Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today's Posts

Nanny State Updates: Profiles of the Tedious Tyranny of Our Times

Yesterday I pointed out the latest episode of local townships in Great Britain snooping into the waste habits of their citizens. But the seditious power grab is very much underway on this side of the Pond too.

From the "How on Earth Has It Come to This?" file:

* Nanny State bureaucrats have outlawed junior high school students from walking or biking to school! This story from Sarosota Springs, New York, suggests that the school district rules might change because of the publicized "civil disobedience" of one kid but, for crying out loud, school officials shouldn't even be in the picture here. Consider the arrogance of educational officials presuming that these rights are theirs to confer or deny. Amazing. And quite wicked.

* The Wall Street Journal describes Team Obama as denying that they represent a Nanny State mentality. But they will accept being a "Nudge State" -- "a government that gives citizens the freedom to make choices, but arranges those choices in ways designed to leverage their lethargy for their own good, or the common good. It's like a parent who puts a bowl of fruit within easy reach while stashing the cookies inconveniently on the pantry's top shelf....But Mr. Obama's efforts go beyond exhortations to a wide-ranging series of policies ready to warn you off bad behavior and favor good choices."

* In Irving Township, Michigan, state social workers are threatening legal action (with all the fright, notoriety and expense which that involves) against a good neighbor who has been letting the kids of three fellow Moms come into her home for an hour before they climb onto the school bus. You see, the Nanny State doesn't want to merely control these kids in the eight hours it already has them, they want to control their lives (and their parents' too) before and after. And so they're going after a responsible, caring mother and friend, threatening to sick the police on her for operating an "unlicensed day care center."

* But my favorite example remains one that surfaced a couple of years ago in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, where senior citizens living in the public housing at the Francis Gardens complex were ordered by the powers that be (this particular "bureaucrat bully" was Dennis Osborn, director of the Shrewsbury Housing Authority) that they could no longer have the following on their porches or patios: (Are you ready for this?) No chairs, no tables, no flowerpots, no wind chimes, no flags, no mobiles, no birdhouses and, just to make sure, no "similar items." Furthermore, the entryways were to be completely cleared. No floor mats, no throw rugs, no welcome mats, no wall hangings, no coat racks, no shelves, no furniture of any kind or size, no umbrella stands, no plants, and no folding grocery carts.

And, oh yes; no Christmas decorations.

Tenants had five days to get rid of their things. Otherwise the thugs who work for the Housing authority were poised to confiscate and get rid of them personally.

Osborn said he proposed the rules because clutter at the complex had reached hazardous proportions. (Oh yeah, those wind chimes and chairs can be deadly.) But the senior citizen residents had ignored the twerp. Osborn said. "They don't want to change at all."

Osborn got his way and the Nanny State policies he utilized were successful in removing some of the basic pleasures of these senior citizens. But that didn't stop him from wanting more power. The following year he insisted that a pretty crabapple tree adored by the residents had to be chopped down.

Osborn wanted to put a trash bin there.

But Lea Perrone (74), Pat Henry (65) and Ethel Casey (85) decided to fight for their tree. They tied themselves together with rope which was strung through patio chairs and then around the crabapple tree to prevent it from being cut down.

For their efforts, Osborn evicted them along with Helen Jarzobski (93) who refused to bring in her chair from her patio. Indeed, her grandson chained it to a pole. Said Jarzobski of Osborn, "He wants me to bring my chair out every morning and bring it back in at night. Well, I use a walker. There's no way I can do that. Any man that will stoop that low to evict a 93 1/2-year-old woman who has lived here 32 years over a chair has got to be sick."

Sick isn't the only word that comes to mind, is it?

The eviction was fought and beaten back by Christopher M. Uhl, a Worcester lawyer working pro bono. He intervened with a restraining order for Housing Authority officials "to cease and desist from their idiotic actions." Said Uhl, "I guess they have nothing to do but harass these 80- and 90-year-old people. You can't even fly an American flag outside your home? Just let them live the way that they want to live."

He won and the court refused to evict the ladies.

But Lord Osborn continues his petty tyranny there. As Mrs. Henry put it, "Old people can't carry their chairs and tables in and out every day. We all like to sit and have our breakfast and suppers out here and enjoy this beautiful weather. Any man that bullies old people is a punk."

But punks like this abuse their authority every day, enjoying the opportunity to push people of all ages and all walks of life around. And rather than punishing such brutes and defending the rights of citizens as American law and Judaeo-Christian moral standards once did, the secular Nanny State actually encourages these outrages.

So do we roll over and let these scalawags take our country? Or do we, like these brave role models, find a tree and some lawn chairs to strap ourselves to as we fight back for what is right?

What's This? That "Guy in the Neighborhood" (Bill Ayers) Wrote Barack Obama's Autobiography?

It is now abundantly clear that the image of Barack Obama sold to the American electorate was tightly edited, air-brushed, and exaggerated. He has worn a series of masks -- eloquent orator, brilliant scholar, centrist, and literary sensation. All of these masks are coming off as he copes with a job for which image will not suffice. For instance, hiding behind the eloquent orator mask is a guy who says "uhh" a lot when he is winging it, and who makes lots of factual and grammatical mistakes.

Now, thanks to Jack Cashill, the literary mask has been removed. Obama is a literary pretender. Case closed. The evidence is overwhelming that Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams from my Father, the book which established Obama's pose as a brilliant writer (and therefore a fine mind, in the estimation of many). The stylistic resemblance between the Dreams and Ayers' work is stunning. Now we know, thanks to Chris Andersen's new book,that Obama hit a brick wall trying to fulfill his contract to produce a book, and shipped off his notes and tapes to Ayers. That is the classic description of a ghost writer's assignment. And it completely fits the theories Cashill had inferentially reasoned from the data of his literary studies.

