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The Home Front

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

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.

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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.

Thoughts on the VP debate from a Former Soccer Mom



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I wonder what demographic I would be counted in? Am I an empty-nester, white, a woman, a Catholic, a Southern Californian? Dunno. Don’t care. Here is my two cents worth about the veep debate.

  • Paul Ryan actually does look a bit like Jack Kennedy.
  • Ryan won on substance and good manners.
  • Joey Biden should be spanked and sent to bed. Wipe that smirk off your face old man!
  • It is a relief to know that there aren’t too many more years when Baby Boomers will be the candidates. Ryan has a lot of gas left in his tank, a lot of years where he can make a difference.
  • The moderator tipped her hand with her question “should pro-choice people be afraid of a Romney Ryan presidency?” She doesn’t speak for all women. The pro-life movement is dominated by women. But high-end professional women who have built their careers around their postponed childbearing are completely unaware of this fact. Abortion and contraception have made their life-styles possible.
  • The Dems got the message after the last debate: There is no benefit in talking trash about your own guy, even if he is arrogant and rude. They will circle the wagons around Biden.
  • Biden undoubtedly thrilled his base. But he surely alienated independents and appalled conservatives.
  • Ryan won. He is knowledgeable, likeable, confident, and articulate. Ryan solidified his base, without alienating people who are moveable. I don’t think he said anything completely appalling to his opponents, but I could be wrong. I am often surprised by what Leftists get appalled by. I think Ryan will move independent voters in his direction. 

 

 

Poll: Does Alcohol Make You a Better Parent?



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The latest out of the UK:

Almost a fifth of Britain’s mothers and fathers believe drinking alcohol actually helps make them a better parent, a disturbing new report has revealed.

A survey by the charity 4Children highlights a ‘silent epidemic’ with a worrying six out of 10 parents claiming their drug or alcohol use had no effect on family life. 

Of those questioned, seven per cent admitting drinking every day while only nine per cent thought their drinking had a negative effect.

One in five said the thought their level of drinking impacted ‘positively’ on their parenting skills. 

Fathers were found to be more than three times as likely to drink every day than mothers and more than twice as likely to have tried illegal drugs.

One in five said the thought their level of drinking impacted ‘positively’ on their parenting skills. 

Fathers were found to be more than three times as likely to drink every day than mothers and more than twice as likely to have tried illegal drugs.

The rest here.

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End of the World Watch: Joran van der Sloot, New Father



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AP:

AMSTERDAM – A Dutch newspaper says that Joran van der Sloot, who is serving a 28-year-sentence for murdering a young Peruvian woman, has impregnated a woman while imprisoned in Lima.

De Telegraaf newspaper on Monday cited Van der Sloot’s lawyer Maximo Altes as saying the pregnancy is past its third month, and Van der Sloot himself as confirming the news in a telephone call. The woman, identified by the paper only as “Leidi,” was said to have become pregnant during an unsupervised visit with Van der Sloot.

Van der Sloot was convicted for robbing and killing Stephany Flores in 2010. He is also wanted in the U.S. in connection with the disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005. He could resist extradition if he obtains Peruvian nationality.

I hope there is no such thing as a “serial killer” gene.

Killing Big Bird? Not Likely



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Mommy-blogger Karol Markowicz tweets:

 

And merchandising doesn’t include Sesame Street’s lucrative deal with the pay cable channel PBS Kids Sprout, a joint venture of PBS, Sesame Street, Comcast and an evil $20-billion hedge fund.

Parents Flocking to U.S. for Sex Selection of Babies



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I assume Team Obama will eventually tout this as a good thing for our economy:

Some couples want a baby boy badly. So badly they’re willing to fly halfway around the world to get one. Destination? The United States.

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, director of The Fertility Institutes in Los Angeles and New York City, has for several years offered a fertility procedure allowing affluent couples to choose their baby’s gender. Sex selection, outlawed in many countries, is legal in the United States: Steinberg’s clinics have treated “thousands” of couples from India, China, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and 142 other nations.

