Commentary
Who talked Rick Perry into grabbing the third rail of American politics? In case you don’t recognize the phrase, “the third rail” refers to any criticism of the Social Security system or any suggestions on ways to improve it by anyone running for public office anywhere in the United States. It’s called the third rail because, just like a subway line, touching it usually proves fatal. In the book Perry published last year, which he called Fed Up!, the Texas Governor referred to Social Security as “a Ponzi scheme.” Nobody made much of a fuss about it at the time. Outside of Texas, who cares what the Governor there says? But now that Perry has taken the top spot in the Republican race for the White House, the poor guy is really getting pounded for it — and for a bunch of other “crazy, right-wing” sentiments he expressed there as well. Or at least so saith the New York Times and Washington Post.
Facebook continues to be the subject of controversy over issues of privacy, this time because Facebook cookies were found to be accidentally tracking other sites users visited after they had logged off. The information is then sent to Facebook via the cookies, provoking concerns over users’ privacy violations.  According to The Daily Mail, the cookies “send Facebook your IP address — the ‘unique identifier’ address of your PC — and information on whether you have visited millions of websites: anything with a Facebook ‘like’ or ‘recommend’ button on it.” One Facebook spokesperson admitted, “We place cookies on the computer of the user,” and that some of those cookies do in fact send back the address of the users’ PCs and sites they visited, even while logged out. “Three of these cookies inadvertently included unique identifiers when the user had logged out of Facebook. We did not store these for logged out users. We could not have used this information.” The malfunction was made public by Australian blogger Nik Cubrilovic, who was disgruntled with the recent changes made to Facebook.
Following complaints by a homosexual student who was allegedly dismissed from a Christian fraternity at the school, Vanderbilt University has launched a crusade aimed at forcing Christian groups that receive school funding to follow an official policy that conflicts with some of the groups’ own faith-based bylaws and policies.  “Last academic year, an undergraduate made an allegation of discrimination against a student organization,” the university said in a statement on September 15. “As a result of that allegation, we sought to ensure that the more than 300 student organizations were aware of their need to comply with the university’s longstanding nondiscrimination policy.” The university’s policy is a model of  political correctness, stating that in addition to all of the other ways in which it does not discriminate against individuals (“on the basis of their race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability…”), the university also “does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression….”
A growing number of unions, prominent big-government advocates, and socialist groups are joining the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York and “solidarity” protests nationwide. The trend has some analysts very concerned — particularly after reports claimed union bosses tied to the Obama administration were plotting to bring about chaos. And while the protests which began on September 17 may be small now, supporters and critics alike say this may be only the beginning of something much bigger. In just the last week several large labor groups have officially announced their support for the occupation. The NYC Transit Workers Union, with nearly 40,000 members, voted to back the protesters on September 28. And the SEIU’s massive 32BJ union, which claims to represent over 120,000 property service workers, recently decided to use an upcoming rally to show “solidarity” with the Wall Street occupiers.  "The call went out over a month ago, before actually the occupancy of Wall Street took place," 32BJ spokesman Kwame Patterson told the Huffington Post. But now "we're all coming under one cause, even though we have our different initiatives."
As the Obama Administration continues the efforts of the radical Left to redefine terms such as “marriage” and “family” to the point where they have been emptied of their historic meaning, traditionalists are becoming increasingly vocal. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s September 26 talk — “The Ring Makes a Difference” — is one of the most prominent statements in opposition to such efforts at undermining the historic, traditional understanding of marriage. The archbishop denounced the effort to ‘redefine’ marriage, declaring the effort to promulgate the notion of “same-sex” marriage as an “ominous threat to religious liberty.” Archbishop Dolan spoke this past Monday as part of a panel discussion in Poughkeepsie, and an article for the Poughkeepsie Journal reported that Dolan and other speakers emphasized the threat which “same-sex marriage” poses to the country: Dolan framed criticism aimed at the Catholic Church and opponents of same-sex marriage as an "ominous threat to religious liberty," warning of what he called "aggressive secularism."
