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Does Living Together Before Marriage Really Cause Divorce?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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An article from the Christian Science Monitor discusses how social scientists have been studying the wrong variable when it comes to cohabitation and divorce:

For years, social scientists have tried to explain why living together before marriage seemed to increase the likelihood of a couple divorcing. Now, new research released by the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families gives an answer:

It doesn’t. And it probably never has. …

As it turns out, those studies that linked premarital cohabitation and divorce were measuring the wrong variable, says Arielle Kuperburg, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, who produced much of the research released Monday. The biggest predictor of divorce, she says, is actually the age at which a couple begins living together, whether before the wedding vows or after.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

image courtesy shutterstock / Solomonkein

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Our Bodies, Our Only Sense of Self

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The MSM’s latest fetish, college girls-turned-porn stars for tuition money, smacks of the rotten legacy of second-wave feminism’s “our bodies, our selves” mantra. Take the story of Belle Knox, a Duke University fresh-girl forced to do porn for the tuition money. While her sleaze-bag of an agent attempts to milk her 15 minutes with stories of a poor girl turned out by multimillionaire parents (a story she later changed when chatting with Piers Morgan), Belle Knox views herself as anything but a victim.

The 18-year-old appeared on front pages across the globe and sat down with Piers Morgan for a CNN interview using only her stage name and claiming that she was not ashamed of what she was doing and, in fact, felt ‘empowered’ by her career.

I’m not being exploited. I love what I’m doing and I’m safe,’ insists the women’s studies major.

Women’s studies major. Good thing she’s in porn, considering her future career choices at this point don’t rise far above McDonald’s worker (and we all know how poorly they’re paid). Seriously, though, paying for your women’s studies degree by doing porn? Has anyone stopped being sucked in by the rich-girl lifestyle to consider that glaring irony? Or the fact that her women’s studies major has justified her career choice?

She told her student newspaper in an interview last week: ‘My entire life, I have, along with millions of other girls, been told that sex is a degrading and shameful act. When I was five-years-old and beginning to discover the wonders of my body, my mother, completely horrified, told me that if I masturbated, my vagina would fall off.

‘The most striking view I was indoctrinated with was that sex is something women “have,” but that they shouldn’t “give it away” too soon -– as though there’s only so much sex in any one woman, and sex is something she does for a man that necessarily requires losing something of herself, and so she should be really careful who she “gives” it to.’

The vapid meanderings of Belle Knox illustrate the very scary impact of the second-wave feminist notion that our bodies really are our selves. Beyond our physicality, we have nothing left, no brain, no feeling, to “lose” or invest in a sexual encounter.

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Boys Can Be Anything They Want, As Long As They Want to Be Girls….

Monday, March 10th, 2014 - by Helen Smith

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Kyle Smith at the NY Post has an interesting article on the emasculation of men in our society:

“Free to Be . . . You and Me” was a piece of Ms. Foundation-produced feminist propaganda disguised as entertainment for children that first appeared on ABC 40 years ago this week, on March 11, 1974. It drew big ratings, leading to platinum status for an associated album, a best-selling book, and many repeat airings of the show…..

The show, which is of course unwatchable today except perhaps in states with generous attitudes toward self-medication such as Colorado and Washington, was an hour-long special that meant to tell little girls they could be anything they wanted, and little boys they could be anything they wanted too, provided that what they wanted was to be girls.

The program’s most searing and indelible moment was the horrifying sight of Rosey Grier, a huge man once known as one of the most ferocious players in the NFL, strumming a guitar, smiling like a brain donor and singing “It’s All Right to Cry.”…

The climactic close to “It’s All Right to Cry” is a montage of real people (the vast majority male) shedding tears. Lads, open the waterworks! To women of today who are wondering why men must act like little boys, this is as good a moment as any to pinpoint as the start of the epidemic.

This continues today with the PC trend of sports, particularly football, and men being told that only the emotions of girls are acceptable unless they themselves actually act like one and then they are mocked by other men and women for their weakness. It’s confusing and disturbing that men are so emasculated on one hand and on the other, are supposed to “act like men” when convenient for women and society.

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Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

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9 Secrets to Keep Your Daughter From Becoming a Slut

Sunday, March 9th, 2014 - by Megan Fox

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in August of 2013 as “9 Politically Incorrect Secrets to Keep Your Daughter from Twerking.” It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…

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What the….???

If you don’t know what twerking is yet, I’ll explain it one more time. To “twerk,” as the kids say, is not your average Jennifer Gray/Patrick Swayze dirty dancing. In fact, it makes their bump and grind look like the foxtrot. I was in Oklahoma last year hanging out with my cousins at a rodeo bar (yeah, I know it’s cliché but when in OK City, it’s A-Ok to go full-on cowgirl). I was beyond perplexed when I realized I brought my red leather cowboy boots down hard on some poor girl’s fingers on the dance floor. What were her fingers doing on said dance floor, you might ask? She was twerking. Imagine, if you can, what kind of position a girl must be in to have her hands on the floor and ass in the air, while gyrating around like an acrobat on LSD. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s pretty ugly. I can tell you that I and the five other people I was with had a great time discussing and laughing (as was the guy she was twerking on, btw). No one thinks this is sexy. It’s a big joke. It’s as if the guys in the room (not men) are all waiting to see who they can fool into trying this “move,” which is nothing more than a scene from a XXX movie.

