Last weekend my husband and I visited our son at the little Bible College he attends in Pennsylvania. The school’s website describes it as “a fully-accredited, faith-centered educational institution… committed to providing students with excellence in biblical higher education for effectiveness in global Christian leadership.” The 672 undergraduate students students all dual-major in Bible and their chosen field of concentration to earn Bachelor of Arts degrees.
It’s a lovely little school where most of the students, like our son, share the school’s biblical values and desire to follow the teachings of the Bible both in the classroom and out. Some are studying to be pastors or missionaries and others. Like our son, who is an elementary education major, they desire to be equipped to take their faith into the world in their chosen professions after graduation. The school doesn’t promote a political agenda, it simply quietly goes about the business of educating young people who desire a Christian education.
As we drove away from the beautiful campus on Sunday, I couldn’t help but wonder how long this school and other conservative Christian schools will survive as the new conformity enforcers continue their march through our country’s institutions.
When the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, Justice Scalia’s dissent warned that “By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.” Scalia said that “it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe.” Though he was specifically speaking of gay marriage — and those shoes have begun to drop across the country — it’s only a matter of time before the attacks will begin on Christian higher education.
This week, there are pats on the head for Ted Cruz and Mike Lee as the pundits and their GOP establishment colleagues give them condescending “attaboys” for their courageous (but misguided) attempt to make the government listen to the American people. They’re not all that bright after all, the pundits imply. Not experienced in the entrenched ways of Washington. They need to learn their place — to stay in the shadows until they’ve been in Washington for a dozen or so years and have been inculcated with the proper D.C. values. Observe the masters like John McCain and Mitch McConnell and, in time, perhaps they too can be like the Great Bipartisan Sages of the Senate. The strategists all warn that the Republicans must have a unified message. “Can’t we all just get along?” they ask.
The problem is that you can’t have a unified message when you have two creatures living in one body — either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde must ultimately prevail. At the end of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jekyll, who can no longer stop himself from turning into the evil Hyde, writes in a letter, ”I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.” Is it also time to bring the unhappy life of the Democrat-lite GOP to an end?
Michael Gerson, in his post-mortem of the shutdown debacle, made it clear that he thinks one side of the GOP is sane and reasonable and the other is completely off the rails. The establishment wing of the party, according to Gerson, “believes in building a legislative majority and electing a president to overturn it.” It’s all very civil and collegial. And it involves a lot of waiting around “for the next election” as the consultants and lobbyists line their pockets and the left continues its long, steady march across the Constitution and our individual liberties.
On the dark side, we have the conservatives. Gerson says,
[T]ea party leaders inhabit an alternative political reality — sheltered in safe districts or states, applauded by conservative media, incited (or threatened) by advocacy groups, carried along by a deep current of anger and frustration among activists — they have no incentive to view defeat as defeat. In fact, turning against tactical radicalism would involve serious political risk. So every setback is interpreted as a need for greater purity and commitment.
This is the same old “clinging to their God, guns and religion” tripe we heard from Obama, only cloaked in a stuffy D.C. political analysis, but it shows the divide between the Washington ruling elites and those who believe that not everything can be solved in Washington — that the entrenched ways of Washington are actually the problem.
Michael Bauman recalled this week a pivotal moment in John McCain’s presidential campaign, when he was ahead in the polls and left the campaign trial to rush back to Washington to deal with a financial crisis. Bauman writes:
But just like his Democratic opponents, when things got bad, McCain turned to government and returned to Washington. He could never convince the American voters that Washington is the problem because he didn’t believe it himself. He believed Washington is the solution. He still does. So does the Republican leadership in the Senate and the RNC. Do not expect him or them to beat the Democrats. They share the Democrats’ ideology and solutions. The difference between them and the Democrats is one of degree, not of kind.
So how’s that HealthCare.gov working out for you? To hear Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, talk, the website is just humming along and everything is peachy. (I’m sure all Americans breathed a sigh of relief when they found out the Obamacare enrollments would continue unhindered during the Great American Shutdown of 2013.)
Sebelius joined a panel at the Columbus Metropolitan Library this week to discuss Obamacare’s impact in Ohio. She said her trip to the state was part of the “final phase” of implementing the law. I thought the final phase was when you gave your grandma the pain pill instead of letting her have the heart operation, but maybe that’s the final final phase of Obamacare.
Anyway, the HealthCare.gov website has been widely criticized since its October 1st launch with complaints of long wait times, crashes, buggy architecture, and security concerns. Sebelius addressed some of those concerns during the panel in Columbus.
