Monday, November 30, 2009

Today's Posts

"Making the Most of Christmas"

I started our Christmas series at Faith Bible Church yesterday with a sermon on Isaiah 9:6,7 and Isaiah 7:14, two splendid passages which are a part of the revelations showing that the Advent of Messiah had been promised centuries before Jesus Christ. It was an exciting study for when these detailed prophecies concerning Jesus' Incarnation, His character, and His mission are carefully unpacked, the significance is both rich and astonishing.

We then followed up our Christmas kickoff last night at the church with a special party where I spoke on "Making the Most of Christmas," sharing ideas about how we can enrich the holiday season for ourselves and our families AND how we can use the season as an open door for making Christ's Name known in our communities. We took a Christmas pop quiz; we handed out copies of our latest "Making the Most of Christmas" packets; and we talked around the tables enjoying each others' company and the Christmas cookies that Claire and Kathy Deever had made.

It was a very pleasant couple of hours with about 20 people from the church in attendance.

We have made available for friends and Vital Signs Ministries supporters these "Making the Most of Christmas" packets in 1996 and again in 2001. This version contains some of the same stuff but it has grown to over 50 pages of poems, devotions, suggestions for Christmas reading and movies, suggestions for service projects and more. If you'd like one, just let us know.

Government-Run Health Care? Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

Rick Pearcey alerted me to this exceptional column by Cal Thomas (exceptional not because of its style, sincerity or insight -- those are always bounteously present in Cal's writings -- but because of the critical immediacy of his call for action. Rick thinks (and I agree) that we should push this one a bit. Writes Rick, "This column deserves a broad readership. It would be super if Rush, Hannity, Levin, Laura, and others were to feature it and comment upon it on their radio shows. If you agree, contact them via Facebook, Twitter, etc."

Here's a few excerpts:

Not all revolutions begin in the streets with tanks and guns. Some advance slowly, almost imperceptibly, until a nation is transformed and the public realizes too late that their freedoms are gone.

Such is the revolution now taking place in America. The '60s crowd has emerged from the ideological grave and is about to impose on this country a declaration of dependence in the form of government-run health insurance and treatment. It matters not what facts are known about this "coup," because to those from the '60s — whether they lived in that decade or were born later and adopted its ideology — only feelings and intentions matter, not truth and results.

Why would anyone trust government — which has a difficult enough time winning wars — to properly administer health care? What track record does government have in living up to its economic forecasts and competence in running anything?

But this is about none of that. This is about liberal Democrats realizing their decades-old dream of complete control of our lives. Every move you make, every breath you take, they'll be watching you. Except, of course, when it comes to terrorists who want to destroy America faster than the liberals do. A different standard is applied to them...

This is how I see health care reform working: If you are a doctor who has spent a lot of money and time becoming a responsible and caring physician, the government will tell you how much to charge your patients and, in fact, whether you will be allowed to treat them at all. Bureaucrats, having given themselves the power of G-d, will decide whether a patient is worth the cost of treatment, thereby deciding who lives and who dies. Despite the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, somewhere down the line taxpayers will be forced to underwrite abortions in violation of the consciences and faith of the majority.

This is the triumph of the humanistic, atheistic worldview. We are all to be regarded as products of evolution in which the fit and the powerful will decide our survival and worth...

Great horrors don't begin in gas chambers, killing fields, or forced famines. They begin when there is a philosophical shift in a nation's leadership about the value of human life. Novelist Walker Percy examined the underlying philosophy that led to the Holocaust and wrote: "In a word, certain consequences, perhaps unforeseen, follow upon the acceptance of the principle of the destruction of human life for what may appear to be the most admirable social reasons."

In our day, the consequences of government seizure of one-sixth of our economy and government's ability to decide how we run our lives (it won't stop with health care) are foreseen. They are just being ignored in our continued pursuit of personal peace, affluence and political power.

Opinion polls show a majority of Americans reject this health care "reform" bill. They think haste may waste them in the end. It doesn't matter. Like members of a cult, whatever the leader says, goes. The facts be damned. The crowd from the '60s will "seize the time," in the words of Black Panther radical Bobby Seale, thus sealing our doom as a unique and wonderful nation.

Welcome to the U.S.S.A., the United Socialist States of America.

Climategate: "The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Age."

This Christopher Booker article in the Telegraph (most American newspapers and TV networks have yet to even "discover" the huge and critically-important Climategate scandal) is the best I've seen in simply, cogently explaining what's been going on with the systematic lying from the ideologically-motivated scientists of the IPCC and CRU -- and what it all means for you and I. Very good stuff.

...There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre's blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt's blog Watts Up With That ), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones's refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got "lost". Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU.

What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics' work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports...

The former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, last week launching his new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation , rightly called for a proper independent inquiry into the maze of skulduggery revealed by the CRU leaks. But the inquiry mooted on Friday, possibly to be chaired by Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society – itself long a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause – is far from being what Lord Lawson had in mind. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.

"The War on Christmas is Really an Attack on Americans' Independence."

...Speaking of the true meaning of Christmas, the Boston Herald reported on a Nativity scene in Manchester's public square that was removed by local government officials who merely feared it would invite lawsuits. The state's Bayam Elementary School is debating whether or not to bar Santa Claus, dreidels and any other religious-themed chachka from the school's holiday gift store. One humorless parent defended banning jolly old St. Nick because if the school allows Santas, swastikas would find their way into the classrooms next.

And that, perhaps, is the broader cultural significance of the war on Christmas. In our relativistic age, we're not expected to believe in anything. To politically correct liberals, belief is an odd eccentricity passed down by barbarians who lived in a more superstitious time.

The war on Christmas is really an attack on Americans' independence. We can't do anything anymore without our betters supervising what we drink, drive, eat, smoke or read. Surely we can't be trusted to celebrate on our own, either.

