Friday, April 30, 2010

Today's Posts

Pro-Choice Zealotry: Current Abortion Numbers Aren't High Enough

Even though more than 1.2 million abortions were performed in the last year for which Aimee Thorne-Thomsen of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (photo at left) had full statistics, she recently wrote that it (gulp!) wasn't enough to suit her.

Writing for the ludicrously liberal Daily Kos, Thorne-Thomsen wrote, “On the other hand, if those 1.21 million abortions represent only the women who could access abortion financially, geographically or otherwise, then that number is too low. Yes, too low....Do we dare admit that increasing the number of abortions might be not only good for women’s health, but also moral and just?”

Particularly incensed at the Oklahoma law which requires abortionists to allow an ultrasound viewing of the fetus (if the client so chooses), Thorne-Thomsen likened it to:

A: Setting a firefighter on fire before he can rush into a burning building;

B: Requiring a soldier to get shot before he is issued a firearm; or

C: Showing a man seeking a vasectomy his own vas deferens by sticking a camera in through his urethra.

Thus does irrationality, imbecilic wit and a tragically callous heart define the pr0-abortion advocate.

Sarah Knoploh at NewsBusters has more.

The U.N.'s Cruel Farce: Iran "Elected by Acclamation" to Commission on the Status of Women

"Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged 'immodest.'" (From the Fox News exclusive story.)

There's almost nothing to say about this incredible, revolting action of the U.N.

Screaming, fainting, laughing or mindless denial -- those are clearly more natural responses than trying to put into words one's response to this horrifying farce.

But bravely, Joseph Abrams from Fox News manages the task. His report continues (and please note it is the only major news organ covering this huge story)...

Buried 2,000 words deep in a U.N. press release distributed Wednesday on the filling of "vacancies in subsidiary bodies," was the stark announcement: Iran, along with representatives from 10 other nations, was "elected by acclamation," meaning that no open vote was requested or required by any member states — including the United States...

The U.S. Mission to the U.N. did not return requests for comment on whether it actively opposed elevating Iran to the women's commission.

Iran's election comes just a week after one of its senior clerics declared that women who wear revealing clothing are to blame for earthquakes, a statement that created an international uproar — but little affected their bid to become an international arbiter of women's rights.

The letter draws a dark picture of the status of women in Iran: "women lack the ability to choose their husbands, have no independent right to education after marriage, no right to divorce, no right to child custody, have no protection from violent treatment in public spaces, are restricted by quotas for women's admission at universities, and are arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of such laws."

The Commission on the Status of Women is supposed to conduct review of nations that violate women's rights, issue reports detailing their failings, and monitor their success in improving women's equality.

Yet critics of Iran's human rights record say the country has taken "every conceivable step" to deter women's equality.

"In the past year, it has arrested and jailed mothers of peaceful civil rights protesters," wrote three prominent democracy and human rights activists in an op-ed published online Tuesday by Foreign Policy Magazine.

"It has charged women who were seeking equality in the social sphere — as wives, daughters and mothers — with threatening national security, subjecting many to hours of harrowing interrogation. Its prison guards have beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and raped female and male civil rights protesters."

One Man's Oily Mess is Another Man's Opportunity

Nine days after the British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew apart and began shooting 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, the massive oil slick began to wash ashore late last night. Many environmental experts are saying it could end up creating far more damage than the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

And the political damage could also be substantial...or not.

Joseph Curl, writing in the Washington Times, suggests that failure to get a firm hold on the crisis "could pose the same kind of political threat to Mr. Obama's popular standing that the much-criticized handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina did for former President George W. Bush."

Curl writes that "Mr. Obama's response to the disaster will be closely scrutinized for parallels to the response of Mr. Bush to the devastating Hurricane Katrina" but I don't think so. The media's ongoing loyalty to Obama will likely result in the same kinds of excuses, cover ups, omissions and pointing the blame elsewhere that we've come to expect.

No, I would expect that Team Obama (never at a loss to exploit a crisis) will simply use this to further bash big oil, to refuse to develop America's energy independence and to remind the country that the Democrats (though certainly "oily" in a metaphorical sense) have their hands completely clean on this one.

Domestic Troubles? Let the Brothers Castro Help.

This is how fast "justice" works in the worker's paradise of Fidel Castro.

A woman is accused of striking her 23-year old daughter, a daughter with whom she has had many arguments in the past. A key cause for their strife is whereas other members of the family are pro-Castro, the mother is a blogger who has written of the brutal dictatorship under which Cubans live and who has marched alongside the Ladies in White, those mothers, wives and sisters of Cuban men who were unjustly rounded up and imprisoned during the Black Spring of March 2003.

Within 2 days, Dania Virgen García was tried, convicted and shoved into Manto Negro, the country's notorious prison for women, to serve a 20 month sentence!

The daughter's response? She believes her mother was properly sent to jail and hopes that after experiencing life in "the black veil" (the street name for the infamous prison), her mother will stop her dissident activities.

A simple case of domestic disquiet? Hardly. The Wall Street Journal editors call it "the clearest sign to date of the regime's desperation in the face of popular discontent."

Here's more from the Wall Street Journal and the Miami Herald.

Fed Employees Get Double Your Salary, 4X the Benefits

Government workers, especially at the federal level, make salaries that are scandalously higher than those paid to private sector workers. And let's not forget private sector workers not only have to be sufficiently productive to earn their paychecks, they also must pay the taxes that support the more generous jobs in the public sector.

