Monday, February 28, 2011

Today's Posts

Catching Up

We feel a little bit like "empty nesters" today. For after successive visits from my sister Sherry, my brother Ric, and then my sister and her husband, Linda and Jon, we're back on our own.

We had a great time with all of them and they were certainly a blessed, bracing tonic for my Mom. But we have fallen behind on a few tasks and so the next few days we will be playing a little catch up.

Even through the visits we were able to keep things pretty well on course: blogging, compiling the Top Ten and sending it, a couple of "When Swing Was King" performances, working on Volume 9 of "When Swing Was King," getting the LifeSharer letter out, preaching, etc. We were also able to squeeze in some social fun like dinners out with Mom and our guests, with Allen and Cindy Nelson, and with Dr. Ralph and Carol Kramper. We even managed to read Jeff Shaara's The Glorious Cause in order to be ready for our Notting Hill Napoleons meeting last Saturday night.

But now it's back to the routine...after we clean this empty nest, that is. And maybe sneak in a nap!

A Disastrous Social Experiment

When there's a picture in the paper of a toothless old couple, all smiles and hugs as they celebrate 70 years of marriage and tell how they've loved one other and always been faithful to each other, why do people say "Ah"? Because it's right, that's why.

Stuart Cunliffe, a British pro-life activist who blogs at Diary of a WIP, has an insightful review of what the U.K.government's movements towards legalizing homosexual marriage is all about.

Leftists & Ladies of the Evening: Ted Kennedy's South America Shenanigans

It's 1961. Edward "Ted" Kennedy is but a 29-year old assistant district attorney in Suffolk County. But his dad is the rich and manipulative Joe Kennedy. His brother Robert is the U.S. Attorney General. And brother John is the President.

So little brother is feeling his oats -- and spreading them too. In a junket involving several South American countries, informants to the FBI report Ted meeting with Communists and other "angry young men" from the left wing.

And he makes room for fun too. Like hiring out a brothel for the night.

The mainstream media is trying to ignore this story -- one they'd make a month's feast on if it were a Republican icon -- but Judicial Watch has finally obtained the FBI material and is showing it to the public. Therefore at least a few reports will surface from the this brief item from the Boston Globe.

British Medical Group: First Duty? Tell Women Abortion Is Safer than Childbirth

In the U.K. the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has drawn up new guidelines for health care workers dealing with pregnant women. And, acting oblivious to the studies demonstrating many long-term risks of abortion (including higher cancer rates and psychological trauma), the RCOG lists as its first recommendation of "what women need to know" that "Women should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term."

Remember now that they're talking about abortion, an action that is violent, harrowing and unnatural in the extreme. An action that has been considered shocking and immoral throughout the centuries of civilized culture.

But so distorted have both medical ethics and medical care become in Great Britain that the cultural standards, the scientific facts and the nurturing instincts of motherhood are now displaced as priorities by the RCOG. And in their place -- propaganda that promotes more abortion.

Should we be surprised then to learn that among the "health care professionals" who came up with these guidelines guessed it, abortion providers.

Golly. The RCOG has sold out to a very nasty bunch.

"Top Ten Labor Union Outrages"

"With labor unions seeing a decline in membership, their agenda is becoming ever more desperate.  Public-employee unions, with their lavish taxpayer-funded pensions, are driving governments to insolvency.  No wonder approval ratings for unions are at an all-time low."

Here, from Human Events, is an excellent but blood-boiling article entitled "Top 10 Labor Union Outrages." Read it. Forward it to friends. Print it off to use as reference for those conversations you know will keep coming up.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Today's Posts

Vital Signs' Monthly Letter: Why the Evangelical Absence at Public Pro-Life Events?

While Qaddafi Massacres, Obama Does Motown

Choice Is Mere Illusion. (Please, Pass the Salt.)

Kansas Pro-Life AG Was Investigating Statutory Rape Crimes When "Ambushed" By Authorities & Media

St. Louis Is Heading the Way of Detroit. Can Anything Be Done?

Virginia Law Making Abortions Safer For Women Is Opposed...By Pro-Abortion Leaders!

Vital Signs' Monthly Letter: Why the Evangelical Absence at Public Pro-Life Events?

The February LifeSharer letter featuring details from ProLifeCon and the March for Life in Washington, D.C., the Walk for Life in Lincoln, and updates from Vital Signs Ministries is up over at the VSM website. Here's an exhortational excerpt:

...That poor performance of evangelical Christians in the national March for Life is also seen in those state marches that occur throughout the nation.  Lincoln’s Walk for Life is an example.  Catholic schools, Catholic organizations, Catholic churches and clergymen, Catholic laymen – all are represented but it takes a very, very close look to discover evangelical counterparts.  This must grieve God deeply.  Evangelical Christians find time to go to concerts, movies, church picnics, endless youth events, men’s conferences, women’s conferences, sporting events and a whole bunch of other things.  But we can’t be bothered to join in the most important public testimonies against the despicable evil of abortion?

Pastors, really.  Why can’t you urge your parishioners to join you for a Saturday morning stroll through Lincoln?  It’s only one Saturday a year.  And pro-life state legislators say over and over again how important this public testimony is for their work to be most effective.  So why aren’t you there?  Christian school principals, how about you?  Why are all the school banners one sees in these events from Catholic schools?  Youth pastors?  Here is a short term mission project that is inexpensive, quick and easy – yet one that can be a life-saving as well as a life-changing ministry.  Why is it that year after year you overlook this wonderful opportunity?

Oh, what a difference we could have made in the culture wars of the last 40 years had we raised our voice in the public square - peacefully, winsomely and in concert with others who share our convictions about life and justice and decency.  What a difference we could still make!...

While Qaddafi Massacres, Obama Does Motown

When campaigning for the presidency, Barack Obama often appealed to "what Dr. King called 'the fierce urgency of now.'" And, he would continue, "I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late, and that hour is almost upon us."

According to today's Washington Post, "The Khamis Brigade, named after Gaddafi's youngest son, was reported to be flying in additional mercenaries from African countries as recently as Wednesday, according to Omar Khattaly, a co-founder of the Libyan Working Group, an exiled human rights group with offices in Atlanta and Europe. Some of the mercenaries were landing at what used to be the U.S. Wheelus Air Base, near Tripoli."

