a quarter of children with leukemia cannot be cured because suitable bone-marrow transplants cannot be found. With umbilical cord blood donated by mothers, “We now have the potential to cure all patients,” he said.

Housed at UCSF Children’s Hospital, the bank is expected to begin taking donations by early 2009. The goal is to have 5,000 or more banked cord blood units within five years, with an emphasis on extensive genetic diversity...

New Adult Stem Cell Trials Encouraging to Israeli Scientists and Patients Alike

Scientists based at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital have broken new ground in the field of stem cell research by injecting sufferers of neurological diseases with therapeutic quantities of cultured adult stem cells.

The Hadassah neurologists, working under the guidance of team leaders Professor Dimitrious Karussis and Prof. Shimon Slavin, the recently retired head of Hadassah's bone marrow unit, extracted stem cells from the hip bone marrow of 26 multiple sclerosis (MS) and amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. After a two-month long process of in vitro cleansing, multiplication and chemical 'tagging', the cells were re-injected into the patients via lumbar puncture.

According to Karussis, the trials were the first in the world to use this type of stem cells. "The sole aim of this study was to explore the feasibility and the safety of this treatment, since it is applied for first time," Karussis told ISRAEL21c.

No adverse effects were noted, and the experiment was deemed a success. Even more encouragingly, patients also displayed anecdotal improvements in clinical symptoms, leading the way for further developments in forthcoming clinical trials.

"Most MS patients reported a stabilization of their condition and some an improvement in function, especially in sphincter control, muscle power in arms, tremor and stability in walking," Karussis said. "ALS patients continued to show signs of deterioration - though at a lesser than previous degree."...

The most recent safety study, says Karussis, marks the first time that such adult stem cells have been injected into human patients. Although the small-scale study lacked a control group, and thus remains highly experimental, it has paved the way for a larger efficacy trial to be held over the course of the next few years...

The research, the scientists say, is significant since most attention in recent years has been paid to therapies using embryonic, rather than mature, stem cells. But unlike embryonic stem cells, this kind of therapy offers practical advantages because the patient can serve as his or her own donor, significantly reducing the chances of immune system rejection. Such an approach also avoids the complex ethical issues invoked when stem cells are obtained from embryonic sources...

Stem cells, Karussis notes, "have already shown some promise in the treatment of joint and bone diseases, immune conditions and ischemia of the heart." And he is optimistic, he says, that MS and ALS will join that auspicious list one day "not far into the future."

Hollywood Superstar Sued for Sexual Harassment...Again

Bad news this week for former hairdresser turned Hollywood power player, Jon Peters.

Peters, as you may know, is the fellow whose life was portrayed by Warren Beatty in the feature film Shampoo, detailing his rise from Barbra Streisand’s hairdresser/boyfriend to becoming the boss of Sony Pictures. Along the way, he's produced such lucrative film successes as A Star is Born, Caddyshack, Flashdance, The Color Purple, Rain Man, Batman, and Superman Returns.

And, oh yes, he's been married four times.

However, his numerous failed marriages and other discontinued affairs may not be the only problems in his love life. Last year, for instance, Peters was sued for sexual harassment by a former personal assistant. That case will finally come to trial this spring.

But on Christmas eve of this year, Peters was again sued for sexual harassment -- this time by three different people.

One case involves a couple, Adriana and Andrew Silveira, who claim that Peters demanded that Adriana have an abortion in order for Andrew to keep his job. When the couple refused, Peters sent the husband an e-mail informing him that he was being fired. The other lawsuit was filed in behalf of Blanca Hernandez who claims that Peters sexually harassed her on a regular basis.

Isn't this kind of boorish behavior over-the-top even for Hollywood?

Disturbing the Peace: Standard Operating Procedure for Liberals

...The liberal activist aspires to be an agent of "progress." In fact, the liberal activist, whether male or female, often calls himself a progressive. Yet through the years, you will spot no coherent system of political values motivating liberal reforms. Sometimes the liberals might be motivated by liberty or equality or fraternity, but sometimes they are not. They may be against censorship, but sometimes dirty words offend the feminists among them, and ethnic slurs arouse other co-conspirators.