Steinberg recently told the London Evening Standard that he’s helped around 400 British couples conceive their choice of a boy or girl. They sometimes pay $45,000 or more for one of Steinberg’s package deals that includes treatment, plane tickets, and a hotel. The doctor opened his New York clinic in 2008 to cater to British and European patients, who are perhaps less than an eight-hour flight away. Sex selection is illegal within the United Kingdom, but Steinberg boasted that “leading British politicians” fly to his New York office for that very purpose.

The rest here.

Raising Them Right



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This was an actual exchange in my house last night after the debate:

Me: “Obama’s just an empty suit.”

Thirteen-year-old daughter: “No, he’s an empty chair.”

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.”

Picture of the Day



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From the Facebook page, “Laugh It’s Free.” Awesome parents at work:

Michelle Obama and Her Food Guidelines



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I saw this headline on Fox News: Feds Want Parents to Serve Healthy Food at Home. And contrary to what some might think, I said to myself, “finally.” It’s about time this administration put the blame of childhood obesity where’s it’s due: the parents.

Here’s an old AP story about how kids actually gain more weight in the summer — away from Michelle’s crappy school lunches:

INDIANAPOLIS — The nation’s schools, under fire for unhealthy school lunches, well-stocked vending machines and phys ed cuts, may actually do a better job than parents in keeping children fit and trim. A study found that 5- and 6-year-olds gained more weight over the summer than during the school year, casting doubt on the assumption that kids are more active during summer vacation.

The findings don’t reveal what’s behind the out-of-school weight gain, but the researchers speculate it’s because the summer months lack the structure of the school year with all its activities and daily comings and goings.

Doug Downey, an Ohio State University sociologist who co-authored the study, said that for many youngsters, the lazy days of summer may offer plenty of free time to eat snacks and lounge about watching TV or playing video games.

He said the study seems to point to the need for parents to be more involved, as well as raising the idea of a longer school year and more after-school programs to keep children active.

Let’s highlight that last line: “the need for parents to be more involved.” Well, duh.

Liberals can argue all they want that there’s a role for government to play in helping parents make better food choices for their children, but that doesn’t mean parents will actually change their behavior. For example, from the Fox News piece above, the USDA is begging parents to follow the menus from school:

 

“We know that many parents are already making changes at home to help the whole family eat healthier,” the USDA wrote on their official blog. “We recommend reviewing school menus with kids at home and working to incorporate foods that are being served at school into family meals as much as possible.”

Under the new guidelines, school districts must serve more whole grains, daily portions of fruits and vegetables, less sugar and salt and only low-fat or non-fat milk. But the lunches must also meet caloric restrictions. And under the government guidelines, a high school student is not allowed to  have more than 850 calories.

“Adapting to the changes may be challenging at first, as students are introduced to new flavors and foods in the cafeteria,” the USDA wrote. “But as you can see there are many ways to make the transition easier.”

The USDA is still tiptoeing around the truth here. What’s wrong with just saying, “your kid is overweight and it’s your fault as a parent?”

News Flash: Men and Women Are Different!



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Yes, dear Home Front readers: It is true. Men and women are different. Case in point: Men and women react differently to sex. Leslie Eastman, a biochemist, debunks the myth that women can “hook-up” exactly like men and suffer no emotional consequences.

Women tend to attach to their partners due to an attachment and bonding hormone called Oxytocin. (I have been talking about this for years, especially since writing Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World.) But enough about me. Let’s listen to the biochemist:

No, women cannot “hook-up” like men.

An intense biochemical bond is formed when women are intimate with men. To break that bond is exceedingly difficult, and places women in the position of having to quench biochemistry and in doing so, causing both physical and emotional stress that is unnecessary and unhealthy. Casual sex is devastating to women in so many different ways, and to pretend that women can have serial sex with many partners and not be physically and emotionally diminished by this is senseless. 

The whole post is well worth the read.

