FRC Blog

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

December 18, 2008

Here’s what we are looking at today:

Breaking: Arlen Specter Quietly Opens Fire on Eric Holder,”  Erick Erickson, Redstate (December 18, 2008)

New Rule Protects Health-Care Workers’ ‘Right of Conscience’,” Rob Stein, The Washington Post (December 18, 2008)

Lawyers wrangle over records in Kan. abortion case,” John Hanna, The Hays Daily News (December 18, 2008)

Calif couples hope ads spur gay marriage support,” Associated Press (December 17, 2008)

Obama Defends Invocation by Conservative Pastor” Jacqueline K. Salmon, Debbi Wilgoren, and Peter Slevin, The Washington Post (December 18, 2008)

Lesbian youth at high risk for pregnancy,” Amy O’Brian, The Vancouver Sun (December 17, 2008)

Conservative Leader Paul Weyrich Dies; First to Lead Heritage,” Rob Bluey, Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry blog.

Breaking news: IL Supreme Court rules for pharmacists/against Blagojevich,” Jill Stanek, jillstanek.com (December 18, 2008).

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Church + Two Parents = Fewer Child Behavior Problems

by Michael Leaser

December 16, 2008

A new study from the Mapping America project, co-released by more than 30 state family policy councils today, finds that children have fewer problems at school and home when they live with both biological parents and frequently attend religious services. Dr. Nicholas Zill, the founding president of Child Trends, and Dr. Philip Fletcher, a research psychologist at Westat, co-authored the new study, which analyzes data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Among their remarkable findings: children in this group are five times less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to have behavior problems at home and school, and are more likely to be cooperative and understanding of others’ feelings. Parents of these children report less stress, healthier parent-child relationships, and fewer concerns about their children’s achievement. These differences hold up even after controlling for family income and poverty, low parent education levels, and race and ethnicity.

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Blogs for Life 2009

by Jared Bridges

December 16, 2008

If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for the fourth-annual Blogs For Life conference on January 22nd, 2009. It will again be hosted here at Family Research Council Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and will run from 8:30 - 11:30a.m.

This year’s event will, as usual, precede the March for Life, which marks the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. We’ll be webcasting the event again, and we’re in the process of lining up another great group of speakers, so stay tuned to this spot for more information.

In the meantime, check out last year’s lineup.

More information here.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Gregory Craig

by Bill Saunders

December 16, 2008

Position: White House Counsel

NOMINEE: Gregory Bestor Craig

Born: Norfolk, Va., March 4, 1945

Family: Wife, Derry Noyes, and five children.

Occupation: Partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Connelly

Education: A.B. Harvard College, J.D. Yale Law School

Senate Work: Senior Advisor on Defense, Foreign Policy and National Security to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) for 1984-1988

Clinton White House: Director of Policy Planning, State Department, 1997-1998; special coordinator to monitor China’s suppression of Tibetan culture and religion, 1998; Assistant to the President and Special Counsel 1998-1999 (impeachment team “quarterback”)

Famous Clients: John J. Kearney (FBI agent accused of illegal wiretapping during the investigation of the Weathermen terrorists), 1977; Richard Helms (CIA Director accused of perjury before the Senate concerning General Pinochet’s 1973 coup in Chile), 1977 (with Edward Bennett Williams); John Hinckley, Jr. (attempted murder of President Reagan), 1981; Sen. Edward Kennedy (testimony relating to the rape trial of his nephew, William Kennedy Smith), 1991; Juan Miguel Gonzalez (custody battle over his asylum-seeking son, Elian), 1998; Kofi Annan (Volcker Committee investigations over Oil-for-Food), 2004; Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (former leftist President of Bolivia, accused of involvement in the killing of 67 further left-wing protestors in 2003), 2008.

Testimony: “He has the ability to look at issues from a different perspective and he’s very pragmatic and very smart.” - Madeleine Albright

There’s no one I’d rather be with in a crisis. He’s just wonderful and very comforting, no matter how tough the problems you’re dealing with. He never kind of loses it. He’s so rational, says what he has to say very clearly, and he’s always on your side.” - Ethel Kennedy

Nicaraguan Communism

While serving as Senator Ted Kennedy’s Senior Advisor, Craig orchestrated hearings about alleged human rights abuses by the American-backed Nicaraguan rebels, the Contras. During these hearings he brought a number of communist Sandinista sympathizers to testify before Congress. Their politically motivated accounts of the situation in Nicaragua brought significant bad press to the freedom fighters, thus complicating stated administration policy on Nicaragua. Following the hearing, however, after having been criticized in The New Republic for aiding communists, Craig expressed regret, insisting that he did not realize how biased his witnesses were. He subsequently traveled to Nicaragua himself and criticized the manifest human rights abuses of the Sandinista government. [source]