These concluding paragraphs from a Washington Times editorial should prompt you to read the whole thing. For instance, you'll also learn how Best Buy (who carefully avoids offending anyone by letting the word "Christmas" slip into their advertising) nevertheless found space in a newspaper ad to wish their customers a "Happy Eid al-Adha" (refering to the Islamic "festival of sacrifice" that concludes the Hajj). And there's more. Check it out here.

(And if you'd like a bit more about that Best Buy situation, see this.)

Why Should Obama Worry? Because the American People Are Getting to Know Him.

"7 Stories Obama Doesn't Want Told" is a John F. Harris report which first appeared on Politico. But it's a rather grim warning for President Obama, once considered invincible by the media, when that report turns up as one of Yahoo's headline stories of the day.

Actually, the reporter tries to defend Obama a bit, suggesting that these stories are being "fanned by Republicans" or journalists, as if these Obama mistakes aren't very important in their own right. Of course, what's really going on is that the American people are getting wise because the alternative media has exposed the myths, the lies and the innumerable gaffes created by the administration and their helpers. And the exposure from the alternative media then forces the mainstream press to finally do some honest reporting of its own.

That and the fact that so many of Obama's ideas and decisions are really so bad that some of his previous pals are getting freaked. Thus you have stuff like Harris' "7 Stories Obama Doesn't Want Told" headlined on Yahoo. The article is a cleverly-written one that I think you'll want to read in its entirety. But I'll tease you a bit by listing the seven storylines that Harris says Obama needs to worry about:

1) He thinks he’s playing with Monopoly money;

2) Too much Leonard Nimoy;

3) That’s the Chicago Way;

4) He’s a pushover;

5) He sees America as another pleasant country on the U.N. roll call, somewhere between Albania and Zimbabwe;

6) President Pelosi;

7) He’s in love with the man in the mirror.

As I said, Harris gives Obama cover on most of these stories but he can't escape the reality that these storylines have already been read over and again by the American public. And it shows in the President's poor performance in the public opinion polls. But that such an article is written by Harris (not by Oliver North or Rush Limbaugh) and appears on Yahoo News Headlines (not the Washington Times or National Review) is truly significant. And like Harris says, Obama really should be worried.

Tiger Tells Cops "Go Away" For the Third Time -- And They Do!

What really happened in that bizarre Tiger Woods mystery isn't too burning a question with me. I am, after all, more of a Phil Mickelson fan. But I do know this. Despite America being a place where money or fame are not supposed to affect the proceedings of law, you try refusing to cooperate with the police three times and see where it lands you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today's Posts

Democrat Health Care Bill: Concerns Over "Care Containment" and "Death Panels" Remain

Anna Franzonello has a detailed exposé here at Americans United for Life that you should be using in your calls and letters to your political representatives -- as well as in letters to editors, TV news directors and your friends and co-workers. For not only does the Democrat health care bill mandate abortion, it will also lead to "care containment," rationing, and assisted suicide.

Check it out.

And make sure you spend a bit of this holiday weekend in praying and writing some letters. Guys, we've got to stop this thing.

Newsweek: It Was Incompetent and Irresponsible Even When Denny Was Young

Kathryn Lopez' Facebook page had a link to yet another lousy Newsweek article and she commented to her friends, "I'm beginning to wonder where the "news" part of Newsweek is." I sent over this response, an observation going back to the days of my misspent youth.

"Good question, Kathryn. I remember back in high school debate (and I mean way back, like 1968/9) when guys who used Newsweek as a source were thought pitiful. U.S. News and World Report got some respect among the popular weeklies and you could even get away with a reference to Time every once in awhile. But cite Newsweek and you were likely to draw raised eyebrows from the judges, titters from the knowledgeable in the crowd and sharp retorts from your competitors about what you were going to use next as a source, TV Guide, Mad Magazine, or Highlights for Children. Certainly, professional standards have never been lower at Newsweek than what they are now, but it's always been fish wrap."

Court Rules: Private Property Can Be Confiscated...And Given to Someone Else!

This is a most unhealthy precedent.

Government just keeps getting bigger, more controlling and more contemptuous of niggling things like a citizen's Constitutional rights. And note -- in this case, the government is taking the rights (and property) of certain citizens and giving them to other private citizens! Here's the details.

The New Obama Action Figure

Another Classless Move by CBS

You heard that Adam Lambert's appearance on "Good Morning America" was cancelled after protests of his outrageous homoerotic actions the night before on the American Music Awards (also ABC). But did you know that as soon as Lambert heard he was off the show, he was booked on the "CBS Early Show?"

The network that puts up with the schoolyard (make that barnyard) behavior of David Letterman is at it again.

And speaking of CBS, did you happen to catch the photos of Katie Couric dancing at the celebration party after she was named the CBS News anchor back in 2006? The photos turned up on her daughter's Facebook page in a photo album called "Four Martini Minimum."

Age has its honors, Katie. But looking good while doing the boogaloo isn't one of them. Wait for the slow dances.

"There Are Things That Only Oprah and God Can Make Happen."

That's the theological view of Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell. In her gushy piece yesterday, bizarre even for Ms. Mitchell's dim-witted celebrity-adoring readers, we were told:

* "There is no use speculating on who will take her place. There will not be another Oprah. She is an original. Her authenticity drew the world to her."

* "Even in the early days, Oprah seemed bigger than Chicago."

* "Oprah is a cultural phenomenon."

* "Oprah's talk show may be coming to an end. But her power and influence are here to stay."

* And, of course, the pièce de résistance: "You might not think you're going to miss Oprah, but you are. There are stories that only Oprah can do, and there are things that only Oprah and God can make happen."

Ah, the power of O.