Data compiled by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals the extent of the pay gap between federal and private workers. As of 2008, the average federal salary was $119,982, compared with $59,909 for the average private sector employee. In other words, the average federal bureaucrat makes twice as much as the average working taxpayer. Add the value of benefits like health care and pensions, and the gap grows even bigger. The average federal employee's benefits add $40,785 to his annual total compensation, whereas the average working taxpayer's benefits increase his total compensation by only $9,881. In other words, federal workers are paid on average salaries that are twice as generous as those in the private sector, and they receive benefits that are four times greater.

("Want to Get Rich? Work for Feds," editorial in the Washington Examiner, April 29)

"Multimillionaire Living Rent-Free Laments Americans Making Too Much Money"

You've read (perhaps even watched the clip) of Barack Obama's latest outrageous statement, "We're not, we're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or providing good service. We don't want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy."

Jim Geraghty in his e-newsletter Morning Jolt has collected a few responses from the conservative blogosphere. Check 'em out.

Jeff G. at Protein Wisdom: "Listen carefully to what Obama is saying here: namely, that it is the 'responsibility' of businesses and entrepreneurs to 'help grow the economy' with the government as beneficiary. That is, it is the responsibility of the free man, according to Obama, to create wealth for the purposes of aiding the government in its own push to control market movement."

At Red State, Lori Ziganto, who is also a world-class Tweeter, notes: "Evidently our pay is not above his pay grade. Oh, really, President Obama? If you are so worried about people who've 'made enough money,' you may want to have talk with a few people. Here's a tip for you: start with George Soros. You're welcome. . . . Not only is he prancing around giving speeches about evil Wall Street, filled with feel good nonsense and super serious faces that even those who voted for him no longer believe, but he's doing so when people are huddled around staring dejectedly at a one page Classified section. You know, Obama, people would like to make some money, reaching your apparent 'too much' threshold or not, to provide for their families. Demonizing business isn't going to do that. You know what will? Stop bailing out poorly run businesses. Stop regulating the good ones out of business. Stop taxing them out of employing people. I mean, at some point, hasn't the Government made enough money?"

Cassy Fiano: "Politicians are supposed to be public servants. They are supposed to serve us, not the other way around. Money is not earned for the benefit of the government. And as long as it isn't earned through illegal means, then what business is it of Obama's? For anyone who paid any attention at all to Obama's record and background, this radicalism isn't exactly a huge surprise."

Rush: "That's what he said to Joe the Plumber. He told us what he was going to do. This is why we want him to fail, he's going to redistribute income and wealth, spread it around a little bit. And then last night in Quincy, Illinois, 'I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money.' It's none of his business. If we get into playing that game -- and a lot of people, by the way, agree with this, I run into people all the time, not many, but people, 'Well, at what point do you need any more?' And notice they never ask this of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or any of these millionaire, billionaire oligarchs. At some point don't you think you have enough? How many pairs of shoes can you have? How many cars can you have? The problem with this is, in addition to further illustrating who Obama is, who's going to decide what's enough? Well, Obama wants to be the guy to decide. This is a telltale admission of exactly what his agenda is, folks. 'I mean, at a certain point you've made enough money. We're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success.' Clearly he does. Who are his targets? Who are his targets? The achievers in life. If you're going to redistribute wealth you have to go to where the wealth is, right? And that's obviously who his enemies are."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Today's Posts

The Inconvenience of Human Life

From Publius' Forum, here's Warner Todd Huston's compelling commentary on the cruel death of a stranded abortion survivor in Italy.

Recently a baby in Italy was put through horror for his two short days of life in an incident that puts paid to the hypocrisy of those that think that an in vitro human infant is not really a human at all.

This child survived a botched abortion then was laid alone in a cold room struggling to live for 20 hours before anyone bothered to notice it survived the attempted ending of its life. His torture lasted another day before death finally arrived to claim him.

Once the baby was found still hanging onto life after “doctors” tried to kill it, the hospital made a sudden, vain attempt to bring it to health. To complete the circus atmosphere, after the child passed, police in Italy began a homicide investigation of the incident. Why? Because in Italy infanticide is illegal.

Confused? You should be.

This incident really shows the utter, scornful hypocrisy in the pro-abortion position. How is it that one second a child is something to be so contemptuous of that it might be killed in an abortion, yet the next a victim of homicide?

The problem is, of course, that there is no intellectually logical — much less humanly compassionate — stance that abortionists can honestly take to determine when someone is “human.” Ridiculously, one second you are an “unviable tissue mass” and open to being aborted, a split second later you are a “baby” that has rights. But the abortionists can’t tell you when that magical event occurs. In fact, there is no such fantastic switch that can be thrown between the time that an infant is nothingness to humanness in order to honestly support the abortionist’s support of his deed. The entire question is but a “feeling” of the abortionist, not anything that can be quantified. And when we are talking about a person’s life, shouldn’t we be using solid, intellectually grounded reasoning to determine when a person is allowed to be accorded his right to life?

This poor little person was badly abused by his country’s practitioners of medicine. But he isn’t the only one. The simple matter of fact is that abortionists and people who support them have only one reason to kill babies: they are inconvenient.

No matter from what country they hail, human life is inconvenient to pro-abortionists. It’s just that simple.

Here's coverage of the story from the Telegraph.

(HT to Blogs Lucianne Loves)

"Pelosi’s Camp Said the Picture Has Not Been Airbrushed."

