September 30, 2011
According to a Washington Times editorial (9/30/11), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed papers in a court proceeding earlier in September in which EPA discusses the scope of the greenhouse-gas regulations it would like to impose on the nation. Here are the amazing figures:
The agency is defending sweeping greenhouse-gas emissions rules that if fully implemented would require 10,000 new state-level employees to process permits. At the federal level, it would take 230,000 new officials and a $21 billion budget expansion - quite a boost for an outfit that currently has 17,417 bureaucrats and $10.3 billion to spend. EPA admits it would be absurd or impossible to administer the rules all at once, but that does not mean that the agency is not moving toward the statutory thresholds.
These facts reinforce why conservatives have to focus their attention on the regulatory tsunami that is now hitting America.
September 29, 2011
Exposing one’s undergarments traditionally has been viewed as poor form, at best, and more often than not, just plain immodest.
While it’s true there is no accounting for taste (polyester leisure suits for men and gigantic shoulder pads for women are among happily-jettisoned fashions), subjecting one’s fellows to the sight of one’s underpants is, quite literally, too much. Thus, the town of Albany, Georgia has instituted a ban on “anyone from wearing pants or skirts more than three inches below the top of the hips, exposing the skin or undergarments. First-time offenders face a $25 fine. On further offenses, the fine can rise to $200.”
As a conservative, I dislike the idea of government taking upon itself the right to measure pant length or hip exposure. Yet such intrusions are inevitable if people lack the common sense - and common decency - to dress with at least some semblance of normality and decorum. People only stand for so much before they call for legal fences to protect them against bad neighbors.
That should serve as a broader warning for a society enmeshed in narcissism, immorality, and the general abandonment of truth. Moral erosion leads to anarchy. Anarchy threatens lives, which results in a popular call for the restoration of order. And, thus, fascism emerges in the guise of strident leadership proclaiming “bread and peace” (Bolshevism) or “one people, one empire, one leader” (Nazism) or “socialism builds and capitalism destroys” (Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez).
In his book Twelve Types, G.K. Chesterton wrote that “politeness … is everywhere understood and nowhere defined.” Such definition really is unnecessary, since the rites of courtesy are only the formalization of intuitive conscience, of the moral stirrings that cause us to help an elderly woman up a staircase or open a door for a mother with a stroller. Or keep one’s pants pulled up over his briefs.
Our Founders argued that if we lack self-restraint and basic virtue, we were unfit for self-government. “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt,” wrote Samuel Adams. In the era of such diverse but somehow connected phenomena as Lady Gaga, eroticized childhood, abortion on demand, and bizarre cosmetic surgery, is such universal corruption far behind? Only if Christians are willing to stand against it, and work to restore a society where honor, courage, kindness, and enterprise are fostered and not demeaned.
How oft, in nations gone corrupt,
And by their own devices brought down to servitude,
That man chooses bondage before liberty.
Bondage with ease before strenuous liberty. John Milton
September 29, 2011
Dr. Charles Krauthammer has been hailed by National Review as The Leader of the Opposition. He is indisputably one of Washington’s wise men. His critiques of the manifold errors of the Obama administration are legendary. But in one particular, I suspect, he is flat wrong.
He recently opined that voter intensity does not matter because all the votes are equal on election day. Hes correct that you cannot pull the lever five times to indicate your impassioned support of your candidate (sorry Chicago).
But voter intensity is the key to winning elections. Voter intensity counts because the number of votes will depend on how motivated is the electorate. One radio talker this week mourned that GOP voters had to hold their noses last time and, unfortunately, there werent enough of them. Try to envision those nose-holders rushing to the polls. It would be funny if it were not so sad.
Voter intensity could be seen throughout the Northern states in the 1860 presidential election as tens of thousands of young Wide Awakes marched forLincoln. Soon, tragically, many of them would be marching to their deaths in places like Manassas and Fredericksburg. But that voter intensity was needed in the North because Lincoln was not even on the ballot in ten slaveholding states.
Voter intensity explains the landslide victories of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 and Warren G. Harding in 1920. In that other era of economic distress, the 1930s, voter intensity produced Franklin D. Roosevelts stunning back-to-back victories.
One of FDRs impassioned 1932 supporters was even so cheeky as to send a telegram to the White House to the embattled President Herbert Hoover: Vote for Roosevelt; Make it Unanimous. Now, thats voter intensity.
I saw voter intensity in Virginia in 2008. Barack Obamas campaign had 82 headquarters staffed by volunteers statewide. John McCain had but one. Is it any wonder Mr. Obama became the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson to carry the Old Dominion?
Next week, I plan to attend the Values Voter Summit. Ill have a chance to work on the FRC booth and to meet the thousands of intense Values Voters who will be coming to Washingtons Omni Shoreham hotel. Its always an interesting and worthwhile time. You get to meet leaders from throughout the nation, and even from some foreign countries here to see how the Yankees do it.