Paul Derangement Syndrome (PDS) is a mental condition that, though it was first detected during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, has only now been identified for the dangerous disorder that it is. Also known as “Paulophobia,” those suffering from it find themselves tortured by their fear of Texas Congressman and three time presidential candidate Ron Paul. PDS is peculiar in that in spite of its being a contagion, there is but one segment of the general population that it is known to afflict. Even more curious is the fact that this segment consists of Ron Paul’s fellow partisans in the Republican Party. More specifically, it is neoconservative men and women, especially those with a particularly powerful proclivity for “conservative” talk radio and Fox News, who are most susceptible to contracting PDS. PDS is known to ravage the rationality of its hosts. While this disorder indeed promises to reduce its victims’ thoughts on Congressman Paul to textbook cases of illogic, it would be a mistake to infer from this that every Paulophobe was a clear thinker prior to falling prey to PDS:
Although I’ve never been one to demonize the rich, there is something particularly irritating about a busybody billionaire who confuses his bankroll with his I.Q. And the busiest of this species seems to be NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose latest patrician effort involves convincing governments worldwide to control what the peons eat. Reporting on the story, CNSNews.com writes: During a United Nations General Assembly summit on non-communicable diseases — a discussion that included diet and eating habits — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option.…There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.” “Government’s highest duty…” My, that sounds almost … religious, Bloomie. But this billionaire really does care — far and wide and everywhere.
Obama Admin. Expands Endangered Species Act. Caving in to pressure from environmental groups, the Obama Administration's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is set expand the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to include more than 800 new species of plants and animals. FWS signed two agreements in federal court, one with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), and another with WildEarth Guardians (WEG) in which the parties agreed to a timeline for review of the individual species' cases through 2018. The agreements end a number of lawsuits against FWS by various environmental organizations, including CBD and WEG, over species they claim FWS has ignored. FWS is acting quickly to hold up its end of the bargain. On Monday it approved 374 new species for possible ESA inclusion, based on review of an ongoing 60-day public comment period. Some of the candidates for federal protection have obscure names like the Florida sandhill crane, the green floater mussel and the black rail bird. Others are more familiar, including the American wolverine, the Mexican gray wolf and the Pacific walrus.
Not every nation and not every culture grants women the rights that they enjoy in America or those nations we usually call “Western” nations. Consider Najalaa Harriri of Saudi Arabia. She and other Saudi women began a campaign to be allowed to drive cars in June. The religiously orthodox kingdom observes closely the precepts of Islam, and the interpretation given to the Moslem rulers of Saudi Arabia is that activities like driving cars is restricted by Islam to males. Not only is it forbidden for Saudi women to drive cars, but other restrictions of Saudi-stye Islam (sometimes called Wahhabism) would make women driving cars actually dangerous. Women in public, according to the strict reading of Islam given by the Saudi government, must be fully clothed. That means dress that restricts vision and may inhibit the free movement of women’s arms and legs while driving. The ban has become increasingly questioned among Saudi leaders.  In March, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, suggested lifting the ban:
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)  plans to introduce a controversial bill that would abolish every federal regulation enacted in the past two decades, including restrictions on banking, oil drilling, healthcare, and food and drug safety. "My bill is very simple, I just null and void any regulations passed in the last 20 years," Young announced to a crowd at the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club. "I picked 20 years ago because it crossed party lines and also we were prosperous at that time. And no new regulations until they can justify them." Rep. Young’s legislation is still in development, but the premise of the bill is to dissolve burdensome regulations that hamper American businesses from growing and prospering in the sluggish U.S. economy. "The main thing is if an agency can’t justify a regulation, it shouldn’t be on the board," he contended. "The overall idea behind the legislation is to make sure an agency justifies these regulations." The Alaskan congressman did however cede to the likely fate that his proposal would be barricaded by the Democratic-led Senate or stamped with a veto by President Obama.
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