Monday, April 30, 2007

The Corner on National Review Online: Sobering Thought of the Day

re: Peter Robinson writes, "...Bill explained that he isn’t particularly optimistic that China will become a democracy any time soon. It might—but then again it most certainly might not. /Then Bill made a fascinating point. Whereas Stalin would find the power structure that now governs Russia altogether baffling—an elected president?—Mao would find the power structure in contemporary China altogether familiar. The dozen or so people who hold real power in China sit on the same committees and rely on the same bases of support—above all, the People’s Liberation Army—as did Mao and his circle. "Mao," Bill said, "would feel right at home."...

The Corner on National Review Online: A Heaping Plate of Nonsense

re: "It seems the ACLU is irked by an Indiana license plate that displays an American flag and the words "In God We Trust." Apparently, the group doesn’t oppose the plate itself, but instead opposes it being classified as a “secondary standard” plate—the end result being that, unlike the many specialty plates the state offers, it doesn’t carry the $15 administrative fee charged for, say, a plate with a Colts logo..."...

OpinionJournal - Five Best

re: five recommended man vs. nature books...

The Paragraph Farmer: The more you sweat in training...

re: "...the less you bleed in combat. / Which is why it's good to see people asking hard questions in the aftermath of the recent massacre at Virginia Tech. And everything I've seen points to the importance of conditioning in times of crisis. Only conditioning resolves the "Prisoner's Dilemma" in the best possible way, and the consensus view among people I respect is that none of us are exempt from the duty to either engage in such conditioning or consciously decline the invitation to conditioning, knowing that we then depend on the kindness of strangers..."...

hat tip: Wittingshire

Pro-life search engine

Via the sidebar at Rosetta Stone, here's a search engine that donates money to pro-life organizations/charities.

Society Without Boundaries « David’s Daily Diversions

re: young teens in the UK who have bought into the binge drinking culture, and don't understand that drinking to the point of drunkedness is in some way inappropriate - and ill-advised ways to address this problem and others that stem from it...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pew Burning and the Perils of Pluralism by Susan Easton - HUMAN EVENTS

re: "...May 27th is Pluralism Sunday, so declared by The Center for Progressive Christianity (TCPG.org)...[snip]... / Pluralism Sunday event organizers are encouraging committed Christians to visit congregations other than their own. The idea here is that faith is not threatened, but indeed can be deepened, by exposure to other expressions of the same core beliefs...[snip]...Pluralism Sunday is also being promoted, in part, as an invitation to the unchurched, or to those who have rejected Christianity’s long standing and often “wild” theological claims, to feel welcomed into worship communities and give the faith another go. Fair enough. / But then come the assertions which make traditionalists and evangelicals uneasy. / One press release from TCPC states: “one does not need to believe that Jesus is the only way to God in order to be a Christian.” This statement is used as part of the progressive inducement to visit a modern (or is that post-modern?) Christian church. / It also represents a profound misreading of the basic requirements for, among other things, membership in the World Council and also the National Council of Churches. Both of these theological organizations stipulate that, in order to be a member in good standing, a Christian congregation must recite The Nicene Creed and hold to the statements of faith therein..."...

Ending Racial Preferences: It's About Time by Linda Chavez - HUMAN EVENTS

re: "This week marks the beginning of the end of the racial spoils system that has come to symbolize affirmative action in higher education, as well as state contracting and employment. Ward Connerly, chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute and the father of the California Civil Rights Initiative, which abolished state-sponsored racial preferences in California more than a decade ago, has launched a new effort to place similar initiatives on the ballot in 2008 in several states, including Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona...[snip]...By the time I left Boulder in 1970, I had become a critic of affirmative action, and my later experiences as an instructor in the affirmative action program at UCLA made me a downright opponent of such programs. It became clear to me that universities were applying racial double standards that helped no one, least of all the students who were the intended beneficiaries. The real problem blacks and Hispanics faced was a skills gap that affirmative action programs didn't even attempt to solve..."...

hat tip: Phi Beta Cons

Ruling: Talk Radio Has Free Speech Too

re: "RUSH: The Washington state Supreme Court -- big news here -- said in an opinion released yesterday morning that a couple of talk show hosts at station KVI in Seattle did not need -- one of these guys, this is John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur. I know both of these guys. Carlson a great guy. They were sued. They were told that their show was an in-kind advertisement for politicians and issues that they supported. "The state Supreme Court in an opinion said that the two guys did not need to report their advocacy for an anti-gas tax campaign as an in-kind political contribution. The court has reinstated a countersuit filed by the No New Gas Tax campaign against local governments that initially sued." This opinion was unanimous...[snip]...They all said that the case showed a disregard for core freedoms of speech and association. This is huge. This is a huge ruling, and it is very, very important because the Washington Supreme Court has held that radio talk shows do not constitute in-kind political donations and happily the First Amendment still holds, ladies and gentlemen, even in the era of McCain-Feingold..."...

An Eloquent Pen Stilled -- David Halberstam

re: Albert Mohler writes about David Halberstam, including, "Later, Halberstam would write War in a Time of Peace, in which he would interpret the 1990s through the lenses of Presidents George H. W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton. In this fascinating section of the book, Halberstam offers keen observations concerning President Clinton: /Some more traditional political analysts had begun to study Clinton's moves and failings not in ideological terms as to whether he was of the left or the right of center, but in generational terms. As the first baby boomer president, he was bright and talented but, they believed, spoiled. Like many boomers his expectations outweighed his sense of obligation. His talents -- and his charm -- were so considerable that they outweighed his faults. When he disappointed people, they always forgave him, and in time he came to expect their forgiveness. When things went wrong, he was unusually slow, even in private, to accept responsibility himself. The belief that what he represented generationally was critical to his political behavior was shared by some people who worked with him daily. Tony Lake and George Stephanopoulos would often talk about the difficulty they had in dealing with the president, deciding they bookended the boomer generation. Lake just a bit too old and Stephanopoulos a bit too young."...

Take Action: Save Small and Independent Publishers

re: "Postal regulators have accepted a proposal from media giant Time Warner that would stifle small and independent publishers in America. The plan unfairly burdens smaller publishers with higher postage rates while locking in special privileges for bigger media companies..."...

Mona Charen on Food Stamps on National Review Online

re: "Oregon’s governor, Theodore Kulongoski, called a gaggle of his closest friends to a photo op Tuesday that few could pass up. As part of his “Food Stamp Challenge” week, the governor is attempting to live on a food budget of $21 per week, which is about the average benefit for an Oregon food stamp recipient, according to the governor’s press release...[...snip...]...Let’s start with some numbers. If you go the state of Oregon’s website and calculate your eligibility for food stamps, you will find that a family of four with no income (and 70 percent of food stamp recipients do not work at all) is entitled to $518 monthly or about $32 weekly for each person. This is a very rough estimate because all sorts of factors are taken into account in calculating eligibility, including number of dependents, housing costs, expenses, and other income. Perhaps the governor’s office is correct that the average food stamp allotment in the state is $21. But that means some get more and some less. Eligibility is based on need. / Now even $32 seems like a very small amount of money per person, but that is only a small part of the largesse provided by the U.S. government, which spent $522 billion on low-income assistance programs in 2002...."

FIRST THINGS: The Much Exaggerated Death of Europe

re: Richard John Neuhaus writes about Philip Jenkins and his books: The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, followed by The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South, and then by God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis....

