Unborn Baby Gives British Mom a Thumbs Up in Rare Ultrasound Picture
(LifeNews.com)Marie Boswell expected to get the latest information about the status of her unborn child from her physician. In a rare ultrasound picture showing her baby giving her a thumbs up, she got a progress report from the baby boy himself.
Bosworth was stunned by the ultrasound photo of her 20-week-old unborn baby giving her the popular sign when everything`s all right.
"It was really funny," the 35-year-old mother said of the ultrasound picture she had at Wythenshawe Hospital, near her home in Manchester.
She told the London Daily Mail newspaper, "I went to the scan with my friend and my mum and we were all just laughing. He was giving us the thumbs up, it was just so clear."
"We couldn`t believe it. I have big hands, but nothing on the scale of his," she told the newspaper. "We`re thinking he might make a good goalkeeper. I`ve never seen a scan like this before - but we love it."
"I`ve been keeping it in a book because I want to show it to him when he is older," she added.
Boswell already has a 10-year-old daughter named Olivia and the doctors informed her that her baby, expected in September, is doing just fine.
Shari Richard, a pioneer of the use of ultrasound, believes it has the power to stop abortions.
More than a million American women will have an abortion in 2010 and 44 percent of American women will have an abortion at some point in their lifetime, Richard says.
With improvements in the imaging taking a two-dimensional picture and moving it into the world of 3D and 4D, Richard is not surprised that more Americans are becoming pro-life and more are opting against an abortion.
"Ultrasound technology is credited with an important role in changing attitudes. If women see images of their unborn children, and are educated about developing life in the womb, they are less likely to abort," she says.
Richard personally experienced the grief and pain of abortion but, in 1990, through Sound Wave Images, she produced the videos Ultrasound: a Window to the Womb and Eyewitness to the Earliest Days of Life.
These powerful videos, seen by millions, showed fetal development and facts related to the emotional and physical trauma of abortion.
As a voice for the unborn, Shari Richard knows a picture is "worth a thousand words."
May 27, 2010
Pew Study Finds Children of Divorced Parents More Likely to Remain at Bottom of Income Ladder as Adults
(Pew Charitable Trust) Family structure has an impact on a child’s economic mobility prospects, according to the Pew Economic Policy Group’s report "Family Structure and the Economic Mobility of Children." The group’s Economic Mobility Project found that only 26 percent of children of divorced parents who start in the bottom third of the income ladder move to the middle or top third as adults. This compares to 42 percent of children who are born to unmarried mothers and 50 percent of children with continuously married parents in the same income category.
The impact of divorce also is seen when analyzing families by race. The vast majority (85 percent) of African-American children and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of white children born into the bottom third of the income ladder remain in the bottom third as adults if their parents divorce. Fewer children (62 percent of African-Americans and 45 percent of whites) remain in the bottom if their parents are continuously married.
“By separating the effects of income and family structure, this report’s findings suggest that divorce is a meaningful barrier to a child’s economic mobility,” said John E. Morton, managing director of the Pew Economic Policy Group.
Parental marital status, however, explains only some of the previously identified racial gap in economic mobility. Fifty-six percent of African-American children born to middle-income parents fall to the bottom of the income ladder as adults compared to only 30 percent of white children. This reflects a racial gap of 26 percentage points. When analyzing just middle-income African-American and white children whose parents are continuously married, this gap shrinks but remains substantial at 12 percentage points.
“While these findings add to our understanding of the wide racial gap in economic mobility, our report confirms that family structure is only one of a number of factors that determine a child’s chances of moving up the ladder,” said Thomas DeLeire of the University of Wisconsin, a co-author of the report with Leonard M. Lopoo of Syracuse University.
For the complete report and more information, please visit www.economicmobility.org. The report’s data and analysis were reviewed by external, independent experts.
Comprised of a Principals’ Group of experts from the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, the New America Foundation and the Urban Institute, with guidance from an Advisory Board of leading academics and economists, Pew’s Economic Mobility Project seeks to investigate the health and status of the American Dream.
May 27, 2010
Homosexuals In Military Three Times More Likely to Sexually Assault Than Straights: Survey
(LifeSiteNews.com) An analysis of publicly available documents indicates that homosexuals in the military are three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals, relative to their numbers, announced the Family Research Council Wednesday.
The release comes on the heels of news that Democrat U.S. senators on the Armed Services Committee seek to attach a repeal of the "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell" rule banning open homosexuals from the military to an essential defense spending bill. Although Pentagon officials had begun a year-long review of the possible repercussions of repealing the ban, homosexual activists hope to squeeze the controversial overturn through before November elections - when several Democrats are expected to lose their seats - before the results of the Pentagon study are in.
The FRC analysis released Wednesday demonstrates one of the main causes of alarm for supporters of the ban: a review of the "case synopses" of all 1,643 reports of sexual assault reported by the four branches of the military for Fiscal Year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009) found that over eight percent (8.2%) of all military sexual assault cases were homosexual in nature. Yet homosexual activist groups themselves have stated that less than three percent of Americans (2.8% of men and 1.4% of women) are homosexual or bisexual.
The analysis, conducted by Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg, was based on the Pentagon`s own annual report on sexual assault in the military for Fiscal Year 2009, and on published decisions from military courts of appeals over the last decade and a half.
"Taken together, these figures suggest that homosexuals in the military are about three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are," noted Sprigg. "Concerns about privacy when homosexuals share facilities like showers and sleeping quarters with heterosexuals are well grounded," he added.
"The report found that the most common type of homosexual assault is one in which the offender fondles or performs oral sex upon a sleeping victim."
"If open homosexuality is permitted in the military, these numbers will only increase," Sprigg warned. "The numbers of homosexuals in the military would grow, the threat of discharge for homosexual conduct would be eliminated, and protected class status for homosexuals would make victims hesitant to report assaults and make commanders hesitant to punish them for fear of appearing `homophobic.`"
Sprigg urged Congress to consider the risks before "short-circuiting the process of studying this issue." (The policy paper can be downloaded here.)
Congress, however, may move quickly on the ban nonetheless: Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson, seen as a key moderate vote, agreed to sign on to the plan Wednesday after initially refraining from comment. The endorsement may provide encouragement to Armed Services Committee Chair Sen. Carl Levin, who strongly supports the repeal, but may not have the 15 votes needed to attach it to the defense bill.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates grudgingly agreed to the legislative plan Tuesday, which would delay enactment until after the study is completed, and until Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen have signed off on the move. However, a Pentagon spokesman Wednesday said that "Secretary Gates continues to believe that ideally the DOD review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the Don`t Ask Don`t Tell law," reported CBS.
In a press conference Wednesday, Colonel Richard Black, the former chief of the Pentagon`s Criminal Law Division, said the stealth repeal is "not rational, [and] it`s certainly not democratic."
"It boils down to this: it`s a question of whether we will force soldiers to bond with homosexuals in the showers and in the barracks, knowing it will result in sexual bullying, male rape, and forcible sodomy," said Black. "There`s a reason why we don`t make men and women shower together, and for the same reason, we must not force men to shower with homosexuals. It simply does not work."
Former Defense Department Inspector General Hon. Joseph E. Schmitz said that soldiers "having to deal with human nature up close and personal" will bear the brunt of the administration`s political agenda.
Citing previous examples of homosexual assault in the military, said Schmitz: `It`s not just an academic issue. These things are real issues that happen throughout the services."
May 26, 2010
Motor Neurone Disease Group Donates for Human/Animal Hybrid Clone Research
(LifeSiteNews) The UK’s Motor Neurone Disease Association has announced it will donate £800,000 (US $1,200,000) to fund human/animal “hybrid embryo” cloning research by the same Edinburgh University team that created “Dolly” the cloned sheep. The 3-year project, led by the team at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Edinburgh University and headed by Dr. Ian Wilmut, hopes to develop human brain cells that carry the hereditary form of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) called TDP-43.
The experiments will involve removing the nucleus of the gamete or “ova” of an animal, most likely a pig or cow, and inserting the nucleus taken from a donor patient. The resulting cloned human/animal hybrid embryos that survive will be cultivated for several days until they reach the stage at which embryonic stem cells are obtainable. These stem cells, the researchers say, can be used to create nerve cells that carry the TDP-43 gene.
This form of cloning, called “somatic cell nuclear transfer” (SCNT) using both human and animal tissue, was approved for experimental use by the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in 2008.
Dr. Wilmut’s prestige as the cloning scientist credited with the Dolly breakthrough lent authority to researchers` demand to create hybrid clones for embryonic stem cells, despite public outcry. The first HFEA license was granted to researchers at the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, University of Warwick, even before the government had passed legislation deciding whether the procedure could be legal.
Dr. Wilmut, one of the world’s most prominent proponents of embryonic stem cell research, announced in 2007 that, with the development of a new technique to create embryo-like cells – called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – he would no longer be pursuing nuclear transfer cloning.
The team has already used the less controversial technique in their MND research, creating iPS cells from the skin cells of three MND patients which were changed into the TDP-43-bearing cells.
Despite his 2007 declaration, however, Wilmut told the Scotsman yesterday: “The funding from the MND Association will help us to understand why specific nerves die in motor neurone disease. This is a critical next step towards the ultimate goal of developing an effective treatment.”
A cure for MND is not the priority of this research, the team members admit; rather, the venture is expected to contribute to possible future treatments. “Slowing down the disease is our first aim, stopping the disease is the second, and the home run would be to repair and restore lost function,” said one of the lead researchers, Prof. Siddharthan Chandran.
May 26, 2010
Support for Repealing Health Care Bill Higher than Ever: Rasmussen
(LifeSiteNews.com) Nearly two out of three U.S. voters now want to see the federal health care law repealed, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday.
In the latest poll surveying 1,000 likely voters over the weekend, only 32 percent of U.S. voters oppose repealing the law, which includes provisions to radically expand abortion with taxpayer funds. Among those, 46 percent "strongly favor" repeal, while 25% "strongly oppose" such a move.
Most Democrats still support the measure, whereas both Republicans and independents show "sizeable majorities" hoping to see the massive overhaul repealed.
The latest numbers represent a jump in opposition to the federal health care law: before the most recent survey, support for repeal wavered between 54 percent and 58 percent. Just one in three now consider the health care law good for America, the lowest number in polling so far, while 55 percent say it will be bad for the nation.
Meanwhile, the Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows support for Obama dropping as a temporary surge in Democrat support, spurred by passage of the health bill in March, continues to wane. One out of four U.S. voters "strongly approve" of President Obama`s job performance, while 43% "strongly disapprove," giving Obama an approval index rating of -18.
Earlier this month, hard feelings against the law`s massive price tag were solidified by the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, which showed that the measure`s discretionary spending tacked on about another $115 billion to estimated costs over the next ten years.
Last week, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops` pro-life committee, urged Congress in an open letter to pass the Protect Life Act, which aims to amend the health care overhaul`s serious flaws in matters of life and conscience rights.
Click here to see a compilation of pro-life and conservative leaders` most serious concerns over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
May 26, 2010
Prop. 8 sponsors argue against TV for closings
(LifeSiteNews.com) A federal judge has disallowed televising the closing arguments of the trial against Proposition 8, California`s constitutional definition of traditional marriage, shooting down the request of media and same-sex "marriage" supporters.
In a notice submitted Tuesday, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker declared that the arguments would not be televised beyond the courthouse where the case is being heard. Closing arguments are scheduled for June 16.
In January, the same judge had allowed video broadcast of the proceedings before the U.S. Supreme Court, siding with supporters of Proposition 8, disallowed the televising. Critics say that televising the proceedings would have violated long-standing federal judicial policy designed to ensure a fair trial, and placed further pressure on pro-family witnesses who have seen fellow advocates harassed and threatened by a vitriolic homosexualist campaign against the amendment.
When the trial began in January, Protect Marriage said that several scheduled witnesses for the trial withdrew out of fear that the proceedings would be televised.
Religious groups, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Knights of Columbus, have been buffeted with vandalism and threats of violence due to their support for Proposition 8.
Numerous reports have surfaced of harassment against individuals protesting same-sex "marriage" in California, some of whom were individually blacklisted for contributing to Proposition 8`s successful campaign in November 2008. A riot outside the El Coyote restaurant just after Prop 8`s passage, launched because the owner`s daughter contributed $100 to the "Yes on 8" campaign, was broken up by L.A. police in riot gear.
The trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, has been called the "Roe v. Wade" of marriage, as its debate over the definition of marriage is expected to reach the Supreme Court.
May 26, 2010
School`s hands-off approach the right choice
(OneNewsNow) An Indiana high school that a federal judge barred from having a student-supported graduation prayer now says it won`t screen speeches at its commencement ceremony. The announcement from the Greenwood High School principal comes after a federal judge ruled in favor of the valedictorian who filed a lawsuit against the district, saying a school-sanctioned prayer at graduation and a student poll leading to it were unconstitutional.
But now the principal is lifting the practice of reviewing the content of speeches. Indiana Family Institute president Curt Smith believes this action will lead to more expressions of faith.
"I do think that students in this community -- which is just south of Indianapolis and is a more conservative, more traditional area in our state -- I think many students there will want to express their faith openly," he explains. "And as a Christian, I applaud that, even if they don`t share my faith."
Smith believes the school`s hands-off approach is "absolutely" the right choice.
"Public dollars are involved here, and so our First Amendment rights are supremely evident and to be enforced," he comments. "And it`s necessary that the school step back and allow students to express themselves, to not censor, to not engage in any kind of activity that would quell genuine religious expression, whether it`s at a graduation ceremony or at other times."
The graduation ceremony for Greenwood High School is this Friday.
May 26, 2010
Runaway Christian Convert Being Treated for Cancer, Friend Says
(FoxNews) The Muslim teenager from Ohio who converted to Christianity and fled to Florida in fear of retaliation is being treated for an "aggressive" form of uterine cancer, a close friend told FoxNews.com.
Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, has undergone two operations and has a third scheduled for Thursday, said Jamal Jivanjee, an ordained pastor who heads an Orlando-based ministry.
"The biopsy did come back malignant," Jivanjee told FoxNews.com. "It`s a pretty aggressive form of uterine cancer."
Doctors had initially considered a complete hysterectomy, Jivanjee said, but they are hopeful that the complete removal of Bary`s uterus won`t be necessary.
"She really wants people to pray for her," he said. "That was why the decision was made to get the news out there."
Jivanjee, who met Bary roughly 18 months ago when they lived in Columbus, Ohio, said the teenager informed him of her health concerns just a few days ago. Bary is now living with a foster family in Columbus after losing a court battle last year to stay in Florida, he said.
"She really likes this foster family," Jivanjee said. "She`s being treated very well."
Jivanjee characterized Bary`s situation as "very serious" in an e-mail to supporters obtained by FoxNews.com.
"As soon as Rifqa heals from the major surgery that she will undergo this Thursday, it is expected that she will need to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy," the e-mail read. "Although she has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, the extent of her condition will be known after this Thursday’s surgery."
Jivanjee also noted Bary`s looming problem regarding her immigration status. In August, when she turns 18, she faces possible deportation to her native Sri Lanka for being in the United States illegally, he said.
"It`s looking as if she`s not going to have any legal immigration status," he said. "As soon as she`s 18, it`s heartbreaking to think that she`ll be an illegal immigrant with no health coverage. We`re praying that somehow she`ll be granted asylum."