Meanwhile, President Obama has ordered an U.S. undersecretary of State to fly around Europe and the Middle East for consultations.

So Qaddafi flies in mercenaries to kill people. And Obama flies diplomats around to consult with other diplomats about whether at some point we might possibly stop Qaddafi from flying in mercenaries to kill people.

There is "such a thing as being too late, and that hour is almost upon us." Is it too much to hope that President Obama might embody a little of that "fierce urgency of now" not on behalf of his own campaign for political office but on behalf of the people of Libya?

(Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard)

Choice Is Mere Illusion. (Please, Pass the Salt.)

In the 19th Century, philosophers destoyed the Bible. In the 20th Century, philosophers destroyed God. In the 21st Century, philosophers (with the ardent help of others) destroyed Man.

In a related item, Wesley J. Smith cites a bolder, yet more honest admission than those usually given that the struggle to kill God and the struggle to kill Man are quite the same. It comes from a new book written by John N. Gray. Gray is a curmudgeonly type of fellow who insists that humanity is a particularly selfish and ravenous species bent on destroying all other forms of life. He also believes human will and morality are mere illusions.

Of course, like others who make such silly claims, Gray doesn't even attempt to live out his philosophy. He takes the antibiotics his doctor prescribes for him. He allows people to kill animals for him to eat. He swats flies. And as to choice and morality being illusion matter, Gray takes awhile to decide what to wear in the morning. He lingers over a menu. He willingly accepts the checks given him for his teaching and writing. Obviously, money and the perks it procures aren't all that illusory either. Furthermore, Gray shakes his finger at things he deems shameful; he tries to be cordial and well-liked by colleagues; he smiles and tips the waitress. Indeed, Gray ponders, loves, chooses, and makes moral judgments throughout his every day -- just as if they weren't illusions at all. Go figure.

But I'm getting away from the quotation that Wesley Smith pointed out. Sorry. It comes from a review of Gray's work in the New Statesman:

About ten years ago [Gray's] thoughts turned to metaphysics. Charles Darwin replaced Berlin as hero-in-chief, and Gray became fascinated by the idea that human history as a whole is no more than an accidental smudge on the surface of an undistinguished planet hurtling towards oblivion. He was not the only one to take such a turn around that time; but most of his fellow Darwinians – Christopher Hitchens, for example – believed that once the human race freed itself from religion it would be able to take control of its destiny at last.

Not so Gray; for him, Darwinism had dealt a fatal blow to “humanism”, or the idea that the human race, unlike everything else in the natural world, is capable of self-fashioning and self-redemption. In Straw Dogs and Black Mass, he argued that humanism is just a continuation of religion by other means, an attempt to smuggle a fanatical belief in transcendent salvation past the controls of natural science. We will never get rid of God, as Nietzsche realised long ago, until we get rid of human exceptionalism.

Again, John N. Gray is a phony. He doesn't try to consistently live out this philosophy. Nevertheless, because these ideas are taken quite seriously by others and end up influencing education, politics and the arts, he is a dangerous phony. So be on your guard and confront these ideas when you hear them. Don't be afraid to directly challenge the mystic, irrational and ultimately self-destructive philosophies that proclaim that Reason, Morality and even Man himself are mere illusion. You have the facts (including the lifestyle of your ideological opponent) on your side.

(P.S. You'll also find that reading some excellent presuppositional apologetics is also very helpful in this task. Francis Schaeffer would be my recommendation with honors also going to C.S. Lewis and Nancy Pearcey.)

Kansas Pro-Life AG Was Investigating Statutory Rape Crimes When "Ambushed" By Authorities & Media

For 8 years, when Phill Kline held office as either KS AG or Johnson Co. DA – and beyond, pro-aborts and the liberal press have hysterically accused him of trying to get the names of pregnant mothers who got illegal late-term abortions in KS.

But in court testimony provided this week by Kline, and documents entered into evidence yesterday by Kline’s lead investigator when AG, Tom Williams,  it was revealed Kline was after the names of child rape victims 14-years-old and younger. Their abortions were never reported to the proper authorities for investigation, as required by KS law...

Jill Stanek and Steven Ertelt are staying hot on this remarkable case. Check their reports out here.

St. Louis Is Heading the Way of Detroit. Can Anything Be Done?

St. Louis is losing population -- speedily and substantially. A city that once ranked in the nation's Top Ten in population is now not even the largest city in Missouri.

And the city leaders? They don't have a clue as to what's going on. The city lost 8% of its population in the last decade (29,000 people) and yet the mayor of the city was stunned at the latest census figures. He thought the city was growing!

What could this decaying city do to reverse its sad fortunes? It's pretty simple, really.

1) Crack down hard on crime. That starts with judges handing out sentences that are appropriate to the crime. No long waits for trial and sentencing; no easy bail; no plea bargaining. Make the city safe and people will want to live there.

2) Attract businesses and homeowners with low tax rates. Offer incentives. Plan for growth, not stagnation. Create an atmosphere that is more friendly to business than it is to government, the welfare state or the labor unions.

3) Get the city's schools in order. That means dropping the standard NEA and teacher union models that have been such abysmal failures for St. Louis and begin offering competition and school choice, zero tolerance on drugs and threats to children's safety, and true merit pay in the government school system.

Will this happen? Nah; 'fraid not. Increasing personal freedom, challenging citizens to greater levels of personal responsibility and reward, granting more opportunity for business success -- these are not issues that resonate with the Democrat mayor and his colleagues. They're stuck in the ruins of the Nanny State, waiting for another government program, another confiscatory tax grab, another loan from Red China to get them out of trouble. Sorry, St. Louis.

Virginia Law Making Abortions Safer For Women Is Opposed...By Pro-Abortion Leaders!

 More proof that the pro-abortion lobby does not really care about protecting women. It cares about protecting abortion. 

Virginia took a big step Thursday toward eliminating most of the state's 21 abortion clinics, approving a bill that would likely make rules so strict the medical centers would be forced to close, Democrats and abortion rights supporters said.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican and Catholic, supports the measure and when he signs it into law, Virginia will become the first state to require clinics that provide first-trimester abortions to meet the same standards as hospitals. The requirements could include anything from expensive structural changes like widening hallways to increased training and mandatory equipment the clinics currently don't have.

While abortion providers must be licensed in Virginia, the clinics resemble dentists' offices and are considered physicians offices, similar to those that provide plastic and corrective eye surgeries, colonoscopies and a host of other medical procedures.