“There is no question the website had a rocky start and I am first to say we wish it could have been a lot smoother from day one,” Sebelius said. “I can tell you it’s a whole lot better today than it was two weeks ago and HealthCare.gov, the website, is up and running. It will get better each and every day.”
Sebelius defended the decision not to delay the launch of the obviously not-ready-for prime-time website. “I think people have waited for decades for affordable health care,” she said. “We had a responsibility to get that product to them as quickly as possible. Waiting for another season would be totally unfair to those who have been desperate for affordable health care.” The subtle message seems to be that it’s better — more fair, even — to have crappy government services that don’t actually work than no services at all. This is the best we can aspire to in America in 2013.
Just when you thought the intentional infliction of public pain during the partial government shutdown could not possibly get any worse, the Obama administration is now threatening dead people:
Each national cemetery will conduct a reduced number of burials each day. This could cause some families to pay for storage of their loved ones’ remains until burials can be scheduled. Although there may be possible delays in scheduling internments [sic], NCA will continue to provide services to our Veterans and their families during their time of need with the utmost dignity, respect and compassion.
The VA says it will run out of money in late October and will begin to implement its “lapse in appropriation shutdown plan,” furloughing up to 1,063 of 1,809 National Cemetery Administration (NCA) employees. A Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown, posted on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, lists interments under “Services to Veterans Impacted by a Lapse in Appropriations,” saying “Interments at National Cemeteries will be conducted on a reduced schedule.” (Incidentally, the “play” and “pause” buttons on the Veterans Field Guide are not operational — has the Canadian programmer group hit again?)
Sean Baumgartner, director of the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, said there will be a “reduced interment schedule” at the Ohio cemetery. Ohio Western Reserve Cemetery (where my husband’s grandfather is buried) ordinarily conducts eight or nine burials a day. Last week there were 17 burials on Monday. The NCA will restrict the number of interments to eight per day at mid-level cemeteries if the shutdown drags on beyond the end of October.
So you dropped your son or daughter off at college at the end of August. If you’re lucky, you’re receiving regular calls telling you all about college life, classes, and life in the dorm. Or, if you’re like most parents — or the parents of a male offspring — you’re lucky to get a text now and then asking for money or the Amazon password.
Some kids will breeze through their freshman year, both socially and academically — they were made for college life. Other students will struggle during their first semester. It’s not easy living with a total stranger, let alone a whole dorm full of them (some of whom, let’s face it, are practically sociopaths). Some kids will also struggle academically. Whether or not they’re prepared for college academically and socially, the freshman year can be fraught with challenges.
As a parent, how do you know if your kid is OK?
You dropped your son or daughter off at the college gates and it’s as if you’re not supposed to care — the kids are adults now and on their own. You suddenly became completely irrelevant. Thanks to federal privacy regulations, even though you’re paying for your child’s education, you’re not allowed to know anything about it. You’re prohibited from knowing if he is failing or excelling and prohibited from even having a conversation with his professors.
While we don’t want to be helicopter parents and we want to give our kids the opportunity to sink or swim without our interference, is there any role at all for parents in the college education process?
I say there is, and so does Hillsdale College.
Yesterday, on Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams said he thinks he knows how to end the ongoing gridlock over the partial shutdown of the federal government and the debt ceiling. Williams said the business community should get involved, suggesting that strategic campaign donations could persuade moderate Republicans — like Susan Collins and John Boehner — to “be reasonable.”
Republicans are imploding and what they have — and I think is really key — it’s not just the markets, it’s the business community that needs to reassert itself inside the Republican Party, so that people like Susan Collins, people even like potentially John Boehner, could see that there’s some political powers from money that comes forth to Republican moderates in this fight and that people want him to be reasonable and not simply listen to the far right wing that right now is dominating the Republican Party and driving them over the cliff [emphasis added].
So has Williams finally seen the light on the 1st Amendment? Because just a few months ago he was blaming the Supreme Court — and the Citizens United decision — for the IRS targeting of conservative groups. He complained that the court’s decision unleashed unlimited “dark money” contributions to influence elections:
The calculating, big money players have long wanted to keep their donations secret. Citizens United allowed them to give all the money they wanted without having their names attached to it. … They don’t want to deal with the public fall-out of being seen as a puppet master pulling the strings of the politician they helped elect with their contributions. They don’t want to be seen as supporting corporate welfare or the gutting of labor and environmental regulations or any other unpopular causes that will line their corporate coffers.
Are we to believe that Williams now wants corporate “puppet masters” to pull some strings with “dark money” donations to keep the “far right wing” from driving the Republican Party over the cliff — out of the goodness of his heart?