There is, however, one political value that can be discerned motivating every one of their legendary reforms, from the ambitious (world peace) to the trivial (the criminalization of trans fats). That value is to disturb one's neighbor, to disturb the peace. In all civilized criminal codes, such behavior constitutes a misdemeanor. Yet it is at the heart of the liberal project...

Read the rest of Emmett Tyrrell's review of the anti-Christmas hysteria that has become such a standard feature of liberalism. It is a witty and wise piece of writing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Today's Posts

Is Fox News Falling Under the Influence?

G.O.P. Candidates Given Poor Marks from Moral Investments Group

Despite the Democrats and the Media, 2007 Was A Very Good Year for George W. Bush

An Overdue Announcement: The December LifeSharer Letter is Published

First Castro, Then Chavez: One Family's Experience with Theiving Tyrants

Putin's Militaristic Hopes vs Putin's Military

Pro-Life Themes in Hollywood Movies Are Making Abortion Zealots Squirm

Is Fox News Falling Under the Influence?

Joe Kaufman writes in FrontPageMagazine about a new and possibly prejudicial influence in the Fox Network.

Fox News has long been considered a beacon to those that distrust televised liberal media, meaning every channel other than Fox. One of the indicators of the station’s right-leaning bent is that it has, for the most part, gotten the ‘War on Terrorism’ correct. However, with the undue influence of a Saudi Prince related to militant causes and with this month’s acquisition of Beliefnet, a religious resource website that proudly promotes radical Islam, signs show that the war coverage may soon be taking a turn for the worse.

In September of 2005, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal purchased 5.46 per cent of Class B voting shares in News Corp, the company that owns Fox News and a number of other media and entertainment entities. This had replaced the three per cent stake in Class A non-voting shares bin Talal had previously held through his investment corporation, Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).

With his newfound voting rights, bin Talal stated his intention of supporting Rupert Murdoch, the principal owner of News Corp, helping Murdoch to stay in power and avoid hostile takeover by other interested investors. Some have said that this was like making a deal with the devil, as Murdoch has been left vulnerable to the whims of an individual that has been involved in despicable causes.

In April of 2002, bin Talal had donated $27 million during a Saudi telethon that was raising money for the families of suicide bombers. As well, he had given $500,000 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to be used towards the distribution and propagation of a set of Islamist books for American libraries. The set included Jamal Badawi’s Gender Equity in Islam, which sanctions the beating of women by their husbands, and a version of the Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s The Meaning of THE HOLY QURAN, which has been banned by the Los Angeles school system.

Utilizing his position of power within Fox News (today, he is the second largest shareholder), bin Talal has worked to influence programming at the station. An infamous example of this was reported in a December 2005 article found in WorldNetDaily, stating:

During the violent street protests in France one month ago, the prince said, Fox News ran a banner at the bottom of the screen that said “Muslim riots.”

“I picked up the phone and called Murdoch ... [and told him] these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty,” al-Walid said.

“Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots.”

This incident was precisely the type of scenario that then-Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani tried to avoid, when after the 9/11 attacks, he rejected a $10 million check from bin Talal for the renovation of New York, that was attached to statements made by the Prince critical of the United States’ relationship to Israel. The question now is how many more incidents, such as the one concerning the French Muslim riots, have occured without the notice of the American public? And how far has bin Talal’s influence been able to reach?...

Here's the rest of Kaufman's disturbing story. As a follow up, you might send along a quick note to Fox News, urging them to maintain the quality, the balance and the forthrightness that Americans have so far appreciated in Fox News. My note (sent to is printed below as an example.

