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The Home Front

Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

Abortion Measure Fails in Florida



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Details here

BPA Found Safe . . . By Researcher Who Doesn’t Want to Admit It



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I’ve written on this site several times before about bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in everyday products like baby bottles, storage containers, and in the lining of canned food and the bad science surrounding efforts to ban it.  Now science writer Jon Entine has a must-read article in Forbes that confirms long-held suspicions about the motivations of activists opposed to the use of BPA.

Entine explains that University of California-San Diego researcher Michael Baker hyped the results of his BPA research in a press release – a press release that Baker himself now renounces (how convenient for him to backtrack after his specious press release generated dozens of terrifying headlines). 

Baker actually admitted his error to Entine, saying “I have no evidence, none at all, that BPA causes any problems in humans. This was a theoretical exercise, and it would be trumped by what actually happens in the real world. Based on what I know now, neither BPA nor its metabolites are harmful. I am upset that my structural study is misused by some.”

Oopsie. 

Just a tiny little mistake that causes moms like me to gnaw off their fingernails at the thought that we might be poisoning our children with chemicals. But that’s okay; regular moms and dads (already struggling with high food and fuel costs) can just run out and support the cottage industry that has sprouted up in the wake of these terrifying headlines — the BPA-free industry.  Parents won’t mind that these products are much more expensive. After all, isn’t your baby’s health worth it? Surely parents aren’t already cash-strapped with the truck-load of diapers they purchase on a monthly basis along with the toys, books, and other baby items one simply must supply a child with these days.

Of course, what parents won’t hear about is Baker’s mea culpa because if there’s one thing parents can count on from today’s science writers it is an absolute dearth of Entine-esque journalism when it comes to BPA. Baker’s study might not have generated such dramatic headlines if these journalists had revealed, as Entine does, that Baker has zero prior expertise in studying BPA or that his study didn’t include humans or even animals but rather was a computer simulation. Even more stunning, Entine discovered that Baker was unaware of the quite impressive body of research that shows BPA is safe.

In fact, thousands of studies conducted have shown BPA to be perfectly safe, yet those with an evangelical interest in continuing the hand-wringing about BPA cling desperately to any shred of information, no matter how far-fetched, supporting their position. And now, the very researchers who study BPA can’t be counted on to stick by their own findings that BPA is safe. 

Don’t expect anti-BPA activists to be bowed by this latest blow to their religious crusade. Their ideology might still be intact but the science is proving them wrong. That’s a good thing for parents who have grown weary of these alarmist claims and who just want to keep their kids safe without spending a fortune.

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Bruins for Romney



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A friend and conservative UCLA student sends a report from what her father calls the bowels of the Roman Coliseum. Keep up the good work, Sofia!

I just did one hour of tabling for the Bruin Republicans. We had about seven or eight people with signs and energy and smiles hanging out at the bottom of Bruin walk, the main pathway that everyone takes when going to and from class.

I was pretty hesitant because I knew I was going to be seen by a lot of my friends (I think I have a lot of liberal friends) but it was actually so awesome: There are WAY more Romney supporters than I thought! It was pretty scary having to look people in the eye with your Romney/Ryan sign and smile and shout “Vote for Romney!” or “Fire Obama!” or “High fives for Romney!” But there were a lot of people who quietly and discreetly high-fived us or said “Fight the good fight,” or “Good job, guys” and it was very encouraging. There were also a lot of people who sneered, grimaced, or laughed and shouted “f*** Romney,” but we had some hilarious comebacks. One of the guys in Bruin Republicans has no filter and is not afraid to say the most outrageous things. A group of Latinas would walk by and he would say, “Latinas con Romney!” and they would start cracking up. Or a hippy/liberal-artsy-looking woman would walk by and he would shout “Vote Romney for women’s rights!”