And How's That Post-Racial, Post-Partisan Politics Going?

...Brooklyn State Senator Kevin Parker is a well-documented hothead, and on Wednesday he took to the airwaves to unapologetically defend his latest shouting match.

"It's par for the course for what we have to do in Albany – fighting the forces of evil," Senator Parker said.

Parker shockingly identified the "enemies" he's fighting as other senators.
"These long-term, white supremacist, you know, Republican senators," he said.

That followed a free-for-all shouting match in Albany Tuesday where Parker heatedly objected to the questions asked by a white senator, John DeFrancisco of Syracuse, of a black nominee to the New York State Power Authority.
"John, you are totally out of order, you are out of order," Parker shouted. "How dare you? You racist people in here."

Committee Chair Carl Kruger tried in vain to get Parker to calm down.
"You're out of order – why don't you step outside," he told Parker. "You're disrespecting me as chairman. One more outburst like that and I'll ask you to be removed."

Parker didn't like that one bit.
"Okay, then get somebody to remove me. Bring people though," Parker said.

There have been other temper tantrums involving the senator. Last year he was accused of felony assault after doing $1,000 in damage to the car of New York Post photographer William Lopez and smashing his camera after he snapped Parker's picture.

Two years ago, an aide filed charges against Parker, claiming he pushed her during an argument and smashed her glasses. In 2005, Parker was accused of punching a traffic agent in the face. The charges were dropped after parker agreed to take anger management classes.

Senator Parker is due in court next month on the assault case. Sources tell CBS 2 his attorney is trying to cut a no-jail deal, but the district attorney isn't buying it.
The Brooklyn district attorney would like to try the assault case this summer, before Parker has to stand for reelection in a September primary.

(WCBSTV via Drudge Report)

"We Are the Educational Experts," Now Give Us Your Kids!

Elizabeth Schroeder is, like so many in the educational establishment, an elitist who believes that her education, her progressive ideas, and her government-endowed power entitle her to take control of other people's kids. And she openly admits it.

For instance, of Ontario's decision to back down from implementing a sex education program that parents found odious and outrageous, Schroeder grumbled, "That's what we do in the States, kow-tow to parents groups and religious leaders instead of sticking our feet in the ground and saying ‘We are the educational experts.'"

Brian Lilley writes in this Mercator article --

...In Schroeder's world, parents are not the primary educators, they are merely co-consumers along with their children, of whatever "the educational experts" deem fitting. Unlike Schroeder however, politicians need to get elected and having heard that parents were not happy with the new course of study, they considered their election chances and thought better of forging ahead...

In the end though, what stopped the program from going ahead was the reaction of many parents, "You're going to teach my child what?"

In picking up the phone to call their local representative or a talk radio program, parents let their voices be heard. The government is now promising greater input from parents in the revision of the revised curriculum, "I think we have learned, in this particular case, that parents do want to know when there are changes.", Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky told reporters after the program was cancelled.

While Dombrowsky now sees the value in allowing parents to have a say, Schroeder remains upset, saying that parents don't get a say in when certain math topics are introduced, why should they have a say when it comes to sexual education? The answer to that is obvious. Because while we all agree that in math class two plus two is four, we don't all agree on what one plus one should mean, or do, when it comes to intimacy and sexuality. And when there is doubt, parents, not the so-called experts, should have the final say.

Read the whole essay here.

Get Writing!

Regular visitors to Vital Signs Blog know I frequently pass along action alerts designed to get you involved in grassroots advocacy. In those posts I describe what's happening, why your response is valuable, contact information, and sometimes even show you a sample letter.

Why? 1) I'm convinced that "shining" is a lot more responsible than just "whining."

2) Letter-writers tend to become even more informed, more alert, more eager to pass the word along in other venues too.

and 3) Letters actually work!

These are the reasons that one of Vital Signs Ministries' first activities (way back in 1983) was the beginning of P.A.L. Nights, regularly scheduled meetings where we would spend a short time of prayer together and then, while we kept the coffee and tea hot, we wrote letters.

Vital Signs still carries on this tradition. Why? Because letters actually work.

But don't just take my word for it. Give a listen to this interesting 5-minute lecture by business entrepreneur and politician Omar Ahmad. If you find it motivational, then print off this helpful letter-writing primer and get started making a difference.

(Hat tip for the Ahmad clip to Regis Nicoll at Breakpoint.)

On Baseball, the American Dream and Surviving Castro's Prisons

Christopher Rhoads' WSJ article on Juan Ignacio Hernández Nodar is exceptional, a piece that is heart-warming even as it is heart-breaking, examining as it does one man's experience with Cuba's prison system. Along the way, Rhoads movingly describes Cuban baseball, the drama of Cuban athletes defecting from Castro's brutal government, the lifesaving power of friendship, and more. It is a fascinating and compelling read.

Look Who Was Homeschooled

For that next conversation over homeschooling you get into, here's a few names you can drop in as suasive seasoning.

1. Agatha Christie. Agatha was a painfully shy girl, so her mom homeschooled her even though her two older siblings attended private school.

2. Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia, but her family moved to China when she was just three months old. She was homeschooled by a Confucian scholar and learned English as a second language from her mom.

3. Alexander Graham Bell was homeschooled by his mother until he was about 10. It was at this point that she started to go deaf and didn’t feel she could properly educate him any more. Her deafness inspired Bell to study acoustics and sound later in life.

