Category archives: Other Issues

Homeland Security: Global Warmings Fair Weathered Friend?

by Tony Perkins

April 20, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Talk about giving global warming the cold shoulder. Last weekend, there were dozens of events planned for a group trying to raise awareness on climate change. But hows this for irony? Some of the rallies were canceled because of freezing temperatures and snow! Despite the doubts about global warming, Congress insists on debating the bogus national security risks of climate change. According to a new study, it could lead to border tensions, the spread of disease, and conflicts over food and water. The whole thing is laughable, considering that more people are concerned about their rising heating bills than they are about global warming. Of course, its no small coincidence that the same liberals who endorse these so-called security threats are the very ones who want to cut and run in the face of a very real dangerterrorism fueled by radical Islam. If the government wants to spend money on defense strategies, how about funding real national security effortslike the war in Iraq? If they want to get serious about protecting Americans, then its time they turned up the heat on things other than global warming!

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Thinking About Thought Crimes: A Response to HRC

by Peter Sprigg

April 5, 2007

The Human Rights Campaign, a pro-homosexual organization, has accused the Family Research Council of lying about the issue of Thought Crimes (i.e., so-called hate crimes), under which offenders are punished once for their actions and then again for the politically incorrect thoughts they were thinking while committing the action.

HRC President Joe Solmonese says FRC is lying in saying that America doesnt have a federal hate crimes law. Actually, a recent FRC paper carefully explains that there are two federal laws related to so-called hate crimesa 1990 law which mandates the collection of statistics on them, and a 1994 law which provides for sentence enhancement (higher penalties) for existing federal offenses motivated by bias. HRC contends, however, that we have had a federal hate crimes law since 1969, citing the United States Code at 18 U.S.C. 245.

Actually, 18 U.S.C. 245 is not a hate crimes law at all. Instead, it is an extension of the civil rights laws, making it a crime to interfere with someone on account of race, color, religion, or national origin when they are engaged in certain specific activities that are protected under civil rights laws. If you look it up, this section of the code is under Chapter 13, titled “Civil Rights,” and Section 245 is titled “Federally Protected Activities.” The term “hate crime” never appears in 18 U.S.C. 245.

For example, the civil rights laws say that a person cannot be denied the right to attend public school on account of race. Therefore, if a white person beats up a black person outside a school in order to prevent him from enrolling in that school, that is a violation of 18 U.S.C. 245. This is not really a hate crimes law, because the central idea is not simply to protect victims whose assailants think certain specific thoughts about them (as in Thought Crime/hate crime laws), but to protect the exercise of certain rights under the civil rights laws (i.e., attending public school). Creating protections based on the characteristics of the victim alone (i.e., a Thought Crime or hate crime law) is much broader than simply protecting certain activitiesso much broader as to fall in a completely different category.

Solmonese is actually right in saying that H.R.1592, this years version of Thought Crimes in the U.S. House, would only create new, direct federal prosecution of cases in which someone willfully causes bodily injury or attempts to cause bodily injury because of certain characteristics of the victim. But this is an entirely new category of offense under federal law, not just an expansion of existing protected classes, as Solmonese implies.

In fact, Joe Solmonese might want to be cautious about implying that H.R. 1592 would merely add to the existing categories of protection under 18 U.S.C. 245because, contrary to his claims, 18 U.S.C. 245 actually includes penalties for “intimidation,” even in the absence of a violent act. So citing it as precedent actually reinforces the argument that federal hate crime laws could threaten free speech and freedom of religion. Take this as an example: If a white person yelled at a black person, “You’d be better off not coming to this school!” he could potentially be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 245 for “intimidation.” So does Joe Solmonese think that if a Christian views a “gay pride” parade and yells at a homosexual, “You’d be better off if you stopped engaging in homosexual sex!” she should be charged with “intimidation” and prosecuted for a hate crime?

Thats roughly what has already happened in cases brought under similar laws in Sweden, England, Canada, and even in Philadelphia. With a hodgepodge of definitions of what a hate crime is, and with even the bills leading advocate confused about what it would do, it is no wonder that many conservatives view H.R. 1592s ostensible limitation to bodily injury cases as a rather thin reed on which to rest the claim that Thought Crime laws pose no threat to freedom of speech or of religion.

