Archive for June 7th, 2007

‘Where’s the Border Fence?’ Grassroots Group Asks

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Some of you might remember that last year, the government passed a bill to build a border fence. What they kept under the radar from most of the public is that they didn’t provide any way to pay for it. That way they could say that they voted for “the fence” but not actually have to take responsibility for it. The usual sleazy behavior we have learned to expect from our government leadership.

(CNSNews.com) – A conservative grassroots group opposed to current immigration reform efforts in the Senate is to begin a national television ad campaign Wednesday calling attention to the 700-mile border fence approved by Congress last year but yet to be built.

Grassfire.org is asking Congress to “abandon its reckless amnesty agenda” by opposing the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. Grassfire.org identifies itself as a “conservative, pro-family and pro-faith” organization comprising “hundreds of thousands of citizens.”

Ron De Jong, communications director for Grassfire.org, told Cybercast News Service on Tuesday that before lawmakers “march on” to the next bill, they need to address last year’s bill authorizing a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“They okayed a 700-mile fence last year, and they have not made good on their word,” he said. “There is an agenda underway here to not enforce the borders.”

De Jong called it “obscene” that roughly two miles of fencing has been built over the last year.

“They really have no intention of building the fence,” he said. “Through this ad, we’ve basically called them out on that.”

The “Where’s the Fence?” ads feature three elderly ladies searching for – and not finding – the fence Congress pledged to build at the border – a take-off on the 1984 Wendy’s hamburger ad campaign featuring actress Clara Peller asking, “Where’s the beef?”

De Jong said the ads will air nationally through Friday on Fox News and CNN, along with regional broadcasts targeting senators in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

“These were the guys who were most likely to be lynchpins to success or failure on this year’s bill,” he observed.

De Jong said Grassfire.org anticipates the ad will “reach at least 15 million citizens – the citizens who are being brutalized by this bill.”

The American people “have really been taken out of the equation,” he said. “We are the ones who are going to foot the bill; we’re the ones who are going to have to pay when this atrocious amnesty bill passes.”

But Michele Waslin, director of immigration policy research at the National Council of La Raza, took exception to the ads.

“The ads ask: ‘Where’s the border fence?’ My question is: ‘Where’s your solution?'” she countered. “We know that increased fencing, border patrol and enforcement in general along the U.S. border have not solved the problem.”

“Despite years of enforcement buildup along the border, the number of undocumented immigrants has continued to increase, and this is evidence that we need a more comprehensive solution,” Waslin told Cybercast News Service.

“Reasonable people don’t believe you can deport 12 million people,” she said.

“I think the immigration bill in the Senate contains all the right elements of comprehensive immigration reform,” Waslin added. “Unfortunately, there are some serious flaws in this bill, but we are working very hard with the House and the Senate to fix those flaws and pass a good bill this year.”

With “logic” like that espoused by Waslin, it’s no wonder our country is trouble.

Original Link.

Scientists Use Skin To Create Stem Cells

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

This is huge news and will be yet another nail in the coffin of the infanticide industry (abortion mills).

Three teams of scientists said yesterday they had coaxed ordinary mouse skin cells to become what are effectively embryonic stem cells without creating or destroying embryos in the process — an advance that, if it works with human cells, could revolutionize stem cell research and quench one of the hottest bioethical controversies of the decade.

In work being published today, the scientists describe a method for turning back the biological clocks of skin cells growing in laboratory dishes. Thus rejuvenated, the cells give rise to daughter cells that are able to become all the parts needed to make a new mouse.

If the process also works with human cells, as scientists suspect it will with some modifications, it would mean that a person’s own skin cells could be converted directly into stem cells without having to collect healthy human eggs or destroy human embryos — steps that until now have been required to obtain embryonic stem cells.

Those stem cells could then be used to make a wide variety of personalized replacement tissues.

The findings have generated tumult on Capitol Hill, where the House is set to vote today on a bill that would loosen President Bush’s 2001 restrictions on the use of human embryos in stem cell research.

Acutely aware that their new work could undermine that key political goal, the scientists cautioned that their success with mouse cells does not guarantee quick success with human cells. They called for Congress to pass the bill, which would give federally funded researchers access to embryos slated for destruction at fertility clinics.

“A human is not a mouse, so a lot more work has to be done,” said Marius Wernig, who led one team with Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass.

