Month Archives: March 2010

Bluefin over Babies: The Sad Priorities of the New York Times

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 5, 2010

Today the Grey Lady carries an op-ed titled, “A Chance for the Bluefin.” It begins with this sentence: “There finally might be a reprieve for the bluefin tuna of the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, which are spiraling rapidly downward toward commercial extinction.” The piece waxes eloquent about the need to protect the bluefin, an important food resource for the U.S. and much of the world.

That’s good news. But given the Times’ addictive advocacy of unrestricted access to abortion on demand (federally funded, at that), I could not help but being impressed by the unintended irony of the op-ed’s title. This year, somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 million unborn children will be aborted in the United States. 1 This does not count the many who will die due to abortafacient contraceptives.

It is estimated that more than 70 percent of the abortion facilities in the United States are located in or near minority population centers. 2 The “black genocide” is real, as the abortion industry targets little ones of color long the targets of eugenicists like Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, formerly the research arm of Planned Parenthood, notes, “[T]he abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women.” 3

Worldwide, approximately 42 million unborn children will be killed in utero this year, many of them due to the largesse of the United States (the Obama Administration’s funding of international “family planning” groups that provide abortions to women in the developing world). 4 Although the Times warns against waking up one day and discovering there are no tuna left to fish, protecting those little lives far outweighs protecting tuna. As Jesus said to His disciples, You are far more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). He might have added, and than many fish.

I’m glad the bluefin might be saved. I like a good tuna salad sandwich as much as the next guy. But I long for the day when as much moral urgency will be given the preservation of the unborn as the New York Times has today given to the continued sustenance of a fish.





Remembering Orlando Zapata

by Robert Morrison

March 5, 2010

God bless the Wall Street Journals Mary Anastasia OGrady. Shes a defender of liberty. Her March 1st column, Viva Zapata, urges us to remember the Cuban human rights champion, Orlando Zapata. This humble stone mason died in a military prison in Havana last week. Zapata was only 42. He had gone on an 84-day hunger strike to protest Fidel Castros inhuman treatment of thousands of prisoners of conscience in Cuba, one of the last of the Stalinist regimes in the world.

I say one of the last in a spirit of hope. Surely China is a Stalinist regime. So is North Korea. What does it mean to call Castros island prison a Stalinist regime?

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died on this day in 1953. Then, Fidel Castro was already planning an invasion of his homeland. The bearded revolutionary had not yet brought down his iron fist on Cuba, the pearl of the Antilles. Orlando Zapata had not even been born yet. Nor had any of todays tyrants in Beijing or Pyongyang.

Yet all of these latter-day Stalins look to him as their model. So did Saddam Hussein.

The Israeli political leader Natan Sharansky survived the Soviet Gulag that Stalin had done so much to build up and expand. In his memoir, Fear No Evil, Sharansky describes how his father brought him the news in the pre-dawn darkness of March 5, 1953, that Stalin was dead.

Poppa Sharansky whispered to kindergartener Anatoly (in Israel, he would later judaize his first name.) Stalin is dead! Listen to me. When the children in school cry, you cry. When the children write poems and sing songs to Stalin, you join them. But remember this, my son. Stalin was going to send all of us Jews to Siberia. This is a deliverance for our people.

How like the biblical story of Esther was Stalins death for the Sharanskys in their crowded Moscow apartment house. What must it have been like to have to put on a sad face even in the kitchen and bathroom your family shared with neighbors, while inside your own hearts you thanked the God of Israel for this miracle?

Ive always felt a bond with Natan Sharansky, a man Ive never met. My own father came to me in the pre-dawn darkness of March 5, 1953, to bring me the momentous news that Stalin was dead. Even though I was just a second-grader, my Pop could explain to me how important this news was. He had traveled to the Soviet Union as an American merchant sailor. He taught me what a brutal regime it was.

The world expected a thaw in the Cold War with the Soviet dictators death in 1953. But Mao Zedong in China was not giving in. Nor was Kim il-Sung (the current North Korean dictators equally despotic father). Nor were Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Communist guerillas plotting to take over Cuba.

The Leader of the Peoples, Josef Stalin, died that March 5th in his Kremlin apartments, choking and shaking his finger angrily at the ceiling. His daughter, Svetlana Allilueyeva, perhaps the only human being he ever loved, recorded his death in her memoirs. Its an old Russian proverb that you never point your finger upwards. Some might think you are angry with God. Stalin was angry with God.