The revelation that Chris Andersen had two separate sources means that this fact meets the journalistic standard of reliability, provided by a respected, established bestselling author. Obama's dismissal of Ayers as "just a guy in the neighborhood" has been shown to be an outright lie.

That will certainly be the verdict of history, regardless of whether or not the issue of Obama's ghost written book ever breaks through into the national discussion. My bet is that the media will not be able to suppress discussion. The image of Obama packing boxes full of tapes and notebooks and hauling them over to Ayers' house a couple of blocks away, is simple and compelling evidence of a ghost writer being put to work. Jack's literary detective work made the case, and Andersen's two neighborhood sources confirm it.

Anyone who refuses to deal with this issue is willfully avoiding topics that make Obama look bad. The facts are in the public domain...

(Thomas Lifson, "Unmasking Obama," American Thinker, September 29)

Notre Dame Case Looks Mighty Suspicious

Those pro-life activists who were arrested on the campus of Notre Dame University in peaceful protests of abortion enthusiast Barack Obama's receiving an honorary doctorate from the supposedly Catholic school are going up against a judge who is married to Edward Manier. (Manier is a Notre Dame professor notorious for his pro-abortion views, political contributions and associations.)

Indeed, Manier has referred to conservative Christians as "fundamentalist mullahs" and "jackleg preachers."

The marriage of the judge to one who holds such extreme and outspoken opinions (and who is an employee of one of the parties in the case, a remarkable conflict of interest that the courts have inexplicably allowed) means that the case is heavily slanted against justice.

Here's more from

More Liberals Being Disillusioned by the O

It really does seem like that giddy, school-girl crush feeling that American liberals felt for Barack Obama is beginning to turn. Here, for example is Richard Cohen in the Washington Post (yes, that Richard Cohen and that Washington Post) --

Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief...

Obama lost credibility with his deadline-that-never-was, and now he threatens to lose some more with his posturing toward Iran. He has gotten into a demeaning dialogue with Ahmadinejad, an accomplished liar. (The next day, the Iranian used a news conference to counter Obama and, days later, Iran tested some intermediate-range missiles.) Obama is our version of a Supreme Leader, not given to making idle threats, setting idle deadlines, reversing course on momentous issues, creating a TV crisis where none existed or, unbelievably, pitching Chicago for the 2016 Olympics. Obama's the president. Time he understood that.

Your Wednesday Tea Break (Andy Williams)

As hinted at yesterday (and for reasons suggested in that post), here's today's Tea Break guest performer, the incomparable Andy Williams. But these old clips are just to whet your appetite. The best way to enjoy Williams' terrific tenor voice is to put on your CDs (or, in my case, any one of the 11 record albums I have here in the den) and just listen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Today's Posts

Are Muslims Just Like Everybody Else?

Harold Berry, former instructor of theology and Greek at Grace University and author of Truth Twisters and several other books, deftly responded to a recent article (now unavailable) in the Omaha World-Herald.

Unfortunately, the newspaper didn't print the response.

But I will.

"I read with interest the item: “Muslims’ Refrain: We’re Like You” (Saturday, Sept. 19). If this is true, then I have some questions: Why do Muslim countries sentence to death those who convert from Islam? Why are there “honor killings” in Muslim families, even in the U.S., for those who don’t heed their family’s faith? In Pakistan, why is it a life sentence for anyone who desecrates the Koran, and a mandatory death sentence for disrespect to the Prophet (Muhammad)? Why are there so few, if any, women’s rights in Muslim countries? In Saudi Arabia, why is no Christian even allowed in their holiest city, Mecca?

Like us? I think not."

Good letter. And an example of how to keep the light shining into the culture. For though the newspaper didn't bother to print this one, they have printed others of Harold's. And, from time to time, they've printed mine. Indeed, the more of us who write letters (sound, courteous, concise and relevant) to editors, politicians, businessmen, network executives, pastors, school officials, and so on, the more illuminating our corporate witness for our Lord and His righteousness.

For a few tips on letter-writing as a ministry, take a look at this primer published over on the Vital Signs Ministries web site. And for a few appropriate action targets, just go to the Taking Action section of this blog. Then grab your pen and paper (or keyboard for e-mails), brew up a cup, and start shining a little bit of light.

Another Radical Czar: Founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to Oversee Obama's "Safe Schools"

Other issues may have taken a backseat to health care this summer, but now that the kids are back in school, parents have another subject on the brain--education. Earlier this month, President Obama turned more than a few heads with his back-to-school telecast, and parents are right to be concerned about what the administration will do for an encore. Most, including FRC, are hoping that the President's future plans won't include Safe Schools "czar" Kevin Jennings.

More than three months ago, we exposed the truth about Jennings, a long-time proponent of a radical, pro-homosexual agenda in schools. At the time, our concerns were met with little more than a yawn from the mainstream media. But today, as more Americans rage on about the shocking comments of "green jobs" czar Van Jones (who was forced to resign), the spotlight is back on the President's special-subject appointees. And in Jennings's case, it's better late than never. Fortunately, more press outlets like and Lou Dobbs are picking up the drumbeat, and the Washington Times ran an editorial today demanding answers about Jennings's appointment.

Of course, one of the most shocking pieces of news about Jennings is a story he's told himself (in different ways at different times) about a young student who came to him and confessed that he was having sex with older men in a bus station restroom. Instead of reporting the high-risk behavior to the boy's parents, school administrators, or the police, Jennings's only response was, "I hope you knew to use a condom." If the President hand-picked Jennings to serve in educational leadership, the public has a right to know whether he violated reporting laws and covered up child sexual abuse. At the very least, he should know that making schools safe doesn't mean making them safe for homosexual predators.

(Family Research Council, Washington Update, September 28)

And here's an ABC report from last year that will explain a bit of Jenning's background and educational philosophy.

14-Year Old Girl British Dies After Cervarix Injection

British health officials are playing down the death of a 14-year old girl who died after being given an injection of the GlaxoSmithKline drug Cervarix as part of the nation's immunization campaign against the sexually-transmitted disease HPV.