Welcome (back) to Carousel

by Family Research Council

April 4, 2007

Is it irony that the only people who would get excited by this news are well over thirty?

Matrix’ producer plans remake of sci-fi classic

US filmmaker Joel Silver, who produced all of “The Matrix” films, said Tuesday he is planning a remake of the 1976 Oscar-winning science fiction classic “Logan’s Run.”

I love the original material but I think that version is a bit silly,” he told reporters in Barcelona where he was promoting his latest film “The Reaping” starring Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank.

Based on a 1967 novel by the same name, “Logan’s Run” chronicles a future society which imposes a mandatory death sentence for all those turning 30 in order to avoid overpopulation and the depletion of natural resources.

The film won an Academy Award for its visual effects and was nominated for two other Oscars.

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

by Tony Perkins

March 30, 2007

Of all the contentious government programs, surely everyone would agree on an initiative to promote responsible fatherhood, right? Wrong. The National Organization for Women (NOW) has filed a formal complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for funding fatherhood programs that “discriminate” against women. Kathy Rodgers, the president of Legal Momentum, which joined the protest, said, “What we’re asking them to do is to make sure that the grantees provide equal services to men and women.

It should be a parenthood initiative.” Theirs is an interesting suggestion, seeing as the Food and Drug Administration was recently hammered by leading feminists for providing less funds for its Office of Women’s Health. If NOW were truly an equal-opportunity watchdog, why hasn’t its leadership launched a similar grievance against the FDA? Where is NOW’s campaign for an Office of People’s Health? Unfortunately, their anti-father crusade only exposes the group’s true agenda—to treat fathers as having no special role to play in children’s lives. As HHS says, “Helping men become better fathers will benefit women and children too.”

Furthermore, the initiative is modestly funded when compared to other government programs, many of which rake in far more than $50 million—and without the direct benefit to families. As part of Promoting Responsible Fatherhood, men, many of whom are low-income, receive job and parent training, substance-abuse prevention and treatment, and educational opportunities.

What’s more, there is no official ban on women in the program. One HHS official said the programs were advised to accept females if they applied. NOW claims to be a “voice” for women everywhere, the effect of which has been nothing less than a shriek by a group of fringe “feminists” taking aim not at discrimination, injustice, or chauvinism but motherhood, healthy sexuality, and traditional families.

Global Warming Errors Galore For Gore!

by Tony Perkins

March 28, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

According to the latest research, Al Gores environmental theories have more holes than the ozone layer. In recent months, hundreds of scientists have spoken out about Gores documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. In the movie, he says that global warming will cause the worlds seas to rise up and engulf parts of Florida and New York. But the latest U.N. Panel on Climate Change says the water wont even rise two millimeters a yearif at all. Gore claims the earths temperatures have never been higher. The National Academy of Science says that in the last 15,000 years, temperature shifts have been 20 times greater than this one. Gore insists that humans are responsible for global warming. But The National Geological Society blames solar wind and energynot peoplefor the climate change. And who can forget the polar ice caps? Al Gore says that global warming will cause Arctic to melt. Thats interesting since climatologists announced that the Arctic is actually cooler today than it was in the 1930s. In the global warming debate, its obvious that the only thing thats endangered is the truth.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

The Sky Is Warming! The Sky Is Warming!’

by Tony Perkins

March 23, 2007

This week, after a six-year absence, Al Gore was greeted more like a liberal folk hero on Capitol Hill than a former vice president. His newfound fame, provided in part by two Oscar awards, helped persuade Senate Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to relax the rules on his global warming testimony. Unlike others called to testify, Gore was not required to submit his planned testimony 48 hours in advance. Instead Boxer waived the rule, giving Gore preferential treatment and allowing committee members only a few hours to prepare for the hearing.

During the session, Gore’s “Chicken Little” scenarios were met with skepticism, particularly from Senate Republicans like Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) who said he, like many scientists, believed the dire global warming projections were a “hoax.” On the House side, the former vice president was called a prophet by some Democratic members but his revelations were challenged by others. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) cited 600,000-year-old scientific evidence that Gore’s carbon dioxide claims are false.