Friday, April 27, 2007

Majority Accountability Project to launch April 23 | Keeping the Majority Accountable. Keeping you Informed.

re: "The Majority Accountability Project (MAP), an independent, internet-based news and research service, will make its debut on April 23 at www.majorityap.com. Founded by two Capitol Hill veterans, MAP will be an on-line clearinghouse of information on the House Majority, and conduct its own investigative stories available to the public, on-line community and the mainstream media. /“Last year, dozens of organizations, blogs and internet-based groups were engaged in comprehensive research on the Republican House majority - poring over legislation, travel vouchers, FEC statements, and financial disclosures - disseminating that information and, quite often, driving a great deal of the mainstream media coverage,” said Michael Brady, MAP President and co-founder. “We think this majority needs that same level of scrutiny.”..."...

hat tip: Jack Yoest

Reasoned Audacity: Reasoned Audacity

re: "Charles Schultz Philosophy has been making the rounds and deserves repeating..."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Backbone America » Truman’s daily prayer

re: "The First Cold Warrior, Elizabeth Spalding’s new book on Harry Truman, quotes this little prayer that the Missourian used daily during his presidency: /Oh Almighty and Everlasting God, Creator of heaven and earth and the universe: Help me to be, to think, to act what is right, because it is right: Make me truthful, honest, and honorable in all things: Make me intellectually honest for sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me. Give me the ability to be charitable, forgiving, and patient with my fellow men — Help me to understand their motives and shortcomings — even as thou understandest mine: Amen..."...

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hawking takes zero-gravity flight

re: "British physicist Stephen Hawking has completed a zero-gravity flight in a specially modified plane.
Professor Hawking, who suffers from motor neurone disease, was able to float free, unrestricted by his paralysed muscles and his wheelchair. /The flight, which lasted more than an hour took a series of dramatic dives, allowing the professor to experience 25-second spurts of weightlessness...[snip]...US firm Zero Gravity normally charges a fee of $3,750 (£1,915) for its passengers, but that fee was waived for the Cambridge physicist. /He was not given many years to live when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in the 1960s, aged 22...[snip]... He has a reservation for a sub-orbital flight with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic venture, scheduled to begin service in 2009...[snip]...Virgin Galactic will own and operate at least five spaceships and two mother ships, and will charge £100,000 ($190,000) to carry passengers to an altitude of about 140km on sub-orbital space flights..."...

Using Stories to Develop Character

re: series of articles on using (and choosing) children's stories...

CitizenLink: Outrage Awards Highlight Campus Intolerance

re: "The 10th annual Campus Outrage Awards are out, and several prestigious colleges and universities received top honors for egregious instances of intolerance and intimidation on campus. /The College of William and Mary took first for secretly ordering the removal of a cross from a chapel, followed by U.C. Berkeley for handing out scholarship money to kids with drug convictions. Third place was awarded to Johns Hopkins for trying to shut down a conservative newspaper after it reported on the university-funded appearance of a porn-film director...[snip]...Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said universities are headed by people who were students in the rebellious '60s. Ironically, they’ve become what they once hated. /"They believe in one-way tolerance," he said. "And, of course, one-way tolerance is really tyranny.”..."...

European Parliament Passes Resolution Vowing to Take 'Homophobic' Countries to Court

re: By John-Henry Westen, "STRASBOURG, April 26, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a disgraceful debate in the European Parliament (EP) yesterday, Members of the European Parliament from France, the Netherlands and Italy, among others, vilified Poland as "hateful" and "repulsive" for refusing to allow promotion of homosexuality in schools. / A vote was held today to approve an EP resolution chastising Poland for 'homophobia.' The resolution - adopted by 325 votes to 124, with 150 abstentions - calls for a fact-finding mission to be sent to Poland, for "worldwide de-criminalisation of homosexuality" and for the Commission to take Member States to court if they breach their EU obligations. / At issue was a proposed law in Poland which would forbid "homosexual propaganda" in schools. Explaining the legislation earlier this year, Roman Giertych, Poland's minister of education: "One must limit homosexual propaganda so that children won't have an improper view of family"..."...

WorldNetDaily: Christians in bull's-eye in new 'hate crimes' plan

re: Bob Unruh reports, "A fast-tracked congressional plan to add special protections for homosexuals to federal law would turn "thoughts, feelings, and beliefs" into criminal offenses and put Christians in the bull's-eye, according to opponents. /"H.R. 1592 is a discriminatory measure that criminalizes thoughts, feelings, and beliefs [and] has the potential of interfering with religious liberty and freedom of speech," according to a white paper submitted by Glen Lavy, of the Alliance Defense Fund. /"As James Jacobs and Kimberly Potter observed in Hate Crimes, Criminal Law, and Identity Politics, 'It would appear that the only additional purpose [for enhancing punishment of bias crimes] is to provide extra punishment based on the offender's politically incorrect opinions and viewpoints,'" said Lavy. /The proposal has been endorsed by majority Democrats on the committee, and already has 137 sponsors in the full House, making it possible it could be voted on in a matter of days or weeks..."...

The Corner on National Review Online: The Last Days of Disco

re: Whit Stillman movies, highly touted by conservatives...

The Corner on National Review Online: Women at the Movies

re: "...Ms. Lansing, who was the dean of female Hollywood studio executives, said she believed that lifestyle choices, along with the dumbing down of Hollywood movies, was affecting the number of women in the running for top jobs. /“At a certain point,” she continued, “some women will say: ‘I’ve done this enough. I have enough money. How long am I going to get up at 6 a.m. and go to bed at 11 p.m., six days a week?’ Women also want to be in love. A huge percentage want children. They want friends. They want life.” // Women making lifestyle choices? To stay home? Just don’t tell Linda Hirshman..."...

Phi Beta Cons: V. Tech Massacre: Crime, not ‘Tragedy’

re: "Larry Auster calls the horrific deed by its true name: /I can't stand hearing one commentator and survivor after another refer to the mass murder as a "tragedy"…the message is sent out as clear as daylight that the same thing will happen again. This is because to describe it as a "tragedy" is to remove the fact that it was a crime, an evil act, committed by an enemy of society, a crime that can be prevented in the future only if, unlike at Virginia Tech, we recognize the existence of enemies of society and are prepared to stop them. But if it's a "tragedy," then by definition no one did anything wrong. There was no criminal act from which society must be protected. There was just this big blob of misfortune that came falling from the sky. It's something to be suffered, something to be "healed" of, not something to arm ourselves against and be prepared to use the power of the law and physical force to stop if someone threatens to do the same in the future..."...

John J. Miller: The Writing Life

re: "The K-8 school my kids attend recently devoted a whole day to the importance of reading. Speakers came in to read stories and tell tales. I was one of them, in what became a kind of career-day seminar for the middle-school set. I was asked to discuss how I got started as a professional writer and what it’s like to be one. Here’s what I said..."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

VOA News - US House Approves Funding Measure with Iraq Withdrawal Timetable

re: "The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has approved a war funding bill that includes a timetable for the eventual withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq. VOA's Dan Robinson reports, the vote was 218 to 208. The Senate will consider it Thursday, but President Bush plans to veto the final product reaching his desk. /Debate on the conference report for the measure, containing about $95 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan military operations, featured familiar arguments from both sides of the political aisle..."...

New ERA introduced in Congress; NRLC urges opposition

re: "...NRLC is strongly opposed to the federal ERA unless it is amended to explicitly prevent the provision from being used to attack pro-life laws. The required "abortion-neutral amendment" reads, "Nothing in this Article [the ERA] shall be construed to grant, secure, or deny any right relating to abortion or the funding thereof." /In some states that have added ERAs to their state constitutions, courts have interpreted the ERAs to invalidate laws targeting abortion. For example, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that the state's ERA invalidated a state ban on funding abortions through the state Medicaid program..."...

WorldNetDaily: Teamsters sue to halt Mexican truckers

re: "A lawsuit has been filed by the Teamsters against the Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over a pilot plan to allow Mexican truck drivers – and trucks – access to U.S. highways. /As WND has reported, the government will have no access to whether those truckers have any criminal records, and the system is being set up to allow those trucks loaded with goods to cross the border in as little as 15 seconds...[snip]...Congress already has begun a move to close down the program, but legislation may not be quick enough, the plaintiffs said. Under a 2001 NAFTA order, the proposal, scheduled to take effect within days, authorizes up to 100 Mexico-based trucking companies to operate beyond a narrow border zone. /WND reported the Department of Transportation plans to certify the first participating Mexican trucking company as early as the end of April or the beginning of May..."...