The girl died shortly after receiving the drug at her Church of England school. Other girls complained of adverse reactions as well.

Dr. Caron Grainger, joint director of public health in the area where the girl died, insisted that "The message for parents at this moment in time and for young girls receiving this vaccine is that you should go ahead with the vaccination."

The NHS started the immunization program in September last year, offering vaccines to girls as young as 12.

For more Vital Signs Blog posts relevant to these dangerous drugs and to the various counter-productive schemes that secularists come up with to prevent STDs and pregnancies, see these for a start: More Doubts About HPV Vaccines; Talking Points That Aren't Being Talked About Regarding Gardasil and HPV; A Gratuitous Flip-Flop: CBS News Reports on Grave Dangers of Gardasil; Condoms Not the Answer to STD Epidemic; The Condom Culture: Creating (Not Curing) the Problem; and Risky Behavior Indeed: 20 Million Condoms Recalled.

Oh yes, one more thing to know.

Earlier this month a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended the agency approve the Cervarix vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV) for use in women and that it expand the approval of the Gardasil HPV vaccine to use in men here in the United States.

The FDA usually follows the recommendations from its committees.

Up a "Moon River" Without a Paddle: Andy Williams on Barack Obama

One of America's greatest singers, Andy Willams, was a good friend of the Kennedys, especially Robert who he supported in his run for the presidency. But Williams had some sharply contrasting opinions when asked about the current occupant of the White House.

Don't like him at all," he said, "I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very Left-wing. One is registered as a Communist. Obama is following Marxist theory. He's taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail."

Hmm. I think I've found the fellow for tomorrow's tea break.

Religious Perspectives on Health Care Reform

"Christian leaders" (16 of them) were recently asked by Urban Faith and Sojurners magazine to comment on the health care issues now facing the American people. Among the responses were several Obamacare affirmations, a few "Can't we talk nice to each other" things and, thankfully, a few genuinely thoughtful analyses by such people as Rev. Arnold M. Culbreath, Alveda King, Chandra White-Cummings, Gina Dalfonzo and Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. (senior pastor of Hope Christian Church, founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and coauthor with Tony Perkins of Personal Faith, Public Policy),

I print below Jackson's response but the others can be read right here.

Whose Morality? by Harry R. Jackson Jr.

Church leaders have been asked by the president to call universal health care a "moral imperative." Projecting universal health care as the "only" moral imperative is as sensible as calling a person born in the U.S. a native Australian because he visited Sydney once. It is certain that every judicious per
son in the nation wants medical care for the least, the last, and the left out -- the goal is admirable, yet sometimes evil is done by those with good motives who lack long-term vision.

The crux of the health-care question is not whether we want to help everyone; the question is how do we deliver the help. Personally, I do not want a socialistic system fraught with inefficiencies. Others are wary of crippling a system that is currently saving millions of lives every day. This argument is not theoretical -- delay or denial of essential services will spell death for thousands. Aren't the lives of every American important? "First do no Harm!" are the familiar words to the Hippocratic Oath.

Where does that leave us? Unfortunately, the plan as it is being fashioned is patently evil. It has several major blemishes. These blemishes are threefold -- the moral impact of denied service, funding of abortion, and making employers (including churches) pay for a system that administrates death.

Despite the president's declarations, his henchmen have refused to add amendments to the bill that would specifically rule out state paid abortion. The Capps amendment, which passed the House Energy and Commerce committee, clearly states that abortion can be "covered" under the public option and must be covered under at least one private plan in each region that is in the Exchange. While it's a precise point, the other side keeps pointing to the Capps amendment and saying, "Look, it says no 'funds' can go for abortions".... but it violates the Hyde Amendment by providing government subsidies for health plans that "cover abortion" whether the tax dollars actually pay for it or the private premiums pay for the abortion.

Experts tell me that the Capps Amendment has an accounting gimmick that makes it look like only private funds would pay for the abortion, but it clearly says that the government public plan and private plans may, and some must, "cover abortion."

Most people believe that health-care reform is an important moral issue. However, big government alone cannot reform health care. In fact, it is not the proper mechanism for such a reform.

The community, including the church, has to play a role in health-care reform. Historically, churches and other faith-based charitable organizations have taken an active role in the development of hospitals and organizations that supply care for the sick.

In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina dramatically altered the lives of many people, and blacks in particular, it was the church and other non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross, the Southern Baptist Convention, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities, to name a few, who were very instrumental in the efforts to respond to this emergency.

Health-care reform is an emergency, no question; however, government intervention alone cannot adequately address it. The American community -- and the faith community, in particular -- must play an active role in the reform efforts.

Listen Up, Students: Obama as America's College President

"If you are confused by the first nine months of the Obama administration, take solace that there is at least a pattern. The president, you see, thinks America is a university and that he is our campus president. Keep that in mind, and almost everything else makes sense."

Has Victor Davis Hanson got your attention with this lead paragraph from his NRO article? Good. Now go read the whole thing and see how just how perceptive and helpful it is.

The Nanny State Requires Nanny Police...Right Down to Your Trash Bins

The citizens were naturally alarmed when they saw strange teenagers dressed in hooded parkas climb out of dark vans and sneakily proceed to start going through their trash.

It turned out that they were hired by local officials looking for yet more control over people's lives. More Big Brother Government dealt out by small government snoops.

I've pointed out on other occasions the zealousness of penalty-happy town councils in Great Britain whose heads are (literally) in their neighbors' trash bins. But things just keep getting worse.

One woman spoke to Daily Mail reporters as being "very uncomfortable" with the action. "Three young men parked outside my house and just started going through my bins - I thought they were pinching my rubbish. It was very suspicious.We haven't had a leaflet or a letter, all my neighbours were going round asking each other what was happening."