4. If Thomas Edison was around today, he would probably be diagnosed with ADD – he left public school after only three months because his mind wouldn’t stop wandering. His mom homeschooled him after that, and he credited her with the success of his education: “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”

5. Ansel Adams was homeschooled at the age of 12 after his “wild laughter and undisguised contempt for the inept ramblings of his teachers” disrupted the classroom. His father took on his education from that point forward.

6. Robert Frost hated school so much he would get physically ill at the thought of going. He was homeschooled until his high school years.

7. Woodrow Wilson studied under his dad, one of the founders of the Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS). He didn’t learn to read until he was about 12. He took a few classes at a school in Augusta, Georgia, to supplement his father’s teachings, and ended up spending a year at Davidson College before transferring to Princeton.

8. Mozart was educated by his dad as the Mozart family toured Europe from 1763-1766.

9. Laura Ingalls Wilder was homeschooled until her parents finally settled in De Smet in what was then Dakota Territory. She started teaching school herself when she was only 15 years old.

10. Louisa May Alcott studied mostly with her dad, but had a few lessons from family friends Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Can you imagine?

(Stacy Conradt, "The Quick 10: 10 Famous Homeschooled People," Mental Floss Magazine.)

The Wizard of O

Rick over at Wizbang sent over both a link to a stirring Rush Limbaugh column and a memorable observation from Jim Addison which was subsequently sent to the Wizbang Comments section. Both are worth your while. Here's the Limbaugh piece which appeared in the Wall Street Journal and below I print the Addison comments.

The left in government is very much like the Wizard of Oz. Remember when the little dog Toto pulled back the curtain, exposing the old guy who was behind all the lights, smoke, and mirrors?

Dorothy reprimanded him, "You're a very bad man!"

But the Wiz defended himself, saying, "Oh, no, my dear - I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad Wizard."

In a nutshell, that's the problem with leftists in government. They may be very good people with the very best of intentions, but they are very bad Wizards.

Our Founders understood this very well, which is why they created a system of limited federal authority with multiple checks and balances.

Spot on. Thanks, Rick.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today's Posts

Don't Forget The Forgotten Man

Last night several of us enjoyed a spaghetti dinner and then a terrific Book It! discussion here at the house over Amity Shlaes' riveting work, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Authentic history (backed by extensive and well-balanced research) dares to come against the cherished myths of the administrations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, producing what we all agreed was one of the most enlightening and important historical texts to come along in several years.

The discussion was lively over several of the subjects Shlaes undertakes in the book but a great deal of our talk concerned the striking parallels between FDR's political ideology (and tactics) to those of Team Obama -- the adulation and unquestioning support provided by the press, the emphasis on rhetoric, the cult of personality, the drawing upon academia for ideas, the dependence on courts to win what they could not through public opinion, the naive understanding of foreign affairs, the exploitation of class warfare, the creation of grievances and scapegoats, the cavalier thrills of experimentation, the disdain for business, the lack of respect for religion, the overspending and dismissal of debt, and more.

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression is not easy reading, by any means. But it is quite stirring reading...and of the utmost relevance for our time. We all recommend it most highly.

Missed the Illegal Immigration Rallies?

John Hawkins (who blogs at Right Wing News) has compiled some photos of signs carried at the rallies defending illegal immigration. I post here just a couple.

(Hat tip: Blogs Lucianne Loves)

Communist China "Is a Monster State."

The Washington Times is almost alone in reporting Monday's Capitol Hill news conference in which attorney David Matas of B'nai Brith Canada and Ethan Gutmann of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies claimed that Communist China's hideous policy of executing prisoners and harvesting their organs for worldwide sale has now been expanded to include Tibetans, "house church" Christians and Muslim Uighurs.

Noted ethicist Wesley J. Smith writes, "If these stories are true -- and I believe they are -- China is a monster state...So, where are our leaders complaining about human rights abuses? You don’t hear them, either? Perhaps we’ve sold our soul to China along with our children’s inheritance."

More Facebook Woes

This morning when I logged on to Facebook I had to fight back against its new move to grab my personal information and scatter it to the cyber winds. Bad Facebook!

The specific trick they attempted this time was to forcibly connect me to pages I hadn't chosen. For instance, because my Profile page listed where I work, what high school and colleges I attended, what fan pages I've signed up for, etc., Facebook was requiring my Profile page be posted on those sites. There was no way I could say no except to uncheck every box they listed. So now my Profile page has been chopped up considerably, taking away information that I had wanted friends to see -- but not anyone on the planet.

I'm very, very close to scrapping the whole Facebook fiasco. Not that they care very much -- they've probably got enough of my data anyway.

I'm not the only one bothered, of course. Here's a recent article (and a very good, very detailed one at that) from CNET News, "How Facebook Is Putting It's Users Last."

Archie Comics Goes Sexually Progressive

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. believes that sexual morality is simply a "time thing." Forget those outmoded ideas of sexuality being determined by creation, biology, religion or thousands of years of civilization. Mr. Pitts is just pleased that the comic book industry is gettin' up to speed.

Just what sexual perversions he hopes will come next in the progressive time-line he doesn't say.

You know where Riverdale is, of course. It lies at that junction of wholesomeness and Americana where, for almost 70 years, it has been home to Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Jughead Jones and the other eternal teenagers of Archie Comics.