It is deplorable that we still have little Stalins among us. Not just the Chinese dictators, the North Koreans and the Cubans. We have had little red czars in the White House. Our Presidents ex-communications director had a favorite political philosopher in Chairman Mao, Stalins loyal follower.

In todays Moscow, the State Security apparatus has reinstated a bust of Iron Felix Dzerzhinsky. Iron Felix had been the first chief of the Chekathe Communist regimes first secret police. In the heady days of 1991, when the Iron Curtain came down and when the USSR dissolved, many of us thought the new day had dawned for Russian freedom. But if Iron Felix is back, then the malevolent spirit of Joe Stalin lives.

Last week in Havana, Stalins minions helped to kill another victim. Orlando Zapata should be remembered. Castro has killed over 40,000 Cubans and yet he still gets a worshipful press among liberals here. The only doctors whom President Obama praises are Castros Cuban doctors, who spread the gospel of Marx throughout the Caribbean..

Do we have to learn again historys lessons from the Evil Empire? For Orlando Zapata, the choice for God and Liberty was clear. Another Cuban exile, Armando Valladares, has prayed for his beloved country Against All Hope. Lets remember these Christian patriots. Lets proclaim Liberty throughout the land.

Calling Planned Parenthoods Bluff

by Family Research Council

March 4, 2010

Yesterday, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement including the following: If the current Senate language introduced by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is maintained, it would result in the most significant restriction in access to abortion coverage in the nearly 35 years since the U.S. Congress first adopted the Hyde Amendment…For that reason, Planned Parenthood opposed the Nelson provision when it was proposed and continues to oppose it.

This statement makes me wonder if Ms. Richards and I are looking at different bills. To set the record straight, the Senate bill goes beyond current law restricting government funding of abortion and plans that include abortion.

In Section 1303, the bill allows tax credit subsidies for plans that include abortion and leaves an abortion surcharge in place. It then maintains the proposal to create a multi-state plan that includes abortion in Sec. 1334. Lastly, the Obama proposal would increase the Senate bill funding from $7 billion to $11 billion for community health centers in Sec. 10503 without any abortion funding restrictions.

The sad reality, in the words of FRC president Tony Perkins is that If this bill becomes law, this Congress will oversee the largest ever expansion of abortion on demand at taxpayer expense.

Planned Parenthoods claim that the bill is more restrictive of abortion funding than current law is disingenuously inaccurate. However, if Planned Parenthood truly does want to maintain current policy since the 1970s under the Hyde amendment, then weve found common ground, and can agree that inclusion of the Stupak amendment to maintain the status quo on government abortion funding is the best way forward.

Physician, Heal Thyself!

by Robert Morrison

March 4, 2010

President Obama was surrounded by doctors and nurses in white coats for the second time this week. Yesterday, he was on national television, pumping for his health care plan. But before that video performance, he was at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. He went there for his first physical as President.

I sure have to hand it to him: Hes practicing what hes preaching. Bethesda is government health care. I should know: my life was saved there by a top-notch Navy doctor in 1985. I had been stricken with viral meningitis, an often fatal illness.

My heart went out to the President when the report on his physical exam came back. He is having a hard time quitting smoking. This is a hard addiction to shake. I quit in 1977. Cold turkey. Havent had a cigarette since. Or a cigar. Or a pipe. (I found through many attempts to quit that going to a cigar or pipe just whetted the appetite and sent me right back to cigarettes.)

John McCain also quit smoking. He was teased during the ‘08 campaign about needing a smoke. He replied he hadnt had a cigarette in 28 yearsand still wanted one. Same here.

So millions of us ex-smoking Americans can sympathize with the President on this one. Its kind of funny, in a way, that his smoking habit may have contributed to one of his best qualities.

President Obama has a famously strong, sonorous speaking voice. So did the dean of all radio commentators, Edward R. Murrow. The great CBS reporter held Americans spell-bound with his reports from London during the Blitz. Old documentaries of the Second World War would be incomplete without the fashionable Murrows booming baritone and his trademark titleHear it Now. He was almost never depicted without a cigarette in hand.