This video pretty much sums up how ridiculous and stupid people look while twerking.

So, what can you do about it, you who have daughters and a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that they too might slide down the way of tongue-out twerking?

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Your Neighborhood Pool is More Dangerous Than a Loaded Gun

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

While researching information on accidental gun deaths for an upcoming article, I found something astonishing. A swimming pool is far more deadly than a loaded gun to a child. The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that 114 kids died from an accidental gun discharge in the home in 2010, the latest year available, but in the same year 1025 children drowned. In 2009, 980 children died in swimming accidents. In 2008, the number was a staggering 1015. Almost ten times as many children die in drowning deaths each year than from an accidental gun discharge. This is unacceptable. The solution is clear.

We need swimming pool control.

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First: Children should not be taught how to swim. No child should be allowed near water deep enough for them to drown. Adults may swim in pools or in the ocean, but children must be strictly forbidden from participating in or learning about swimming. Backyard family pools should be banned. Beaches should be closed to children.

Second: Paintings, television shows, movies, and novels that show children enjoying pools or swimming in water must be censored and the offending images stripped out. Just as Steven Speilberg once edited guns out of his movie “ET,” swimming scenes involving children should be edited and censored. New books, movies and television shows should portray adults swimming, but never children.

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Third: We need to have background checks and a permit before an adult is allowed to enter a lesson program and achieve swim certification. Adults need to have their swim certificates with them if they intend to go swimming and they should go through re-certification every year. Eventually, adults might realize that swimming is dangerous and foolish and they’ll abandon it altogether.

Finally: Dare we hope the government will just ban swimming altogether? Let’s make our world a safer place for children. Join me in working for a total ban of this dangerous activity. Let’s ban swimming now.

After all, it’s for the children.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock: schab

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18 Year Old Sues Parents for Tuitution, Living Expenses

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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A good working definition of discipline may be the aligning of perception with reality. I may perceive that I can eat pizza and cupcakes without consequence. But reality will bear a different result.

Children who go without discipline enter adulthood with an unrealistic sense of entitlement. One young adult, newly loosed upon the world, just set a new bar. The Los Angeles Times reports:

A New Jersey high school honor student, who is also an athlete and a cheerleader, has sued her parents for school money after she says they kicked her out of their home when she turned 18, the Daily Record of Parsippany, N.J., reported.

Rachel Canning’s father told the newspaper that his daughter isn’t telling the whole story and that she moved out because she didn’t want to do chores or keep a curfew, among other disagreements.

[Her father says,] “She’s demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn’t want to live at home, and she’s saying, ‘I don’t want to live under your rules.’”

The young woman argues “she’s an unemanicipated student,” whatever that means, and her parents should therefore pay her tuition along with living and transportation costs.

Her attitude proves emblematic of that embraced by the culture at large, particularly in relation to public entitlements and subsidies. She would force her parents to sustain her life without submitting to their terms. Similarly, rent-seeking constituencies condone the use of force against taxpayers while resisting any accountability.

If the account of Canning’s parents can be believed, her costs would be covered if she chose to abide by their rules. Instead, she demands to live as she wills, while demanding support from her parents.

A hearing on the case is set for today. Look for additional commentary here at PJ Lifestyle, and listen to extended reaction on my Fightin Words podcast.

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Legal Scholars Said Arizona Law Was ‘Egregiously Misrepresented’ by Critics

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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The CNN headline screams: “VETOED: Governor says ‘no’ to anti-gay bill.”

Saying she has not heard of “one example where business owners’ religious liberties has been violated” in the state and that the bill was too broad, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial SB 1062 .

SB 1062 is that bill that would have allowed business owners to discriminate against gays and deny them service in restaurants and bakeries, right?  Have you gotten the message (from virtually every news outlet and even from the NFL) that the bill was all about — and only about — Arizona’s attempt to impose some version of Jim Crow laws on homosexuals? If so, you’ve been misled. But you’re probably not alone because the bill was so widely misrepresented.

In fact, nearly a dozen religious-liberty scholars wrote a letter to Governor Brewer prior to her veto, saying that SB 1062 “has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.” The group included individuals on different sides of the same-sex marriage debate and those from a variety of religious and political perspectives. All said that “many criticisms of the Arizona bill are deeply misleading.”

The letter noted that the federal government and eighteen states have Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) that require the government to have a compelling interest before burdening a person’s religious exercise. The legal scholars assert that the standard makes sense. “We should not punish people for practicing their religions unless we have a very good reason.” Arizona has had a RFRA in place for nearly fifteen years with only a handful of cases and little controversy. SB 1062 merely sought to clear up two ambiguities in the existent law:

It would provide that people are covered when state or local government requires them to violate their religion in the conduct of their business, and it would provide that people are covered when sued by a private citizen invoking state or local law to demand that they violate their religion.

