Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's Posts

Switzerland's Suicide Business: Shabby, Secretive and Sinister

Don't You Think the Government Should Take Over Your Investments?

The Top Ten Reasons to Vote for McCain/Palin.

Gray Lady Down

Want to Keep Your Neighborhood from Burning? Better Vote Democrat.

Keeping One's Balance in the Culture Wars

Irrationality Reigns

Switzerland's Suicide Business: Shabby, Secretive and Sinister

Assisted suicide is an ugly, wasteful, disgusting more ways than just its obvious immorality. This London Times piece (yes, it's the same paper that ran Alois Geiger's disturbing pro-abortion, pro-euthasnasia piece that I posted yesterday) shows the Dignitas' ghoulish guerrilla operation as being anything but dignified.

...Dignitas, which says that it is a nonprofit organisation, has not published its figures since 2004. Its rationale is that it is driven by its members (6,000 have signed up, 700 from Britain) and their desire to control the nature of their death. Yet even Ludwig Minelli, its director, admits that he rules like a “benign dictator”.

There is talk, too, of a “Dignitas Clinic”, which conjures images of crisp Swiss efficiency, mountain air, a kind of peace. The reality is rather more shabby. While the organisation maintains a solid air-conditioned head office in a dormitory suburb of Zurich, the location of the assisted suicides is constantly changing. The present address is a second-floor apartment at Ifagstrasse No 12, an urban wasteland about 15 km (9 miles) from Zurich. Down the road is the Globe brothel, which is garlanded with a dozen flags representing the different nationalities of the girls inside. Near by, a Caribbean club, a Greek internet cafĂ© and, next to the suicide apartment, a place where you can change your car oil.

Switzerland allows assisted suicide by a nondoctor provided that it is not done for profit...

...Gerhard Fischer, of the Evangelical People’s Party, a powerful voice in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, said: “It has got out of control. I’m a farmer but I have to take a course before I so much as inject a calf, yet you don’t need anything at all to send a human to his death. It has become a business.”...

...It was the Waste Disposal, Water and Energy Department that sent a warning to Dignitas about the human remains in Lake Zurich. And it is the local housing authorities that keep Dignitas on the run. Again and again, landlords or councillors have complained that Dignitas, which rents accommodation using the names of individuals, is transforming residential space into commercial space.

The real reason is clear: after someone has killed himself, the police are informed. The coroner and a doctor arrive, watch the video that has been shot shortly before in which the would-be suicide makes clear he is acting of his own free will. Testimony is taken. An “unnatural death” is entered on the forms. While this is going on, an ambulance, usually paid for by the family of the recently deceased, is standing outside, blue lights flashing, ready to carry the body to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Zurich in case a postmortem examination is ordered – and then to join the queue for cremation. It is the remains that are not claimed by families or friends that Dignitas is thought to be dumping...

Don't You Think the Government Should Take Over Your Investments?

This week Argentina’s leftist president, Christina Kirchner, announced she would move forward with her plan to seize the nation’s private pension funds. Kirchner claims government seizure of the funds is needed to protect Argentinians from the global market crisis. But most observers believe her real motive is to use the $30 billion in seized assets to ease the massive debt obligations her leftist spendthrift government has run up. The move is unprecedented even by Argentina’s past socialist standards. Leftist icon Juan Peron called the nationalization of private pensions “theft” in a 1973 public address.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. And Kirchner has eagerly pointed to the unprecedented state interventions in the economy by the U.S. and Europe to help justify her policies. The proposed plan has already sunk Argentina’s markets and sent the Peso to new lows. But how does all this affect you? Enter liberal chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

Earlier this month, Miller held a hearing on how the market crisis has hurt retirement savings plans. Miller wants to allow Americans to trade in their 401(k)s for guaranteed government bonds. Fair enough. So far he isn’t forcing anyone to do anything. But then Miller also added this: “With respect to the 401(k), it appears to be a plan that is not really well-devised for the changes in the market. We’ve invested $80 billion into subsidizing this activity. … [W]e have to start to think about in Congress of whether or not we want to continue and invest that $80 billion for a policy that is not generating what we … say it should.” In other words, Miller believes government owns the money you put into your 401(k) every month, and that it is considered government “spending” when he lets you keep that money. As a result, Miller wants to eliminate $80 billion in tax-savings “rich” Americans receive by investing in their 401(k)s.

But you’re not rich, you say. Well, unfortunately, you don’t get to decide whether or not the IRS considers you rich. Congress and the White House do. And Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been steadily lowering the bar on the definition of who is rich and who isn’t. In July, Obama claimed those who made more than $250,000 a year are rich. Then in an ad called “Defining Moment,” released earlier this month, that definition was lowered to those making more than $200,000 a year. Then in an interview last week, Biden lowered the bar even further, saying an Obama administration could only promise not to raise taxes on “people making under $150,000 a year.”

Like his leftist ally in Argentina, Obama has a laundry list of new spending priorities that are guaranteed to drive up the federal debt. Altogether, Obama is promising at least $4.3 trillion of increased spending and reduced tax revenue over the next 10 years. He’s going to need to take money from someone to make up that shortfall. As Kirchner showed, that someone is you.

(Conn Carroll, "You Thought You Owned Your 401(k)" -- The Foundry at the Heritage Foundation)

The Top Ten Reasons to Vote for McCain/Palin.

Here's a terrific and tangy post to forward to your pals, Mona Charen's Top Ten Reasons to Vote for McCain/Palin.

So go ahead and do it. It's a simple procedure. Just use the simple "envelope-looking" button at the end of this post that's marked "E-Mail This."

