FRC Blog

Funding the War on Sugar Beets

by Family Research Council

March 28, 2007

Last week, the U.S. House proposed funding the war on spinach. This week the Senate has shifted the funding to the war on sugar beets. Here is a list of provisions in the emergency war supplemental U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans Health and Iraq Accountability Act, 2007” that do not fund the war:

1) $24 million for funding for sugar beets.

2) $3 million for funding for sugar cane (goes to one Hawaiian co-op).

3) $20 million for insect infestation damage reimbursements in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.

4) $2.1 billion for crop production losses.

5) $1.5 billion for livestock production losses.

6) $100 million for Dairy Production Losses.

7) $13 million for Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Program.

8) $32 million for Livestock Indemnity Program.

9) $40 million for the Tree Assistance Program.

10) $100 million for Small Agricultural Dependent Businesses.

11) $6 million for North Dakota flooded crop land.

12) $35 million for emergency conservation program.

13) $50 million for the emergency watershed program.

14) $115 million for the conservation security program.

15) $18 million for drought assistance in upper Great Plains/South West.

16) Provision that extends the availability by a year $3.5 million in funding for guided tours of the Capitol. Also a provision allows transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop.

17) 165.9 million for fisheries disaster relief, funded through NOAA (including $60.4 million for salmon fisheries in the Klamath Basin region).

18) $12 million for forest service money (requested by the president in the non-emergency FY2008 budget).

19) $425 million for education grants for rural areas - (Secure Rural Schools program).

20) $640 million for LIHEAP.

21) $25 million for asbestos abatement at the Capitol Power Plant.

22) $388.9 million for funding for backlog of old Department of Transportation projects.

23) $22.8 million for geothermal research and development.

24) $500 million for wildland fire management.

25) $13 million for mine safety technology research.

26) $31 million for one month extension of Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC)

27) $50 million for fisheries disaster mitigation fund.

28) $100 million to help pay for Republican and Democrat party conventions.

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Public Libraries Overdue for Internet Filters

by Tony Perkins

March 28, 2007

Thanks to Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), parents who drop off their kids at the public library can now have more assurance that their children are checking out books and not pornography on the Internet. After a prolonged, three-year battle, state legislators passed a bill that requires public libraries to install filtering software on their computers to protect patrons from pornography and indecency.

Before the legislation passed, fewer than half of the library systems in Virginia had installed the software. Without them, a simple, misspelled word in a web search could lead children to pornographic and violent sites instead. The bill passed both the House and Senate by wide margins, echoing the broad local support for the proposal.

According to a survey by the Virginia Family Foundation, 89% of citizens supported the measure when asked last October. Virginia will join 21 other states that have similar legislation in place. Unfortunately, several other states legislatures have debated comparable bills but seen them fall prey to “free speech” objections. Ironically, some politicians seem more interested in protecting kids from the so-called “dangers of religious speech” than from the perils of pornography.

Virginia leaders were able to overcome the First Amendment obstacles by including a provision that allows adults to have the filters disabled for legitimate purposes. We applaud the Virginia Family Foundation and pro-family leaders, all of whom fought tirelessly for “safe surfing” in the state.

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Wedding Crashers: States Battle Against Same-Sex Marriage

by Tony Perkins

March 28, 2007

As their motto implies, residents of Indiana truly are at “The Crossroads of America” when it comes to traditional marriage. When Rep. Patrick Bauer (D) campaigned to become the next Speaker of the state House, he pledged to “allow committee meetings, floor debate, and a final vote in the chamber on a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriages in Indiana.”

Since his election, things may have changed. Bauer is reportedly considering new language that would undercut traditional marriage and deny citizens a vote on the issue until at least 2010. In response, FRC Action and allies placed a full-page ad today in the South Bend Tribune calling on the Speaker to keep his promise on the amendment and let the people of Indiana decide.

Perhaps Bauer could take his cue from the Senate President of Massachusetts, Therese Murray, who announced this week that she will not use her power to block a vote on the state’s marriage protection amendment. Despite her objections to the proposal, Murray put the democratic process ahead of her political agenda. In Maryland, the prospects of passing a marriage amendment were crushed by the House Judiciary Committee, whose members rejected the bill before it reached the floor.

On the bright side, South Carolina celebrated the formal ratification of its new constitutional amendment upholding traditional marriage last week. The state officially joins 27 others that have resolved to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

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Case Closed on Parents’ Rights

by Tony Perkins

March 28, 2007

On March 26, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Fausey v. Hiller, in which FRC submitted an amicus curiae brief through our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund. We hoped that the Supreme Court would take the opportunity to clarify the law on the question of third-party visitation rights.

FRC contended that fit parents have the right to direct the upbringing of their children without state interference. For the state to force parents to accept visitation from other parties, who are not the legal parents of the child, is an unacceptable infringement. Currently this can occur when a court deems it to be “in the best interests of the child to have third-party visits.” Such decisions risk reinforcing a growing government trend to “micromanage” the American family.

If our courts go too far and start overruling parents on these issues, then the results will not only promote worthy goals—like encouraging grandparents’ access to their grandchildren—but also access by unrelated adults, whose presence the judges think would be good for children. It’s not hard to see what harm judges could do with such an elastic standard.

