Month Archives: April 2011

State of the 2011 Session in Review: Maryland

by Family Research Council

April 12, 2011

Maryland legislators ended their three month session yesterday, April 11th. The completion of this years session brought the passage of bills that would raise the alcohol tax by three percent, increase the buffer zone between picketers and funerals, provide incentives for facilities that create energy by burning trash and many others. But more notable than what was passed, is what was not passed.

Same-Sex Marriage

Contrary to many predictions that Maryland would soon become the 6th state to legalize same-sex marriage, SB 116, which would accomplish that goal, failed to pass the House of Delegates and was recommitted to the House Judiciary Committee. This victory came through the dozens of phone calls and letters from those of you who stand for traditional marriage. Many thanks are due to Derek McCoy, President of the Association of Maryland Families, and their entire staff for the tireless work that was poured into supporting this effort.

This victory for traditional marriage, though huge, is not necessarily a permanent one. Since the bill was recommitted to committee, and not actually voted upon and failed, it can be brought up again next year at its current stage in the process. Indeed, Chuck Butler, chairman of Equality Maryland the states leading LGBT advocacy organization said:

So we agreed that if we could not pass the bill this year, we should try again next year. Importantly, House leadership committed to bringing up the bill again in 2012. To preserve our prospects of success, therefore, it was best not to hold a vote now, given the chances of the bills defeat by a wide margin. It would be more difficult, within a year, to convert no votes to yes than to obtain a yes from delegates who had not locked in their position with an actual vote.

Therefore we must remain ever vigilant on this issue, because homosexual activists certainly will.

Gender Identity

Another bill that ended in the did not pass category was HB 235, the gender identity bill which would prohibit alleged discrimination against a person based upon their gender identity. The concept of gender identity attempts to legitimize a person’s wish, perception or belief that he or she is actually the opposite sex than his or her own sex at birth. This type of legislation tries to normalize and mainstream transgendered behavior such as cross-dressing. House Bill 235 was recommitted to the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee by a vote of 27 to 20.

These two victories in one of the most liberal states in the union are welcome news for everyone who stands for conservative family values!

For a more complete list of legislation that was passed (or failed) in Maryland this legislative session, click here.

Deficit Deception: Don’t Bank on Social Security: A Primer in the Manifest Phoniness of the Social Security System

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 12, 2011

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the fiscal year 2010 deficit was $1.3 trillion. If the roughly $700 billion from Social Security had been kept in its own so-called Trust Fund and, as a result, subtracted from federal general revenues, the deficit would have been more than $2 trillion.

Instead, as economics writer James Pethokoukis observes, monies supposedly dedicated to Social Security are used as part of a fiduciary shell game” to “mask the true depth of the budget deficit.

How can Social Security and the federal government get away with this?

To answer that, a few foundational facts are needed.

For one thing, there is no Social Security Trust Fund. The Fund is an accounting device that’s used to hide the true size of the federal deficit.

The monies collected from taxpayers are, in an act of accounting sleight-of-hand, put into the Trust Fund for about a millisecond and are then replaced by “special-issue securities,” Treasury notes that the Social Security Administration (SSA) itself admits are “available only to the trust funds.”

In other words, the federal government takes money out of Social Security to pay for all kinds of things, including payments to retirees. It issues itself Treasury bonds to repay its loan from the Social Security Trust Fund but they are bonds only Social Security itself can buy. This is known, in stuffy bureaucracy-speak, as an intragovernmental loan.

SSA itself clarifies, “Tax income is deposited on a daily basis and is invested in ‘special-issue’ securities. The cash exchanged for the securities goes into the general fund of the Treasury and is indistinguishable from other cash in the general fund.” Invested, indeed keep reading.

So, the money that the federal treasury siphons-out of the erstwhile “trust fund goes to cover general revenues of all kinds: From the common federal budget pot, the monies are used to pay for freeway projects in Iowa and aircraft carriers to U.S. Postal System delivery trucks. Oh, yes, and payments to Social Security recipients, or beneficiaries, as well.