Another citizen complained, "The people doing this didn't even look official, they were just teenage-looking lads in hoodies. It's such an underhand "Big Brother" thing to do, spying on local people like this. It's alarming."

"How is this information going to be used?" asked another whose trash was investigated. "You just don't know. We weren't told anything. I'm still annoyed. It feels like an invasion of our privacy."

Shadow Local Government Minister, Bob Neill, said: 'There is growing public concern about town halls' powers to snoop on people's homes. Laws passed by Labour Ministers have created powers of entry for bin inspectors to enter homes and gardens. These must be scrapped."

And from Matthew Elliott, chief executive at the TaxPayers' Alliance, "This sneaky behaviour on the part of the council is underhand and alarming. Taxpayers are sick and tired of being spied on by their councils, it is an infringement of both their dignity and personal space. People are doing all they can to recycle, if they are throwing something away it's because they have to. This approach is unnecessarily aggressive and a waste of taxpayers' money and precious resources."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Today's Posts

An Eventful (And Nice) Weekend

It was an eventful weekend: a remarkable concert on Friday night to open the Omaha Symphony season on Friday night (we especially loved the Borodin, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov selections); a full Saturday of work for Sunday's sermon; the monthly meeting of our book club (the Notting Hill Napoleons); a very meaningful worship service on Sunday morning; lunch with friends at Jason's Deli where we also ran into friends we go back with nearly 40 years; Sunday afternoon visiting my Mom and watching together with her Phil Mickelson's amazing comeback to win the Tour Championship; and a Sunday night spent moving furniture and hundreds of books, sanding and varnishing stair railings, and painting walls in preparation for the next stages of our renovation projects.

Then up before dawn to go sidewalk counsel.

Dan Hovanec is nearing the end of his work here at our house and what a job he has done. He replaced all of our stair railings and balusters, built a wall to wall bookcase, made serious repairs to the one on the opposite wall, and a couple of other things. Really nice work. But with his vast talents in carpentry and woodworking, we knew all along we were getting the best. We'd recommend him highly.

In fact, a couple came over to lunch this afternoon and to get a few of our free standing bookcases (we don't need them anymore!) and it looks like Dan is going to make them new kitchen cabinets. Of course, if you hire Dan, remember you have to let him go on Wednesdays because that's the day he spends as the Visitation Pastor of First Christian Church up in Blair.

Tomorrow, Claire's brother, Kevin Aylward (another guy who is conscientious, timely and extremely skilled in his craft), will be coming up from Lincoln to get the tile and carpet for the next project. He'll be doing these jobs while we're away for a few days in Colorado. And then when we get back and move the furniture back into place, we'll again be ready for our regular regimen of entertaining -- something we've laid off from for the last six weeks.

We're looking forward to the change of pace, the rest, and the sublime beauties of Colorado. But, even though we spent this last weekend here in Nebraska, it was still a pretty neat one.

Newsweek Comes to the Aid of ObamaCare's "Death Panels"

In case you missed this from a couple of weeks ago (I had bookmarked it but only got around to reading it this afternoon), here's the Newsweek cover article, "The Case for Killing Granny: Re-Thinking End-Of-Life Care."

The piece is more shocking and frightening than any horror movie you've ever seen because, after all, you always knew that zombies didn't exist, that Dracula was a fictional villain, and that intergalactic aliens wouldn't be all that interested in taking over your body.

But this article, done by the magazine that hasn't yet found an abortion it isn't in favor of, is as serious as sin. And their openly nihilistic argument against the sanctity of human life is not only at the core of the movements promoting physician-assisted suicide and "checkbook euthanasia," it is very much a part of the Democrat's chilling version of health care reform. Under the guise of "cost containment," Obamacare clearly introduces (no, make that requires) "care containment."

They may be killing Grandma softly...but they're killing her nonetheless. She's using up too much of our air.

"Obama Hymn" Principal Would Do It Again -- And Other Clips Are Showing Up

The principal of a New Jersey elementary school where young students were videotaped singing the praises of President Obama is making no apologies for the videotape and says she would allow the performance again if she could, according to parents who spoke with her Thursday night...

King has long been a fan of Obama, hanging pictures of the president in her school's hallways and touting her trip to his inauguration in the school yearbook.

Included in the full-page yearbook spread were Obama campaign slogans ("Yes we can! Yes we did!") and photos King took in Washington on Jan. 20, when she attended the inauguration.

There also were photos taken at the school depicting students doing Obama-themed activities about their "hopes for the future," featuring posters of Obama. According to the yearbook, students watched the inauguration in class...

Okay, so we now know that we need wait no longer for the school's apology -- it ain't happening. But we're still waiting for the White House response. We're still waiting for the outcry from civil libertarians and educators. And we're still waiting for the media to deal forthrightly and professionally with this story.

Not surprisingly, other video clips are surfacing of school kids being exploited by government school staff who adore Barack Obama. How sad. The government schools are doing a lousy job in teaching kids math, science, grammar, and literature but they're aces when it comes to indoctrinating kids in political correctness. (The school in the clip below is probably in the San Francisco area. At least the San Francisco Chronicle shows up in the piece.)

And if you're tempted to think the schools can somehow be excused for extolling Barack Obama's election ("The ground has shifted; the world has changed."), then imagine how the Democrats, the press, the educational establishment, Hollywood, and others would have reacted to Texas school kids being required to singing laudatory songs about the victory of George W. Bush.

Wait -- you say you can't stretch your imagination far enough to envision government school teachers conducting such an exercise? Exactly. You make my point even clearer.

Beauty Is In the Eyes of the Photoshop Editor

I understand that this Dove video has been around for awhile, long enough at least to inspire a couple of parodies. But the message is a very helpful one for anyone whose sense of worth is influenced by the arbitrary, shifting and (as this clip shows so well) artificial standards of fashion.

What Does President Obama Have "On His Plate" That's More Important Than Afghanistan?

