Archive for September 22nd, 2008

“The Rise of ‘By Choice’ Single Mothers” by Albert Mohler

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Social change is a constant in civilization. New technologies, human migrations, climate changes, and any number of demographic and worldview shifts prompt changes in the way humans live and maintain civilization’s patterns and structures. For the most part, these changes unfold slowly. Now, however, we are witnessing social change unwind at warp speed.

Just consider the disappearance of marriage as the expectation for many young adults and the disappearance of the father from many families.

The Guardian [London] reports on the phenomenon of “choice mothers” who have opted for what some observers call “single motherhood by choice.” The number of unmarried women who want to have a child by artificial insemination is growing at an unprecedented rate, even as the age of women seeking to conceive a child without a father is dropping.

As the paper reports:

A survey of attitudes towards contraception out this week appears to confirm this as a trend. Both men and women said they had serious concerns about whether they would meet the right partner in time to conceive naturally; and 56% of the women asked said they would consider asking a male friend to father their child if they failed to find a partner by a certain age. And it was younger women – those aged between 28 and 31 – who were the most likely to go it alone if the right man did not turn up in time.

Seeking artificial insemination in your 20s or 30s is not unusual among lesbians (who have no reason to delay), but heterosexual women typically wait to see if they can find a partner first. Using a sperm donor has always been a last resort. Now the process is becoming a first resort. Say that you are in your early 30s and you are convinced your life will not be complete without a child. Why wait? Many women have financial independence earlier in life than in the past and few see being a single mother as a situation that carries a stigma. Many single mothers by choice argue that they see couples struggling with the difficult issues that shared parenting raises. Women in this category who know that they definitely want a baby are less concerned about raising a child alone than they are about waiting for the “right man” for so long that they miss their fertility window.

There is so much to unpack in this report. At one level, this points to the natural desire of women for children — a desire that is, in itself, both understandable and admirable. Indeed, Christians will rightly believe that this is a desire given to a woman by the Creator. At another level, even this newspaper recognizes that there is something sad about so many young women giving up on another natural desire — the desire for a husband (though the paper uses the politically-correct term, “partner”). Christians would see this, too, as evidence of God’s intention.

The result of this is the redefinition of the family before our eyes, with so many young women choosing to have children even as they have no plans for any present or future marriage. These children will know no father and the entire social fabric is unraveled that much further.

Original Link.

Strong Pro-Life Amendment Faces Well-Heeled Opposition

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

South Dakota pro-lifers are working against a well-funded counter campaign to pass a constitutional amendment banning abortion. The proposal would allow exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.

Dr. Allen Unruh of Vote Yes for Life on 11 describes the proposed amendment. “This is the greatest opportunity since 1973 to turn the tide of Roe v. Wade,” he says.

If the South Dakota amendment passes, it will be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States. Opponents are launching a major campaign funded by some recognizable names.

Original Link.

“When The Oil Stops Flowing” By Edwin Black

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

It will come as a shock to most Americans and the media, but as the election reaches a crescendo on the issue of preparedness and energy, neither presidential candidate – nor anyone in local, state or federal government – has developed a contingency plan in the event of a protracted oil cut-off. It is not even being discussed. Government has prepared for hurricanes, anthrax, terrorism and every other disaster, but not the one threatened daily – a protracted oil stoppage, whether caused by terrorism, intervention in the Persian Gulf or a natural disaster.

It is like seeing a hurricane developing without a disaster plan or evacuation route. Our allies have oil shortage interruption contingency plans, but America does not.

THE CRUDE realities: America uses approximately 20 million barrels of oil per day, almost 70 percent of which is imported. If we lose just 1 million barrels per day, or suffer the type of damage sustained from Hurricane Katrina, the government will open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which offers a mere six-to-eight week supply of unrefined crude oil. If we lose 1.5 million barrels per day, or approximately 7.5%, we will ask our allies in the 28-member International Energy Agency to open their SPRs and otherwise assist. If we lose 2 million barrels per day, or 10%, government crisis monitors say the chaos will be so catastrophic they cannot even model it.

Exactly how could America be subjected to a protracted oil interruption, that is, a 10% shortfall lasting longer than several weeks? It will not come from hurricane action in the Gulf of Mexico, or even major refinery accidents or other oil infrastructure damage. Such damage would be repaired within days and the temporary losses absorbed by the small half million barrel per day global cushion available.

NOR WILL fuel chaos arise from pinprick sabotage against oil facilities or pipelines in such places as Mexico or Nigeria. Home-grown insurgents in faraway places have long targeted petroleum infrastructure as a means of pressuring their local governments. But those attacks can be defended against, the damage repaired, and workarounds developed.

However, if one, two or all of three vital chokepoints are hit by terrorists flying hijacked 747s or Iranian military action – the Abqaiq processing plant, the Ras Tanura terminal in Saudi Arabia, or the two-mile per sea lane Strait of Hormuz – as much as 40% of all seaborne oil will be stopped, as much as 18% of all global supply will be interrupted, and from 12 to 20% of the US supply will be cut off. Estimates are the US shortfall could be even higher. Repeat attacks could prolong the crisis for many months, which is exactly what either al-Qaida or Iranian terrorists have promised. Yet there is no plan.

THE BEST experts predict that if we suffer as much as 10% for any period of time, let alone 20%, it will be a neighbor-against-neighbor “Mad Max” scenario as food shortages swell and a storm of economic collapse surges across the country. Indeed, experts have been warning about this looming calamity for years. But the government and presidential candidates refuse to even consider the possibility or develop a contingency plan.

