Month Archives: July 2008

Under the Banner of Kennedy

by Michael Fragoso

July 3, 2008

On the same day that Justice Kennedy ruled that “the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law authorizing the castration of child rapists.  Certain sections of the comentariat-up to and including Fox News-have ridiculed the measure.

Jindal’s law replacing execution with castration, however, is not without precedent.  When William of Normandy conquered Anglo-Saxon England in 1066 he abolished the death penalty at the urging of the Roman Catholic Church-under whose banner he had won the Battle of Hastings.  Nonetheless, a punishment was necessary for capital crimes, so in his Coronation Charter King William said, “I also forbid that anyone shall be slain or hanged for any fault, but let his eyes be put out and let him be castrated…” Justice Kennedy, having followed the inclinations of Bishop Odo, finds himself faced with Bobby Jindal deploying edicts suited to King William.  Plus ca change…

This is further evidence that when Kennedy references any sort of “evolving standards of decency” his referent is likely a fiction, and he is merely citing his own preferences and proclivities.

Oh! Canada!

by Family Research Council

July 3, 2008

I’m seriously not trying to pick on our friends to the north. I grew up right near the border in Upstate New York and have fond memories of trips across the border. However what are they thinking by giving the man responsible for bringing legalized abortion to their country twenty years ago the Nation’s highest honor, the Order of Canada.

His comments show he is a man who has no remorse and in fact credits himself for Canada’s low crime rate because his efforts have successfully killed off generations that might have committed crime.

He said that in the 20 years since the Supreme Court of Canada struck morgentaler.jpgdown the criminal law against abortion in the case that bears his name, abortion has become one of the safest surgical procedures. Women are no longer killed, injured or left infertile because of abortions, he said, and violent crime has become much rarer due to a decline in unwanted pregnancies.

There are people out there who would otherwise have been murdered. That makes me very happy indeed,” he said.

According to Canadian abortion groups over 110,000 abortions are performed in Canada every year a ratio of about 30 abortions to every 100 live births. There are no real conscience protections to speak of and pro-life counselors are not permitted by law to directly advise an individual to not obtain an abortion.

This man who is responsible for at least 2,200,000 deaths in Canada since 1988 does not see himself as the violent one but according to him the pro-life churches in Canada are the vicious ones

He said he is surprised that the negative reaction to his honour from religious groups “is not more violent that it already is. The negative opinions all come from the usual suspects: the Catholic Church, fundamentalists, women opposed to women’s rights.”

His opinion on the views of people of faith is eerily similar to those who are pro-abortion such as People for the American Way and Americans Untied for Seperation of Church and State in the U.S.:

He said opposition to abortion on religious grounds does not trouble him, “as long as they are not allowed to influence other people, by force or by any other means.

Land of 13,843 Tears

by Family Research Council

July 3, 2008

This week in Minnesota, the location of the Republican Party Convention this summer, new abortion statistics have been released:

Abortions in Minnesota declined 1.5 percent last year, after an increase in 2006. The 2006 numbers showed a 5 percent increase overall and a 16 percent increase among teens 17 and younger.

This year, the number of abortions among teens 17 and younger declined, but the number of abortions among 18- and 19-year olds increased. The net effect was just four fewer teen procedures in 2007.

While it is always good to see the number of children being killed go down, clearly even one is too many. The reasons listed for having an abortion included not wanting children at this time, already being a single parent, the economy and having unfulfilled educational goals.

The local abortuary, Planned Parenthood, notes that abortions actually increased in 2006, but conveniently cites that as an “anomaly.” There are others who have perhaps a better explanation for the numbers:

Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, said the 2006 increase was a problem - corrected in 2007 with $2.4 million in state funding for programs promoting abortion alternatives.

Considering the increase in economic concerns, he recommends more funding for alternatives, including programs that provide women with housing, education and adoption planning.

In so doing,” he said, “we believe that the mothers and their babies will flourish.”

Activist Alveda King points out another sad fact of the Minnesota numbers that is certainly no “anomaly.”

