May 31, 2013

Charm

Charm is defined as the power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration.  Henri Frederic Amiel said, "Charm is the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves."  Some unknown person said, "Charm is the ability to make someone think that both of you are quite wonderful."  While Oscar Wilde wrote, ""It's absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious"

Today, few people are charming; most are tediously narcissistic or dully partisan.  It may be an amoral virtue, but I think the world would be better with more charming people in it.

The Rise and Fall of Charm in American Men    Few possess it, and few want to. Explaining men's ambivalent relationship with an amoral virtue

                    -Grant, Cary (Suspicion)

How Cary Grant became charming

Grant had developed a new way to interact with a woman onscreen: he treated his leading lady as both a sexually attractive female and an idiosyncratic personality, an approach that often required little more than just listening to her—a tactic that had previously been as ignored in the pictures as it remains, among men, in real life.
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Grant suddenly and fully developed charm, a quality that is tantalizing because it simultaneously demands detachment and engagement. Only the self-aware can have charm: It’s bound up with a sensibility that at best approaches wisdom, or at least worldliness, and at worst goes well beyond cynicism. It can’t exist in the undeveloped personality. It’s an attribute foreign to many men because most are, for better and for worse, childlike.
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Male charm is all but absent from the screen because it’s all but absent from our lives. Most men hold charm in vague suspicion: few cultivate it; still fewer respond to it; hardly any know whether they have it; and almost none can even identify it.
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Any culture that celebrates youth necessarily provides stony soil for charm, which is by definition a quality reserved for adults: the young can be charming, which is an inadvertent attribute; they cannot have charm.

On wikiHow you can find out how to be charming in 11 steps. -

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:09 PM | Permalink

May 30, 2013

"The lesson for investors is very clear"

You're Paying Too Much for Investment Help by Burton G. Malkiel:

Index funds have far outperformed the average active manager, and at a far lower cost to investors

The lesson for investors is very clear: You can't control what markets can do, but you can control the costs you pay. The less you pay to the purveyors of investment services, the more there will be for you. The quintessential low-cost investment vehicles are index funds, which should comprise the core of every investment portfolio. The high fees charged for active management cannot be justified.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:02 PM | Permalink

Manhattanhenge

-Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge, that is also referred to as the Manhattan Solstice, occurs when the setting sun aligns with the east–west streets of the street grid in the city.
The best view of the sun perfectly setting between some of New York's most iconic buildings was offered at 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, and those streets nearby at around 8:15pm.
The phenomena usually strikes in late May and usually occurs again in mid July. The next alignment is scheduled for July 12.

'Epic epic experience. Only happens twice a year and the disregard for traffic was awesome,' one Twitter user wrote.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink

May 29, 2013

100,000 Christians violently killed each year

These are astonishing numbers.  Vatican to the UN: 100,000 Christians Killed for Their Faith Each Year.

The Vatican’s representative to the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, released an alarming report this week. Vatican Radio reports that in his address to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the archbishop said, “Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year. Other Christians and other believers are subjected to forced displacement, to the destruction of their places of worship, to rape and to the abduction of their leaders — as it recently happened in the case of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, in [Syria].”

“It may be useful that the Delegation of the Holy See should recall” the more than 300,000 Catholic institutions around the world that provide social services - schools, hospitals, care homes, orphanages, rehabilitation centers , refugee centers etc - "without any distinction of religion or race".

Paul Marshall points out

In contrast, our current administration is seeking to define any such services religious groups provide without “any distinction of religion” as therefore, by the very fact, not really religious, and therefore subject to close government control.

Charlotte Allen in the WSJ  Christian Martyrs to Islam, Past and Present 

On May 12 Pope Francis officially canonized more than 800 male Catholic residents of the southern Italian port of Otranto, who in 1480 were beheaded en masse for refusing to convert to Islam after their city was invaded and captured by a Turkish Muslim fleet. The making of the new saints was a vivid reminder of something that many people, including historians, prefer to gloss over: the pattern over the centuries of Islamic persecution of Christians that continues to this day in many Muslim-majority lands.

Despite the fact that 50.8% of Nigerians were Christian in 2011, The deadliest place to be a Christian is Nigeria .

The publicly reported Christian casualties in Nigeria last year were greater than the Christian casualties of Pakistan, Syria, Kenya and Egypt combined. In fact, Nigeria alone accounted for almost 70 percent of Christians killed globally.
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Much of the violence in 2012 was attributed to the Jihadist terror group Boko Haram (3,000 casualties)….

While Boko Haram’s bloody terrorist tactics certainly merit serious concern, the focus on this group has overshadowed a pattern of systemic religious violence in Nigeria. It obfuscates the pervasive history of the killing of Christians by Muslims in northern Nigeria going back over a quarter century.
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In 1999, after a pro-democracy movement successfully ended military dictatorship and a Christian was elected president, 12 Muslim-controlled states in northern Nigeria reacted by imposing Islamic sharia law in open violation of Nigeria’s constitution. This resulted in horrific violence the following year that left thousands dead when Christians protested peacefully.

Such acts of violence continue to this day with virtual impunity. In November, for instance, the mispronunciation of a dress style by a non-Muslim tailor led to his death – along with several other Christians – and church burnings in spontaneous riots. This ultimately fatal fashion mistake was not the handiwork of terrorists but of average northern Nigerian Muslims.
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In April 2011, in what was dubbed one of the “freest and fairest” elections in Nigeria’s recent history, Goodluck Jonathan was elected president. Before his victory was announced, violence erupted in the 12 northern sharia states – again.

The final toll for the Christian community was staggering. In a 48-hour period, 764 church buildings were burned, 204 Christians were confirmed killed, more than 3,100 Christian-operated businesses, schools, and shops were burned, and over 3,400 Christian homes were destroyed. While there have been similar death tolls in certain incidents in terms of scope and coordinated scale of destruction, there has been no equivalent attack against the church in recent decades, with the possible exception of government-backed genocides in Sudan.

Yet this was not a government-backed endeavor. Instead, thousands of Muslim youths in 12 states gathered together with machetes, knives, matches and gasoline and carried out this pogrom. The “freest and fairest” elections resulted in one of the “fiercest and most ferocious” violence against innocent Christians that Nigeria has seen.
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The U.S. State Department, among others, claims that the Muslims of northern Nigeria have been marginalized politically and economically by the federal government and have responded to “legitimate grievances” with violence. This has been used to give unconscionable justification to violence against Christians in northern Nigeria, whether by terrorist actors such as Boko Haram (sect level) or the Muslim community at large (street level).

Raymond Ibrahim, Obama Administration calls for the 'human rights' of jihadi murderers

Nigerian warplanes struck militant camps in the northeast on Friday [5/17] in a major push against an Islamist insurgency, drawing a sharp warning from the United States to respect human rights and not harm civilians. Troops used jets and helicopters to bombard targets in their biggest offensive since the Boko Haram group launched a revolt almost four years ago to establish a breakaway Islamic state and one military source said at least 30 militants had been killed.  But three days after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the northeast, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a strongly worded statement saying: “We are … deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism.
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As for Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the group has been responsible for some of the most horrific human-rights abuses. Indeed, of all the human rights abuses I catalog in my new book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, Boko Haram’s relentless slaughter of Christians is the most savage, resulting in more Christians killed than in the rest of the world combined.

The group has bombed or burned hundreds of Christian churches, most when packed for service. The Christmas day church attacks — in 2010, 2011, and 2012 — which left hundreds of Christians dead or dismembered, are the tip of the iceberg of Boko Haram’s hate for Christianity. In the group’s bid to cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christian presence, it has threatened to poison the food eaten by Christians and “to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women.” The group frequently storms areas where Christians and Muslims are intermingled — from villages to colleges — and singles the Christians out before slitting their throats to cries of Allahu Akbar. Pregnant and elderly Christian women and children have been raped, enslaved, and slaughtered simply for being “infidels.”

The fact that Boko Haram’s motives are clear-cut and fueled by Islamic teachings — the creation of an Islamic state that enforces Sharia law and is Christian-free — has not stopped the Obama administration from pointing to anything and everything else to rationalize its bloodlust.
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At root, Boko Haram’s terror campaign is entirely motivated by Islamic teachings — even as the Obama administration refuses to designate the group as a terrorist organization, wastes millions of U.S. tax dollars on superfluous initiatives (or diversions), and pressures the Nigerian president to make concessions to the jihadis — including building more mosques, the very breeding grounds for Islamic “radicalization.”

And now, when the Nigerian government goes on the offensive to neutralize the terrorists responsible for countless inhuman atrocities, the Obama administration offers “a strongly worded statement” to defend their “human rights.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:45 PM | Permalink

When tribal cultures occupy London

Daniel Greenfield writes Afghanistan Comes to London

Five years ago, the sight of Muslim terrorists beheading British soldiers was a horror that could happen in Afghanistan or Iraq. Now it has happened in broad daylight in the capital of the United Kingdom.

In a decade, 600,000 white Londoners have fled the city. Those are the sorts of numbers you would expect from the Syrian civil war. Their place has been taken by the million Muslims occupying the city.
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Muslim fighters have torn Somalia apart. And importing 200,000 of them into the United Kingdom is beginning to have the same effect. There are an estimated 70,000 Somalis in Greater London. That makes London the 12th largest city in Somalia. Nearly 2 percent of Somalia now lives in the UK.

80 percent of Somalis in the UK live in public housing. They have the lowest employment rate of every immigrant group in the country. And within four years, they had managed to rack up over ten thousand arrests. Every effort to integrate them has failed. Rather than the Somalis becoming British, shards of Britain have become little Mogadishus.

The Somalis are not alone in this regard. Muslim immigration to the UK has brought the norms of Somalia, Afghanistan and Egypt to the streets of London. Individual acts of violence can be overlooked. But there is nothing individual about all these cases. This is a culture of violence.

Islam sanctifies that culture of violence. It takes tribal killings and endows them with the status of a religious duty. Jihad is simply gang warfare, no different than the kind practiced by the Woolwich Manz, given theological meaning. Men have been butchering other men with machetes throughout Africa. But when a Muslim mutilates a British soldier with a machete, then he is engaging in a religious ritual.
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What happened near Woolwich Commons would not have been considered extraordinary in Afghanistan, Somalia or Syria. It is only extraordinary because it has been a long time since rampaging Vikings were disemboweling the locals. It is only extraordinary because the nation is hobbled by the assumptions of civilization. And one of those basic assumptions is that murderers with red hands will not carry out beheadings in your streets.


Brendan O'Neill, The Savagery of Identity Politics

One of the most shocking things about the brutal attack in Woolwich yesterday was the arrogance with which one of the bloodied knifemen claimed to be acting on behalf of all Muslims. In what sounded like a South London accent, this British-seeming, casually dressed young man bizarrely spoke as if he were a representative of the ummah. He talked about “our lands and what “our people” have to go through every day.  He presumably meant Iraqis and Afghanis, or perhaps the broader global “Muslim family”.

How can a couple of men so thoroughly convince themselves that they speak for all Muslims, to the extent that they seriously believe their savage and psychotic attack on a man in the street is some kind of glorious act of Islamic resistance? Perhaps because they live in a country in which claiming to speak “on behalf of” a community, even if you’ve never been elected by or even seriously talked to that community, is taken seriously. A country where one’s identity, one’s racial or religious or cultural make-up, now counts for everything, certainly for more than what one does or what one believes. A country in which the politics of identity, the narrow and deeply divisive communal politics of shared cultural traits, has been privileged over all other kinds of politics.
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Identity politics breeds narcissism and arrogance, a belief that one is special because of where one comes from or looks like. It fosters petty grievances, too, inviting people to think of themselves as a threatened little cultural corner, being walked over by the ignorant, culture-lacking mainstream. In some cases, these feelings, it seems, can become completely unhinged, to the extent that we have recently seen horrific acts of violence carried out by people who really, passionately believe that they are global community spokespeople.

Islam’s Parallel Emirate in the U.K.  Andrew McCarthy quotes Soren Kern who reported two years ago.

Islamic extremists are stepping up the creation of “no-go” areas in European cities that are off-limits to non-Muslims.

Many of the “no-go” zones function as microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law. Host-country authorities effectively have lost control in these areas and in many instances are unable to provide even basic public aid such as police, fire fighting and ambulance services.

The “no-go” areas are the by-product of decades of multicultural policies that have encouraged Muslim immigrants to create parallel societies and remain segregated rather than become integrated into their European host nations….The Islamic Emirates Project names the British cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as Waltham Forest in northeast London and Tower Hamlets in East London as territories to be targeted for blanket Sharia rule.

What is this but the announced conquering of Britain city by city. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:59 PM | Permalink

May 28, 2013

Fabulous self portraits by a 14-year-old boy

 14-Year-Old Zev Manipulates Self-Portraits

Amazing self-portraits by a 14-year-old boy named Zev who manipulates photos to show his world.

They are fabulous.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:36 PM | Permalink

Interesting links

Michael Deacon writes  Don't make fun of renowned author Dan Brown and it's hilarious.

Renowned author Dan Brown woke up in his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house – and immediately he felt angry. Most people would have thought that the 48-year-old man had no reason to be angry. After all, the famous writer had a new book coming out. But that was the problem. A new book meant an inevitable attack on the rich novelist by the wealthy wordsmith’s fiercest foes. The critics.
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The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.

Are Savages Noble?

Two new books ask whether our ancestors were right about food, sex, war, and trade.

The Lethality of Loneliness.  Now we know how it can ravage our body and brain.

Just as we once knew that infectious diseases killed, but didn’t know that germs spread them, we’ve known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how. Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

In the NYT Magazine, The Transformational Power of the Right Spice

I was struck by lightning yesterday—and boy am I sore

I Saw The Best Taxes Of My Generation  An inspired howl against the complexity of the American tax system.

But my soul tells me to howl: “Enough!” We exert too much energy in the US dealing with tax rates and designing and avoiding elaborate rules – not only from an economic perspective, but as a cultural and psychological matter, too.
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It is just not healthy for so many Americans to spend so much of their lives being so furtive.
Millions of words. A labyrinth. “It is just not healthy for so many Americans to spend so much of their lives being so furtive”. Compare the Hong Kong system: “The authorities would mail you a letter telling you to pay 15 per cent of your salary and you would send them a cheque for the money. The taxman got his money and you had the rest of your day”

The Art of Attention

The peculiar vividness of the world becomes apparent when we slow down and attend, learning to see all things anew

To pay attention, to attend. To be present, not merely in body — it is an action of the spirit. ‘Attend my words’ means incline your spirit to my words. Heed them. A sentence is a track along which heeding is drawn. A painting is a visual path that looking follows. A musical composition does the same for listening. Art is a summoning of attention. To create it requires the highest directed focus, as does experiencing it.  The French philosopher Simone Weil said: ‘Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.’

The Evolution Of The World's Most Influential Technology Critic Journalist Walter Mossberg began writing about technology in his 40s

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:31 PM | Permalink

Foxholes, Strange Notions and Something that wasn't supposed to happen

From Science 2.0  Atheists In Foxholes? Not Many -

A recent analysis of archived surveys of Army Infantry soldiers after a battle -  Samuel Stouffer's "The American Soldier" World War II  research - found self-reported reliance on prayer rose from 42% to 72% as that battle got more intense.
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A second analysis of survey results from 1,123 World War II veterans showed that 50 or more years after combat, most soldiers still exhibited religious behavior, though it varied by their war experience. Those facing heavy combat (versus no combat) attended church 21% more often if they claimed their war experience was negative, but those who claimed their experience was positive attended 26% less often.

The more a veteran disliked the war, the more religious they were 50 years later.

Brendan Voight has set up a new website Strange Notions as a "digital areopagus"  to encourage conversations among Catholics and atheists on reason and faith.

The atheist orthodoxy that drove me to faith.  Megan Holder reports she was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith earlier this month.

Of course, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Faith is something my generation is meant to be casting aside, not taking up. I was raised without any religion and was eight when 9/11 took place. Religion was irrelevant in my personal life and had provided my formative years with a rolling-news backdrop of violence and extremism. I avidly read Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens, whose ideas were sufficiently similar to mine that
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I started by reading Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address, aware that it had generated controversy at the time and was some sort of attempt –futile, of course – to reconcile faith and reason. I also read the shortest book of his I could find, On Conscience. I expected – and wanted – to find bigotry and illogicality that would vindicate my atheism. Instead, I was presented with a God who was the Logos: not a supernatural dictator crushing human reason, but the self-expressing standard of goodness and objective truth towards which our reason is oriented, and in which it is fulfilled, an entity that does not robotically control our morality, but is rather the source of our capacity for moral perception, a perception that requires development and formation through the conscientious exercise of free will.

It was a far more subtle, humane and, yes, credible perception of faith than I had expected. It didn’t lead to any dramatic spiritual epiphany, but did spur me to look further into Catholicism, and to re-examine some of the problems I had with atheism with a more critical eye.
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I looked for absurdities and inconsistencies in the Catholic faith that would derail my thoughts from the unnerving conclusion I was heading towards, but the infuriating thing about Catholicism is its coherency: once you accept the basic conceptual structure, things fall into place with terrifying speed. “The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole,” wrote Edith Stein in The Science of the Cross: “If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the others.” The beauty and authenticity of even the most ostensibly difficult parts of Catholicism, such as the sexual ethics, became clear once they were viewed not as a decontextualized list of prohibitions, but as essential components in the intricate body of the Church’s teaching.
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Books had taken me to Catholicism as a plausible conjecture, but Catholicism as a living truth I came to understand only through observing those already serving the Church within that life of grace.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:49 PM | Permalink

Health Roundup: 3D printers, generic drugs, CoQ10, vegans, pre-eclampsia

Vegan couple sentenced to life over baby's death

Malnourished baby was fed soy milk and apple juice, weighed 3 ½ pounds.
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“No matter how many times they want to say, ‘We’re vegans, we’re vegetarians,’ that’s not the issue in this case,” said prosecutor Chuck Boring. “The child died because he was not fed. Period.”