Here’s how Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press explains it:

The money in the trust funds has been spent over the years to help fund other government programs. In return, the Treasury Department issued bonds to Social Security, which earn interest and are backed by the government, just like bonds sold in public debt markets. When Social Security runs a deficit, it redeems its bonds with the Treasury Department to cover the red ink. But Treasury gets the money to pay Social Security the same places the government gets all its money: either from taxes and other revenues or by borrowing it. Last year, the government borrowed 37 cents of every dollar it spent. This year it’s borrowing 43 cents of every dollar.”

The interest earned is merely a designed percentage payment Uncle Sam adds onto the amount of the loan derived not from any kind of profitable investment itself, but from the printing presses of the federal treasury. The interest is merely added out of fiat-drenched thin air.

Why does the government do this? Very simply: If Social Security designated funds - the money that comes out of all of our paychecks to pay Social Security income to seniors were not used for general revenue, the deficit would be shown to be even more gigantic than it is, as noted above.

How much money are we talking about? As indicated in the first graph of this piece, the CBO says that Social Security contributed $706 billion to the federal budget in FY 2010. Thats about one-fifth of the total budget.

Some argue that since beneficiaries are getting paid, whats the big deal?

Last year, the pay-out total to retirees was $41 billion more than what was taken in through Social Security taxes. For the first time in roughly 30 years, the SSA ran a deficit one larger, in itself, that all but a handful of the countries in the world.

Second, the false assurance that the trust funds dollars are invested is a lie pure and simple. This investment is actually nothing more than a credit slip that says, in as many words, that the money will be put back in by the Treasury with a certain percentage of interest, interest not derived from anywhere but balance side of a phony federal ledger.

Third, were the money actually invested in interest-bearing accounts, using historic rates of return, the SSA would not be facing the historic crisis it faces in the next quarter-century. Consider: Over the course of its history, the stock market with all the dips, depressions, recessions, wars, etc. we have faced has had an inflation adjusted return of between six and seven percent.

Given the monies poured into the Social Security system since its inception in the 1930s, such a return would have prevented the current, and future, profound shortfalls we are facing.

Fourth, and perhaps most ominously, is the dearth of workers who pay into the system. That number has shrunk from 16 employees per beneficiary to slightly under 3 workers per beneficiary today. As Americas population ages, that ratio will shrink, to our profound fiscal danger, more and more.

Charles Krauthammer notes that should the debt continue to build like a throbbing volcano, the full faith and credit of the federal government wont mean much and not just Social Security, but the whole economy, will be at grave risk:

In judging the creditworthiness of the United States, the world doesnt care what the left hand owes the right. Its all one entity. It cares only what that one entity owes the world … (W)hat would happen to financial markets if the Treasury stopped honoring the special issue bonds in the Social Security trust fund? A lot of angry grumbling at home for sure. But externally? Nothing. This default would simply be the Treasury telling the Social Security Administration that henceforth it would have to fend for itself in covering its annual shortfall.

The other alternative: Treasury tells SSA no such thing and simply pays back, using not real assets but accredited and/or printed monies from Treasurys printing presses, what it owes SSA: The money will, at some point, stop holding much, if any, value. At that point, the world will care a lot, because it will indicate the Weimar-esque quality of the U.S. greenback.

There are a number of ways to correct the problem before Social Security runs completely out of money in about 26 years.

Former FRC scholar and current Howard Center director Alan Carlson argues convincingly, as Americans have more children, we will remedy at least much of the crisis by having more workers to pay into the Social Security system itself. House Speaker John Boehner and others argue for raising the full retirement age from 65 to, say 67 or even 70, which more accurately reflects growing longevity and work patterns and would save large amounts annually.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is among the leading advocates of allowing younger income-earners to invest at least a graduated/growing portion of their Social Security dollars into private retirement accounts, not unlike the federal employees Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

This could be done directly, from the employees paycheck, and be directed into one or more of several fund-types managed independently, just as TSP funds are.

What is clear is that the current system is neither sustainable nor honest. While no one expects President Obama to advance the reforms necessary, the next President should.

If Social Security is not just to survive but refrain from being a fiscal anvil around the national neck, the next President must.