Government economics « Bookworm Room

re: "I spent some time in my car yesterday listening to Michael Medved’s segment about the equal pay initiative Hillary, Obama, and other Dems are pushing. Their theory is that women get ghettoized in certain professions that have lower pay than comparable professions that attract men. (Think secretaries versus garbage men.) Medved’s guest was Warren Farrell, author of Why Men Earn More : The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — And What Women Can Do About It. Farrell pointed out the rather obvious main reason behind these career clusters: men go for the money, women go for the lifestyle, with the marketplace determining the value of each job. It’s actually not such a difficult concept..."...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Maverick Philosopher Virginia Tech Massacre Worst In U. S. History?

re: "...The moral of the story is that you should be skeptical of anything written in a newspaper or said by a journalist. Their regard for truth leaves something to be desired..."...

Hudson Institute > The Klavan File

re: "Andrew Klavan is a prolific crime novelist and screenwriter, author of about 20 novels (some pseudonymous). He is also a conservative..."...

hat tip: Brandywine Books

The Point: We're Not All Hokies

re: From April 20, Roberto Rivera writes, "In her column in today's Los Angeles Times, Rosa Brooks knocks it out of the park -- the "it" being our sloppy thinking and feeling in the aftermath of Monday's killings in Blacksburg. /Brooks isn't criticizing empathy for other people's sorrow and suffering -- she's going after the way we forget/ignore/reject the fact that the sorrow and suffering is someone else's..."...

March For Life 2007: May 9-11 Ottawa

re: upcoming pro-life event...

FIRST THINGS: On the Square » Religion and the Common Good

re: the text of a talk by Charles J. Chaput, the archbishop of Denver...

contentions » David Halberstam’s All-Too-Prescient Forecast

re: "...This is fascinating stuff, for what the Times omits to say is that Halberstam, who did come to deride the war in Vietnam ferociously, began his career as one of its most avid supporters. Indeed, as late as 1965 Halberstam was telling his readers that if America pulled out of Southeast Asia, a moral tragedy and strategic debacle would ensue..."...

Allthings2all: Virginia Tech: Will the Media Get Real?

re: from April 19, another person objects to the way the media covered the murders and the murderer's appeal for fame...

Author David Halberstam Killed In Crash

re: "(AP) David Halberstam, the journalist whose acclaimed books included a towering study of the Vietnam War and a poignant portrait of aging baseball stars, died while heading to an interview for a new work. / The 73-year-old writer was killed in a car crash Monday..."...

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Constrained Vision: Why teenagers are stupid

re: "Tony Woodlief explains that it's not just because schools are doing a poor job. It's also because teenagers spend so much time with other teenagers..."...

Joust The Facts: Brilliant At Breakfast

re: "That would be DJ Drummond's piece this morning over at Wizbang, on the role of the media in the Va Tech killings, the killer himself, and what makes one worthy of this life we lead...[snip]...And you can add Jay Tea, who writes on the constant urge some have to give up more rights and freedoms and rely on the government when something bad happens..."...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

EWTN.com - European Leftists Attack World Congress of Families

re: "Apr. 20, 2007 (C-fam.org/CWNews.com) - A left-wing coalition within the European Parliament has sought to dissuade a US State Department official from attending the World Congress of Families in Poland, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) reports. /A group of hard-left members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sent a letter to Ellen Sauerbrey, the assistant secretary of state for population, saying that she would be giving an “official US government stamp of approval to extremist and intolerant views” by attending the May event in Poland, reports Samantha Singson in C-Fam's Friday Fax..."...

EWTN.com - 50,000 in Northern Ireland Join in Pro-life Petition

re: "...On the final day of the consultation period, April 20, the organization Precious Life staged a demonstration at Stormont, with members protesting what the group has termed a "backdoor" effort to allow widespread legal abortion. Presenting the 50,000 pro-life petitions, Precious Life leader Bernie Smyth remarked that the petitioners had "sent out the clear message to the [health department] that if they attempt to introduce abortion here, the people of Northern Ireland say, "not in my name."..."...

Baptist Press - Students remembered as solid Christians - News with a Christian Perspective

re: tributes to students murdered at Virginia Tech...

Betsy's Page: Understanding Justice Kennedy

re: "Jan Crawford Greenburg (whose fascinating book Supreme Conflict I am presently reading and highly recommend) gives us some insight into what was motivating Justice Kennedy's decision in the partial birth abortion case decided this week. He feels that the states have a legitimate role in limiting abortions and was angry about the earlier ruling in Stenberg v. Cathcart. He feels that O'Connor and Souter rather backtracked on what they had agreed to in Pennsylvania v. Casey..."...

Betsy's Page: Don't mess with an armed Miss America

re: "This is a great story. /Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder. Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment. / Ramey said the man told her he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said..."...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"The Dinner Party Test" -- The Revenge of Moral Consciousness

re: Albert Mohler writes, "The Independent [London] has published an amazing report indicating that Britain faces a "crisis" in the availability of abortion. It seems that "an unprecedented number of doctors are refusing to be involved in carrying out the procedure." /As the paper reports, "The exodus of doctors prepared to perform the task is a nationwide phenomenon that threatens to plunge the abortion service into chaos, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has warned." /This makes sense, of course. Why would doctors -- who dedicate their lives to saving lives -- choose to deploy their medical skills in the service of killing unborn babies? The "crisis" feared by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a crisis of recovered moral consciousness. / One paragraph in the paper's report is too important to miss. Look closely at these words: /Distaste at performing terminations combined with ethical and religious convictions has led to a big increase in "conscientious objectors" who request exemption from the task, the RCOG says. A key factor is what specialists call "the dinner party test". Gynaecologists who specialise in fertility treatment creating babies for childless couples are almost universally revered - but no one boasts of being an abortionist..."...

The Chronicle: Daily news: 04/18/2007 -- 10: Opinion: The Legacy of the Texas Tower Sniper

re: Gary Lavergne writes, "...Before we identify and learn the lessons of Blacksburg, we must begin with the obvious: More than four dozen innocent people were gunned down by a murderer who is completely responsible for what happened. No one died for lack of text messages or an alarm system. They died of gunshot wounds. While we painfully learn our lessons, we must not treat each other as if we are responsible for the deaths that occurred. We must come together and be respectful and kind. This is not a time for us to torture ourselves or to seek comfort by finding someone to blame. Maybe as a result of the tragedy we will figure out how to more effectively use e-mail and text messages as emergency tools for warning large populations. We may come up with a plan that successfully clears a large area, with a population density of a midsize city, in less than two hours. Maybe universities will find a way to install surveillance cameras and convince students and faculty members that they are being monitored for their own safety and not for gathering domestic intelligence. All of those steps might be helpful in avoiding and reducing the carnage of any future incidents. But as long as we value living in a free society, we will be vulnerable to those who do harm -- because they want to and know how to do it..."...

hat tip: Albert Mohler

The Last Ditch: Dizzy Thinks: Interesting minutiae if you own a home

re: "...To me, it comes down to property rights. /Margaret Thatcher let thousands of former council house tenants feel like free men and women because they could choose their own front door, change their windows and generally be responsible for their own property. /Labour has made millions of freeholders feel like council tenants by removing their discretion as to what they do with their own property. /These are not, as Dizzy thinks, "minutiae." Labour has retargetted the police force so that they will not come out if a respectable house is burgled. If you want to install security to mitigate that risk, you need permission from their cohorts (even new window frames now need their permission). They are quite likely to decline on the basis that security blinds etc (such as are quite normal on Continental homes) will make a residential area look "commercial." In truth, they think preparations against crime will challenge their lie that crime has been reduced..."...