John Stemberger, Bary`s former attorney, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Bary fled to Florida on a bus last July after her parents, Mohamed and Aysha Bary, learned that she was baptized in early 2009 without their knowledge. Weeks later, using cell phone and computer records, police tracked the girl to the home of Rev. Blake Lorenz, pastor of the Orlando-based Global Revolution Church.
In an emotional six-minute interview with WFTV in Florida, Bary, who met Lorenz through an online Facebook group, said she expected to be killed if she was forced to return to Ohio.
"If I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn`t be alive," Bary said last August. "In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first -- imagine the honor in killing me."
Investigators in Florida and Ohio found no evidence to support those claims, however, and a Florida judge ordered Bary back to Ohio in October.
May 26, 2010
Gay-rights activists try to humanize same-sex marriage
(Orange County Register) The men and women canvassed neighborhoods in Santa Ana, Fullerton and Mission Viejo as part of Harvey Milk Day, a tribute to San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the state. He served 11 months in office before he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978 by a former supervisor. The activists – along with others who spent the weekend rallying and canvassing neighborhoods from San Francisco to Los Angeles – focused on cities where in 2008 a majority of residents voted in favor of Proposition 8, which defined marriage as being between a man and woman.
Prop. 8 was approved by 52 percent of voters statewide. It sparked heavy debate throughout the county as people on both sides rallied at busy intersections leading up to the election. A majority of Orange County cities – with the exception of Irvine, Costa Mesa, Aliso Viejo and Laguna Beach – supported the measure.“The reason I do this is to create a society of inclusion, not of hate and segregation,” said Elizabeth Aversa, a field manager with Equality California, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization that sponsored the event along with other groups.Aversa, a Yorba Linda native and lesbian who began volunteering in summer 2008, said such events give volunteers a chance to talk to people face-to-face about their struggles and feelings about the marriage ban.
Yumi Hirata, 25, of Tustin, a coach and volunteer at Equality California, and Cate Gary, 29, of Dana Point, went door-to-door on Grant Street in Santa Ana to talk to residents.
Reaction varied somewhat in the Santa Ana neighborhood, but no one’s mind was changed, the activists said. In some cases, residents said religious beliefs and the position that marriage should be between a man and a woman prohibited them from supporting same-sex marriage.Hirata said one resident, a 69-year-old woman, spoke to her through a screened door and said she couldn’t support same-sex marriages because of her Catholic faith. She added that she had some gay and lesbian friends but had never talked to them about the issue, according to Hirata.In response to Hirata disclosing she is a lesbian, the woman responded, “Oh, I’m sorry,” recalled Hirata.Resident Nhim Mao told Gary he did not support same-sex marriage and said he was concerned about exposing the issue to children. Nhim also questioned how a gay couple could produce a child together.Despite the push-back, Hirata said she will continue the conversations.“My job is to help them understand,” she said. “I finally feel empowered and I look forward to talking to people.”
May 25, 2010
Health reform bill mandates firms create a space for moms who breastfeed
(Star-Ledger) New mom Adria Powell of Roselle Park, an executive at a home health care company in the Bronx, uses a corner of her private office to express breast milk from an electric breast pump. Part of the recently passed health care reform law requires workplaces to provide and private and comfortable space for nursing mothers. In the months following the birth of her first son, Shannon Wiese would scour her workplace — a bustling, mazelike hospital where empty rooms are a novelty — for a quiet, private place to pump breast milk.
Sometimes it would be a vacant social worker’s office. Sometimes a colleague would leave an office and wait while she pumped. And on dreaded days when space was unavailable, she would lactate under a sheet in her car.
"You’re running in, you’ve got spit-up on your shoulder and you feel like they’re thinking, ‘Maybe she’s not pulling her weight and now she wants a special room?’ " said the 34-year-old registered nurse from Woodbridge. She added her supervisors were sympathetic, but found it difficult to grant her request — especially when the hospital, a 265-bed facility in Rahway, was at full capacity.
That was in 2004, when employers were not required by federal law to accommodate nursing mothers in the workplace. But buried in the federal health care reform bill that Congress passed in March is a little-known amendment for working women who breastfeed.
Under Subtitle C, called Creating Healthier Communities, section 4207, the law requires employers to provide "a reasonable break time" for nursing employees to express milk during the first year of a child’s life. Firms must also provide "a suitable place, other than a bathroom" where an employee can pump.
The law is effective immediately.
"It’s so nice that there’s a law in place, so it’s not up to every individual mother to stand up for breastfeeding," said Wiese, who recently had a second son. She now works a four-hour shift at JFK Medical Center in Edison, allowing her to nurse at home. "I was lucky to avoid that hassle this time, but I’m glad our government is protecting other new moms."
OFF THE RADAR
Breastfeeding, touted by advocates as the best nutrition source for infants, has proliferated in recent years. About 74 percent of American mothers tried breastfeeding their newborns in 2006 — up from 58 percent in 1985, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is an issue employers are becoming more sensitive to, since women now make up 50 percent of the workforce, said John Sarno, president of the Employers Association of New Jersey. Some already provide facilities for pumping breaks, he added.
Still, he admitted the new law is "probably off the radar" for many employers, especially small businesses that may not have a keen ear tuned to Washington.
"I’m sitting here with my mouth hanging open — I just wasn’t aware of this," said Rena Levine Levy, chief executive of the WindMill hot dog and burger chain. Her Long Branch restaurant, for example, is 880 square feet with no extra rooms.
The law excludes employers with fewer than 50 employees if the firm can prove that it would "impose an undue hardship." Levy said her business likely falls into that category, though she said she will do her best to accommodate nursing mothers.
Some larger employers wasted no time in adopting the law, outfitting special rooms exclusively for nursing mothers.
QualCare, a managed health care firm in Piscataway, is putting the finishing touches on its room — a secluded office with a door that locks, a table for setting up a breast pump and other equipment and a phone. A plush rose-colored sofa, potted palm trees and colorful artwork will create a soothing effect, said Yvonne Attalla, assistant vice president of human resources.
"This is a progressive law and it was a no-brainer," she added, though none of the firm’s 400 mostly female employees are currently using the room.
Other large employers said their HR departments are pouring over the health care legislation in search of changes they must make to their benefits packages — some of which are more pressing than the law for nursing employees.
"We have every intention of being compliant," said Paul Rosengren, a spokesman for PSEG, the Newark-based parent firm of Public Service Gas & Electric. "But I can’t say this is a top priority."
But where the law might get tricky is payment, said Robert Bernstein, a partner at Constangy, Brooks & Smith, a law firm that counsels employers.
It doesn’t require employers to pay women for pumping breaks and doesn’t specify how long the breaks should be. Firms could be vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits if they allow smokers to take paid breaks, for example, but don’t pay a woman while she pumps.
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, where Wiese worked as a nurse, has pledged to support the law by finding an empty room for nursing mothers to use.
"Attitudes really have changed since she worked here," said Donna Mancuso, a hospital spokeswoman. "I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t offer up their office — it’s really wonderful."
For some women, the law’s passage is symbolic, hinting at a future in which employers are more enlightened when addressing the needs of a nursing mother.
"HR was contemplating putting us in a bathroom and I said, ‘Look, this is my daughter’s lunch,’ " said Denise Behnke of Cranford. The 37-year-old vice president at a large Manhattan bank spoke while pumping milk in a private room she requested instead.
"I think it was just a lack of awareness — they were really scratching their heads."
May 25, 2010
Report: Healthcare law tax credits encourage small businesses to stay small, not hire
(The Hill) A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis shows that tax credits in the new healthcare law could negatively impact small-business hiring decisions.
The new law provides a 50 percent tax credit to companies offering health coverage that have fewer than 10 workers who, on average, earn $25,000 a year. The tax credit is reduced as more employees are added to the payroll.
The NCPA study finds the reduction in tax relief to be a cost concern for companies looking to hire additional workers, but operate on slim profit margin yet still provide employee health coverage.
“You wouldn’t think this would have an impact, but at the margins, when they [business owners] decide to hire an extra worker, they’re not only going to be paying that worker’s salary, they’re going to have to absorb the cost of losing the tax credit,” Pamela Villarreal, NCPA Senior Policy Analyst and co-author of the report, told The Hill.
A Treasury spokesperson acknowledged the tax credit is on a sliding scale, but stressed its primary aim is to help struggling companies provide health coverage to workers.
“The small business tax credit was designed to provide the greatest benefit to employers that currently have the hardest time providing health insurance for their workers - small, low-wage firms,” the spokesperson told The Hill in an e-mail. “Small employers face higher premiums and higher administrative costs than large firms, and in many cases cannot afford to provide coverage.”
Parents warned about Deceptive `Safe Schools` Programs
As the education analyst for CitizenLink, formerly Focus on the Family Action, Candi Cushman recently launched a new website called TrueTolerance.org. The site is designed to assist parents who are faced with promotion of homosexuality in their local schools — and to empower them to defend their parental rights and protect their children. Below, she explains the latest strategies homosexual activists are using to get their messages into schools, and how this has a real impact on local parents, like Tammy Schulz, a mother of four in Illinois — as well as what you can do about it.
1. What are the latest trends — as far as homosexuality promotion in schools goes — that parents should be aware of?
Well, first of all they need to be aware that there is a concerted effort to target public schools in every community. Homosexual activists openly acknowledge that this is a top priority. And it`s easy to understand why: They realize that if they can capture the hearts and minds of the next generation, they will have settled the debate over the kinds of values that are going to direct the future of this country. But the good news is there are still many parents and people of faith in this country who don`t want their taxpayer-funded schools turned into indoctrination centers. So to get around those objections, gay activists have latched onto a more subtle method — they are infiltrating classrooms under the cover of "anti-bullying" or "safe schools" initiatives.
2. What are the red flags parents should watch out for?
Watch out for initiatives and proposed laws with titles like "safe schools," "student protection" and "bullying or harassment prevention." Many times they are a guise for homosexuality lessons. These initiatives come in the form of everything from teacher training, curriculum, children`s books and statewide laws. Also be on the lookout for your school district making alliances with local groups that may just be a front for national homosexual-advocacy organizations. For instance, in a recent Citizen magazine article, we tell the story of Tammy Schulz, an Illinois mom raising four African-American children (ages 3 to 10) whom she and her husband adopted through the foster-care system. Tammy and other moms in her prayer group recently learned that their local elementary school hosted a teacher training conducted by a local "partner organization" of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) —which is the national advocacy group founded by "Safe Schools czar" Kevin Jennings.
Not only was this training used to promote homosexual-themed books and videos for elementary-age kids, but it also listed as "perceived obstacles," things like "family values" and "faith systems." So now Tammy and the other parents are fighting to defend their parental rights and religious freedoms.
3. You mentioned legislation also being used to push this agenda. Can you give us examples?
Yes, parents should be on the alert for "anti-bullying" or "anti-discrimination" legislation that mandates schools to specifically enforce special protections for homosexual categories like "sexual orientation," "gender identity" and/or "gender expression," which can be construed to protect things like cross-dressing or boys using girls` bathrooms. By my count, at least 12 states have passed these types of laws. And this agenda is even reaching into Bible Belt states like North Carolina.
They`re also trying to take the power completely out of parents` and elected state officials` hands by federalizing the whole issue. For instance, today`s CitizenLink Daily Updatecovers a Senate bill introduced this week that would do just that.
4. Why is this agenda so effective, and how has it gained so much traction?
Well, it`s important to understand that this really is a well-orchestrated plan. In fact, as far back as the 1990s, "Safe Schools czar" Kevin Jennings made a speech explaining how he planned to use the word "safety" to put opponents on the defensive. And it is an effective strategy. After all, no one likes to be accused of opposing student safety and bullying prevention.
While those titles sound nice and compassionate, the problem is that, once gay activists succeed in getting special protections for homosexual categories into policies, they then use those mandates as leverage to get what they want in the schools — such as student and teacher "diversity" training and books like Heather Has Two Mommies. (For specific examples of this, visit the "bullying resources" section at www.truetolerance.org.)
5. How can parents respond if they encounter these tactics in their school or state?
It`s important to acknowledge the problem, while also promoting the right solution. As Christians, I think we can and should acknowledge that bullying and peer abuse is tragic and wrong — and it should be prohibited. But this can be done without sexualizing and politicizing the entire school environment. Our viewpoint is based on the fact that all human beings are created by God in His image — which means every person has innate dignity and worth. Every individual is worthy of being protected from harm — not because of the political subgroup they belong to — but because they are the unique creation of God. That`s why we advocate strong and objective policies that prohibit bullying for any reason against any child. A fair and objective policy should put the emphasis on the wrong actions of the bully — not on the characteristics of the victim.
So if you see this happening in your area, visit www.truetolerance.org to access up-to-date statistics and talking points, as well as real-life stories from parents like Tammy. You can use the site, for instance, to counteract bad policies by offering a legally sound alternative that doesn`t politicize the issue — a model anti-bullying policy crafted and researched by the Alliance Defense Fund. Just look for the "new bullying resources" section at the top of the page.
Pastors divided over Idaho candidate`s pulpit challenge
(Rapid City Journal) One Rapid City pastor has accepted gubernatorial candidate Gordon Howie`s challenge to defy federal tax law and endorsed Howie from the pulpit.
However, other local religious leaders have dismissed Howie`s Pulpit Challenge initiative as legally and pastorally irresponsible.
On May 15, the Rev. H. Wayne Williams, pastor of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle in Rapid City, officially endorsed state Sen. Gordon Howie in his bid for governor during a church service.
Williams did not return a message last week when called by the Journal, but few here expect that his church will face repercussions from the Internal Revenue Service as a result of his sermon. Federal tax code prohibits all tax-exempt organizations, including charities and churches, from endorsing any candidate for public office.
It also forbids those organizations from making donations to or fundraising for a candidate and from "becoming involved in any other activities that may be beneficial or detrimental to any candidate." Those restrictions on political activity for charitable organizations stem from a 1954 amendment to the tax code that historians attribute to then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson`s desire to punish certain tax-exempt organizations (not churches) that supported his opponent in the 1954 Texas primary.
Federal courts have upheld those tax-exempt conditions about political activity, most recently in 2000. But the Alliance Defense Fund, which promotes Christian values in the political sphere, encourages pastors such as Williams to openly challenge the IRS and risk their tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization, in hopes that it might lead to a legal challenge and a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Johnson amendment.
"The Johnson Amendment was merely a rider to a tax code. It is unconstitutional, impossible to enforce, cannot stand up in a court of law and has never been enforced on any church since its passage," said Scott Craig, a Howie supporter who recently moved to Rapid City from Hawaii to pastor the new Bighorn Canyon Community Church. In 2008, Craig was one of 30 pastors who endorsed John McCain over Barack Obama from the pulpit and provided the IRS with video and written documentation. None of those churches have faced revocation of their tax-exempt status to date, but the IRS said some investigations are still open.
Craig believes churches are constitutionally guaranteed their tax-exempt status as part of the founding fathers` desire to promote freedom of religion and freedom of speech, not as a reward for refraining from political activity as part of a church-state separation issue. "It`s important for the nation to reframe this whole question, not as a church-state separation issue, but as a free speech issue. Specifically endorsing candidates from the pulpit is not breaking the law, as the nation has been led to believe," he said.
The IRS has said otherwise but won`t comment on any specific case. IRS spokeswoman Carrie Resch declined to say what, if any, response it would have to Williams` endorsement of Howie.