Last week, the company announced a new addition to the cast. In September, it said, in Veronica #202, Kevin Keller debuts in a story that finds the titular spoiled rich girl mysteriously unable to get his attention despite using all her feminine wiles.
"She's not so bad,'' Kevin confides to Jughead. "I'm just not interested in dating her. . . . It's nothing against her. I'm gay.''...

This looms as a watershed moment.
That's precisely because Riverdale exists at that junction of wholesomeness and Americana.

There are few entities in mass media more conservative than Archie Comics; indeed, some years back, the characters were licensed for a Christian evangelical series of books.
So when it comes to introducing Riverdale's first openly gay teenager, the salient issue isn't how well they do it or what they stand to gain from doing it, but that they are doing it at all.

Can you imagine the company feeling compelled to introduce this character 20 years ago? Or even 10? Of course not.
Twenty years ago, homosexuality was dangerous, 10 years ago, it was risqué. The appearance of a gay character in Archie Comics strongly suggests that it has become, is becoming, mainstream. Even safe...

So what should we say now that there is a homosexual in Riverdale? How about:
Welcome to the 21st century. We've been waiting for you.

This homosexual character isn't the first to appear in modern comic books. Apparently, the super hero genre already has several openly gay characters including Batwoman, Starman, Midnighter and others. But to choose the old-fashioned, younger-directed Archie comics as yet another venue to help sell the normalcy of homosexuality is a big deal indeed.

notwithstanding Mr. Pitts' theory that Archie is merely showing the world as it is (a rather strange claim for a comic book), others understand that it is a move designed to change culture more than just reflect it. For instance, Salon writer Douglas Wolk, who is all for the change, admits, "So, yes: Archie's bosses get points for trying to make Riverdale a slightly less 1940s vision of what American culture is like, because stories for children don't just reflect the world, they shape it."

Heimlich Maneuvers (And What's Ben Stein Doing With These Guys?)

Last week I alerted you to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine running misleading ads in their campaign to eliminate meat and dairy products from school lunch programs. In their arrogant veganism, the PCRM considered it acceptable to use quotes from Olympic athletes out of context, making it appear that statements simply made about healthy eating in general were actually endorsements of strict vegan diets.

Well, from a reader comes another recent story about the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine that confirms the organization is an irresponsible and rather bizarre set of folks. It's a story from LA Weekly about the PCRM hosting a gala Hollywood Art of Compassion party to celebrate the organization's 25th anniversary and to give awards to Alicia Silverstone, Marilu Henner, Ellen DeGeneres and her lesbian live-in, and to the wildly controversial Dr. Henry Heimlich.

Heimlich is internationally known, of course, for pitching the "Heimlich Maneuver" as a way to save people from choking to death. (Since 2006, the term "Heimlich Maneuver" is no longer used by the American Heart Association. It prefers to use "abdominal thrusts" and, indeed, has downplayed the procedure itself, going back to pre-1986 procedures that also include chest thrusts and back blows.) Nevertheless, there's no doubt that forms of the "Heimlich Maneuver" have saved thousands of lives.

However, there are dark clouds swirling around Henry Heimlich, making him an unusual (to say the least) candidate for the PCRM's high honors.

First of all, there is the problem of Heimlich's marketing his "Maneuver." He roundly claimed that the procedure was of great value for several medical conditions besides choking, like drowning, cystic fibrosis, asthma and even heart attacks. But not only is it quite ineffective in such cases, it can be downright dangerous.

Secondly, there's the matter of Henry Heimlich unfairly taking credit for developing the procedure. Dr. Edward Patrick believes (as do others) that he was the originator of the idea. In 2003, Dr. Patrick shyly said, "I would like to get proper credit for what I've done...but I'm not hyper about it."

Well, someone who is hyper about it is Dr. Heimlich's own son, Peter, who has launched a mini-crusade against his dad's theft of Dr. Patrick's credit as well as other double-dealing and bad medicine. In fact, he and his wife have created the web site MedFraud to expose Henry Heimlich's less savory accomplishments.

And finally, number three, there's Henry Heimlich's bizarre experimentation with "Malariotherapy." This involves the deliberate infection of a person with malaria in order to treat ailments such as cancer, Lyme disease and HIV. Heimlich has conducted these experiments in Africa despite the repeated outrage of medical professionals (including the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and human rights organizations.

So the question seems obvious, why is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an organization which exists to lobby against the use of animals in medical research and promote plant-based diets -- and which says in its mission statement that it is "strongly opposed to unethical human research" -- giving an award to Henry Heimlich?

Very weird.

By the way, among the celebrities who were honorary committee members of the Hollywood Art of Compassion soiree were Alec Baldwin, Barbara Feldon, Ricky Gervais, Dorothy Hamill, Woody Harrelson, Mariel Hemingway, Cindy Landon Cloris Leachman, Carol Leifer, Bill Maher, Kevin Nealon, Michael Nouri, Paula Poundstone, Melissa Rivers, John Salley, Alicia Silverstone, Rick Springfield and...Ben Stein.

Huh? Baldwin, DeGeneres, and Maher certainly seem a fit with this group of sexual "progressives," political leftists and animal rights extremists. But Ben Stein? Yipes.

For more on the aberrant Dr. Henry Heimlich, check out this Radar story and MedFraud. And for more on the specific horrors of malariotherapy, see the detailed papers presented by Citizens for Responsible Care and Research. Just go to this page, scroll down to "Special Topics Malariotherapy Research" and read through the several articles there.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today's Posts

Do You Know the SLED Test?