The Last Ditch: Don't be smug about V-Tech killings

re: comparing Britain's violent crime rates (and methods of keeping stats) against America's (and the UK not coming out all that well)...

hat tip: The Corner (NRO)

Week in Review: April 15-20, 2007 | www.markdroberts.com

re: commentary and links related to Virginia Tech, evil, suffering, grief, helping those who grieve, what we can learn from tragedy...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Constitutionally Correct : Killing Your Own Unborn Baby is Central to Womanhood, So Says Justice Ginsburg

re: "...Now imagine that you're speaking to an anthrolopogist, who has just returned from a visit to a previously undiscovered primitive tribal community on a remote island in the South Pacific. If he reports that the ability to bear children is a central factor in the lives of the tribe's women, you might figure that you'd met another one of those remarkable social scientists who has found a way to earn a salary by saying the blatantly obvious. But if he told you that the right to kill their own children was central to those women, you'd have to conclude that the island is a terrible place, populated by bloodthirsty pagan savages, and any sane traveler should stay away. / You might pause, though, to question whether the anthropologist's report was accurate. You can pause now, and ask yourself whether Judge Ginsburg is properly describing the mainstream thoughts of American society. Go ahead: think about it. The results may not be reassuring."...

Legalities: The Last Word

re: From April 19, Jan Crawford Greenburg: "It’s sometimes too easy to mock Anthony Kennedy, and people sure have done a lot of it over the years. He can seem infuriatingly unmoored. He agonizes over his decisions. He’s been known to change his mind in a case or two. And his writing style is about as grand as his ornately decorated chambers in the Court. /But in yesterday’s landmark abortion case, Kennedy was the Associate Justice he believes himself to be. /“If I say something,” Kennedy told me in the summer of 2006, “I want to stick with it.”..."...

hat tip: Constitutionally Correct

Considerettes: Religious Freedom, Canadian Style

re: "...The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms lists as its first “fundamental freedom” the freedom of conscience and religion”. But for those pushing this agenda, the plain language of a Charter or a Constitution is not worth the paper it’s written on, and your “fundamental rights” are not recognized. Americans should take note."...

Considerettes » Guns By The Numbers

re: what's happened in Kennesaw, GA since 1982, when it passed a law requiring heads of households to own a gun...

Feminists for Life President Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling Upholding the Ban on Partial Birth Abortion

re: "Alexandria, VA, April 18, 2007 _ Feminists for Life of America President Serrin M. Foster said she hopes today’s U.S. Supreme Court partial birth abortion ban ruling will draw attention to the reasons why any woman would feel driven to accept this particularly heinous form of abortion. /“Often women who have late-term abortions are those who hide their pregnancies from family, friends and the father of the child, hoping that if they wait long enough, they will be supported in having their child,” Foster said. “Because Roe only allows abortion up to three months, many don’t realize that the parallel 1973 court decision, Doe, allows abortion for any reason until the end of pregnancy.” /“This is a procedure that hurts women,” Foster said. “After three days of intense, forced labor, the doctors stop the delivery, kill the child by stabbing it in the back of the head, drain the baby’s brains, and discard the baby. At the end of this procedure, the woman has an empty womb, empty arms and a hole in her heart.” / “We all must create a society where no woman will feel driven to abortion,” Foster said. “As feminists we believe that society needs to provide resources and support for pregnant women, and for parenting men and women.” / “Women deserve better than abortion,” Foster said..."...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

OpinionJournal - Extra: No Guardrails

re: an encore printing of an editorial from March 18, 1993, on "August 1968 and the death of self-restraint" and related topics...

OpinionJournal - Partial Reversal

re: "To hear the extremes of the abortion debate tell it, yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart is the beginning of the end of abortion rights in America. The Christian Coalition declared that "it is just a matter of time" before Roe v. Wade "will also be struck down by the court," while Senator Hillary Clinton called it "a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman's right to choose." /They're both wrong, but the dueling end-of-days rhetoric shows again how much the Supremes have polarized our abortion debate. In fact, yesterday's 5-4 ruling is narrowly drawn and upholds a federal law that outlaws only a single, late-term procedure that Daniel Patrick Moynihan once described as "infanticide."..."...

ADF: Members of Montana senior center who feared lawsuit from ACLU reinstate gospel songs

re: "BOZEMAN, Mont. — Senior citizens in Bozeman are singing out loud after nearly being silenced by fears of legal action by the American Civil Liberties Union. Members of the Bozeman Senior Center voluntarily sang a traditional Christian doxology before their meals, but the practice nearly ended when a few dissenters complained to the managing board, resting their complaint on the so-called “separation of church and state.” / The center’s board suspended the practice, fearing that it might invite a lawsuit from the ACLU and lead to the loss of federal funds for the center’s Meals on Wheels program. The board reversed its decision after Alliance Defense Fund attorneys confirmed that the seniors have the right to sing religious songs without fear of such drastic consequences. / “These Christian seniors are not second-class citizens under the Constitution. The board did the right thing by recognizing their right to sing thanks to God without fear of censorship from far left activist groups,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Amy Smith. “The seniors’ songs were clearly protected by the First Amendment.”..."...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

San Jose Mercury News - Eagle Scout saves own life during Virginia Tech shootings

re: "...Sterne, in trying to escape the shooter, ran. His wounds were all to the lower part of his body, including the potentially fatal bullet to the femoral artery in Sterne's thigh, Bennett said. Damage to that major artery leads to substantial and quick loss of blood. But Sterne, an Eagle Scout, pulled an electrical cord out of the wall, Bennett said, and managed to wrap it around his leg in a makeshift tourniquet before he passed out..."...

French Front-Runner's American Style - washingtonpost.com

re: "PARIS -- He urges young people to embrace Martin Luther King Jr. as a role model. He is a devotee of Hollywood movies, and his favorite author is Ernest Hemingway. He wrote a book preaching the gospel of the American work ethic to a nation that clings to a 35-hour workweek. /None of which may seem remarkable, except that the man in question -- Nicolas Sarkozy -- is running for president of France, which typically turns up its nose at such flagrant displays of Yankee Doodlism. And he is leading in all the polls. / "I don't see why my country doesn't take inspiration from its great ally," Sarkozy, former interior minister and now candidate of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement, wrote in his recently updated political autobiography. "I love the value Americans place on work and the desire for excellence that you find everywhere."..."...

TheStar.com - News - Canadian shooting victim had passion for teaching

re: "...Born in Montreal, raised partly in Yarmouth, N.S., Couture-Nowak moved to Truro, N.S., where she met her husband, went to teachers' college, raised two daughters and founded the new Acadian school board's first francophone school in 1997. /"Without her passion, I don't know that the École acadienne de Truro would exist," said Heather Parker, a co-founder of the school. "She would never give up. If she wanted something she got it. She loved life and everything good about it. She was passionate about non-violence. That is what makes the way she died so ironic." /Couture-Nowak was one of 32 people gunned down at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., Monday... /Couture-Nowak taught francophone studies at Virginia Tech, rated by one of her students as an "excellent teacher." She moved there from Truro about seven years ago, after her husband, Jerzy Nowak, was hired to run the horticultural program. Couture-Nowak, who was in her 40s, had two daughters, Francine and Sylvie..."...

'Gay rights' bills pass Oregon House

re: "SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Same-sex couples would receive the same benefits as married couples, and gays and lesbians would be protected against discrimination under bills approved Tuesday by the Oregon House. /The Senate is expected to pass the two bills and Gov. Ted Kulongoski plans to sign both..."...

Student enrollment for Day of Truth Thursday

re: "SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Christian students at high schools across the nation will have the opportunity to participate Thursday in the Day of Truth, designed to provide students a platform to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda in their schools by peacefully expressing an opposing viewpoint. Enrollment for this year’s Day of Truth event nearly doubled from last year’s totals, reaching more than 5,500 students at more than 1,200 schools nationwide registered to take part in the event. / “Christian students should be allowed to express their viewpoint just like any other student,” said Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. “The Day of Truth provides an opportunity for Christian students to respectfully present a different viewpoint than students participating in the Day of Silence. Allowing the communication of one viewpoint and claiming it’s the only viewpoint is advocating, not educating.”..."...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nagasaki mayor's murder blamed on Yakuza | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

re: "The mayor of Nagasaki was shot dead yesterday in an attack which police said was due to an organised crime chief apparently enraged that his car was damaged at a public works construction site. /The shooting was rare in a country where handguns are banned. /Mayor Iccho Ito, 61, was shot twice in the back at point-blank range outside a train station yesterday evening. He died of his wounds after emergency surgery. /Tetsuya Shiroo, a senior member of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest organised crime syndicate, was wrestled to the ground by officers after the attack and arrested for attempted murder, police said. He later admitted shooting the mayor with a handgun with the intent to kill, Nagasaki chief investigator Kazuki Umebayashi said at a news conference..."...