Yeah, you see it. So get used to using it, okay? It's a quick, easy way to pass along the Vital Signs posts that you know would be of value to friends, family, pastors, and so on. And with more information, more motivation and more accessible means of response, we really can have a part in changing things.

Gray Lady Down

Last week the New York Times corporation (owner of The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, and 16 other daily newspapers, including the once-esteemed Gray Lady herself) reported a steep drop in third-quarter profits and print advertising. Officials blamed the problem on more subscribers going online but veteran observers noted other reasons, including the over-the-top liberalism of the Times which has disgusted readers and advertisers alike.

With the announcement, this week was bound to be full of bad news for the Times too. And it was -- the company’s stock price dropped 20% . That makes it an 80% fall just since 2004. No surprise that Standard & Poors changed its credit rating on Times' stock to category "BB-" (That's junk status, folks.) while Moody's Investors Service moved the stock's rating outlook from stable to negative.

What might this mean for the New York Times' future?

Well, economist, author, and for 28 years the editor of the financial advice newsletter, Forecasts & Strategies, Mark Skousen believes a dramatic shake-up is imminent. In fact, he predicts that the company "will be restructured, sold or privatized in less than a year," with the paper quite likely to be forced into revising (or reversing entirely) its ideological prejudices.

Here's his reasoning.

Want to Keep Your Neighborhood from Burning? Better Vote Democrat.

Apparently extortion has become an integral part of the Democrats' "audacity of hope" as liberals all over the map are insisting that only racism could lose the election for Barack Obama. Indeed, there are so many forecasts of riots, violent backlash and blood in the streets that some admit they're voting for Obama just to keep things quiet on election night.

But among the wildest and woolliest of these folks is the oft-married, literary celebrity Erica Jong: "If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it's not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets."

As I said in a previous post this morning, irrationality reigns.

For more of Jong's "opinions" as well as descriptions of how her friends Jane Fonda, Ken Follett, Naomi Wolfe and others are holding on, check this out.


Keeping One's Balance in the Culture Wars

Melissa's blog, Our Side of the Mountain, is always a refreshing, reassuring waypoint in my cyberspace traveling for there I find evidence of a Christian family in close touch with God, with each other, with extended family and with the expansive, beautiful creation of our Lord.

And, far from taking a monastic approach to life, this is a loving family that also finds time to engage the culture through intercession, personal advocacy, church involvement, home school education and, of course, the blog.

I describe Our Side of the Mountain to you this morning 1) because I think you'll find it an inspiring reminder of our key priorities, those challenging but joyful duties that are of such immense importance to God no matter what the coming election brings, and 2) as an introduction to two specific items from Melissa. One is her encouragement to sign this e-petition, asking the LA Times to release the videotape they claim to possess showing Barack Obama at a party with radical Palestinian activists, Bill Ayers, and Bernardine Dohrn, being praised by former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi.

And the second item is a video clip she posted on her blog entitled "Get Service" which I highly recommend. It is a thoughtful, winsome reminder to live above our circumstances, emotions and preoccupations. The clip, by the way, was produced and uploaded onto You Tube a few years ago by Fellowship Bible Church out of Little Rock. Good stuff.

Irrationality Reigns

How could a man with no record, no experience, no known convictions and no known core beliefs so mesmerize the millions to turn themselves, their children and their country over to a man armed only with neatly pressed pants, a good shoeshine and a seductive voice? We don't even get the salesman's smile...

Wes Pruden's Washington Times column is definitely not to be missed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today's Posts

I Wish This Was All We Had to Be Scared Of

Obamamania Hits Iran, Hamas, Cuba and Other Devoted Enemies of the U.S.

Stem Cell Expert Leaves England; Blames Insufficient Support for True Science

The Cold Reasoning of a Man Who Kills

Chip Maxwell on Taxes and Merging of Government Services

"The Court Should Not Have Done It All" -- A Remarkable Admission from Justice Ginsburg

Barack Obama Praising Violence Against Israel? Let's Go to the Videotape...Oh, Wait; the LA Times Won't Show It.

ACORN Employee: If Only 40% Were Valid Registrations, That Was "Okay"

I Wish This Was All We Had to Be Scared Of

Obamamania Hits Iran, Hamas, Cuba and Other Devoted Enemies of the U.S.

Last week an enemy of the United States spoke out and endorsed an American presidential candidate – Senator Barack Obama. Taken with other recent developments, voters should be deeply disturbed with this embrace of Mr. Obama’s campaign to become the U.S. commander- in-chief.

Ali Larijani (left) is the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, and was Iran’s representative to the United Nations who kept that international body from taking action regarding Iran’s program to expand its nuclear capabilities. On October 22, Speaker Larijani said that the regime in Iran would like to see Mr. Obama elected president.

Mr. Larijani is not the first hostile foreign leader to endorse or be aligned with Mr. Obama. In April, top Hamas advisor Ahmed Yousef also endorsed Mr. Obama. Mr. Obama’s long-time associate and self-described Marxist, Bill Ayers, actively backs him. Mr. Obama’s mentor and two-decade long spiritual leader, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, traveled to Libya to meet with the controversial Moammar Gadhafi. His church published a pro-Hamas piece on Rev. Wright’s “Pastor’s Page.” The article defended terrorism against Israel and denied Israel’s right to exist.

Mr. Obama’s political alignments are alarming.

Terrorist leaders never endorsed Bill Clinton, or Al Gore, or John Kerry. And to the best of my knowledge, terrorist leaders have never publicly supported a major party presidential nominee—until now...

Here's the rest of Ken Blackwell's compelling column.

Stem Cell Expert Leaves England; Blames Insufficient Support for True Science

(Oh, did I mention the scientist in the case is an ADULT stem cell expert?)