And, by the way, apparently among the upcoming "stories that only Oprah can do" are a series of sweet little tales about a sexual adventuress, a repressed housewife who suddenly walks out on her husband and children and slides in to the "seamy underbelly" of Los Angeles in order to act out her various fantasies. Variety, the New York Post and others are all over the story, describing the HBO series produced by Winfrey's Harpo Productions as a departure from the talk show diva's usual shtick.

To say the series will be steamy and erotic is hardly necessary. The set up is pretty clear and it is being written by Erin Cressida Wilson, the creator of "Secretary," which explored the S&M relationship between a lawyer and the hired help.

Wilson says the lead character, Georgia, has "something boiling up in her" when she decides to chuck her suburban existence and embrace her funky new life. "It just happens and she splits. It may be shocking to her, but the table has been set for a long time," said Wilson...

But then she adds, "Georgia will embrace darkness with a joyful spirit."

A self-centered sexual predator but with an uplifting, New Age joy amidst her decadent pursuits? Maybe this series isn't much different from an Oprah talk show episode after all.

"The Only History That Is Worth a Tinker's Damn is the History That We Make Today."

"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today."

That's Henry Ford as quoted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1916. And, of course, the portion of that quote which has gone down in...uh, history is the first line.

But it is actually the last line that is the most relevant to modern culture for the progressive powers that be are determined to not only escape every "shackle" of Western civilization's past, they are committed to ignoring history, distorting history, and even inventing history to suit ideological ends.

A case in point from today's headlines is the move of European Union tyrants to re-write their own history -- and then force feed the corrupt concoction to the school children of every country it dominates. But, as Christopher Booker notes in the Telegraph, there are willing dupes within Great Britain's educational establishment who will welcome the scheme, dedicated as they already are to dispensing with real history so they can re-make it in their own image.

The latest initiative by our "Children's Secretary", Ed Balls, is to abolish what remains of fact-based teaching of history and geography in our schools. He plans to "roll them together into themed lessons on social issues such as global warming" (funny how that seems to seep into everything nowadays).

The ruthless drive of educational progressives to eliminate history-teaching from schools has been under way since the 1960s. The aim is to ensure that children know nothing about their country's past or how the world came to be as it is, leaving their minds blankly open to whatever vacuous progressive claptrap is fed to them.

In his desire to chuck history onto what Lenin called "the scrapheap of history", Mr Balls may have to make an exception, however. A campaign is now being mounted in the European Parliament to make it compulsory for children to be taught the history of the EU. According to Mário David, the Portuguese MEP leading the campaign and a former chief of staff to the Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso, it Is vital to counter all the "lying, cheating and mistrust" that surrounds the EU in the minds of the peoples of Europe. Our children must therefore be indoctrinated accordingly.

A year or two back, when Richard North and I were writing a comprehensive history of "the European project", The Great Deception, we were astonished to find just how horrendously misleading is the account of that history peddled by the EU itself on its Europa website. From laying claim to Churchill as father of the EU to consistently obscuring the nature of the key role played by Jean Monnet, they have come up with an official version of the origins of their "project" which bears virtually no relation to the facts. Doubtless this is just the sort of history which Mr Balls will be happy to allow in our schools – because "fact-based" it isn't.

Your Wednesday Tea Break (Thanksgiving Reading)

Consider using these inspirational documents as part of your family Thanksgiving celebrations tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving.

1) The Mayflower Compact (Agreement between the Pilgrims at New Plymouth, signed while still aboard ship in 1620)

In the Name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

2) President George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

3) President Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today's Posts

A Superb Weekend

Even though this past weekend was hectic and tiring, it was one that will give us plenty of warm memories to help endure the barren cold of a Nebraska winter. Therefore, we give thanks to our Lord for the many blessings He sent our way and thanks also to the many friends who were a part.

The weekend started with our drive down to Nebraska City for our annual autumn retreat with fellow Notting Hill Napoleons. That's our literary society which has been going strong since 1992. For the last 13-14 years, we've been enjoying a weekend vacation in which we take over a bed and breakfast from Friday evening through breakfast on Sunday morning. The first 3 or 4 years of this experience were in Denison, Iowa. But the last 1o have been spent at the Whispering Pines in Nebraska City, now expertly and hospitably managed by Jeanna Stavas. The lovely old house has 4 beautiful bedrooms plus a barn/garage which has been converted into a nifty bedroom as well. It's a very neat B&B and Jeanna's warm friendship, hospitality and terrific breakfasts are all quite exceptional.

We got a later start on the weekend than usual -- too much to do here on the home front -- but we did manage to get down to Whispering Pines about 5:30 or so. We made ourselves at home (Claire and I had the barn this time around, very nice) and caught up on what's been happening with Jeanna. Then we started preparations for dinner (two kinds of soup, cheese, bread and crackers, veggies, etc.) It's great to work together with good friends and, of course, it's great to eat good food together too.

Following dinner, the primary task of the evening is deciding on the books for the coming year. This is no easy feat, as you might guess, because not only do we have to deal with the preferences of different members but also with the declining number of classic books available to read. After all, when you've been reading quality literature for all these years (links to the full Notting Hill Napoleon reading lists can be found in this post), there's not a whole lot left to choose from.

But, once again, using our elaborate and effective scheme, we managed to come up with next year's twelve books. (That list, if you care to peruse it, is over here.)

We'd all been working hard that week and several were still feeling the effects of illness, so with our main Friday task accomplished, it was then an early night for most. Not for me, I'm afraid. I had read the book for the next day's discussion a few times (the latest just last spring) but my memory is so lousy that I was reading it again and had a long way to go. But sometimes 3 and 1/2 hours of sleep is enough and I was able to finish and still get up before dawn in order to spend some inspiring prayer and conversation time with Quint back up at the house.

After that and after Jeanna's fine breakfast, we took off to the town center to shop at the thrift stores. I've found some amazing book bargains over the years in the basement of one particular store and managed to scrounge up a few more. (Some of those discoveries are spoken of in this post at The Book Den.)