Letter from Europe: Round One: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

re: "...The French are often accused of being trapped in their Cartesian categories. A cold sandwich cannot morph into a hot sandwich without considerable mental accommodation on the part of the person putting it together. In politics, the left cannot creep toward the center, let alone the right, without a deep, if not intolerable, sense of ideological betrayal. The right rarely even considers the possibility of creeping. Change, on the right, is more a matter of cosmetic surgery. For most of the French, the “center”—call it a third way or Clinton’s way or Blair’s way or simply a free-market, social-democratic consensus—has been a contradiction in terms, perhaps because they remain so deeply devoted to the protective and protectionist state, l’État protecteur, that both the left and the right have helped create. The state has been reified, even deified; it carries the imprimatur of a historic compromise with reality..."...

hat tip: Brothers Judd

Carol Platt Liebau: Not Yet a Time for "Healing"

re: "Dennis Prager has it absolutely right -- it is not yet time for "healing" (with all the psychotherapeutic overtones that the term conveys). / What's more, as Prager points out: / And why is it always referred to as a "tragedy"? Virginia Tech wasn't hit by a cyclone. That would be a tragedy. This was evil. Call it that..."...

Well, Allow Me to Re-tort - Acton Institute PowerBlog

re: "Last month the Pacific Research Institute released a report estimating that costs associated with the American tort system exceed $865 billion per year...[snip]...At the time of his jackpot, Whittaker owned a successful construction company that was “doing $16 million to $17 million worth of work.” According to the story, Whittaker “enjoyed years of success with few complaints, but less than a year after winning the lottery things began to change.” / “I’ve had over 400 legal claims made on me or one of my companies since I’ve won the lottery,” said Whittaker...[snip]...Another recent development in tort news is the mainstream acceptance of animal law...[snip]...For more reading on the devolution of the American tort system, check out Trial by Fury: Restoring the Common Good in Tort Litigation, by Ronald J. Rychlak..."...

Population: Ultimate Problem of all Problems - Acton Institute PowerBlog

re: "...Roberts says he doesn’t directly address the problem of over-population because talking about it as such isn’t very effective. Apparently, telling people that they and their kids very existence is the “ultimate problem of all problems” doesn’t resonate very well. It “alienates a large swathe of the general public,” you know, the ones who still have some residual moral sensibilities. / So, instead, Roberts pursues items that he think will ultimately result in lowered populations...a subordination of these causes as means to the greater end. He writes, “Each of these -- empowering women and spreading prosperity -- is worth pursuing in its own right. Each is a powerful political rallying cry. Each produces a range of ancillary benefits.” / But of course the greatest benefit of them both is that they help in “scaling human population back.”..."...

Townhall.com::Blog: Hugh Hewitt: Remembering The Dead and Comforting The Survivors

re: "The New York Times is providing some details on the lives of those murdered yesterday. It is very hard reading but as with the victims of 9/11 and the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines killed in the war, it is important for people to read the details of these lives, especially the young ones. /I also repost a link that Joe Carter pointed us to a few weeks ago: Best Advice On How To Comfort A Grieving Parent. / Pastor Mark Daniels also has a compelling series of posts on when tragedy strikes the innocent. /
Theologian and pastor Mark Roberts, philospher and philosophy professor John Mark Reynolds, and Professor David Allen White will all join me at points of today's show to discuss sorrow and how to help people grieve."...

Suicide Shooters - April 17, 2007 - The New York Sun

re: "...The suicide shooter would be unlikely, however, if he did not know that his act would be broadcast worldwide. The reason no one did this in 1920 was because news didn't travel as quickly and photographic technology was less advanced. The suicide shooter, like the suicide bomber, is performing for the vast audience that is the modern press..."...

Jack Dunphy: Misplaced Anger

re: "In the immediate aftermath of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, a collection of crosses was erected on a site near the school, one to honor each victim of the massacre. It would have been a fitting memorial but for one glaring defect: There were 15 crosses, which is to say that two of them were intended to honor Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who had killed 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide. Some well-meaning but morally confused person considered it appropriate that the murderers be honored along with the murdered. I also recall seeing a hand-lettered sign posted somewhere near the campus that read, incredibly, “We forgive you Eric and Dylan.” How long will it be before we see this kind of moral confusion at Virginia Tech? I’m afraid it’s already started...[snip]...The rush to blame the school’s administration and police is a reflection of a society that believes any and all misfortune can be averted by the proper application of government will. At this very moment, politicians in Richmond, Va., and Washington, D.C., are exerting their tiny brains trying to be the first to propose legislation that will “prevent the next tragedy.” The number of laws the killer broke on Monday will probably run to more than 20, but there are those who actually believe he might have been deterred by a few more strokes of a legislative pen. I can’t put it any more simply than this: There are evil people in the world, and no amount of laws will make them any less so. / There may be a level of security that would deter a suicidal maniac from carrying out the kind of horrors seen on the Virginia Tech campus Monday morning, but I doubt anyone would want to attend the school that implemented it..."...

Ten Great Christian Biographies

re: Albert Mohler writes, "...Reading the biographies of persons whose lives represent a significant influence on the Christian church is especially enriching. Each of the biographies listed below invites the reader into an adventure that is both literary and theological. These are ten of the biographies I consider most important from recent decades..."...

Monday, April 16, 2007

FOXNews.com - Virginia Tech Campus Reels From Shooting That Leaves at Least 32 Dead

re: "...Federal law enforcement officials told FOX News that 32 are dead, including the shooter. Police at the campus in Blacksburg, Va., said there was only one shooter responsible for the two shootings, which occurred about two hours apart from each other..."...

Hot Air » Report: At least 20 29 32 dead, 28 wounded in shooting at Virginia Tech; Update: Students weren’t told after first shooting?

re: continuing coverage of killing rampages spaced a couple/three hours apart on different parts of the Virginia Tech campus...

Blessed Among Men: Filed Under Taxes

re: quotes on taxes...

Betsy's Page: The truth about Paul Wolfowitz

re: "When rumors first started circulating that Paul Wolfowitz had used his position as President of the World Bank to give his girlfriend a big raise, I found it hard to believe that someone with as much experience as Wolfowitz would make such a mistake. Well, now that the documentary records have been released it is clear that this story has been the result of selective leaks geared towards damaging his reputation but with the barest relationship to what actually went on. / Before he even took the job at the World Bank, Wolfowitz informed the Bank that his girlfriend worked there and that this was a potential conflict of interest. The Bank's ethics committee recommended several options, one of which was that she be offered a salary increase in exchange for her having to leave her job. The head of the ethics committee then told Wolfowitz that it was his job as President of the Bank to instruct the human resources division to give her this offer. After receiving those written instructions from the ethics committee, Wolfowitz did so..."...

LTI Blog: Doctors that I REALLY like! [Jay]

re: "This article on the number of British doctors refusing to perform abortions and the resulting difficulties that it presents the government's health care system is encouraging for many reasons. My favorite moment is this quote: / James Gerrard, a GP in Leeds, said: "Out of the six doctors in our practice, three of us object to abortion. I had made up my mind on abortion before entering the medical profession. I feel the foetus is a person and killing that foetus is wrong." / It is wrong to kill a human fetus, therefore I will not do it. It really is that simple folks..."...

hat tip: ProLifeBlogs

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wittingshire: Thinking Blogs

re: More blogs that make people think...