The same goes for our wartime President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelts fireside chats were a soothing, reassuring feature of wartime America. He was elected four times by the American people, the only President so favored. His voice was instantly identifiable in those pre-TV days. Millions of Americans heard that deep, masculine voice and felt safer with him in charge.

FDR was almost never seen without a lit cigarette. He would clasp his cigarette holder between his teeth and hold it at a jaunty angle. Throughout the war, FDR probably smoked two packs a day.

And it killed him. We now know that Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. But he also had congestive heart failure. His paper-thin heart was overstressed every day by the strain of having to carry around 10 pounds of heavy metal braces on his legs. His two-pack a day habit could only have exacerbated his condition.

President Obamas powerful speaking voice enables him to get away with sayingwith a straight facethings that are wildly untrue, laughably untrue.

I am an ardent believer in free markets, he told members of the Business Roundtable. The Emperor was surely streaking on this one. Could not one of those pet business leaders invited to that Presidential lunch stand up and say: Where?

Have you ever seen an ardent believer in free markets who is so determined to exercise government control over so many of what his top economic advisers call the commanding heights of the U.S. economy? Do they even know that phrase is from that other famous ardent believer, Karl Marx? The list includes banks, insurance giants, GM and Chrysler. On top of this, the Obama administration will nationalize all college loans.

His cap and trade legislation may be stalled, but his Environmental Protection Agency has recently issued an endangerment ruling. If allowed to stand, this ruling could effectively bring every industry, every business in America under federal control. (And they did this even after they persuaded their Communist green jobs czar to resign.)

Consider this: Our ardent believer in free markets wants you to be dependent on the federal government for home mortgages, autos and auto loans, and college student loans.

Now, add health care to this mix, and what is left of the free market to supply? The Presidents addiction to taxing and spending is the one that is threatening our economic health. So, my advice to Dr. Obama, this ardent believer in free markets, is the same as Jesus: Physician, heal thyself!

March Forth! (Except on Sundays)

by Robert Morrison

March 4, 2010

This is not, I hope, a trivial pursuit. We have now lost the meaning of March Forth! But from 1793 to 1937, Americans recognized the pun—and the date. March 4th was not so much a military order as it was Americans Inauguration Day. Thats why all those Presidents, from George Washingtons second term to FDRs second, were inaugurated on that day.

The long delay between Election Day—by tradition, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November—and Inauguration Day on March 4th was originally intended to permit an orderly transfer of government. Recall that the Founders plan was for Presidential Electors to be chosen on Election Day. They would then have to have several weeks to assemble in their respective state capitols. Electors still do this, in obedience to the Constitution. It could take weeks in those days for Electors to travel from the mountains of (Western) Virginia to Richmond or for those near Buffalo, New York, to make their way to Albany. Once the Electors had cast their ballots, it would take more weeks to carry those sealed ballots to the nations capital. New York was the first capital (1789-90), followed in a year by Philadelphia (1790-1800), and only after ten years by Washington, D.C. (1800-present).

Once received in the capital, it would be the duty of the Vice President of the United States to open the envelopes and read the results to the Congress. A few times in our history, this responsibility would fall upon a man who actually lost the recently concluded Presidential campaign. These included John C. Breckenridge in 1861, who lost to Abraham Lincoln (and who later became a Confederate Brigadier General), Richard Nixon in 1961, who lost to John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey in 1969, who lost to Nixon, and Albert Gore, who lost to George W. Bush in 2001.

Very soon, the Founders ideas of the Electoral College were superseded by party politics. Instead of meeting in their state capitols to deliberate and make their choices for President and Vice President, the Electors soon merely registered the will of the voters of their states. Rare it is for an Elector to buck the judgment of the voters of his state. The two most recent of these faithless Electors were State Rep. Mike Padden (R) of Washington State in 1976 and an unnamed Minnesota Elector in 2004. Mike Padden was elected as a Gerry Ford Elector. But everyone knew that Jimmy Carter had already won the `76 election. So Padden thought it was safe to register his true opinion and he voted for Ronald Reagan. Paddens one Electoral Vote cast for the former California Governor was just the first rogue elephant in what would soon become an elephant stampede of 1015 Reagan Electors. Now, that unnamed Minnesota Kerry Elector in 2004 also knew that he or she would not upset the election results. That faithless Elector voted for John Edwards. Maybe thats why this one chooses to remain anonymous.