Astounding Technology 3-D printer helps save dying baby

Those Generic Drugs May Not Have Been What You Thought They Were

Years of abuses at Ranbaxy raise worries about the FDA's oversight of the generics market….Indian generic giant Ranbaxy has been selling generic “drugs” that didn't actually work.
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Complaining that generic drugs from abroad are nothing but cheap fakes has long been a staple of free-trade opponents, and of course, pharmaceutical manufacturers trying to protect their products from foreign competition. While it's long been clear that there was some truth to the horror stories—don't buy drugs on the Internet, OK?—I've been pretty dismissive of complaints about Indian generics giants like Ranbaxy and Cipla. These guys are huge companies with brands to protect. Moreover, they're inspected by the FDA. Why would they risk it all by adulterating their product?

Well, the fact is they did, and the answer is presumably “to save money.”

Patients left paralysed after a stroke can now move again thanks to injections of stem cells into their brains

Five stroke victims have shown small signs of recovery following pioneering stem cell therapy.
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The trial involved injecting stem cells directly into the damaged parts of the patients' brains, with the hope that they would turn into healthy tissue or 'kick-start' the body's own repair processes.  Professor Muir said he had seen people who now have the ability to move their fingers after 'several years of complete paralysis.

The study involved patients who suffered strokes some time ago and had shown no signs of making any further spontaneous improvement.

The energy-boosting supplement that could HALVE the number of deaths from heart failure

Coenzyme Q10 is first drug shown to reduce heart failure deaths in a decade.  CoQ10 levels are decreased in the heart muscle of patients with heart failure

Known as CoQ10, it is a vitamin-like supplement sold in health food shops.  The pill - which is 'a natural and safe substance' - can be taken with statins and 'should now be added to conventional treatment, say experts

It's not teenagers' fault they are grumpy: 'Growing up drains their energy from the age of nine'

Breakthrough in fight against pre-eclampsia: Scientists may have found cause of the life-threatening pregnancy condition

Pre-eclampsia is the potentially fatal high blood pressure that affects one in 20 first-time mothers towards the end of pregnancy. 
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:40 PM | Permalink

May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

“The soldier is not respected because he is doomed to death, but because he is ready for death; and even ready for defeat.” G. K. Chesterton.

 Flags Boston Common Memday

Boston Common is a sea of flags placed by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund in memory of every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Civil War to the present.

A Tradition of Sacrifice, From Yorktown to Ramadi

Memorial Day is deeply personal—to me, as it is to any veteran, to any military family. It is a time of mixed emotion: solemn reflection and mourning, honor and admiration for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.
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Let's remember on Memorial Day—and every other day, for that matter—that America did not become a nation without a fight…..It was not the Declaration of Independence that gave us freedom but the Continental Army. America was born from conflict, delivered by soldiers willing to pay with their blood the tremendous cost of freedom.

The dead did not wish to be martyred. They no doubt longed to return to their homes and families. But they believed in the "glorious cause," something far greater than themselves. Despite knowing the dangers before them, they followed Gen. Washington into the fray even when victory seemed hopeless and the cause all but lost.

Why do we honor those who have sacrificed their lives?

Not because they have secured our ability to seek our individual good, but because they have given their lives in pursuit of a common, intrinsic, and greater good.

-Kelly Mixon Widow Afghan Ied
The sacrifice is felt most deeply by the women and families left behind.  Amy Mixon kneels before grave of her husband Kelly who was killed by an IED in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan.

The fighting Irish. The Irish have won the Congressional Medal of Honor far more than any other ethnic group. 

The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Henry Steele Commager called it "the one great song to come out of the Civil War, the one great song ever written in America". writes Mark Steyn

Whether or not that's true, most of us understand it has a depth and a power beyond most formal national songs. When John F Kennedy was assassinated, Judy Garland insisted on singing it on her TV show – the producers weren't happy about it, and one sneered that nobody would give a damn about Kennedy in a month's time. But it's an extraordinary performance. Little more than a year later, it was played at the state funeral of Winston Churchill at St Paul's Cathedral. Among those singing it was the Queen. She sang it again in public, again at St Paul's, for the second time in her life at the service of remembrance in London three days after September 11th 2001. That day, she also broke with precedent and for the first time sang another country's national anthem – "The Star-Spangled Banner". But it was Julia Ward Howe's words that echoed most powerfully that morning as they have done since she wrote them in her bedroom in Washington 140 years earlier:

As He died to make men holy
Let us die to make men free
While God is marching on.


The US Army Chorus sings at the White House in 2008 before President Bush and Pope Benedict on his visit to the U.S.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:24 AM | Permalink

May 25, 2013

Why doesn't Planned Parenthood Report Pedophilia?

Man forces pre-teen rape victim to abort at Planned Parenthood

A Washington state man who impregnated a 12 year-old girl forced her to have an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in order to cover up his sexual assault on the girl.

The Bellingham Herald reports that Luis Gonzalez-Jose, 31, of Everson, Washington must serve a sentence of six years in jail, then leave the United States, after raping the young girl in her home while her mother was in the shower, according to documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.
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The documents indicate that, six weeks after the abortion, the girl told a police detective the truth--that Gonzalez-Jose had impregnated her and had insisted that “it would be best for her” not to have the baby.
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Mark Crutcher of pro-life organization Life Dynamics told LifeNews that it is not unusual for Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics to serve as places where sexual predators can hide the evidence of their crimes, when sexual assaults on minors end up in pregnancy.

“The abortion lobby is engaged in a pedophile protection racket and protecting pedophiles who rape underage girls,” Crutcher said. “These abortion clinics receive money from the federal government. We are literally paying for the rape of our young daughters.”
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Crutcher’s analysis of several hundred circumstances in which older men were convicted of sexual crimes against minor girls showed that, in an alarming number of these cases, the victims were taken for birth control, pregnancy tests, STD treatments, and abortions--usually by the perpetrator himself--with no mandatory report made by those who provided the service.

In almost every case, according to Crutcher, the sexual abuse resumed after the “service” at the clinic, and would often go on for years afterward.

“You have to remember what’s happening right there,” Crutcher added. “You have an adult in a state talking to what they perceived to be a 13 year-old child who was a victim of sexual abuse by an older man and telling that child to lie about his age in order to conceal the crime. If you’re a parent, especially if a father and you’re not outraged then you don’t have a pulse.”

New Way to Stop Planned Parenthood et al from Abetting Pedophiles?

Now Jill Stanek is reporting that another prolife organization, Life Dynamics – upon conducting research of their own, and discovering that in many cases of convicted sexual abuse the victim had been taken to a Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinic at some point — is trying a new tactic.

After contacting more than 800 clinics and finding that 91 percent were willing to conceal the age of a sexual partner for an underage girl, Life Dynamics then contacted 53,000 personal-injury lawyers to apprise them of this illegal activity.

Life Dynamics’s president Mark Crutcher told Stanek that his phone has been ringing off the hook. He said, “I’m spending night and day talking to these people, and they’re catching the vision about what this is about and the hundreds of thousands of potential clients.”

Pro-life group Life Dynamics has launched an ambitious campaign to educate all of the nation’s personal injury attorneys of an enormous opportunity to file civil lawsuits on behalf of child sex abuse victims and their families against abortion clinics that did not report the crime.

Abortion clinic personnel in all 50 states are mandated reporters who must notify designated state agencies of suspected child sex abuse.

A minor girl coming to a clinic for an abortion, contraception, or STD testing/treatment is evidence that a potential sex crime has been committed against that child. Abortion clinics are not to investigate themselves, they are simply to report.

If it turns out abortion clinics did not comply with the mandatory reporting statute, and the abuse continued afterward, they and individual employees are liable, as are any and all who caused the girl to go there – school districts that gave a referral, relatives, etc.

Life Dynamics has mailed this dvd to 53,000 personal injury attorneys across the country explaining the law and opportunity…
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:23 PM | Permalink

May 24, 2013

Roger Ailes' letter to Fox employees

Ailes' letter to Journalists is a Cry for Press Freedom

Dear colleagues,

The recent news about the FBI’s seizure of the phone and email records of Fox News employees, including James Rosen, calls into question whether the federal government is meeting its constitutional obligation to preserve and protect a free press in the United States.  We reject the government's efforts to criminalize the pursuit of investigative journalism and falsely characterize a Fox News reporter to a Federal judge as a "co-conspirator" in a crime. I know how concerned you are because so many of you have asked me: why should the government make me afraid to use a work phone or email account to gather news or even call a friend or family member? Well, they shouldn’t have done it. The administration’s attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time. We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth.

I am proud of your tireless effort to report the news over the last 17 years. I stand with you, I support you and I thank you for your reporting with courageous optimism. Too many Americans fought and died to protect our unique American right of press freedom. We can’t and we won’t forget that. To be an American journalist is not only a great responsibility, but also a great honor.  To be a Fox journalist is a high honor, not a high crime.  Even this memo of support will cause some to demonize us and try to find irrelevant things to cause us to waver.  We will not waver.

As Fox News employees, we sometimes are forced to stand alone, but even then when we know we are reporting what is true and what is right, we stand proud and fearless.  Thank you for your hard work and all your efforts.

Sincerely,
Roger Ailes

Michael Isikoff reports for NBC News Holder OK'd search warrant for Fox News reporter's private emails, official says

Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails, a law enforcement official told NBC News on Thursday.

ABC News: Holder to investigate Holder Obama Orders DOJ Review of Leak Investigations

"I have directed the attorney general to report back to me by July 12th.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:51 AM | Permalink

" if what happened at the IRS is not stopped now—if the internal corruption within it is not broken—it will never stop, and never be broken.'

Disgraced IRS Chiefs: IRS Needs More Money

Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman,…. "The last couple years the Congress has not been funding the IRS sufficiently," 

However, according to the IRS’s own website, "The Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request for the Internal Revenue Service is approximately $12.8 billion, a $944.5 million increase (8%) over the FY 2012 enacted level."

Former Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller…what the IRS needs is more agents and "a bigger budget" in order to ensure that the IRS stops harassing and targeting conservatives based on their political beliefs.  


Lois Lerner placed on paid administrative leave

Lois Lerner Directly Involved in IRS Targeting, Letters Show

Lois Lerner at the Federal Elections Commission

“I’ve known Lois since 1985,” says Craig Engle, a Washington, D.C., attorney who from 1986 to 1995 served as the executive assistant to one of the FEC’s commissioners
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Engle describes Lerner as pro-regulation and as somebody seeking to limit the influence of money in politics. The natural companion to those views, he says, is her belief that “Republicans take the other side” and that conservative groups should be subjected to more rigorous investigations. According to Engle, Lerner harbors a “suspicion” that conservative groups are intentionally flouting the law.

General counsel’s reports composed during Lerner’s tenure at the FEC confirm Engle’s recollections of a woman predisposed to back Republicans against the wall while giving Democrats a pass.

The Real Voter Suppression of 2012   Voter ID didn’t reduce turnout, but the IRS may have.

Noonan: A Battering Ram Becomes a Stonewall The IRS's leaders refuse to account for the agency's corruption and abuse.

We learned the people who ran and run the IRS are not going to help Congress find out what happened in the IRS. We know we haven't gotten near the bottom of the political corruption of that agency. We do not know who ordered the targeting of conservative groups and individuals, or why, or exactly when it began. We don't know who executed the orders or directives. We do not know the full scope or extent of the scandal. We don't know, for instance, how many applicants for tax-exempt status were abused.
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With all the talk and the hearings and the news reports, it is important to keep the essentials of this story in mind.

First, only conservative groups were targeted in this scandal by the IRS. Liberal or progressive groups were not targeted. The IRS leaked conservative groups' confidential applications and donor lists to liberal groups, never the other way around.

This was a political operation. If it had not been, then the statistics tell us left-wing groups would have been harassed and abused, and seen their applications leaked to the press. There would be a left-wing equivalent to Catherine Engelbrecht.

And all of this apparently took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. Meaning that before that election, groups that were anti-Obamacare, or pro-life, or pro-Second Amendment or constitutionalist, or had words like 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their name—groups that is that would support Republicans, not Democrats—were suppressed, thwarted, kept from raising money and therefore kept from fully operating.

That is some kind of coincidence. That is some kind of strangely political, strangely partisan, and strangely ideological "poor customer service."
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Again, if what happened at the IRS is not stopped now—if the internal corruption within it is not broken—it will never stop, and never be broken. The American people will never again be able to have the slightest confidence in the revenue-gathering arm of their government.

Strassel: Conservatives Became Targets in 2008  The Obama campaign played a big role in a liberal onslaught that far pre-dated Citizens United.

The left was targeting conservative groups and donors well before the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling on independent political expenditures by corporations.

If the country wants to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, it must first remember the context for this abuse. That context leads to this White House.

Krauthammer Cues from Above: The White House and the IRS   The scandal might not go all the way up, but the climate of intolerance does.

For years the administration has conducted a concerted campaign to demonize Fox News, delegitimizing it as a news organization and even urging its ostracism. Then (surprise!) its own Justice Department takes the unprecedented step of naming a Fox reporter a co-conspirator in a leak case — when no reporter has ever been prosecuted for merely soliciting information — in order to invade his and Fox’s private and journalistic communications.
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It’s not unlawful to run an ad hominem presidency. It’s merely shameful. The great rhetorical specialty of this president has been his unrelenting attribution of bad faith to those who disagree with him. He acts on principle; they from the basest of instincts.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:50 AM | Permalink

"The IRS is a broken institution"

The IRS has no shame.    Who had the bright idea of going after adoptive families?

IRS Morality: Defend Planned Parenthood, Deluge Adoptive Families with Audits

As we get word that the IRS has harassed a number of pro-life groups, including at least one alleged demand that a pro-life group not picket Planned Parenthood, check out this statistic: In 2012, the IRS requested additional information from 90 percent of returns claiming the adoption tax credit and went on to actually audit 69 percent. More details from the Taxpayer Advocate Service:

Sixty-nine percent of all adoption credit claims during the 2012 filing season were selected for audit.

Of the completed adoption tax credit audits, over 55 percent ended with no change in the tax owed or refund due in fiscal year 2012. The median refund amount involved in these audits is over $15,000 and the median adjusted gross income (AGI) of the taxpayers involved is about 64,000. The average adoption credit correspondence audit currently takes 126 days, causing a lengthy delay for taxpayers waiting for refunds.
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So Congress implemented a tax credit to facilitate adoption – a process that is so extraordinarily expensive that it is out of reach for many middle-class families — and the IRS responded by implementing an audit campaign that delayed much-needed tax refunds to the very families that needed them the most. Oh, and the return on its investment in this harassment? Slightly more than 1 percent.

This audit wave got almost no media coverage, but what was the experience like for individual families? In a word, grueling. Huge document requests with short turnaround times were followed by lengthy IRS delays in processing, all with no understanding for the unique documentation challenges of international adoption. Here’s how one adoptive family described the experience:…..
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The IRS is a broken institution. Yet despite its moral and legal corruption, it still wields immense power. As Congress investigates wrongdoing, it’s past time to consider fundamental tax reform. In other words, starve the beast. It has proven it can’t be trusted with power.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:41 AM | Permalink

May 23, 2013

80-year-old Japanese man reaches the summit of Mt Everest

He did it! 80-year-old becomes oldest climber to reach summit of Mount Everest after beating 81-year-old former Gurkha to the top

 Yuichiro Miura 80 Mt  Everest

A Japanese 80-year-old has become the oldest man to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Extreme skier Yuichiro Miura (right in above photo) conquered the 29,035ft peak at 9am local time Thursday morning, beating his 81-year-old rival, Nepalese Min Bahadur Sherchan, to the top.

Mr Miura climbed Mount Everest five years ago, but just missed out on the record when Mr Serchan, a former Gurkha, accomplished the feat aged 76.

Mr Miura and his son Gota called the support team from the summit to report the news.

‘This is the world's best feeling,’ Mr Miura said. ‘I'm also totally exhausted.’

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:46 PM | Permalink

85-year-old Graduates from College, Finds Job

Hats off to Willadene Zedan

-Willadene-Zedan-

Inspiring 85-Year-Old Lands A Job Four Days After Graduating From College

She's proof that it's never too late to do the things you didn't get to do in the prime of life and that "lifelong learning" is more than hackneyed happy-talk.

With exams over and just days until her graduation from Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, 85-year-old Willadene Zedan began preparing a banquet for her 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.

"If I demanded the whole bunch of them show up, it's the least I can do," she says. "Some way to insist on a family reunion, isn't it?"

Her college education began after her husband of 50 years died of a heart attack. 