One of the arguments used by politicians and academic officials who aggressively support embryonic stem cell experimentation (like those of the University of Nebraska Medical Center) is the "brain drain" that occurs when top-notch scientists go looking for the most lucrative opportunities to do research. It's always been a specious argument, one based on the politics of raking in grant money rather than the best science, but here's a story showing how the "brain drain" principle may soon become an argument against ESCR.

A renowned British stem-cell expert is to leave the UK to pursue his research in France, claiming that there is insufficient support for his work here.

Colin McGuckin, professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and an expert in adult stem cells, this week hit out at both his university and UK funding agencies. He said that they were prioritising embryonic stem-cell research above work with adult stem cells, despite the more immediate clinical benefits offered by his work.

Professor McGuckin plans to leave for the University of Lyon in January, taking a research team of about ten from Newcastle, including his research partner Nico Forraz. He will open the world's biggest institute devoted to cord blood and adult stem-cell research at Lyon.

Professor McGuckin is the UK's leading scientist working on stem cells derived from babies' umbilical cord blood. This method of extraction yields cells similar to embryonic stem cells, but is far less controversial because no embryo is destroyed in the process. Professor McGuckin, a Catholic, pioneered this method with colleagues in 2005, and has used the cells to grow liver tissue.

Speaking exclusively to Times Higher Education, he said he was leaving because he had to put his patients and staff first. "The bottom line is my vocation is to work with patients and help patients and unfortunately I can't do that in the UK." He said France offered a "much better environment" both to "cure and treat more people" and to "do good work"...

The Cold Reasoning of a Man Who Kills

...I know that many people disapprove of my activities. These people are convinced that no individual has the right to determine the end of his life. They are also sure that a doctor should never prescribe a medication to end life because he is professionally obliged to save life. The Hippocratic oath is what they have in mind.

We doctors today do not swear this oath and there is a reason for that — it is largely out of date...

The oath also forbids giving abortive medication to a pregnant woman. This used to be a risky matter for mothers because their pregnancies were usually well advanced before the foetus was detected. Nowadays an effective and safe drug can end a pregnancy in the early weeks without a problem. The excision of bladderstones is not immoral and the same can be said for a socially approved termination of pregnancy administered by a doctor.

When it comes to prescribing medication to a patient to help end his life, I view the Hippocratic oath in a similar way. With sodium pentobarbital, NaP, we have a drug that gives us for the first time the possibility of allowing a person to swiftly and gently pass away.

And what if there is no God?

The social rejection of suicide does not so much derive from the Hippocratic oath but rather from Christian traditions. Suicide is abhorred by all monotheistic religions. The Christian religion, which has influenced most of us, trusts to God's will in all of life's difficult moments. Only God who gave us life is entitled to take it away, runs the argument. So suicide becomes a sin. But what if this God doesn't exist? For those who do not believe, can there not be arguments for deciding the end of one's life: a life of suffering perhaps, or one blighted by increasing isolation, or the dependency on outside care?...

He needs me for that slip of paper. Is it correct to deny him the indisputably most humane means to determine the end of his life? If I do not help him, do I not play God, taking away from him the option of a gentle and, in his eyes, a rational death?...

I am a gynaecologist and as such help women to give birth. I have helped many children into this world. And I have done so gladly, it has always been an act on the borders of existence, bringing someone new to the world. But it is also part of my job to terminate pregnancies, that is to destroy something that could have led a healthy life. I have done this with less enthusiasm because the decision to end pregnancy is never taken with the knowledge of the creature whose life is about to be ended.

Now I am consciously active at another existential borderline, the voluntary exit from this world. I am not saying of course that suicide is the ideal resolution of a life. But it is just as legitimate as soldiering on to the natural end of a life. Both possibilities should exist — neither course is better than the other. And only those directly affected can decide on which way is the best for them.

If a person is determined to die, that does not mean he is mentally ill. Perhaps he simply does not believe in life after death and has drawn concrete conclusions.

Suicide is a human right. But it is vital not just to have that right but to be able to exercise it, with dignity and without using brutal methods. That can only occur with the medical prescription of Sodium Pentobarbital and with sympathetic human assistance. Suicide-help organisations make this possible.

That is why I am doing what I can to help.

Source: Dr. Alois Geiger, writing in the London Times.

(H/T: BioEdge)

Chip Maxwell on Taxes and Merging of Government Services

Marc Kraft is running for Douglas County Commissioner against the affable and very able Chip Maxwell (photo at right) and because of Chip's experience (8 years in public service, the last stint being a Douglas County Commissioner ), his popularity, and his principles (Chip is an active pro-life conservative), Mr. Kraft has had a hard time coming up with reasons to vote Chip Maxwell out of office.

So, like way too many do in political races, Kraft has taken to inventing issues. Most notably, Kraft is arguing that Maxwell is for higher taxes and a "forced merger" of the City of Omaha and Douglas County.

How does Chip respond?

"I’d like to shift more of your tax burden to sales tax, but only if the property tax is abolished. My opponent forgot to mention that part. Every year I served in the state legislature was a brutal budget crisis, and the pressure was intense to raise taxes. I said no, we should instead use the opportunity to overhaul state spending, especially the nonsensical way we fund K-12 education. Since I joined the county board in 2005, the county’s property tax rate has gone down 8.6%. I’m a tenacious defender of the taxpayer. Any change I advocate will benefit the taxpayer. I’ve proven that in my 8 years in public office, and you can count on me to keep looking out for the taxpayer."

And as for the rather strange charge of backing a "forced merger" of city and county?

"My opponent put out a hit piece on me saying I’m for forced merger of Omaha and Douglas County to create bigger and more expensive government. First of all, there’s no such thing as forced merger. A commission would be formed, there would be public hearings and opportunities for revision, and finally a vote of the people.