Elian Gonzalez

While technically not a government employee at the time-having returned to his partnership at Williams & Connelly-Craig played a decidedly active role in the entire Elian Gonzalez affair, ostensibly representing his father, Juan, who was under the control of Fidel Castro and his aides. From an article in National Review:

Accounts of pre-raid negotiations between Elian’s Miami relatives and the Justice Department suggest that Reno wasn’t trying to bring peace to the warring Gonzalez family so much as taking orders straight from Craig. It appears that the Miami Gonzalezes had agreed to transfer custody of Elian to his father, as long as they could live with the boy and his father in an environment free of U.S. and Cuban officials. These negotiations dragged on through Good Friday and into the next morning, with Craig reviewing documents in his office past 2:00 A.M.- and ultimately vetoing the proposed settlement.

Craig had been pushing the government to take Elian from his relatives “immediately” for some time prior to the raid. For his efforts Craig was paid $100,000 through a “voluntary fund” set up by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and administered by the National Council of Churches.

Clinton Impeachment

Part of why Craig’s time at State was unremarkable was his short tenure, since he had to leave that position to head Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense team. It is worth noting that Craig was originally cool to the idea. The Washington Post reported at the time:

I hope you won’t think it amiss if I tell you I’m not enthusiastic,” [Craig] recalls telling John Podesta, then deputy White House chief of staff, when Podesta asked him in early September to consider leading Clinton’s defense team in the impeachment inquiry. “John said, ‘Well, just think about it.’ So I kept thinking about it — and my enthusiasm didn’t grow.”

Even after meeting with Clinton, Craig was not sold on the idea:

[Clinton] was in great pain,” Craig recalls. “He was, I think, profoundly troubled at his own failures, at his own shortcomings, and really at a loss about what to do, how to handle it. And I told him he really needed to talk about it. And he asked for my help. And I said I’ve got to talk to my wife.”

Nevertheless, Craig did take the job, and by all accounts performed competently.

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

December 16, 2008

Here is what we are looking at today:

Is Planned Parenthood Pro-Life?”  Ross Douthat, The Atlantic (December 14, 2008)

Pro-Life Groups Respond to Secret Memo With Obama’s Abortion Marching Orders” Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com (December 15, 2008)

Change in governor could mean new chance for abortion legislation” Maria Konopken, Arizona Capitol Times (December 15, 2008)

Education Secretary Nominee Will Reach Out to Unions, School Reform Groups” Maria Glod, The Washington Post (December 16, 2008)

Gay-marriage resolution in Sioux City is on hold” Molly Hottle and Larry Ballard, The Des Moines Register (December 16, 2008)

Readers speak out on gay marriage fight” Charles C. Haynes, Statesman Journal (December 16, 2008)

Poll Shows Britons Favor Euthanasia, Showing of Assisted Suicide on Television” Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com (December 15, 2008)

Chuck Colson on ‘reaching rock bottom’” Gina Dalfonzo, The Point (December 16, 2008)

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Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform”

by Moira Gaul

December 16, 2008

Check out this new book by former FRC director of tax policy and blogger extraordinaire, Leslie Carbone.  You can find the book here.  Slaying Leviathan:  The Moral Case for Tax Reform, “explores the moral dimension of tax policy and calls for a fundamental tax reform.”

Book Description from Potomac Books, Inc.

In the natural order, virtue and vice each carries its own consequences. On the one hand, virtue yields largely positive results. Hard work, patience, and carefulness, for example, tend to generate prosperity. Vice, on the other hand, brings negative consequences. Sloth, impatience, and recklessness, for example, tend toward suffering.

In Slaying Leviathan, Leslie Carbone argues that since the early twentieth century, U.S. tax policy has been designed to mitigate the natural economic results of both virtue and vice. When the government disrupts the natural order through taxation by creating incentives and disincentives that overturn these natural consequences, the government perverts its own function and becomes part of the problem-a contributor to social breakdown-rather than part of the solution or an instrument of justice.

Slaying Leviathan envisions an approach to tax policy rooted in natural justice. To achieve this goal, Carbone first traces the historical evolution of U.S. tax policy, from the 1765 Stamp Act to the 1997 tax cut. She then assesses the current American tax burden and George W. Bush’s tax cuts and explores the fundamental problems with U.S. tax policy. After providing a historical analysis of federal spending and of expanding governmental expectations, she offers a set of over-arching principles and instructions on how to apply them to tax policy proposals.”


About the Author:
“Leslie Carbone served as the director of Family Tax Policy at the Family Research Council, chief of staff to the late assemblyman Gil Ferguson of California, and a speechwriter for U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. Her writing has been published in the Weekly Standard, the American Enterprise, the San Francisco Chronicle, and numerous other magazines and journals. She has lectured on more than 100 college campuses and has been interviewed on more than 250 radio shows. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia.”