The other day when Steve Young was over explaining to us the changes he's making in the Vital Signs Ministries web site, he mentioned using the SLED Test as an effective persuasion tool for pro-lifers.

Uh oh. A little sheepishly (I mean, Claire and I have been in this fight for an awfully long time), we confessed we didn't even know what he was talking about. Steve explained it briefly and then took us to this page that further delineated it.


Steve was right. The SLED test is a nifty, memorable way to deal with several of the most common misconceptions about fetal development. And so I'm quite sure we will often be using the SLED from now on. I think you might too.

"The Pill" Is NOT Helping Third World Women

The women of the world have been terribly ill-served by the Western pharmaceutical companies, the anti-natal bureaucrats, the radical feminists and the mainstream media. Here is the sad story.

The world’s deadliest killer, HIV/AIDS, and the Birth Control Pill have been carrying on a secret and deadly “love affair” for decades. While women swallowed their “freedom” with the morning orange juice, studies that should have made global headlines yellowed in medical journals, unknown to the general public. Only doctors learned about the pills' deadly affair with HIV/AIDS, and they were too busy writing prescriptions for hormonal contraceptives to talk.

More than 50 medical studies, to date, have investigated the association of hormonal contraceptive use and HIV/AIDS infection. The studies show that hormonal contraceptives—the oral pill and Depo-Provera—increase almost all known risk factors for HIV, from upping a woman’s risk of infection, to increasing the replication of the HIV virus, to speeding the debilitating and deadly progression of the disease.

A medical trial published in the journal AIDS in 2009—monitoring HIV progression by the need for antiretroviral drugs (ART)—saw “the risk of becoming eligible for ART was almost 70% higher in women taking the pills and more than 50% higher in women using DMPA [Depo-Provera] than in women using IUDS.”...

How serious is the problem? Oral contraceptives and Depo-Provera are among the world’s most popular and prevalent contraceptive methods. According to one study, “More than 100 million women worldwide use hormonal contraception.” In America, hormonal contraceptive rates are over 52% in unmarried women—those at greatest risk of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, in the interest of lowering the birth rate, the UNFPA and USAID continue unloading boatloads of hormonal contraceptives on Africa, Haiti and other AIDS-ravaged developing nations.

The best meta-analysis done to date, done by Dr. Chia Wang and her colleagues, surveyed the consensus results of the 28 best published studies since 1985. They found that the “significant association between oral contraceptive use and HIV-1 seroprevalence or seroincidence … increased as study quality increased.” In fact, “Of the best studies, 6 of 8 detected an increased risk of HIV infection associated with OC [oral contraceptive] use.”

Moreover, Wang’s results showed even more of a Pill/HIV link when they limited studies to those conducted on African populations. This is significant for two reasons:

First, sub-Saharan Africa is home to the world’s earliest and largest heterosexual HIV/AIDS epidemic, which to date has infected an estimated 22.4 million people. This is two-thirds of the total number of infections worldwide.

Second, sub-Saharan Africa has endured decades of contraception-focused population control programs and countless hormonal-contraceptive trials. “Among the six countries hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic … two in three users in the six countries rely on the OC (oral contraceptives) or injectables,” said Iqbal Shah of the World Health Organization.

Likewise, Thailand, praised for a contraceptive prevalence of 79.2% in 2000 and upwards of 70% today, is a land where, “More than one-in-100 adults in this country of 65 million people is infected with HIV.” Among Thai women, “Oral contraception is the most popular method.”

On the other hand, Japan’s HIV rate is, at 0.01%, one of the lowest in the world.10 In this context, it is important to note that the birth control pill was illegal in Japan until 1999, and even today only 1% of Japanese women use oral contraception. Similarly, the predominantly Catholic Philippines, with a longstanding popular resistance to contraception, boasts an HIV “prevalence rate of only 0.02%.”...

Here's the rest of the article (along with documentation).

Naive Assumptions About Home School Parents

"Some days, we watch with envy as that yellow school bus drives by."

In this interesting and humorous article, a witty and well-balanced homeschool mom talks about the most common misconceptions about parents who choose the homeschooling route. I'll pass along below the 10 errors she corrects -- but you'll have to go read the piece (featured at Weird, Unsocialized to find the whole treasure. And, by the way, thanks go to Melissa Hindman (a witty and well-balanced homeschool mom herself!) for the heads up on this piece.

"The Public School Parents' Guide to Homeschool Parents"

* We do not have superhuman patience

* We don't homeschool because it gives us the warm fuzzies

* Some days, we watch with envy as that yellow school bus drives by.

* We don't think our kids are better or smarter than yours.

* Our decision to homeschool is not a personal commentary on your decision not to.

* Our decision to homeschool is not a personal commentary on the jobs of public school teachers.

* We realize that there are homeschooling families who probably should not be homeschooling.

* Just because we're Christian doesn't mean that we are "religious homeschoolers."

* We don't do this to shelter, over-protect, or isolate our children.

* We don't do this to annoy you.

Obama's Wild Ride

(Thanks to DeeDee Kelly)

The Power of Knowledge

Mark Earley examines Nebraska's pioneer pro-life legislation, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, in today's excellent BreakPoint commentary.

You can listen in or read the transcript right here.

Today's Video Clip: Michael Medved

The Discovery Institute has put on-line a most enlightening 42-minute presentation by Michael Medved exposing several infuriating inanities of "the most anti-business administration in American history."