A friend and I noticed that a lot of the “high-fives for Romney” that we got were from good-looking guys. That was very encouraging. I got high-fives from football players, volleyball players, and frat guys! I don’t know if that means they are actually supporters or if they just love high-fives.One older man in a suit walked by and quietly said to me with a big smile, “It’s good to see there are at least some people with sense around here. Good work, guys!” That was really nice. And lots of people just said how impressed they were that we actually had the guts to stand out there in public and be loud and create a scene in front of the hundreds of people that were walking by.

I’m super excited to vote tomorrow and watch the election (got two different invitations to viewing parties!)!

Getting Involved



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What are you doing to help at the local level?  There are lots of things you can do. Here is a photo of my husband, making get-out-the-vote phone calls for the local candidate of his choice. 

And, by the way, if you live in Vista, California, and want to know who I am voting for in the local elections, you can go to my personal facebook page and be my friend. You will find my personal choices on my timeline a week or so ago. 

Moms Rejecting Obama: “The Mister Rogers Effect”



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Call it the Mister Rogers Effect: Moms want their kids to grow up in a neighborhood where the adults are virtuous. Whether it’s the baker, the postman, the mayor, or even the President, we want our children to have role models who are kind, generous, truthful. The kind of people your children could safely emulate.
During the most recent debate, some of us sat down with our children to see President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney discuss foreign policy. They disagreed on many things, particularly on Romney’s auto bailout position. For a few uncomfortable minutes, one accused the other of lying, until Romney suggested people at home should simply look it up.
They did.
For the days following the debate, Romney’s 2008 editorial about how he’d handle the Detroit automakers was the most-read story on the NYT’s website. So, who was telling the truth? Romney was deemed more accurate, but his success in this particular exchange is hardly earth shattering. What is significant is that voters, rather Americans, are realizing the President is not who we hoped he was.
“Here’s what upset me last night, this playing fast and loose with facts,” David Letterman said on his show. “Now, I don’t care whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you want your president to be telling the truth… And so when we found out today or soon thereafter that, in fact, President Obama was not telling the truth about what was excerpted from that op-ed piece, I felt discouraged.”

Of course, “discouraged” is a far cry from the sunny optimism that at one time characterized Americans. Please read my entire article over on Parents magazine here!

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Mourdock Was Right



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Thus saith professor Christopher Tollefsen on The Public Discourse. Tollefsen dissects Mourdock’s theological critics, showing them to intellectual light-weights. 

Perhaps even more egregious was a Washington Post column by theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, who wrote: “No, God does not ‘cause’ either rape or conception following rape, nor is this ‘God’s intention.’ Rape is a crime.”

(But) Mourdock nowhere suggested that God intended the crime of rape, nor did he deny that rape is “horrible.” On this he and Thistlethwaite, as well as virtually everyone else, are in clear agreement….

But Thistlethwaite is quite wrong, and Mourdock entirely right, as to God’s intentions in the conception of the child….

Mourdock’s remarks presuppose that there is a child, that is, a living human being, when there is conception after rape. This presupposition is straightforwardly a matter of science: contemporary embryology teaches us that the result of the penetration of ovum by sperm is a new living organism, a distinct member of the species Homo sapiens. No one, clearly, would assert that rape changes the science of the matter;…But the admission that the conceptus in rape is a human being is fatal for remarks like the following, again from Thistlethwaite: “When you make God the author of conception following rape, you make God the author of sin. This is a huge theological error, and one that Christian theologians have rejected since the first centuries of the faith.”

The great error here, however, is Thistlethwaite’s, for human life, considered in itself, is no sin, no wrong, no evil. As another theologian John Paul II put it, “life is always a good,” a “priceless gift,” to its possessor.

For pro-lifers, the key thing about Tollefsen’s article is that he is so obviously intelligent! The pro-abortion forces would like to portray pro-lifers as knuckle-dragging numnucks. The pro-death side is the anti-science, anti-intellectual side, and we need to say so.

Read the whole article here.

Clueless in Minneapolis



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In their reporting on the financing of the Marriage Amendment in MN, the Star Tribune is treating leftist organizations with kid gloves. 