Democrats and abortion rights supporters said the change would put an estimated 17 of the state's 21 clinics out of business. Most of the clinics also provide birth control, cancer screenings and other women's health services.

"This is not about safety for women. This is about ideology, and this is about politics," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "The women of the commonwealth are going to be the ones left to suffer."

Abortion rights supporters warned of legal challenges while supporters heralded it as a way to make the procedures safer.

"It is not about banning abortions," said Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Winchester. "It is simply caring for women who are about to have an invasive surgical procedure and creating an environment for them where they have the opportunity to do that in a place that is safe."

No other state requires clinics that provide early abortions to meet hospital standards...

(From an Associated Press report written by Dena Potter.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today's Posts

Obama's Inexplicably Pitiful Response to Libya

Even the Washington Post editors are decrying Barack Obama's pathetic response to the Libyan massacres. And it's in a tone that suggests the left-leaning newspaper is perhaps beginning to ask the questions that are on the lips of most Americans; namely, How did this incompetent, narcissistic poseur get into the White House? and How much damage is he going to do to our nation before we can get him out of there?

Check it out below. And then, after that excerpt, read a bit of what Nile Gardiner says in the U.K.'s Telegraph, a newspaper that (unlike the WaPo) never did fall in love with Barack Obama and thus doesn't have to share in the guilt that most of the mainstream media does.

Once again, an Arab dictator is employing criminal violence in a desperate effort to remain in power - and once again, the Obama administration has been slow to find its voice. This time, the tyrant is one of the Middle East's most evil men - Moammar Gaddafi, whose regime has staged spectacular terrorist attacks against Americans in addition to brutalizing its own people. Having apparently lost control of most of the country, Mr. Gaddafi has unleashed an orgy of bloodshed in the capital, Tripoli, using foreign mercenaries and aircraft to attack his own people. Like Saddam Hussein, he has retreated to a bunker, and he has vowed to fight to "the last drop of blood."

Governments around the world have been condemning this appalling stance and the terrible slaughter it has caused. The European Union has agreed in principle to impose sanctions, and the Arab League has said Libya will be excluded from its meetings. British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi all condemned the regime's violence. Said French President Nicolas Sarkozy: "The continuing brutal and bloody crackdown against the Libyan civilian population is revolting. The international community cannot remain a spectator to these massive violations of human rights."

By late Wednesday only one major Western leader had failed to speak up on Libya: Barack Obama...

Late Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Obama finally appeared at a White House podium. He said "we strongly condemn the use of violence in Libya," but he did not mention Mr. Gaddafi or call for his removal. He said the administration was preparing a "full range of options" to respond but didn't say what those might be; he made no mention of the no-fly zone that Libya's delegation at the United Nations has called for. He stressed that the United States would work through international forums - and said Ms. Clinton would travel to Geneva for a meeting of the notoriously ineffectual U.N. Human Rights Council, which counts Libya as a member.

Mr. Obama appeared eager to make the point that the United States was not taking the lead in opposing Mr. Gaddafi's crimes. "It is imperative that the nations and the peoples of the world speak with one voice," he said. "That has been our focus." Shouldn't the president of the United States be first to oppose the depravities of a tyrant such as Mr. Gaddafi? Apparently this one doesn't think so.

And now from Niles Gardiner:

This is an historic moment. One of the most brutal, evil and anti-American tyrants of our time is facing a massive popular revolt that is threatening to finally remove him from power after more than four decades as absolute ruler of his country. It is not a time for fence-sitting or navel-gazing from the world’s only superpower. President Obama should be openly calling for Muammar Gaddafi to step aside immediately, and if he doesn’t, face complete international isolation – including comprehensive sanctions, travel bans, the freezing of bank accounts, and a halt to Western investment and trade.

The Libyan people don’t need lofty neutrality from Washington. They do however need the president of the most powerful nation on earth to actively back their aspirations for freedom and democracy. And they certainly aren’t waiting for toothless statements from a divided UN Security Council or a morally bankrupt Human Rights Council.

President Obama is already being outflanked by Nicolas Sarkozy, who has taken a far tougher line on Libya than his US counterpart. It is hugely embarrassing when even the French are doing more to confront a murderous dictator than the traditional leader of the free world. Frankly, President Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like General MacArthur by comparison. The US administration needs to wake up from its slumber and start showing some real leadership on the world stage in place of its existing milquetoast foreign policy.

The "Transparency" President Is Anything But

Chris Frates reports in Politico on those secretive, off-site meetings between White House aides and lobbyists.

Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds -- and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident. It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view -- and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public...

Obama’s administration has touted its release of White House visitors logs as a breakthrough in transparency, as the first White House team to reveal the comings and goings around the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building. The Jackson Place townhouses are a different story.

There are no records of meetings at the row houses just off Lafayette Square that house the White House Conference Center and the Council on Environmental Quality, home to two of the busiest meeting spaces. The White House can’t say who attended meetings there, or how often. The Secret Service doesn’t log in visitors or require a background check the way it does at the main gates of the White House...

It’s not only Jackson Place. Another favorite off-campus meeting spot is a nearby Caribou Coffee, which, according to The New York Times, has hosted hundreds of meetings among lobbyists and White House staffers since Obama took office. And administration officials recently asked some lobbyists and others who met with them to sign confidentiality agreements barring them from disclosing what was discussed at meetings with administration officials, in that case a rental policy working group...

Randy Johnson, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive who has been to White House and Jackson Place meetings, said the gatherings aren’t closely guarded secrets and insiders generally know who administration staffers are talking to. But, he said, there’s no way to know for certain without a record of all the meetings at Jackson Place.

“You can’t make the claim you’re holier than thou because sometimes a car looks shiny, but when you look below the hood, things may look a lot different,” he said. “You can’t measure the claim of transparency unless you have those numbers.”

Remember Planned Parenthood's Violent Superhero?

Do you remember Planned Parenthood's violent superhero, the costumed biddy who gave away condoms to minors and killed (by drowning and exploding) those that disagreed with her value-free sex ed philosophy?

Well, you probably don't because the cartoon was removed from the Planned Parenthood web site in 2005. However, as the huge abortion business gears up to protect its continued government funding, it's only proper for taxpayers like you and I to review what Planned Parenthood is all about.