Why, the man is a veritable Karl Rove — get him a white board!
This week, Ohio Governor John Kasich’s administration asked the seven-member Ohio Controlling Board to appropriate federal Obamacare funds for the purpose of Medicaid expansion, bypassing the state legislature.
The Obama administration approved Ohio’s request to amend its Medicaid program so that people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($32,499 for a household of four) would be covered. The state’s Medicaid director, John McCarthy, submitted the request Sept. 26 with a corresponding request for the Controlling Board to appropriate the federal funds without the approval of the Republican-controlled legislature, which has stalled Kasich’s plans for Medicaid expansion.
The Controlling Board consists of the chairs of the Senate and House Finance Committees (currently Republicans) and a Republican and Democrat from both houses. The director of the OMB (a Kasich appointee) serves as the board’s president. Generally, the board’s duties include transferring funds between line items or fiscal years, allowing for emergency funding, and approving grants and loans made by the Department of Development. There is speculation that the two Democrats and the Kasich appointee would vote for the Medicaid expansion, so Kasich would only need to secure one additional Republican vote to win approval from the board. Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican, said he believes Kasich has the authority to turn the decision over to the Controlling Board. “I’m certainly a defender of legislative rights, and I would think a better solution would be a legislative option, but the governor does have that authority,” he said.
However, questions remain about the authority of the board. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits the Controlling Board from carrying out any action “which does not carry out the legislative intent of the general assembly.” But Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols justified the action, saying, “Only the General Assembly can authorize Medicaid to spend funds in this way, either through a bill or the Controlling Board.” Kasich, vacationing in Europe, was not available for comment, the Dispatch reported.
Ohio Lt. Governor and Insurance Director Mary Taylor told a group of small business owners on Wednesday that the state insurance office struggled to send information about Ohio’s health plans to Washington by computer this summer and they began bracing for problems, the AP reported. “This is what we expected,” she said of the “glitches” with the website for the federal exchanges. Ohio chose not to set up a state exchange, instead directing eligible citizens to the federal exchanges.
Taylor told Ohio members of the National Federation of Independent Business that while exploring the federal health exchange website she experienced the same problems that many consumers have reported. “I’ve been on,” Taylor said. “The note that comes up to be patient, high volume — experiencing high volume of users. You know, it is frustrating.”
Taylor’s office is suggesting that people try the new website during off hours. “Maybe if we all get up at midnight and try to get on the system — well, if we all do, it won’t work,” Taylor quipped to the business owners.
Taylor, a frequent critic of the Affordable Care Act, also said she doesn’t know how many Ohioans have enrolled in the federal exchanges because Washington is running them.
On October 4th, Taylor and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned of scams associated with the new exchanges.
“Failure to adjust.” That’s what Becky, the cheerful optician, said my problem was with the new progressive lenses. “Failure to adjust” sounds like it should be in the same category as “doesn’t play well with others,” or “runs with scissors,” so her words stung a little and I inwardly berated myself for not making more of an effort to make the new glasses work.
For the last few years I have been getting by with dollar store reading glasses as my near vision deteriorated, apparently in anticipation of my 50th birthday. Twenty years ago I had surgery to correct my distance vision and had enjoyed a blissful, lens-free life until about five years ago, when I began to squint when reading small print. Then came the embarrassing stage of holding everything at arm’s length. I avoided reading glasses as long as possible, but eventually, my arms became too short and I could no longer read anything smaller than a STOP sign without glasses.
My dollar store reading glasses, if not fashionable, were cheap enough that I could have a pair handy at all times. Well, at least, I owned enough glasses that I should have had a pair handy at all times. I had a pair in my purse, my car, the living room, the kitchen — even the bathroom. Nevertheless, I could never seem to locate a pair when I needed them. It seemed I had a pair for every room except for the room I was in. I’d find myself at Walmart, unable to read any of the prices and straining to find the English print sandwiched between the French and Spanish warnings. I’d fumble around in my purse looking for the reading glasses, only to remember that I had taken them out of my purse at home because I couldn’t find the pair that had somehow migrated from the living room to who-knows-where.
It could be worse. Recently my husband and I we were at a restaurant with friends — Bob Evans, where people my age are supposed to eat, I’m told — and my friend’s husband had to borrow my reading glasses because he didn’t have his handy. Right there in Bob Evans! At least I haven’t sunk that low yet.