We re-gathered for a lunch of soup and accompaniments before engaging in our afternoon discussion of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. We always "do Dickens" for our November read. But because we've been together for so long, we've already gone round once with Dickens novels and are now three books in to our second round. It doesn't matter. The literature is superb and reading it again and again (even discussing it again and again) bears much fruit. We had a swell time.

We do all the meals for the weekend except breakfasts so that evening involved preparations for what turned out to be a fantastic dinner of green salad, ham, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, grape salad, rolls and bread, cranberry Jello relish, pumpkin cake, apple crisp, tea and coffee. Then there was the Nebraska game to watch, conversations to enjoy, cleanup duties to share in and, in my case, a sermon to finish for the next morning.

Again on Saturday night, most were in bed a bit earlier than normal but Claire and I stayed up a while -- she reading, drinking tea and just enjoying the ambiance of Whispering Pines, me writing out the sermon from the research notes I'd compiled earlier in the week. A good night of sleep in the barn, another sweet time with Quint in the early morning, a tasty breakfast of sweet potato hash and eggs prepared by Jeanna...and alas, back to our responsibilities in the city.

Church went well. The sermon was a Thanksgiving one which incorporated the history of the holiday (the Pilgrims at Plymouth as well as later observances) with a review of the New Testament verses which use forms of the word "eucharistia," the word most translated "thanks/thankful/thanksgiving." The scholar W.E. Vine described the word (based upon the context of its usage) to mean "the expression of joy Godwards." And the sermon stressed the Christian's duty to demonstrate a lifestyle of thanksgiving.

Our church (Faith Bible on 27th Street on the near south side of town) was hosting its annual Thanksgiving dinner that afternoon at 4 o'clock so we had to book for home, unpack the car and make our dishes to bring to the feast. We made it. The gym of our church was packed but no one left hungry. At least a third of the crowd were folks from the neighborhood who don't regularly attend church so Allen and I and others were "working the room," making conversation with the guests, thanking them for coming, getting to know them a bit, inviting them to come along to church sometime soon, and encouraging them to come back next Sunday evening for a program I'm doing called "Making the Most of Christmas." We stayed afterward to help put away chairs and tables and then took off to see Mom at the nursing home.

Mom wasn't down to dinner yet (she should have been) so we only stayed long enough to give her back her quilts that Claire had washed, catch up on the weekend's activities, and then help motivate her down to the dining room. We reminded her of a doctor's appointment we would be taking her to the next day. We visited a bit with her table mates before leaving for home. Once there it was unpacking from the weekend, catching up on correspondence, watching bits of the second half of the NFL game, getting ticked off about what I saw flipping over to other stations (see this post) and finally getting off to bed in order to be ready for our early shift of sidewalk counseling the next morning.

Like I said at the beginning, the weekend was surely hectic and tiring, but it was a grand one, full of significance, service and sweet fellowship. Lord, we are thankful and we are pleased to "express our joy Godwards" for your bounteous blessings...and for everything Who You are.

The Manhattan Declaration: It's Only a Beginning

A few friends notified me this weekend and asked me to join them in signing the Manhattan Declaration.

I did.

And so might you.

But please remember the difference between merely signing an electronic petition (in this case a very good one, one that even acknowledges the responsibilities of Christians facing certain conditions to engage in civil disobedience) and living a lifestyle of holiness, evangelism and discipleship, cultural reform and ongoing engagement.

EU Requires British Churches/Religious Groups to Hire Homosexuals

Following a complaint from the National Secular Society to the European Union, the once-sovereign nation of Great Britain is being forced to drop exemptions that churches and religious organizations can refuse to employ homosexuals. EU directives prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person's sexual orientation will now be used against religious groups.

In anticipation of a possible backlash from the commission, the government has already inserted new clauses into its equality bill. But even if the bill is jettisoned, future governments will be bound by the commission's ruling. Under the new proposals being drafted by the government, religious organisations will be able to refuse to employ homosexuals only if their job involves actively promoting or practising a religion. A blanket refusal to employ any homosexuals would no longer be possible.

"This ruling is a significant victory for gay equality and a serious setback for religious employers who have been granted exemptions from anti-discrimination law," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. "It is a big embarrassment for the British government, which has consistently sought to appease religious homophobes by granting them opt-outs from key equality laws. The European commission has ruled these opt-outs are excessive."

...Keith Porteous-Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society. "Now the government must demonstrate its commitment to equality, rather than continuing to jump to the church's tune."

...But religious groups expressed alarm at the move. The Christian charity, Care, said: "If evangelical churches cannot be sure that they can employ practising evangelicals with respect to sexual ethics, how will they be able to continue?"

Are We Living in Jimmy Carter's Second Term?

An idealistic president takes office promising an era of American moral renewal at home and abroad. The effort includes a focus on diplomacy and peace-making, an aversion to the use of force, the selling out of old allies. The result is that within a couple of years the U.S. is more suspected, detested and enfeebled than ever.

No, we're not talking about Barack Obama. But since the current administration took office offering roughly the same prescriptions as Jimmy Carter did, it's worth recalling how that worked out...

There are a lot of illuminating reminders in this fine Bret Stephens piece for the Wall Street Journal. And even if those "moderate" Democrats fail to read it and learn from it, you certainly shouldn't.

Did You Hear This One?