Certainly this cartoon does not make for comfortable viewing but a far greater offense is to let slip the opportunity we have to expose Planned Parenthood as a profane organization whose major sources of income are 1) brutally killing preborn boys and girls through surgical and chemical abortions and 2) American tax monies. So, pass it on.

Obama Administration Bails Out on Marriage (And the U.S. Constitution)

Barack Obama truly believes that he and his administration are above the law.

A federal judge declares ObamaCare unconstitutional and therefore null and void. Barack Obama ignores the decision. A federal judge declares the administration's ban on offshore drilling illegal. Barack Obama ignores the decision. Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and the administration has the clear duty to defend U.S. law in court actions against it. But Barack Obama doesn't like that law and so he orders the Justice Department to stop defending it.

My goodness; even Michelle Obama ignores the prohibition against politicking outside polling booths.

Who do these people think they are -- Kennedys?

Here are excerpts from various responses to this latest shameful action on the part of our President:

* Chuck Donovan, senior research fellow in the DeVos Center on Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, "Obama Bows Out on the Defense of Marriage Act," The Corner at National Review)

Advocates for DOMA and the natural definition of marriage have pointed out from the beginning how flawed Justice’s work on these cases has been. Richard Epstein, who favors same-sex marriage on policy grounds, called it “almost like collusive litigation.”

DOMA’s defenders agree that the strongest argument for its rationality rests on the central purpose of marriage: the effective uniting of a man and a woman and the children they beget into the core unit of society, the family. In his letter, Holder dismisses this concern by noting that Justice “disavowed” any claim regarding “procreational responsibility” in the lower court.

In other words, this trifling matter of fostering bonds between parents for the sake of the next generation was tossed overboard back in port. No need to swim back for it.

Holder then rakes over the coals the “moral disapproval” that was expressed in the “debates and discussions” over DOMA regarding “intimate” same-sex relationships. This is enough, the attorney general asserts, to doom DOMA as unconstitutional because, he says, it represents “stereotype-based thinking.”

A fairer statement would be that it is impossible for most observers of these issues to take a stand that does not reflect, at least in part, a moral judgment. Writers and activists on both sides of the issue routinely make morality-based arguments: about the wellbeing of children, the cost to society of family decline, varying notions of equality, and so forth. Any Justice Department lawyer or court bent on weeding out every type of moral judgment from the law will have to bring a backhoe to the task.

* "President Abandons Marriage," a Washington Times editorial:

DOMA was passed by elected representatives of the people and signed into law by President Clinton; the public has the right for their laws to be defended by the executive branch. This administration refuses. “The Obama administration has been sabotaging DOMA litigation from the outset,” according to Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Today’s action at least has the modest virtue of bringing that sabotage out into the open.”

Shannen Coffin, former deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, told The Washington Times that administrations frequently defend laws they disagree with, and that it’s a “cardinal principle” that a president “has an obligation” to do so unless no reasonable argument can be made in favor of the law’s constitutionality. Eleven circuit courts already have ruled that Mr. Obama is wrong. The White House’s decision on DOMA, Mr. Coffin said, is “politics dressed up as constitutional law.”

Mr. Coffin cautions that a president has the duty to exercise independent judgment in rare instances in which he believes a law is “obviously” unconstitutional. As subjective as such a judgment might be, defending traditional marriage doesn’t fall in that category under any circumstances. The unambiguous revelation this week is how radically removed Mr. Obama is from American public opinion, U.S. constitutional tradition and the mainstream of human history.

The Republican-led House of Representatives has an opportunity - and an obligation -to provide legal defense for this law Mr. Obama has abandoned. In a country based on the rule of law, government can’t be allowed to ignore the law.

* Michael Foust from Baptist Press interviewed Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund to explain the importance of the Justice Department's decision.

BAPTIST PRESS: Why is this significant?

NIMOCKS: It is significant because the American people have a right to expect their laws to be defended by the government officials, and the Department of Justice has been failing to give a full defense of the Defense of Marriage Act for some time, but now has made their no-defense position official and in writing. This is really disappointing with the Department of Justice choosing to appease a small but vocal and wealthy constituency and abandon its duty to the American people.

BAPTIST PRESS: When you say they haven't been defending it, what do you mean?

NIMOCKS: Throughout the litigation over the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Department of Justice has expressly disavowed Congress' reasons for enacting the federal Defense of Marriage Act and instead put forth its own basis for defense, guaranteeing that the case would end the way they wanted it to end -- which is not in favor of [traditional] marriage...

BAPTIST PRESS: The Justice Department, in a statement about the decision, said "sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny." Can you explain what they're talking about?

NIMOCKS: The suggestion by the attorney general that heightened scrutiny is appropriate is in essence a suggestion that the Department of Justice believes that the concept of sexual orientation should be addressed under the Constitution like one's race or sex, which is an unprecedented position under the United States Constitution.

BAPTIST PRESS: Why should the Defense of Marriage Act be upheld, and why do we need it?

NIMOCKS: Across this country, from coast to coast, north to south, red states and blue states, Americans believe in marriage. It is vital to the very survival and existence of our society, and it is an important part of the laws that unify us as a country.

Just How Much Is a Human Life Worth?

The answer to the above question? Obama's Environmental Protection Agency says $9.1 million. The Food and Drug Administration pares it down to $7.9 million. The Transportation Department makes it a mere $6 million. And, of course, to an abortionist, a human life is worth only the $400 to $800 he earns for snuffing it out.

But Cal Thomas argues a person's worth does not come from government or any other earthly measurement. So check out his superb Washington Examiner column, "Our Value Doesn't Come From Government." It's really good. And it contains a profound observation that has haunted me all morning:

"'It couldn't happen here,' you say? All great horrors begin at the extremes and work their way into the mainstream because of moral weakness or exhaustion, or self-regard, or the rejection of (or ambivalence about) certain fundamental truths."

Of Teachers, Unions and Economic Facts

Former pastor and author of Frail Web of Intention, Jack Niewold, has written as succinct and sane an analysis of what's wrong with the teacher union protests as I've found. Check it out.

By and large, I am not anti-teacher. I worship with public school teachers on Sunday, and for years worked for them in my landscape business. One of my sisters was a public school teacher, and I can attest to teachers who impacted my life for the better.