I mean, not completely. I recently returned home from a trip to Kohl’s (Kohl’s is where almost-50-year-old women like to shop because they jigger the sizes so that it looks like you wear a size 4 when you really wear a size 6) and told my husband about how much trouble I had trouble shopping without my glasses, which had mysteriously disappeared from my purse. Again. His eyes widened as he contemplated the prospect of his wife loose at that store with a Kohl’s charge, oblivious to the price tags she was unable to read. But I had a 20% off coupon! (Or maybe it was 10%. It was a little blurry.)
Now that school is in session, parents have begun sharing on Facebook and other social media outlets some of the Common Core homework assignments their children are bringing home. Below are ten really bad ones that will give you an idea of the direction education is going under Common Core. All of these assignments were shared recently on social media sites dedicated to informing parents about Common Core.
1. Star citizen: quiet, sitting, neat
This paper came from a Rhode Island first grade classroom. One mother commented, “I went to elementary school in Poland during communism. This is exactly what I was forced to learn.” It’s a step in the right direction for those who want a compliant, obedient citizenry. That said, this is not new to schools and we shouldn’t necessarily blame Common Core. Children — boys in particular — have been taught for decades that being “good” means being quiet and compliant. The link to good citizenry is something I haven’t seen before, however.
It’s not really new for Christian leaders to advise parents to remove their children from the public schools. James Dobson encouraged an exodus in 2002, and in 2004 the Southern Baptist Convention introduced a resolution urging parents to remove their children from government schools (it was soundly defeated at the group’s annual meeting that year). At the time, the question was almost always framed as “should Christians remove their children from public schools?” Many argued that Christians should maintain a presence in the schools — that schools could be redeemed, both as an institution and spiritually. Christian children could — and even should — be missionaries in the schools, many argued.
Now, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has turned the question on its head, instead asking, “Is Public School an Option?” In a recent article, Mohler, an influential evangelical Christian cultural and intellectual leader, wrote:
The growing chaos in society is forcing Christians to rethink even their most cherished assumptions about their relationship with government institutions.
Mohler begins with the reminder that parents are responsible for the education of their children — that God will hold parents accountable for the decisions they make regarding their children, including on their education. “The duty of Christian parents to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord cannot be delegated to anyone else—not to the state, not to the schools, and not even to the church.” So regardless of how or where children are “formally” educated, the responsibility for spiritual training ultimately rests with the parents.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, most American children have attended public schools. Mohler looks back nostalgically at the American century:
Evangelical families sent their children to the public schools with confidence and with eagerness. They had little interest in other alternatives for the simple reason that they saw little need for any alternative. Evangelical Christians were happy with the public schools and saw them as both effective and efficient in the delivery of an American education. They also saw the public schools as safe and healthy places for children, and they grew to love the athletic programs and extracurricular activities that grew along with the schools in the American Century, as the last century came to be known.
But by the end of the twentieth century, evangelical Christians began to leave public schools by the millions as the country witnessed an explosion in Christian schools and homeschooling.
Having followed the debate over the Affordable Care Act fairly closely over the last few years, I was curious about the insurance plans being offered under the federal exchange in Ohio. Actual hard numbers have been hard to come by; it seems like they’ve been a more closely guarded secret than the codes to launch the nation’s nuclear warheads. I tried to log on to the site on October 1st, the day the “Marketplace” launched, but after several unsuccessful attempts, I gave up. Today I decided to try again.
I went to www.healthcare.gov and chose “Ohio” from the drop-down menu. Just like visiting a government agency in person, I found that I would be required to wait in line — albeit a virtual line. Take a virtual number.
After about 30 minutes, I finally made my way to the front of the line. My number was called and I was invited to create an account — a user name and password. The instructions said that the user name and password were case sensitive. I followed the instructions and checked my email for the link to authenticate the new account and then tried to sign in. The system did not recognize my user name and password. I knew they were correct because I had copied and pasted them into my clipboard so I’d have them handy. I tried a couple more times, but each time I was greeted by a message saying that the information I had entered was invalid.
At least we dodged this bullet. For now.
The entire continuing resolution impasse has been mostly intense and gloomy, so we have to appreciate anything that provides a moment of levity. Two hours before the government shutdown at midnight on October 1st, this cryptic warning appeared on Twitter:
In 2 hours and 20 minutes, American Pants shutdown will begin. #noBudgetNoPants
— MyWhiteNinja™ (@MyWhiteNinja) October 1, 2013
Josh Barro from Business Insider warned about possible unintended consequences.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) October 1, 2013
We learned about the new disaster management plan:
— Aaron Cynic (@aaroncynic) October 1, 2013
At midnight, the group Anonymous made #NoBudgetNoPants official (and also made it trend on Twitter):
Your government has just shut down. It's time to show them how you feel – and us what you've got! #NoBudgetNoPants
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 1, 2013
Hang your pants outside your car and house windows. #NoBudgetNoPants
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 1, 2013
More unintended consequences:
— Arif Baradia (@_sawbones_) October 1, 2013
This guy has a point.
