Economist and conservative commentator Don Boudreaux attended the opening of the Institute for Justice (IJ) on September 10, 1991, and thought to himself at that time that “it sounded like a good idea.” Looking back at what IJ has accomplished since then, Boudreaux says, “IJ’s success over the past two decades is nothing short of phenomenal.”
At the ceremony marking the beginning of IJ, co-founder Clint Bolick spelled out exactly what they intended to do, and recognized the enormous changes in the way of their doing it. IJ is going to be focused, he said, on “removing barriers to opportunity and helping low-income people earn their share of the American Dream.” For instance:
Little Devon Williams, who was able to escape the cesspool of the Milwaukee Public Schools and instead get a good education in an excellent neighborhood private school, thanks to the nation's first real parental choice program. I tell you, the inspiration, the look of joy and optimism on their faces, speak volumes to the fact that we are right, and that we must persevere in these efforts that are only barely begun….
Each of us possesses fundamental rights that no government may take away. If any of us loses our rights, we all lose our rights. And if [anyone] does not have liberty, then none of us has liberty. We have so much work to do.
Ignoring protests from residents and a resolution from state legislators calling for the state’s seasonal celebratory tree to be called by its Christmas designation, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee insisted that the blue spruce that graces the Statehouse this year be referred to officially as a “Holiday Tree.”
According to the Associated Press, Chafee, who changed his party designation from Republican to Independent in 2007, said that eschewing the term “Christmas” is in line with the principles laid down by Rhode Island founder Roger Williams that the state would supposedly be a place where religion and government are to be kept separate.
“I’m just continuing what other governors have done,” Chafee told the Boston Herald after a ceremony dedicating a separate “holiday tree” to soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I just want to make sure I’m doing everything possible in this building to honor Roger Williams.” To be sure, noted the AP, Chafee’s immediate predecessor, Republican Governor Donald Carcieri, “used both holiday tree and Christmas tree in his correspondence. Other governors have made no specific reference to Christmas at all with invitations to ‘holiday celebrations’ featuring a ‘tree lighting.’"
Welcome to Paul Blair’s world. The 48-year-old Blair, pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is a small business owner, husband, and father, and a former offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. He played his college ball for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and recently declared himself a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma state Senate, District 41.
Blair (who has been previously interviewed in The New American) offered in a campaign flier one reason for his decision to run for public office: “We must stop the overreach of the federal government. We must stop the crippling debt that is crushing our nation.”
Things just got a little bit tougher for homosexuals in Nigeria. The African nation’s Senate has made homosexual activity punishable by more than a dozen years in prison. And those who try to sanctify alimentary antics with wedding vows will get a decade.
A prison in Nigeria, which is 50 percent Muslims, 40 percent Christian, and 10 percent other, is not a place one wants to be, as Amnesty International (AI) has reported, which might be one reason the news has upset leftists everywhere, from AI to the enraged British. The latter seem more worried about “homophobia” in Nigeria than the anti-homosexual hatred, courtesy of the country’s Muslims, in downtown London.
General Motors will buy Chevrolet Volts back from any owner who worries that their plug-in electric car will catch fire, the company’s CEO told the Associated Press in an interview Thursday. CEO Dan Akerson maintained that the vehicles are safe, but said GM is offering the buyback to ensure customer loyalty. The new offer expands a company offer made Monday to grant loaner cars to any owners fearful of their Volts catching fire.
During a government investigation into the safety of Chevy’s electric cars, three fires broke out days after side-impact crash tests were administered. GM officials, however, insisted that there is no threat of fires immediately following car crashes, as the fires occurred seven days to three weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed the tests.
The crash tests punctured the cases of the batteries, and leaking battery coolant could have spurred the delayed ignition in the regulators’ undrained Volt batteries, Chevy spokesman Rob Peterson suggested. But Chevy is not planning a battry storage redesign at the moment. Considering that the fires did not occur until days later, some GM officials alleged that the crashed Volts were not stored properly. Still, the NHTSA has launched a safety probe into the battery malfunctions and has requested that other electric car manufacturers submit battery testing data as well.