Formerly chief of staff to two Members of Congress and a presidential appointee in the George W. Bush Administration, Schwarzwalder is senior vice-president of the Family Research Council.

Hold as with a Chain of Steel Fort Sumter: April 12, 1861

by Robert Morrison

April 12, 2011

Cannon fire was heard early this morning in Charleston harbor, South Carolina. The guns, happily, were not shotted. They sounded to commemorate the beginning one hundred fifty years ago of the Civil War. The war began when Confederate artillery, on orders from Jefferson Davis, fired on the flag of the United States flying over Fort Sumter. General P.G.T. Beauregard fired those first volleys at 4:30 am, waking the citys residents. The attack on Fort Sumter came after months of mounting crisis following the election the previous November of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States.

South Carolina hurried through an Ordinance of Secession in December, 1860, and was soon followed by six other slaveholding states in the Deep South. Jefferson Davis, the tall, distinguished former Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Franklin Pierce and a former U.S. Senator from Mississippi, was hurriedly sworn in as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.

Through the long Secession Winter of 1860-61, President-elect Lincoln remained in Springfield, Illinois, trying to complete his Cabinet and make hundreds of appointments for the first Republican Party administration. As one after another of the Southern States seceded, Lincoln told friends, I feel like a man trying to rent rooms at one end of his house while the other end is on fire.

In Washington, D.C., in the Willard Hotel, a convention of elderly gentlemen tried to avert civil war. They proposed a raft of compromises. There had been last-minute compromises that had saved the Union for forty years. In 1820, one such bargain resulted in the admission of Missouri as a Slave State, Maine as a Free State. And a line stretching from Missouris southern border to the Pacific marked the regions where slavery would and would not be permitted. North of 3630 of Latitude, no slavery. South of that line, it would be permitted if local citizens wanted it. In retirement at Monticello, former President Thomas Jefferson feared the laying down of such a line like a firebell in the night.

In 1860-61, however, Lincoln would accept many a compromise from the old men at the Willard. On one thing, however, he would not budge. The Republicans won the election pledging no extension of slavery into the territories. On that point, he advised friends at the convention of former office holders, hold as with a chain of steel.

The tug had to come sometime, he advised, and it is better that it come now. He would not bargain away the ground on which he stood for election. Free government required that much of him, he believed.

There was a strange echo of those events last weekend. Last-minute negotiations for the FY 2011 federal budget threatened to shut down the government. Family Research Council and FRCAction tried to persuade the Republicans to hold as with a chain of steel on the moral principle of no funding of abortion. Instead of the extension of human bondage, the moral issue debated today is the extension of killing of unborn children.

In this case, President Barack Obama is the one who would not budge. He was willing to see the government shut down rather than cut off funding for Planned Barrenhood. He came into office tightly bound to the demands of that evil enterprise. He would compromise on anything elsetaxes, spending, Guantanamo Bay closure, military tribunals for terrorists, but on abortion, he was like stone.

What is wrong in slavery and segregation, we believe, is the same thing that is wrong in abortion. In each case, human dignity is denied to those who are undeniably human.

What we sought to do in the recent budget negotiations here in Washington was to assert the principle that we should not be taxed for the killing of innocent unborn Americans. Most Americans agree with that proposition. In vote after vote in state referendums, when voters can vote against paying for abortions they do. During last years fight over nationalizing our health care system, polls showed 71% of Americans opposed being forced to pay for abortions with their tax dollars.

President-elect Obama came to Washington in 2009 re-tracing the route of Lincolns train in 1861. We welcomed him at that time with a quote from Abraham Lincoln: Nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon. We asked the new president, with all due respect: Are not unborn children so stamped?

Planned Parenthood lies again

by Family Research Council

April 12, 2011

NROs Kathryn Jean Lopez tweeted late on April 8 after Democrats and Republicans had reached a budget deal to avert a government shutdown, that the Planned Parenthood education campaign has only just begun. Last week, Planned Parenthoods calculated propaganda campaign painted this abortion giant as a womens health organization. This is hardly the case.