But nothing in the amendment would say who wins in either of these cases. The person invoking RFRA would still have to prove that he had a sincere religious belief and that state or local government was imposing a substantial burden on his exercise of that religious belief. And the government, or the person on the other side of the lawsuit, could still show that compliance with the law was necessary to serve a compelling government interest. [Emphasis original]

Contrary to the widespread misreporting,  this was not an “anti-gay” bill and nothing in the text of the bill would have overtly permitted businesses to deny services or “discriminate” against anyone. It merely would have made clear that individuals and businesses could raise religious liberty as a defense in certain cases. Arizona’s current RFRA, parts of which were copied verbatim from the federal law, left some ambiguity as to when that defense would be appropriate:

So, to be clear: SB1062 does not say that businesses can discriminate for religious reasons. It says that business people can assert a claim or defense under RFRA, in any kind of case (discrimination cases are not even mentioned, although they would be included), that they have the burden of proving a substantial burden on a sincere religious practice, that the government or the person suing them has the burden of proof on compelling government interest, and that the state courts in Arizona make the final decision.

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Beyond ‘Turn Away the Gay,’ How About Consent in All Relationships?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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If I approached ten random people on the street and asked them whether “relationships should be consensual,” ten out of ten would likely answer yes. I mean, what’s the alternative? People should be able to force themselves on each other? It’s a no-brainer.

Yet, if I asked the same ten people whether “a business should be able to deny service on the basis of race or sexual orientation,” seven or eight would probably answer no.

How do we reconcile that? Do we believe relationships should be governed by mutual consent, or not?

In the wake of Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s veto of S.B. 1062, a bill which by some accounts would have expanded the freedom of association in that state, we do well to consider the true nature of Jim Crow. Today, we all agree that the laws which emerged at the state and local level in the century following the Civil War mandating racial segregation clearly violated individual rights. But what about those laws made them a violation of rights? Was it the fact that they discriminated on the basis of race? Or was it the fact that they kept individuals from utilizing their judgment?

By replacing Jim Crow laws with anti-discrimination laws, all we did was change whom the state victimizes. Instead of mandating segregation, we mandated integration. We went from forcing people to abstain from relationships to forcing them to engage in them.

Who speaks for consent? Why have we never tried letting people choose whom they enter into relationships with, and whom they do not? How did we solve the offense of Jim Crow by inverting its trespass?

Arizona’s S.B. 1062 aims too narrowly, and at the wrong target. While businesses should be able to deny service to customers whose needs conflict with the owner’s religious conscience, that stands as only one example of a broader principle which must be applied universally. All relationships should be consensual. Indeed, the case for gay marriage rests upon that very notion. Rather than focus on whether a gay couple should be able to marry or whether a vendor should be able to deny them service, let’s broaden our consideration to whether individuals ought to define their own relationships in all contexts.

No one should be able to force themselves on someone else, ever, under any circumstances. Embracing that maxim and applying it to public policy would settle many of these divisive social issues.

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No, Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s Split Isn’t ‘Shocking’

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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A divorce is never funny. Despite that, I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the coverage of Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s separation yesterday. CNN, Entertainment Tonight and People magazine quickly added the couple to their picture slideshows of the most “shocking” splits in Hollywood.

The first time I heard of Thicke was when he famously, or should I say infamously, took the stage with Miley Cyrus and added the word “twerk” to our national vocabulary. After watching Thicke perform a semi-pornographic dance with a young woman in front of millions, I assumed he was single. When I heard he was married, I wondered when this announcement regarding a divorce would be coming. Of the twerking, Thicke’s wife Patton unconvincingly said:

“It doesn’t affect me any more at all,” Patton said during a sit-down on E! News today with Giuliana Rancic and Terrence Jenkins.

The key part of the above statement is “any more” — implying that it did affect Patton at one time. News of Thicke’s wandering eyes and hands (seen above) circulated as well. Patton continued to deny that the behavior of her husband was affecting her marriage, and outlets covering her remarks seemed to actually buy it, given the coverage of their separation.

What about the split is so shocking to the media? Thicke and Patton had been together for about twenty years, having met in their teen years. ET bemoaned in their coverage of the breakup that “few Hollywood couples have been together as long as they have.” Twenty years. That’s apparently record-setting for those writing about the couple in the media.

During the Olympics, NBC News deemed the lifestyle of an American skier ”alternative.” What was so trailblazing about his life choices? He had married “young” and had a child at home, all before the age where most Americans find themselves kicked off of their parent’s insurance plans.

Somehow the media decided that the dissolution of Patton and Thicke’s marriage — punctuated by groping and tweaking — was somehow shocking, while simultaneously deeming a young marriage where children entered the picture earlier rather than later “alternative.” If we held the media, not to mention Hollywood, up to the standards of the rest of the country, we might not see quite as many “shocking” splits like these in the future. Instead, we might see more “alternative” couples marrying young, with the intention of staying together.

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Image Via NY Daily News

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Common Core: As Untested as the U.S. Speed Skating Suits

Monday, February 24th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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In the wake of disappointing results from the U.S. speed skating team at the Sochi Olympics — no U.S. skater finished higher than 7th place —  skaters, coaches and experts associated with the sport are looking for answers. Some quickly rushed to blame the untested, high-tech suits, designed specifically for the team by Under Armour. The Washington Post reported:

Had the Americans trained hard enough? Had they overlooked something the medal-gorging Dutch had figured out? And what about the Mach 39, devised in collaboration with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, no less? What had happened to the propulsive blast it promised to deliver?

Reporters wanted to know. And some U.S. speedskaters started having doubts.

Delivered by Under Armour to the team on Jan. 1, as contracted, the Mach 39 had never been worn in competition before the Sochi Games. So how could the U.S. skaters know for sure that the air vents down the spine translated to speed? Where was the experiential proof that the relocated zippers and high-tech fibers helped their performance more than hurt it?