Despite the hype, it was just a normal evening at home for many followers of Anonymous and Occupy:
Now I'm just laying around pantsless watching Netflix. This has gone from "a protest" to "a normal evening." #NoBudgetNoPants
— TheRealestWaldo (@TheRealestWaldo) October 1, 2013
#NoBudgetNoPants — but then, I dont know how thats different from any other day for me.
— Joanna Blackhart (@MsBlackhart) October 1, 2013
Helpful hygiene tip:
— An0n_Z3r0 (@Anon_Z3r0) October 1, 2013
This guy makes a good point:
I hate to be that guy, but the #NoBudgetNoPants hashtag doesn't make any sense. By that logic, we should've been pantsless for years now…
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) October 1, 2013
Do you know about Challenge Day? If not, you may want to find out if your child’s school is hosting this intrusive, emotionally manipulative, Oprah-endorsed program that promises to provide schools and communities with “experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth, and full expression.” Challenge Day claims the program has been presented to a million students in 400 cities in 47 states.
By “full expression” they mean confession, lots of hugs and physical contact, and tears — the weeping and gnashing of teeth kind of tears.
The “Be the Change School Guide for Creating the School of Your Dreams” has high hopes for the program — world peace: “With the ever growing increase of violence and oppression in our schools and on our planet, we believe a commitment to these simple principles can actually create peace on earth.” They attempt to accomplish that by addressing issues they believe are common in schools, including “cliques, gossip, rumors, negative judgments, teasing, harassment, isolation, stereotypes, intolerance, racism, sexism, bullying, violence, homophobia, hopelessness, apathy, and hidden pressures to create an image, achieve or live up to the expectations of others.”
Schools pay $3200 (plus travel expenses) to bring the Challenge Day program, which was the subject of the MTV series, If You Really Knew Me, to their students.
Permission slips warn parents that “students can and often do share personal difficulties and experiences with the group” and the experience can be “emotional.”
Participants are confined to a room for 6 1/2 hours during the school day. Challenge Day heavily regulates the environment. Everything from the room size, to the temperature of the room, to the windows (must be covered), to the chairs (no arm rests), is controlled. Challenge Day even dictates the number and size of tissue boxes schools must provide.
From Mohabat News, Karaj, Iran – August 27, 2013:
Security authorities arrested three Christians, two of whom are Farsi-speaking, in an arbitrary move without mentioning any charges for their arrest. The unreasonable arrest of these Christian men and an increase in condemnation of Christians by the Iranian judicial authorities all point to a deteriorating situation for the Iranian Christian community. Ebrahim Firouzi and Sevada Aghasar went to visit Masoud Mirzaei in his office in an insurance company in Karaj, when plain-clothes security authorities raided the office and arrested all three Christians present.The arrested Christians are, Masoud Mirzaei, resident of Karaj, Sevada Aghasar, Armenian resident of Tehran, and Ebrahim Firouzi who was arrested again after being sentenced in the Revolutionary Court. The authorities then transferred them to an unknown location. Their location is still unknown at the time of writing this article and no indication has been given with regards to their charges for this arrest.
- International Christian Concern (ICC): They are “alarmed by the latest series of events that continue a pattern of egregious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms in Iran.”
- Peresecution.org: “There has not been any improvement in the months since the election of President Hassan Rouhani.”
- Todd Daniels, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East: “Iran continues to engage in a pattern of systematic abuse of the basic and fundamental rights of both its own citizens, and in the case of Saeed Abedini, an American citizen.
Thanks to dedicated groups like the American Center for Law and Justice and some at Fox News, many Americans are aware of the plight of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran since 2012 for, essentially, refusing to renounce his faith in Christianity. Pastor Abedini’s imprisonment (as well as the imprisonment of two other Americans) has drawn the attention of Secretary of State John Kerry; the topic even came up in President Obama’s phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this week.
But as we debate the wisdom of extending the hand of friendship to Iran, it’s important to be aware that human rights abuses occur there on a daily basis with no real signs of improvement since the June election.