Jihadis convert YouTube into terror-recruiting tool
Screen shot of Tahrik-i-Taliban Pakistan YouTube v
(WorldNetDaily) Islamic terrorists plotting attacks in the U.S. are recruiting, taking credit for bombings and calling for even more violence – all with the help of a popular U.S.-based website: YouTube.
In fact, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan – a group White House counterterrorism czar John Brennan said is "closely allied with al-Qaeda; they train together, they plan together, they plot together" – maintains a YouTube channel for posting news and violence-inciting rants.
"Today, dated 19th April 2010, through media I want to convey an important message to the Muslim ummah," states a video still viewable on the group`s YouTube channel, reportedly with the voice of leader Hakeemullah Mehsud to the "ummah," meaning the spread of Muslims throughout the globe.
"America, which is the biggest evil of this world, [has] savagely massacred millions of innocent Muslims," the video continues. "From now on, the main targets of our fidaeen are American cities.
Texas Board of Education OKs New Social Studies Curriculum
(Christian Post) The Texas State Board of Education approved new public school curriculum standards Friday for social studies courses that put more emphasis on the role of Christianity in society, in government, and in history.
In a 9-5 partisan vote, the board voted to approve the social studies curriculum standards that will serve as the framework in Texas classrooms for the next ten years.
The vote, which comes after 18 months of work, was directly preceded by an 8-6 vote against postponing the decision until July.
Opponents of the proposed new textbook guidelines say the revision is a vehicle to impose and promote political and religious ideology upon millions of public school students.
As Texas is the second-largest textbook market in the country, the new curriculum is expected to influence publishers and thus the textbooks used in classrooms nationwide.
“The right-wing fundamentalist bloc on the Texas State Board of Education is bound and determined to rewrite American history,” commented Americans United for Separation of Church and State on Friday.
There is a “litany of problems with this curriculum,” added Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which has led efforts against the new curriculum.
“All of these issues,” she added, “as serious as they are, are really symptoms of the larger problem - allowing politicians with personal agendas to write our children’s curriculum, rather than teachers and scholars.”
Supporters of the new curriculum, however, say it is those opposed to Christianity who have been trying to rewrite the history books.
“[The fringe left] want unlimited control over what students learn, to radically change the worldview of our next generation by distorting history,” claimed faith-based legal group Liberty Institute prior to Friday’s vote.
“Liberal fringe efforts to complicate, obfuscate, and denigrate our heritage and history must be rejected,” added Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for the organization.
Though supporters of the new curriculum hailed Friday’s vote, the Texas Freedom Network told its constituents that the vote “is not the end of this fight. It’s the beginning.”
“For 15 years, all of us at TFN have been committed to safeguarding our children’s education from political ideology. And we’re not about to let up now,” the organization reported.
“Our ultimate goal is nothing less than fundamental change at the State Board of Education,” it added.
Most experts, however, say it is unlikely that the board will revisit the social studies curriculum - unless Democrat Bill White wins the governor’s race this fall. If that happened, White would appoint the education board chairman, who controls the panel’s agenda and could put the issue back before the board next year.
But further delays would likely be opposed as the new standards are scheduled to be phased in to classroom instruction in the 2011-12 school year.
Some 4.8 million K-12 students will be directly affected by the new standards.
May 21, 2010
Senate Democrats Pass Bill Allowing Govt to Collect Addresses, ATM Records of Bank Customers
(CNSNews.com)Senate Democrats united to pass a financial regulatory bill that allows the government to collect data on any person operating in financial markets at any level, including the collection of personal transaction records from local banks, including customers’ addresses and ATM receipts.
The Senate voted 59-39 on Thursday to pass the bill – the chief aim of which is to more-heavily regulate the financial industry – sending it to a conference committee in the House of Representatives, where differences between the House and Senate versions will be ironed out.
The bill, if it becomes law, will create the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and empower it to “gather information and activities of persons operating in consumer financial markets,” including the names and addresses of account holders, ATM and other transaction records, and the amount of money kept in each customer’s account.
The new bureaucracy is then allowed to “use the data on branches and [individual and personal] deposit accounts … for any purpose” and may keep all records on file for at least three years and these can be made publicly available upon request.
Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said that Democrats who claim this new bureaucracy will protect consumers are misleading the public.
“[T]he American people are being misled,” Shelby said on the Senate floor on Thursday night. “The authors of this bill are telling them that this legislation has been drafted to address the recent financial crisis and that it will ‘tame’ Wall Street. I am afraid that they are going to be disappointed.”
Shelby slammed the new consumer bureaucracy, saying that it was meant not to protect consumers but to “manage” them by monitoring their behavior.
“Mr. President, make no mistake, behind the veil of anti-Wall Street rhetoric is an unrelenting desire to manage every facet of commerce under the guise of consumer protection.
“They may be interested in protecting consumers, but they are more interested in managing them,” Shelby said.
Shelby also criticized the idea that Americans need government to watch over their every financial move, saying that it was better to allow people the freedom to make their own choices and fail than to never allow them the freedom to choose at all.
“Mr. President, I have faith in the American people and their ability to make good choices,” said Shelby. “Granted, we do not always choose well. But I believe that a poor choice freely made is far superior to a good choice made for me.”
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., right, and the committee`s ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., emerge from a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 26, 2010, ahead of a crucial test vote for the financial reform bill. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
“I am afraid that the architects of this bill do not share this sentiment,” he said. “Nor do they share my faith in the American people.”
Shelby further said that the ability of the Federal Reserve to collect such detailed information about the most basic of financial transactions was the beginning of an effort by government to regulate every financial action of every American citizen.
“This new consumer bureaucracy is intended by its architects in the Treasury to begin the process of financial regulation with the intent of changing the behaviors of the American people,” said the senator.
Shelby appears to be correct. The bill allows the bureau to collect any and all information on any person operating in the financial markets.
As it reads: “[T]he Bureau shall have the authority to gather information from time to time regarding the organization, business conduct, markets, and activities of persons operating in consumer financial services markets.”
(The Hill) Demand for copies of the U.S. Constitution is skyrocketing.
The increased interest comes amid the rise of the Tea Party movement and as both parties cite the Constitution to advance their agendas.
The pocket edition of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence ranked 10th on the Government Printing Office’s (GPO) best-seller list in March.
Since September 2009, the GPO has sold more than 8,700 copies of the pocket Constitution to the public, according to GPO spokesman Gary Somerset. That is a higher sell rate than in recent years.
Those sales are in addition to the thousands of copies given to members of Congress each year. Congress authorized a resolution in 2009 to print 441,000 copies for the use of the House (1,000 for each member) and 100,000 copies for the Senate (1,000 for each senator).
The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, which keep statistics on the Constitution, also say that requests for the historical document are on the rise.
GPO sells copies for $2.75, but constituents can request a free one from their lawmaker.
Congressional offices are burning through theirs stacks of pocket Constitutions.
In a recent “Dear Colleague” letter titled “Order More Pocket Constitutions!” House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) advised members to take advantage of a special rate.
The letter stated, “Many Members have lately experienced a large increase in constituent requests for the Pocket Constitution. Members who may need more are invited to take advantage of a special, pre-publication ‘rider-rate’ of $390 per 1,000 copies. This rider rate of 39¢ each represents a substantial savings over the post-publication price of $2.75 each ($2,750 per 1,000) available later through the GPO Sales Program.”
Lawmakers can use their office accounts to make the purchases.
Brady told The Hill that he has been getting requests to print the Constitution in Spanish and that they were making those available to members as well.
Republicans and Democrats have been referencing the Constitution in making their case to advance their respective legislative wish lists. GOP legislators contend some of the Democratic health bill is unconstitutional, citing the individual mandate and other provisions.
Democrats pushing for filibuster reform note that the word filibuster is not in the Constitution. They also point out that the 60-vote filibuster threshold is a Senate rule that has been amended.
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), who founded the Congressional Constitution Caucus in 2005, has noticed the uptick in the fascination with the Constitution over the past year.
“It was hard to get a lot of discussion going in … [the House GOP] conference on the topic, but in the last year or so, the Constitution has become a much more favorite article of discussion,” Garrett said.
Earlier this year, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) founded the “10th Amendment Caucus,” which promotes state sovereignty and limited government.
Bishop called Garrett “the godfather of the group” because of Garrett’s crusade against expanding federal government.
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), a former attorney general of California, said he is hearing “normal, average, everyday citizens” reference the Constitution when they express concerns about losing their individual freedoms.
According to David Lampo, publications director at the Cato Institute, the Constitution has surged in popularity over the last year since the Tea Party movement started to take off.
Lampo explained that sales have “certainly gone up.”
Former Attorney General Ed Meese, head of the Heritage Foundation’s Constitution Center, said, “I think there is more interest now than I’ve seen in the last many years, and I think it’s because people are really worried about whether the federal government is getting so large, so expansive, so intrusive and so powerful that the Constitution is in jeopardy.”
Centrist Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette (Ohio) said he has fielded more questions on the Constitution when he travels around his district.
The former prosecutor warned, however, that “there’s the school of thought that you shouldn’t do anything that doesn’t emanate from the Constitution, but the difficulty in that is, among other things, in the original Constitution, only white male landowners could vote. And clearly we’ve moved past that on a number of fronts, so the folks that say you have to adhere to the Constitution as written really ignore 200 years of jurisprudence."
School District kills LGBT* indoctrination for kids
(WorldNetDaily) A lawsuit that demanded a right for parents to opt their young children out of a "gay" indoctrination program in a California school district was dropped after the district suddenly killed the worst of the curriculum, officials told WND today.
Dacus said the case was filed because parents wanted to uphold a state law allowing them not to have their children participate in health education programs if they choose. But he said the decision to drop the case was made when the district announced it was canceling "Lesson 9" of the Caring School Community curriculum, which was adopted by the school board last year.
"We`re very pleased," he said. "But we`re calling upon parents all across the country to investigate and find out just what material is being pushed in their school district.
"We`re hoping that this school district learns tolerance is a two way street. One way tolerance is not tolerance at all. It`s tyranny," he said.
District officials did not return a WND message asking for comment.
Dacus said the problem was that most of the Lesson 9 program went far beyond a message against bullying.
"The rest was all about acceptance, actual, moral and social acceptance of these very controversial and even medically dangerous lifestyle choices," he said.
According to a report from the institute, that section of the curriculum at issue "gave a monopoly to anti-bullying and diversity instruction to only one protected class – LGBT. Lesson 9 excluded all other children who would be subject to bullying because of gender, race, religion, nationality and disability."
"The dismissal of the appeal comes after attorneys for the district informed the Pacific Justice Institute that the board of education voted to discontinue use of Lesson 9 and replace it with materials that cover each legally protected class," said the institute reported.
"While the district had claimed that a LGBT curriculum was necessary to address bullying and harassment in elementary schools, documentation from the district obtained by PJI through a public records request revealed that, of the approximately 170 incident reports in an 18-month period, there were no school incidents of harassment due to sexual orientation in the elementary grades," the institute report said.
"The vast majority of reported complaints on AUSD campuses involved opposite-sex sexual harassment and racial tension, not sexual orientation."
Kevin Snider, a PJI attorney representing the parents, said "all children deserve safe schools."
"To give one group the sole voice in safe-school instruction was an attempt to teach impressionable children that the LGBT lifestyle is both moral and normative," he said.
The dispute spawned at least three lawsuits, several administrative complaints and board meetings attended by hundreds from the community.
"This has been a significant gain by parents. We are remaining vigilant and will continue to keep an eye on the district," Dacus said.
The parents` case technically was on appeal, following a ruling from Judge Frank Roesch in Alameda Superior Court, who refused to let the parents take their children out of such classes.
Pacific Justice reported at the time the decision came late last year that Roesch blasted the parents for seeking enforcement of a provision of the California Education Code that gives parents a right to opt their kids out of health education.
Education Code Section 51240 allows a parent to have a student excused from instruction, "If any part of a school`s instruction in health conflicts with the religious training and beliefs of a parent or guardian of a pupil."
However, Pacific Justice Institute said Roesch repeatedly insinuated that the parents are bigots and insisted there can be no homosexual indoctrination because, he purportedly argued, people are born that way.
In his opinion, Roesch said the opt-out provision in section 51240 "is not reasonably construed to include instruction in family life education, but was intended to be more limited in scope."
The Lesson 9 curriculum was in addition to the school`s current anti-bullying program.
May 18, 2010
Health reform threatens to cram already overwhelmed emergency rooms
(The Hill) The new healthcare law will pack 32 million newly insured people into emergency rooms already crammed beyond capacity, according to experts on healthcare facilities.
A chief aim of the new healthcare law was to take the pressure off emergency rooms by mandating that people have insurance coverage. The idea was that if people have insurance, they will go to a doctor rather than putting off care until they faced an emergency.
People who build hospitals, however, say newly insured people will still go to emergency rooms for primary care because they don’t have a doctor.
“Everybody expected that one of the initial impacts of reform would be less pressure on emergency departments; it’s going to be exactly the opposite over the next four to eight years,” said Rich Dallam, a healthcare partner at the architectural firm NBBJ, which designs healthcare facilities.
“We don’t have the primary care infrastructure in place in America to cover the need. Our clients are looking at and preparing for more emergency department volume, not less,” he said.
Some Democrats agree with this assessment.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) suspects the fallout that occurred in Massachusetts’ emergency rooms could happen nationwide after health reform kicks in.
Massachusetts in 2006 created near-universal coverage for residents, which was supposed to ease the traffic in hospital emergency rooms.
But a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that nearly two-thirds of the state’s residents say emergency department wait times have either increased or remained the same.
A February 2010 report by The Council of State Governments found that wait times had not abated since the law took effect.
“That is not an unrealistic question about what’s going to happen in the next four years as you bring all these people on; who are they going to see?” McDermott said.
The Washington congressman tried to include a provision in the healthcare bill he thought would increase the number of doctors.
McDermott’s legislation would have required the government to pay for students’ medical education in return for students serving four years as a primary care physician. The measure did not make it on the final bill that eventually became law.
McDermott stressed that creating a “whole new cadre of doctors” needs to begin now to meet the rising need from patients in the future.
While the measure wouldn’t prevent the infrastructure crunch, it would have provided new doctors for people seeking care.
Richard Foster, Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told The Hill that the current dearth of primary care physicians could lead to greater stress on hospital emergency rooms.
“The supply of doctors can’t be increased very quickly – there’s a time lag,” he said, adding, “Is the last resort to newly covered people the emergency room? I would say that is a possibility, but I wouldn’t say anybody has a very good handle on exactly how much of an infrastructure problem there will be or exactly how it might work out.”
The Academy of Architecture for Health predicts hospitals will need at least $2 trillion over the next 20 years to meet the coming demand.
“As more people have access, you have to deal with the increased capacity,” said Andrew Goldberg, senior director of federal relations at the American Institute of Architects. “At the moment there is not a lot of building going on because of the economy and a lot of health care facilities can’t get the financing. We’ve been working on the Hill to try to address that issue.”
The group has called on Congress to beef-up bonding authorities and expand energy efficient tax breaks for professional buildings. The vehicle targeted is the green energy legislation making its way through the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance.
Dan Noble, a principal at the Dallas-based architecture firm HKS Inc., which also specializes in designing health care facilities, believes the only remedy to meet the coming demand on hospitals is to start projects immediately.
“We would have to get very busy soon,” he said. “It would take a fairly aggressive building campaign for the next decade.”