There are many ways to put together a merger package that makes sense for the taxpaying public. Other places around the country have done it, and so can we. If my opponent wants to make an issue of merger, that’s fine with me. Government insiders and special interests hate merger. The taxpaying public loves merger. The one time the concept of merger was on the ballot, there was overwhelming support from every corner of Douglas County. 90% of Douglas County residents also live in Omaha. The public understands that we don’t need two houses of local government to manage local services."

So pass these correctives around to your friends and family in mid-town Omaha (Chip's District 5 takes in 36th Street on the east end, Dodge on the south, basically 108th on the west, and Fort Street/Radial on the north) and make sure, that in their choice of Douglas County Commissioner, they're seeing the whole picture.

"The Court Should Not Have Done It All" -- A Remarkable Admission from Justice Ginsburg

Speaking of Roe v Wade, “I think the Court bit off more than it could chew...Of course it has to be the woman’s choice, but the Court should not have done it all. It is dangerous to go to the end of the road when all you see in front of you are a few yards.”

This from...gulp...Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Here's the context.

Barack Obama Praising Violence Against Israel? Let's Go to the Videotape...Oh, Wait; the LA Times Won't Show It.

From today's New York Post editorial:

The Los Angeles Times is standing on what it calls journalistic integrity - a promise made to its source - in refusing to release a 2003 videotape of Barack Obama fulsomely praising a Palestinian apologist for armed "resistance" against Israel.

Pardon our skepticism.

The paper, which has endorsed Obama, said it obtained the tape from "a confidential source" who demanded "that we not release it."
But what of the public's right to know?

Does anyone seriously believe that, as John McCain said yesterday, "if there was a tape with me and Sarah Palin and some neo-Nazi . . . you think that that tape wouldn't be made public?"...

...the founders of The Politico report that "Obama will win the votes of 80 percent or more of the journalists covering the election."

And journalists wonder why Americans don't trust the media.

ACORN Employee: If Only 40% Were Valid Registrations, That Was "Okay"

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the testimony of former ACORN worker Anita Moncrief and it isn't pretty: fraudulent voter registrations (a gang of 'em), lousy training, daily quotas set for ACORN workers registering new voters (you were fired if you didn't get yours done), "muscle for the money" schemes in which the organization would organize protests against corporations, and more.

Carol Hemingway, president of ACORN's Philadelphia chapter, told reporters not to pay any attention to Moncrief, calling the lawsuit a mere trick "to create voter-fraud hysteria and create a preemptive strategy to de-legitimize results of the upcoming election."

But Hemingway did not refer to the cold fact that all across the country evidence has shown ACORN's voter registration prowess (1.3 million so far) marred by huge numbers of illegalities. Invented names and addresses abound in these registrations as do "repeat voters."

Remember the angst, the anger and the convoluted conspiracy theories arising from Florida's hanging chads? Well, this election is looking like it will involve actions much more organized, much more sinister and much more widely spread than anything we experienced then.

And yet the judges, the media and, so far, the American public are yawning through the crisis.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today's Posts

Dumbed-Down Voters: The Country's Future Is in the Wrong Hands

Obamedia's Five "Most Shameful Biases and Notorious Blunders"

"Dear Eliot" -- The Power of Loving Faith

Denying Personhood Is Part of a Spiteful, Sadistic Tradition

R.I.P. Objective Journalism

Dumbed-Down Voters: The Country's Future Is in the Wrong Hands

...Economist Bryan Caplan, author of "The Myth of the Rational Voter", points out, "the public's knowledge of politics is shockingly low." He scoffs at the idea that "it's everyone's civic duty to vote. This is very much like saying, it's our civic duty to give surgery advice," Caplan said. "We like to think that political issues are much less complicated than brain surgery, but many of them are pretty hard. If someone doesn't know what he's talking about, it really is better if they say, look, I'm going to leave this in wiser hands."

Isn't it elitist to say only some people should vote?

"Is it elitist to say only some people should do brain surgery? If you don't know what you're doing, you are not doing the country a favor by voting."...

Here's more of John Stossel's provocative column "A Duty Not to Vote?"

Obamedia's Five "Most Shameful Biases and Notorious Blunders"

Want to read Michelle Malkin's list of the year's five "most shameful biases and notorious blunders" of Obamedia? Of course you do. So here it is.

But be forewarned -- neither Ms. Malkin or I can be held responsible for what reading that list might do to your blood pressure.

"Dear Eliot" -- The Power of Loving Faith

The testimony of little Eliot Hartman Mooney and his family and friends is a very powerful one -- a story of life lived with courage, compassion and trust in the goodness of God. An inspiring video clip (6 minutes) comes via Igniter Media and can be viewed right here.

My thanks to my pastor (yes, I preach every week at another church but I still have a pastor) who sent this compelling video my way. I appreciate it, Dan.

By the way, if you found this video as moving as I did, you will undoubtedly appreciate reading the eulogy Eliot's father presented at the funeral. It is here. And, if you'd like to keep up with Eliot's parents and their ongoing adventures, here is their blog fresh with news of another baby, an appearance on Oprah this Friday and more.

Denying Personhood Is Part of a Spiteful, Sadistic Tradition

From Edward Cardinal Egan and published in the newsletter of the Archdiocese of New York comes a plainly-worded, profoundly important appeal. I encourage you to forward this post to many.

The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.

Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated...

Adolf Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings. Joseph Stalin did the same as regards Cossacks and Russian aristocrats. And this despite the fact that Hitler and his subjects had seen both Jews and homosexuals with their own eyes, and Stalin and his subjects had seen both Cossacks and Russian aristocrats with theirs. Happily, there are few today who would hesitate to condemn in the roundest terms the self-deceit of Hitler, Stalin or even their subjects to the extent that their subjects could have done something to end the madness and protect living, innocent human beings.