Don’t Text and Parent



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Nonfatal injuries to young children are up 12% between 2007 and 2010. Is texting to blame? WSJ:

One sunny July afternoon in a San Francisco park, tech recruiter Phil Tirapelle was tapping away on his cellphone while walking with his 18-month-old son. As he was texting his wife, his son wandered off in front of a policeman who was breaking up a domestic dispute.

“I was looking down at my mobile, and the police officer was looking forward,” and his son “almost got trampled over,” he says. “One thing I learned is that multitasking makes you dumber.”

Yet a few minutes after the incident, he still had his phone out. “I’m a hypocrite. I admit it,” he says. “We all are.”

Is high-tech gadgetry diminishing the ability of adults to give proper supervision to very young children? Faced with an unending litany of newly proclaimed threats to their kids, harried parents might well roll their eyes at this suggestion. But many emergency-room doctors are worried: They see the growing use of hand-held electronic devices as a plausible explanation for the surprising reversal of a long slide in injury rates for young children. There have even been a few extreme cases of death and near drowning.

Nonfatal injuries to children under age five rose 12% between 2007 and 2010, after falling for much of the prior decade, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on emergency-room records. The number of Americans 13 and older who own a smartphone such as an iPhone or BlackBerry has grown from almost 9 million in mid-2007, when Apple introduced its device, to 63 million at the end of 2010 and 114 million in July 2012, according to research firm comScore.

The rest here.

Chaos: World Diaper Shortage Imminent?



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So says NBC News:

OSAKA — Explosions at a chemical plant in Hyogo Prefecture on Saturday killed a firefighter and injured dozens of people, the Japan Times reported, citing local fire department and police officials said. Global production of diapers could be affected because the plant made a key ingredient in a resin used in them, Japanese media reported.

Let me go out on a limb here and suggest NBC News is being slightly sensationalist in its coverage.

Dad Wears Skirt to Support His Son



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It’s important for a son to be able to depend on his dad to support him and show an interest in the things that interest him. He must be able to see his dad as a good example of how to be a good man. Except when he’s not.

Here’s a story from Germany, as reported in the Advocate.

This German dad has a son who fancies wearing pretty little spaghetti-strap dresses to school. Who saw this coming? — but it turns out the other kids at school tend to tease him. Here is a pic of dad being the best dad he knows how to be.

      

Now, surprisingly, I have no problem with dads wearing skirts with their sons. None at all, and it can indeed be an important bounding experience. But the question is not whether you wear a skirt, but, rather, what kind. These are two very different kinds of fathers, doing very different jobs of raising boys. Dads, if you’re going to wear skirts with your boy, look to the Scots.

  

Adoption, Fear, and True American Girls



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When my husband and I were considering adoption, it was easy to be overcome with fear of the unknown.  We already had two good kids who got high grades, who got along well with each other, and who were (at age 11 and 9) already potty trained.

“What are we doing?” I asked my husband while we were going to get fingerprinted to qualify for our Ethiopian adoption.  “We have such a stable, good family.  I don’t want to mess this up.”

“What kinds of families do you think should adopt?” he asked, with a smile.  “The ones with struggling marriages and disobedient kids?”

Of course, he was right.  It still took some time to calm my nerves as we thought about adding a new person to our family.  However, I was comforted immensely when we met our daughter for the first time.  What happened? 

Well, when we went to orphanage, I handed her a doll.

Are Christians Just As Likely to Divorce?



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‎“Christians divorce at the same rate as everyone else.” Have you ever heard this? I get this comment all the time when I’m doing speaking engagements or radio interviews. People treat it as an established fact, not even a question. The short answer is: NO THEY DON’T! The long answer is: It depends on what you mean by Christians. If you’re talking about everyone who describes themselves as Christian or Catholic, maybe you’ve got something. But sociologists have verified many times that regular religious practice is a huge protective factor against divorce.

Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family helpfully collects a bunch of this information here.