She relocated to Fond du Lac, where both church and mall were within a 10-minute drive of her daughter's home. She had no firm plans except "to keep my mind alert." Marian University, founded by an order of nuns but now a more broadly based liberal arts school with 2,600 combined undergraduate and graduate students, was a promising place to do that. Zedan had some trepidation about whether she was up for the rigors of college coursework. Auditing her first class erased that worry. She made the acquaintance of another older woman on campus who had been auditing classes for years. Zedan, a no-nonsense sort, realized that if she went that route, "I'd have kicked myself" if she later found she would have had enough credits to graduate had she actually matriculated.

So Zedan added a class at a time and, finally, as many as four in a semester. During her years at Marian, where she majored in theology, it became clear to her that she was doing more than just exercising her brain, as she might with crossword puzzles. "I was preparing myself for a new career," she says, one she hoped would allow her to visit those not blessed with her good health in old age and encourage them to be as physically and mentally active as their situation allowed.

Zedan's classmates were kind and friendly, she says, shouting greetings from across the campus and holding doors open for her without making her feel like "a baggy old lady." But they were hardly her pals, she says, nor would that have been appropriate.
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Her professors were her allies, she says, and have told her that her active participation in class would be missed. "The kids, to their disadvantage, are afraid to speak up," Zedan says. "They thought I didn't give a rip," she says, about sounding clever or always getting the answers right. "And I didn't. The teachers say they'll miss my input. ….."
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That attitude, of needing to satisfy nobody but yourself, is a wonderfully liberating part of old age and it pervades Zedan's life.
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Zedan's job offer came from her own doctor during a recent checkup when talk turned to her imminent graduation. He asked if she'd consider accompanying him on visits to the homebound – starting next Wednesday. Surprised and delighted, she never even asked if he intended to pay her, nor does she much care.

"My body tells me I'm growing old," she says, "and I assume that when I've pushed the Lord as far as I can push him, one day he'll give me one swift kick. But in the meantime — and if I'm lucky, that could be till I'm 100 — I'll be doing what I was trained to do. When I get to the other side, I want to be able to say I used the talent I was given."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:09 AM | Permalink

The Art and Charm of Conversation

The Art of Conversation: Timeless, Timely Do’s and Don’ts from 1866

“In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
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in a culture where we regularly do online what we’d never do in person and behave offline in ways our grandparents wouldn’t have dared dream of even in their most defiant fantasies, there’s something to be said for the lost art of, if not “manners,” politeness and simple respect in communication.

Though originally published in 1866, Martine’s Hand-book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness (public library; public domain; free Kindle download) by Arthur Martine contains a treasure trove of timeless — and increasingly timely — pointers on the necessary art of living up to our social-animal destiny.
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The great charm of conversation consists less in the display of one’s own wit and intelligence, than in the power to draw forth the resources of others; he who leaves you after a long conversation, pleased with himself and the part he has taken in the discourse, will be your warmest admirer. Men do not care to admire you, they wish you to be pleased with them; they do not seek for instruction or even amusement from your discourse, but they do wish you to be made acquainted with their talents and powers of conversation; and the true man of genius will delicately make all who come in contact with him feel the exquisite satisfaction of knowing that they have appeared to advantage.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:07 AM | Permalink

May 22, 2013

A Woman of Valor and Courage

In the horrific beheading today of a British soldier in London, a Mum talked down Woolwich terrorists who told her: 'We want to start a war in London tonight'

 Ingrid-Loyau-Kennet

A mother-of-two described tonight how she put her own life on the line by trying to persuade the soldier’s murderers to hand over their weapons.
Cub scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett selflessly engaged the terrorists in conversation and kept her nerve as one of them told her: “We want to start a war in London tonight.”

Mrs Loyau-Kennett, 48, from Cornwall, was one of the first people on the scene after the two Islamic extremists butchered a soldier in Woolwich, south east London.  She was photographed by onlookers confronting one of the attackers who was holding a bloodied knife.

Mrs Loyau-Kennett was a passenger on a number 53 bus which was travelling past the scene, and jumped off to check the soldier’s pulse.
“Being a cub leader I have my first aid so when I saw this guy on the floor I thought it was an accident then I saw the guy was dead and I could not feel any pulse.

“And then when I went up there was this black guy with a revolver and a kitchen knife, he had what looked like butcher’s tools and he had a little axe, to cut the bones, and two large knives and he said 'move off the body’.

“So I thought 'OK, I don’t know what is going on here’ and he was covered with blood. I thought I had better start talking to him before he starts attacking somebody else. I thought these people usually have a message so I said 'what do you want?’

“I asked him if he did it and he said yes and I said why? And he said because he has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries, he said he was a British soldier and I said really and he said 'I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan they have nothing to do there.”

Moments earlier, the killers had hacked at the soldier “like a piece of meat”, and when Mrs Loyau-Kennett arrived on the scene they were roaming John Wilson Street waiting for police to arrive so they could stage a final confrontation with them.

She said: “I started to talk to him and I started to notice more weapons and the guy behind him with more weapons as well. By then, people had started to gather around. So I thought OK, I should keep him talking to me before he noticed everything around him.

“He was not high, he was not on drugs, he was not an alcoholic or drunk, he was just distressed, upset. He was in full control of his decisions and ready to everything he wanted to do.

I said 'right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?’ and he said I would like to stay and fight.”
The suspect in the black hat then went to speak to someone else and Mrs Loyau-Kennett tried to engage with the other man in the light coat.
She said: “The other one was much shier and I went to him and I said 'well, what about you? Would you like to give me what you have in your hands?’ I did not want to say weapons but I thought it was better having them aimed on one person like me rather than everybody there, children were starting to leave school as well.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:00 PM | Permalink

Gives birth while 'dead', comes back to life

What an astonishing story.

Erica Nigrelli, Pregnant Teacher Gives Birth While Dead, Coworkers Help Bring Her Back To Life

Erica Nigrelli died, gave birth and was then brought back to life. The Houston high school teacher was 36 weeks pregnant when she collapsed in her school’s hallway and her heart stopped.

Her colleagues at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, started performing CPR and used a defibrillator to jump-start her heart. By the time paramedics transported her to a nearby hospital and performed an emergency caesarean section, her heart still wasn’t beating, Click 2 Houston reports. Baby Elayna, who technically had a postmortem birth, is now stable and well.

"She's just a baby," Nigrelli said.  "A normal baby." 

Elayna, who is 3 months old, weighs 9 pounds and will be taken off oxygen support soon. Her mother was diagnosed with an undetected heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle walls become abnormally thick.

"Apparently I told her I feel very faint and I put my head down and I essentially just passed out," Nigrelli told Keye TV.

Both Nigrelli and her daughter spent several weeks in intensive care. Her co-workers have been credited with saving both of their lives.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:35 PM | Permalink

A respite for wonderful news

From Slashdot Cell Phones As a Dirty Bomb Detection Network

"The Idaho National Laboratory has built a dirty bomb detection network out of cell phones. Camera phones operate by detecting photons and storing them as a picture. The INL discovered that high energy photons from radiological sources distort the image in ways detectable through image processing. KSL TV reports that the INL's mobile app detects radiation sources and then reports positive 'hits' to a central server. Terrorists deploying a dirty bomb will inevitably pass by people carrying cell phones. By crowdsourcing cell phones, the INL has created a potentially very large, inexpensive, and randomly mobile radiation detection grid."

First Responders Rescued Over 100 Survivors in Moore, Oklahoma in the Midnight Hours (Video)

The faith and resiliency of Oklahomans

On Tuesday morning, a helicopter was circling overhead and thunder rumbled from a new storm as 35-year-old Moore resident Juan Dills and his family rummaged through the remains of what was once his mother’s home. The foundation was laid bare, the roof ripped away and only one wall was still standing. They found a few family photo albums, but little else.
We are still in shock,” he said. “But we will come through. We’re from Oklahoma.”

 Girl-Rescued-From Rubble Okl

The Inspiring Story of What an Arizona Cop Did to a Teen She Found Walking 9 Miles

An Arizona teenager working at a fast food restaurant had to walk nine miles home if he missed the last bus of the evening.

Christian Felix still had several miles to go when Phoenix Sgt. Natalie Simonick spotted him around 11 p.m. last month. When she pulled over thinking he was breaking curfew, she learned he was 18 years old and thus not in violation, but she also learned a few other things about the young adult, ABC News reported.

At a press conference last week she said she saw a strong work ethic in Felix, the local ABC affiliate KNXV reported. She also found Felix had never learned to ride a bike nor had he ever driven a car.

“He never had a father in his life, so he had no one to teach him,” Simonick said.

That’s when Simonick took it upon herself, asking her husband if they could give the teen their extra bike so he would have a more reliable form of transportation. Last month, she and other officers even gave him a lesson.

Helen Mirren takes the Queen's place to grant a dying boy with Down's syndrome his fondest wish to have tea with the Queen of England

After the show, Mirren, still dressed as the Queen and in character, invited the 10-year-old backstage to have tea and cakes served by footmen. She also introduced Burton to her corgis.

“She stayed in character for the whole thing. Oliver thought she was the real Queen, and well, that’s good enough for us,” the boy’s father, James Browne, said, according to the Daily Mail.

Mirren also knighted 10-year-old Oliver, giving him the official title of “Sir.”


 Helen Mirren Dying Down'ssyn Boy
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:20 AM | Permalink

The other targets of the IRS in its pattern of suppressing opposition

Every day, we learn more about the IRS essentially silencing those who oppose the Administration's policies, but we'll learn nothing from Lois Lerner, the top IRS official when all this is going on because she's going to invoke the Fifth Amendment when she testifies before Congress
on Wednesday.    But then again, it is unlikely that she even has a passing relationship to the truth.  The Nine Lies of Lois Lerner

Because She Hasn’t Suffered Enough… Obama IRS Targeted 83 Year-Old Survivor Of a Japanese Concentration Camp

IRS targeted the Conservative Hispanic Society

Bill Donohue: IRS Targeted Catholic League

Just weeks after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, I was notified by the IRS that the Catholic League was under investigation for violating the IRS Code on political activities as it relates to 501©(3) organizations. What the IRS did not know was that I had proof who contacted them to launch the investigation: Catholics United, a George Soros-funded Catholic organization.
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Korzen was dumb enough to share with CNN the complaint issued by his group to the IRS. The document, which was leaked to me by someone at CNN, matches up extraordinarily well with the IRS complaint of Nov. 24.

IRS targeted Anne Hendershott, a Catholic writer and professor  who  writes it's now A Safe Time to Tell Your Story

Unlike Mr. Donohue, I have no proof that my audit was politically motivated. I am describing the process not because I want the publicity; rather, I am hoping that now that Bill Donohue has led the way, others from the pro-life community who have been targeted by the IRS will come forward. It seems like a safe time now.

Catholic, Pro-Life and Pro-Marriage Groups Also Targeted by IRS

Catholic writer and professor Anne Hendershott wanted the public to know that Obamacare funds abortions.  So she wrote a series of articles critical of the Affordable Care Act in March of 2010.In May of that year, the IRS called.

Hendershott finds herself among an emerging class of taxpayers who believe they were targets of special scrutiny and intimidation by the Internal Revenue Service for political reasons.
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Sue Martinek told the Register she ran into similar problems with the IRS, which demanded that she and others involved with a pro-life organization pledge to never protest Planned Parenthood — the country’s largest abortion business.
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John Eastman, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) believes one or more IRS employees committed a felony in March 2012 by sharing his organization’s private tax documents with the Human Rights Campaign, an organization that lobbies for same-sex “marriage.” The Human Rights Campaign published the documents on its website, publicly revealing the names of donors to the National Organization for Marriage.

“The Human Rights Campaign was headed by Joseph Solmonese, who at the time had just been named national co-chair of the Obama election campaign,” Eastman told the Register.

Crisis reports IRS Targets Catholic Critics of Obama Regime,

It is not an overreaction to say that these IRS scandals sound like official favoritism of certain organizations and political viewpoints and an attempt to suppress opposition.
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This is the administration that has given us the HHS Mandate, supported the claim in the Hosanna-Tabor case that a religious body could not choose its own ministers, wouldn’t defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, increased federal financial support for Planned Parenthood, and is trying to stop military personnel from sharing their faith. This all indicates an agenda of hostility to traditional Christian morality and a willingness to share in the repressiveness that has come to characterize the political left.

Jeffrey Lord writes Obama and the IRS: The Smoking Gun?

President met with anti-Tea Party IRS union chief the day before agency targeted Tea Party.

FOR 27 MONTHS the IRS Refused to Approve Tea Party Applications While DOZENS OF LIB GROUPS Were Granted Tax-Exempt Status

Richard Epstein et al on The Real Lesson of the IRS Scandal

Federal agencies from the FDA to the EPA to the FCC threaten the rule of law.

The IRS and the Drive to Stop Free Speech: Such a scandal was bound to happen after the government started trying to rule the expression of political views.

Armed DHS Agents Monitored Multiple Tea Party IRS Protests Today

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:19 AM | Permalink

The DOJ's War on the Press and the First Amendment

DOJ investigators seized personal emails of Fox reporter When ordinary reporting is seen as criminal activity.

The DOJ got the records because they claimed James Rosen, a Fox reporter, was a criminal co-conspirator.

Michael Clemente, Fox News' executive vice president of news, defended Rosen in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
"We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter," Clemente said. "In fact, it is downright chilling. We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press."

Yesterday we learned that the DOJ also seized the phone records of Rosen's parents.

Tonight we learned that the DOJ seized phone records of Fox News at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and other operations and phone records of Fox executives.  More Shocking Details about DOJ spying on Fox News.

Watchdog report says DOJ official retaliated against ‘Furious’ whistle-blower, lied about it

The former U.S. Attorney for Arizona could be disbarred, after an investigation found he lied to the Justice Department about his role in trying to discredit the federal whistle-blower who exposed the botched gun-running scheme known as Fast and Furious.

Dennis Burke -- the former chief of staff for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed as U.S. Attorney for Arizona by President Obama in September 2009 -- lied when asked if he leaked sensitive documents to the press meant to undermine the credibility of ATF whistle-blower John Dodson.
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"We also concluded that Burke's disclosure of the Dodson memorandum was likely motivated by a desire to undermine Dodson's public criticisms of Operation Fast and Furious. Although Burke denied to congressional investigators that he had any retaliatory motive for his actions, we found substantial evidence to the contrary," the IG report, released Monday, said.

Sharyl Attkisson's computers compromised

Sharyl Attkisson, the Emmy-award winning CBS News investigative reporter, says that her personal and work computers have been compromised and are under investigation.
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Attkisson told WPHT that irregular activity on her computer was first identified in Feb. 2011, when she was reporting on the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal and on the Obama administration's green energy spending, which she said "the administration was very sensitive about." Attkisson has also been a persistent investigator of the events surrounding last year's attack in Benghazi, and its aftermath.

Eugene Robinson, longtime Obama supporter, "Obama administration mistakes journalism for espionage" 

Kirsten Powers, How Hope and Change Gave Way to Spying on the Press

Turns out it’s a fairly swift sojourn from a president pushing to “delegitimize” a news organization to threatening criminal prosecution for journalistic activity by a Fox News reporter, James Rosen, to spying on Associated Press reporters. In between, the Obama administration found time to relentlessly persecute government whistleblowers and publicly harass and condemn a private American citizen for expressing his constitutionally protected speech in the form of an anti-Islam YouTube video.

Where were the media when all this began happening? With a few exceptions, they were acting as quiet enablers.
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Yet only one mainstream media reporter—Jake Tapper, then of ABC News—ever raised a serious objection to the White House’s egregious and chilling behavior.
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Now, the Democratic advocacy group Media Matters—which is always mysteriously in sync with the administration despite ostensibly operating independently—has launched a smear campaign against ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl for his reporting on Benghazi. It’s the kind of character assassination that would make Joseph McCarthy blush.
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What all of us in the media need to remember—whatever our politics—is that we need to hold government actions to the same standard, whether they’re aimed at friends or foes. If not, there’s no one but ourselves to blame when the administration takes aim at us.

Liberal Juan Williams: ‘Journalism Has Been Criminalized’ by DOJ

According to The Washington Post’s original report on the topic, when the DOJ investigated in the leaking of classified information in 2009 about North Korea, it not only obtained Rosen’s phone records, but his personal emails as well. It used security badge records to track Rosen’s visits to the State Department, and the DOJ also traced the timing of his calls to Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, the government adviser suspected of leaking information to Rosen.

In the court documents for the warrant to search Rosen’s personal e-mails – the “SUBJECT ACCOUNT” and “the Reporter” --  the FBI is cited as stating “there is probable cause to believe the Reporter has committed or is committing a violation of section 793(d), as an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator, to which the materials relate.”

In The New Yorker, The Justice Department and Fox New's Phone Records

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that, as part of the investigation of the Kim leak, Obama’s Department of Justice seized e-mails from Rosen’s personal Gmail account. In the search warrant for that request, the government described Rosen as “an aider, and abettor, and / or co-conspirator” in violating the Espionage Act, noting that the crime can be punished by ten years in prison. Rosen was not indicted in the case, but the suggestion in a government document that a reporter could be guilty of espionage for engaging in routine reporting is unprecedented and has alarmed many journalists and civil libertarians.

Suppress the press: The Obama administration’s history of targeting the media

Investor's Business Daily: The Obama Objective: To Control The News

For awhile, it looked like the White House wanted just to control "the narrative." But its seizure of AP phone records and surveillance of Fox employees now show its real aim: to control the news.