It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing—and approving—with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers. We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets. Nor can we honorably cover our shame (1) by appealing to the thoughts of Aristotle or Aquinas on the subject, inasmuch as we are all well aware that their understanding of matters embryological was hopelessly mistaken, (2) by suggesting that “killing” and “choosing to kill” are somehow distinct ethically, morally or criminally, (3) by feigning ignorance of the meaning of “human being,” “person,” “living,” and such, (4) by maintaining that among the acts covered by the right to privacy is the act of killing an innocent human being, and (5) by claiming that the being within the mother is “part” of the mother, so as to sustain the oft-repeated slogan that a mother may kill or authorize the killing of the being within her “because she is free to do as she wishes with her own body.”

One day, please God, when the stranglehold on public opinion in the United States has been released by the extremists for whom abortion is the center of their political and moral life, our nation will, in my judgment, look back on what we have been doing to innocent human beings within their mothers as a crime no less heinous than what was approved by the Supreme Court in the “Dred Scott Decision” in the 19th century, and no less heinous than what was perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in the 20th. There is nothing at all complicated about the utter wrongness of abortion, and making it all seem complicated mitigates that wrongness not at all. On the contrary, it intensifies it.

Do me a favor. Look at the photograph again. Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of “legalized” abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.

R.I.P. Objective Journalism

Jim O'Neill, writer, former Navy frogman and SEAL, and member of MENSA, deftly weighs in on the "death of journalism" theme in this Canada Free Press column.

...Sean Hannity has said that “Journalism is dead,” by which Hannity means that “objective journalism” is dead—journalism that attempts to be fair and balanced.
In its place we have “partisan journalism”—journalism that acts as a mouthpiece for a particular party, candidate, or social agenda.

Okay, we have partisan journalism. The question is, why is almost all journalism—liberal journalism? Why is the main-stream media (MSM) almost universally in the tank for Obama?

Look at some figures. Pew Research – considered the “golden standard” of polls – recently confirmed that 70% of Obama’s press coverage is POSITIVE. The same poll showed that 60% of MSM’s coverage of McCain has been NEGATIVE.

The MSM doesn’t just give us biased or slanted news – they feed us “news” with quote marks around it. It’s partisan propaganda, pure and simple...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today's Posts

If Objective Journalism Hadn't Already Died, It's Certainly Passed On Now

Barack Obama: The Socialist's Dream Date

Suffering from Clinical Depression? The "Mercy Killers" Have Just the Solution for You.

Choice Hotels Reverse a Bad Choice

What Lies Ahead?

If Objective Journalism Hadn't Already Died, It's Certainly Passed On Now

Michael Graham over at the Boston Herald tells you what you already know but there's still good reasons to read his column, including examples will make for great re-telling at the water cooler.

Did you see that amazing video obtained by the Los Angeles Times of Sen. Barack Obama toasting a prominent former PLO member at an Arab American Action Network meeting in 2003? The video in which Obama gives Yasser Arafat’s frontman a warm embrace, as Bill Ayers look on?

You haven’t seen it? Me, neither. The Los Angeles Times refuses to release it.

And so an incriminating video of Obama literally “palling around” with PLO supporters becomes one more nail in the coffin of “objective journalism.”

Alas, the obit for objective reporting has been buried - along with the stories about Obama’s 2001 support for court-imposed “redistribution of wealth” and Joe Biden’s latest gaffe...

So it is particularly heartbreaking for me to see the death of objective journalism. And believe me - it is stone cold dead. Sacrificed on the altar of service to Barack Obama.

Former New York Times [NYT] columnist and veteran newspaperman Michael Malone knows it.
“I’ve begun - for the first time in my adult life - to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living,” he said...

Barack Obama: The Socialist's Dream Date

Robert Alt has a measured, yet still frightening, column here in the New York Post about the depth of Barack Obama's commitment to the redistribution of wealth in America.

Yes, an Obama presidency will be a great tragedy for Americans who speak for preborn babies, for natural marriage, for the need to effectively protect the United States from her many enemies, and for the rights of free speech and religion.

But for socialist radicals like Bill Ayers who want to wreck what's left of America's economy and eliminate entrepreneurship, open markets and free enterprise? Barack Obama is most definitely their dream date.

Suffering from Clinical Depression? The "Mercy Killers" Have Just the Solution for You.

One in four terminally ill patients in Oregon who opt for physician-assisted suicide have clinical depression and the Death with Dignity Act may not be adequately protecting them, concludes a study in the British Medical Journal.

The extent to which psychiatric disorders may influence patients' choices to hasten death is hotly debated. Under the 1997 act, doctors are supposed to refer patients to a psychologist or psychiatrist if there is concern that their judgment might be impaired. However, it is well-known that health care professionals often fail to recognise depression. In 2007, none of the 46 Oregonians who died by lethal ingestion were evaluated by a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University assessed 58 Oregonians who were terminally ill and had requested physician assisted suicide or contacted an aid in dying organisation to determine if they had depression or anxiety. They found that some did. Fifteen met the criteria for depression and 13 for anxiety. Forty-two patients had died by the end of the study, including at least three who met the criteria for depression.

The authors point out that "the current practice of Death with Dignity Act may not adequately protect all mentally ill patients" and they have called for "increased vigilance and systematic examination for depression among patients who may access legalised aid in dying."...

(Source: Science Daily, October 8)

Choice Hotels Reverse a Bad Choice

The frequent "Taking Action" posts appearing on this blog suggest how important a responsibility we believe citizen advocacy is -- an importance profoundly increased for Christians who are called to be salt and light in their enveloping culture.