Yet our allies have developed oil contingency legislation and other administrative plans that will permit their nations to survive a stoppage. These measures include severe vehicle traffic reductions, enabling fast alternative fuel production and mass vehicle retrofitting, as well as rush public transit enhancement, and mandated changes in driving habits. Unquestionably, for America to survive such a catastrophe will require a very painful, multilayered program of immediate-term, short-term, mid-term and long-term fixes that will change our society and transform it off oil. The nation has no real alternative fuel or retrofitting infrastructure. But every lawmaker, mayor, governor and every candidate must develop such a plan – and now.

If the country waits until the disaster strikes, until the oil is shut off, we have little or no chance. If we start now, the day before, we can survive. How we start and when we start will define the degree of pain or success of this process.

Edwin Black is the New York Times bestselling investigative author of IBM and the Holocaust, Internal Combustion and his just released book, The Plan: How to Save America When the Oil Stops – or the Day Before (Dialog Press), from which this article is adapted.

Original Link.

“Why Henry Paulson must be ‘contained'” By Michelle Malkin

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Both parties in Washington are about to screw us over on an unprecedented scale. They are threatening us with fiscal apocalypse if we don’t fork over $700 billion to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and allow him to dole it out to whomever he chooses in whatever amount he chooses — without public input or recourse. They are rushing like mad to cram this Mother of All Bailouts down our throats in the next 72-96 hours. And right there in the text of the proposal is this naked power grab: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

Stop.

My question for fellow conservatives: Do you trust this man?

I don’t.

Do you trust Hank Paulson’s judgment?

I don’t.

Listen to what he said about the subprime crisis in April 2007:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said…the housing market correction appears to be at or near its bottom and that troubles in the subprime mortgage market will not likely spread throughout the economy.

“We’ve clearly had a big correction in the housing market. Retail housing was growing for some time at a level that was not sustainable,” Paulson said in a speech to The Committee of 100, a business group in New York promoting better Chinese relations.

“I don’t see (subprime mortgage market troubles) imposing a serious problem. I think it’s going to be largely contained,” he added.

Listen to what he said about the subprime crisis in May 2007:

JIM LEHRER: One final question, and a third subject. How worried are you about the slump, so-called slump in the housing market in the United States right now? And what kind of damage, if any, is it doing to the economy?

HENRY PAULSON: Well, let me say this. As you’ve pointed out, we’ve had a major housing correction in the U.S. The U.S. economy had been growing at a rate that was unsustainable and, in housing, it had clearly been growing at a rate for a number of years.

That correction was inevitable; that correction has now been significant. We think it is near the bottom. It will take a while to work its way through the system. Fortunately for us, we have a very diverse, healthy economy. There are other things that are positive that are offsetting that.

…So my very strong view is that we are near the bottom and that this will be contained as — the housing will be contained, and we’re fortunate that we have a diverse, healthy economy.

Listen to what he said about the subprime crisis in August 2007 while on a trip to Beijing (more on Paulson’s ChiCom ties in a moment):

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Wednesday the repricing of credit risk was hitting financial markets, but U.S. subprime mortgage fallout remained largely contained due to the strongest global economy in decades.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, where he ran into stiff resistance in persuading Chinese officials to let the yuan strengthen more quickly, Paulson said markets were unwinding excesses in U.S. mortgage and leveraged buyout financing.

European and Asian stocks tumbled on Wednesday following a sharp drop in U.S. shares on Tuesday, after American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. said it might have to liquidate assets, fuelling worries over problems in the subprime mortgage market spilling over into other sectors.

“The market has focused on this. There’s a wake-up call, and there’s an adjustment to this repricing of risk, but I see the underlying economy as being very healthy,” he told reporters before leaving Beijing.

Paulson added that he did not see anything that caused him to reconsider his view that the economic damage from the housing correction was “largely contained,” despite losses in a number of financial institutions and a long period for subprime issues to move through the economy.

Here’s Paulson in October 2007 assuring us that he had no interest in government bailouts while touting the economy’s health again:

Paulson: Subprime help needed – but no bailout

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is walking a fine line, pushing the need to help troubled mortgage borrowers without rewarding past risky behavior.

I have no interest in bailing out lenders or property speculators. Still, we must recognize the very real harms to families affected by the housing downturn,” Paulson said in prepared remarks for a speech given Tuesday at Georgetown University.

…Although the speech seemed to mark a step up in activism on the part of the Treasury Department, Paulson was quick to point out the limitations of the government’s approach during the question and answer following the talk.

Referring to HopeNow, he said, “This is a 100 percent market-based solution. I believe in markets. The government is doing nothing here but facilitating people coming together.”

Paulson also downplayed the possibility that the housing crisis could plunge the nation into recession. “I’ve seen turbulence in the market a number of times and I can’t think of any situation where the backdrop of the global economy was as healthy as it is today,” he said.

And here’s Paulson in May 2008 declaring the credit crisis on the wane:

The credit crisis that has scorched international financial markets is on the wane but more shocks are ahead, U.S. Secretary Treasury Henry Paulson told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Wednesday.

‘The worst is likely to be behind us,’ Paulson told the paper, in one of the most optimistic comments by a top U.S. finance official since sub-prime mortgage losses set a domino effect in motion in mid 2007.

Paulson said it would take ’some months longer’ for the situation to stabilize and cautioned there would likely be further ‘bumps along the road’.

Yeah. A freaking $700 billion bailout bump. That’s all. Guess that little detail just slipped his mind.

Read the rest here.