 

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Alarming Study Raises Awareness of Teens and Technology

by Krystle Gabele

December 15, 2008

According to a recent survey published by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and CosmoGirl.com, approximately 20% of teens (ages 13-19) and 33% of young adults (ages 20-26) have sent or posted pictures of themselves either nude or semi nude.  If this statistic is not shocking enough, of the 1,280 survey participants, 39% of the teens surveyed said they have sent or posted suggestive messages, while 59% of all young adults have done the same thing. 

The questions in the study were asked and categorized by the sex.  When asked, “What do you think are the reasons that girls send/post sexy messages or pictures/video of themselves?,” approximately 85% of teens and 80% of young adults agree that the main reason behind sending these sexy messages is to get or keep a guy’s attention.  Another popular response from both the teens and young adults was that it is a great way to get noticed.

However, when the question was asked of males, both teens and young adults surveyed said the main reason guys sent or posted sexy messages was to get or keep a girl’s attention, only to be followed by guys wanting to be fun or flirtatious.  

When asked how the teens and young adults described such activities, a majority of young adults said they viewed this as flirty, while others viewed this behavior as being stupid and dangerous.  When asked about a characteristic that describes the people who resort to these messages, a majority said this behavior was flirty, while many felt this behavior was stupid, desperate, immature, and insecure.

Then, why do teens and young adults still feel compelled to post provocative messages online?  Is it because they feel a need to be desired or wanted by the opposite sex?

In a society that seems to be driven by the line that says, “sex sells,” this type of behavior can lead to many dangers.  According to PC Magazine, online sex predators are gradually threatening the security of many teenagers through sites like Facebook and MySpace.  If these sites are used properly, they can be safe places for networking.  When posting semi-nude or nude pictures on these sites, a teenager is setting themselves up for potential risk of abduction, stalking, rapes, etc. 

Additionally, employers and potential employers do look at this material, and the study indicates that many view this is as disgusting and disrespectful.

Let’s get back to basics.  Teenagers and young adults do not need to resort to such behavior when they have respect for themselves and hold high standards.  When you are a teenager, you might have a concept about what true love is, but the concept is flawed due to the overwhelming emotions that you experience.  Enjoy your time being a teenager!  Adulthood comes fast enough.  Be patient, love comes in due time with trust in God’s plan for your lives. 

Parents often recognize that their child participates in things online that they would not approve.  According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, “65% of all parents and 64% of all teens say that teens do things online that they wouldn’t want their parents to know about.” 

This is why parental involvement is so crucial and needed.  Family Research Council has a wonderful publication available online that provides ways to keep your child from engaging in risky behaviors online. 

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

December 15, 2008

Here’s what we are looking at today.

Single adult stem cell can self renew, repair tissue damage in live mammal,” Physorg.com, December 14, 2008.

Should Assisted Suicide Be Broadcast Live on TV?,” Pajamas Media, December 14, 2008

Vatican hits out at controversial abortion pill,” AFP, December 14, 2008

Fight over gay marriage looms in Maine Legislature,” Boston Herald, December 14, 2008

Change Is Coming To The Nation’s Abortion Laws,” Deal W. Hudson, GOPUSA, December 15, 2008

Teens in western Kansas pledge abstinence,” Associated Press, December 12, 2008

Taking it to the next level - the need for pro-life community organizers,” Ruben Obregon, ProLifeBlogs.com, December 15, 2008

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Is it too wrong to wish someone a “Merry Christmas?”

by Krystle Gabele

December 12, 2008

It seems like America has been plagued by the notions of being politically correct lately. Too often, you walk into a retail store and they are offering holiday sales, not “Christmas” sales.In today’s society, you are persecuted if you say, “Merry Christmas,” because the powers that be deem it too controversial.

If your child is in school, they do not throw Christmas parties complete with Santa Claus and the goodies. Instead, they throw Holiday parties with no such entertainment (except for a controversial movie or two). If you buy a Christmas tree, the man who puts the tree on top of your car wishes you, “Happy Holidays.” I believe you bought a Christmas tree, so where is the customary “Merry Christmas?”

Now, it seems like there is an assault by the leftists and religious separatists to remove Christianity from Christmas. According to the Stop the ACLU blog, there is a community threatening to stop Christmas carols from being sung in public places. Why? Because the organizers do not want to risk alienating the Muslims or Atheists due to Christ, and this is especially odd considering that the community is 75% Christian and 1% Muslim.

Enough is enough, right? Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and giving to others in his name. There is nothing politically wrong about doing this, and it is time we return to our faith, especially in the times we are facing ahead. It will be our faith in God that will sustain us.

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