And, as we have seen over the last 30 years of working in pro-life, pro-family causes, the effect of our phone calls, letters and conversations can be tremendous. In fact, we can't figure out why Christians continue to take their powers of influence so lightly.

But even a few can make a significant difference.

Case in point? The despicable partnership between New Jersey abortionists and a couple of Choice Hotels that we spoke of last Friday has ended. And the sole cause is the heat generated by pro-life advocates over the matter.

Family Research Council received this message from Choice Hotels just two days after their publicizing the matter:

"'A copy of the Washington Update (dated October 22, 2008)... recently crossed my desk. It referenced two hotels within the Choice Hotels franchise system. The email message highlighted your organization's concerns regarding these hotels, and I wanted to take this opportunity to respond to you directly as this issue has been resolved. The Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, upon reflection, has ended the practice of offering special rates to patients of the Cherry Hill Women's Center... we do try to be sensitive to issues and questions raised when it is within our power to do so and we are happy to provide you with this positive update...' Sincerely, Anne Madison, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Choice Hotels International, Inc."

Way to go, Choice Hotels. Way to go, FRC. And way to go, to all of you who responded to the call.

What Lies Ahead?

It's a very scary prospect. But after the MSM, Hollywood and the government schools have had their way for two generations, what else can we realistically expect?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Until Tomorrow

I'm afraid we are still very much occupied with moving my Mom into a nearby assisted living apartment and so I'm passing on blog business until tomorrow morning. See you then.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blogging Lapse

Yesterday's absence of blogging here at Vital Signs (not to mention posting just one today, an important one, though) comes because of an especially hectic schedule: a rushed visit to a hospital emergency room yesterday (our friend is okay now), hosting my youngest brother and his wife in from Colorado, detailed meetings with the people from the assisted living apartment where my Mom becomes a resident on Monday and, most hectic of all, moving her furniture and other belongings out of her current 2-bedroom townhouse.


I'll be back at it Monday. Meanwhile do take a look at the following post and take appropriate action. Thanks.

Abortion Hotels?

From the Family Research Council comes a sickening report about two New Jersey motels catering to local abortionists...and how you can effectively protest this bizarre behavior.

Women certainly don't profit from abortion, but the Quality Inn in Maple Shade, New Jersey does. In a story that has rattled the local community, New Jersey Right to Life confirmed this week that two area hotels are offering discounted rooms to women who can prove they've had an abortion. Both the Clarion Hotel in Cherry Hill and the Quality Inn in Maple Shade reduce room rates by up to $50 for girls with a receipt from the nearby abortion center. The Quality Inn even goes so far as to give away "free pancake and egg breakfasts" to girls who can produce a stamped clinic pamphlet.

According to volunteers from the area's "40 Days for Life" campaign, many of the patients leaving the Cherry Hill clinic are "alone, crying, and in extreme pain." After their digoxin injections, these mothers are sent home or to area hotels to wait for their babies to die. The next day, they return to the clinic to deliver their dead children. Do these area inns really want to facilitate the killing process? And, from a legal standpoint, are they prepared to incur the liability if any medical complications arise? Unfortunately, the reason these women need a place to stay is because the clinics don't care enough about their health to monitor them overnight, despite the medical risks. That should be a clear signal to these hotels that local abortionists are harming women.

Of course, the hotels may honestly believe that theirs is a compassionate offer. But even with the best of intentions, a discount like this only makes it more affordable for young girls to cross state lines for an abortion. As the Right to Life branch accurately points out, New Jersey doesn't have a parental notification law on the books, making it an even more attractive location for young girls who want to obtain an abortion without ever calling home.

Ironically, both the Quality Inn and the Clarion are part of an umbrella corporation called Choice Hotels International. Join us in urging the Choice chain to choose life. Call the company toll-free at 800-300-8800 or log on to In the upper right corner, you'll see a tab for "customer support." Click through to voice your concerns. Rather than play a disturbing role in promoting abortion, encourage this company to start stocking pamphlets from nearby pregnancy resource centers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Today's Posts

Have You Started Packing Your Christmas Box Yet?

Excuse Me, Doctor. But Your Donor Isn't Dead.

Assisted Suicide Was NOT "His Only Viable Option"

Obama Lawyer: Protecting Voter Fraud & Silencing Freedom of Speech

Is James Dobson the Reason for Colin Powell's Endorsement of Barack Obama?

Huge Ad Buys and a Huge Media Sellout -- The G.O.P. Is In Trouble

Have You Started Packing Your Christmas Box Yet?

It's getting that time of year again...the time to pack your boxes for the wonderful gospel outreach of Operation Christmas Child!

Learn more about how to get your family and church involved right here at the Samaritan's Purse web site.

Excuse Me, Doctor. But Your Donor Isn't Dead.

I've drawn attention here on Vital Signs to the ethical problems related to "brain death" and organ donation a few times this year: Is "Mostly Dead" Enough When It Comes to Taking Organs?, Surprise, Surprise: "Brain Death" Isn't Death, First, Do No Harm...Unless You Can Get Good Value Out of that Guy's Organs, and Hastening Death to Get the Organs. In doing so, I've noted that this long-kept secret of taking organs from donors who are, uh...not dead yet..seems to finally leaking out to the general public. Not like it should...but it's starting.

Here is yet another instance. It is a report about an Australian doctor who believes that taking organs earlier than actual death is, in fact, acceptable. But when he wrote an article in the Journal of Law and Medicine which honestly explained the medical facts and then simply suggested that the public be better informed about the matter -- well, he learned how seriously bothered other medicos can get when the "brain death" myth gets busted in public.