Varifrank: It Helps if you hum "The Blue Danube"

re: "...take a few moments and visit the "Sneak Preview" for the three new Boeing Aircraft that are about to be released. Like I said, it will help set the mood if you hum the "Blue Danube"..."...

Love is not a Luxury

re: "...If you were to glance over the list of mothering tasks that I perform over the course of an average day, you might think that I am totally replaceable. Bring in a conscientious babysitter, an average (or even below-average) short-order chef and maid, and a sympathetic nurse for emergencies, and my children would be no worse off. /For 50 years, the Israeli kibbutz movement tried to do just that. Kibbutz children ate healthy meals in a communal dining hall, were cared for after school by devoted and carefully-trained kibbutz members, and slept in a communal "children's house" equipped with a state-of-the-art intercom for children to alert the kibbutz member on duty if they had a bad dream in the middle of the night. /The results were tragic. Dozens of academic studies of kibbutz children have revealed that over half of them have grown up into adults who suffer from trauma and serious psychological disorders.
The diagnosis? Severe lack of love. /Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, a Harvard-educated scholar of education and author of the acclaimed bestseller To Kindle a Soul: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents and Teachers (Leviathan Press) details how the intangible emotion of love and the close relationship it creates between parents and their children influences children dramatically and permanently..."...

France wrestles with its own decline - Yahoo! News

re: "...It's a feeling of lost glory," said Perrossier, sheltering under the arch from a spring squall. "The French have lost the aura they once had, and France — barring a few small exceptions — no longer occupies the place it used to internationally." /Philippe Souleau, a history teacher shepherding a party of schoolchildren, was gloomier still: "France no longer has military strength worth speaking of. It is no longer economically competitive, and all this means is that it has become a second-tier nation internationally and diplomatically. Its voice is no longer heard by all." /It seems a strange verdict on a nation that has just demonstrated the world's fastest train on rails (357.2 mph) and has co-produced the world's biggest airliner (up to 853 passengers). France has a nuclear arsenal and a veto on the
U.N. Security Council. Its military still sees action in the African corners of its former empire, and plays a critical role in the war on terrorism in the Horn of Africa. /From baguettes to Airbuses, French taste and ingenuity are global commodities. And viewed from the flat top of the Arc de Triomphe, the tree-lined, dead-straight boulevards and elegant buildings of Paris are still an inspiring vista. /Yet for the French, no word seems too dark to describe their funk..."...

hat tip: Glenn Reynolds

Townhall.com::Blog: "Meet The New Press" and The Election of 2008

re: Hugh Hewitt writes, "I spent three quarters of an hour with the three hosts --Doug Lambert, Skip Murphy and Patrick Hynes--of New Hampshire's WEMJ's "Meet The New Press," talking mostly about A Mormon In the White House? but also about the impact of new media on the '08 election...[snip]...What this show does is very similar to what the Northern Alliance radio programs have done in Minnesota, and what Backbone Radio is doing in Colorado --providing a new media outlet for citizen journalist conservatives, an outlet reinforced and supported by blogger networks in the states. Every talk radio station in the country should be looking for bloggers to learn the basics of radio so that their call letters become a destination listen on the weekend, a stop that influences week day listening patters, and a regular mention on a region's biggest blogs..."...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Townhall.com::Those Magnificent Men in their Laboratory Coats::By Ken Blackwell

re: "Everywhere you turn these days some legislator is introducing a bill to turn the American taxpayer into an unwitting or unwilling investor. Governments federal, state and local are raising to an art form the idea that no business idea is bad enough that it can't be financed with tax revenue extorted from the people. If you doubt this, consider the quandary of government-sponsored research on human embryos..."...

N.J. governor critical after SUV crash | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

re: "CAMDEN, N.J. — Gov. Jon S. Corzine was apparently not wearing his seat belt as required by law when his official SUV crashed into a guard rail, leaving the governor hospitalized in critical condition, a spokesman said Friday. /A state trooper was driving Corzine to a meeting between Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team Thursday night when another vehicle, swerving to avoid a pickup truck, hit the governor's SUV and sent it into the guard rail on the Garden State Parkway. /The crash broke the governor's leg, six ribs, his sternum and a vertebra. /Authorities on Friday were still searching for the red pickup truck, which had been "driving erratically," state Police Capt. Al Della Fave said. /Corzine, 60, did not suffer any brain damage in the crash. But he won't be able to resume his duties as governor for several days, if not weeks, and he won't walk normally for months, Dr. Robert Ostrum said performing surgery on the governor Thursday night at Cooper University Hospital..."...

Earthquake hits northwest of Acapulco - Los Angeles Times

re: "MEXICO CITY -- A strong earthquake shook southern Mexico early today, knocking out power in parts of Mexico City and Acapulco, swaying tall buildings and sending frightened people into the streets in their pajamas. / Civil defense officials in Mexico and the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, where the magnitude-6 quake was centered, said there were no reports of any deaths or widespread damage. / Dozens of buildings in Mexico City were evacuated amid reports that they suffered structural damage, and officials were inspecting them to determine if they were still safe..."...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cafe Hayek: Global Warming Quiz

re: "It's a one question quiz: /Suppose we discovered that the earth was cooling rather than warming due to a natural cycle. Would you encourage people to drive more and use more carbon-based energy as a way of warming the earth?..."...

Mental multivitamin: On the nightstand

re: notes on several books, including a strong recommendation for The Best Old Movies for Families (Ty Burr)...

Seraphic Secret: The Shadow President

re: links to Washington Post editorial on Pelosi's strange efforts to set up her own foreign policy, in effect to set up a shadow presidency...

Power Line: "Too Positive" for the BBC

re: "We wrote here about British Private Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism in Iraq. It's an inspiring story; the photo below is of Beharry with his VC... Someone at the BBC thought Beharry's story was inspriring, too, and commissioned a ninety-minute drama tentatively titled Victoria Cross. Now, though, the show has been canceled. The BBC thought it portrayed "too positive" an image of the Iraq war..."...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Gracious Home » I am doubly blessed!

re: more blogs being given the Thinking Blogger Award...

Allthings2all: Rumination Assignment: Thinking Blogger Awards

re: suggestions on blogs to read...

Stones Cry Out: "House" and Abortion

re: "Last night, "House" (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. Eastern on Fox), showed why it is by far one of the best dramas on television in an episode that dealt with abortion in a way unlike any other show on television ever has before. /The episode opens with celebrity photographer Emma Sloan (who happens to be five months pregnant) coming to the hospital after suffering a stroke. After running a series of tests, House comes to the conclusion that it is the baby that is making the mother sick. The mother is dying and if the baby isn't delivered she will die. House is in essence, arguing for aborting the baby to save the mother. But Sloan wants to keep the baby and challenges House to find a way to save them both. The highlight of the episode is a scene involving an operation on the baby that no doubt was inspired by this famous incident that causes House to rethink his position not only on abortion but realize that he was dealing with a real human being and not just a clump of tissues..."...

Betsy's Page: Congressmen and women shouldn't conduct their own shuttle diplomacy

re: "Even the Washington Post is critical of Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria. They note what they call her "pratfall in Damascus" wherein she announced that she had carried a message from Prime Minister Olmert of Israel that Israel was ready to start peace negotiations with Syria. / The only problem is that she botched the message and Olmert quickly came out and contradicted her..."...

The Point: Take the Unashamed Faith Challenge

re: Catherine Claire writes, "I'm requesting help from all you readers and bloggers out there to help start a counter-movement. We'll need a little-word of mouth, person-to-person publicity though to get this going. But I know you are just the people for the job... You may remember a few months ago Regis posted about something called the Blasphemy Challenge. Basically a group called the "Rational Response Squad" (RRS) is encouraging people (mostly teens) to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (by posting a video on YouTube) in exchange for a free DVD. (At least Mephastopholis offered Dr. Faustus a better deal!) It is sort of like an atheistic dare. In other words, if you really don't believe in God, why not commit what many Christians would call "the unforgivable sin"? As Regis said, "Disturbingly, the RRS reports that the Blasphemy Challenge is targeting 25 websites geared to teens including Xanga, Friendster, Boy Scout Trail, Tiger Beat, Teen Magazine, YM, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen."..."...