The Obama political team at the White House has always prided itself on its media savvy. After all, they got a candidate with an otherwise unsalable socialist past elected on a campaign that sold his personality, not his platform.
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But it turns out their mastery of the press went a lot deeper than just the political arts. The latest news that the Justice Department investigated Fox News reporter James Rosen and two other newsmen in the normal course of their investigative reporting on a national security matter — coming on the heels of their seizure of Associated Press phone records — suggests an administration obsessed with controlling the news itself with a heavy hand reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.


In the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald

This week, the New Republic's Molly Redden describes what I've heard many times over the past several years: national security reporters have had their ability to engage in journalism severely impeded by the Obama DOJ's unprecedented attacks, and are operating in a climate of fear for both their sources and themselves. Redden quotes one of the nation's best reporters, the New Yorker's Jane Mayer, this way:

It's a huge impediment to reporting, and so chilling isn't quite strong enough, it's more like freezing the whole process into a standstill."

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That, of course, is precisely the point of the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers and press freedoms: to ensure that the only information the public can get is information that the Obama administration wants it to have. That's why Obama's one-side games with secrecy - we'll prolifically leak when it glorifies the president and severely punish all other kinds - is designed to construct the classic propaganda model. And it's good to see journalists finally speaking out in genuine outrage and concern about all of this.

Breitbart News, A Culture of Intimidation   it is now more obvious than ever that this administration has, in the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), created a “culture of intimidation” that stretches from the White House down to myriad agencies of the executive branch.

Department of Justice: …
State Department: ….
Internal Revenue Service: ….
Department of Health and Human Services: ….
Department of the Treasury: …..
Federal Bureau of Investigation: ……
Department of the Interior: …….
Department of Homeland Security: ….
Environmental Protection Agency: ……

The intimidation comes from the top down in the Obama administration. And it is pervasive.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:10 AM | Permalink

May 21, 2013

Operation BBQ heads out to Oklahoma

Unlike hurricanes, floods, blizzards, there is no warning for tornadoes. Which makes them so terrifying.  You have only minutes to find a safe spot

It is impossible for me to imagine the scale of the tragedy in Oklahoma.  At least 24 confirmed dead with 50 reported dead among them 20 children in an elementary school reduced to rubble by the tornado packing winds of up to 200 mph.

So many parents searching for their children in desperation with communications down. So many homes destroyed and buildings and businesses.

What can we do right now but pray for them all.

I could see nothing but tragedy until I read about Operation BBQ Relief via Instapundit.

Born in the aftermath of the terrific tornadoes that hit Joplin, Mo, Operation BBQ Relief served and delivered over 120,000 barbecue meals to residents in two weeks.   

Headed off now to the ravaged areas of Oklahoma, OPeration BBQ relief is a 501© 3 charitable organization.  From its website:

The mission of Operation BBQ Relief is to provide compassion and to offer hope and friendship to those whose lives have been affected by natural disasters across the United States through our expertise in cooking and catering barbecue meals and our ability to quickly mobilize our teams into any area where nature disrupts and tears apart the lives of Americans.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:57 AM | Permalink

Health Roundup: B Vitamins protects against brain shrinkage , new CPR, new cancer drugs, bunions and camomile tea

Should you be taking vitamin B to protect against Alzheimer's?    Vitamins B6 , B12 and folic acid

Research published yesterday in the top journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which showed that people in the trial who got the B vitamins were almost entirely protected from the brain shrinkage suffered by those who only got a placebo pill.

A rapidly shrinking brain is one of the signs of a raised risk for Alzheimer’s. Those taking the B vitamins had 90 per cent less shrinkage in their brains.

And the research showed the areas of the brain that were protected from damage are almost exactly the same Alzheimer’s typically destroys. This ‘Alzheimer’s footprint’ includes areas that control how we learn, remember and organise our thoughts, precisely those that gradually atrophy as the ghastly disease progresses.

‘I’ve never seen results from brain scans showing this level of protection,’ says Paul Thompson, professor of neurology and head of the Imaging Genetics Center at UCLA School of Medicine, California.

He’s a leading expert in brain imaging, and his centre has the largest database of brain scans in the world. ‘We study the brain effects of all sorts of lifestyle changes — alcohol reduction, exercising more, learning to handle stress, weight loss — and a good result would be a 25 per cent reduction in shrinkage,’ he says.

In other words, the 90 per cent reduction seems really impressive. So, could the simple answer to memory problems be to take B vitamins?

The health warnings written on your face: From overdoing it at the gym to eating spicy food, how your looks reveal your lifestyle

New CPR technology breathes life into patients dead 40 to 60 minutes

New CPR technology put to the test at an Australian hospital has passed with flying colors after a man — clinically dead for 40 minutes — was brought back to life. And he later was discharged with a clean bill of health, absent any disability…..The machinery, called AutoPulse, performs constant chest compressions while sending a nonstop flow of oxygen and blood to the patient’s brain and vital organs,

New Cancer Drugs Harness Power of  Immune System

Two early-stage drug studies from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Roche Holding provided fresh evidence that harnessing the power of the immune system is emerging as a promising weapon against cancer.
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Patients with advanced lung, kidney and skin cancer were among those who responded favorably, said Roy Herbst, an oncologist at Yale University, who headed the Roche study. That suggests immunotherapy, as the strategy is called, may have broad application across many types of tumors.

The three drugs in the studies essentially work by releasing the brakes on the immune system to allow it to recognize and go after tumor cells.

Blame your parents for those bunions, NOT high heels! How foot deformities are actually 'highly hereditary'

new research suggests that the painful and unsightly bulges that develop at the base of the big toe are nothing to do with fancy footwear, and are in fact hereditary.

The Framingham Foot Study led by a team from Harvard Medical School looked at genetic data and foot examination results from 1,370 participants. They concluded that the condition is 'highly heritable.'

Camomile tea 'fights cancer': Chemical contained in drink takes away 'superpowers' in disease's cells

The tea contains a chemical, apigenin, which takes away some of the ‘superpowers’ of cancer cells.

Scientists at Ohio State University found apigenin can block the ability of breast cancer cells to live far longer than normal cells, halting their spread and making them more sensitive to drug therapy.

Camomile tea, parsley and celery are the most abundant sources of apigenin but it is also found in many fruit and vegetables common in a Mediterranean diet.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:31 AM | Permalink

Bengahzi: Where was Huma and the 10 pm phone call ---Updated

Andrew McCarthy  Huma's Moonlighting? No Problem….Just Don't Mention Her Crescent Lighting

Huma Abedin maintained her title as Secretary of State Clinton's deputy chief of staff even though she spent her time in New York taking care of her new baby and her husband, the disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner who tweeted himself naked to teenage girls.  Huma was permitted to moonlight as a "special government employee" who was paid $135,000/year who didn't have to disclose her other sources of income on the federal financial disclosure forms, income received as a  "strategic consultant" to Teneo, a global consulting firm as well as income received as a consultant to  the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation.

Ms. Abedin began her long professional association with Mrs. Clinton in 1996, as an intern to the first lady in the Clinton White House. In the years that followed, she remained a Clinton staffer from the White House to the Senate, and eventually to the State Department. At the same time, she also served from 1996 through 2008 as assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a publication founded by Abdullah Omar Naseef, a major financier of al Qaeda whose Islamic “charity,” the Rabita Trust, is a designated terrorist organization (on which Naseef colluded with Wael Hamza Jalaidan, an Osama bin Laden intimate who is one of al Qaeda’s founders).

Naseef is a former secretary general of the Muslim World League, which Osama bin Laden described as one of al Qaeda’s primary funding sources. In the late seventies, he retained Abedin’s parents to run his newly formed Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs and edit its journal, which has been an Abedin family affair ever since. For seven years, Naseef overlapped with Huma Abedin at the journal, as a member of its advisory editorial board. He withdrew after 2003 — right around the time he was named as a defendant in the civil case brought by the victims of the 9/11 atrocities (a suit from which he was dropped in 2010 because a court found it lacked jurisdiction over him). The journal is still edited by Ms. Abedin’s mother, Dr. Saleha Abedin, who took over when Ms. Abedin’s father passed away. Both parents have had deep Muslim Brotherhood ties. In fact, Saleha Abedin runs an organization, the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child, which is a part of the Union of Good — a major Hamas supporter and, yes, a designated terrorist organization run by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the top Muslim Brotherhood sharia jurist.

I quote so extensively because Huma Abedin is Hillary's foremost Mideast adviser.  I wonder what role she played in advising Hilary Clinton on the night of the attack.    After all, women played big roles before and after the attack in Libya.  The Benghazi scandal’s female factor

So what was discussed in The 10 PM Phone Call between Clinton and Obama?  Andrew McCarthy again.

Obama and Clinton had been the architects of American foreign policy. As Election Day 2012 loomed, each of them had a powerful motive to promote the impressions (a) that al-Qaeda had been decimated; (b) that the administration’s deft handling of the Arab Spring — by empowering Islamists — had been a boon for democracy, regional stability, and American national security; and © that our real security problem was “Islamophobia” and the “violent extremism” it allegedly causes — which was why Obama and Clinton had worked for years with Islamists, both overseas and at home, to promote international resolutions that would make it illegal to incite hostility to Islam, the First Amendment be damned.
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There is good reason to believe that while Americans were still fighting for their lives in Benghazi, while no military efforts were being made to rescue them, and while those desperately trying to rescue them were being told to stand down, the president was busy shaping the “blame the video” narrative to which his administration clung in the aftermath.
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We do not have a recording of this call, and neither Clinton nor the White House has described it beyond noting that it happened. But we do know that, just a few minutes after Obama called Clinton, the Washington press began reporting that the State Department had issued a statement by Clinton regarding the Benghazi attack. In it, she asserted:

Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.
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CNS News asked Carney whether, in that 10 p.m. phone call, the president and Secretary Clinton discussed the statement that Clinton was about to issue, and, specifically, whether they discussed “the issue of inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Carney declined to answer.

UPDATE: The Difference it Makes: Hillary's Fingerprints on the Benghazi Video Narrative

Hillary Clinton was the first senior Obama Administration official to publicly blame the video for the Benghazi attack.  ….We can tell where the video narrative did not come from: the career Foreign Service.
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By September 13, Mrs. Clinton blamed the video for the Benghazi assault explicitly. Speaking at a State Department meeting with the Moroccan President, she pinned not only the Benghazi attack, but the violent outbursts spreading across the Arab Middle East, on Muslim popular outrage triggered by the “disgusting and reprehensible,” “deeply cynical” video. 
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On September 14, Mrs. Clinton went all in. Speaking at Joint Base Andrews, in front of cameras, flag-draped caskets, and the families of four murdered Americans, she said, “[w]e’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.” According to the parents of the former Navy SEALs at the ceremony, Clinton also privately blamed the video for their sons’ deaths, promising to “make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.” 
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the video narrative predates the draft talking points, but was never included in them. This is key to identifying the source of the phony “video” narrative. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:17 AM | Permalink

"We have lives here. We have businesses. If we get involved in politics, they will ruin us." More on the IRS scandal

When entire classes of people have been targeted by the most powerful agency in Washington, the system of government has become corrupted..

The Enemies List more sinister that Nixon's or LBJ's

Many have compared the recent scandals to past presidential trespasses, such as Richard Nixon’s wiretapping of political “enemies” or Lyndon Johnson’s having the IRS audit them to silence or otherwise intimidate them. Those analogies are important, but mostly because understanding them properly teaches us what is new, and potentially more alarming, about the current IRS scandal.
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The enemies list à la Obama, which targets entire classes of people or organizations, is more dangerous to a free and open society because it paves the way for more systemic and widespread abuses by government. It is spawned by an insidious philosophy that discounts the intrinsic value and uniqueness of individuals. Group traits such as ideology, religious beliefs, occupation, military status, and even gun ownership trump individual qualities and come to define the citizen in the eyes of the increasingly intrusive government.

James Tarento writes.  …. the IRS scandal was a subversion of democracy on a massive scale. The most fearsome and coercive arm of the administrative state embarked on a systematic effort to suppress citizen dissent against the party in power.

Is the IRS scandal the worst political scandal in American history?  Bookworm says Yes.

Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.

All of the other scandals, going back to Andrew Johnson’s post-Civil War scandals, Warren G. Harding’s 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, and Clinton’s Oval Office sexcapades have actually been narrowly focused acts of cronyism, garden-variety political chicanery, or personal failings. It’s been insider stuff.
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Once a government gets the bit between its teeth and starts targeting special interest groups, that is the end of freedom, not just for those first groups targeted, but for everyone.
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the IRS, an agency that has the power to destroy every person in America, did all of this on its own initiative. What we’re seeing in that case is the fall-out of a complete Leftist takeover of American institutions. We will have become a tyranny by bureaucracy (in no small part due to the fact that federal agencies are heavily unionized, and always with a Leftist slant), with the entire federal government irredeemably corrupt.

Just how egregious the conduct of the IRS was is best understood by looking at some of the victims. The True Scandal can be seen in the story of  Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote and was targeted by the IRS, the FBI, the Texas OSHA and the Texas Commissission of Environmental Quality and the ATF.

 Catherine Engelbrecht

Other Tea Party groups decided not to form nonprofits at all after learning about her experience, she says. “They were scared,” she explains, “and you shouldn’t be scared of your government.”

Catherine says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.

“I left a thriving family business with my husband that I loved, to do something I didn’t necessarily love, but [which] I thought had to be done,” she says. “But I really think if we don’t do this, if we don’t stand up and speak now, there might not [always] be that chance.”

John Kass writes in the Chicago Tribune that the IRS Scandal is a reminder of how he learned about The Chicago Way

This scandal is about more than partisanship. It's bigger than whether the Republicans win or the Democrats lose.
It's even bigger than President Barack Obama. Yes, bigger than Obama.

It is opening American eyes to the fundamental relationship between free people and those who govern them.

This one is about the Republic and whether we can keep it.

And it started me thinking of years ago, of my father and my uncle in Chicago and how government muscle really works.
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I couldn't understand how we could argue about politics over baklava and watermelon and coffee, but not put it into practice.
We could support a political candidacy, we could donate or work for one or another politician that we agreed with.
This is America, I said.
"Are you in your good senses?" said my father. "We have lives here. We have businesses. If we get involved in politics, they will ruin us."

And no one, not the Roosevelt Democrats or the Reagan Republicans, disagreed. The socialists, the communists, the royalists, everyone nodded their heads.

Of Sarah Ingram, the manager of the IRS office that targeted these organizations, was promoted to head the office of the IRS that is implementing Obamacare.  Deroy Murdock says

It is beyond outrageous that this secret policewoman — whose actions were at least execrable, if not illegal — would get within three time zones of any American's health-care data. She should be sacked before lunch and seriously considered for prosecution.

The Stasi IRS? Where have we seen this sort of intensive scrutiny and record keeping before? Where have we seen the use of detailed records used to repress opposition to government?

We saw it in Eastern Germany before the fall of the infamous Wall in 1989 in the form of the Stasi, the arm of the secret police, which kept voluminous information on every individual and every organization within that hapless and oppressed nation.

Congress needs to give the IRS a dose of its own medicine, an audit from top to bottom.  I see no other way to clean up the "IRS rat's nest" than an Independent Special Counsel with subpoena power and so does Larry Kudlow

The IRS was taking the Tea Party out of play for the 2012 election, as it looked to avoid a repeat of 2010 and another Tea Party landslide.

If the IRS wasn’t politically targeting conservative groups, why did its leading spokespeople lie? This was not even cognitive dissonance. It was outright lying before Congress. Lois Lerner, a key player in the IRS’s tax-exempt division, is being accused by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee of no fewer than four lies. The inspector general’s report shows that she knew about the targeting problem in June 2011, but wouldn’t admit to it in correspondence with Congress over the next two years.
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Of course, Obama charged Treasury secretary Jack Lew with straightening this out. But Lew’s an Obama political operative.
By the way, a special counsel will have to do a special investigation, since we’re already learning the inspector-general investigation was a very superficial operation. And an independent special counsel can investigate any possible White House connections with senior Treasury officials, connections that could lead to the Oval Office.
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[The IRS] is a massively important government agency. And now we know that it is fraught with corruption and a liberal-left political agenda.

Only an independent special counsel could possibly straighten this mess out.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:00 AM | Permalink

May 17, 2013

Daren Jonescu writes Benghazi

Daren Jonescu writes Benghazi Reveals the Heart of Progressivism

With what horrifying ease may a man be dispatched from this world -- from the company of his comrades, the home of his family, the embrace of his beloved, and the society of his fellow citizens.  In the end, a man's life is just an invisible wisp of air, barely felt and quickly lost.  We cling to and cherish life because, deep down, we know this of ourselves.  We begin our journey to full humanity, however, when we recognize and respect this truth in others.  To fail in this initial stage of our moral journey is to become something other than human, something lower, something degraded and ugly.

Peggy Noonan This Is No Ordinary Scandal

The reputation of the Obama White House has, among conservatives, gone from sketchy to sinister, and, among liberals, from unsatisfying to dangerous. No one likes what they're seeing. The Justice Department assault on the Associated Press and the ugly politicization of the Internal Revenue Service have left the administration's credibility deeply, probably irretrievably damaged. They don't look jerky now, they look dirty. The patina of high-mindedness the president enjoyed is gone.
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As always it comes down to trust. Do you trust the president's answers when he's pressed on an uncomfortable story? Do you trust his people to be sober and fair-minded as they go about their work? Do you trust the IRS and the Justice Department? You do not.
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A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is to too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too. Presidents always undo themselves and then blame it on the third guy in the last row in the sleepy agency across town.
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All of these IRS actions took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. They constitute the use of governmental power to intrude on the privacy and shackle the political freedom of American citizens. The purpose, obviously, was to overwhelm and intimidate—to kill the opposition, question by question and audit by audit.
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This is not about the usual partisan slugfest. This is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust, which is to say our ability to function.