* About the Health Care Bill -- When Charles Krauthammer pointed out how the Senate health care bill only pretends to be “deficit-neutral” by front-loading the tax collection process while delaying the payouts, Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas agreed: “Charles is right. This bill is a fiscal fraud.” But he quickly added: “I’d still vote for it.” (NewsBusters)

* About the Climategate E-mails -- James Taranto writes, "This is downright Orwellian. What the Post describes is not a vigorous debate but an attempt to suppress debate -- to politicize the process of scientific inquiry so that it yields a predetermined result. This does not, in itself, prove the global warmists wrong. But it raises a glaring question: If they have the facts on their side, why do they need to resort to tactics of suppression and intimidation? It is hard to see how this is anything less than a definitive refutation of the popular press's contention that global warmism is settled science..." (Wall Street Journal)

* About ACORN -- Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) accused two Democratic committee chairmen of blocking an investigation into ACORN because of their ties to the organization. In an interview with Fox News, King took aim at House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Judiciary Constitution subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), whom he says have questionable connections to the organization. (The Hill)

* About Chinese Drywall -- I thought I had come a bit late to the issue of how cheap Chinese drywall was endangering homes (and homeowners!) in the United States when I brought it up on Vital Signs Blog last March and then again in April. Well, the federal government has finally come round to observing the matter itself. "The federal government said Monday that it has found a 'strong association' between problematic imported Chinese drywall and corrosion of pipes and wires, a conclusion that supports complaints by thousands of homeowners over the last year....The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said its investigation also has found a 'possible' link between health problems reported by homeowners and higher-than-normal levels of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from the wallboard coupled with formaldehyde, which is commonly found in new houses." (Yahoo News)

* About the Health Care Bill -- "Anxious to avoid raising taxes too much to pay for their health care proposals, the Obama administration and its congressional allies hit on a great new idea: Make the states raise their taxes to fund the program, instead. Both the House and the Senate bills require that states cover a larger percentage of their people under Medicaid -- a joint state and federally funded program. The idea was to force states to raise their taxes to cover a big part of the health care bill for treating poor people. Since the Feds can simply charge any increase in spending to their already overdrawn bank account, but the states have to balance their budgets, the increased state spending for Medicaid will cause sharp increases in state taxes. And the governors will get the blame, not Obama and not the Congress..." (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann)

* About Climate Change -- "The effects of climate change have driven women in communities in coastal areas in poor countries like the Philippines into dangerous work, and sometimes even the flesh trade, a United Nations official said. Suneeta Mukherjee, country representative of the United Nations Food Population Fund (UNFPA), said “Climate change could reduce income from farming and fishing, possibly driving some women into sex work and thereby increase HIV infection." (GMANews.TV)

Are You Bothered by the Bizarre Blasphemy on TV?

Flipping over during commercials from the Eagles/Bears game on Sunday night, I caught a few examples of what passes for modern entertainment during ABC's American Music Awards.

I didn't see Adam Lambert's number (the excerpts from other performances I did see were quite shocking enough, thank you) but it seems that the graphic and perverse sexual antics performed on network TV by such sleaze champions as Madonna and Britney Spears are now being trumped by even more bizarre and blasphemous decadence.

Lambert's song and dance, for instance, "featured male dancers on leashes, an open-mouth kiss between Lambert and his male keyboardist, and simulated oral sex, both male-on-male and female-on-male."

And this on prime time Sunday night television.

Ed Sullivan, where did you go?

Of course, Lambert's performance was controversial and shocking. But that's exactly why it is being praised by Rolling Stone, MTV and other "progressives." Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker wrote, "As a TV viewer, I thought Lambert's performance was a gas, a delight, a blast of brash vulgarity in the midst of ordinary vulgarity. The song he was singing was beside the point. The point was, ‘Here I am, Adam Lambert, freed from the shackles of American Idol, I'll push this dancer's face into my crotch if I feel like it, isn't it funny to lead human beings around on leashes, and can you believe how high I got my hair to stand up under these lights?'"

Certainly I am skeptical how my protests will be received by ABC and Dick Clark Productions but that is really beside the point. My conscience will not allow me to just shrug my shoulders and get used to it. Nor is it sufficient to just complain to friends about such travesties as we pine together for the good old days.

We must pray for the people involved (including the millions of teenagers and young adults who are getting their moral bearings from such shows) and we must keep shining our lights by speaking out against wickedness.

Dear ABC,

I was truly saddened to learn about the depths of decadence to which the performers on your American Music Awards stooped. Graphic homoerotic performances, songs reveling in rape and murder, several numbers where titillation trumped talent -- these things lead young people into experiences that are dangerous to body and soul. And thus they prostitute the tradition of Dick Clark Productions and ABC.

You should be very ashamed of that show.

(I had a few more things to say but the contact form at ABC cuts you off at 5oo characters.) That contact form, by the way, can be found right here. As for Dick Clark, his website doesn't allow for feedback but you can send along a letter to Dick Clark Productions, 3003 West Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505.

And one more item in this vein -- if you have been frustrated by the new Reebok TV ads that feature lingering, close-up shots of a woman's "pantied posterior" and breasts in a push-up bra (just the kind of thing you're delighted to have your kids see on television, right?), then please follow up with a letter of complaint to that ignoble company.

Dear Reebok,

Your new TV spots featuring titillating close-ups of a woman's breasts and posterior are in remarkably poor taste. I'm sure that these sexist, sophomoric spots are discouraging many from buying your products. They certainly have had that effect in this household that has formerly purchased Reebok products. But not anymore. A company that makes such a brazenly bad decision in its advertising policy is probably making bad decisions elsewhere. So, we're off Reebok.

(They only allow 500 characters as well.)

So what do you say? Write a couple of letters today. It's just not satisfactory to whine...when we can shine instead.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today's Posts

It's Dickens, Decisions and Delightful Fellowship This Weekend

We're on the run today (what's new) with several errands and tasks to perform before heading down to a bed and breakfast (Whispering Pines) in Nebraska City for the annual retreat of our literary society, the Notting Hill Napoleons.

We go there every November and take over the place from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, enjoying each others' company and conducting our discussion of the year's Charles Dickens novel. This year it's Great Expectations.

Actually, this is our second time with this novel because our group has been going so long, we've read all of Dickens and are now into our third re-read of the great author. But since you can never read too much of Dickens, we're all looking forward to sharing the joys (old and new) we had this time around.