Ive walked precincts in every election save one since I could vote. Its an important way to learn what voters care about. A recent speech at the Reagan Library by a non-candidate created a stir when that important state governor promoted earned American exceptionalism. I think he was right about thatas the phrase was later explained.
The speech was said to be presidential.
Maybe. But the reason there is a Reagan Library is because President Reagan spoke of America as a shining city on a hill. You didnt have to have a Ph.D. in comparative government to understand what he meant. You learn that when you work a precinct.
The great American presidents were great because they communicated great ideas. Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down this wall. Profound and readily understandable. This government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Im always bemused when I read biographies of Lincoln. I get the feeling their authors have never walked a precinct. They invariably depict President Lincoln as hounded, beset, and burdened by the swarms of office-seekers and favor askers who descended on his White House. Lincoln himself noted the problem of trying to fill offices while some states were seceding: I feel like a man trying to rent rooms at one end of the house while the other end is on fire!
But he could easily have delegated the task of party manager and political boss to others. Thats what the Postmaster General was used for by many presidents. Lincoln kept all the reins in his own hands for a good reason. He wanted to build his political base and he wanted to take his daily public opinion baths by seeing scores of local political activists. He knew that by seeing these folks, he could keep his finger on the pulse of what was happening in the country.
Next week, at the Omni, you wont have to walk the precincts. The precincts will walk to you. Thats why I love the Values Voter Summit.
September 29, 2011
Adult stem cells are being used extensively in the veterinary world to treat various animals, including horses and dogs. Now add goats to that list of creatures great and small that have benefited from the practical success of adult stem cells. Cinnamon the Goat has apparently become the first goat treated with its own adult stem cells. The procedure was performed by Kentucky veterinarian Dr. Clark Slone. The goat had some fat tissue removed and adult stem cells isolated from the tissue, then re-injected to treat damaged ligaments and joints. The vet expects that Cinnamon will be moving well within a month.
September 28, 2011
Today marks the 11th year anniversary of the approval of RU-486, the one drug legally approved for abortion in the United States.
September also marks another difficult anniversary – the death of Holly Patterson, who died as a result of RU-486, which is considered “safe” and legal. Holly was a beautiful young woman who graduated from high school a year early. She received the abortion pill from a Planned Parenthood clinic in California at the age of 18 in September, 2003 and died a few days later from complications. Holly would have been 26 this year.
Tragically, Holly is not alone. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of late April, at least 11 women in the U.S. have died as a result of the drug since its approval in September, 2000. Over 2200 adverse events have been filed with the FDA since that time, and 612 women had been hospitalized as a result of this abortion pill. More than 330 women have required a blood transfusion after having a chemical abortion.
Despite all of this, use of chemical abortion is on the rise in the U.S., specifically at Planned Parenthood clinics.
In Holly’s memory, today, her father, Monty Patterson, launched a website dedicated to spreading the truth about the abortion pill.
Please do whatever you can to spread the news about this website to the women in your life – they need to know this critical information that could one day save their life.
September 28, 2011
Last week Margaret Ogolas life on Earth came to an end, at the very young age of 53. Here was a woman who understood the gift of time, for she filled the hours allotted to her in radical solidarity with those God entrusted to her care, and in service of advancing the cause of human life and dignity.
Dr. Ogola was a medical doctor, an award-winning novelist, a university professor, a human rights advocate, and a mother of six children. She ran a hospice for AIDS orphans. She directed the Institute of Healthcare Management at Strathmore University in Nairobi. She was an advisor to the Catholic Bishops of Kenya. She was a powerhouse, yet was described as a person filled with peace. (For a comprehensive obituary see the Strathmore University web site.)
Margaret Ogola was well known in her country as an award-winning novelist. Her first novel, The River and the Source, won every African literary award around. Her subsequent works also received acclaim.
Dr. Ogola was well also known to many Americans active on the world pro-life stage. Family Research Councils own Pat Fagan and my husband Austin Ruse knew her from their work with her on the biennial World Congress of Families where I am told she kept huge audiences rapt with her soft voice and powerful message. In a speech she made at the 4th Women International Conference in Beijing (China) in 1995, she argued that, unless we recognize that each individual is valuable by virtue of simply being conceived human, we cannot begin to talk about human rights.
May God give comfort to her husband and children and may He rest her soul in eternal peace.
September 28, 2011
A recent Relevant magazine piece entitled (Almost) Everyones Doing it reveals that young adults ages 18-29 are having pre-marital sex more often than not. According to a 2009 survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 88% of all young adults have had sex before marriage. What should be shocking is that 80% of all self-identified Evangelical young adults have done the same.