It's a great introduction to Medved's latest book, The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating Smears Against the Free Market Economy. Medved's discussion of deficits, taxes, government spending, earmarks, the lies about profit motives, and much more is not-to-be-missed.

It really is worth your time. So bookmark it and come back when you've got a cup of coffee and a little time.

"Totalitarian Creep"

Former American President, Ronald Reagan, once remarked that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Reagan understood an important principle: as soon a government becomes benevolent, the totalitarian temptation is sure to be lurking near.

Obama, on the other hand, appears to have taken Reagan’s terrifying phrase as a template rather than a warning...

In this detailed and provocative article, British writer Robin Phillips reviews how ObamaCare dramatically increases the momentum of "totalitarian creep" in America. Good (even if scary) reading.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today's Posts

The Delights of Book Bargains

Yesterday Claire and I took a break to drive up to Blair, Nebraska (about 20 miles from our house) in order to return a couple of books we had on loan from Dana College there. I'm fortunate to possess a library card from Grace University which allows me access to various college libraries around the state -- a very handy means to obtain books unavailable elsewhere. But instead of just sending them up, we decided to spend an hour together and drive them up instead.

What we hadn't figured on was finding a library sale of the kind that we used to so enjoy back in the 70s; that is, books going for 10 cents a paperback, a quarter for hardback. Sure, we've severely culled our library over the last few years and we're pretty circumspect about buying new ones. But, at these prices, who could resist?

Thus we came home with a handful of popular paperback novels (Alistair MacLean, John Dickson Carr, James Hilton) as well as a little volume of Edgar Guest poetry; a 1927 edition of Charles Lindbergh's We; Richard Tregaski's Guadacanal Diary (a book I first read in junior high); Atlantic's Brief Lives: A Biographical Companion to the Arts (1965); an extra copy of Lennart Nilsson's A Child Is Born; and a boxed 2-volume set of Kelly & Harbison's The American Constitution (First edition, 1948).

It was pleasant break in our routine, a lovely day for a country drive...and a nice haul of cheap books!

The Spiritual Devolution of Great Britain Continues

Roll Britannia -- but in this direction?

* Harriet Harman, a radical feminist who is a Labour Party MP and the leader of the House of Commons, has joined Chris Bryant, an openly homosexual Labour Party MP, stumped for votes among the gay community of Soho a few days ago, promising that a Labour government would implement compulsory sex education, ditch the "free speech" amendment currently encased in hate crime laws and work aggressively against the resident "homophobia" in British society.

"Ms. Harman accused Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, of homophobia for suggesting that consciences of Christian bed-and-breakfast owners should be respected when they have to deal with homosexual couples wishing to stay at their properties."

* "Two homosexual activists posed proudly in front of cameras as the first same-sex parents in Britain to jointly sign a birth certificate. Natalie Woods, 38, gave birth to Lily May Betty Woods in Brighton earlier this month through the use of sperm given by a registered donor. Her lesbian partner, Elizabeth Knowles, 47, is named on the certificate instead of the biological father.

The couple were able to take advantage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 which came into effect at the beginning of this month. The Act entitles people in same-sex relationships to both be treated as equal parents of a child. Until the law changed, homosexual couples could not put both of their names on a child conceived by a donor.

Neither of the women are described as ‘mother’ on the certificate as the words ‘mother and father’ have been scrapped from some birth certificates—the practice for the past 170 years—and the lesbians are listed as Lily May's ‘parents’ instead."

* "Conservative Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling is now saying that bed-and-breakfast Christian owners should not be allowed to act according to their conscience when they have to deal with homosexual guests sharing bed in their properties and that he supports homosexual adoption.

Earlier this month, Mr Grayling had faced calls for his demotion after saying he believed that consciences of Christian bed-and-breakfast owners should be respected when they have to deal with homosexual couples wishing to stay at their properties...

However, following the Mr Grayling’s saga, David Cameron wrote on Pink News, a homosexual on-line newspaper, that he supported homosexual ‘rights’ and promised to erase the criminal records of those who were convicted of homosexual sex acts, which were illegal in the past.

Mr Grayling has now changed his stance. In an interview with Channel 4, he said that he had voted in favour of civil partnerships, and that he had changed his view and now supports homosexual adoption of children."

* "Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury (1991 – 2002) and other church leaders will urge the Master of the Rolls and other senior judges to stand down from future Court of Appeal hearings involving cases of religious discrimination because of the judges’ perceived bias against Christianity.

Senior churchmen do not think Christians have any chance of a fair ruling if the latest significant hearing is heard in front of those judges who, they argue, have already shown a lack of understanding of Christian beliefs.

Critics are particularly alarmed by a ruling by Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, on behalf of the Court of Appeal, that Lillian Ladele, a registrar who refused to conduct civil partnerships ceremonies – because they were against her Christian beliefs – broke the law.

The Court of Appeal decided in December that the right to express a strong Christian faith must take second place to the rights of homosexuals under Labour's equality laws, the Daily Telegraph reported."

A "Weak and Dangerous Chain of Unrealistic Snobs"

Country superstar Charlie Daniels concludes his April 16th Soapbox entry:

...As I look across this river at the great City of New York, I realize that there are two pieces missing from the skyline, two towers that once rose above everything else on Manhattan Island, two monuments to the nobler accomplishments of mankind, destroyed in an hour by madmen who hate everything America stands for.