Dear Fox News,

I've just read Joe Kaufman's piece in and I agree with his concerns that the investment strength of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal might be prejudicial to Fox's heretofore excellent news coverage. I urge you to please maintain the quality, the balance and the forthrightness that Americans have so far appreciated in Fox News and to take all pains necessary to avoid the very serious mistake of allowing any investor to unduly affect the completeness and fairness of Fox's news coverage.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Denny Hartford
Director, Vital Signs Ministries -- Omaha, Nebraska

G.O.P. Candidates Given Poor Marks from Moral Investments Group

A report out of the Biblically Responsible Investing Institute (BRII) suggests that the Republican presidential hopefuls have a few items in their stock portfolios that at least some conservative voters are going to find ironic...and bothersome.

BRII spokesman Warren Smith says that Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson are perhaps the "cleanest" in the GOP field when it comes to investing in companies involved in promoting abortion, homosexuality, casino gambling and other practices moral conservatives find unacceptable; Mitt Romney has perhaps the worst.

"You've got Romney again [who is] an owner of Verizon, one of the nation's leading supporters of homosexuality," Smith points out. "You've got Romney, and this is probably one of the most egregious ones, [who] has holdings in J.P. Morgan Chase -- which is not only one of the largest banks in the country, but it is also one of the largest corporate contributors to Planned Parenthood."

Smith contends the stewardship practices of the candidates provide a window into how they would handle the country's business if elected. "We find these activities extremely troubling," he continues. "Especially when it's so easy for these candidates to look at their portfolios and just ream these companies out and instruct their financial advisors not to buy these companies."

Smith also points out the strange fact that Romney owns stock in Anheuser-Busch although the Latter-day Saints do not permit alcohol consumption.

Despite the Democrats and the Media, 2007 Was A Very Good Year for George W. Bush

Against all odds, and despite the usual drumbeat of criticism, President Bush has had a very good year. The troop surge in Iraq is succeeding. America remains safe from terrorist attacks. And the Goldilocks economy is outperforming all expectations.

At his year-end news conference, Mr. Bush stated with optimism that the economy is fundamentally sound, despite the housing downturn and the sub-prime credit crunch. The very next day, that optimism was reinforced with news of the best consumer spending in two years...

Bush's optimism is well-earned, in Congress too. He has stopped a lot of bad legislation on higher taxing and spending. He won on S-CHIP and the alternative minimum tax. He mostly prevailed on domestic spending. And he got much of what he wanted on war funding without any pullout dates.

And he's not yet finished. In the most dramatic statement of his holiday news conference, Mr. Bush said he will not stand for the continuing congressional proliferation of pork-barrel earmarks.

"Another thing that's not responsible is the number of earmarks the Congress included in the massive spending bill," said Mr. Bush. "The bill they just passed includes about 9,800 earmarks. Together with the previously passed defense spending bill, that means Congress has approved about 11,900 earmarks this year. And so I am instructing budget director James Nussle to review options for dealing with wasteful spending in the omnibus bill."

This is huge...

Here's the rest of Lawrence Kudlow's column, courtesy the New York Sun.

An Overdue Announcement: The December LifeSharer Letter is Published

I was just reminded to announce here at the blog that this month's LifeSharer letter, the regular newsletter/commentary/personal update from Vital Signs Ministries is up over at the VSM site.

First Castro, Then Chavez: One Family's Experience with Theiving Tyrants

When Bienvenido Jorajuría could not get into his family's La Quinta ranch in the fertile region of Yaracuy, in north central Venezuela, the Cuban-born rancher felt a familiar frustration. The land was confiscated earlier this year by President Hugo Chávez's government after armed peasants backed by the national guard invaded it, despite the fact that it was in full production.

For Jorajuría, it was the second time his family's land had been expropriated. In 1960, his family's farm in Matanzas, Cuba, was confiscated by Fidel Castro's government...

''My father miraculously escaped from being executed because they accused him of being counterrevolutionary, and he lost the land that he had worked for all his life,'' Jorajuría, 54, told El Nuevo Herald from his recently rented house in Kendall.

''History repeats itself with me,'' he added...