But opponents of human embryo research said the findings bolster their argument that stem cell science can progress apace without harming human embryos.

“Morally and practically, this new approach appears to be far superior,” said Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The new experiments reveal the remarkable degree of control that scientists have recently gained over the highly complex inner workings of living cells, and they generated intense excitement in the scientific community earlier this week as word leaked out.

“Clearly the work offers hope that similar methods can be applied [to develop] cell-based therapies,” Robin Lovell-Badge, chief of developmental genetics at Britain’s National Institute for Medical Research, said in a statement.

Original Link.

Immigration Bill Most Likely Dead

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Good bye and good riddance.

WASHINGTON — Some senators are holding out hope that they can save an immigration reform bill on Thursday after it barely survived a deal-breaking challenge shortly after midnight. But Senate aides are telling FOX News the bill appears dead.

The legislation would address the 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States, temporary workers and border security. The so-called “grand bargainers” who put the compromise legislation together are meeting Thursday morning for a last-ditch effort to pull it together.

Original Link.

Evangelicals Denounce CNN Faith and Politics Forum

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

It’s amusing to me that pols on both sides suddenly find religion and faith right before an election year.

Conservative evangelicals are criticizing a recent forum that featured Democratic presidential candidates John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. The head of the National Clergy Council says the CNN special, sponsored by the group Sojourners, tried to portray the three Democrats as being compatible with evangelical beliefs, practices, and politics.

A day after the “Faith, Values and Politics” forum on Monday, Pastor Rob Schenck moderated a roundtable discussion at the National Press Club called “Evangelicals in ’08: United or Divided?” The event featured panelists who presented historical Christian positions on social and moral issues — individuals such as theologian Dr. Norm Geisler, Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, and constitutional attorney Bernard Reese.

In contrast, Schenck contends that the Sojourners panelists who asked questions of Edwards, Obama, and Clinton do not hold mainstream evangelical values.

“Through carefully crafted questions and the responses — mostly rehearsed — of the candidates, the sponsoring group hoped to convince ‘who knows who’ that issues like world poverty and corporate CEO compensation packages trump the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage and the family, and the public acknowledgement of God,” Schenck declared.

Schenck said CNN and Sojourners “conspired to create a fictional class of Christians — so-called ‘liberal evangelicals.'”

“Sojourners and their favorite candidates want us to change, to adapt, to a more popular, more acceptable, more congenial list of priorities,” the National Clergy Council leader stated. “But Jesus warned, woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

Schenck sarcastically referred to the Sojourners forum as “the religious revival with Brother Barack, Sister Hillary, and Deacon John.”

Original Link.

Unbelievable Absurdity of the Day: Paris Hilton Freed

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

So the next time you Californians break your drunk driving probation and the judge wants to throw the book at you, just use the Paris Hilton case to show legal precedence why he can’t do it. I mean, if it’s OK for her to get off, it’s OK for you, right? Being rich and famous shouldn’t be a pass to get away with breaking the law.
None of us “average” people would be given the preferential treatment Hilton has been shown. What a travesty our legal system has become.

Paris Hilton is already out of jail, sources told TMZ.com.

The deal was sealed Wednesday, and Hilton made her exit early Thursday morning, TMZ reported.

She was originally sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating probation after a drunken-driving rap, but that was reduced to 23. She served a total of three days.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. ET to discuss why Hilton was released early.

On Wednesday, Hilton’s psychiatrist paid her a second consecutive visit, the New York Post reported.

Dr. Charles Sophy spent 90 minutes with Hilton inside the Century Regional Detention Center following a two-hour house call Tuesday.

Sophy, who moonlights as medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, declined to discuss Hilton’s treatment as he left jail Wednesday.

Kyle Richards, an aunt of Hilton’s, said the pampered princess has enjoyed phoning her family to break the boredom of jail.

“She’s been able to call home, she’s talked to her mom [Kathy] and to her sister, Nicky. And she says she’s doing well. Surprisingly well!” Richards told E! Online.

“She’s just sitting in there for 23 hours a day with nothing to do,” Richards added. “She picked out a bunch of books to take with her, but at the last minute she found out they wouldn’t let her take the books. They wouldn’t let her take anything.”

The hotel heiress has proven to be a picky jailhouse eater.