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Planned Parenthood prepares for a shakedown

by Jared Bridges

March 27, 2007

Darth Vader has the stormtroopers. Your local subdivision has the Neighborhood Watch. Heck, even the mall has rent-a-cops. Apparently, Planned Parenthood felt a little left out in its lack of a rapid-deployment force, so the nation’s largest abortion provider is now sending out the Pill Patrol. Planned Parenthood intends to unleash its legions upon unsuspecting pharmacies who have not stocked the controversial over-the-counter version of Plan B:

The group is encouraging its supporters to contact pharmacies at Costco, Target, Wal-Mart, or Osco stores - because those four chains have not signed on to Planned Parenthood’s policy of guaranteeing women access to emergency contraception - “without discrimination or delay.”

Plan B, also known as the “morning after pill,” was recently approved for over-the-counter use, despite obvious risks to womens’ health. Planned Parenthood apparently plans to use the findings of its Pill Patrol to bully pharmacies into stocking the drug. Ironically, the group claims on its website that the goal of the campaign is “to protect womens health.”

And yes, Planned Parenthood is funded with your tax dollars (nearly 273 million dollars, according to their annual report).

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More adult stem cell promise?

by Jared Bridges

March 27, 2007

Once again, doctors are seeing promise of stem cell treatments, this time with a new therapy to treat patients with heart failure. And once again, the stem cells used are adult stem cells:

In two studies reported at the American College of Cardiology conference, scientists used adult stem cells — not the more controversial embryonic stem cells — to treat patients and saw marked improvement in their health. Experts note these early studies need to be replicated in larger groups to confirm the results.

The findings are welcome news for patients like Joseph Glasser, 74, who received a bleak prognosis nine years ago after suffering a heart attack that left his heart so weakened he had to have a pacemaker implanted. Seventy-five percent of his heart muscle had died, his cardiologist told him, and there was nothing more he could do.

In the years afterward, Glasser frequently felt fatigued and short of breath, so he sought out new treatment options and eventually enrolled in a stem cell study at the University of California San Diego. There, doctors took cells from his leg, cultivated them in a lab and then injected them into his heart.

Today, two years after treatment, he says he no longer has problems maintaining energy, and even walks on a treadmill and swims.

If this treatment proves conclusive, it will be one of many successful treatments with adult stem cells. How many successful treatment with embryonic stem cells? Well, just take a look at the score.

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Study on Day Care Hits Close to Home

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

For years, stay-at-home parents have been trivialized by feminists who wrongly believe that a mother or father’s care is replaceable. However, a new study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at NIH proves the feminist ideology wrong. The most expansive research of its kind, the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development found that putting a child in day care for a year or more increases the chances that the child will become disruptive in class—a trend that persists through the sixth grade.

Perhaps most telling is the fact that these tendencies were evident despite the child’s sex, family income, and even the quality of the day care center in question. The news will be particularly disappointing to day care advocates who have insisted that any negative effects are entirely contingent, on the “quality” of the care. In the U.S., experts estimate that 2.3 million kids under the age of 5 are in day care, while 4.8 million are in the care of a relative or nanny, and 3.3 million are at home with their parents. Despite the large number of stay-at-home parents, the government is often lopsided in its support of families who choose out-of-the-home care for their kids. Research shows that most parents would prefer to tend for their kids themselves. If that’s the case, why do government policies undercut parental choice and care?

There is no substitute for the contributions that at-home parents make to the development of their children, often at financial sacrifice. In light of the obvious benefits to kids, we urge Congress to pass Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Nebr.) Parents’ Tax Relief Act. Through the bill’s equalized tax treatment of stay-at-home parents, families would have the freedom to care for their own children.

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Interspecies Cloning a Baaaaad Idea

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

If the U.S. doesn’t move quickly to regulate the new trend of interspecies cloning, it’s safe to say that researchers will experiment until the cows come home. In the U.K., some already have. Since human eggs are in short supply, researchers in Britain applied for permission to create human-cow embryos. In America, scientists are not even required to ask for permission—because no such restrictions exist!

At the University of Nevada, Professor Esmail Zanjani has joined the ranks of Harvard and Yale scientists who have taken advantage of the lack of government scrutiny. This week, Zanjani announced that his team has created the world’s first human-sheep chimera, whose cellular make-up is 15% human and 85% animal. Although Zanjani promises that the technique will give rise to a new source of organ donors, there’s no telling what complications will result from the hybrid.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of ethical complications in this amoral frontier. Research like this has created a legal and moral vacuum that Congress should fill with guidance and oversight. Join us in urging your leaders to ban creation of animal-human hybrids.

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Life in These United States

by Tony Perkins

March 27, 2007

While the federal government is mired in debates about the culture of life, three states have taken it upon themselves to pass a bevy of pro-life legislation. In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill that would prohibit abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. In the meantime, the legislation requires abortion clinics to offer women an ultrasound before they consent to the procedure.

Neighboring Arkansas approved a House measure that requires abortion businesses to tell women that they cannot be coerced into having an abortion. Vermont tackled a bill that affects the end of life. Despite pressure to follow in Oregon’s footsteps, the Vermont House defeated a measure that would have legalized assisted suicide.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire is one state that has become the focus of an intense attack from anti-family forces. Next week, legislators are considering bills on every subject from parental notification and abortion regulation to legalizing civil unions and a constitutional amendment to protect marriage. Our friends at Cornerstone Policy Research are hosting a rally tomorrow at the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord. The Granite State is increasingly a key battle ground in the nation’s culture wars.

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