Month Archives: November 2011

Some Good Articles on Education Topics Intersect with Rep. Bachmann’s speech

by Chris Gacek

November 7, 2011

Over the past several days some interesting articles have been published on specific education topics. Each is worth reading:

  • The first, an editorial in the Washington Examiner, focuses on the impact charter schools are having on education in theDistrict of Columbia.

  • The second article focuses on the difficulties being experienced in reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind law. (Rightly or wrongly, the author believes that: Failure to update the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, despite considerable support from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, would have the practical effect of giving President Obama a much freer hand in setting federal education policy and pushing his favored reforms.)

  • The third article, by former congresswoman Melissa Hart, describes some unusual circumstances surrounding a federal False Claims Act lawsuit against Education Management Corporation (a for-profit) that was joined by the Dept of Justice in May 2011. (Here is a New York Times piece with some background information and a different point of view.)

All in all, these articles lead one to conclude that the size of the D.C.-based education-industrial-complex is so massive that it needs to be drastically reduced or eliminated.

Coincidentally, in a speech given today at the Family Research Council, Representative Michelle Bachmann, stated that, if elected president, she would repeal all federal education laws (i.e., policy authority). She added that she would eliminate the Department of Education. The key step, however, would be eliminating the education laws because erasing the Dept of Education alone would do nothing to end the programs, activities, and spending that are required under all these federal statutes. Only statutory repeal will do that. It was interesting to hear Rep. Bachmann make this distinction.

A Father’s Quest for Justice

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 7, 2011

Major media outlets are reporting the remarkable story of a French father’s 29-year quest for his daughter’s killer, a quest that has resulted in the arrest of a man who committed the murder.

For three decades, Andre Bamberski pursued the rapist and murderer of his then-14 year-old daughter Kalinka, Dieter Krombach. After offering a reward for his capture, Krombach was abducted from Germany and brought to France, where he had been convicted in absentia of causing a wrongful death in 1995. Krombach, 76, will spend the next 15 years in jail, should he live that long.

Andre Bamberski is awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping. Perhaps this is appropriate. But what father cannot help but admire Andre’s dogged determination to see the man who assaulted and killed his daughter brought to justice? To refuse to accept anything less than punishment for the monster who took his daughter’s life?

History is a relentless master,” said John F. Kennedy. “It has no present, only the past rushing into the future.” History is relentless, in part, because men like Andre Bamberski refuse to let it elide quietly into memory. That’s why Dieter Krombach is now in jail. To borrow a phrase from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, “Here endeth the lesson.”

Jesus the Economist? Or Something Else?

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 4, 2011

Christianity asserts that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person who lived in the space-time continuum. He had a physical body, felt hunger, had full use of His senses, and worked for years as a skilled laborer.

The New Testament also claims that He was eternal God in the flesh, the Savior of the world Whose atoning death and justifying resurrection are the basis of the redemption of all who will trust in Him for forgiveness.

These propositions are striking enough without the other claims being made about Jesus in the political world, which are many. Consider some recent headlines:

Occupy London are true followers of Jesus, even if they despise religion

What Would Jesus Drive?

Best-selling socialist publication of all time remains the Bible

Jesus was a Communist” - new movie by Matthew Modine,

From Jesus Socialism to Capitalist Christianity,

Marx, Capitalism, and Jesus

What Would Jesus Hack?

Was Jesus an Early Applied Economist?

For the record: Jesus affirmed the right to own property and encouraged honest labor. Several of the disciples were in a fishing business that included ownership of several boats, indicating that they were appropriately ambitious and hard-working (Luke 5:11).

Also, it is a tribute to Jesus enduring, penetrating, and inescapable power that political philosophers, economists, and even entertainers are so eager to nab Him for their agendas.

However, my point is not to get into a discussion about Jesus and His teachings concerning business, taxes, or economics generally. Rather, it is this: Should we not summon the moral courage to deal with His overt and profound claims before we wander off into asking if He would drive a Prius, or if He would support budget reductions? At what point do such musings become trivial, even irreverent?

It is wholly honorable to consider the implications of living a Christ-filled life in contemporary times. Yet the effort to claim Jesus for an ideological agenda or to capture Him as some kind of pre-Marxian redistributionist is ludicrous in itself, and also keeps us from the main issue: Was He the God-Man, the Lord of all, filled with grace and truth, or, as one writer has put it, just a carpenter gone bad?

Shouldnt we be asking the main questions first? Remember, Jesus never said, Follow Me, and become a socialist. Rather, His question was, Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:15).

Whats your answer?

