Month Archives: July 2009

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 10, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • Federal Law excluding Gay Marriage is under siege,” Michael B. Farrell, Christian Science Monitor (July 9, 2009)
  • Five years after it became the first state to marry same-sex couples, Massachusetts is taking on the federal governments definition of marriage.

    While other lawsuits have challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed in 1996 and defined marriage as between a man and woman, Massachusetts is the first to argue that Congress overstepped its bounds and violated a states right to determine what constitutes marriage.

  • Survey: Science Just One Ingredient of Opinion Cocktail,” Emily Badger, Miller-McCune (July 9, 2009)
  • Although people like science, they are not bound by what science shows,” said Alan I. Leshner, the AAAS’s CEO and executive publisher of the journal Science. “Advances in science over the course of last decade are coming into conflict with some core human values issues, whether it’s when life begins or what you believe about evolution. Only scientists are stuck with what science is showing. The public at large and policy-makers are free to deny, disagree or just disregard what the science is showing. Scientists don’t have that luxury.”

  • Group asks Tracy to drop religion from invocations,” Mike Martinez, San Joaquin Herald (July 9, 2009)
  • In a six-page letter to the city, the attorney for the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote demanding an end to the practice.

    The City Council of Tracy cannot, under current federal and state law, permit any prayers that contain references to an explicit deity,” wrote attorney Rebecca Kratz. “The prayers currently given during council meetings impermissibly advance Christianity and lead a reasonable observer to believe that the council is endorsing not only religion over non religion, but also Christianity over other faiths.”

  • Marriage showdown imminent in Maine,” Charlie Butts, OneNewsNow (July 10, 2009)
  • Although the legislature passed it and Governor John Baldacci approved the same-sex marriage bill in May, the law is on hold. Maine considers the people to be a branch of the government, and they can exercise a People’s Veto. Mary Conroy of Stand for Marriage tells OneNewsNow that means gathering enough signatures to put the issue before voters.

  • White House Says Obama, Pope Benedict XVI Will Have “Frank” Talk on Abortion,” Steven Ertelt, (July 8, 2009)
  • The relationship between Obama and Catholics has been tenuous. The pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church and Obama’s pro-abortion views have been at odds since the beginning of his presidency.

    Before Obama took over the White House, the nation’s Catholic bishops warned him not to aggressively promote abortion and not to include abortion in his health care restructuring proposal.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 8, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • Mass. challenges federal Defense of Marriage Act,” Martin Finucane, The Boston Globe (July 8, 2009)
  • Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage, has become the first to challenge the constitutionality of a federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, saying Congress intruded into a matter that should be left to individual states.

  • Scientists claim sperm ‘first’,” Fergus Walsh, BBC News (July 7, 2009)
  • This research also raises ethical issues. Josephine Quintavalle from Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Corethics) said: “This is an example of immoral madness. Perfectly viable human embryos have been destroyed in order to create sperm over which there will be huge questions of their healthiness and viability.

    It’s taking one life in order to perhaps create another. I’m very much in favour of curing infertility but I don’t think you can do whatever you like.”

  • Could Abortion Coverage Sink Health-Care Reform?,” Karen Tumulty, Time (July 8, 2009)
  • Gay marriage foes reach signature goal in Maine,” Associated Press (July 8, 2009)
  • Mark Mutty from the Stand for Marriage Maine coalition says it took only four weeks to gather the more than 55,087 signatures necessary to put gay marriage to a vote. But he says signature gathering will continue to ensure theres more than enough petitions.”

  • School district shapes religious policy,” Associated Press (July 8, 2009)
  • Spencer public school officials are proposing a policy that will allow students to study the Bible and pray during graduation ceremonies.

    The proposal, if adopted, will have schools offer elective classes that permit arguments against evolution and discussions on the Bible in history and literature. School officials say they want to set clear rules for religious expression.”