For instance, nominal Catholics are 5 percent less likely, active Catholics 31 percent less likely, and “average Catholics” 18 percent less likely to divorce than is the general population. Among Protestants, nominal Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce than the average person. Conservative Protestants are 10 percent less likely to divorce, and active Conservative Protestants are 35 percent less likely to divorce than the population at large. 

This false belief is harmful because: 

  • it contributes to a general sense that divorce is inevitable. 
  • it demoralizes people both at the personal level (everyone gets divorced anyway, even the Christians) and at the policy level (we might as well make peace with divorce, even Christians get divorced). 
  • it makes Christians appear to be hypocrites.
  • people can’t see that religious practice has resources that help stabilize marriages. 

— Jennifer Roback Morse, is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, which promotes an understanding of lifelong married love to college students. Sign up for the Ruth Institute’s free newsletter here

I Won’t Back Down about Civil Rights . . . or from Teachers’ Unions



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Parents magazine published my latest article today:

When I dropped my daughter off at an inner city Philadelphia School for kindergarten, I tried to keep my emotions in check. It was the first time in five years I’d been separated from my daughter, but I didn’t want to cry in front of the other latte-sipping parents. After all, the school looked welcoming enough, and the teachers were kind. But I really got a lump in my throat when they divided up the kids by class, and I counted the little heads in my daughter’s first kindergarten class.

40.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of helplessness a mom feels when sending a child into a less than ideal situation. But mothers all across the nation feel that trepidation every single day, because American public schools are failing in almost every measurable way. This was dramatically demonstrated when Chicago teachers — who make on average $74,839 per year — demanded more pay, refused to lengthen their already short school day, and didn’t want evaluations tied to performance.  And this when 80 percent of Chicago eighth graders don’t meet reading or math grade level requirement and 40 percent drop out before graduating.Some parents have given up on public school for the greener (and more expensive) grass of private schools. Others have opted for homeschooling.

But a new movie called “Won’t Back Down,” explores what parents and teachers at public schools can do to help change the public schools from within.  The film, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, definitely makes moviegoers feel –- in the gut –- what we know in our heads: far too many schools aren’t teaching subjects, delivering reasonable results, or prioritizing students.

Read the rest here.

The Emergency-Contraception Superstition



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What do you call it when someone believes something in spite of the evidence?

As Nancy already noted, NYC high schools are giving out emergency contraception without the consent or even knowledge of the parents. Their justification is that “emergency contraception reduces pregnancy and abortion.” It sounds reasonable, but it turns out not to be true. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops in-house researcher summarized the results of numerous studies in this fact sheet. “According to every one of the 23 studies from 10 countries, published between 1998 and 2006, easier access to EC fails to achieve any statistically significant reduction in rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion.”

 

Here is a sampling of conclusions from some of these studies:

  • “It is possible that the effect of increased access on pregnancy rates is truly negligible because EC is not as effective as found in the single-use clinical trials, or because women at highest risk do not use EC frequently enough or at all.” — a 2005 study of 2,000 women in the San Francisco Bay area. 
  •  “This study adds to the growing literature casting doubt on the increased use of EC as a quick fix for rising abortion rates. That is not to say that EC will not prevent pregnancy for some women, sometimes, but rather that it may not make much difference to public health.” — a 2005 study of 2,000 postpartum women in Shanghai, China (who would have a strong incentive not to become pregnant within a year of giving birth because this is forbidden by the government).
  • “The EBC [emergency birth control] scheme had no impact on conception rates.” However, “the presence of a pharmacy EBC scheme in a local authority is associated with an increase in the rate of STI diagnoses amongst teenagers of about 5%. The equivalent figure for [children under-16] is even larger at 12%.” This “is consistent with the hypothesis that greater access to EBC induces an increase in adolescent risky sexual behavior.” — a 2011 study in England.

A superstition is something we believe in spite of the evidence, because we like the way it makes us feel. I will leave it to the reader to decide who is being reasonable and who is being superstitious with respect to this issue.

— Jennifer Roback Morse, is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, which promotes an understanding of lifelong married love to college students. Sign up for the Ruth Institute’s free newsletter here

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