As Congressman Mike Pence said in an interview with ABCs This Week over the weekend, [Planned Parenthood] tried to make [my amendment] about womens health. It wasnt about that. Let me share with you this fact: Planned Parenthoods clinics focus mainly on abortion. He then gave the facts: In 2009, Planned Parenthood made 977 adoption referrals, had 7,021 pre-natal clients, and performed 332,278 abortions.

Planned Parenthood put out a press release yesterday about the interview. Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said, Having failed for now to eliminate breast exams, cancer screenings and birth control that millions of American women count on, Representative Mike Pence continues his misleading and outrageous attacks on Planned Parenthood and the preventive health care our doctors and nurses provide.

But this assertion is ridiculous. As a report from the Chiaroscuro Foundation notes, women in the U.S. have options for seeking care for cancer screenings outside of Planned Parenthood, regardless of their economic status. Ending Planned Parenthoods funding would not have affected anyones ability to get a cancer screening.

Further, Congressman Pences amendment did not cut Title X funding. It simply guaranteed that Title X funds would not go to abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

While Planned Parenthood postures as a womens health organization and claims that most of their services have nothing to do with abortion, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson points out, An abortion is expensive. Its cost includes pay for the doctor, supporting medical staff, their health benefits packages and malpractice insurance. As clinic director, I saw how money affiliate clinics receive from several sources is combined into one pot, not set aside for specific services.

She explains: Planned Parenthoods claim that abortions make up just 3 percent of its services is also a gimmick. That number is actually closer to 12 percent, but strategically skewed by unbundling family planning services so that each patient shows anywhere from five to 20 visits per appointment (i.e., 12 packs of birth control equals 12 visits) and doing the opposite with abortion visits, bundling them together so that each appointment equals one visit. The resulting difference between family planning and abortion visits is striking.

The nail in the coffin is that while Ms. Richards includes breast cancer exams in her description of things that would be lost if Congressman Pences bill to defund Planned Parenthood passed, Planned Parenthood doesnt conduct mammograms, they only provide an exam similar to a self-exam that a woman could conduct at home. Live Action showed in a recent undercover investigation that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms to screen for breast cancer. So how does ending Planned Parenthoods federal money stream negatively affect women who need a mammogram?

Pro-lifers were demonized last week for promoting womens mental and physical health, and fighting for the life of the unborn. But the fact of the matter is that Planned Parenthood is lying to the American people to maintain its federal money stream during a time of serious fiscal crisis. In this cash-strapped time, cutting their funding is a moral issue we should all be able to agree on.

Gagarins Manned Space Flight: April 12, 1961

by Robert Morrison

April 12, 2011

The new President of the United States, the trim young John F. Kennedy, had promised to get America moving again. But barely three months into his term, the fat, bald, warty Nikita Khrushchev was crowing that his Soviet Union had bested the Yankees in space. Party boss Khrushchev moved aggressively to show that Communismnot democracy—was the wave of the future.

Yuri Gagarin was a cosmonaut who first rocketed into orbit on this day fifty years ago. Until he went up, Americans knew only the word astronaut for these intrepid space pioneers. Gagarin was young and daring, to be sure. It took real courage to go up in a space capsule. American test pilots may have sneered at astronauts as spam in a can, but Gagarin was a skilled Soviet air force officer.

He was also a committed atheist. This was important to Nikita Khrushchev. He had been desperately searching for a way to legitimize Communist rule after he delivered his secret speech to the Twentieth Party Congress in Moscow in 1956. That secret speech denounced Stalinthe brutal ruler of the USSR of nearly thirty years. Stalin was attackedonly after he was safely dead for three yearsby his successor Khrushchev not for the murders of four million people in the Gulag, and not for his persecution of Christians and Jews, but for his shooting of thousands of loyal Communists. To show his courage, Khrushchev ordered Stalins mummified body taken from its honored place in the Kremlin next to that of Leninand cremated.

When Yuri Gagarin returned to earth, he was put before the international press corps. What did you see up there, was the shouted question. One suspects today the question was planted. The answer surely was scripted: Nyet bogaNo God.