  • Cerebral Palsy Improves After Bone Marrow Stem Cell Procedure,” PR Newswire (July 8, 2009)
  • Dr. David Steenblock of Mission Viejo, California, a pioneer in clinical applications of stem cells, is pleased to report the results of a 16 year old girl who suffered from cerebral palsy. The patient had right side paralysis and spasticity since birth. The procedure consisted of removing 300 milliliters of bone marrow from her hip and giving it back to her intravenously.”

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 7, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 6, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • Same-sex unions a challenge for Census,” Haya El Nasser, USA Today (July 5, 2009)
  • If the Census uses current methods, it would “unmarry people who checked off ‘married couples,’ ” even in states where same-sex marriage is legal…

  • Minister sues city over right to protest abortion,” Lee Tant, The Times and Democrat (July 5, 2009)
  • Asking God for peace, and help in job search,” Associated Press (July 5, 2009)
  • Castro’s group is one of several church-related unemployment support groups that have formed around the country as the jobless rate reaches heights not seen for decades. On Thursday, the government reported a 9.5 percent unemployment rate for June, the worst in 26 years.

    Job seekers can’t use God as a reference, and studying Scripture might seem unrelated to grabbing a prospective employer’s attention. But church support group members say the meetings aren’t just about helping people find the next job; they’re also about refining and strengthening their faith along the way.”

  • Embryonic Stem Cellsand Other Stem CellsPromise to Advance Treatments,” Katherine Hobson, U.S. News & World Report (July 2, 2009)
  • The earliest therapeutic breakthroughs are likely to arise from adult stem cells, which exist in everybody in many subtypesblood-producing stem cells in the bone marrow, for example, and stem cells in the brain that can become neurons and other brain cells. “In the short termsay, the next five yearsmost of the therapeutic applications from stem cells will be from adult stem cells,” says Steven Stice, director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia. Their most likely uses: disorders of the blood and blood vessels, bone, and immune systems, he says.

  • No glib utterances,” Andree Seu, WORLD Magazine (July 18, 2009)
  • God’s commands turn out to be doorways to intimacy with Him. And the best kept secret about obedience in the face of a hard temptation is that there is a blessing waiting on the other side. Satan doesn’t want us to know that. He would prefer the usual succumb-and-repent routine.”

I-Day at the Naval Academy

by Robert Morrison

July 2, 2009

Its the sound of freedom, but you feel it before you hear it. Thats the jet noise of the F-18 fighter planes that roared overhead yesterday at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland. The jets came in low. Their flight marked the induction of a new class of Midshipmen. The two fighters were piloted by Naval Academy graduates, and they flew up from the Naval Air Station in Oceana, Virginia. These flyovers are meant to inspire awe, and they do.

Induction Dayor I-Dayis the day when more than 1200 young people from all over the U.S. begin their Navy service. Male or female, theyre all Midshipmen. While most high school grads are working or enjoying this last summer before college, these Midshipmen are going through a rigorous eight weeks of what is called Plebe Summer. My wife Kate is a retired Navy Medical Service Corps captain. Weve been going to I-Day since 1997, when Kate was running the USNA health clinic.

Physical exams are a big part of I-Day. Captain Morrisons 250 military and civilian staff would all turn out to supervise the in-processing of the new class. All the medications the Plebes brought with them are collectedeven aspirin and Visineand dumped in a big pile. From then on, only Navy-prescribed medications could be carried or consumed. The Plebes would be poked and probed by Navy docs, checked for a host of diseases or disabling conditions.

Theres some tension in the day. Tragic tales are told. One young man whose father and grandfather, like those of John McCain, were Academy graduates was found to have a previously undetected heart murmur and had to be turned away.

The overwhelming majority of the Class of 2013, though, are healthy as horses. The young mens heads are shaved; the young women get a short bob. They all wear white worksbaggy white jumpers and pants with white Dixie cup caps circled by a distinctive blue band. Theyll all be required to carry water with them at all times during the usually hot and humid summers of Annapolis. Old Goatsas Navy alumni are calledwill complain that Plebe Summer has gotten too soft, but these youngsters are bright and eager and look as if they can take a lot of conditioning. The purpose of Plebe Summer, we are always told, is to build them up, not to tear them down. And always, its designed to build what military types call unit cohesion. During World War II, they called the group formed by that kind of camaraderie a band of brothers.