Even Bob Woodward from the Washington Post seems worried about the fact that President Obama hasn't yet determined whether or not he will commit more troops to the war in Afghanistan, despite an urgent request to do so (and as quickly as possible too) from the commander of U.S. forces there. In fact, as Obama's national security adviser put it Saturday, the President won't even say just when he might get around to determining a new strategy.

As Obama told reporters a couple of weeks ago, he's "got a lot on his plate" and so people shouldn't hassle him about schedules or time lines. Apparently this means that there are other matters that take precedence on the President's "to-do list" over the lives of American soldiers and the security of an entire region.

Like pushing a nationalized health care scheme that is counter-productive, which will bankrupt the country, which will trample on the rights of conscience and the dignity of every human life -- and which most of the country is decidedly against.

Or promoting the loony idea that American kids go to school all year round.

Or making a speech to the United Nations audience in which he apologized for America's strength and ideals. (On this matter, see also this Washington Times editorial and this Mark Steyn column.)

Or now -- traveling to Copenhagen to personally lobby for the 2016 Olympics to be granted to his home town.

Of course, you thought that the Commander in Chief should always put our country's military strength and safety as his first priority?

Welcome to Change, America. Welcome to Change.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Today's Posts

Yipes, Indeed.

A normally calm New Jersey mother is watching the video clip of her child's class at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School being forced to sing a hymn to Barack Obama.

Intelligent Design? The Signature's in the Cell

Chuck Colson talks about a powerful new book in the debate over Intelligent Design.

In recent years, there have been several important books about intelligent design that go to the debate about evolution and the origins of life. Bill Dembski’s The Design Inference was first. Then along came Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe, showing the irreducible complexity of the cell, which casts grave doubts on Darwinian evolution as an explanation for life and higher life forms.

Now we’ve got Signature in the Cell by the Discovery Institute’s Dr. Stephen Meyer.

I’m going to warn you up front: Signature in the Cell is not light reading. If you are not conversant in molecular biology, you might feel a bit overwhelmed at times.

But this is a profound, hugely important book for anybody interested in the scientific debate of our times—the origins of life. I feel it’s so important that we have posted an excerpt of the book at our website,, along with links to materials that will help you understand the main points of Signature in the Cell...

Here's the Breakpoint program (transcript and audio file) and here's the very brief excerpt from the book itself that Colson mentions.

CBS Reporting: Short, Smarmy and Sophomoric

Here's how it works. CBS News reports on the scandal of New Jersey elemtary school children being forced to sing songs of adulation to Barack Obama. But they cover it only because the story became so big on its own (bloggers, talk radio and individuals seeing the You Tube clip with their own eyes) that they looked really, really bad if they didn't.

But when they finally deign to cover the story, they do a cheap, amateurish job and seem only to be bothered by the negative reactions to the video -- reactions they remind their readers throughout the story come only from conservatives. It is an extremely brief report with none of the details at all that one would expect from a news-gathering giant like CBS. Who's the teacher that did this? Where's a statement by the principal or a parent? What exactly were the lyrics the kids were taught to belt out as they snapped their fingers?

We get none of this from the network. Only that the video is "generating anger from conservatives today" and that the story was fueled by Fox News and "the conservative Drudge Report." Only one response is given and it is just a reader comment taken from the Fox website. (Not surprisingly too, the comment chosen isn't a flattering one.) CBS likens the incident to "the anger" raised over President Obama's national address to school kids earlier this month and, once again, CBS emphasizes that "some conservatives objected to the president's address being shown to their children."

This, my friends, is what passes for thorough, penetrating, balanced reporting at CBS News nowadays.

Do You Remember?

My friend, now down in St. Louis, Dr. Tim Sullivan, posted this video clip on his Facebook page yesterday. I was very moved by it and thought I'd pass it along. The presentation was assembled by Lizzie Palmer and has as its soundtrack "Pacific Wind" by Ryan Farish.

The Large Majority of America's Doctors Say "The AMA Doesn't Speak for Us"

One of the most overlooked factoids relevant to the health care debate is that the American Medical Association, which the Obama administration reminds us ad nauseum is in favor of his health care plan, only represents a small portion of the practicing physicians in the country. Like only 17 to 24%.

Please remember this the next time you hear the President or his cronies tell you that doctors want ObamaCare. Most of them want anything but.

ACORN Still Has Friends (Crooked Friends) In High Places

Here's a few choice excerpts from an editorial at the Las Vegas Review Journal, a plucky newspaper that I've brought to your attention before. It concerns not only the blighted history of ACORN but the cussed crookedness of Democrat politicians who have (and continue even now!) to protect the organization.

ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- is stinking up Washington...

It didn't start with those undercover videos made by a couple of independent filmmakers posing as a prostitute and her pimp, visiting various ACORN offices around the country and getting helpful advice on how to hide their income and "qualify" for a tax-subsidized mortgage to set up a house of ill repute, declaring three of their dozen (albeit imaginary) underage illegal immigrant prostitutes as "dependents."

That was just a final shoe dropping loudly enough that the problem could no longer be ignored.

Here in Clark County, Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said last year he saw "rampant fraud in the 2,000 to 3,000 registrations ACORN turns in every week," with some 48 percent of those forms being "clearly fraudulent."

The Las Vegas headquarters of ACORN, "a Democrat-allied organization," was raided after being "accused of submitting multiple voter registrations with duplicate and false names," the Washington Times reported last fall. The outfit claimed it had registered to vote in Nevada, among others, the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys.

The raid "set off a skirmish over efforts to expand the electorate on behalf of Sen. Barack Obama," the Times reported.

Mr. Lomax noted ACORN had hired 59 inmates from a work-release program at a nearby prison and that some inmates who had been convicted of identity theft had been made supervisors. "That led some local wags to joke that at least ACORN was hiring specialists to do their work," reported John Fund at The Politico, last November...

