Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul engaged in sharp exchanges during the December 15 Fox News debate with fellow GOP presidential candidates Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum on whether the United States should attack Iran. Fox News Channel host Bret Baier started the discussion on Iran in the Sioux City, Iowa, debate with a question that claimed "GOP nominee Paul would be running left of Obama on the issue of Iran." Baier had noted that Paul proposes removing economic sanctions against Iran, including the sanctions that Obama had imposed. Paul responded by claiming the war-weary American people would be on his side. "But I would be running with the American people because it would be a much better policy," Rep. Paul replied, stressing that there's no evidence Iran is near to obtaining a nuclear weapon. "To me, the greatest danger is that we would overreact." Paul also likened the anti-Iran propaganda to the lead-up to the Iraq war, a war he opposed because he discounted exaggerated claims that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. "That’s how we got involved in the useless war in Iraq and lost so much in Iraq."
A group of Girl Scout leaders in Louisiana has decided to dismantle its troops because of a recent decision by the national organization to allow boys who are confused about their gender to join the ranks of the female scouting program. The leaders, who oversee three Girl Scout troops at Northlake Christian School in Lacombe, Louisiana, explained that the move by the group’s national leadership conflicted with their host organization’s Christian beliefs. “This goes against what we [Northlake Christian School] believe,” Susan Bryant-Snure, one of the leaders, told Baptist Press News. Snure has three daughters of her own among the 25 girls participating in the Girl Scout program through the school.  
The town of Athens, Texas, is modest. The Henderson County courthouse, as in many small towns in the South, is the center of the community. Normally, during this time of the year, Christmas decorations are on each corner of the square. But this year, that simple display of the holiday season has run into an unexpected bump. An organization of people who do not live in the town, who do not even live in the state, sent a letter to the Henderson County Commission.This letter was the shock of his life, according to Commissioner Joe Hall. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a organization of atheists in Madison, Wisconsin, demanded that the town remove the Christmas decorations because according to Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of the organization:  “This excludes non-Christians and non-believers who are 17 percent of the U.S. population. So it's necessary there should be changes.” In fact, the atheist group is not only asking that the Christian symbols come down but that the following go up instead:
It wasn’t until I read fellow writer Selwyn Duke’s article on Obama’s Osawatomie speech ("Did Obama Give Anti-Free Market Speech at Osawatomie for Communist Connection?") in which he revealed that the Weather Underground had used the name of the town as the title of their 1975 communist newsletter, that I realized there was much more to the Osawatomie speech than the national media has let on. A photo of that newsletter featuring Ho Chi Minh’s picture left no doubt that this Kansas town had real significance for the radical left. Otherwise, why would a secret terrorist group like the Weather Underground use that name as their newsletter’s title? In his speech, Obama mentioned that Osawatomie, Kansas, was where Theodore Roosevelt gave an important oration about the New Nationalism back in 1910, and that he largely agreed with what Roosevelt had said. He didn’t say much more about it as he went on to pronounce his own socialist view that capitalism doesn’t work, claiming that It doesn’t produce jobs or prosperity. Only more government, more debt, and more taxes will produce the economic recovery we all wish for, asserted the president. So I decided to look into the Osawatomie connection. A fascinating article in the Kansas Historical Quarterly by Robert S. La Forte (Summer 1966), now available online, provides a detailed account of Roosevelt’s famous address, who was behind it, and why it was denounced by some of its critics as socialistic or communistic.
The Obama administration’s quixotic quest to completely strip the states of their sovereignty has now turned its lance on the right of states to establish their own voter qualification statutes.  At a speech given at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, Attorney General Eric Holder announced this latest foray by the federal government into the sovereign territory of the states.   Calling the right to vote the “cornerstone of our system of government,” Holder apparently doesn’t understand the foundation upon which that cornerstone is fixed — federalism.   In his address, AG Holder proclaimed his firm commitment to “examine” several recently enacted state laws altering the acceptable methods for establishing verifiable identity at the polls.   The power of the federal government to monitor or “examine” lawfully enacted state laws will be analyzed below. First, the Attorney General’s own justification for his actions are set forth.