At the FDR Memorial: Diluted? Or Deluded?

by Robert Morrison

November 4, 2011

The comparisons between Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt began even before our 44th president had taken the oath. In late 2008, TIME magazine portrayed president-elect Obama as FDR on its cover. The wish was father to the thought. Mr. Obama encouraged such dreams from his political father. He did not look to Bill Clinton as a model. And certainly no one would take Jimmy Carter as a mentor. No one, that is, who wanted to have a successful presidency.

Barack Obama might have wanted to offer Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson as a role model. At least, Johnsons signing of historic Civil Rights and Voting Rights legislation could be commended. But LBJ led us into the morass of Vietnam. After four bloody years in the jungles of Southeast Asia, Johnson could give no convincing reasons why the U.S. should prevail there. Hey! Hey, LBJ! How many kids have you killed today, chanted anti-war protesters then. The parents of todays Occupy Wall Streeters drove Johnson from office in defeat and disgrace. Scratch Johnson.

That leaves John F. Kennedy as the Democratic hero to whom Barack Obama might look for inspiration. Well, maybe not. JFK said we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Oops! Thats not the kind of martial music Obamas Peace Caucus-goers could march to. And JFK took us to the Moon. President Obamas NASA chief thinks his Mission One is to make Muslims feel good about themselves. Also, Jack Kennedy cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans, arguing that a rising tide lifts all boats. That wouldnt do for a socialist program of spreading the wealth around.

Pursuing far-left policies in office has left Obamas partisans with no role model except FDR. Roosevelt, to be sure, was the longest-serving, most influential political figure the left has ever produced. But even here, and especially here, Mr. Obama comes up short. The Weekly Standard lampooned TIMEs worshipful treatment with a stunning caricature of the 44th president rather shrunken in the shadow of our 32nd.

We dont need to approve of FDRs New Deal. Many if not most aspects of that Big Government solution worsened the Great Depression. Harold Ickes, the left-wing Republican who served the Squire of Hyde Park as Interior Secretary shot back at Republican criticisms of his day: Tax and Spend, Tax and Spend, Elect and Elect.

Ickes was right about that much. In those heady days of liberalism, it seemed you could prime the pump with confiscatory taxes without the pump ever going dry.

Ronald Reagan never criticized FDR. In Reagans day, there were simply too many millions of voters who had voted for that Man four times. Reagan was one of them.

So, its not surprising that we get an unrecognizable FDR for todays generation. Barack Obamas representatives testified recently on Capitol Hill. The administration opposes the suggestion by World War II veterans to include Roosevelts D-Day Prayer in his memorial. Dont dilute the FDR Memorial, they say. Dilute? They dont want to water down the rest of his stirring rhetoric.

Watering down? Is this administration really so anti-prayer as that? President Roosevelts nationally broadcast prayer spoke of faith in our united crusade against the evils of Nazidom. FDR addressed the American people on June 6, 1944. My friend Bill Bennett plays the D-Day prayer on his radio program every June 6th. Good for him.

Those who think a Roosevelt prayer diluting dont know FDR. When Roosevelt first met Prime Minister Winston Churchill, seventy years ago last summer for the first summit, the presidents son Elliott made a point of telling the British leader my father is a very religious man. Churchill had already learned that. He had studied the American leader and had chosen those great hymns most likely to tug at Roosevelts heartstrings. More than 5,000 young British and American sailors joined heartily to sing the words of O God Our Help in Ages Past, Onward Christian Soldiers, and Eternal Father Strong to Save.

Heres a compromise we can offer to avoid diluting the FDR Memorial:

Lets take that statue of Roosevelt on his wheel chair and ship it off to the Bill Clinton Library. As president, Clinton made it his business to tell us all that Americans were lied to about FDRs crippling condition of polio. Expert as he was in lying, Bill Clinton got that totally wrong. Readers of TIME and every other journal of the 1940s read every year that the president was going to Warm Springs, Georgia, for treatment for his polio-stricken legs. The president publicly raised funds for the March of Dimes, a group then dedicated to polio research. And, Mr. Clinton, guess whose picture is on the dime?

It was President Roosevelt who requested that no pictures of him in his wheel chair be shown. Thats the real reason only two of more than 14,000 photographs of President Roosevelt show him in his chair. To claim otherwise, as Clinton does, is to delude Americans.

If we transfer the wheelchair statue that FDR would have hated, we can avoid diluting the FDR Memorial. We can stop deluding Americans. We will have plenty of room to display Roosevelts eloquent D-Day Prayer. Then, we can remind ourselves that we truly are One Nation Under God.