Also during our weekend, we decide on the book rota for the coming year. We've got it down to a science by now but, like a lot of science, it's hard to explain to the uninitiated. Suffice it to say, it involves competing lists, discussion, some pitiful pleading by some members and a series of three (sometimes four) votes before we knock it out.

For Claire's and my part, we prepare a detailed list of recommendations every year, complete with appropriate description, number of pages, cost and availability information. Then we hand it out. No reading the list aloud that we've just handed out. (Didn't you always hate teachers who did that?) And no begging, guilt-trips, bribes or trade-offs. We want the votes to be about the books...not about the personalities or emotions of the members themselves.

It actually doesn't take that long, though sometimes it sure seems like it. But we've done pretty well over the years. A few clunkers have slipped in but otherwise, a whole lot of terrific literature. If you'd like to see the entirety of the Notting Hill Napoleon reading list, you can over at The Book Den: 1992-2007, 2008 and 2009.

And you can also read through Claire's and my recommendation list for this year over there. You might find it of interest as you have your own "debates" about what to read this year.

And wherever you are and whatever you're doing this weekend, have a great time with it!

If Cable TV Was Handled Like ObamaCare

Here's another clever (and illuminating) video clip from CMPI.

Chickens Make "Chickens" of White Tigers

I'll let you decide on the moral of the following story.

The Chongqing Wild Animal Park (China) has five rare adult white tigers which were originally trained to perform tricks for visitors...Keepers have been trying to encourage them to follow their natural instincts by throwing them live chickens - but without success.

Feeder Shi Ruqiang said: They're supposed to be wild and scary, but due to their soft lifestyles and human care they have gradually lost their wild nature. "I have been trying to interest them with live chickens but it was quite a funny scene. The tigers were so scared that they wouldn't go near them. One chicken passed out and the tigers did eventually approach it - but then it woke up again and squawked and they ran for their lives!"

Shi says the keepers are now forcing the tigers to stay outside their cages for at least 12 hours a day to toughen them up.And they are planning to introduce a wild tiger to show the domesticated big cats the ropes. "If all else fails, we will simply cut down their rations until they are so hungry that they are forced to hunt for themselves," he added.

"The Importance of a Divine Perspective"

Harold Berry sent over a message he had presented to the Board of Trustees at Back to the Bible. It was a captivating commentary on the necessity of aligning our lives to a "divine perspective" and he used King David's example (particularly chapters 16 and 17 of First Samuel) to illustrate his points.

It's good stuff - inspirational, practical.

And I sure hope this link will take you to it. Not knowing how Facebook works, I'm not sure if non-FB folks can get there. But try it.

The Most Successful Woman We Will Ever Know In This Country?

It's one of those statements that jolts you, revealing yet another decline of the once-noble American culture into the marshes of insipidity.

For in the mind of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (and probably many other celebrity worshipers), Oprah Winfrey, a New Age egotist who talks about mostly inane, irrelevant topics on a TV program, soars above all mothers, scientists, political leaders, doctors, educators, policewomen, missionaries, First Ladies, soldiers, philanthropists, writers, social activists, adventurers, athletes, nurses, artists and caregivers.

"I think she was the most successful woman that we will ever know in the history of this country."


Not Pocahontas, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Molly Pitcher.
Not Dolley Madison, Sacajawea, Sojourner Truth, or Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Not Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, or Florence Nightingale.

Not Harriet Tubman, Jane Addams, Clara Barton, or Emily Dickinson.
Not Louisa May Alcott, Annie Oakley, Nellie Bly, or Beatrix Potter.
Not Marie Curie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, or Juliette Gordon Low.

Not Ida B. Wells, Mary Cassatt, Grandma Moses, or Willa Cather.
Not Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, Clara Maass, or Claire Boothe Luce.
Not Mary K. Goddard, Mother Bernardina Matthews, or Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Not Victoria Woodhull, Maria Montessori, or Elanor Roosevelt.
Not Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, Georgia O'Keefe, or Mother Jones.
Not Amelia Earhart, Edith Wharton, Edna St. Vincent Millay or Dorothea Dix.

Not Margaret Chase Smith, "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, or Lucille Ball.
Not Ella Fitzgerald, Clara Bow, Shirley Temple, or Bess Truman.
Not Jackie Kennedy, Sandra Day O’Connor, or Margaret Mead.

Not Marian Anderson, Dorothy Day, Wilma Rudolph, or Zora Neale Hurston.
Not Margaret Bourke-White, Marian Anderson, or Joni Eareckson-Tada.

But Oprah Winfrey.

Daley's choice shows a remarkable lack of moral perspective and a woeful ignorance of (if not sheer disdain for) American history. But then it's not just about history. For Daley has concluded that Oprah Winfrey is not only the most successful woman we've ever had, she's the most successful we will ever have! Done deal. Close the books. Raise the statue.

And then close the curtain.

"This Is Politics at its Very Worst."

Last Saturday night Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) forced through a vote on her 2,032 page health care bill only a few days after releasing it to the public. Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is poised for another Saturday night cram down, forcing a Senate cloture vote mere days before his 2,074 page bill was given to Senators. Yet again, Congress will be forced to vote on a bill that none of them have actually read. More importantly, as we pour through the details, it becomes obvious that none of them even believe the plan will do what the bill says...

Conn Carroll's brief but potent analysis continues over at The Foundry, showing how this proposed legislation will kill jobs, hurt small business, hurt families, hurt the individual states, finance abortion, and hide the real costs (which are beyond imagination).

This is politics at its very worst, not only in the horrid consequences this legislation would produce but also in the downright wicked ways in which the Democrats are running roughshod over the Constitution, democracy and common sense.

Call your Senators.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today's Posts

Govt. Printing Office Updates WWII Poster For Future Use

Did You Have Any Doubts? Harry Reid Health Care Plan Requires Monthly Abortion Fee.