Strassel: The IRS Scandal Started at the Top

The bureaucrats at the Internal Revenue Service did exactly what the president said was the right and honorable thing to do.

President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.

But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:35 PM | Permalink

Fabulous phrases from Francis

Pope Francis has only been Pope for a couple of months, yet, he's already coined fabulous phrases that Matt Schmitz has inventoried together with their context.

"God spray"
"Satellite Christians"
"identity card Christianity"
"Teenagers for life"
"Mr. Whiner"
"Pickled peppers"
"Middle class of holiness"
"Babysitter Church"
"Rosewater faith"
"Apostle of Babel"
"Charitable NGO"
"Odor of sheep"

and yesterday, "gentrification of the heart".

 Pope Francis Dove

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:18 AM | Permalink

The First Taste

Charming.  I feel the same thing about Vegemite.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:58 AM | Permalink

Odds and Ends

These links were saved for posts I never got around to, but they are still worth sharing.

How listening to 'sad songs' heals the blues

Listening to sad songs is best way to get over a break up as it has same soothing effect as a sympathetic friend, researchers find

Heartbreak is 'worse in the digital age'

Heartbreak is worse in the digital age because the history of the relationship lingers in photographs and messages posted on social networking websites, researchers claim…. The pervasiveness of content stored on computers, tablets and mobile phones "creates problems during a break-up" because the reminders of their relationship are ever-present.

To Save The Job Market, Reduce The Medicare Eligibility Age To 55

Here we have the older workers, hobbling to the finish line, but unable to end the race. And here we have young workers, itching to get started, and they can't because there are no jobs, or no middle class jobs, for them.

And the one thing that would cause the many older workers who have saved for retirement to be able to leave the workforce, and clear the way for those frustrated younger workers, is guaranteed medical care.
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If you really and truly want to make a dent in the persistent employment problem facing younger workers, allow anyone age 55 or above to buy into Medicare. Charge them annual premiums equal to what they would have to pay into Medicare at their same wage or salary until age 65 if they continued to work. 

Green Jobs.  U.S. Government spent $11 Million per 'Green Job' Created. reports The Global Warming Policy Foundation

The Top 50 Things That Disappear from Stores During an Emergency

Pepper's history spiced with dark moments

The pepper trade was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, the enslavement of countless others, the establishment of the opium trade in India and the extinction of the dodo…..Columbus didn't sail from Spain looking for Ohio; he was seeking the Far East and its spices, i.e., pepper

What to say to a sick friend. For a Sick Friend: First, Do No Harm

1. Rejoice at their good news. Don't minimize their bad news.
2. Treat your sick friends as you always did—but never forget their changed circumstance.
4. Don't assume, verify
9. Let patients who are terminally ill set the conversational agenda.
10. Don't pressure them to practice 'positive thinking.'

Nation Creating New STIs Faster Than New Jobs or College Grads

The 19.7 million new STIs in 2008 vastly outpaced the new jobs and college graduates created in the United States that year or any other year on record, according to government data. The competition was not close.

How America's Credit Reporting System Gets Away With 40 Million Errors

According to the FTC, between 20 million and 40 million consumers could have errors on their credit reports that could hurt their credit score.

Fish Oil and a Lesson in Happiness From Iceland

Microbes manipulate your mind

Bacteria in your gut may be influencing your thoughts and moods, raising the possibility that probiotics could be used to treat psychiatric illnesses

Study: Reading for Pleasure Make Your Brain Grow, Literally

Ross Douhat:  The Man in the Google Glasses might feel like a king of infinite space. But he’d actually be inhabiting a comfortable, full-service cage.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:54 AM | Permalink

May 16, 2013

Study: Retirement is Bad for Your Health

The silver lining to imploding retirement savings.

BBC reports :  Retirement 'harmful to health', study says

Retirement has a detrimental impact on mental and physical health, a new study has found.

The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank, found that retirement results in a "drastic decline in health" in the medium and long term.

The IEA said the study suggests people should work for longer for health as well as economic reasons.
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The study, which was published in conjunction with the Age Endeavour Fellowship, a charity, compared retired people with those who had continued working past retirement age, and took into account possible confounding factors.
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The study suggests there is a small boost to health immediately after retirement, before a significant decline in the longer term.

Retirement is found to increase the chances of suffering from clinical depression by 40%, while you are 60% more likely to suffer from a physical condition.

The effect is the same for men and women, while the chances of becoming ill appear to increase with the length of time spent in retirement.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:38 PM | Permalink

The case for "trickle down" values

William Tucker writes about  The Coming Cultural Disintegration  and neatly summarizes Charles Murray's thesis in his latest book, Coming Apart.

THE CULTURAL EARTHQUAKE that Murray has brought to national attention in Coming Apart goes as follows: Whatever the causes, the social disintegration that once seemed to apply only to African Americans has now engulfed blue-collar, white working-class communities as well. Men are dropping out of the workforce, single motherhood has risen to nearly 50 percent, crime has skyrocketed, religious faith is declining, and the chances for upward mobility are rapidly diminishing. As Murray concludes: "The absolute level [of social cohesion] is so low that it calls into question the viability of white working-class communities as a place for socializing the next generation."
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Murray identifies what he calls the "founding virtues"—marriage, industriousness, honesty, and religiosity—that were once shared by all Americans and held us together in a common culture. That culture was still intact on November 21, 1963, the day before the Kennedy assassination that Murray chooses as his benchmark. In graph after graph drawn from the sociological literature, he shows how these four qualities have deteriorated—not among the college educated, who spend most of their time disparaging those virtues, but in blue—collar communities where people are rarely educated beyond high school.  By way of illustration, he applies this data to two real places, Belmont, an upscale suburb of Boston dominated by college graduates, and Fishtown, a working-class neighborhood on the fringe of Philadelphia where the once strong ethic of marriage and family is now falling apart.
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If you rather, you can watch Peter Robinson of Uncommon Knowledge interview Charles Murray in 45 minutes at Powerline
Daniel Greenfield reviews Charles Murray's book in Coming Apart, Coming Together

A marriage rate below 50 percent would have been considered a severe social problem in a nation that had not abandoned, what Murray calls, its “Founding Virtues”, but progressive socialists operating in the haze of an economics centered view of social problems would tend to say that the only social problem is insufficient subsidies for single parent families.
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Though packed with data, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” is less a call for social policies and more of a call for a moral awakening. Beyond trickledown economics, Murray would like to see trickledown values replace the disintegration of the national founding virtues that occurred when culture met counterculture. The segregation of the two Americas has created two cultures, both decaying in their own ways, the effete culture of Belmont and the decaying culture of Fishtown, one wrapped in its own insularity, the other drowning in popular culture with no moral center to cling to.

Teen parents are not the real issue in unwed childbearing

In fact, while teen births have gone down, the unwed birthrate has climbed by more than 45 percent since 1990. In 1990, 28 percent of births were to single mothers, whereas in 2010 that number exceeded 40 percent.

While less than 8 percent of unwed births are to girls under 18, nearly 75 percent are to women between 18 and 29. Rather than a teen issue, the majority of unwed childbearing is a result of the breakdown of marriage relationships among young men and women in lower-income communities.

The breakdown of marriage and the subsequent growth of unwed childbearing should be of major concern, considering its strong association with poverty. Children in single-parent homes are more than five times as likely to be poor as their peers in married-parent homes, and not surprisingly, single-parent families are also much more likely to be dependent on government welfare. Additionally, children raised outside of married-parent homes are at greater risk for a variety of negative outcomes.

Yet, despite the major growth in unwed childbearing and the problems associated with it, there has been a “pervasive social silence” on this matter. While there is much chatter about teen birthrates, the overriding issues of marriage breakdown and unwed childbearing are too often ignored.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:16 PM | Permalink

The IVF industry - "human manufacturing on an industrial scale"

IVF may have brought joy – but it’s also brought misery and ended lives

With Sir Robert Edwards’s death we should still remember that ‘playing God’ brings problems

'I wish IVF had never been invented' It's brought joy to so many. But, as the scientist behind IVF dies, SAMANTHA BRICK says it's given her nothing but heartache…

For every woman lucky enough to fulfil her dream of motherhood, there are many more disillusioned women like me who remain childless.
Lives have been destroyed as well as created. Frequently, marriages do not survive the turmoil unleashed by IVF. There are also those who, years after their IVF has failed, are still paying off the cost of their extortionately-priced treatment.
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Let’s not forget that it is an industry — one which in the UK alone is worth at least £500 million, with 59.7 per cent of IVF cycles paid for privately in 2011. Today, it is a business first and foremost — and one which has depressingly low success rates.
At best, IVF offers a one-in-four chance of having a baby — a rate which rapidly diminishes with a woman’s age.
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Yet I also believe that there are some things we simply shouldn’t meddle with — and artificially creating life is one of them.

The Human Egg Rush

Thanks to tremendous advances in biotechnological prowess, living human bodies—or rather their constituent parts and biological functions—are increasingly being looked upon as valuable commercial commodities. Human eggs (oocytes) are a prime example. Ounce for ounce, ova are surely the most valuable product in the world, with some young women receiving $50,000 and up for twenty or thirty microscopic eggs for use in eugenic in vitro fertilization (IVF). There is a catch: Sellers have to risk their health, fecundity, and lives to earn their paycheck.
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one out of one hundred women experiences ovarian swelling that can enlarge her ovaries to the size of a grapefruit, a condition that often causes the belly to fill with fluid, requiring hospitalization. Some women even suffer ovarian rupture. Other potential health hazards include infection, pulmonary and vascular complications (including life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome), blood clots, and future cancers. In rare cases, hyper-ovulation results in death.
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The growing demand for eggs also opens up the possibility of abortion becoming a remunerative activity. In order to increase the egg supply, Dutch and Israeli scientists are experimenting with ovaries taken from later-term aborted female fetuses. The ovaries are kept alive after the abortion and the fetus’s immature eggs extracted. If the eggs can ever be matured, the scientists theorize, they could be used in infertility treatments and biotechnological experiments.

The Huffington Post’s resident bioethicist, Jacob Appel, has already argued that women who want to abort should be paid to gestate longer in their term before undergoing termination. “If a woman has the fundamental right to terminate a pregnancy,” he asks, “why not the right to use the products of that terminated pregnancy as she sees fit? Many women would likely use the proceeds of such sales to finance college educations or to help raise their children.”

Bad Catholic asks Why the Church Would be so Ridiculous as to Oppose IVF

The child is not owned by his mother, father, community, or state. He is a unique human subject, a universe unto himself, an unfathomable subjectivity — a being who finds himself free, existing for his own sake.  In the glare of this freedom, it occurs to me that I cannot own a child any more than I can own an adult. I can only care for him, and care is an action of love.

The child is cared for by the duty, responsibility and desire of love, because love is the only category in which one human being can say to another “you are mine” without meaning “I own you.” Love is the only category under which the child can blossom, because under its star he is taken care of, with a care that does not infringe upon the fact that he is a human person who ultimately belongs to himself
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Outside of love, there is only economy.
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In the practice of IVF, and the act of procreation amounts to a process of 12,000 dollars, egg-harvesting, masturbation, and the subsequent laboratory work of trained specialists (with some obvious differences depending on the procedure). The creation of children is performed by the cost-counting fingers of economy, not by an act of mutual self-gift.

The evils and difficulties that result from IVF are not the reason IVF is wrong, they are the natural result of separating life from the act of love, indicators of something rotten at the core of this scientific procedure that holds high the banner of compassion. The manipulation and abuse of women who donate ovums, the “disposal” of unique human lives, the inability of the reproductive technology industry to keep the multiple-conception rate at normal levels and the subsequent abortions that compensate for this inability — these are problems of economy. The commodities trafficked are life and death.
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The Church is simply saying the method of creation is sin against love and that subsequent repentance and love must overcome this origin
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The Church is not saying that couples suffering with infertility should not seek to overcome their infertility.
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The success of natural methods of treating infertility has been shown to rival IVF, and they do so without the abortions, elevated risk of birth defects, price, and all the rest. Two recent studies have shown that the live birth rate of women treated with Natural Reproductive Technology is entirely comparable to the live birth rate of women treated with IVF, though larger cohort studies are required. For women diagnosed with “subfertility” or “unexplained fertility” there’s actually no conclusive evidence that IVF is more helpful than any other treatment. In fact, a 2012 study published in Infertility suggests that couples diagnosed with subfertility have as good chances of conceiving in three years of just having sex than in having an IVF procedure.  The Church, by sticking to the principle of love, has created a demand for medicine without the taint of economy, death and manipulation, and thanks the heroic, rebellious doctors and scientists who meet that demand, the entire culture has been elevated: The natural, healthy, ethical treatment of infertility is now a reality.

The Church Is Not Backward, But Forward

As I began my career and worked in cutting-edge biotech laboratories, there was always a nagging question: How can my Church, so rooted in the past, have something relevant to say about modern technologies like stem-cell research, cloning and genetic engineering that are coming in the future?

Then I began researching these technologies and discovered something that changed the way I viewed my Church and my faith. Elbow deep in the latest biotechnology news, I discovered that the Church was far from backward, out of touch and irrelevant.  It is the most forward-thinking institution I have ever encountered — and more relevant today than ever.
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The Church warned us that severing the natural ties between sex and procreation would turn our own offspring into objects instead of the God-given gifts that they are. The Church told us that IVF was an ethical nightmare. If only we as a society had listened.

Back in the 1970s, no one could imagine that IVF would become human manufacturing on an industrial scale, complete with tracking and "quality control." The enormity of human lives created and lost is staggering. Numbers recently released by the U.K.’s Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which has been keeping records on IVF since 1991, are horrifying.

Of the 3 million-plus embryos created in the U.K. with IVF, more than half — about 1.7 million — have been discarded. The numbers are likely similar elsewhere, meaning that IVF has become a manufacturing process with little regard for the massive loss of human life involved.
HFEA numbers also reveal that, for every live birth through IVF, as many as 30 embryos are created.

With estimates now that as many as 5 million IVF children worldwide have been born, it may mean that as many as 150 million lives have been created by IVF. Many of those have been lost, discarded or destroyed by research. Some of those 150 million human lives are still on ice waiting for a chance to finish their lives. Many will die waiting.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:43 PM | Permalink

What do the children say about same-sex parents

Raised by a same-sex couple and bi-sexual himself, Robert Oscar Lopez delivers another searing attack on same sex marriage based on the effect on the children.

children deeply feel the loss of a father or mother, no matter how much we love our gay parents or how much they love us. Children feel the loss keenly because they are powerless to stop the decision to deprive them of a father or mother, and the absence of a male or female parent will likely be irreversible for them.
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I cannot speak for all children of same-sex couples, but I speak for quite a few of them, especially those who have been brushed aside in the so-called “social science research” on same-sex parenting.

Those who contacted me all professed gratitude and love for the people who raised them, which is why it is so difficult for them to express their reservations about same-sex parenting publicly.

Still, they described emotional hardships that came from lacking a mom or a dad. To give a few examples: they feel disconnected from the gender cues of people around them, feel intermittent anger at their “parents” for having deprived them of one biological parent (or, in some cases, both biological parents), wish they had had a role model of the opposite sex, and feel shame or guilt for resenting their loving parents for forcing them into a lifelong situation lacking a parent of one sex.
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I support same-sex civil unions and foster care, but I have always resisted the idea that government should encourage same-sex couples to imagine that their partnerships are indistinguishable from actual marriages. Such a self-definition for gays would be based on a lie, and anything based on a lie will backfire.
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But I am here to say no, having a mom and a dad is a precious value in its own right and not something that can be overridden, even if a gay couple has lots of money, can send a kid to the best schools, and raises the kid to be an Eagle Scout.

It’s disturbingly classist and elitist for gay men to think they can love their children unreservedly after treating their surrogate mother like an incubator, or for lesbians to think they can love their children unconditionally after treating their sperm-donor father like a tube of toothpaste.

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Putting aside all the historical analogies to civil rights and the sentimental platitudes about love, the fact is that same-sex parenting suffers from insurmountable logistical problems for which children pay the steepest lifelong price.
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That’s why I am for civil unions but not for redefining marriage. But I suppose I don’t count—I am no doctor, judge, or television commentator, just a kid who had to clean up the mess left behind by the sexual revolution.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:09 PM | Permalink

Physician-owned hospitals are the best value for care

There are only 238 physician-owned hospitals in the country.  Yet, when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did a study on what hospitals offered the best value for care, No 1 was a physician-owned hospital in Boise.  Nine of the top 10 performing hospitals were physician-owned as were 48 of the top 100.

Obamacare bans these facilities from expanding and prohibited any new physician owned hospitals.

Physician-owned hospitals seize their moment

“The government says, 'You are the best of the best, but we don't want you to compete in the community.' It's an oxymoron,” said Nicholas Genna, CEO of Treasure Valley Hospital. “I would like to see the moratorium on growth lifted, because we are one of the examples of low cost and high quality.”
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With 30 million people expected to gain health insurance in the years after the ACA goes into full effect in 2014, there is no justification to hold back physician-owned hospitals, said orthopedic surgeon John W. Dietz Jr., MD, chair of the board of managers for Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital in Indianapolis. His hospital ranked in the top 10 of Medicare's value-based purchasing program list.