May 19, 2010
Apple Doesn`t Fall Far from Pro-Family Tree
(Family Research Council) The new Apple iPad offers consumers plenty of things--including "freedom from porn," according to chief executive Steve Jobs. In an exchange with blogger Ryan Tate, who disagreed with the suggestion that the iPad is a revolution, Jobs said, "[This is about] freedom"--including, he wrote, "freedom from porn." Tate accused the company of "imposing...morality" on customers. "Porn is just fine!" the reporter insisted. The Apple boss disagreed. "You might care about porn when you have kids." In an era of corporate irresponsibility, it`s nice to see one company taking a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the Apple Empire has a little farther to go. For now, users can still download Playboy apps, but this is certainly a good start. While some executives try to out-sleaze their competition, we`re grateful that Jobs is trying to keep the iPad from becoming an eyesore.
May 17, 2010
Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan Backs Internationalist Judicial Activism
(LifeNews.com) On Monday, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Elena Kagan to the position of Associate Justice on the United States (US) Supreme Court.
Based on a review of the rather meager writings and public statements by Kagan, a picture still emerges of a liberal activist whose sympathies for foreign law raise serious questions about how she would follow the US Constitution if she is confirmed.
During her Senate confirmation hearings last year to become US Solicitor General (the attorney that represents the US government before the Supreme Court), Kagan was asked about her view of the role of consulting foreign law in statutory interpretation.
Kagan responded by saying, "At least some members of the Court find foreign law relevant in at least some contexts. When this is the case, I think the Solicitor General`s office should offer reasonable foreign law arguments to attract these Justices` support for the positions that the office is taking."
As the first female Dean of her alma mater, Harvard Law School, Kagan played a lead role in revamping the first year curriculum that made international/comparative law mandatory, which is especially noteworthy given that the law school no longer requires students to take a constitutional law class.
In her review of the new curriculum, Kagan defended the new requirement by writing, “The courses in international and comparative law are opening up new questions and possibilities, showing choices made by different societies and challenges that arise from globalization, while also helping every student to locate American law in the larger map of laws, politics, and histories across the world.”
During Kagan’s time as the head of Harvard Law, the former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, Aharon Barak, was honored with a major award. In her remarks for the occasion, Kagan called Barak, “my judicial hero. He is the judge who has best advanced democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and justice.”
Barak is known amongst both conservative and liberal legal minds as one of the most activist judges on record. Even the Havard Law Record described Barak in this manner: “A noted supporter of an activist judiciary, Barak advances a dynamic view of law and justice, intertwining both with the realities of life and government.”
Justice Richard Goldstone, a liberal best known as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, has stated that Barak “is unashamedly what, in U.S. terms, would be regarded as an ‘activist judge.’”
Judge Richard Posner, a well-known federal appeals court judge and legal commentator, in his review of Barak’s book, Enlightened Despot, described the Israeli judge’s judicial view as follows: “What Barak created out of whole cloth was a degree of judicial power undreamed of even by our most aggressive Supreme Court justices.” Posner went on to warn that, “He takes for granted that judges have inherent authority to override statutes. Such an approach can accurately be described as usurpative.”
Kagan’s nomination will go before the US Senate for confirmation hearings this summer.
May 17, 2010
Poll: More Americans Say U.S. Morality Getting Worse
(Christian Post) More Americans believe moral values in the United States are getting worse, according to a new Gallup Poll.
The Gallup’s annual poll on moral values found 76 percent of Americans said moral values in the country are getting worse, up five percent from last year. This year’s rise marked the second highest one-year increase in nine years. In 2004, 77 percent of Americans said moral values were getting worse, marking a 10 percentage rise from the previous year.
Opinions about moral values in the country tend to stay relatively stable between years.
The highest figure was in 2007 at 82 percent.
Respondents most often cited declining moral values/standards and disrespect of others (both at 15 percent) as ways they see moral values in the U.S. getting worse. The open-ended question also found popular responses to be: parents not instilling values in children (8 percent); dishonesty among government, business leaders (8 percent); and rising crime and violence (8 percent).
Others said the moral value decline can be seen in people moving away from religion, church and God (7 percent), the breakdown of family and unwed mothers (7 percent), and sex, promiscuity, and pornography (5 percent).
The hot-button issue of abortion and gay relations were each only cited by 3 percent of the respondents.
Overall, 45 percent of Americans said the state of moral values in the country is poor – three times more than those who said it is in excellent/good shape (15 percent). This figure has stayed relatively constant over the past four years, but is still among the worst Gallup has measured in the past nine years.
The Gallup results are based on telephone interviews with more than 1,029 national American adults from May 3 to 6, 2010.
May 17, 2010
Conservative Anglicans Lament Ordination of 2nd Gay Bishop
(Christian Post )The ordination of two women bishops, one of whom is a partnered lesbian, was a moment of celebration for some 3,000 Episcopalians gathered in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday.
But for many evangelicals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Communion, it was a moment of alienation and sorrow.
"We wish to express our support for the many people within The Episcopal Church who feel alienated and hurt by this development," said evangelical members of the Church of Ireland. "Many Christians of all traditions and denominations will share our sorrow and see Mary Glasspool’s consecration as a defiant rejection of pleas for restraint and, even more importantly, as a rejection of the pattern of holiness of life called for in Scripture and endorsed by believers over the centuries.
"The elevation to senior church leadership of a person whose lifestyle is contrary to the will of God revealed in Scripture is both wrong and disappointing."
Glasspool and Diane Jardine Bruce were consecrated as bishops suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. The occasion was deemed as historic as they are the first women bishops to serve in the diocese and as Glasspool is now The Episcopal Church`s second openly gay bishop.
"The world`s transformed only if we turn to each and every one of our brothers and sisters and see the face of Christ superimposed on them," Los Angeles Bishop the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno said in his sermon Saturday, according to Episcopal News Service. "The ones we disagree with the most are the ones we`re obligated to share our lives and teach the most."
Some 30 bishops, including the church body`s first openly gay bishop – New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson – attended the service.
The consecration of Glasspool has forced traditionalists in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion to further distance themselves from The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism.
Anglican bishops had called for "gracious restraint" on the ordination of noncelibate homosexuals, after the consecration of Robinson in 2003.
Glasspool, who has been with her lesbian partner since 1988, was elected in December to serve as assistant bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles. She received the required majority of consents from the wider church and the OK from the presiding bishop`s office in March.
Acknowledging the disagreements, Glasspool told BBC News on Saturday, "I will seek to reach out and engage with people who ... think differently than I do and try to build a relationship with them."
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, said last month that he is in discussion with a number of people about what consequences should follow. The decision to elect and consecrate Glasspool, he said, "cannot speak for our common mind" and has deepened the divide between The Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican family.
Offering one suggestion, conservative group the Anglican Mainstream said The Episcopal Church should withdraw or be excluded from the global communion`s representative bodies.
May 17, 2010
Intel briefs: Bull`s-eye put on Israel`s nukes
(WorldNetDaily) In an unprecedented move, the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled next month to take up the issue of Israel`s alleged nuclear arsenal, an action which it never before has done, according to a report from Joseph Farah`s G2 Bulletin.
The IAEA June 7 board meeting reportedly lists "Israeli nuclear capabilities" as the eighth agenda item. The item reportedly was added at the request of Arab interests.
In an April 23 letter to the IAEA, the 18 Arab national members of the nuclear oversight group urged IAEA chief Yukiya Amano to enforce a resolution calling on Israel to allow IAEA inspection of its nuclear facilities
Israel has refused to do so.
The agenda item, however, could be removed if the U.S. and other countries mount strong opposition to it.
If the item remains on the agenda, it could deflect attention from the topic of Iran`s nuclear enrichment efforts and Tehran`s refusal until now to adhere to numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to halt its nuclear program. If the item is removed from the IAEA agenda, it could encourage other Arab countries to undertake a nuclear initiative, making it impossible to achieve a nuclear-free Middle East, which already may be too late due to Israel`s alleged nuclear arsenal.
May 16, 2010
Nevada Joins 18 Other States in Lawsuit against Health Care Reform Law
(AP) Gov. Jim Gibbons says Nevada has officially joined at least 18 other states in a lawsuit challenging the federal health reform law.
In a statement Friday, the first-term Republican governor says an amended lawsuit adding Nevada as a plaintiff was filed Friday in Florida.
Gibbons has been an outspoken critic of the law signed in March by President Barack Obama. He and others claim it is unconstitutional because it would force people to buy health insurance or face penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Service. He also says it would increase Nevada`s Medicaid costs by $575 million.
Gibbons in April issued an executive order authorizing a private Las Vegas attorney to join the suit on Nevada`s behalf after state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto refused.
May 16, 2010
Birth rate drops, problems rise
(OneNewsNow) According to newly released government statistics, the U.S. birth rate has dropped below replacement level.
The fact that the birth rate is falling comes as no surprise to Colin Mason, director of media production at the Population Research Institute (PRI), who explains that "our birth rate`s actually been dropping for a while."
"It`s been kind of propped up temporarily by immigration to this country, but I think that as that starts to level off and as our birth rate really starts to fall in earnest, you`re going to start to see more reports like this," he predicts.
Mason believes that will ultimately have the same impact Europe and China are already experiencing.
"You`re going to be seeing problems like you see in Japan, where the birth rate is low enough [and] the emerging workforce is too small to really sustain the elderly who are moving into retirement," he warns. "I think in a sense, you`re already seeing that here with the Social Security problem, [where] the baby boomers are starting to cash out with their Social Security, [but] we aren`t really producing enough workers to fill their shoes."
Some countries have already reached the point where they are providing tax incentives for families. The basic idea is that parents are paying into the economy by having children who eventually become producers rather than just consumers.
May 16, 2010
Atheists offer $5000 towards alternative to Mojave Cross memorial
(Examiner.com) On May 12, the Atheist Alliance International (AAI), an umbrella organization of atheist groups and individuals around the world committed to promoting and defending reason and the atheist worldview, sent out a press release deploring the vandalism of the WWI memorial cross in the Mojave National Preserve. They also offered to contribute $5,000 to efforts to establish an inclusive alternative in a more appropriate area.
From the press release:
Atheist Alliance International strongly denounced the vandalism and theft of the "Veterans` Memorial" Christian cross that had been the subject of a recent US Supreme Court ruling last month in the Mohave Desert east of Los Angeles over the past weekend.
"Damaging and the taking of another`s property is, of course, reprehensible behavior and not to be condoned," stated AAI president Stuart Bechman. "AAI certainly condemns that action."
"However, given the controversial nature of this memorial and the tens of thousands of dollars spent in court, we call on all parties to take this unexpected opportunity to consider replacing the monument with a more-inclusive memorial that all Americans can support, and to place that memorial in a more appropriate place that reflects on the soldiers for whom the memorial is to honor."
Atheist Alliance International pledges to raise $5,000 towards an effort to replace the missing memorial with a new memorial that doesn`t raise First Amendment issues and that would be relocated to a private site within urban boundaries that has some connection to either the war or the soldiers that died in it.
Bechman continued: "The biggest losers in this controversy have been the memory of the World War I soldiers. Let`s drop the cultural battle around this memorial and restore the focus on the soldiers that the memorial is meant to honor."
This reporter had a chance to ask AAI president Stuart Bechman about the response to the offer. He told me that so far (May 14) he hasn`t heard much of anything from the Cross`s supporters but that a lot of people from the freethinker communities have offered praise for the idea. One trustee of the Secular Coalition of America (a group which does lobbying for secular causes in Washington), liked the proposal enough to offer his own funds to any veteran group willing to host a more inclusive secular memorial.
For his own part, Stuart told me that he personally thought AAI`s proposal was a great way to mitigate the dispute over having a sectarian memorial on public land... as opposed, said Stuart, "to continuing to butt heads over it."
In the earlier suit that went before the Supreme Court just a couple weeks ago, AAI filed a Friend of the Court brief against the Mojave Cross. At that time, the Justices reversed a lower court`s order to remove the Cross and sent the case back to the lower court. AAI will likely remain involved in the lawsuit if the dispute isn`t settled any other way.
May 16, 2010
Lesbian Couple Demands Listing as Child`s Parents on Birth Certificate
(LifeSiteNews.com) Two lesbian woman legally "married" in Des Moines last year have filed a lawsuit against the state health department after it refused to name both women on the birth certificate of one woman`s biological daughter.
Heather Gartner and Melissa Gartner filed the lawsuit last Friday on behalf of the infant Mackenzie, who was born last September, with the assistance of the "gay rights" organization Lambda Legal.
Prior to the 2009 legalization of gay marriage in Iowa, Heather and Melissa Gartner had raised a son to whom one of them had given birth; at that time, one of them went through the process of legally adopting the boy. Later, the couple "married" and filed the paperwork for both to be listed as parents on the newly-born Mackenzie`s birth certificate.
However, the Iowa Department of Heath refused and listed only the biological mother, since Mackenzie is not biologically related to Melissa Gartner, and because Gartner had not adopted her. This refusal was grounded in the belief that the registration of births in Iowa recognizes the biological roles of mother and father.
Tom Newton, director of the Iowa Department of Health and one of the defendants named in the suit, argued that without recognition of this reality, the rights of fathers might go unrecognized.
“It is a biological impossibility for a woman to be a biological father of a child, yet Plaintiffs contend that in all cases of children born to lesbian couples the non-birthing spouse should be entered on the birth certificate as the father with no notice provided to the biological father," Newton said in a statement.
"While these Plaintiffs may have conceived using an anonymous sperm donor, clearly not all lesbian couples conceive in that manner, and the legal rights and duties of these biological fathers and their children remain in limbo unless an adoption has occurred."
Camilla B. Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal, argued that birth certificates had to do with social, rather than biological, reality.
"The purpose of spousal presumption of legitimacy--and Iowa’s birth certificate which reflects the presumption--has always been to protect children from the historic stigma of what was termed ‘illegitimacy’ or ‘bastardy,`" she said. Taylor continued, stating that Iowa`s rules "are not about determining genetic parentage, but are about protecting children and their relationships to two people--the spouses, who are most likely to be the people the child considers to be parents.” Taylor also argues that Iowa "stands alone" in its current position.
The suit filed by Melissa and Heather Gartner argues that the process of adoption is "expensive, intrusive, and laborious."
The Iowa Department of Health is willing to name the lesbian guardians of a child as the child`s parents if one of them is willing to follow the adoption procedure.
"This process protects the rights of the same-sex couple and their child, respects the rights of the biological parent, and conforms with the Varnum decision," writes Newton.
Same-sex "marriage" became legal in Iowa after the Iowa Supreme Court upheld Varnum v. Brien on April 3, 2009. In this case the Supreme Court held that an Iowa statute defining marriage as only between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa constitution.
The lawsuit was names as defendants both Tom Newton and Jill France, bureau chief of vital records.
May 16, 2010
Southern California Pro-Life Walk Aims to ‘Celebrate All Life’
(LifeSiteNews.com) On May 22, Celebrate All Life, a new pro-life group, will celebrate its first annual Interfaith Pro-Life Walk and Festival in Simi Valley, California. The event, which runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, is meant to be a celebration of life that crosses political, theological, and ideological boundaries.
According to its website, the walk and festival “was born of the idea that the Life Movement could benefit from more positive representation in a setting that not only espoused the joy of human life in all its forms, but also removed boundaries of faith, political association or background.”