But none of this changes the fact that many teachers, and the teachers unions and associations such as the NEA and AFT, are usually voices of the worst kind of progressive politics and cultural privilege. We will leave aside for the moment the mindless parroting of multiculturalism and political correctness that saturates America’s schools. Public employees simply outearn their private counterparts (sometimes two to one), and receive much more generous benefit packages.

This is unsustainable morally as well as fiscally. The CATO institute, a libertarian think tank, has calculated that if public employees were compensated on par with their private sector counter parts, no state would today be experiencing a deficit.

Many teachers or former teachers tell me that they paid into their pension funds for years, and that those pension funds are like 401K plans. Why should they be discriminated against now that it is time for them to retire, they wonder. They were playing by the rules set for them by the unions and school districts, so why should they be penalized?

They didn’t realize that their pension funds were not sitting “there” like a true 401K. Those funds have been borrowed by the state, and to make up for them the public will be stuck with the tab. That means, in some cases, that the public will have paid twice for pensions of teachers and other public officials. This all helps to explain the outrage on the part of the true middle class “workers” of the country.

I agree that it would be unfair to now change the rules for retiring public employees. But that is not what is being proposed. It is the rules going forward that are at issue, and unless these are changed, teachers will not have a future. The mystery is why teachers themselves are not on board with the changes proposed by Scott Walker and other governors. Only such changes can save the livelihoods of teachers retiring in the years ahead.

It isn’t so much that the working middle class will refuse to fund the salaries and benefits of those in the public sector. They cannot be taxed more to sustain these class structures without undercutting the balanced mechanisms that make our society work. Defined-benefit retirement plans, gold-plated health plans and automatic salary increases not only will disappear in years ahead, they must disappear. We have learned that such privileges are a chimera of the past, and that the bill is now due.

And the collective bargaining that underwrote the escalation of such benefits must also end.

The only question is: will the Republicans (and a few Democrats), who generally seem to understand such fiscal realities, have the will to stand against the passions and fury of the dying old order?  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today's Posts


A Picture of Consistency

"What Will It Take to Startle Obama Into Reality?"

[President Barack Obama] said, with a startling degree of casualness, "We will not be adding more to the national debt. ... We're not going to be running up the credit card any more."

Now juxtapose that sentence with the facts, even as he presents them. He has pledged to freeze -- at already unacceptably high levels -- domestic spending for five years. What cuts he would make over the next 10 years would only total $1.1 trillion -- an average of just over $100 billion a year.

Look at Obama's own budget deficit projections for the next decade, beginning with 2012. 2012: $1.101 trillion, 2013: $768 billion, 2014: $645 billion, 2015: $607 billion, 2016: $649 billion, 2017: $627 billion, 2018: $619 billion, 2019: $681 billion, 2020: $735 billion, 2021: $774 billion. Total for 10 years: $7.205 trillion -- an average deficit of $720 billion per year.

You simply cannot square these numbers with Obama's statement that he wouldn't be adding to the debt, unless he's actually confused about the difference between "deficits" and "debt," and that's almost as scary a thought as the numbers themselves.

That is, when you operate at staggering deficits that will add almost three-quarters of a trillion dollars to the debt each year, you are adding to the national debt; you are continuing to run up the national credit card. A third-grader could understand that.

So tell me: What do you make of a man who presents a projected 10-year budget that, best case, would add $7.205 trillion to the national debt but simultaneously tells you he won't add to the debt?

What would it take to startle this man into reality?...

(From David Limbaugh's latest column, "Responsible Adults Cannot Ignore These Numbers.")

Planned Parenthood in Kansas: The Innocent Are Prosecuted While the Guilty Go Free

Jill Stanek reports on the developing story down in Kansas where pro-life lawyer (and former Attorney General) Phil Kline is undergoing trial in a kangaroo court. (See these previous Vital Signs Blog posts: Abortion Zealots Crank It Up In Campaign Against Pro-Life AG; Defender of Abortionists Caught in His Own Nightmare (One of Phil Kline's most aggressive tormentors turned out to be a crook.); and ABC News Shills for Abortion Industry).

But back to the present. As Stanek writes,

In an ethics trial that is seeking to determine in part whether Kline acted too aggressively to enforce Kansas child rape laws in his capacity as Attorney General or Johnson Co. District Attorney, Kline just revealed to the court under oath that he found 166 instances during a specific time period when girls 14 years old and younger got abortions at clinics owned either by late-term abortionist George Tiller or Planned Parenthood of Overland Park.

But during that same time period, Kline testified, Planned Parenthood reported only one case of child rape, and Tiller reported only one case of child rape.

This means there were 164 instances when girls 13 14-years-old and younger had abortions at one of those abortion clinics, and the clinics failed to report the abortions to authorities.

A Further Development --- An e-mail from Jill Stanek this morning enclosed a link to a story in yesterday's Topeka Capitol-Journal that reveals another astounding development in Phil Kline's case:

The state's disciplinary board for lawyers concealed for 20 months an internal investigative report concluding no probable cause existed to justify ethics complaints against former Attorney General Phill Kline tied to his criminal inquiries into abortion clinics.

A three-member panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys convened Tuesday for the second day of testimony in a related case against Kline.

Kline, in an exclusive interview with The Topeka Capital-Journal, said the document would have been valuable during his unsuccessful August 2008 election campaign for Johnson County district attorney and would have contributed over ensuing years to countering claims he overstepped ethical boundaries as a prosecutor.

It should be featured prominently in the current state ethics panel's assessment of misconduct allegations, Kline said. The former attorney general questions why disciplinary administrator Stanton Hazlett is pressing ahead with an ethics case when the investigative report found there was no probable cause to do so...

Big Bro Obama Enlists Computer Geeks to Create Secret Army of Social Media "People"

Yeah, I know the above headline sounds bizarre and paranoid. But the truth is actually quite alarming for the Obama administration really is recruiting software companies to create and manage "fake people" on social media sites. The purpose? To create the illusion of consensus regarding controversial issues.

It's kinda' like stuffing the ballot box or counting the votes of the deceased -- techniques which Democrats in big cities are already adept at. But these new tactics apply the principle to cyberspace.

This whole thing was discovered just last week in leaked e-mails from a private security firm but anyone can now read the government contract that was offered. Here it is. But, watch out; it makes for pretty eerie reading. For instance:

Software will allow 10 personas per user, replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly consistent. Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms...