Assisted Suicide Was NOT "His Only Viable Option"

From the moment that Daniel James drank the milky liquid and laid his head on the pillow, there was no going back. Within minutes his eyes had closed, his breathing slowed and then he was dead, his once-vigorous body peacefully but lethally shut down by the barbiturate solution he had swallowed.

Such is the scene at Dignitas, the Swiss clinic that offers assisted suicide, where Daniel died last month. Nan Maitland, who has previously accompanied somebody committing suicide at Dignitas, said: “It takes place in a flat, very plainly furnished and decorated but extremely nice. It is a new place...

His family issued a heartfelt statement. “His death was an extremely sad loss for his family, friends and all those that care for him, but no doubt a welcome relief from the ‘prison’ he felt his body had become.”

In addition, his mother said: “He couldn’t walk, had no hand function, but constant pain in all of his fingers. He was incontinent, suffered uncontrollable spasms in his legs and upper body and needed 24-hour care.

“While not everyone in Dan’s situation would find it as unbearable as Dan, what right does any human being have to tell any other that they have to live such a life, filled with terror, discomfort and indignity?”

Julie James said Dignitas had been her son’s only viable option...

He could not move from the chest down and lost the use of all his limbs. Unable to make the enormous mental adjustment from robust athlete to tetraplegic, he became convinced that he wanted to end his life. His condition, however, meant that he could not commit suicide, unless he chose the long and painful horrors of starvation. Instead, he wanted help.

To opponents of euthanasia, the help he should have had was not from Dignitas. They believe he should have had help to rediscover hope and to live a new kind of life.

“This young man, Daniel James, did not need help to kill himself: he needed help to live with severe disability,” said Dr Peter Saunders of the Care Not Killing Alliance, which campaigns against assisted suicide. “It is most unfortunate that he fell into the hands of Dignitas when he did. He was still very much in the acute stage of loss and he was also almost certainly profoundly depressed. It is a terrible tragedy.”

Saunders added: “What is needed is a more positive outlook in caring for people’s physical and spiritual needs. People can come through these difficulties.”

One who did was Roger Addison, who, as a promising 21-year-old rugby player for Pontypool, was paralysed in a scrum in 1966. Now 63, he resides at a Cardiff hospital, attended by family and rugby friends. His determination to live appears unwavering after 40 years of serious disability.

“Roger has this huge belief that he is here for a purpose,” said Arthur Crane, an official at his old club. “He has been an inspiration.” ...

(Source: The Times (U.K.), October 19)

Obama Lawyer: Protecting Voter Fraud & Silencing Freedom of Speech

From Conn Carroll over at the Foundry (The Heritage Foundation's always illuminating blog):

Want a preview of what an Obama Department of Justice would look like? Look no further than Obama for America general counsel Bob Bauer’s letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey last Friday. Bauer wants the special prosecutor investigating the U.S. attorney firings to start investigating John McCain, Sarah Palin and other Republicans such as Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Their crime? Calling on our nation’s law enforcement officers to investigate widespread reports of vote fraud...

Is James Dobson the Reason for Colin Powell's Endorsement of Barack Obama?

In an article in which leftist journalist Max Blumenthal acts as if he was present at meetings (that he wasn't) and sees into people's minds and motives (which he can't), he blames James Dobson and Sarah Palin for driving Colin Powell into the arms of Barack Obama. And, not surprisingly, in doing so, Blumenthal gets a lot of his own sputtering indignation towards "the Christian Right" off his chest.

...Over a decade ago, when General Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, emerged as the Republican Party’s most popular figure, James Dobson targeted him, fearing his political ascendancy might spell doom for the party’s anti-abortion wing. Dobson’s tactics ranged from threatening conservative movement leaders who dared to praise Powell’s political potential, to devoting an entire broadcast of his top-rated radio show to attacking Powell’s advocacy of condom use. Dobson and his minions laid the groundwork for Powell’s castigation from the Republican Party. Yet by helping to force Powell into the wilderness, Dobson may have also provoked his momentous act of political vengeance...

Huge Ad Buys and a Huge Media Sellout -- The G.O.P. Is In Trouble

The editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer emphasizes a glaring fault in the American political game. Combined with the hypnotized media's devotion to Barack Obama and the Democrats, the Republican Party is in very deep trouble.

So too is the country.

Here's a bit of the editorial.

Anyone with a TV can see proof daily that the presidential public-financing system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Democrat Barack Obama spent more than $3 million last month on TV ads in Pennsylvania, enabling him to run a wide variety of TV commercials seemingly nonstop...

In Indiana, he is outspending McCain 20-to-1. In North Carolina, the Democrat has spent nearly six times as much as the Republican on TV commercials.

This unbalanced playing field was created by Obama, the first major-party nominee to reject public financing in the general election since the system was created in 1974. Democrat Hillary Clinton also would have turned down public money, had she won the nomination. Their party is accustomed to being outspent by the Republicans.

Obama backed out of his earlier pledge to accept public money when it became clear just how much he could raise, helped by the Internet. He was already shattering presidential fund-raising records before he brought in a whopping $150 million in September...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today's Posts

Catching Up with The Book Den

Proposition 8. Will Marriage Prevail?

Should Science Be Free from Ideology?

Out of Iran

Christians Under Fire in India and Iraq

What If It Were a Republican Who Had Ties to a Domestic Terrorist?

Why Are There More Global Warming Skeptics Nowadays?

Yet More Evidence of the Obama/Ayers Friendship -- The Friendship Obama and the MSM Keep Lying About

Catching Up with The Book Den

Every once in awhile I take in hand the backlog of my "literary blogging" over at The Book Den. I did so last night with a zipped-through catch-up post that, even if it wasn't very thorough or complete, brings me to the present. Finally.

