An after-school Christian kids' club is suing the school district of Owassa, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, for preventing the club’s organizers from promoting events at one of the district’s schools. According to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the conservative legal advocacy group that is representing the club, the district took away the Kids for Christ club’s right to distribute fliers, make announcements, put up posters, and other activities at Northeast Elementary School, arguing that the club, which meets outside of class time, is religious. Meanwhile, the district continues to allow such groups as the Boy Scouts and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), along with businesses such as a local burrito restaurant, to promote their activities.
“A Christian organization should not be targeted for discrimination when it is simply seeking to publicize its voluntary meetings just like other community groups do,” said ADF attorney Matt Sharp. “The district would have people believe that the Constitution requires a religious organization to be singled out in this manner when, in reality, the Constitution strictly prohibits this type of discrimination. The courts have repeatedly upheld this.”
The federal lawsuit is challenging the district’s policy on approved campus communications, which states: “No literature will be distributed that contains primarily religious, objectionable, or political overtones which may be beneficial to any particular group or business at the expense of others.”
The Internet is very much like television in that it takes time away from other pursuits and provides entertainment and information, but in no way can it compare with the warm, personal experience of reading a good book. This is not the only reason why the Internet will never replace books, for books provide the in-depth knowledge of a subject that sitting in front of a computer screen cannot provide. We can download text from an Internet source, but the aesthetic quality of sheets of downloaded text leaves much to be desired. A well-designed book enhances the reading experience through the visual and tactile senses.
The book is still the most compact and inexpensive means of conveying a dense amount of knowledge in a convenient package. The easy portability of the book is what makes it the most user-friendly format for knowledge ever devised. Kindle, of course, is also quite portable, but you can’t make notes on the book you are reading. Kindle is a portable library, very convenient when traveling, but not the fuzzy book you can curl up with on a cold winter night.
Some readers of this column may very well remember the late ‘70s-early '80s sitcom, Mork and Mindy. Mork, played by Robin Williams, was an alien from the planet “Ork” who had been deployed to Earth in order to discover more about the ways of its inhabitants. At the end of each week’s episode, audiences would watch as Mork relayed his findings to “Orson,” his superior. Now, imagine if a Mork-like being were to visit our planet for the sake of acquiring knowledge regarding America’s politics. What would he discover?
Well, within minutes of his spacecraft landing he would determine that those beings who call themselves “Americans” have something bordering on an obsession with what they call “liberty.” At virtually every turn, it is impossible to go for long without hearing the language of “liberty” and “freedom” spring from their lips.
Being the inquisitive sort that he is, it is only natural that this alien should want to probe more deeply into the character of this “liberty.” So he does. Our sociologist from another planet, so as to keep himself from becoming conspicuous, would first try to discern its meaning by listening carefully to the inflection and intonations of the voices of those speaking of liberty. In doing so, he would become hopeful that he would before long get to the bottom of it all, for what he would detect is that talk of liberty is almost invariably accompanied by excitement and enthusiasm — as sure a sign as any that this “liberty” is something to which these Americans attach no small measure of importance. Liberty, that is, isn’t just a good, as far as the Americans are concerned; it is quite possibly the greatest of all goods.
Rapper Kanye West and hip-hop kingpin Russell Simmons added some celebrity glitz to the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York when they stopped by.
With an estimated net worth of $340 million, Simmons acknowledged that he was part of the targeted "1 percent" at the top. "I don't pay enough taxes and I know it," he said.
He was willing to pay more. Just not yet. "I want to write my check when everybody else does," he stated.
Mr. Simmons didn't say anything about the "Eat the Rich" posters or whether he was willing to end up in a Crock-Pot.
Rapper West, who is also a restaurateur, producer and actor and worth a reported $70 million, didn't dress down when he showed up to take a look at the other “99 percent.”
"Kanye West Visits Occupy Wall Street Without Removing Gold Chains," said the headline in New York magazine, implying a certain level of risk related to public displays of affluence. Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera got a bucket of white powder dumped on his head during a visit.
If Robert Taft had been a baseball player instead of a United States Senator, he might have led the league in left-handed compliments. As it was, he was often “damned with faint praise” by people who, while paying tribute to the power of his intellect, quite often suggested both the man and the mind had come of age in the wrong century. The Ohio lawmaker would hear himself praised as one possessing “the best eighteenth-century mind in America” by people who obviously considered an 18th-century mind ill-suited to mid-20th-century politics. Others, frustrated by the Senator’s stubborn insistence on examining the facts of any controversy before deciding whether to go with or against the prevailing political winds, were fond of saying, “Taft has the best mind in the Senate — until he makes it up.”