First off, they treat a Human Rights Campaign press release as if it were a real story. 

A report by the Human Rights Campaign on Thursday said that the Catholic Church has contributed more than half of the funding into efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Look into the tall grass and you will see that this is not nearly so shocking as it sounds: 

Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense Fund, a political committee created solely to raise money for the effort, has contributed half of the $1.2 million raised to support the measure, the report said.

Okay, so half of $1.2 million is, by my calculations, about $600,000. Of that, “$180,000 came from dioceses around and (sic) the nation, along with more than $130,000 from the Knights of Columbus, the nation’s largest Catholic fraternal organization. The group’s fundraising includes $150,000 combined from dioceses in Crookston, St. Cloud and Winona.”

Where’s the beef? Catholics giving to a Catholic political-action group. I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you.

In the meantime, according to the story itself,

The Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry and their affiliate groups have contributed more than $1.4 million to Minnesotans United for All Families, the group opposing the amendment.

In other words, these two organizations and their affiliates alone have contributed more than the entire budget of Minnesota for Marriage. As Chuck Darrell, head of Minnesota for Marriage put it: “They are vastly out spending our side and they now have the gall to complain about it? It’s embarrassing to see such whining.”

As for getting some Catholic balance to the story, the Star Tribune does quote the Minnesota Catholic Conference. But the Star Tribune then turns to the Catholic Left, the old stand-by astro-turf organization, Call to Action. Brought to you fresh from the 1970’s, along with a leisure suit and a lava lamp. It’s hard to believe this bunch of professional dissidents is still around.

Get a clue, Star Tribune. Catholics are spending their own money, through their own organizations, to promote their beliefs. Jeff Bezos spent $2.5 million of his own money in the state of Washington to impose his view that marriage is a genderless institution. Catholics are allowed to spend their money too.

Why Are There So Many Dumb Democrats in Office?



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I got a glimmer of an answer to this question the other night when I went to a candidate’s night meeting of the Tri-City Tea Party.  Most of the candidates for Vista City Council were present. The two I liked were conservative, smart and articulate.  One that I didn’t like was, let us say, lackluster. Ok, I’m being charitable. He could barely say his own name.

I came to find out after the meeting, that he was endorsed by the public employees union.

Several very interesting points here:

1. The unions care about who is on Vista City Council. The typical conservative has no idea and even less interest in local elections. We have book clubs and debate the finer points of conservative theory.

2. A guy like the one I saw is probably pretty easy for the unions to control. After all, if he gets in office, he will owe it to their support. And, he doesn’t seem like a deep thinker who is going to have his own agenda.

3. A guy like this one can move up through the ranks of city, county and state government. The Left grooms a deeper bench for itself than we do.

4. However, a guy like this one will not acquire IQ points, just from moving up the ladder. Case in point: Joe Biden.

5. Cities and school districts across the country have been governed by Leftists for the past 40 years or more. That is why so many cities and schools are failing.

This is why this post belongs on the Home Front.  Everyone has a back yard.  Conservatives tend not to tend their own backyard, at least where politics is concerned. The virtue of the Tea Party movement is that it got fiscal conservatives off the bench and out on the playing field.  Not a moment too soon, either.

It is high time the more conservatives, especially social conservatives got personally involved in local governing. 

Official New Obama Ad: ‘Losing Your Voting Virginity’



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Obama’s newest campaign ad features the talented Lena Dunham (creator of HBO’s Girls) and is about losing your voting virginity. The Cornerites have described this as already as awkward, super uncool, and derivative. But Charles Mitchell, over on Evangelicals for Mitt, addressed the religious aspect of it. He writes:

While very little in politics shocks and enrages me today, it does shock and enrage me that the President of the United States would approve and promulgate an ad with blatantly sexual content (not to mention sexual content that denigrates the traditional ethics of the President’s own faith).