The Point: Tough compassion

re: "...This opinion is shared by “The Nun from Hell,” who runs a homeless shelter for women in Chicago. When I interviewed Sister Connie for the BreakPoint article, she told me that most of the young women who ended up at her shelter “didn’t want to follow their mama’s rules.” In other words, they had a place in which to live but chose to leave in order to live a lifestyle involving one irresponsible decision after another. Because Sister Connie forces residents to deal with these bad decisions, few of her clients ever end up back in a shelter. /Having said that—a year ago, my husband and I, working through a crisis pregnancy center, accepted into our home two pregnant women, each of whom already had a young child. / One of them perfectly fit Sister Connie’s description of her typical client: She was 17 years old, had left home because she didn’t get along with her mother, become pregnant with her first child at 15, and later became pregnant with the second baby, whose father serving a prison term. This young woman’s irresponsible behavior continued in our home, and we frankly could not wait for her to leave. / But the second young woman was a different story. She was married to an uneducated man who lost his job. She and her little boy needed a place to stay for just a few weeks while her husband located another job and could save enough to pay the rent on a small apartment. /So yes, we need to show compassion to those who find themselves on the street. But we should also take a hard look at the choices homeless people make, and not be afraid to insist on lifestyle changes as a condition of our help, as Christians did 100 years ago, as decribed in Marvin Olasky’s book The Tragedy of American Compassion."...

ADF: Federal judge refuses to grant temporary restraining order to save life of “Little Emilio” in Texas

re: April 5, 2007, Alliance Defense Fund press release: subhead: "Hospital plans to cease boy’s treatments on April 10; federal judge to take matter under advisement, state court judge to hear case Tuesday."...

How Appealing: Scout Jamboree ruling coverage

re: Howard Bashman writes : "Court: Scout Jamboree May Receive Federal Help." Josh Gerstein has this article today in The New York Sun. /The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today that "Ruling lets jamboree stay at A.P. Hill; ACLU ponders next move; plaintiffs argued event was equal to endorsing a religion." /And The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia reports that "Jamboree suit fails on appeal; Federal Appeals Court reverses ban on government funding for the National Scout Jamboree." /My earlier coverage of yesterday's Seventh Circuit ruling can be accessed here."...

hat tip: The Alliance Alert April 5, 2007

Power Line: Alger Hiss was innocent! (Not)

re: "...Bruce Kesler points out today's remarkably stupid 1,700 word Washington Post profile of Alger Hiss's stepson by reporter Lynne Duke. Duke passes on the stepson's childhood memories as evidence of Hiss's innocence of Soviet espionage, to be retailed at "a conference today at New York University, where he will speak in public about the case for the first time." /The AP provides the perfect companion piece ... The AP story reports that a Russian researcher who will also speak at the conference has reviewed "dozens of documents" and "has found no evidence that Alger Hiss spied or that Soviet intelligence had any particular interest in him." /Oh, brother. Here's a scoop. Alger Hiss was a Communist who spied for the Soviet Union. Allen Weinstein wrote the definitive history of the case nearly 30 years ago in Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case. Weinstein was even able to ascertain the other members of Hiss's Communist cell. And those missing Russian documents regarding Hiss's espionage work? Weinstein tracked them down and took a look at them (with Alexander Vassiliev) in The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America -- The Stalin Era..."...

Power Line: The Fallout From Iran's Kidnap Caper: All You Need to Know

re: "Blog of the Spring Jules Crittenden has done an excellent job of pulling together commentary from a number of sources that sums up reaction to the release of the 15 kidnapped Britons..."...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

neo-neocon » How to talk to the enemy: first, understand it’s an enemy

re: From April 3: "I’ve been perplexed by the weak reaction of so many officials in Britain to the ongoing hostage crisis. / Whoops! I used the “h” word. Apparently that’s a no-no; this Time article reports that President Bush was criticized roundly by John Williams, former Director of News for the British Foreign Service, for using the word “hostage” to refer to the—uh, hostages—during a press conference. / Williams prefers that the captured sailors be called “victims of a misunderstanding that could be resolved.” How nice. This was the way a far more minor incident occurring under his watch in 2004 was treated, and the hostages were released within days. / Williams shows a fundamental lack of comprehension of some basic differences between the two incidents. For starters..."...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Families United for our Troops and Their Mission: Oregon Memorial to Recent War Dead Runs Into Flak

re: from September 10, 2006, Los Angeles Times: "...As Oregon prepares to begin construction of the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial here, some question whether it should be built while the fighting continues. Others find the memorial's scale daunting. And a panel of architects thinks it's ugly. / The project is the brainchild of Clay and M.J. Kesterson, who lost their son Erik, 29, an Army helicopter pilot in Iraq, in November 2003. / Clay says M.J. came up with the idea. "She was determined to make something positive happen . All I wanted at that point was to crawl in a hole somewhere." That "something" turned into years of fundraising, design meetings, collaborating with other military families and working with state government officials to create the memorial. / Designed by architect Jane Honbeck, a friend and neighbor of the Kestersons, the memorial consists of an oval pool with constantly moving water, lined with a stainless steel map of the world and an 8-foot bronze figure of a soldier down on one knee over the United States, with an arm outstretched. / It is to sit behind the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs building, a quiet, park-like space five blocks from the Capitol. There are now four war memorials on the site: one dedicated to all Oregonians lost in battle, a monument to World War I, a monument to all servicemen and -women, and one dedicated to the Korean War. / In early June, the Fellows of the Portland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects sent a letter to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, calling the monument "inappropriate and ill-conceived." It also expressed "dismay that the monument should be built while the conflict continues, and even as more Oregonians are being dispatched into the war zones." / The Oregonian, the state's largest newspaper, said in an Aug. 20 editorial that "it is dangerously presumptuous at best, and disrespectful to soldiers at worst, to memorialize a war before knowing how it ends." / Jim Willis, director of the state Department of Veterans' Affairs and a Vietnam vet, doesn't see it that way. / "The status, the state of the war isn't relevant to honoring these men and women, these Oregonians who made the ultimate sacrifice," Willis says..."...

RIA Novosti - World - Belgium to impose tax on barbequing to fight global warming

re: "BRUSSELS, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - The government of Belgium's French-speaking region of Wallonia, which has a population of about 4 million, has approved a tax on barbequing, local media reported. /Experts said that between 50 and 100 grams of CO2, a so-called greenhouse gas, is emitted during barbequing. Beginning June 2007, residents of Wallonia will have to pay 20 euros for a grilling session. /The local authorities plan to monitor compliance with the new tax legislation from helicopters, whose thermal sensors will detect burning grills..."...

hat tip: Best of the Web Today (which notes, "Good thing helicopters don't emit any CO2!")