Here's the rest of the story, written by Casto Encado and published in the Miami Herald. I found it while visiting one of my bookmarked "freedom sites," The Real Cuba. (Photo from C.M. Guerrero in El Nuevo Herald.)

Putin's Militaristic Hopes vs Putin's Military

This Ken Fireman article, published over at, deals with the disparity between Vladimir Putin's militaristic ambitions and the actual state of the Russian military. For instance, Russia's armed forces continue to be mired down by old equipment, corruption in the officer corps, a lack of unified philosophy, manpower problems, and financing that still lags far behind the West. Indeed, though Putin has managed to substantially increase Russia's defense budget, the amount remains a small fraction of U.S. spending.

Fireman quotes Zoltan Barany, University of Texas in Austin professor and author of several books about Russia, including this year's Democratic Breakdown and the Decline of the Russian Military, "There is this notion in the West that the Russian army is coming back...They're not back. Things have started to change, but there's a long way to go before they're back, and I don't think they will ever be back like they were.''

Very interesting information. Again, here's the link to Fireman's article.

Pro-Life Themes in Hollywood Movies Are Making Abortion Zealots Squirm

...Hollywood may say abortion is politically correct, but by its action it shows that even there, it really is not. Hollywood risks losing money making movies about other countercultural topics like the war, but not so abortion. It's too disgusting for even them.

There have been 3 or 4 notable movies this last year in which a pregnant character chooses (gasp!) to continue the pregnancy, a course of action that has riled a whole crop of petulant pro-abortion feminists. Read Jill Stanek's take on this phenomena right here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

No blogging today except for this hot holiday tip: there are various inspirational delights awaiting you under The Book Den's Christmas tree. Just flip the pages you'll find under the site's "Christmas" label in its Topics section.

And again, from Claire and I and from the whole team of Vital Signs Ministries, we ask our Lord to grant you a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Today's Posts

Tony Snow Sounds Off

A Worldwide Banking Crisis on the Horizon?

2007 -- A Year of Global Cooling?

Free Speech Victory: Pro-Life Lawsuit Bursts Oakland "Bubble Zone"

How'd the Democrats Do on their Report Card?

Ron Paul's Revealing Overreaction

Tony Snow Sounds Off

Former White House press secretary Tony Snow is interviewed by Reason Foundation senior analyst Shikha Dalmia, his former colleague on the editorial board of the Detroit News. Enlightening reading.

A Worldwide Banking Crisis on the Horizon?

As the credit paralysis stretches through its fifth month, a chorus of economists has begun to warn that the world's central banks are fighting the wrong war, and perhaps risk a policy error of epochal proportions...

York professor Peter Spencer, chief economist for the ITEM Club, says the global authorities have just weeks to get this right, or trigger disaster.

"The central banks are rapidly losing control. By not cutting interest rates nearly far enough or fast enough, they are allowing the money markets to dictate policy. We are long past worrying about moral hazard," he says.

"They still have another couple of months before this starts imploding. Things are very unstable and can move incredibly fast. I don't think the central banks are going to make a major policy error, but if they do, this could make 1929 look like a walk in the park," he adds...

Read the rest of this Telegraph (U.K.) story and you may end up asking Santa for a new mattress to stuff your cash in.

Moral? Be careful, balanced and virtuous in your financial dealings...and don't hang on too tightly to the fleeting riches of this world.

2007 -- A Year of Global Cooling?

Since the mid-19th century, the mean global temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius. This slight warming is not unusual, and lies well within the range of natural variation. Carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere, but the mean planetary temperature hasn't increased significantly for nearly nine years. Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S.

And, making it even tougher for the global warming alarmists is the record low temperatures being set all over the world in 2007 and the resultant tragedies of that dire "global cooling."

Read more from this Washington Times article right here.