“The reasoning behind that was we wanted to keep the suit a secret in case other people found out about it, and they had enough time to switch their technology,” explained U.S. speedskater Brian Hansen, 23, of Evanston, Ill., asked why the athletes hadn’t competed in the suit before Sochi, given prototypes to train in instead.

The team hastily voted to switch back to the Under Armour suits they had worn in the World Cup races, with no better results. Sensing a potential rift with a major sponsor and a lot of money at stake, the U.S. skaters quickly began to shift the focus away from the suits and the U.S. Olympic Committee jumped to extend its contract with Under Armour through the 2022 Games.

Now that all the Olympic excitement is winding down, it’s worth thinking about the extent to which our children, under the new Common Core Standards, have become lab rats in an experiment much bigger than the one the U.S. speed skating team participated in during the Sochi Olympics.

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5 Adventure Books for Reading-Reluctant Boys

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

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Recent research has demonstrated that young boys are falling behind girls in reading comprehension and that part of the problem may be that they are less enthusiastic recreational readers. There are lots of theories on why this is, and how to correct it, but one of the most common solutions is simply to provide more reading material targeted specifically to boys. Of course, that’s a political-correctness minefield (after all, if we “gender” things like adventure and science, are we now excluding girls from those things?). But the way I see it, there are also plenty of young girls who also crave traditionally “boyish” reading material who are also left adrift in search of their next adventure fix, so everyone wins if more of that material is produced or brought to light.

I was one such girl — as a middle schooler I loved few things more than Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and the swashbuckling tales of C. S. Forester. As a grown-up, I often feel nostalgic for those yarns as I slog through the drier, more nihilistic literary offerings that will supposedly enhance my mind. So, for the next few months, I’m going to review some forgotten gems of adventure fiction. If you have a reluctant reader, maybe curling up with him (or her) and one of these books will inspire the same love of reading that I found in my first fictional adventures. Here’s a list of classics to kick it off.

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How Do You Survive When Your World Shatters?

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

“And now I know that every single day, the best and the worst, only lasts for twenty-four hours.” — Tricia Lott Williford

Two days before Christmas in 2010, amid the festive pictures of family Christmas celebrations, cookie recipes, and excited discussions about plans for the holidays, some terrible, heart-sickening news began to spread through my network of Facebook friends and acquaintances:

Stunned by some news. Please pray for a friend and her young family. The husband and father was unexpectedly taken to heaven for Christmas.

Pray for Tricia Williford as her husband went to heaven this morning. They have two little boys, Tucker and Tyler. What a sad day this is.

Three years later, I have fresh tears in my eyes as I re-read those words and I think about the shattering of lives, dreams, and families in that one terrible moment. How does a family survive such a profound tragedy? Can those shattered pieces be fused back together again? What does that really look like? I mean, in real life, starting with how you get out of bed the next day and how in the world you explain to two little boys that their daddy has died?

Tricia Lott Williford, a writer and editor — and a fabulous storyteller — had a blog at the time of her husband’s unexpected death at age thirty-five. Her bio explains, “On the day of her husband’s death, an unknown someone posted a link to her blog on Twitter with the words, ‘Please pray for this woman. Her husband died this morning.’ Overnight, her blog went viral and her community of readers grew exponentially.” Tricia continued with her long-established discipline of writing every day and shared her story, in all its brutal transparency, with friends and strangers around the world. Her story has now been turned into a book, And Life Comes Back: A Wife’s Story of Love, Loss, and Hope Reclaimedreleased February 18th.

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Student Survival Tactic: Think Big

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Most folks first became aware of Dr. Benjamin Carson when he dared to speak out against Obamacare in front of the architect himself at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. I had the privilege of meeting Ben Carson about 20 years earlier when my mother handed me his book Think Big. At the time, I was an above-average student who struggled in the public school environment. Despite being intellectually acceptable (but economically unqualified) for entrance into a prestigious private school, my own public institution refused to allow me to skip a grade because they felt I’d suffer socially.

As if being the #1 nerd in the room qualified me to be crowned Prom Queen.

An outcast, I’d spend most of my time feigning illness or sick with stress, looking for a reason – any reason – to get out of going to school. I knew my mother was right; I couldn’t run away forever. But, I didn’t have a reason to care enough to face my battles. What I needed then is what so many young people need now: A perspective greater than their own. They need to learn how to Think Big.

And so my mother encouraged me to encounter the story of Ben Carson, a young African American boy from the projects who rose out of the ghetto mindset by seeking a perspective greater than his own:

“I am convinced that knowledge is power – to overcome the past, to change our own situations, to fight new obstacles, to make better decisions.”

Carson’s illiterate mother required her 2 sons to turn into her 2 book reports a week. This practice turned Carson into a habitual reader, classical music listener, and Jeopardy! aficionado. His love of learning and imaginative fascination with science developed into the desire to become a neurosurgeon:

First, we cannot overload the human brain. This divinely created brain has fourteen billion cells. If used to the maximum, this human computer inside our heads could contain all the knowledge of humanity from the beginning of the world to the present and still have room left over. Second, not only can we not overload our brain – we also know that our brain retains everything. I often use saying that “The brain acquires everything that we encounter.”