At the center of the event is a 5K (3.1 miles) walk through Rancho Tapo Community Park. Susan Riedley, the co-founder of Celebrate All Life, told LifeSiteNews (LSN), “Rhonda Freeson (the other co-founder of Celebrate All Life) was inspired by the San Francisco Walk for Life, West Coast, which she has been attending for years. At a Respect Life meeting at our church last June, she brought up the idea of having a Southern California walk.”
“It was agreed that we would build it as an interfaith event so people from all backgrounds and beliefs could feel solidarity in supporting human life. We wanted to help area organizations that provide women`s health, maternity aid and other services related to the preservation and care of people ‘at every stage and every age.’ ”
The 5k walk is not the sole event of the day.
Beginning at 9 a.m., Celebrate All Life plans to hold a series of talks aimed at educating pro-life individuals about the threats to life posed not only by abortion, but also by euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.
On its site, the group says, “We want to educate the community on all life issues, including euthanasia/assisted suicide, people with disabilities and embryonic stem cell research. There are many pro-lifers who understand the moral implications of abortion, but sadly many do not understand the significant moral implications of euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.”
The speakers for the event include Fr. Peter West of Priests for Life, Pastor Manny Olivas, Jesse Romero, and Dr. Timother McNicoll, with celebrity guest James O’Keefe. O’Keefe became famous at the end of last year for his investigative videos recording ACORN staff officials aiding an actress posing as a prostitute in tax evasion.
Along with the walk, Celebrate All Life will also be holding a festival in the park with numerous family-friendly activities for all ages. Entertainment will include a “Battle of the Bands,” featuring pro-life rock artists Alakrity, Anthony Wamble, and Scott James, which begins at noon. Further, there will be multiple booths aimed at acquainting attendants with different pro-life groups.
Susan Reidly told LSN, “We encourage all attendees to show us who you are - whether you worship in a church, a mosque, a temple, a synagogue or just belong to a pro-life club or organization - if you believe that human life is a sacred gift to be revered and promoted, we would love to see you on May 22!”
There is no cost for the event, and all are welcome. Please visit their website to register to receive updates concerning the event.
May 16, 2010
TLC Singer Chilli Describes Abortion Grief: `I Cried Almost Every Day for 9 Years`
(LifeSiteNews.com) Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, better known as a member of the successful 1990s hip-hop trio TLC, has joined a growing number of women and men who have come forward with horrendous stories of post-abortion grief. In a recent interview, the singer revealed that an abortion that she got when she was 20 years old “broke my spirit,” and robbed her of her "strong self."
The singer discussed her abortion on the May 9 episode of the VH1 reality TV series "What Chilli Wants," which follows the singer as she seeks help to establish a long-lasting relationship. Prompted to discuss her first relationship, with producer Dallas Austin, Thomas recounted her emotions upon realizing that she was pregnant for the first time at 20 years old.
"I didn`t have the support, and so I was so scared and didn`t know what to do," she said, "and chose to not have it (the baby) - one of the biggest mistakes."
Far from an empowering option, the singer said the abortion seemed forced upon her by her budding career – and that it was a choice she didn`t really want to make. "I`m 20, my career hadn`t even really started, you know, so how do I do all that? How do I be a mommy?" she recalled. "It messed me up. I don`t know - it broke my spirit."
She continued, through tears: "I feel like I became, I don`t know - kind of like, not my strong self anymore. I feel like I gave in and I broke to what someone else wanted.
"And I would break down and I would just cry - because I wasn`t a mommy. I cried almost every day for almost nine years."
Thomas said that she eventually pursued the one way she felt she could "fix" the abortion - by having another child by the same man. The relationship later disintegrated.
Georgette Fourney of Silent No More Awareness, a group dedicated to raising awareness of post-abortion grief, said that Thomas` story is a common one, and that more and more women are stepping forward to tell their own stories.
"I think it`s time," Fourney told LifeSiteNews.com. "It`s almost like what`s happening is that the reality of what the last 50 years of the sexual revolution - the havoc it`s wreaked on women - women are starting to realize."
"Real feminism says that we can be women, and we can embrace our femininity, and we can say no to people taking advantage of our sexuality," said Fourney, who sympathized with Thomas` statement that the abortion robbed her of strength.
"People are waking up to the fact that abortion does not empower women, but undermines them, and women are much stronger and they don`t need the weak solution of abortion," she said. "That`s exactly what we`re telling people - is that abortion doesn`t empower you, it`s the opposite, it takes the strength away from you."
Click here to read more testimonies of post-abortive women on the Silent No More Awareness Web site.
May 16, 2010
Life-Affirming iPS Research Advances
(Citizenlink) Three years ago, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan`s Kyoto University introduced the science of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). The cells behave like embryonic stem cells, but can be derived without destroying human life, by adding a few genes or protein factors to any ordinary cell such as a skin cell.
Kyoto University received a patent from Japan for the iPS cell technology in September 2008 and has announced its first licensing agreement to a company outside of Japan. The winner? Cellular Dynamics International, a company originally founded by Dr. James Thomson to use human embryonic stem cells.
David Prentice, senior fellow for Life Sciences at the Family Research Council, writes: "Thomson had switched the company from embryonic to non-embryonic stem cells some time ago, but it seems ironic that not only are patents for human embryonic stem cells being thrown out, but also that Thomson`s own company has moved over to iPS cell technology."
May 15, 2010
CRAIG HUEY’S ELECTION FORUM- SUNDAY, MAY 16
(Described by current office holder and District number)
Statewide Constitutional Offices
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and U.S. Senate.
Gary Miller, District 42
Joe Baca, District 43
Ken Calvert, District 44
David Dreier, District 26
State Senate Districts
Gloria Negrete McLeod, District 32
Curt Hagman, District 60 Norma Torres, District 61
Bill Emmerson, District 63
Anthony Adams, District 59
Superior Court Judges
Los Angeles County - Offices 28, 35, 73, 107, 117, 131
San Bernardino County - Offices 11, 29, 31
Orange County - Offices 2, 13, 16, 39, 50
Riverside County - Office 21
All 5 Propositions
Important election dates:
Calvary Chapel Chino Hills voter registration drive: Sunday, May 2 to Sunday, May 23
Vote-By-Mail ballots mailed to voters: Monday, May 10 2010
Last day to register to vote: Monday, May 24 2010
June Primary Election Day: Tuesday, June 8 2010
Note: Candidates will not participate in this election forum.
May 14, 2010
The Federal Fat Police: Bill Would Require Government to Track Body Mass of American Children
(CNSNews.com) A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.
States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis.
The Healthy Choices Act--introduced by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee--would establish and fund a wide range of programs and regulations aimed at reducing obesity rates by such means as putting nutritional labels on the front of food products, subsidizing businesses that provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and collecting BMI measurements of patients and counseling those that are overweight or obese.
Section 101 of the bill amends the Public Health Services Act by stating that health care providers must record the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. "The provision relates to all children in states that accept grants under the bill," a spokesperson for Rep. Kind told CNSNews.com. "However, it is important to note that no one is forced to come in for a doctor’s visit to get their BMI tested. BMI will be taken at times when the child makes an otherwise scheduled doctor’s visit."
BMI is calculated by taking one’s weight in pounds and height in inches, multiplying that number by one’s height in inches and then multiplying that number by 703. Any number over 24 is considered overweight, with higher numbers resulting in a diagnosis of obese (BMI = [weight / (height x height)] x 703).
To pay for implementing BMI data gathering, Sec. 102 of the bill states that the federal government will give grants to states that meet certain criteria, including having “the capacity to store basic demographic information (including date of birth, gender and geographic area of residence), height, weight, and immunization data for each resident of the state.”
The grants also will pay for personnel and equipment necessary to measure patients’ BMI.
The grants also require that if a child’s BMI is greater than the 95th percentile for the child’s age and gender, the state will provide “information on how to lower BMI and information on state and local obesity prevention programs.”
Rep. Kinder`s spokesperson said that any data used to generate a report on the BMI data collected would not include patients’ names.
The bill also requires HHS to share with Congress and other government officials, including the secretaries of education and agriculture, its analysis of the BMI data collected not more than one year after it gathers all of the data from states.
This analysis, the bill states, would attempt to identify obesity trends in regions of the United States and how those trends vary according to gender and socioeconomic status--although the bill does not spell out how socioeconomic status of patients would be determined.
On May 6, the bill was referred to the House subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Co-sponsors of the bill are Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Gregorio Sablan (D-Mich.)
At a press conference last week to announce the introduction of the bill, Kind emphasized it would help “busy American families.”
“Making the healthy choice the easy choice for our families is essential to ensuring our quality of life,” Kind said. “I am pleased to work on legislation that helps provide the opportunities that meet the needs of busy American families.”
May 14, 2010
Parents warned about upcoming `Milk Day` in Calif.
Becky Yeh - OneNewsNow
A conservative activist is urging parents to take action against the homosexual indoctrination of "Harvey Milk Day," which will affect California public school students as young as five years of age.
Last year, lawmakers in The Golden State designated May 22 be the day that schools honor the openly homosexual San Francisco politician who was assassinated in 1978. Although that date falls on a Saturday this year, Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com reports that May 17-28 may include exercises in celebration of Milk, as students will participate in commemorative activities honoring him without parental notification or consent.
The exercises could consist of anything teachers or school board members deem appropriate, including in-class reading and writing activities about the politician, or watching the film Milk. Assemblies teaching homosexuality and alternate lifestyles, cross-dressing contests, or mock "gay" parades and weddings could also take place.
Thomasson is alerting parents to contact their child`s school and ascertain the specific days and activities that will honor the late homosexual politician. If any celebration is scheduled to commemorate Milk, the pro-family activist urges parents to keep their children home.
“It is a moral crime for virtually all the Democrats in the California legislature to force this upon the six-million children in California schools,” Thomason argues.
He adds that Milk was one of the worst examples as a role model for children. “Milk believed in adult-child sex; he believed in lying to get ahead. He is one of the worst role models that children could have,” the SaveCalifornia.com president contends. “Teachers, principals, and schools that push Harvey Milk`s values are responsible for the degradation of children as human beings.”
Thomasson believes the government is indoctrinating children through the public school system -- "Public schools are government schools," he says -- and he points out that every California school currently has a Gay Straight Alliance club or recognizes the Day of Silence.
May 14, 2010
Tokyo Missions Conference Draws 2,000 Leaders
(Christian Post) More than 2,000 mission leaders representing 140 countries have gathered in Tokyo for a major conference on how to finish The Great Commission.
Tokyo 2010 Global Missions Consultations opened Tuesday evening at the Nakano Sun Plaza with the 2,200-seat auditorium filled to nearly full capacity. The four-day conference purposely coincides with the 100th anniversary of the landmark Edinburgh meeting – the first-ever global missions conference.
Pastor Tsugumichi Okawa of Yamato Calvary Chapel in Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo said on the opening night that what is most important is that attendees be filled with the Holy Spirit during the conference and that the event not be a mere formality.
Okawa, who pastors the largest church in Japan with 1,300 worshippers each Sunday, noted how small the Christian population is in Japan. Less than two percent of the Japanese population is Christian.
“I want to believe again that miracles can happen in Japan,” said Okawa. “The soul is saved by the work of the Holy Spirit.”
The Japanese pastor called for Christians to pray for revival in Japan.
During the Tokyo missions conference, leaders will be engaged in serious consultation about world missions in the morning, and then be joined by the public in the evening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Edinburgh 1910 meeting.
Day-time sessions are dedicated to give mission leaders from many areas of outreach around the world the opportunity to interact through plenary sessions and workshops and to focus on the most effective way to move forward as a united body of Christ.
Dr. Yong Cho, international director of the Global Network of Mission Structures and one of the key organizers of the Tokyo 2010 meeting, said in an interview with The Christian Post last year that the gathering will be a time when mission groups can learn from each other and when hopefully inter-mission strategies will emerge.
“Our Protestant mission is individualistic,” Cho said in the interview. “We want to have more open communication and partnership. This meeting, in particular, we are encouraging the new or emerging mission organizations from different countries to come and hopefully be more encouraged and learn from the West and other more experienced mission organizations.”
In the tradition of the Edinburgh 1910 meeting, no one was invited to the Tokyo conference. Instead, all delegates were selected by mission associations and agencies as their representatives.
But unlike the Edinburgh 1910 and 1980 meetings, the 2010 gathering is more representative of the world with more attendees from non-Western backgrounds. About two-thirds of the Tokyo 2010 attendees are from non-Western countries.
“As of yet, there is still no global network of mission organizations networking together to fully engage all the peoples of the world in a systematic way,” Cho said, according to Mission Frontier magazine. “We remain largely ignorant of what each other is doing. We need more cooperation in research and joining planning to address this, and our hope is that Tokyo 2010 will get us moving in that direction.”
According to the Tokyo 2010 handbook, there remain about 3,500 people groups that are still unengaged. The total population of these groups is over 350 million.
The term "unengaged" is designated to people groups that do not have any active church planting occurring.
“These groups don’t represent the largest percentage of the world’s population, but they have been waiting 2,000 years for the gospel,” states the Tokyo 2010 handbook. “The most pressing need is to recruit at least one full-time worker for every 50,000 people in the group.”
Mission leaders also point out that there are only 448 languages that have a complete Bible out of the some 8,000 languages in the world. Another 1,185 groups have a New Testament. And 843 language groups have only a portion of Scripture.
“It is estimated that there are 2 billion people in these 2,000 language groups without any Old Testament,” the handbook notes. “It is extremely difficult to make disciples without the Old Testament Scriptures explaining the character of God.”
There are 2,000 language translation projects that have begun. But as of yet, they do not have a complete book.
May 14, 2010
Evangelical leaders `out on a limb`
(OneNewsNow) A Protestant renewal organization is questioning the decision of several prominent Christian leaders to sign on to a full-page ad calling for a path toward citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
Last fall OneNewsNow reported that the National Association of Evangelicals passed a resolution calling for a path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally but want to embrace the responsibility and privileges of citizenship. Now the NAE has released a full-page ad in Roll Call trying to rally support for comprehensive immigration reform that "establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents."
Other evangelical leaders like Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel have also signed the ad. In comments to The Associated Press, Land described Arizona`s new controversial immigration law as "a symptom, not a solution," and Staver said it is time to "forge a national concensus" on the issue.
But Alan Wisdom, vice president of research and programs at The Institute on Religion & Democracy, argues that those leaders are going against the majority of their constituents who oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.
"They don`t have their constituency with them -- and this is not a clear biblical mandate," he contends. "The Bible does not tell us what our immigration policy should be.
"Now [the signers of the ad] protest that it`s not an amnesty," Wisdom continues, "but the definition of amnesty is remitting the penalty that justly would be due for breaking the law -- and [in this case] it`s deportation."
He acknowledges that "hundreds of millions of people around the globe...would probably like to come to the United States if that were possible," but argues that the U.S. simply cannot accept everyone who wants to enter the country.
"We can`t let everyone in," he says bluntly. "There should be a strong distinction between folks who follow the proper immigration procedures and people who walk across the border illegally."
Wisdom believes the evangelical leaders identified on the full-page ad are going out on a limb with their own political judgments without the support of most of their church members.
May 13, 2010
Young Adults at High Risk for STDs, But Don`t Think They Are
Fifteen percent of young adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 26 have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD) within the past year, but nearly three-quarters of these young adults with an STD did not believe that they were at risk, according to a new Child Trends brief. Sexually Transmitted Diseases among Young Adults: Prevalence, Perceived Risk, and Risk-Taking Behaviors analyzes recently released data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to provide estimates on the prevalence of and attitudes toward STDs among young adults, as well as on the behaviors that may put them at risk of contracting an STD.