1 each VPN provides the ability for users to daily and automatically obtain randomly selected IP addresses through which they can access the internet. The daily rotation of the user s IP address prevents compromise during observation of likely or targeted web sites or services, while hiding the existence of the operation. In addition, may provide traffic mixing, blending the user s traffic with traffic from multitudes of users from outside the organization. This traffic blending provides excellent cover and powerful deniability...

Enables organizations to manage their persistent online personas by assigning static IP addresses to each persona. Individuals can perform static impersonations, which allow them to look like the same person over time. Also allows organizations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization...

Place of Performance: Performance will be at MacDIll AFB, Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad, Iraq.

Feel like you're reading a high-tech thriller? I'm afraid this is all too real. And, in the hands of unscrupulous people (including government agents or private firms working for them), this poses significant dangers to an individual's privacy, an individual's security, and an entire society's understanding of what's real and what's not.

ACLU: Come to Think Of It, Freedom of Religion & Speech CAN Be Denied

Christians, Orthodox Jews or anyone with traditional views of sex and marriage should be barred from state university counseling programs unless they agree to violate their beliefs. That’s the gist of theamicus brief the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed Feb. 11 in a case in which a Christian student is challenging her dismissal from a graduate counseling program at Eastern Michigan University in 2009...

The ACLU‘s brief to the appeals court contends that compelling someone to act against her beliefs does not violate her freedoms of religion or speech. The ACLU quotes the university’s response to Miss Ward saying she had a “conflict between your values that motivate your behavior and those behaviors expected of your profession.” In other words, you’re a conscientious Christian, so get lost.

This is one of several cases in which Christians have been told to conform to “diversity” requirements or leave counseling programs. At Augusta State University in Georgia, Jennifer Keetonsued last year after being told she had to take re-education courses to counter her Christian morality or be expelled from a master’s program. After losing in a U.S. district court, she has appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit...

This is not rocket science. We are witnessing radical ideologues bent on replacing natural law with a wholly different set of values, which is what Justice Antonin Scalia said about the legal profession in his dissents in Romer v. Evans (1996) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

Many professional associations have climbed aboard this runaway train. If this trend is not halted, the result will be a world full of signs that say, “Christians need not apply.” Just ask Catholic hospitals that are being told to perform abortions - or else...

Read the entirety of Robert Knight's excellent Washington Times editorial right here.

That Civility Thing Doesn't Apply to Me; I'm a Democrat

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members...

This is not Capuano’s first brush with violent rhetoric. Last month Capuano said, “Politicians, I think are too bland today. I don’t know what they believe in. Nothing wrong with throwing a coffee cup at someone if you’re doing it for human rights.”

State Bureaucrat Cries Racism. Business Heavily Fined. Court Intervenes.

Talk about madness.

A court finally intervened here but given the irrational liberality of so many judges nowadays, this remarkable injustice could well have been upheld. And maybe next time it will.

The case involves a bossy, trouble-making bureaucrat inventing an act of racism out of whole cloth, then lobbying others to join her in a public complaint, quite possibly with the lure of financial rewards. Next, the unelected commission (which the original trouble-maker was in charge of!) levied heavy fines in order to reward all complainants.

And they wonder why the people are getting sick of entitled public union employees.

Read the story (all the way to the end, I suggest) right here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Today's Posts

Because of 1) a special assignment yesterday involving home-school speech and debate students, 2) a "When Swing Was King" presentation at Skyline nursing home, 3) my youngest brother coming into Omaha to visit my Mom (and us), 4) getting the LifeSharer letter mailed, and 5) spending a few hours with Mom, including a picnic supper in the conference room near the front entrance, I didn't get to blogging yesterday.

I did today. Here they are:

Public Unions: "A 50-Year Mistake"

The protesting public school teachers with fake doctor's notes swarming the Capitol building in Madison, Wis., insist that Gov. Scott Walker is hell-bent on "union busting" in their state. Walker denies that his effort to reform public sector unions in Wisconsin is anything more than an honest attempt at balancing the state's books.

I hope the protesters are right. Public unions have been a 50-year mistake.

A crucial distinction has been lost in the debate over Walker's proposals: Government unions are not the same thing as private sector unions...

Jonah Goldberg's LA Times column is not-to-be-missed. Really superb analysis of what the big issues in the "Battle for Wisconsin" really are and what importance they have for the whole country. It's a good pass-along article.

Air-Guitar Democrat Had An Extra Reason to Get Outta' Wisconsin

“I am willing to take responsibility for my actions. My concern right now is that my personal situation is distracting from the much more important issue facing our state. We have tens of thousands of working people at the Capitol every day and that must remain our focus. I will continue to do my job and stand up for Wisconsin’s working families.”

That's Wisconsin Democrat legislator Gordon Hintz on his citation for sexual misconduct. The law Hintz is charged with breaking prohibits paying or receiving “a fee, directly or indirectly, or to offer or ask for anything of value, for touching or offering to touch the sexual parts of another.” The citation was issued to Hintz following a police stake-out of the Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor in Appleton. 6 people were jailed after the police operation but Hintz was allowed to post a $2,667.50 bond. Thus he was free to be out on the streets. Or, for that matter, hiding out in an Illinois hotel, perhaps one located near a massage parlor.

Not that massage parlors constitute Representative's Hintz's only social recreation. Apparently, he is a serious "air guitar" player, even serving as a past Los Angeles champion in the art form. And in that arena too he demonstrates the same strength of personal conviction as he is now using to harangue Wisconsin governor Scott Walker for cutting spending.

The following is from a 2005 article in LA Weekly:

The night was not free of controversy. 2003 L.A. champ Gordon “Krye Tuff” Hintz criticized the scoring that he felt helped the night’s only female performer, Elaina “Cherry Lain” Vaccaro, defeat more technically savvy players. Vaccaro’s performance of the Rippingtons’ “Star-Spangled Banner” was marked mostly by her impressive legs and a good deal of jiggling. Said Hintz, an assembly candidate in Oshkosh, Wisconsin: “The integrity of air guitar in year three is seriously under attack. Air guitar has turned into a joke . . . The more skin you show, the better your score gets.”

And skin is something...No, let's not go there. After all, you start in on punchlines about this story, you'd be here all afternoon.

If you really want to (and I don't really advise it), you can watch a clip from Hintz's air guitar performance here on You Tube.