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TMZ or LifeNews?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

Has Steven Ertelt left LifeNews and started blogging for the gossip site TMZ? A story posted early this morning about the tragic death of a celebrity couple’s unborn son at 20 weeks gestation is a surprising example of a celebration of the sanctity of life in the mainstream media.

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Shayne Lamas and her husband Nik Richie went through every parent’s worst nightmare last week: the death of a child. Lamas went into severe distress and lost the 20-week old baby she had been carrying. TMZ reported on the death using words not normally utilized for the unborn. He, not it, was described not as a fetus, but instead was accurately called what he was: a beautiful little boy whose life was cut tragically short.

Shayne Lamas and husband Nik Richie not only tragically lost their 20-week-old unborn baby last week … Nik was put through one of the most heart-wrenching moments a father can bear — having to name and hold the baby after it died.

TMZ broke the story … Shayne suffered a rare pregnancy complication last week and underwent an emergency hysterectomy to save her life and stop the massive bleeding.  In the process, she lost her baby.

Nik tells TMZ … a few days after the baby died, a social worker from the hospital, along with someone involved in the religion affiliated with the hospital, came to him and asked if he wanted to know the gender of his baby.  He said yes, and they told him the baby was “a beautiful boy.”

But then Nik says, he was asked if he wanted to view his son to get closure.  Nik says he nervously obliged and was taken to a room where his son lay.  Nik says they asked him to hold the baby while they prayed.

A sad story, and an interesting one considering the glowing press coverage of Wendy Davis’s fight to ensure the demise of babies of a similar and even older gestational age.

How is it that the loss of Lamas and Richie’s son is a tragedy, and the fight to stop the heartbeats of other babies his age remains a moral obligation for those on the Left?

To describe babies up to 24 weeks (6 months) as “just a bunch of cells” while at the same time reporting that Richie was asked to fill out a birth certificate for his deceased son is an exercise in mental gymnastics that only the Left is capable of pulling off. One cannot mourn the loss of a 20-week old baby while at the same time cheering a woman who advocates for his destruction. Somehow, the Left pulls off this hypocrisy, time and again.

The late Andrew Breitbart knew that the battle for America’s soul is waged as much in pop culture as it is anywhere else.  Stories like this about the tragic death of this young soul should be widely disseminated by those on the Right, and rightfully mourned. The more those of us in the pro-life community can put a human face on the unborn, the better. The battle for life isn’t just in courtrooms, doctor’s offices and Capitol rotundas; it’s taking place every day on sites like TMZ.

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How Will Spanking Bill That Allows Bruising Restore Parental Rights?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 - by Rhonda Robinson

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From the AP via Yahoo: 

A Kansas lawmaker is proposing a bill that would allow teachers, caregivers and parents to spank children hard enough to leave marks.

Current Kansas law allows spanking that doesn’t leave marks. State Rep. Gail Finney, a Democrat from Wichita, says she wants to allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and that could leave redness and bruising. The bill also would allow parents to give permission to others to spank their children.

It would continue to ban hitting a child with fists, in the head or body, or with a belt or switch.

Finney says she wants to restore parental rights and improve discipline.

Under the guise of “restoring parental rights and improving discipline,” this bill neutralizes parents’ authority and their ability to protect their children from harm.

To say that it is permissible for teachers and babysitters to strike a child with up to 10 blows opens the door to child abuse.

Parents don’t need permission from the state to discipline their own children– and parents need to stop asking for it. The state has cast a shadow of fear of prosecution over parents. In doing so, it has created a generation that feels powerless to control their children–so many of them abdicated their responsibility. Giving teachers and babysitters the right to leave whelps and bruises won’t fix that.

If the state really wants to restore parental rights and improve discipline in schools, it needs to get out of the way. Stop viewing children as if they were a national resource to be regulated and cultivated. Give parents the respect and support they deserve.

Discipline is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. A course of discipline that’s needed to keep one child alive can destroy another. Parenting is a skill, one that is learned through trial and error and can only be tempered by sacrificial and unconditional love.

Here is a recent Facebook post from a mother,

He’s not even 2 yet and he’s so hard to keep up with! I’ve never had to take naps until now! In ONE week, he had a cold, then an ear infection, flushed my bra down the toilet, swallowed 2 marbles, set my stove on fire, (long story), choked on a sucker (which was the hardest and scariest moment. Never had my [paramedic] husband say LET’S GO TO THE ER NOW! That was scary. We ended up not going-he was fine, thanks to his daddy! Then tonight he stuffed 3 popcorn seeds up his nose. I’m sooooo tired, need prayers for strength…Thank you for understanding why I haven’t done much to the house.

You can’t legislate parenting any more than you can pass a law that will create good kids.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock,  Sofi photo

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How Bill Clinton Stole a Generation’s Innocence

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

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At a Shabbat (Sabbath meal) this past week, conversation veered into the political realm, as it often does when my husband and I are guests. We began to discuss the likelihood of Hillary Clinton running, the papers recently unearthed by my former colleague Alana Goodman, and about how Bill’s wandering eye could impact Hillary’s campaign. Around the table were three young people, ranging in age from about 9-17. Adult participants in the conversation soon realized that it was impossible to conduct a conversation about the Clintons with children present, and soon, the mother (rightfully) asked for a complete change in subject. Before doing so we reflected how sad it is that a president’s legacy cannot truthfully be discussed with innocent ears listening.