“We are getting more work done for less cost,” he said. “When physicians own and operate the hospital, there is a driving sense of responsibility for the outcomes.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:01 PM | Permalink

We are experimenting on children

The Grayest Generation

The risk of birth defects associated with Artificial Reproductive Technology is larger than people realize.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 8.3 percent of children born with the help of ART had defects, whereas, of those born without it, only 5.8 percent had defects.

Advanced age of the mother increases the likelihood of trisomy:
The risk that a pregnancy will yield a trisomy rises from 2–3 percent when a woman is in her twenties to 30 percent when a woman is in her forties.

In a trisomy, a third chromosome inserts itself into one of the 23 pairs that most of us carry, so that a child’s cells carry 47 instead of 46 chromosomes. The most notorious trisomy is Down syndrome. There are two other common ones: Patau syndrome, which gives children cleft palates, mental retardation, and an 80 percent likelihood of dying in their first year; and Edwards syndrome, which features oddly shaped heads, clenched hands, and slow growth. Half of all Edwards syndrome babies die in the first week of life.

Increased risks of both autism and schizophrenia have been associated with advanced paternal age…..

We are experimenting on children. We have no idea of the full impact of artificial reproductive technology or advanced parental age on our children. We want to believe that it is possible to delay conception until women are “ready” for children. Delayed childbirth was the goal of the radical feminists. We have achieved that goal, and we are doing almost anything to avoid looking at the data showing the very real problems with it.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:47 PM | Permalink

The IRS Leviathan is getting bigger

Tim Carney: The IRS is deeply political — and very Democratic

Judging by available evidence and an inspector general's report released this week, the story here is not a Nixonian White House using all of government's tools to punish critics.

The story is instead one of government power so great that, even in the hands of nonpolitical career civil servants, politically motivated abuse is inevitable. And the ultimate problem is that our tax code and campaign finance laws put the IRS in the business of policing political speech. Politics inevitably comes into play.

And this is the agency that's going to be in charge of enforcing Obamacare

Your Next IRS Political Audit  The tax agency is getting vast new power in health care.

Over the last decade or so the tax agency has stretched its portfolio and become an enforcer and decision-maker for government benefits and programs. Three years ago, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, who operates within the IRS, presciently noted that ObamaCare is "the most extensive social benefit program the IRS has been asked to implement in recent history."


This March the IRS Inspector General reiterated that ObamaCare's 47 major changes to the revenue code "represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years." Thus the IRS is playing Thelma to the Health and Human Service Department's Louise.
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Instead of going after tax cheats, these bureaucrats will write and enforce tax regulations for parts of the economy in which they have no core competence. For example, do ski instructors or public school teachers count as seasonal workers? How long is a "full time" work week? Is it 40 hours, or 30?
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The IRS will also dispense ObamaCare's insurance subsidies since technically they're "advanceable" tax credits, i.e., transfer payments made prior to filing a tax return. The IRS will also police the individual mandate-tax to buy health insurance, as well as the business penalties for not offering Washington-approved coverage to employees.

To monitor compliance with these rules, the IRS and HHS are now building the largest personal information database the government has ever attempted. Known as the Federal Data Services Hub, the project is taking the IRS's own records (for income and employment status) and centralizing them with information from Social Security (identity), Homeland Security (citizenship), Justice (criminal history), HHS (enrollment in entitlement programs and certain medical claims data) and state governments (residency).

The data hub will be used as the verification system for ObamaCare's complex subsidy formula. All insurers, self-insured businesses and government health programs must submit reports to the IRS about the individuals they cover, which the IRS will cross-check against tax returns.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:40 PM | Permalink

A phony recusal and a probably phony reason for seizing AP's records

Strangest recusal ever. AG Holder refused to answer questions put to him by Congress about  the DOJ's seizure of phone records from the Associated Press saying he had 'recused' himself.

But he never put it in writing and he never told anyone about it until he was called as a witness.

28 USC § 591requires the Attorney General to do so.    Otherwise no one will know and the AG could learn all sorts of stuff he's recused himself from the White House and elsewhere.

A completely phony recusal and probably illegal. 

Bomb plot briefing may undercut DOJ's case for AP records seizure

A massive Justice Department investigation into the disclosure by the Associated Press of an ongoing covert operation against an al Qaeda suicide cell in Yemen -- a probe that included a sweeping  secret subpoena of the press association’s phone records  -- has been justified by U.S. officials on the grounds that the news organization “put the American people at risk.”

But that assertion by Attorney General Eric Holder could be undermined by the White House’s decision to publicly comment about the operation at the time and reveal details beyond those in the original AP story, according to legal experts and counterterrorism officials.

Within hours after the AP published its May 7, 2012 story, then-White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, currently the director of the CIA, held a background conference call in which he assured television network commentators that the bomb plot was never a threat to the American public or aviation safety.

The whole reason why DOJ seized the phone records appears to be phony too.  AP replies to DOJ's lastest

Overbroad.

"The scope of the subpoena was overbroad under the law, given that it involved seizing records from a broad range of telephones across AP’s newsgathering operation. More than 100 journalists work in the locations served by those telephones. How can we consider this inquiry to be narrowly drawn.

Rather than talk to us in advance, they seized these phone records in secret, saying that notifying us would compromise their investigation. They offer no explanation of this, however.

Instead they captured the telephone numbers between scores of AP journalists and the many people they talk to in the normal business of gathering news. How would narrowing the scope of the phone records have compromised their investigation?"

The AP held the story on the plot to put a bomb on an airliner to the US and didn't publish the story until the government assured them the national security concerns had passed

"Finally, they say this secrecy is important for national security. It is always difficult to respond to that, particularly since they still haven’t told us specifically what they are investigating.

We believe it is related to AP’s May 2012 reporting that the U.S. government had foiled a plot to put a bomb on an airliner to the United States. We held that story until the government assured us that the national security concerns had passed. Indeed, the White House was preparing to publicly announce that the bomb plot had been foiled."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:21 PM | Permalink

Health Roundup: Anti-cocaine vaccine, statins, walnuts, modern life, magnesium and fish oil restoring the brain after junk food

Anti-cocaine vaccine that eats drug up 'like Pac-man' could be used on humans within a year

An anti-cocaine vaccine that ‘eats up cocaine like a Pac-man’ has come a step closer to being used in humans.    The new vaccine that could help treat cocaine addicts has just passed preliminary tests in primates and could be trialled on humans soon.

The vaccine works by preventing the active compound reaching the brain before it can produce the dopamine-induced high.

The study, published online by the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, used a radiological technique to demonstrate that the anti-cocaine vaccine prevented the drug from reaching the brain.

Suffering on statins? Stop taking them now: Cholesterol-busting medicines may be causing more harm that good

Last month the Annals Of Internal Medicine reported that 20 per cent of those on statins suffered a significant side effect – muscle pains, stomach complaints and memory disturbance – far higher than the one per cent that was first suggested by drug companies.
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My advice to John was to follow a Mediterranean diet. The evidence shows that for those who have suffered a heart attack, consuming olive oil, nuts, oily fish, plenty of fruit and vegetables and a moderate amount of red wine is almost three times more powerful a lifesaving tool than statins.

Could eating WALNUTS be the key to good heart health?

Eating a handful of walnuts could  provide near-instant protection from heart disease.
Scientists found ‘significant’ improvement in cholesterol levels and blood vessel flexibility, which helps blood flow smoothly, just four hours after people consumed either the shelled nuts or walnut oil.

Walnuts can also cut your risk of diabetes, ease stress, help prevent Alzheimer's and protect against breast and prostate cancer.

A leading scientist says modern life is causing dementia to develop earlier than ever.

Experts have found that more people are developing the symptoms of mental decline of dementia and scientists have blamed PCs, mobile phones, chemicals and electronic devices for the shift.

The study, carried out by Bournemouth University, found that deaths as a result of neurological illness rose in all 16 countries covered by the research.

Researchers found a sharp rise in the deaths from dementia and other neurological disease in under-74s, and believe that the figures cannot be explained away by the fact we live longer.  The US topped the list of Western countries with the highest increase in all neurological deaths between 1979 and 2010.

A staggering 51 per cent of girls aged 11 to 18 are thought to have an inadequate intake of magnesium

Apart from helping with bowel health, magnesium is critical to a host of vital processes in the body. It helps keep heart rhythm steady, and is vital for healthy bones and teeth, muscle function, the nervous system and the production of energy. It also has an impact on psychological health.
But many of us — particularly young people — aren’t getting enough of the mineral.

Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, wholegrain bread, brown rice, dairy products, some nuts and seeds, meat, seafood and fish. The recommended daily intake is around 250-300mg (more than 300mg may have a laxative effect

Fish oil 'can restore the brain after junk food': Diets rich in omega-3s play key role in reversing damage caused by high fats

'Excessive intake of certain macronutrients, the refined sugars and saturated fats found in junk food, can lead to weight gain, disrupt metabolism and even affect mental processing.
'These changes can be seen in the brain's structure, including its ability to generate new nerve cells, potentially linking obesity to neurodegenerative diseases.

'Research, however, has suggested that omega-3 fish oils can reverse or even prevent these effects.
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But it appears - in studies with animal models - that omega-3s restore normal function by interfering with the production of these inflammatory molecules, suppressing triglycerides, and returning these nerve growth factors to normal.

Dr Pickavance added: 'Fish oils don't appear to have a direct impact on weight loss, but they may take the brakes off the detrimental effects of some of the processes triggered in the brain by high-fat diets.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:56 PM | Permalink

One woman's story of intimidation by the IRS

Via Ann Althouse

STEFANO:  This was before I joined Americans for Prosperity. I was just a stay-at-home mother. I was pregnant with another baby, and I wanted to do what was right.  My Tea Party group was becoming really large and I couldn't run the money and the donations through my bank account. I was advised the IRS would come after you for that. So I started calling other groups and I thought I would file and create an organization, and here they were all getting targeted by the IRS, and I got scared.

RUSH:  So Willis then said, "Well, what were they asking you?"

STEFANO:  These are all out there now, and I have actually documents showing it. You know, "Send us your Facebook pages, your Twitter pages," and I said, "Does that include personal pages?" and they said, "Everything."  They wanted to know your personal relationships with politicians and political parties. And I asked, "What would happen if I don't send this to you?" and they said, they made an insinuation like, "Look, it can be considered perjury if you omit things from the IRS."  I'm a pregnant stay-at-home mother on one income, I thought, "Oh, my goodness, I'm not doing anything." I stopped.

RUSH:  Exactly.  She stopped.  She's trying to set up a tax-exempt organization to raise money for the causes she believed in. She's a Tea Party woman.  This is the War on Women.  She didn't start the group. She did not start her group because she was scared of being charged with perjury if she didn't answer all the questions and send in all of the information that they were demanding.  So there's your answer, in part, why the electorate didn't look the same in 2012 as it did in 2010.  These groups were shut down.  The regime shut them down, made it, in this woman's case, impossible for her to set up her fundraising group and to begin working on behalf of the things she believed in.

RUSH:  Look, in plain, simple language for low-information voters to understand this. What was happening was, it just wasn't fair, folks, what the IRS was doing was not fair to these Tea Party groups.  They were denying them the right to participate in the political process by harassing them because of what they believed.  That's not American, that's not fair, and it was mean.  It was really mean.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:44 PM | Permalink

So many IRS Targets, so many ways to go after them

So far, 500 organizations were targeted.

A physician practicing in Kansas City, Milton Wolf is Obama's second cousin.  In 2010 when he began speaking out and writing columns against Obamacare, the White House urged the Washington Times to drop him as a columnist and the IRS refused to give him his tax refund for several months.

J. Christian Adams, one of the Obama/Holder Department of Justice's most effective critics  was told "it's no accident you were audited",  Add Me to the List of IRS Targets.

A prominent Catholic professor who wrote articles critical of Obama was audited in 2010 and the IRS auditor wanted to know who was paying her and what the organizations' politics were.  Since then she has not written a single article and said, "“It was clear they didn’t like me criticizing the people who helped pass Obamacare,”  later adding, “The IRS is very frightening.”

Some Christian ministries were targeted.  Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse and the Biblical Recorder – all of which supported traditional marriage.

True the Vote was targeted in Houston.  True the Vote is against election fraud and monitors polling places across the state.  They applied for exemption 3 years ago and are still waiting.

True the Vote has been through five rounds of IRS questionnaires, the third of them came with nearly 150 questions.

"'We want to see every Facebook posting you've ever posted, and every tweet you've ever tweeted. And we want to know everywhere you've ever spoken,'"  said Catherine Englebrecht, founder of the organization.

….documents reveal IRS employees admitted the application was being reviewed by a task force at the IRS in Washington, DC.

On top of that -- and maybe most concerning -- Englebrecht says her personal taxes were audited at the same time for the first time. And on the very day she got that lengthy questionnaire from the IRS, her business got its first visit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in decades. Just months later, it received a visit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"In 20 years of being in business, none of that had ever happened," Englebrecht said…

."I don't want to believe that I started an effort to encourage citizens to work at the polls, and some three years later, I've been investigated by every government agency that exists," Englebrecht said.

Certain Democrat Senators encouraged the IRS to go after conservative groups.  The WSJ reports

In a September 2010 letter to then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, Montana Senator Max Baucus encouraged the IRS to investigate the use of nonprofit status by conservative groups.
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In March 2012, New York Senator Chuck Schumer and six other Democrats signed a letter demanding that the IRS put a "cap" on spending by nonprofits or face legislation. In the meantime, they wrote, the groups should be forced to "show their math" to prove that they deserve the tax-exempt status they are applying for.

George Soros gave $6.1 million to groups linked to pressure on the IRS to target conservative nonprofits

Several Soros-funded groups including the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, the Center for Public Integrity, Mother Jones and Alternet have worked to pressure the IRS to target conservative nonprofit groups.
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The IRS scandal can be traced back to a series of letters that the liberal groups Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 sent to the IRS back in 2010 and 2011

The timeline and the letters can be seen at the link.

The director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements which oversees the  determinations of tax-exempt organizations was a $2000 donor to Obama's 2008 campaign.

I didn't know that the IRS employees had a union: the National Treasury Employees Union.  The NTEU endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012 and gave 94% of its campaign money to anti-Tea Party candidates.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:56 AM | Permalink

May 15, 2013

He was swallowed by a hippo and still lives

Experience: I was swallowed by a hippo
'There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf'

He managed to escape until he was attacked again.
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Hippos' mouths have huge tusks, slicing incisors and a bunch of smaller chewing teeth. It felt as if the bull was making full use of the whole lot as he mauled me – a doctor later counted almost 40 puncture wounds and bite marks on my body. The bull simply went berserk, throwing me into the air and catching me again, shaking me like a dog with a doll.

Then down we went again, right to the bottom, and everything went still. I remember looking up through 10 feet of water at the green and yellow light playing on the surface, and wondering which of us could hold his breath the longest. Blood rose from my body in clouds, and a sense of resignation overwhelmed me. I've no idea how long we stayed under – time passes very slowly when you're in a hippo's mouth.

The hippo lurched suddenly for the surface, spitting me out as it rose. Mike was still waiting for me in his kayak and managed to paddle me to safety. I was a mess. My left arm was crushed to a pulp, blood poured from the wounds in my chest and when he examined my back, Mike discovered a wound so savage that my lung was visible.

Luckily, he knew first aid and was able to seal the wounds in my chest with the wrapper from a tray of snacks, which almost certainly stopped my lungs from collapsing and saved my life.

By chance, a medical team was nearby, on an emergency drill, and with their help I stayed alive long enough to reach a hospital with a surgeon. He warned me he would probably have to take off both my arms and the bottom of my injured leg. In the end, I lost only my left arm – they managed to patch up the rest.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:10 PM | Permalink

IRS stole 60 million medical records

IRS sued for stealing the 60 million medical records of 10 million Americans

The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.

According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.

“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search.

“IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.

According to the case, the IRS agents had a search warrant for financial data pertaining to a former employee of the John Doe company, however, "it did not authorize any seizure of any healthcare or medical record of any persons, least of all third parties completely unrelated to the matter," the complaint read.

The class action lawsuit against the IRS seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages "per violation per individual" in addition to punitive damages for constitutional violations.  Thus, compensatory damages could start at a minimum of $250 billion
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:32 PM | Permalink

May 14, 2013

Benghazi news today

Barbara Boxer  and other leading Democrats  blame the Republicans for the scandal saying they cut funds for embassy security

but Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, testified in October that budget cuts did not affect resources for security in Benghazi. On Face the Nation that same month, House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa said the State Department was sitting on more than $2.2 billion in unused funds designated for embassy security.

The U.S. State Department has a $50 billion budget

The fact checker at the Washington Post gives Obama's claim that he called Benghazi 'an act of terrorism'  Four Pinocchios meaning "Whoppers".
Eight months after the fact.

The president’s claim that he said ‘act of terrorism’ is taking revisionist history too far,” Kessler wrote in a post Tuesday, “given that [Obama] repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack.”

Mark Steyn calls out the Band of Brothers and the incestuous relationships between the mainstream media and the Obama Administration.