Dont Christians understand the Bible on this issue? According to a Gallup poll quoted by Relevant, 76% of Evangelicals have a clear Biblical understanding on this issue. Or, to reverse the data, 24% of Evangelicals are alright with premarital sex.
Is the data really shocking though? In a world where nothing is sacred, and where what used to be considered sacred is now fodder for ridicule via every form of entertainment and media, why should the sanctity of marriage be considered any different? Young adults have grown up in an MTV world, where sexuality is glorified in television shows like Skins and where one cannot buy groceries without being confronted by magazine covers taunting chastity.
One professor quoted by Relevant says that a major sociological difference that contributes to (but does not excuse) the growing statistic of pre-marital sex is the average age of marriage. He compares Biblical arranged marriages of early adolescents to the current average ages of 28.1 for men and 26.1 for women. I posit that this temptation is not a modern one: Paul addresses it in 1 Cor. 7:8-9. Instead, it can be argued that adults ages 18-29 have grown up in an instant gratification society, where patience is no longer a virtue. This is even understood and glorified by secular society, as exemplified by the Black Eyed Peas song Now Generation with lyrics like I just cant wait, I need it immediately.
Merge the two contributing factors of an over-sexualized society, along with a generation craving instant gratification, and it is no surprise that young adults are engaging in pre-marital sex more than ever. What we need is an Evangelical culture that not only volitionally is against pre-marital sex, but practices what is preached. The church needs to restore that which is sacred, encourage young adults to stay pure, and exemplify purity to the secular world. Eighty percent of young Evangelicals is eighty percent too much.
September 28, 2011
The cost for businesses to buy health coverage for workers rose the most this year since 2005 and may reach $32,175 for a family in 2021, according to a survey of private and public employers. So reports Bloomberg News.
This is not news any family wants to read. The last thing our recession-bound country needs are rising health care costs, particularly when we know these costs will be augmented dramatically should the Obama health care plan go into effect.
Buried within the Bloomberg article is a story that is underreported but finally seeping-out into the mainstream press: Contributing to the rise in premiums are … fewer young and healthy people in the insurance pool. This assertion is being made by the respected insurance association president Karen Ignagni, but it is verified by cold data. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the following:
… by the end of the 2004 to 2014 period, most of the baby boomers will have turned fifty-five. Consequently, the age fifty-five and older segment of the labor force is expected to grow most rapidly, increasing by 11.3 million, or 49.1 percent. Because of the aging of the American population, this segment of the labor force will increase at almost five times the rate of the overall labor force (10 percent). The numbers of those twenty-five to fifty-four years of age in the labor force will grow by only 3.4 percent, a significantly lower growth than in the previous decade (8.8 percent). The growth rate of the youth labor force, workers between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, will actually decrease between 2004 and 2014 by 0.5 percent.
What does this blizzard of mathematical factoids mean? Simply that we have a shrinking number of people entering the laborforce, one that cannot sustain our so-called entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and that is too small to infuse the insurance pool with enough youth and health to keep it fiscally viable.
My colleagues Pat Fagan, Henry Potrykus and I have explained this in detail in Our Fiscal Crisis: We Cannot Tax, Spend, and Borrow Enough to Substitute for Marriage. We argue that our current economic slowdown, coupled with the increased numbers of dependent citizens, makes closing the deficit impossible for President Obama or anyone else who uses the present welfare state as the economic model to be sustained. It cannot be. This reality arises from two facts: 1) We have proportionately fewer children … (and) up to 20 percent of these children are unequipped to compete in the modern economy because of a lack of essential skills formed within the intact married family.
Whats the bottom line? Husbands and wives need to have more children and truly parent those children if our economy is going to thrive. However substantial our technology-driven productivity gains, they will not compensate for a steadily declining supply of capable, teachable young men and women.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of population growth, referred to as the average annual percent change, is projected to decrease during the next six decades by about 50 percent, from 1.10 between 1990 and 1995 to 0.54 between 2040 and 2050. The decrease in the rate of growth is predominantly due to the aging of the population and, consequently, a dramatic increase in the number of deaths. In other words, we will have a larger population, but the rate of growth will slow to the point that existing citizens will live longer, not because of the size of our families.
For more on the crisis of Americas population and how it is grounded in the erosion of the family unit, visit the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at http://www.marri.frc.org/. Families are more critical to our nations economy, more than education or technology. As families fail, so fails our country.
September 28, 2011
Yesterday NIH Director Francis Collins approved three more human embryonic stem cell lines for taxpayer funding, bringing the total to 135. It’s been about a month since the last approvals, and just over three months since the rush to approve a large number of lines. Two of the three new lines from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center appear to have chromosomal abnormalities, as well as to be from destruction of full siblings.