The post covers a whole lot of stuff in just a few paragraphs but the readers among you might find it of some interest as the authors mentioned include Chesterton, John Buchan, Dickens, Robert Novak, Rafael Sabatini, P.D. James, Victor Hugo, Neville Shute, Mark Steyn, Hillare Belloc, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Anthony Trollope, H. Rider Haggard, Alexander Dumas, Conan Doyle, and a few more.

Proposition 8. Will Marriage Prevail?

Next to the presidential election,
California Proposition 8 is the
most important vote in America.

Huh? Well, tell me then --
just what is Proposition 8 and why are the stakes so high?

Here's Dennis Prager with the answers.

Should Science Be Free from Ideology?

The latest newsletter of Nebraskans Concerned for Ethical Research is ready to read right here. You'll see there's some changes going on with this excellent organization, changes that will improve and extend their very important work. Check it out. And especially note this quick-hit item...

Your Turn: Questions from the Public

In this space, we feature actual questions we get from phone calls, e-mails, and road shows. Please contact NCER with a question you would like answered in this space.

Q: Shouldn’t science be free to go wherever it can without interference from concerns
based on ideology?

A: Ideology comes from the Greek words for “idea” and “word.” An ideology is a coherent
expression of ideas united by a guiding ethic. There’s no such thing as “neutral” research, especially when human life is involved.

Ethical research requires that two questions be answered: 1) Can we do it? 2) Should we do it? If research is to be an ideology-free zone, shall we scrap the Nuremberg Code on research involving human beings? It was established to prevent experimental horrors such as those perpetrated by the Nazis.

What about the Declarations of Helsinki and Geneva, and other impositions of ideology on research? What about the Institutional Review Board at the University of Nebraska Medical Center? UNMC says the IRB was established “to assure the protection of all human subjects in research projects.”

More ideology.

Fortunately, as you see in the pages of
this newsletter, ethical ideology and progress are not mutually exclusive.

Out of Iran

Christians Under Fire in India and Iraq

Prayer Digest reports that violent persecutions of Christians are escalating in Orissa, India. Hundreds of churches and thousands of Christian homes have been burned down and some 60,000 or more are living in refugee camps or hiding out in the forest. Forced "conversions" to Hinduism from knife-wielding thugs are common with local police said by many to actually be accomplices in the violence.

Meanwhile, another false (and brutally coercive) religion is behind the persecution of Christians in Iraq. Several thousand Christians (almost half of the Christian population of Mosul in northern Iraq that remains a stronghold of al Qaeda.) have fled the city after attacks upon them by violent Muslims. Christian homes have been firebombed. Christians have been murdered on the streets. And the threats of even more violence are growing.

Pray for those suffering. Pray they will stay faithful. Pray for peace, justice and spiritual power.

What If It Were a Republican Who Had Ties to a Domestic Terrorist?

Doug Patton takes an interesting angle on the Bill Ayers/UNL fiasco in his latest column. Check it out right here.

Why Are There More Global Warming Skeptics Nowadays?

From Lorne Gunter's "Thirty Years of Warmer Temperatures Go Poof" in the National Post (Canada) comes these remarkable paragraphs:

In early September, I began noticing a string of news stories about scientists rejecting the orthodoxy on global warming. Actually, it was more like a string of guest columns and long letters to the editor since it is hard for skeptical scientists to get published in the cabal of climate journals now controlled by the Great Sanhedrin of the environmental movement.

Still, the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly. Because a funny thing is happening to global temperatures -- they're going down, not up...

Prior to the past decade of climate hysteria and Kyoto hype, the MWP (Medieval Warm Period) was a given in the scientific community. Several hundred studies of tree rings, lake and ocean floor sediment, ice cores and early written records of weather -- even harvest totals and censuses --confirmed that the period from 800 AD to 1300 AD was unusually warm, particularly in Northern Europe.

But in order to prove the climate scaremongers' claim that 20th-century warming had been dangerous and unprecedented -- a result of human, not natural factors -- the MWP had to be made to disappear. So studies such as Michael Mann's "hockey stick," in which there is no MWP and global temperatures rise gradually until they jump up in the industrial age, have been adopted by the UN as proof that recent climate change necessitates a reordering of human economies and societies...

Don Easterbrook, a geologist at Western Washington University, says, "It's practically a slam dunk that we are in for about 30 years of global cooling," as the sun enters a particularly inactive phase. His examination of warming and cooling trends over the past four centuries shows an "almost exact correlation" between climate fluctuations and solar energy received on Earth, while showing almost "no correlation at all with CO2."

An analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, Michael J. Myers of Hilton Head, S. C., declared, "Man-made global warming is junk science," explaining that worldwide manmade CO2 emission each year "equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration ... This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun's radiation. This is an insignificantly small number."

Other international scientists have called the manmade warming theory a "hoax," a "fraud" and simply "not credible."

While not stooping to such name-calling, weather-satellite scientists David Douglass of the University of Rochester and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville nonetheless dealt the True Believers a devastating blow last month.

For nearly 30 years, Professor Christy has been in charge of NASA's eight weather satellites that take more than 300,000 temperature readings daily around the globe. In a paper co-written with Dr. Douglass, he concludes that while manmade emissions may be having a slight impact, "variations in global temperatures since 1978 ... cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide."

Moreover, while the chart below was not produced by Douglass and Christy, it was produced using their data and it clearly shows that in the past four years -- the period corresponding to reduced solar activity -- all of the rise in global temperatures since 1979 has disappeared.

It may be that more global warming doubters are surfacing because there just isn't any global warming.