In fact, Lena tweeted this to announce her new ad on behalf of the president:

Wouldn’t you assume a Christian, married president with two daughters would not want an actress speaking about him in this manner? (If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here.)

Can anyone imagine Mitt Romney stooping to this level?

‘Obama and Jay-Z Swap Parenting Advice’



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From the Christian Science Monitor:

Then Jay-Z made the modern daddy announcement that really what he wanted to do was to stay home from work for a little bit and just soak up his baby girl. The moms out there swooned.

Still, during a recent interview with Cleveland, Ohio radio station Z1079, Mr. Obama said that he had told Jay-Z to make sure that he was doing his part to be a hands-on dad.

“I made sure that Jay-Z was helping Beyonce out and not just leaving it all to mom and the mother-in-law,” Obama said. This isn’t because the Dad-in-Chief — father of Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11 — has any worries about Jay-Z. It’s just what he talks about with his guy friends, he explained.

“I’ve gotten to know these guys over the past several years,” Obama said about Jay-Z and Beyonce. “We talk about the same things I talk about with all my friends. We talk about kids, and they just had a new baby, they have a new daughter.”

Get that? They talk about “the same things.”

Like, how to coordinate six nannies?

Or the latest designer bedazzled” baby shoes?

Maybe they talked about the recent tragedy in Jay-Z’s life: losing the trademark war for “Blue Ivy?

Then there’s the $1700-per-night “maternity suite” where Blue Ivy was born. Does Obamacare cover that?

And with healthy eating in the news, I’m sure how Beyoncé lost her baby weight in record time with the help of a personal trainer must have come up in conversation.

But the important thing to take away from all of this is that Barack Obama is just a regular guy with regular friends who have a firm grasp of what the middle-class is going through.

My First Visit with the Doctor of the Future



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I had to take my son to the pediatrician the other day for what should have been — and what used to be — a ten-minute-maximum follow-up strep culture.

It took an hour.

 

Why? The office has gone digital. Parents are given iPads to fill out their information, nurses are entering vitals into iPods and doctors and front-office personnel are entering their notes directly into computers.

And there was at least four techies on staff to help the parents, nurses, doctors and the front office accomplish all this.

I guess this is what to expect in the early-adopter phase, but if the delays continue, I’m switching doctors to one that’s not so fancy.

Atlas Shrugged Part II: Better than Ayn Rand Deserves



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I liked Atlas Shrugged Part II more than Part I, and in fact, more than the book. I know this will be heresy for Rand Followers, so let me explain.

The weakness of Ayn Rand is that her characters are abstractions. Each character stands for an idea or a type. In a way, this is odd for a champion of individualism: Her characters are not actual individuals, but stereotypes, archetypes, or caricatures. The heroes stand up, give long speeches, and the other characters actually listen. Not too realistic.

 

The characters of Atlas Shrugged II are more human than either the book or the first movie installment. The second movie has a completely different cast, older and less classically beautiful than the cast of Part I. (I imagine there is a story behind the recasting partway through a trilogy, but I haven’t discovered what it is.) The more mature Dagny and Hank of Part II are more appealing as people, precisely because they are more individual. In fact, the only person in the movie who was really movie-star handsome was the revolting and phony James Taggart.

The camera work of the newer movie contributes to the more humane look too. There are more close-ups, more lingering shots of human faces. This movie is filled with people, not archetypes.

You can care about these characters because they are your fellow human beings. When Hank Reardon makes his dramatic courtroom speech the applause from the courtroom audience is totally credible in the movie. In the book, not so much.Rand wanted you to respect her characters for their achievements. But you could care about the Hank Reardon and Dagny Taggart of Atlas Shrugged II even if they got hit by a truck and were in a coma.

This brings me to one serious misstep in the film. In the closing sequence, Dagny crashes her plane in Atlantis where the Randian supermen live. They do not run to the wreckage to help her. They walk, deliberately, slowly. I suppose we are meant to think that they are calculating their own odds of survival or perhaps the moral worth of the people who might be trapped in the wreckage. And when John Galt finally makes it to the plane, (which appears to be in no danger of blowing up) he extends his arm to Dagny. She extends her arm to him. It is all very dramatic, but honestly, it looks like he is going to drag her out of the airplane by the arm.