The other day I tweeted something about Sen. Cruz’s strategy to defund Obamacare and a friend tweeted back, saying that Republicans need to do more than oppose Obamacare — they need to propose alternatives. Of course, this is true, though it’s not a completely fair criticism. It’s not that Republicans haven’t proposed any solutions, rather, they have communicated their ideas poorly. Instead of succinctly communicating the benefits of free-market, consumer driven solutions to the individual and the family, Republicans often focus more on how their ideas will reduce costs or make the market more competitive — as if they are more concerned with helping the market or the national debt than the individual.
One example is the concept of Health Savings Accounts (HSA), which are tax-advantaged savings plans available to individuals enrolled in low-premium, high-deductible health insurance plans. Employers love them because they help to rein in costs and many families find that they cost less than traditional insurance plans.
But they’re hard to explain.
Sometime during the long night of Sen. Ted Cruz’s speechibuster®, Sen. Rand Paul made some remarks (in the form of a question, as required by the Senate rules) about HSAs:
Why are the health savings accounts important? Because you can save money tax-free, you can carry it over from year to year, and then you can buy higher deductibles. So contrary to what people think, it may be counter-intuitive to some people, the way to fix health insurance is to have higher deductibles, because what does that mean? Cheaper insurance. You want cheaper and cheaper insurance. As you have higher deductibles, you have cheaper insurance. When you have cheaper insurance, you have all this extra money that you can use to pay for day-to-day health care. When you do that, what happens? You drive the price of health care down. I know that is exactly right. As you increase deductibles, as you get the consumer involved in health care, your prices go down.
May I suggest that when you’re trying to promote an idea or market a policy, you generally want the reaction to be something along the lines of, “It sounds good on paper, but what’s the catch?” or “That sounds too good to be true!”
Voicing opposition last week to the continuing resolution that would fund the entire federal government except for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) delivered an emotional, rhetoric-filled speech on the House floor. Calling the bill a “wolf in wolf’s clothing,” Pelosi said it would result in cuts to biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health.
“The underlying bill to shut down government, the continuing resolution, is reason enough to object to it because that bill will cost at least one million jobs in the course of the next year,” Pelosi said.
Declaring “we are not here to expand government,” Pelosi went on to reveal something that many of us have suspected for years — that government is the progressives’ god:
It will not only do that, it will cut our investments in the future: in education, in biomedical research – the National Institutes of Health has the biblical power to cure [emphasis added].
Pelosi went on to say, “Where there is scientific opportunity, we have a moral obligation to meet that scientific obligation with the resources to respect the talent, the intellect, the God-given intellect of the science to cure.”
This is not the first time Pelosi has endowed the National Institutes of Health with biblical powers. At a press conference in March of 2011 celebrating the first anniversary of Obamacare, Pelosi made the same claim:
There’s a cut in funding for the National Institutes of Health. This is not a healthy thing for our country because that research has answers. You know that every family in America is one telephone call, one diagnosis, one accident away from needing the kind of biomedical research that can cure–really have the biblical power to cure in a very, very special way and so to cut back on that research is wrong.
Pelosi didn’t elaborate on the “very, very special way” that the NIH has the “biblical power to cure,” and she doesn’t explain how cutting government funding to the mighty federal government would hamper the Almighty’s ability to cure the sick. Many would rightly argue that a government bureaucracy is not particularly well-suited to delivering health care, let alone biblical healing.
Can a 5-minute video about a teenager with a crisis pregnancy change the hearts and minds of abortion supporters? This song and video, by the former lead singer of the group Kansas, has the potential to do just that.
If you’re a child of the ’70s and ’80s, you probably remember the prog rock band Kansas for songs like “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” John Elefante became the group’s lead singer in 1981, the year the band was the top-grossing concert act in the world. Elefante later went on to have a successful career as a producer, with a number of the albums he produced earning GMA Dove Awards and Grammy Awards. Elefante also continued to perform; he has produced and/or performed on more than 100 major label albums.
Elefante is out with a new solo album, On My Way to the Sun (great reviews on Amazon), and one of the album’s singles, “This Time,” shares the story of his adopted daughter’s rescue from the abortionist’s scalpel.
The song tells the story of a 13-year-old girl with a crisis pregnancy. Terrified and alone, she falls asleep in the waiting room of the abortion clinic, where she sees the life of her unborn child unfolding in a dream:
There was a birthday cake and three candles
She was living in another world
She saw the little girl become a woman,
living in a happy home
Then she was suddenly awakened
by a voice that called her name
The clinic staff escorts her to the back — she has second thoughts. The nurses tell her, ”Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.You’re still young, we see this all the time.” She cries out to God for help and asks for a phone to call her mother. “Find my baby a home!”