And remember (sigh), this guy was elected to public office.

Libya: Team Obama Still Clueless, Gutless in Foreign Affairs

The demonstrators in the streets of Libya are gunned down. A couple of Libyan fighter pilots ordered to fire on the protestors opt instead to fly their warplanes to Malta where they defect. Even the Libyan Ambassador to the U.S. pleads that President Obama denounce the Qaddafi regime.

But where's the Obama administration on this sad affair?

The president has made just one statement on Friday, using greeting-card phrases regarding peace and restraint. Incredibly, he hasn't been heard from about Libya since. Secretary of State Clinton was trotted out for a statement but it too was timid and vague. There was no direct condemnation of Qaddafi or his soldiers killing civilians. No expression whatsoever of support for the demonstrators. And not a hint that the United States might actually do something, not even a call for sanctions or U.N. action.

William Kristol writes, "This is your State Department at work. Surely there are some in the White House -- I think there are some -- who are cringing at such an absence of moral clarity on the part of the U.S. government and at such a failure of American leadership. Let's hope they persuade the president to step forward very soon to overrule the State Department, and to put the United States, in both speech and deed, strongly and unequivocally on the side of decency and freedom."

Republican senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and Mark Kirk of Illinois also are bothered by the President's lack of concern. They issued this joint statement: "Reports indicate that Gadhafi is now engaged in a brutal attempt to maintain his 40 year dictatorship. The United States should not remain silent in the face of Gadhafi's egregious violations of human rights. We urge the President to speak out clearly in support of the Libyan people in their struggle against the Gadhafi dictatorship."

Barack Obama has proven time and again that he can use strong, provocative, even ugly language when he is criticizing Republicans in the Congress or even conservative U.S. citizens who oppose his big-spending policies. So why on earth does he find it impossible to deliver direct criticism to thugs like Chavez, Lukashenka, Putin, Castro, Qaddafi...or Planned Parenthood?

This guy's shame seems to know no bounds. And that's not only tragic for the United States; it is extremely dangerous for the causes of liberty, justice and human rights around the globe.

The "Groping of Strangers" as Government Policy

The very last thing an assault victim or molested person can deal with is yet more trauma and the groping of strangers, the hands of government ‘safety’ policy.”
Alaska State Representative Sharon Cissna of Anchorage has had another rough experience from the government gropers of the TSA. Here is her moving (and maddening) personal statement of what happened.

Is the Culture Shift Leaving Obama Behind?

Something momentous is happening in the United States right now and Barack Obama doesn’t get it. In Madison, Wisconsin last week, up to 40,000 public employees, organised by their unions, the Democratic party and the grassroots Organizing for America group that elected the president in 2008, gathered at the state capitol. Teachers left their classrooms, forcing schools to close.

Their objective? To rail against an attempt to balance the budget and curtail union power by newly-elected Governor Scott Walker, a Republican. The Democratic party’s response? Its state senators have fled Wisconsin to Illinois, dodging state troopers as they went, in order to prevent the budget being voted on. Obama branded Walker’s actions as an “assault on unions”.

It was Obama who crowed just after he entered the White House that “elections have consequences”. In Wisconsin last November, the consequences included the governorship, a Senate seat and the state senate and assembly all being lost by the Democrats.

Although you may have read about the Tea Party being a collection of fringe racists and lunatics, their activists in places like Wisconsin were mainly ordinary Americans sick to the back teeth with out-of-control spending.

Walker’s proposals are relatively modest ones for someone facing a $3.6 billion shortfall. He was elected on a platform of balancing the budget and he’s got to find the money to do that from somewhere.

Budget crises are brewing in Ohio, New Jersey and a slew of other states.

The protests in Wisconsin coincided with Obama presenting his new budget in Washington. Despite all his talk of moving to the centre and cutting the national debt, Obama showed he was utterly unserious about dealing with the US government’s catastrophic addiction to spending.

He cast aside the tough measures recommended by the bipartisan Deficit Commission he appointed and failed to tackle what everyone knows is the main financial drain – the big “entitlement” programmes of Social Security, Medicare (for the elderly) and Medicaid (for the poor).

What Obama proposed would do nothing more than slow down the rate of increase in the national debt. No responsible citizen would run their own household finances this way.

Depressingly, Obama’s calculation seems to be that he can talk a good game on the deficit and spout vacuous slogans like “winning the future”. He’ll leave it to Republicans to propose swingeing cuts in entitlement programmes and then suffer a backlash from frightened voters at the polls in 2012. At least, that’s what happened in 1996. But Obama does not seem to have noticed that 2012 is not 1996.

The fact that a president would use his own campaign foot soldiers to back public employees against their elected state government shows how distorted his priorities have become. Instead of confronting unions, as President Ronald Reagan did with the air traffic controllers in 1981 when he fired more than 11,000 of them, Obama is facilitating them...

Once again, some of the very best journalism comes from Great Britain. Read the rest of Toby Harnden's excellent column in the Telegraph right here. Pass it on.

Wisconsin Teachers Failing Wisconsin...In More Ways Than One

Here's a little factoid to remember when watching those public union schoolteachers throwing tantrums up in Wisconsin.

Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.

And these stats do no come from some conservative think tank. They come instead from one of the most liberal, free-spending and teacher-friendly sources of all -- the U.S. Department of Education!

RINOs for the Hall of Shame

Hey, conservatives. Mark it down; don't forget it; and don't let your friends and family and neighbors forget it either. 

Despite America's economy going down the tubes, despite the latest revelations of Planned Parenthood centers protecting statutory rape and other crimes, and despite the fact that Planned Parenthood makes millions of dollars every year killing preborn boys and girls, the following Republican Congressmen and women voted to continue the massive subsidization of Planned Parenthood.

Charlie Bass, New Hampshire;
Judy Biggert, Illinois;
Mary Bono-Mack, California;
Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania;
Robert Dold, Illinois;
Richard Hanna, New York;
Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey

These RINOs need replacing very badly.

Somali Pirates Kill American Hostages. Will the U.S. Properly Respond?

The lay missionaries whose boat was hijacked by Somali pirates last Friday have now been murdered. Scott and Jean Adam, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were shot by their captors even as the pirate ship was being stalked by a U.S. Navy warship and an F.B.I. negotiating teams was attempting to secure the victim's freedom.