For how long can this mother shield her children from the topic? If Hillary runs, perhaps only a few more months. With the Clintons back in the news, pundits will be (and should be) discussing how ready America is to relive the sex scandals of the ’90s. Anyone who believes that Bill has learned his lesson need only look to Anthony Weiner to understand that old dogs can’t, and won’t, learn new tricks. Bill’s wandering eye, both in the past and, in all likelihood, the future, will be a topic of conversation for as long as a Clinton occupies the White House.

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Those Silly, Savage Homophobes

Monday, February 17th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

northernliberalelites

Bethany Mandel’s article on the irony of permitted homophobia in the African-American rap community rightly highlighted the Left’s patronizing racism towards both African and Hispanic Americans. She smartly pointed out pop culture’s double standard when it comes to reacting to anti-gay statements from Christian whites versus blacks or Hispanics. But the argument needs to be pushed further, lest we fall into the Progressive Left’s divisive Minority trap.

The underlying racism of the Progressive Left is the kind of upper-class willful ignorance rooted in eugenic supremacist theory that’s currently being swept under the rug of “progressivism,” a fanciful term for 21st century Marxism. No one could possibly believe that the same people who promote marriage equality, affirmative action, and amnesty are subconsciously racist. Unless, of course, they looked at the philosophy underlying those seemingly righteous political beliefs.

One need look no further than the Grammys for proof. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, white boys with bad rapping skills being lathered up with awards by an audience righteously congratulating themselves for marrying gays on stage to the tune of Same Love. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the white messiahs saving rap from its inherent anti-gay nature with cornball lyrics referring to his beloved genre as “a culture founded from oppression.” What next? Rapping about the ironies of 40 acres and a mule with a prop carpetbag?

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What Is ‘Homophobia’ Anyway?

Monday, February 17th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson
There's a message we can all get behind.

There’s a message we can all get behind.

Our own Bethany Mandel highlights the contrast in expectations placed upon African-Americans versus most everyone else when it comes to homophobia. Asking “Where Is It Still Acceptable to Be Homophobic?,” she points to attitudes expressed in the hip-hop community, a demographic breakdown of election results from California’s infamous Proposition 8, and an anecdote which indicates other minority groups get a free pass when criticizing homosexuality.

While the case for hypocrisy rests, what struck me as more troubling was the use of the word “homophobic” in reference to voting for traditional marriage or refusing to associate with homosexuals. This word – homophobic – has rapidly become an acceptable way to describe anything less than enthusiastic acceptance of homosexuality, which leads me to wonder. What is “homophobia” anyway?

We can get all etymological about it and break the word down to its constituent parts. Obviously, “homo” references homosexuality. “Phobia” means fear. So I guess a strict interpretation would be fear of homosexuals.

But that doesn’t really fit its dominant usage in the culture. How many people are actually afraid of homosexuals in the phobic sense? It does not follow that a vote against gay marriage indicates fear of homosexuals.

The rhetorical weight lent to the word “homophobe” places it on a connotative par with the word “racist.” Yet we would not call a racist a “blackophobe” or some such. While the racist may fear the object of his racism, fear does not define racism. Irrational beliefs about racial determinism define racism. The racist judges his race superior to another, and limits his assessment of individuals to racial stereotypes.

Are we talking about something similar when we speak of homophobia? Does the homophobe judge himself a higher order of human being than the homosexual? Does the homophobe limit their assessment of homosexual individuals to cultural stereotypes?

Undoubtedly, there are those who think homosexuals of lesser value than heterosexuals, or who rush to stereotypical judgment against homosexuals. Such thought and conduct proves as irrational and distasteful as racism.

However, we should distinguish between those negative attitudes and the kind of moral sanction which seems increasingly necessary to ward off accusations of homophobia. It’s one thing to expect acceptance of homosexuals as equal in their humanity and worthy of individual consideration. It’s quite another to expect celebration or endorsement of homosexual activity.

If we accept the connotative equivalence of “racism” and “homophobia,” then we must conclude that it is not homophobic to deny sanction of gay marriage, or to disassociate with homosexuals, or to believe and teach that homosexuality is a sin. Indeed, the same free association argument which fuels the movement for gay marriage necessitates tolerance of countervailing conscience.

Failure to love my blackness does not make you a racist. Likewise, failure to love homosexuality should not make you a homophobe.

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The 5 Worst Books for Your Children

Sunday, February 16th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in July of 2013. It is being republished as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months. Click here to vote for your favorites in the comments.

As a reader, the mother of four children, and an author, I want my kids to love to read and to approach reading as joy and nourishment. The following five works of fiction do not encourage and inspire the love of reading in children. They’re terrible books for kids. If you make your children read these they will develop a loathing for reading that will last their whole lives and may possibly poison their very souls. Let’s see why.

Note: Minor spoilers.

5.) The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck The Red Pony

This is a set of four short stories set in the western United States and an excellent example of John Steinbeck’s famously spare, elegant prose. Beautifully written, with underlying themes of death and redemption, we can all agree that this is a classic. Did I mention the gruesome death of the title character, the beloved red pony? No? Want to watch your children sob in heartbreak and then continue on to read the next three stories with increasing puzzlement and despair as the complicated themes go over their heads and they must endure the agonizing death of another beloved horse? The Red Pony will not give your children a desire to read for pleasure. Just because a novel features a child doesn’t mean that the work is appropriate for them.