The launching of Yuri Gagarin into space aboard Vostok 1 (East 1) set off a furious effort in the U.S. President Kennedy was determined not to be outdone by the forces of international Communism. He convened panels at NASA and among Cabinet committees. What can the U.S. do to respond to this propaganda coup?

The answers were not encouraging. Scientists, engineers, and NASA officials informed the president that the Soviets were ahead of us in space and it would be yearsyears!before we might catch up. Moreover, the U.S. had committed itself under President Eisenhower to doing everything in public. That included broadcasting our embarrassing failures. The Soviets had the advantage of secrecy. If any cosmonauts died before Gagarins stunning success, we probably will never know about it.

Khrushchev needed successes in space to compensate for his abysmal failures on earth. Despite boasting we will bury you, the Russian people lived in Third World poverty. No bread and no freedom. At a U.S. trade fair in Moscow, Khrushchev bragged the USSR would pass the U.S. by 1980. One brave Russian wrote in the Americans guest book: Drop me off in the United States as we pass by.

Marxists rejected any thought of religion. Success in space would enable man to believe in himself…People who now believe in God will reject him. Man will be stronger than God. Communist sympathizers around the world took heart from Soviet successes in space.

But President Kennedy boldly went where no man had gone before. Informed by NASA that the U.S. might be able to get to the Moon before the Soviets, but that it would take years, J.F.K. went before Congress and threw down the gauntlet. The United States, he promised, would go to the Moon before the decade was out.

On Christmas Eve, 1968, three American astronauts aboard Apollo 8 went to the Moon. As they came around the dark side, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders read from the King James Bible: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth… We had won the space race. In just seven months, Americans aboard Apollo XI would touch down on the Moon, taking that small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.

The night we landed on the Moon, someone put flowers on President Kennedys grave at Arlington National Cemetery. They left a note: The Eagle has landed. Today, Google remembers Yuri Gagarins flight with a visual tribute. Lets hope that in memorializing the USSR and the greatest achievement of an evil empire that Google will remember its own motto: Dont be evil.

Portrait of an Abortion Zealot: Glimpse of Obama in the NYT

by Cathy Ruse

April 11, 2011

In the midst of the budget debate last week an important premise was planted: That President Obama is willing to risk a lot, and lose a lot, in order to keep the federal spigot open and tax dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood.

The New York Times report on the budget negotiations included this gem:

At one crucial moment in the game of chicken over a looming shutdown of the United States government, President Obama and the House speaker, John A. Boehner, faced off in the Oval Office. Mr. Boehner, a Republican heavily outnumbered in the room by Democrats, was demanding a provision to restrict financing to Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions. Mr. Obama would not budge.

Nope. Zero, the president said to the speaker. Mr. Boehner tried again. Nope. Zero, Mr. Obama repeated. John, this is it. A long silence followed, said one participant in the meeting. It was just like an awkward, O.K., well, what do you do now?

That meeting broke without an agreement. But while Mr. Obama may have held tough on the abortion provision, he and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, had already made a broader concession agreeing to tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts that would have been unthinkable had Republicans not captured control of the House from Democrats in midterm elections last year.

Keep in mind, Mr. Obama wasnt protecting a right to abortion, but something even more radical: the right of Americas largest abortion provider to reach into our pockets!

Planned Parenthood has almost one billion dollars in net assets and $737 million in reported revenues, not counting the $363 million from taxpayers. Isnt that a special favor for Big Business?

And what a business. From its most recent report we learn that Planned Parenthood clinics aborted 332,278 American children, about the same number of people who populate the city of Cincinnati. (For more important facts on Planned Parenthood, see this wonderful piece by Susan Wills)

The budget negotiations revealed, again, President Obamas abortion zealotry. We have the Republicans congressional leaders to thank for that. As my colleague Tom McClusky asks: Who is the hard liner on abortion?

The Miracle at Appomattox: April 9, 1865

by Robert Morrison

April 8, 2011

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox that effectively ended the Civil War. Once, all Americans knew about Appomattox and what happened there. It was part of the reason we knew America was exceptional.