Fox News' Eric Shawn reported there were at least 11 investigations across the country involving thousands of potentially fraudulent ACORN forms. Yet none of this was sufficient to block President Obama and his congressional minions from upping federal subsidies to outfits such as Mr. Obama's former associates at ACORN from the mere millions to the billions of dollars in their "economic stimulus" bill last winter.

Only when presented with the undeniable evidence of the "pimp and ho" videotape did the IRS last week announce it would terminate ACORN's participation in the agency's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program -- shortly after the Census Bureau advised ACORN it could forget about helping with its decennial head count.

Smoke? Fire? Washington Democratic leaders have opted to just lay low and not smell nothin'.

Despite all this evidence and a request in writing by 28 GOP senators -- and despite the fact the U.S. Senate voted 83-7 on Sept. 14 to block ACORN from bidding for any more federal grant money -- "Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is refusing to hold a Senate hearing on ACORN's activities," the National Republican Senatorial Committee complained Wednesday.

Mr. Reid replied additional investigations might distract lawmakers from addressing more important matters, including health care and economic recovery.

"It's become increasingly clear that ACORN may have manipulated tens of thousands of ballots in last year's federal election -- an area where Congress has clear oversight responsibilities -- yet Harry Reid won't lift a finger," said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh. "It's hard to see his latest roadblock as anything but another example of Harry Reid protecting his liberal allies in Washington while remaining out of touch with his constituents in Nevada."

Does You Tube Fiddle with the Numbers?

An interesting item about that video clip showing students at the B. Bernice King Elementary School being taught to sing the praises of Barack Hussein Obama. It was all over the web yesterday, one of those cyber-phenomena that takes place nowadays in which the whole nation can tune into a news event -- even when the mainstream news has completely ignored it.

By early afternoon the original clip had thousands of comments attached to it.

But the official You Tube "Views" counter showed a mere 363. How is this possible? And, more important, why?

Selwyn Duke blows the whistle in this post at Intellectual Conservative.

But why would YouTube cook the statistical books?

Because the exposure a video receives is based on its number of views. And YouTube – owned by leftist leviathan Google – wants to suppress negative information about Barack Obama and the Left in general.

In other words, if a video receives tremendous traffic, it appears on YouTube's "Popular" videos page or its "Most Viewed" page. This means it will get infinitely more exposure – it will be seen not just by the people who have driven it onto the front page but also those who wouldn't normally know about it. But YouTube likely doesn't want you to know about the Obama worship video. So, perhaps, like a sleazy car dealer dialing down an odometer, they dial down the hit counter to a point where the video languishes in the recesses of the site...

If you find it hard to believe that YouTube would be so blatant and sloppy about its censorship, understand that it's practicing it by rote at this point. It's nothing new.

In fact, my aforementioned friend reports to me that YouTube had been doing this all throughout the 2008 campaign, suppressing pro-John McCain and anti-Obama videos while showcasing pro-Obama and anti-McCain works...

As for the Obama worship video, know that if this expose gets traction, YouTube will do damage control and allow the video's stats to reflect the truth.

Oh, I checked the Obama worship video one last time at 2:52 p.m. It still had 363 views.

Headline: British Design Company Comes Up With Way to Increase Air Travelers By 50%

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today's Posts

Yipes! Obama Has a Friend In Castro and a Father in Qadhafi.

This can't be good for America.

First, Barack Obama's praises are sung by the murdering dictator, Fidel Castro. And then the next fellow to throw accolades our President's way is another thug of the same ilk, Libya's Muammar Qadhafi.

During an almost unendurable speech at the U.N. yesterday (following Obama's weak performance at the same podium -- see the following post), Qadhafi compared the U.N. Security Council to Al Qaeda terrorists, suggested that either an American pharmaceutical company (or the military) purposely created the swine flu virus, and called for U.N. investigations into all kinds of assassinations, including that of John F. Kennedy.

And then he added these extravagant words of praise for President Obama:

* "We Africans are happy, proud, that a son of Africans governs the United States of America.”

* "This is a great thing.”

* “Obama is a glimpse in the darkness after four or eight years.”

* Qadhafi referred to Obama as “my son.”

* “We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as president of the United States.”

The White House lightly brushed off the dictator's remarks with Obama himself making no statement. And the MSM, go figure, failed to cover Qadhafi's bizarre remarks at all.

Obama at the U.N.

The Heritage Foundation assembled a few of their international affairs experts to assess President Barack Obama's speech yesterday before the General Assembly of the United Nations. Here are three of those responses:

On Reaction at U.N.:

“The other U.N. member states have to be beside themselves with glee. President Obama gave them virtually everything they could ask for without demanding anything in return that was not already on the agenda – and which they are prepared to twist to their advantage. He did not even ask them to support more accountability, transparency, or efficiency in the U.N. , which will be leading action on the very complex and expensive tasks that he is proposing.

The Obama administration probably thinks that its actions and this speech have purchased them the goodwill of U.N. member states, which will translate into support for U.S. policies. They are setting themselves up for disappointment. The political nature of the U.N. is combative and tough. Most member states consider these concessions their due. They will pocket them and stand firm to defend their interests. Cooperation will be on their terms, on issues they wish to pursue. The naïveté of the speech was staggering.”

(Brett D. Schaefer, Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs, Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, and author of ConUNdrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives)

Compared to Other Obama Speeches:

“Was this Obama’s most naïve speech ever? It is a very strong candidate, but I think there is intense competition for that accolade. The president’s speeches in Cairo, Strasbourg and Prague would all vie for that title. Still, his address today will go down in history as one of the weakest major addresses by a U.S. president on foreign policy in a generation, by a leader who seems embarrassed, even ashamed, by the power and greatness of his own country.”