Free Speech Victory: Pro-Life Lawsuit Bursts Oakland "Bubble Zone"

Here's some welcome news courtesy of a press release from the Life Legal Defense Foundation --

In the face of a lawsuit brought by Life Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of Walter Hoye, the City of Oakland has agreed not to enforce its new ordinance restricting speech outside abortion clinics. The City Council passed the ordinance on December 18. The next day, LLDF filed suit in federal court to enjoin the ordinance because of its blatant content and viewpoint discrimination. This morning, in a telephonic hearing before Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District, the City agreed not to enforce the ordinance.

This new ordinance made it unlawful, and punishable by up to one year in jail, to knowingly approach within eight (8) feet of any person seeking to enter an abortion clinic, without their consent, to counsel or distribute literature to them and to urge them not to obtain an abortion.

The plaintiff, Walter Hoye, is Executive Elder of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church of Berkeley. Motivated by his moral, religious, and political beliefs, he regularly engages in pro-life counseling and leafleting at the Family Planning Specialists abortion clinic in Oakland.

Bay area attorney Mike Millen, who filed the lawsuit in conjunction with LLDF, said "The City of Oakland was warned that its unconstitutional ordinance restricted free speech and did nothing to protect women. After a very brief conference with a federal judge, the City apparently agrees. The citizens of Oakland need to admonish their city leaders to spend more time dealing with the City's budget deficit and crime problems rather than expending city resources on feel-good laws to please special interests."

How'd the Democrats Do on their Report Card?

As Congress flees Washington for the Christmas break, it is time to issue our end of year report card for the new Democratic leadership. We could be generous and give them an “Incomplete” but an “F” would be more accurate. But don’t take our word for it or the word of liberal columnists like E.J. Dionne who bemoan the Democrats’ performance. The facts speak for themselves.

The Democrats in Congress, despite a year in the majority and facing a president whose approval ratings are historically low, have been spectacularly unsuccessful in achieving items both small and large on their agenda. A combination of overreaching and incompetence on their part and savvy prevent defense by President Bush and Congressional Republicans has spared the country untold grief...

Read the rest of Jennifer Rubin's Human Events article here.

Ron Paul's Revealing Overreaction

Nathan Tabor wryly comments in this Town Hall column about Ron Paul's mean-spirited response to Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad. Interesting reading. Tabor suggests, for instance, that the Congressman's reaction not only shows an excessive and ugly bit of political paranoia but perhaps something even more disturbing.

...Earlier this week, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee released an ad titled “What Really Matters.” In the ad, he referred to “the celebration of the birth of Christ” and wished voters “Merry Christmas.” When Fox News asked Ron Paul for his take on the ad, Paul quoted Sinclair Lewis on “fascism carrying a cross” and accused Huckabee of positioning himself as “the only Christian running [for president].”

Leaving aside the question of whether Sinclair Lewis ever actually wrote what Paul attributed to him, one has to wonder what Paul was thinking.

Such a remark does absolutely nothing to hurt Huckabee; rather, Paul looks unhinged and out of step with the public. After years of politically correct nonsense about “keeping religion out of the public square” and increasingly frivolous lawsuits by the ACLU, many Americans would like to enjoy Christmas absent the intrusion of politics. Paul’s comment dredges up the past few years of the culture wars at a time when most Americans would like to tune out the political horse race in favor of quality time with their families. For a candidate whose claim to fame is his fervent grassroots support, Paul has quite the tin ear.

Worse still, Paul’s comment serves to reinforce the idea that out of the Republican field, Paul’s niche role is “the paranoid guy.” Obviously, an ad wishing voters a “Merry Christmas” has nothing in common with the doctrines of Hitler or Mussolini. Whether or not Paul meant it as such, his insinuation to the contrary is deeply insulting to the millions of Americans who profess to follow Christ.

Taken with other positions of Paul’s, such as his tendency to blame attacks by al Qaeda on American policies, and his dire warnings about the paper dollar and the Federal Reserve, one must seriously question his judgment. Problems such as illegal immigration, the war on terror, and the culture wars are grave matters that will require clear-eyed leadership and a discerning mind. Frankly, the last thing we need is a leader who sees problems where none exist, and views existing problems as impending disasters...

columnist James Pinkerton also weighed in on the matter:

Is Mike Huckabee a fascist? That's the insinuation from Ron Paul, one of Huckabee's rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. And it's a cheap shot. One needn't agree with, or even like, Huckabee to know that throwing around the f-word "fascism" is a low blow.