They look so young, my wife often says. They are. Most are just eighteen. Some are even seventeen. You can qualify for the Naval Academy up to but not after your twenty-third birthday. We know one family where the older brother, already a college sophomore, attended his younger brothers induction, and promptly decided he wanted to transfer to the Naval Academy. He had to start his college career all over againand salute the little brother who now outranked him!

The most moving moment of I-Day, the reason it is called Induction Day, is when the 1200 new Midshipmen take the Oath. Led by the Academys gold braided Superintendent, often with their tearful parents looking on, these young people raise their right hands and pledge to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Its a joyous occasion. Some of the parents, doubtless, mix their pride with relief: Their son or daughter will have an excellent four-year education and graduate not only with a guaranteed job, but with no debt. Naval Academy Midshipmen not only pay no tuition, they actually receive a modest ($558.04 per month) salary while they are in school.

No one is morbid about it, but there is an undertone of solemnity in this important first step in a Navy or Marine Corps career. At least one of the Midshipmen whose induction my wife and I witnessed over the past thirteen years has his name inscribed in Memorial Hall. Marine First Lieutenant J.P. Blecksmith was killed in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003. Our daughter Elizabeth used to drive him around the town after a football injury required a knee operation. All give some. Some give all.

Kate and I join dozens of others from the Chapel to welcome unaccompanied Plebes. These are Midshipmen whose folks will wait until Plebe Parents Weekend in August to make the long trip to Annapolis. We invite Plebes to attend our Chapel services.

We give our Plebes juice and cookies, we chat with them, and let them use our cell phones to call their families. No one we saw in the Class of 2013 seemed near tears. The cooler weather may have contributed to this. They were cheerful, even jaunty.

As we leave Tecumseh Court, the large, open square where the induction ceremony has taken place, I can see that Kate is about to remark again how young they all look.

How young and how few. During World War II, with a military draft, one in every eleven Americans was in uniform. Today, with our all-volunteer military, only one in two hundred Americans defend our lives and liberties in a hostile world. I point to a group of folks standing under the trees. Look, Kate, its the parents of the Plebes. Dont they look young?

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 2, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

July 1, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

  • Abortions down slightly in Minnesota,” Bob Von Sternberg, The Star Tribune (July 1, 2009)
  • According to the annual report by the Minnesota Department of Health, 12,948 abortions were performed last year, 895 fewer than in 2007.

  • Report: Abortions drop for fifth straight year in Wisconsin,” Associated Press (June 30, 2009)
  • A state report released Tuesday found 8,229 abortions were performed in the state last year, down from 8,267 in 2007. The number of abortions in the state has fallen for five straight years now.

  • Liberty’s champion,” Marvin Olasky, WORLD Magazine (July 4, 2009)
  • Calvin was a fallen sinner, as all of us are, but was he especially mean-spirited? He taught that God created the world out of love and loved the world so much that Christ came down from the glorious kingdom of heaven and plunged into this world’s muck.

  • Conservative Christian groups form new federation,” Jody Brown, OneNewsNow (July 1, 2009)
  • Ouch! Planned Parenthood stung again…,” Charlie Butts, OneNewsNow (July 1, 2009)
  • We want the attorney general of the state of Alabama to take this seriously and do his own investigation to find out what further is happening and convict Planned Parenthood where appropriate,” she says. “And we also hope the legislators pay attention so that if there is any state or local funding going to Planned Parenthood, that they can immediately cut the funding.”

  • Fixing The Heart With Stem Cells,” Bill Whitaker, CBS News (June 29, 2009)
  • This week doctors in Los Angeles have given a heart attack patient an infusion of stem cells grown from his own heart muscle.

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