Uh, wait a minute. This is not very good emergency medical care. EMT professionals would run, not walk. They would reassure the victim. They would not move her, until they had a team of people on hand to move her without further injury. They would do all of this for any person, no questions asked.So we are meant to think that this secret island of incredibly capable super-heroes cannot execute even minimally competent EMT procedures.

I have often thought that everything good and decent in Ayn Rand came from Aristotle, while everything dark and creepy came from Nietzsche. The emphasis on reason and its connection to human happiness comes straight out of Aristotle. The triumph of the human will, and the measuring of moral worth by achievement, all comes from Nietzsche.

Since Rand wrote her book, we have seen a different type of hero: the hero who runs into burning buildings on 9/11. The firemen didn’t ask any questions about the moral worth of the people they were saving. Rather, they were living out their vocation as public-safety officers, a vocation that from the beginning involved the possibility of self-sacrifice.

Rand’s variety of individualism cannot comprehend self-sacrifice. But there are varieties of individualism, just as there are varieties of heroism.There is such a thing, for instance, as Christian individualism. Each and every person came into existence because God willed and loved that person into existence. Each and every person has intrinsic value, independently of their ability to produce anything. Christians believe that each and every person is morally accountable to God.

And even more deeply, Christians believe that God has a personal plan for each and every person, uniquely tailored for that person. To be the very best person you can be, to achieve your greatest “value,” the individual has a responsibility to discover and to follow this plan that God has devised for them. It simply will not do to blindly emulate others, or to do what you are told, or to be the “best” as some particular human endeavor. No second-handers. Your path is far more unique than the intellectual achievement held up by Rand, or the economic equality held up by egalitarians. No Nietzsche-styledÜbermenschen either.

So this is why I liked Part II of the Atlas Shrugged movie more than than the book. It preserves what is good in Rand’s vision. The movie captures Rand’s dystopia of an economy gone off the cliff from stifling and finally inhuman over-regulation. The movie sparks the moral indignation that I think Rand hoped we would feel. But the movie version avoids the worst of Rand’s excesses.

Until that final sequence. Maybe they’ll get it someday.

Navy Lacrosse Team Meets WW2 Vets at Airport



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I get a little lump in my throat every time I see military men and women at the airport . . . even though I sometimes travel with one! It always reminds me of the reality of war and the fact that so many sacrifice on our behalf. The Navy men’s lacrosse team recently encountered some very brave military folks too, when they were flying back to BWI airport after playing a game against Notre Dame.

While at the airport, the team encountered 67 World War II veterans. According to the Navy Athletics Facebook page, the team visited with the veterans, thanked them, and wished them well. Afterwards, as they watched the veterans leave the airport, the team lined up and saluted. They wrote, “It put the entire trip in perspective.”

Dear Abby: My Wife Gets Drunk and Doesn’t Come Home



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My advice is to hire a private investigator. Abby writes otherwise:

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for eight months. She has an occasional habit that makes me wonder whether we got married too young. (She’s 23, I’m 27 and we’re both in graduate school.)

She likes to go out with a group of her friends from high school or with her sister and her sister’s friends, get drunk and stay the night. It doesn’t happen all the time — several times a year — and I’m not worried about her cheating on me. I try not to be the controlling husband and say she “can’t” go out. But it bothers me that she wants to spend the night with her single friends and get drunk. If I try to talk to her about it, she gets angry and says she doesn’t get to see her friends very often.

I don’t understand why her socializing always has to involve drinking and staying out all night. Her sister is my age and has a career in education, but still likes hosting these parties. I wonder how long it will take my wife to outgrow this phase. Am I being controlling? What should I do? — GETTING FRUSTRATED IN PONTIAC, MICH.