No matter how the media tries to sugar coat it, no matter what this administration calls the War on Terror and the Islamic fanatics who wage it, no matter how much politically correct tripe we hear to disguise it, there is one undeniable truth: The only thing that could possibly cause men to fly an airplane full of innocent people into a building of other equally innocent people is pure, undiluted hatred, fueled by totally satanic evil.

I for one have heard enough about Islam being a peaceful religion. I'm happy that it is and I'm glad for them, but the peaceful ones are not the ones we're concerned with.

The evil that caused the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 is still out there in the world just waiting for the next opportunity to hurt us again and any letting down of our guard or any gesture we make as a nation which can be perceived as weakness can be and will be exploited by our enemies.

As long as the Obama Administration has Eric Holder as Attorney General there is a leak in the ship of state. Eric Holder is more beholden to his sick ideologies than he is to protecting this nation and Obama should not hesitate another day in getting rid of this weak and dangerous link in an already weak and dangerous chain of unrealistic snobs who play games with the safety and prosperity of this nation.

It would at least be a good start.

Common Sense? Don't You Know That's Part of the Conspiracy?

One would naturally assume that the blog posts created by a conservative, Christian pro-life activist (like myself) would occasionally elicit opposition, even angry smears and denunciations.

They do. For even though I don't have a comment section here, there is a "Contact Us" link prominently displayed on the left sidebar. I'm easy to find.

However, in the 5 years I've been doing Vital Signs Blog, I have not experienced anything close, in either quantity or virulence, to the response I got from last Friday's post about a 9-11 conspiracy guru making the rounds of liberal churches.

Some pretty ugly stuff came my way, making me wonder if those drawn towards conspiracy theories are also drawn away from basic social graces.

So, be on notice when you encounter these kinds of folks (people who believe AIDS and sickle cell anemia were created by scientists working for evil governments, people who believe Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix were done in by the CIA, people who are convinced that high frequency active auroral beams are controlling our weather, seemingly natural disasters and even our minds, and yes, people who believe the Bush administration engineered the 9-11 plane crashes and subsequent cover up). Just smile, nod politely and back away -- as fast as possible.

The New Cuba Is the Old Cuba

A couple of reports from that island paradise run by the brothers Castro...

The first is an example of "We will get to you by getting to your family" -- a method used by thugs throughout history. In this particular case, Castro's Communist police have trumped up prostitution charges against the daughter of a known dissident. Carmen Bermúdez Arrieta watched her 25-year old daughter sentenced to two years in the Red Flag internment camp in Güira de Melena, a cruel injustice designed by authorities as a reprisal for Carmen's involvement with the Cuban Liberal Movement, a group that frequently opposes Communist policies.

In the second, a 65-year old street vendor was fined and threatened by police for selling chili peppers without a license. Roberto García paid the 60 peso fine (no small amount to him) but was warned that the next time he was caught, his bicycle would be confiscated. "I have a small garden and I sell what I grow," he said. "With the little that I earn, I pay for the electricity and I buy food. I'm not hurting anybody."

Nothing but the cause of world socialism, Roberto. And we can't have that.

(Story from the Miami Herald via Spanish language reports from

The Reports of ACORN's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

One should hardly be surprised to learn that the political activists of ACORN would continue their lying and cheating ways -- as long as they can get away with it. And in the present political climate, one that gives ACORN both a cloyingly friendly administration and a very compliant media, getting away with it has proved to be oh-so-easy.

Last February the mainstream press boldly headlined the announcements by ACORN officials that they were generally closing up shop. But those were just more lies. ACORN leaders never entertained any intention of going away. They knew they had only to make a cosmetic change or two, maybe lay low for a few weeks, and then they'd be right back in thick of the action. They could count on Team Obama to bless their activities, depend on the MSM to play along with the charade, and trust the Democrats in Washington to keep the money flowing.

Yes, there was that one AP story in March but it was but an anomaly. ACORN's friends in the liberal press have been wonderfully faithful in keeping a lid on ACORN's resurgence.

But here's what's really going down.

California Congressman Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, reports that ACORN has hardly lost a step. In some cases they're creating clones of their previous offices -- same staff, same Board members, same Employer Identification Numbers, even the very same Tax Identification Numbers.

In others they're just changing the letterhead and conducting business as usual: California ACORN is now the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment; Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut ACORN chapters fused into New England United for Justice; New York ACORN is now New York Communities for Change; Arkansas ACORN is now Arkansas Community Organizations; Louisiana ACORN is now “A Community Voice;” Missouri ACORN is now Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment; Washington state ACORN is now Organization United for Reform Washington; Minnesota ACORN is now Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change; Pennsylvania ACORN is now Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change and Pennsylvania Neighborhoods for Social Justice, Inc; Texas ACORN is now the Texas Organizing Project; ACORN Housing Corporation is now Affordable Housing Centers of America, Inc.

You get the idea.

Finally, as remarkable as it seems, in a few states ACORN hasn't seemed to change a thing. "There are no reports that ACORN offices in Kansas, Oregon or Tennessee have shut down." And "According to their respective Secretary of State offices, ACORN is still active in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas."

So, close the windows, lock your doors and keep your kids close -- ACORN is anything but dead.

Your Friday Tea Break

To help start your weekend off on the right foot, I offer the sweet steps these guys and girls demonstrate in three old TV clips from the golden age of rock and roll. Providing the music, Jay and the Americans, Del Shannon and Dion and the Belmonts.