While African Americans comprise only 4.5 percent of Minnesota’s population, black received almost 25 percent of the abortions performed on Minnesotans,” stated Dr. King. “Nationally, black women are 4.8 times more likely to have an abortion than white women. It’s hard to believe, as the abortion lobby would have you believe, that this discrepancy is caused strictly by economics.”

Abortion has been a scourge on all Americans, but particularly African Americans,” added Dr. King. “The numbers speak for themselves. The abortion industry has targeted minority neighborhoods for years. It’s not only time that our leaders investigated why this is happening, it’s time they stopped indirectly subsidizing these killings by giving our money to businesses that do abortions.”

Latest from the states on cloning and stem cells

by David Prentice

July 3, 2008

Michigan citizens will likely be considering a ballot initiative this fall on embryonic stem cell research. The proposal would promote more embryonic stem cell research by overturning Michigan’s long-standing prohibition on destruction of embryos for experiments.

In Missouri, a judge has denied a temporary restraining order on disbursement of life sciences funds. The lawsuit will still be heard; it attempts to clarify clashing guidelines between prohibitions in the funding of life sciences projects (prohibiting use of the funds for any human cloning) and the new provisions in the Missouri constitution, from the 2006 Amendment 2, that preclude funding prohibitions. This is the first legal test of the new constitutional provisions that allow human embryo cloning in Missouri.

Louisiana Governor Jindal signed into law a prohibition on use of state funds for human cloning, while Ohio Gov. Strickland used his line-item veto to remove a similar prohibition in a funding bill, keeping human cloning and its funding legal in Ohio.

No eggs or cloning, latest California grants favor iPS cells

by David Prentice

July 3, 2008

An analysis in Nature’s stem cell blog, The Niche, notes that no proposals for nuclear transfer cloning were approved in the latest round of grants awarded by California’s stem cell agency, CIRM. In fact, no proposals were funded that called for use of human eggs.

Instead, the focus was on embryonic-like iPS cells and comparisons between iPS and “traditional” ESC.

No proposals were funded regarding adult stem cells either though, except for one that proposed creating stem cells using spermatogonial stem cells, iPS cells, and ESC for comparison.

For a good discussion of this issue regarding using human eggs for cloning, see this recent commentary by Jesse Reynolds.

For more about the grant applications, see this press release from CIRM and their Summaries of Review for Applications.

Yes, We Have Gone Bananas

by Family Research Council

July 2, 2008

Hey I love monkeys in suits as much as the next guy and was a big fan of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp, however it seems we as a society have truly gone over the edge when we start adopting primates and treating them as children (even going as far as calling them “monkids.”)

Empty nesters looking to relive all the fun of raising children without reliving Planet of the Apes.jpgthe turbulent teens are adopting some of our closest relatives: monkeys.

Families are dressing up capuchins, feeding them at the family dinner table and treating them like any other member of the family. They’re called monkids.”

Apparently these “monkids” once they are older are not unlike some ungrateful real children in that they turn on their “parents”

I walked into the room and he just, he bit me everywhere he could bite me. He ripped my elbow open, right across my wrist, on my hand, the back of my knee,” Sampey said. “And it all happened within, like, three seconds. I got out of the room as fast as I could. But I got out of the room bleeding all over the place.”

If you combine this with Spain’s parliament recently voicing its support for the rights of apes to life and freedom in what was the first time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans then I think we all know where this is headed.

Do you think it is coincidence this is all happening after Charlton Heston died?

He Is Welcome In the United States - But Do We Really Want Him Back?

by Family Research Council

July 2, 2008

During the Vietnam War deserters would flee to Canada where they were welcome as “conscientious objectors,” since there was a draft going on and, supposedly, those fleeing were morally opposed to war. Things are very different now that the U.S. has voluntary military service - yet we still tend to get the best and the brightest who sign up and stay in. Unfortunately some in the military are unwilling to fill obligations that they freely signed up for and are still fleeing to Canada. However Canada realizes these soldiers are deserters and not some sort of peace heroes. Unfortunately (or amusingly) it appears that the Canadian Left is just as desperate and clueless as their American counterparts (i.e. Cindy Sheehan) in picking those they stand up for.

Since deserting his unit in Iraq and fleeing to Canada two years ago, Corey Glass has become the poster boy of the war resisters movement. Thursday in Toronto, supporters are planning to protest his scheduled deportation back to the United States.