DEAR GETTING FRUSTRATED: Your wife appears to be trying to hold onto her carefree single days, and it’s a shame she can’t do that without getting herself soused and staying out all night. On the other hand, if she’s in no condition to get behind the wheel, then it’s better that she not drive until she sobers up.

I don’t think saying what’s on your mind is “controlling.” I suspect your wife becomes angry because she is defensive.

Her behavior is immature, and how long it will take her to outgrow this “phase” is anybody’s guess. I recommend that you both widen your circle of friends so you spend more time with other married couples who are more mature than your wife’s sister and high school friends appear to be.

France Vows to Ban Homework!



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Details here.

I really don’t think it matters. Lazy parents will be overjoyed at the move and parents who care will give their kids homework to do anyway.

Take South Korea, for example, where officials go on patrol at night to catch students who are with private tutors studying after 10 p.m. That’s what our future competition is doing. They’re figuring out how to make their kids do more, not less.

You want your kids to get a good education? Then you better not trust any public or private school to do it all on its own.

There is a homework problem in America, but it’s caused by teachers who can’t be bothered to coordinate with each other. There’s no reason why a history paper can’t also be graded as an English paper, for example. Plus, I’ve found that teachers assign homework that’s never fully graded, which leads to cheating. My fifth-grade son has to read for 30 minutes each night and write down how many pages he read and a brief description of what happened. It’s not going to take him long to figure out that his teacher has no way of really knowing if he’s read or not.

I would gather that the increase in homework we’ve seen is tied to teacher performance as part of pay metrics. Rather than put the burden on the teacher for what the child does or doesn’t do in class, I’d like to see parent involvement added to the equation. It has to be a partnership.

Again, and I’ve written this before, it’s my responsibility as a parent to make sure he isn’t cheating and is really learning. Trusting in government to make sure your child gets educated — as France seems to be embracing — is a recipe for failure.

Nanny State: Renting Alligators for Pool Parties Now Illegal



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Only in Florida would this happen in the first place:

 The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has decided to be a party pooper. They’ve pulled the plug on those “Alligators swimming with kids” pool parties that so captivated us, and hence killing an important part of Florida culture and tradition that never got a chance to properly flourish.

Bob Barrett, owner of Alligator Attractions in Madeira Beach, came up with the genius idea. He decided to tape the mouths shut on some juvenile gators, rent ‘em out, and then set them loose in a pool full of birthday caked up kids. The story went viral, and phones at the FWC rang off the hook.

So investigators visited Alligator Attractions last week and couldn’t find any violations, and found that all of the outfit’s permits were up to date. So the FWC decided to let the parties carry on.

However, according to the Tampa Bay Times, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida sent a letter to the FWC asking them to reconsider.

So, the FWC took another look at the situation and decided Alligator Attractions was violating a regulation the stipulates all displayed will animals must be kept “under rigid supervision and control in order to prevent injuries to members of the public and the wildlife.”

Moms Know Romney’s Right about Big Bird



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How did the whole Big Bird kerfuffle affect moms?  In my most recent Parents article, I address the issue:

In the first debate between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, the GOP nominee ruffled some feathers by saying that he’d cut the budget by eliminating non-essential costs, like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Because the debate moderator, Jim Lehrer, is employed by PBS, Romney added:

“I’m sorry Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things,” he said. “I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too.”

I’m sure moms everywhere have seen the clip a dozen times.  As soon as Romney said those words, the social media universe exploded. Immediately, a fake Twitter account for Big Bird was set up.  The first tweet was, “WTF, Mitt Romney?” and another was, “Yo Mitt Romney, Sesame Street is brought to you today by the letters F & U!”  Celebrities also chimed in. In one of the 17,000 tweets per minute, Whoopi Goldberg lamented that Romney wanted to “kill Big Bird.”  Calls were made for a “Million Muppet March” on Washington.  A photoshopped picture of a forlorn Big Bird sitting on the Sesame stoop holding a “Will Work for Food” sign flew into inboxes across America. The next day, the President, still reeling from the previous night’s debate debacle, made fun of Romney for “getting tough on Big Bird.”  Even PBS sent out their own press release, which read, “Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.”