(LifeSiteNews.com) In an interview on Larry King Live this Tuesday, former first lady Laura Bush said that she disagreed with her husband regarding the legality of both gay "marriage" and abortion.
Mrs. Bush, known for her previous reticence on controversial issues, has been promoting her memoir "Spoken from the Heart" in recent weeks.
Larry King pointed out that, in her memoir, she admits asking her husband during the 2004 presidential campaign not to make gay "marriage" a significant issue.
"Do you think we should have it?" King asked.
"Well, I think that we ought to definitely look at it," Mrs. Bush responded. "When couples are are committed to each other and love each other--they ought to have, I think, the same sort of rights that everyone has."
While claiming that she could "understand totally" those who disagreed with her, she said that same-sex "marriage" is "a generational thing” to which older people feel more resistance, and will therefore come with time.
Mrs. Bush also recounted how Katie Couric asked her if Roe v. Wade should be overturned in 2001.
"Sort of everything went through my mind," she said, "and I thought, `Do I really want to start my husband`s presidency suggesting that a Supreme Court ruling be overturned?`"
At that time, the first lady-to-be said that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, and again on Tuesday said it was important to preserve legal abortion "for medical reasons and for other reasons."
She emphasized, however, that neither issue caused argument between her and her husband.
"I understand his viewpoint. I really do," she said. "I understand his viewpoint. And he understands mine."
President Bush did not endorse any "gay rights" legislation while in office and threatened to veto the Matthew Shepard Act, which would have included sexual orientation among groups protected by hate crime legislation. Congress passed the measure last October under President Obama.
Mr. Bush also became known as a champion of pro-life initiatives during his presidency, signing a number of pro-life measures, including the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
May 12, 2010
Memo Shows Kagan Helped Clinton-Era Defeat of Partial Birth Abortion Ban
(LifeSiteNews.com) Contrary to media reports, a memo authored by Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan for President Bill Clinton reveals that she actually helped the White House defeat a Congressional ban on partial-birth abortion in 1997, rather than upholding a pro-life position.
Both the Associated Press, which unearthed the memo from the Clinton Library archives, and Washington Post gave the impression that the May 13, 1997 memo authored by Kagan and Bruce Reed, President Bill Clinton’s Domestic Policy Advisor, urged Clinton to restrict late-term abortions. This has been taken as evidence that she is “moderate” on abortion.
But Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life Committee, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) on Tuesday that Kagan’s memo is being “misunderstood by people who don’t understand the context,” and that, rather than proving Kagan is “moderate” on abortion, it may point towards the exact opposite.
Johnson explained that President Clinton was in a political bind at the time: he had recently vetoed the popular Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, and a pro-life political groundswell was building to override the veto in Congress. While pro-life advocates had a two-thirds veto-proof majority in the House of Representatives to override Clinton’s veto, they were just a few Senators away from getting their two-thirds majority in the Senate.
In the memo Kagan and Reed wrote to the president, they advised Clinton to endorse a “compromise” partial birth abortion ban, known as the Daschle amendment. According to Johnson, the only reason Kagan suggested endorsing the measure was to avoid the veto override of the original ban.
Not only was this “compromise” completely unacceptable to pro-life groups, says Johnson, but it was designed simply to give senators who might otherwise have voted for the veto override of the original ban due to political pressure, a “phony” ban to vote for, thereby giving them the political cover they needed.
In fact, the text of Kagan’s memo itself reveals this motive: "We recommend that you endorse the Daschle amendment in order to sustain your credibility on HR 1122 [Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act] and prevent Congress from overriding your veto," wrote Kagan and Reed.
Daschle’s proposal would have allowed abortion after the sixth month when the physician “certifies that continuation of the pregnancy would … risk grievous injury to [the mother’s] physical health.” Grievous injury, Kagan and Reed noted in the memo, was defined as “a severely debilitating disease or impairment specifically caused by pregnancy, or an inability to provide necessary treatment for a life-threatening condition.”
Kagan and Reed admitted that while ideological “choice” groups would reject Daschle, the president’s support of that measure would have the best practical chance of defeating the momentum for the veto override.
Furthermore, there was little chance of Congress actually passing legislation along the lines of the Daschle “compromise,” since pro-life groups and NRLC denounced it as “all exception and no ban,” and filled with loopholes.
To illustrate the point, one congressional aide on Capitol Hill told the Washington Times at the time that an abortionist would literally have to indict himself to face any kind of sanction under Daschle’s proposal, because the abortionist alone was the one certifying that the abortion was necessary and lawful after the sixth month.
Johnson explained that Clinton did embrace Kagan and Reed’s advice, and endorsed the Daschle amendment. This tactic proved successful, as senators who did not vote to override the veto were still able to tell their constituents that they voted in favor of a partial birth abortion ban – a ban, says Johnson, that didn’t actually ban.
The Senate passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, 64-36, but fell three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override Clinton’s veto. And for that, Kagan deserves some of the credit – or blame – for defeating the pro-life measure.
“Elena Kagan played a role in [defeating the ban], because it was a successful tactic,” said Johnson.
May 12, 2010
4 little words + 1 American flag = `offensive`
Becky Yeh - OneNewsNow California correspondent
(OneNewsNow) A 7th-grade teacher in California has criticized a 13-year-old student for writing "God bless America" across her drawing of the American flag -- one more reason, says a conservative activist, why parents should remove their children from public school.
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, notes that this situation provides more proof that "government schools are not godly schools."
"It`s another sad example of why concerned parents need to do what`s necessary to get their children out of government-run schools and into the safe havens of home-schooling and solid church schools," he comments.
Taryn Hathaway`s drawing pictured the American flag with the statements "God Bless America," "One nation under God," and "In God We Trust" written across and around the flag. The middle-school Salinas student was told she could not draw the flag because it was "offensive," yet the instructor went on to praise another student`s drawing of President Obama.
Tracy Hathaway, the mother of the 13-year-old student, is shocked over the teacher`s reaction. She contends that her daughter did nothing wrong and believes she was merely exercising her rights.
"My daughter wasn’t trying to break any rules, and she wasn’t trying to create a scene," Hathaway shared with Fox Radio. "She was just expressing her view and saying, `This is America, and I want God to bless it.`"
The Hathaway family met with the teacher, questioning why Taryn`s drawing was insulting. But having received no reply, Tracy Hathaway told KSBW that a simple "heart-felt apology` from the teacher is all she wants.
Another meeting is scheduled with the teacher this week, so an apology may be forthcoming.
May 12, 2010
Lawsuit Targets Connecticut Graduation
(Citizenlink) The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have filed suit against a Connecticut school district where two high schools are planning to hold commencement exercises at a local megachurch.
The groups claim having graduation at a church violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, and they want a court order forcing the events to be moved to another location.
Vincent McCarthy, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said the school plans to fight the lawsuit.
"Not just for itself," he said, "but for other schools in the area as well, so that people aren`t intimidated."
May 12, 2010
Transgenders win discrimination tiff with American Eagle Outfitters
(NY Daily News) It just got a little easier for a transgender person to work at American Eagle Outfitters - at least on paper.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has forced the flannel and khaki outpost to make some changes, including nixing a rule about employee "personal appearance" that banned men from wearing women`s clothing and ladies from dressing as guys.
"This shows me that there`s faith and hope. There might be a domino effect, that`s what I`m hoping for," said Joi-elle White, 35, a transgender member of Make the Road New York.
The community group complained to Cuomo`s office about what it called a pattern of discrimination against transgender job hunters. A probe confirmed the complaints, officials said.
The retailer - which employs more than 2,000 people in its 61 New York stores - signed a settlement deal promising to change its policies and employee handbook.
"To avoid further expense and the distraction of a prolonged argument, [we have] agreed to a compromise settlement in this case, with the understanding that AEO is not admitting to the findings," a company spokeswoman said.
"We wholeheartedly believe that transgender individuals should be treated equally," she added in a statement.
The chain store also has agreed to train its staff on transgender issues - like which pronouns to use when referring to workers and customers.
The April settlement is the first crackdown against a retailer under the section of the state`s Human Rights Law that bars employers from discriminating against applicants because of their gender identity.
"If more places would follow behind American Eagle`s experience, a lot of us would be able to work more. and there would be less of us on the street or on the Internet risking our life just to survive," White said.
May 12, 2010
New Pay Discrimination Bill Would Let Government Collect Payroll Records of Private Companies
(CNSNews) A bill taken up by a Senate panel on Thursday would empower the federal government to collect the payroll information of private companies and analyze it in an effort to prevent gender-based pay discrimination, which has been illegal since 1963.
The law would compel the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to begin mandatory collection of payroll data from private employers, under penalty of law. These data must be broken down by job type, race, and, gender. The government would then analyze the data to determine if companies are violating equal pay laws, which prohibit pay discrimination based on gender.
Known as the Paycheck Fairness Act, the law was passed by the House of Representatives more than one year ago – Jan. 9, 2009 – but had languished in the Senate until Thursday, when it was taken up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart Ishimaru, who testified before the HELP committee on Thursday, told CNSNews.com that the law would require the EEOC to collect payroll data from private companies. However, he said that it was still “to be determined” if companies would have to report automatically, a decision that would be left up to the EEOC.
“We would be required – it is my understanding under the Paycheck Fairness Act – to collect in some form pay data,” he said. “Now what that would look like in the end is a matter to be determined, if it passes, but it’s not automatic disclosure; we are tasked actually with, and actually (will) come up with the procedure to do that.”
The collection is not optional, and the government can sue companies who refuse to comply with the EEOC’s order.
Bowen says e-signature technology not legal for California initiatives
(Sacramento Bee) When a Superior Court judge pulled the plug last month on an attempt to use signatures collected using iPhones to qualify ballot measures, Secretary of State Debra Bowen sided with the court, saying California`s election code doesn`t allow use of e-signatures in initiative drives. Bowen talked to The Bee on Thursday about e-signatures and other initiative issues.
You opposed Verafirma`s (legal challenge) to have its digital signatures count for an initiative petition. Can you talk about what your concerns are?
I really have one concern, which is that it`s not allowed under California law. I implement the law as it is currently written, not as I might wish that it were.
Would you support a change in the law?
I think it`s a very interesting concept; it has a lot of potential. ... (But) the assertion is made that it`s actually easier to verify a signature because you have things like the speed of the signature and the pressure, but we don`t have a record of any of that to match it to. … I don`t see any way to match the signature that`s collected on the pad with the physical signature that we have on file. I think my scrawl on the checkout stand in the grocery store bears no resemblance to the signature on pen and paper.
What about credit card companies and other (companies that use e-signature technology)?
They don`t use it that way. They use much more sophisticated metrics at this time. They look at geographical location, they look at your pattern of purchasing.
One of the arguments of the proponents … (is) digital signatures will allow for more grass-roots campaigns, it will take out the (influence) of money and paid signature gatherers.
I don`t disagree with their aim. … (But) it`s probably a good idea to work out some of the problems in the initiative process before we put in place the mechanisms that would dramatically increase the number of initiative measures that qualify.
What other steps do you think you could take to take some of the money out of the initiative process?
I`m sure Hiram Johnson, if he were here, would faint dead away with what`s happened to the initiative process. … You can qualify anything for the ballot with enough money, I`m convinced. ...
One thing I proposed in the mid-`90s … is that there be a disclaimer in very large type on the initiative petition itself that says, "paid signature gatherer" or "volunteer signature gatherer." I think that`s a critical piece of information.
May 11, 2010
Study: American `Millennials` Value Family Most
(Lifeway Research) When asked what’s important in life, most American “Millennials” – those born between 1980 and 1991 – say family comes first, ahead of friends, education, careers and even religion.
That’s the finding of LifeWay Research based on a wide-ranging August 2009 survey of 1,200 Millennials in the United States. The study forms the basis for the upcoming book “The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation” by Dr. Thom Rainer and his son Jess Rainer.
Sixty-one percent of Millennials place family at the top of their priority lists, followed by friends (25 percent), education (17 percent), careers/jobs (16 percent), spouses/partners (13 percent), and spirituality/religion (13 percent).
Other responses to the open-ended question include: finances (12 percent), happiness (12 percent), raising kids (11 percent), health (10 percent), activities (9 percent), well-being (9 percent), the future (5 percent), nature/pets (5 percent), and use of time (4 percent).
Total percentages exceeded 100 because respondents were permitted to list more than one priority.
Differences between population groups
There are major differences between population groups concerning their priorities. For example:
- Family is mentioned more often by whites, the more educated, married, and those who are broadly Christian.
- Friends are more important to younger Millennials, those with higher incomes, whites and Asians, those with more than a high school degree, and singles.
- Health is a higher priority for older Millennials, those with mid-range and higher incomes, those with more education, and those from non-Christian religions. - Happiness is more important to those with higher incomes, Westerners, those not trusting Christ as Savior, and those who do not consider themselves even broadly Christian.
- The future is more important to blacks and those not already married.
“Millennials are committed to family above other priorities, even though many are waiting to start their own families,” said Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. “To minister effectively, the church should tap into this priority among Millennials. Churches with a strong understanding and sense of family will be able to more easily reach Millennials. I expect that ministries that cross generations – such as older adults mentoring young adults – could be highly effective in connecting Millennials to Jesus.”
(Christian Post) Comedy Central is in the process of developing an animated TV show that features Jesus Christ as “the ultimate fish out of water” despite efforts the all-comedy network had made recently to censor a more-controversial-than-usual episode of “South Park.”
The half-hour show, announced Thursday as part of Comedy Central’s 2010-2011 development slate, is being described as “a playful take on religion and society with a sprinkle of dumb” and is set in New York City, where Jesus attempts to live as a “regular guy.”
“JC,” the go-to name for both the show and its main character, follows Jesus as he seeks to “escape the enormous shadow” of his “all-powerful yet apathetic father,” who “would rather be playing video games than listening to JC recount his life in the city.”
“An animated show about the adventures of Jesus Christ. He is risen!” commented Comedy Central blogger Matt Tobey after “JC” was announced by Kent Alterman, head of original programming and production at the network.
“And by ‘He’ I mean ‘my interest in this television program,’” Tobey added.
Not surprisingly, the announcement picked up few laughs (if any) from the Christian community, which mostly found the latest move by Comedy Central contradictory given its recent efforts with “South Park.”
Last month, Comedy Central decided to censor parts of South Park’s 201st episode, bleeping out every mention of the word “Muhammad” and the entire speech at the end of episode 201.
The network had done so after a group called Revolution Muslim stated in its website that “South Park” producers Matt Stone and Trey Parker would “probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh” for airing the show, referring to the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 by Muslim extremists for making a movie about Muslim women.
“These are the same executives who delight in bashing Christians while continuing to censor any depiction of Muhammad on ‘South Park,’” Catholic League president Bill Donohue stated Thursday.
“They also deceive,” he added, citing Alterman’s comments concerning the proposed show.
Regarding “JC,” Alterman said comedy “in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable."
“Not true,” responded Donohue. “Besides the fact that there is no end to the number of comedians who have made a huge name for themselves without ever offending anyone, what is even more relevant is the fact that Comedy Central has absolutely no interest in making Muslims feel uncomfortable.”
The Catholic watchdog leader further highlighted the fact that Muslims regard Jesus to be a prophet and hold him in high regard, making the network`s latest announcement seemingly contradictory to its recent censorship efforts .