Right then the Lord began to speak:
“You’re not taking this one! She’s Mine!
She’ll grow up to seek My name.
You’re not taking her this time.
I started before time began.
Her name is written in the Book.
They didn’t have the power to take her life.”
The story is powerful and soul-wrenching.
With all the Republican elitist consternation and wind-baggery about the liberty-minded wing of the party trying to defund Obamacare, you’d be hard-pressed to know who’s playing for which team these days. Gloria Borger told Anderson Cooper on Thursday that she talked to a “senior Republican” who said Republican leaders were more angry with the defunders than with Obama.
More angry with Ted Cruz and Mike Lee than with President Obama who is tanking our economy and steering our foreign policy ship into dystopian, post-superpower waters? If true, the comment is very instructional about the lack of contrast between the GOP establishment and the Democrats.
“Republicans will get blamed for a government shut down,” they say or, “We’ll lose the Independent vote,” as Karl Rove belly ached in the Wall Street Journal (with the lofty poll conducted by his SuperPAC to prove it). Former McCain advisor Ana Navarro huffed, “I think of it as very destructive and unseemly. Who wants to join a dysfunctional family? So I see why independents would be antagonize by watching this spectacle.” As if anyone from the losing McCain campaign should be advising the GOP about winning elections? Nevertheless, the McCain/Romney/Bush wing of the party has abandoned the fight against Obamacare and has instead taken up arms against conservative Republicans.
Rush Limbaugh likes to say, “Liberals always tell you which conservatives they fear the most.” The same is true for Republican establishment moderates — and these days they’re all downing handfuls of antacids and scheduling extra therapy sessions at the thought they might have to cede power to the likes of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and others in the “Wacko Bird” wing of the party.
The late Andrew Breitbart said in his memorable CPAC speech in 2012,
“Everything has changed. Everything has changed in the last few years. Conservatives used to take it and we’re not taking it anymore.”
Saying the open carry debate has become “increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer, posted an open letter on the company’s website on Tuesday asking customers to leave their guns at home:
For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
Schultz cited the recent “Starbucks Appreciation Days,” events in which Second Amendment advocates brought their guns to Starbucks locations and made purchases to thank the coffee chain for respecting state gun laws. This led to counter-protests from anti-gun activists. Starbucks’ previous policy had been to comply with the open carry laws in the states they serve. “That means we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43 U.S. states. Where these laws don’t exist, openly carrying weapons in our stores is not permitted.”
Schultz said it was “disingenuous” for groups to portray Starbucks as a champion of open carry. “To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores,” Schultz emphasized in the letter.
Schultz clarified that this was a request and not an outright ban. He hinted that a ban could put Starbucks employees in danger. “[E]nforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on,” adding that “ the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores.”
Though Schultz’s letter focuses on “open carry,” his request that customers “no longer bring firearms into our stores” would seem to include “concealed carry” firearms as well.
On the third floor, employees gathering for a staff meeting chose to barricade themselves rather than flee into the hallway where they heard gunshots.
Capt. Mark Vandroff and his colleagues stacked chairs and desks in front of a door and got down on the floor. Two bullets care [sic] through the wall off the conference room, but high above their heads. The [sic] stayed in place for 30 minutes before police evacuated them.
“We were hunkered down, we were on the floor because we had heard the previous gunshot. We heard gunfire and we looked up and there were two bullet holes in the top of the wall of the conference room,” Vandroff said.
Rather than make noise by talking, his team texted each other from their smart phones.
By the time it was over, former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis had shot and killed twelve individuals at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
Commander Tim Jirus told Fox News: “For those of us who knew there was an active shooter because they were much closer to where that was happening at, there is shelter-in-place. You lock your door inside your building until someone tells you it’s clear.”
According to the Washington City Paper, “[Metropolitan Police Department] Chief Cathy Lanier said after the first shots were reported this morning, MPD officers were on the scene within two to three minutes, at which point security within Navy Yard had already engaged the shooter. Within seven minutes, Lanier says, an ‘active shooter team’ was in the building and had ‘multiple engagements’ with the shooter, the last of which resulted in his death.”
Bryan Preston noted that the Navy Yard, like all military bases, is a “gun free zone” thanks to a Clinton-era policy. Preston wrote, “In 1993, President Bill Clinton decreed that US military personnel were to surrender the Second Amendment rights that they swear an oath to support and defend.” So the employees at the 3000-person building were sitting ducks, unable to defend themselves against an active shooter.