(Nile Gardiner, Director, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation)

On Afghanistan:

“Obama’s statements on Afghanistan at the U.N. today — which failed to mention the need to defeat the Taliban insurgency — will likely be interpreted by our allies as a sign that he is beginning to waver in his commitment to finishing the job of stabilizing and securing Afghanistan and preventing its return to being a safe haven for international terrorists. This is highly unfortunate. Without American leadership on Afghanistan, the entire civilized world will remain hostage to international terrorists, backed by the Taliban leadership, intent on attacking innocents at the times and places of their own choosing.”

(Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage’s Asian Studies Center)

GK Chesterton on Getting Back to Nature

Properly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as a return to nature, because there is no such thing as a departure from it. The phrase reminds one of the slightly intoxicated gentleman who gets up in his own dining room and declares firmly that he must be getting home.

Conservatives (Perhaps, Most Particularly, Newt Gingrich) Are Making a Comeback

Emmett Tyrrell considers whether the time is ripe for a dramatic comeback for conservatism (generally) and for Newt Gingrich (particularly). It's an interesting column.

And speaking of Newt, I recommend his latest essay "Turning the Senate into the Chicago City Council" published over at Human Events. As usual with the former Speaker of the House, the essay is sound on history but is as relevant and cogent an argument for today's civic affairs as could be. The article shows how President Obama and the Democrats are not just playing politics as usual; they're engaged in activity that genuinely undermines the foundations of our political system.

...I have taken this brief tour of American constitutional history to make an important point: The Obama Administration clearly has concluded it cannot get a big government health plan through the Senate if they accept the traditional, historic requirement of a 60-vote majority.

It is also clear left-wing activists would cheerfully destroy the integrity of the Senate and the freedoms it protects if that is what it takes to get a government-run, bureaucratic health care system which would expand their power and increase the importance of Washington.

Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Democratic majority leader, has warned that a failure to get 60 votes would lead him to try to force through a bill with 50 senators and Vice President Joe Biden breaking the tie.

Changing one-sixth of the American economy with 50 senators voting yes would be a revolutionary act worthy of a third world country...

The full article is here.

What Women Aren't Told About Abortion (And Why We Mustn't Tell Them)

Dr. Prakesh Shah is no pro-lifer. Indeed, he is as pro-abortion as they come, arguing that safer methods of abortion should be found. Well, safer for the mothers, that is; every abortion is lethal to the innocent preborn boy or girl involved.

But what's the deal here? Why does the University of Toronto's Dr. Shah want safer abortion methods?

Because he's just finished his comprehensive review of 37 previous medical studies and determined that induced abortion boosted the odds of the mother experiencing premature birth and/or low weight babies in later pregnancies by 35%!

His findings, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, did not surprise the pro-life community (they've been pointing out studies suggesting the link between abortion and subsequent premature births for many years) but Dr. Shah's report has caused an uneasy stir among others because the evidence seems incontrovertible.

After all, for decades now liberals have stridently refused to consider the long-term effects of induced abortion, fearing that doing so would only benefit their opponents in the abortion wars. Better to stick one's head in the sand and remain politically-correct with modern feminism than dare to confront the haunting suspicion that abortion, as undeniably unnatural and violent as it is, may actually endanger women.

But here's proof. Even more embarrassing, it's a review of the large amount of proof that was already out there.

No wonder then that left-wing media like the Guardian are worried that "The review of a large amount of research, carried out in Canada, is likely to be seized on by the anti-abortion lobby as evidence that termination is damaging to future babies." Uh huh; that business of "seizing on" science is a terrible thing, at least when it goes against the grain of a priori liberal ideology on such matters as abortion, homosexuality, or climate change.

The Guardian doesn't want to give ground to pro-lifers yet, even in its wriggling around, it must. "However, the authors say there could be a number of reasons for their findings, of which the most likely is physical damage to the cervix caused by older methods of abortion."

In other words, the newspaper reporter (Sarah Boseley, the newspaper's Health Editor) is telling us to pay no attention to what the anti-abortion lobby seizes on because this preemie/low weight danger isn't about abortion as a sacred and socially popular right; it's only about those yucky details of abortion...methods.

And don't worry, dear readers, the Guardian certainly isn't going to trouble you with those. We must keep the abortion movement separate from the wrenched open cervix, the perils of cutting away the parts of a fetus from its mother, the assault on the womb as well as its contents by an extremely powerful suction apparatus, the inevitable development of scar tissue, the chemical concoctions so paramount that they force the womb to reject (but only sometimes expel) its product -- oh no, we will keep silent about these grisly matters. Our coverage of abortion will orbit around what it always has: slogans, social philosophy and and an "us vs them" perspective.

Light brings wisdom, the ancients taught. It's not always so.

One other note from this story. Dr. Shah (remember, he's not a pro-life advocate) does believe these scientific findings matter enough to let every woman considering an abortion know about the risks. What the Guardian reporter dismissed as "older methods of abortion" are those methods which are still very much in vogue by abortionists everywhere. Therefore, Dr. Shah departs from Planned Parenthood, other abortion agencies and most feminist organizations in that he believes that abortion clients would benefit from a full disclosure of relevant information. "When a woman comes for induced termination of pregnancy, she should be counselled about that risk. At least she will be able to make an informed choice," Shah said.

Informed consent? Golly, that's not going to make Dr. Shah popular with the liberals either. I mean, if you start telling women the truth about the possibility of long term adverse effects of abortion, you're liable to find yourself find telling them about about the risks of the procedure itself.

Honesty? Full disclosure? Goodness me; where would that kind of thing stop? The next thing you know, you'd be telling abortion clients about fetal development, about post-abortion trauma or even about the whole host of compassionate, life-affirming help available to women and their families offered by pregnancy centers and churches. I mean, if you told women these things, don't you realize that far fewer of them would abort their babies?

And we can't have that, can we?

Democrats Take Their Stand Against Transparency

"The Senate majority’s contempt for the American people rears its ugly head again."

That's Michelle Malkin's response to the action of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday when it voted down an amendment asking that the Democrat health care legislation be available online 72 hours before the panel votes.