It was revealed today that CBS News President David Rhodes' brother is Obama Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, who was instrumental in rewriting the Benghazi talking points. But it gets worse. It is now learned that ABC President Ben Sherwood's sister, Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, is a Special Assistant to Barack Obama on national security affairs. But even this isn't it! CNN's deputy bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is the wife of Tom Nides, who until February was Hillary Clinton's deputy.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:20 PM | Permalink

Double Standards

Groups not in line with the Administration are treated quite differently.  The scandals keep multiplying.

EPA waives fee requests for friendly groups, denies conservative groups

Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

US windfarms avoiding prosecution for eagle deaths

More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country's windfarms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law.
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"What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK," said Tim Eicher, a former US Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent.
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Meanwhile, the Obama administration has proposed a rule that would give wind-energy companies potentially decades of shelter from prosecution for killing eagles. The regulation is currently under review at the White House.

The proposal, made at the urging of the wind-energy industry, would allow companies to apply for 30-year permits to kill a set number of bald or golden eagles. Previously, companies were only eligible for five-year permits.

It's a Legal Double Standard   Obama administration gives wind energy industry a pass on killing birds, but not oil and gas.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:10 PM | Permalink

More on the IRS Updated

IRS tells Pro-Life Ministry to Promote Abortion

“She told me … they were going to deny my application,” he told WND. “She did get nervous though in the end when I pressed her that I wanted specific information about why I had to educate from a pro-abortion perspective not just pro-life. I explained to her that the Pro-Life Action League even has pro-life in their title and they certainly don’t teach pro-abortion topics and they are still 501©(3). I also told her that Planned Parenthood does not teach about pro-life issues yet they are also still a 501©(3).”

He also told WND that the IRS had rewritten his proposed bylaws “to paint our organization as a political organization. I couldn’t believe they took it upon themselves to do that,” he told WND.

Progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the IRS gave us conservative groups' confidential info whose tax-exempt status was pending.

James Bovard at The Wall Street Journal has a Brief History of IRS Political TargetingOne survey found that 75% of IRS respondents felt entitled to deceive or lie to Congress.  Presidents  Roosevelt, Kennedy,  Nixon, and Clinton did it too.  In the case of Nixon, his misuse of the IRS was the 2nd article of impeachment against him.

IRS demanded  a reading list from an applicant for 503©(4) status  The applicant sent back a copy of the Constitution. 

IRS agents in Washington were involved in the targeting of conservative groups.

The IRS targeted Billy Graham

Obama's half-brother got retroactive tax-exempt status for the Obama Foundation despite never having applied for it and raising money anyway.

Chiefs at IRS Knew of Targeting and did nothing

The report of the Inspector General of the IRS is here.  He found that "inappropriate criteria" was used to identify potential political cases which were then subject to "significant processing delays" and from whom "unnecessary information" was requested.

The IRS: Worse than profiling

Not only is the targeting a violation of these groups’ First Amendment rights, it is a violation of the most carefully protected class of speech: core political speech, which the ourts have again and again recognized as central to the very functioning of the Republic. It makes little difference whether the IRS’s intention was to chill speech; it chose a tool likely to have that effect.

Such “viewpoint discrimination,” as it is known in jurisprudence, is “virtually per se unlawful,” according to constitutional litigator and NRO contributor Shannen Coffin. That is, it is such a pernicious subclass of free-speech restriction that it is all but unjustifiable by definition.

ABC News’ Trey Hardin: West Wing Of White House Authorized IRS-Gate Targeting (video)

Trey Hardin: “I will tell you this on the IRS front. I’ve worked in this town for over 20 years in the White House and on Capitol Hill and I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it. It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization.”

Obama released a statement condemning the IRS for targeting conservative groups calling the actions "intolerable and inexcusable."  Treasury Secretary Jack Lew charged with holding the responsible accountable and for implementing the IG's recommendations.

The Department of Justice opens a criminal probe into IRS's politically biased audits.

Politico reports that D.C. is turning on Obama

“And it goes beyond even the story,” National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who covered the Clinton and Bush scandals and was once the AP Washington bureau chief, said on the show. “One common thing with Benghazi and the IRS scandal, is we’re being misled every day. We were lied to on Benghazi, on the talking points behind Benghazi, for months. We were lied to by the IRS for months and now they’re sending a clear message to our sources: Don’t embarrass the administration or we’re coming after you.” 

UPDATE/ A flashback to 2009.  Glenn Reynolds writes in the WSJ, Tax Audits Are No Laughing Matter

At his Arizona State University commencement speech last Wednesday, Mr. Obama noted that ASU had refused to grant him an honorary degree, citing his lack of experience, and the controversy this had caused. He then demonstrated ASU's point by remarking, "I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."
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Should the IRS come to be seen as just a bunch of enforcers for whoever is in political power, the result would be an enormous loss of legitimacy for the tax system.
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This is why the IRS is so strict with its own employees. Paul Caron, a professor at the University of Cincinnati who writes the TaxProf blog, noted in response to Mr. Obama's remarks that the law calls for the termination of IRS employees who make audit threats for illegitimate reasons. He suggested that Mr. Obama's "joke" might be grounds for firing if he were an IRS employee.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:06 PM | Permalink

Bits and pieces

105-Year-Old Texas Woman Reveals Bacon as her Secret behind Long Life    She outlived 3 of her 7 children and her husband and attributes her long life to eating bacon every day.  Bacon.

$763 billion.  The One Number You Need to Know in O’s Budget.  That's the amount we'll be paying in interest payments in 2023 if Obama's budget is enacted.  According to Kevin Williamson,

Under Obama’s budget, in 2020 interest payments alone would amount to more than national-defense spending in that year. By 2023, interest payments alone would amount to more than all nondefense discretionary spending in that year.

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Politically and economically unsustainable.  Not one person in Congress voted for it.   

It does not stand a chance of being ratified into law, but it is worth noting the fact that the president of the United States has just proposed a budget that amounts to a national economic suicide pact. And he couldn’t even be bothered to do that on time. There may be a political case for his having done so, but as national economic leadership, this budget is grossly irresponsible.

Pew research reports US gun homicide rate down 49% over last 20 years 

Two takeaways from the WSJ piece on The Crucial Years for Protecting Your Eye Health:  By age 40, the lens of the eye gradually loses the ability to focus.  If you're buying off-the -shelf reading glasses, don't select the ones that appear to make things clearest.  It's probably a stronger prescription than your eyes need which can encourage their loss of focus to go faster.    Don't wear your reading glasses while using the computer because it may encourage your eyes to weaken faster.

Insurers predict 100% to 400% Obamacare rate explosion

New regulations, policies, taxes, fees and mandates are the reason for the unexpected "rate shock," according to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which released a report Monday based on internal documents provided by the insurance companies. The 17 companies include Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kaiser Foundation.

Iran is now chairing the UN Council on Disarmament.  Tossup as to whether that's more outrageous than Syria as chair of the UN Human Rights Committee

Americans are ditching driving Young people no longer see driving as freedom because they've only known driving as congestion.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:54 PM | Permalink

Health roundup: Optimism, salt, sugar, Angela Jolie's double mastectomy, good gut bacteria, finger tests and singing

The Cancer of Optimism

A study of cancer patients and their doctors in the Annals of Internal Medicine a year later found that many doctors didn’t quite tell patients the truth about their prognosis. Doctors were up front about their patients’ estimated survival 37 percent of the time; refused to give any estimate 23 percent of the time; and told patients something else 40 percent of the time. Around 70 percent of the discrepant estimates were overly optimistic.

This optimism is far from harmless. It drives doctors to endorse treatments that most likely won’t save patients’ lives, but may cause them unnecessary suffering and inch their families toward medical bankruptcy.

And yet studies have shown that patients almost universally prefer to be told the truth. If physicians cannot deliver the hard facts, not only do they deprive their patients of crucial information, but they also delay the conversation about introducing palliative care.

Medical Test Uses Fingers To Predict Heart Disease

Dr. Chris Renna of LifeSpan Medicine in Santa Monica shows in a video how the test works by checking blood vessel health.

NYTimes reports No Benefit in Sharply Restricting Salt, Panel Finds.  The report by the Institute of Medicine here.  The national dietary guidelines are very low 1500 milligrams of sodium per day for anyone at risk. 

“As you go below the 2,300 mark, there is an absence of data in terms of benefit and there begin to be suggestions in subgroup populations about potential harms,” said Dr. Brian L. Strom, chairman of the committee and a professor of public health at the University of Pennsylvania. He explained that the possible harms included increased rates of heart attacks and an increased risk of death.

Now Sugar Eats Your Brain

The takeaway (assuming this holds up in people, which it will) - Americans eat too much sugar, which contributes to obesity, diabetes, Alzheimers, and other mental deterioration. Fish oil supplementation can help; cutting way, way back on sugar can help more.

Doctor Calls Stem-Cell Surgery on Toddler Revolutionary

Were it not for the surgery, “Hannah would have been a prisoner in a hospital bed, requiring frequent suctioning of her saliva to prevent herself from drowning in her own secretions or developing pneumonia,”

Because Hannah’s procedure uses her own cells, it reduces any risk of donor rejection and upholds Catholic doctrine, which is essential to the hospital’s mission, Holterman said.

Angela Jolie explains her preventative double mastectomy in an op ed piece for The New York Times My Medical Choice

Her mother died at 56 of cancer and Angela carries the "faulty" gene BRCA1 gene.  Her doctors estimated she had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer.    With the double mastectomy, her chances of getting breast cancer are now 5%.  A loving and supportive partner like Brad Pitt helps too.

Good gut bacteria could provide new treatment for obesity and diabetes

Study found that Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria helped burn fat and improve blood sugar levels
Experts now hope that discovery will help pave way for new medical treatments for obesity and diabetes

If you suffer from any lung conditions, singing will vastly improve the quality of your life.   Britain’s top hospitals are using singing lessons to treat patients.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:25 PM | Permalink

Why the Left hates families

Once a leftist, Melanie Philips, is now deeply hated by the left though they still admit to her 'fierce intelligence".  This remarkable piece details her disengagement from the left

But they reserve a special loathing for me. This is not just because I refuse to be cowed.  It’s because I was once one of them, one of the elect, a believer.

As a university-educated young woman with hippie-style hair and an attitude, I, too, generally toed the standard Leftist line in the late Seventies and early Eighties. Poverty was bad, cuts in public spending were bad, prison was bad, the Tory government was bad.  The state was good, poor people were good, minorities were good, sexual freedom was good.
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Bit by bit, I saw through the delusion of the Left’s supposedly ‘progressive’ politics.  Increasingly, I turned away from their stupidity, hypocrisy and moral blindness. They, of course, dismissed me as contemptibly ‘Right-wing’, as if that was sufficient to destroy my argument.
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Rather, I fight the Left on its very own purported moral high ground, which I once believed we all shared, but which I came to realise it had most cynically betrayed. The defining issue for me — the one that launched me on a personal trajectory of confrontation with the Left and with my colleagues and friends — was the persistent undermining of the family as an institution.

Why the Left hates families: MELANIE PHIILLIPS reveals how the selfish sneers of Guardianistas made her see how the Left actively fosters – and revels in – family breakdown…

Having experienced how the absence of proper fathering could screw up a child for life, I believed I was doing no more than stating the obvious when I deplored the explosion of lone parenting, female-headed households and mass fatherlessness.

But, to my amazement, at The Guardian, I found that over this and many other issues, I was branded as reactionary, authoritarian and, of course, Right-wing.  The result was social ostracism. One of the mentors I had looked up to — a thoughtful person, independent-minded and intellectually curious, or so I had thought — simply walked off rather than talk to me about these issues.
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Truth was being sacrificed to personal expediency. Evidence would be denied if the consequences were inconvenient. Self-centred individualism and  self-justification ruled, regardless of the damage done to others.

Surely, though, the essence of being ‘progressive’ was to protect the most vulnerable?  Yet these ‘progressives’ were elevating their own desires into rights that trumped the emotional, physical and intellectual well-being of their children — and then berated as heartless reactionaries those who criticised them!

The more this was being justified, the more it was happening. Rising numbers of people were abandoning their spouses and children, or breaking up other people’s families, or bringing children into the world without a father around at all.
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This revealed another sad truth about the Left. What matters to them above all is that they are seen to be virtuous and compassionate. They simply cannot deal with the possibility that they might not be.
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I was as perplexed by this as I was appalled. I had been brought up to believe the Left stood for altruism rather than selfishness, community rather than individualism, self- discipline rather than the law of the jungle and the survival of the fittest.

Instead, society was worshipping at the shrine of the self, and this was causing a rising tide of juvenile distress, crime, emotional disturbance, educational and relationship failure.
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But I believe my experience is symptomatic of what has happened to British society and western culture as a whole over the past 30 years.

Our cultural and political elites have simply turned truth and justice inside out and, with argument replaced by insult and abuse, taken leave of reality itself. They have destroyed rational discourse, polarised opinion and thereby undermined the possibility of finding common ground.

The result is that there are two Britains — the first adhering to decency, rationality and duty to others, and the second characterised by hatred, rampant selfishness and a terrifying repudiation of reason.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:53 PM | Permalink

May 13, 2013

40% of lower back pain cases are caused by a previously unknown bacterie

How back pain can be beaten with antibiotics: Breakthrough could cure 40% of sufferers

Hundreds of thousands of people living with crippling back pain could be cured  - by a simple and inexpensive course of antibiotics.

In a breakthrough described as being worthy of a Nobel prize, scientists have shown that many cases of severe, long-term back ache are caused by bacteria  –  and the bugs can be zapped by a three-month course of pills costing just £114.

Patients who were in so much pain that they had to give up work have thanked the researchers for giving them their life back.

Hanne Albert, the Danish scientist who made the discovery, said almost half of those with chronic lower back pain could benefit.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:14 PM | Permalink

"The Government has mandated speech codes on all campuses"

Legal Insurrection reports : The FIRE ""The Government has mandated speech codes on all campuses"

The Foundation for Individual Rights In Higher Education (FIRE) is the premier non-partisan organization fighting to protect free speech and other constitutional rights on campus.  The FIRE defends everyone’s rights, regardless of political affiliation.  The FIRE is not an organization prone to hyperbole.

So when I received this email late this afternoon from FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley, it got my attention:

THIS. IS. OUTRAGEOUS. The government has mandated speech codes on all campuses. I hoped I would never see this day, but I feared I would

FIRE's press release

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MANDATES UNCONSTITUTIONAL SPEECH CODES AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES NATIONWIDE

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013—In a shocking affront to the United States Constitution, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have joined together to mandate that virtually every college and university in the United States establish unconstitutional speech codes that violate the First Amendment and decades of legal precedent.

“I am appalled by this attack on free speech on campus from our own government,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has been leading the fight against unconstitutional speech codes on America’s college campuses since its founding in 1999. “In 2011, the Department of Education took a hatchet to due process protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. Now the Department of Education has enlisted the help of the Department of Justice to mandate campus speech codes so broad that virtually every student will regularly violate them. The DOE and DOJ are ignoring decades of legal decisions, the Constitution, and common sense, and it is time for colleges and the public to push back.”

In a letter sent yesterday to the University of Montana that explicitly states that it is intended as “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country,” the Departments of Justice and Education have mandated a breathtakingly broad definition of sexual harassment that makes virtually every student in the United States a harasser while ignoring the First Amendment. The mandate applies to every college receiving federal funding—virtually every American institution of higher education nationwide, public or private.
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Among the forms of expression now punishable on America’s campuses by order of the federal government are:

Any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person. This leaves a wide range of expressive activity—a campus performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” a presentation on safe sex practices, a debate about sexual morality, a discussion of gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita—subject to discipline.
Any sexually themed joke overheard by any person who finds that joke offensive for any reason.
Any request for dates or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient of such a request or flirtation.

There is likely no student on any campus anywhere who is not guilty of at least one of these “offenses.” Any attempt to enforce this rule evenhandedly and comprehensively will be impossible….
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:08 PM | Permalink

The Chilling Power of the IRS

WELL, we' re learning a lot more about the IRS,  the agency which, by law, we entrust with our most private financial information.  We are now seeing what happens when this agency with extraordinary powers becomes partisan and politically corrupt.    'Witch hunt',  'Inquisition',  'absolutely chilling' are on the lips of conservatives and liberals.

And this agency is about to hire thousands, as many as 16,000,  new IRS agents to enforce Obamacare, the 47 tax provisions under the law, even deciding who gets included

What we know so far:

According to the Inspector General of the IRS,  the IRS began targeting conservatives in 2010.

The IRS targeted groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution.

By the summer of 2011, the IRS broadened their criteria for audits to include

groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to "make America a better place to live." It even flagged groups whose file included criticism of "how the country is being run."

By early 2012, the criteria were updated to include organizations involved in "limiting/expanding government," education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and social economic reform.
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Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins …"This is truly outrageous and it contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government," Collins told CNN's "State of the Union." "It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review. And I think that it's very disappointing that the president hasn't personally condemned this."

The Jewish Press reports the IRS  targeted pro-Israeli groups.

They targeted Romney donors .  The national co-chair of Romney's presidential finance committee, vilified by the Obama campaign, was told he would be audited by the IRS and the Labor Department.

They may also have leaked confidential information.

Brian Bow, the president of the National Organization on the Family said

“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:41 PM | Permalink

May 10, 2013

An apology is not enough

Back when Richard Nixon was president, the thought that he might  use the IRS to go after his enemies was greeted with horror by everyone. To my knowledge he never did so.