Straight from the web blog of House Republican Leader John Boehner comes these details he found in the Democrat's Senate-version of the health care bill.

Just like the original 2,032-page, government-run health care plan from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new “abortion premium” fee on Americans in the government-run plan.

Beginning on line 7, p. 118, section 1303 under “Voluntary Choice of Coverage of Abortion Services” the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run health plan. Leader Reid’s plan also requires that at least one insurance plan offered in the Exchange covers abortions (line 13, p. 120).

What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan. It’s right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under “Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.” The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services...

A majority of Americans believe that health care plans should not be mandated to provide elective abortion coverage, and a majority of Americans do not believe government health care plans should include abortion coverage. Currently, federal appropriations bills include language known as the Hyde Amendment that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, while another provision, known as the Smith Amendment, prohibits federal funding of abortion under the federal employees’ health benefits plan.

Leader Reid’s 2,074-page health care monstrosity is an affront to the American people and drastically moves away from current policy...

Let's see what Senator Ben Nelson does with the cloture vote now.

Obama's Ego vs Real World Politics

...Obama evidently expected that his election would change not only America's image in the world but the policies of nations both friendly and unfriendly. In saluting the fall of the Berlin Wall, on videotape, he made no mention of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa or John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev or Vaclav Havel, but cited as a world-changing event his own election in the United States 19 years later.

Obama has often said that all the world's nations have shared interests, and during his campaign he made clear his willingness to meet with leaders of enemy countries in order to reach agreements. His idea seemed to be that his own eloquence and his own example would make the scales fall from their eyes and enable them to see that it was in their interest to do what he would like.

So far, not so good. The mullahs of Iran have consented to something in the nature of negotiations, but their agreement in principle to allow the enrichment of nuclear fuel in France has, like many agreements in principle, turned out to be no agreement. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs have proved no more moveable by Obama's emollient and respectful tones than by George W. Bush's Texas twang.

Nor have we made any discernible progress on settling issues between Israel and the Palestinians, the first priority of Obama's national security adviser. Obama's insistence on a stop to natural growth of Israeli settlements -- no new spare rooms for Grandma or the new baby -- seems now to have been abandoned. Israelis are distrustful of the U.S., and the West Bank Palestinian leader is threatening to quit.

Obama's unilateral concession to the Russians -- abandonment of missile defense plans in Poland and the Czech Republic -- has evoked statements from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that sanctions against Iran may someday be necessary. But it's beginning to look as if Medvedev is Lucy, sanctions are the football and Obama is Charlie Brown.

The leaders of China, despite Obama's refusal to meet the Dalai Lama, are sticking to their peg to the dollar and, like the leaders of India, have shown zero willingness to damage their growing economy by raising energy prices to avert the global warming that will supposedly bring catastrophe 50 years from now. So Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit was forced to concede that there would be no agreement on a global climate treaty next month in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Obama's election was indeed a major event, as the election of every American president is, and the election of our first African-American president was a landmark in our history, as John McCain noted on election night. But it didn't change the world. All nations may have the same interests in some platonic sense. But all nations' leaders don't. Bush didn't cause all our foreign policy problems, and Obama's ascension and appeasement don't seem to be solving them.

("Obama Bows, But the World Refuses to Bow Back" by Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, November 18)

Vital Signs' Book It! Discussions -- You Oughta' Get In On This.

Earlier this week we had a terrific Book It! discussion over here (with the carpet finally in, we had moved our living room furniture back where it belonged) as we discussed C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, his classic investigation of spiritual warfare, virtue, perseverance, prayer and so much more.

One of my all-time favorites, I have probably read The Screwtape Letters a dozen times in the last 39 years and referred to it in bits and pieces a whole lot more. But among the treasures of discussing books with trusted friends are, if not completely new discoveries, at least deepened understanding of the lessons and fresh challenges to apply them more consistently.

We had a great time: Allen and Cindy, John, Quint, Chet, Linda, Matt, Claire and I. And we'd sure love for you to join us for the next discussion. The next meeting won't be until after Christmas but you might want to get started on the book pretty soon. It was first suggested by Cindy but confirmed by several others now who have heard or read glowing reports about it. The book is The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Written by Amity Shlaes, it's now available in a fairly inexpensive paperback copy.

To tease your interest, let me link you here to a review of the book by Jonah Goldberg and then over here at NRO's Uncommon Knowledge is the first of Peter Robinson's 5-part interview of Amity Shlaes. (The rest are there too.)

If you're interested on joining us for a Book It! evening, please zip us a line and let us know.

Is That Helen?

Nothing "Religious" Is Allowed in Public Schools

That's the determination of a New Jersey high school principal and, despite the clarity of the U.S. Constitution on the issue, it has become the determined belief on the part of school officials across the country.

Therefore, when a student wants to speak of Jesus in a report or in a speech, when a student wants to pray or join in a Bible study or, as in this case, when a student desires to participate in a peaceful pro-life action, secularists in the system become tyrannical opponents of religion.

Thankfully, lawyers associated with the Alliance Defense Fund are working to protect this young girl's Constitutional rights (and ours too). Check it out. And, if possible, send them a check to help out with their critically important service.

U.K. Government Official: “Lesbians Make Better Parents Than a Man and a Woman.”

Guess what? They have loopy czars in the British government too.

The Times reports here on Stephen Scott, director of research at the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners (the U.K. government’s parenting academy) claiming that "the latest research" shows that children of lesbian couples did better in life than kids who came from...well, you know...those old-fashioned, squares-ville marriage arrangements.

His exact words? “Lesbians make better parents than a man and a woman.”

The Times reporter (Maurice Chittenden) buys into it completely. Without citing any specific studies, the reporter writes, "[Scott's] arguments are supported by experts who have found, over years of research, that children brought up by female couples are more aspirational and more confident in championing social justice."