Gen. Robert E. Lee was retreating from Richmond with his army of starving scarecrows. He had fewer than 10,000 effective fighting men left in his Army of Northern Virginia. After four long years of incredibly bloody conflict, Lee knew that the overwhelming numbers and resources of the Union forces under Gen. U.S. Grant would in time wear him down. Lee had ordered a shipment of rations be sent from shattered Richmond to Amelia Courthouse. Some nameless official in the Confederate War Department got the order confused; the capital was, after all, being hurriedly evacuated. Instead of food, the War Department sent Lees army boxcars of ammunition. You cant eat bullets.

Finding himself surrounded, Gen. Lee rejected desperate pleas of his young officers. They wanted to slip away in the night, head for the mountains, and there keep up a guerilla war that would continue the bloodshed, perhaps for generations. Lee knew what hatreds, what horrors would attend that idea. No, he said definitively, I must go to see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths.

Riding his famed horse, Traveler, the six-foot tall, silver haired warrior was dressed in his best gray uniform, replete with buckskin gloves, a multi-colored sash, a jeweled sword hanging at his side. It was this vision that led a loyal young Union girl on the road to Gettysburg to exclaim two years earlier: Oh, how I wish he were ours!

Lee arrived early at the home of Wilmer McLean in the tiny hamlet called Appomattox Courthouse. McLean had offered his front parlor for the surrender ceremonies. In 1861, farmer McLean had been living near the Manassas battlefield when a stray cannonball landed in the stewpot simmering in his fireplace. A Southern patriot, McLean had taken his family as far from the scene of battle as he could imagine. Now, the civil war that began in his kitchen would end in his front parlor.

General Ulysses S. Grant arrived late, his uniform still spattered with mud from his hurried ride. The only part of him that seemed military was his well-tended horse, Cincinnati. He wore a privates uniform coat with only the three stars of a Lieutenant General to give a hint that this was no ordinary soldier.

Grant then commanded all the forces of the Union, the largest army that had ever been assembled in the Western Hemisphere. At wars end, Gen. Grant had more black troops in his ranks than Lee had white soldiers in his. Some 200,000 black soldiers and sailors—mostly freed slavesserved the Union.

Grant tried to put Gen. Lee at ease with small talk of their days together in the Mexican War. Both men had distinguished themselves as heroes in that war. Grant told Lee he had met him once there and would never forget how he looked. Lee answered he knew that was so, and that he had tried to recall the meeting many times, but had never been able to recall a single feature of Grants.

If this was meant as a subtle insult to the unprepossessing Grant, the shorter, rumpled man who was the first since George Washington to hold his high rank did not take it so. Not then. And not in his wonderful dying memoirs written twenty years after this event.

Guided by Lincolns orders to let `em up easy, Grants terms for Lees army were more than generous. If the rebels would but lay down their arms, they could go home under parole, and wait to be properly exchanged. Everyone knew there would be no such exchange of prisoners.

Grant said Lees officers might keep their horses and their side arms. When Gen. Lee informed Grant that many of his enlisted men owned their own horses, Grant declined to change his neatly written surrender terms, but said he would give verbal instructions to his officers that any of Lees men claiming a horse might take it with him unmolested. He acknowledged that those horses would be needed for spring planting.

This will have the best possible effect upon the men. It will be very gratifying and will do much toward conciliating our people. Lee then brought up the matter of his hungry men. They had had but one meal in the last week, and that of parched corn. Grant did not tell Lee that the aggressive bluecoat cavalrymen under Gen. Little Phil Sheridan had captured the Confederate supply train that had gone astray.

Quickly, Grant offered 25,000 rations, and more to feed the famished foe. At the close of the two-and-a-half hour ceremony, Grant and all his officers stood down from Mr. McLeans front porch and took off their hats as Gen. Lee departed.

As Lee rode back through his lines, his brave men wept, prayed, and some cursed the Yankees. They patted Traveler tenderly. They must have heard the Union artillerists beginning a One Hundred Gun salutebut this was quickly quashed on orders of Gen. Grant. We must not exult on this day, Grant sternly ordered, the rebels are our countrymen once again.