In an episode of A & E’s Duck Dynasty last season, Sadie, the teen daughter of the Robertson clan’s Willie and Kori, needed a dress for the homecoming dance. Like many families, daddy and daughter had different ideas about suitable attire for the dance. Willie ordered Sadie to return the first dress she purchased.
“Is there something wrong with it?” Sadie asked.
“Yeah, there’s not enough material,” Willie complained. “Does Sadie look nice in her dress? Yes. But it’s the kind of nice the boys at school are going to think is really nice. And that’s going to make me really uncomfortable. Because she’s really young and she’s really my daughter. And I’m really accurate with a crossbow.
Willie echoed the feelings of thousands of parents around the country when he said, “It’s just that my daughter’s dressed up like she’s thirteen going on twenty.”
That resulted in a long afternoon at the formalwear boutique, with Willie rejecting one dress after another (while Uncle Si modeled tuxedos). An exasperated Sadie finally used her cell phone to call her mom from the fitting room for an assist.
The Robertsons, a family very open about their Christian faith on Duck Dynasty, eventually settled on a dress, but the show highlighted the very real problem of immodest and age-inappropriate formal attire designed for teens. While part of the problem is that the teens want to wear skimpy, body-clinging gowns, it is also true that dresses that are both modest and fashionable are often in short supply.
Hoping to change that, Sadie Robertson, age 16, made her debut on the runway at New York Fashion Week last week showing off her new line of “daddy approved” prom dresses that will be available next spring. Robertson collaborated with designer Sherri Hill to create the line and modeled two of the gowns at the Evening By Sherri Hill show at Trump Tower on Monday night.
Hill, who asked Sadie to be the celebrity spokesmodel for the line — called Sadie Robertson Live Original — worked with Sadie to create dresses both she and her father would approve of.
“Me and my mother and my grandma went to Sherri Hill’s place and we all picked out ‘daddy approved’ length,” Sadie told Fox News. “She also added a couple inches to some that we loved but weren’t modest.”
Sadie said that her dad had to approve all the gowns before they were accepted into the line. She follows the “finger-tip rule,” making sure all dresses are at list finger-tip length and said that “everything is modest up here,” referring to the bodices.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times on Thursday. Putin, using President Obama’s own complaints about the United States against him, lectured Americans about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and decried American exceptionalism. “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” Putin wrote. “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too.”
Speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News Thursday, Cruz pulled no punches in defending American exceptionalism and reminding viewers about the brutal Soviet regime:
[2:00] It was truly astonishing and I think the final paragraph was the most striking where he castigated the president and Americans for believing in American exceptionalism and I actually think he was right.
Autocrats have reason to fear when Americans focus on our principles and focus on exceptionalism because it’s been American exceptionalism that stood up to the Nazis and stopped the murder from the Nazis and it was American exceptionalism that stood up to the Soviet Union and freed hundreds of millions from behind the Iron Curtain. So Putin is right to be concerned about American exceptionalism.
Cruz said Putin and the Russians have been bad actors throughout the Syrian proceedings and he favors President Reagan’s approach of “trust but verify,” saying he is skeptical of Putin’s motives. “It is a very dangerous time and one of the principles that has been true from time immemorial is that bullies and tyrants don’t respect weakness.”
Other responses to Putin’s op-ed were more tepid and cautious.
On September 11, 2001 the blogosphere was still in its infancy and Twitter was five years away. Instead of tweeting, Americans turned to e-mail lists, message boards, chat rooms, and forums. At the time, Free Republic was — and still is — a popular forum for sharing news and discussing issues — including many issues the mainstream media ignored or couldn’t keep up with. On 9/11 there were twenty-one different threads at Free Republic related to the attacks — the first comment was posted at 8:52 a.m., just six minutes after Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. By the end of the day there would be thousands of comments as Freepers discussed the attacks and sought information.
It’s heart-rending to read through the threads and relive the play-by-play as the events unfolded. But it’s also fascinating to see the crowdsourcing aspect of the forum as Freepers across the country pieced the story together and tried to make sense of the senseless.
The Free Republic moderator who collected and archived the threads wrote:
Bookmark this thread, and bump it from time to time when the nation and the press seems to forget why we need resolve in the face of evil. Forgive some of the early misinformation and broken photo links, and recall the horror and fury.
To help us remember the “horror and fury” I’ve gone through the threads and posted a sampling of the comments on the next few pages. I did not edit the comments — I left spelling and grammar the way they were originally posted on 9/11 — I think it helps to convey the sense of urgency in the comments.