As if the complaints of the federal government aren’t enough, the new immigration statute passed by the state of Alabama is now coming under fire from Human Rights Watch for causing “human rights violations.”  Never a group to mince words, Human Rights Watch issued a 52-page report on Wednesday brutally entitled, “No Way to Live.”  The document is replete with recriminations. Specifically, the New York-based advocacy group reports that the controversial measure (H.B. 56) violates the equal protection rights of Hispanics, as well as impeding that minority bloc’s access to the most basic of necessities such as water, electricity, and housing.    
There never seems to be a dull moment in the United States Congress, which has neared a government shutdown several times in the past two years. On Thursday night, lawmakers may have once again averted a government shutdown by reaching a tentative deal to fund a number of different government agencies through September 30. Unfortunately for the American people, the deal includes massive spending, totaling $1 trillion. It is expected to come up for a vote in both the Senate as well as the House of Representatives on Friday to avoid what would be a shutdown of major Washington operations this weekend, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The Guardian reports, “A deal on a $1 trillion spending bill was reached after Republicans agreed to drop language that would have blocked President Obama’s liberalized rules on people who visit and send money to relatives in Cuba. But a GOP provision will stay in the bill thwarting an Obama administration rule on energy efficiency standards that critics argued would make it hard for people to purchase inexpensive incandescent light bulbs.”
Despite the excitement and anticipation for the Christmas season that pervades the nation every year, the religious element of the holiday continues to be a point of contention for some and a source of great controversy. In Paragould, Arkansas, for example, the Greene County School Board forced the removal of a Nativity scene that was displayed at one of its elementary schools, adhering to local atheists who articulated the tired maxim of “separation of church and state.” After some persistent protest and displays of heroism by the elementary counselor, Kay Williams, however, the school board gave in and permitted the Nativity scene to be put up once again. According to Arkansas Times, which took a very antagonistic perspective on the issue, Kay Williams posted a scene depicting the birth of Jesus on a school bulletin board, which apparently drew two complaints. As a result, the school board asked her to remove the scene, but Williams continued to put Nativity scene displays in her classroom. She told the Paragould Daily Press, “We do live in the Bible Belt. One thing that really disturbed most of [the supporters] was we hear about things like this all the time in other parts of the country. But this is kind of a first for the Bible Belt, here in Arkansas. I think the people realized [this issue] is here, and we better take a stand.”  
Nearly half of America’s public schools failed to meet federal standards under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law in school year 2010-2011. The Center on Education Policy (CEP) issued a report showing that more than 43,000 schools, or 48 percent, did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year, tallying an 11-percent increase over the 39 percent of schools that did not make AYP in 2010 and the sharpest drop in educational achievement since the law took effect a decade ago. In 35 states, the percentage of schools failing to meet AYP standards reached a six-year high, according to an analysis of trends running from 2006 through 2011. In 24 states and the District of Columbia, at least half of the public schools did not make AYP, and in five states (Missouri, Florida, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and South Carolina) plus D.C., at least 75 percent of schools did not meet the federal requirements. "The fact that half of American schools are considered ‘failing’ under NCLB shows how crudely the law measures the quality of a school," said CEP President Jack Jennings. "NCLB needs to be changed, and since Congress is hamstrung, the Obama administration is right to move ahead with waivers of NCLB provisions."
A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that only 51 percent of adults in the U.S. are married, an all-time low for matrimony in America. The recent numbers pale in comparison to a high in 1960, when 72 percent of adults 18 and older were married, and represent a trend that is similar to that witnessed in other “advanced post-industrial societies,” says Pew. “If current trends continue, the share of adults who are currently married will drop to below half within a few years,” wrote the study’s authors, who noted that alternative “adult living arrangements — including cohabitation, single-person households, and single parenthood — have all grown more prevalent in recent decades.” According to statistics, the study found, since 1960 the numbers of adults who have never married has nearly doubled, from 15 percent to 28 percent, and the median age of those marrying for the first time has increased from 20.3 to 26.5 for women, and from 22.8 to 28.7 for men.
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