California Bar Journal : Dog maul lawyers out of bar

re: "Two key players in San Francisco’s notorious fatal dog-mauling case have lost their licenses to practice. Marjorie Knoller resigned from the bar with charges pending in January and her husband, Robert Noel, was disbarred in February. /Both were convicted in 2002 of involuntary manslaughter and owning a mischievous animal causing death after their huge Presa Canarios attacked and mauled a resident of their San Francisco apartment building. The case captured headlines for months as its bizarre developments unfolded / ...[snip]... / The State Bar placed Knoller and Noel on interim suspension in 2002, following their convictions. Knoller’s resignation from the bar came while disciplinary charges were still pending against her. Noel was disbarred because he violated the terms of the probation imposed when he was suspended... [snip]... /In making her recommendation, State Bar Court Judge Pat McElroy never mentioned the dog-mauling case, but wrote simply that Noel “has demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with the professional obligations and rules of court imposed on California attorneys.”..."...

hat tip: OpinionJournal

Humanists, 'Atheist Fundamentalists' Clash Over Disbeliefs | Christianpost.com

re: "...Among the millions of Americans who don't believe God exists, there's a split between people such as Greg Epstein, who holds the partially endowed post of humanist chaplain at Harvard University, and so-called "New Atheists." /Epstein and other humanists feel their movement is on the verge of explosive growth, but are concerned it will be dragged down by what they see as the militancy of New Atheism. / The most pre-eminent New Atheists include best-selling authors Richard Dawkins, who has called the God of the Old Testament "a psychotic delinquent," and Sam Harris, who foresees global catastrophe unless faith is renounced. They say religious belief is so harmful it must be defeated and replaced by science and reason. /Epstein calls them "atheist fundamentalists." He sees them as rigid in their dogma, and as intolerant as some of the faith leaders with whom atheists share the most obvious differences. /
Next month, as Harvard celebrates the 30th anniversary of its humanist chaplaincy — part of the school's chaplaincy corps — Epstein will use the occasion to provide a counterpoint to the New Atheists.
"Humanism is not about erasing religion," he said. "It's an embracing philosophy." / In general, humanism rejects supernaturalism, while stressing principles such as dignity of the individual, equality and social justice. If there's no God to help humanity, it holds, people better do the work..."...

Trial to Begin for Fired Intern Who Shared Faith | Christianpost.com

re: "...Represented by attorneys with Watkins & Casaudoumecq, LLP, a general civil litigation firm in Costa Mesa, former graduate student at California State University-Long Beach (CSULB) Jacqueline Escobar will go to court over a lawsuit she filed against CSULB and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that claims she was wrongly fired over religious reasons. / Escobar was working with DCFS as an intern children's social worker, and was given the job, in part, for her straight-A record. Her employers confronted the former CSULB graduate when they found that she had been sharing her Christian faith during lunch breaks and after hours and putting on a shirt that read “Found” after she had signed out for the day. /Both the DCFS and the CSULB collaborated together and came up with a “performance contract” that would ask that Escobar refrain from communicating her faith to others, even during non-working hours. Her managers asked for her to sign the document, and when the intern refused, she was terminated from her position. / "Through this case, we hope to send a powerful message to government employers: you cannot trounce upon the First Amendment rights of people of faith and expect to get away with it,” expressed Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, which Watkins & Casaudoumecq is affiliated with. “Needless to say, we are glad to have one of our top affiliate attorneys, Dan Watkins, spearheading this case."..."...

WorldNetDaily: A rabbi's warning to U.S. Christians

re: Rabbi Daniel Lapin: "...Considerably more intellectual energy is being pumped into the propaganda campaign against Christianity than was ever delivered to the anti-smoking or anti-drunk-driving campaigns. Fervent zealots of secularism are flinging themselves into this anti-Christian war with enormous fanaticism. /If they succeed, Christianity will be driven underground, and its benign influence on the character of America will be lost. In its place we shall see a sinister secularism that menaces Bible believers of all faiths. Once the voice of the Bible has been silenced, the war on Western Civilization can begin and we shall see a long night of barbarism descend on the West. / Without a vibrant and vital Christianity, America is doomed, and without America, the West is doomed. / Which is why I, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, devoted to Jewish survival, the Torah and Israel am so terrified of American Christianity caving in. /Many of us Jews are ready to stand with you. But you must lead. You must replace your timidity with nerve and your diffidence with daring and determination. You are under attack. Now is the time to resist it."...

(mentions Jean-Francois Revel's 1983 book "How Democracies Perish.")

hat tip: Cheat Seeking Missiles, via The Alliance Alert for April 3, 2007.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pet food scare: Details on recall - CNN.com

re: "Story Highlights •Companies have issued alerts and recalled numerous varieties of pet food• The chemical melamine, which can be toxic, has turned up during testing• The problem was traced to wheat gluten obtained from a Chinese company• The FDA has blocked further gluten imports from that company."...

Joust The Facts: Vote Fraud Sophistry

re: "...Republicans, in general, are concerned not only that every vote counts, but that those that count should in fact be counted, because they are cast by living, breathing, voting age human United States citizens, that live in the district where they are voting, that haven't voted anywhere else previously in the same election, and who are making their choices freely. Democrats are concerned that efforts to rigidly verify each of those qualifiers might prevent someone who has difficulty with documentation, language or financial arrangements necessary to procure documentation from voting. / Both views are legitimate, and one would hope that we could devise a system where no citizen who wishes to do so is prevented - for whatever reason - from voting, while no person ineligible, due to one of the reasons listed above, is capable of defeating the system and voting illegally. It does not help the discussion when one side dismisses the concerns of the other side as so much fluff. And yet, that is exactly what..."...

ADF Day of Truth™

re: "On Thursday, April 19, 2007, students from across the country will stand together on the Day of Truth. / This marks the third year of the Day of Truth, which was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective..."...

FIRST THINGS: On the Square » Dutch Euthanasia

re: Wesley J. Smith writes, "In his book Seduced by Death, Herbert Hendin reported that one reason the Dutch people have not turned against their euthanasia law is that doctors and the media in Holland do not candidly report about the many abuses and violations of the law that occur with regard to their country’s euthanasia policy. /A recent news report on Radio Netherlands, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of formal legalization, gives a good example. It contained no discussion of the approximately 1,000 patients who, without requesting euthanasia, are nonetheless killed by Dutch doctors. It contained no discussion of the Dutch Supreme Court permitting the depressed to be assisted in suicide. It contained no substantive dissent at all. /It did, however, contain quotations from Dr. Bert Keizer, author of the book Dancing with Mr. D, in which he describes his euthanasia work as a nursing home doctor. He said, for instance, “People who ask for euthanasia are not put under pressure, they are under the burden of suffering.” /Hendin and others have demonstrated otherwise. And there are all sorts of ways to pressure patients into killing themselves—some of which in Keizer himself notes in his own book. For example, there’s Van de Berg, a Parkinson’s patient who asks for euthanasia. But before Keizer can kill him, Van de Berg receives a letter from his religious brother telling him that it would be a sin to commit suicide and would violate the way they were raised as children by their parents. /The man hesitates. Keizer is not amused. From page 94..."...

Betsy's Page : Political correctness and teaching history

re: "History teachers have long felt the pull of political correctness in the teaching of history. For some teachers, this takes the form of teaching American history as one long discourse on how despicable white men were to all sorts of groups. In England, concern for the sensitive feelings of Muslim students is causing some teachers to drop whole units from their curriculum lest Muslims take offense. [start block quote] Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed. / It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial. / There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques. / The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'. / The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools..."...

We All Worship Something - PalmTree Pundit

re: "I know nothing about Czech President Vaclav Klaus, but he sure makes sense: /Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Wednesday that fighting global warming has turned into a a 'religion' that replaced the ideology of communism and threatens to clip basic freedoms.The right-wing president, a free-market champion, wrote to the U.S. Congress that adopting tough environmental policies to fight climate change would have destructive impact on national economies. / 'Communism has been replaced by the threat of an ambitious environmentalism,' Klaus wrote in response to questions from the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce. / And here's more..."...

Fears of knee-jerk response on accused HIV predator | The Nation | The Australian

re: "VICTORIA'S peak AIDS body has reacted with alarm at the prospect of greater police involvement in the control of HIV carriers accused of recklessly spreading the disease..."...

Early warning system needs attention to detail | The Nation | The Australian

re: "AUSTRALIA'S tsunami early warning system is not yet able to provide details about the height or speed of waves expected, and will be reviewed after yesterday's earthquake and tsunami in Solomon Islands. /Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Tourism and Resources Bob Baldwin said the four-year rollout of the early warning system was on schedule but it would not be fully operational until 2009. / ...[snip...] ... /"What we'll have is more accurate information - wave heights, speed of waves - to allow better planning and modelling to occur." /The $68.9 million scheme was announced in 2005 following the huge tsunami in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day 2004. /Mr Baldwin said he was happy a warning about a potential tsunami hitting Australia had been issued within 40 minutes of the earthquake occurring..."...