But it turns out Glass has had little reason to be on the lam, ABCNews has learned.

Unknown to him and his legion of supporters, Glass, 25, was actually discharged from the U.S. Army shortly after he went AWOL in 2006 . . .

I had absolutely no idea that I had been discharged,” said Glass when ABC News informed him of his status. “This is insane. This is so weird. There are no warrants? NoThumbnail image for Canadian Flag.jpg one is looking for me?”

According to U.S. Army documents and officials, Glass was discharged from the California National Guard Dec. 1, 2006, four months after he arrived in Canada.

He is not considered absent without leave. He is not considered a deserter,” said Maj. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman. “He is running for no reason. He is fully welcome in the United States.”

Hold on their Major Banks - can we put it to a vote to see if we want him back?

Great Stem Cell Advance you never heard

by David Prentice

July 2, 2008

Lots of news lately hasn’t made it into the mainstream press.

One big item only covered by specialty news sources, but very significant, was news from Australian scientists that they had successfully treated Parkinson’s disease in animals using human nasal adult stem cells. In some cases the nasal adult stem cells came from Parkinson’s patients, indicating they could be the source of their own stem cell treatment.

There are numerous advantages to these adult stem cells:

Patient specific stem cells

Disease specific stem cells

Can generate the cells of interest in a disease

Can make them work in an animal model of disease

Takes 20 mins to get tissue in outpatient setting

One month to grow cells

Seventy lines established thus far

Being patient specific there are no transplant rejection issues

No cancer formation as with embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent cells

Large numbers can be grown to study the disease and transplant the cells

No need for embryos, nuclear transfer cloning, animal-human hybrids

No need to inject new genes or retroviruses as in induced pluripotent cells

Highly efficient whereas embryo and reprogrammed skin cells are not

No ethical issues

No destruction of tissues

No need to hyperovulate women to get multiple eggs for embryo generation and cloning

The paper was published in the journal Stem Cells

This is the same group that showed in 2006 that they could get multiple tissue types from this adult stem cell source, including heart, nerve, liver, and brain cells.

Judge Rules Free Speech is Fine, As Long As No One Hears You

by Family Research Council

July 2, 2008

Apparently a judge in Virginia thinks a large cross is “shouting” and is ordering a church not to display their cross at a Fourth of July picnic. Would this judge have the same “noise” concerns if it was a 30 foot tall Ronald McDonald balloon or a Good Year blimp advertisement? Luckily Alliance Defense Fund is on the case.

Judge denies Christian group’s request to display cross

By Austin Wright

NORFOLK

A local Christian group has a right to free speech but they “don’t have to shout,” a federal judge in Norfolk said Tuesday when he denied the group’s request to display a 12-foot-tall cross at a Fourth of July celebration in a Chesapeake city park.

Last year city employees asked Christian Rights Ministries to remove the cross from the celebration at Lakeside Park following a parade. The group alleges that city employees said the cross was “too blatantly Christian,” but the employees said during Tuesday’s court hearing that they had the cross removed for safety reasons. More . .

It’s Nice To Have A Friend Who Will Stick Their Neck Out For You

by Family Research Council

July 1, 2008

Anyone who knows me (well those who will admit to it at least) knows I disdain zoos and circuses (despite having done a stint at the latter.) I couldn’t help but chuckle at the following story:

Giraffe helps camels, zebras escape from circus

Updated 04:01 p.m., June 30, 2008

Amsterdam police say 15 camels, two zebras and an undetermined number of llamas and potbellied swine briefly escaped from a traveling Dutch circus after a giraffe kicked a hole in their cage.

Police spokesman Arnout Aben says the animals wandered in a group through a nearby neighborhood for several hours after their 5:30 a.m. breakout.

The animals were back at the circus later Monday after being rounded up by police and circus workers with the assistance of dogs. Aben says neighbors fed some of the animals _ which he said was a bad idea _ but they were tame and nobody was hurt.

Says Aben: “You have to imagine somebody rubbing his eyes first thing in the morning and saying, ‘Am I seeing things or is that 15 camels walking past?’”

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