This story is important, because it speaks to the larger question of whether Christians can fully participate in politics without being slurred. Here's the context: Huckabee ran a TV spot in which the former Arkansas governor wishes Americans a "Merry Christmas." And in the background, there's a windowpane, or some shelving, that looks a bit like a cross.

On Fox News on Tuesday, Paul was asked his opinion of the spot. The Texas congressman declared: "It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He says, 'When fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.' "

Then Paul caught himself a little: "Now, I don't know whether that's a fair assessment or not, but you wonder about using a cross, like he is the only Christian or implying that subtly." It's hard to know if Huckabee was pitching his Christianity. But it's easy to know that Paul smeared Huckabee.

The author Sinclair Lewis is remembered for skewering Protestant evangelicals in his 1927 novel "Elmer Gantry." Then in 1935, Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" took one step further, envisioning a fascist takeover of the United States, led by a cornpone politician in league with religious-radio demagogues. In other words, Paul, by citing Lewis, must have known he was invoking the name of a fiercely biting critic of religion in America. Faith-minded Republicans might take note, as they ponder Paul...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Today's Posts

Are Home Schools the Answer to Culture's Woes?

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

The Sexual Revolution Is Somewhat Embarrassed to Announce: Syphilis is Back

Project Sunlight Shines on New York State

The Sad, Selfish Spiral of Franky Schaeffer

"It's That One Extra Step That Causes Him The Trouble: CBS Highlights Romney's Exaggerations

Emergency Contraception Isn't

Are Home Schools the Answer to Culture's Woes?

Who would revive society if everything collapsed?

Well, according to Kevin Ryan, acclaimed author and professor emeritus at Boston University, the answer is homeschoolers.

Read why in this Mercator article.

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.

The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.

Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking." Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears “bite the dust.” (LINK) In addition, many scientists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" the green movement. (LINK)

This blockbuster Senate report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It also features their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer reviewed studies and original source materials as gathered from public statements, various news outlets, and websites in 2007. This new “consensus busters” report is poised to redefine the debate...

The Sexual Revolution Is Somewhat Embarrassed to Announce: Syphilis is Back

Syphilis is back: The sexually transmitted disease long associated with 19th Century bohemian life is making an alarming resurgence in Europe.

"Syphilis used to be a very rare disease," said Dr. Marita van de Laar, an expert in sexually transmitted diseases at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. "I'm not sure we can say that anymore."

Most cases of syphilis are in men, and experts point to more risky sex among gay men as the chief cause for the resurgence. But more cases are being seen among heterosexuals, both men and women, too.

Syphilis was the sexual scourge of the 19th Century, and is believed to have killed artists like poet Charles Baudelaire, composer Robert Schumann, and painter Paul Gauguin. But the widespread use of penicillin in the 1950s all but wiped it out in the Western world.

In the last decade, however, syphilis has unexpectedly returned, driven by risky sexual behavior and outbreaks in major cities across Europe, including London, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin.

— In Britain, syphilis cases have leapt more than tenfold for men and women in the past decade to 3,702 in 2006, according to the Health Protection Agency. Among men in England, the syphilis rate jumped from one per 100,000 in 1997 to nine per 100,000 last year.

— In Germany, the rate among men was fewer than two per 100,000 in by 2003, it was six per 100,000.

— In France, there were 428 cases in 2003—almost 16 times the number just three years earlier.

— In the Netherlands, cases doubled from 2000 to 2004. In Amsterdam, up to 31 men per 100,000 were infected, while the rate was much lower in other regions.

Similar trends have been seen in the United States.

In 2000, syphilis infection rates were so low that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention embarked on a plan to eliminate the disease. But about 9,800 cases were reported in 2006...

The rest of this gruesome AP story is here.