Obamacare: More Bad News for Families?

by Chris Gacek

November 3, 2011

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, economist and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, concluded a recent column on Obamacare: Yes, health care will be affordable for low-income Americans but only if theyre unmarried. Her column doesnt appear to have received a great deal of attention, but Furchtgott-Roth was describing one line of analysis from an October 27th hearing conducted by the House Committee on Government Reform. The hearing was entitled Examining Obamacares Hidden Marriage Penalty and Its Impact on the Deficit. The details are a bit complicated, so I recommend reading the Furchtgott-Roth article. (A committee staff report is also available.) Suffice it to say that there is much to learn about Obamacare as Mrs. Pelosi once told us.

The Social Conservative Review: November 3, 2011

by Krystle Gabele

November 3, 2011

Click here to subscribe to The Social Conservative Review.

Dear Friends,

Harry Truman once said that a “statesman is a politician who’s been dead for 15 years.” In other words, our view of the nobility and wisdom of our political leaders grows the further we get from their public service. Remember that the next time you see a bumper sticker with a photo of George W. Bush, bearing the legend, “Miss him yet?”

If we want a virtuous and just society, we cannot afford to concede that statesmanship is a lost art. As King’s College professor David C. Innes notes, politics “politics is more than just good intentions. It requires knowledge, judgment and an ability to move people so that they want to follow you. Essentially it requires statesmanship. Statesmanship is the just, prudent and persuasive exercise of authority.”

As statesmanship declines, public life becomes more tawdry. The personal corruption of political leaders deepens our cynicism, and the unwillingness of many officials to make tough but necessary policy choices seems more animated by their chances for re-election than the best interests of the country.

Speaking of the American Revolution, Queen Elizabeth II said, “We lost the American colonies because we lacked the statesmanship to know the right time and the manner of yielding what is impossible to keep.” Statesmanship, or the lack thereof, can have profound consequences for the moral health of the nation and for the very existence of the political and social order.

Our Founders understood this. Writing in 1789, James Madison observed, “If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue; it is, therefore, the duty of legislators to enforce, both by precept and example, the utility, as well as the necessity of a strict adherence to the rules of distributive justice.”

Distributive justice,” to Madison and his colleagues, meant a government that ensured fairness and dignity for all its citizens - justice that would be distributed equally, without favoritism.

Christian statesmanship involves the prudent application of justice. It also means that Christians must pray for elected and appointed public servants, that they would make such an application with courage and consistency.

Prayed for our government’s leaders lately?


Rob Schwarzwalder

Senior Vice-President

Family Research Council

P.S Be sure to watch FRC’s Webcast of our forum on international religious liberty, featuring five experts whose comments drew media coverage in The Washington Post.

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To read about the latest advances in ethical adult stem cell research, keep up with leading-edge reports from FRC’s Dr. David Prentice, click here.

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Book reviews

Steve Jobs the Unwanted

by Cathy Ruse

November 3, 2011

Joan Desmond has written a nice review of the new Steve Jobs biography in the National Catholic Register:

In it she recounts Jobs gratitude to his biological mother for not choosing abortion:

[Biographer Walter] Isaacson traces Jobs effort to find his biological mother, a Midwestern graduate student raised in a Catholic family. I wanted to meet my biological mother mostly to see if she was okay and to thank her, because Im glad I didnt end up as an abortion. She was 23 and went through a lot to have me, Jobs told his biographer.

Apparently Jobs biological mother sought to secure his future well-being by insisting that a college-educated couple adopt her son. Instead, recounts Desmond, two high-school dropouts provided a loving and secure home and a garage where Jobs watched his father fix things and make them work. Meanwhile, the well-credentialed biological father left his children in the lurch.

This last point presents a major theme of the biographer: that the circumstances of Steve Jobs birth to unmarried parents and adoption as an infant left him with deep abandonment issues that impacted the rest of his life. But so, too, is there healing and redemption through love the love of his adoptive parents, the experience of loving his own children, and the love between Jobs and his sister, Mona Simpson, whom he didnt meet until they were both adults:

After his death, Simpson offered a eulogy that reflected on the emotional scars inflicted by their biological father and the healing power of her brothers love. Even as a feminist, my whole life Id been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, Id thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man, and he was my brother, said Simpson.

One incident Desmond highlights gives testimony to Jobs determination to be a very present father to his own children, despite all of the money and fame:

Theres a wonderful scene in the biography when Bill Gates comes to pay his respects to his old nemesis. While Gates lives in a house that rivals the square footage of Versailles, Jobs consciously chose to reside in a comparatively modest residence that functioned without live-in staff or a security detail. The Jobs family gathered every night at the kitchen table for dinner. When Gates checks out Jobs home, he asks in wonderment, Do you all live here?