Now the IRS admits they went after it targeted organizations with 'patriot' or 'tea party' in their name and scrutinized them excessively.

IRS apologizes for targeting conservative groups

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, said 

"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

"The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.

If this were a private organization the wrong-doers would be fired immediately.  But the government never fires anyone, so the bad eggs stay on, maybe on suspension, but almost certainly continuing to draw their pay.

They should be fired, kicked out and the fear of God put into every single IRS employee.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:45 PM | Permalink

Consider a take away Mother's Day gift

Take away some of their stuff that they want to unload writes David Ekerdt at the New Old Age blog.  Stuff from their basements, attics, garages and sheds
or  old photo albums when they can still tell you while they can still tell you who all those people are.

 Old Photoalbum Best

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:14 PM | Permalink

Health roundup: Gut, sleep, iPads, redheads and belief in God

Could GUT bacteria be responsible for thousands of heart attacks each year?
Study has found that bugs in gut are responsible for converting food into harmful compound called TMAO, a compound responsible for cholesterol building up on artery walls and hardening the arteries.

The Hordes of Microbes Inside Your Body Are Your Friends
An interview with the synthetic biologist Christina Agapakis

Sleep divorce.  Sleeping apart may be a solution to sleep disorders like insomnia or restless slumber.

The end of stitches? Surgeons pioneer 'human welding' technique using lasers and gold

The gold-based solder is wrapped in material that is elastic and can move with the body
It creates a 'liquid-tight' seal that could prevent harmful internal fluid leaks

The second generation iPad can, in some cases, interfere with implanted defibrillators because of the magnets built into the tablet's casing.
So reports a study by a 14 year-old student.  Warnings are being played down by manufacturers who claim there is 'no risk'.

Redheads are at increased risk of skin cancer even if they DON'T spend time in the sun

Scientists have discovered that the production of red hair pigment causes an increased risk of melanoma.

Until now it was believed that people with red hair were more prone to skin cancer simply because of their fair skin, however, the new research suggest that there is more to it.

Live Science Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness

Individuals who described themselves as having strong faith reported having a better overall response to treatment, said David Rosmarin, a clinician and instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"We found that patients who had higher levels of belief in God had better treatment outcomes — better well-being, less depression and less anxiety,"

"It's embarrassing that there's such a disparity between what we know about patient spirituality, and how to handle it," Rosmarin said. "It's an area that's relevant to us as a people, but we have no clue what to do about it."

The power of prayer: Believing in God can help treat depression
New research has found that people who believe in a higher power respond better to psychiatric treatment.  That benefit is not confined to a specific religion

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:01 AM | Permalink

Benghazi

Hugh Hewitt summed it up in the headline of his blog piece:

Never have so many “journalists” been so blase about terrorism, the murder of Americans, the heroism of SEALs and a cover-up at the highest levels of Washington, D.C. including the sitting president and a possible future president.

The testimony of Greg Hicks was riveting.  As the career official recounted the events that night , he choked up several times.  Listening to him, so did I.

When he heard Susan Rice say on 5 different Sunday talk shows that the cause was a stupid YouTube video, the senior American on the ground in Libya, he said, "I was stunned.  My jaw dropped."

The Administration was very busy that night.  ABC News reports Benghazi Talking Points Underwent 12 Revisions, Scrubbed of Terror Reference

Stephen Hayes reports in The Benghazi Scandal Grows

The original CIA talking points had been blunt: The assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi was a terrorist attack conducted by a large group of Islamic extremists, including some with ties to al Qaeda.

These were strong claims. The CIA usually qualifies its assessments, providing policymakers a sense of whether the conclusions of its analysis are offered with “high confidence,” “moderate confidence,” or “low confidence.” That first draft signaled confidence, even certainty: “We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack.”

There was good reason for this conviction. Within 24 hours of the attack, the U.S. government had intercepted communications between two al Qaeda-linked terrorists discussing the attacks in Benghazi. One of the jihadists, a member of Ansar al Sharia, reported to the other that he had participated in the assault on the U.S. diplomatic post. Solid evidence. And there was more. Later that same day, the CIA station chief in Libya had sent a memo back to Washington, reporting that eyewitnesses to the attack said the participants were known jihadists, with ties to al Qaeda.

There are many questions that can not be answered until a Select Committee is appointed to investigate them.

1. Why did the State Department deny the consulate extra security, leaving it  essentially unguarded in a war zone  despite two previous attacks?
2. Once the attack started, why were military resources told to stand down when they wanted to go rescue the besieged Americans?
3. Why did the Administration lie about what happened, even over the coffins of the dead?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:51 AM | Permalink

Parenting Roundup: Nuts, spit, love affairs, true grit and wimps

Forget milk for strong bones: NUTS could be just as important for child bone health
Milk was seen as most crucial nutrient for bone-density, but magnesium, found in dark chocolate and oats is just as important

Healthiest children are those who eat the same as their parents
Study shows that eating adult meals is the most important factor affecting whether a child's diet is healthy.  If you give children only what they want, they will eat food with more calories and fewer nutrients.

Sucking on your baby's dummy before giving it to them may prevent asthma and eczema in childhood

Transferring bacteria found in spit from parents to babies boosts immunity.  18-month-old babies, whose dummies had been sucked by parents, were 63% less likely to develop eczema and 88% less likely to get asthma

How to ruin your child's chance of a happy love life: Have an affair - and the damage is WORSE the older they are when you stray

In order to grow up well, adolescents desperately need their parents to be role models — particularly when it comes to demonstrating the values of integrity, honesty and sensitivity towards loved ones.

They need a stable family from which they can gradually start to pull away in order to forge their own separate lives. The discovery of an affair explodes all that. To make matters worse, some teenagers are forced to bear the weight of family secrets by acting as go-betweens.

Imbue your children with grit.True Grit may decide how much we achieve in life.

And scientists say that if you too have true grit, you may do better in life.
Those with true grit show a ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals’.
They are tenacious, not easily distracted and not discouraged by set-backs.  They also place importance in success.

Updated.  From Psychology Today, A Nation of Wimps

Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they're breaking down in record numbers.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:42 AM | Permalink

May 3, 2013

Is the Pentagon destroying the morale of those in uniform?

What is going on in the defense department?  They are on the search for extremists in uniform but they are relying on extreme groups to advise them on who is an extremist. 

It was just last month that the US Army Labelled Catholics, Orthodox Jews and Evangelicals as Religious Extremists on a par with Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Ku Klux Klan, Sunni Muslims and the Nation of Islam.   

The presentation also warned that members of the military are prohibited from taking leadership roles in any organization the Pentagon considers 'extremist,' and from distributing the organization's literature, whether on or off a military installation.

Turns out the presentation was heavily influenced by Maurice Dees, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center whose fear-mongering has amassed so much money that it's probably the richest anti-poverty organization in the history of the world, an organization that gets an "F" rating from Charity Watch    Dees is called  the "King of the Hate Business" by the late progressive leftist Alexander Cockburn.  Cockburn decried the highly gullible and often highly educated people who continue to respond to the SLPC hate appeals with millions of dollars.

Now let's turn to the new Pentagon consultant on tolerance, Mikey Weinstein.

You probably saw the story earlier this week, Pentagon Taps Anti-Christian Extremist for Religious Tolerance Policy

Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), in a column he wrote for the Huffington Post. Weinstein will be a consultant to the Pentagon to develop new policies on religious tolerance, including a policy for court-martialing military chaplains who share the Christian Gospel during spiritual counseling of American troops.

Weinstein decries what he calls the “virulent religious oppression” perpetrated by conservative Christians, whom he refers to as “monstrosities” and “pitiable unconstitutional carpetbaggers,” comparing them to “bigots” in the Deep South during the civil rights era.  “Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.” ….Regarding those who teach orthodox Christian beliefs from the Bible, Weinstein concludes, “Let’s call these ignoble actions what they are: the senseless and cowardly squallings of human monsters.”

Weinstein then endorses the ultra-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who publishes a list of “hate groups.” Alongside truly deplorable organizations like the KKK, the SPLC’s list includes a host of traditional Christian organizations (for their support of traditional marriage) and Tea Party organizations (for supporting limited government). Weinstein says SPLC correctly labels them all as “hate groups.”
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In other words, it should be the official policy of the United States to decree what a human being’s spiritual needs are, and punish for violations a military officer who is an ordained clergyman who attempts to share his own personal faith with another service member when discussing religious matters. You cannot imagine such a thing ever happening under any previous president.
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God help us now when someone with such visceral hatred of conservative Christians—literally tens of millions of Americans—who says sharing this gospel is “spiritual rape” is helping develop policies for how to deal with Christians in the military.

Weinstein says those guilty of this “treason” must be “punished.” Under federal law, the penalty for treason is death. And the Obama administration is sitting down to talk with this man to craft new policies for “religious tolerance” in our military.


What is this hater doing consulting with the Pentagon on tolerance?  I have been reassured that there's been no change in policy at the Pentagon.
But, but.  The Pentagon's hiring of Mikey Weinstein, a raving anti-Christian as a consultant on tolerance is extremely troubling.

David French in Are Military Leaders and the MSM Embracing an Anti-Christian Extremist?

And the Washington Post, CNN, ABC News and others treats him as a serious commentator on faith in the military? Substitute “Muslim” for “Christian” in any of these comments and the brass wouldn’t let him darken the Pentagon’s doors.
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Sadly, because he meets with generals – because the likes of the Washington Post take him seriously — he may very well exercise influence over the military’s religious policy. I have no problem with the Pentagon meeting with a wide vareity of credible voices as it formulates and refines religious policies, but this is a man who literally demands courts-martial for speech he dislikes, a man who declares that servicemembers exposed to Christian ideas are “spiritual rape victims.” 
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Mikey Weinstein meets with generals because the media give him power. Blinded by their own fear, ignorance, and hate, they give voice to an extremist they would condemn in virtually any another context. It’s pathetic and embarrassing.

The Pentagon has been clueless in the past.    But clueless is not the right word.  Pathetic cowering so they would not been seen as politically incorrect is more exact.

Remember  Major Nidal Malik Hassan who  shouted  "Allahu Akbar "  as he killed 13 people and injured 32 others at the Fort Hood military base in November, 2009 . The Senate described the Ft Hood shootings  as "the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001."    The Department of Defense classified the shootings as "workplace violence."    He has been judged sane and is being tried in a military court .  Hassan has twice offered to plead guilty, but Army rules prohibit the judge from accepting a guilty plea in a death penalty case.

While enlisted in the Army, Hassan earned his medical degree and completed his internship and residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  In 2009 he received a promotion from Captain to Major and was transferred to Ft Hood despite a poor performance evaluation.  Since 2004 he become increasingly radicalized.  He was against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, visited violent Jihadist web sites where as a commentator he supported suicide bombers and carried on email correspondence with Anwar al_Awlaki, the American Al Qaeda jihadist living in Yemen, who repeatedly called for violent jihad against the US until his death by a drone attack in Yemen in 2011.

Despite the fact that Hassan's colleagues and superiors were deeply concerned about his aggressive, agitated behavior and extremist comments which they described as "paranoid" and "schizoid", nobody raised any red flags.    Cowardly behavior that can not be justified but only explained by surrender to political correctness.

Perhaps the Hassan case explains why the military is hunting for extremists in its ranks.  But it doesn't explain the deeply confused thinking by the Pentagon whose spokesman is trying to make a distinction between evangelizing and proselytizing that doesn't exist..     

We are justifiably proud of the brave men and women who make up  our all volunteer army.    A 2008 survey found that Christians make up 77% of those in military service, 22% claim no religion and about 1% is made up of other religions.    Is there any evidence whatsoever of the "virulent religious oppression" by conservative Christians that Mikey Weinstein claims? 

What does it do to their morale to have the Pentagon, in an appalling exercise of moral equivalence, calling them religious extremists?  What do they think about a Pentagon advisor calling them "spiritual rapists" and "monstrosities"?  Would this be tolerated for a second if Muslims were called that?

We ask these men to be ready to die at any time to preserve our freedoms.  Surely they deserve better.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:53 PM | Permalink

Roundup: Rising suicide, rising number of men who don't want to marry, the DSM and mental illness

Suicide Rate Rises Sharply in U.S.

More people now die of suicide than in car accidents reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  There is a 30% surge in suicides among middle-aged Americans (35-64). 

Boomers account for the largest increase.  For  men in their 50s, suicide rates jumped nearly 50%  and women in their early 60s, the increase was nearly 60%.  Some explanation lies in the economic downtown and the increased availability of opioid drugs.  Maybe it's the increased stress of caring for aging parents while still providing financial and emotional support to adult children.  I expect life just didn't pan out the way they expected or wanted, and, having discarded religion,  they had no source for hope.

Men Thirty to Fifty Less Likely to Marry

Among never-married adults ages 30 to 50, men (27%) are more likely than women (8%) to say they do not want to marry.  That's a very great gap.  As one commenter pointed out, marriage holds no real benefits for men any more.

The Real Problems With Psychiatry  Hope Reese interviews Gary Greenberg
A psychotherapist contends that the DSM, psychiatry's "bible" that defines all mental illness, is not scientific but a product of unscrupulous politics and bureaucracy. 

Nobody can define mental illness.
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one of the issues with taking these categories too seriously is that it eliminates the moral aspect behind certain behaviors.
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The American Psychiatric Association owns the DSM, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, now in its 5th edition)  They aren't only responsible for it: they own it, sell it, and license it. The DSM is created by a group of committees. It's a bureaucratic process. In place of scientific findings, the DSM uses expert consensus to determine what mental disorders exist and how you can recognize them….

Dr. Joy Bliss, another MD Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, comments

I tend to think that the whole thing is a pseudo-medical charade, designed for the drug industry and for the insurance industry's convenience.

If "mental health" cannot be defined, how can you draw lines to define "mental illness"? You can, at the extremes, but otherwise you can't. Everybody is a little nuts.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:54 AM | Permalink

Government health insurance protects income, but does not improve health

The Oregon Trial  A new study exposes Medicaid's flaws, but liberals call it success.

On Wednesday the New England Journal published the results from year two of the Oregon project, which "showed that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes" versus being uninsured. If Medicaid were a new drug, in other words, the FDA would reject it.
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Medicaid in Oregon did nearly eliminate catastrophic medical expenses, compared to 5.5% of the uninsured control group that experienced a ruinous illness or injury. But that sure sounds like an argument for reforming Medicaid to extend basic catastrophic coverage to more poor people, instead of holding Medicaid lotteries.

Extending Medicaid benefits to the poor did not improve their health whatsoever.  It did improve their mental health and reduce their financial strain and hardship.  Megan McArdyle explains why this study is a big, big deal.

Government health insurance unquestionably functions as income protection.  What's less clear is whether it functions as health protection.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 AM | Permalink

May 1, 2013

Pigford: Appalling government corruption costing as much as $4billion to win black votes

In its story U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination, the New York Times vindicates Andrew Breitbart when it finally reports on the Pigford Scandal.

political appointees in the Obama administration’s Justice and Agriculture Departments turned a potential government court victory into $1.3 billion settlement for Hispanic and female farmers — some of whom never even claimed discrimination in court. The story also detailed how the feds relied on a flawed payout system for black farmers that was ripe with fraud and revealed that career officials in the Agriculture Department had opposed the program.

The Washington Free Beacon calls it an "absolutely epic story" says the Obama Administration got away with $50,000 payouts to black farmers  over the objections of career employees and officials of the Justice Department who said there was no evidence of widespread discrimination for fear of being called racist.

The compensation effort sprang from a desire to redress what the government and a federal judge agreed was a painful legacy of bias against African-Americans by the Agriculture Department. But an examination by The New York Times shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees. In the past five years, it has grown to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers. In all, more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion. …

From Daniel Foster, One anecdote

In fact, he boasted, he and his four siblings had all collected awards, and his sister had acquired another $50,000 on behalf of their dead father.  She cinched the claim, he said to a ripple of laughter, by asserting that her father had whispered on his deathbed, “I was discriminated against by U.S.D.A.”

“The judge has said since you all look alike, whichever one says he came into the office, that’s the one to pay — hint, hint,” he said. “There is no limit to the amount of money, and there is no limit to the amount of folks who can file.”  He closed with a rousing exhortation: “Let’s get the judge to go to work writing them checks! They have just opened the bank vault.”

The National Review editorializes Pigford Forever

The Times reports in great depth, instead of closing the spigot, in 2010 the Obama administration did not just acquiesce to, it spearheaded the expansion of, the Pigford con on the taxpayer’s dime, and saw to it that not just black Americans, but any woman, Hispanic, or Native American who could so much as gesture at discrimination had access to a billion-dollar pool of easy money.
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Pigford and its spawn instead resembles in organization and aim a criminal conspiracy of breathtaking proportions, and one in which the federal government was first complicit and then ultimately responsible. The Times report exposes — as Dan Foster did in his piece for us two years ago — Senator, Candidate, and President Obama’s advocacy for the settlements as barely alloyed quid pro quo, in which Pigford profiteers promised to help Obama run up the score against Hillary Clinton in the rural South in exchange for his work on their behalf. Similarly, the Hispanic case was negligently settled at the urging of the polluted Senator Robert Menendez, who threatened to make noise if the Department of Justice did not give Hispanics the same deal the president gave blacks.

At a minimum, a congressional investigation is needed, as is congressional intervention in the continued administration of the payouts.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:09 AM | Permalink