When Gore introduced a 10-point plan to make the environment a U.S. priority, conservatives argued that taking the steps he proposed would stifle the economy and harm the family. Mr. Gore is not the first prophet of doom. Not unlike 19th century political economist Thomas Malthus, who urged drastic steps to limit population growth because of the scarcity of resources, the proposed cure is more intrusive government. In time Malthus was proved wrong, but his heirs love on.

Can Video Games Be Helpful?

by Family Research Council

March 20, 2007

If your parents cautioned that playing video games would be harmful to your eyesight, their concerns may not have been entirely true. Findings from a recent study by researchers from the University of Rochester in New York show that playing action video games for an hour or so on a daily basis actually heightens ones visual acuity.

According to Daphne Bavelier, lead author in the study and a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, “Action-video-game play changes the way our brains process visual information…These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it. That learning carries over into other activities and possibly everyday life.”

What is particularly interesting about the research findings is that they give researchers cause to be optimistic about the possibility of using video games for therapeutic purposes in patients with visual problems. It is even possible, according to Bavelier, that some action video games might help stem visual impairment resulting from natural aging of the brain.

An important qualification, however, is that not all action games will help improve visual acuity. Games such as Tetris, requiring much slower reaction times, did not have the same effect as other seemingly more complicated first-person action video games. The researchers did, however, put out a disclaimer along with their findings: excessive amounts of time spent in front of a bright screen may result in eyestrain and be disruptive to the bodys biological clock, and some games may be psychologically harmful.

So, while it is true that certain types of video games may be beneficial in improving ones acumen, this study is not a carte blanche endorsement of video games and even cautions against harmful content and spending unreasonable amounts of time playing them. The research is, however, good food for thought and may help parents to approach the subject of video games with a broader, more informed perspective when deciding what is best for their children.

Fight global warming with fewer babies

by Jared Bridges

March 14, 2007

The Huffington Post’s Dave Johnson offers a novel solution to global warming, and it doesn’t involve your children:

…Yes, hundreds of millions of people will face water shortages and starvation by 2080 — but only if those hundreds of millions of people are alive in the first place.

What am I getting at? One solution to the crisis is for people to stop having so many babies. We’re already using up the fisheries. The cattle being raised to feed so many meat-eaters is as big a problem as the cars we’re all driving.

There is plenty of time between now and 2080 to dramatically cut the population of the world by simply limiting how many babies we’re all having. If there are fewer people around then fewer people face starvation, disease, dislocation and the rest of the consequences.

Johnson doesn’t say whether or not he would have given such advice to his mother…

[HT: Acton Powerblog]

S.I. Publisher Pooling Its Efforts On Swimsuit Issue

by Tony Perkins

March 14, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Thanks to Time Warner, Sports Illustrateds latest swimsuit edition wont be making a big splash with teenagers. In a surprise move, the company decided that its magazine had gone off the deep end by putting the issue in the hands of a younger audience. This year, for the first time ever, the database blocked delivery of the magazine to any subscriber that was listed as a public school or library. The decision was made because of negative feedback Time got from parents about the skimpy bikinisor lack thereof. And before anyone can cry censorship, the company was quick to say that teachers and librarians could get their copies by calling the 800 number and requesting them. In a world where magazines are trying to out-sleaze their competition and normalize soft porn, were glad that S.I. has subscribed to a new standard. If Time Warner can see the importance of protecting kids from its own swimsuit edition, then maybe the tide is turning.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Game Over For Flimsy Rating System

by Tony Perkins

March 7, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

Chances are, your kids aren’t carjackers, murderers, or thieves—at least, I hope not. But they could be playing one in their newest PlayStation or Nintendo game. In “Grand Theft Auto,” players score points by killing policemen, raping prostitutes, and stealing cars. Another game, “BMX XXX,” takes bikers into strip clubs between races. And that’s just the beginning. Parents, like Senator Sam Brownback, have had enough. After all, what good is a rating system if it doesn’t give families an honest assessment? Last week, Brownback introduced a bill called the Truth in Video Game Rating. It would force reviewers to play the game before rating it — something the agencies currently don’t do. Instead, the FTC watches taped segments that are submitted by the game’s producers. And those clips only include portions of the game that would guarantee it the lowest possible rating. Hopefully Senator Brownback will convince Congress that with his bill, families will have a better chance of taking the “X” out of the XBox.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

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