Soon, Yankees and rebels were joining each other in their lines. Gen. James Longstreet, whom Lee called his Old Warhorse, hastened to see Grant. He had been in Grants wedding party. The next morning, Gen. Lee met Gen. George Meade riding on the road.

Gen. Lee, dont you recognize me? Im George Meade. Lee smiled, extending his hand. Meade, whered you get all that gray in your beard? Meade, who had successfully fended off Lees deadly assaults at Gettysburg, told his former enemy and old friend: Youre the one who put it there.

Three days later, the Army of Northern Virginia passed in review, laying down their arms and surrendering their flags. The ceremony was commanded by Union Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who would soon be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his great defense at Little Round Top at Gettysburg. Chamberlain brought his men to a full salute. Gen. John Bell Gordon, the much-wounded Confederate leader, responded to the salute by tapping his boot with his sword and horse and rider made a stately bow. Honor answering honor, Chamberlain later wrote.

If the reconciliation of North and South had been left to Grant and Lee, the nation would have been blessed indeed. Instead, following President Lincolns assassination, his vindictive successor Andrew Johnson determined to pursue a vengeful course. When he tried to prosecute Lee for treason, Grant rushed to the White House and demanded the order be rescinded. Backed up fully by Gen. Sherman, the Unions other great hero, Grant threatened to resign if the malicious Johnson went ahead. He dropped it.

Three years later, when Robert E. Lee was serving as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, one of his professors expressed disgust that Grant had been nominated for President of the United States. The professor, formerly one of Lees officers, called Grant that drunk, that butcher.

Lee fixed the man with withering stare of his blue eyes and said quietly: If I ever hear you speak of General Grant in those terms again, one of us will terminate his association with this college. That college is now known as Washington & Lee University.

In no other nation on earth might such a fiery trial, one that claimed 630,000 lives, have ended so magnanimously as ours did at Appomattox. Britain hanged rebelsin Canada in 1837and shot them in Ireland in 1916. The Mexicans killed every Texas rebel at the Alamo in 1836.

Only in America could we have seen the stillness at Appomattox. It was a miracle then.

We need to remember that now.

Register Today for our Upcoming Family Policy Lecture

by Krystle Gabele

April 7, 2011

Is American higher education soon to be federalized? We know that diversity of choice in higher education is lacking? One independent study of the Social Science division at the University of Oregon found one registered Republican on the Faculty. Join us for a Family Policy Lecture on Wednesday, May 11, 2011, as we focus on the destructive potential of new “state authorization” regulations that are key aspects of the Obama Administration’s higher education reforms. What else is likely to be imposed on American higher education? And what will the GOP’s response be? Is doing nothing better than something?

The featured speakers include:

  • Dr. Richard J. Bishirijan, President, Yorktown University
  • Dr. C. Ronald Kimberling, President, Argosy University, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Dr. Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars
  • Dr. Richard Vedder, Founder, Center for Educational Affordability and Productivity

This event will take place at our headquarters in Washington, DC, and lunch will be provided.

Click here for more information or to register.


First Patient Injected with Embryonic Stem Cell Derivatives is Identified

by David Prentice

April 7, 2011

The first patient to be injected with derivatives of human embryonic stem cells has been identified. Timothy J. Atchison of Chatom, AL, was the first patient injected in Geron’s study, according to a report early this morning from Rob Stein of the Washington Post. The experiment started in October 2010, in Atlanta, GA. Atchison has now identified himself and says Im doing well. No specific details have been given on his progress. Geron has disclosed that other clinical sites have been approved, but has not acknowledged whether any other patients have been injected in their experiment.

The trial has been criticized based on its use of morally-questionable embryonic stem cells, but also in terms of its safety risks. And while it was pointed out over two years ago, today’s story belatedly notes that, because this experiment requires injecting the ESC-derived cells into the patient within two weeks of the injury, because “Patients often improve on their own, which makes gauging whether the cells had any effect dicey.”

In contrast, as was brought out in U.S. Senate testimony in September 2010, adult stem cells have already shown success at treating spinal cord injury patients, even years after their injury, as documented by peer-reviewed published scientific evidence.

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