Hilton downed her beans, mixed vegetables, bread, gelatin dessert and milk Tuesday night — but didn’t touch her hotdog, a jailhouse source said.

Original Link.

House Democrats To Insert Earmarks Behind Closed Doors

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

True to form….

A taxpayer watchdog group says Democrats in Congress are not living up to their promise of openness and transparency in the appropriations process. The group, Citizens Against Government Waste, says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s vow that her party would preside over “the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history” has already proven to be a phony promise.

House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey (D-Wisconsin) has announced he will allow all earmarks into conference reports, which are negotiated behind closed doors and cannot be amended when they reach the House and Senate floors. Obey’s plan ignores rules that House Democrats approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify pet projects requested by lawmakers.

David Williams, senior vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste, says the congressman’s plan to hide earmarks “does nothing to help the American taxpayer” or lawmakers who regularly fight pork-barrel spending, such as Republican Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn and Representative Jeff Flake. He contends that Democrats are doing the same old tricks the Republicans did by stuffing earmarks into conference reports.

“What they’re going to claim is that technically it’s still transparent that we’re going to know who’s doing this,” says Williams. “But it’s happening so late in the appropriations process that taxpayers and groups like Citizens Against Government Waste [are] not going to have time to really go after these projects and bring them to the public scrutiny,” he predicts.

According to Williams, the appropriations process has not changed in Washington because those making the decisions have been in office so long that they “fundamentally believe … it is their job to send as much money back to their district as possible.”

“So when this big changeover happened in January, with the Democrats taking over,” he explains, “they were still the same old politicians that they were before the election — and they really still believe it is their God-given right to spend other people’s money on these ridiculous projects.”

Williams says there are three ways the Democrat-led Congress could reform earmarks — give the president a line item veto so he can yank pork barrel projects; make it easy for lawmakers to raise a point of order on the floor of the House and Senate to remove the earmarks; or enforce its own rules by not adding any projects in the conference committee.

Original Link.

A Show of Hands ‘Can Harm Shy Children’

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

The U.K. education system continues to shove British society down the path to destruction. On the heels of other such ludicrous ideas like grading papers with red pens will cause students psychological harm, now they are saying that using raised hands to indicate that students know the answers to questions, harms the students who didn’t raise their hands.
Give me a break!! Don’t educators have anything better to do with their time than come up with nonsense like this? Maybe they should use their time better by actually teaching math, reading and science.

Asking pupils to put their hands up when they think they know the answer to a question in class could make quiet children fall behind, according to government advice.

Researchers have identified a group of youngsters aged between seven and 11 who struggle to keep up with classmates despite doing well in previous years.

Ministers published a report advising schools how to help these so-called “invisible children”, who often try to avoid drawing attention to themselves during lessons.
advertisement

Their work is neat and they are generally well behaved but children “in the comfort zone” need a different approach from teachers to help them make progress, the report found.

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, said: “We need to make sure that no one is left behind at any point, from the most gifted and talented children at the top of the class, to the quiet child who is well-practised at hiding from the teacher’s gaze at the back of the class.”

The report found that it is often boys who fall behind in English at primary school, while girls were more likely to struggle to make progress in maths.

Teachers felt that children suffered because parents stopped helping with homework when maths, in particular, was becoming too complicated.

The Government recommended a range of strategies that teachers could use in class to help these children.

These included choosing which child to question in class instead of inviting all the pupils who know the answer to put up their hands.

Children could also be given 30 seconds “thinking time” before being asked to answer or told to discuss questions in pairs before answering, the Department for Education said.

The schools minister, Jim Knight, said the group of children identified in the report were doing well aged seven “but their progress slows as they grow up”.

“It’s not clear why some children’s progress starts to stall at this age,” he said. “Teachers say that some parents stop reading with their children at this age, and others say that some parents start having problems helping with homework when class work gets harder.

“But what is clear is that groups of children display similar behaviour and attitudes to learning and that there are easy practical things that teachers can do to help.

“We want to help all teachers learn from each other about classroom strategies that work.”

Original Link.