You believe that? Typical journalist games are in play here: referring to unnamed "experts," using the authoritative phrase "over years of research," and all without a single citation that would qualify as actual proof.

But then Chittenden may be a bit limited in really grasping the matters involved here. For instance, he informs his readers later in the story that "lesbian couples cannot have children by accident" because of the...uh, "nature of their relationship." Yes that, I guess. But there is that minor business of biology too, isn't there, Mr. Chittenden?

Nevertheless, silliness sufficiently spoken by the government and media will change the minds of the ignorant.

As the story notes, "more than a third of people now believe a lesbian couple can be at least as good parents as a man and a woman, according to the annual British Social Attitudes report." Sigh.

The Reprobate Rush for "Inclusion"

"Corpus Christi," Terrence McNally's infamous play which portrays Jesus as a homosexual was performed in Santa Ana, California last weekend -- in a church.

"That's why we're doing this," Pastor Michael Holland said, "for all those families out there who don't feel accepted. The Bible does not condemn homosexuality as an orientation, it condemns certain homoerotic acts which had nothing to do with people being in love, like we're doing today....Jesus was about love and inclusion and affirming people as children of God, and that's what we're doing tonight."

Among those attending was Claire Richardson, a graduate of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, who said she wants to be an ordained minister in Disciples of Christ faith community. "I support art and I support interpreting the Bible for oneself," said Richardson, who attended with her parents.

"Health Care Hoops"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today's Posts

Local Bureaucrats Hassle Pro-Life CPCs, Leave Abortion Clinics Free

On Monday night, the Baltimore City Council, by a vote of 12 to 3, approved an ordinance requiring pregnancy care centers (PCCs) to posts signs indicating that they do not do abortions or provide contraception. Failure to comply with the ordinance will incur a $150 per day fine. A proposed amendment to require abortion clinics to post relevant disclaimers was defeated...

Read the rest of Denise Burke's report on Americans United for Life web site here.

Lies, Damned Lies and White House Statistics

Jonathan Karl from ABC News reports, "Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts."

Rick Klein from ABC News adds this one: "More than $36 million in stimulus funds spent between the 69th and 99th districts of the Northern Mariana Islands -- a self-governing US territory that gets only one (non-voting) representative in the House. (Did Jack Abramoff do a better lobbying job than anyone could have imagined?)"

And that ain't all. The following comes from Matthe Jaffe, also from, you got it...ABC News.

One recipient – Talladega County of Alabama – claimed that 5,000 jobs had been saved or created from only $42,000 in stimulus funds...

Some of the other recipients whose data was omitted included Belmont Metropolitan Housing Authority in Ohio that reported 16,120 jobs saved or created after receiving $1.3 million in stimulus funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Shelton State Community College in Alabama reported 14,500 jobs saved or created after receiving $27,000 from the General Accounting Office. And Alkan Builders of Alaska reported 3,000 jobs saved or created after receiving $11 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...

"The more we learn about the administration's 'jobs created or saved' methodology, the more questions we have regarding its accuracy and validity," Rep. Darrell Issa told ABC News Sunday night. "Now we learn that OMB is playing an active role in trying to filter information. Given this hands-on role that the administration is playing, it would be appropriate to have OMB represented at Thursday's hearing."...

Since the latest stimulus report, there have been numerous media reports that the jobs numbers were inflated.

The Associated Press said the report "significantly overstates the number of jobs spared with money from programs serving families and children, mostly the Head Start preschool program."

The Denver Post also cited overstated federal figures with the Colorado Head Start program, noting that the government reported 269 jobs saved or created by the program, but only three were actually saved or created.

The Chicago Tribune noted that the administration said $4.7 million in stimulus money for schools in north Chicago had saved the jobs of 473 teachers, but the school district only employed 290 teachers. The statistics – claiming that stimulus money had helped save or create 14,330 school jobs in Illinois – were "riddled with anomalies that raise questions about their validity."

The Boston Globe also reported that Massachusetts recipients of stimulus funds claimed that 12,000 jobs had been saved or created, "that number has been inflated by miscounts, erroneous figures, or claiming jobs for work not yet started."

This whole mess prompted Andrew Malcom over at the L.A. Times' "Top of the Ticket" to quip, "But then the trouble is that just months after grandly unveiling the website to showcase its economic prowess and tech-savvy, the Obama administration just spent 18 million additional taxpayer dollars to redesign the still new website.

And that site proudly also reported nonexistent new stimulus spending not just in Arizona but other states across the country. So that looks to have worked pretty well, at least if you're counting computer designer jobs created."

But beyond the laughable mistakes, the muddle-headed defenses and the appropriate sarcasm delivered at the White House by a handful of media sources, there is a quite serious purpose at work with the President's lies, damned lies and falsified statistics.

Note these points made by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa from California, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Since President Obama took office, the American people have been subjected to an aggressive propaganda campaign designed to convince them that the $787 billion stimulus bill is working. Month after month, as unemployment continues to rise, the administration has sent its spinmeisters out to trumpet an altogether dubious number of jobs "created or saved."

Vice President Biden -- the man appointed by the president to oversee the recovery effort -- has shamelessly continued to claim credit for as many as one million jobs that the administration argues the stimulus has "created or saved."

Meanwhile, unemployment hit the highest point in a quarter century, and 3.8 million more Americans are out of work since the White House promised to "get the economy moving again." There's good reason to doubt thepresident's policies are working...

The manifest inaccuracies in the data the Obama administration uses to justify its economic policies constitutes the promulgation of inaccurate and misleading information by the federal government. The American people deserve a straightforward accounting of the way the president spends their tax dollars, and they have the right to expect a return on their "investment."

So far, all they are getting is deceitful propaganda and a backbreaking trillion-dollar tax bill from the officials they elected to bring about change.