So, why isnt March 4th still Inauguration Day? We had had two near-brushes with disaster in the long interregnum of nearly five months. First, 1860-61 was called the Secession Winter. President-elect Abraham Lincoln had no authority to take any actions before taking the oath of office. He could not stop state secession conventions from meeting and voting to take their states out of the Union. We came perilously close to losing the country in that dangerous winter.

Then, in 1932-33, President Hoover had been almost completely discredited (Hoover lost 42 of the 48 states to Franklin D. Roosevelt). Hoovers attempts to gain President-elect Roosevelts cooperation with his lamest of lame duck administration were rebuffed by the New York Governor. Not only did they no longer trust one another, FDR treated the increasingly desperate Hoover like a flailing, drowning man. Hoover had good reason to be desperate as banks failed all over the country and he had to order the U.S. Army to ride postal mail trucks to prevent armed bands from stealing the mails!

Thats why Congress drafted the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment mandated that the new Congress should convene on January 3rd after the November elections and the President and Vice President should be sworn in at noon on January 20th. Advances in transportation no longer required such a long waiting period between election and taking office. This so-called Lame Duck Amendment was quickly ratified.

We no longer start our Presidential administrations with a brisk march forth, but we do recognize another important tradition. If Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the swearing-in takes place privately, in the White House, and the ceremonial oath-taking, with its parades, bands, cannons, and Inaugural Balls, is postponed until Monday. That Sunday exception is interesting. It applied to Monroe (1821), Taylor (1849), Hayes (1877), Wilson (1917), Eisenhower (1957) and Reagan (1985). Today, we watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. Many of us go to the Mall or to brunch on a Sunday. Why do you think our leaders still hesitate to inaugurate a new President on a Sunday? And how much longer will we do so?

Guns and Pandoras Box at the Supreme Court

by Chris Gacek

March 2, 2010

Today (3/2/10), the Supreme Court heard arguments as to whether the 2nd Amendments right for individuals to keep and bear arms against the federal government can be applied to the States. The case is McDonald v. City of Chicago, and it made some news in a page one, above-the fold story in the Washington Times today (Matthew Cella, Gun Rights Lawyer Gives Hope to Liberal Causes.). All conservatives want the Supreme Court to hold that the Second Amendment should be applied to state and municipal laws.

The main issue is how you link the Second Amendment to protections against the states. (There is a long legal story here involving the Fourteenth Amendment and what is known as incorporation doctrine.) The lead attorney for the conservative side, Alan Gura, wants the Court to let the Second Amendment operate via a particular constitutional provision the Fourteenth Amendments Privileges or Immunities Clause that has been dormant for 137 years. The Family Research Council joined an amicus brief arguing AGAINST this position saying that reviving this clause would be like Christmas-come-early for judicial activists. One of the lead attorneys on the amicus brief, Ken Klukowski, is quoted in the Times piece:

Constitutional scholar Ken Klukowski warned that a ruling incorporating the Second Amendment based on privileges or immunities and overturning Slaughterhouse could have broad political implications.

Slaughterhouse may be second only to Marbury v. Madison as the most impactful Supreme Court decision of all time, he said. It could fundamentally rewrite the nature of what goes on in this country.

Mr. Klukowski wrote an amicus brief in support of Mr. Guras case filed by a handful of conservative groups, including the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), a nonprofit organization founded by Robert B. Carleson, who was an adviser to President Reagan.

The group, whose policy board includes conservative legal heavyweights such as former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III and former Solicitor General Kenneth W. Starr, supports incorporation of the Second Amendment through the privileges or immunities clause but asks the court not to overturn the Slaughterhouse Cases decision.

The Privileges or Immunities Clause could be used as a source for judicial activism unlike anything America has ever seen, the group said on its Web site.

Please take a look at our amicus brief link provided above to see the entire argument.

Local High School to House Clinic Promoting Family Planning for Youth 12-19

by Family Research Council

March 2, 2010

* Note: Alexandria City Schools School Board Meeting tonight!

As a taxpaying citizen of Alexandria, VA, a former educator, and a person who values our young people and wants them to have the best options available, I am outraged that the public school system in Alexandria is funding a local teen health center, with a primary focus on family planning. Moreover, I strongly disagree with the planned move of the center from its current location in a trailer outside a nearby shopping center, directly into T.C. Williams High School so that center workers will have unlimited access to students.