Yes, children should be exposed to stories of heartbreak, loss, and redemption, but there are much better novels than Steinbeck’s to share with your child. Hand over Old Yeller by Fred Gipson, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, or Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Each of these books will make your child cry, but in the end will fill them with joy.

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8 Reasons Homeschooling Is Superior to Public Education

Saturday, February 15th, 2014 - by Megan Fox

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in October of 2012. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…

This cartoon was drawn by a 16-year-old homeschooler.

The title of this article is polarizing and I expect to get in trouble for writing it. As a homeschooling parent, I’m not supposed to think homeschooling superior to institutionalized education. I’m supposed to take the stance that all choices are equal in the effort not to offend anyone who prefers public schooling. It’s a hot topic in the mommy circles and one that most homeschooling moms want to avoid. We all encounter the same comments and exclamations like, “How do you do it? When are you going to put them in real school? You must be crazy! How long do you plan to do this?” My personal favorite: “I could never do that!” This article is a response to all the times I’ve wanted to answer truthfully but held my tongue in order to preserve peace.

Disclaimer: Let it be understood that I believe in the freedom of every individual to choose how to raise their own children how they see fit. This does not prevent me from having an opinion as to the nature of public school and what state-run education inflicts on American children. This is based on personal experience and years of study and research. Further, many of you will argue that none of the examples in this article have ever happened to your child in your school. My answer is, not yet. I warn you, if you are a public schooling advocate and you continue to read this article you may become unhappy with your current choices and find yourself at a homeschooling conference and facing disapproval from your social circle. Read at your own risk.

8. Social Programming for Dummies.

Most people worry that homeschoolers aren’t properly “socialized,” whatever that means. As if uncivilized children should socialize each other (bad idea). Anyone who has read Lord of the Flies knows how that ends. And if the teachers are supposed to do the socializing, why can’t parents? Every homeschooling family I know (and that’s quite a few) has as many, if not more, extracurricular activities for their kids as everyone else. There are 4-H, Girl/Boy Scouts, Jiu Jitsu (that’s us), music lessons, art lessons, metal working, speech and debate, sports and more.

But the most important difference in home-school socialization is that the social values taught come from the parents instead of the state. During our lessons we learn about reading, writing, math, science, history, Bible, Christian character, and art. We spend absolutely zero time on fictional, apocalyptic “global warming.” We don’t preach at them about marriage “equality” or teach them how to put condoms on bananas. We do, however, teach them the nutritional value of bananas and how to be a good steward of the earth by composting the banana peel after we eat it. The state’s values have no effect on our children. When we teach history, we teach them the values of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. We do not blather on endlessly about the supposed heroics of mass murderers like Che Guevara. Because of this difference, homeschooling parents produce inherently American children.

A person isn’t American simply because he was born here and exists here, but rather because he has internalized and embraced American values. Home-teachers have the freedom to teach the real history of America that includes the Bible and its influence in American government and in the lives of our Founders. Without this knowledge (whitewashed from public curriculum), a child will learn a false history of his country and never truly understand the concept of rights that come from the Creator and not men. This one idea is so important, so vital, yet it is left out of context. As a result, these children grow up to attend colleges where “speech codes” punish free-thinkers and no one thinks it’s odd, not to mention illegal.

Publicly educated kids grow up too susceptible to the idea that “hate speech” should actually be silenced instead of balanced with more speech. They sit at the feet of the progeny of Marxist professors who fill their heads with ideas as old as civilization, ideas of madness and tyranny disguised as “fairness” and “equality.” This kind of education does not create Americans. Our children are being robbed of their rightful inheritance. Gone is academic excellence and here to stay is social programming.

My home is a happy vacation from such wrong-headed and stupid ideas. (And my children’s teacher wouldn’t be caught dead on strike in a Che shirt.)

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4 Sweet Treats for a Red Dye 40 Free Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 14th, 2014 - by Megan Fox

helicopter-parent

I have watched my children go from contented and happy to screaming with uncontrollable rage in the time it takes to ingest one red sucker. I will never forget the day I put it together. I watched my child transform from a sweet, happy little girl into a tortured soul right before my eyes. Since I have eliminated red dye (and most other artificial dyes) from their diets, the tantrums and emotional upset has significantly decreased. If you have kids, you’ve written all their Valentine’s Day cards to hand out at school and you have or will have received in return bags and bags of cute cards and loads of bright red candy. For those of us with dye sensitive children, Valentines Day is worse than Halloween. It is a bloody red nightmare.

Even a homeschooling family like mine has to be ever watchful because at every extracurricular activity or co-op class we go to someone is handing my child a bright, red heart-shaped sucker I have to rip out of their hands and either give back or hide in my purse. My 8-year-old is very conscientious about not ingesting anything red because she knows it makes her feel out of control and angry. But my 4-year-old is still struggling with impulse control and will devour any candy anyone gives her. Without the watchful eye of her sister, she won’t make a good choice.

I’m not one of these insufferable parents who lecture other parents about recycled diapers and the dangers of aluminum foil. In fact, I never bring up the dye issue unless someone asks but I’ve noticed more and more people are curious about what artificial dyes might be doing to their children.