Taft was no Lone Ranger. He believed very much in political parties and could be as highly partisan as a Republican as Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman were as Democrats. Yet he was not afraid to deviate from party orthodoxy or fly in the face of popular sentiment. He drew the wrath of the press and public for arguing against the post-World War II war crimes trials at Nuremberg. “Today, the government has become a busybody,” Taft said in a campaign speech in 1944, “determined to meddle with everybody else’s business, to regulate every detail of private enterprise and even in many cases to set in motion direct government competition with private enterprise.” But while Taft was declaring there was “hardly a field of activity into which the government has not intruded itself,” he was also advancing legislation to create a federal housing program and provide federal aid to education.
“Anytime a parent has to bury a child is, in my opinion, the most stressful and excruciating experience a family can go through,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told the Arizona Republic. Few would disagree. Many, however, would take issue with Tester’s proposed solution to the problem of giving parents “time to grieve and sort out what has happened without having to worry about losing their jobs.”
Tester’s motto apparently being “There oughta be a law against that,” his solution is to force employers to give parents time off after the death of a child. Thus, he has introduced the Parental Bereavement Act of 2011, which would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 to mandate up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave — or, as Tester put it in a press release, “job-protected time-off” — for an employee who has just suffered the death of his child.
In 21st-century America, when one wants something, one does not try to persuade others to adopt his position. Instead, he turns to the government to impose his will on others. Therefore, when some of Tester’s constituents experienced the deaths of their children and thought they deserved more time off, they wrote to their Senator, prompting Tester to introduce his legislation. Similarly, thousands of people have signed an online petition urging Congress to pass Tester’s bill.
Following the Eurozone summit meeting in Brussels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced the results of the late-night negotiations: "From a series of national debt crises, the situation was evolving into a systemic concern, threatening the stability of the Eurozone as a whole. This threat has been contained."
First, the holders of Greek sovereign debt have voluntarily agreed to accept a write-down of their holdings by 50 percent which would be sufficient, he said, to bring down Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio from its current level of 150 percent to 120 percent by the year 2012.
Second, in exchange for additional austerity measures, Greece will receive another $140 billion from the IMF by the end of the year.
Third, the “rescue fund,” or European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), will be leveraged so that it will have available approximately $1.4 trillion to loan to countries that get into financial trouble in the future.
Next, the banks affected by the write-downs will be required to raise their net capital ratios from the current five percent to nine percent by next summer, and further austerity measures will be applied to those states applying for financial help in order to qualify for it.
Tim Tebow just doesn’t seem to get it. The NFL quarterback, whose mother ignored a doctor’s advice to abort him, and who himself has ignored critics who consistently minimized his college successes and predicted failure at the professional level, publicly thanked Jesus after leading the Denver Broncos to an improbable come-from-behind victory over the Miami Dolphins in his debut as a starting NFL quarterback October 23.
Tebow apparently does not yet understand that the liberal major media — which has successfully blockaded nearly every meaningful mention of God from their realm of influence — and the culture at large aren’t interested in his wholesome, guileless image and his desire to give credit where credit is due.
“First off, I have to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and my teammates … they believed in me for more than 60 minutes,” Tebow told reporters after a game in which he played poorly for 54 minutes, before engineering two touchdown drives — including his own two-point conversion — in the final six minutes, to tie the game at 15 and set up an overtime field goal for an 18-15 Broncos victory.
“You can’t lose confidence in yourself or you’ve lost already,” said Tebow. “When you get knocked down, you’ve got to keep getting back up.”
The U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced a “rogue websites” bill that has managed to attract bipartisan support even though it would force Internet Service Providers to create a list of banned websites and prevent users of those websites from accessing their sites. The list is all too similar to the “ban lists” that are found in China.
Breitbart.com reports: “US lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday that would give US authorities more tools to crack down on websites accused of piracy of movies, television shows and music and the sale of counterfeit goods.”
Entitled the Stop Online Piracy Act, the bill reads:
A service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order, including measures designed to prevent the domain name of the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) from resolving to that domain name’s Internet Protocol address.
It is the House version of a bill that was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year called the Theft of Intellectual Property Act or Protect IP Act.
All summer long, news sources reiterated complaints about the once-vaunted No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act as being unachievable. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, many state governors, the teacher unions, and other worthies called for “waivers” to underperforming schools and a serious overhaul to NCLB, ostensibly because many (even most) schools could not reach the goals of 100 percent proficiency in math and reading by 2014. Indeed, many could not even make significant progress toward that goal in the interim years.
So, now that debate in Congress is proceeding about an extreme makeover to NCLB, what issue is taking front and center stage? Not “waivers,” or even academics, but two anti-bullying amendments aimed at making it a federal crime for children to “bully” (definition open to interpretation) gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students. If passed, the further hyper-sexualizing of children will be codified and enshrined, while normal sexual development will be impeded through ever-more aggressive sex propaganda like New York City’s highly contentious new HealthSmart curriculum, utilizing, as always, K-12 health classes as the vehicle of choice for its campaign of graphic proselytizing.