Not only do I not want my hard-earned tax dollars supporting this endeavor, but more importantly, I am convinced that this move undermines parental authority, is costly to our city, and most importantly does a huge disservice to young people.

The center provides services for youth aged 12-19 years old, dispenses contraception and refers for abortion without parental permission. The teen center also provides other services, interestingly, all which require parental permission, such as routine physical exams, vaccinations, treatment of minor illnesses. However the primary focus of the center is family planning, STD treatment and abortion referral.

Given that research continually supports the fact that sexual involvement at a young age is not good for adolescents, especially girls, why would T.C. Williams and Alexandria City Schools consider this a good decision for our young peoples health?

A study released less than two weeks ago again showed that abstinent teens report better psychological well-being and higher educational attainment than those who are sexually active. Another recent study stated that sexual abstinence is typically associated with better physical and psychological health among American adolescents, including less problems with depression, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), infertility later in life, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and academic achievement. This same study indicated that girls are significantly more likely to suffer from depression when they are sexually active than adolescent boys.

Not only is teen sexual involvement bad for young people, but it is also extraordinarily costly to our economically burdened city. In FY10, employee salaries were frozen due to the financial crisis, yet teen STI, out-of-wedlock childbearing and emotional and psychological harm are expensive social service projects for the City of Alexandria.

Additionally excluding parents from these important decisions removes the strongest support and influence in a young persons life. While it might not always seem to be the case that young people want to talk about the birds and the bees with mom and dad, studies show that in fact teens do want to hear from their parents on these matters, and actually consider them the most influential people in their lives when it comes to sexual decision making. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a parent most influences a young persons decision to become sexually involved.

According to this poll,

  • 9 out of 10 teens (94%) think that adults should let teens know they should wait to have sex at least until they get out of high school
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) teens say it would be easier to avoid early sexual activity and teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about these topics with their parents

What are better options?

In early January, a rigorous study was released that compared abstinence education with contraceptive sex education. The study overwhelmingly supported abstinence education as the most effective in reducing sexual initiation among young teens, to the extent that even detractors of abstinence education admitted this fact.

Parents also strongly prefer the message of abstinence to contraceptive sex education. A recent poll showed that parents prefer abstinence education 2 to 1.

The funding of the clinic and planned move into TC Williams raise a number of questions and concerns. Why would Alexandria City Schools not offer that which is healthiest and most efficacious for young people? And why is the school system undermining the parent/child relationship, especially regarding topics as important as sexual decision-making? In a moment when we are looking to cut the fat out of the budget, why would we spend money on a prevention program that is not good for kids, and will ultimately cost the taxpayers more money?

I strongly encourage you to get the word out about this clinic. Here is the press release from Feb 28th from Alexandria City Schools.

The school board is meeting on tonight, Tuesday, March 2nd. If you would like to speak about this issue at the meeting, contact Rosemary Webb, clerk of the school board, and ask to speak at the meeting. You can contact the school board by clicking here.

Jesus Never Condemned Therapeutic Abortion Say What?

by Cathy Ruse

March 1, 2010

So says the slogan spread by Catholics for Choice in Nicaragua and El Salvador to overturn laws in those countries restricting abortion.

This pro-abortion propaganda effort is in anticipation of what will be one of the most heavily attended U.N. conferences this year: The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a gathering of radical feminists, from all points on the globe, with so-called reproductive rights as its centerpiece.

Samantha Singson reports in C-Fams Friday Fax that groups like Catholics for Choice and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are circulating declarations to present to delegations who attend the event in New York on March 1-12. This so-called Catholic group demands “the immediate restitution of therapeutic abortion in Nicaragua and, in El Salvador, the restitution of law that guaranty therapeutic, ethical and eugenical [sic] abortion.”

Singson writes that this years CSW is particularly significant because it is the fifteenth anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women where advocates tried, but failed, to establish an international right to abortion on demand. She reports that abortion is a matter of frequent debate among member states at this conference, where delegates attempt to sneak into conference documents ambiguous language that can later be used as a platform for such a right.

Against all odds, pro-life forces have defeated their efforts year in and year out. WWJD at the CSW? Maybe Hes been doing it all along.

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