No way. Every Democrat on the Committee (except Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas) voted against the common sense measure. And, in so doing, the Democrats cast a vote against transparency, against honest disclosure, against bipartisanship, against freedom of information...and against the interests of the American people.

It truly is a travesty.

In a condescending counter move, the Democrats offered to make “conceptual language” available -- meaning, "We won't let the public see any of the real stuff in those hundreds of pages of intrusive and hugely expensive laws that we're going to pass over their heads but we will give them some vague and flowery pages of fluff. And you'd better believe that all the shocking and controversial bits will be carefully removed before we let the citizens see even that. After all, we're in charge here. They don't need to know anything more than we're the Democrats and, by golly, we'll take care of the country as we see fit. For crying out loud, what do these Republican critics think anyhow, that we have a democracy in this country?"

Also conspicuously missing from the fluff the Committee will make available to the public is the precise figures from the Congressional Budget Office revealing just how much this boondoggle Baucus bill is going to cost us.

Goodnight, America.

Here's Michelle Malkin's post and over here is the Washington Times news report. And one more I'd suggest, Ernest Istook's column ("Senate Cloaks Obamacare") over at Human Events.

School Kids Taught to Sing the Praises of "Barack Hussein Obama"

Did you catch the Drudge Report's link to the video clip from a New Jersey elementary school -- the clip that shows little kids singing a song they had been taught praising Barack Hussein Obama for "all your great accomplishments" and for being "number one" and so on?

It's a pretty eerie scene. And yet I don't know what is more frightening -- that school bullies could so shamelessly manipulate and coerce the children in their charge or that, once exposed, there is so little outrage (heck, even interest) from the media and other government officials.

You can lodge your complaints about this sordid exploitation of school kids by writing:

* Dr. Denise King (Principal) at B. Bernice Young Elementary School, 1203 Neck Road, Burlington, NJ 08016-9741. (

* Dr. Christopher Manno (Superintendent) at Burlington Township School District, PO Box 428, Burlington, NJ 08016 (

* NJ Department of Education, PO Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625-0500. E-mail through this contact page.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Today's Posts

Surprise, Surprise. TIME Thinks Glenn Beck Is Bad for America.

I should admit at the outset that I'm not much of a Glenn Beck fan. Nevertheless, this City Journal article by Harry Stein is really quite good, examining as it does the reason why leftists (like those at TIME who just bashed Beck in a cover story) are running scared of his popularity, his tactics, and the danger he represents both to the liberal hegemony and the old guard media.

...And in this, in the Age of Obama and a too-compliant media, he has proven extraordinarily successful. Were it not for Beck and his constant running of the videos exposing Van Jones as a crackpot racist conspiracy theorist, for example, few people probably would have heard of Obama’s “green jobs czar,” whose troubles the New York Times did not even deign to cover until after he had to resign. And Beck’s relentless exposure of the Acorn sting tapes, following his long campaign against that organization, brought widespread attention to the depth of Acorn’s corruption.

Indeed, it’s an excellent bet that the liberal journalists now wringing their hands about Beck, decrying his malign influence, would never have reported on the Acorn controversy, either, were it not for Beck and others on Fox—just as ABC’s Charlie Gibson, in his patrician above-it-allness, claimed ignorance of the story even after conservative viewers and listeners had been following it closely for more than a week.

Quite simply, at a time when conservatives find themselves so far out of power that all they can hope to do is stand athwart the Obama administration’s attempt to remake America yelling “stop,” no one has been more effective...

Pelosi's Unemployment Extension Helps Only Certain Unemployed

From Nebraska Congressman Lee Terry's Facebook page: "[The] Arrogance of the speaker showed yesterday when she brought a 13 week unemployment extension for people in states with over 8.5 % unemployment. That excludes any Nebraskan.

Why is an unemployed person in California more worthy of help than a similar unemployed person in Nebraska? I voted 'no.'"

"Evangelical" -- What's In a Word?

I realize that the speech I'm linking you to right here (an address by Church of England Archdeacon, the Rev. Dr. Charles D. Alley, given to the Episcopal Evangelical Assembly Conference at Virginia Theological Seminary) is probably for a limited audience. But if you like history and religion, if you would benefit from a discussion of what words like "evangelical" truly mean, if you're interested in the cultural divide between modernists and those who yet adhere to Scripture as a holy and practicable source -- then you'll certainly enjoy this.

Why the United Nations Has a Crush on Barack Obama

Nile Gardiner, the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, describes why Barack Obama is so wildly popular at the United Nations. It's a very good article, one you might consider forwarding to a few friends.

...It is not hard to see why a standing ovation awaits the president at Turtle Bay. Obama’s popularity at the UN boils down essentially to his willingness to downplay American global power. He is the first American president who has made an art form out of apologizing for the United States, which he has done on numerous occasions on foreign soil, from Strasbourg to Cairo. The Obama mantra appears to be – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to atone for your country. This is a message that goes down very well in a world that is still seething with anti-Americanism.

It is natural that much of the UN will embrace an American president who declines to offer strong American leadership. A president who engages dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez will naturally gain respect from the leaders of the more than 100 members of the United Nations who are currently designated as “partly free” or “not free” by respected watchdog Freedom House.

The UN is not a club of democracies - who still remain a minority within its membership – it is a vast melting pot of free societies, socialist regimes and outright tyrannies. Obama’s clear lack of interest in human rights issues is a big seller at the UN, where at least half its members have poor human rights records...

Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership. This is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack...

The Obama administration is now overseeing and implementing the biggest decline in American global power since Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately it may well take another generation for the United States to recover.

Jesus’ Health Care Plan?

George Barna has an intriguing essay here -- "Jesus’ Health Care Plan." If you're looking for it to give you specific props for or against the Democrats' proposals, you might be disappointed. But if you're daring enough to consider how individual Christians and local churches should respond to the needs of the sick, disabled and dispirited people in our midst, you'll find a provocative challenge indeed.