More than anyone else, moms have affection in our heart for lovable Elmo, the mysterious Snuffleupagus, and even the garbage-dwelling Oscar the Grouch.  But would a change in funding be “devastating?”  PBS’s self-importance is a little much for Americans who are struggling to pay the bills and find work.

So why does the government subsidize this show anyway?

Please, read the whole thing here.

Who Is Your Daddy?



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Donor-conceived persons want to know: Who is my daddy? Sexual revolutionaries of all stripes dismiss this desire as unwarranted “biologism” or “bionormativity.” But even a hide-bound materialist should be able to muster some sympathy for this case from Victoria, Australia:

The 30-year-old, who is battling stage four bowel cancer, was conceived with the sperm of an anonymous donor and has no right under Victorian law to know who he is. She says while current laws remain, she has no way of informing the eight half-siblings she is aware of that they should be screened for cancer. “I have no way of warning them, no way of telling them.”

Donors were promised anonymity. We must, above all, honor our agreements with adults, and never mind the consequences to kids.

Biden’s Calculated Cluelessness about Religious Liberty



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Money quote last night from Paul Ryan: “[If you’re not forcing Catholic Institutions to violate Catholic teaching] then why would they keep suing you?”

Redefining religious freedom seems to be a standard play in the life-style Left’s playbook.

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” continually say “no church will be forced to solemnize a same sex marriage,” while conveniently omitting the fact that their policy would subject every area where a church comes into contact with the public to unprecedented state scrutiny.

“Freedom of religion,” meaning something that informs and permeates your entire life, is becoming “freedom of worship,” meaning something you do inside the church building, with the state’s permission.

 Last night, Joe Biden continued the pattern of attack on religious liberty through calculated obfuscation. He claimed that no Catholic institution “has to either refer for contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide, that is a fact.”

 The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops takes issue with Biden’s statement:

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

 Biden is evidently hoping that his statements will divert attention from the fact that the administration he serves has gone to war against the church he claims to be part of.

 Biden’s statements last night should not be any consolation to any religious person.

Boy Defends Special-Needs Kid From Bully; Gets Suspended



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To sum it up, young Max Duke has been the target of a bully for years. The bully starts after a special-needs student and Max steps in. A scuffle ensues which ends in Max getting suspended.

Max should get a medal, not a suspension.

KHOU in Houston reports:

Home from his job training police officers in Afghanistan, Randy Duke is on a mission.  Instead of just spending precious time with family before he goes back, for a couple of hours each day he finds himself outside his son’s school sandwiched between two signs that read:  Bullying Victims are Punished Here.

“It’s been tough. It’s been tough. He feels that nobody is listening to him, and then when he finally has to take matters into his own hands, he gets punished,” said Duke. “It’s at a point where he said, ‘Dad, I couldn’t walk away. He follows me around and beats me up all the time.’”

Duke says his 14-year-old son, Max, has been targeted by the same bully for years. Things apparently came to a boil last week at Cade Middle School. Duke said when the eighth grader stomped on a paper plane his son had made for a special-needs child, it sent Max over the edge. 

“So Max just looked up and said, ‘What the hell?’ and this guy shoved him. Max had had enough. And that just snapped him, and he shoved back and they started into it,” said Duke

Max’s punishment was a two-day suspension and 30 days at an alternative school. He’s also banned from marching with the high school band during football games. 

Duke said being part of the band changed his son’s life.

“This opened him up,” said Duke. “After years of bullying, he had closed into a shell. This started bringing him out of his shell.  He was making friends. He had something to look forward to.”

Victoria ISD said federal laws prevent it from discussing the specifics of the case. Some parents at the school said, at least on the surface, the punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime.

The rest here.

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