“They (Muslims) may not be too pleased to learn that one of their revered figures is going to be ridiculed on Comedy Central,” Donohue stated. “To that end, we will not only contact the Catholic community, we will contact Muslim organizations as well.”
With the show’s development still in its infant stages, Catholic League is encouraging concerned Americans to contact Comedy Central’s CEO, Doug Herzog, early on and sound off on “JC.”
“If you show up at Herzog`s office, and he says he is feeling uneasy, let him know that having a fun time in its purest form always makes some people feel uncomfortable. He is sure to understand,” Donohue concluded.
According to Comedy Central’s Alterman, the focus during the network`s development process is to find performers, writers, directors and producers that project a “strong, unique comedic voice,” and then help them "actualize their vision in the most unfiltered manner possible."
"With the current development slate, I think it’s safe to say we’re doing our part to end global hunger and foster world peace," Alterman stated.
Currently set to produce “JC” is Reveille ("The Office"), Henrik Basin, Brian Boyle ("American Dad"), Jonathan Sjoberg and Andreas Ohman.
Comedy Central is owned by and is a registered trademark of Comedy Partners, a wholly-owned division of Viacom Inc.`s MTV Networks.
May 10, 2010
June Primary Voting Begins Today, Secretary of State Encourages Voters to Check Registration
(Sacramento) Although the June 8 Statewide Direct Primary Election is 29 days away, voting actually begins today as county elections officials begin mailing ballots to millions of Californians who opt to vote by mail.
Vote-by-mail voting is an increasingly popular choice for Californians. In the May 19, 2009, Statewide Special Election, a record 62 percent of voters cast their ballots by mail. The previous record was set in June 2008 when more than 58 percent of voters voted by mail.
“Voting by mail gives you the flexibility to vote when it is convenient for you,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, the state’s chief elections officer. “You can cast your vote-by-mail ballot now, or mark it as you make up your mind on an issue or candidate. Just make sure your county elections official receives your ballot by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day so it will be counted.”
Any California voter may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on
Election Day. Prior to 1978, only people who had a certified medical excuse or planned to be out of town on Election Day were allowed to vote through the mail. Additionally, as a result of a 2001 law, any registered voter may choose to become a permanent vote-by-mail voter.
More than 5.8 million Californians are registered as permanent vote-by-mail voters. Thousands more people choose to cast their ballots through the mail on a one-time basis each election.
Vote-by-mail ballots may be mailed or dropped off at any polling place within the voter’s county. Once county elections officials determine that the signature on the vote-by-mail ballot return envelope matches the voter’s signature on his or her voter registration card and the voter did not vote elsewhere in the same election, the ballot and the envelope are separated and the ballot is counted.
The deadline to register to vote in the June 8 primary is two weeks from today, on May 24. To eliminate any surprises on or before Election Day, voters may check with their county elections officials to ensure their registration information is correct. For example, sometimes voters think they are registered with a party and find their registration listed as nonpartisan or decline-to-state (DTS). In prior years, some people who thought they were registered as DTS had actually registered as members of the American Independent Party.
Under California’s “modified closed primary” system, voters may only vote the ballot of their particular party but each political party may choose to allow DTS voters to request its ballots. In the June 8 primary, the Democratic and Republican parties will permit DTS voters to vote in their primaries; the other four qualified parties will not.
The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is June 1. California voters may request a vote-by-mail ballot by either using the application printed on the back of the sample ballot booklet mailed by county elections officials, or obtain an application online at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/vote-by-mail/pdf/fill-in-vote-by-mail-app-instruct.pdf. All ballots, whether vote-by-mail or other, must be received by county elections officials by 8:00 p.m. on June 8. (Postmarks do not count.)
A list of the county offices is available at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_d.htm.
May 10, 2010
With Obamacare Cash Comes New Abortion Supercenter for Planned Parenthood
(LifeSiteNews.com) Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) has announced that they are constructing a new clinic and administrative headquarters in St. Paul. According to Sarah Stoesz, President of PPMNS, Planned Parenthood is anticipating a possibly increased demand for its services because of the new federal health care bill.
Stoesz said that she was unsure "exactly what health care reform will mean for our patients." She continued, however: "But I anticipate that more people will access health care."
"We`re not surprised to see Planned Parenthood position itself to receive millions more taxpayer dollars under President Obama`s new health care mandates," said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "Obama`s intent has always been to pour much more public money into Planned Parenthood, and the Minnesota affiliate is poised to build an enormous receptacle for that money."
The 46,000 square foot, three-story, LEED certified "green" structure is expected to open in 2011. It is one of a number of mega-clinics Planned Parenthood has opened recently or is planning to open, such as the 78,000 square-foot Houston facility that some have called the largest abortion center in the western hemisphere.
The current Highland Park abortion facility is located in a residential area, while the projected $16 million building will be built at Charles and Vandalia streets, a more industrial location. It will have a large parking area, fences, and greenery, aimed to increase privacy and to hinder pro-life counselors and protestors.
PPMNS received $5.26 million from federal, state, and local governments in 2008. Planned Parenthood Federation of America received about a third of its billion-dollar budget from the government in that year.
"Planned Parenthood is all about money, and its new abortion center is being positioned to take in many more millions of taxpayer dollars for abortions," Fischbach said. "It is a tragedy to see Planned Parenthood driving up its revenues at the expense of innocent unborn children and their mothers."
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has previously said that the health care reform legislation will "significantly increase access to reproductive health care."
Minnesota currently allows low-income women to receive abortion coverage through Medicaid and has done so since the 1995 Women of Minn. v. Gomez case, which found that provisions limiting state abortion coverage to a few cases were against the state constitution.
May 10, 2010
Free iPad Pregnancy App Reveals Development of Unborn Baby
(LifeSiteNews.com) Pro-lifers have often struggled to counter the assertion that unborn babies are "just a clump of cells" that look nothing like human beings. Now, they have one more method to help show the truth: an application for the iPad that displays images of unborn babies from week four to week forty.
The app allows the baby`s gender, size, due date, and weight to be entered to customize the information it displays. It can display life-size images of the baby as the baby changes throughout pregnancy, with close-ups, information to read, and even audio clips.
The program was developed by the baby products company Pampers, and directs users to the Pampers pregnancy calendar for further information. It also allows users to post their baby`s progress on Facebook.
There `Will Be` a National Day of Prayer Next Year, Regardless of Courts, Says Organizer
(CNSNews) Regardless of how the courts ultimately rule, organizers vow that there will be a National Day of Prayer (NDP) event next year.
NDP Task Force Executive Director John Bornschein told CNSNews.com that his team is already beginning to plan for next year’s event -- the 60th anniversary -- whether the courts agree to its existence or not.
In an interview Thursday at the Cannon House Office Building, CNSNews.com asked Bornschein if the National Day of Prayer is in danger.
“Not at all,” he said. “This has been a national heritage. Since 1775, Americans have been called to prayer. And right now the momentum is such that Americans will continue to pray.
“Statistics tell us that over 83 percent of Americans pray and we are hearing from a vast majority who say, ‘Whether this is civil disobedience – whatever we have to do, we are going to stand up for prayer for such a time as this.’ So we are fully expecting and continuing to plan the 60th anniversary, the 61st, and continue to keep this tradition alive.
“I believe it’s the government’s blessing to be a part of this, to continue in this tradition, but the grassroots movement is just too big now to squelch.”
A federal judge in Madison, Wis., last month overturned the law declaring National Day of Prayer as unconstitutional. At the same time, the Pentagon “disinvited” Franklin Graham, the event’s honorary chairman, from attending a military prayer event because of statements Graham had made in the past.
Graham’s treatment was merely “a discouraging bump,” according to Bornschein.
“We believe the relationship is still strong to continue to have National Day of Prayer events at the Pentagon,” he said. “They did have a National Day of Prayer (event), we’re grateful for that. The task force has been a welcomed guest at the Pentagon for many years. We pray that tradition continues. And next year, we believe they will be blessed to have our honorary chairman there again. Now should that change, well, like Franklin, you know, we’ll go outside the walls and pray.”
But when asked whether he thought President Obama supports the National Day of Prayer, Borenschein was more circumspect.
“I can’t speak for our president and his favor for or against the National Day of Prayer,” he said. “He has been honoring of the National Day of Prayer in giving us a proclamation declaring this the National Day of Prayer. That is honoring of the tradition -- and the law that asks him to do such.
“Now, whatever his personal interests are, we know he does the prayer breakfasts, and we’ve been told that he prays in private.
“Well, we’d like to see that become a little more public. We’d like to see him really embrace the National Day of Prayer and even call the nation to prayer outside of the first Thursday of May. That’s not out of tradition either. Many presidents have called for multiple National Days of Prayer.
“And frankly, our country needs prayer, now more than ever. With a seven-year high of unemployment, fighting wars on two fronts, I think the people would welcome a president who would be open and sincere to say, ‘We need your prayer, now today, more than ever.’
May 08, 2010
Lancaster, Calif., sued over City Council prayers
(AP) Lancaster, California, is being sued for opening its City Council meetings with prayers that critics say are usually made by Christian clergy.
A Christian resident of the desert town and the widow of late Jewish Defense League head Irv Rubin filed a lawsuit Tuesday that claims the invocations violate separation of church and state. Residents of the Los Angeles County city voted last month to make the invocations city policy.
Lancaster City Attorney Dave McEwen says he believes the practice is constitutional because clerics of different religions are welcome to deliver the prayers. He says the city will fight the suit.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles by attorney Roger Diamond, who successfully sued Burbank over a similar practice in 2000.
May 08, 2010
Opponents of religion in inaugurations lose fight
(AP) Atheists who oppose prayer and other religious elements in presidential inaugurations have lost a case in a federal appeals court.
A three-judge panel on Friday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that sought to stop Barack Obama from using the words "so help me God" when he took the oath of office last year. Those who sued also wanted to stop ministers from saying prayers at Obama`s inauguration and wanted the court to eliminate religion from future inaugurations.
Two judges said it is too late to act on Obama`s inauguration and the court cannot block religious elements at future events when the participants are not yet known. The third judge says long-standing practices such as prayers and the oath of office are constitutional.
May 07, 2010
Army to accept comments on `don`t ask, don`t tell`
(Townhall) Army Secretary John McHugh said Friday the military is considering a system for soldiers to anonymously express their opinions about its "don`t ask, don`t tell" policy on gay troops.
The Pentagon will make a recommendation on changing the policy by the end of the year, McHugh said. Soldiers` would make their comments ahead of that recommendation, he said.
"We`re trying to do this in the quietest way possible, and by that, I simply mean not to sensationalize it, to try to really assess the soldiers` opinions," McHugh said at Hawaii`s Schofield Barracks. "Anonymity, of course, is an important aspect."
Any policy change would have to come from Congress. Until then, federal law prohibits service members from discussing their sexual orientation. President Barack Obama supports lifting the ban.
McHugh spoke to reporters alongside Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, who recently urged troops to lobby to keep the ban on openly gay military service. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey told Mixon in March that his actions were inappropriate.
Mixon didn`t discuss the issue on Friday.
McHugh stopped in Hawaii at the end of a seven-day tour through Alaska, South Korea and Japan _ his first trip to the Asia-Pacific theater since he was confirmed by the Senate in September.
His visit coincided with Friday`s announcement that about 800 soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division`s headquarters will be deployed to central Iraq by the end of the year.
The deployment doesn`t alter the United States` commitment to withdraw all combat forces from Iraq by the end of August, and withdraw all soldiers by the end of next year, McHugh said.
"They fully expect to adhere to the stated drawdown deadline," he said. "Until something different happens, that is, I think, our very achievable goal."
The deployment will focus on empowering Iraqi security forces and continuing the country`s development, said Maj. Gen. Bernie Champoux, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division.
May 07, 2010
Case is made vs. US marriage law
(Boston Globe) A lawyer for 17 gays and lesbians who wed in Massachusetts urged a federal judge yesterday to strike down the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman, calling it an unconstitutional intrusion on a matter previously left to states.
The case is widely considered the first serious legal challenge in the nation to the Defense of Marriage Act, and puts the Obama administration in the awkward position of defending a law that it says it opposes but believes is constitutional.
Mary L. Bonauto, a lawyer for the Boston-based nonprofit Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, argued in US District Court that the federal government had always let states decide who was legally married until it passed the law in question.
“Your honor, the only thing that changed here was who was going to marry,’’ Bonauto told US District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro. Bonauto alsoled the lawsuit that resulted in the landmark 2003 decision by the state Supreme Judicial Court legalizing gay marriage in Massachusetts.
Bonauto said that because of the law, the federal government treats the plaintiffs — seven gay and lesbian couples and three men whose husbands have died — as second-class citizens. They are ineligible for numerous federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive, including health insurance for spouses of federal employees, retirement and survivor benefits under the Social Security Act, and eligibility to file joint federal income tax returns.
W. Scott Simpson, a Justice Department lawyer defending the government, countered that the Obama administration agrees that the federal law is discriminatory and supports its repeal. But Simpson said the department is obliged to follow the longstanding practice of defending federal laws signed by previous presidents as long as the statutes are constitutional, which, he contends, the Defense of Marriage Act is.
“This presidential administration disagrees with DOMA as a matter of policy and would like to see it repealed,’’ he said, in a courtroom overflowing with supporters of gay marriage, including the 17 plaintiffs, who were allowed to sit in the jury box. “But that does not affect its constitutionality.’’
Congress had a legitimate rationale to pass the federal law 14 years ago, he said, given that some states had begun discussing legalizing same-sex marriage. The statute, he said, preserved the status quo — marriage reserved strictly for heterosexuals — and prevented federal agencies from having to keep track of which states had legalized gay marriages and which had not.
Several supporters of the suit did not buy the government’s argument, including the notion that President Obama, who has spoken repeatedly of repealing the federal law, had to defend it.
“I think the Obama administration, if they believe the statute is unconstitutional — which it clearly is — does not have a duty to defend it. In fact, they have a duty not to defend it,’’ Shannon P. Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who took a flight from San Francisco to attend the arguments, said afterward. Read entire article.
May 06, 2010
Good News: Charter Schools Gain in Popularity
(CitizenLink) President Obama designated this week National Charter Schools week, taking the occasion to commend the nation`s charter schools and staff and calling on people to support them.
There are more than 5,000 charter schools in the U.S., serving over 1.5 million children in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Lindsey Burke, research assistant with The Heritage Foundation, said the trend is for more choice in education, not less.
"Parents really want a wide menu of choice options when it comes to their child`s education," she said, "and charter schools really do provide yet another option, especially within the public school realm."
Some states are embracing charter schools. This week, the New York Senate voted to increase the number of charter schools from 200 to 460.
But Candi Cushman, education analyst with Focus on the Family Action, said several other states have charter caps to prevent their proliferation.
"We`re seeing that in many states the public school boards have Draconian regulations," she said, "that prevent the charter schools from having the freedom they need."
May 06, 2010
Pro-Life victory in Wisconsin
(Family Research Council) From the Good News of Jesus Christ to some good news in Wisconsin! Yesterday, our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) won a major victory at the Madison Surgery Center, where the board had voted last year to perform late-term abortions. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, ADF had learned that the abortions were "designed to supply the school`s medical researchers with fresh fetal body parts for experimentation." After thousands of pro-lifers poured into the city to protest and even more signed a petition to condemn the plan, the Center vacated its decision. ADF, together with Wisconsin Attorney General Kevin Potter, got official word this week about the turn-around. The bottom line? "Pro-life grassroots activism works," said Peggy Hamill, the state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. And so does a little pressure from ADF!