Here’s a switch! The ACLU has come down on the side of students in Brownsville, Texas, who were told by the local school district that they should not openly display their rosaries. As reported by the San Antonio Express newspaper, the ACLU’s Texas franchise is “looking into whether the Brownsville Independent School District’s policy on wearing rosaries and crosses is violating students’ religious rights.”
In a statement ACLU spokeswoman Lisa Graybill said that under the “First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act, students’ right to wear articles of faith in school is indisputably protected.”
Officials of Brownsville’s Simon Rivera High School assured the usually secular legal watchdog group that it had not ordered students to remove the rosaries, but had merely asked them to make them a little less obvious, noting that the wearing of the Catholic faith symbol has been tied to gang affiliation. In fact, local police chief Oscar Garcia told the Express that students at Rivera had been seen wearing homemade rosary-like accessories around their heads and waists to show off their gang connections.
Does God Exist? I recently came across a very interesting debate on YouTube on the subject of “Does God Exist?” The debaters were Christopher Hitchins, the Anglo-American author of God Is Not Great, who took the side of atheism, and Prof. William Lane Craig of Biola University who argued in favor of creationism. You can actually watch the whole debate, which turned out to be a fascinating exchange between two highly intelligent men on a subject that will be debated forever.
Of course, I favor the creationist point of view. A cursory examination of just one’s own human body must convince one that there is a creator. The whole process of birth, starting from conception to the emergence of a complete human being in only nine months, is to me a miracle, which is performed millions of times a day all over the world. Just consider the different body fluids we all have: blood, sweat, tears, saliva, digestive juices, insulin, urine — all produced in just the right amounts at the proper times, each with its own distinctive purpose. How could any of this be the result of accident?
But all of these obvious manifestations of creationism that surround us have not stopped educators and judges from objecting to the teaching of Intelligent Design in the public schools. Why? Because it infers the existence of God. If creationism is the means whereby reality came into being, then God does exist. Yet, you would think that the most famous 19th-century advocate of evolution would be on the side of today’s atheist educators. But such is not the case.
The Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence of South Carolina is a bishop in the Episcopal Church. He has remained with that old, American Episcopal Church, which during the Revolutionary War had been the church for American patriots who, for logical reasons, could no longer belong to a church intimately connected with the British Crown, despite its many changes.
Bishop Lawrence is one of the few significant clergyman left in that church since its drift toward “politically correct” theology beginning in the 1960s. Many former Episcopalians, both parishioners and clergy, have broken away. They adopted the “Affirmation of St. Louis” in September 1977, which affirmed the historic and immutable nature of Christian doctrine. Among the principles acknowledged to be part of that doctrine were the sanctity of human life at the time of conception and human sexuality is only moral when it's between a man and a woman in marriage.
Bishop Lawrence chose to stay with the church into which he had been brought, even though that church was now pronouncing that abortion was acceptable in a broad number of cases, that homosexuality was an acceptable human relationship, and that clergy need not be male, or even heterosexual. He continued to preach what his parishioners believed — what his church formerly espoused — despite the fact that these were in conflict with those who now ran the Episcopal Church.
Newt Gingrich’s statements at a CNN foreign policy debate that seemed to support the establishment of an amnesty program for illegal immigrants has drawn his opponents to the issue like sharks to chum. While the roster of GOP presidential hopefuls has taken advantage of Gingrich’s proposals, none has been more tenacious in the attack than erstwhile media magnet, Michele Bachmann.
At an unexpected stop in South Florida Thursday, the one-time darling of the Tea Party continued her assault on Newt Gingrich on the issue of how to address the problem of illegal immigration.
Calling Gingrich an “influence peddler,” Bachmann touted her outsider status compared to that of career politician, Newt Gingrich.
Bachmann used the word “amnesty” when speaking of the plan proffered by the former Speaker of the House.
For his part, Gingrich rejects this characterization of his position, saying, instead, that he believes that if an illegal immigrant has worked for years in this country, raised a family, paid taxes, and kept his nose clean, then that person should be allowed to remain in the United States as a permanent resident.