Somalia's government hasn't really functioned since 1991. Without local control and without serious pressure from the international community, these Muslim pirates have enjoyed a long, wicked party. They've pulled in millions from robbery and ransoming hostages. And they currently hold almost 30 ships and over 600 hostages.

And the free world lets this go on year after year?

On his Facebook page, Cal Thomas comments, "Regarding those missionaries who were kidnapped and subsequently killed by Somali pirates? Remember the day when most of the world was afraid to touch a hair on an American head. That was post Jimmy Carter and pre-Bill Clinton. Let's see, who was president when that sort of thing wouldn't have been tolerated? Oh yes, it was Ronald Reagan!"

Ouch! Planned Parenthood Scandal Nicks Obama

 The President's non-answer is pretty revealing.

Check this out from Steven Ertelt's article at

“There’s a conservative group that went into Planned Parenthood with video cameras and taped what appeared to be Planned Parenthood workers turning a blind eye to sex trafficking,” the NBC 12 interviewer began in the late Friday interview. “Republicans here in Washington have turned this into a call for you and for other leaders in Washington to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding from the federal government. Do you think this video should be a reason to look at Planned Parenthood funding? Do you think it’s a setup? How would you react to that?”

Obama responded initially by trying to deflect the issue from Planned Parenthood to the economy:

“Well, you know, I will tell you, um, the vast majority of people right now, uh, what they’re thinking about are jobs, the economy, um, and I think that sometimes these issues get manufactured and they a lot of attention on the blogosphere. But what folks that I talk to have been asking is: How is the economy going to be doing? Are jobs going to be created? Are businesses going to be located here in the United States?”

Eventually, Obama got around to responding directly to the question:

“So, you know, my bottom line is, that uh, I think that Planned Parenthood in the past has done good work. If there was a specific problem at this center, it should be addressed,” Obama continued.

Then the president retreated back to other issues to close his answer:  “But we shouldn’t get so distracted with some of these issues that we ignore what really determines how well our kids do in the future. Are we educating them properly? Are we investing in research and development and science and technology to keep our cutting edge? Are we dealing with our budget in a serious way and reducing spending? If we do those things, then some of these other issues are going to be addressed at the local level, but I’m pretty confident that we can address them.”

Jill Stanek, a pro-life nurse and blogger, noticed the interview and says it is revealing — for both what Obama said and what he didn’t. That the sex trafficking scandals has made its way to the presidential level shows how much of an impact the Live Action expose’ videos have made.

“The first bit of news to glean from Obama’s response is he was fully aware of the scandal,” she said. “Obama tried to minimize the sex trafficking sting as “manufactured” and only getting attention on the “blogosphere,” both claims of which are patently false. His own Department of Justice is now involved , after all, and the videos were repeatedly cited in GOP House testimony last week about an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, which passed.”

“But Obama did nothing to reassure Planned Parenthood beyond that,” Stanek added. “In fact, he only distanced himself from the sex trafficking sanctuary. Obama first noted that any ‘specific problem… should be addressed.’ Slap.”

Stanek found it “intriguing” that Obama said Planned Parenthood has done good work “in the past” and that he would have used the present tense if he truly believed the abortion business is engaged in good work.

“But he didn’t,” she said. “Obama proceeded to tick off what he considered real problems, none of which had anything to do with Planned Parenthood and some of which were even contrary to Planned Parenthood’s mission of killing every child it can get paid to kill. Then came the pièce de résistance: ‘Are we dealing with our budget in a serious way and reducing spending?’ Wouldn’t that be making the GOP’s case to defund?”...

The rest of this column is right here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today's Posts

Planned Parenthood Fights for Funding...With a Sex Party?

Relevant to the debate going on in Congress to strip the millions of tax dollars that go to abortion conglomerate Planned Parenthood, I thought you might find this little article of interest. It's from Driadonna Roland, a staff writer of the mobile news service, Democrat and Chronicle.

Planned Parenthood’s Safer Sex Party

Discussing sex is sure to create a stir, but mentioning the term Planned Parenthood might cause an even bigger one. On Saturday the two will merge for The Safer Sex Party, a fundraiser hosted by young professionals group R.E.A.L. for Planned Parenthood for the Greater Rochester and Syracuse Region.

The State Street Bank will be transformed into a lavish party for ages 21 and up from 7 p.m. to midnight for an event that invites guests to bust the myths, get the facts (about sex) and have fun doing it.

Organizers promise the event will be tasteful. It features an aphrodisiac bar inside the bank’s vault, burlesque shows and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Proper attire is required.

Parking is available at the Sister Cities Garage. There’s also a free after party at Vinyl, 291 Alexander St, for those who show their tickets from the Safer Sex Party.

Proceeds will go for sexual education for young people. Tickets are $40 at Boulder Coffee, Parkleigh and at Planned Parenthood locations around town. Tickets are $50 at the door.

Abortion Rights Leader Is Target of Criminal Probe

Back In January, the day before the anniversary of Roe v Wade, the New York Daily News reported that Kelli Conlin, the President of NARAL New York, the state's biggest abortion-rights organization (except, of course, for Planned Parenthood itself) was stepping down after 18 years in that office. She was also leaving her position with the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

A statement from NARAL suggested the resignation was amicable as Conlin would still "be available to the organizations to provide information and input as they move forward under new leadership."

It now seems, however, that this formal statement wasn't really telling the truth. Unless, that is, Ms. Conlin's advice was going to be sought about buying expensive clothes, vacations, chauffeur services and getting away for years with padding your expense account.

That's right. It turns out that, along with the fact that her co-workers couldn't get along with her (the NY Times reports on Board members quitting because of Conlin's reluctance to comply with federal law), the split stems from Ms Conlin's liberal use of NARAL credit cards. Like $6,000 worth of clothes at Giorgio Armani and Barney's, $17,000 for a summer getaway in the Hamptons, and $100,000 on chauffeur service. But Conlin might have thought she deserved such perks. After all, she was having to squeak by on an annual salary of only $309,000. 

The Manhattan District Attorney has announced a criminal investigation. "But the investigation is awkward for new state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has close ties to both Conlin and NARAL. Conlin was a major endorser of Schneiderman during his campaign, and his father was on NARAL's board for many years."

What do you bet this case doesn't go far? And what do you bet you'll never see 60 Minutes or Nightline mention the story?