May 05, 2010
Criminal conviction against Phoenix pastor sentenced for ringing church bells overturned
(Alliance Defense Fund) An Arizona court Tuesday overturned the conviction of a Phoenix pastor, represented by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, who was sentenced to jail for ringing church bells. The court reversed the conviction of Bishop Rick Painter of Christ the King Liturgical Charismatic Church in the wake of a federal court’s determination last month that the city noise ordinance under which he was convicted is unconstitutional when enforced against sounds generated in the course of religious expression, such as church bells. The ordinance offered an exemption for ice cream trucks, but not for churches.
“Pastors and churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “Certainly, no pastor should have to fear jail time for engaging in peaceful religious expression.”
Painter was convicted and sentenced to jail for ringing church bells, even after his church went to great lengths to compromise with the few local residents who filed complaints. City officials then notified St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish last August that the ringing of its bells could be considered in violation of the same noise ordinance even though it has rung its bells for the last 20 years. First Christian Church of Phoenix, which wanted to repair and begin reusing its bell tower, feared it could also face prosecution.
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a federal lawsuit, St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish v. City of Phoenix, so the three churches could ring their bells without fear of future prosecution and criminal penalties for violating the ordinance. On April 19, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled the ordinance unconstitutional when enforced against sounds such as church bells. First Christian Church was dismissed from the lawsuit.
The bells at Painter’s church normally chimed every hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and have been registered to emit only 67 decibels from the nearest property line. A whisper is 30 decibels, and a normal conversation is about 60 to 70 decibels. Ice cream trucks are allowed to emit up to 70 decibels at a distance of 50 feet under an exemption to the city’s ordinance, but no exemption existed for church bells.
“Churches shouldn’t be singled out for ringing their bells as a public expression of faith, as has been done for centuries, while ice cream trucks get a pass,” said Stanley.
When Painter was given a suspended sentence of 10 days in jail and three years’ probation last June, the judge issued an order restricting chimes at the church to no more than 60 decibels for two minutes on Sundays and specific religious holidays. The federal court order eliminated those restrictions, and the order Tuesday in State of Arizona v. Painter from the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County, clears Painter’s criminal record and the sentence against him.
May 05, 2010
Franklin Graham prays outside Pentagon
(AP) Evangelist Franklin Graham prayed on a sidewalk outside the Pentagon Thursday after his invitation to a prayer service inside was withdrawn because of comments that insulted people of other religions.
Graham`s invitation to attend an event inside the Defense Department for national prayer day was withdrawn two weeks ago.
But he arrived in the Pentagon parking lot just before 8 a.m. EDT -- his party of a half dozen people forming a circle on the sidewalk and praying with heads bowed for about five minutes.
Graham once called Islam evil. He told an impromptu press conference Thursday outside the Pentagon that he prayed for the men and women of the armed forces and that he doesn`t feel his statements about other religions have been offensive.
May 05, 2010
Christian Students Have Rights at Graduation
(Citizenlink) With graduation season upon us, students should be aware of their rights during commencement exercises.
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, said student-led prayers and activities are well within the parameters of the Constitution.
"Students that are part of a graduation as a valedictorian, salutatorian, class officer, or even those that are voted by their classmates," he said, "have the ability to speak on religious issues and deliver prayer."
He advises students to start early with their school, going through the process and taking all the necessary steps.
He also has advice for any administration threatened by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
"They certainly have a lot of liberty and ability to allow students free speech, and that`s the best ground on which to walk," Staver said.
Jordan Sekulow, director of international operations with the American Center for Law and Justice, said as students learn more about their rights, they are becoming bold.
"Regardless of the agenda of these groups that have been fighting prayer in these instances," he said, "what they have done is empowered students across the country to stand up, to take a stand and exercise their free speech rights."
Christians: `Illiberal Secularism` Prevailing in UK
(Christian Post) Christians in the United Kingdom are facing increasing marginalization and oppression under new laws originally intended to safeguard equality, Christian leaders have warned.
The frank warning was delivered to around 1,000 Evangelical Christians at the Bible by the Beach conference held in Eastbourne over the weekend.
They heard how equality laws have led to the dismissal of Christians who offered to pray for clients or patients, the closure of adoption agencies that refuse to place children with same-sex couples, and charities losing funding because of their Christian ethos.
The conference explored the court ruling last week involving Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor with Relate Avon who was dismissed for telling his employers that he could not counsel same-sex couples because of his Christian beliefs.
He lost his legal bid to bring his dismissal before the Court of Appeal after Lord Justice Laws ruled that the Christian faith was “subjective” and “incommunicable by any kind of proof or evidence”, and that it would be “divisive, capricious and arbitrary” to protect a moral position held on purely religious grounds.
The Bishop of Lewes, the Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, argued that the Church of England was still the established Church and one of the UK’s three constitutional guarantors of civil freedoms, alongside Parliament and the monarchy.
He warned that Christians needed to be aware that “rampant, illiberal secularism” had become the prevailing attitude in the UK.
“We need to understand what’s going on at this moment in time. We are at a very, very tricky point as a nation because there is not a consensus commitment to anything else except hardline illiberal secularism and it’s a very dangerous place to be,” he said.
“We need to know what our heritage is, encourage people to return to it, and encourage Christians to be informed and stand up and be counted – graciously, but clearly and firmly.”
The conference was joined by Mike Ovey, Principal of Oak Hill Theological College, who said he had been “shocked” by the “intellectual incoherence” and “godlessness” of Lord Laws’ judgment.
He said: “If one of my students in their first year had written that I would have failed them ... Why? Because the Christian faith is not just subjective but it is rationally communicable.”
He asked the audience: “Do you believe? Did someone transmit and explain the faith to you? Yes. So to say that [the Christian faith] is just subjective is simply not true. Somebody made you believe.
“Lord Laws also believes something, he fails to see that he has a faith too ... secularism fails to understand that it is a religion.”
He went on to say that Christianity was not only being marginalized in the UK but that there was a “deeply held antipathy” to the Christian faith and that other faiths were being treated more fairly than Christianity.
Alistair Begg, senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio, quipped: “Climate change is a protected belief in our society but Christianity is not.”
Repealing Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell Threatens Religious Liberty
(Christian Post) The religious freedoms of military chaplains and service members are at risk if the Obama administration repeals the "don`t ask, don`t tell" policy, conservative and evangelical leaders warned on Wednesday.
Already, some Christian chaplains have threatened to leave their posts if the Pentagon`s policy on gay service members is overturned.
"If chaplains are forced to counsel same-sex couples or are limited in moral teachings that they can present you can look for orthodox Christian chaplains to exit the military, leaving an insurmountable void in fostering the environment that ensures that the men and women that wear the uniform are in their best mental, emotional and spiritual condition necessary to defend the nation and the ideals that we represent," said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.
"With two military actions underway, multiple deployments, and one tour of duty, why would we ask these people to carry the burden of this administration`s political agenda?" he posed at a media briefing in Washington, D.C.
President Obama has stated several times this year that he intends to repeal don`t ask, don`t tell. Most recently, Obama responded to several hecklers during a Los Angeles fundraiser this month expressing his support for the repeal.
"We are going to do that," he said to protesters who interrupted his address by shouting "repeal don`t ask, don`t tell!"
"When you`ve got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you`ve got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don`t know exactly why you`ve got to holler, because we already hear you, all right?" he added.
The contentious policy was enacted by President Clinton in 1993 after Congress passed a law that same year banning homosexuals from serving in the military. Though it bars openly gay individuals from serving in the U.S. military, it also bars the military from asking service members their sexual orientation.
As bills are pending in both houses of Congress to repeal the policy and replace it with a law preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, hundreds of retired military officers and chaplains have all signed on to letters addressing their concerns and opposing any attempt to weaken the current law.
"We believe that normalizing homosexual conduct in the armed forces will pose a significant threat to chaplains` and Service members` religious liberty," says one letter, signed by more than 40 retired military chaplains, addressed to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.
Read the entire article here.
May 05, 2010
President Obama Proclaims National Day of Prayer
(Christian Post) President Obama has issued a proclamation declaring this Thursday as National Day of Prayer.
In his proclamation, he states that prayer has long been an important part of U.S. history. The nation upholds as fundamental principles the exercise of religion and freedom of conscience, he said. Thus Americans have long considered it “fitting and proper” to publicly observe the importance of prayer on May 6.
“On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our Nation,” said Obama in the proclamation. “Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one Nation.”
The National Day of Prayer was officially created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, and signed into law by President Harry Truman. Since 1952, every president has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
In April, however, federal judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional because it amounts to a call for religious action. Crabb ruled in favor of Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of atheists and agnostics, that filed the lawsuit in October 2008.
FFRF had originally filed the lawsuit against President George W. Bush and Dana Perino, his press secretary, among others. But the lawsuit has since been changed so that President Obama and Robert Gibbs are among the defendants.
The Obama administration said it intends to appeal Crabb’s decision.
Crabb said her ruling will not bar National Day of Prayer activities until all appeals have been exhausted.
Besides the court ruling, the day of prayer has also been caught in another controversy involving one of its spokespersons.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, co-honorary chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, was disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer event over previous comments he made about Islam.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations tried to also get Graham`s invitation for the Capitol Hill prayer event rescinded. But congressional sponsors of the event refused to withdraw the invitation for Graham to speak at the prayer gathering at the Capitol.
Graham said he briefly spoke President Obama about being dropped from the Pentagon event when the president recently visited Billy Graham’s home. Obama told him he “would look into it,” Graham said.
For this year’s National Day of Prayer, Obama calls on Americans to particularly remember in their prayers the natural disasters in Haiti and Chile; the families of the West Virginia miners; the people of Poland who have lost many of their country’s leaders; and for those serving in the military.
May 05, 2010
San Jose State University chooses sex over life & liberty
(Alliance Defense Fund) ADF Attorney Joe Martins writing at speakupmovement.org/university: “This month, San Jose State University President, Jon Whitmore, decided to continue a two year old policy of suspending all blood drives on campus. The reason? Because the Food and Drug Administration sexual orientation discrimination. The implications of this decision are quite shocking.” (FDA) bans men who have had sex with other men (MSM) from donating blood. According to SJSU, this violates the University’s policy against sexual orientation discrimination. The implications of this decision are quite shocking.”
May 03, 2010
Court won`t hear appeal on Boy Scouts land rental
(AP) The Supreme Court on Monday decided to let stand a ruling saying the Boy Scouts cannot lease city-owned parkland in San Diego because the group is a religious organization.
The high court refused to hear an appeal from San Diego-area Boy Scouts who have traditionally leased Balboa Park camp space.
U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones Jr. ruled in 2003 that San Diego acted improperly when it leased 18 acres of camp space to the Scouts because the group is a religious organization. The judge said the lease violated federal law that prohibits the government promotion of religion.
The Boy Scouts say they have no theology and only hold the position that children should "do duty to God" to become productive citizens.
The American Civil Liberties Union had sued San Diego and the Boy Scouts in August 2000 on behalf of a lesbian couple and an agnostic couple, each with scouting-age sons. They filed the lawsuit after the City Council voted to extend the group`s 50-year lease for another 25 years.
The Boys Scouts have been the target of preferential treatment lawsuits since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2000 that the group has a constitutional right to exclude openly gay men from serving as troop leaders and because it compels members to swear an oath of duty to God.
The group had received support from the Bush administration, which in March 2004 filed a friend of the court brief arguing that even though the organization believes in God and members take an oath to do their duty to God, it is not a religious organization.
The case is Boy Scouts v. Barnes-Wallace, 08-1222.
May 01, 2010
KFC Bashed for Promoting Komen While Breast Cancer Group Links to Abortion
(LifeNews) Kentucky Fried Chicken has started a new fundraising campaign to bring in money from the sales of pink buckets of chicken to benefit the Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation. But pro-life groups are up in arms because Komen denies the abortion-breast cancer link and donates to Planned Parenthood.
Angela Martin, the executive director of Maryland Right to Life, told LifeNews.com that the Komen partnership with the KFC is raising eyebrows, with consumer groups complaining that the fat and calorie-laden chicken doesn`t contribute to good health.
"The jury is still out on whether eating Kentucky-fried chicken increases breast cancer risk, but that hasn`t stopped the pundits from registering their disapproval," she said.
Komen affiliates have given Planned Parenthood $3 million between 2003 and 2008 and $805,000 in the 2008 fiscal year, according to STOPP International.
"The Komen Foundation seems to have a record of ignoring potential risk factors, though. A cursory examination of their web site shows complete disavowal of any possibility that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer — despite growing evidence that an abortion-breast cancer link is scientifically defensible," Martin says.
"It also shows links to Planned Parenthood, perhaps the world`s largest purveyor of abortion services," she added.
Martin told Lifenews.com, "If Komen truly cares about reducing breast cancer incidence and saving women`s lives, it should devote itself to seeking the truth about abortion and breast cancer."
A January 2010 study called abortion a "known risk factor" for breast cancer and cited a study conducted by the prestigious Janet Daling group of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Daling and her colleagues showed between a 20 and 50 percent increased breast cancer risk for women having abortions compare to those who carried their pregnancies to term.
May 01, 2010
James Dobson to Return with Same Bold Approach
Dr. James Dobson is returning to talk radio on Monday with a new show and with no intention of softening his bold and unabashed tone.
"Please don’t expect me to take a `softer, gentler` approach to the issues that burn within my soul," he tells readers on his new "Family Talk" website. "I have never spoken or written without passion for values in which I believe, and I don`t intend to start now."
"Family Talk" is scheduled to launch on over 500 outlets. And joining the longtime and renowned evangelical radio host will be his son, Ryan Dobson, and veteran producer Luanne Crane.
The three will be discussing family-related topics, cultural issues and matters relevant to the Christian faith on the daily program that is designed to reach the younger generation with the Judeo-Christian worldview of the family.
While his former ministry, Focus on the Family, has begun to take a less divisive approach to issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage over the last year, Dobson plans to be anything but timid on his new show.
"Babies are dying, the very definition of marriage is under attack, the financial underpinnings of families are being destroyed by confiscatory taxation, and children of all ages are being taught wickedness and every form of godlessness. This is no time to grow timid!" he said.
Dobson, 74, left Focus on the Family, which he founded 33 years ago, in February after passing the reins to Jim Daly. The leadership transition began in 2003 when he resigned as president. He was determined to turn the ministry – which reaches more than 220 million people around the world – over to the next generation of leaders.
With the help of a $1 million grant from Focus on the Family, Dobson is now set to begin his new radio show out of the same city – Colorado Springs.
The new show is not meant to compete with Focus on the Family, Dobson has stressed. The need for family ministry is great, he said, and one organization isn`t going to cut it.
"Our country is facing desperate circumstances now, and the family needs all the help it can get," said Dobson in a statement. "Frankly, we`re circling back to 1977, when I left USC to address the same concerns. I`m very excited as we look ahead."
The popular author and radio host said their primary emphasis at "Family Talk" will be on the principles of building successful marriages, and on raising godly, self-disciplined, and respectful children.
"Accomplishing that goal is no easy task in this shockwave world, but we will tackle it head on."
Dobson anticipates "Family Talk" to be carried on more stations in the immediate future.
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