How wonderful, that part of the legacy of this American genius is the potential greatness of every unwanted child and the enormous significance of fatherhood.

Jay Carney Aint Necessarily So

by Robert Morrison

November 3, 2011

Tin Pan Alley fans can remember the classic George Gerschwin hit, Porgy n Bess. Although today wed be embarrassed by the Pidgin English spoken and sung by the all-black cast, this first American Opera was a groundbreaker in its day. It introduced sophisticated audiences to the resisting spirit of black folks in South Carolina living under the heel of Jim Crow.

Sportin Life was an appealing character for all his raffishness. He captured the imaginations of Broadway audiences with this irreverent song:

It ain’t necessarily so

It ain’t necessarily so

The things that youre lible

To read in the Bible,

It ain’t necessarily so.

Those lyrics came to mind on hearing Jay Carneys latest foray into higher theology.

He said the Bible teaches us that God helps those who help themselves.

Huh? Lessee. Did he find that one in his well-thumbed Strongs Concordance? Well, not actually. It may have come down to us from the Book of Benjamin, better known as Ben Franklins Poor Richards Almanac.

Its especially interesting to find the presidents mouthpiece talking about those who help themselves. Apparently, those who are best at helping themselves are the executives of Solyndra. They got a government-secured loan of just $535 million. And they did more than a little self-helping when they got that sweetheart loan. It came with the understanding that if and when their solar paneling outfit went belly-up, it would be the U.S. taxpayers and not Solyndra investors who would go to the back of the line for repayment.

Jay Carney does not have an enviable job. I would hate to have to defend the policies that are coming out of this administration. Even the lap dogs of the liberal media occasionally get snappish with Jay. People are focusing intently on every syllable he utters. Poor guy, the media even obsessed with his new glasses for days. My only question was whether they were rose-colored.

Whenever our liberal friends go to quotin the Bible, to err they are liable. I loved Howard Deans clueless answer to the question about his favorite New Testament Bible book. Job, he confidently answered.

Then, there was the famous John Chancellor voice over at President Reagans 1985 Second Inaugural. As the president approached the podium, this premier chin-stroker intoned, he has his hand on the Bible. It is open to his favorite passage, Eleven Chronicles, 7:14. They only had room in the Old Testament for two books of Chronicles, so maybe they fit the rest in the New. Right next to Howard Deans Second Book of Job. Perhaps Joe Biden can read both J-O-B-S —- that three-letter word.

Maybe we should re-make Gerschwins Porgy n Bess and dedicate it to Jay Carneys Off-Broadway show at the White House press briefing.

It aint necessarily so

It aint necessarily so

Dont blieve all that blarney

You get from Jay Carney

It aint necessarily so

It aint necessarily so

It aint necessarily so

Poor Jay is too liable

To mess up the Bible

It aint necessarily so.

It aint necessarily so

It aint necessarily so

Youre best not believin

All that jazz in his briefin

It aint necessarily so.

More God, Less Crime: Does faith make a difference?

by Family Research Council

November 3, 2011

Trini Lazano wants to avoid being another statistic. Lazano is a Louisiana native, doing prison time for drug possession and theft and hes scheduled to be released later this month.

According to an April 2011 study released by The Pew Center on the States, 43.3 percent of those [prisoners] sent home in 2004 were reincarcerated within three years, either for committing a new crime or for violating conditions governing their release.

The study indicates that reincarceration or recidivism rates are key measure of the criminal justice systems success. Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections, Tom Roy says the following:

Prisons are often the forgotten element of the criminal justice system until things go badly. Catching the guy and prosecuting him is really important work, but if we dont do anything with that individual after weve got him, then shame on us. If all that effort goes to waste and we just open the doors five years later, and its the same guy walking out the door and the same criminal thinking, weve failed in our mission.

For years, Prison Fellowship has offered numerous faith-informed to minister to prisoners and their families. In an economic environment where some states, like North Carolina, are cutting their chaplain program, faith-based volunteers may be filling an increasingly vital role.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections recently honored 32 volunteers for their work within the Corrections system.

But how effective are these volunteers? Where does faith fit in the picture?

Byron Johnson is a renowned criminologist and author of the new book More God, Less Crime: Why Faith Matters and How It Could Matter More. Join us live or via webcast, at noon today as Johnson discusses the link between faith, community, and criminal behavior.

Trino Lazono says, God saved my life, and hopes [j]ust maybe I can save somebodys life. Johnsons research gives Lazono, and so many others, reason for hope.

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