In Saudi Arabia, A View From Behind the Veil

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

This is a must read article from the LA Times, written by one of their female reporters about her experiences in Saudi Arabia.
For those who don’t know, Saudi holds women in much the same regard as the post civil war South held black people. Separate but Equal, with the exception that Saudi makes no attempt to live up to the “but equal” part. Women are subjugated and treated as lower class, or no class at all.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — THE hem of my heavy Islamic cloak trailed over floors that glistened like ice. I walked faster, my eyes fixed on a familiar, green icon. I hadn’t seen a Starbucks in months, but there it was, tucked into a corner of a fancy shopping mall in the Saudi capital. After all those bitter little cups of sludgy Arabic coffee, here at last was an improbable snippet of home — caffeinated, comforting, American.

I wandered into the shop, filling my lungs with the rich wafts of coffee. The man behind the counter gave me a bemused look; his eyes flickered. I asked for a latte. He shrugged, the milk steamer whined, and he handed over the brimming paper cup. I turned my back on his uneasy face.

Crossing the cafe, I felt the hard stares of Saudi men. A few of them stopped talking as I walked by and watched me pass. Them, too, I ignored. Finally, coffee in hand, I sank into the sumptuous lap of an overstuffed armchair.

“Excuse me,” hissed the voice in my ear. “You can’t sit here.” The man from the counter had appeared at my elbow. He was glaring.

“Excuse me?” I blinked a few times.

“Emmm,” he drew his discomfort into a long syllable, his brows knitted. “You cannot stay here.”

“What? Uh … why?”

Then he said it: “Men only.”

He didn’t tell me what I would learn later: Starbucks had another, unmarked door around back that led to a smaller espresso bar, and a handful of tables smothered by curtains. That was the “family” section. As a woman, that’s where I belonged. I had no right to mix with male customers or sit in plain view of passing shoppers. Like the segregated South of a bygone United States, today’s Saudi Arabia shunts half the population into separate, inferior and usually invisible spaces.

At that moment, there was only one thing to do. I stood up. From the depths of armchairs, men in their white robes and red-checked kaffiyehs stared impassively over their mugs. I felt blood rushing to my face. I dropped my eyes, and immediately wished I hadn’t. Snatching up the skirts of my robe to keep from stumbling, I walked out of the store and into the clatter of the shopping mall.

———-

ONE glaring spring day, when the hot winds raced in off the plains and the sun blotted everything to white, I stood outside a Riyadh bank, sweating in my black cloak while I waited for a friend. The sidewalk was simmering, but I had nowhere else to go. As a woman, I was forbidden to enter the men’s half of the bank to fetch him. Traffic screamed past on a nearby highway. The winds tugged at the layers of black polyester. My sunglasses began to slip down my glistening nose.

The door clattered open, and I looked up hopefully. But no, it was a security guard. And he was stomping straight at me, yelling in Arabic. I knew enough vocabulary to glean his message: He didn’t want me standing there. I took off my shades, fixed my blue eyes on him blankly and finally turned away as if puzzled. I think of this as playing possum.

He disappeared again, only to reemerge with another security guard. This man was of indistinct South Asian origin and had an English vocabulary. He looked like a pit bull — short, stocky and teeth flashing as he barked: “Go! Go! You can’t stand here! The men can SEE! The men can SEE!”

I looked down at him and sighed. I was tired. “Where do you want me to go? I have to wait for my friend. He’s inside.” But he was still snarling and flashing those teeth, arms akimbo. He wasn’t interested in discussions.

“Not here. NOT HERE! The men can SEE you!” He flailed one arm toward the bank.

I lost my temper.

“I’m just standing here!” I snapped. “Leave me alone!” This was a slip. I had already learned that if you’re a woman in a sexist country, yelling at a man only makes a crisis worse.

The pit bull advanced toward me, making little shooing motions with his hands, lips curled back. Involuntarily, I stepped back a few paces and found myself in the shrubbery. I guess that, from the bushes, I was hidden from the view of the window, thereby protecting the virtue of all those innocent male bankers. At any rate, it satisfied the pit bull, who climbed back onto the sidewalk and stood guard over me. I glared at him. He showed his teeth. The minutes passed. Finally, my friend reemerged.

A liberal, U.S.-educated professor at King Saud University, he was sure to share my outrage, I thought. Maybe he’d even call up the bank — his friend was the manager — and get the pit bull in trouble. I told him my story, words hot as the pavement.

He hardly blinked. “Yes,” he said. “Oh.” He put the car in reverse, and off we drove.

Original Link.