There are lots of personal anecdotes of children with behavioral problems, including children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, whose symptoms completely disappear when petroleum based artificial dyes are eliminated from their diets. There are some in my own family. My own children are sensitive to red dye 40 and yellow 6. There are easy ways to tell if your child suffers the same problem, but why even test them? Just take them off of it. If artificial dyes can cause some children to have fits of rage, inability to concentrate, temper tantrums for no reason, crying jags and emotional upset, do you really think that substance is one you want your kid eating?

Many of our big companies like Kraft and General Mills already make dye-free everything to sell in the European market because artificial dyes are illegal there. With more public knowledge of this fact, perhaps we can convince them to offer us the same healthier choice. There is no nutritional value to food dyes as they are used solely for aesthetic purposes and to sell brightly colored objects to children who, let’s face it, are like birds attracted to shiny objects.

This does not mean all foods must have no color and be boring to look at. On the contrary, natural food dyes are so similar to artificial colors I can’t see a difference. Rainbow Goldfish are now made with all natural dyes including beet juice and carrot juice among others. My children love them and there is no taste difference. Finding dye-free food is challenging but not impossible. The following are my four favorite finds for this Valentine’s Day.

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Royal Role Models

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

princesses

I have three nieces – ages eight, six, and four. Just like with the rest of our family, Disney plays a huge part in the girls’ lives. The girls love the Disney Princesses, and they want to emulate them. They dress like their favorite princesses, draw pictures of them, and pretend to be them. And I’m totally OK with it.

The Disney princesses have come under fire a lot lately, usually from feminist sources. One Canadian photographer composed a series of photos depicting the princesses in a cynical, despairing light, while another encourages moms to “set aside the…Disney Princesses” and dress their daughters as “inspirational” women (like Coco Chanel?).

Unlike these critics, I think the Disney Princesses are great role models for the moral values they teach, and I’m not alone. I recently stumbled on an article Mark Tapson wrote over at Acculturated back in October. In it, he took the words right out of my mouth:

Militant feminism has conditioned parents to reel in horror from the notion that their girls should aspire to be nothing more than fairy-tale damsels in distress, hoping for knights in shining armor to whisk them away from their Cinderella-like drudgery and live happily ever after in ball gowns at the royal castle. But this attitude stems from an unfortunate misperception about the Disney princesses, one that parents would do well to reconsider.

[...]

This isn’t the 1950s; American girls now grow up under the assumption that they can be whatever they aspire to. They don’t lack for role models in any profession one can name.

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End the Valentine’s ‘Day of Bitterness’

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 - by Bethany Mandel

V-day

It’s that time of year again. For those of you in brand new relationships with something to prove, it’s called Valentine’s Day. It’s filled with dinner, chocolate and roses. For those of us who have been there, done that with our current partner, it is called February 14th. For those who are unattached, who either became so recently enough for it to still be raw or who have been so for a significant amount of time, it’s called the Day of Bitterness.

When I was single, I never treated it as a day to lash out at friends who were in different stages of their lives. Why? Besides the fact that it’s hard enough for me to retain friends, I did so because it’s extremely unattractive to be hostile to those you love simply because they are happy. Not being in a relationship does not automatically preclude happiness, and despite my being single, I still worked to make sure I was happy.

This year I’ve decided to fight back, on behalf of the couples everywhere. I am not sorry for being married and having a baby. When a friend recently posted a Facebook status complaining that everyone in her high school had been having babies, I responded on behalf of young mothers everywhere (recall how I don’t retain friends easily):

Picture 143

My advice to singles this year is: buck up and enjoy your singledom.

I know, you’re sick of hearing that, but seriously, enjoy this stage in your life. Make a drastic life decision without consulting anyone first. Move, take a new job, make chicken soup instead of tacos on Tuesday. Even though you may feel jealousy pangs, know that your coupled friends are jealous of your ability to be totally spontaneous and go out for drinks with friends on a weeknight just because.

The grass is always greener, yada yada. Buck up, quit complaining, and go get drunk this Friday night. Not a wallowing kind of drunk, but the kind of drunk where you won’t be woken up at 5 a.m. by a hungry infant or dog that needs walking and you’re happy about it kind of drunk. A positive outlook on this year’s Day of Bitterness may help you end up celebrating Valentine’s Day next year.

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5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers

Sunday, February 9th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in March of 2013. It is being republished as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists of 2013. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…

Planned Parenthood certainly blusters a lot about helping women in need, but the truth is they make an awful lot of money off the grisly business of abortions. Their most recent annual report shows nearly $1 billion in assets and $997 million in revenues distributed to their local affiliates, plus another $177 million in revenues to the national office. By conservative estimates, abortions constitute 37% of Planned Parenthood’s revenues. Fair enough, I suppose, but isn’t it a little disturbing to think they have a business model (and a profit motive) that requires getting women onto the abortion tables with their feet in the stirrups?

With all the vitriol surrounding the abortion debate, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that every day mothers with unplanned pregnancies make life-altering decisions about their unborn babies. While politicians and activists battle over the legislative issues, compassionate counselors at non-profit pregnancy resource centers (and their donors) quietly make a monumental difference in the lives of mothers, fathers, and babies every hour of every day across the United States. They literally save the lives of babies.

It’s no wonder Planned Parenthood warns women to avoid these non-profit pregnancy centers which, let’s be honest, hurt their bottom line.

Here are some things you may not know — 5 Things Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You to Know About Pregnancy Resource Centers:

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